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All posts for the month January, 2012

I Just Can’t Get Enough (of that raw fermented stuff…)

Published January 27, 2012 by Polana Fowdrey

So, I’ve done Kimchi, Sauerkraut and Water Kefir. I’ve bought live probiotic powder and turned my hand to raw cheese; what’s next?

Yogurt, of course! This is something I will find very useful in my raw dishes. (Especially at breakfast, where I’m trying out things-that-are-not-smoothies!)

I’ve been doing my research and decided that first I will try Oat Yogurt. I’ve not done this before, so it will be a 24 hour experiment. I will let you know how it turns out!

Here’s what I’ve done:

In a ceramic bowl, I mixed:

2 cups wholegrain oats (I only had rolled oats but whole oats would be preferable as they’ve not been processed.)

3 cups water

the contents of 2 probiotic capsules

I’ve stirred the mixture together and covered it. Now I need to leave it  to stand at room temperature for 24 hours.

Tomorrow night I will take a look and see whether the mixture needs blending to make it smooth and creamy, or whether it is fine as it is.

I’ll blog my results of this experiment tomorrow!

UPDATE: 24 Hours later.

I uncovered my oat mixture and to be honest it just looked like uncooked porridge. I tasted it and there was none of the sourness I have been led to expect.

I decided to blend the whole mixture and add a couple more probiotic capsules (the powder from the inside) and leave it in the bowl for another 24 hours.

So, a bit disappointing really, but tomorrow might yield better results. Patience Poli, patience…

UPDATE 2: Another 24 hours later.

The yogurt looks a lot more like yogurt now and is rather sour to taste – more like I was hoping for.

I gave it a good stir and it looked right, so I added some frozen strawberries, soaked cashews and dried cranberries.

I now have a lovely yogurty breakfast, which I will have in the morning.

UPDATE 3: The following morning.

Yum! This is delicious!

Now I know how to do it, here’s the recipe:

Fruity Breakfast Yogurt.

Equipment:

bowl, blender

Ingredients:

2 cups Oats

3 cups Water

4 Probiotic capsules

Strawberries

Cranberries

Cashew nuts

Agave Nectar

Method:

Soak the oats in the water. Add the contents of the probiotic capsules.

Cover the oats and leave for 24 – 48 hours at room temperature. This depends on the temperature of your home. It will take longer in Winter.

Soak the cashew nuts for several hours or overnight.

Blend the oat/water mixture and pour into a bowl.

Add the cashew nuts, strawberries and cranberries (these are to taste so no precise amounts are given.)

Add a little agave nectar to sweeten if required.

Serves 4 – 6.

How To Make Water Kefir

Published January 26, 2012 by Polana Fowdrey

I’ve been asked about water kefir, so I thought I’d write a post about it.

A lot of people have heard of milk kefir, but I confess I had never heard of either until a few months ago.

So what is kefir and what do you do with it?

Water kefir crystals (also known as Tibicos). ...

Image via Wikipedia

Water Kefir, also known as Tibicos, Tibi, Japanese water crystals or California Bees is a culture of bacteria and yeast held in a polysaccharide matrix created by the bacteria. Sounds yummy, doesn’t it?

Actually, it doesn’t taste of anything much on its own and looks like a load of little white granules, but by making a Water Kefir drink, it becomes a delicious sweet, sometimes fizzy, probiotic drink, packed with nutrients. Sounds yummier now, eh?

If you want to know more about the substance itself, have a look here.

If you want to know what to do with it, keep reading:

To make Water Kefir:

Take a Mason or Kilner jar and clean it thoroughly (I like to sterilize mine too, just to be on the safe side)

Spoon 2 teaspoons of Kefir grains into the jar and fill with clean water (filtered or spring if you can get it.)

Add 2 teaspoons of sugar, or a substitute*

Mix it up and close the jar. Leave for a few days, “feeding” the kefir some more sugar each day.

The more you “feed” the grains (don’t overdo it – a teaspoonful a day is enough!) the stronger it gets. After several days it can become fizzy, which is a nice alternative to carbonated drinks. It will even become very mildly alcoholic, eventually, but don’t get too excited, 2% is about as strong as you’ll manage!

This is not an exact science. Taste the water to determine whether you want to drink it. It should not be overly sweet. It can take time to make it just how you like it, but you can enjoy drinking all the experiments.

To drink, simply drain all the water out into a sieve or muslin and use the grains again.

They will multiply and before you know it, you’ll have several jars on the go and you’ll be begging friends to take them off you! You can eat excess grains if you prefer!

*Sugar. Obviously, not everyone wants to use refined sugar, even though it is the kefir “eating” it and not you, but some alternatives are:

fruit (just throw some dried fruit it – they love it!)

maple syrup (more expensive, but definitely worth it!)

less refined brown sugar (turns the grains brown, but doesn’t harm them)

I have heard that you can also culture the kefir in fruit juice.

Raw Cashew “Cheese”

Published January 26, 2012 by Polana Fowdrey

I haven’t eaten actual cheese for decades and don’t miss it at all, but as a vegan I have sometimes enjoyed a dairy-free alternative to cheese. It’s certainly a useful thing to have in the fridge, turning a simple salad into something a bit more interesting and nutritious and providing a great filling for a raw (or even almost-raw) sandwich.

I have adapted a recipe originally shared by Russell James (the Raw Food Chef) here.

Russell’s recipe uses macadamia nuts, which I absolutely adore, but they are a little expensive so, finances being how they are, I used cashews instead.

Here is my version, but I urge you to check out Russell’s (and his other recipes too – they are superb and always work out perfectly!)

Cashew Cheese

Equipment:

Blender/Liquidizer, Sieve, Bowl, Muslin (or Nut Milk Bag), Dehydrator (or fan oven – use fan only,) Ring Mould

Ingredients:

2 cups cashew nuts

1 cup water

2 probiotic capsules

pinch salt

2 teaspoons nutritional yeast (or 1 teaspoon Marmite (yeast extract) if you don’t mind a non-raw condiment!)

Squeeze of lemon juice

Method:

Blend the nuts and water together until you have a smooth paste.

Add the powder from the probiotic capsules and mix in thoroughly.

Pour the mixture into a nut milk bag or a piece of muslin and place in a sieve, over a bowl. Place a plate on the top and a weight to squeeze the excess liquid out. I used a fairly full jar of coconut oil which seemed heavy enough.

Leave at room temperature for 24-48 hours. It’s a good idea to place a cloth over the whole thing so that no dust or unwelcome flying insects get in.

After 24-48 hours, unwrap the mixture and place it into a clean bowl. Add the salt, yeast and lemon juice and stir everything in.

Now pour the mixture into a ring mould. I put mine on top of a non-stick dehydrator sheet (on a DH tray) and placed it in the dehydrator for 24 hours to dry out a little and get a crust. Then I placed it in the fridge, where it lives whilst it is being eaten.

You can just put it straight into the fridge without dehydrating if you are in a hurry or don’t want a crust.

It’s delicious and can be customised with herbs, onion, garlic… the list is limitless!

I think this should last about a week, but ours won’t. Nom nom… =)

Onion Bread To Cry For

Published January 25, 2012 by Polana Fowdrey

Sometimes something is required upon which one can pile leafy salads, home-made nut cheeses and pates, kimchi and olives.

Some way needs to be found to construct an open sandwich… something bread-y.

When such occasions arise, I solve my dilemma by making this delicious light onion bread:

Onion Bread

Equipment:

Food processor (optional) Dehydrator (or fan oven)

Ingredients:

2 small onions/ 1 medium

1 cup sunflower seeds

1 cup water

4 dsp olive oil

2 dsp sprouted flax seed powder/ milled chia seed

Method:

Soak the sunflower seeds for a few hours to soften them and release the enzymes.

Chop the onion into tiny pieces. You can use the food processor for this if you prefer. Place the onion in a bowl and set aside.

Blend the sunflower seeds with water and oil to a smooth puree.

Add the sunflower puree to the onion and mix in well.

Add the chia or flax seeds and stir in thoroughly.

Pour the mixture onto a dehydrator sheet (non-stick) and spread it out to about 1/2 inch or 1 cm thickness.

Score into slices (I use a pizza cutter) and dehydrate on 115 degrees Fahrenheit, turning the slices off the non-stick sheet when they are firm enough and continue drying until the onion bread is the right texture (approx 24 hours.)

I usually cut my bread into triangles and get 8 slices out of this mixture. You can scale the ingredients up or down to vary the quantity.

Quick Delicious Shake

Published January 23, 2012 by Polana Fowdrey

I’ve run out of spinach!

Luckily, Mr H should be able to pick me some up at work tonight, but meanwhile… what can I put in my green smoothie? (I’ve taken to making sure I get a couple of pints of green smoothie every day because I feel better on it.)

Well, disaster averted because I have some standby Wheatgrass Powder; not as good as the fresh stuff, but not a bad substitute.

Wheatgrass powder is 21% protein, 22% carbohydrate and only 2% fat. It has lots of fibre and also contains plenty of magnesium and zinc, as well as a bit of sodium.

I made this delicious quick smoothie (which didn’t even need straining)

Wheatgrass & Blueberry Super-Smoothie

Ingredients:

2 pints Water Kefir (I always have some of this available!)

1 handful Blueberries (I used frozen)

1 dsp Wheatgrass powder

2 tsp Baobab powder

2 dsp Purple Corn flour

1 Banana

1 tsp Coconut oil

Agave nectar to taste

Blend everything together and enjoy

It’s a lovely dark purple colour, so my crown chakra is buzzing now!

Almonds, Almonds, Everywhere…

Published January 22, 2012 by Polana Fowdrey

I have neglected my blog for the past week, but I’m back now and I do have a big bag of almonds

Almonds

Image by Shelby PDX via Flickr

I made this delicious milk when I came home from work today:

Strawberry Almond Milk

Equipment

Blender/liquidizer

Nut milk bag

Ingredients

1½ pints water

1 cup almonds

2 cups strawberries (I used frozen because it is January, but fresh is probably best)

Method

Soak the almonds overnight.

Place in blender with water and strawberries

Blend thoroughly

Sieve through a nut milk bag

Save the pulp to make Almond biscuits

 ————————————————-

Having drunk half the milk, I made the rest into this: (this is what I’ll be having for breakfast tomorrow.)

Cheery Berry Chia

Equipment

Dry grinder (optional)

Mixing bowl

Ingredients

1 pint strawberry almond milk

4 dessertspoons chia seed

1 cup cranberries (I used dried)

1 cup blueberries (I used frozen)

3 teaspoons agave or maple syrup

Method

Coarsely grind the chia seeds (you could use milled chia seeds instead)

Mix all the ingredients together and leave overnight

Options

I added 1 teaspoon baobab powder and a multivitamin, because I like to get a powerhouse in for breakfast.

————————————————–

 I wanted to use the pulp from the Strawberry Almond milk to make some biscuits (cookies), but I needed this first:

Almond Butter

Equipment

Food Processor

Ingredients

2 cups almonds

Drop hemp seed oil

Pinch salt

Teaspoon agave nectar

Method

Place almonds in food processor and process for several minutes.

If the food processor is powerful enough, it should eventually form nut butter, but I had to add a drop of help oil to get the blending underway. Finally, when you have a smooth butter, add salt and agave (optional)

Keep in a sealed container in the fridge. Will last a few days.

 —————————————–

With all my ingredients to hand, I could proceed:

Almond Biscuits

Equipment

Food Processor

Dehydrator (or fan oven

Ingredients

2 cups almond pulp (I used almond & strawberry pulp)

6 dsp maple or agave syrup (I know, it’s a lot, but it’s worth it!)

2 dsp chia seeds

2 dsp almond butter

2 dsp coconut butter

Method

Process everything together until smooth and shape into small biscuits. I was able to make 36!

Dehydrate overnight on 115°F (45°C)

Keep in a sealed container in the fridge. Will keep for several days.

 —————————————-

Lemon Lavender Biscuits – A Raw Treat

Published January 13, 2012 by Polana Fowdrey

The weather here in the South of England is unseasonably clement and I can’t help but start thinking of Spring. My balcony is looking sad and in need of attention and I’m itching to get out there and start planting up my greens.

To get me in the mood and sustain all that activity, I’m going to make some of these biscuits, which just sing “summer” every time.

Lemon Lavender Biscuits

Equipment:

Dehydrator or fan oven, blender or grinder

Ingredients:

1 cup almond pulp from making almond milk (this works particularly well if the pulp has been subsequently dried and then ground into a flour, but this is not strictly necessary)

1 cup oat flour (rolled oats ground in a dry blender or grinder to make a fine flour)

2 dsp agave nectar (substitute your favourite sweetener if you prefer)

1 dsp mesquite powder (gives a lovely caramel depth to the flavour, as well as providing a nutrient boost)

1 dsp lavender flowers (I collect these in the summer and dry them for future use)

1 dsp purple corn flour (a superfood hit with the added benefit of imparting a gorgeous colour)

The juice of 1 lemon (organic, of course!)

Method

Mix everything together and shape into biscuits. Press a few extra lavender flowers on top for decoration.

Dehydrate for several hours until the biscuits are as crunchy as you like. They will go completely crisp if dehydrated long enough, but are equally delicious with a bit of chew.

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