Ethiopian cuisine is one of my absolute favourites. I love everything about it. I love the wonderful flavours, and the fact that it is a sharing meal so I can try many different dishes. I even love the fact that you basically get to use the pancake to eat with instead of a fork. -Eating with my fingers is always fun.-…
Fermented snacking vegetables are the one thing that I always have bubbling away on my kitchen counters. I love them for so many reasons.
Sauerkraut is one of the easiest things to ferment. It is a wonderfully reliable ferment, and can sit in a closet for several months without a problem. It is a great source of probiotics. But the biggest reason to DIY some sauerkraut is that homemade sauerkraut is so much BETTER than the stuff you find in a jar at your local grocery store.
Sauerkraut is a good go-to ferment for any fermentation newbie because cabbage naturally has lactic bacteria on it, so all that you need to do to make sauerkraut is to grate it! Luckily I have a pretty good mandolin and a food processor with a grating attachment. A box grater would work too, though it would take more time.
I often make sauerkraut in a mason jar with a weight but it does have a risk of contamination from free range molds, yeasts and bacteria (it’s only happened to me twice in the past 3 years, and I’ve made a LOT of sauerkraut). If you are concerned about spoilage, use fido jars or airlocks instead. If this is your first time fermenting something I recommend reading the Basic Fermentation Rules.
- 1 head of cabbage (approx. 2 lbs.)
- 1-2 tsp pickling salt (to taste)
- flavours (see note)
- Grate the cabbage and any other vegetable or fruit additions.
- Toss it with spices and salt.
- Pack it into a wide mouth mason jar(s) leaving at least 2" of head room. Use a spoon to really pound all the cabbage into the jar. If you pack it down enough, liquid will be pressed out of the cabbage, and you want enough to cover the cabbage. It's important to fully pack the cabbage into the jar, air bubbles increase the risk of contamination. Don't worry if you don't have enough liquid right away, it should produce it within 24 hours. So you can to leave your cabbage to sweat a bit then pack it down again.
- Leave the jar to ferment at room temperature (around 18 C if possible) and out of the sun. The goal is to have the cabbage kept from the air (by weights, fido or airlock), but still allow for the release of CO2. Even if I am using a weight I keep my jars loosely covered to prevent bugs from getting in.
- The first three days the cabbage will bubble and liquid may over flow from the jar (so put a tray underneath).
- Sauerkraut is ready when you decide it is done (anywhere between 5 days to 7 weeks, though I often just permanently leave my kraut in a cupboard since I'm short on space in my fridge).
- Store it in the fridge to stop the fermentation.
-Adding a cup of grated apple, fennel, cranberries or carrot will sweeten the kraut. Onion and garlic are savory additions. For a spicy kraut add hot pepper slices.
-Whole spices are another way to change the flavour. My favourite is: 1 tsp caraway seed, 1 tsp mustard seed and 10 juniper berries. Some other popular combos include: 2 bay leaves and 5 black peppercorns; 2 tsp of mixed Indian curry spices; 1 tsp dill seed (for a pickle flavour).
-There’s a whole science to how the “flora” in sauerkraut changes over time. However, it should never be moldy, yeasty or smelly. Keeping everything clean is necessary for a good ferment.
The purple kraut in the photo is 3 weeks old, and the green kraut is in the first few days. The little pieces of cabbage are being pushed up around the sides of my weight by the carbon dioxide bubbles, and I have them sitting in bowls in case of overflow.
I always have a stash of these crackers in my cupboard. They are ridiculously easy to make, last forever, and make a great after school snack! What’s more, this recipe doubles as a holiday gift! These crackers are the ABSOLUTE favourite of one of my daughter’s preschool friends. I promised to post the recipe for them this week, so that they could make them at home.
- 1¼ cup flax seeds
- 2 tbsp chia seeds
- ½ cup ground flax
- ½ cup ground almond meal
- 3.5 cups of water
- 2 tbsp culture
- Remaining Ingredients
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp salt
- Mix all the pre-soaked ingredients, and allow to soak for at least 6 hours. The mix will be a goo-y mass that forms the base of the crackers.
- Stir in the remaining ingredients along with any other seasoning you desire (see notes below for ideas).
- Then line two cookie sheets with parchment paper (wax paper won't work) and spread the mass of seeds as thinly as possible.
- Bake at 250 for around 1 hour, then leave to set in the warmed oven until firm (it could take longer depending on your oven). Break it up into cracker sized pieces, store in a sealed container and eat within 3 months
-For culture I typically use kefir whey, but sauerkruat juice or kombucha would both work as well. The goal is to add acid and culture that will help break down the tough seeds. They may even keep their “pro-biotic-ness” if cooked low enough… though no promised on that front.
-Here are some delicious optional additions:
1/2 cup sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds (pre-soaked, then drained so they won’t burn in the oven)
1 tbsp honey (won’t make the cracker taste sweet, as much as add another flavour dimension)
2 tbsp mixed herbs (rosemary, thyme, basil or oregano)
1 tbsp dried onion or garlic
We eat a lot of lettuce wraps and just having the usual array of condiments can end up being a little bit boring. At our house it’s all about flavour, and this pickle recipes is flavourful enough to zip up any meal. It is a bright combination of spicy and sweet that get’s most of it’s flavour from the addition of garlic and ginger.
I love everything about this pickle. It is perfectly matched to the warmth of a bright summer day, from the brilliant colours, to the tanginess of fermentation. I recommend eating it with burgers, sandwiches and wraps, but my kids love eating it straight from the jar.
- 1 tbsp non-iodized salt dissolved in 1 quart of filtered water
- 1 cup thinly sliced cucumbers
- 1 coloured pepper, thinly sliced
- 1 sweet onion, thinly sliced
- 1 cup of carrots in thinly sliced rounds
- 2 cloves of garlic (sliced in half)
- 1 tbsp of ginger root roughly chopped
- 1 chili pepper sliced in half
- 1 tbsp of culture (see notes)
- ¼-1/2 cup of sweetener (sugar, honey or maple syrup)
- 1½ cup of cider vinegar
- Mix all the ingredients for the fermentation portion of the recipe in a large glass bowl, cover loosely and leave to ferment somewhere cool for 2-3 days.
- Mix the sugar and cider vinegar, and stir to dissolve. Add in 1½ cups of the brine.
- Pack the pickled vegetables into jars for storage in the fridge and cover with the brine & cider vinegar mixture (this will be around 3½ cups of liquid from the sugar, brine and vinegar).
- Store in the fridge for 2 more days before eating to allow the flavours to meld.
-You can use any starter culture that you want. I used whey as my starter, but you could also use sauerkraut juice or a purchased starter. This is really just an insurance policy to make sure that the ferment goes quickly.
-A sweetener is not required, however it would dramatically change the flavour of the pickle into something very strong and salty (like kimchi).
I have always wanted to make a very traditional-style gluten free sourdough loaf. The only trick is that in traditional flour/salt/water bread recipe the gluten provides the binder. So, I have added some suggestions for a binder that will help the bread with it’s stability (and I highly recommend using them unless you enjoy experimentation as much as I do).
Even so, I really wanted to make a completely traditional-style loaf, so I skipped the binder and made several smaller loaves that the ended up looking more like a ciabatta shaped bread (as seen in the photos). It meant that I only need to slice the loaf down the middle to make a sandwich, which meant that the crust would provide the stability.
- 3 cups filtered water (chlorine free)
- 5½ cups gluten free oat flour and buckwheat flour mix (as needed)
- 1½ tsp salt
- Optional binders: 1 tbsp of ground psyllium husk or ground flax
- Mix 2½ cups of the gluten free flour and water in a glass container. Place somewhere warm for 48-72 hours to ferment. I stir it about once a day with a clean spoon until has become very bubbly and smells like sourdough.
- Add any binders you want to use along with 2 more cups flour and continue mixing. Use more flour as needed until you have a good dough-like consistency. It shouldn't be dry enough to kneed like wheat bread, just dry enough to form into a loose ball. The exact amount of flour will depend on what kind of flours you've used. They all hydrate differently.
- Grease 2 loaf pans, and put the loaves into them and allow them to ferment for a further 12-24 hours. You should be seeing some evidence of rising by the end of the ferment (though it won't double in size like a gluten bread).
- Preheat your oven to 400 F.
- Without disturbing your rising bread, carefully move the loaves to the oven and bake for 30-40 min (until cooked through and browning). I usually take them out to score the tops of the loaves about ½ way through the baking process to allow them to rise a bit more.
-Since this is a gluten free loaf, it needs the support of the loaf pan to keep it’s shape. If you want a more “free form” appearance, use a round cake pan or cast iron dutch oven.
-Slice and freeze the bread within the first day after baking to prevent it from going stale or becoming too crumbly.
-I like a mix of 1/2 oat flour and 1/2 buckwheat flour. However, you could replace these flours with other flours like: rice, millet, quinoa, teff or sorgham. Personally, I’ve played around with different flour combinations and buckwheat and oatmeal just seem to give bread the best taste and texture.
Gravy is one of those delicious indulgences that has somehow gotten a bad reputation. But it doesn’t have to be that way. This gravy is almost a complete meal on it’s own… and it definitely spruces up everything from potatoes to your tempeh cutlets. I also use it for shepherds pie, meat pies or really anything that your gravy-loving heart desires!
- 2 tbsp oil
- 2 cups of chopped mushrooms (a mixture of shiitake and brown is best)
- ½ onion diced
- 1 clove garlic diced
- 2 cups of water
- ¼ cup chickpea flour (or wheat flour)
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp miso
- salt to taste
- Fry mushrooms, onions and garlic in oil until fully cooked.
- Add water and chickpea flour. Mix to combine and bring to a boil.
- Once it boils, remove from heat and allow to cool slightly before adding the miso and soy sauce.
- Fully puree so that the vegetables disappear, and salt to taste.
- Serve immediately.
-If you use a live cultured miso then make sure the gravy has cooled slightly before mixing it in to maintain the probiotic benefits.
-If you’re not a fan of mushrooms (or want a clear gravy), then leave them out and use a good quality broth instead of water for the flavour.
I love kvass. I love savoury and flavourful concoctions. I love that kvass makes me feel super healthy without wasting my money on a whole bunch of fancy expensive health food products. And this kvass makes me feel like I’m transforming myself into a super hero with the added vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
And while I admit that kvass probably wouldn’t help me fly or leap over tall buildings… I know it gives my immune system a huge boost. Toss in a few a few high in zinc pumpkin seeds and we’re prepared for the cold and flu season.
- 1-2 beets washed, and diced into cubes
- 1 inch of ginger washed and sliced in half
- 1 inch of turmeric washed and sliced in half
- 1 lemon cut into quarters
- ¼ cup of starter culture (see notes)
- ½ tbsp salt (non-iodized)
- Filtered water to cover (chlorine free)
- Sterilize a quart-sized jar, and fill it with the beet cubes, ginger and turmeric. Squeeze lemon wedges into the jar and then add them as well.
- Dissolve the salt in ½ cup of water, pour over the beets with the starter, and add more water to cover.
- Use a weight to keep the beets submerged, top with a lid, and allow to ferment somewhere cool for 3-7 days.
- Store in the fridge and consume within 1 month.
-I used whey as my starter, but you could also use sauerkraut juice or a purchased starter.
-If you can’t find fresh turmeric, just add a teaspoon of turmeric powder.
-I enjoy my kvass diluted with water (50/50).
Our farm box keeps arriving full of beets! Though the adults in my house like salty beet kvass, and the kids like sweet beet kvass I finally got enough beets to make a beets to make some fermented pickled beets!
Pickled beets are a perfect addition to most any meal, I especially love them with a ploughman’s lunch. There’s just something wonderful about the combination of pickled vegetables and cheese.
- Beets (about 6 per quart)
- 1- 1½ tsp non-iodized salt
- Filtered water to cover
- Spices (see notes)
- Peel and dice the beets (use gloves if you don't want pink fingers).
- Pack into a sterilized jar with the spices.
- Dissolve the salt in ½ cup of water. Pour over the beets and top with water to cover.
- Leave to ferment at room temperature for about 3 days (no need to weigh down the beets as they usually don't float).
- Store in the refrigerator.
-You could ferment for longer than 3 days… to your own taste, but keep things clean if you’re going for a longer ferment, and use the larger amount of salt.
Sweet: 1 cinnamon stick and 3 whole cloves
Traditional: 1 tbsp pickling spice
Caraway: 2 tsp caraway and 5 black peppercorns
Way, way back when we really didn’t know how to cook (back when adding a can of tuna to a jar of tomato sauce was considered a fancy meal) Brad took a 8 week course on how to cook Indian food. It was probably the best thing that ever happened to our kitchen because he became a fairly amazing Indian cook. I’m not sure whether pakoras are always fermented, or whether Brad just decided to ferment this batch for me…
- Prefermented Batter
- 3 cups chickpea flour
- 1 tbsp ground coriander
- ½ tbsp turmeric
- 1 tbsp tamarind paste (optional)
- 1 tsp cayenne (optional)
- 2½ tsp salt (non-iodized)
- 2 cups whey, buttermilk or kefir.
- 5 cups of your choice of filling:
- -grated potatoes, yams, carrots
- -chopped cauliflower
- -zucchini cut into long thin strips
- -onion finely sliced into rings
- -shelled peas, green beans
- -fresh curd cheese sliced into cubes
- Mix all of the batter ingredients until smooth, and allow to ferment in a glass container for 12-24hours.
- The next day mix in the prepared filling until fully coated.
- Heat deep fry oil to 375 F.
- Deep fry until the vegetables are cooked and the batter is brown (about 5 min).