Friday, March 26, 2010

What's for Breakfast?

If your like me, one of the first things I look for in a blog is what dessert recipes are posted.

However, we cannot live on dessert alone - although it is a lot easier if you know that all your desserts are actually good for you. However, the key to eating right is still moderation.

So, here is one of my breakfast favorites. Buckwheat and millet porridge. Millet and Buckwheat are both gluten free.

Soak the millet and buckwheat in enough water to cover it. (Sorry, this is another one of my "some" measurement recipes.) Add a tablespoon or so of apple cider vinegar or kombucha. You will want to soak this for 12 - 24 hours.

When you are ready to cook the porridge, strain out the soaking liquid. In a pot, add the millet and buckwheat and add approx. twice or three times as much water. Bring to a boil. Cover and turn heat off. At this point I just leave it while I do other morning things and when I'm done that breakfast is ready. Basically you're letting it soak up all the liquid (approx 30 min.).

Now this is when it gets fun. Some people just like adding salt to it. (The first time we made millet, we had it plain - Joey let me know his thoughts on that, and he's not a picky eater.) This meal can get very elaborate very quickly. I like to add coconut milk (cream if your in Australia, equivalent to "milk" in Canada), sliced fruit or applesauce, shredded coconut and topped with almonds (soaked and dehydrated). Some other suggestions if you can get your hand on them are; hemp, chia seeds, maple syrup in place of or even with the coconut milk, any other kind of nut, nut butters. This is really a great meal if you like to get creative. Another great suggestion is to sprout your millet and buckwheat for a couple days, the cooking time will be reduced and you will get even more nutrients.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

My Version of lacto-fermented Ketchup

Originally my quest was to simply find a good ketchup recipe that I could make. In Canada, there was one ketchup made with agave that we could have (and BBQ sauce too) by Organic Ville, and so we just bought it. But here resources are limited so if I want ketchup, I'm going to have to come up with something.

I had recently purchased Nourishing Traditions and started getting into making some recipes, but the Ketchup recipe called for fish sauce, but my husband is allergic to fish. So I did some researching on the Internet to find if people have tried it without the fish sauce, and found some alterations of the NT recipe. I then altered it a bit further, and made it more complete by including the making of the tomato paste as part of the recipe. I wanted to make it as fresh as possible, especially since we have many tomatoes all over. These are mainly cherry tomatoes as they literally grew on their own - our own pig manure in the garden. You can easily use the bigger tomatoes in their place.

First I prepared as many cherry tomatoes as I could fit on a pan. I removed the stem and cut them in half. If using large tomatoes cut into a few slices approx as thick as the sliced cherry tomatoes. You really don't have to be too picky on this, it's okay if some get more dried out then others. Sprinkle liberally with Herbamare and dried basil. Dehydrate on a low setting in the oven. I try to keep it under 100 F so that most of the nutrients are preserved. If you have a dehydrator that really is the best way to go. My oven has a fan on it, so I can set the oven pretty low and the fan goes along way in helping things to dehydrate nicely.

Dehydrate until they are about halfway dried. This will also depend on your preference. The more dry the tomatoes are, the thicker the ketchup will be (unless you water it down). The more moist the tomatoes, the more liquidy the ketchup will be and this is harder to thicken up. I make mine pretty thick.

Once they are done place in a bowl if you you have a stick blender or a blender if you have one. Add half a cup of olive oil and 5 cloves garlic. Blend well. This is your tomato paste.

I have worked it out so that I know how many pans of tomatoes I need to make the amount of paste I need. So you will have to experiment with this. This tomato paste is great on it's own too, so don't worry if you have too much. You will want three cups of the tomato paste.

Here's where we make the ketchup part.

3 cups tomato paste
2 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup molasses, maple syrup or agave
1/4 cup whey (raw, real from a cow or goat - no store bought powder stuff)
1/4 cup Braggs

Hint: the molasses/sweetener slides out great if you use the same measuring cup you used above for the olive oil. Blend well.

Feel free to add other spices as you desire. (Cayenne, oregano, extra garlic...this can really become any tomato sauce you prefer).

After it is well blended (since I make mine thick, it is often kind-of chunky), scoop the ketchup into a clean mason jar. Place the lid on fairly securely. Let sit for 2 - 3 days on your counter (or wherever is room). This allows for the ketchup to ferment. After a few days transfer to your refrigerator for long term storage. It really doesn't need to be in the fridge, just somewhere cool (approx 4 C), so if you have a place like that, great. The fridge is just the easiest way for me. It is also not so picky as other refrigerated things. It would fair well for camping and picnics.

The fermenting process not only adds extra goodness (extra vitamins, easier digestion, and beneficial bacteria) but it is also the thing that preserves what you ferment. No boiling to keep these veggies fresh. I'm not sure of the expiration date on this ketchup, but it is in the way of months. I hoping to make my ketchup (of numerous batches) last a year - till we get fresh tomatoes again - but there's a good chance it will be consumed well before then.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Chocolate seems to be one of those things that people tend to get passionate about. It is often the thing that people will compromise their diet over. It is something that a lot of people say they can't live without. While I think that if there is anything you think you can't live without, you should try to take a break from it, chocolate is definitely something that's very nice to have at times.

So when I had to change my eating habits, chocolate was something that I wanted to see if I could make. I had found a great recipe a few years ago for a coconut centred chocolate square thing, (which is excellent), but it also took a few more steps. So I searched the Internet for a general idea of what goes into a good chocolate recipe and mixed a few of them together and by trial and error (it really wasn't too difficult) came up with the main chocolate that I now make. Originally I was trying to make chocolate chips, (which did work out), but then it progressed to a chocolate sauce/fudge thing that depending on the consistency I use for toppings over fruit, cakes/cookies, in banana/chocolate pancakes, or nice and thick for a good fudge with coconut cream or on it's own.

That was all fine and dandy, I knew what I did - it was always some of this and some of that to taste - but then people started asking for the recipe. So one day I had to figure out what amounts I put in so that it could be duplicated. So here it is.

My Chocolate Recipe

1/4 cup almond butter (I like raw, the roasted give too much of an almond taste - taking away from the chocolate)
1/4 cup water

Blend these two together in a small saucepan over very low heat.

1 tablespoon vegetable glycerin
1 tablespoon extra virgin coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
7-8 drop liquid stevia (start with 7 and taste after each drop!)
1/4 cup raw cocoa

Blend together over low heat. Chocolate burns very easily. When it is all mixed, you can eat as is or play with to make it desirable for different uses. Add more water if you want a nice glaze/sauce. Add some coconut milk and/or nuts if you want another experience. Add dried coconut to make a cookie. Here in Tasmania, almond butter isn't as available, so we substitute peanut butter for it, and that is quite nice too.

Keep in mind I like my chocolate dark. So you may want to add more sweetener. We've also made this a few times (in Canada) with maple syrup instead of the vegetable glycerin and stevia. You'll have to play with that ratio, as I don't remember how much we put in.


mmmm, those would be good with chocolate on top

This is yet another recipe from Nourishing Traditions. Before my days of eating well, on occasion I would make meringues, that nice soft, yet crunching, melt in your mouth sweetness. I found such a recipe in Nourishing Traditions and couldn't wait to try it out.

In NT, this appears as Macaroons. However, Macaroons to me is unbaked cocoa cookies (and I have made those too!).

Apparently this makes 2 dozen, but we ate them too fast to count.

4 egg whites
pinch sea salt
2 tablespoons arrowroot
1/2 cup agave (originally calls for maple syrup, but that's so expensive here)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups unsweetened diced coconut

Line a baking sheet with buttered parchment paper.
Beat egg whites with salt in a clean bowl until they form stiff peaks. Beat in arrowroot and slowly beat in syrup and vanilla. Fold in coconut. Drop by spoonfuls on parchment paper. Bake at 300 F for about 1/2 hour or until lightly browned. Reduce oven to 200 F and bake another hour or so until macaroons are completely dry and crisp. Let cool completely before removing from paper. Store in airtight container. (Here in Tasmania, these get soggy very quickly if not in the fridge - it's very moist here.)

As you can see in the picture some of the agave ran out. It made an extra bonus of toffee, but that was a happy accident. Next time I made the Meringues recipe and it turned out better - also used less agave and was still just as good.


6 egg whites
pinch sea salt
3 tablespoons arrowroot
1/4 cup agave (maple syrup)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Line a cookie sheet with buttered parchment paper. Beat egg whites with salt until they form stiff peaks. Beat in arrowroot. Slowly add agave and vanilla, beating constantly. (Continue as above or go on to make nice little meringue cups for fruit).
Cook overnight at about 150 F. Let cool before removing from paper.

Of course I had one right away - before it cooled completely. Very good. However, looking at it again, I thought, "Boy, these would be good with chocolate on top." And that's just what I did.


Monday, March 8, 2010

Fish Guts

One of the many benefits of living by the ocean is fresh fish. Fish used to be one of those special things I'd treat myself to when it was on sale, but now it's free! (plus effort).

We can go catch little trout (and eat like fish sticks) or smoke some eel - it's actually really good. But the most fun I've had was going fishing with a net. Well, the men were the ones fishing with the net, some of us women go along for the fun.

It is one of the most beautiful things, being by the ocean at night - especially with a mostly full moon reflecting on the patches of wet sand - and then seeing Fairy Penguins at the end of the night. It such a calm relaxing things being by the ocean, and it's much more pronounced at night.

After the men drag the net back onto shore, everyone helps pick out the fish - or a least located them in the net with their flash lights. Back at home we all help scale and wash the fish, and one person separates the meat from the bones. After this happens is where a lot of my interest lies. I now get to hunt for fish guts

I like to take the heart and the livers, all very small, but with enough fish you get enough for one meal. Especially nice to find is the fish roe, very high in a whole bunch of good stuff. However, it is amazing to find how little of these fish are female. Usually only one or two roes are found in 10 or 15 fish.

We all celebrate with some cooked fish right there (at like midnight) and then the rest is frozen for later use. How much more fresher can you get?

Now with the guts. The way I like to eat them is just fry them all up with onions, and scrambled eggs. I thought that was kind-of fun - fish eggs with chicken eggs!

It really tastes better that you are thinking it does. Joey complains that it smells the house up though, but it's warm enough here to keep all the windows open.

Once I used the remaining parts of the fish to make a fish broth, because I hate to think of wasting any of it - but I do not believe I will do that again - it really does stink up the house, and I'm the only one who would be eating it.