Archives for posts with tag: Water Kefir

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My son is lying in bed home from school with severe intermittent cramping, and of course my first thought as always is to try to get some fermented food into him. (Pretty sure it’s not his appendix.) I know that fighting bacteria with bacteria is effective, and that probiotic, bacterial-rich ferments, even small spoonfuls of “pickle juice” (brine), support a rebalance.  So I’m relieved when he requests “one of [my] homemade fizzy drinks”  — some version of water kefir.

There is continuously new research emerging about the microorganisms in our digestive systems and relationship to disease, including dementia, autoimmune disorders, and diabetes.  Yesterday I read about research concerning Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in this regard, and an interesting summation of positive and negative aspects of antibiotics.  And there have been absolutely fantastic episodes on BBC Radio 4 on the Food Programme, if you are lucky enough to have access to these links:  That Gut Feeling Part One and That Gut Feeling Part Two.  Since listening to these radio docs, I have been thinking of my own microbiome as an organ I can easily make healthier by daily dietary choices, such as increasing fibre, variety and of course including raw and unpasteurised and fermented foods, as well as reducing processed foods. Read the rest of this entry »

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Rose petals are all over internet recipes these days! I wonder if you have noticed this too.  Sprinkled on cakes and infused in creams and mixed with dried orange peel in harissa in all sorts of spicy North African-inspired dishes.

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Because roses are associated with romantic love, they’re an iconic Valentine’s Day flower.  There is in the perfume of roses something so love-ly indeed.  A few years ago, during a very low ebb, a friend who is a herbalist gave me a gift: a tincture of rose to spray on myself as a kind of self-love potion.  “A hug in a bottle,” she called it.  It worked.  That’s what a lot of us need: self-love potions.

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Jun.  The mysterious Kombucha relative that thrives, not on black tea and white sugar, but on green tea and raw honey. Mythically Tibetan, though not documented with any credibility– even if explications of the culturing bacteria are alluring and romantic.

I read this Nourished Kitchen how-to and felt full of curiousity and excitement.  But how was I, in mid-Wales, to acquire the culture? Seemed like an effort I wouldn’t make.

Meanwhile… I’ve been sorting through all the weird stuff clogging fridge and counter space.  And I finally got around to a months-old promise of posting out some cultures of Water Kefir, Kefir and Kombucha to some friends. Read the rest of this entry »

Hello to you!  Am in busy desperate preserving mode– so much to do, race against time and the forces of overripening, but wanted to share a few random things.

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I’ve made a really nice blackberry jam and threw in actually quite a number of very very soft pears.  (I mushed them through a strainer first, and retained the skins/seeds etc for a scrap vinegar.) Then added a cinnamon stick too.  Decided to strain through a sieve so the jam wouldn’t have that bramble grit of the teeny seeds.  The jam is wonderful, glad to have done this. I put the seeds from the sieve  in water with water kefir grains and have a really lovely bubbly drink happening– didn’t even bother with the whole first and second ferment thing.  Blackberry Pear Soda Pop, pictured above……

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I have started an occasional project to film peoples’ hands when they talk about food and cooking.  I’ve only posted one so far, but there are more to come.

Today I was chatting with a friend and suddenly noticed her hands– three fingers on each one and knobs of bones and some tales of failures by surgeons. She is 75, beautiful, a free spirit, a collector of wool who crochets mad Log Cabin patterns, a guitar player, a cook, a fermenter.

Her mother had had one finger on each hand. Her grandmother had had a job in the 1920’s in a watch factory, hand-painting numbers on watch faces with night-luminous Radium paint; to get a sharp nib, she’d form the paintbrush into a point in her mouth between dabs. Read the rest of this entry »

 

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WATER KEFIR EXTRAVAGANZA

Melon Seed Horchata!  Pea Shoot, Mint Tea, and Yuzu!  Yuzu, Beetroot and Mango Stone! 

My message to you is: Have fun!

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Water Kefir grains are a magical substance (“a culture of bacteria and yeasts held in a polysaccharide biofilm matrix created by the bacteria”) that through fermentation transform liquids into beautiful, healthful “sodas” or carbonated bubblies, non (and sometimes just-barely) alcoholic drinks. There is loads written about Water Kefir on the web, many a how-to guide, including this Nourished Kitchen one that has great information even if a little complicated.

And here’s a piece on A Gardener’s Table, a really really beautiful blog.  There’s even the tip in the comments to add (sterilised) eggshell (to be removed) to remineralise your grains.

The basic instruction requires two phases:

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Fermenting in the Kitchen: Probiotics and Permaculture Principles

A Workshop with Elderflower-Tibicos Champagne

Today I am having a great time at home preparing for a workshop tomorrow….
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Several years ago, when William and Kate got married, someone in our town organised a street party. Now– I love the idea of a street party, the history and tradition of mass celebration of Royal Weddings in Britain, the comradery, the feasting. Yet there’s also a deep ambivalence about the concept and public financial drain of monarchy. I was torn about participating.  But, because Kate and Will were a couple based in love, something truly to celebrate, and because I wanted to support the efforts of the girl so enthusiastically organising the event, I decided to join in.

At that time, I was attempting to make a dandelion preserve, a jelly really, but the whole thing went wrong, because without any pectin — I guess I could have used apples for a mild tasting thickening agent– it didn’t solidify.  What resulted was a thick syrup, known as Dandelion Honey.  I wasn’t fully satisfied though because I knew from the process that there had been a moment of beautiful, delicate fragrance that I’d boiled away in my attempt to make the jelly.  So I resolved to try again in the future to recreate that ephemeral moment of sublime dandelion perfume that I’d experienced.

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