Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Spicy Kraut with Green Cabbage, Carrot and Chilli, full of flavour and not too hot - Fermentation phase 3




These three jars are how much spicy kraut I made from the ingredients below. I allowed a lot of room at the top for juices to rise as the last batch had fermented and risen to the top of the jar. I needed to briefly remove the lids each day for the carbon dioxide to escape as I didn't want to risk the lids popping off or the juices flowing from the jar. This didn't happen, as every fermentation seems to process slightly differently. I was aiming at a spicier kraut this time, and thought the three fresh chillies would provide enough heat to the mixture. Whilst the paprika, garlic and chillies I added transformed the vegetables into a spicy and delicious condiment, dried chilli gives it the extra heat required so that it really does become a chilli kraut. The amount of chilli spice used is a matter of personal taste, and can easily be experimented with. Fermenting the ingredients seems to neutralise the spiciness of the fresh chillies and the fresh garlic. Some garlic may turn blue during the fermentation process and is nothing to be concerned about. However thankfully mine didn't being beautiful fresh garlic from the Eungella region near Mackay in North Queensland, otherwise it would have been technicolour kraut, and I see nothing wrong with that.

I would appreciate any comments that you have to send me about your fermenting experiences and I enjoy reading them.

Ingredients:

1 small whole green cabbage, with  outer leaves and core  removed
3 carrots
4 finely chopped  red chillies (not the Birds Eye variety)
1 teaspoon chopped fresh coriander
1 teaspoon smoky paprika
1 small apple peeled, cored and finely chopped
2 tablespoons non-iodised salt
2 cloves finely chopped garlic
4 sliced crisp and fresh radishes
1 teaspoon chilli powder (optional for a spicier kraut)
Allow one tablespoon of salt to 800 grams of cabbage

Method:

I shredded the cabbage and carrots in my food processor which saves so much time, or if you want to replicate the way sauerkraut has been made during previous European generations, you can either slice it finely or grate it by hand.

 Place the cabbage, apple and other vegetables and chillies in a large glass bowl and add the spices and the salt and toss the salt through the cabbage with clean hands. .

 Let this powerful brew sit for 30 minutes to activate the fermenting juices.

Spoon the cabbage mixture and juices into jars allowing at least an inch from the rim and press down the vegetables until the juices rise to the top. Use the outer leaves and cabbage  core to keep the shredded  vegetables  below  the  juices. 

Seal your bottle loosely and keep at room temperature for 3 days. I open mine each morning to check that it is fermenting and to release the carbon dioxide, and you will see the bubbles moving in the  jar.  I also push the cabbage down forcing more juices to the top and ensuring the vegetables stay submerged. The longer you leave it to ferment, the more sour, spicy and distinctive the flavours will be.

If you feel that your ferment really is drying out, it is important to only use filtered water to top it up as the chlorine will kill the bacteria needed for fermentation.

Your jar of sauerkraut can then be moved to the frig after 3 days where it will keep for several months, and the flavour will develop during this period however it can be eaten within a week, or even earlier if you are desperate to try it.

I'm about to board a plane so I'm  sending  this  from  blogger on my phone.  There's surely plenty  of time  with  needing to  be at airports two hours prior  to  catching  even  domestic  flights. 

Best  wishes 
Pauline 

Cheat's Portuguese Custard Tarts by Donna Hay @ Happy Retiree's Kitchen



If you are smitten with custard, you will love these tarts, encased in a very light and slightly crunchy tart (wonton) case. As you don't need to make any pastry, and the custard ingredients are just lightly whisked before being poured into the wrappers, it is certainly the cheat's way of making delicious custard tarts. Great idea Donna Hay, and this opens up lots of other possibilities for savoury quiches and other desserts as well.

When I first saw this recipe, I felt nostalgic for our trip to Lisbon in Portugal a few years ago where it soon became an enjoyable daily ritual to have our morning coffee with a Portuguese tart or two. I really missed those little beauties when we came home. The custard in these tarts is rich and smooth and reminds me very much of the custard in the authentic Lisbon variety which we enjoyed whilst on holiday. I just had to make them and Mr. HRK and our daughter love them so I will be baking more in the future.

I hope you enjoy them too.

Ingredients:

12-15 square wonton wrappers
1 egg
3 egg yolks
1x200 ml carton or 1 cup crème fraiche
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup (110g) caster sugar
1/4 cup Golden Syrup

Equipment:

2 Muffin Tin trays with 12 x 1/2 cup capacity (The recipe says this mixture makes 12, however mine made 15)
1 whisk
1 medium sized bowl
1 small pouring jug
1x1/4 cup measuring cup

Let's Cook:

Preheat your oven to 220 deg. C or 425 deg. F.
Press 15 wonton wrappers into the 1/2 cup capacity muffin trays
Place the egg, egg yolks, crème fraiche, sugar and vanilla into a medium sized bowl and whisk lightly to combine.


Pour the mixture from a jug into the wonton wrappers with care not to overfill, and cook for 10 minutes.



The custard mixture will puff up and brown lightly. Some of them may blister, depending on your oven. However when you remove them from the oven they will collapse slightly into the shell.

Lots of delicious gooey tarts






















Drizzle the tarts very lightly with half of the Golden Syrup and cook for a further 2 minutes to nicely brown them.

Remove from the tin and set aside on a wire rack to cool.

Then refrigerate  in a container with a lid until cold.

Serve drizzled with the remaining golden syrup if you or your family have a really sweet tooth, but for my taste they are  already sweet enough.

I am using a new laptop computer and adapting to quite a few changes. Lots of fun but hopefully it isn't that obvious to you at the other end.

Best wishes

Pauline

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Using up a Surplus of Vegetables with "Pumpkin and Coconut Soup" and "Zucchini and Bacon Slice"


























This could be the last of the Winter cold snaps in the Queensland subtropics, and so the days where I enjoy cooking soups are coming to a close. The weather has been absolutely  magical here so whilst there is always  a lot to be done inside the house, I have been enjoying venturing out into the sunshine during the day to spend time in our garden. Nevertheless, it has been a busy week in my kitchen, where I have been working on using up our surplus of vegetables, rather than waste them.  I have made a double quantity of pumpkin and coconut soup, most of which is now in the freezer for later. This is a delicious recipe, very fast to make and is a family favourite.

Some of the soup will travel to Cairns when we drive up there next to visit our daughter, the rest will be reheated at home and will  be a very welcome and simple Sunday night fare when I decide to have a night off from cooking. We all need to do that sometimes, don't you agree? Pumpkin soup is always a winner, and this quick and easy recipe with the subtle flavours of curry powder and turmeric, is a perennial favourite in our house. Pumpkins are cheap right now and using them in soups can help to stretch the budget and provide a delicious and nutritious meal for little cost. Using the simplest ingredients, and cooked in the microwave oven,  my pumpkin soup recipe can be prepared and ready to eat in under an hour. The most difficult and time consuming part is chopping and peeling the pumpkin.

Here is my Pumpkin and Coconut Soup recipe for my friends who are still enjoying cold weather.

Ingredients:

1 kg Kent or Jap pumpkin (peeled and chopped into 3 cm pieces)
3/4 cup water and 1 chicken stock cube or 1 teaspoon of chicken stock powder
(The water and stock cube can be substituted with homemade chicken stock)
1 large clove garlic, crushed
1 heaped teaspoon curry powder
1 heaped teaspoon turmeric
Salt & pepper to taste
2/3 cup organic coconut milk or organic coconut cream (Extra for thinning out your soup if necessary)

Method:

Place the first six ingredients into a 2 litre  casserole dish. Cook on High for 12-15 minutes in the microwave oven with the lid on. Allow to cool slightly.

Carefully puree the cooked pumpkin with a stick blender. Stir in salt and pepper to taste and add the coconut milk. I also used a hand whisk at this stage to really fold in the milk well, as depending on the pumpkin and the coconut cream or milk the consistency of the soup can still be quite thick. If it is too thick for your taste, keep adding more coconut milk and warm boiled water, and whisk it lightly until you achieve the desired consistency. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

Cook on high in the casserole dish with lid on for another 4 minutes in the microwave.

Garnish with fresh garlic chives, finely chopped, and a flourish of some more coconut milk.

This soup also freezes beautifully.
                                                        ----------------------------------

I bought some zucchinis for only $2.00 a kilo last week, as they are obviously in season, and I used some of those to make zucchini pickles (recipe here),  and at the same time our home grown zucchini plants decided to have a growth spurt so I have  also been using those up. I needed to make a quick and easy lunch dish today, so I revisited an old zucchini slice recipe which is always delicious, added a couple of extra ingredients and used up some more of our zucchinis. I hope you enjoy it as well if you decide to cook it for your family. However, it is probably a good idea to leave out the chillies if children will be eating it.



Recipe for Zucchini and Bacon Slice

Ingredients:

375 grams zucchini (approx. 2 large or  4 small)
1 large very fresh onion, finely chopped
3 rashers bacon, finely chopped, fat removed
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 chopped large red chillies
1 cup very tasty grated cheese
1 cup SR flour
1/2 cup oil
5 eggs

Let's Cook:

Grate zucchini in a food processor and finely chop onion and bacon. Combine zucchini, onion, bacon, cheese, turmeric and sifted flour, chillies, oil and lightly beaten eggs.

Season to your taste with ground black pepper and a pinch of salt

Pour into a greased baking tray or a large pie dish or a quiche dish. Top with sliced tomatoes or sliced zucchinis and a pinch of paprika if you wish.

Bake in a moderate oven for 30 to 40 minutes until it has risen and looks golden on top.

Thanks for dropping by,

Best wishes

Pauline

Friday, 21 July 2017

My Sourdough Bread from scratch



 I love baking bread,  and I like the idea of using wild yeasts to do it.  I also like the idea of using my sourdough starter, which I have had for a couple of years now, and looking after it so that I will still have it over a number of years into the future.  I have taken it with me on our road trip to Perth last year where I made sourdough bread for our family over there, and then brought it back again, and it survived beautifully. It now even has two offspring as well, just in case the Mother has a problem. Mother is the name that Artisan bakers give to their sourdough starter, ha, ha. It also means that I have extra to give to friends if they would like to start baking bread.

My sourdough Mother, has now been sitting in the fridge for 6 months or so since I last used her to bake bread,  however I have kept feeding her regularly with some plain flour and water. The most important thing with baking sourdough bread,   is to have a vigorous starter.  The starter needs to be fed frequently, until it starts to froth and bubble at the surface and is able to rise and grow itself. I needed to ensure that my starter would be vigorous enough to build my bread dough. The subtle distinctive aromas of the sourdough starter  as it starts to grow, the tactile element of kneading it gently, the satisfaction of the rising of the dough, and then the smell of the freshly baked bread filling everyone with anticipation, is very rewarding and quite addictive. If you think you would like to make some sourdough bread, but don't have a sourdough starter, there is plenty written about it and it is easy to make your own with a little time and patience. However you might have a friend who is already making their own sourdough bread and will happily give you some of their Mother to get started. Or if you live near an Artisan Baker who is making sourdough bread for sale, they might be happy to give you some of their Mother starter if they have some warning in advance. I have found that Artisan Bakers are very proud of their craft and are usually happy to share.



I try to keep at least 500g of Sourdough Starter or "Desem" in Baker's recipe language in the frig at all times.Very occasionally if I am in a hurry and my sourdough starter is active, I will scoop the amount of starter that I need for a loaf from under the surface of the dough and use that to start  a loaf of bread for that day. That method will work, however the resulting loaf is never as good as if I take a small amount and then feed it and grow it over a couple of days.

Activating your Sourdough Starter (the most essential process to ensure a successful loaf of sourdough bread)

For my usual Multigrain Sourdough Bread recipe I use 160g of Desem or starter, so I need to grow my starter from 60g to 160g.  This will take 2-3 days. I take 60g from my Mother dough in the frig, and place it in a dessert size bowl with a lid. Plastic, glass or china doesn't matter. Then in another small bowl, I add 40g of flour and 20 grams of distilled or boiled water and mix that to a paste. The flour and water paste is then mixed into the dough in small batches. A little bit more water may need to be added so that it is a nice consistency, but not runny. The rule of thumb is that I use 2/3 flour and 1/3 water to the weight of flour to add to my sourdough each time to grow it. So for 60 g of sourdough, I use 40 g of flour and 20g of water mixed together and add it to the starter. This is left in a warm spot, covered overnight, and then next day it should have doubled  to about 120g when you weigh it.

You now have 120g of starter. Scoop off 30 grams, bringing your starter back to 90 grams, and start again. I find it hard to throw out that discarded 30 grams so often I keep it in the frig for later. (See my Sourdough Pancake post.) To my 90 grams of starter in the bowl , I do the maths and add  60 grams of flour (2/3) and 30 grams of water (1/3)  mix it together and let it double overnight as well to 180g.  In the morning you will see a change in consistency of the dough, and evidence that it has started fermenting and has grown and it will smell beautifully sour. There will be a few bubbles in there as well. It is starting to work and ferment and it is alive.  So now you have 180 grams of vigorous starter . I scoop off 20 grams so that I have 160 grams as required for my recipe and I am  ready to start making bread. That discarded 20 grams can be added to the 30 grams you have in your frig, add a little more to it to make 60 and you can get that started as well to make more bread or use it for something else.  Now you have a potent starter full of wild yeasts and bacteria. This will rise your bread dough beautifully.

It might seem like a lot of work, but in terms of flavour, crumb, nutrient value, and storage potential, your sourdough bread should be far superior to bread made from a standard packet of yeast.

Sourdough Bread Recipe

This is my basic Sourdough bread recipe that I use most of the time.

350 g of Bakers Flour (1/2 Multigrain and 1/2 Plain)
110g of Other Normal Flour (Normal Plain flour or 1/2 and 1/2 Plain and Wholemeal)
12g or about 1 tablespoon salt (I now sometimes use Himalayan Salt flakes, not iodised salt)
160 g of Sourdough starter or Desem which  I have been fermenting for a couple of days
270g water (1 1/4cups approx.) (Best results obtained with warm boiled or distilled water)
30g good local honey
30g Macadamia Oil (any oil can be used but I have found Macadamia is lighter with a nicer flavour)

Method:

Mix the Desem with the lukewarm water to which you add in the oil and the honey making a kind of slurry
Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl and combine well.
Add the Desem, water, oil and honey  mix to the flour and combine well with a large spoon. Rest this dough for 10 minutes in the bowl.
Turn the dough mixture onto an oiled or floured bench and kneed gently for ten seconds folding the dough over itself rather than pounding it.
Knead again gently and place the dough in a large, lightly oiled bowl  and cover with a moist tea towel or a fitted shower cap.
Place in a warm spot and allow to make a 50% rise. This will take up to 4 hours probably.
When this happens, take it from the bowl, knead it again gently and place your dough in a lightly oiled bread tin.




Allow it to rise again in a warm spot to near the top of your bread tin, this should only take about an hour. Take a very sharp knife and cut a few surface incisions across the top of the dough, and then add a sprinkling of flour or some oatmeal flakes or seeds for that rustic appeal.



Cook in a hot oven at 220 deg for 10 minutes, and then reduce the temperature to 200 degrees for 20 minutes.

I then take the bread out of the tin, and put it back in the hot oven on the oven rack for 5 minutes to crisp up the sides of the loaf. Just watch it though so that the top doesn't burn.

Take out the bread, and although it is tempting to eat it straight away because it smells and looks so good, allow it to cool off to just warm as it will keep cooking in the middle.

Your delicious sourdough loaf is now ready to eat.

I often double the quantities of this recipe, and then freeze a sliced loaf for later. Some small fruit buns can also be made with extra dough if you double the quantity.

Best wishes and happy bread making.

Pauline















Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Sourdough Vegetable Pancakes for a light nutritious lunch



When I make Sourdough bread which I absolutely love doing, there is always some activated sourdough left over and as I can't bear to just toss it out, I decided to make some very tasty vegetable pancakes out of it. Sandor Katz who wrote The Art of Fermentation and is somewhat of a fermentation guru gave me the idea. As a result I came up with this versatile recipe. You can make it your own by adding whatever vegetables and herbs you have on hand. If you really like the sourdough taste,  you can leave the sourdough batter, after only the flour and water has been added to it, to ferment overnight out of the frig. Add the vegetables, herbs and egg the next day. The sourdough mixture will also probably ferment and grow overnight, so put it in a large bowl. However if you like a more neutral tasting sourdough, I wouldn't leave it to develop overnight and just add a teaspoon of baking powder to the mixture at about 5 ml/1 teaspoon  of baking powder per 500 ml/2 cups of batter. This neutralises the lactic acid of the sourdough and makes them slightly sweeter and fluffier. This is a great idea if you choose to make your Sourdough pancakes sweet. Now there is an idea for next time.

If you use sourdough to bake bread, do you have any other ideas for using your leftover sourdough? I would love to hear your ideas in the Comments section at the bottom of this blog.

Recipe for Sourdough Vegetable Pancakes

Serves 4

Ingredients:
1 cup of sourdough which has been activated and is vigorous and bubbling
1 cup of plain flour (or substitute some leftover grains in place of some of the flour)
1 cup of lukewarm water
1 onion
1 clove garlic
1/2 chopped capsicum
1 finely diced large flat mushroom
1 small grated sweet potato
Mature grated cheese, about a handful
Chopped parsley
Pinch of dried mixed herbs
Flavoured sea salt flakes
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 beaten egg

Method:

Add the water and flour to the sourdough in a medium sized bowl and beat it well. Leave it to rest while you prepare the vegetables. You will soon see the sourdough start to activate again and start bubbling.

Fry an onion, a clove of garlic, and some other vegetables such as a small red capsicum together together in a pan. Use the same pan you intend to fry the pancakes in. I  added a chopped mushroom after the onions started to soften. You could also add a diced zucchini or okra.

While the vegetables are frying, add an egg to the batter then some flavoured sea salt, ground black pepper, and a handful of tasty grated cheese.

I then added a small grated sweet potato and the fresh parsley and mixed herbs. (you could also add grated radishes, turnips, or potatoes if you have access to nice ones.)

Add the fried vegetables to the batter and mix them in.

If the batter seems too thick add a little water, if it is too thin, keep adding flour gradually until it seems the right pancake consistency and can be dropped from a spoon into a hot pan.

Fry the batter in an oiled, well-seasoned pan, flipping it over when bubbles appear on the surface of the pancake.

These pancakes are delicious for lunch eaten with condiments such as sauerkraut, tomato relish, yoghurt or sour cream, and some sliced cucumber.

Bon appetit!

Thanks for dropping by.

Best wishes

Pauline




Saturday, 15 July 2017

Chicken Traybake with Fennel, Orange and Lemon




This Chicken Traybake recipe has been so quick and easy to prepare, and Fennel is a great vegetable to work with and enjoy, so crisp,tasty and aromatic. Fennel also maintains its integrity when it is cooked, retaining it's shape and texture, and not becoming mushy. I think I might have said once or twice before how much I like traybakes as a style of cooking. On a wet and cold day, this has been a comforting dish to have cooking in the oven, with the aroma in the kitchen promising a delicious and fulfilling meal to come.  It is also an easy and quite inexpensive way to entertain 6 people at the same time, particularly during Fennel and Citrus season,  or just enjoy it over a couple of nights at home which is what Mr. HRK and I will do. Or just halve the ingredients of the recipe, that's easy. I hope you can try it and also enjoy it.

When I saw some fabulous Fennel at the supermarket for a very cheap price, this recipe from Nigella's recipe book "Simply Nigella" jumped into my mind. It was kind of meant to be as well, as that morning just before shopping I rejoined at our impressive local Public Library to check if any books on Fermenting were in on the shelves, my latest passion in the kitchen, and I also saw at the same time this beautiful book of Nigella Lawsons. I own a sizeable recipe book collection, however not this one, although I did gift a copy to my daughter a couple of years ago as she is quite a Nigella Lawson fan, and I think I have seen Nigella cook this recipe on one of her cooking programs.

I was surprised that only one book on Fermentation was available at the Pubic Library, despite Fermented foods now becoming quite well publicized in our country as a source of health and happiness. Perhaps it is an indication though that a lot of people do their research on line, and as a blogger I am very happy about that, however when I am researching a topic I really like to get a broad based opinion and sit down in a comfy chair and absorb extra information from of a book, and a well respected author. The Fermenting book I came home with is by Sandor Katz, called The Art of Fermentation and is very comprehensive, covering a wide variety of Fermentation practices. It was a New York Times bestseller so I am looking forward to some reading over the weekend. I have also requested another couple of books on inter-library loan, so hopefully they can be found somewhere in Queensland. I know I am referring back to my ex-librarian life here, but some things never leave us. My latest batch of Sauerkraut continues to ferment on the shelf, and future bottles should  benefit from my reading.

This recipe is based on Nigella Lawson's recipe, however I have halved the amount of olive oil from 100 to 50 ml., and I have also used the zest of the lemon for some extra zing.I don't have access to Seville oranges as they readily do in England, and as our oranges are sweeter the extra tart balance of the lemon works a treat.

Ingredients:

Serves 6

12 chicken thighs, skin on and bone in, preferably organic however that is your choice
2 large bulbs of fennel (approx. 1 kg in total, no need to be that specific though)
50 ml extra-virgin olive oil plus a 15 ml tablespoon to drizzle over the chicken when cooking
Zest and juice of 1 Valencia or Seville Orange
Zest and juice  of a lemon
2 teaspoons sea salt flakes
4 teaspoons fennel seeds
4 teaspoons good quality French Dijon mustard

Method:

This dish will be more flavoursome if you can start the preparation the day before and leave it to marinate overnight. It then only needs to be put in the oven an hour or so before your guests arrive or before your family plans to eat. Cut the bulbs of Fennel into quarters and then cut each quarter, length ways, into 3. Wash and drain in a colander and leave on the chopping board while you prepare the marinade. Reserve the feathery fennel fronds as a garnish for later.



Place a large freezer bag inside a wide-necked glass measuring jug, pour in the oil, then the orange and lemon zest and juice, and spoon in the salt, fennel seeds, and mustard. Stir it all briefly to mix.

Remove the bag from the jug and, holding it up, add a quarter of the chicken pieces, then a quarter of the fennel pieces, and then continue in this fashion until it is all used up.




Seal the bag tightly at the top, and then lay it in something like a lasagna dish and squelch all of the contents of the bag so that the chicken and the fennel pieces are covered in marinade.

When  it is time to start cooking, remove the marinating chicken and fennel from the fridge and tip the contents of the bag, marinade and all into a large shallow roasting tin.  46 x 34cm is the recommended size. Use tongs to position the chicken skin side up on top of the fennel. Leave it for 30 minutes to come to room temperature and preheat the oven to 200 deg. C., or Gas Mark 6.

Drizzle some oil onto the surface of the chicken pieces and cook in the oven for 1 hour, or until the fennel is soft and the chicken cooked through and browned on top,

Put the chicken and fennel onto a warmed serving plate and place in warm oven, and put the cooking pan over a medium heat and boil the juices. You might need to use a saucepan if your baking tray isn't stove friendly. Next time I will cook down the juices in a saucepan anyway as it took quite a while in my large roasting pan, for this amount of chicken.

Boil the juices, stirring as you watch it turn syrupy.

Pour the reduced sauce over the chicken and fennel and then garnish with reserved fennel fronds. Finish with some ground black pepper.

Bon appetit!

Have a lovely weekend everyone and thanks for taking the time to read my blog.

Best wishes

Pauline




Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Simply Sauerkraut using White Cabbage, Fermenting Phase 2





Fermenting Sauerkraut

If you followed my Fermenting story a couple of weeks ago where I used  Red Cabbage, you might be interested to know that we are now eating my Purple Sauerkraut and we are really enjoying it with salads, soups and anything that I remember to add it to. You can find that story and the recipe here. We have enjoyed the second batch I made more than the first one,  which I found too salty because I added more brine thinking it had gone dry. I've since learnt that whilst fermenting, the cabbage will absorb the juices and expand to the top of the jar, and adding more brine can just make the ferment too wet and salty. So I won't be doing that anymore. The two purple bottles in the photo above are the third batch of Purple Sauerkraut using less carrot just because I didn't have as much as I thought I did. It won't make any difference. The third bottle is my first batch of White Cabbage Sauerkraut that this story is about. These are  my Top Shelf batches of Sauerkraut.

I am calling my next Fermenting session, Phase 2, as I am venturing into using White Cabbage, the more traditional version of Sauerkraut. However I have taken a leaf out of Sarah Wilson's book and used a couple of shortcuts. Instead  of all that slicing and grating by hand, I have used the food processor to grate the cabbage, and this becomes much less time consuming, particularly when preparing large batches of all that cabbage.

This is the simplest and easiest way to make traditional sauerkraut that I know at present, and I hope if you are reading this you can give it a try. The health benefits contained in this beautiful bottle of goodness are enormous.

White Cabbage Sauerkraut recipe

Ingredients:

1 small white or red cabbage, rinsed, cored and cut into small wedges which will fit in the chute of your food processor
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
Sprinkle of Mustard seeds
2 tablespoons Himalayan Salt Flakes
(You can also substitute the caraway seeds  or add to the caraway seeds with mustard seeds, cumin seeds, dill seeds, celery seeds or white peppercorns if you prefer those flavours or just happen to have those  spices on hand. They will be fermented in the process.) Besides adding  amazing  flavour  to your  ferment, the spices act as mould inhibitors or at least slow it down.

I was just reading in Katz's book on Fermentation  that Nasturtium leaves can also be used  as a mould inhibitor.  My nasturtiums  in the garden are taking off so I will try them in a subsequent  batch.

Method:

I shredded the cabbage in my food processor which saves so much time, or if you want to replicate the way sauerkraut has been made during previous European generations, you can either slice it finely or grate it by hand.

Place the cabbage in a large glass bowl and add the caraway seeds and the salt and toss the seeds and the salt through the cabbage with clean hands. I also added a sprinkle of mustard seeds as they are full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatories such as selenium and magnesium.

 Let this powerful brew sit for 30 minutes to activate the juices.

Green cabbage, caraway seeds, mustard seeds and salt and a sprinkling of mustard seeds.

Spoon the vegetable mixture into jars, allowing at least an inch or 3cm at the top of each mixture for juices and expansion because I assure you it will rise  to  the  top of the jar. It's alive.

Press down gently on the cabbage in the glass jar with a wooden implement similar to a mortar which will fit through the mouth of the jar, forcing the juices to the top of the cabbage. I very gently used my granite mortar as Mr. HRK is making me a wooden one, and the juices from the cabbage rose to the top as expected.



The cabbage then needs to be weighed down so that the juices stay at the top and the fermenting process can begin. I used the trimmed core of the cabbage to weigh down the shredded cabbage and help the juices rise above it. A thick cabbage leaf can also be placed on top and pressed down leaving space above it for the juices to rise, and they do as you can see in the photos below.







Seal your bottle loosely and keep at room temperature for 3 days. I open mine each morning to check that it is fermenting and to release the carbon dioxide, and you will see the bubbles moving.  I also push the cabbage down forcing more juices to the top and ensuring the vegetables stay submerged.The longer you leave it to ferment, the more sour and distinctive the flavour will be.

If you feel that your ferment really is drying out, it is important to only use filtered water to top it up as the chlorine will kill the bacteria needed for fermentation.

Your jar of sauerkraut can then be moved to the frig after 3 days where it will keep for several months, and the flavour will develop during this period however it can be eaten within a week, or even earlier if you are desperate to try it.





This is the same jar as the one in the top photo and as you can see  in the top photo the level of the cabbage has moved up to the top of the jar as the cabbage ferments.

 This week I have  cooked a piece of corned silverside in the slow cooker to have as a delicious standby for meals and sandwiches. The weather is warming up here with maximum temperatures of 26 deg., so salads are now on the menu for lunch and corned silverside, and my purple sauerkraut with a salad is tasty and great for our gut. After all aiming for a healthy gut is really why I am persisting with  making sauerkraut, although it is also very tasty.



After all of that shredding and massaging of the cabbage, it is lovely to sit down with a cup of delicious coffee made by Mr. HRK and relax whilst my sauerkraut starts to bubble away on the top shelf.

This is the latest batch of coffee that he has roasted himself, and then freshly ground before making this coffee in our Rancilio machine. It is as good as if not better than any coffee we can buy here. His Coffee Art is impressive as well. I feel a bit spoiled really when it comes to coffee that we enjoy at home.




Thanks for visiting and I would like to know if you have found this interesting or helpful. Making sauerkraut has been firmly embedded in European and American cultures for centuries because of the food preservation advantages and the health benefits, however it is interesting that we are only just starting to really embrace it in our own kitchens in Australia. I am learning  as I go with  this and do more reading  so it  is a work  in progress. I'd like to  hear of your experiences.

It's State of Origin tonight, so go Queensland and Pizza is on the menu.

Cheerio for now and have a good week.

Pauline.