Top Tips for making Beetroot Kvass

how to make beetroot kvass || cityhippyfarmgirl

Whether you are are just starting out on your fermentation journey, or have been dabbling in the delights of beneficial bacteria for awhile now, making beetroot kvass should be on your to do list. Here’s a couple of quick wonderful reasons why.

It’s Easy- Really, dead easy. Doesn’t require any crucial measuring of ingredients and is incredibly satisfying seeing the fermentation process begin within a relatively short space of time.

Your Liver- Will thank you, yes it will. Lots of info on what it does can be found here.

Probiotics are your friend- That’s good bacteria in a nutshell. You want your gut full of this stuff, full of a wonderful diverse array of different bacteria and enzymes. (Anything naturally fermented helps with this.)

seasonal beetroot || cityhippyfarmgirl

Now importantly how does it taste?

If you are already accustomed to the earthy tones of raw beetroot in fresh juices, this stuff won’t be pulling any surprises. Seeing as though I’m a relative newcomer to actually liking beetroot in it’s (ahem) uncanned state, to me it tastes like…licking dirt.

Being an avid fan of anything fermented though, I shall persist and my liver will thank me for it. (Or it had better, there has to be some perks of drinking this garden tasting juice.*)

Making Beetroot Kvass || cityhippyfarmgirl

Beetroot Kvass

3 medium sized beetroot

1.5 litres cool boiled water

2 pinches of salt

Peel the skin off your beetroot and dice them up, approximately 1cm squares, if they are 2cm it wouldn’t be a tragedy however.

Pop the beetroot in a large clean glass jar, something with a wide mouth. You need the air yeasts to get to the kvass, so a large wide mouth jar is great to use. Add your salt and water, give it a little swish around to make sure the salt is dissolved and cover with a square of muslin (or paper towel) and a rubber band. Now to get things cracking a little earlier, I did add about 1/4 cup of sauerkraut juice to kick-start things a little, you could also add whey (as per Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions) or nothing and just be dependent on the air yeasts that will get things fermenting.

Have a good smell of it before you put the muslin on. Your nose, eyes and taste buds are the key to great fermenting. Smell the changes as they take place, see them and lastly give it a taste test. Let those three things guide you.

I started seeing bubbles with 24 hours surprisingly, however I let it ferment for a further few days. The length of time is going to depend on the season and how warm it is in your kitchen.

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If you are new to fermenting I highly reccommend Sandor Katz’s book The Art of Fermentation it’s easy to follow and really is a ‘forever’ book that you’ll keep dipping into dependent on what you’re interested in at the time.

* You can add ginger lemon rind etc as a second ferment to tweak the flavour a bit.

 

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Fair Food Week

seasonal beetroot || cityhippyfarmgirl

Heads up to all the Fair Food Week people out there. Running from the 16th-25th of October, there are all kinds of events happening. Have a peek to see if there is one near you, and if not, how about organising one?

If that doesn’t sound like your kinda thing, maybe read the book?

Either way supporting a fair food culture should be something on everyone’s plate.

Fair Food Week

 

Breakfast Black Rice Pudding with Rhubarb and Lemon Curd

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That’s a triumphant jar of lemon curd right there I tell you. I’d tried making it a handful of times and, failed the same number of times. Turns out I was following the wrong recipes. I settled on a recipe from Three Blue Ducks cookbook, (they haven’t failed me yet) and a little nervously began whisking away.

Not long later, done and set. It’s creamy, lemony, doesn’t have lumps and is quite troublesome with a lone teaspoon. Now why had it been so hard beforehand?

Never mind, I had it now, but what to do with those golden jars of goodness?

Apart from the convenient jar with a teaspoon situation, I also played around with some black rice pudding. While I wouldn’t say it’s a tried and true recipe, it is evolving and I will definitely be playing with a few variations over the winter months. If they are flavours you like, have a tinker around with your ingredients and make it to your own tastebuds.

A really easy winter breakfast.

Breakfast Black Rice Pudding with Rhubarb and Lemon Curd

1 cup of black rice

2 tbls coconut oil

2 x pureed soft pears

1 bunch of rhubarb

coconut milk/ or natural yogurt

1 tsp of vanilla essence

lemon curd (recipe found here)

Overnight soak your black rice with cups of water. In the morning, cook the rice up, adding 2 pureed pears to sweeten it a little when you start cooking. Cook it as you normally would rice using the absorption method. Once it’s cooked, stir through two tablespoons of coconut oil.

At the same time and in another pot add your rhubarb. Cut into 1 cm pieces and cook until soft. Turn off and add either half a scraping of a vanilla pod or tsp of vanilla essence.

Serve with coconut milk, (or natural yogurt) fresh fruit and lemon curd. The curd gives it a little zesty sweet kick.

Sausage Rolls (hipster certified)

kale sausage rolls || cityhippyfarmgirl

Beards, hats, cold brew coffee, braces, man buns, green smoothies and scarves. If you’ve begun to conjure up images of well-groomed hipster types with intriguing arm tatts, waxed to a curl moustaches and retro print head scarves well I’ve done my job, because I’m talking about hipsters and sausage rolls today.

So would a hipster approve of these particular sausage rolls?

Well they have a secret ingredient within them, and that secret ingredient is hipster certified….it’s kale. And as we all know hipsters eat kale for breakfast, lunch and dinner right? (As luck would have it these sausage rolls can be eaten at any meal time.)

kale sausage rolls || cityhippyfarmgirl

Hipster Certified Sausage Rolls

one bunch of curly kale (stripped from the stalk and roughly chopped)

2 small eggplants, diced

500g of organic beef mince

1 cup of sourdough bread crumbs

1 free range egg

1 knob of butter

a good slurp of olive oil

1 TSP cumin

salt and pepper to taste

puff pastry

In a pot add curly kale and diced eggplant. Add a good slurp of olive oil, cumin and butter, wilting the vegetables down. Once this is done, take them off the heat and with a hand held mixer, blitz them (or blender.) In a bowl add remaining ingredients and add cooled kale and eggplant.

If you are making your own puff pastry, line that goodness down and add your mixture in rows. If you are using the frozen stuff (because life is full and doesn’t involve making puff pastry, then thaw it out and have an extra cup of coffee in the time you’ve just saved -single origin fair trade cold brew coffee of course.

Spoon the mixture on, fold ’em up, cut them and bake on a tray at 200C for approximately 25 minutes. They should look golden, and be tantalising the taste buds.

Eat with enthusiasm, and some delicious farmers market bought chutney.

Seasonal Eats- The Winter Edition

brussel sprouts || cityhippyfarmgirlbeetroot || cityhippyfarmgirl

The eggplant and basil have slowly slipped away and been replaced with potatoes, brussel sprouts and beetroot. Meals are being planned around pumpkin, mandarins are being snacked on and kale? Well kale is fairly consistently there.

I’ve said it before, but I will say it again. I feel that we are incredibly lucky living in an area that has such abundance in food varieties, despite the different seasons. The cooler seasons where in some parts of the world, the eating would start getting incredibly restrictive, here just gives us a different array of colours, tastes and still we get to keep it relatively local. That right there, is pretty damn wonderful.

Some delicious things to look out for coming into the winter season

beetroot (roasted and turned into dip)

broccoli (served olive oil and awesome salt)

cabbage (sauerkraut yes please)

cauliflower 

daikon (pickled)

kale (sausage rolls yes indeed, recipe to come for that one)

leek (leek and potato soup)

potatoes

carrots

limes

mandarins

quince

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What’s cooking in your kitchen at the moment? Is it now the beginnings of Winter or Summer for you?

If by chance you live in Sydney and you would like to try out a seasonal-delivered to your door fruit/vegetable box- OOOOBY is offering any readers $15 off your first box if you type in CITYHIPPYFARMGIRL as a referral code. 

Little Black Cow Farm

cityhippyfarmgirl

There was a long sigh of utter contentment, leaning against the fence watching the sun come up. The kids were back at the house watching cartoons, and the smallest and her dad were snoring still in bed.

I’d set the eldest two up and then had quietly slipped out of the house. There was a sunrise to be had over those paddocks and I wasn’t about to miss it.

Staying at Little Black Cow Farm stay had been on the agenda for longer than I could remember. I’d often read Kim’s blog and wistfully planned long weekends away. Finally, after a generous invitation, I actually did.

Little Black Cow Farm stay is a 300 acre working beef farm in Branxton, Hunter Valley. Land of vineyards, photo opportunities and good food. The most glorious of foods. I’d set myself up with a little challenge for the weekend, to only eat as much locally produced food as I could get my hands on. Tricky? Stopping off at the local IGA before we got to the farm, I happily didn’t think it so.

In my basket I had Liberi eggs, Udder Farm Fetta, Udder Farm camembert, Udder Farm milk, sourdough from Morpeth bakery and organic wine from Macquariefields. If we only had dairy, bread and wine for the next three days…well, just quietly I didn’t think I would be complaining.

Settling into the farmstay, the kids are riding on the tractors and I get to quietly wander through the farm stay permaculture visitors garden. Kim has set it up so that her farm stay people can pick anything they want, and so I do.

Whenever I am home, my tiny potted garden brings me a lot of joy, but being here? In amongst the sprawling strawberry tendrils, the bushy parsley and the climbing snake beans I can’t help but have a few moments of ‘one day’ thoughts.

Squeals of delight and general loud kid conversation snapped me out of any ambitious garden plans. I was being ordered to jump aboard as the tractor had other people to pick up and the three year old driver couldn’t wait any longer for me.

garden salad || cityhippyfarmgirl

Dinner that night was a salad I had picked from the garden earlier, sausages from a few paddocks away, (Kim and David make their own which you can buy during your stay) and some of the bread and cheese I had hunkered away earlier. For dessert we had custard- made from the local cream, milk and eggs all done in a piece of kitchen kit, that I had often wondered about, but had never played with, (more on this in a minute.)

From a locavore point of view I was super happy. From a foodie point of view I was deliriously happy. From tired point of view, I was shattered… must have been that country air I suspect. Time to sleep.

A new day and there I was contentedly watching that sunrise. There are a few sure-fire things in this world that will always make my heart sing and watching the sunrise, has always been one of them.

eating locally || cityhippyfarmgirl

Back at the house and I start getting breakfast together. As I mentioned earlier there is a piece of kitchen kit, that is quite the rockstar of kitchen appliances for visitors to use, and I was keen to give it a crack. Was it really everything people raved about? Let’s find out.

Last night I had made custard in it, amazingly I hadn’t exploded anything, and the rockstar really had made perfect custard. This morning though I wanted to test it further, so butter was on the agenda with half a carton of cream left over from last night’s custard. Whoosh…done. Um, one minute that took. Hmmm, hard boiled eggs? Yep did that too. Coffee, why yes please. It is a weekend away after all, no coffee would be completely unaccceptable. Would the rockstar sort that one out? Yes, apparently so!

A wonderful day was spent doing weekend away kind of things. The kids got to harass the animals again, the adults got to talk, we went on a farm tour to the ‘top of the world’ and then suddenly dinner time was whispering again. I thought I would put the rockstar to the test once more. Thai Style Pumpkin Soup was on the menu, dicatated by what was in the garden. A simple soup, with all the ingredients (pumpkin, lemongrass, thai basil and a little chilli) being sourced just a couple of metres away.

Last day arrives and we farewell all the animals. We say goodbye to the dogs, goats, sheep, cows, pony, chooks and I peel small gripped fingers away from the guinea pigs, (I’m sure I heard them sigh with relief.)

I don’t think I have ever stayed somewhere that was so accommodating and involving towards kids and adults, every age was considered. Kim and David are the most wonderful hosts. From a welcome plate of homemade biscuits, kids toys, oodles of books, dvds, farm animals, climbable tractors, jeep tour, individual activities designed around your needs and wants. And one of the best things?…a perfectly edible (and encouraged to do so) permaculture garden at your doorstep.

It was the most relaxing weekend I’d had in a long time, and just quietly… I can’t wait to go back.

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Local Hunter Valley connections to be enjoyed

Little Black Cow Farm Stay– accommodation

Udder Farm– milk, cream, cheese.

Liberi Eggs- boiled, fried, scrambled or runny if you are one of those funny people who like runny eggs.

Morpeth Sourdough Bakery– locally baked sourdough…say no more.

Macquariedale Organic Wine- one glass or two?

Little Black Cow Farm Beef– these are happy beautifully kept cows that taste rather delicious in sausage form.

Sacred Tree Markets– on every third Sunday within the township of Branxton. 

Vanilla Plum Jam

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Making Jam || cityhippyfarmgirlOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Vanilla Plum Jam. It’s my all time favouritey-favourite kinda jam. It’s tarty, has vanilla tones and dollops particularly well onto, well anything that I match it with really.

Lucky for me I like it a lot as I’ve made batch after batch of these babies. It’s that time of year. Vanilla Plum Jam time.

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Have a read here if you are new to jam making or are a bit hit and miss with your jam making methods. It really is a wonderful skill to be able to preserve the season and have even just a little of that knowledge under your belt.

Go on, give it a whirl. Try your hand at jam making.

Happiness in eating local

thyme || cityhippyfarmgirl

When meals are made up of bits and pieces like chocolate, pickles, thyme, plums and wine, you know life is treating you ok.

Last year I challenged myself to an Eat Local challenge throughout the year. While this year, I won’t be continuing with the same challenge, I will still be eating as much locally produced food as I can possibly get my hands on.

Summer holiday time is a great time for local and seasonal goodies. Wonderful things given as gifts, deliciousness made available because of the season, and sometimes just a matter of being in the right place at the right time.

elysium || cityhippyfarmgirl

These are a few of the things that have been gracing our bench tops lately.

Gifted Spencer Cocoa, (cocoa beans grown in Vanuatu and made in Mudgee, NSW)

Pickles bought at Moruya Markets, with cucumbers grown a couple of hundred metres down the road.

Thyme from my window sill.

Plums from an organic laden orchard I was lucky enough to visit.

A wonderful bottle of Elysium wine. Bought direct from the makers, this company uses Australian natives for their wine making.

pickles || cityhippyfarmgirl

Spencer Cocoa || cityhippyfarmgirl

So good, all of them.

I didn’t enter a super market for any of those goodies, and damn, that felt good. It makes me so incredibly happy to be eating a fair chunk of our food like this.

Have a look around you, see what locally produced food you can find, let me know and let’s spread the word even further. I’m always on the look out for more small and local producers, and they in turn are always on the look out for more consumer support for their products.

Happiness really just might be, in supporting and eating local.

plums || cityhippyfarmgirl

 

 

Eat Local Challenge- The End

At the beginning of this year I set out to find out more on my local food and what was available around me, living here in the city. I wanted a little challenge. Not a big one, but something to get me thinking a little differently.

I already supported a lot of local eating. Receive a weekly vegetable box delivered through OOOOBY. Was a frequent lurker at many of the city’s farmers markets, and knew which brands to head towards when in the shops.

So what did I learn from doing this? Well, number one, I would say, catering five sets of tastebuds to local eating is a little tricky. If it was just me, no problem? Two adults? Still pretty easy. Add three kiddos, slightly more complicated, but definitely doable.

Another thing I really valued after doing the challenge, is spices. I love spices, and there are bugger all of my favourite spices grown around Sydney. Sure I can do with out them, but a life long deletion? Hmmm….

Using tumeric, curry leaves, garlic, lime, chilli and salt were really important in the local dishes I made for extra flavour oomph. The Murray River Salt while technically not really local at all, I looked at it as knowing where it came from. 

eat local || cityhippyfarmgirl So what now? Now that the year has come to an end, where do I go from here with my local eating?

At this stage I’m not actually sure, (which might sound rather wishy washy) but I do think to do these things long term a gradual change is better. As you’ll have more chance of sticking by the changes, and that really is what I’ve done over 2014. Gradually introduced more local food options to our family’s meals, gotten to know some different companies and played with some different food alternatives to the tried and true ones I usually reach for.

Ive enjoyed doing it, my family didn’t notice any vast differences to our meals, and now that Pepe Saya has been introduced to our lives…well, there’s no going back now is there.

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Interested in creating your own Eat Local Challenge?

Just how local is local? Well this depends entirely on you. Only you know how you and your family eat. Raise the bar just a little from what you already do. If making sure the majority of your meal includes solely food produced in your country, than make that your challenge. If you want to make it a little trickier, go for produced in the same state…trickier still within 160km.

My aim this year was to really know where my food is coming from for at least one meal a month. These can all be found below.  

Eat Local Challenge #10

Eat Local Challenge #9

Eat Local Challenge #8

Eat Local Challenge #7

Eat Local Challenge #6

Eat Local Challenge #5

Eat Local Challenge #4

Eat Local Challenge #3

Eat Local Challenge #2

Eat Local Challenge #1

eat local challenge || cityhippyfarmgirl

Rosemary, Thyme and Zucchini Bread- ELC#10

rosemary, thyme and zucchini bread || cityhippyfarmgirl

rosemary, thyme and zucchini sourdough || cityhippyfarmgirl

I’d tried to keep away from the bread for this challenge, but as I’m coming to the end of my year long challenge, it seemed appropriate that a bread dish slipped in.

This bread has actually been made a few times as it seems to hit the spot and eager mouths make short work of it in this household, (which you can’t really ask for much more than that can you?)

Now a big factor in what I make is really what arrives in my vegetable box once a week. I like cooking, but that doesn’t mean I don’t get completely bogged down with the old faithful line of (and lets face it often relentless) …”what are we having for dinner?” Getting a locally sourced vegetable box, helps make that decision, as you really do just have to use what they give you!

So where did it all come from?

Flour- Demeter Mills, Gunnedah

Salt- Murray River Salt

Zucchini- Rita’s Farm, Sydney

Thyme- my window sill

Rosemary- my courtyard

Olive Oil- Lisborne Grove, Hunter Valley

rosemary || cityhippyfarmgirl

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 Interested in taking the Eat Local Challenge?

Just how local is local? Well this depends entirely on you. Only you know how you and your family eat. Raise the bar just a little from what you already do. If making sure the majority of your meal includes solely food produced in your country, than make that your challenge. If you want to make it a little trickier, go for produced in the same state…trickier still within 160km.

My aim is to really know where my food is coming from for at least one meal a month, (where I will be posting here in the last week of the month).

Eat Local Challenge #9

Eat Local Challenge #8

Eat Local Challenge #7

Eat Local Challenge #6

Eat Local Challenge #5

Eat Local Challenge #4

Eat Local Challenge #3

Eat Local Challenge #2

Eat Local Challenge #1

eat local challenge || cityhippyfarmgirl