Fermented Grape Drink Recipe

This recipe was first published in Funky Raw Magazine issue 25 (2012) – I’ve been making it again recently as grapes are in season.

I’ve recently discovered this drink and I love it. Jolita first made it, adapted from recipes in the book Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon, and then I worked out the exact recipe.

According to Nourishing Traditions, drinks like this were consumed by traditional people. Modern drinks like soft drinks, stronger alcohol and “sports drinks” have replaced traditional drinks. But of course the traditional drinks were much better! They contain lactobacilli probiotic bacteria which help with digestion, they quench the thirst much better than plain water and contain electrolytes and minerals so also great to drink when exercising, better than the so called “sports drinks”.

The fermentation will make this drink mildly alcoholic, our guess is less than 1%, similar to kombucha.


  • 250g grapes (I like it with black ones best, but green or a mixture works just as well)
  • 1 teaspoon raw honey
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • pinch of salt
  • optional: teaspoon of whey (I haven’t been using this)


Remove the stalks from the grapes and place in a bowl.

Crush the grapes – I used the wooden ‘pusher’ from our juicer, maybe a rolling pin would work. (And I’ve recently discovered I can do it with my hands!) Try and make sure all the grapes have been crushed.


Place the crushed grapes into a 1 litre jar – I use a kilner jar.

Mix the lemon juice, honey and some water and add to the jar. Then add more water so that the jar is nearly full, but not completely as you need to leave room for expansion during the fermentation.

finished-grape-drinkFermentation time depends on temperature and other factors – try it after 24 hours but I have found that 36 to 48 hours is about perfect. To drink strain off the grape skins.
It doesn’t keep too long after getting to ‘perfect’, although it will probably keep better in the fridge at this point (we don’t have a fridge at the moment.) Also, the addition of whey is supposed to slow the fermentation down, which means it should keep a bit longer if you use it.

This recipe works with various fruits instead of grapes, we’ve tried with orange juice, lemon juice, pears and melons – lots to experiment with…

Simple Raw Chocolate Brownie Recipe

Raw Chocolate Brownie

A few days ago I saw a post for a raw chocolate brownie with only two ingredients. I was intrigued so I followed the link. The two ingredients were dates and cacao powder. Now, while that might make a tasty snack, without any fat it doesn’t really make a satisfying brownie. So here is my simple brownie recipe, four necessary ingredients and one optional:

I used deglet nour dates, if you use medjool dates then you might need to adjust the recipe slightly as medjool are sweeter.

Remove the date stones and chop the dates and coconut meat. Process well in a food processor.

Add the cacao and carob powder and the vanilla if you are using it and process again, it should start to thicken up, although it is still very sticky! You could add more of either powder if you need to make the mixture a bit thicker.

Enjoy! What’s your favourite simple recipe?

Fermented Cod Liver Oil Controversy

Fermented cod liver oilAbout a week ago, Dr Kaayla Daniel published a report on Green Pasture Fermented Cod Liver Oil giving various reasons why she claims it is not good. The report is not publicly available, you need to give your name and email address before you can read it – you can access it here. Very soon afterwards, Green Pasture put out a blog post refuting this. And then Yesterday Chris Masterjohn published a critique of Dr Daniel’s report.

Disclaimer/Conflict of Interest: As you may know, I sell the Green Pasture brand of Fermented Cod Liver oil and Butter Oil on my website. I also take it daily. And I am not a doctor or scientist.

I found Dr Daniel’s report to be written in quite a strange way, overly emotional, and making accusations without any real evidence. I found this bit particularly strange “Notably, Green Pasture does not seem to have filed a patent application for its unique and mysterious “fermentation” process.” – anyone who knows about patents knows that a patent is to protect the inventor, and there are reasons why people don’t want or need to apply for them, and it implies absolutely nothing about the process.

A key point people seem to be bringing up is that Lab #3 said that the cod livers in the Cattle Lick product (not the FCLO for human consumption) was “100 percent Alaskan pollock.” But failing to mention that in the “2.4 Evaluation of Species” section of Lab #5, it says “These values of sn-2 position specificity are similar to previous analysed cod liver oil samples. […] The overall CNMR carbonyl profile are similar to cod liver oil, although the levels of monounsaturated fatty acids in sn-2 position seems to be a bit higher than previously analysed cod liver oils.” And as someone points out in the comments to Chris’s article, Alaskan Pollock is a type of Cod fish:

Atlantic cod = Gadus morhua.
Pacific cod = Gadus macrocephalus.
Alaska pollock = Gadus chalcogrammus.

Reading Chris Masterjohn’s critique put my mind to rest, it seems that Chris understands the subject better than Dr. Daniel, and gives a more balanced view. From this I have decided to continue taking the Green Pasture products, and continue to sell them. (I currently take the infused coconut oil.) But I’m providing the links above to all three documents so you can read and make your own mind up. What do you think? Please leave your comments below.

Update 7 Sept 2015: Sally Fallon Morell of the Weston Price Foundation has now also published a reply here and also in February this year published test results showing the the FCLO is not rancid.

Update 21 Oct 2015: We are now also stocking Rosita Extra Virgin Cod Liver Oil (EVCLO) at Funky Raw. This is completely unprocessed and raw from wild cod from Norway.

Chia Pudding Recipe

I was at a festival the other week (Tribojam, it was amazing) and of course I didn’t have my usual full store cupboards of food, which forced me to experiment more. I had lots of chia seeds with me and made a few different chia puddings. So this is a very flexible recipe, you can add what you have. Start with the following:

Organic Chia Seeds

  • 4 tablespoons chia seeds – (at Funky Raw they still on special offer until the end of August)
  • Juice of half a lemon (or lime)
  • Approx 300ml water

Mix together and leave to soak for 10 to 20 minutes. The chia seeds will soak up most of the liquid – you can add more water if you want it not as thick.

Then add a selection of fruit and flavourings as you desire. I like chopped pears, a couple of tablespoons of carob powder and a teaspoon of honey. Chopped or mashed banana also works well (this can be in addition to the pears or instead, up to you). I’m sure there are many other variations you can make, switch the carob for lucuma, algarroba or acai powder, add a teaspoon of bee pollen, or goji berries, etc.

Vikings and Raw Chocolate on TV!

Linus of The Raw Chocolate Company is trying to take raw chocolate “mainstream”! Here he is on Dragon’s Den on Sunday night. He is asking for investment so he can get his raw chocolate bars into more shops and supermarkets. (Personally I’m trying to stop people shopping in supermarkets and get them to the independent shops and farmers markets, but maybe having top quality organic raw chocolate in supermarkets will help wake people up.)

Linus starts 45mins in to the program, this clip should start at the right place but might take a little longer to start once you press play:

The last clip of Linus makes me think that maybe the name “The Raw Chocolate Company” is a bit too obvious and he should have called it “Viking Chocolate”…

Over at Funky Raw we stock a range of raw chocolate from The Raw Chocolate Company including my favourite, raw chocolate coated goji berries

Raw chocolate goji berriesraw-chocolate-mulberries

Discovering a new Wild Edible Berry: Solanum nigrum – Black Nightshade

At some point in my life I learnt about a plant called Deadly Nightshade. I’ve no idea when this was, possibly when I was young. All I knew was that it was deadly poisonous and I shouldn’t eat the berries. For most of my life, I didn’t think much about it, except briefly when I was living at Ecoforest a visitor there from Finland used to eat the berries. He stayed for 3 months and he didn’t die. For some reason I just ignored the inconsistency and continued with my life, believing that these berries were poisonous.

Fast forward to this year and a Facebook friend, Chris Lane, posted the following “Black Nightshade is a plant eaten worldwide, leaves and ripe fruit, yet shunned in Europe and North America due to a historical mix up between this species and Deadly Nightshade – Atropa belladonna” along with a link to an article which goes into a lot more detail. Something clicked in my brain, clearly my Finnish friend hadn’t been eating Atropa belladonna, deadly nightshade, he had been eating Solanum nigrum, black nightshade…

So, I did some more research, looked at lots of photos, and worked out the difference between the two plants. They are both in the same family, so there are a lot of similarities, but the main differences as far as I can see:

Solanum nigrum (Edible) Atropa belladonna (POISONOUS)
Berries In bunches Individual
Flowers White with yellow centre Purple/Green

Black nightshade berries

Black nightshade berries

Deadly Nightshade photo copyright Wendy Cutler CC BY

Deadly Nightshade Atropa belladonna.  Photo by Wendy Cutler licensed under Creative Commons BY 2.0

A couple of weeks ago I identified the plants growing here as Solanum nigrum, so I tried a berry and it tasted a bit like a tomato! I had a few more – I like them! I’ve been eating them regularly since this and I’m still alive…

The berries are the size of a pea and you should only eat them when they are ripe – black or dark purplish black. They hang in little bunches, unlike the poisonous deadly nightshade which hang individually.

I recommend you do your own research and look at lots of photos before trying these berries yourself.

Personally I wouldn’t eat the leaves, it seems in some places they are eaten cooked, but they can contain toxic alkaloids and are poisonous raw.

This article was first published in Funky Raw magazine issue 33.

Black Nightshade Unripe Berries

Unripe black nightshade berries

General Update: Photos, Offers and More

Not been posting here much, so I’m here with an update on everything! Been working on the land a lot, looking after the trees and bushes we’ve planted and growing some veg. You can see where we live now as I’ve uploaded some photos of our land and of the area we live to our new website. Here’s a sample:

Our house and landKiwi VineMedieval Footpath Nearby

The Funky Raw magazine is now sold in more shops across the UK. I’m looking for more people to write about what they are passionate about. While the focus of the magazine is raw food and healthy eating, there are a wide range other subjects to be covered from permaculture and wild food to nature and spirituality. Get in touch if you have a topic you would like to write about. Raw recipes also needed. You can read more about helping out with the magazine.

I also want to tell you about some of the special offers we have over at Funky Raw. Today is the last day to get the Purple Balance raw snack bars I reviewed a little while ago with 14% off. And we have many new offers which run until the end of July: Lots of magazine back issues at £1.99 each, 6% off 1kg chia seeds, 10% off 1kg maca powder and 15% off 500g chlorella powdersee all the specials here.

And finally, do you make your own sauerkraut? According to this article, you probably should. The article says “this means one 16 ounce of sauerkraut is equal to 8 bottles of probiotics.” And most of us need more probiotic beneficial bacteria in our diets.

Purple Balance Raw Snack Bars Review

I just got sent the new raw snack bars from Purple Balance to review. Firstly, the packaging is perfect – bright and colourful, you can’t miss them in the shops:

Purple Balance Bars

For me, I’m very happy that they are sweetened with raw honey (the same top quality raw honey we sell on Funky Raw), which seems quite a rarity in ready made raw foods. This is along with dates means there is no refined sweeteners, not even coconut sugar. All the bars are great, with a wonderful moist and chewy texture.

Lemon PieThe Lemon Pie was probably my favourite. A good strong lemon flavour, great soft and chewy texture, 45g is just too small!


The “Wild Pecan Choco Cake” was also delicious! It was chewy with a little bit of crunch from the pecans and hazelnuts. The flavour was great, mild chocolate flavour, sweet but not too sweet.

Goji Vanilla CookieThe Goji and Vanilla Cookie was also very tasty. With 28% goji berries you can see the deep red colour of the bar. Plus the vanilla flavour comes though making this a top quality snack.

The Raspberry Cake was slightly disappointing. Same great chewy texture as the others, but the raspberry flavour was very light. I got bursts of it now and again. Although having experimented with raspberry powder myself trying to make raspberry flavoured cakes, I know how difficult it is. 5% raspberry doesn’t give much flavour compared to only 0.2% vanilla in the goji bar giving a wonderful flavour!

All in all, to be recommended. They are made in the UK, and you should be able to find them in your local health food store. If not, ask them to start stocking them. The recommended retail price is £1.89, so a bargain for taking with you as a nutritious snack, and because I like them so much, I decided to stock them at Funky Raw. We’re currently selling them by the case of 18 for £28.99, so only £1.61 per bar. Update: We are now also stocking a four pack sampler with one of each flavour so you can see for yourself which is best!

Do Vegetarians live longer than Meat Eaters?

I’ve just watched a really fascinating video, which I’ve included at end of this blog post. Dr Michael Greger is a vegan and presents studies showing that vegan and vegetarian diets are not as healthy as some people think they are. He presents studies that show that vegetarians and meat eaters both have the same rate of mortality, but that also vegetarians are more likely to die from breast cancer or degenerative brain disorders.

And another study of vegetarians and vegans which showed that the vegans had the worst mortality rates, then the vegetarians and the lowest mortality rate was ‘vegetarians’ who occasionally ate some meat…

The point of the video from the doctor’s point of view is to show how vegetarians and vegans can correct their diet (he is coming from the closed minded position of “vegan is best”), but from my point of view, the data he presents suggests that a diet very high in fruits and vegetables with some meat and fish is the best possible diet (interestingly that’s what I eat!).

Some of my other observations:

There is much research to show that soy is not healthy in large quantities, and as many vegetarians and vegans eat a lot of soy, that could explain the breast cancer link. From my understanding, what he says about some cultures eating lots of soy for a long time is not really true, soy products are generally used as condiments in small amounts, and are often fermented as in miso, which makes them healthier. See the Weston Price Foundation for more on the dangers of soy.

Flax seeds – I have read reports that they are not as healthy as once thought. They contain phytoestrogens, which can have similar negative effects as soy.

He is massivly against saturated fats, while there is lots of evidence that saturated fat is good for you (see the research of Weston Price). This is related to cholesterol, there is a lots of research to say that cholesterol is not a problem, see this article by Dr Mercola for more info.

Right at the end he talks about trans fats – while I agree that man made trans fats are not healthy, the research shows that naturally formed trans-fats in meat are different and are healthy. See this article by Chris Kresser for more info.

In conclusion, this video is well worth watching – if you are vegetarian or vegan he explains how you could possibly improve your vegetarian or vegan diet, and if you are a meat eater, how you could improve your health by eating more fruits and vegetables.

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Living in Portugal, Forest Gardening

I’m a bit behind with this blog! I’ve been spending more time over on Facebook, you can follow me for shorter updates and ‘like’ Funky Raw for raw news. But I do plan to start updating this blog again now, as we’ve finally stopped travelling and found somewhere to live… The article below gives an update to our life, it was originally published in Funky Raw Magazine Issue 26:

If you remember back to 2010 my partner Jolita and I set off on a journey to find a place to live – land where we can grow our own food and run raw retreats and holidays. Well, eight countries and two and a half years later, our travels have come to an end, and our new life starts in Portugal. We’ve purchased 5 hectares of land in a “Parque Natural”, relatively remote and peaceful, with its own spring for drinking water in a reasonable climate – hot summers and mild winters, we still get some frosts in winter but also some lovely sunny days.

Orange TreeThere are lots of olive trees on the land plus a few other fruit and nut trees including figs and kakis and so far we’ve planted apples, pears, figs, cherries, apricots, lemons, almonds, blueberries and raspberries. And we’re looking forward to planting a veg garden in the spring.

Our land

We want to create a forest garden so we read the book Forest Gardening by Robert A de J Hart. It is a wonderful book, although not the one we were hoping for! This book is a general introduction to the forest garden concept, told through the author’s own experience of growing his forest garden, with ideas on how forest gardens can change the world for the better. The book we wanted is a practical guide to creating a forest garden, we’ve now ordered what we hope is the book we need, Creating a Forest Garden by Martin Crawford. We watched a couple of videos on Youtube from Martin, he’s been doing a lot of research on forest gardens whilst growing one in Devon.
The idea behind a forest garden is to try and emulate a natural forest for minimal maintenance and environmental benefits, but with trees and plants which produce food and other useful resources, making use of 7 layers – large canopy trees, small trees & large shrubs, shade tolerant shrubs, perennial plants & herbs, ground cover plants, climbers & vines and root vegetables.


We’re happy to report that there are loads of wild greens on the land and lots of wild nature, birds, frogs, and some interesting lizard creatures we’ve never seen before, orange with black spots!

There are two houses on the land which we are in the process of restoring ready for running our retreats, more news soon…