Nettle & Red Pepper Paté

Yes, nettles again! I love them! I made this tonight, it was delicious:

  • 1 small red pepper
  • couple of large handfuls of nettle tops (top 4 to 6 leaves from each plant)
  • 4 sun dried tomato halves
  • lemon juice
  • olive oil
  • small handful dried wakame seaweed, soaked for 5 mins
  • oregano (maybe 1/8th teaspoon?)
  • 2 egg yolks (optional)

Sorry, as usual I didn’t measure anything. Put everything except the egg yolks and wakame in the blender and blend, adding olive oil as needed. Then add the wakme and blend a bit more – I left it so the wakame wasn’t blended in fully. The paté was finished at this stage, but I wanted to make it a bit more filling so I stirred in 2 egg yolks.

Nettle & Walnut Paté

It’s walnut season! We’re still in Portugal and found a few walnut trees near where we are staying so we’ve been collecting. And there are lots of nettles coming up now, so I came up with the idea for nettle and walnut paté and it worked quite well:

  • A couple of large handfuls of nettles
  • 1 cup walnuts, soaked for 4 hours or more
  • 3 sun dried tomato halves, soaked
  • squeeze of lemon juice
  • around a cup of olive oil
  • dried oregano
  • water if necessary to blend

Blend! I actually had problems blending as we don’t have the Vitamix with us while travelling and the blender we have is not very good, hence needing to add a fair bit of olive oil and water to make it blend.

Enjoy! Let me know in the comments if you like it, or make your own version of it.

Iskiate (Chia Fresca) Recipe

Purchase Born to Run at AmazonI’m reading the book Born to Run by Christopher McDougal, which is about the Tarahumara tribe in Mexico who run hundreds of miles with seemingly little effort. I’m only part way through the book but it is excellent and very well written. It’s one of those books that’s hard to put down, it’s written like a novel although it is a non-fiction book.

Anyway, this post isn’t really about the book, it’s about a drink the Tarahumara make with chia seeds which is supposedly one of the reasons they can run such long distances without tiring. Chia seeds are amazing, there is a whole page in the book which reads like an advert for chia seeds: very high in omega 3 and 6, protein, calcium, iron, zinc, fibre and antioxidants, etc, etc, actually I had a customer on the Funky Raw Shop say they bought the chia seeds after reading this book! So it’s always good to have another recipe of how to use them, and this is simple and delicious:

  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 tablespoon lime or lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 300ml water

Mix the lime or lemon juice with the water – the original recipe calls for lime but I used lemon as it was all I had. Dissolve the honey in this mixture. Add the chia seeds and stir well. Leave for about 20 minutes or so, stirring occasionally. Drink! It will keep for longer in the fridge if you want to make a larger batch.

If you have any chia seed recipe (or other comments), feel free to share below.

Real Raw Chocolate Mousse Recipe

Chocolate Mousse photo by www.WorthTheWhisk.comThe other day we had a meal in a non-raw restaurant. Not something we do very often, but especially while travelling where there are no raw places to eat it can be fun. Interestingly, it was the decision to stop trying to be 100% strict about my diet which enabled me to stick to eating raw more than when I was trying to be strict. Counter-intuitive, but life is so much easier when there are no rules! Anyway, back to the restaurant. We shared a chocolate mousse for dessert and it was so good that when I got home I decided to look up how to make chocolate mousse to try and make a raw version.

Surprisingly, most recipes didn’t need much tweaking to make them 100% raw – they already contain raw eggs, just substitute raw chocolate for the cooked chocolate (and use raw butter and/or raw cream in the recipes that call for these ingredients.) This is the page I found on the Guardian website with a good selection of chocolate mousse recipes and useful comments.

So yesterday I tried the first recipe from that site, the classic French recipe from the book French Provincial Cooking by Elizabeth David and it worked really well.

First I made raw chocolate using the following, quantities approximate:

I grated the cacao butter and paste, added the butter and melted over a bowl of hot water (bain marie style). When fully melted I slowly stirred in all the other ingredients. This made too much chocolate, so I took 90g of the still melted chocolate for the mousse, and put the rest in moulds.

I then followed the recipe from the Guardian website above, using 30g of chocolate and 1 egg per portion. So I mixed 3 egg yolks into the melted chocolate (although of course I didn’t have the water simmering, I just kept it warm to keep the chocolate melted). Then I beat the 3 egg whites until they were relatively stiff (they use the term “soft peaks”) and gently folded this in to the chocolate and egg yolk mixture. Put in the fridge to set and you have a delicious raw chocolate mousse!

I’m sure it would work with other raw chocolate recipes, or even a purchased raw chocolate bar that you melt back down. Let me know in the comments below if you try this or any of the other recipes on that web page…

How to make Fermented Butternut Squash

This recipe is so simple but I love it. There are only 3 ingredients, butternut squash (also works with other types of squash or pumpkin), salt and water. I’ve tried adding various flavourings and seasonings but I always go back to this simple recipe as it tastes the best.

I’ve talked about fermented foods before on this blog, they are wonderful for digestion, assimilation and detoxing and I eat several different fermented foods every day.

Start by cutting your squash into pieces suitable for grating, and then grate using a file grater:

Pack the grated squash into a jar, a kilner jar works well. Don’t fill the jar right to the top, make sure you leave some space as it can bubble up during the fermentation.

Next, add salt water so that all the squash is covered by water. The ratio of salt is approx 1 teaspoon of salt per litre of grated squash – so for example the jar I used was 1.7 litres, so I used just over 1 and a half teaspoons of salt. The amount of water you will need will depend on how much water is naturally in the squash. So mix the salt into a small amount of water and pour in, then add more water if necessary.

Finally, place something on top of the squash to keep it all under the water. I use a stone, cleaned thoroughly first of course. Check every day to make sure that the squash is still under the water.

Store at room temperature during the fermentation process. It usually takes 3 to 4 days to ferment, although it will take longer in colder climates. You can taste after 3 days and see what is happening. Once it is fermented to your liking, you can store in the fridge to stop it fermenting more.

What is your favourite fermented food? Please leave your comments below.

Real Raw Lemon Cheese Cake Recipe

After a short break in London, we’re back on the road. We’re heading to Croatia, but had a little detour to Slovenia. It’s a beautiful country, loads of forest and wild nature. On Saturday we went to Ljubljana, the capital and found an amazing market. Loads of organic veg stalls, plus we got organic raw milk, raw butter, raw sour cream and raw cheese.

I love cheesecake, and it is actually very easy to make raw cheesecake, assuming you can get some good raw cheese to start with. We got some soft plain curd cheese, it needs to be fairly plain to make into cheesecake.

I didn’t measure the ingredients, but I think this is a recipe where it is hard to go wrong.

Base
brazil nuts
apricots
a few cacao beans (optional)
1 tsp vanilla powder
grated lemon rind

Topping
cheese
lucuma
honey
grated lemon rind

For the base, you want an approximately equal amount of nuts and dried fruit, you can use various combinations of fruits and nuts. I soaked the apricots for a couple of hours so they would process easier, but you don’t want them too wet otherwise the base will be soggy. Put all the ingredients in a food processor until it forms a sticky ball. If you need more liquid you can either add a little lemon juice or water. As you may know, I don’t generally eat dehydrated food as I find it hard to digest, so this base was soft and sticky, but you could probably dehydrate this is you want a more traditional cheesecake.

For the topping, just mix all the ingredients together. The more lucuma you add, the thicker the mixture will become. And of course, the more honey, the sweeter. (The cheese I used was very soft so I only needed to mix it with a spoon, with a firmer cheese you may need to blend.)

I’m sure there are many variations you can make instead of lemon.

Recipe: Quick and Easy Fermented Courgettes

Fermented foods have become a big part of my diet in the last 6 months or so. Kefir, sauerkraut, kombucha, fermented vegetables and more. It was the book Wild Fermentation that got me started and I’ve not looked back. I’ve recently discovered a very simple fermented food which can be made in minutes, although of course you need to wait for them to ferment, usually around 3 days: fermented whole courgettes.

For this to work, you need very small courgettes. The ones in the photo are probably a bit too big, it works better with smaller ones.

The process is really simple:

1) Take a kilner jar, (or a screw top jar) and wash well with hot water. The larger the jar, the better, the jar pictured is 1.7 litres.

2) Fill jar with whole courgettes.

3) If desired you can add some flavouring, I’ve used various combinations of grated ginger, grated turmeric, crushed coriander seeds and crushed cumin seeds. It does also work well without any flavouring, just experiment and see what you like.

4) Mix the brine – for each litre of your jar, use 1 teaspoon of salt, so for example for this 1.7 litre jar, use approx 1.7 teaspoons of salt. Mix with water and add to the courgettes so they are completely covered. If necessary, use something to push them under the water if they are floating to the top – a boiled and scrubbed stone works well.

And that’s it. Check every day that the courgettes are still completely submerged, and remove any scum that may form on top. Taste after 3 days. After 6 days or so (or once they are to your liking) you might want to put them in the fridge to stop them fermenting any more.

In hot weather the fermentation happens quicker, in cold weather slower. The more salt you add, the slower the fermentation, so in really hot weather adding more salt can slow the fermentation down and in cold weather less salt will speed up the fermentation.

If you can’t find small enough courgettes, you can also use larger ones and slice them. Make the slices quite thick slices, around 1cm each.

Let me know your favourite fermented recipes in the comments…

Pumpkin Pate with Kelp and Chlorella

I wanted to make something with both kelp and chlorella, it was a bit of a random experiment but it turned out really nice.

  • 250g pumpkin
  • small piece of ginger
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chlorella powder
  • 1 tablespoon kelp powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
Grate the ginger and stir in the oil. Add the powders and stir in. Grate the pumpkin on the finest grater you have, I think what I used is called a microplane, a really fine grater. I guess you could blend or food process the pumpkin instead if you prefer. Mix the grated pumpkin in with everything else. Hope you like it!

Fermented Broccoli and Carrot with Leek

Fermented broccoli and carrotThis was my first attempted at fermenting vegetables and it worked really well, although I think I put too much salt in. I followed the technique on pages 50-52 in the book Wild Fermentation “Sour Pickles”.

I sliced the carrots and cut the broccoli up, you can see the approximate sizes in the photo. I then sliced some leek,  I think I used about 1/4 of a leek. I used a couple of handfuls of coriander seeds and cumin seeds to flavour it, some whole and some crushed.

I put everything in a kilner jar and added water with salt dissolved in it, I think for this 1 litre jar I used 500 ml water with 1 and a half tablespoons of salt, but if I did it again I would use less. I then put a clean (well scrubbed) stone on top of the veg to hold it under the saltwater solution. After about 2 weeks fermenting they had an amazing flavour, but you can try them during the whole process to see how they develop.

You need to check them daily and if any mould forms on the surface it needs to be removed.

My daily diet – what a raw fooder eats

My diet has changed a lot in the last year particularly with the addition of lots of fermented foods and more animal based foods. This is a typical day, obviously I don’t eat the same thing every day. And it’s an experimental diet, I could change it again at any point!

For breakfast, I eat a hemp milk pudding. In the past I’ve talked about this a lot (as chocolate pudding), although at the moment it usually doesn’t contain chocolate.

The ingredients are as follows (for 2 people):

  • 150g hemp seeds, soaked overnight
  • handful of seeds soaked overnight, drained and rinsed – different seed each day, rotated through sesame seeds, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds
  • 2 figs, 2 apricots and a handful of goji berries soaked overnight
  • 2 bananas
  • 2 teaspoons pollen
  • 2 teaspoons mesquite meal
  • 2 teaspoons carob powder
  • either 1 teaspoon maca or 1 teaspoon suma powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon camu camu powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla powder
  • 1 tablespoon butter (grass fed dairy butter)
  • 2 teaspoons coconut butter
  • piece of aloe vera about 5cm long (with skin removed) if available

Occasionally I’ll add some raw cacao beans, around 10 beans for 2 people. It’s not the same every day, ingredients vary depending on what is available. Pears work well when they are in season, sometimes to replace a banana. I won’t type the full method, you can see it in the previous choc pudding post, but basically make hemp milk and then blend it with all the other ingredients.

I eat the pudding with some kefir made with raw milk, usually goats milk while we are travelling in Spain. Kefir is a wonderful fermented foods full of probiotic bacteria. If available I will also have  a little raw cream or creme fraiche.

Update: I’ve started taking 5ml fermented cod liver oil and 2.5ml high vitamin butter oil along with my breakfast, to cover the important vitamins A, D3 and K2.

Lunch is usually composed of two separate smaller meals, one maybe around 12-1pm and the other around 3-4pm

Usually the first one will be some fruit, whatever is in season, at the moment maybe oranges, custard apples (cherimoya) or apples. At other times of the year figs, kakis, pears, plums, etc. Usually I will only eat one type of fruit in a meal.

Later I’ll have two or three raw egg yolks, beaten up with some kefir, and something to flavour it, mesquite, lucuma and raw honey works well. This is a new and experimental part of my diet, it seems to be working for me at the moment but I’ll see how it makes me feel over the long term.

Just before dinner I will have a glass of kombucha, before a meal it can help with digestion and detoxification.

Dinner is a large salad – lots of wild greens, half an avocado, seasonal vegetables, fermented foods like sauerkraut and home made pickled veg (see my review of Wild fermentation for more on fermented foods), seaweed and raw cheese. Once or twice a week I’m experimenting with more animal food, raw fish (marinated in lemon juice), raw cured meat or liver pate (some of the only cooked food I’m currently including.) This is based on information from Weston Price.

After dinner I’ll sometimes have a snack of dried figs with grass fed butter. Butter must be from grass fed animals for it to include the important vitamins A, D and K, plus activator X. With cows butter, the colour should be yellow, if it is white it doesn’t have the required nutrition. Try getting butter from your local farmers market, but if you have no success with getting quality butter, Kerrygold butter from Ireland is grass fed and high quality. (And Anchor butter from New Zealand if you are in that part of the world.)

Water: throughout the day I drink water with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. I try to drink freshly collected spring water wherever possible. If not available, I will always filter tap water before drinking.

Some of you will be asking why? I think my previous diet contained too much fruit and this has caused problems with my teeth. I’ve been reading two books Diet and Nutritional Degeneration by Weston A. Price and Cure Tooth Decay by Ramiel Nagel which have helped me to change my diet. I’ve written more about Weston Price here: The key ingredients of healthy diets and I will write more about the Cure Tooth Decay book once I have finished reading it.