So close to December autumn has truly arrived in all its beauty and darkness. It’s the perfect time to make delicious and warming stews and casseroles. They are especially good after a long walk on a cold sunny day. Chicken Tagine with preserved lemons and… Read more
In preparation of a delicious Moroccan Tagine dish, I would like to explain how to make your own preserved lemons, as they are a key ingredient in the tagine recipe. The lemons take a few weeks to preserve, so it’s best to get started once… Read more
Sauerkraut is one of my favourite pro-biotic foods. Being German, I grew up with it, so I guess it’s almost a given. My mum always used to make a delicious sauerkraut and gammon stew with pineapple and caraway seeds. Yes, I know it sounds strange,… Read more
Red Sauerkraut with Beetroot, Carrot and Dill – The perfect nutrient dense, pro-biotic addition to your dishes-all year round.
Ingredients: ideally organic
1 medium sized red cabbage (approx 1Kg)
1 golden beetroot (optional)
1 bunch of fresh dill – finely chopped
2-4 tbsp sea salt ( 20g)
1 large glass or enamel bowl
1 large or 2 small Mason jars ( to sterilise : rinse with boiling water and dry at 80C in the oven)
1-2 small glasses filled with water ( half way)
Prepare the vegetables by washing them well. If leaving the peel on the carrots, please use a vegetable brush and make sure there is no soil left on the carrots. Peel the beetroots and set a side They will stain your hands. To avoid this you can wash your hands with soap and warm water immediately afterwards or use marigold kitchen gloves. After giving the cabbage a quick wash, carefully peel away the outer leaves, then cut the cabbage in half or quarters and remove the core.
Next start to finely slice the cabbage. You can also use a food processor with a shredding disk. The layered structure of the cabbage makes it easy to just use a knife though. Once shredded/sliced, place the cabbage in the bowl. Then using a grater, grate the beetroot and carrots on top. Again, if you want to avoid staining your hands, please put marigold gloves on beforehand. Last but not least, the finely chopped dill needs to be added to the bowl.
Now the real fun begins, because now it’s time add the salt and massage it into the cabbage, beet carrot and dill mix. It is very difficult to determine the exact amount of salt needed, but the rule of thumb is 2% salt. So, for 1Kg of vegetables you would use 20g of salt. That is around 2 heaped tablespoons. I usually add the 2 tablespoons and give my kraut a taste once I have massaged it for a while and I will add more if needs be. You want to achieve a slightly salty flavour. After you have added the salt, mix well and start working it into the vegetables. You will see how the vegetables start to take a nice shine from releasing the water. The salt does this via osmosis, a biological process that causes water to pass through the cell wall.
The beetroot and carrot are quite soft celled compared to the cabbage and will therefore release water much quicker, which kind of shortens the ‘massaging process’. So, this sauerkraut is a quick version of the original. You want to have a good amount of water at the bottom of our bowl, I would say 1 inch at least. When using white cabbage, the process of massaging and releasing liquid can take quite some time , but please do not give up. It can be a bit of a therapeutic process and some music may make it more fun.
Now take one of the mason jars and start to tightly pack it with layers of the sauerkraut. Using your hands, each layer needs to be pressed down well, so that the vegetable brine starts to rise. Since lactic acid bacteria are anaerobes, which means they only grow and thrive in an environment that is not exposed to oxygen, it is important to ensure that no air bubbles are building up. Therefore, I tend to use quite a lot of force to press down each layer of Sauerkraut and turn the jar clock wise in the process.
Work your way up, leaving 1-2 inches to the top of the jar. Next, place the small glass filled with water in the jar, pressing it down slightly, so the vegetable brine rises. The glass is thought to secure that the sauerkraut is always covered with the brine. This is to keep the anaerobic environment in place. Otherwise, if exposed to oxygen, the sauerkraut will start to get mouldy. If you feel not enough liquid has risen up, you can add some extra brine on top. Simply mix 250 ml of fresh water with 1 tbsp of sea salt. Keep in a bottle in case you need more later on. Place the jar on a plate as the brine may rise during the fermentation process.
Now cover with a kitchen towel and leave to ferment in a warm place. 18-21C tends to be a good temperature, but I have to say that my Sauerkraut always turned out well without checking the temperature. The kitchen or living room always worked well as a fermentation hub.
After 5-7 days the Sauerkraut should be ready, it’s best to try it and see if it has the right acidity for you. Once you are happy with the result, close the jar air tight. Don’t forget to make sure the sauerkraut is covered in brine and store in a cool place. The Sauerkraut can keep for many months. It’s best to put a date on your Sauerkraut jar, that way you know when it was made. This particularly helps once you start making more Sauerkraut with different kinds of vegetables and spices as you go along. I tend to eat my sauerkraut straight away, and therefore store it in the fridge. Once opened the Sauerkraut keeps for up to 12 weeks, just make sure the jar is closed air tight.
Have fun making it and I hope you enjoy eating it!
I hope you all had a lovely first month of the year and are looking forward to getting closer to spring, without wishing time away, of course! This month’s post comes in two parts, the first part is a homemade Korean Kimchi, which kind of… Read more
Homemade Kimchi – makes 1 medium sized Kilner Jar
1 small Chinese cabbage ( roughly chopped)
4 small carrots (finely sliced)
4 medium sized turnips ( finely sliced)
3 cloves of garlic (grated)
2 chilies, finely chopped ( remove seeds to control heat)
3 tablespoons of freshly grated ginger
1 tsp of sesame seeds ( optional)
750-1000ml brine ( mix 2 tbsp of sea salt with 750ml filtered water)
Mix salt and water in a bowl and set aside, then peel and very finely slice the carrots and turnips or if using cabbage, roughly chop, add to the salt water , making sure the vegetables are well covered in salt water and leave to soaks over night. A tip for slicing the carrots and turnips: You can get very fine stings rather than slices by using a peeler, it looks great and is super quick and easy.
Prepare the Kimchi paste by blending the garlic, ginger and chili together, put in a jar and store in the fridge until the next day.
The following day, drain the soaked vegetables, keeping the brine as you may need to add some at the end. Check the vegetables for taste, if they taste too salty, rinse with water once. Next mix the drained vegetables with the Kimchi paste, mix well to make sure the paste is well distributed.
Then take the Kilner jar and pack the vegetables tightly into the jar, one layer at a time, pressing down layer for layer. The brine will start rising slowly, keep on packing and pressing down the layers, leaving two inches at the top. It is important that the vegetables are covered with rising brine, so add some of the left over brine if needs be for the vegetables to be well covered.
Now place a glass of water on top of the vegetables to press them down, put the jar on a plate, as rising brine might spill over the top during the fermentation process. Cover with a towel and leave to ferment in a warm place for 5-7 days.
Check daily to see where the fermentation process is at, you will see bubbles rising, this is a sign that our little helping bacteria are hard at work. Press the glass down to release some of the air, which helps to speed up the process a little. Once the bubbles stop showing, usually after a week, close air tight and store in the fridge until serving.
Try with Irma’s gluten free summer rolls or watch out for next week’s chicken broth pho served with Kimchi…..
Bon Appetite !