Thursday, January 11, 2018

Bread Bakin' Day

It makes sense to have one day where I get the oven going and bake a few things at once. I feel this saved electricity in heating up the oven and also energy and effort in washing the measuring tools and mixing bowls. I always try to be as practical as possible, and I'd say baking day comes around once every two weeks or so. We always slice and store the bread in our freezer to keep it real fresh.

Today, I'm making country seed spelt bread, rye sandwich bread and cornbread.

The first thing that's finished baking, though it was the last to be put together, is the cornbread.  It's really a corn muffin recipe, but baked in a yorkshire pudding tin to have lots of lovely crust. Kinda like a whoopie pie, but I'd call it a "baked johnny cake". Or many "mini corn bread".

Now I used the double light rye sandwich bread recipe from King Arthur flour, but used whole rather than dry milk. We get pretty fresh milk that's local, and since it was on sale we bought eight liters, or two gallons worth.

That's how I made the rye bread dough. Now I'm guessing it's about risen by now so I'm off to get that and the spelt bread in the oven.

The spelt bread is from a recipe I use all the time, except adding lots of seeds like chia, flax, poppy. black sesame, pumpkin and sunflower. Sometimes we add chopped almonds or walnuts, maybe even some raisins and cranberries.

Here's the spelt bread recipe. It's almost impossible to get wrong and is one of those simple thing we make over and over again. A staple. A favourite.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Use Wisely, Reduce Use, Reduce Waste, Reuse, Recycle, Etc.

1) Reduce dependence on petrol. Use petrol wisely. Walk or cycle wherever you can.
2) Reduce dependence on electricity. Use it for only the necessary, like for electronics. Don't purchase or use too many electronics, only what you need.
3) Use natural lightning from the sun by day, use less light by night by sleeping early and finding alternative energy sources.
3) Cook efficiently. Eat raw and unprocessed whenever you can. Try other methods of cooking, such as by wood or charcoal.
4) Use less plastics and metals, only when necessary
5) Use natural cleaning supplies
6) Recycle all paper, plastic, metal, and glass.
7) Adopt a no-trash lifestyle
8) Grow as much of your own food as possible.
9) Try to buy more local foods.
10) Implement financial austerity. Don't let anything go to waste and spend very wisely.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Smoothies for Womens' Health

PMS Smoothies -
PMS is premenstrual syndrome. Try making these smoothies regularly, especially when PMS sets on, for a great nutrient, iron and energy boost.  If you start taking this smoothie before and during menstruation, the chances are that painful symptoms due to loss of iron will decrease. No more fatigue!

3/4 cup yogurt whey (or 1 tbsp natural yogurt and the rest, almond/rice milk)
1-2  bananas
1 tbsp chia seeds and/or flax seeds

Blend and drink! The whey is milk with the solids removed (the natural way of getting low-fat without involving the harmful industry procedures!) and yet is full of protein. The banana add solids to the whey, creating a perfect smoothie that isn't as rich as a banana milkshake. Both bananas and chia seeds have high amounts of iron. Chia seeds have seven times more iron than spinach, are full of omega 3 and 6 good fatty acids needed during menstruation, and also B vitamins and fiber.

According to this article on,

Bananas are a nutritional superfood loaded with potassium, zinc, iron, folic acid, calcium, vitamin B6 and fiber. In fact, bananas have been called nature's perfect food. They may also be a perfect food for menstrual health. Bananas can help relieve digestive problems and PMS symptoms women may experience during their period. Bananas help replenish nutrients lost during menstruation and can help stop PMS related diarrhea in its tracks when eaten with other BRAT diet foods such as apples, rice and dry toast.

Flaxseed and flaxseed products contain phytoestrogens. Phytoestrogens are plant based estrogens similar to the estrogen found in a woman's body. Studies have found that women who ingest flaxseed can relieve PMS symptoms such as breast pain, hot flashes and mood swings. It is thought that this is because the plant-based estrogens compete with the natural estrogen in a woman's body when it is too high, such as during the menstruation cycle. It is estimated that 11 percent of women may experience breast pain during their periods. A University of Toronto study found that by eating as little as 25 grams of flaxseed every day, these women could reduce or eliminate PMS induced breast pain. Flaxseed also contains essential fatty acids that can help to ease PMS cramping.

Peri-menopausal PMS Smoothie -

3/4 cup natural soy milk
2 tbsp natural yogurt
1-2 bananas
1 tbsp chia seeds and/or flax seeds

Blend and drink! Soy milk is full of women's hormones (phytoestrogen) that ease peri-menopausal symptoms caused by the lack of estrogen. It is also full of protein. However, since soy contains anti-nutrient-absorbing phytates, lacto-fermented yogurt is added to counter the phytic acid.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Meat Mincing

I love scratch food, and having control over our diet. I also love instant food, not that kind that you buy in bags but that you prepare ahead of time and freeze, to save time later.

Today I spent 4 hours in the kitchen, trying out the new, fantastic meat mincer. We bought lots of lean meat at the store.

What We Bought
Chicken Breasts, 3 kg
Pork Loin (Good chunks of solid meat), 1 kg (4 pieces)
Buffalo Cubes - (Good solid meat from India)
Buffalo Cut - (Two steak-like pieces)
Chicken Wings, 20 pieces
Chicken Drumsticks,

Everything was either at a bargain or going at a good price today. All are good, solid, cuts of meat, not having been processed.

What We Did:
First all the meat must be soaked, sterilized in O3 gas, washed, and drained. 

I minced 1 kilo of pork. Half of it I seasoned with 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp ground pepper, and froze in two 250g bags in the freezer, labelled nicely. The other half I used to make seasoned sausagemeat (see below)

Out of 3 kilos of chicken breasts, I made:
1) Four chicken breast steaks, pounded, 175g each, frozen in a bag and ready to be seasoned as steaks for a complete dinner.
2) 425g of chicken skin and fat (nothing goes to waste!) for use in making luncheon meat later on another day
3)  500g + 500g + 325g - three bags of minced chicken, ready to be made into patties, fried with egg and vegetables, fill ravioli or kreplach or wonton or schnitzel or chickenballs or nuggets. Also hopefully to make luncheon meat!
4) 500g for seasoned sausagemeat

The buffalo slices are seasoned in last week's pastrami/corned-beef nitrate-free salt brine to be smoked, broiled, roasted, steamed, or boiled. This was easy. In a week, I have already-spiced meat ready to use.

The 1 kg of buffalo cubes - minced and used for sausagemeat.

Bag the chicken wings and drumsticks. 

 This seasoned meat can be used to make meatballs, burger patties, sausage, meatloaf, filling, etc. It is already seasoned, broken up into 500g bags ready for immediate thaw and use.

2 kg meat of any combination
  1. 500g minced chicken
  2. 500g minced pork
  3. 1 kg minced buffalo
3 tsp salt
3 tsp pepper
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp whole grain mustard
1 tbsp garlic powder
thyme and rosemary
1/4 cup flour

Mix everything, and bag. To make meatballs, add 2-4 eggs and wheatgerm. Coat with flour, shape into balls, and bake. 


Friday, November 16, 2012

Plowing By Hand

Surely I would stop before my hand was ready to develop blisters, and I did. As I type, my hands are curled awkwardly and are just sore in the slightest. Half an hour in the yard with a heaving hoe, the simplest of all plowing tools, is enough to leave me sweaty and my hair in a wreck.

It felt good. I felt the swift blade of the huge hoe cut through the soil as I swung it down. I saw how it could peel away the layer of grass as I tugged. And as I broke up the soil in satisfying clumps of red-brown and black-brown, I felt empowered.

"I can do this," I thought, "I can break up fallow soil with a hoe. I could entire fields with this."

Shoveling the clumps of soil and brown debris into the large garbade can was easy. The garbage can now stands proud and immovable. It is so heavy, and I am proud that I could lift that much soil.

Last night I worked out at the gym. Today at teatime, I had a full workout in the garden. In both cases, I built up muscles and used up fat. It felt good.

Now I must tie my hair, don an apron, and start on dinner meatballs while reciting Physics 1.1.2 out loud.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

A Bread Story

Naturally Leavened Pain de "Simcha"

100g high protein bread flour
50g hard whole wheat flour (atta flour)
50g rosh hashanah starter (explained below)
1 (heavy) pinch salt
100g water
1 tbsp oil (to work the dough and grease the bowl)

Add enough water to the dry ingredients to make a moist dough. I went for 150g flour to 100g water, which was just nice. Then I let everything rise for 7 hours, overnight, until it was really, really, risen. Then I shaped the bread into a round (is it a boule?) and did a cross-slice in the middle. It is sitting on a tray, spread generously with cornmeal, and rising at this moment in the toaster oven.
Yes, that's right. I hate heating up the huge oven to do crafted breads, because the temperature requirements I am afraid will sky-rocket the electricity bill. So I make tiny loaves, and do them in my parents' really  lovely, new Panasonic toaster oven that has temperature adjustments and gives me the perfect crispy crust and well-done insides I desire, at about 220C and below.
This is the first time I have scored the bread, because before, I never had a knife or razor sharp enough not to completely botch the surface. Now, I received a Swiss deboning knife for my birthday. It is sharp and flexible, and made my first beautiful (but very imperfect) score. But I am happy, and oh-so-pleased.

The Starter
 The starter is a big of a strange experiment, a cocktail of natural yeast (fermentation of raisins, sugar, and water), alcohol, and solid fermented fruit parts.
1) The first step, was me experimenting with natural yeast starters and raisins. Using the raisin yeast water, I attempted to multiply it alla' sourdough without the  sour part. But it turned sour. I hate sour! Sourdough has been a big failure for me, and I have attempted to eat almost all of the mishaps and i do not wish to do so again.

2) The second step was me giving up temporarily on using the raisin yeast water for bread- so let is be wine. I kept adding cordial to the raisin water, and sugar, and syrup. I brewed and fermented wine.
3) Meanwhile, the raisins used for the wine sat at the back of the fridge, still full of yeast.
4) One fine day, it was Rosh Hashanah 2012 and i wanted to try and make Rosh Hashanah charoset, which is basically apples and honey and wine, without the nuts. So I chopped an apple, added it to the fermented raisins, added some honey, added some watermelon fiber (strained out of fresh juice) and doused it with my blackcurrant cordial wine. And I went on a holiday, so I took it along to eat.
5) It so happened, that with all the bubbling yeast activity, I did not attempt to eat the charoset. So it came back home with me. I took it home, and blended it with water, and added flour, and voila - it is a yeast starter. It is stiff, and purplish in color. It is made of the oddest things, really, but it is a really effective starter. Several experiments with this has yielded bread with a delicious crumb and subtle aroma.

The beautiful yeast did it's work
So that's why I call with my Rosh Hashanah starter, because I started it on Rosh Hashanah. And I finally baked it into a proper bread with weight ingredients and everything, after Simchat Torah. So it is Pain de "Simcha".

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Useful Breasts of Chicken

Chicken Breasts are a useful and cheap cut of meat. Indeed, they are almost free of fat and bone, and thus easy to prepare. They can be purchased from the supermarket, and are from battery-factory-raised chickens.

1) Chicken breasts must be washed. I pumped them with ozone gas, which is a good sterilizer. You may also wash meat with salt, by soaking it in water for an hour and then putting them in a colander, salt them with cheap and rough salt, like kosher salt.

2) Stock and Floss. For a quick floss, boil the breasts in a saucepan, covered with water. Once the water comes to a boil, bring it down to a simmer. Add herbs if you wish, and also a tablespoon or two of apple cider vinegar, to help remove scum and to bring out the minerals in the meat. You may brown some onions in the saucepan before boiling the breasts, and also add vegetable such as carrot and celery to boil. After an hour or a half of simmering, you can remove the breasts and floss them with two forks into fine flosses. Chicken floss can be added to soups, to sandwiches, to salads, to casseroles, etc. The stock, too is very useful. DO NOT throw it away! It can be used in soups, stews, and casseroles.

3) Tender Fried Steaks. Chicken breasts don't make good fried meats at first. They turn out tough and dry. That occurs for two reasons: firstly, because they don't contain tenderizing fat, secondly, because they are thicker on one side than on the other, making it so that when one part is cooked, the other is dry. This can be solved by frying them in a healthful fat like olive oil or palm oil, and also by pounding them flat with a meat hammer, a pestle, or the side of a knife

Chicken breasts can be marinated and coated in many different tasty ways, such as with pesto, mayyonaise, cajun seasoning, lemon pepper seasoning. They should be browned at high heat on either side.

4) Stir-Fried Strips. After pounding the breasts flat, you may slice them into strips and pieces to be stir-fried. This cut is exceptionally good for Chinese cuisine, making soft and tasty pieces of chicken that you won't even recognize as "dry breasts".

To make spicy chicken stir-fry, you will need:

3 chicken breasts, pounded and  cut into strips
6 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup of garlic, chopped
10 tiny bird's eye chillis
3/4 cup of spring onions, chopped into 1 inch long strips

Season the breast strips with salt, pepper, cornstarch, sesame oil, and soy sauce. Marinade in the fridge.

Stir fry the garlic, ginger, and chili in oil until fragrant. Add the chicken and fry on high fire to sear. Reduce the fire and stir-fry the chicken. Mix in dark mushroom soy sauce. Turn off the fire and stir in the spring onions.
5) Flavorful Skin. The skin of the chicken, rendered, is a delicious fat and flavoring. I reccomend, however, using only the fat of fatty, yellow, free-range organic chickens that have been exposed to the sun. Learn how to make them here. It is used instead of lard in kosher cooking. Learn how to render the fat here,


Remember that it is always more frugal and healthy to use whole, unprocessed meats. For example, I prefer to buy bacon than to buy pork sausages. That way, I getting the full value of the money in actual meat, as opposed to lots of worthless fillers, chemicals, preservatives, colors, etc.  You can buy minced meat, or better still, mince your own meat, to make hamburgers, meatballs, meatloaf, etc. You can also buy large blocks of meat to corn and to make pastrami. These are good alternatives to supermarket processed meats.