How to make water kefir…

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Don’t you just love these close up pictures of these little grains of goodness….how exciting that you can make a probiotic drink for you and your family to have when ever you feel like it.

To make the water kefir you will need to by some water kefir grains from someone or be given some by your friends. Be aware that there are two types of grains one is for milk and one for water, I actually use both but the grains I am talking about today are…. water grains. If you would like me to post you some you can email me at giftofourearth@gmail.com and we can work out the postage and price ( for delivery in Australia only )

 

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Things you will need…

 

One glass jar, with or without a lid. You can cover with cheesecloth or a coffee filter.

A wooden or plastic spoon ( don’t use anything metal..the grains don’t like it)

A large rubber band if you are using a cloth or paper filter.

One litre of good water, not chlorinated or with fluoride  ( rain water is perfect)

Half a cup of organic raw sugar, if possible.

Organic dried fruit..I use dried figs or sultanas. A slice of lemon and a pinch of celtic sea salt.

 

How to make the kefir…….

 

Some people dissolve the sugar in the water first, maybe Im lazy……I skip that step. Make sure your glass jar is clean and no soap residue from washing up. Swish it with some extra hot water just before you start. Put the sugar in your jar and add your cold water, give it a little stir to mix it up. Place in your grains, treat the grains with love as they are soft and breakable.

Add in your dried fruit and piece of lemon and pinch of salt. Cover the jar with your lid, cloth or paper filter and leave the jar in a warm area of your kitchen, not in direct sunlight.

Depending on the temperature, whether it is summer or winter will determine how fast your drink will take. You can always have a little sip and see if you like the flavour. Some people will strain off the water after this time and you can drink it straight away but I am  bubbles girl and always do a second ferment. When you strain off the water throw out the dried fruit..well feed it to the chickens or pop it in the compost bin. Bottle the water,use new bottles if you wish or you have friend s that drink wine get them to keep the empty bottle with the lids. This is the time when you can be as creative as your heart desires…you can add more dried fruit, slices of fresh fruit, fruit juices or combinations of all of the above.

Place the bottles with a tight fitting lid on the bench for a day or two, yet again depending on the warmth of your kitchen and time of year. After the second ferment I place the bottles into the refrigerator to slow down the fermenting process. Be careful when you open the bottles as some fruit juices can make an extra bubbly drink, you can always check and “burp” the bottles before placing them in the refrigerator.

Then you go back to the start and do it all over again. If you are getting tried of making the kefir or you are going away you can place them in the refrigerator, with some extra sugar and they will survive for a couple of weeks.

Once you have a system going its great to share this wonderful probiotic drink with your family and friends and there bodies will love you for ever. We used to drink a lot of soda water ( that we made ourselves ) now our we have a huge selection of organic healthy drinks that are so nourishing, its such a lovely feeling when you can share the things you make with the people who mean the most to you.

 

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Please if you have any questions on how to make water kefir I will be only to happy to help, just contact me through the email link above.

 

Cheers and good health.

 

Angela xx

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The Yummiest nut milk I’ve ever had….

I have been milk free (dairy free) for about 12 months now and have dablled with differnt types of milks for quite a while. I started out using soy as it so delicoius and creamy…well not anymore, after researching soy I soon realised  that drinking soy was probably not a great idea. If you are still using soy I truly believe you should have a little look on the internet…..very scary,  unless its of the fermented kind. I then tried almomd milk, oat milk, coconut milk from many different sources..expensive ones to cheap ones. The problem with alot of pre-made nut milks is that they are sitting on shelves in shops, the companies that make the milk have to  add lots of extras in the milk so it can sit there unrefrigerated. They have many additives, not just the nuts and water but suagrs, fillers, emulsifiers, thickners, one post I was reading yesterday said that there were 13 other ingredients in the nut milk, other than nuts and water!

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A lovely friend gave me this recipe and thought that I was making just another nut milk but this is the creamiest most delicous nut milk I have  ever ever tried and after doing some research on the internet today I know know why this milk is the BEST

I used activated nuts!

Do you know what activated nuts are?…well Im glad you asked….

Raw nuts have contain phytic acid which  our digestive system can find hard to break down which can lead to many upset tummies. Also nuts contain enzyme inhibitors so by soaking the nuts in water we can release the enzyme inhibitors ( you can add a teaspoon of celtic sea salt to the water for soaking if you wish) Once the enzymes have been released you can now say that the nut has been “activated” and  the nut is awakened, the nuts will be swollen and some may even split. So doing this sort of prepares the nuts for sprouting. After the nuts have been soaked overnight and rinsed in fresh water you can now dehydrate them. By dehydrating the nuts at a low temperature your will also be removing more of the phytic acid making all of the nutrients in the nuts assimilate better in our body. I had my nuts soaking during the day and then had them in the dehydrator over night ( use a Kuvings dehydrator, please email me if you would like a quote) check with your brand of dehydrator on how long your nuts will need. I did 1kg of both the almonds and 1kg of the pepitas and have them in an airtight jar ready for the next batch of milk. By the way I am going through the milk will be very soon….

 

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3/4 cup of soaked and dehydrated  organic pepitas

1/4 cup soaked and dehydrated organic almonds

2-4 cups filtered water depending on how creamy you wish the milk to be.

2 dates seed removed

pinch celtic sea salt

Place all of the ingredients in your high speed blender for a couple of minutes and then strain the milk through a nut bag. My brand of blender is a  Froothie it is  the best blender I have ever purchased , I use my blender everyday in the kitchen, if you would like a quote on a Froothie , please let me know and I can get you the latest price.

Squeeze the milk out of the bag so that you can get as much moisture out of the bag leaving behind the nut meal. You can feed the meal to the chooks or compost. Even more exciting is to put it in the oven to dry out or dehydrate and use it in baking of cakes, biscuits, bread, pancakes etc. If you aren’t ready to use the meal just pop it in the freezer.

Place the nut milk in the fridge and then spend time thinking on ideas on how to use it up as its just so yummy…smoothies, tea, coffee, chai latte just to name a few..

Love to hear your feedback on this fabulous nut milk and let me know what your favourite nut milk is.

 

Angela xx

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Water Kefir….. a healthy drink

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Have you heard of water kefir?

Water kefir came into our lives a many years ago , when I first tried this unusual drink  was a semi flat flavoured drink that I didnt particularly like the flavour of, a bit like vomit really..well thats what I remember.  One year later I was staying on the  Gold Coast with a friend and she said…..would you like to try some of my water kefir?…oh no thats fine …I said… Im not sure that I like it. She went to the fridge and opened a green wine bottle and as she turned the lid it fizzed. Wow…….a little early in the morning for bubbles  I said….…No this is the water kefir!, and now would you like to try it?

Well my addiction started from that moment on, as I am partial to a few bubbles. I had learnt from my friend that she always did a second fermentation with the kefir and my friend had only ever done the first ferment as she didn’t really like bubbles.

So what is water kefir and why is it so fabulous for us I hear you ask….

Water kefir is is made from kefir grains, little gelatinous looking and yeast cultures made up of strains of healthy bacteria. These little grains live in a symbiotic relationship together. Also found in the water kefir are vitamin B, vitamin K, folic acid , potasium , magnesium and phophorus. These grains are living and if you treat them bad they will not survive. They like to be fed regularly and looked after in a nice warmish environment. If this is done they will constantly feed you and your family with amazing beautful refreshing bubbly drinks.

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Each batch of water kefir contains different strains of healthy probiotic bacteria.  You can make the water kefir by adding organic sugar to water and those tiny little grains go straight to work and eat up all that sugar creating lots of bubbles and hence carbonation . So there is no need to be frightened of the amount of sugar that goes into the water. There are many health  reasons to drink water kefir, some include aiding your digestion,skin issues, contribute to a healthy immune system, helps reduce inflamation in the body the list goes on…Google the health benefits of drinking water kefir, you will be amazed.

You can have your water kefir as a natural flavour( straight from the first ferment ) or as I found out you can make it extra delicous by making a second ferment and adding aditional flavours. You can use fruit juices, coconut water and diferent types of sugars. Which all go together to produce a fabulous fermented bubbly drink for you and your family to share.

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Stay tuned for my next post as I will explain the….How To ….and a couple of my favourite recipes and ….Where ….you can purchase the grains from…….from me of course.

Angela xx

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Potato Fritters

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It is funny how food appears in your life from time to time. I can honestly say that I have never made these potato fritters before….Like everything it life things always come from a need and for some reason we ended up with 10 kilos of potatoes all at once..don’t ask me how. So the need was to use them up and not be wasteful. I wouldn’t say that we are big potato users at all so to try and shift this large amount was going to have come up with some creative thinking.

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We have free range chickens and ducks, you can ask any of my friends and they will tell you that I am a bit of a softy when it comes to my animals. We have had show breeds of chooks and duck for about 10 years now. Including frizzles, Pekins, Silkies, Columbian Wyandottes and Indian Runner ducks.Our girls and boys are treated with utmost respect and love, lots of  scraps and treats. These two little eggs came from our frizzle,she is a cuckoo..grey and white coloured feathers.

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Peel your potatoes and leave them sitting in a bowl of water, until you have  everything ready.Once you have grated your potatoes you need to move fairly quickly as the potatoes will start to go brown. You can add the grated potatoes to a bowl of water when you have grated them and them you will need to squeeze the grated potato in a paper towel or cloth to remove excess water. I didn’t do this i just worked quickly, even having the oil melting whilst I was stirring up the mix. I have used maize flour in this recipe, I had bought it from an Indian grocer but I am sure you could use any gluten free flour…try some others and let me know.

You will also notice I have used my black pepper essential oil in this recipe the beauty of using the oil in food is that it disperses through the food and you will get a fabulous aroma and health benefit of using an oil verses using ground pepper. Black pepper oil is high in antioxidants, aids digestion, supports health circulation and is great to breath it aromatically if you are feeling anxious. If you would like to see the type of oils I am using here is my website www.mydoterra.com/giftofourearth

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The oil that I chose for frying the fritters is ghee, I have stopped using olive oil for cooking and now only use organic coconut oil. You could use coconut oil for this recipe but it has a strong flavour and  I wanted to try ghee as I wanted the little fritters to go crispy. Ghee is golden in colour and has a nutty flavour, it is rich in vitamins A , D and K2. It is also rich in conjugated linoleic acid which has many health benefits for healing our minds and our bodies. I have severed the fritters with some lovely green olives and a nice dollop of lemon/garlic cashew cream. I will do a post about cashew cream as it has so many uses, both sweet and savoury. Once you have made it you will be looking for an excuse to use it on everything.

 

Recipe

3  Potatoes (peeled and washed )

2 small fresh eggs ( mine was from our little bantam frizzle) or one large chook egg

2 tablespoons of maize flour

1/2 teaspoon of Celtic sea salt

One drop of black pepper essential oil

1-2 tablespoons of ghee

Method

Wash and peel the potatoes, soak them in some cold water. Grate the dried potatoes and then place them into a bowl. Heat up the ghee in a frypan so that is nice and hot for  your fritters. Add the eggs, flour,salt and one drop of black pepper oil. Stir until combined and add spoonful’s of the mixture to the oil and fry until golden. Place on paper towels and then stack them on a plate and serve with the lemon/garlic cream, a few olives, another sprinkle of sea salt and hide them from the rest of the family.

These make a great afternoon snack or addition to a main meal, you may find yourself adding more potatoes to your shopping list now !

Angela xx

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Raw Chocolate and Caramel Mousse

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Everyone is talking about how fabulous coconut cream, well I have to agree. Use a tin of organic full fat cream, not the skinny type or the coconut milk, there are many health benefits from eating the  full fat variety,  there are similar benefits to that of coconut oil, lots of fatty acids which help your body fight off viruses and may also help kill bad bacteria. So a great boost for the immune system.

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I love using coconut cream in many of my recipes, its usually adding to something like a curry, soup, smoothie, dessert..the list goes on any excuse really. I have found that there aren’t many ideas for coconut cream to stand alone, recipes just using the cream. I was making a vegetable curry last week and opened a tin that had been in my cupboard for a while and when I opened it the cream had solidified and was sitting on the top and had separated form the water underneath. As I scooped  out the solid cream  it reminded of  light little pillows of goodness, a fluffy mousse like substance and then it happened….my brain leapt into over drive…a recipe was created.

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I have only recently found and started using Lucuma powder, a powder derived from a fruit. Some of the benefits from this fruit is that it is high in beta- carotene, iron rich, great source of vitamin B3 and has anti- inflammatory benefits. Apart from all of that wonderful nutritional stuff, it has a sweet maple syrup like flavour with under tones of toffee or butterscotch. Lucuma is also fabulous in your smoothies.

 

Recipe

1 can organic full cream coconut cream ( left in the fridge overnight )

1 tablespoon raw Maca powder

2 tablespoons Lucuma powder

pinch of Celtic sea salt

sweetener of your choice..dash of maple syrup or stevia

 

Method

Take the can out of the fridge and scrap the thick coconut cream from the top of the tin and place it in a bowl. Use the rest of the coconut water in a smoothie later, or just pour   it into a glass and sip on it whilst making your delicious dessert. Whisk the cream until light and fluffy and fold in the powders and salt. I didn’t put any sweetener in mine but I tested it on my son and he preferred it with a dash of maple syrup. I dived into my freezer and found a handful of raspberries and scatted them on top of the mousse. If you love entertaining you can make these hours before, place a small amount into a vintage sherry glass and pop them back into the fridge until that special someone comes over for dinner….or lunch….or breakfast.

 

Enjoy.

Angela x

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Vegetarian Lasagne

 

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Since I have been gluten free I have been yearning for a pasta dish but haven’t been tempted to stray, until now.  I bought a large bag a red capsicums that were on super special and found myself creating a recipe to suit the vegetables that I have lots of. The roasted capsicums were super delicious and found myself eating the whole tray and had to go out and buy more!!

 

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I love this photograph (above) where I had carefully dolloped the ricotta around the dish, so I could take the perfect photograph. I had to laugh to myself as soon as I took this lovely photograph I had to smear it all over the vegetables but it didn’t look that pretty at all….its all about the styling !

Here is the recipe……………

 

Ingredients

1-2 sweet potatoes

4 potatoes

1 zucchini

2 tomatoes

1/2 cauliflower

2-3 red capsicums

1 large eggplant

375g smooth ricotta

handful of grated cheese,tasty or mozzarella

Preparation

Turn the oven on to 160 to heat, slice your eggplant with a knife and brush with your choice of oil, I used coconut oil. Put in the oven till roasted,remove. Cut the capsicum in half and drizzle with a little coconut oil and put in oven till roasted and remove.  I sliced all the vegetables using my mandolin ( vegetable slicer) so that they were lovely and fine. Ready to put all ingredients together.

Tomato Sauce

1 tin of  tomatoes ( or fresh tomatoes if you have plenty )

3 cloves garlic

1 handful of fresh basil

1 capsicum (fresh)

2 teaspoons Celtic sea salt

2 drops rosemary essential oil

2 drops thyme essential oil

2 drops basil essential oil

Method for Sauce

Put all of the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.

Putting it all together

Get the largest dish you have,start by pouring in a third of the sauce over the bottom of the dish. Start layering the vegetables,i started with the sweet potato and potato,then zucchini and eggplant. Then the cauliflower and I tore up the roasted capsicum and dotted around half the amount of ricotta and a sprinkle of the cheese. Then a third of the sauce and repeat with the rest of the vegetables . Finishing with the remaining ricotta and the last of the tomato sauce and finishing with the last of the grated cheese.

Place on the bottom shelf of the oven as it will need slow cooking, between1 1/2 to 2 hours depending on your oven.

 

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The amount of vegetables in this dish will feed about 8- 10 people, I love making this dish and freezing portions so there is some in the freezer for a rainy day. In case you haven’t  noticed yet I am very passionate about using organic essential oils in my food. The oils that I am using are 50-70 times more potent than a natural herb. They are 100% organic and have therapeutic properties that can benefit your health issues. If you would like to know which essential oils are use that are safe for internal use you can visit my website here

I decided to cook my lasagne mid morning so that I could leave it sitting for a few hours so that it would set…you know how a curry or pasta dish always tastes better the next day?

I am thinking about making a vegan version of this…let me know what you think?

Angela x

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Upside Down Peach and Ginger Little Cakes

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Have you ever had an excess of fruit or been on holidays in Qld and been visiting the fruit markets and found peaches for 99 cents per kilo? Well guess where I am?…  then you wonder what you are going to do with all of the peaches as you cant just by a couple of peaches you have to buy them in buckets.!

Its turned cool and  you feel like something yummy, or its pouring rain outside…….oh that’s  right I’m still in Queensland.

Anyway  have I got the recipe for you. I recently was invited to help do some cooking for a function and was thinking of more traditional old styled deserts and came up  upside down cake, bread and butter pudding and banana and date cake. You know me….I had to play with them and tweak the recipe  so the dishes came out super tasty but with a healthy twist and a dash of essential oil. So here is the first of the healthy versions of the old favourites.

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What is coconut nectar?

It is a fabulous tasting syrup, made from coconut palm blossoms and has a low GI (35). It is a great alternative for people with fructose sensitivities.

 

 

INGREDIENTS

1/2 teaspoon coconut nectar

125gm unsalted butter

1/4 cup honey

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup quinoa flour

1/2 cup almond flour

11/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon celtic sea salt

3 eggs

3 drops ginger essential oil

1-2 cups stewed fruit…..peaches, apples, rhubarb,strawberries (any fruit or combination of any of the above.)

METHOD

Heat oven to 160 degrees

I used a muffin tin but you could also use a cake tin if you wish. Wipe a small amount of butter on the base and sides of your tin. Place the coconut nectar in the base of the tin ( I keep my coconut nectar in the fridge ) so then place the tray in the oven for 10 seconds to melt the nectar.Take out and place in the stewed fruit.

In a bowl mix the melted butter, honey, eggs and ginger essential oil, beat till combined. Place all the other ingredients in a bowl then add the egg mixture, fold until combined,the mixture is quite thick.

Place spoonful’s of batter on top of the fruit. Place in oven and leave for 20 minutes. This recipe made 9 medium muffins, if you are using a cake tin leave for 35 – 45 minutes.

Serve with nice cream, cashew cream or cream (dairy).

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Did I mention I love making Soap?

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I have only just recently started playing with soap making and really wish I had discovered this years ago, so if you are reading this and thinking wow…I have always wanted to make soap then please, have a look at a few Youtube videos or purchase a beginners book to Soap making and start. You will love it and once you learn about the ingredients that are in mainstream soap you will never go back.

i have played with making Cold Pressed Soap (CP) which is the process of mixing an oil such as an olive, coconut, vegetable oils etc and sodium hydroxide (the lye). When I first read this I was a little scared but there really is no need, there are couple of steps when making the lye (safety) and then it is really easy to do.

 

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I was so excited about learning about CP soaps that I thought…… I know what…… everyone is getting Soap  for Christmas !. It was then i realised that CP soaps have to cure for 6-8 weeks…it was now mid November, so guess what no one received them as gifts. I still was so excited that I made two batches and gave them away but said you wont be able to use them!

Then I found Melt and Pour….this is a super easy soap to make. Melt and Pour is a glycerine based soap, its sort of a cheats way of making soap, perfect for children and adults that love to be a little creative. We have been having fun using the clear and some moulds the we picked up from the second hand shop. You can add dried flowers,beautiful essential oils or fragrances,  clays and spa minerals…I have just ordered some but haven’t tried mine yet, can’t wait !

Then of course there is Hot Processed soaps (HP), I haven’t tried that technique yet…it does look a little more scary but I will tackle that one soon as I love a challenge.

I think I will add some of my favourite recipes for these techniques in another post, it is really easy and I am sure if you try it you will never go back to store bought soaps again.

 

Angela x

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A New Year…and new beginnings

 

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Just wanted to say a big HELLO and introduce myself,my name is Angela and i am so excited to finally start blogging. I have so many ideas and talents that I am sure you will be drawn into my crafty, foodie, arty, juicy, animal, natural world……I think that’s all the bases covered.

I live on the Far South Coast of New South Wales, Australia, on small acreage with 9 alpacas, soon to be 11 and a heap of ducks and chickens. We also have a large amount of fruit trees and nut trees and many many garden beds which easily filled up with weeds.

Many years ago we planted all the fruit trees because I loved jamming and pickling and living off our produce. Such a wonderful feeling of sitting down to a meal that has come from your own garden even if it is a bowl of lettuce leaves and a couple of tomatoes.

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I have recently started my Instagram account, @giftofourearth I would love you to have a look  and if you have an account I would really like to read your too. Many years ago…well it feels like a life time ago, I was a chef at a 5 star hotel in Sydney. So now I am having fun playing with food and really excited about experimenting and discovering new recipes with Essential Oils. My focus will be on creating  vegetarian ,vegan,raw and healthy recipes.

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Hope you will come on this exciting and new adventure with me….

Angela x

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