Chilly Zucchini n Swede Ferment

Lots ov zucs around at this time so decided to do a wild ferment this morning, mum also has some big swedes in her garden that I was freezing for her today so nicked a few bits for my ferment. Last night I made a zucchini slice for her n dad for their lunches, it looked good but I didn’t try it coz it had ham n cheese in it but they liked it. Making curried zuc soups later on as well……….

Grated Zucchini & Sweed for a wild ferment

I grated a large zuc n a bit ov swede to this I added Puha (Sonchus oleraceus), chilly flakes, dried kelp (seaweed), mustard n sea salt.

Fermented zucchini n sweed.
Fermented zucchini n sweed.
I massaged all this togetha n stuffed it into a jar pushing down until liquid covered the vegetable matter n then I weighed it down with my pebbles. For the first few days I used extra weight ie here a smaller bottle with water in it that sits in tha bigger jar, once it settles more n I’m sure everything is gonna stay under liquid I remove extra weight n cover tha jar with a cloth just to stop insects havin a snak n I will let this sit checking for readiness in a coupler weeks.

I think this will be good on sourdough n farm fresh eggs I can’t wait until it is ready 🙂

Kraut n about n silly buggaz

So this week I got a batch ov green gage plum leathers down they r still drying I made them real thick, so am hoping tha sun stays out. I’ve also got a small amount ov prune plums drying they were a bit on tha green side n I wasn’t sure how they would work but they r sooooo good.

Chilly Sauerkraut

I am drying them in full sun n if you haven’t done it before it looks a bit worrying because they are virtually cooking then drying, it is very different than drying in the shade or a dehydrator, I have done it once before n I loved it, I will keep some just stored dried n I will like last time put some in jars, pour ova a sugar syrup n hot bath them for 20 minutes. They come out plump sweet n intense.

Mum had a couple cabbages in her garden that she said I could use so I made a chilly sauerkraut out ov one.
Chilly SauerkrautChilly Sauerkraut

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First I chopped (this time finer than usual becoz I want it quicker) tha cabbage n then I layered the cabbage chilly flakes n salts into my jar, I used normal sea salt n my special salt you can add what ever you like to it.

In between layers I pounded the lot with my rolling pin, once I finished all the cabbage I pushed it all down under tha liquid, I then put my pebbles on top to hold the vegetable matter under the liquid then I put anotha weight on top ov the pebbles for good measure. In a few days I removed the extra weight leaving tha pebbles on top n I placed a lid loosely on tha jar, this will sit in a cupboard until ready maybe a couple weeks, I will keep checkin everything is under the liquid n 4 readiness some people like their kraut softer n more well done than othas, I like mine still a bit crunchy.

Oh n as you can see there my dad thought it would be funny to stick his mug in tha shot…. n I said if that has come out clearish I’m gonna put it in my blog! So I did, see that’s wot hapin when ya muck around. 🙂
Chilly Sauerkraut

I am going to do more plums soon, I will do a better blog on them when I do.

Clear Warm Desert Skies & Delights

Long time between blogs but that happens on the road I’m afraid but I’m laid up for a couple days the driving has caught up with me so here is an update on what has been happening on my travels so far wild food wise.

In South Australia on the highway heading up towards Alice Springs I found a massively loaded prickly pear (Opuntia sp.) n couldn’t resists gathering some to eat n they were supper delicious but quite hard to process on the road in the middle of nowhere with no running water to wash the spins off, I did the best I could with what I had n I enjoyed them but word to the wise don’t use your good pig skin gloves to harvest them n hold them to peel because the spines do not come out they stuck rite into the gloves n I had to throw them….. hard lesson so be warned.
Prickly Pear (Opuntia sp.) & pomegranate (Punica granatum)

Further up the road I found a loaded pomegranate tree at a servo just before the boarder n garbed a small basket full unfortunately I forgot about the boarder quarantine n had to get rid ov or use them before I crossed the boarder and I was gonna make a drink out of the seeds but they were not ripe they were to astringent to use n I was very disappointed indeed that bloody quarantine has relieved me over the years of some gorgeous fresh produce the one that still stings is the last time I crossed I lost my beautiful organic home grown garlic along with some other yummy goods, I was not happy.

I had another 2 garlic bulbs from my uncles garden in Tassie this round and was determined not to loose them this time so I camped up for the night just before the boarder and cooked up the garlic n all the fresh cherry tomatoes from my friends place in Daylesford that I had with me n I can tell ya you wouldn’t have wanted me to breath on you for the next few days!!

The good news is I was allowed to keep the large bucket I had of chestnuts (Aesculus sp.) n the smaller basket of acorns (Quercus sp.) I had collected in Victoria, I was really happy for that I thought I would loose them all.

Once in central Australia just before Alice Springs I camped up in a nice spot n decided it was such a nice night I would have a camp fire n enjoy the night sky. I got the chestnuts out which I had earlier back down the road at another stop peeled the prickly husks off, I took a knife to these n split their brown shell with a cross so they wouldn’t explode on me I then put them on the coals turning them so as not to burn it was hot work. They were ok but I just don’t get the attraction to having them roasted because they are much nicer put into a stew n slow cooked they have a nicer flavor n texture this was, I think it must be like a traditional thing.
I also put the acorns on the coals to pop their shells which I then peeled off, I have pickled these which I have never done before n I’m hoping they will turn out nice I want the smokiness of the fire n the slight roasting to come through in the flavor, I will let you know how they go.
Chestnuts ( Aesculus sp.)

Podaxis pistillarisThat evening before I set up camp when I first pulled up I had to walk out the back aches n stiffness from all the driving it has been so exiting being on the road again heading toward warmer weather that I got a bit carried away n have done to much at once. anyway I was wondering around the area n I came across these fungi popping their heads up out of the red dirt in the middle of the desert, fungi never cease to amaze me n this tough little guy is Podaxis pistillaris. He is a relative ov the puff ball n there was only a few there so I didn’t kill him to do the usual cut in half pictures n spore print ect to show better ID for everyone I just couldn’t do it.

The next day I arrived in Alice Spring to the delicious smells of slow cooked roaster stew which I could only approve upon by adding some of the peeled chestnuts n accompanying it with stemmed purslane (Portulaca oleracea) which because it had apparently rain flat out for 4 day just before I arrived was every where, the sweetness of the chestnuts against the sourness of the purslane worked like magic in the mouth.
The purslane was the best I had ever seen n tasted it was beautifully young n crisp, I also pickled to large jars full for later enjoyment n I’m sure there will be no lack of this fresh healthy treat on the next leg ov my journey.

That same day my friend Petal came home with a palm trunk that he had removed from someone place n to his amusement I was so exited, I got him to cut it up into like 40 cm sections n then in half long ways to get to the heart of the palm, it was a cocus palm (Syagrus romanzoffiana) n I was pretty sure all palm species hearts were edible, I had never tried palm heart before because you have to kill the plant to get to it.
The heart was beautifully white n very crisp, I cut out as much as I could while Petal n his partner Peachy watched with curiosity, we all had a nibble on it raw n I liked it a lot Petal wasn’t that impressed he thought it was a bit bland n to most it probably is, Peachy liked it too so pretty good results all round n I believe it would be nice in stir fries & or stews ect.

The only problem with it is it oxidized really fast so I went around to my friends back yard n picked some limes to squeeze over it which stopped the browning in it’s tracks, I had some for dinner that night n I pickled the rest the next day I hope it turn’s out nice again I will update.

In picture below from left to right is the pickled palm heart, purslane n the acorns.

Pickled Palm heart (Syagrus romanzoffiana), Purslane ( Portulaca oleracea )& Acorns (Quercus sp.)

Well that’s it for now happy gathering everyone. 🙂

Thistle Roots, Feild Mushrooms n Bubbling Wild Ferments in Daylseford

Ok so I’m staying at a friends place for awhile in Daylesford n I’ve been eating the usual suspects everyday dandelions (Taraxacum officinale) plantain (Plantago lanceolata) n dock (Rumex crispus) greens which has been good but the other day I managed to gather a good feed of thistle roots (Cirsium vulgare) the other day I knew my friends hadn’t tried them before so thought it would be a real treat for them n they absolutely loved them.

Bull thistle roots (Cirsium vulgare )
I scraped n cut up into bite size bits then to stop them oxidizing before they were all cut up n ready for the hot plate I put a squeeze of lemon in the water, once ready I simmered these for about an hour until tender I really love their artichoke heart flavor.
The next day we drove around looking for some mushies as it had rained recently we picked a bucket of field mushroom (Agaricus campestris) n a few puff balls (Calvatia sp.). My friends Stu n Nira had theirs with chicken livers fried up for breakfast they really loved them, I’m not a fan of the feildy any more for some reason I’ve gone rite off them I had a few small buttons n some puff balls on toast with an egg.
Field mushrooms (Agaricus campestris)
Also some of the fermenting projects we have done, from the left  remember the crab apple cider I was going to make into vinegar well first I had to keep my eye on Stu n Nira coz they would have liked to have drunk all the cider so I wouldn’t have anything to make vinegar with but all good they controlled themselves, I have now strained all of the solids out of this n added some of my home made vinegar with a little mother so now it is just a matter of time lucky I have good self control too.
We also made a new batch of kombucha it is sitting on they bench bubbling away n Nira n I made an apple scrap vinegar for them, we just cut up some apples you can use apple cores and or left overs we also added some grapes you can use any fruits for this that you have around, then we added a sugar syrup to the fruit in that big jar we used about 1 cup of sugar, this will become active n you let it bubble away until it settles a bit then strain the solids out and again wait for the liquid to turn to vinegar, if you have raw vinegar or a vinegar mother you can add these to help speed up the process but they are not necessary it will happen naturally in it’s own good time.

Wild ferments- crab apple cider vinegar, kombucha n apple scrap vinegar

Crab apple cider vinegar, Kombucha n Apples scrap vinegar

Well that’s it for now hopefully in a couple week we will get many different mushrooms fingers crossed. 🙂

Mango & Tamarind Madness Continued

Mango & Tamarind RelishOk it is the first time I have fermented something directly in the sun I was inspired by an indian mango relish recipe so I gave it a go, I cut and pulped up magoes as previously shown and I addded Tamarind (Tamarindus indica) pulp, spices, chilly, mustards seeds and raw sugar. I let this sit outside in the sun for about five days and it is hot up here about 31 in the shade……. It was so active I had to put a bowl under the glass jar because it bubbled over it was wildly active for the whole time I had it out side and then for another week inside on the kitchen bench I didnt think it was going to stop so I put it in the fridge the excaped liquid taste very alcholic and I felt a bit tipsy after tasting it, I had it in the fridge for a week and it is still active as soon as it hits room temperature I’m not sure how long it would actually take to stop so it will live in the fridge. I dont love this one it is quite alcholic tasting it is an unusual taste but I’m sure some people would love it so dont be afraid to try it just because I’m saying I don’t like it 🙂

Kombucha Madness & Pineapple Vinegar

Lilly Pilly Kombucha & Water Melon & Paw Paw Kombucha & Pineapple vinegarIn the picture above you can see from left to right- Water melon, paw paw, ginger & turmeric kombucha then in the middle the River cherry/Lilly pilly (Syigium fibrosum)  kombucha and then my Pineapple vinegar.
In the first kombucha on the left I blended water melon and paw paw together I then added some ginger & turmeric bug and kombucha and let sit to brew.
In the River Cherry kombucha I put the seeds of the river cherries that were left over from jam making in a batch of kombucha to brew and it is amazingly tart I just love it.
The Pineapple vinegar is just a mixture of pineapple rind, raw sugar, water and a small vinegar mother that had formed on my home made fruit vinegar it is bubbling away on the bench nicely it still needs more time and I will up date when it is finished.
I am running out of jars and fridge space…………. 🙂

My First Kimchi

KimchiOk this is my first go at Kimchi well it is probably not technically Kimchi but it is the closest for me so far, it could also be referred to as a spicy kraut I suppose but I’m calling it Kimchi ok, I have been dying to make it but just didn’t get around to it at home and I seen this gorgeous locally grown Chinese cabbage at the market the other day and also some lovely purple topped turnips so that sealed the deal Kimchi it is.
I chopped the cabbage into rough slices leaving one leaf whole to cover the lot at the end I grated the crispy white turnip & crushed the garlic I put all this aside in a large bowl and then made a mixture of my home made shoyu sauce, fermented chilly sauce, salt & pepper with a tinny bit of water to loosen it up and then the fun part….. I massaged this all through the veggies and then stuffed the mixture into a large jar I covered the lot carefully with the whole leaf to keep everything under the liquid and then on top of the leaf I placed my river pebbles so everything was under the liquid I put the jar lid on loosely so the gas can escape but insects cant get in you can use a cloth instead if you like and this is now sitting on the bench bubbling away. I cant wait for it to be ready shouldn’t take long here in the tropics I will let you know how it goes soon 🙂

Wild Fermentation Happiness All Round

Down but not out, making the best of a bad situation ect ect  I am no longer mobile as my van broke down and it is going to take a few months to fix so I am parked up at my friends place Mick is his name and while I have use of a kitchen fridge and some one to feed I’m goin to take advantage of the situation, first thing I did was get started on my wild fermentation’s again, I actually thought I did this blog a while back but today realized I hadn’t done it I get confused between my blog and my facebook group some times and had put it up in my group but not as a blog so here it is anyway below are my new projects but I must admit most of these are gone already hehehe 🙂

From left to right- Sauerkraut, Ginger bug, beet kvass, kale juice & pickled green beans

From left to right- Sauerkraut, Ginger bug, beet kvass, kale juice & pickled green beans

From left to right- Beet kvass, Ginger bug & Kale juice

From left to right- Beet kvass, Ginger bug & Kale juice

From left to right- HOT chilly sauce & Pickled green beans

From left to right- HOT chilly sauce & Pickled green beans

I’m loving getting back into my fermenting I knew it was going to be one of the things I missed the most about living on the road, I have to say that chilly sauce there in that picture is stupidly hot I got these little chilies of a woman at the Mossman markets and she said they were hot when I asked her but this ended up to hot to eat and I have never said that about anything before I only need to put one teaspoon of this mixture into a 2 liter jar of ingredients to make it hot.
The pickled green beans stayed crisp and crunchy and my friend and I have been having beet kvass & some times the kale juice every morning and he is absolutely loving it so wild fermentation happiness all around 🙂

Pickled Onions

Pickled onionsHay all just wanted to post about my yummy pickled onions…. Didn’t expect to be making these again for awhile but seeing as I’m not living on the road and have the use of my friend house/kitchen/fridge and someone to feed my yummy food to I did. I found these little baby onions at the market and was so exited about them and to my quizzically looking friend I said you wait till you taste my pickled onions!!!!!
So I peeled the outer layers off and packed them all into a large jar I then made a brine with a few garlic cloves, cloves, pepper, bay leaf and my fermented chilly sauce that I poured over the onions, I put my river pebbles on top of the onions to hold them under the liquid and lastly I put a cloth over the jar hole they sat for a week on the bench and have now been moved to the fridge, wow ferments happen quick up here it’s great 🙂
I hope my pictures aren’t to dark I have the brightness turned down on my screen as my eyes don’t like the bright whiteness and I naturally like darker shots……. I do go and turn it up to check some times but not all the time and then I’m still not 100% sure because everyone is different anyway I hope they are ok for you all 🙂

Mustard Zucchini Pickle

Visiting the Rusty Markets in Cairns recently I was over whelmed by all the gorgeous fresh produce everywhere this has to be one of the best food markets in Australia for sure. I found some lovely zucchinis a little bit bigger than most so I bought four of them I haven’t seen proper big ones anywhere like I used to grow mine up to but I can make do with these, I grated the skin and flesh up to the seed which I discarded I put the flesh into a bowl and added some English mustard, home made mustard with whole seeds, white pepper, salt and a spoonful of my fermented chilly sauce to kick start the fermentation process. I only left this on the bench for about four days up here in northern Queensland as it is much quicker than in Tasmania where it took a couple weeks to get the mixture to where I like it. In the picture you can see I had this with my weed cracker, it is hard to see but there are two different cracker on the plate the darker ones on the left are the seaweed & soy sauce weed crackers and the lighter ones on the rite are just my normal weed crackers.

Mustard zucchini pickle with weed crackers

Mustard zucchini pickle with weed crackers

I make these every fortnight to have around as a healthy snack I have already blogged about my crackers but I will go through it again, I don’t use recipes as usual but you need to get this mixture to make a hard dough that can be rolled out without cracking up and the texture of the cracker is a personal thing if you want them to be more short (meaning flakier when bitten into like short breads hence the name) you just add more oil as the liquid to the dough and if you like them hard don’t add as much bicarb soda, baking powder and oil to the mixture.
So in my normal crackers I add – Wholemeal flour, Chick pea/ Besan flour, dried Sow thistle/Puha (Sonchus sp), Mustard greens (Brassica sp.), Nettles (Urtica sp.), sea lettuce (Ulva sp.) Tasmanian Pepper Berry leaf (Tasmannia lanceolata), powdered Slippery Jacks (Suliius sp), celery salt, black & white pepper, herbal salts (Herbahare), poppy seeds, mustard seeds, nettle seeds, bicarb soda and baking powder then to this dry mixture I add enough oil and water to make a hard dough. I then roll this out put onto trays stab with a fork all over and bake until lightly brown. The soy and seaweed crackers just have more sea lettuce in them with some dark soy sauce and chilly for extra punch.