Tag Archives: homesteading

Kombucha Experiment! (Part One)

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Kombucha Experiment! (Part One)

Every now and then I get a bright idea and decide to give it a go. This time it was Kombucha. Kombucha is basically a fermented fizzy drink that you brew using a SCOBY, that is drunk to improve digestive and gut health.

I want to make Kombucha but I decided I wanted to grow a SCOBY from scratch, so a bit of googling and I found a tutorial by Cotter Crunch and another by FermUp that explains how to do just that.

What you need:

  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 2 tablespoons sugar ( I used brown)
  • 1 bag black tea (any will do, as you can see I went for cheap) or 1 tbsp loose-leaf black tea.
  • 1 bottle of store bought Kombucha (preferably organic)
  • a glass container (not pictured)

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What I did differs a little from what is described by Cotter Crunch and FermUp but is essentially the same.

What you do:

  • Brew the kettle and add your T Bag and sugar to your mug.
  • Pour boiling water into your mug and stir in your sugar until it dissolves.
  • Allow it to sit for a few minutes then remove your T bag. Then let the tea cool to room temperature.
  • While it’s cooling get your glass jar and ensure it is thoroughly cleaned. Then sterilized it (ESSENTIAL) by pouring in hot water, letting it sit for a moment and pouring the water back out. This will both rinse any cleaning products out and kill any further bacteria.
  • Once your tea is cool, add it to your sterilized glass container allowing room to add your Kombucha. You will need about half Kombucha, half tea
  • Add your Kombucha ensuring any stringy sediment makes it into your glass container. Depending on the size you may not need the whole bottle. Feel free to drink the rest.
  • Put a cloth over your jar to allow it to breath but keep the nasties out and place it in a dark spot.
  • And now you wait. Try to resist peeking or moving the jar as this will disturb the SCOBY.

Some tutorials say it will take a week to start seeing some growth but I found it was more like two weeks before I noticed anything happening. The photo below was after about a week and a half.

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As you can see there isn’t a lot of action a week or so later I started noticing some lumps forming and these gradually got thicker and bigger, as below.

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I’m still waiting for the SCOBY to get thick and big enough to use so there will more more psot in the future. For now, I’m off to go google some recipes. 🙂

Here’s an update from today. Definitely developing nicely.
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Today is feeding day!
About 4 weeks after starting the project I remembered that I have to feed the SCOBY in order to keep it growing. Oops! It had kept growing but probably not as nicely. So, today I decided to feed it. Ideally, this is done when you’re SCOBY is abut 2mm thick…
This is mine today.

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To feed it, you basically prepare the tea solution as you did before and let it cool.

Once cool you add the tea, to top up the sugars.

There is a lot of information and misinformation about Kombucha, but I found a great link that goes through several of them by Phoenix Helix that is well worth a read.

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Milled Nut ‘Milo’

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I’ve been experimenting a lot with trying to make alternative nutrient rich versions of treat foods so today I decided to trial a Milo-like drink recipe I found in my travels that incorporates a lot of nuts. (recipe below)

Honestly, I’m not that enamoured with it as a drinking ‘chocolate’ per se but it does make a pleasant sweet nut drink that would go nicely with breakfast provided you keep stirring it to prevent the ‘Milo’ from settling to the bottom. I do think it would go nicely on the top of cake like carrot or walnut, or even just added to porridge, muffins etc for a nutrient boost.

I think I will add it to my home made breakfast bars.

Recipe

You need:
3 tbls (40g) lindseed (aka flax)
2 tbls (25g) sunflower seed
2 tbls (25g) sesame seed
2 tbls (25g) pepitas (pumpkin seed)
1/3 cup (50g) almonds
1/4 cup (25g) Brazil nuts
1/4 cup (25g) pecans
1 cup (100g) raw cacao powder
1 cup (100g) rapadura or coconut palm sugar

Do:
(Thermomix)
Place all ingredients into tm bowl and mill for 10 seconds on speed 9.
Note: if you are using cacao beans mill first 10 seconds on speed 10.

(stick blender)
Place all ingredients into a high sided bowl and blend until mixture takes on a Milo-like appearance.

Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two months in the fridge or up to 6 months in the freezer.

Oven Dried Tomatoes

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I currently have a glut of tomatoes and after sandwiches, parmi sauce and tomato sauce I still have quite a few left over so I have decided to dry them. With two dogs, a toddler and an absent mind putting them outside for a few days (then again with our current heat wave maybe 1 would suffice) isn’t an option. So I’ve decided to give oven drying a go.

What you need:

  • 1 kilo ripe tomatoes
  • Coarse iodised sea salt
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped finely
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • White wine vinegar (optional)

What to do:

  1. Depending on how big you’d like them, either slice the tomatoes, or halve them (the bigger they are, the longer they will take to dry up).

    These are cherry tomatoes but you can use normal sized ones

  2. Scoop out most of the seeds.

    I used the top of a cheap peeler for this but anything will do

  3. Sprinkle with salt and leave them skin side up so that the excess liquid from the tomatoes can drain out. I recommend putting them in a strainer in the sink or over a bowl so the liquid can drain completely away.

    You can also use normal table salt but I do recommend iodised salt over plain salt for the health benefits.

  4. Let them sit for about 15-20 minutes to get rid of the excess moisture and reduces the time in the oven.

    Any container will do but I suggest putting them in a strainer over another bowl or the sink.

  5. In a large bowl, toss together the tomatoes with the garlic, oregano, black pepper, white wine vinegar and olive oil. Place the tomatoes on a tray with foil or baking paper and drizzel the rest of the oil mixture over the top of the tomatoes. Cook in a low oven at 100C for three hours.

    Any oven proof tray will do

  6. Place the tomatoes in a sterilized glass jar and use within a week. If you’re going to use this over a longer period of time, then cover it with some olive oil.

    To sterilize the jar wash with warm soapy water, rinse, than place in the oven until dry.

Hmm… Ovendried tomato pizza anyone?

Breadziller Loaf

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This is my first attempt that grossly over proved hence the name 'Breadziller'.

This is my first attempt that grossly over proved hence the name ‘Breadziller’.

This is an adaption of the basic bread recipe featured in the Thermomix ‘Everyday Cooking’ Cookbook. I had a lot of trouble getting my bread to prove or rise ready for baking, so started looking for tips. This is the final version which seems promising. (Although I may yet do some tweaking).

The first time I tried this version of the recipe I forgot to turn on the oven so the dough sat there for yet another hour before I realised, and continued to prove into this huge mushroom that swallowed my bread tin. It still tasted ok, if a little dense but that’s how it got its name ‘Breadziller’. 🙂

You need:

  • 300g Water
  • 1 Sachet Dry Yeast
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Bread Improver
  • 500g Bakers Flour
  • 20g Olive Oil

Instructions:

Heat water to 37 degrees at speed 1.

Add yeast and oil and mix for 1 minute on speed 1 to activate the yeast. Add flour and bread improver then salt. Mix for 5 seconds on speed 7 to combine. Set dial to closed lid. Kneed dough for 1 minute and 30 seconds on interval speed.

Place dough in an oiled bowl or silpat baking mat and leave to prove for 30 minutes in a warm spot. Dough should approximately double in size.

Brush with milk for a golden crusty top and bake in the oven for 25 minutes at 180 degrees.

Bread should sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.

Tips:

  • Use lukewarm water to help activate the yeast.
  • Add the flour then the salt to avoid the salt killing the yeast.

Homemade Apple Cider Caramels

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Over at Meanderings Around  I found this great recipe for Apple Cider Caramels that I just had to share! (A Tiny Hippo will help you with this one 😉 )

Behold! These lovely caramels are a hit for anyone who tries them, and they look so cute in a little bowl or a mason jar with a twine bow.

The recipe is easy to follow with no alterations or additions needed, be sure to wear your protective goggles while stirring the bubbling candies. When you select an apple cider for making these little gems don’t buy the cheap stuff. I used apple cider from our local orchard because Wilson’s Apple Orchard makes divine cider, and it is a great place for a family outing, see my Tiny Hippo at the Apple Orchard post.

Once your awesome caramels have cooled its time to turn them into perfect little presents that all your buddies will love!

Alright, remove the caramels from the pan using the parchment paper. While you may be tempted to wrap this huge block up and keep it for yourself willpower must prevail.

Instead of scarfing down the whole block of caramel, divide it into even rectangles or squares using a sharp knife or a pizza cutter

Now for the fun part! Set up a work station for the caramel wrapping extravaganza. You will need the cut caramels, rectangles of wax paper, and a neat surface to roll up the caramel in paper.

Once your lovely caramels have been wrapped up safe and sound, all that is left is for you to take them to all those fancy parties where it is only proper to give a great gift.

Simple Orange Cordial

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This cordial is pretty easy to make and you can use other fruit or combinations of fruit. I have included both the stove top (provided by a friend of mine) and Thermomix versions.
Stove Top

You will need:

  • Juice of 6-8 oranges
  • Rind of 3
  • 2 liters of water
  • 2 teaspoons of Tartaric Acid
  • 1 Teaspoon of Citric Acid
  • 2 kg of sugar
  • Big pot
  • Clean empty glass bottles (Ikea is great for these) or jars

Dissolve the sugar in water. Add the rind, juice, water, tartaric and citric acids in and boil them together. Bottle while hot.

Thermomix 

You will need:

  • 6 Oranges
  • Rind of approx 4
  • 2 Teaspoons of Tartaric Acid
  • 1 Teaspoon of Citric Acid
  • 500 grams of Sugar
  • 750 grams of Water
  • Kettle
  • Clean empty glass bottles (Ikea is great for these) or jars

Peel oranges (taking care to avoid too much of the orange flesh) and place peel in TM. Juice the oranges into the TM over the strainer (to catch seeds and pulp). Remove the strainer and add sugar and tartaric and citric acids. Set your kettle to boil the water (while its boiling, do yourself a favour and clean up – dishes to the sink, scraps to the compost bin, wipe down your bench). Add the freshly boiled water. Set your TM to Reverse, 90’c, 10 minutes and Speed 2. Bottle immediately and keep refrigerated.