FAST Blog: Family Homestead

Permaculture, Preparedness, Homesteading & Survival

Monday, 19 September 2016

Simple Sauerkraut

First time dipping our toes in to the world of fermenting so we went with the most basic recipe, nothing fancy.

So why make your own fermented foods?
They are PACKED with probiotics, and those mighty microbes have been shown to aid digestion, boost immunity and help us get leaner. 
In The Gluten Summit, 2013, Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, MD, told Dr. Tom O’Bryan, ““With every mouthful of sauerkraut you’re consuming billions of beneficial microbes which will be killing the pathogens in your gut driving them out and replenishing the beneficial flora in your digestive tract.”
Dr. Mercola sent his sauerkraut off to a lab and reported the findings of probiotics saying, “We had it analyzed. We found in a 4-6 ounce serving of the fermented vegetables there were literally ten trillion bacteria.” That means 2 ounces of home fermented sauerkraut had more probiotics than a bottle of 100 count probiotic capsules. Translated this means one 16 ounce of sauerkraut is equal to 8 bottles of probiotics.

Store bought, shelf stable kraut cannot compare to home fermented proper stuff when it comes to levels of probiotics, not to mention how much cheaper and more satisfying it is to make your own. I was surprised at how simple making Sauerkraut can be.
In its most basic form all you need is:
1 medium head of cabbage
2 tbsp salt


Slice the cabbage and Massage the salt in until it becomes wet and limp like coleslaw then chuck it in to the container (with the brine it has created) at room temperature for a week, move to the fridge and guidelines say it will keep for a month in the fridge. I can't imagine it would last that long though, I've been eating it with almost everything!


We used pink Himalayan salt but for no reason other than that we had a lot of it after we bought a big bag recently at the ethnic shop.

The sterilock caps for the kilner jars are handy, its totally possible to ferment without them, I just prefer the peace of mind they provide. Knowing that they create an airtight and mould free container was worth the purchase for me because the kids are still so young and now I don't need to worry about doing  wrong.


My only regret is that I didn't make a bigger batch,  its so delicious that we've already eaten most of it!

Next I think we'll try our hand at Kimchi, watch this space to hear how we get on :)


P.S on an unrelated note this blog post was written from my new kindle fire, its proving to be incredibly useful for how cheap it was. I've been using it for ebooks, podcasts, emails and facebook and it has handled it all with ease
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Thursday, 15 September 2016

Goodies Galore

I've been bitten by the dehydrating bug again so the dehydrator has been going most days/nights this week. I've done tons of plums, bananas and tried some raspberries but they didn't go too well, they had been frozen first so I'm not sure if that was the reason they went gooey rather than drying up.

The postman dropped off some 1L Kilner Sterilock top jars as I'm hoping to try my hand at some fermented foods, I think I'll start with Sauerkraut and maybe Kimchi and see how I get on from there

This is a fox totem Tshirt we did for one of our customers through Thor's Threads, the camera didn't catch how vibrant the colours are so it doesn't really do it justice  

Another goodie we got this week was a couple of water infusers

They're great for flavouring water and keeping track of how much water you've had in a day. Normally I drink a lot of squash which is essentially poison so hopefully this will get me drinking more water instead


I also got a Kindle Fire tablet this week, I'll be using it mainly to keep up with podcasts and blogs and the wealth of free ebooks on Amazon. I've been playing with it today and think I might even uninstall facebook from my phone and only use the kindle for FB so that I'm not constantly distracted by notifications when I'm out and about.

And this last one won't be to everyone's taste....you can see a glimpse of it in the photo above...I have had my fingers tattooed.

I've always wanted to have ink on my hands but my office job always dissuaded me from going through with it, but now I've finally taken the plunge. I think in this day and age we are passed the stage when people care what others do to their bodies. I appreciate that tattoos are not for everyone, that is why they are on my body and not theirs!



Hope you're all having a wonderful week, any tips for fermenting would be greatly appreciated!
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Sunday, 11 September 2016

Smart Scissors

A little gadget that came in the post this week, a new pair of  Anysharp Smart Scissors




Although scissors is a bit of an understatement, in reality they are a pair of kitchen shears!



The swiss army knife of scissors, they crack nuts, strip wire, crush garlic, open bottles and cut meat, rind, bone and anything else you would want to throw at your kitchen scissors. Since they are on kitchen duty it was very important that they are able to come apart so they can be cleaned properly in the pivot area which most scissors can't be, so the adjustable tension bolt on this pair fits the bill perfectly 


They do come wickedly sharp and have no problem cutting the type of things they're likely to come across. I've tried them out on paper, card, fabric and plastic so far and they've been in the kitchen for almost a week and breezed through their day to day duties. According to the marketing they are "the only pair of scissors you'll ever need", At £8 delivered via ebay I'm very happy with them and look forward to seeing how well they last.
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Friday, 9 September 2016

Conscious Kitchen

As always my opinion is my own, I'm afraid you can't pay for kind words on this blog you either make the cut or you don't!

Today's Fast Five will be centered around an awesome local business that we visited this morning,
Conscious Kitchen

They serve healthy and nutritious food and snacks along with smoothies and probiotics
Their slogan is the Hippocrates quote "Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food" and they have a nutritionist, chef and personal trainer to help "Inspire, support and guide you to optimising your health and well being"




They've been open a couple of months now and I've been meaning to check them out for a while and convinced Logan to come for a smoothie with me on our way back from the park today. 
(no mean feat, he's very fussy about what he'll agree to when he's getting tired and grumpy!)


I had the Bannana Hemp smoothie, containing Banana, Hemp Seed, Cinnamon, Maca, Dates and Bee Pollen. The kids had Banana and Strawberry smoothies. They were all absolutely delicious, Logan drank every drop and loved it (Aurora was asleep so had hers afterward)


I got speaking to Mark, one of the owners, whilst we were there and I love the plan they have for the place, they offer a whole lot more than the amazing healthy food and delicious drinks:


Mark was great with the kids, really friendly and knows his stuff. I ended up staying and chatting for a while, you wouldn't believe some of the obstacles they have come up against for local authorities!
Like being asked to prove that things like sauerkraut and kimchi are "fit for purpose", being told they cannot serve raw milk to customers because only the farmer can sell raw milk to the end user and my personal favourite: It has been forbidden for them to say that their smoothies and drinks are hydrating!! The mind boggles that if they were serving greasy spoon poison to people no one would bat an eye lid but the minute you say you want so serve anything health conscious or probiotic they want you to jump through hoops and pay for expensive certification if you want to stay in business.



When Rori woke up just as we got home she was VERY impressed with her smoothie. We'll definitely be dropping in to sample more soon.
They have a great thing going on at Conscious Kitchen so I hope the future brings them every success, drop by and give them a like on facebook to show them some support:

https://www.facebook.com/consciouskitchensouthend
Hope you all have a wonderful weekend

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Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Hump Day Catch Up

Hi Guys and Gals

I hope this week is treating you well so far

I have been loving not having to go to work, getting to spend time with the girls...




and the boy....





Yesterday we put the dehydrator to work



We have the absolute basic version, nothing fancy but it does the job perfectly well


we had half a jar of apple sauce left over so decided to try making some fruit leather, sprinkled with some cinnamon 


Also we threw in 3 bananas. Don't be afraid of packing as much in as possible when you load up your dehydrator, it's all going to shrink a lot so wont end up being stuck together



I always say real food doesn't contain ingredients, it IS ingredients, we used this little lot to make veggie fajitas (they could have been vegan if we hadn't added cheese)

I don't very often cook our main meal as usually I was at work and Carly is so darn good at it, but I really enjoyed getting in the kitchen so plan on doing more now that I'm off work.

I sauteed the garlic in olive oil with salt, smoked paprika and a little fajita mix, threw in half  an onion, chilli and then the beans. After 10 minutes I mashed the beans with the back of a fork and add half a cup of water, cook until it is smooth and not runny then set that aside. Next throw onions, garlic and the peppers in, cook til soft and add the mushrooms and you're done


A delicious, colourful fajita


as modeled here by Carly, who in other news got HOME SEWN tattooed on her hands this week


The fruit leather was ripped in to chunks and scattered on a plate with the banana to make an "Autumn Leaf" desert


I think its safe to say Logan enjoyed it!
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Thursday, 1 September 2016

As Happy As The Day Is Long

A quick catch up with how I've been enjoying my new found freedom:

I'll start with some of the food, 
We've had chocolate porridge with flax seed and walnuts



Home made Beetroot & chickpea falafel wraps with tahini dressing

a wholemeal loaf that I baked, i'm not 100% happy with it as it didn't come out amazing, it was just "OK" but I'm not entirely sure what it was missing, perhaps I'm just too fussy


Carly has been inundated with orders since the pre-release for the new Lucky Sew & Sew collection came out so I've been trying to keep the kids busy as much as possible so that she can work. 

One day I took the kids for a walk and decided to pop to the fire station to see if anyone was about because I knew that no fireman can resist being a child's hero. When we got to the station there was a few of the firemen mopping the floor and sure enough when Logan ran up to peek through the doors and wave at them they all waved back and gave him a thumbs up and one of the guys opened up the shutters and invited Logan in to drive the fire engine!

I remember my mom doing the same thing when I was a tiny rascal, it must be every little boys dream to be a fireman (along with astronaut and cowboy of course) and it absolutely made Logan's day. I have the greatest respect for the guys down there they were absolutely fantastic, hats off to them!


I cleaned up some of my silver jewellery with the boiling water, tin foil and baking soda trick, so they are all gleaming now without having to waste money on expensive chemical cleaners



We also went for a meal down at the Railway Hotel which is a real quirky old Victorian pub that serves vegan and vegetarian food
















So you can see we have been as happy as the day is long, which leads on to the last photo, the inspiration for this posts an excerpt from the Victorian Kitchen Garden which I've been reading recently:


and this was one of the more tame techniques recommended in the book!

Would you be happy with this method for keeping the birds off the veg patch, or do you have a more humane approach?

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Etsy

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