I got to thinking again the other night. Again. Makes for a bad night sleep when that happens but it does make for good time to sort through the racing ideas in my head.
Some of the things I got to thinking about were what would change in my kitchen if Peak Oil happened and imported or long distance foods became too expensive to buy. Things that would disappear off my table would be the tropical fruits. No pineapples, no bananas (that’s a big one as my kids adore narnies), no ginger, pepper, sugar, cereals and oh so many other things. But a few struck me as things I could do without buying anyway and so I did a little research.
Yeast. I know very little about yeast despite baking bread around 5 times a week. It comes in a vacuum sealed foil packet in freeze dried but active form. I know it’s alive and needs food to do its thing so it gets some warm water, a little salt and sometimes some form of sweetener like honey or rapadura or even fruit in my fruit bread and then it makes my bread dough double in size when it’s kept warm. It’s cool stuff. But I have absolutely no idea how I would grow and harvest this form of yeast or even fresh yeast if I could no longer buy it. Hmmm. As challenging as it would be I know I could grow my own wheat if push came to shove and I also know that it’s grown a lot more locally than pineapples (my mother’s family grew wheat in central NSW and family friends still do) and with a Thermomix I can and frequently do grind at least some of my own flour. Sweetener can be accessed in the form of fruit or honey but yeast… Then I thought about sourdough bread. Sourdough is made using a starter which is made to capture the wild yeasts floating around in the air and is probably the first means of making leaven bread. Check this for some further information. Hence I hit google last night and found a few recipes for sourdough starters. As of this morning I have 2; 1 with plain organic flour and 1 with freshly ground spelt flour. My recipe is from here and here. This is another good link too. I’ll keep you updated.
I also got to thinking about mustard and became convinced I could make my own. I’ve been meaning to look this up for ages but just never got to it. Well, I finally did yesterday and I’m kind of stunned at how easy it is and more than a little disgusted I haven’t looked it up before now! Instead of paying for this I can make it myself! :O EASILY! The 2 mustards we use are dijon and wholegrain so I’ve found 2 recipes I intend to try. Dijon requires white wine and onions, 2 ingredients I actually don’t have at the moment (I’m not a drinker and Martin doesn’t drink white wine and the onions got used up the other night making honey mustard chicken along with the last of my wholegrain mustard) so it will have to wait but my wholegrain is sitting on the bench ripening. 😀
Another food I have made from scratch or raw ingredients is Raw Sauerkraut or fermented cabbage. It’s extremely good for you and the more I think about it, in some ways similar to sourdough bread in that the starter and the cabbage are both soured with lactic acid fermenting. That was an easy make. I saw cabbages in Bacchus Marsh Avenue of Honour shops and figured it was worth a try. I grabbed 2 cabbages and headed home. I had no idea the sheer quantity they would make! Ai! Using my mandolin slicer I sliced it finely, then used the end of the rolling pin to bruise it and start releasing the juices. I put it into sterilised jars, squished it in with the rolling pin again and made sure it was covered in salted unchlorinated water. Into the pantry it went and I had the foresight to put the jars in a slice tray – they will bubble as they ferment and make a mess of your shelf – and a week or so later I had a try, yummo! I lost 1 jar to mould each batch I made; I think 1 was as the water level dropped too far and the other must have been an inadequate sterilisation. I still have a few jars in my fridge. This is the recipe I followed but I left out all the spices. If you do like the spices, the caraway seeds will assist in keeping down some of the more explosive results of eating too much sauerkraut or so my German mother-in-law tells me. 😉
I’ve also made mayonnaise in the Thermy. My hubby loves it. I’ve had some mixed success with the Every Day Cookbook (EDC) recipe where it has split 2 out of 5 tries but I have this recipe to try thanks to Linda from Diary of a Nifty Mum. She gave it to me absolutely ages ago but just hadn’t got around to it. 😦 Well, off to make it now I think. My poor hubby has been deprived of mayo for far too long.
Edit added: How could I forget?! Just made some more homemade chocolate hazelnut spread. It’s a Thermy recipe and I am not sure who to credit for it but here it is with the changes I’ve made to it too:
120g raw hazelnuts
Grind sp8 10 secs.
Add 380g rapadura (you can put nuts in a bowl and grind raw sugar for 20 sec sp9 instead though)
40g raw cacao powder or 60g cocoa
Mix n speed 7.
The recipe says 1/4 cup canola oil but a) canola is genetically modified and b) I have always found it needs more than 1/4 cup so I just pour in oil – rice bran or sunflower oils have worked well for me – starting with at least a 1/4 cup then seeing if it is just starting to ‘flow’. If not I add more. BUT GO SLOWLY. Too much oil is bleugh. When it’s mixed and at the consistency you like, pop into jars and into the fridge. Remember though, the oil will solidify somewhat in the fridge although it melts again when on hot toast.
I absolutely love making things like this myself. 1 less thing I need to pay for, 1 less round of preservatives and flavour enhancers, 1 more thing I can chalk up to self sustainability. What do you balk at buying and prefer to make yourself?