lørdag 23. juni 2012

The Very Best Cereal

This is the very best cereal I know - if you take time to make it you will get a great start to your day. Eat with (unpasteurized!) milk or sprinkle it on smoothies, yoghurt or a delicious dessert. 

The main ingredients are:

coconut meat

In addition you can use:

almonds, hazelnuts or walnuts
flax seeds
sunflower seeds
pumpkin seeds
dried fruit

Most nuts, seeds, grains and legumes have different amount of anti-nutrients in them that should be neutralized, at least if we eat them in substantial quantity. One method is to soak them in water with a little whey (hard to come by if you don't make your own cheese or separate it yourself from sourmilk), but lemon juice is supposed to work as well. The point is to put them in a warm, moist and sour environment. Sprouting does much the same thing.

Read more about anti-nutrients here. The short story is that they, if eaten in large quantities, can cause all sorts of problems with digestion, for instance poor nutrient absorption, constipation and food allergies. The soaking (and drying) process is rather time consuming, but I believe it's worth it. 

Nuts, seeds and buckwheat should soak for at least seven hours, preferably overnight. Coconut is not really a nut but a fruit, and therefore need not soak. Bear in mind however that some people react allergically to coconut (ocount also contains anti-nutrients, as most plant foods do). Then, nuts, seeds and grated coconut meat should be dried in a dehydrator or warm oven (with door open) at approximately 40 degrees celcius (100 degrees fahrenheit) until it has restored a crispy texture (important to dry it thorougly or it will go stale rapidly). Buckwheat should then be put in a pan on low heat with butter or coconut oil until it has a golden color. Add the cinnamon, vanilla and dried fruit.

The mixing ratio of the cereal depends on what you like the most, and what you have on hand, but I recomend you to use plenty of coconut meat.

How to select and prepare coconuts: 

Preferably seek out advice on coconuts from someone not living in Norway! That being said, my experience when selecting coconuts in the store is that you should shake the nuts and make sure that they contain plenty of water. Dry coconuts are always sour and moldy. Pick out the nuts with the nicest appearance and fewest spots (normally, about 1-2 out of 10 are then still stale - take these back to the shop and get your money back). 

To get the water out, drive a screwdriver into one of the 3 holes on top (the soft one). I then usually use the screwdriver as a small crowbar and break off a piece of the shell so that you get a big hole. If the hole is too tiny the vacuum will prevent you from getting the water out. Then just place the coconut on it's head over a cup and taste the water. If the water is sour, the cocount is no good - take it back to the store. If the water is sweet or neutral it's good. 

To peel of the shell, hold the coconut in one hand, and with your other hand knock all around the cocount with a hammer to loosen the meat from the shell (softly though, you don't want to break the shell before the meat has loosened). Finally, hit harder with the hammer so that the coconut shell breaks. Use your hands and a blunt knife to remove the shell. Most of the time there'll be some parts of the meat that are still attached to the shell. Use a blunt butterknife for instance (very important that it's not sharp) and jiggle it in between the shell and meat and separate them. Be aware though, this is an excellent way to damage yourself if you're not careful!

Now you have a pile of coconut meat - either as a whole piece or as several small pieces. Smell the outer part - if the "bark" smells funky or moldy, try washing it in lukewarm water. If the smell persists I will usually go through the trouble of peeling the skin off with a potato/carrot peeler (remember, you already know the coconut meat itself isn't stale since you checked the water). 
Lastly, grate the meat and dry it in the oven with the nuts.

When the cereal is finished, you can store it in a glass container for instance. The mixture has a long shelf life if it has been sufficiently dried. At our home we always finish the cereal alarmingly fast, so we never really find out excactly how long it can last! Therefore I am constantly in the kitchen to prepare more. Enjoy!

søndag 10. juni 2012

Nettle and Bacon Pie

What a joy! Today I harvested the main ingredient for today's lunch just a few hundred meters from my own home  -  the plant grows everywhere and will provide me with a nutritious ingredient all spring - nettle. Nettle is normally considered a weed, but don't underestimate it -  the taste is delicious and the plant has a long medical history. Nettle has for instance been used to treat anemia, urinary problems and joint pain.

Together with bacon, sour cream and nutmeg - this pie will put a smile on your face because you made everything from scratch, even harvested the nettle - it's good for you, and it tastes delicious.

To make this pie you need:
* 100 g butter
* 3 dl (a bit more than 1 cup) whole grain rye flour
* Pinch of sea salt
* 300 g nettle
* 100 g bacon 
* 1 small onion
* 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
* 4 eggs
* 250 g sour cream
* Sea salt, pepper and nutmeg to finish
* Optional: cheese (for example Gruyere)

How to make it:

Combine butter, flour and salt in a bowl and knead it until it comes together and detaches from the bowl. Refrigerate for about an hour.

Roll the dough and spread evenly onto your mold. Preheat the oven to 175 degrees Celsius, lightly dock the crust with a fork and bake it in the oven for about 10 minutes.

Heat water in a kettle (just enough to cover the nettle). When the water boils, turn off the heat and add the nettle, leave it in the water for about 15 minutes before you remove the water. Then squeeze out any excess water and chop it.

Fry the bacon and onion in a pan.

Mix sour cream and eggs in a bowl, then add the nettle, bcon, onion and garlic, before adding salt, pepper and nutmeg.

Place the filling in the pie disg, sprinkle with Gruyere and bake in the oven for about 30 minutes.

Finally: Enjoy and smile.

fredag 1. juni 2012

Marzipan balls with chocolate coating

The main ingredients in these treats are almonds and chocolate - and not only do they look good - they provide your body with healthy fat, vitamins and antioxidants.

For about 33 balls you need:
250 g skinned almonds
1/2 - 1 egg white
4 teaspoons agave nectar, 3 tablespoons powdered sukrin or other natural sweetener

50 g of cocoa mass
30 g of cocoa butter
2 teaspoons yacon syrup, 1 tablespoon powdered sukrin or other natural sweetener



Boil water and remove the pan from the plate, add the almonds and leave them until the shell begins to loosen. Remove the skin from the almonds, dry them well with a kitchen towel and grind them with a food processor. Add the sweetener and egg white gradually until you get the desired consistency (not sticky). Knead well and roll the marzipan into little balls.


Melt the cocoa mass and cocoa butter in a bowl set in boiling water before adding the sweetener. Leave the chocolate until it cools down and the consistency thickens. Dip the marzipan balls in chocolate and put them in a cool place until the chocolate has solidified.