Sunday, 25 September 2011

Beet kvass and herby yogurt cheese

So today I felt inspired to try something new for two reasons. One, because the weather really has turned and it is pretty chilly and miserable, (which is a very good excuse to seek the warm comfort of the kitchen), and two, because an amazing cookbook and nutritional guide has arrived that I have been pining after for a long time! It is called 'Nourishing Traditions' by Sally Fallon, and I really couldn't wait to try the first of the recipes in it.

While many of her recipes are meat, fish and dairy based, even if you are a vegetarian or vegan, I would recommend it (I'm not mad honest) as it really gets back to simple, wholesome nourishing foods and processes. She recommends not using refined sugars and to use alternate grains and flours (with the exception of white unbleached flour in a pie crust). Not only are the recipes inspiring, she also gives plenty of 'how to's' for traditional fermented, soaked and cultured grains, dairy and vegetables, which I truly believe are the way forward to a healthier lifestyle and one we are aspiring to!

So, in a bid to make my first chosen recipe, beet kvass; last night I set about collecting whey from half a tub of organic natural yogurt. I put the yogurt in a piece of muslin, tied it to a skewer and hung it over a bowl and left it overnight to work it's magic....

The next morning all the delicious whey had collected in the bowl and I was left with a beautiful fresh and tangy yogurt cheese in the muslin! We set the cheese aside to make a herby cheese later with, and Dorrie and I got to work making the beet kvass with the whey.

Beet Kvass is a traditional fermented drink which can be used as a condiment too. It is popular in the Ukraine, and like most fermented foods, has a whole range of benefits attributed to it such as being a blood cleansing tonic, alkalising the blood, great for digestion and an all round pick me up! I haven't altered any of the recipe from the Nourishing Traditions book, I have simply halved the amount.

Beet Kvass
1 large organic beetroot, peeled and chopped roughly
1/8 cup of whey
1/2 tablespoon of sea salt
filtered water

Place beets, whey and salt into a 1 litre glass container, give a good stir, seal tightly and leave on the work surface for 2 days. After 2 days, pop it in the fridge. It is then ready to go! Drink a very small glass morning and night as a tonic.
Sally Fallon also adds a note to not grate the beetroot or chop them too small, as this makes the fermentation process to quick (beetroot is very high in sugar) and will produce alcohol rather than lactic acid. I also believe it will be more prone to mould this way too!

** To make this Veganized, Beet kvass can be made without a whey starter and just with sea salt and filtered water. Although this is something I haven't yet done, it is on my to do list for sure and I promise to let you guys know when I do!

Fingers crossed my beet kvass doesn't go mouldy as my beetroot had started to go a little soft, will keep you posted!

Garlic yogurt Cheese
Dorrie and I made this with the cheese left over from my whey production! We added a large tablespoon of mixed chopped fresh parsley,tarragon and thyme, 1/4 of a garlic clove very finely chopped and a pinch of Himalayan sea salt. It was delicious and unfortunately did not last long- poor Will missed out on this experiment!

Dorrie eating all the herb cheese....
Beet Kvass


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