Bone Broth/Stock - Chicken Liver Pate - Sourdough Bread - Frittata - Jamie Oliver’s Chocolate Pots - Gozitan Rabbit Stew - Italian Meat Loaf - Sauerkraut
- Bones from the butcher (with marrow and bits of meat if possible), sawn into pieces
- Himalayan or Celtic salt to taste
- Clean vegetable trimmings
- Bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon vinegar or lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon duck/goose fat or other animal fat
In a hot oven, roast the bones for an hour with the fat. This will add colour and flavour to the finished stock but it is not essential. Put the bones in a stockpot with all the other ingredients except the salt. Bring to the boil then turn the heat down. Put the lid on and simmer very gently for at least four hours but as long as is possible. (Or simmer overnight in a slow-cooker.) Strain the stock. The salt can now be added. (If you are making a pureed soup, dig the marrow from the bones and add this too.)
At this point you can either continue to make soup or you can store it for another time. If you wish to do this, return it to the cleaned pot and boil rapidly until reduced by half. Allow to cool then refrigerate/freeze. If freezer space is limited, continue boiling to reduce even further then cool and put into ice-cube trays to use as “stock cubes”. To may prefer to leave out the salt before doing this.
When using the stock at a later date, return it to its original quantity with water/milk/other liquid before making the soup/gravy/sauce – or if you have frozen cubes – just add one or two to your gravy.
All bones can be used for stock making so don’t throw away the bones from Sunday’s roast. Chicken and other poultry carcasses can replace meat bones – just put them in a bag and give them a good bash with a rolling pin to save space. Make sure to use everything including sinews and skin. Why not ask a fishmonger for fish heads/bones/shells from crabs etc. and make a fish stock?
Whilst this is time-consuming, there is nothing like the taste of homemade stock and the nutritional benefits are enormous – lots of minerals, especially calcium are made available in this way. It can be a great source of glucosamine and chondroitin, often taken in supplement form by those with bone/joint problems. There will also be an easily assimilated form of protein making soup made from bone stock an ideal food for those with poor appetites, suffering illnesses or convalescing. You won’t get all this from a regular stock cube!
Chicken Live Pate
- 400g organic chicken livers, chopped
- 175g organic butter
- 2 tblsp dry or medium sherry or brandy (optional but nice!)
- ½ medium onion. chopped
- 1 garlic clove crushed
- Himalayan or Celtic salt and pepper
- 1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
Melt the butter in a pan and add the chopped onion. Cook until softened but not browned. Add the garlic, chicken livers, salt, pepper and thyme and cook until the livers are just done. Add the sherry or brandy if using. Pour into a blender and puree until smooth. Divide into three small dishes or ramekins. Decorate, if wanted, with small bay leaves and juniper berries. Cool then refrigerate or freeze.
This recipe takes twenty minutes only. It tastes divine especially if served with oatcakes, sourdough toast or with celery to dip in. Loads of vitamins – especially the B range and the so-important fat-soluble ones. Impress your guests!
Sourdough is much more digestible than the usual variety making it more suitable for those for whom bloating is a problem. You shouldn’t eat a whole loaf at one go though, no matter how tempting! No baker’s yeast is used, just the natural yeasts from the air plus the pro-biotic lactobacilli. These organisms work together, neutralising the “bloat” factor and lightening the dough. This is the original way of bread-making – the way it’s been made for thousands of years.
My recipe makes a dense tasty and moist loaf – similar in looks to the one in the photograph. It’s superb toasted – but you will need to give it twice as long in the toaster than usual bread and is good for open sandwiches. There are numerous recipes on the net, using many different flours – there’s something for everyone. Don’t give up if it’s not successful on the first go – practice makes perfect!
The first stage is to make the yeasted starter and this takes two weeks. After that, as long as you have remembered to keep back some of the activated mix, it takes about two days from start to finish but only five minutes at a time for preparation.
Stage 1: 100g organic rye flour + 100ml water. Mix in a glass/ceramic bowl, cover with a damp cloth and leave in a warm place – work surface in the kitchen in the summer or above a radiator/in the airing cupboard during winter.
Check daily. If it has a whitish film on it this is o.k. If you see any other colour, throw it away and start again. When it is ready for the next stage it will show some bubbles and smell vaguely of beer.
Stage 2. Throw half of the mix away or on the compost heap. Add 100ml hand hot water and 100g rye flour.
Stage 3. Next day. Throw away all but about 100ml of the mix then add 100ml hand-hot water and 100g rye flour.
Stage 4. Continue this daily for two weeks. As long as the mixture is bubbly and smells like a brewery, it is alive and kicking. If there is black mould or other coloured fluff, bin it and start again.
Stage 1. Morning of first day. Add 100ml warm water and 100g mixed organic rye and kamut/khorasan flour to the starter, cover loosely with film or a damp cloth and leave in a warm place.
Stage 2. Evening of the first day. Put two tablespoons of the activated mix in a clean screw top glass jar and put in the fridge – the starter for next time. Put the rest into a glass/ceramic mixing bowl and add 300ml warm water and 250g mixed flours as above. Stir lightly and cover. Leave overnight.
Stage 3. Morning of day two. It should now be puffed up and very beery! To 500ml warm water add 2 teaspoons Celtic sea or Himalayan crystal salt and a teaspoon honey (preferably organic). Stir this into the mix and add sufficient flours. a little at a time, (I can’t give you an amount as the consistancy is more relevant than the quantity) to make a stiff, sticky mixture, still just stirable, that is well blended but not kneadable. The nearest likeness I could suggest would be a rich fruit cake mixture but with a yeasted texture.
Stage 4. Divide between two greased bread tins. Cover lightly and leave to rise for 4-6 hours until it has risen and levelled itself. There is no hard and fast rule here – I have left it as long as 8 hours on a cool day.
Stage 5. Set the oven to 180 degrees or gas equivalent and put the loaves in the centre immediately. Set the timer for 45 minutes. After this time, increase to 200 degrees and leave for another 5-10 minutes.
Stage 6. Remove from the oven and leave for 10-15 minutes then turn out to cool completely.
I usually cut each in half and freeze them until needed. I love this bread toasted, left to cool then smothered with good golden butter. This recipe gives quite a sour flavoured loaf but it is beautifully offset by the butter. Please don’t use margarine!
If you like the taste of flavoursome rye, use mostly that. If you like a less intense flavour, use more kamut. Sometimes I add about150g spelt grain (dry weight), washed, soaked for 24 hours, boiled for 40 minutes, drained and cooled, at stage 3 for a different texture and flavour. Each time you need bread, remove the starter from the fridge, add 100ml warm water, pour into a bowl then add 100g flour, and off you go again.
- 6 large organic eggs
- Olive oil or butter. Salt and pepper
- 1 chopped onion
- 150g leftover veg or a mixture of peppers, courgettes (grated and squeezed of excess moisture), aubergine, tomatoes, mushrooms etc.
- 80g approximately of grated cheese – any type to your liking
Melt 25g butter or a tablespoon of oil in a 25cm frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened. If you are using fresh, uncooked veg add this now also. When soft, increase the heat a little. Beat the eggs with 2 tablespoons of cream and season with salt and pepper. Tip into the pan. Grate the cheese on the top and cover the pan with the lid. Turn the heat down to below medium and cook until set. Allow the frittata to cool in the pan then run a knife around the edge and tip on to a plate. Refrigerate. Feeds 2-3 people
Be creative – add garlic/herbs/flaked salmon/chopped salami/prawns/smoked haddock/well-drained cooked spinach – whatever you want! It can live in the fridge for a few days and you have instant lunch for you or the hungry hordes when they come in from school/work – although you may need to make a bigger one if there are lots of you!
Jamie Oliver’s Chocolate Pots
We all need a treat once in a while and this does the trick. Made in no time, tastes gorgeous and just wait for the compliments!
This will make 4-6 little pots depending how big they are. I have occasionally strayed from the recipe when I didn’t have any brandy. Once I used a tablespoon of chocolate extract (to be found in supermarkets with the vanilla extract) and on another occasion I used the finely grated rind of a washed organic orange. Both very good but the brandy’s best!
With regard to nutrition – all the good stuff from the eggs plus fat soluble vitamins A, D and K.There may also be some benefit from the chocolate – antioxidants. This recipe without doubt has the bliss factor!
- ½ pint single cream
- 200g plain chocolate (minimum of 70% cocoa solids)
- 2 (preferably organic) egg yolks (and two stiffly beaten egg whites if you want mousse texture)
- 3 tbsp / 50 mls brandy
- 20g butter
Heat cream in a heavy bottomed saucepan until almost boiling. Break up the chocolate and add, then stir until melted. Add egg yolks and brandy and beat lightly to combine ingredients. Cool until just warm then beat in the butter. Stir in the egg whites if using. Pour into ramekins and refrigerate until cold and set.
Gozitan Rabbit Stew
Whilst I was on holiday in Gozo, I found a delightful restaurant, serving excellent home-cooked, nutritious food. The proprietors have kindly given me the recipe and permission to add it to my collection of recipes. This stew was my favourite!
- 1 medium rabbit, jointed
- 2 sliced onions
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- Olive oil (or better – duck/goose fat)
- Sprig of rosemary
- Sea salt and ground black pepper
- Mixture of white wine and vegetable stock/bone broth – just enough to almost cover
- Small new potatoes (optional)
Wash and dry the rabbit. Heat the olive oil or fat in a large pan and fry the rabbit with the garlic and onions for ten minutes, turning occasionally.
Add the wine/stock, salt and pepper to taste and the mushrooms and potatoes if using.
Either cover with the lid or cover tightly with foil and cook for an hour on a low heat.
Serve with seasonal vegetables. Perfect and delicious nutrition!
Italian Meat Loaf
- 1kilo minced beef (preferably organic)
- 250g chicken livers – minced or finely cut with scissors (definitely organic)
- 250g good pork sausage meat
- 1 large onion finely chopped
- 1 large clove garlic crushed
- 2 teaspoons Italian herbs or use selection oregano/marjoram/thyme/rosemary
- 1-2 teaspoons Himalayan or Celtic salt to taste
- 2 tablespoons tomato puree
- large handful Parmesan cheese, grated
- 2 organic eggs
- 50g porridge oats or 1 tablespoon psyllium husks
- 60g butter
- optional – 2 chopped chillis
Fry the onion and garlic in the butter until soft (add chilli too if using). Cool slightly. Put everything into a large bowl and mix thoroughly with your hands. Divide between two greased loaf tins or two pudding basins. Cover tightly with foil. Cook for around an hour at 170 degrees. Serve straight away with mash or jacket potato (sweet potato?) or if wanted cold, cool in the dishes then run a knife around and invert on to a plate. Spoon the juices over the “loaves”. Refrigerate. serve with salad and a jacket potato or some lovely bread with butter.
Sauerkraut is not a food you would immediately think of as “gourmet” or even as a health food, but I would like to change that on both counts. If you like trying new things, you must give it a go. It is both easy and cheap (get the kids to do it!) to make and it’s good for you – loads of beneficial microbes for pennies!.
Years ago, we had no refrigeration – indeed some primitive people still don’t – so other ways of preserving good nourishing food had to be found. In fact I would argue that it is the way we are supposed to eat many vegetable foods as for much of the year there would be little vegetation.
In our gut we have trillions of bacteria to break down the foods that we eat. Unfortunately we are not that well equipped for digesting vegetable matter, having a much shorter colon than true vegetarian animal species – and it is in the colon that this fermentation takes place. By fermenting prior to eating, we make vegetables much more digestible as well as increasing the absorbable vitamin content and getting a healthy dose of probiotics.
This is really quite addictive and if you get the “bug” have a look at this: Wild Fermentation
Sauerkraut – jazzed up a bit!
- 1 organic small solid green or white cabbage, shredded
- 3 organic garlic cloves crushed
- ½ small organic onion thinly sliced
- 3 organic chillis sliced thinly (or more if you want!)
- 1 thinly sliced red pepper
- 1 large organic carrot, grated
- 2 teaspoons organic oregano or other Mediterranean herbs
- 2 teaspoon Celtic sea or Himalayan crystal salt
- A spoonful or two of the whey that occurs with natural yogurt or a couple of teaspoons of the liquid from the previous batch of sauerkraut
- A little spring water
Put everything in a large glass or ceramic bowl. Put your hands in and squish it (kids will love this bit) until lots of the juices have run from the veg. Leave it half an hour then have another go.
Now cover the vegetables entirely with a plate or shallow bowl and weight it down so that they are covered with their own juices. If not completely covered, add a little spring water but only a little – more juice will come from the vegetables eventually. Cover the whole thing with a towel and leave in a warm place (in the kitchen or maybe an airing cupboard) for about 5 -7 days – until a bit fizzy. Try it from time to time and give it a stir.
If you see any mould – remove it. If you see a thin white film, this is fine.
Decant into glass jars – Kilner jars are good – pack it in. Refrigerate or leave in a very cool place. (I would suggest standing the jar in a bowl – sometimes it leaks!) This will keep almost indefinitely but I would suggest using within six months. Add to salads or just with cold meat for a really tasty and very nutritious lunch!
Try other mixes or individual vegetables – get creative and do your health a favour too!
- 800g scrag end of lamb or mutton, bone in
- 30g dripping
- 1 large onion, chopped
- A mixture of veg in bite-sized chunks - 1 large carrot, 1 parsnip, 2 sticks of celery
- 1 teaspoon rosemary and/or thyme
- Himalayan or Celtic salt to taste and pepper
- 1 tablespoon flour
- Water or bone broth
- Handful of barley or rice
It is unlikely that you will find scrag end of lamb or mutton in a supermarket. Phone a butcher and request it. Serves 4
- In a large saucepan, melt the dripping and fry meat until lightly browned. Transfer to a plate.
- Add all the vegetables and fry, stirring for about 3-4 minutes. Add flour and cook another minute.
- Add sufficient water or broth to just cover veg, plus herbs, salt and pepper to taste and stir until thickened slightly.
- Return the meat to the pan, bring to the boil then reduce heat to a slow simmer.
- Cook for at least 2 hours, adding the barley or rice for the last 40 minutes Stir from time to time.
- Serve with veg of your choice.
You can add dumplings too for the last 20 minutes, if you wish to make it go a bit further. This is a good recipe for a slow-cooker – follow maker’s instructions.