All posts tagged: Sally Fallon

WAFFLES

The idea of soaking flour in yoghurt sounded odd when I first came across this recipe in Sally Fallon and Mary Enig’s Nourishing Traditions. Milled flour and yoghurt do not seem like naturally happy bed-fellows. Mixing ground flour with thick yoghurt can feel a bit like biting into wool – unpleasant. That all said the end result are the BEST waffles I have ever tasted and that is saying something for a lady living in Belgium. Adding a soured dairy ingredient to a grain dish was quite a common practice in traditional cooking. Many old recipes called for the addition of either buttermilk, yoghurt, kefir, curds or crème fraiche in place of milk – fresh milk in the absence of refrigeration, to recall, was not very common. I prepared these waffles for fourteen people one long hot summer a couple of years ago. At the end of the holiday when we asked the children what their favourite memory of the holiday was many said – jumping into the river, going to the beach, playing with my …

TRADITIONAL SUGARS: REAL FOOD

-: rapadura, muscovado, demerara, panela, jaggery, ghur, date sugar :- All of the traditional sugars listed below derive from different parts of the globe but they all share one thing in common – the processing of sugar through evaporation rather than centrifugal force. The FAO defines such whole cane sugars as “Generally derived from sugar cane through traditional methods without centrifugation.” When cane juice is evaporated many of the plants natural nutrients (referred to as molasses) remain in tact, the result of which is a whole brown sugar brick or loaf with a caramel flavour. This should be contrasted to more modern refining techniques whereby the sucrose is separated from the other plant material through centrifugal force powered by fossil fuels. Although traditional methods of sugar extraction vary from tropical region to tropical region some of the key extraction methods remain the same. Typically the farmer or local miller will crush the stems of the canes in order to extract as much cane juice as possible. The resulting juice is sieved to remove impurities, heated …

TRADITIONAL SWEETENERS: REAL FOOD

-: raw honey, maple syrup, molasses/treacle, malt syrup :- The natural sweeteners listed below come in syrup rather than granulated form. You can use them to sweeten a cooked dish or in baked food but you may find that much of the natural flavours are lost through the heat. Further natural sweeteners are pricey compared to other sugars which is one reason many everyday cooks choose not to use them in their everyday cooking. They taste best when eaten raw, simply drizzled over yoghurts, pancakes, porridges or ice-creams. Alternatively, add a teaspoon of these natural sweeteners in a salad dressing and it will transform the entire taste of the salad. Raw Honey Raw, unheated honey retains many of the plant nutrients and vital enzymes, particularly amylase which helps breakdown the complex starches present in many grain based food, such as breads, porridges and waffles. Honey is made up of 55% fructose which makes it similar in chemical make-up to that of isoglucose. The key difference being that whilst honey is a natural food prepared by …

INDUSTRIAL SWEETENERS – THE FAKES

-: high fructose corn syrup, isoglucose, sugar syrup, agave syrup :- Industrial sweeteners come in many forms and many guises often marketed as “organic” and “natural”. When deciding which sweetener or sugar to purchase, as a general rule of thumb, try and establish how traditional the sweetener is as opposed to how “natural”. All fake food products have some tenuous link to a plant but that does not make them a natural, real food. Another test is the “patent” test. Does this sweetener marketed as organic and natural have a patent? If yes, then it is by definition going to be a non-traditional source of dubious food, in most cases highly refined and often mass produced to an industrrial scale. Below are two of the more common artificial sweeteners that are used, one of which “agave syrup” is heavily branded as “organic” and “natural”. Agave Syrup Agave syrup is not a traditional sugar from Mexico regardless of what the branding would have you believe. The traditional agave juice, aguamiel, is a form of fermented drink which does not taste anywhere near as …

FERMENTING GRAINS

Method Mix one cup of water and one cup of whole flour in a bowl. Add one cup of flour and one cup of water to the mix for seven days until the flour has begun to bubble and smell sour. For centuries fermented gruel, ale and bread formed the bulk of Europe’s diet – not quick rise white breads, pastas, cakes, biscuits, rice, corn, pizzas, or pancakes but coarse, whole-meal, slow-leavened, soured bread swallowed down with a glass of low-alcohol ale or beer. All populations ate soured bread if they wanted their bread to rise . The only known way to cultivate yeasts was by harvesting them in a sourdough starter. In fact the process of separating yeasts from their food source to use in quick rise breads was not wide-spread until the early nineteenth century. According to Suetonius, the “god” Emperor Augustus and pater patria of the Roman empire “…particularly liked coarse bread, small fishes, hand-made moist cheese, and green figs of the second crop.” A man, quite clearly of simple, though impeccable taste. Little …

SPROUTED FLOUR

Method Submerge the whole grain berries in water (note, not milled flour as is the case with fermentation) for up to two days or at least until a tiny sprout has begun to appear at the end of the grain. Rinse and dry the berries in an oven before grinding them into flour for use in cakes, biscuits and pies. Sprouting is a second fine example of how food can be transformed from one of nutritional inferiority to one of optimum nutritional quality. The transformation of the grain is truly astounding. Brewers have been sprouting grains since time immemorial in order to increase the sugar content of the brew for the yeasts to feast on – it is called “malting” though the germination period takes somewhat longer for the brewing of beer than it does for flours. Whilst the practice of sprouting barley for ales and beers has always been commonplace, the practice of sprouting grain for baked or cooked goods is probably more happenstance than systematic. Water and moisture are the enemies of the …

SOAKED GRAINS

Method Soak the grain over-night in a mixture of water, a pinch of salt and a table spoon of an acid medium such as buttermilk, kefir, yoghurt, whey, vinegar or lemon juice. Many will know that soaking beans overnight such as lentils and chickpeas helps to soften the beans up before cooking the following day. The practice of soaking milled flour, whole grain berries or rolled oats overnight in an acid medium is less well known or even understood. Traditionally, oats were soaked in water overnight in Scotland before being cooked in the pot the following morning though there is no mention of an acid medium being added to the mix. The Irish traditionally prepared their famous soda bread with buttermilk though whether the flour was soaked over night before use is unclear since few original recipes survive. Similarly early North American pioneers soaked their flour in yoghurt overnight before preparing pancakes the following day. Many German cake recipes still call for either quark, yoghurt or buttermilk. Scones which have been prepared with buttermilk rather …