Yesterday I had my first go at making "cheese" from nuts, (in this case, almonds from last years harvest here in our garden in Spain). Its been a food I've been thinking about making for a while and a quick Google search demonstrates making nut cheese is something that a lot of other folks are doing too! - I used a few ideas from others and added in some of my own for good measure.
So here is the finished result this morning ...and now, how I went about it
For a small cereal type bowl of finished cheese I soaked about 40 almonds for 24 hours in slightly salted water - I then rinsed them, and blended them with just enough water to cover, the juice of one large lemon and 2 cloves of garlic
The mix was then placed in a sieve over a bowl and left in the fridge to drain for another 16 hours - chopped mint, parsley and chilli, along with salt, were added and mixed in well.
The result, a 'cream cheese' consistency and mild nutty gorgeous tasting cheese to use as a topping, filling or spread. Using a cheese cloth and pressure could produce a firmer cheese, taking the skins off the nuts would give a more 'cheese' colour, and adding an additional lemon would give a further 'tang'
Earth Care - all the ingredients were grown in our garden with very little input
Fair Shares - I think a lot of my friends would also like this yummy addition to a reduced dairy/vegan diet
People Care - so many beneficial nutrients from the ingredients used. Ticks a big box in a plant based protein diet.
As a way of healthily coping with the aftermath of Thursday's EU Referendum vote Ive decided to; learn, do, read or listen to a new solutions focused thing each day. Ive been thinking about creating a solar cooker ever since we arrived in Spain, so I thought I might as well start off my new daily pattern with giving it a go.
As you can see, my equipment isnt complicated. A garden chair, a pan with a glass lid and a foil backed beach mat! I decided as a first meal try to use ingredients that cooked fairly quickly, in order to have more chance at success.
9 am (as the sun was getting hot) - I placed chopped courgettes, whole garlic cloves and chillies, a splash of olive oil, seasoned with salt into the pan, lid on and tilted it within the chair to the sun.
1pm - The pan was too hot to touch. All ingredients were nice and soft - I added some chopped tomatoes, chard, basil and parsley and gave the whole thing a stir. I placed the pan on its bottom and curled the beach mat around its sides a little more to ensure the pan gained maximum benefit from the middle of the day sun. In addition this protected the pan from cooling down as a response to the fairly strong breeze that had arrived.
3.30pm - Everything was cooked perfectly, it smelled and tasted amazing. Cooker dismantled, "summer veggie garden stew" eaten with rice, greek yoghurt and toasted seeds.
And a real success with solar slow cooking - meals created with the pure energy of the sun. I will be using this throughout the summer, trying out many different meals. Like cooking on outdoor fire (which here in Andalucia we cant do in the summer because of wild fire risk), Its such a lovely way to connect further with the rituals of nourishing ourselves and the environment.
I've been being enjoying picking edible flowers from the garden to use in nearly every meal Ive eaten this week ...peppery nasturtium, cool cucumber borage, citrusy calendula and the amazing almost fine pastry qualities of the courgette and squash flowers. Once heated (baked, grilled, shallow fried), the overlaps of petal almost glue together, making the large circubit flower perfect casing for a yummy range of fillings. In the photo above, Ive fried finely diced courgette fruit with garlic in olive oil and mixed with cooked rice, chopped coriander and parsley, mozzarella and black pepper, and then grilled for 15 minutes until golden brown. There's a lovely article from Steph Hafferty in the current (PM88) edition of Permaculture Magazine detailing more recipes using edible flowers - and an accompanying online post introducing these diverse floral foods here
A few weeks ago, I started drinking a glass of water with freshly squeezed lemon juice in it first thing in the morning. I also drink hot water with lemon slices, plus fresh ginger in it throughout the day too. There have been lots of articles written about the positive outcomes of drinking lemon water over the past year or so. One of my favourite articles, with quite a few evidenced based links, including protecting your teeth from any harmful effects from drinking lemon juice, is here .
Here in our new edible garden we have planted a beautiful lemon tree, though its too young to fruit yet. Our neighbours however have a great tree, producing a huge abundance of wonderfully smelling lemons, and the fruits have just started to fall from the tree, indicating they are ripe enough to eat. A post I read recently suggested freezing freshly squeezed juice in ice-cube trays, making it super easy to create lemon water on busy mornings, but it also sounds like a good way here for preserving the harvest too.
I reckon its too early to know whether or not drinking lemon water each day improving my health and well being, but I'm certainly drinking less caffeine and more water because of it, and in the last few mornings have woken up really looking forward to its sour, floral, citrusy taste...will keep you posted
Last month I spent a wonderful 10 days on a residential course learning about facilitation of social permaculture courses…to fuel us through our long, productive days of learning, Rebecca, the cook for the course, created some amazing meals.
With a variety of diets (including vegan, high protein, gluten free, allium free!) to cater for, our lunches and dinners often included a variety of delicious toppings and accompaniments (toasted seeds with tamari, sprouted pulses, various seed/pulse ‘dips’, cheeses, eggs, salad leaves) to meet our diverse needs.
Back at home now, and feeling inspired by our course meal, I have started making a lot more yummy healthy plant based additions to our main dishes of the day, and snacks …first up, ensuring we grow a continuous supply of sprouted seeds and pulses, and toasting pumpkin, sunflower and sesame seeds each day.
Also posted in Nomadic Food Divas
...end of summer, winter commences....thin veil between different worlds..dreaming, recording dreams....remembering those who have died, how they have influenced who we are now...plans for dark winter evenings , reading, writing, crafts, games, music...pause and regeneration time...further work on edible garden ready for early spring planting ....tree planting...fires to cook, keep warm, reflect and celebrate...
Beautuful artwork by Jaine Rose at jainerose.co.uk
I love sprouting a diverse mix of seeds, pulses, nuts...its the easiest edible windowsill garden ever...here, i've got puy lentils plus radish, alfalfa and red clover seeds...super healthy, ready in 4-5 days, and really delicious in salads or adding at the last minute to stir fries.
You can find out more information about sprouting here at sproutpeople.org
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regular updates and reflections about the permaculture designs in my life