How To… make “dirty water”.

This is the first in a series of posts. Check the tags for “Nutritional Health Series” and you should find all the current posts.

No, it isn’t a joke or a euphemism. What I mean by “dirty water” is water that, technically, isn’t clean.

Allow me to explain. The water we currently drink is filtered for impurities, salt and parasites. In short, we strip out of it anything that would make us ill. But we’re also stripping out of it many beneficial elements. Some of the “dirt” found in the natural water our animal friends and tribal relatives drink is actually great for our health and by only drinking cleaned, processed tapwater or carefully decontaminated mineral water we’re missing out on it.

We still want to drink dirty water. This is why we enjoy slightly flavoured drinks over water and why we feel more hydrated by sports drinks and coconut water than simple H2O. But whilst we don’t want to miss out on the good dirt, we also really, really, really want to miss out on the stuff that would make us ill.

So why not make our own dirty water? With a few simple steps we can create our own lightly contaminated, flavoured water that contains various extra nutrients, salts and balance-restoring elements, just like water from a wild spring. But without worms.

For these mixes, take note of two things:

Firstly all measurements assume you’re making a pint of dirty water.

And secondly, you don’t need all the elements every time. You can do just fine only using minerals, fats and salts, for example.

1: Minerals.

The first step to healthy dirty water, is to replace trace minerals. This can be done by using mineral water or coconut water as your base. You can also dissolve eggshells in water or use milk. A mineral mix in water works well too.

2: Salts.

Your body actually needs a tiny amount of salt for proper hydration. Ever feel really thirsty, but water passes through you and you still feel thirsty? That’s a salt deficiency. You will need literally a gram or two of salt, less than 1/8 of a teaspoon. Sea salt is best, but iodized salt is beneficial for people who rarely consume salt with their food. If you’re using coconut water or aloe vera, you will not need much if any extra salt in your drink.

3: Sugars.

Again, can help with proper hydration. As a sports recovery drink, consider two teaspoons of sugars, but in general half or one should suffice. Good sugars include palm sugar, brown cane sugar, maple syrup or honey.

4: Fats.

Some fats are almost absent in our diets and we can add these back in with our healthy dirty water. 1-5ml of any of these is good, but always consider your diet as a whole and try and supplement the fat you’re lacking. Omega oil compound, omega 3, olive oil, coconut oil, cocoa butter or shea butter can all add great nutrients. I sometimes use a whole egg yolk as well.

5: Acids.

Some acidic-tasting foods can carry a lot of nutritional density and healthy enzymes. In small doses, they will taste lovely in your dirty water. A teaspoon of lemon juice, pineapple juice, pineapple pulp, kiwi pulp or orange juice could do you some good.

6: Alkalines.

If you find your stomach is burning like a furnace but it’s not time to eat yet, consider adding something for the acid to work on a bit. Again, eggshell water or milk (if you’re lactose tolerant) can help here. Aloe vera is also very good, as are most blended green vegetables. Just use a couple of tablespoons.

7: Leaves and infusions.

Tea leaves and most flowers and herbs can add nutrition and antioxidants as well as flavour. You don’t need vast amounts, just enough that your water is lightly coloured and/or flavoured. For best results, soak around a tablespoon in the base water overnight.

8: Spices and blends.

But it’s not just greenery that has antioxidants. Plenty of spices and even blends like coffee or cocoa also have them. However we don’t really need that much. A total half a teaspoon of spices at the most should be fine.

9: Fruits.

You can’t actually get much out of fruits from infusing them in water, but fresh fruit and fruit juice can make it taste awesome.

10: A few examples.

-1 pint of mineral water, a few grams of himalayan sea salt, a teaspoon of lemon, a few grams of cloves and a dash of orange juice

-1 pint of water, eggshell water, a few grams of himalayan sea salt, a teaspoon of coconut puree and a teaspoon of honey

-1 pint of coconut water, a teaspoon of honey, a dash of orange juice

-1 pint of weak tea, eggshell water, a dash of lemon juice, a teaspoon of honey

-1 pint of water, aloe vera pulp, a few grams of himalayan sea salt, a teaspoon of lemon and a couple of tablespoons of berries

And that’s how I make my drinking water dirty, creating a nutritious, mineral and micronutrient rich drink.

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

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WWW. Beef Noodles and Cranachan.

The cooking lately has been very Jon-directed, largely because I felt I messed up a bit last week and wanted him to have whatever he wanted. So the big ones have been a beef noodles and salad meal and my first attempt at cranachan!

Black Pepper Beef Noodles and Salt and Vinegar Salad Recipes

Recipe 1: Beef Noodles.

First of all the beef noodles. We spied some reduced-price organic beef and Jon wanted to snap it up and make some black pepper steak, so that was what we did. 🙂

Ingredients:

[Makes 2-3 servings on its own, 5 servings with a side.]

-350g beef

-2 small onions

-4 cloves garlic

-200ml double cream

-2 servings rice noodles (soak or boil in advance)

-2tbsp butter

-black pepper to taste

-soy sauce to taste

Utensils:

-chopping board and knife

-frying pan

Recipe:

1: Finely slice the onions and mince the garlic.

2: Using 1tbsp of butter, lightly fry them until the onions are translucent and the garlic has lost its sharpness.

3: Chop the beef into small, evenly sized pieces. Add to the pan with the remaining butter.

4: Once the beef and onions are brown, turn up the heat and add the cream.

5: Once it has simmered a while, add the pepper, soy sauce and noodles.

6: Stir until the cream has reduced a bit.

Black Pepper Beef Noodles Recipe

Recipe 2: Salt and Vinegar Salad.

A perfect accompaniment for any BBQ, but also for this beef and noodles in black pepper sauce! Spotted some salt and vinegar potatoes in /r/food and improvised a recipe.

Ingredients:

[Makes 2-3 servings on its own, 5 as a side.]

-20 small salad potatoes (fit in a tablespoon)

-2 medium bell peppers

-1/2 an onion or 1 small onion, red or white

-3 carrots

-3 tsp salt

-1 tsp vinegar

-1 tsp chives or mixed herbs

-1tbsp butter

Utensils:

-chopping board and knife

-frying pan

-mixing bowl and salad servers

-grater

Recipe:

1: Melt the butter in the pan.

2: Slice each potato in half and place in the butter at a low heat.

3: As the potatoes cook, grate the carrots into the bowl.

4: Finely dice the onion. Add to the bowl.

5: Roughly chop the pepper. Add to the bowl.

6: Be sure to turn the potatoes!

7: When the potatoes are brown, add the salt and cook a little longer, to reduce moisture.

8: When they are cooked through and dry, toss them in vinegar and herbs.

9: Add the potatoes to the salad and mix thoroughly.

Salt and Vinegar Salad Recipe

Recipe 3: Cranachan.

This was great fun. Proper Celt food from Scotland. Saw it on a food show and had to try it because it sounded like something Jon would love. He says my end result needs less cream or less whiskey in the cream. He gives my serving a 6.5/8 and his own quantities a 7/8.

As the raspberries aren’t ripe here yet, I made it using our first batch of rhubarb pudding/jam.

[Makes 4-6 servings.]

For the rhubarb:

-6 thick stems

-3/4 cup white sugar

-1/4 cup palm sugar

-2tbsp butter

For the cream:

-300ml double cream

-80ml whiskey

-2tsp honey

-oats?

Utensils:

-chopping board and knife

-small pot and spoon

-large pot and whisk

Recipe:

1: Peel and finely chop the rhubarb. Place in the small pot and heat thoroughly.

2: Once the rhubarb is soft, add the sugars and keep heating.

3: Once it has melted, add the butter, stir and set to one side.

4: In the large pot, whisk the cream until it’s stiff.

Make a gap. If it doesn't close, it's ready.

Make a gap. If it doesn’t close, it’s ready.

5: Add the whiskey and whisk again until a peak is formed.

6: Stir in the honey.

7: If desired, add oats.

8: Serve with the jam at the base and the cream on top.

My choice of quantities and presentation.

My choice of quantities and presentation.

Jon's ideal mix: 2 digestive biscuits, 4tbsp rhubarb, 1tbsp cream.

Jon’s ideal mix: 2 digestive biscuits, 4tbsp rhubarb, 1tbsp cream.

And those are our favourite meals from this week! What were yours? Found any cool recipes lately?

WWW. Orange and Ginger Turkey and Chocolate-Cake-Bread-and-Butter-Pudding.

Yes, it’s all divine. Didn’t actually have it today, but today was busy and yesterday was not. Today we’re having a much easier but just as tasty turkey balti curry, the recipe for which I will include below as a way of using leftover turkey and trimmings.

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Recipe 1: Orange, Honey and Ginger Turkey.

First of all, mine turned out a bit dry, but that was largely because I kept opening and closing the oven and had to turn it off due to a scheduled lesson.

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Ingredients:

-1 whole turkey

-1 orange

-1 bitter apple

-5tbsp ginger

-2tsp honey

-100ml lemon juice

Utensils:

-deep baking tray

-tin foil

Recipe:

1: Cut the apple and orange in half. Place one half of each inside the turkey cavity, along with the lemon juice.

2: Slice the remaining orange and apple. Lift the turkey’s skin and insert underneath it.

3: Tie the turkey back up so the fruit juices won’t escape. Rub with ginger and honey. Leave to marinate a bit.

4: Place in the tray. Roast at 180C for 2h for a 4kg turkey. Cover with foil once brown.

Recipe 2: Giblet Gravy.

Ingredients:

-turkey neck, heart and liver

-100g butter

-1 large onion

-salt and pepper

Utensils:

-chopping board and knife

-frying pan and spatula

-blender

Recipe:

1:  Chop up the offal and onion.

2: Pan-fry in butter.

3: Strip the meat from the neck, discard the bones.

4: Blend everything with a little water, salt and pepper and turkey fat. Thicken with flour if required.

–The following recipes are for using leftovers as best possible.

Recipe 3: Chocolate Cake Bread and Butter Pudding.

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Ingredients:

-stale cake

-butter icing

-milk

Utensils:

-knife

-deep baking tray

Recipe:

1: Slice the cake into even pieces. 1/2 to 2 inches is good.

2: Either layer across the bottom of the tray (driest side down) or overlap in a spiral.

3: Add the butter icing to the very top. Pour milk over all of it. Soak.

4: Bake until the cake is moist and sticky.

Recipe 4: Leftovers Balti Curry.

20141126_202953

Ingredients:

-leftover turkey, potatoes, assorted vegetables (peas, swede, cabbage, carrots, anything) and gravy

-250g chicken livers

-1 large onion

-Balti curry mix, paste or sauce

Utensils:

-chopping board and heavy knife

-frying pan and spatula

Recipe:

1: Chop up the leftovers, onion and liver.

2: Add to the pan with the gravy.

3: Simmer until the liver and onion is cooked-through.

4: Add the curry  and, if needed, some water.

Ours had potatoes, cabbage and peas.

WWW. Frying, spices, flapjacks.

This week Jon’s having a chicken stir-fry, fried rice and a sultana and seed filled flapjack.

Oil contents not specific apart from flapjacks so you can measure how much you need for your own foods. Juicier vegetables may need a little more, as will less cooked rice, for example.

Recipe 1: Garlic Ginger Chicken Stir-Fry.

Makes 2 servings.

Ingredients:

-1 cooked chicken breast

-3 small carrots

-1 small parsnip

-3 cabbage leaves

-3 cloves garlic

-olive oil

-salt and pepper

-Chinese five spice

-powdered cloves

-onion powder

Utensils:

-chopping board and knife

-vegetable peeler

-large frying pan or wok

Recipe:

1: Finely dice the garlic. Cook in the olive oil with the spices until soft.

2: Wash the vegetables and slice them with the peeler. Tear or chop the cabbage leaves into strips. Add to the mix and stir as it cooks, to ensure even softening and browning.

3: Dice the chicken. Add to the mix.

4: Heat thoroughly. Serve.

Recipe 2: Chili Fried Rice.

Makes 1 serving.

Ingredients:

-30g/1oz rice

-olive oil

-chilli powder

Utensils:

-small pot

-frying pan from the chicken

Recipe:

1: Boil the rice until cooked through.

2: Add to the pan once the stir-fry is done.

3: Add the oil and chilli.

4: Stir until the rice has soaked up all the oil. It should be making squeaky sounds and “jumping” in the pan, but not burnt.

Recipe 3: Flapjacks.

Makes 8 servings or 16 snack-sized servings.

Ingredients:

-200g/7oz oats

-200g/7oz plain flour

-1/2 cup oil or fat

-25g/0.9oz sultanas

-50g/1.8oz mixed seeds

-2 eggs

-3tbsp honey

-cinnamon

-powdered ginger

Utensils:

-mixing bowl and spoon

-baking tray

Recipe:

1: Mix the flour, oats and seeds.

2: Add the spices.

3: Add the oil. Stir until crumbly.

4: Add the eggs and honey. Stir in.

5: Mix the sultanas in so as to guarantee an even spread.

6: Pour into a lightly greased tray. Bake at 180C/355F for 25min.

7: Slice.

[8: Optional. Drizzle melted chocolate over them.]

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Persimmon jam is ridiculously easy.

So, recipe corner!

Now, what’s more seasonal than to gather a pile of lovely fruit and veggies from the harvest and preserve them to last through the Winter? And, of course, everyone’s favourite is jam. Jam as pie-filling, jam tarts, jam on rolls, jam alongside a nice slice of meat. Pretty much everyone loves a good jam. Even I (a passionate avoider of sugars, common wheat, conventional cakes and pre-made sauces), love a nice jam once in a while.

So why not make our own?

Now, there are plenty of seasonal jam and preserve recipes. Blackberry, apple, orange, cranberry, pear… But something I hadn’t previously considered was persimmon jam. You see, Kaki Persimmons are seasonal in Winter too. And, as seasonal fruit tends to do, you find them very expensive at the start and end of the season and being sold dirt-cheap in markets and Asian stores the rest of the season.

So, upon going to my local market and finding a tray of persimmons for £2, I had to have them.

Half my hoard. About 20 persimmons total, each the size of a large apple.

Half my hoard. About 20 persimmons total, each the size of a large apple.

But I found, when I got home, that some of the more robust fruits had been bullying the slightly overripe persimmons. Whatever to do with four bruised and soft persimmons?

As the title suggests, my idea was to jam them.

Considering how gelatinous persimmon flesh is, it somewhat amazes me that I’d never tried to preserve them. But, now I had thought of it, I decided to go ahead.

Recipe.

Ingredients:

-4 overripe/bruised persimmons

-5-8 spoonfuls of honey or sugar

-1 spoonful lemon juice

Equipment:

-small knife

-sauce-pot/small pot

-stirring spoon

-bowl

-fork

-blender

Instructions:

1: Peel and core your persimmons. Make sure any seeds are fished out.

2: Mash them in a bowl with a fork until they lose all form.

3: Stir-in the honey/sugar and lemon.

4: Pour the mix into your pot and put it on a low heat, stirring all the time. (This is to remove excess juice via evaporation. Being gelatinous, a drier or a pressed persimmon may jam on its own, so a raw alternative is perfectly possible.)

5: Set jam to one side to cool. Once cool, if making it with honey, stir some more in.

6: Blend out any unevenly large pieces.

 

The advantages of using honey or sugar are both obvious.

Sugar:

-cheaper

-aids jamming

-preservative

-adds sweetness without having a distinctive flavour

-vegan (if unfiltered)

Honey:

-antiseptic qualities (if raw and added AFTER boiling)

-adds a new dimension of flavour

-good if avoiding plain sugar

-you can use less of it

It’s up to you to decide which suits your needs/tastes best.

Finally, the end result looks like this:

Persimmon jam, honey edition.

Persimmon jam, honey edition.

So, if you want something a little brighter, you can add a natural colouring or a few drops of beetroot juice.

Hope it turns out well!

So, what jams and preserves do YOU like making over Winter? Any ideas on what to do with 250-400ml of persimmon jam? :p