Wholefood Cooking

Category: Meals from my Garden

Red Onion, Zucchini and Tomato Bake

Hello there !!

Here we are with another year come around. I have to say, after the trials of 2017 (shared it seems, by just about everybody else)  I’m quite happy about it. A wonderful chance to wipe the slate clean, reset ourselves and head of in the direction of where we want to go. For me ? I want a less crazy, let me live and eat a little more simply and more seasonally. And this is the vein in which we are starting out…..

If you happen to live in Australia, then you are almost bound to be over run with zucchini. Tis the season.They grow and double in size overnight, they are prolific, and they’re cheap (because there are so many of them!) and if you turn your back on them, they will take over. They are something I can grow, but also my little market garden stall is almost giving them away. Now beyond Zucchini Fritters (Wholefood for Children), Zucchini and Sultana Loaf (Wholefood for Children), stuffed zucchini and the ever brilliant Zucchini Slice (made famous by the Australian Womens Weekly, but to which I add heaps of other veggies), this bake is a super simple (meaning crazy easy and oh so quick) and wildly delicious option.If you are into raw zucchini noodles, then now is the time and place (not in the dead of winter) – now is their time to shine and zoodle like there’s no tomorrow. But, back to our bake… it’s a mish – mash of two things – Mum’s tomato pie (tomato, onion, breadcrumbs, dot butter on top) that we always had in summer with a roast, and the classic Tian of summer vegetables.

But, in truth the whole dish started when I discovered that the red onions I’d planted, and thought were not a great success, apparently got it all together and became big fat bulbs of oniony goodness. I also had a glut of tomatoes courtesy of my niece, and said zucchinis. When I cut into those onions, oh my they were just begging for a bit of heat so those sugars could caramelise up and become something quite stupendous.

So before I get to the recipe, there is one super important thing that makes the world of difference. The dish. A tian (a bit like a gratin) is all about the dish. It needs to be shallow – and classically shapes outward (this helps the juices reduce and become oh so good) you can see that clearly in the dish I used. But you need something that is going to get hot. I mean really hot. My preference is for cast iron, and failing that enamel coasted tin. What this does is caramelise the vegetables and the juices along the edges, which totally changes the flavour. So in a few words, if you can – shallow, sides flanging outwards, enamel coated tin or cast iron.

This would make a brilliant lunch with a green salad and some good cheese (goat preferably) if desired. Or perhaps a wonderful bean salad. It makes a great partner for a meat or fish main too. It begs for a glass of great reddish wine. It is totally not averse to pesto (Coming Home to Eat or Wholefood for Children), or a tapenade (I would suggest the Arame Tapenade from Wholefood From the Ground Up) – all in all it is a plant focused winner and workhorse. I hope you love it as much as I do….

I wish you a wonderful 2018, filled with good things, and if trials come along the fortitude and ability to bear them, quiet moments filled with calm and satisfaction. May there also be much joy and deliciousness at your table and in your life.

Until next time… x Jude

PS….Seasonality and what to cook with all that produce is a big theme for me this year, and a focus of my newsletter. If you’d like to join me there, I’d love to share it with you…. you can SUBSCRIBE HERE.

All these gorgeous photos ©Harriet Harcourt

 

Asparagus, Kale and Barley Risotto

img_0028

Hello there !!

Yes, I know – a long time between posts. I have to tell you honestly, that how much can we do ? Has this been an extraordinarily busy year for you too ? I just checked and my last blog post was in July ! I can’t tell you where that time went, but most likely into trips to the East Coast (Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast) for classes, talks and book launches. Oh my goodness. Then home finally to settle into my new house, and actually make it home (I still haven’t photo’s, but are working on that). Between settling in and unpacking, I have been down to Albany for the Food for Thought Festival, and Margaret River for classes and talks, and am now currently running a 4 week intensive – a kind of mini Whole and Natural Foods Chef Training Program (as I couldn’t run the full program in this crazy, busy year). Don’t get me wrong, I’m not whinging, and I love what I do, but certainly thinking that it seems that we are all being asked to just do so much more, and there is only so much more we can do. Somedays to be honest, social media is just a step to far. So, right now as the year comes to a close, and I’m super busy, I am making sure I walk in the cool, very early morning and smell the earth, listen to the birds, and connect deeply to why I do what I do,so that I can remember when you and I connected (perhaps it was on the Sunshine Coast at the book launch, or in Sydney in class, or in Perth when i saw you at the farmers market) so it doesn’t just become work, and so that I can – in all the working –  also just be me. I do hope you are taking some time for you, and sometimes, just saying no to too much.  x Jude

But for now, we did Barley, Asparagus Risotto in class the other day and it’s such a simple, easy dish that I thought you might enjoy it. Everything is in season right now, so it’s a great choice.

As the year finishes, I do have a couple of treats in – store for you.

  • For those who couldn’t get into the free The Week Before Christmas class (or aren’t in Perth),  I am running a free webinar – no date just yet, so stay tuned. It will be all about being organised with delicious food so that busy week before Christmas is so much easier, and more delicious.
  • I have 1 set of all my books (yes, including Wholefood Baking) to give away. Stay tuned for that competition shortly. You will need to be subscribed to the newsletter to be in this competition.
  • Many of you ask about Wholefood Baking, and truly it’s a crazy story. It sold out, won awards, yet Murdoch have not re printed… but I think (think) a reprint is in the works. Ebooks are available.
  • I have copies of all books (other than Wholefood Baking), ready to wrap and send to you for Christmas Presents. My elves are at the ready to wrap and post (and I will sign of course). Postage for 1 = $10.00, Postage for 2 = $15 Postage for 3 = $15, Postage for 4 = $20.00 (Australia only) All $AUD Just email me your order to jude@wholefoodcooking.com.au
  • WHOLEFOOD heal – nourish – delight  | this is my first book at a special price for you now of $30.00 (normally $50.00)
  • COMING HOME TO EAT (Wholefood for the Family) | my second book, and whilst I love all of books, this book has some of my much loved family favourites. Must cook – Mango, Cashew Chicken. Oh, and Lemon Coconut Teacake – both wonderful for summer, and easy. ($30.00 normally $40.00)
  • WHOLEFOOD FOR CHILDREN – Nourishing young children with whole and organic food  | my third book, and wonderful for anybody also with a dodgy tummy or gut as the principles are the same. This is also great family food. $45.00
  • WHOLE FOOD FROM THE GROUND UP  | my latest baby – released in June this year. I am incredibly proud of this book (well all my books) but I can tell you, this has my most up to date, wholistic information – I see a better and more whole lay of the land so to speak, with many absolutely delicious, and not difficult recipes. $40.00

img_5898img_0044

Smoky Beetroot, Lentil and Millet Burgers

Jude-Beetroot-Burger

This recipe is a bit of an out take from my new book WHOLEFOOD From the Ground Up (which I can excitedly say, is out 1st June). It was one of the very first recipes I toyed with and it evolved on to become something else, but I wanted to see it come to realization. I do love a nice, deeply flavoured and toothsome vegetarian pattie (too many are just mushy) to put in a burger, or just as happy without. This pattie follows the path of one of my favourite principles – try and be prepared for the week, cook a pot of grain (in this case hulled millet) and cook a pot of legumes (in this case green lentils), to use in any number of ways – but here, as the smoky beetroot burger. I’m writing this up for the Easter break as I think it would make a perfect lunch, or dinner over this most wonderful break.

Jude-Beetroot-Burger-5

There are a few things I need to tell you about this recipe. These are really quite quick to throw together, especially if you have lentils already cooked. I would suggest you cook the millet (and make extra if you would like for another use) just before you need it – the warmth will make it a little stickier, which is helpful here (you will have a little left over, but it’s far easier to get the liquid ratio perfect with 1/2 cup millet, so use it for a stuffing, or a salad !). Also, the lentils need to be well cooked – once drained, it will help the whole sticking together thing if they are mashed just a little bit. In the end however, they will stay together, no matter how unlikely you think that will be – the 2 eggs will do the trick. I also absolutely recommend that you soak your millet and lentils (this will make them more digestible), but if you forget or run out of time, cooking them in a bone stock such as chicken will buffer any nutrient losses, and make digestion just that bit easier. Also – the smoked paprika. I can tell you that all smoked paprika’s are not equal. Many of them can be quite bitter, especially when you have to add a fair bit to get a good smoky flavour. I use one that is a dulce (sweet) smoked paprika, and in Perth, Western Australia this is the brand I use. And a word in regards to the miso – both shiro (white) or chickpea are fine, and in Australia I have a preference for this brand (though, to be fair it is only available in limited places, and only on the east coast), otherwise this brand.

Jude-Beetroot-Burger-14

Jude-Beetroot-Burger-35

I’ve served it here with great organic, wood fired sourdough that has been grilled, avocado, and homemade sweet chilli and sultana sauce. The greens you see there are the beetroot greens, but take note beetroot (especially the greens) are a high oxalic acid food. Heat breaks down oxalates, so I have cooked them gently in a little ghee – this way you will get all their goodies. Pile it all on the bread, slather it and it’s a hearty and delicious meal. A bit of goat curd would not go astray. And, finally if you are after a cake for the (hopefully) cooler Autumn weather over easter, can I suggest this Walnut and Yoghurt Cake. It’s an old post, so not brilliant photos, but I can guarantee, the cake is very good.

Wishing you all a restful, safe and heartfelt Easter… x jude

All photography ©Harriet Harcourt

My new book is available for pre order – in Perth, Western Australia here, Australia wide here and worldwide Book Depository here

Apple, Parsnip and Sage Fritters

IMG_1078

It’s been a long time since I’ve been here with you, and done a blog post, lots of very good reasons for sure, but at the heart of it was a plate that was full to overflowing, and an entirely new email and web system being built, both on different platforms than before. Doing a blog in between platforms just felt a little too daunting.Totally rebuilding the website from scratch demanded that I also have a very good think why I continued to keep a blog in the new website. I loved this article on maintaining a long term blog by Heidi Swanson, and others at that time – Heidi talks about this being her practice and the commitment to that practice, and it made me query just actually what my practice was. Along with cooking, writing and photography, the blog itself was a part of her practice. It became immediately clear that for me, my blog was not an essential part of my practice – but rather teaching and writing, that formed that coreI’m not a great photographer and to be honest, I don’t want to learn too much more there – I just don’t have room in my brain for that. That room is saved for learning more about how fats – or any food really – works. I don’t have the ability to run a consistent weekly, fortnightly or monthly blog – some times I am just loaded with teaching commitments (the Whole and Natural Foods Chef Training for example), and sharing my knowledge with in the books I write.

Knowing this, I settled with going ahead with the blog and that I will make it here monthly as best I can, but I knew that I also wanted to be here with you and share what is going on, life and recipe or two. But I also know that I share all those things with you in each of my books, and most certainly in the new book (May 2016) – the book is just about finished (just a few more recipes to go) and editing to commence. I’m incredibly happy with this new baby, I think you will be too. My plan is to post here monthly, and to send out a quarterly newsletter with information and cooking for the season ahead – you can subscribe to that newsletter here

For now, I’d like to give you this yummy and simple recipe, using very seasonal ingredients and to say how lovely it is to be back here with you. Right now, parsnips are being pulled and apples are being picked, and they are a glorious combination. Combined with sage and herbs, a little left over cooked grain and a couple of eggs, they make the most wonderful fritters to eat, any time of the day. I think they will be perfect for the cooler Autumn weather over the long weekend.

x Jude

IMG_1407

 

Forget The Green Smoothie

IT’S CALLED A SALAD, WITH A DRESSING

EVOlive Oil Mayonnaise and Yoghurt Dressing with Seasonal Herbs

Once upon a time, when by all accounts and my life experiences, people were healthier and happier than they are now, food and life was a lot simpler. I’m talking about my parents generation – those in their 90’s, many still living independently – though now needing help – and vibrant lives, those that lived simpler and less complicated lives. We hear often, that the young generation today is the first generation in a very long time considered to have a shorter life span than current generations, and that we are sicker and unhappier than ever. Somehow my mum, and those of her generation managed it all without the green smoothie or green smoothies with chia seeds. Now those of you that are familiar with my work, know that I tend to be interested in fundamentals – you can read more about those here (you will also find a fabulous rustic tart of greens recipe there, perfect for this time of the year). You will know that after 25 odd years in the ‘healthy’ food industry – which I prefer to call the ‘whole and natural foods’ industry – I am alarmed by the rapid escalation of fractionalisation that seems to be happening in the past few years. The green smoothie is a case in point. Honestly, I didn’t take much notice of it when it first appeared a few years ago, it just seemed silly and made no sense what so ever. But somehow, it’s become the poster child for ‘healthy’ eating, or ‘real, natural or whole food’. I’ve decided I’d like to weigh in on the discussion.

As always, I like to find the original source from whence things come – where did this belief that throwing lots of greens into a blender is a leading edge healthful thing to do? As it happens, from a book called Green For Life by Victoria Butenko. Now before I go on, I would like to point out that I believe we all have a path to follow and none of us have the right to question another’s path. I understand and respect this, but given this book is a treatise on the green smoothie, I think it’s worth noting a few things. The gist of it is this: the author and her family came to the US from Russia, where food was scarce and limited to mostly grains, dairy and some fruit.  On settling in the United States, they were amazed at the variety and availability of food, they especially loved the convenience food and used a microwave often. Within 3 years, all of them were extremely unwell, doctors told them there were no cures for their diabetes, asthma, allergies, heart issues etcetera. So they looked elsewhere, and turned to raw food. Now I’m not going to go to deeply into this issue, but you cannot discuss the green smoothie without discussing raw food, but it would seem obvious to me that they could also have simply stopped eating highly processed food / junk food / and frequenting the microwave. However, a vegan, raw food (most likely because it was at least real) diet turned things around but after several years, they began to have problems such as a heavy feeling in the stomach, grey hair and simply no longer desiring some of the allowed foods. So, the author searched for what was missing (I’m assuming in the vegetable world only) and discovered that greens was the food group that offered everything humans needed, and they weren’t having enough. But how much did a human need to eat? For this answer, she looked for an animal that was close genetically to a human – with an approx.99.4% genetic match, enter the chimpanzee.

The author observed that humans had lost their natural way of eating – but rather than recognising the blindingly obvious problems with refined, processed and junk foods – instead considered that “it is logical to hypothesise that our diets are supposed to be 99.4% similar” (to the chimpanzee) and that understanding the chimpanzee eating habits may help us to better understand the human dietary needs? Seriously? The only thing that I can keep thinking is that we might share a lot of genetic material with a chimpanzee, yet in that difference we are most definitely not a chimpanzee. Given that the main argument here is that this is the ‘natural’ way to eat, we absolutely have to consider another blindingly obvious point – the fact that man climbed down from the trees, stood erect on two legs and developed a bigger brain. Biological anthropologist Richard Wrangham (Catching Fire) (this is the guy that Michael Pollan talks about in his new book Cooked) holds the belief it was the discovery of fire, whereby cooked food enabled more and easier access to nutrient density, thus facilitating the evolution from a large to smaller gut and from a smaller to bigger brain. Others share the belief it was access to nutrient dense animal foods – notably the softer and nutrient dense bone marrow and brain that did the trick. Neither considered that it was an abundance of uncooked greens. Whilst we might share that large amount of DNA with the chimpanzee, we are yet, quite obviously not the same, and to say it is logical to hypothesise our diets should be 99.4% the same beggars belief.

At the very least, chimp and orangs have a larger colon to gut ratio, strong jaws and large teeth –perfect to chew and digest the large amount of fibrous fruits and tough high cellulose leaves (with stems) which along with fermentation in the colon, provides enough calories to support the animal. Humans have the opposite – a smaller colon to gut ratio, with a weaker jaw and smaller teeth – perfect for cooked foods, which require less energy to digest and softens the strong cellulose fiber. It was because of this absolute fact, that the greens had to be blended, otherwise they simply could not be broken down (and then because they were having so many green smoothies and not chewing – which is essential for our bone and jaw health, the author devised a rubber chewing device which you can buy from their website). Whilst certainly heat (fermentation, cooking) does destroy enzymes, denature protein and can destroy vitamin C and some heat sensitive minerals such as thiamine, it remains that cooking food provides incredible nutrient density and energy that is easily accessible – lightly cooked meat for example, makes it more easily digestible – it starts breaking down the protein molecules. Eating cooked foods has also been quite obviously, simply spectacularly successful – we did climb down from the trees and are now the leading animal (I know, we’re not looking that good right now, neither are the cultures that we’ve built, but that is another discussion).  But cooking can also make some big differences to vegetables – it can soften and break down that fibrous cellulose, it helps to improve the digestibility of complex carbohydrate (especially the starch – cooked potato or sweet potato is more digestible cooked than raw) and it can break down some problematic aspects of raw foods – oxalic acid and goitrogens for example. Whilst I believe there is some hysteria around the internet in regards to oxalic acid, it does remain that it is problematic, especially if you have a less than optimal gut ecology.

I’d like to talk a bit more about that gut ecology. If you have a ‘delicate’ or troublesome digestive system (bloating, intolerance to gluten and dairy etcetera) you will most likely have a less than healthy gut ecology. This means you don’t have enough beneficial bacteria to do the many, many jobs they actually do – including most importantly, their intimate involvement in digesting food –  in particular the full and proper digestion of gluten and dairy proteins, and oxalic acid. But, what those good bacteria can’t do however, no matter how much you will it (or blend it) is to be able to fully and appropriately digest some of those more complex carbohydrates (more than 1 or 2 sugars) that include cellulose, fibre and those known as FODMAPS. This is why, even when blended some of those carbohydrates are still tricky to digest. Unless a kale leaf is very, very young it is going to be difficult to digest, even when blended – it is far easier to digest when cooked, which is how the cultures that have most experience with it (such as the Italians) generally use it.

In the end, this seems to me a discussion on eating a balanced diet. All healthy human groups include raw food  (where appropriate to the food) and understand the value of that life force.  However, no healthy human groups solely eat raw food – this is the findings of many, including that same Richard Wrangham who postulated the theory that cooked food is responsible for our evolution from the apes, and as a biological anthropologist found no human group eats all their food raw, as did Weston Price many years before. Nowhere is this issue of balance more evident than in a discussion on cooked versus raw. I have always (as my parents generation before me) consumed raw foods – including the goitrogenic cabbage in my mum’s favourite coleslaw and we called it a salad – indeed we had a salad generally around 3 times a week, more in summer.  We consumed raw, fresh seasonal fruits and called it an apple or pear, not a ‘raw food’, but we also ate all of those same foods we ate as salads and fresh fruit, cooked. We also consumed raw animal products meats (steak tartare), raw milk and raw eggs in raw milk (mum’s egg flip) but we also had them cooked. But perhaps of most importance, is that what and how we ate was all in the context of those fundamentals I spoke of earlier, that you can find here. 

There is also much more to the issue of the green smoothie – promoted by the author as a time saving way to include these greens in your diet, and their nutritional value. I’d simply like to say that in regards to the issue of nutritional value, as much as you would like to think that you are getting all those minerals in that kale or dark leafy green, if you don’t have some fat soluble vitamins with it, you won’t and those minerals can’t do what you want them to do. Those fat soluble vitamins are A, D, K and E. And, if  you think that the kale or dark leafy greens (or the chia seeds)  are giving you Omega 3 EFA’s, well yes they are but in the form of Alpha Linolenic Acid, which has to go through many conversions to become the derivatives that really are essential – Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) and especially Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA). There are some foods that just happen to be especially rich in both ALL the fat soluble vitamins and those longer chain essential fatty acid derivatives EPA and DHA – they are ALL animal foods and are :  all animal fats eg butter (ghee), egg yolks, offal (especially liver) and fish (including their eggs). This is why we consistently see raw vegetable and green salads traditionally paired with dressings such as mayonnaise based, or topped with soft cooked eggs, presented with lovely crunchy fatty bacon bits or strips of barely cooked liver. You might immediately recognise these pairings as classic, traditional and delicious French, Italian or European pairings. Yes, some land sources such as extra virgin olive oil do have vitamin E, but they don’t have the others.

When choosing vegetables to eat raw, it pays to bear in mind that nature tends to provide season appropriate foods – lighter, less carbohydrate dense and higher water content vegetables and fruits in summer. These all require less cooking – they are easy to eat and digest raw – and blended if that’s how you would like them. Yet, it gives us the almost opposite in the cooler months – these denser and more complex carbohydrate root vegetables, thicker and more cellulose dense leaves (cabbage, kale and collards) and fruits (apples, quince, pears ) provide us with more fuel to keep us warm, but will need cooking to make that goodness fully available. Yes you could blend those leaves up and break down the cellulose, but that is often not enough for some and I would also ask why? I simply don’t agree, because this is what I have seen, that is offers more (better) nutrition than when cooked. And, in regards to healing, there are many paths to the one door and I’ve seen a cooked food diet do the same thing – but this is a deeply complex area, with many other co factors and one for another day.

I think it is an incredibly admirable thing to be advocating eating greens, but extreme and unbalanced to believe the best way to do so is to blend them, raw, into a smoothie (mostly with lots of fruit). They have been eaten by all healthy cultures for generations, and they called it a salad. They knew which greens needed cooking to make them optimally digestible, and what to serve with them to make all their greeny goodness and mineral bounty more bio available. The tragedy of our time is that this traditional knowledge, which served it’s people well, has been undervalued and lost. There are some beautiful greens around right now and so many delicious ways to include them in your day – uncooked as salads, and cooked (that tart I suggested earlier is delicious). This was my morning tea yesterday…..

Quick and Simple Salad – no need for a blender

Autumn is a great time for the easily digested family of lettuce – here I’ve used one of my favourites, Buttercrunch. I’ve added microgreens from the garden, celery heart, pink lady apples and toasted walnuts for a bit more density. Can I say, microgreens are ridiculously easy to grow, nutrient rich with little carbohydrate development at such a young stage – kale is great in this format. To make the dressing I used equal amounts of mayonnaise and yoghurt (thus supplying some beneficial bacteria), lemon or lime juice to taste, a touch of honey to taste and a touch of a nice curry powder, with lots of fresh (and easily digestible) herbs – coriander which is now in season. This dressing will keep in the fridge for at least a week, and gives me the ability to put a salad together quickly. It would be delicious with lentils tossed through it also.

As you can see, I used the thinner skinned Myer lemons, because that is what I had

 

Bone Stock and Corn Chowder

Core Recipe

IMG_1844-654x491.jpg

Superfoods are hot topics at the moment –  yet, I think that sometimes in our distraction for the quick boost, or quick fix, it’s very easy to forget some very profound basics.

I’d like to make the case that real food grown in or raised on foods from nutrient rich soils are all super foods in their own right. Notice that I using the word as an adjective – a describing word. Run the 2 words together and it suggests a whole new category of food (one that is usually very expensive), almost a superhero food. All of these real foods, grown or raised on foods from nutrient rich soils, carry the vast store of the nutrients we require to survive and run these amazing cellular machines we call our body. Proteins, fats (even saturated), carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, phytonutrients are all found in abundance in real food. I think the obsession with superfoods is simply another manifestation of our fractionalised approach to food. What I’d love to see is more people eating good food (you can read in more depth about what I think makes food ‘good’ or ‘healthy’ here) for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Actually, I’d love to see more people eat breakfast, lunch or dinner and not exist on snacks all day long. I’d love to see people actually stop to eat and not eat on the run or in a rush. I’d love to see people relax while they eat and perhaps have a companion to share the time with, chat and laugh a bit. I’d love to see people enjoying their food and not worrying about the fat, the carbs, the protein, the phytonutrients of it, their blood type or if it’s raw etc.  In short, I’d love to see us eat how we used to, when we had a strong food culture within Australia and we cared about the food we gave our children, and ourselves.

How about we do this instead?

  1. Buy food grown in nutrient rich soil, without synthetic pesticides and sprays. This will be called lots of different things, but organic, bio dynamic are good places to start.
  2. Cook and eat this nutrient rich food every day (and eat some raw).
  3. Keep your food as close as possible to it’s natural state – with as little that is edible taken away and as little that is inedible (additives) added back.
  4. Eat a broad range of nutrient groups each day – don’t just eat carbohydrates.

But, if I had to choose a food that I think is most super – well, firstly, I would find it hard to choose between eggs (especially the yolks), animal bones and marrow, animal fat, fish and butterfat. And then I’d say, make bone stock, don’t leave your home without knowing you have a stash in the freezer. Bone stocks have been used by just about all traditional cultures for nourishment and healing – the original nature doctor, Dr Vogel describes it’s use in Europe for healing; in New York, Chicken soup is known as Jewish Penicillin (it’s because chicken fat contains Palmitoleic Acid – a powerful immune boosting monounsaturated fat) and throughout Asia, fish stock is the restorer of Chi – life force (it’s also a rich source of iodine). This is why it’s super:

  1. Bone stock is an incredibly rich source of minerals  – especially calcium and trace elements pulled from bone, cartilage and vegetables as they cook, all in a bio – available form.
  2. Bone stock ‘spares’ protein. This means that your body can make better use of the protein it eats.
  3. Bone stocks also has the superhero gelatine – this enables food to be digested more easily and is also exceptionally healing to the gut – as is the fat (cooking your grain in a bone stock makes it so much more digestible).
  4. Bone stocks are great sources of glucosamine and chondroitin, used for healthy joints. In fact gelatine was the go to ‘superfood’ for healthy joints back in the 50’s.
  5. Bone stocks are the original frugal food, giving you a lot of nourishment (and ability to eat minimal expensive protein) for very little money.

Those ‘real’ stocks you see advertised on tv? I’ve never seen one all wibbly and wobbly from gelatine. I also find them shallow and harsh in flavour, and expensive. Bone stocks are so easy to make, simply requiring a lovely big pot – and when using bones, some acid (such as wine or vinegar) to help draw all the gelatine and minerals from the bone. You can’t muck them up and they freeze brilliantly. You can find a massive amount of information on the internet about stocks at many of the traditional food sites. If you google around you will be in undated.

I nearly forgot to tell you that this is a great time of the year to be making and liberally using chicken stock – boosting your immune system.

IMG_0459-654x491.jpg

So, that soup above. Silky and shiny from the gelatine in the stock :) It’s a cupboard love corn chowder, using what my fridge and garden had. Oh, and did you notice I used kale ? From my notes above you might think I hate it – I don’t, I love it, but I love lots of other vegetables also. This is a wonderful way to use kale – serving it with fat (from the chicken stock) which will or help to ensure all those amazing minerals in kale are actually bio – available. And, you’ve cooked it, which breaks down the oxalic acid (kale is best cooked). Also when you look at my stock (up there in the pink jug) it’s not that golden – it was a cupboard love stock after all, but when you use chickens raised on lots of wonderful green pasture, the fat will be quite yellow, reflecting the beta-carotenes in the grass.

There’s a fabulous recipe for corn chowder in Coming Home to Eat (oooh, good news, it’s being re printed and should be available soon), but a quick version (let’s face it, that’s what we most often do). Before I start, just know you can add as much vegetable or stock as you like.  Add some ghee, chicken fat, olive or  coconut oil to the base of the pan, add diced potato (helps thicken it), I like pumpkin, leek or onion – you can see mine above, I also added a good handful of basil because I have tons. Pinch of salt. Cook over a gentle heat for 10 minutes, stirring every now and then (you are developing a flavour base). Add the stock, and the corn cob (you’ve cut the corn kernels off it to add later), cook gently (don’t boil madly) until those base vegetables are cooked. Add the lighter cooking vegetables – corn kernels, zucchini and kale. Cook for 8 – 10 minutes until they are just tender, add chopped basil. Taste and season as desired – I like a bit of fish sauce. If you would like (and I did) take some of the soup out and blend it (add it back) before adding the corn, etc. It makes a thicker broth.