Athena Lamberis

Posts Tagged ‘food’

How to Make Easy Feta Cheese Puffs Recipe with Greek Yoghurt

In Recipe on January 16, 2015 at 16:57

During the holidays, we get those family season’s greeting cards, pictures of new babies, a synopsis of people’s year  – but my mom, she’s different.  In my Greek-American-South African family, most events and conversations revolve around food, even season’s greetings.

Below is a tried and tested recipe, a season’s greetings -written by my mom.

An easy snack you can make with delicious Greek yoghurt and a sense of humour.  Lucky you, this is a secret family recipe revealed.  Enjoy!

” Wishing you a Gastronomic, Festive, Joyous New Year, with lots of New Experiences.  May this recipe be one of them.
GREEK CHEESE PUFFSHow to make Greek feta yogurt bread balls recipe-The Culinary Linguist
(From the hands of Thea Koula,
My only living, wonderful Auntie,
Who is still the best baker)

•DOUGH•

1 medium tub Greek yogurt

1&3/4 sticks butter – (yeah! I said good puffs, not slimming) – you may cut back on the butter, and add half butter – half extra virgin olive oil, or coconut oil.  I wouldn’t – when you SIN – you SIN!!!

One t. Salt or less depending how salty your FETA is.

One tablespoon Vinegar – DO NOT FORGET THIS STEP!!!

1/2 kilo  ( 1 lb ) of self rising flour  (more/less) depending on the weather – (you can use wheat FLOUR and 1 t. baking soda)

Mix above ingredients and let the mixture rest for one, or couple of hours. After some gentle manipulation, (we all need to rest, and fluff up).

•FILLING•
200 gr feta cheese ( 3/4 lb)

1/4 of c of good Ricotta cheese (optional) 

One egg white ( save yolk for glazing the puffs)

Pepper / if you like a peppery taste like I do.

 
Mix well – at this point add whatever other cheeses are hiding in your refrigerator shelves.  Waste not!!!

(OPTIONAL)You may add some spinach or sausage or whatever you wish.

Cayenne pepper, etc.

Take a tablespoon of dough in your hand – spread it with your other hand to an open “like” shell to receive the heaping teaspoon of filling on one side. Then close the other end over the filled end, and pinch the ends together.

Sounds delicious, right? Good eating is a religious experience!!!

Place in a well greased pan, brush some egg yolk (diluted with a sprinkle of water) and use either sesame seeds on top, black sesame, or Nigella seeds to give it a finished touch.
We all look better with some finishing touches.

Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown at 180 (350) degrees.

Enjoy the homemade goodness that you just created with your hands. (it is almost like birth, only easier, faster, and sometimes more satisfying, and does not talk back to you). OOPS, forgive me my darling offsprings.

How to make Greek feta bread balls recipe-The Culinary Linguist

FYI – if you are in need for some carbs after a hard day’s work- use above dough. Fry it in butter and olive oil. While it is hot, sprinkle some (lots) sugar and cinnamon.  Enjoy the fried fritter with a cup of coffee as you listen to the clouds open up and the angels “sing to thee”.

From the Greek Gypsy
Or, Nomad Retiree a.k.a Mom of The Culinary Linguist  ”

**  If you grew up in a Greek family, you often find yourself giggling at food trends and fads that hype what your grandma’s been feeding you for years.  It’s the way food product companies like to colonise homemade traditional foods and ‘discover’ the next best thing to tortilla chips. ViVA Greek yogurt.

The history of your Favorite Foods: Pizza, Ice cream . . .

In Stories, Travel on November 3, 2014 at 18:30
 So how do we track back in time to find the origins, the stories of how our favorite foods began?
  Who put fortunes in cookies and tomato sauce on spaghetti?
 Food pairings and cultural dishes have a long history.  From spice trades, to climate regions, culinary history continues to evolve.  Natural food traditions complement what was in season – what was in season also supports exactly what our immune system and our overall physical nutritional health.
 Steamed winter greens such as spinach drizzled with olive oil and a lot of lemon juice is a Greek food staple known as Horta.   If the greens were eaten with cheese or just salt, for example, you wouldn’t get the benefit of  absorbing the high levels of Calcium and Iron in the vegetable.  When lemon juice or other foods high in Vitamin C are added to the greens, this assists the body for absorption – plus spinach is delicious with lemon juice anyway! Win-win.
So that’s just the nutritional side . . . on the history side, this info-graphic produced by Cheapflights.ca tells it how it is.  Anthropology of Food . . . .  I love it!  Appetite for variety – I celebrate all things real food.  Enjoy!
the history behind your favourite foods 53cd2cdd68e9e w640 How and Where the Worlds Most Beloved Foods Started (INFOGRAPHIC)

Sushi photo (slider) via Shutterstock

How to Eat and Think about Bug Grub: A Taste of Entomophagy

In Friend's Kitchens, Recipe, Stories on June 25, 2014 at 16:08

Would you ever say, “I’m a Entomo-tarian and love crickets roasted and tossed in sea salt and cayenne pepper and covered in chocolate?”

How to eat crickets -recipe

Chocolate covered Crickets at Soma Confection Laboratories. Pic by Heather Thompson

Considering bugs as grub gives way for the future of Pestaurants, cricket flour protein bars and stinkbug snacks being served in city centres across the globe.

With two other curious minds, adventurous taste buds and a love for food (with wings), we nibbled on cricket parts and chocolate-covered nosh once living in the wild.  Conversations about insect anatomy, and the future of entomophagy, got me thinking on the topic of the fast frozen-once-hopping jimineys.

My love for “how to” and DIY in culinary arts has led me to simmering  Mopani worms and foraging fresh sea vegetables. It’s my quest for promoting variety in our appetites, being a MacGyver in the kitchen and working with what you have and what is presented to you.  But will the high in protein, beneficial fatty acids, essential vitamins and micronutrients in insects become primary ingredients in our morning porridge?  I can see a future in dipping celery sticks in smoked paprika chickpea grasshopper pâté .

When will people from different hemispheres be sharing bug-eating habits?  Will you eat insects from your garden instead of using insecticide?

 Insects as a food source has been practiced for many generations in various parts of the world, and people are beginning to see past the gross factor.

Environmentally, insects take up less space, reproduce at a faster rate and have a better feed-to-meat ratio when compared to cattle and other alternative meat sources such as ostrich, goat, and pork.  Insects for human consumption could help in solving a wide range of ecological, economic and health related issues and concerns in our world of food production and nutrition.

But will you add it to your grocery list?

Will you start farming organic crickets instead of building a chicken coop?

As we continue to urbanise but become more wise and sovereign in our food choices, this may be your answer.

And people keep asking me, “So what do crickets taste like?”

This batch was a crispy, smokey grass with a chilli-chocolate punch in your mouth.  But if you’re looking to build your muscles, beetles are your super power protein source.

Stay tuned for Entomo – recipes as we expand our culinary linguistics together:  A Chocolate Confectioner, Agroecologist and a Culinary Nomad.  If you are chomping at the bit:  Eat a Bug Cookbooks are already on the shelves at an Amazon near you.

entomophagy in chocolate and spices How to eat crickets in chocolate -#theculinarylinguist

Crickets collected by AgroEcologist/Entomophager: Zayaan Khan.

How do crickets taste like in chocolate -#theculinarylinguist

Pop, Crunch and Chocolate with a side of Coco-nutty bar chocolate bar.

How to identify and pick wild edible mushrooms in Cape Town, South Africa

In Events, Stories, Travel on June 4, 2014 at 12:31

 

“Is there rain and gale force winds on your side?”

“No.”

“Okay, then we’ll meet you at the forest gate at 7:15”

How to identify and pick wild edible mushrooms in Cape Town, South Africa Gary Mushroom Guru

Gary Goldman, the mushroom Guru of Cape Town, South Africa

In Cape Town, winter brings sloshy puddles and leaf layers on the forest floor.  Mushrooms, like stars fallen from the galaxy, pop out of the ground in diverse shapes, forms, colours and size.  This time from the first rains is when foragers, explorers, mushroom hunters spot various of funghi for identification, observation and if lucky, consumption.

The rain was still drizzling outside our home in Vredehoek while we drove with our hound, Enzo, to the Cecilia Forest in Cape Town.  Brushed with a dark blue, the sky opened to the morning sun once we found our meeting place where Gary Goldman, the mushroom guru was waiting.  Dreams of porcini, pine-rings and new forms of fungi were planted in our minds.  What did the forest hold, and what were we going to find?

 

How to identify and pick wild edible mushrooms in Cape Town, South Africa Gary Mushroom Guru

Cecelia Forest – mushroom foraging with Gary

We carried baskets, pocket knives, and boldness onto the lower slopes of Table Mountain Reserve, with the comfort of having a teacher, Gary, to guide use through our questions of the forage.  The dogs sensed excitement-the fresh smells fueled the pack to go in front of the path.  Chris joined the front, and just over the barb-wire fence, what looked like a brown leaf was twisted out from the earth.  The first find of the day was a porcini treasure, fragrant, firm and joyfully gathered.

 

How to identify and pick wild edible mushrooms in Cape Town, South Africa-Chris Mason

Chris found the winter delight! Fresh porcini mushroom.

Slippery logs laid in our path and speckled leaves lined the moving forest streams-more winter delights came in all different shapes and sizes as we weaved pass the gum tree forests and into pine, cork oak and poplar tree sections.  What looked like a brown wood owl flew past us as we continued to collect poplar boletus, porcini, pine-rings and learned to identify a variety of parasite (grows on/from organic-living) and saphrophyte (grows on dead organic material) fungi. After two hours in the forest, my eyes became more aware of mycelia on trees and different fungi characteristics.  I was beginning to confidently identify and learn distinctive features of about various mushrooms-my favorite being the saffron-coloured water that stains your hands when you squeeze a pine rings vs ‘a little brown mushroom.’

How to identify and pick wild edible mushrooms in Cape Town, South Africa

Filling the basket with porcini, poplar boletus and pine rings. Anything with a sponge under the mushroom cap in the Western Cape is edible.

How to identify and pick wild edible mushrooms in Cape Town, South Africa Mycellium

Mycellium on the tree – a part of the fungi web

Gumtree Forests How to identify and pick wild edible mushrooms in Cape Town, South Africa

Gumtree forests – many common edible mushrooms do not prefer this type of environment

As we left the forest with happily-filled baskets, I was in awe of the complexity and beauty nature holds in a delicate yet robust web.  With every step into our natural world, I learn more about how our environments flourish and where our food comes from.  Proper identification, with desired aroma and taste adds a world of medicinal and culinary uses of mushrooms to my culinary linguistics. It’s been dated back to B.C. China, of humans foraging for mushrooms for added sustenance during winter months.  I added another day to an ancient practice of mushroom eating history (mychophagy).  Today, with the appetite for variety and with the help of a mushroom guru – I became a fungivore-survived and nourished.

How to identify and pick wild edible mushrooms in Cape Town, South Africa

Cork Oak trees – Mushrooms loves to grow under pine, poplar and oak trees.

Cinnabar-How to identify and pick wild edible mushrooms in Cape Town, South Africa

A type of Cinnabar – medicinal mushroom.

How to identify and pick wild edible mushrooms in Cape Town, South Africa-porcini

Porcini mushroom cut length wise

Laughing Jims (hallucinogen) How to identify and pick wild edible mushrooms in Cape Town, South Africa

Laughing Jims – hallucinogenic

Turkey Tail - How to identify and pick wild edible mushrooms in Cape Town, South Africa

Turkey Tail mushroom- a bracket fungi-used as a medicinal tea since 15th century. Used as an alternative for chemotherapeutic medicines and radiation therapy. Grows on dead logs (saphrophyte)

saphrophyte

How to identify and pick wild edible mushrooms in Cape Town, South Africa

Often Gary identifies some mushrooms by slicing it in half to see the color inside.

How to identify and pick wild edible mushrooms in Cape Town, South Africa

Another medicinal mushroom that grows on living trees.

How to identify and pick wild edible mushrooms in Cape Town, South AfricaHow to identify and pick wild edible mushrooms in Cape Town, South Africa

Gary Mushroom man How to identify and pick wild edible mushrooms in Cape Town, South Africa

My dog Lorenzo having too much fun skipping over mushrooms and logs.

How to identify and pick wild edible mushrooms in Cape Town, South Africa

Eager foragers in the Cecelia Forest

Educational Food Topics: Mind-Fuel Learning with young South African students

In Events on May 30, 2014 at 19:26

 

Youth education programs around food topics-The Culinary Linguist

Youth education programs around food topics-The Culinary Linguist

 

Our future is bright!

 When I got the opportunity to help design and facilitate environmental education lessons around various food topics with students around the Western Cape-I was amazed by what these fresh young minds are thinking.  Two different workshops hosted by the City of Cape Town’s Youth Environmental Programme YES and Leaders of the Future Oranjezicht City Farm youth workshop, students engaged in critical thinking discussions around food, energy, water through various systems thinking activities.

It was outstanding to witness discussions on global environmental topics and examining solutions to apply locally and personally.  I was especially inspired by the creativity they expressed through their vegetarian lunch challenges – definitely a generation to watch out for – move over MasterChef!

Youth education programs around food topics-The Culinary Linguist

Mind-Fuel Creations for Lunch!

  My involvement with youth education programs around food topics has encouraged me to brainstorm and develop more food education and cross-cultural experiences.  Stay tuned for more insight on home cooking cultural exchanges in various South African homes with students from abroad.

Culinary Linguistics – Mind-Fuel Learning – Exploring the way food is used as a social tool. 

South Africa: youth capacity building, training, education and awareness programme providing a variety of projects, programmes, campaigns, resources and opportunities for all schools South Africa: youth capacity building, training, education and awareness programme providing a variety of projects, programmes, campaigns, resources and opportunities for all schools urbanfarming

Youth education programs around food topics-The Culinary Linguist

Beetroot-orange and apple salad

Youth education programs around food topics-The Culinary Linguist

orange cucumber zesty bites

Youth education programs around food topics-The Culinary Linguist

Rainbow couscous salad

Youth education programs around food topics-The Culinary Linguist

Teams make delicious lunch platters to share

 

How to Harvest Seaweed: Superfood Nutrition from our Ocean

In Events, Friend's Kitchens, Recipe, Stories, Travel on May 16, 2014 at 13:44
Nutritional Benefits of Seaweed: Recipes and How To Harvest

Nutritional Benefits of Seaweed Some seaweed varieties on the Cape Peninsula


Nutritional Benefits of Seaweed: Recipes and How To Harvest

 

   Edible Sea Vegetable: SeaWeed

confess, my kitchen turns into edible science experiments almost every day. Seaweed is my new ingredient in the kitchen lab. Once you get to know the nutritional facts and the familiar taste of popcorn it has when nori (a type of seaweed) is roasted on the fire, then you’ll definitely give this superfood a chance.  When I first moved to Cape Town, I was mesmerised by the huge kelp forests that were washed onto the shorelines.  On low tides, I observed the variety of seaweeds that clung to the rocks and naturally wondered, “Can we eat that?”  You’ve probably already have if you’ve gone to a sushi joint or visit the snack aisle at an Asian supermarket.  When we see an ingredient in it’s natural state – outside of a food product/market/restaurant, we’re often surprised by how it grows, what it looks like and what it may actually taste like?  This is what I call the spark of our own natural whole food education, also known as the moment when our culinary linguistics expand.  I’m a self proclaimed phyco-nerd. Phycology: Greek φῦκος, phykos, “seaweed”; and -λογία, -logia) is the scientific study of algae and was so happy to find fellow wild food foragers on the Cape Peninsula.

Beyond Basic Nutrition: Seaweed Benefits

Contains vitamin B12 (which is rarely found in plants)

  • Rich in iron, potassium, magnesium, zinc, manganese (overall 13 vitamins, 20 amino acids, 60 trace mineral elements)
  • Highest source of plant protein and zero calories
  • It’s fiber is helpful for the digestive system, making you feel full and satiated
  • Contains iodine which aids the function of the thyroid to release iodine in our blood to help prevent disease.  Our bodies don’t make iodine so we have to get it through our food – why not seaweed?
  • Reduces water retention and contains higher levels of calcium than beef and cow’s milk
  • Natural occurring sodium that resembles human amniotic fluid
  • Alkalinizes and purifies blood as it’s chemical composition is similar to the plasma in human blood
  • Optimum nourishment for hormonal, lymphatic, urinary and nervous systems

Marine Flora: Wild and Crazy? 

  I was honestly hesitant to harvest seaweed in South Africa before doing a bit of research.   I needed a bit of local knowledge to boost my confidence and to verify that I wasn’t the only crazy who wondered about eating ocean algae.  If people in other parts of the world have seaweed-based cuisine, why aren’t we eating it here?  Has there ever been a history of it in South Africa?  Stay tuned for more about that in a future post.

Nutritional Benefits of Seaweed: Recipes and How To Harvest  I took my mom, one of my favorite foragers for whole foods, to Scarborough to learn more about the beautiful seaweed varieties available for us to harvest responsibly.  In the quest of learning to harvest wild food, you also develop a respect and knowledge for conserving the ocean environment.  I’ve found that becoming more aware of what makes a healthy flourishing balanced ecosystem allows me to make more educated decisions about harvesting and foraging wild foods in nature.

 Some Foraging Facts

Nutritional Benefits of Seaweed: Recipes and How To Harvest

Seaweed skin mask

Nutritional Benefits of Seaweed: Recipes and How To Harvest

Wrack-the beginnings of seaweed coleslaw

Nutritional Benefits of Seaweed: Recipes and How To Harvest

Scarborough coastline in Western Cape, South Africa

Nutritional Benefits of Seaweed: Recipes and How To Harvest

Rinsing and preparing after the harvest

The Good Hope Nursery in Scarbororgh did such a great job in creatively sharing their experience in sustainably harvesting, tasting and creating with ocean seaweed.  It was great to ask questions while enjoying the cosmetic and nutritional benefits of this sea vegetable.  We were greeted on the shoreline with seaweed scones and spoke about the red, green and brown varieties of seaweed below our feet.  Snippets of seaweed varieties such as kelp, wrack and ulva were gathered to ensure regrowth, conservation and abundance for our ecosystem (about 1/3 of what was growing on the rock near the tideline.) No random bits of floating seaweed was harvested, only healthy clean varieties that were attached to ocean rocks.

Edible Science: Seaweed Recipes

 Since that positive coastal foraging experience, I’ve been able to share what I’ve learned along the way, convincing brave and even unadventurous eaters to enjoy the tasty healthy benefits of sea vegetables.  On a recent trip to Elandsbaai, we harvested, rinsed and tossed nori in a bit of olive oil before placing it on a wood-burning fire.  The result was super flakey, crunchy, tasty green seaweed snack.  Get creative and incorporate seaweed in any of your favorite recipes for extra added health benefits. I’d love to hear more about what you discover.

Seaweed Recipes: Superfood Nutrition from the Ocean

Nutritional Benefits of Seaweed: Recipes and How To Harvest

Good Hope Nursery’s Chocolate Agar Agar and Candied Kelp with Ice Cream. YUM! Sign up for their foraging course.

Nutritional Benefits of Seaweed: Recipes and How To Harvest

That’s me in total seaweed face mask bliss. Rejuvenate, revitalise. Is there nothing seaweed can’t do?

Nutritional Benefits of Seaweed: Recipes and How To Harvest

A young culinary linguist exploring the texture of kelp. Wait for bath time! Yes, with seaweed:)

Nutritional Benefits of Seaweed: Recipes and How To Harvest

Seaweed couscous salad, mussels, kelp and avocado salad, wrack coleslaw . . . the feast continues.

Resources:

CONNECT BACK TO NATURE: Urban Food Foraging

In Friend's Kitchens, Stories, Travel on March 17, 2014 at 14:44

The culinary-linguist-athena lamberis-baby chesnut tree-urban food forage The culinary-linguist-athena lamberis-yellow plums-urban food forageThe more time we spend using whole food ingredients, the more curious we become of their source and qualities.  We may begin to ask questions such as –

“How do eggplants grow?”

“Can I eat the green tops of carrots?”

“What can grape leaves be used for?”

“Are those mulberries?”

Our curiosity for nature and an urge to explore these questions is a path towards connecting us back into nature.  One of the most natural ways to do this is through food. Now, we don’t all have to rush to live on a rural farm with a small permaculture food garden and chickens running around.  There are many ways to understand and connect back to nature from right where we live.

According to Carolyn Steele, our cities have been shaped through food.  So the way I see it, we can continue to shape our cities in a positive eco-friendly design by the way we choose to eat.  One simple way to connect to your natural urban surroundings is to explore the opportunity to urban food forage.  Urban food foraging is an act by simply exploring the natural surroundings in your neighbourhood i.e. parks, sidewalks, tree-lined street, and learning to observing and identify the plants and trees that grow in order to harvest them responsibly (i.e. leave some for your neighbours).  This is a step in becoming a local food gatherer-forager.

Ishay Govender-Ypma from Food and the Fabulous asked me to give some tips for foraging wild foods in our urban environment for the lifestyle and travel in-flight magazine Juice

This is what I had to say:

Image

Image

1.  Go on an ‘urban safari’ in your neighborhood. Research the leaves, fruit and herbs you pick at home before you eat anything.

2. Accompany an experienced friend or guide.

3. Think of urban landscapes as a living and growing food farm.  As your confidence grows, you’ll become in tune with the cycles and seasons.

4. Visit local nurseries to familiarise yourself with the plants, in order to aid identification.

5. Borrow or buy a glossary of herbs or indigenous plants.

6. Educated yourself by attending talks and workshops.

7. Contact your municipality to plant common food trees in local parks such as fig, pomegranate, waterberry, and wild olive.

8. Start with easily identifiable herbs like rosemary and lavender. Use them in salves and strain in hot water.

9.  Avoid high traffic areas that are often sprayed with chemicals

10. Always wash plants/fruits before you prepare them.

Read the full article, Local Hunter-Gatherers,  and learn about the chef Shaun Schoeman of Solms-Delta, Mushroom cultivator Gary Goldman, and Cape Town foragers, Charles Standing and Loubie Rusch.

Do you have any more tips to add from your wild food foraging adventures?  Please share!

The Culinary Linguist-urban-food-pomegrantes-cape town

AthenaLamberis-wildplums

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stay tuned for a local urban food – hunter – gatherer challenge! culinary-linguist-connect-back to nature through food

Inspiring Food Projects: Eco-Innovations

In Recipe on August 12, 2013 at 14:07

The more we think about innovative projects, the more we have to learn from nature.  These food projects use what our planet already has to offer and supports inspiring and positive thinking for world.

  1. Cardboard to Caviar Project (the ABLE project)
  2. Sahara Forest Project 
  3. Veta La Palma
  4. Incredible Edible Todmorden

Cardboard to Caviar

 After watching a talk from Michael Pawlyn, I was inspired by the way we can create fascinating closed loop recycling systems that mimic nature and provide opportunities for re-thinking our world. Eco-Innovation at it’s best.

 What are closed loop recycling systems?  It is when we take waste products and uses those as fuel or a provision for the next stage in the system/cycle.  As nature does, the closed loop system is interconnected with energy source paths that essentially trace back to solar energy as the primary producer.  It is a way of thinking to tackle various waste management problems and turn them into a lucrative schemes.

 Known as the Cardboard to Caviar Project , Graham Wiles, manager of The Green Business Network coordinated a closed loop system (also known as cradle to cradle) from a common waste product (cardboard boxes) and turned it into a high value end product (caviar), which is then sold back to the original producer of waste (restaurants). 

 

How it works:

  1. The restaurant pays Mr Wiles to take away their cardboard boxes, which he then shreds.
  2. The Stables pay Mr Wiles to provide them with horse bedding, ideally shredded cardboard.
  3. The Stables then pays Mr Wiles to take away the spent horse bedding, which he then feeds to worms to compost.
  4. The worms are then fed to sturgeon, which produce caviar. This is the most expensive stage in the cycle.
  5. The restaurant then pays Mr Wiles for his high end caviar, and also to take away their cardboard boxes…

Source and More here: http://algalbiomass.weebly.com 

http://www.incredible-edible-wakefield.co.uk/index.cgi?page=46&div=43

 

Sahara Forest Project 

 

Image

pic from Exploration Architecture

  The planned project would use solar power to evaporate salt water, generating cool air and pure water thereby allowing food to be grown. 

 The installations of solar power mirrors and greenhouses would turn deserts into lush patches of vegetation, according to its designers, and without the need to dig wells for fresh water.

Plants cannot grow in deserts because of the extreme temperatures and lack of nutrients and water. Charlie Paton, one of the Sahara Forest team and the inventor of the seawater greenhouse concept, said his technology was a proven way to transform arid environments.

 

Source: http://www.seawatergreenhouse.com/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sahara_Forest_Project

source: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2008/sep/02/alternativeenergy.solarpower

 

 Veta La Palma

Image

Extensive aquaculture benefits birdlife. Source: Herminio Muñiz

 

  An Aquaculture Farm that is home to over 200 species of migratory birds and produces tons of sea bass, red mullet and shrimp that are fed on the biodiversity of the environment.  Once barren land, valley, Veta La Palma produces fish that are not fed by farmers, but rather grown organically on the nutrients of the natural ecosystem that has been restored.  Many fish farms are fed from the waste of other food industries, like poultry.  This one relies on nature’s system.

  

 

 Incredible Edible Todmorden

 http://www.ecoagriculture.org/case_study.php?id=77

Sustainable food, Sustainable education, Sustainable learning. The town of Todmorden and their incredible edible aim has created locally grown food in city soil, in water and builds cross curriculum links for people to be connected by the one thing we have in common: food.

http://www.incredible-edible-todmorden.co.uk/links

http://www.incredible-edible-todmorden.co.uk/

http://www.incredibleedibleaquagarden.co.uk/

 

  All these projects motivate forward thinking to a better and more innovative world. 

  For more food topics like this visit the Facebook page: The Culinary Linguist.

Real Food Foraging in our Urban edible landscapes.

In Events, Stories, Travel on May 23, 2013 at 16:08

The Culinary Linguist |  Urban ForagingReal food foraging is taking Freetarian tactics to a whole other edible landscape.  It’s not about rummaging through the grocery store’s dump site or scrapping bubblegum off the concrete.  Real food foraging is a learned art: It bridges culinary knowledge, environmental awareness and plant/fungus identification to your own edible advantage.  Growing up with a Greek mom means you are always fed, and digest a lot of culinary knowledge.  One of the innovative skills I learned from her was how to identify food on every corner.  Besides knowing where to eat the best gyros pita, I learned at a young age to identify and protect our urban edible landscapes. The Culinary Linguist |  Urban Foraging

From sidewalk cracks to grassy patches, my Mom taught me that pulling weeds out of the ground could lead to a tasty Vitamin K and A rich dish of boiled lemony greens.  She loved that fact that we never had to buy dandelion greens from Dominick’s-we had them in our city’s backyard.   We lived close to Evanston’s train tracks and Chicago’s Canal.  When developers wanted to build condos there, we got involved and protested.  I wasn’t aware of it at the time, but saving the small forests meant saving the trees I loved to pick mulberries from and preserving a forest floor playground of my youth.

The Culinary Linguist | Save Forests and Urban Forage Save Forests

Living in Cape Town, South Africa reveals a whole new world to me.  In terms of real food urban foraging, it’s bountiful.  We went to Green Renaissance’s curated talk about foraging in our City.  The four speakers shared their local knowledge of each edible landscape they frolick in: Ocean, Urban, Wild, Garden, and Forest.

I’ve posted some tasty recipes in the past about Wild and Real Food Foraging with Mulberries, Grape Vine leaves, Num Nums (Natal Plum), Mushrooms, Mopane Worms, Pomegranates, Prickly Pear and Wild Olive leaves but after the talk on Thursday, I got re-inspired to explore the coastlines and forests of Cape Town’s wild and fertile city setting. The Culinary Linguist |  Urban Foraging

Making Kos‘ Loubie Rusch shared her in-depth botanical knowledge including her tasty jams, jelly and cordial made from indigenious and wild foods around the city.  We came home with Fennel and Wildeals as a generous gift from Bridget Kitley’s Herb Nursery to add to our growing herbal medicine cabinent: the garden.  I nibbled on some sea lettuce from Julian Mori’s portable seawater aquarium and after the talk, we fried porcini and boletus in butter as a tasty snack from Gary Goldman’s mushroom escapades under the pines and poplar of Cape Town’s forests.  Green Renaissance made 30 second inserts of nettle, chestnut and waterblommetjie harvests and recipes along with tips and ideas of how to forage them ourselves, along with a dried porcini gift bag for our attendance.  I was a happy forager foraging the forage talk!

The Culinary Linguist | Figs and Urban Forage The next day, I walked our dog, Lorenzo, through DeWaal park and saw the Waterberry tree was bursting with ripe fruit.  Instead of them staining the concrete in their own natural graffiti style, I will be picking them next time for some Waterberry cordial on these balmy autumn afternoons.

So far, I am happy with Vredhoek/Gardens foraging landscape:

pomegranates, avocados, lemons, guavas, figs can be found just a short walking distance from our house.

Our own garden provides comfrey which can be used for EVERYTHING!  Chris makes tea, and a great salve. Let the learning continue HERE 

 

Green Renaissance-Be Inspired to Forage in your City

How to Cure your Own Olives in Brine: Greek Yiayia Style

In Recipe, Stories on April 25, 2013 at 19:45

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The Culinary Linguist-Homemade-How to Cure Olives-Pickle and Marinate

Olives in Athen’s Greece Farmer’s Market

 

Mom would say, “Only eat 8 olives a day, honey.”  But it was too easy to devour the salty Grecian delights by the dozen. With crusty brown sourdough bread and green virgin olive oil on a flat side plate, nothing satisfied me more than eating Yiayia’s Kalamatas olives in the middle of Chicago’s winter.  To this day, I have a plate solely dedicated to olives and their pips and snack on these pickled fruits year round (and still by the dozen).

Growing up, I’d spin the bottom  shelf of the  cupboard to reveal  Yiayia’s hand-picked, home-cured Kalamata olives.  Purple, green and maroon olives floated in one gallon glass jars of oregano, thyme, vinegar and oil.  As a kid, I was powerlifting  the heavy 2 gallon olive jar off the bottom shelf and onto the counter in order to dip my tiny fingers into the oil and vinegar brine to search for the juiciest olives.  As I got older, I’d use an oversized spoon to fish for the tangiest Kalamatas, and strain the brine from the spoon to reveal my bite-size snacks.  When May arrived, it got harder for the spoon to fish for olives at the bottom of the jar.  I’d spend the whole year snacking on the cured fruits and diminished our Greek food provisions we would smuggle in from Greece.  The empty olive jar was an indicator that it wouldn’t be long before we would pack our dresses and sandals for the summer at Yiayia’s house.  Mom would pack a suitcase within a suitcase when we travelled to Athens.  In August, we would return to Chicago with more olives to fill the jar, and enough oregano to make the beagles sniff us out as drug smugglers.

Now, when May arrives I pick 10-20 kilos of Mission Olives around Cape Town, South Africa.  My childhood love for enjoying home-cured olives, fills my own cupboards with a cultural joy and salty olive treats to share in memory of my grandmother’s tradition.

Every step of the curing processes makes me wonder of when and how people discovered this ancient practice.

My Grandparents in Greece, 1930-40', Athena and Elias

My Grandparents, Yiayia Athena and Papou Elias Soupos

My Greek grandmother Athena culinary traditions

Greek love under the olive groves

Mission Olives in South Africa on Francolin Farm

Mission olives growing on branches in South Africa

Was it Athena’s olive tree branch that broke off during an autumn storm?  The branch that fell into the river bed and carried it for weeks into the salty estuary of Poseidon’s sea.  For weeks it may have soaked along the shores until a small family fishing boat arrived near Kalamata and came across the curing olive fruit branch floating in the water.  If they tasted the divine harmony of the Greek Gods’ elements and discovered that the olive fruit tree was not just best for oil, wood and shade, but for it’s fruit too, then let that be the start of a nourishing tradition.

I have been learning about the whole benefits of the olive tree itself recently when I’m not making up mythological stories of food origins. 🙂

With all its rich phytonutrients and phytochemicals (phyto stems from the Greek word-plant), the medicinal compounds from the leaves, fruit, roots and stems, play a major role in fighting bacterial and viral infections/disease as well as boosting the immune system to prevent and treat flus and colds.  The olive tree’s ancient medicinal presence is found in many religious texts such as the Qu’ran, Torah and Bible, and continues to feature in Internal Medicine Journals today.

The oleuropein (the bitter substance in olives) has been founded to inactivate bacteria, and display a number of other benefits in pharmacology research.  Essentially, it is an herbal powerhouse effective for infectious and chronic health conditions.  I like to use olive leaf extract or make olive leaf tea as a preventive agent in my overall health.  Olive leaves are now a staple in my cupboard alongside cured olives. I’ve found ways to use olive leaves in many everyday uses by sprinkling the leaves in salads, porridge, soups, and breads.  Don’t be surprised if I post an Olive leaf smoothie in the near future. I promise it wont be bitter!

For now, I would like to share some delicious combinations of flavours I’ve added to my curing olives over the years.

But first, there are a variety of ways to cure olives.  Check out the Australian Olive Grower Issue #4 for some inspiration.

For the past three years, I have been roughly following a water bath recipe given to me by Francolin Farm.

1. After picking your olives, place rinsed olives in a net bag (the ones you store onion’s  with) and put into a bucket and cover with water. Don’t pack olives too tightly and take care not to bruise them.  I place my olives in a cooler box because it has a spout I can lift open to let the water drain. Some people save water by placing the olives on top of the toilet basin where fresh water gets drained everytime you flush.  Others just fill their bathtub and drain it daily.  It would be nice to find some use for your greywater (olive water) in your garden.  If water shortage is an issue, fill jars with 50% salt and 50% olives.  Gently turn and toss olive jars daily for 2-3 weeks.  Rinse salt and fill jars again with 1 part salt and 10 parts water (see below for olive marinade flavours.)

2. Change water once or twice daily for 2-3 weeks. Simply lift the net bag with
olives out of the bucket and pour off water and replace in fresh water. Taste after two weeks and continue if it is still too bitter.

3. Dissolve 500 grams coarse salt in 5 litres boiling water. Allow to cool.
This mixture is sufficient for approx 2 ½ kilos of olives. Leave olives in this
brine solution undisturbed for one week. Taste, if bitter replace with fresh
brine solution and leave for a further week.  I like to use non-iodized salt or kosher salt.  The other ratio to use is 1 part salt to 10 parts water.

4. Rinse olives several times with fresh water. Cover with brown vinegar for
24 hours. Pour off vinegar and expose the olives to air overnight or a few hours
till dry.  This brings the colour of the olives back to a deep purple/black.  You may notice they lightened in colour when they were soaking.

4. Pack olives in clean warm sterilized jars. Pour over 25 ml olive oil per
jar. Make a brine of  300 grams coarse salt to 4,5 litres water (or 1:10 ratio). When brine mixture boils pour in 250 ml wine vinegar.  The vinegar is not necessary, but many people love the taste of red wine vinegar instead of the rich olive taste.  The art is getting all flavours to balance, in true Grecian culinary wisdom -Everything in Moderation. Pour hot brine mixture over  . . . . .  But wait!  This is where your creative olive marinade flavours get to feature.

Let your imagination go wild.  In addition to your brine (whether it is the vinegar and salt, or just 1 part salt to 10 part water ratio.  The salt ensures that the olives cure without bacteria growing and spoiling the fruit.  If you notice some white film, don’t stress.  You can scrape it off or leave it to add flavour as some people believe.  Before filling the jars with olives, add your favourite pinches of spice and intuitive amounts for your olives to marinate in. Then, place olives into the jar, filling the jar to the brim. Pour your salt brine over and seal jar immediately whilst the liquid is hot. Some people pour oil over to seal the jar.  This is optional.

Olives in a Moroccan marinade

Olives are tossed in salt, lemon, bay leaves, pickled garlic, and rosemary in a barrel marinade

Some flavour marinades I’ve done in the past:

Smoked Chipolte Chili Powder and Rosemary

Mustard Seeds and Laurel Leaf

Greek Traditional: Lemon Juice, Lemon Rinds, Rosemary and Garlic cloves

Herbaliser: Basil, Oregano, Lemon and Thyme

Nasturtium and Peppadew

Lemongrass and Ginger

Cumin seeds, Cayenne and Lemon

Miso and Ginger

Celery Seeds, Bay Leaf and Tarragon

Sage and Rainbow Peppercorns

Acha Masala

Smoked Paprika and Lemon Slices

Lavender Flowers, Cloves and Cumin

Cardamom, Peppercorn and Cinnamon

Red curry powder and Turmeric

Carraway Seeds, Celery and Carrot

Spices and Herbs to put in Olive marinade

Food as our medicine: Herbs sold at in Athens, Greece Farmer’s Market

Olives sold in Athens, Greece

Different types of Olives: Brined, Pickled, Dried, Salted, Cracked, etc.

Share your olive marinades and enjoy!

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