Bone broth is the new black

Bone broth is umami fifth flavour savoury good times, and good for you too. It’s full of protein and minerals and collagen and glutamate, giving it that gimme-some-more flavour. I like to add miso for a quick cell-nourishing snack. I also cook our rice in bone broth (1 cup rice, 2 cups broth, slow simmer till absorbed) and sneak it into my child, who unfortunately has stopped eating my soups, now that she has opinions of her own (who told her she could get some of those?) It’s great for growing bones and joints and gut linings, and makes me feel like a proper cook, mother, and keeper of the DNA. Bone broth has also given me a real appreciation for the full nutrition available from the animals we eat, and has aided my conversion to eating organic meat at home. Cooking meat on the bone gives added nourishment to the meat as well.

Plus, it’s too easy to make.

First, get your bones – I am a bone broth lightweight I have to admit, and usually just roast a chook, adding a couple of lamb chop bones to boost the flavour. I keep the bones in the freezer till I am ready to do a batch. Beef bones with heaps of marrow are super nourishing as are chicken heads and feet, fish heads and all the gory bits. A friend of mine is learning to process their old gamey roosters with all the joys of plucking and gutting, and I say good for her – I still feel all right about my suburban version.

Apart from the bones, you just need some vinegar (I use apple cider) which apparently does some chemical reaction magic and helps ease the goodness out of the bones.

And some bits and bobs of veges for a bit of extra flavour and nutrition – leeks, onions and carrots are good (no stinky cabbage or broccoli though, they do not make a good brew). I have got into the habit of keeping a small bowl of carrot ends in the freezer rather than composting them, and it’s amazing how they add up.

Pop it all in the pot, top up with water (ideally filtered), and simmer for about 12 hours. Longer is good, especially for beef bones. I start it off cold and put it on low on the backburner. Like the vinegar, a slow simmer is supposed to be good for releasing more of the nutrition. I am not too fussy with the timing, I often put it on for a few hours, then switch it off to go out, put it on again when I am back, sometimes over a day or two. Don’t let the broth cramp your style. I would feel ok leaving it on low overnight with plenty of water, but my man is the son of a fireman, so I am not allowed to do that at my house.

You know your broth by its jelliness when cold – the thicker the better. Once cool, you can pop in the fridge (keeps for about 4-5 days) or freezer (keeps for ages) – I find it goes pretty fast in our house now that we are in the rice and miso routine. It took a while to integrate it into my normal cooking routine, but once you start choosing meat on the bone as a preference, it just becomes the thing to do.

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A roast chook, bits of carrot ends saved in the freezer, a leek, a couple of sloshes of vinegar – just add water and simmer for a while. Quite a while.

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Breakfast like a king

Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, dine like a pauper.

This idea has been popping into my eyeline lately, I can’t even remember where I have seen it, but it’s been more than once, so I have been thinking about how to make that work. Today it all fell into place perfectly…

For breakfast I ate:
one avocado, picked from the tree
two eggs, scrambled, fresh from the chook house
three portobello mushrooms, from the supermarket, in lots of butter
green beans, also from the supermarket
sour cream, homemade (I am so fancy)
sauerkraut, from the ooooby box
YUM!
and fresh ground coffee
followed by berries from the freezer with cream, except my child ate most of these

For lunch I ate:
four pieces of salmon sushi and a teeny tiny glass of white wine

For dinner I ate:
broccoli and pumpkin seeds
(and I might have a chocolate biscuit, coz they’re cheap too)

Yum.

 

More chocolate… See a theme here?

I am slightly obsessed with food from My New Roots. The Chunky Chocolate Buckwheat Granola is my latest obsession, it is CRAZY good to eat, for breakfast and as the best snack ever.

It feels indulgent and given that I’ve been hauling myself out of the house by 5 each MORNING to get to Pilates it’s just the sort of bribe or trail of chocolatey goodness that sees me happily getting a move on.

Her Life-Changing Bread is just that also, easy to make, also as you make it the mix soaks which I believe is best practice in terms of nutrients.

Mainly I have also been making almond milk (just about to whizz up a batch) it’s super quick and so much better than the crazy amounts of “stuff” you get from the super market. This is my…

Quick Guide to Nut Milk

Try to get raw almonds (most have been pastuerised) soak a cup in filtered water over night.  Drain & rinse well. Pop them in the blender with a litre of water & blend it for a couple of minutes.

(I have a nut bag, if you really get into this then get one, otherwise put a clean tea towel over a sieve sitting in a bowl.)

Pour half the contents into the sieve then gather up the corners of the tea towel carefully and squeeze the liquid out. Repeat. Add a pinch of sea or Himalayan salt and keep in the fridge.

It’ll usually keep for about 4 days. It’s likely to separate even in a day but just stir it. I keep the nut pulp, often I’ll freeze it till I have a couple of batches. Then I dry it out, about 100 degrees for an hour or two, till a very light biscuit colour.  I then make nut balls which we keep in the fridge as a super snack… You mix a cup of the dry nut pulp with about 3-4 heaped tablespoons of peanut or almond butter, a couple of pinches of sea salt, chocolate chips, and maple syrup or honey to taste.  Roll them into balls and fridge or freezer them. You could also add coconut, dried fruit etc…

Awesome.

Eating Love

One of the great joys of my recent trip back in NZ was eating.

The joy coming not just from how fresh and delicious everything was, but that every meal was spent (mainly due to my short return and resulting temporary celebrity status)  in conversation with good friends.  Conversations about life and what was going on, and of course about the food.  About where it came from, about what had been done to it, and other things we could do with it.  Maybe my friends are just a decadent bunch, maybe they were just indulging my ramblings, but we talked about it a lot.

One of the highlights of my trip back was to attend a wedding up north.  It was a home made wedding with everyone chipping in to make it happen – the day itself was joyous and felt deeply personal, with the food at the very heart of it.  I had thought this would be the case, as the bride and her friends had worked at most of my favourite restaurants in London.  The food was locally sourced, caught at the stag do, or in the case of the lamb and pork, raised specially for the occasion by their uncle and skilfully butchered and prepared by a friend.  Everything was prepared at the house by friends with love, thought and attention, with influences from both the  Portuguese and New Zealand cultures of the bride and groom.

At the wedding itself, beautiful canapés were served post ceremony to offset the sun and champagne, but my favourite part was the wedding feast that came after.  It was unfussy, and uncompromising with no options (apart from to not eat) and perfectly thought out.  The starter was a barbecued octopus, faro, celery and orange salad, complete with curly, charred sucker-covered arms.  The main was bbq’d lamb with a couple of salads, fresh artisan breads, with salsa verde and habanero picalilly as condiments, the chef in charge of grilling this looking smooth and unspattered in his suit. The wedding cake was a passionfruit cheesecake.  Everything about it was perfection – including the food just being handed down the long tables and the noisy and appreciative conversation about the food, it epitomised the whole trip.

This and many other meals besides, some in restaurants, some cooked for me and eaten on a balcony as some kind of memorial, tomatoes picked from the garden on fresh bread slathered with butter as the perfect lunch, others made collectively – leaning against the kitchen bench, drinking wine and talking about what we were doing with the food or our lives.  All of them about connection with each other and the food, thoughtfully pulling things together – the ingredients, the people, the shared experience.

And so the point to this, in my first posting, is that while it is about what you eat, to me it’s more about how.

 

xn