Markets: Cambridge 14th & Hamilton 15th September

We are lucky to have 2 free range egg producers at the markets (Eggcellent Eggs in Hamilton and Scotty Mike’s Eggs at both Hamilton and Cambridge). You might even have some chooks yourself. More and more people have a pair or three in their backyards even in town these days. September is the time when eggs are bountiful prior to the chooks deciding to go clucky (around October) and therefore it was the time when our forefathers (or should that read foremothers?) would preserve the surplus eggs using various methods such as ‘waterglass’ or salting or pickling. Did you know that you can freeze eggs but you need to separate them. Yolks and whites can be separately frozen in ice cube trays - a yolk fills one cube and white fills two, then defrost before use in recipes though the results may not be quite as good as using fresh eggs.Fine for scrambled egg, egg custard, quiches moussaka .You can use up eggs yokes to make lemon curd which is perfect for this time of year as winter ripening lemons are in full swing.The egg whites can be used to make meringues or that gorgeous American super light Angel’s Food Cake (needs 12 eggs). Delicious when with home made icecream which is another egg user. Make the most of the eggs while you can.

Clif Fyers and Richard and Judy Cato have plenty of freshly harvested cabbage available at the market too at the moment and this is another winter food item that can be preserved. With the Nourishing Traditions movement encouraging us to have some form of fermented food every day (yoghurt, pickled vegetables, cheese, wine etc) I thought that learning a bit about fermented cabbage might be of seasonal interest. The Germans adore their famous Sauerkraut especially when served up with creamy mashed potatoes and spicy sausages for a warming dinner. So I did a quick Google search and found out the following from the Nourished Kitchen website:
‘Homemade sauerkraut takes time – a week for the impatient and months for those who love their sauerkraut. Originally, the production of sauerkraut served the primary purpose of preserving the harvest into the winter when food was scarce and hunger a true threat. So while European peasants preserved their cabbage with salt in an effort to keep hunger away during the dark months, their method of preservation fulfilled another need: that of optimal nourishment. The process of lactic acid fermentation used to transform salt and cabbage into sauerkraut increases vitamins, particularly vitamin C and B vitamins, and food enzymes. Moreover, homemade sauerkraut is also extraordinarily rich in beneficial bacteria – friendly microorganisms which help to colonize the gut, train the immune system and manufacture vitamins in the digestive tract. SAUERKRAUT RECIPE
2 medium cabbage heads, cored and finely shredded
2 tablespoons sea salt

Toss cabbage and salt together in a large mixing bowl and begin to squeeze the cabbage and salt together with your hands, kneading it thoroughly to break up the cellular structure of the shredded cabbage.
When the cabbage has become limp and releases its juice, transfer it to a sauerkraut crock. Pack the salted cabbage into the crock as tightly as you can, eliminating air bubbles. Continue packing the cabbage into the container until the cabbage is completely submerged by liquid. If scum appears floating in the brine of your homemade sauerkraut, simply spoon it off. You won’t be able to remove it all, but spoon of what you can and don’t worry about. The real key to preparing homemade sauerkraut, and any fermented food, is that the solid materials rest below the liquid. Fermentation is an anaerobic process and to expose your ferments to air increases the likelihood that they’ll become contaminated by stray microbes, yeasts and molds which is why crocks designed specifically for fermentation can help to eliminate the risk of microbial contamination and increase the reliability and consistency of your ferments.”

Well it sounds that a special fermentation vessel may be required if you are really serious about this but I have heard that you can do it using a ceramic bowl with a wooden board on top and a water filled Agee jar to keep the weight on. If there is anyone out there with the know how and any tips I would love to hear from you via the Facebook page (See FB icon on right of this page)

Raw juicing is another health movement (craze) which is sweeping America at the moment. I tried some carrot and apple juice with kiwifruit and fresh ginger the other day and I have to say it was delicious. I had some qualms of conscience however about the amount of fruit and vegetables (3 apples, 4 carrots, 2 kiwifruit) I had to use to create just one glass of juice so another option is using a Vitamix blender which keeps the fibre intact yielding a higher amount of health drink but you have to be careful about not adding in too much of the harder parts of vegetables such as the stalk of broccoli or cabbages as it makes the drink too bitter.

Between the enzyme rich sauerkraut and super duper vitamin boost from your raw juice, all you need now is a shot of protein and omega 3 fatty acid and you will get that from the Salmon sellers at the markets. A little smoked Salmon can go a long way if you use it as a flavour enhancer for a creamy pasta dish, a pizza or a quiche. There is a lovely dish which layers smoked salmon and spring onions with creamy mashed potato. A fish pie with attitude you could say.

At the moment you can get fresh scallops too from both the Salmon sellers, Raikaia Salmon and the Salmonman. Mmmm such a treat. Cook them quickly on a very hot heavy based pan so they are light brown (caramelized) on the outside but still tender sweet inside.

Keep healthy and remember what you eat and drink today will walk and talk tomorrow..See you next week!

Meg Daly
Celtic Cuisine