Pak Choi Kimchi

Like all fermented vegetables, kimchi is incredibly good for you. Luckily it’s mind-blowingly delicious too…and very easy to make yourself. I’ve made it with pak choi, seaweed and little radishes this time but you can play around with the ingredients and make it your own. Use local, seasonal vegetables for the best results. Here’s my quick tutorial video so you can see how easy it is to make yourself. Loads more fermenting inspiration in my book which is available to add to your veg order here. Any questions? Pop a comment down below and I’ll get back to you asap. Liz x

Ingredients

  • 2 large pak choi
  • 2 bundles of radishes
  • 1 handful of dried seaweed
  • 1 tbsp natural salt
  • 3 fresh chillies (or dried to taste)
  • 1 thumb of fresh ginger
  • 6 cloves of garlic

Method

Gather and rinse your ingredients. Find a large jar, a chopping board, a sharp knife, a spoon, a rolling pin, a blender, a mixing bowl and a small jar or glass that fits snugly inside your large jar. Ensure all your equipment is nice and clean – no need to sterilise.

Reserve an outer leaf or two from your pak choi. These will be used as ‘followers’ at the end of the recipe.

Slice the rest of the pak choi into bite sized pieces and put them in the large bowl.

Thinly slice the radishes and add them to the bowl too.

Rinse and slice the seaweed too (if you are using nori, no need to rinse first) and add it to the bowl.

Add the salt to the bowl and use your hands to tumble the ingredients and evenly disperse the salt. Sit the bowl to one side to give the salt time to dissolve and start drawing brine out of the vegetables.

Meanwhile make the spice paste. Take the green stalks off the chillies and roughly chop them. Put them in a blender. Peel and chop the ginger and add that to the blender too. Peel the garlic and then blend the 3 ingredients together into a bright space paste.

Taste the salted vegetables and add more salt if needed. They should taste pleasantly salty and should now look wet and wilted. If they are too salty, add some more vegetables eg grated carrot or another pak choi.

Mix the spice paste through the salted vegetables. Be careful not to get any on your bare skin. Wear gloves or use a spoon.

Then pack the mixture carefully and firmly into the large jar. Use the rolling pin to tamp down each new layer to ensure no air pockets are left in the jar. Leave at least an inch or two of head room in the jar.

Now cover the chopped vegetables with the ‘followers’ (the leaves you reserved earlier). Tuck everything neatly in under the brine. Use the spoon to help tuck the leaves down the sides of the jar and ensure no little floaty bits are above the brine.

Weigh down the ‘followers’ with a small glass/jar/ramekin. See the video above for more details.

Then close the jar – if you are using a clip top jar, remove the rubber seal to allow gases to escape, otherwise just close a regular jar loosely or remember to ‘burp’ the jar every day to allow gases to escape by briefly opening and closing it.

Put the jar on a tray or in a bowl to catch any overspill and set it on a dark shelf to ferment at room temperature for at least one week. Keep an eye on it. Does it need burping? If so, do it over the sink! Have the gases caused the veg to rise up above the brine? If so push the weight down to expel and air bubbles and get everything neatly under brine again.

After one week at room temperature, taste your kimchi. It should be tangy, spicy and delicious. If you are happy with the tang-level, remove the weight and pop the jar in the fridge. It should last well for at least one month, if not many more.

*Tips to make your fermented food last longer in the fridge: No double dipping! Consider transferring the ferment to smaller jars before refrigerating.

10 Minute Chia Jam

Traditionally made jam needs lots of sugar, boiling, simmering and pectin to help it set. My chia jam recipe is far easier. All you need is fruit, sweetener and chia seeds and you can whip up a quick jam in less than 10 minutes. Not only is it far simpler to make than regular jam, but it is actually remarkable healthy! Chia seeds are incredibly nutritious – think fibre, protein, minerals and omega 3s – and they naturally want to become a jelly-like substance. As they absorb liquid, they swell up and create a little jelly bubble around themselves. If you prefer a smoother jam then just blend it up in a smoothie maker or with an immersion blender before putting it in jars.

The only downside of making chia jam rather than traditional jam is that it doesn’t last as long. But you can freeze it in portions or just make smaller batches and use them up within a week. As it’s so simple and quick to make, it’s really no bother to make lots of little batches as you need them. This also provides opportunity for playing around with seasonal fruit and fun flavour combinations. Today I made raspberry, pear and ginger chia jam. My favourite is probably a classic cherry chia jam…especially on almond butter toast. What combos will you try? Let me know in the comments.

Liz x

Ingredients

  • about 2 mugs of fruit of your choice (I went for 3 ripe pears and a mug of frozen raspberries)
  • the juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 4 tbsp chia seeds
  • maple syrup to taste (or sweetener of your choice)
  • optional added flavours (I went for some freshly grated ginger but leave plain or match your added flavour to your fruit eg apple and cinnamon, rhubarb and vanilla, plum and star anise, raspberry and rose petals…)

Method

Prep your chosen fruit (rinse, peel and core or deseed/stone if needed) and put it in a pot. Add a generous squeeze of lemon juice and if you like, some natural flavourings like ginger, vanilla, rose, cinnamon…

Put the pot on the highest heat and bring the fruit to a rapid boil then turn down and simmer for 5 minutes or so until mushy. If your fruit is quite dry (eg apples) you may want to add a splash of water. Stir well with a wooden spoon as you go.

Mash the fruit to your desired consistency, take the pot off the heat.

Sweeten with maple syrup or another sweetener to your taste and add the chia seeds.

Stir well then allow the chia seeds to absorb the liquid.

Pour the hot mixture into a jar, put the lid on and once it’s cool keep it in the fridge and eat within a week.

It’s brilliant on toast or dolloped onto porridge or yogurt for breakfast. You can sandwich a sponge cake with it or make jam tarts. Enjoy!

Turmeric & Ginger Paste

A page from my book – available to add to your order on Greenearthorganics.ie here.

Turmeric is an incredible, powerful ingredient. It’s many, scientifically proven, health benefits including being an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant are very interesting to read up on. Anecdotally, I have terrible knees from a combination of hyper-mobility, multiple dislocations and corrective surgery that went badly wrong, and I find, when I remember to have a tsp of my turmeric paste at least a few times a week, be that in porridge, smoothies or golden milk, my knees do feel less swollen and painful at the end of the day. As a chef, I love it for it’s vibrant colour and interesting flavour. Curcumin, the compound responsible for most of turmeric’s potential health benefits, unfortunately doesn’t absorb well into the bloodstream so I always add black pepper and oil to anything with turmeric in to increase it’s bioavailability. You can read about the science behind the bioavailibity of turmeric here. So don’t leave the black pepper and coconut oil out of the recipe!

Turmeric & Ginger Paste and three things you can make with it – golden smoothie, turmeric latte and golden porridge – watch the video at the end of this blog to see how!

Ingredients

Method

Peel the turmeric and ginger roots using the edge of a teaspoon.

Slice the roots against the direction of the fibres and put them in a strong blender.

Add coconut oil, ground cinnamon, ground cloves and ground black pepper.

Cover the ingredients with maple syrup and then blend until smooth.

Transfer the mixture into small jars and refrigerate. They should last in the fridge for about a month, so freeze what you won’t use up in that time. Use the frozen turmeric paste within 6 months of making it.

Did you make this recipe? Let us know how it went in the comments or over on our friendly Facebook group. Don’t forget to share this blog post with your friends. Liz x