Friday, December 2, 2011

Fermented Sunday lunch and ginger beer, Sydney

Edible violas with dill, sage, rocket and more

By a wending river in Suburban Sydney is a sometimes messy, sometimes beautiful productive garden.

Though the tall sweetcorn and edible weeds of this messy, beautiful productive garden is a culture-creating share house, full of people, young and intrepid.

 Shaw, amazed by his home-brewed beer

Here, for Sunday lunch, this gang invite their mates for a fermentation party.

Ginger beer begins

Last weekend, I got invited.
Why ferment things? To live a long, successful, rich life, of course.
First I will show, then I'll explain.

Here we are, making real fermented ginger beer. Not REAL real ginger beer, but close.

Here is the recipe:

Ginger beer recipe, click to read big

How to make ginger beer

Put lemon juice in water. Add yeast, add dried ginger powder. They also added grated fresh ginger. Add a little sugar. Then keep adding every day for five days. There will be all kinds of interactions, transformations, potential for explosions, then you drink it.
Lashings of it.

Cecilia's garden design for Home Hug, Thailand

I had better practice my ginger beer skills, as I've just designed an edible, climbable garden that makes Ginger Beer for 'Home Hug' orphanage, Thailand, and its getting closer and closer to becoming a real project.

Shaw and his edible garden

From this Sydney garden, Shaw picked some mauve Kholrabi, to pickle.
Ingrediants for home-made Kimchee

From the shops, everything you need to make Korean kimchee,  an addictively delicious fermented cabbage. Chinese cabbage, spring onion, katso boshi (bonito flakes) and garlic

Kimchee will make your beautiful too.

Look... Its Japanese Shiso, or Perilla.
Shaw potted me up a bit to take home to the Japanese 'doorstep' garden I'm trying to make at my brothers place. 
Aw. Thanks Shaw.

I did some harvesting, boiled some up in water, then added sweetener to make almost instant shiso drink. 

Cecilia's Shiso drink, Asaba Art Square, September 2010

I'm just a little theatrical, so I held off adding the lemon juice till we were at the table. 
Then with a flourish, in it went, and everyone went "Ah", seeing the murky brown turn vivid crimson. 
It was delicious. 

J.P. and Emma enjoy shabby-chic beer
Thank-you Changemakers J.P. and Emma, for inviting me 

JP, Buti and I, plus fermented lunch
Lunch was messy, with 5 chefs from about 5 countries, and delicious.

I ate Dosa for the first time. Anything fried in butter I love.
Dosa turned out to be very attractive, crisp and chewy pancakes.
They are made from a very unattractive ferment of rice and lentils.

Why go though the trauma of fermenting them?
That's what makes them sticky and all the ingredients bind together.
Its also how you turn food that is against you, into food that is for you.

Here is the story.
Grains evolved to be willingly eaten by other creatures.
However, every grain hopes that it will just get transported to new places, and sprout there, unharmed and undigested.
To make this likely, each grain comes with a protective layer of anti-digestion chemicals. But when we start the fermenting, or digesting process before putting grains into our body, grains think its time to sprout. They put down their defenses, they start creating good enzymes and new nutrients.

We win.

Its so obvious, I can't believe I didn't work this out myself, years ago.
The message: We are always fighting battles that we just don't have to.

Know the nature of things, go with, rather than against nature, and life gets so much easier.


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