Busy Weekend

Busy weekend, homemade lemongrass and ginger soap with a copper mica topping ( bit OTT but smells amazing); berry flavoured Shea butter lip balm; home- made ketchup, used the last of the Roma tomatoes, and bone broth – all before lunch!

i have milk kefir fermenting ( thanks to Aisha for the scoby) and have been converting some of the grains to water kefir over the last week or so. I now have 2 bottles of cranberry kefir brewing, and 2 bottles of grape. Will post separately on the process and the results.

Rendering tallow

I’m really getting into this whole paleo lifestyle, but don’t like coconut oil for cooking savoury dishes and so thought I’d have a go at rendering my own tallow (lamb in this case), and it’s surprisingly easy.

I bought a pack of lamb fat at the local supermarket ( as I’ve said previously, you really can get anything here) trimmed off most of the excess meat, which the dogs really enjoyed, and set about slowly rendering the remaining fat. I used a heavy saucepan on top of the stove, using the smallest burner and putting the saucepan on a trivet so that it really was a slow melt, but this can also be done in a slow cooker, it just takes a bit longer.

The whole process took about 4 hours, by which time most of the fat had melted and there were bits of crispy lamb meat in the pan. I poured the hot fat through a muslin lined sieve into a slightly warmed mason jar (to stop it cracking)’ and got a full 500gms. I didn’t render it all, as it was getting late, and thought I might render the rest the following day, however we gave the leftovers to the dogs and chickens as we were too busy to keep watch over a boiling pan of oil the following day!

I have to say, I’m really pleased with the result. The tallow is a creamy colour, is odourless in the jar, but gives off the most wonderful aroma when used. Food cooked in the tallow is much tastier also.

The only thing I would do differently next time is pour into a small loaf tin and then once solid, cut into squares and wrap in grease-proof paper, as this is quite difficult to get out of the jar when solid – and we have to keep it in the fridge here. Photos of the finished product below

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Homemade Almond Milk

Shop bought almond milk is expensive and often full of sugar/other less desirable ingredients. Yet almond milk is so easy to make, is healthier than shop bought and tastes delicious. Here’s how:-

Soak 2 cups of almonds for about 24 hours (some recipes say 12, I’ve left mine for 48 hours sometimes). Keep them in the fridge and rinse in fresh water before using

Soak 10- 12 dates in water, also in the fridge, keep the soaking water to add to the milk blend. I use Sagai dates, as they are my favourites and taste like toffees, but they are also expensive, so I really must buy some cheaper ones just for blending. They are also really sweet so I use less- 6 usually.

Throw the almonds and dates into a blender with 8 cups of water ( including the date water) and add vanilla paste/seeds (optional). Blend on high speed until all ingredients are liquified. Strain through a muslin lined sieve and squeeze as much liquid out as possible.  Keep in the fridge, I believe it keeps for a few weeks, but never lasts that long in our house.

The whole process, after the requisite soaking time, takes a few minutes.

The almond meal that is left over can be dried (on a baking sheet in a very low oven for a few hours) and used like pre-sweetened almond flour, or better still, used while still moist, to make almond biscuits, which is a lot less bother! I’ll post a recipe later.


Easy Paleo Mayonnaise

imageThis really is the easiest mayo ever, no mucking about making sure all ingredients are at the same temperature, or adding oil one drop at a time. I got this from thehealthyfoodie.com

All you need are a jar and stick blender and a few ingredients:- one large egg, one cup of oil, Juice of half a lemon, generous pinch of salt. The website recommends using extra light olive oil, but I used half good quality strong olive oil and half walnut oil, I also added half a teaspoon of mustard powder and it has a great flavour.

Put all the ingredients in a jar that is just wide enough to accommodate the stick blender, but tall enough that the mayo doesn’t leak over the sides- it’ll double in size. Blend for 20 seconds with the blender on the bottom of the jar. Slowly lift the blender while still blending to incorporate the oil that has risen to the top, blend for another 10 seconds, and that’s it. Put the lid on the jar and store in the fridge for up to a week. It really is that easy! This recipe made about 200mls.

Update – it is important to use the correct size jar to mix this in. For my second batch I used a short fat kilner jar, same capacity as the one in the photo, and it didn’t thicken at all. Had the consistency of runny beaten eggs:(