DIY artist charcoal

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DIY

Guest post by Vik

Currently gifted with a lot of free time, we got my old art box out, filled with all sorts of chalks, inks, crayons and water colours. I used my french charcoal sticks for some sketches, and fully enamoured with the smooth texture and expressive line, decided that it’s time to make our own locally grown artist charcoal.

Preparation

  1. Collect fresh branches/twigs. Willow and wine are classically used, but we also successfully tried beech and alder tree. The branches should be at least 8mm thick. (The willow tips within our reach were definitely too thin! They can be used but are a bit fragile.)
  2. Cut the sticks to your desired length, and peel the bark off. We did this step while walking and collected the sticks in our pockets, so you will have to imagine how that looks like. The peeling was easy because the trees were so juicy.

Pictured below:
a) willow bark we peeled off; b) my french store bought charcoal next to our alder sticks; c) beech, alder, willow, and elder; d) our own charcoal.

The Process

  1. Find a metal box that you can seal. We found a truffle box, also paint cans are suitable. It should be sealed well, but not air tight, in that case simply make a little hole in your container.
  2. Build a fire! The box will stay in the fire for at least 1,5h.
  3. Put the sticks in the box, close it well, and chuck it in the fire.
  4. Set a timer, and wait. Carefully turn the box once or twice (at least that’s what we did).
  5. BE CAREFUL: the box might have build up pressure inside, and it will be extremely hot. The metal was glowing red! Keep that in mind when moving it, use long sticks to handle it, and gently move it away from the fire.
  6. Let it cool down completely, before carefully opening it to check if the sticks have charred fully. If they aren’t all the way black, just put them back in the container and back in the fire for a while longer.

Et voilà!

To try out the charcoal I just drew some lines. It’s truly amazing how each stick has it’s own softness and texture: you can see some hard lines and some soft fat, deeply black ones.

Now get yourself some quality paper, and start creating! My advice would be to throw your logical brain out and with it all expectation and control, and just have fun exploring the medium.

What we learned for the next time: Different trees all give great results. Super thin sticks are too fragile. It’s easy, if you have a metal box and a safe fire pit!

freestyle lobster soup

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Soups

Lobster in the pantry? Dinner for three? Assuming you have some booze left from the quarantine and some vegetables I recommend you take another step into uncertainty with this freestyle lobster soup. The recipe came to me by way of a seven line Whatsapp message with absolutely no quantities. We will pass on the instructions to you as we received them. The result was marvelous!

Boil the lobster, remove the meat from the claws and the tail, put it aside and fry the rest of the lobster (yes, the shell!) in olive oil along with diced carrots, shallots, tomato and celery. Drench in Cognac and flame. Extinguish the flames with Pernod (or if you don’t have with Pastis). Add white wine and seafood stock, letting it boil for a while to absorb all flavours.
Strain through a musselin cloth and add Sherry or Cognac to taste. To finish, add cream, salt, pepper and the lobster meat. Let it come to a boil one last time and that’s it!

Garnish with dill, serve with the rest of the white wine and enjoy! Works well with bread, if you haven’t traded it for toilet roll already.

wild herbs series, part I

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Allgemein

A hearty dose of herbal remedies that you can conjure with ingredients found on your walks or even in your garden. They are easy enough to recognize but for beginners I recommend buying a book highlighting the similar but toxic friends.

Chickweed (Vogelmiere)
Stellaria Media

Chickweed

Edible parts: leaves, stems, buds and blossoms

Contents: calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, B-vitamins, phosphorus, zinc, copper, silicic acid, vitamins A and C, essential oils, tannins and plant-based proteins

Effects : cooling, anti-inflammatory, blood-cleansing, hemostatic, diuretic, digestive and analgesic

Use:
pure in salads, dips or crostini
juiced with apple
blended in smoothies
dried as a metabolism-enhancing tea

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Nettle (Brennnessel)
Urtica Dioica

Nettle

Edible parts: leaves, seeds, buds

Contents: flavonoids, magnesium, potassium, iron, silicic acid, vitamin A, C and E, plant-based proteins
In the seeds: 30% oils, especially linoleic acid and vitamin E

Effects: diuretic, blood-cleansing and detoxing, anti-inflammatory, digestive, anti-rheumatic, anti-diabetic, tonic

Use:
leaves: fresh or dried for tea
blanched similar to spinach, raw in salads, juices and smoothies
seeds: dried or roasted as a condiment

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Dandelion (Löwenzahn)
Taraxacum Officinale

Dandelion

Edible parts: leaves, stems (the milk is not toxic), blossoms and roots

Contents: bitter substances, potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, vitamins A, C, B2 and flavonoids.

Effects: diuretic, detoxing, blood-building, anti-inflammatory, wound healing
The bitter substances have a beneficial effect on the stomach, intestines, pancreas, liver, gall bladder and kidneys.

Use:
juiced or blended in a smoothie
in salads and dips
dried (leaves and roots) for tea
flowers: in salads, or fried in batter

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Violet (Veilchen)
Viola Odorata

Violet

Edible parts: blossoms and buds, leaves, roots

Contents:
leaves: saponins, flavonoids, alkaloids, bitter substances
blossoms: essential oils, natural blue colouring Cyamin

Effects: stress relieving scent

Use:
decoration for desserts and salads, aroma in sugar and vinegar

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Goosegrass (Klettenlabkraut)
Gallium Aparine

Goosegrass

Edible parts: leaves and shoots

Contents: glycosides, alkaloids, tannins and essential oils

Effects: diuretic, stimulates lymph flow, detoxing. In Chinese Medicine it’s assigned to liver, gall and bladder

Use:
juiced in drinks and soups
blended in smoothies
in scrambled eggs, vegetables, cottage cheese, Quark
fresh or dried for tea

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Ground Elder (Giersch)
Aegopodium Podagraria

Ground Elder

Edible parts: leaves, blossoms and fruits

Contents: potassium, magnesium, calcium, manganese, zinc, copper, vitamins A and C, plant based proteins, flavonoids, resin and essential oil

Effects: diuretic, anti-inflammatory, spasmolytic, de-acidifying

Use:
leaves and blossoms: raw as salad, blanched like spinach, juiced or blended in smoothies
fruits: fresh or dried as a condiment

spring 2020 book list

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Uncategorized

Before the coffee gets cold
Toshikazu Kawaguchi

Essbare Wildpflanzen
Steffen Guido Fleischhauer
Jürgen Guthmann
Roland Spiegelberger

The Inner Game of Music
Barry Green

Veg in One Bed
Huw Richards

Monsieur Vuong
Das Kochbuch

Climate – A New Story
Charles Eisenstein

Sacred Economics
Charles Eisenstein

The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible
Charles Eisenstein

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous
Ocean Vuong

Black Box Thinking
Matthew Syed

frittata of mung beans, spinach and coriander

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Lunch / Snacks

frittata of mung beans, spinach and coriander

1 cup green mung beans, soaked over night
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons plain yoghurt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons coriander, chopped
2 cups spinach, chopped
1 teaspoon sattvic spice mix (recipe below)
1/2 teaspoon salt

Ghee or coconut oil and 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds for frying.

Drain and rinse the mung beans. Using a high-speed blender pulse to purée the beans, lemon juice and yoghurt. Transfer the mung bean mixture to a bowl. Combine all other ingredients with the ground mung beans. the mixture should be the consistency of a thick pancake batter. If it’s too thick you may add some water.

In a frying pan warm some ghee or coconut oil on medium heat. Sauté the mustard seeds until they pop. Pour the mung bean mixture over the ghee and spread evenly.
Cover and cook over medium heat until the sides begin to brown, 3-6 minutes. Flip the frittata by using a plate (transfer to the plate, let it glide back into the pan) or two large spoons or spatulas. Cover and cook 10 minutes more until golden brown.

Transfer to a serving platter and cut into bite-size pieces. Serve with yoghurt or a fresh salad.

sattvic spice mix

This mix is especially nice in dals and soups.
In Ayurveda SATTVA feels like : content, restful, peaceful, steady, satisfied, fulfilled.

1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 tablespoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon hing powder (asafoetida)

Roast the coriander, cumin and fennel seeds in a frying pan over medium heat. Stir constantly until you can smell them. Cool and then grind these spices together with the salt, ginger, turmeric and asafoetida to a uniform powder.

apple date morning kichari

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Breakfast

apple date morning kichari
(serves 6-8 )

1/2 cup basmati rice
1/2 cup yellow split mung beans, soaked overnight or at least a few hours
4 cups water
2 teaspoons sweet spice mix (recipe below)
2 apples, cored and chopped
4 Medjool dates, pitted and chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon coconut oil

Rinse the rice and mung beans well. In a saucepan bring the water, rice and mung beans to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer, uncovered for 15-20 minutes.
Add the spice mix, apples and dates. Cover and simmer 15-20 minutes more, adding more water if needed. The consistency should be of thick oatmeal.
Turn off the heat and stir in the salt and coconut oil.
Let stand for 5 minutes before eating. You can store the kichari in the fridge for 4 days at least.

Top with some fresh chopped apple and date.

Spin offs: Dates can be replaced by raisins. Apples can be replaced by pears.

sweet spice mix

This mixture aids in the digestion of sweet foods. Use this mix in hot cereal, spiced milks, baked goods, and anywhere you want a warm touch.

2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons ground ginger
1 tablespoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg (optional)

Mix the ground spices together in a glass jar.

Christmas and butter cookies

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Cakes + Cookies

butter cookies

375g butter (at room temperature)
150g sugar
5 egg yolks
500g flour

Mix sugar, butter and egg yolks until creamy. With your hands fold in the flour to create a firm dough. Put the finished dough into the fridge to cool and to harden.

Roll out the dough onto a floured surface and cut out the forms.

Bake at 175°C for 15 to 25 minutes.

Buddha’s Hand marmelade

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Allgemein

Buddha’s Hand, aka fingered citron, has a sweet lemon blossom aroma, no juice, no pulp and no seeds. It looks bizarre, smells heavenly and in Asia it symbolizes happiness, wealth and longevity.

Here’s some examples what to do with this crazy lemon:

  1. cut off a “finger” and slice it thinly over a piece of grilled white fish
  2. add some grated peel to your vinaigrette
  3. add a slice of peel to your vodka or gin cocktail

Finally I decided to use up the whole fruit by making a “good luck” marmelade.

Buddha’s Hand marmelade

1 Buddha’s Hand citron
water, 3 x the weight of the citron
1 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 package of “2:1 preserving sugar” from the whole food store (usually they have raw cane sugar with apple pectine)

Rinse and dry the citron, then slice and cut it thinly.
In a pan bring to a boil the citron and the water. Simmer until the fruit turns slightly glassy. Add the freshly squeezed lemon juice.

Add “2:1 preserving sugar” in the correct ratio and cook following the instructions on the package. Fill in glass jars while hot.

Buddha’s Hand Marmelade

Pinotage Cake

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Cakes + Cookies

Pinotage Cake

4 eggs at room temperature
200g sugar
180g butter, melted
100ml extra-virgin olive oil
150ml milk
400g flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
a generous pinch of sea salt
the grated zest of a an organic orange
the grated zest of an organic lemon
300-600g sweet little grapes (or blueberries)

Preheat oven to 175°C. Butter the bottom and the sides of a 25 cm baking dish.
In a medium bowl whisk together the eggs and the sugar until creamy. Add the butter, the oil and the milk. Add the grated citrus zest. Finally whisk in the flour, the baking powder and the salt. Let the batter rest for 10 minutes.

With a wooden spoon or with a spatula mix in 200g of the grapes, then pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 15 minutes.
Take out of the oven and spread the remaining grapes onto the batter. They will slightly sink in. Bake for another 30 minutes until golden brown.

Enjoy with a good glass of Pinotage Bon Courage Estate 2014.



porridge

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Breakfast

porridge
(yields 1)

1 generous tablespoon oatmeal
1 cup of milk ( any nut or rice milk is fine)
a pinch of salt
1 generous piece of fresh ginger, grated
1 -2 teaspoons almond butter

fruit for topping

roasted seeds, bee pollen to your liking