When soybean met date…”I want what they are having!”

Hi All,

I have been making my own homemade soymilk for a few weeks now as an alternative to the carton stuff that I had been using. Soymilk is a dirty word these days and aside from my early morning cuppa I don’t use it. I had been drinking the Coles brand for a few weeks (Steve does the shopping and it’s only $1 a carton 😉 ) till something made me take a look at the carton more closely and I realised that the magic words “Non G.M.” were most suspiciously missing on my carton! That’s often more telling folks and this little black duck isn’t going to be drinking soymilk made somewhere else using genetically modified mutagenistic materials! No sir! So what’s a girl to do? I didn’t want to start buying the more expensive cartons because 1. They are more expensive (duh!) and 2. I can make it myself…and 3. I actually own an incredibly underused soy milk making machine that I can and should be using. 3 strikes and I am out! I asked Steve to pick me up some organic Aussie soybeans from David, our local Health Food shop maestro and my new cycle began. I say “cycle” because I never really understood the true cost of my early morning splash of soy milk before. When you make it, you suddenly realise that it’s not instant folks! I soak my beans overnight. They really do need to be soaked for at least 12 hours to loosen the skins…why care if the skins are loosened? That’s another 1; 2 folks…1. Because the skins clog up the machine, make the milk über frothy and very hard to clean and 2 (most importantly) if you skin the beans (yes…hand skin…) the resulting soymilk is actually drinkable…even tasty! As with everything that I do, I like to refine the processes. If you are going to keep doing something, it has to fit in with your ethos and your life and thus the refinement process began…


2 homemade Cornish pasties with butter shortcrust and homemade oven wedges


Any of you craft mamma’s out there want to give me ANY idea how I could make something like these?!!!


The closest I got to actually documenting the soymilk making process today. Sloth overtook me and I spent the day researching all kinds of fermented goodies recipes…I have to skin all of these babies before I can turn them into soymilk so you can see the process in Wednesdays email 🙂

Soak the soybeans overnight (first REMEMBER to soak the soybeans overnight…black tea tastes hideous!)…next skin the beans. Find a way to make skinning the beans enjoyable as it’s going to take you the better part of a hour to do it and you will resemble Rumplestiltskin with a hump by the time you have finished if you stupidly decide to do it at the kitchen sink… I choose to sit on the deck dangling my feet alternating looking at the view, dropping the soybean skins to the ground below where the feral kittens toss them about and the feral chooks eat the beans that I accidentally throw over the edge (whilst tossing the skins into my newly popped pile…sigh…). I usually end up with Steve and the dogs as my companions and when I finish I head inside to the awaiting machine…toss the skun beans into the basket of the machine (obviously I am going to have to take some photos of it now…note to self…”TAKE SOME PHOTOS!”), wrangle it all together (like every other electrical machine that I own it has a personality and not a good one :o( ) and plug it in, press the start button and wait for it to do it’s “thang”. After it beeps at you an inordinately long amount head back from the furthest reaches of Serendipity Farm where you OBVIOUSLY have to be and start the next part of the equation…making it taste good. As I mentioned, if you remove the skins you are most of the way to getting something approximating shop bought carton milk. Unlike shop bought carton milk, homemade soymilk hasn’t got all the fillers, the oil, the sugar and the thickeners etc. that shop bought milk has. You get to customise it out the wazoo and that’s what makes this little black duck’s heart sing! I don’t use sugar any more. I gave it up back in January when I started my green smoothie challenge (another moment when I was just going along for the ride and ended up predominately changing my life…) and I have no intentions of starting it again just to make soymilk palatable.


I got this sturdy cast iron fire set at the local tip shop for $1. All it needs is a bit of rust removal and rust protector and it will be as good as new… does ANYONE know what those weird extending tongs are?! You usually get a fire poker with these sort of sets but I had to have these because of that extendable set of pinchers 😉


This wonderful cast iron pan cost me $1 at the Exeter tip shop as well. It was a bit rusty but here it is after Steve, the maestro rust remover and pan seasoner has worked his magic on it. I LOVE tip shop bargains ;). As you can see by the silicone oven mitt, this pan is smoking baby!


I have a newfound desire to start cooking recipes from some of these wonderful books…watch this space…

Cow’s milk naturally tastes somewhat sweet and as someone who needs her early morning mug (bucket) of tea, not wants folks…NEEDS…to function through her day, I wanted to approximate the mouth feel and level of sweetness that cow’s milk delivers. I decided to use my newfound sweetener of choice. I made up some date paste. I make it in my Vitamix and use some of the date soaking water to process the mix. When I finish scraping out the resulting smooth paste, I throw in the rest of the soaking water (sweet in its own right) and whizz up the dregs of the paste to make date syrup that I use in my morning smoothies…no waste here on Serendipity Farm! I add 3 heaped tablespoons of date paste to the hot soymilk and half a teaspoon of fine crushed (in my mortar and pestle) sea salt and voila…I have a really tasty soymilk minus the gums, thickeners and weird sugar approximations. I love it, and Kid Creole’s babies apparently love it to! I used some to attempt to make soymilk kefir. I thought it was a complete flop as I tasted it while I was separating the grains from the resulting mass (couldn’t technically call it “kefir” 😉 ) and at best it could have been considered thin, lumpy soy vinegar but I underestimated the power of the date, and the kefir (that I poured into a 2 litre container after 2 days of making it and promptly “forgodaboudit”) kept doing its “thang”…I noticed it in the fridge door and thought “best taste it before I throw it out”…and it had transformed! It was fizzy, lightly sweet, clean tasting and sort of alcoholic! I put this down to the inclusion of the dates as apparently you can culture kefir twice. Once in its milk and then with added fruit. I am well on my way to making something that I can use neat in my morning green smoothies to give added probiotics and to take out the frowned on soy molecules and make them acceptable (fermented). “WOOT!” Another job done and dusted…”NEXT!” 😉


The “ingredients” for a homemade chalk board…some leftover acrylic paint…some leftover tile grout, a paintbrush and something to paint


Everything that I just said above…but closer! 😉


The recipe calls for half a cup of paint…Steve calls for autonomy of his processes and the right to remain free to choose how much paint he is going to use and just “bungs” some into a glass…sigh…

Why all of a sudden has Serendipity Farm been littered with posts and pictures about food? The weather is starting to turn the thermostat down and we are having blissful low 20C days and cooler mornings and nights. As a newfound convert to early mornings I am starting to have to wear jumpers again and I love it! With the newfound arrival of autumn, it seems my desire to cook has ramped up. It’s like bulbs sprouting in the spring, bring on colder weather and my cooking genes ignite. As most of you know, I am a vegan. I have been vegan for about 17 years now and I follow a lot of amazing vegan blogs. I consider these wonderfully innovative people to be like rock stars and last year I discovered an event that handed me a whole lot more amazingness to cram into my RSS Feed Reader called “The Virtual Vegan Potluck”. I had never heard of a “Blog Hop” before. It is where a group of people get together and decide to post on a similar theme and link to each other. There are lots of small blog hops online that range from once a week to a few times a year and The Virtual Vegan Potluck is a biannual event (cheers for clearing that up for me Google or I may just have inadvertently made it once every 2 years in my ignorance 😉 ). It sees some of the most amazing vegan food bloggers coming together to create a monumental homage to vegan food gorgeousness. All kinds of people post recipes because the only stipulation to join in on the blog hop is to post a completely vegan recipe. There are vegetarians and Omni’s (that’s you “normal” omnivorous people shortened to make you as cute as we vegans 😉 ) that post and this year I have bowed to pressure and will be joining in myself. It’s a complete departure from normalcy here and for one post I will be part of a united chain of vegan deliciousness that will circumnavigate the globe. Whether you are interested in animal welfare, or just some delicious meat, egg and dairy free grub it’s a great place to check out what vegan food is all about. There are fringe groups that are Gluten Free, Paleo vegan’s and all kinds of strange skewed varieties of vegan but we all unite to agree to disagree to create this incredible ladder of food hope and you are all invited to check out the amazing array when I take part in May. For one day, Serendipity Farm posting will be hijacked and there will be a link to the post before me, and the post after me that if you choose to take a little trot around the world, you might just find some incredible new recipes to tantalise your tastebuds and add something new to your repertoire. Even if you just want the odd vegan recipe in case your crazy sister comes to town (hint hint Pinky 😉 ), you will find something here because everyone pulls all the stops out and delivers their very best. Last year one of the stellar crowd delivered the most amazing vegan cheeze en croute that you could imagine including recipes for the unctuous “cheeze”. All free, all just a linky click away. I have plans this year. As you all know I am OCD when it comes to just about everything and when I channel it, hopefully it can be used for the good of all mankind ;). My entry will be in the Main course section and will showcase our home grown produce and just how frugal deliciousness can be. I hope that you will all head off in random directions and salve your curiosity and discover that vegan is the new mainstream black :o). You never know what deliciousness you will find…


Measure out your grout…1 tbsp. for 1/2 cup of paint…can anyone tell me why it’s alright to measure grout, but not paint? 😉


Grout into paint…


Mix the grout into the paint

My little sister Pinky (Catherine to you 😉 ) has started a new blog. She has just gone part time working as a Laboratory vampire (I will let her explain) and has time to twiddle her thumbs and contemplate her navel now so being the wonderful big sister that I am, I decided to introduce her to the world of blogging. I know that she will end up as addicted as I am to this amazing platform of communication and after feeling her way around the blogosphere, she will find her niche and will slot in nicely. If you would like to check out her blog it’s here…


Love you Pinky! :o). It’s been raining steadily here for most of the early morning. Steve is NOT going to be happy! We had plans to collect wood today and I think our sporadic sky precipitation might have just put the kybosh on his plans. I can’t say that I mind. I have always got a backup plan and todays backup plan is lighting Brunhilda, baking some decent sourdough carrot cake (using up some of that milk kefir) and reading a good book. Steve will just have to twitch in the lounge room and watch some of his “stories” ;). A wet and extremely happy Earl just burst through the dog door, flipped himself upside down onto the kitchen rug, ootched along on his back in ecstasy  and is now trotting around in the dark lounge room at 5.41am expecting me to join him in his tomfoolery…”TOO EARLY EARL!”…sigh…the story of my, and his, life ;). Yesterday the dogs got bones from Nigel, our friendly butcher. They got enormous meaty delicious bones and as top dog (in his own private universe) Earl has decided that it is HIS job to patrol the bones. He must get up at regular intervals and stalk around ensuring that nothing has touched his bones. A difficult task when there are lots of feral cats, possums and butcherbirds all concertedly trying to steal them. It’s a tough job but Earl is up for it!


Steve decided to mask the frame after a “discussion” about what happens when artisan craftsmen “bodge” things and their wives find interesting ways to take revenge…


Just paint the amended paint onto the surface. It doesn’t need any preparation but if you are using something shiny and metal it might be an idea to lightly sandpaper the surface. Cover the paint glass with some cling wrap to keep it damp in between coats. Note, this coating will dry quite quickly.

Steve donated his shed white board that he never uses to be our new pantry door chalkboard. This time I took some before and after shots to share with you so that you can see how easy it is to make your own chalk paint and save yourself a HUGE amount of money. We didn’t have to pay anything for our chalkboard paint as we have lots of leftover tins of paint. Think about how good you are, recycling paint and grout that you might otherwise have had to toss into landfill? Think about how you don’t need to find scraps of paper to scribble down “must buy turnips” or “must remember to brush hair” or “must eat more fibre”…you mean you DON’T scribble down things like that? If you DO plan your scattered life in a series of mounting scraps of paper (must get myself a spike…the wind is a biotch!), a homemade chalkboard will give you a degree of autonomy that is amazingly satisfying. You can make it any colour you like. You can use any kind of grout you like to make a smooth as silk finish or a nice rough finish that will hold chalk nicely. You can even make your own chalk! I know you can, I researched it :o). I found recipes using plaster of Paris that work amazingly well. I also found a recipe for how to make your own crayons but they are probably not the best medium for writing on chalkboards kiddies! Think of the trees that I am saving! No more scraps of paper telling me to “drink more water”…I can write it on the chalkboard and erase the dust as and when I please. I feel positively cleansed folks! Consider this pictorial tutorial our gift to you trees…aside from trying to plant as many of you as we can in a single given location (NOT IN OUR LIFETIME! 😉 ), we are singlehandedly going to get everyone to stop using paper! Ok, so that might be a bit of a pipe dream, but if every one of us used a little bit less paper we might be able to preserve some of those amazing old forest trees that have been strutting their green stuff for hundreds of years and wouldn’t that be an amazing thing? You can all call me the Narfy Lorax now in unison :o)

Here’s a linky for how to make some chalk (plain or coloured) to go with your chalkboard if you want to make one :o)



After the first coat it will look a bit blotchy but there is enough paint left for a second coat which will render the surface nice and evenly coated


The painted board in situ on the pantry door where we can now write items we need to put on our shopping list whenever we think of them. Steve is being used to show you how big this board is


This is one happy camper…Brunhilda has been on for 2 days straight now and this little black dog is about as happy as a pig in muck :). This is his own personal couch right next to the blissful wafting warmth of our wood fired 4 oven stove (Brunhilda) and Earl has a recliner chair on the other side. They both spent most of the day upside down sleeping…whoever first used the term “It’s a dogs life” certainly knew what they were talking about 😉

I tried some of my homemade soymilk kefir in my breakfast smoothie yesterday and it was so delicious, I had to immediately put some more beans on to soak. I am going to look into making kefir with other milks, specifically the cheaper ones like sesame, sunflower and perhaps grain milks like oat. If you are going to use something on a regular basis you need to make sure it’s going to pay you back in kind and won’t deliver too many negative results. The jury is still out on soymilk. I just found some good recipes for combining oats and a few almonds to make satisfyingly delicious non-dairy “milk” that should be cheap enough for me to use regularly without the hype of soymilk. Now all I have to do is see if Kid Creole’s coconuts feel the same way about it as they do soymilk. I think the secret is to use dried fruit to get a secondary ferment (to all of you crazed fermenters out there that this means ANYTHING to 😉 ). Kefir, correctly cultured, ends up slightly alcoholic. I made soymilk booze! Forget sake folks, this stuff can be drunk for breakfast?! I am in! I will let you know how my experimentation with oaty, almondy goodness goes and if Kid Creole’s coconuts have anything positive to say about the equation. I will be experimenting with different fruit pastes as well. I adore dried figs. Let’s see if Kid Creole’s coconuts do too. I will be experimenting with making home-made beer soon. I will be buying the barley, soaking, sprouting and dehydrating it myself. I will also buy local hops fresh from this year’s harvest source to add to the brew. I want to see if I can make it myself and I want to cultivate “barm”. Barm is a frothy mix of bacteria and yeast that forms on the top of brewing mash (or Wort as it is commonly called). The barm is the lively stuff that converts the sugars and starches into booze… the magic little tiny union of alchemists that deliver us into table dancing maniacs and that hand us our regret on a headachy platter the next morning. I recently read that this barm is also what brewers used to sell to bakers to bake their bread…how interesting? My little twitchy researching brain started twitching rhythmically when it got onto the scent of an interesting new hunt…I headed off and discovered that you can, indeed, make the European version of a sourdough starter using barm and that it was, indeed, the precursor to todays dried yeast! Guess who will be brewing more than just beer in the near future :o). I also have plans for home brewed, fermented ginger beer from a ginger beer plant (hopefully Pinky still has mum’s recipe…) and home brewed naturally fermented root beer for my daughters who LOVE the turpentine taste of Sarsaparilla. If this little black duck can make it herself, saving HEAPS in the process, damning “the man” and customising the flavours and nutrients to her own desires then its BONUS time in the deal-o-drome (if you don’t watch “Deal or No Deal” that isn’t going to make any sense to you 😉 ). Time to make like a tree and leaf folks. Have a great weekend and enjoy whatever you have planned to the max. If it doesn’t work out…always have a plan B and that’s the sage advice that you are getting for free from the Narfy Lorax today ;). See you on Wednesday when goodness ONLY knows what craziness we have gotten up to in the name of frugal penniless student hippidom! :o)

32 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. brymnsons
    Apr 13, 2013 @ 16:54:48

    Love those knitted sock shoey things Fran. The tongs are to put logs into a fire, so you don’t burn your hands 🙂 Nice pickup, especially the frying pan. I’m just wondering why you don’t just drink cows milk?? Better still get a dairy cow and milk it yourself :). Whoa, glad I ducked lol. Anyway just seems like a lot of effort for a dribble of milk 😀 The chalkboard looks great. I have a few boxes of chalk in the shed from when Bruce use to use it if you would like some?? We are back to hot days again, but today is decidedly grey, so hoping for some rain and cool weather. Hope you have a great weekend basking in the glow of Brunhilda, along with the decidedly happy looking dog x Oh yes in my latest “That’s Life!” magazine is the cutest knitted teapot cosy, I will scan it and send it to you 🙂


  2. rabidlittlehippy
    Apr 13, 2013 @ 20:36:09

    They are the funkiest knitted slippers I ever did see! Martin pilfered my handkinitted slippers (he looks so sexy in hot pink and black slippers too 😉 )
    Fermenting is the bestest of fun hey, well except for doing something to damn that man! My nettle beer bubbled at me today although the scungy layer on top is highly suspicious. Still, the bubbles are very exciting. We tried my fermented tomato sauce tonight too. BLISS! The mayo is in the fridge and the red wine vinegar had some more vino added (sorry Martin but I pinched some of our wine). I am watching a couple of beer kits on eBay and I plan to add brewing to my list of things to achieve this year (alongside learning to keep and milk goats, making cheese from their raw milk and making soap). I see a future in which we are able to almost completely feed ourselves from our own produce. How amazing is that.
    By they way, surely you could GROW your own hops…


    • narf77
      Apr 14, 2013 @ 04:02:06

      I will let you in to a little secret…I have 2 hop plants. I need to find somewhere to plant them out where they won’t get predated and that’s like finding teeth in a hen at the moment. I have plans to plant them out either side of the door (on the INSIDE 😉 ) of my new veggie garden and let them grow nuts up the gate posts. Pretty AND useful :). They have tonnes of uses but if I want to ferment beer ASAP, I am going to have to isolate some nice freshly dried local hops :). We have brewed beer a lot and Steve used to brew all of his own brews when we lived in W.A. but we just haven’t gotten round to it here and have brewed wine predominately (easy peasy). I want to make beer from the wort, from scratch, and utilise the barm for some interesting experiments. Fermentation is totally addictive. Love that everything is working out and your nettle beer sounds like it might be making it’s own barm? When it’s finished, try a few experiments with that barm and see if you can raise anything with it? Could be the stuff that posts are made of 😉


      • rabidlittlehippy
        Apr 14, 2013 @ 05:14:58

        Is THAT what the white film is? You can tell I’m a brewing noob hey. 😉 I’ve added hops to my list of climbers and vines for the food forest garden but we read that it can climb to 9m high so wondering whether to provide it with some trellis or whether just to let that sucker have fun on the loquat tree (trellis until the trees are tall enough – I have a perfick piece of reo mesh for it too – my archway! 😀

      • narf77
        Apr 14, 2013 @ 05:28:23

        Hops LERVE archways and look spectacular. It’s like wandering into a forest of triffids here in Tassie when you pass a hop field. The very first time you see it you have to put on the brakes, drive back and stare! Its an amazing sight :). They really are sleeping aids and apparently hop workers have to be given more breaks than other pickers, because the hops really do send you to sleep 🙂

      • rabidlittlehippy
        Apr 14, 2013 @ 05:29:57

        Fantastic! Sounds perfect and a plan then! And they’re another wonderful perennial too which fits the entire ethos of the food garden. 🙂

      • narf77
        Apr 14, 2013 @ 05:34:23

        I am excited…I am on a hunt…I found this! 😉 I LERVE early morning hunts they take me all OVER the place (pity I end up with more blogs to follow though…thems the breaks 😉 )


        Just got to find out what the heck those Chinese olives are!

  3. Angela @ Canned Time
    Apr 14, 2013 @ 00:44:15

    God bless you Fran for figuring out all the in’s and out’s of making your own Soy milk. I made mine from scratch for about 1 year, didn’t have a machine so I soaked, cooked, flavored, blended, strained and chilled every weekend. I used date paste but mostly used vanilla Stevia for sweetener but left my big batch plain in case I wanted it for cooking. It was a pain to say the least but not as bad as the pains I had in my joints from dairy prior to eliminating it. The change for me was drastic and in 2 weeks I was almost pain free so the Soy process seemed worth it. Now I’m using organic cartons which are not perfect but certainly quicker.
    BTW, those socks are fabulous! Let us know if you here from someone about making them….Grand week to you, take care please?


    • narf77
      Apr 14, 2013 @ 04:08:55

      Ditto Angela, take care and enjoy your gorgeous emerging spring days :). I am just about to take my milk making to the next level and add oat and almond (combined) milk to my kefir making experiments. I use my homemade soy milk in my morning tea and have tailored it perfectly to my tastes. Organic boxed soy is wonderful but anything that this little black penniless duck can do to minimise costs is on the cards :). I must admit that spending just on an hour to peel a cup of soaked soybeans is bordering on the extreme! It pays for itself when the clean up of the machine (that used to drive me nuts!) is now very quick. The resulting homemade kefir is superlative! Amazing stuff and completely delicious. See you in your next post 🙂


      • Angela @ Canned Time
        Apr 14, 2013 @ 04:59:44

        Good luck with all that experimenting. It sounds wonderful! I did Oat milk, it’s very thick. And I even did Flax which has that glossy gel to it. Didn’t like it straight but it’s great in smoothies and much easier than peeling the skins for soy. Sounds like you’re becoming quite the expert 😉

      • narf77
        Apr 14, 2013 @ 05:03:16

        We want to make as many things from scratch as we can and you really don’t realise the true cost of anything till you make it yourself! I was thinking about that last night when I was half asleep and remembered that I had to peel a cup of soybeans that had been soaking all day for my morning tea soymilk. I loved the soy kefir so lets see how the oat kefir goes? Can’t get groats here so am going to have to use rolled oats. Hope they turn out the same! 😉

  4. christiok
    Apr 14, 2013 @ 08:30:51

    I love the blue board and its placement. And your cookbook space looks very promising for some blissful winter evenings. 🙂 I know what you mean about autumn and cooking, the harvest and preserving alchemy magic is in high gear. Plus your energy for new foods is unparalleled in my experience! It’s the kefir madness, too. It just keeps going and going. Love you!


    • narf77
      Apr 14, 2013 @ 15:11:45

      I am going to be spending next week alchemising some weird stuff. I found recipes for making chickpea milk and will be trying to make tofu and kefir out of it along with oat and almond milk. If I can make some interesting things I will share them :). Kefir is amazing stuff. It seems to not mind being in soymilk too much so long as I refresh it a couple of times a week in regular milk. Hopefully it won’t mind the other weird things I am going to attempt! 😉


  5. christiok
    Apr 14, 2013 @ 08:56:26

    Skun?! LOL


  6. cathyandchucky
    Apr 14, 2013 @ 12:05:11

    Love the post Fronkii. I could make a coloured board too. Thanks for putting my link up too. I’m learning VERY slowly how to blog. Can you not buy some whole oats from your friend Dave and make your own groats? He might be able to source organic groats for you. Isn’t there a local mill in your area?


    • narf77
      Apr 14, 2013 @ 15:08:38

      Hi Pinkarooni, I asked David first about the groats and he said “never heard of them” and when he looked into them said “I can’t get them here” which is crazy because Tassie used to be one of the premier oat producing states in Australia! Sigh…If it isn’t “Moit” or “Spuds” or “Peas” (they MOIT eat carrots but the jury is out…) it isn’t going to get eaten here. I never tell anyone that I am a vegan because they look at me like I came from mars. I just say “I don’t like it” and would rather they thought I was a fussy bugger than a crazy freak! 😉


  7. twotreesherbals
    Apr 16, 2013 @ 01:06:40

    that chalkboard idea is brilliant! “must remember to brush hair”…and here i thought i was the only one. 😉

    do you make soysage with your leftover soy grits? that is one of my all-time favorite recipes.

    having lots of fun using kefir grains to make homemade herbal sodas this month…do you know Full Moon Feast? Wonderful recipes in there.

    Thanks as usual for the inspiration and humor! xo


    • narf77
      Apr 16, 2013 @ 03:29:19

      Soysage? Do tell :). Is Full Moon Feast a book or a blog? (I will be checking to see if it is a blog as soon as I stop tapping this reply 🙂 ). Excellent idea making homemade sodas. I only have milk kefir grains at the moment BUT I know where to source some water kefir grains and as a vegan they are very useful. We are suddenly finding cheap coconuts in our stores (from Tonga of all places) so water kefir grains might actually be a good thing for me to get hold of. I buy them from Dom at this amazingly eclectic site in South Australia. Dom is the bomb! 🙂 Check it out, it rocks!
      Now…off to do some research on Full Moon Feast (my favourite time to feast! 🙂 )


  8. twotreesherbals
    Apr 16, 2013 @ 04:21:19

    I used to run a “knits & grits” sunday morning old-time-music-playing craft-making brunch-eating weekly party and soysage was the centerpiece! It really is delicious…here’s the recipe! (Full Moon Feast is an amazing book of recipes organized around the wheel of the year, but I’m sure you’ve found that by now!)

    From the New Farm Vegetarian Cookbook, published by The Farm in Summertown TN.
    In a medium large (~2 qt) bowl mix together:

    1 & 1/2 tsp fennel seed

    1 tsp black pepper

    1 Tbsp oregano
1/2 tsp cayenne
2 cloves crushed garlic
    2 tsp allspice

    2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp sage

    2 cups whole wheat/sprouted flour
1 cup raw wheat germ

    1 cup nutritional yeast

    In a very large (~4 qt.) bowl combine:

    4 cups okara
(soy grits leftover from soymilk making)
    3/4 cup oil

    1 & 1/4 cup soymilk or other liquid

    1/4 cup soy sauce + 2 tsp salt
    2 Tbsp wet (condiment) mustard

    Add dry ingredients and mix well.
    Oil an ovenproof bowl or clean, recycled ‘tin’ cans.
Fill and cover; steam on a rack 1 & 1/2 hours.
    Cool, slice and brown on a griddle before serving.


    • narf77
      Apr 16, 2013 @ 04:27:39

      Cheers BIGTIME for the recipe :). I have been feeding the okara to my chooks along with dehydrating it in my cool wood stove warming oven for a kind of “soy flour” and then throwing it into my Vitamix and adding it to various things. I hate wasting things and this recipe looks great. Today, I am going to try making chickpea milk. Found a few recipes online and Steve got me some almonds in the shopping yesterday (we shop fortnightly) and so it might just be an inventions day :). I want to try making chickpea kefir as my soy milk kefir was so successful. I LERVE messing about with new ideas and adapting them to things that we can get more readily here. The ethos behind it is that we want to be growing as much of what we need as possible (in the veggie gardens, small orchard and food forest) and knowing how to use things like acorns, chickpeas (easy to grow here), various cool climate nuts and seeds (and almonds…I am hedging my bets with climate change 😉 ) can only be a benefit to us all :). Cheers, again, for the great recipe. Going to make it with my leftover okara from my last batch of soy (now bubbling merrily with happy kefir grains 🙂 )


  9. thinkingcowgirl
    Apr 16, 2013 @ 09:21:28

    Glad you’re warm and cosy with Brunhilda. It’s still only 11c here! Got the fire going every night, it’s a log crisis! I reckon those tongs could be for lumps of coal? It’s so great finding a bargain, the cast iron fry pan is a gem. I’m selling stuff on ebay at the moment, all very cathartic. Love the knitted slippers they are really silly 🙂

    ‘Use the chalkboard’ would probably be the first thing on the list on my chalkboard! I’ve got a system of postcards…with the chore/nicething on the front and the benefit on the back. The idea is to select 3 or 4 the night before and concentrate on those things. Seems to work for me…I can easily get distracted!


    • narf77
      Apr 16, 2013 @ 13:10:20

      I not only get distracted, I wander around the house shuffling things trying to remember what it was I was going to that room for. The reason ONLY comes back when I am no longer in the room, and am in the middle of doing something else ;). Steve loves the idea of chalkboards to write things down on so we don’t forget. I love the shopping list latest edition but I simply don’t look at the one with all of the things that I am supposed to do on it! At the moment it has “bake carrot cake” on it (should have done that yesterday) and “coconuts!”…that’s so I don’t forget that Steve bought me 2 coconuts yesterday and I should look up something to do with them before the brown fuzzy hairy little buggers take on other more vivid hues ;). There is SO much going on inside my head that it confuses the heck out of my husk. I spend WAY too much time directing my carcass around the place without actually knowing what I am going to use the poor thing for when I get there…”just in case I need you hands/arms/feet…you just follow me around and I am sure that I can think of something to do with you when we get there” (wherever “there” is on any given occasion 😉 ). I haven’t been to Ebay for ages. I end up twitching too much when it’s getting close to the end of your auction and someone starts to gazump you and Steve has to take over because I am swearing too much to complete clicking on time. Hope you get a really good price for whatever you are selling :). We had to “sell something on Ebay” for a course in small business that we did a few years ago (before we did horticulture) and we decided to put a free set of dog tags that Steve got from a local brewing company. No-one in their right minds would bid on it because anyone can get the tags free right? We just wanted to document (screenshots) the process and the listing and then remove it. To make sure that no-one was foolish enough to bid we put an exorbitant price for postage and someone actually bid! We ended up selling the “free” dog tags and giving the guy free postage (which he was happy about) in sheer unmitigated guilt! Not only did we sell him free dog tags he could have gotten them himself because he was TASMANIAN! sigh… it really goes to show that one mans trash (or school process) is another mans treasure ;). Have a great evening/day and week ahead 🙂


      • thinkingcowgirl
        Apr 19, 2013 @ 20:08:51

        That’s funny! My neighbour sold 100 wine corks for about £20.00 🙂 My friend introduced me to http://www.gixen.com/index.php the free service which bids for you at the last second. I wasn’t keen but once I’d done it once I was hooked. I sold half of my items – one a chair which I made a profit on, hey maybe I could go into business!

      • narf77
        Apr 20, 2013 @ 02:48:23

        Stranger things have happened girl! I know lots of people go to our local auctions, thrift shops, garage sales and markets and buy up anything “retro” and “vintage” (read junk from the 60’s and 70’s that shallow Tasmanians would rather throw out and get lovely brand new plastic things 😉 ) and flog it for an enormous profit online. You can even swap your junk here…we have a site called “freecycle” where you can offer up your rubbish and other people can take it away. We once got rid of an old rabbit hutch and I ended up with a gorgeous old style 70’s crock pot (slow cooker) :). It’s a great way to make tax free moola on the side 🙂

  10. Sincerely, Emily
    Apr 17, 2013 @ 06:33:32

    How exciting to hear about your soy milk process. quick comment to link you to the gingerbeer recipe that I use. Love it.


    Yesterday a friend came and gifted me with milk kefir in her fresh goats milk. now I have to figure out what to do next! How are things with yours going? I gifted her with a kombucha mother. You should have seen us – like kids!


    • narf77
      Apr 17, 2013 @ 06:51:37

      Like kids at Christmas time! :). All you have to do is keep those little suckers dunked in milk…any kind of animal milk is fine (including goat) and they will do their merry thing. I use non dairy as well but have to dunk them back into cows milk every few days so that they don’t go into shock and decide to curl up their curly little brains and croak! ;). I let my kefir sit in the fridge for a few days where it goes fizzy and tastes amazing. You can use it straight away and just google recipes as there are HEAPS of them. I love that kefir is a combination of fungi and bacteria and that it can contain up to 60 probiotics all in the same convoluted little brainy like grains :). You are going to love it 🙂 cheers for the ginger beer recipe as well 🙂


      • Sincerely, Emily
        Apr 17, 2013 @ 09:21:04

        I was just watching some you tube videos to learn more about it. I am out of raw milk so I bought some organic from the store. Turns out it is ultra pasteurized and the videos I watch said that is not good to use. ACK! Also, after 24 hours in freshly milked goats milk it has not thickened up. I know I still need to get the hang of this, but do I let it sit more hours? Do you know anything about the milk. I think the few things I heard was that the ultra past. will kill the bacteria because there isn’t any of the good stuff in that milk to feed off! Crap! I don’t pick up raw milk for another 7 days. Maybe I should put it in the fridge to cool its jets until I can get better milk.

      • narf77
        Apr 17, 2013 @ 10:00:21

        Don’t panic! I make kefir with soymilk, and I make kefir with chickpea “milk” (or more like porridge!) and I made successful kefir out of UHT canned coconut cream. It’s a whole lot more resilient than people would like you to believe. So long as you give it a bit of milk it is fine. If you are worried, just toss it into some regular common supermarket milk in the cartons. That’s all we put ours in and its happy as Larry. It might take a bit longer to thicken for lots of reasons
        1. you put it in a lot of milk so it has to work harder to thicken it
        2. it’s colder and kefir is always slower in cold weather (in summer you can use this to your advantage and put it into the fridge if you go away for the weekend)
        3. It needs to get used to your local conditions and might take a little bit of time to get adapted. Either way, don’t panic about it. It will sort itself out. I got about a teaspoon of grains a couple of months ago. I have given about half a cup full away since then and still have about a cup in production in my non milk kefir and half a cup that I just let live in milk in case my crazy experimentation causes my cupful to croak en masse (I ALWAYS like a good backup plan 😉 ). If they will live happily in weird things like soymilk and the equivalent of chickpea porridge, they will do absolutely incredibly well in some UHT for a bit. Let me know if you have any more problems but remember, if you only have a few grains, start off putting them in a nice warm place and if you have about a tablespoon of them, only give them a cupful of milk to work with at the start. After a while you will be amazed at how fast those little buggers work! Mine can set a litre of milk in 12 hours if I let them!

      • Sincerely, Emily
        Apr 17, 2013 @ 12:28:26

        Not panic anymore. I realized that I can just get more grains from same friend if I botch it up. I love having a few extra kombucha mother’s hanging around the house just in case. I have them in about 1 1/2 cups goat milk. It is dang hot here already. 90F today and it is 75F in house. I will try to be a bit more patient! (ha) and try not to watch the paint dry or the pot boil. thank you thank you! I can’t wait until it is happy with me (and I with it) and it will thicken for me when I waive my magic wand…. I wonder where I put that?!

  11. athursdayschild has a long way to go and much to be thankful for.
    Apr 26, 2013 @ 23:53:37

    When Chris and I got married, he came with a set of cast iron. One flat pan I use on the stovetop as much as I use my wok, and chai pan. Chris drank kefer for awhile, but it was store bought. Well, got to start that house work.


    • narf77
      Apr 27, 2013 @ 03:03:38

      Saturday is our “housework” day…lucky for our Javanese finches that we remember to do the housework or they wouldn’t get fed! ;). After that I am going to bake 2 batches of biscuits (your cookies) and a date cake from a 1954 book I inherited and then I might type out some more recipes from the wonderful book “Enjoy – New Veg” by Nadine Abensur a wonderful Turkish Aussie Cook whose recipes are AMAZING. Might even make one to share with you all soon :). I like to have busy days and as I made all my non dairy milks yesterday and got my kefirs back into the milky drink, today I can play 🙂


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