Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Part 2...Making Healthy soda : Ginger beer

Hopefully by now you have been feeding up your ginger beer plant for about 2 weeks with some fresh ginger and sugar everyday. If you missed a day, never mind, just pick up from where you left off.

Your plant should look a little something like this:
Can you see the bubbles?? That's what'll make your drinks fizz!

Each time you add a little more ginger and sugar you should start to get a bit of a reaction, if your 'plant is not bubbling or fizzing about when you stir the sugar in, your plant is not ready. Or possibly you may need to start again, it may be that something was not sterile...

This is the sort of reaction you are looking for- Check out that bubbling action. I love it!

I have been making smaller batches, of about 1.5L- 2L. This gives the family more variety, so we are not stuck all drinking ginger beer for a month and nothing else (most of the recipes i found a couple of years ago made 4-6L batches)! It also allows me to tweak a recipe to their tastes, and try new flavours.

This is the ginger beer recipe that our family likes the best (according to dadda, it's still not as good as bundy ginger beer, so if anyone has a recipe for that, we'd be so grateful:).

Large saucepan
Wooden spoon
Cheese cloth or muslin
Cup measure
enough sterilised bottles to take 2.5L of fluid either swing top or twist top.

4C filtered water
1 Thumb Root ginger chopped 
1 C Brown sugar
1 Vanilla bean
2 Cinnamon sticks broken
1 Nutmeg cracked
6 Cloves
I like to use whole spices as they are easier to sieve out, and do not leave gungia in the actual beer as it brews, but this is just a personal preference.

In your large saucepan place all your ingredients*. 
Bring the water to a boil, and let simmer for 20 minutes uncovered.
Turn off the heat and bring the liquid to room temperature. This may take a few hours, or if you like do it overnight, just keep it covered. This is an important step, if you add the ginger beer plant to the ginger beer mixture while it is too hot, there will be no fizz, you will have killed off all the lacto- bacilli that create the fizz. Fail (dunnit). Then you will never want to do this again. So chill.

Remove the spices with the sieve.

Take your ginger beer plant (the one you have been feeding for the past 2 weeks), use the cheesecloth or muslin the strain 1 cup of liquid from your plant. Retain the ginger pieces in the ginger beer plant and start feeding from week 2 (when you add the cup of water back in, remember?).

Stir in the liquid from the 'plant' into your ginger beer mixture.

Decant into your sterilised bottles using the funnel (take it slowly as this can be a bit messy). 
Make sure to leave about 30mm -40mm breathing space above the liquid (we don't want any explosions!).

This is an example of how much breathing space I leave for my brew.
Then pop the lids on (not super tight), and leave to brew for 4-7 days in a cool dark place (I use my laundry because it's outside, and although I haven't had a top pop off yet, I don't really want to deal with that sort of mess in my kitchen.

Write your date of brew on your bottle, to be sure. Or use cute labels.

Start checking for fizz after 4 days, as it depends on the room temperature. A warmer room will brew faster.

Yay!! Ginger beer! Enjoy!

Oh, and just so you know this is the method I use for all my healthy soda. Just using different flavours.

I'l share The creaming soda recipe next, it is a fave at our place. And just in case you are not really liking ginger beer... the creaming soda is a sweet mild soda. I think you'll enjoy it too!

*You can make a bouquet garni with the herbs to make it easier to take them out when we are finished.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

The Healthy Soda Paradox

There is so much going on around the place with this fermented foods Phenomenon. Pheeew! That is a mouthful.

I really hadn't thought much about it until I realised I was already part of it.
Say hello to my little friend

Strange I knew what I was doing was good for digestion, but I thought that it was more about the ginger I was using, not the fermentation. You know... anytime you have an upset tummy someone offers you ginger something or other. I remember this from my second pregnancy, "ginger will help with that", "have you tried those ginger pregnancy lollipops"... I smiled and listened, but, I don't much like ginger.

Dadda however, likes him some Bundy gingerbeer. I enjoy a taste. Brother bear Looooooves it. Bunny likes anything sweet.

We rarely had softdrink/ soda when we were growing up. I don't know who to thank there, frugality, or my hippy mother (you wouldn't know it to look at her- but she is).

We would have water, or milk. On the odd occassion or celebration mum would but these huge tins of golden circle 100% juice, and then to make it really spesh we got to use a soda syphon to fizz it up. Yaaay! Well at least at the time it was fun at the time.
 A couple of years ago we caught a flight to see my Grandparents. I miss them a lot. Especially my Grandma, we get on well.
I love to hear about when she was young and married, what she used to bake (eclairs, vanilla slices, all those things that were delicious and too expensive to enjoy regularly way back when). This last visit she was telling me about the gingerbeer that she used to make for my Grandfather. He loved the stuff. So she shared her secret.
This is just about all you need- Simple, Right?
When we got back I was chatting to a friends father and gingerbeer came up. He told me about how he remembered his mum and sister taking the ginger root out of the garden to make ginger beer and using brown sugar. He couldn't recall the recipe, just shared his precious childhood memories.

Well this had me intrigued. The recipe Grandma gave had used yeast with powdered ginger. The new one seemed more... authentic.

So I googled, as we all do to find out more. All I could find were recipes using yeast and powdered ginger.
I decided to follow their recipes with the ginger root and no yeast.

It works.

I'll share what I do. So you can too.

Tools and equipment:

Glass jar (approx 1L- 1.5L)
grater or sharp knife
cloth to fit over the mouth of your jar
and a rubberband to hold it there
wooden spoon

Ginger root and brown sugar ready to stir in

Ginger root
Brown sugar
Filtered water (I just use cooled boiled water)


  1. Sterilise all equipment. I wash mine and then put through the dishwasher and then sit them in boiling water. I know it seems like overkill, but you do not want one speck of anything left as it will cause bad fermentation instead of fermenting the good lacto bacilli that is found on the ginger root.
  2. Pour 2 cups or 500ml of your filtered or cooled boiled water into sterile glass jar.

Grate or finely chop 1 teaspoon of the ginger root (I grate mine directly into the jar, save dirtying the chopping board).
Plop 1 heaped teaspoon of brown sugar (you can use white, I don't think it actually matters what type of sugar, so long as you feed the lacto bacilli sugar).

Stir with your wooden spoon, don't worry if the sugar does not dissolve, just stir to distribute it throughout the water.

Check that Fizz!
Cover the mouth of you jar with the clean cloth (about the thickness of muslin or a handkerchief), pop the elastic band around to keep it in place. If you use the jars lid it will suffocate your 'plant', you just want to keep the bugs and dust out.

Each day at about the same time add another teaspoon of ginger and sugar in the same way for about 7 days. You may notice some bubbles or a little fizz. I do mine before I pack the dishwasher after dinner. It is something that I do everyday, so this is where it fits well into my routine. Just find where it will fit into your daily routine and you wont even notice it.

A couple of seconds a day makes for a pretty easy drink.

After 7 days of adding 1 teaspoon each of ginger and sugar, double your plant by starting at step 2 again. Add the water to the jar again, and this week add 2 teaspoons of grated ginger root and 2 teaspoons of brown sugar. Stirring with your wooden spoon.

Next week I'll share my recipe for ginger beer.

But that's not all this plant can do. We have been enjoying strawberry soda, creaming soda, lemonade, fanta, and this week I'm going to try some passionfruit soda!

So get to making that ginger beer plant, and by the time it's readily fizzing, you'll have a couple of recipes to choose from to make some soda- cheap as.

Oh, you might want to start saving bottles with twist tops on them now, I use Dadda's 340ml JD bottles (that's what is readily available for me to recycle). You could just pick up a couple of swing top water bottles at the cheap shop, I use them too.

Friday, 4 October 2013

Frocktober 2013

Frocktober is on, and frocks are going on.

I didn't actually know much about this until my littlest cousin (umm she's in her 20's now, but she's still the littlest!) enlightened me last year.
Here's Kimmy, frockin' it like you knew she could.
I love it,
I love the idea of frocking things up a little,
I love the cause behind it too. Cancer just seems to take too many people before we are ready for them to go.
So, show your support, and if like me you really don't have many frocks to get your own frocktober going, get out there and support our everyday heroes. Like Kimmy.

As I'm not the avid frocker, I'm supporting Kimmy in an edible frockin kinda way!

My personal fave is the Piet Mondrian dress, I love the mod look (the Mod look does not love me back, however)

When Kimmy approached me to show some support, there was an option of using my regular range or doing something really special. So when I thought about it, frocks I mean, I wanted something that would grab you a little, not because it was incredibly eye catching, but because it was familiar.

Audrey Hepburn, she's totally sigh worthy.

I started with a board on Pinterest, just pinning frocks that I thought were iconic. Those frocks that make you remember a moment in time. Significant people who were just killer in frocks, and totally iconic in their own right.

Do you think this could be the most famous dress of all time?

 Oh yeah, you can buy these cookies if you like! All will be donated to Kimmy's page
iconic dresses, theGFCookie
I think I did this one for my own selfish pleasure, I just LOVE Bjork, her music, her love for her culture and appreciation of the quirky. I still think this was really a beautiful dress, even though she ended up on the worst dressed list. Boo!

theGFCookie, frocktober 2013, iconic dresses, cookies
Yep, just for me...
But When you do something for someone else (like donate to Frocktober) you kinda are doing something for you, and your sisters, and everyone who loves you.

Go Kimmy- you rock... I mean Frock! We Love you and what you do, x