Naturally Well With Jo | Blog
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Two Day Primal Beef And Kidney Broth

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I am excited to be sharing with you my primal beef and kidney broth.  This rich and delicious broth was slow cooked on top of my wood heater for two days.  If you  came to visit me whilst it was slow cooking,  I reckon you would of been very tempted to grab a big soup spoon, take the lid off and dive right in.  I become very excited when I cook food like this.  I am sure many of you have heard the term ”nutrient dense”

The Worlds Healthiest Foods states “Nutrient density” means how much you get of one thing, given the presence of something else.  In the case of nutrient density, the “things” you receive, the nutrients, are analyzed in relationship to how much they “cost” you, in terms of calories. Simply stated, nutrient density means how many nutrients you get from a food, given the number of calories it contains. Nutrient density is a simple way to connect nutrients with calories”.

I believe that no foods are more nutrient dense than whole, organically-grown foods. Why do I believe this? Well nothing is contained in fresh, whole organic food that doesn’t need to be there.  What you can hunt, gather, forage and grow is nutrient dense.  Everything you need to stay optimally nourished is right here in my beef and kidney broth and I have created this delicious and simple meal which is made from grass fed, free range beef and organic vegetables and herbs to enjoy whilst sitting back around the fire on a cold winters night.

The recipes that you find here on Primal Living are recipes which are your best connection to nutrient density, and nutrient density is your best bet for a healthy way of eating and living.

If you don’t have a woodheater, the recipe will be fine slow cooked on top of your stove.

TWO DAY PRIMAL STEAK AND KIDNEY BROTH

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

500 g free range, grass fed chuck beef – diced
4 lamb kidneys – chopped in half
6-8 small organic whole baby carrots, chopped
2 medium size organic zucchini’s, chopped
1 brown onion, diced
4 garlic cloves
2 fresh chillies
3 sprigs of fresh rosemary
handful of fresh thyme (I used lemon scented thyme)
1 tin of organic tomatoes
400ml’s filtered water

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WHAT TO DO

You’ll start off with cooking this on the stove.  In a large crock pot heat up some lard, ghee or coconut oil in the pot.
Add in the garlic, chillies, and onion and slow cook it until the onion has become opaque.
Add in the beef and kidneys and brown off
Add in the fresh herbs, vegetables and the tin of tomatoes
Add in the water ( I fill up my empty tin of tomatoes and swish it around to ensure I have no wastage)

It’s now time to take it off the stove and move it over to the woodheater.  Bring it to the boil on the woodheater and then once it starts to slightly bubble, turn the woodheater down and continue to cook the broth.  You want it to be simmering ( not bubbling)

Check it every 3-4 hours to ensure you have enough water.  I only added more water on first night, just before bed.

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Second day on the woodheater.

I was going to thicken the broth and turn it into a stew using mashed carrots or cauliflower, however I am glad I didn’t because it is so good as is.

When ever I have a cup of broth, which is almost every day  (I really recommend everyone to be enjoying a fresh cup of broth, especially during winter everyday) I love how it makes me feel and the best way to describe it is;

“It is like someone giving me a hug on the insides” – Jo at Primal Living

 

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Egg Sushi

So when you ‘turn primal’ you start to give up some of the foods which were quick and easy to grab on the go at lunch time or after work.  One of those foods was sushi.  Egg sushi wraps are a great alternative and by swapping out the rice for the egg, you can enjoy a meal high in protein, low in starchy carboydrates and one that won’t give you a blood sugar spike and make you crash and crave sugar a few hours later.

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WHAT YOU’LL NEED

2 nori sheets
6 free range eggs
2 tsp coconut cream
1 tbsp butter
4 asparagus sticks
hadful of shitake mushrooms (or button mushrooms)
Red capsicum, sliced lengthways
Large handful of fresh pea sprouts
1/2  avocado, sliced
Coconut aminos
Nori sheets x 2

WHAT TO DO

Whisk the eggs with the coconut cream and set aside
In a frypan, melt a small amount of butter or if dairy intolerant coconut oil or ghee and add the shitake mushrooms and asparagus.  Cook until tender
Add the eggs into the same frypan and on a medium heat and slowly start to scramble the eggs
Wait a few seconds, then start gently stirring with a wooden spoon. You probably don’t want super scrambled eggs. Go for the bigger chunk style
Let your egg cool slightly. In the meantime, grab your nori sheet and lay it on a bamboo mat (or I’ve used greaseproof paper before)
On your sushi mat, lay out the nori rolls and start to add your ingredients in the middle.  Start with the egg and then add asparagus, capsicum, shitake mushrooms, avacado and pea sprouts.
Wait a few seconds, then start gently stirring with a wooden spoon. You probably don’t want super scrambled eggs. Go for the bigger chunk style
Spread your egg on 3/4 of the sheet, making sure to spread to the edges.  Lay your fillings down in the middle of the egg.
Wet the 1/4 of nori with water. Now grab the bottom of the nori and roll up (the bottom is the opposite to the part that you left egg free)

I find the best way to do this is to put your thumbs under the mat and your index fingers on the fillings, then quickly but tightly tuck the bottom to the edge of the egg mixture.   Move the mat away from the edge and finish rolling tightly.

You can choose any of your favourite vegetable ingredients for the middle.  This is a fun one for the kids to make, below are some rolls which me made before

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Raising and Killing a Pig – The Humane Way

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Today I killed my first pig that I have raised with so much care and love

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I never thought I would ever say that.   A year ago I was living in a two bedroom apartment which we tried to make as energy efficient as possible, however we were still ‘energy pigs’.  We had no yard to grow vegetables in (just a small balcony for fresh herbs) and each Sunday I became extremely excited to walk down to the local farmers market and purchase my weeks supply of ethically raised, free range meat and organic vegetables.  What I loved most about the market was that I could chat directly to the farmer selling their produce.  I mean how good is that!?! Up close and personal with your farmer, asking questions and getting a real appreciation of the hard work that they do to bring us delicious, organic, sustainable, ethical and humane food.

I can now sit here and say that I am a farmer!  I moved out of the city with Andrew onto 10 acres.  We grow all our own food and raise our own animals.  I am no longer an ‘energy pig’ as we generate our own power with a wind turbine and solar and I am very fortunate to drink some the cleanest water (rain water).  You can read more about us living off the grid here

We call our home ‘the primal farm’; because everything that we’re trying to do here is aimed towards living seasonal and simple, raising and eating sustainable, ethical and humane meat.  Eating and nurturing our bodies with the foods which nature has provided us and educating ourselves every single day on the best possible way to live self sufficient.

Now that I have given you a very small background, lets get back to the pig story….We purchased three pigs last November at a cost of $70 each.  Andrew and I made an excellent yard for the pigs to play in, lots of sun, shelter and plenty of room to run around.  The yard has an electric fence which is run by solar.  The initial set up wasn’t cheap, but totally worth it.  I never named the pigs as I thought it would make it harder to do the killing when it was time.  

David (mobile butcher) and I

David (mobile butcher) and I

Tuesday 15th August is the day I chose to kill my first pig.  Goodness even typing those words “killing my first pig” gives me goose bumps.  I organised a mobile butcher to come and do it.  A big shout out to Don at Black Ridge Farm for recommending David.  David has over 25 years of experience working in his own abbatoir, butcher and now as a mobile butcher.  The reason I chose to bring a mobile butcher in was because I didn’t want the pig to be under any stress.  From the research I have done if the animal is under any stress during the killing process not only is it cruel to the animal but they release adrenalin which can affect the meat and the meat can become quite tough.

David was amazing and he talked me through the whole process and helped calm my anxiety that I had towards the killing. He said what I chose to do here on my property is one of the best things I can do for an animal.  It shows respect, it’s humane and ethical and for me personally, he said I will feel a greater appreciation towards the meat.

That I did….. Before I go on any further I want to point out that this was a very difficult thing for me to do.  I have raised these pigs from a very young age with no experience. Each and everyday I loved and looked after them and fed them the best food. I ensured they stayed warm and dry and every day I would always give them a good scratch behind the ear and an awesome mud bath to roll around in.  
The lead up to the killing I was having a few really bad weeks on the farm.  I mentioned that we generate our own power with solar and a wind turbine and for some unknown reason our wind turbine decided to stop generating power into the batteries and all I am running off is the solar.  It’s winter and right now we’re not having much sun to even allow me to turn a light bulb on.  So every day, morning and night I have been running the generator for at least two hours at a time to help charge the batteries.  Everytime I want to use an electric appliance like my blender I need to put the generator on.  Not only that, when it’s time to go to bed and I need to turn the bathroom light on, or another light on in the bedroom, the power cuts out and I am down in the power shed after 10pm switching on the generator and waiting for another hour until we have sufficient energy.  If I didn’t have the fridge to run, I would of just left it and went to bed.  This became very frustrating and exhausting.

More had happened in the lead up to the pig killing.  Since moving here we have lost over 10 chooks to quolls.  Quolls are nocturnal, they come out at night but for some reason they decided to attack and kill my chooks during the day.  A week before the killing I would go and put the girls to bed (at 4pm) to be finding another dead chook. Emotions are high and all I could do whilst picking the chooks up with my shovel was cry.  Four chooks in one week was too much to handle.  I would like to dedicate this post to my gorgeous Penny, who has been here on the Primal farm since Andrew and I moved in.  Penny is now RIP

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Penny

You can imagine how I must of been feeling.  It was only last week I was standing around my pigs crying and on top of all the two awful weeks I had on the farm, I am running my own business.  I have been working extremely hard putting together the first ever ancestral health and wellness conference and seeing my amazing clients.  I must say, it is my clients and the conference that keeps me inspired and to stay strong and positive.   Knowing  I am helping change people’s lives is a wonderful and amazing feeling.

Back to the pigs- Waiting for David to arrive he asked me to start a fire and to fill up buckets of water.  I thought I would take some time in front of the fire to appreciate what I have

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Collecting buckets of water to heat up above 80 degrees which helps remove the hair of the pig

David heating the water and stearlising the bucket so we can use it for the collection of the blood

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During the wait, I was asking David so many questions, with a anxious look.

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David asked if we wanted to keep the blood, and I said yes.   I want to ensure I use the whole animal.  Nose to tail and no wastage.  This means we will be using all of the offal, ears, head and body.  The blood needed to be stirred quickly so that it didn’t clot and once it was ‘right’ we took it into the house, strained and placed it in the fridge

The removal of the pig was done with such care and respect.  Not once did she feel any pain or stress. Dressed weight she came in at 63.4kg.

We scraped off the hair after the carcass had been soaked in hot water for a good 5 minutes.  Soaking her in the hot water allows for easy removal of the very coarse hair that pigs grow on their skin

As you can see from the picture below, we took off quite a bit of hair.

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The carcass has now been wrapped up and it’s the last stage of the slaughtering process.  It has been wrapped in clean muslin cloth and hung for a certain number of days to allow the meat to tenderise.  We left it here over night and the next day it was taken and put into a large fridge.  We wrapped the pig in chicken wire, because as you know we have a friendly quoll problem.

 I am following my dream and I am involved in every step of the life of my food, where it comes from, how it is raised, killed and treated. Unfortunately we live in a society which has become removed from where our food actually comes from.  I posted these photos because I want to people have an understanding that it is important to know the origin of food, how it has been fed and raised.  I feel a sense of appreciation; to be self sufficient, to raise and kill my own animal in one of the most humane and respected ways.  We will be eating the pig at Andrew’s 50th birthday party amongst family and friends.  Not only will it be a celebration for Andrew, it will be a gratitude celebration for the pork that we will be eating.  

Before I end this post I want to finish off by reminding us of a few

Primal Principles.  

  • Prepare food well by following our ancestral and cultural traditions
  • Consider the source and processing of food
  • Consider the relationship between our health and wellbeing and the health and wellbeing of animals, plants, soil and our environment
  • Consider our evolution
  • Develop a respect for our food, understand what it takes to raise food and the hard work that goes into farming
  • Be mindful of wastage
  • Eat what we have evolved to eat, we are modern day hunter and gatherers and for survival we function best on animal meat and natural fat. From pastured raised animals, non farmed seafood, some well prepared nuts and seeds and small amounts of seasonal low fructose fruits

And remember eat what we can  GROW – RAISE – HUNT – GATHER

 

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Slow Cooked Beef Bourguignon

While researching the classic beef bourguignon recipe, I found one connoisseur who claimed ‘no self-respecting French chef would cook bourguignon in a slow cooker’. Well, throw away your French self respect, because this melt-in-your-mouth beef is worth it.

Using the tougher cuts of meat is cheaper and also is a respectful way to use the whole animal. But the real advantage over the premium cuts is the ability to cook it until beautifully tender at the same time as extracting the gelatin and collagen from the connective tissue, making this a hearty and healing meal.
Serves 4
 

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

1 tbs coconut oil or butter

2 Onions, sliced 1 Onion, finely diced 250 free-range bacon, finely diced 2 cloves garlic, crushed
600g Beef Shin (We used Kealty Farm’s Organic Beef), chopped into chunks
600 g carrots, halved
400 g mushrooms, chopped in quarters
1 Cup Organic red wine (available from Organicwines.com.au)
~1 C Stock (beef or vegetable)
1 tbs tomato paste
2 tsp fresh thyme
Salt and pepper to taste

WHAT TO DO

Heat the oil in a frying pan, then add the onion, bacon, mushrooms, and garlic. Cook over a low heat for 10 mins, until onion is translucent.
Meanwhile, pat dry the beef, and season with salt and pepper.
Remove the onion and bacon with a slotted spoon, leaving the fat in the pan.
Sear the beef quickly on all sides, and remove from pan.
 
Place all ingredients in a slow cooker. Only add enough stock to just cover. Cook on low for 8-24 hours. 8 hours will get you tender meat, but the longer you go, the more the meat will melt in your mouth.
Stain the solids, and add the carrots to the sauce. Blend, then add back to the solids.
Season to taste.

Slow Cooked Beef Bourguignon

Slow Cooked Beef Bourguignon

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Lacto – Fermented Sweet Potato – Primal Living

By Jo Smith

Sounds weird huh?  Fermented sweet potato, what is it and why ferment it?

Fermentation makes foods more nutritious, as well as delicious. Microscopic organisms – our ancestors and allies – transform food and extend its usefulness. Fermentation is found throughout human cultures. Hundreds of medical and scientific studies confirm what folklore has always known: Fermented foods help people stay healthy“. – Sandor Katz

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You may have noticed the buzz in the paleo sphere with fermented foods, it’s exciting to see, because we need to enjoy fermented foods daily in our diets to help support gut health.  Historically, fermented foods have played an important role in the diets of every society throughout the world.  Fermented foods are a great benefit for the digestive system and overall health of the body.  They help to normalize the stomach’s PH, are full of beneficial probiotics and enzymes, break down protein and aids in its assimilation as well as other vitamins and minerals in the fermented food.

The diets of every traditional society have included some kind of lacto-fermented food.  In Europe they have been primarily dairy, sauerkraut, grape leaves, herbs, and root vegetables. The Alaskan Inuit ferment fish and sea mammals. The Orient is known for pickled vegetables and kimchi in particular.

In American food tradition, Pickles and relishes are a part of the diets.  Be mindful of purchasing pickles and sauerkraut from the supermarket, since the advent of industralisation, most pickling is done with vinegar, which does not provide lactic acid and it is not the same product our ancestors new.  Since attending Sandor Katz wild fermentation one day course, I came away with new self confidence to go ahead and start wild fermenting.

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What is wild fermentation?

Wild fermentation is a way of incorporating the wild into your body, becoming one with the natural world. Wild foods, microbial cultures included, possess a great, unmediated life force, which can help us adapt to shifting conditions and lower our susceptibility to disease. These microorganisms are everywhere, and the techniques for fermenting with them are simple and flexible.

Wild fermentation involves creating conditions in which naturally occurring organisms thrive and proliferate. Fermentation can be low-tech. These are ancient rituals that humans have been performing for many generations. They are a powerful connection to the magic of the natural world, and to our ancestors, whose clever observations enable us to enjoy the benefits of these transformations.

By eating a variety of live fermented foods, you promote diversity among microbial cultures in your body. Biodiversity, increasingly recognized as critical to the survival of larger-scale ecosystems, is just as important at the micro level. Call it microbiodiversity. Your body is an ecosystem that can function most effectively when populated by diverse species of microorganisms. By fermenting foods and drinks with wild microorganisms present in your home environment, you become more interconnected with the life forces of the world around you. Your environment becomes you, as you invite the microbial populations you share the earth with to enter your diet and your intestinal ecology.

Wild fermentation is the opposite of homogenization and uniformity, a small antidote you can undertake in your home, using the extremely localized populations of microbial cultures present there, to produce your own unique fermented foods. What you ferment with the organisms around you is a manifestation of your specific environment, and it will always be a little different. Do-it-yourself fermentation departs from the realm of the uniform commodity. Rediscover and reinterpret the vast array of fermentation techniques used by our ancestors. Build your body’s cultural ecology as you engage and honor the life forces all around you.

Excerpted from Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods (Chelsea Green, 2003) by Sandor Ellix Katz aka Sandorkraut, the creator of this site.

When I attended the Sandor Katz course, we were given the privilege to try some delicious fermented foods and one that stood out for me, and one that I wanted to re-create as soon as I got home was the fermented sweet potato.  At the course it was served as a dip and myself and  other enthusiast thought it was peaches.  It had a delicious sweet taste to it, with a hint ouf sourness..  It was heaven.

So I walked away from the course and I started to ferment.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

2 large sweet potatoes
1 -2 cup Juice left over from a previous ferment (I used sauerkraut juice)
Himalayan sea salt
Steralized Preserving jars

WHAT TO DO

Pre-heat oven at 160 degrees
peel the sweet potatoes and give compost the skin or like me I gave it to my three pigs (no wastae household)
Chop the potatoes into small pieces and place on oven tray with a pinch of the sea salt
Slow cook until soft
Once cooled completly, mash well and add the sauerkraut juice

Now this is where you will need to play around with your own taste.  I added one cup of the juice and tasted, then I added another 1/2 a cup.  It’s very hard for me to sit here and type what it is you should be tasting, as we all have our own preffered taste, but I liked mine a little bit salty.

Place in your cupboard for two weeks, and once the potatoes are pleasantly fermented (taste them) you can move them to cold storage to help slow down the fermentation process.  If the fermenting environment has become warmer, you can move the potatoes to cold storage after 2 to 3 days, and leave them to ferment for another week or two.

Mine tasted deliciously sweet with a hint of sourness.  We eat it cold and use it as a side dish or a dip on some of my homemade crackers.

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Thats it.  I keep mine in the fridge and I have 1/4 of a cup every couple of days.  Rotating with my fermented beetroot or fermented vegetable kraut (See below). Now winter is well upon us I will be making my winter batches of sauerkraut.  Last year on the island I planted a large numbers of red and white cabbages.  Unfortunatly the majority of them were eaten up by slugs and cabbage moths.  I was left me with a very small batch of home made sauerkraut.  (Lucky for me, my neighbor is German and each year she makes a large quantity of  her family’s sauerkraut recipe, and I was very fortunate to be given some)

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Happy fermenting.  Jo

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