Liquid Food (Drinks)

Elderflower syrup

Elderflower syrup

There are three items that many Slovaks forage for, even if they aren’t the ‘in harmony with nature’ type of person: ramsons/bear garlic, mushrooms, and elderflowers.

Elderberry bushes with their characteristic large head of small white blossoms are a common sight throughout the western part of Slovakia in the spring, their strong scent filling the air. It’s common to see someone walking by with a basket, or even a huge bag.

What do Slovaks make with elderflowers? Elderflower syrup. I made this recipe with 2 litres of water, but most people make huge batches of 10 or more litres.

If you find the idea of fermenting elderflower wine or cordial intimidating, then this simple syrup is the recipe to try. Instead of juice concentrates, in Europe people buy syrups to make ‘juice’.  Click to continue reading

Bone broth: health benefits?

Does bone broth actually have any health benefits?

 

A Bowl of Comfort: Slovak Soups & Stews Book

I’m sharing another part of  chapter from my book, A Bowl of Comfort: Slovak Soups & Stews. This chapter is where I get geeky.

In the book is info on the difference between broth, stock, and bone broth, and between white and brown stocks (for now we’re just calling it bone broth). Included are instructions for making bone broth with a pressure cooker, slow cooker, or stock pot with poultry, fish, or ungulate (animals with hooves) bones. And, I have six ideas of where to find bones, if you don’t know where to get them.

 

 
Bone broth is a bit of a buzzword. Trendy cafés serve flavoured bone broth to go and it is celebrated as a magic heal-all. Others scoff at broth as a fad of plaid-wearing hipsters or dismiss that any health benefits can result from drinking it.

Is the bone broth worth the fuss, not to mention the extra time and energy that goes into making it (or buying it)?  Click to continue reading

Spruce Tea

Spruce Tea - Almost Bananas

This time of year the ends of conifer trees have bright green buds of new growth. Spruce tips, in particular, are easy to use. Last year I made spruce tip ice cream, as well as a syrup with honey, spruce salt, and just dried spruce. I was surprised how sweet the dried spruce smelled; I used it to flavour meat.

The smell of spruce has the ability, at any moment, of instantly transporting me back to the mountains of my childhood.

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Apricot Juice Syrup

Any fruit can be used to make this juice concentrate. Keep in the fridge and pull out to make an instant glass of cold apricot nectar  to drink on hot summer days.

Apricot Juice Syrup

It’s apricot season right now, trees are laden with orange spheres of tart flesh.  It’s rather decorative, orange set against green. When tree fruits are in season, however, they come in a deluge but are soon over, gone for another year.

When we had the first basket of apricots, my husband buried his face in them and inhaled. “Ah,” he sighed, “the smell of summer.” When he was a child, his family would pick boxes of apricots and take them to sell in a spa town.  Click to continue reading

Cherry Mint Spritzer

 

Cherry Mint Spritzer

When I came to Europe, one difference that took me by surprise was the water. Europeans buy water more than I remember in North America, and there are so many options to choose from. Most people buy sparkling water, which I still haven’t really gotten used to. There are three types of water: no fizz, lightly fizzy, and regularly fizzy. Click to continue reading

Flavoured Water: Elderflower Lemon and Linden Blossom Cucumber

Flavoured Water: Elderflower and Linden Blossom

The problem with foraging wild flowers is that they are rather finicky.

If it rains, it washes away the pollen and reduces the taste of the flowers. This year it started to rain heavily just when the lilacs came into bloom. Last year I made an amazing lilac ice cream; this year it had no taste.

Some flowers all bloom in one shot, so that they are available only for a short time. Behind my inlaws’ village is an avenue lined with black locust trees; when in bloom the fragrance in the air is intoxicating. The trees look like they are covered in snow and white blossoms drift to the ground like large perfumed snowflakes. But if you’re a little late, too bad. I missed the peak of the black locusts and, while I managed to gather a handful of late blossoms, the recipe didn’t turn out the first time. Click to continue reading

Ghee Rooibos Chai Tea

Ghee Rooibos Chai Tea

I’ve seen recipes and references to bulletproof coffee, basically coffee blended with butter, but mostly ignored it because I don’t drink coffee. Then a friend recommended Hot Buttered Cinnamon Tea.

I almost facepalmed. If in coffee, why not in tea?

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Mud Shake (sunflower, walnut, navy bean)

mud shake

We’ve recently gone dairy-free, again. I keep trying dairy in the hopes that it will magically be alright, but most of us have various indications that we’re better off without. I have nothing against (pastured raw/cultured) dairy, in fact, it’s my favourite food group. I’d rather give up gluten than dairy. It’s such an easy real food, ready to eat yogurt or cheese for a quick snack. Click to continue reading

Simple Pumpkin Gingerbread Smoothie

1-Pumpkin Gingerbread Smoothie

Sometimes I come up with an idea that I think is genius, like putting molasses in a smoothie. Then I google pumpkin gingerbread smoothie, to see if anybody is as brilliant as I am. A lot of people are, it turns out. Even if I’m not so special after all, my recipe is not quite the same as any I found. This is simpler: fewer ingredients mean less work, in my opinion.

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