A SPICED BONE BROTH
It’s no secret that the foods we eat play a huge role in not only our gut health but also our ability to be at our best and build health from the inside out. We have started to recognise and embrace the wonderful healing and health properties of a simple bone broth, whether it’s to start off the morning with a warm drink or to prepare the gut for a nourishing dinner. Although only recently becoming more well known, the Chinese culture has embraced the broth principle for many years, intuitively simmering big pots of bones, vegetables and herbs for hours or even days to create the perfect health elixir. Growing up in a Chinese family, a slow cooked bone broth was a daily staple and an important started for an evening meal. The mothers or the grandmothers would wake early to prepare the bones and vegetables into a vast pot, fill it with water with a variety of other ingredients depending on the season before gentling simmering the pot throughout the day. By the time we returned from school particularly after a rainy day, a little bowl of broth would be waiting for us. Intuitively our bodies knew this was good for us.
Bone broths consist of a variety of bones, that can range from chicken, to pork, lamb, beef or whatever you can lay your hands on, together with a combination of vegetables. This is slowly simmered in water with the addition of some apple cider vinegar. The added vinegar is what enables the nutrients from the bones to slowly leach out into the liquid, forming a nutrient dense stock-like broth. A slow gentle simmer over 24-48 hours or perhaps even left in a slow cooker is what allows this process to be the most rewarding. One must not rush a bone broth! A good test for a great bone broth is to wait until it is cooled. A broth simmered correctly should form a jelly-like consistency at colder temperatures from the nutrient-rich gelatin.
Once you have mastered a simple broth recipe, try experimenting with the addition of some digestion-friendly spices.
A simple recipe that is a constant staple in our household includes:
1.5kg free range/organic chicken bones
1.5kg organic pork bones
2 onions, roughly chopped
A thumb sized knob of ginger
2 cloves of garlic, roughly sliced
3 carrots, roughly chopped
3 sticks of celery, roughly chopped
4 or so litres of filtered water
A small handful of peppercorns
A small handful of pink himalayan salt
1/4 cup of organic apple cider vinegar
A knob of fresh turmeric, roughly sliced or grated
4 star anise
1 cinnamon quill, crumbled in half
Place the bones on a baking tray along with the chopped onion and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and add spices of choice. Place in a 180 degree C oven until brown.
Once brown, place the bones in a large pot along with the rest of the ingredients.
Deglaze the oven tray by scraping the left-over sediment, juices and fat with the help of some water and add the remaining goodness to the stock pot.
Slowly bring to a gentle boil. You will notice a light film of ‘scum’ form at the top of the pot.
Remove the top scum layer with a spoon before covering with a lid. Continue checking for the next half hour to ensure all developing scum is removed.
Simmer for 24-48 hours on a low heat, or leave overnight in a slow cooker.
Once the broth has finished simmering, remove all the bones and strain the liquid through a sieve.
Allow the broth to cool to room temperature before ladling into portion sizes for use or storage. You will notice a fat cap form on top of the broth – leave this as it will help seal the broth for storage. Refrigerate or freeze until needed.
A cup of warm broth a few times a week is a wonderful way to reward the body with a nutrient and flavour dense hit. The perfect winter warmer for a rainy day.
– Dr Kyna Hamilton
A RAW BLUEBERRY CHEESECAKE WITH LEMON CASHEW CREAM
Some of the most stunning and mouthwatering desserts start off simply as some fresh seasonal fruit, so plump and sweet that there is no need to add any refined sugar to please the palate. This blueberry cheesecake needs no baking or complicated ingredients and is a perfect way to spend a quiet afternoon in the kitchen. Unintentionally, the ‘cake’ is gluten, dairy and refined sugar free. Desserts can be made from real food and can taste divine – no make up required! Instead of reaching for that chocolate bar or the secret stash or ice cream, open up the pantry and get creative. Often raw treats can be whipped together with a handful of store cupboard staples with the help of some ripe seasonal or even frozen organic fruit.
1 ½ cups macadamia nuts
½ cup pitted dates
¼ cup organic shredded coconut or dried, unsweetened coconut
Pinch of sea salt
Cashew Cream Filling
2 cups cashews (soaked for half an hour, drained and rinsed)
Juice of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 unwaxed, organic lemon
½ cup of honey or agave syrup
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 ½ cups fresh blueberries
½ cup of pitted dates
1/3rd cup melted coconut oil
1 cup cashews (soaked, drained and rinsed)
Line a round cheesecake dish with parchment paper and set aside
Starting with the base layer, place all base ingredients into a food processor or blender and pulse. The final texture should resemble a sticky crumb that can easily be formed together. Some coconut oil can be added between pulses to achieve this texture.
Spread the mixture into the base of the tin and press to form a crust base.
Place the tin into the freezer whilst you prepare the next layer.
Soak the cashews for half an hour, drain and rinse before tumbling them into the food processer with the remaining ingredients. Blend until a thick, creamy consistency can be felt. Add extra lemon or honey to taste.
Spread this layer on top of the macadamia base and return to the freezer.
Combine all ingredients for the blueberry topping in the food processor and pulse. Some water may be added to achieve the desired consistency. Once combined, add the final layer of the cheesecake. Smooth the top with the back of a spoon or a palate knife and return to the freezer one final time.
Before serving, remove from the freezer to thaw for about 20 minutes so that a knife can easily slice through (don’t forget to wipe the knife between slices so the purple of the blueberry doesn’t bleed through the cashew cream filling!). Garnish with fresh blueberries and toasted coconut chips.
Play around with the balance of ingredients and different types of fruits depending on the season and availability. The possibilities are endless!
– DrKyna Hamilton