For our Good Friday treat I made hot cross buns
Ever heard of natto? A traditional Japanese food made from soya beans (soybeans) fermented with Bacillus subtilis. I’ve been reading more and more over the last couple of years about the health benefits of natto and in particular the vitamin K2 it contains and I’ve been yearning to include it as part of our diet. That said soya beans are not legal on the GAPS diet and I’ve steered well clear of them since reading about the dangers of soya on websites such as The Weston A Price Foundation and Mercola.com. Fermented soya however I’m assured can be healthy and I find it increasingly fascinating.
However, natto proved incredibly elusive in the UK and I had put all hope of locating it here on a back burner until just before Christmas. My excitement returned when I was able to discuss natto with the mother of a child that attends our local Steiner Waldorf Kindergarten with my son. She is Japanese and has a real passion for natto. I was delighted and extremely grateful when shortly after our conversation she handed me 3 small polystyrene containers each containing a portion of natto which she had purchased for me at a local Japanese Food Shop. I couldn’t believe I was finally going to be able to sample this amazing food.
I determined to push all negative thoughts of soya from my mind and take full advantage of this opportunity, if I could physically stomach it! I’d read that natto was an acquired taste because of its powerful smell, strong flavour, and slippery texture which are usually not acceptable to westerners but from the first mouthful I absolutely loved it! It has a wonderful savoury nuttiness and I found the texture interesting rather than unpleasant.
I was further delighted when both my DH and my 5 year old son liked it! Our supply was quickly exhausted and we sought out the Japanese Food Shop recommended by my new Japanese friend. We bought another 3 containers. The horrible polystyrene containers were used by all the brands the shop stocked so there seemed no way to avoid them …. at least with shop bought natto. I went home and searched the internet for more information …. next stop homemade natto!
From my research I was able to establish that natto was best made at home using starter culture but that this starter wasn’t available in the UK or as far as I could tell in Europe! From further research however I discovered that you could make homemade natto using a readymade shop bought packet of natto in a similar way to using a shop bought live yogurt to culture more yogurt.
Then by chance I read something that suggested that natto could be made with beans other than soya!!!! Wouldn’t it be fantastic, I thought, if I could make natto at home using the readymade shop bought natto and a GAPS legal bean instead of soya beans. I searched for any more information but apart from one short mention on a forum from a lady who had apparently successfully made natto with haricot (navy) beans I found nothing. This was enough encouragement for me to give it a go and with some pride I can now say that it does work! Above is the photographic evidence of my recently cultured homemade haricot bean natto. I have no way of knowing if it contains the same levels of vitamin K2 but it smells, tastes and looks like the shop bought natto, if anything it has more strings (which are apparently the healthiest bit). My first attempt is a little dry and crusty across the top so I need to work on the humidity next time but at least now I know this is possible and I’m spurred on in my quest.
More details to follow ….
For food we had:
- vegetable crisps
- vanilla & raisin muffins
- chocolate & raisin muffins
- boiled quail eggs
- boiled duck eggs
- chicken drumsticks
- duck sausages on sticks
- tiny tomatoes & cucumber cubes
- dates, raisins & sliced apples
- rainbow fruit sticks (with red grapes, blueberries, green grapes, pineapple, cantaloupe melon, raspberries and strawberries)
- pure fruit roll-ups (made with apples, blueberries, strawberries and banana)
- cheese (only thing Dan couldn’t eat!) & pineapple on sticks
- date & chocolate loaf cake
For more information on the birthday cake see https://thinkingoutsidebox.wordpress.com/2011/11/05/five-year-old-boys-gaps-steiner-waldorf-birthday-cake/
For more information on our GAPS friendly, Steiner Waldorf inspired Party Bags see http://dayswithdaniel.wordpress.com/2011/11/05/homemade-steiner-waldorf-party-bags/
If you’d like to read more about Daniel’s special day please see http://dayswithdaniel.wordpress.com/2011/11/04/five-times-around-the-sun/
Filed under: Birthday, Celebrations, desserts, GAPS, GAPS diet, Steiner, treats, Waldorf | Tagged: dairy-free, Dairy-free birthday cake, Dairy-free birthday party, Environmentally Friendly Party Bags, GAPS, GAPS birthday cake, GAPS birthday party, GAPS diet, GAPS friendly, GAPS Party Bags, GAPS treats, gluten-free, gluten-free birthday party, Green Party Bags, Natural Party Bags, SCD, Steiner Waldorf Party Bags | Leave a comment »
This year I made a Steiner Waldorf inspired Toadstool Birthday Cake for Daniel.
I kept it very simple using two different sized pyrex bowls to bake the chocolate coconut flour sponge cake: coconut flour, duck eggs, honey, sodium bicarbonate (advanced GAPS only), salt, vanilla extract, cocoa powder (advanced GAPS only) .
I sliced a little off the top (which was to become the underside) of each cake after baking just to tidy them up and then joined them together using 4 cocktail sticks. The larger bowl produced the perfect top for the smaller bowl stem.
I used creamed coconut, honey and vanilla extract for the frosting applying it with my fingers rather than using a knife or a spoon. The warmth from my hands seemed to make is more manageable and I was able to produce a pretty smooth effect, I coloured the top of the the toadstool with a natural red food dye but I also used beetroot powder in my practice runs and it worked nearly as well.
For the windows and door I found images on the internet and printed them before sticking them to greaseproof paper and attaching them to the cake using small blobs of the frosting mixture warmed in my hands.
For Daniel’s Steiner Waldorf Birthday Ring from Myriad we bought a Seahorse peg (his Kindergarten symbol). For 3 of the other holes I ordered pegs (also from Myriad) and printed these Finger Puppets from www.thetoymaker.com
For the final 2 holes I simply placed the finger puppets into the holes! This saved heaps of money as each peg character costs £3.50!
The cake was simple but effective and Daniel was delighted with it.
As a final touch I lit an indoor sparkler on the top which delighted the children. You can read more about Daniel’s birthday on my other blog at http://dayswithdaniel.wordpress.com/2011/11/04/five-times-around-the-sun/
Filed under: Birthday, Celebrations, coconut flour, desserts, GAPS, GAPS diet, treats | Tagged: coconut flour, coconut flour baking, dairy-free, Dairy-free birthday cake, GAPS birthday cake, GAPS birthday party, GAPS diet, GAPS treats, gluten-free, gluten-free birthday cake, SCD, Specific Carbohydrate Diet, Steiner, Waldorf | 3 Comments »
Today we moved another step forward on our dairy journey by making our own butter from the raw cream we buy from Beaconhill Farm. I couldn’t believe how simple it was! The cream arrives so thick it is virtually butter already and it took less than a minute in the food processor to become butter.
Dan couldn’t wait to try some and begged for more after enjoying about a quarter teaspoonful on a cracker. Now we watch his skin and wait.