Fermented Food News - May 2016

Hi <<First Name>>,

Fermentation of fish in Scandinavia 9200 years ago
I love ancient history and finding out how our ancestors lived long ago. This month we learn that Scandinavian people were preserving fish nearly 10000 years ago. Interestingly, it was a more efficient practice than what was originally thought.

Archaeologists had thought maritime people were involved in a time and labour intensive process to preserve fish. There would have to be enough people in a community to catch, cut, smoke, dry and store fish. Further, the weather had to be suitable during this intensive period.

New evidence shows a smaller number of ancient people could process fish and store it by fermenting it. The fermented fish could be used at other times of the year when temperature, weather and food availability was poor. The people would place the fish they caught in a large, clay lined gutter pit that was sealed to allow fermentation and then use the fermented fish as food in the lean times.  

Another point of interest: salt was not known as an essential ingredient when food was fermented in colder climates.  The ancient Scandinavians instead used the fat or blubber from seals to create an anaerobic environment.  

Isn’t it fascinating that fermenters across the centuries find the process of collecting food ingredients, chopping and mixing them together a time-efficient and nutrient-enhancing process?  I think so!

For more information:

Beer Pie with Sourdough lid

For some time I’ve been experimenting to make a sourdough pastry for use in pies, both savoury and sweet.  What I’ve produced has been a tasty pastry that melts in the mouth, but it falls apart like a crumble!  It is definitely not pastry!  

So I decided to try a light, more muffin like sourdough as a lid to a pie. On my first attempt, what can I say? The boys ate it all, and gave me feedback that I should make this more often!

Ingredients for beer filling:
     ¼ cup plain flour
     800g beef steak, trimmed and cut into 3 cm pieces
     2 tablespoons olive oil or coconut oil
     2 onions chopped
     2 carrots chopped
     2 tablespoons tomato paste or passata
     1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
     1½ cups beef stock
     345 ml beer

Ingredients for sourdough lid:
     ½ cup sourdough starter
     1½ cups plain flour
     ¼ cup olive oil
     2 eggs, 1 teaspoon salt
     1 teaspoon baking soda

Preparation of sourdough: Up to 24 hours before the Beer Pie is to be served, combine the starter and flour. Add a little water to make a stiff dough. Place in a glass container and seal. Wrap in a tea towel and leave on the kitchen bench for between 12 and 24 hours.  It can be used when the dough is bubbly.

Preparation of Beer Pie: Place flour in a bag. Add beef pieces and toss to coat. Heat half the oil in a large pan and cook the beef in batches for 4 to 5 mins or until browned.  Transfer to a dish while the remaining oil is heated. Cook carrot and onion, stirring for 5 minutes or until the onion has softened. Return the beef to the pan. Add the tomato paste. Stir. Add the Worcestershire sauce, stock and beer. Bring to the boil and turn down heat to a gentle simmer. Simmer with lid on for 1 to 1 ½ hours or until beef is tender. Transfer to a large pie dish.

Preparation of Sourdough lid: To the bubbly dough add the eggs, olive oil, salt and baking soda. Gently stir to combine.  Pour over the beef mixture. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees C  for 20 minutes or until the sourdough lid has risen and is browned.  Remove from oven and serve with vegetables.

This hearty dish is an instant winner!  And .. the Beer Pie can be frozen.

If there is too much sourdough lid, pour the excess into a loaf pan or muffin pans to bake.  As this is a more muffin based sourdough, the end result is a light sourdough bread that can be eaten with a suitable main meal.

This month's readings
Find out how eating fermented foods eases social anxiety and neuroticism.  

A recipe for an open toasted cheese sandwich with sauerkraut added after toasting so the microorganisms are still alive and beneficial!    

A good read on the benefits of sauerkraut but the recipe is unclear on the ratio of salt to the number of cabbages used.


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Schedule your own workshop.
Remember - you can arrange a group of 3 to 6 attendees and suggest a suitable date for any workshop. I’ve also appended the workshop dates for the next few months.

Remember you can view previous Newsletters on our website at:

I look forward to hearing from you.
Regards, Ros

Roslyn Bono | t 3343 1354
Well-being for Life
Current 2016 Workshop Schedule

If you have a PayPal account, you can now pay for your workshop directly, by sending the course fee to Confirm your enrolment with PayPal. Remember to send me a message, stating which course you want to attend.

use your Surname as the payment reference; if paying by credit card, please add $2/person service fee.)

Workshop 1.0 - Fermenting dairy, fruit, vegetables, tea 

$65 includes morning tea and workbook, from 9:30am – 1.00pm   
Saturday –  21 May, 18 June, 16 July 

Workshop 2.0 - Fermenting grains, legumes and beans 
$80 includes brunch and workbook, from 9:30am – 1.00pm   
Saturday – 28 May (sorry! no places available)

Workshop 3.0 - Fermented jam, sauce, relish, mash & ice cream 
$65 includes morning tea and workbook, from 9:30am – 12.30pm  
Saturday – 25 June
Workshop 4.0 - Fermented nuts, fruit drinks, low tech yoghurt & cheese
$75 includes morning tea and workbook, from 9.30am – 1.00pm   
Saturday –  14 May (2 places available)

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