Summer Abundance

Summer Abundance

by Maia Bedson

Summer 2017, Living Well Magazine

Summertime… and the livin’ is easy (as the wonderful Ella Fitzgerald sang).

With all the vibrant, abundant produce from the garden, it got me thinking up clever ideas for utilising seasonal ingredients in ways that are easy, delicious and nutritious. After all, with so much to enjoy outside in this warmer weather, who wants to spend lots of time indoors cooking or preparing meals?

The first and second recipes are for a Fermented Tomato Sauce and Fermented Chilli Sauce. Summer is the time of abundance for tomatoes, and to keep up with the quantities mother nature is producing many home gardeners end up giving away so much of their crop. While sharing in this way is lovely, you can also extend the enjoyment of your own homegrown harvest by fermenting the tomatoes into delicious sauces. This is actually a traditional method, which was used long before cooking tomatoes into sauces and preserves became popular in southern Europe.

Did you know research studies have indicated that capsaicin, the active ingredient in chillies (which gives them their heat), is useful for pain relief, heart health and causing apoptosis (cell-death) in prostate cancer?

The third recipe is a Blended Salad, and while this might be a new concept to you, they have really taken the raw food world by storm, and with good reason – they are so simple and nourishing, and offer an instant health boost to your day. Like the saying says: “If you’re green inside, you’re clean inside!”

The version I have created to share with you can be adapted to suit your own taste, so please do experiment with other ingredients that you have on hand, although I have found it works best to start with a tomato base.

Here is a little heat-scale I put together, for choosing the right type of chilli for your taste:

Jalapeno – warm

Cayenne – hot

Birds Eye & Serrano – very hot

Habanero – eye-watering hot

Dragon’s Breath – don’t even think about it!

Fermented Tomato & Chilli Sauces

Ingredients

For Tomato Sauce

  • 1 kg Tomatoes, some seeds removed
  • 1 tbsp. Salt
  • Spices to flavour – garlic, smoky paprika, allspice, dried herbs, cumin, coriander seeds and anything else you like

For Chilli Sauce

  • 1 kg Tomatoes, some seeds removed
  • 2 Red Chillies (any variety you like), seeds removed and finely chopped – take care to avoid any contact with your eyes after handling chillies.
  • 1 tbsp. Salt
  • Garlic and/or other spices if desired

Method

Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.

Pour into clean bottles or jars, leaving a few centimeters clear at the top and place on a tray to contain any seepage during the fermentation process.

The liquid in this ferment will tend to separate, so shake the jar or bottle once each day to recombine during the fermentation process.

Ferment for 1-2 weeks until sauce reaches its desired level of fermentation for your taste.

Take care when first opening the bottle or jar as the build-up of beneficial bacteria can cause the sauce to spray out.

Once the desired level of fermentation is reached, transfer jars into a refrigerator. Shake contents before use.

These sauces can be used in a variety of ways, however, in order to preserve the beneficial bacteria from the fermenting process, you will need to avoid cooking the sauce. They also have a strong flavour so a little goes a long way.

Why not try them: 

  • stirred through noodles or spiralised zucchini
  • as a condiment for burgers, tofu cutlets or rice paper rolls
  • added to a salad, or mixed into a salad dressing
  • served on toast with olives

Blended Salad

Ingredients

  • Tomatoes, 2 medium
  • Cucumber, 1 medium
  • Zucchini, 1 medium
  • Spring Onions, 2
  • Salad Greens, at least 5 handfuls
  • Avocado, 1 small or ½ large
  • Apple Cider Vinegar (or lemon juice), 1 teaspoon
  • Mustard Seeds (or turmeric), ½ teaspoon freshly grated or powdered
  • A few small pieces of Nori,
    or 1 tsp Dulse Flakes
  • 1/3 cup almonds (preferably soaked overnight), drained, rinsed and chopped
  • Chilli flakes optional
  • Fresh parsley or dill, for garnish

Method

Using your kitchen blender, blend the tomatoes and cucumber (you may need to stop a few times and push the ingredients down to the blade with a spatula).

Add the zucchini, spring onions and apple cider vinegar
(or lemon juice), then continue blending until a thick soup consistency is reached, stopping occasionally to push the ingredients down to the blade.

Add the mustard seeds (or turmeric), nori pieces (or dulse flakes), and salad greens – I used spinach, cos lettuce, kale, and parsley but any combination (excluding bitter greens such as rocket, mustard greens, and endive) will work well. Continue blending.

Add the avocado and blend to a creamy consistency.

Pour into two bowls and garnish with chopped almonds, a sprinkling of chilli flakes (if desired), and some chopped dill or parsley to finish.

This blended salad can be served on its own or with some toasted or fresh flatbread, sourdough bread, or even some healthy crackers.  It also works well in a glass jar with lid,
for a nutritious takeaway lunch.

Maia Bedson
Therapist, Facilitator, The Gawler Cancer Foundation & Yarra Valley Living Centre
DipHol Couns, Grad DipCounsHS, Grad DipClinNut

Maia is a counsellor, meditation instructor, a practitioner of various forms of natural therapies who has worked in the area of energetic healing for over 20 years, and has worked at The Gawler Cancer Foundation since 2000. She has a Graduate Diploma in Clinical Nutrition as well as formal qualifications in plant-based nutrition, counselling and psychotherapy. Maia uses her various skills and the experience gained from her own healing to inspire and support others on their path to wholeness and has a particular interest in helping people to access their own inner wisdom.