Get back to basics in the kitchen with author, regenerative farmer and entrepreneur Rebecca Sullivan. Known for her Granny Skills project, Rebecca has a “mission to safeguard granny’s skills by protecting heritage, culture, skills, knowledge and traditions of our elders – passing down what granny knows best”. In this next instalment of The Helpers Series, curated by activist and changemaker Maree Lowes, Rebecca shares her top fermenting foodie tips along with her favourite recipe.
Today’s Helper: Rebecca Sullivan
Author, regenerative farmer, entrepreneur and Yale World Fellow
A NOTE FROM MAREE:
Rebecca and I have been friends for a few years now – first bonding over compost and then over a range of stinky cheeses. I guess the through-line is that we’re both cool with funky stuff?! Bec is one of the fiercest women I know and her commitment to regenerative agriculture has taken her around the world; from the soil of Uganda to the streets of the UK, from the ranges of Adnyamathanha Country (where her equally inspirational partner, Damien Coulthard, is a Traditional Owner) to a Yale Fellowship in the USA. But it is Bec and Damien’s most recent creation which comes to mind for me first – their baby boy, Mallee. Mallee was born a few weeks ago, and I hope more than ever that people take this opportunity for regenerative action, both big and small, to help shape a new world for Mallee.
Kombucha, licorice, raspberry and mint gut jellies
An awesome thing we can always be doing is looking after our tummies. A few of my favourite things are all mixed together in these wobbly little jelly slices. Kombucha is known to be incredible for gut health and the liquorice and mint help with digestion too, so these are an all-round hug for your belly. Best eaten after a meal.
• 500g berries
• 1 litre of kombucha
• 1/2 cup filtered water, room temperature
• 1 tablespoon of raw honey
• 2 sprigs of mint, cut or ripped into small pieces
• 1/2 teaspoon licorice root, ground
• 2 tablespoons of Great Lakes gelatine
1. Line a rectangular or square slice pan with plastic wrap that hangs over the edges – this makes for easy removal once set. Blend the berries, kombucha, liquorice root and honey in a blender until smooth.
2. Pour the mixture through a fine sieve to remove any seeds. You can skip this step if you don’t mind the seeds (which I don’t). Place the mix in a small saucepan over low heat and simmer (don’t boil!).
3. Meanwhile, place the gelatin in a small bowl and cover with the water for 5 minutes. Add the soaked gelatin to the warm berry mixture and stir over low heat until the gelatine is completely dissolved. Skim off any foam that is sitting on the top should you wish (but it’s not necessary). Pour your mixture into a prepared pan.
4. Set in the refrigerator for at least a few hours or overnight. Once set, slice into small cubes or use a cutter to make shapes. Enjoy!
Rebecca’s top fermented foodie tips:
• Try to always eat sourdough bread, not just any bread. Sourdough is fermented, and higher quality sourdough is usually fermented for longer. Try to get one that has been fermented for at least 36 hours. Or better yet, make your own!
• Eat chocolate. We’re all feeling a little overwhelmed right now, so if you’re reaching for chocolate, go for a good quality dark chocolate (the higher percentage of cacao the better).
• Eat kraut, and lots of it. It’s very easy to integrate into your diet and simple to make. All you need is some cabbage and salt. Add some kraut on your fried eggs, in your rice, in salads as the acid component to your dressing, on your mashed potato and especially on your smashed avo on toast.
• Start slowly with drinking kombucha. It’s not a soft drink substitute, and if you’re drinking good quality kombucha, a little does a lot. Make friends with someone who can give you a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast (also called a SCOBY) to try making kombucha yourself, or buy it from a small producer.
• Miso, tamari, traditionally brewed soy sauce and many other pantry staples are often filled with fermented goodness!
The Helpers Series is a blog series inspired by a wise (and widely shared) snippet of childhood advice courtesy of Mister Rogers – “look for the helpers”. It was curated and created by activist and passionate changemaker Maree Lowes, who has rallied some of her favourite ‘helpers’ to offer up their best advice and tips for getting through these challenging times. #thehelpersseries
WORDS: MAREE LOWES / REBECCA SULLIVAN
ILLUSTRATIONS: EMILY EHLERS
PHOTO OF JELLIES: NASSIMA ROTHACKER