Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Homemade Fizzy Grape Kombucha


HomeMade Grape-flavoured fizzy Kombucha
































This Kombucha experiment was anxiety-ridden and exciting and most importantly economical! Do you struggle with paying almost $5 for those bottles of effervescent flavoured kombuchas too?
I failed somewhat in trying to grow my own SCOBY from a bottle of store-bought GT Unflavoured Raw Kombucha.  I don't think I had the right ph balance and I never got anything beyond a translucent scoby that was a few millimetres thin.  When I found out that a local shop was selling scobies I practically went there the next day.  Interestingly, there was a kombucha workshop running that day but I didn't stay for it.  I knew what I wanted and after purchasing some other supplies (at a pretty reasonable price!) I went home to try and make my own kombucha.



Get yourself a healthy SCOBY (or mother) from someone who makes kombucha.  I purchased mine from the Homesteaders Emporium, which is located on East Hastings.  It comes in a mason jar and is very robust & healthy.  The scoby was $10CDN

I bought a scoby, a plastic mesh strainer and 6 bottles for the 2nd fermentation stage.  I knew that I would not be drinking kombucha after the 1st stage only because I love fizz.  The fizzier the better in fact.  The Homesteaders Emporium, though on the seedier side of Vancouver, is a treasure trove of very nifty things at a reasonable price.  I wanted to buy a whole bunch of stuff but promised myself to come back another time...the make-your-own-sake was intriguing. They sell chicken coops, bee-keeping supplies, candle and soap-making equipment, fermented foods ingredients and supplies and so much more. I was in do-it-yourself heaven.

a healthy scoby, with approximately 1 cup of kombucha starter comes in the mason jar that I purchased from Homesteaders Emporium.
I immediately made my 1st batch of kombucha with the oolong tea using the following recipe.  I scaled it down to fit my glass container.  Besides, I only had 6 small-ish glass bottles for the 2nd fermentation process so didn't want to go crazy making too much.  I wanted to see if it would work and taste good.

KOMBUCHA RECIPE from Cultures of Health
Just follow the link and you'll find a video and instructions on how to make your first batch of kombucha.  This will result in a flat drink.  If you want fizzy, you'll have to go through a 2nd fermentation. In my opinion there is no point in making kombucha unless you're going to make it fizzy!

Ingredient Ratios for Making Different Amounts of Kombucha
 Container Size
Tea
Sugar
Water
Starter Tea or Vinegar 
One quart
1½ teaspoon loose tea or 2 tea bags
¼ cup
2-3 cups
½ cup
½ Gallon
1 tablespoon loose tea or 4 tea bags
½ cup
6-7 cups
1 cup
Gallon
2 tablespoons loose tea or 8 tea bags
1 cup
13-14 cups
2 cups

For my purposes, I used 7 cups of hot water to 1/2 cup sugar. I used Chinese oolong loose leaf tea. After cooling, I added the mason jar's contents. I poured in the starter tea which amounted to about a cup. Then I carefully slid the scoby to float on the top of the kombucha.  I covered with a paper towel and then an elastic to hold it in place. I aged my kombucha for 2 weeks before I did the 2nd step. I will be honest and admit that I never did taste it before I actually started the 2nd fermentation process.  I just had faith it would turn out okay. And it did.   What's great is that I do my kombucha making on weekends when I have time off work. This works with my schedule.


Day 2, 2nd fermentation with grape juice & kombucha. See that little scoby? it looked like a mini jelly fish growing and it creeped me out a bit but then I realized that this was a good sign that the fizziness was going to happen!
So I decided to play it safe and on the first round of making fizzy kombucha, I went with a commercial grape juice.  It was Welch's grape juice and I knew that my kids would drink the rest of the bottle because frankly, I'm not a big bottled juice drinker.  Because I have a Kuvings whole slow juicer I can make my own cold-pressed juices so down the road I envision experimenting with all sorts of different juices.  

2ND FERMENTATION PROCESS:
1.  Sterilize your swing-lid glass bottles. Mine were .25L (1 cup) which is way smaller than I wanted, but it's all I could find at the time at the emporium.  I have saved 1 litre swing-top bottles from french lemonade I bought as well as old prosecco and sparkling cider bottles too.

2.  Use a silicone funnel and pour in your juice or add fruit pieces to the empty sterilized bottles.

I will add here that I made a fortuitous mistake during the 2nd fermentation process.  I poured 4 ounces (that's 1/2 cup) of grape juice in the bottoms of each of the .25L fermentation bottles (that's 1 cup for you Imperial Measure Americans).  Next time, I think I'll just add 2 oz. Anyway, 4 oz is way more juice to kombucha ratio than I've seen mentioned everywhere else on all sorts of other sites. Besides this, for my 1 cup bottles, it worked out perfectly.  I just had enough kombucha to top up the bottles and then saved some as starter to make my next batch. I didn't realize my mistake until everything was already capped. So I kind of just went with it.  I tasted the kombucha on the 2nd day of fermentation and it tasted more grape juice-ish than kombucha-ish.  I thought logically that I would need to ferment longer since I have more sugars in the fruit juice for my little yeastie organisms to chow down on.  Theoretically, I was hoping for more fizz as a result of giving those little beasts more sugar to feed on.  So I waited a good 2 weeks before putting those bottles in the refrigerator. I was terribly afraid of exploding bottles and so I checked on one bottle several times during the 2nd fermentation process and just kept the other bottles sealed and in a box covered with a kitchen towel at room temperature hoping with fingers crossed that everything would be okay.  And it was.

3.  When your kombucha is ready, refrigerate the fizzy fruit-flavoured kombucha in your fermentation bottles until ready to drink.  This slows down the fermentation process.  I didn't pop a bottle until after about 1 week post-refrigeration step.  When I popped that lid, I heard the fantastic pressurized pop that indicated effervescence! It no longer tasted like grape juice but was very similar to the grape-flavoured GT kombucha that I buy sometimes.  

4.  Place a fine-mesh sieve over your glass and pour your kombucha through it to strain out the ooglie bits...and enjoy. 

On a hot day like today after work, it sure hit the spot to drink a refreshing fizzy homemade kombucha. And in the long-run, I'll be thinking of a continuous brew system so stay tuned!




Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Ayoub's Dried Fruit and Mixed Nuts

love the chandelier in Ayoub's
If you love nuts and dried fruit, you'll have to check this place out.  Ayoub's first of all is beautiful. It's like walking into another world.  The white shelves, silver urns filled with fragrant spiced nuts and the huge candelier hanging in the centre of the room make for an impressive first impression.

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Crackle Crème, Vancouver

Duelling my 7 year old for the crackle!

Basho Cafe & Sweets, Vancouver

Matcha Latte Afternoon Tea special ($5)
Upon entering Basho Cafe on East Hastings (my old teenage stomping grounds!) you are immediately taken aback by the fine details evident in the decor and the food.  By gosh, even the door handle at the front has a knitted warmer wrapped around it!

Friday, 15 August 2014

Earnest Ice Cream, Vancouver


London Fog
Do you ever argue with family members about where to eat for dinner? well, this is us practically every weekend.  I figured out a compromise.   One person chooses the resto for dinner and another can choose a different place for dessert.  Win Win!

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Blueberry Milkshake

Blueberry Milkshake
My friend gifted me a HUGE ice-cream pail full of perfectly sweet local blueberries from a UPick farm in Richmond.  The blueberry season is here NOW! and I don't know about you, but I have blueberries starting to turn mushy and I'm heading to the freezer now with trays of them to save them for smoothies and baking.  

Aside from a healthy smoothy, a more decadent way to enjoy a nice heap o' blueberries is in a milkshake.  Here's my quick recipe:

Blueberry Milkshake
2 scoops vanilla ice cream (can be made dairy free with almond or coconut ice cream)
1 cup milk (can be made dairy free with almond or coconut milk)
1 cup blueberries

Combine all the ingredients in a blender and whizz until combined and no longer lumpy.

Parthenon Greek Supermarket, Vancouver & a GF rant

Spanakopita (Spinach Pie)
Spanakopita (Spinach pie) 
The best part of living in Vancouver is my proximity to good authentic eats if I'm craving it.  I live within 10 minutes of excellent foods from India, Greece, China, Japan, the Middle East, Italy, France and practically every other major country you can think of.  I'm so lucky. Today, the crave of the day was Greek.  The Parthenon is a Greek supermarket that's been around for ages.  It's always been there on W. Broadway as long as I can remember and I was born and raised in Vancouver.  Let me google it for you and see if I can find out.  Oh! Over 45 years!  that's pretty close to my age (which I shall stay mum about).

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Matcha Chiffon Cake (gf)

Matcha Chiffon (GF)
I'm looking forward to seeing a few of my high school classmates today.  It's kind of neat to be able to see them so many years later and catch up.  I see some of my high school friends only once a year.  We make a bit of time to have coffee or tea and chat for hours about life events and all sorts of things.

Gluten Free Flour Blend


The following GF flour blend recipe is the one I have tripled and kept in an airtight container to be used in place of regular flour.  It has been truly amazing and I imagine you can adapt it, as I have seen numerous permutations on the net.  For cakes, you will find that using the Thai Rice Flour brands that I have pictured below are important for fine texture.  You will find the 3 Elephants Brand rice flours in Asian markets.  They are really cheap.  You can buy a whole bunch at once and  blend up your mix.  For the other starches, I believe brands are not as important. 

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

ONE BLUEBERRY MUFFIN! NOW! (Small Batch Baking)

One Blueberry Muffin.  Now. 
My 7 yr old loves blueberry muffins.  The trouble is no one else in the household is that crazy about them.  

Monday, 28 July 2014

CHRISTMAS IN JULY COOKIE CONTEST: Vanilla Pod Butter/Tiffany Snowflake Cookies

Christmas in July Cookie Contest!
Can you believe I've been blogging since 2007 and this is the 1st contest I'm entering?  I'm submitting my butter cookie recipe to the Eat In Eat Out 3rd Annual Christmas in July Cookie Contest

Matcha Coconut Mochi (GF)


Matcha Coconut Mochi.  An excellent Japanese sweet to serve with tea or coffee.
Summer's here and I have the kids full-time.   Aside from locking them out of the house once because they were fighting, I think I've been able to keep them busy enough to stay out of trouble.

Monday, 7 July 2014

LAZY SUMMER LOCAL STRAWBERRY & VANILLA ICE CREAM TARTS


Fresh local strawberry & vanilla ice cream tarts 
In keeping with my "Lazy Summer" theme I started with my last post, I thought I'd show you a sneaky-delicious treat to use up those local strawberries that are so juicy sweet this month.  After we visited the driving range in Richmond, we noticed the blueberry & strawberry farm next door to it had a "U Pick" sign.  It didn't take much to convince the kids to pick berries.  They were half-way across the strawberry field before I could finish "Do you want to pick..."

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Matcha Madeleines (GF)

Matcha Madeleines (gf).  Note the "hump"...a good thing 
Madeleines are one of the most beautiful little cakes I've ever seen and positively scream of lazy days on the patio.  Perfect for afternoon tea or coffee.

Saturday, 5 July 2014

LAZY SUMMER CUCUMBER SALAD (GF)


This Lazy Cool Cucumber Salad is what I look most forward to during a bbq each summer. 
Chop the cucumber in 1 cm rings and then in quarters

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