Archive for food

Portugal Cork Harvest

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 1, 2014 by ecofrenfood
Portugal Cork Harvest
Have you ever wondered where that cork in your bottle of wine comes from?
The answer is most likely to be Spain or Portugal, where over half of the world’s cork is harvested. 
In fact it isthe “National Tree” of Portugal.
However, unlike other forms of forestry, the production of cork never involves the death of a tree.
Instead, they are gently stripped, leaving a strangebut fascinating landscape of denuded trunks.
All of this takes some time. Cork trees can live to over (200)two hundred years but are not considered ready for their cork to be removed until they are at least 25 years old.
Even then, the first two harvests do not produce cork of the highest quality. It isn’t until the trees are in their forties that they produce premium cork.
Once the trees have reached the maturity necessary to produce high quality cork then
they will be harvested only every nine years.
A tree, in its lifetime, can be harvested (the process is known as extraction) about fifteen times.
Little wonder then, that in Portugal and Spain the propagation of the trees and the production of cork has become an inter-generational industry, with farmers still producing a crop from trees planted by their great-great grandfathers.
The cork must, however, be extracted from the trees without causing any lasting harm to them – otherwise, 9 years later they will be useless.
Extraction takes place in the summer when the tree is least susceptible to damage.
The poor cork which is produced as a result of the first two harvests is known as male cork: later extractions provide what is known as gentle cork which is what you will screw out of a wine bottle, the contents of which it helps to flavor.
The extractors must be skilled at their job.
They make two cuts to the tree.
The first is horizontal and is cut around the tree.
This is known as the necklace and the incision is made at a height
around three times the circumference of the tree. http://
Then a series of vertical cuts are made which are called openings or rulers.
This is the point at which the extractors must use the most strength
but at the same time be at their most gentle.
They push the handle of the axe in to the rulers and pry the cork away.
If the cuts are too deep or impatiently done then there is a risk that the phellogen of the tree will be damaged.
This is the cell layer which is responsible for the development and growth of the periderm of the tree – its bark in other words.
Damage this and the tree will produce poor or no cork in the future: it may even die.

So strength and gentleness must be used in equal measure during the extraction.

Once the cork is extracted it is stacked in layers and left to dry out.
Once that has taken place it is taken to be processed.
The technique used leaves the trees alive and the environment intact – cork production is said to one of the most eco-friendly and recyclable harvests on the planet.
Not only is cork easy to recycle.
The trees prevent the local environment from becoming arid and so actively help to maintain rare ecosystems.
Not only that, but the cork forests of the Iberian Peninsula are home to a number of endangered species which would find it much harder to thrive without the presence of the cork oak forests.
Although 60% of the cork extracted is still used for bottle stoppers (despite the recent predilection for using alternatives) cork is an essential component of a number of other things too.
If you are a fan of badminton, then without cork you would no longer be able to play – it is a vital component in the manufacture of shuttlecocks.
More sports rely on it too – the centers of baseball and cricket bats are made of cork.
Cork is also a great material to use for insulation. It is non-allergenic and easy-to-handle and if it does catch fire, its fumes are not toxic likeman-made insulation materials.
The different segments of woodwind instruments are fastened together by pieces made from cork and not only that – the baton of your concert conductor will most likely also be made out of this versatile material.

Cork has many other uses, too, including components of the fairings and heat shields of spacecraft.
Yet ultimately, the fascination is in its production, which leaves so many trees stripped and bared to the elements and which gives the landscapes of parts of Spain and Portugal such a unique appearance.

Fermented food for gut health

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 14, 2013 by ecofrenfood

Every food expert on the planet will tell you that the healthiest foods are usually the freshest. But the latest beneficial food group isn’t a bit farm to table—it’s fermented—meaning ingredients like cabbage and cucumbers have been left to sit and steep until their sugars and carbs become bacteria-boosting agents.

Wellness experts are currently enthralled by how these pungent, probiotic powerhouses, which boost the good bacteria in your digestive tract, can help heal a multitude of health issues, like leaky gut and IBS, and can even lead to weight loss, better skin, and boosted immunity.

One of the reasons? “The gut is the largest part of our immune system,” explains Drew Ramsey, M.D., author of The Happiness Diet and 50 Shades of Kale. So it matters what you put in it. “Sugar and refined carbohydrates cause damage, while fermented foods heal.”

Ready to see what these (somewhat skunky) superfoods can do for you? Here are seven to try now. —Jennifer Kass









1. Kombucha

A fizzy, fermented black tea that’s no stranger to New Yorkers, kombucha gives you a bang for your bacterial buck because of the variety of microorganisms it contains. “When you drink a bottle of kombucha, you’re drinking four to seven microorganisms all at once, building a really strong gut,” explains Michael Schwartz, the fermented-foodie founder of BAO Food And Drink. Just watch the sugar.



2. Sauerkraut

Turns out you should put sauerkraut, AKA fermented cabbage, on way more than your tofu dogs. It has a powerful impact on brain health, including depression and anxiety. “There’s a tremendous connection between gut and brain health,” explains Dr. Ramsey. If you’re the DIY type, try making your own. (Here’s an easy recipe!) Unlike non-refrigerated, store-bought varieties, homemade ‘kraut has no chemical preservatives or added sugar.


3. Pickles

Pickles are the gateway ferment. Not only do they provide a healthy dose of probiotics, they’re a familiar food item and have a taste that many people already love—including those who may hold their nose at the idea of eating fermented foods.


4. Coconut Yogurt

Kimberley Snyder, celebrity nutritionist and author of The Beauty Detox Foods, loves coconut yogurt, because it’s a delicious, dairy-free way to work plenty of enzymes and probiotics into your diet. Though Greek and regular yogurt are also fermented foods, Snyder is less enthusiastic about them. “Dairy is extremely acid-forming in the body and difficult to digest,” she explains.

coconut yogurt

5. Miso

Jeff Cox, author of The Essential Book of Fermentation, loves miso for its nutritional profile. The paste made from fermented soybeans and grains is “full of essential minerals, like potassium, and consists of millions of microorganisms giving us strength and stamina,” he says. To make miso soup, just add a dollop to boiling water, along with some favorite vegetables, like onions, bok choy, or mushrooms.

Screen shot 2013-08-01 at 8.24.15 PM

6. Tempeh

Tempeh (fermented soybeans) is a complete protein with all of the amino acids, says Cox. He suggests using it as a yummy substitute for bacon in BLTs. Try flavoring organic tempeh with some tamari (also fermented), then add it to a sandwich with tomato, lettuce, and toast. Or eat it tossed in a bowl of steamed veggies.


7. Kimchi

Think of this spicy Korean dish—typically made from fermented cabbage—as a beauty food, as well as an energy-booster, says Snyder. It can help “enhance digestion and nutrient assimilation,” she explains. “You may also notice, with improved digestion, an improvement in the look of your skin.”


Lamb Tomato and Green Peas Rice

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 18, 2013 by ecofrenfood



750 g lamb, cut into big chunks

8 cups water or 2 liters

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 medium onion or 125 g, chopped

½ teaspoon ground cardamom

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground turmeric

½ teaspoon ground coriander

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

2 medium tomatoes or 300 g, peeled and diced

1 tin canned green peas or 400 g, drained

2 tablespoons tomato paste

3 cubes MAGGI® Chicken Bouillon

2½ cups basmati rice or 500 g, washed and drained


Put lamb chunks and water in a large pot. Bring to boil and remove froth as it appears. Simmer over low heat for 1½ hours or until lamb becomes tender. Set aside.

Heat the vegetable oil in a large saucepan, add and cook onions over medium heat for 5-6 minutes or until they become golden brown in color. Add spices, tomatoes, green peas, tomato paste and MAGGI® Chicken Bouillon cubes. Stir for 2 minutes then add the cooked lamb with 4½ cups of the cooked lamb stock, if the lamb stock is not enough add the some normal water.

Add the rice and stir occasionally. Bring to boil then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 25 minutes or until rice is cooked.


Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 18, 2013 by ecofrenfood


Margarine is bad news. We usually keep it in the fridge because it costs less and is easy to spread. Try this super health spread and you will find it costs less than margarine but it contains a perfect balance of essential fatty acids.
1/4 block of butter : make it really soft
200ml sunflower oil: blend the two together and keep in the fridge as a spread. You can add more or less oil, depending on how hard you want the consistency.
OPTIONS: Try mixing in some grapeseed oil – very rich in anti-oxidants. Flaxeed oil is a plant based omega 3 oil.

When you have to cut out salt, it’s the sodium that’s the problem because it causes water retention and it pushes out the potassium that is a natural diuretic. Aromat, Zeal and other seasonings are full of MSG(monosodium glutemate) and are also bad for high blood pressure. So make your own herb salts, to suit your taste. Make a variety of them.
In an electric coffee grinder or use a pestle and mortar:
A few tablespoons of herbs: mixed herbs, basil, mint, rosemary (a good fat busting herb) and others you like.
A tablespoon of spices: coriander, cumin, paprika, ginger. First taste the blend, then add other flavours as you fancy.
A tablespoon of ground pepper, A tablespoon of salt. Two teaspoons of cream of tartar (as a source of potassium)
OPTIONS: Sodium free salt is available: known as potassium chloride. Supermarkets sell: NO SALT or NU-SALT
It tastes like normal salt but beware: if used on popcorn or salty snacks, it can remove the skin from your mouth.

Forget about expensive commercial cereals. Look for MOREVITE at the supermarkets, it sells alongside the mealie meal. It is a pre-cooked sorghum cereal and at a cost of R5 for 1kg, it’s the best way for all blood groups to start the day. It is vitamin enriched and can be served with milk, hot or cold water or even fruit juice. You can top it with youghurt, molasses, honey. For texture, add oats, chopped nuts and dried fruit or granola. For people who need extra snacks when the blood sugar gets low, you can take a small container of your MOREVITE mix. Keep it dry and activate it with milk, juice or water when you feel the blood sugar blues creeping up on you.

Fizzy drinks contain 8 teaspoons of sugar. Talk about a bulge trap! We need alternatives and some fruit juices are just as bad. Too much sugar and no fibre is a no – no. Rather eat the fruit and drink a glass of water!
HERB TEAS: commercial herb teas are a fabulous way to have your eight glasses of water a day. Even soaking the bag in a glass of water overnight for your first drink works well. Then you can add boiling water onto the same bag for the second cup. This is good for expensive teas like echinachea and St John’s wort as different medicinally active chemical compounds are released in hot and cold infusions. You can also use fresh herbs, especially mint for delicious fragrant teas and sweeten with a spoon of honey or high test molasses. NO WHITE SUGAR!
COLD DRINKS; 1 gram of vitamin C, 1 glass of cold water and a teaspoon of high test molasses. Add a pinch of cream of tartar. This is my favourite drink to take to they gym. You can also experiment with cold herb teas, especially rooibos, honeybush, mint and camomile. Some people add a little chilli to their tea to boost immunity.

Time is always the excuse for not making stir fries. 90% of the time is in chopping and cutting, so make yourself a variety of pre- chopped veggies in containers in the fridge. Now when you are in a hurry, simply tip a punnet of veggies into a pan with a spoon or two of olive oil. Add a little stock or water as it begins to heat up and turn onto low with a cover. Add your new herb salt and season to your satisfaction. Serve with flaxeed oil and lemon juice or balsamic vinegar. Eat as much as you like, especially the green beans as they are a great slimming food. I like: green pepper, Chinese cabbage, matchstick carrots, slivers of green beans, onions, celery, fennel and a huge bunch of parsley, finely chopped. If you want the mix to be thicker and more slushy, add a few thin slices of sweet potato.

A nice substitute for chips is red sweet potato slices, cut thin and fried in a slick of olive oil. Season with herb salt.
Remove from the pan and toss in your stir fry veggies. Add a few thin slivers of fish or chicken. If you have a little greasy treat witha meal it is very satisfying but just a little, on the side. You can also make curried stirfries, but go easy on the rice if you are on the slimming or detox programme. Also leave out the second poppadum and the extra spoon of dhal. Pig out on extra fresh salad sambals of tomato, onion, green pepper, lettuce, lettuce and lettuce – to fill you up. Eat slowly and that teaspoon of rice will go a long way! Drink mint tea before and after the meal. Never fill up on starch when you are hungry. Rather wait a while or munch carrot and celery sticks in a dip made of youghurt and flaxseed oil with herb seasoning. When you talk and laugh a lot during a meal, you eat less. You don’t need big comforting desserts. Just think of your waistline!


Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 17, 2013 by ecofrenfood


No diet fits for any one person, yet we do find that the closer one adheres to the principles of a genetically-based traditional diet (Paleolithic), the healthier they get.  One of the modifications in this Paleolithic way of eating is the removal of foods that create gut sensitivities and allergic responses throughout the entire body. 

So many people ask about the differences between allergies and sensitivities to food, and are surprised when traditional testing methods do not reveal evidence of allergies.   It is possible and very common to have severe responses and sensitivities to foods without evidence on a blood, stool, or saliva test.  When a food item is ingested there is a local response in the tissue of the gut which can trigger GALT (Gut-Associated Lymphoid Tissue) activation with the subsequent nitric oxide signaling and an up-regulation of inflammation.  This GALT activation often happens in reaction to antibiotics and hormones found in factory farmed meat and dairy products, and chemical exposure from processed foods.  This up-regulation of inflammation can cause a range of symptoms from upset stomach to chronic joint pain and can also lead to chronic problems in the gut such as leaky gut syndrome or abnormal intestinal permeability (see Digestive Disorders) which often leads to chronic disease.

Since the digestive system is a major immune system organ with an estimated 40-70% of defense activity taking place in the Gut-Associated Lymphoid Tissue, it is vitally important to restore gut health by removing any foods that might be an irritant to the tissue and repairing any gut dysfunction that may be present.   We find in order to accurately test for these food sensitivities we must combine biofeedback screening with actual food samples.



“I had chronic digestive problems for years and had been tested by many doctors with no answers to my situation.  It was getting so that I was constantly bloated and gassy and never felt like I could digest my food.  My digestion was so bad I always had something coming out one end or the other.  I began to gain weight and noticed that I was getting colds or sinus infections almost every other month.  Something was seriously wrong.  I was recommended to see Sabrina and on my first visit she tested me for food sensitivities and had me remove a list of foods and recommended new food choices.  She also tested me for supplements and asked me to come back in five weeks.  I began the food removal for the first week and waited to take the supplements.  Just by removing those foods I began to digest my food, no longer had bloating or had to run to the restroom on an hourly basis.  I am really amazed at how food sensitivities and even bad food choices have such a big impact on health.  After doing some nutritional testing and supplementation, I am no longer having sinus infections or colds and I am able to get through the day without a nap.  I am now a believer that food choices are our health choices.”

                                                                            -Barb A., Littleton, CO-

Reasons Why Food Sucks

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 17, 2013 by ecofrenfood

December 10, 2012

Reasons Why Food Sucks

1. You eat, then a few hours later you’re hungry again.
2. It messes up your face.
3. It gets stuck in your teeth at the worst possible time.
4. It makes your breath stink.
5. It makes you fart.
6. It makes you poo.
7. It can get you really sick and make you barf.
8. It makes you thirsty, then you have to drink water, and that opens a whole other can of worms.  (Please see “Reasons Why Water Sucks” volumes 1,2, and 3).
9. It makes you fat.
10. It makes you feel like a lazy lion.
11. It gets your teeth all dirty.
12. You HAVE to eat, so you’re a slave to food for your entire life.  Food is your master!  Ahhhhhh!
13. It makes you have to wash your hands and use napkins.
14. It can taste really bad.
15. It can smell up the whole place.
16. When other people are eating food, then you might get hungry too.
17. Did I mention it makes you POO?
18. You get grumpy and start making all these dorky noises when you don’t have food.
19. It can burn and start fires.
20. It makes you indecisive cuz there are so many different types of food.  Then you waste all this time trying to decide while your stomach growls away.  Then you don’t get to eat cuz you spent so much time deciding what you want to eat that you’re now late for your chiropractor appointment.  Then your chriopractor gets pissed and cracks your back in half.

That’s why I say: SCREW FOOD!

Malaysia Keropok Lekor

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 1, 2013 by ecofrenfood


Fried Crackers, or,Keropok Lekor


1 kg fish (ikan parang or ikan kembong)

500g sago flour

Salt to taste

125ml water

Some ice-cubes

1 or 2 pandan leaves

How to cook:

  1. Clean the fish thoroughly, remove its intestines and chop off its head and tail, leaving the body intact.
  2. Make slits along both sides of the fish, then scrape off the meat; discard the bones.
  3. Pound, chop or mince the meat finely, adding salt to taste.
  4. Add some ice cubes and continue mincing the fish meat.
  5. Add sago flour and water.
  6. Stir the mixture until it becomes a soft dough.
  7. Dip your hand in the sago flour and roll the dough into a cylindrical shape.
  8. Boil a potful of water.
  9. Add in one or two knotted pandan leaves.
  10. Drop the keropok lekor into the boiling water.Wait for it to float and remove with a slotted spoon.
  11. Set aside to cool.
  12. Cut the pieces diagonally into thin slices.
  13. Dry in the sun thoroughly, then deep-fry in hot oil.


To serve:

Serve with chilly source (normally serve)