Monday, 23 April 2012

A lot can change in 48 hours... (and cooking with milk kefir)

A lot can change in 48 hours. For example, all the wonderful people that have made your working year so rich and such fun can suddenly all leave. :-(  And your work can all at once be over - completely over! - for the next four months! You can go from having time for not much else except the necessary tasks of life, to having extra time and energy to do things like... hang out with friends and cook new things!
So, all this being true, I plan to be posting some of my new creations on here  as the spring and summer progress.

Another thing that can change in 48 short hours or less is that ordinary milk (and by that - for me - I mean local, organic, raw, unpasteurised, unhomogenized milk, since that is milk in its ordinary, natural form!) can be transformed, by sitting in contact with 'kefir grains' (actually a 'symbiotic colony of yeasts and bacteria') at room temperature, into kefir. This particular transformation is thanks to the gift of kefir grains from (the real) Julia Roberts, one of those amazing people who have just exited my life, stellar thesis and all!  And I have been really loving how easy the kefir is to make.  Just add milk to the 'grains' in a loosely covered mason jar and then strain 24-48 hours later!

But what is this stuff?! Well, think drinking yoghurt meets sour buttermilk. And, as for the 'grains', think cottage cheese meets blobs of gristle!  Yeah, not that attractive! :-)

But this stuff is a superfood for the gut and digestive system (read more about it here) and so well worth making or buying, and either drinking or adding to recipes. I don't like the taste enough to drink kefir on its own, so we use it mostly in the 'berry green smoothies' that I made for breakfast this morning (scroll down on this page to find my recipe) and sometimes in dishes like Soaked Oatmeal Pancakes and, for today's lunch, a new experiement... a ranch-style dressing.

I was inspired to try this by the house salad served at our local Bistro with their homemade ranch dressing, and which I sometimes ask them to add smoked salmon and capers to for a yummy, healthy, good-carb meal. Today, with all this time and creative headspace on my hands, I made my own salad with locally farm-grown spinach, sliced courgette (zucchini), capers, wild sockeye smoked salmon, hard-boiled local free range egg and with my new dressing drizzled over it all.  It was delicious!  And I put an extra dollop on my plate to dip raw cauliflower, broccoli and orange pepper slices in - still feeding those mitochondria!

So why not give this great dressing - or just plain old kefir! - a go? And, if you are already a kefir fan, tell  me what you do with it...

Homemade Ranch-style Dressing with Kefir
An easy-peasy dressing that is brilliant with a spinach salad or to dip raw veggies in, uses up my homemade kefir and is good for me!

½ cup raw milk kefir (or buttermilk)
¼ cup raw milk Greek yoghurt (or sour cream) – more if you want a thicker dip
2 tbsp EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
2 tbsp chopped fresh chives
¼ tsp Herbamare (or sea salt)
A small clove of garlic, crushed
¼ tsp onion powder
½ tsp dried dill
¼ tsp dried thyme
A generous amount of freshly ground black pepper
A few drops of liquid stevia (or some maple syrup)

Options: a different blend of herbs, fresh or dried, would also be yummy.

Put all ingredients in a mason jar and shake to blend.  Hey presto!  Store in the fridge or just eat!


  1. Haha. I've never heard kefir grains described that way. That's perfect. :D

  2. Glad you like that description Kaitlin! lol :-) Tell me what YOU do with kefir!

  3. I LOVE raw milk kefir, and mostly drink it on its own (though occasionally add frozen blueberries). I love just that hint of fizziness! And your dressing sounds delicious. I am looking forward to all the extra creativity you will have time for, Rach!

    1. That's nice to know you really ENJOY the taste and feel of kefir, Joanna. Perhaps I need to give it some time on its own to 'grow on me'! :-)