9. Making Things

This category covers things that we make and tells you how you can make them too.

  • How to make water kefir

    Do you make water kefir? Our grains are multiplying beautifully lately! Sorry… I’ve got ahead of myself… do you know what water kefir is? Well, like our milk kefir, water kefir is a beneficial probiotic beverage that tastes delicious. It’s so simple to make. The flavour is like a ‘dry, slightly fizzy lemonade’. Like kombucha it is first cultured by introducing a SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeasts) into sugar water – the SCOBY in this case are called grains. The beneficial bacteria and yeasts present in the water kefir grains metabolize the sugar, turning it into an array of beneficial acids and infusing it with beneficial microorganisms, additional B vitamins…

  • Bolivian Story: Luis Alberto Quispe Ochoa

    One day we visited the Museum of Contemporary Art here in La Paz, Bolivia, and became captivated by the works of Luis Alberto Quispe Ochoa (check out his website here). After much deliberation we finally purchased two works that spoke to us. Both were meticulously created with coca leaves and aguayo, which is the traditionally woven textile here. One depicts an indigenous woman’s face while the other is the face of an indigenous man who is wearing a chullo, the traditional knitted woollen hat with flaps to cover the ears. We regularly admire these pieces that now grace our lounge room and so many of our visitors have been motivated to…

  • Bolivian Story: Vanessa Vargas

    I met Vanessa when she was heavily pregnant with her baby, Rafaela. She was working at her partner’s restaurant, Red Monkey, as well as producing natural products for her business, Moi. Moi makes handmade cosmetics and personal care products based on natural and organic ingredients, without the use of preservatives, artificial colours or synthetic fragrances, being careful not to degrade our bodies or the environment. Vanessa never stops. I was surprised to see how busy she was whilst heavily pregnant and even since having her little girl it is not uncommon to find her in her workshop making products with her baby strapped to her or sleeping nearby. She’s a strong woman with…

  • Bolivian Story: Marcelo Teran Mitre

    During many days volunteering at Red Monkey I have admired the vibrant colours, shapes, organic patterns and uniqueness of their plates and bowls. I wondered if there might be a chance we could meet the artist behind these functional works of art and last Friday we were blessed with such a meeting in Cochabamba. Entering Marcelo’s workshop we could feel the creativity, experience and passion that has created this small craft business, MTM Ceramics. For more than 30 years Marcelo has been collecting the clay for his pieces from local rivers to then shape it into plates, bowls, decorative pieces, mugs, bonsai pots and more. He feels he was born for the purpose of…

  • How to make apple cider vinegar

    Homemade apple cider vinegar, ACV, is so easy! I just love turning trash into treasure, and this apple cider vinegar recipe is great example of that. Start your ACV: We simply take our apple scraps (normally after making juice), including the peels and cores and put them in a large glass jar. We then cover the scraps with filtered water and cover the jar with some paper towel secured with a rubber band to keep out bugs and dust. We then put it in a warm, dark place. You want a temperature of 15-27°C. Fermentation occurs more quickly at a warmer temperature. Some people add sugar or honey to kick start the…

  • Bolivian Story: Pablo Antelo

    One day, whilst volunteering at vegan restaurant, Red Monkey, I met Pablo Antelo. He had been asked to help out in the kitchen for the day since the chef/owner of Red Monkey was a little tied up with welcoming his baby girl into the world. That day I was so surprised and happy to see this young man, laid back but enthusiastic, never idle, taking initiative and working hard. He impressed me. I loved his attitude. I told him about my friends who were opening a wine bar, called Hallwright’s, which would be showcasing Bolivian produce. I explained that they had asked me to make some products for their platters like…

  • How to make kombucha: The ancient elixir

    As we wrote in our post about sourdough bread, we are sour lovers – you can read about making sauerkraut and kefir on this blog, so we thought it was about time for kombucha too. We take this fizzy, acidic and slightly sweet drink to parties and introduce people to it wherever we go… and the thing that constantly surprises me is just how much people love it, often putting down their alcoholic drinks to switch to this probiotic goodness! You can imagine how chuffed that makes me. The kombucha is made with a SCOBY, which is a Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast that acts on sugar and tea to produce not only acetic…

  • The sour life: How to make sourdough bread

    We are sour lovers – sauerkraut, kefir, kombucha and sourdough bread. It’s not just that they are great for our bodies, providing us with billions of good bacteria and yeasts, but this sort of food is tasty too. Sourdough bread, in particular, is something special. We have friends begging us to bring them a loaf every time we visit and getting up early on a Saturday morning to bake fills my heart and stomach with so much love. The process of kneading, the aromas during baking and the wonder of eating  something that rose thanks to invisible organisms in our environment never fails to satisfy me. Bread is the staple…

  • Tomato free pasta sauce

    In case you haven’t seen via facebook, Carly (that’s me) is currently in Perth, Australia, visiting friends, looking after babies and hanging out in their suburban permaculture food forest, Thyme Lords Cottage. My friends are aiming to become as close as possible to self sufficient one day. I am loving spending time with their 2 year old and newborn, as well as seeing what they are growing and cooking!! The mum in this beautiful little family developed allergies around 15 years ago – to wheat, soy and tomatoes. As you can imagine, this has made cooking a little difficult, buying anything processed is next to impossible and of course, she…

  • Getting high: Lounge room gardening at altitude

    Recently we posted this photograph of our lounge room garden on facebook where you can see some of the plants we are growing indoors. In addition to these, we are also growing more tatsoi, mizuna, spinach, rosemary, laurel tree, oregano, thyme, parsley, mint and some cucumber seedlings have started to take off! As I’ve mentioned before, we don’t produce enough to make any huge contribution to our food supply but we enjoy doing what we can experimenting growing and seed saving indoors, at an altitude of 3,200 m (La Paz, Bolivia)! Our lounge room is perfectly situated to make the most of the sun’s movements throughout the day, meaning we…

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