9. Making Things

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

  • How to make kefir labneh balls at home

    This is just a short post to share a simple idea and another way to eat your kefir… kefir labneh balls. First, make your kefir cheese like we described in this post. Then, take teaspoons full of the cheese, roll them in your hand and put them in a jar with olive oil and whatever else you want. We added rosemary and juniper berries in this lot (*see update below). Et voila! How easy and beautiful do they look? I think it’s also a great gift idea. 🙂   *Update: I did put rosemary and juniper berries in this lot but since doing this one I haven’t done it again……

  • How to make mozzarella at home

    You might remember this post from the New England Cheese Making Supply Company… they liked our ‘How to make brie cheese at home’ post so much they posted it on their site and sent us a Mozzarella & Ricotta kit.  We were so excited to try another type of cheese at home so this post is how we made it. The great thing about making mozzarella is that it’s quite simple, fairly quick and you can eat it straight away! The following instructions are essentially from the New England Cheese Making Supply Company, with our own notes and experiences added. They have an excellent website for trouble shooting, www.cheesemaking.com, and…

  • How to make sauerkraut and cultured vegetables at home

    Recently we’ve tried making our own sauerkraut. It’s so incredibly easy and healthy that it seemed silly not to try and of course, share it with you! This post shares two methods – with salt and with whey. The kefir whey version is quicker to ferment and ready for eating. What is Sauerkraut? Sauerkraut literally means ‘sour cabbage’ in German – it is naturally fermented thinly sliced cabbage. It has a distinctive tangy flavour and is often used on hot dogs, as a condiment to meals but also much more… as an ingredient in soups, salads and sandwiches too, for example. Its flavour and preservation is a result of lactic…

  • How to make kefir cheese

    Since we’ve been loving our kefir nearly daily at the moment, I thought we should take a small step further to make something other than smoothies from it. When I started looking online I was amazed by the variety of recipes using kefir as an ingredient – cheese, ice-cream, sourdough bread, cookies, pancakes, pizza bases, soups and more. So, one step at a time! I decided to take a very small step indeed to make a very simple type of kefir cheese. Now, this cheese isn’t a hard cheese… but its not quite like cottage cheese either. I really like Dom’s description that the flavour and texture is similar to quark,…

  • How to make muesli, granola, cereal… or whatever you want to call it!

    When Jean eats a bowl of cereal from a standard pack of muesli, nearly half the pack is gone! He’s a hungry man! It’s expensive, contains hardly any of those cashews advertised so prominently on the label and often has a heap of sugar added too! So, a few years ago I decided to make our cereal weekly at home. Now, we really miss it when we are travelling and feel we don’t get a proper start to the day without it. More importantly, what Jean realised is that no matter how high-fiber/high-protein the store bought cereal was, it wouldn’t really keep him full for very long and he’d need a…

  • How to make kefir at home

    When we were doing our cheese making course back in 2010, Elisabeth Fekonia gave us some kefir grains to take home.  So we’ve been using these friendly microorganisms and yeasts to help balance our inner ecosystem and supply complete protein, essential minerals and vitamins B12, B1 and C. It is also an excellent source of biotin, which helps the assimilation and absorption of other B vitamins from the body. Kefir has all the great health benefits of yoghurt and more, because whilst yoghurt works through a bacterial conversion of the milk sugars, kefir uses both bacterial and yeast actions! Kefir is full of probiotics while the calcium, magnesium and phosphorous from the milk…

  • Talking rubbish – Turning trash into treasure

    Here at Bustan Qaraaqa they don’t simply sort their recycling, compost their vegetable scraps and put out the rubbish to be collected weekly – they take REDUCE, REUSE and RECYCLE to a whole new level. With no municipal waste management in Palestine, they have adopted a policy of ‘what comes on site, stays on site’, often collecting other peoples waste too! Using permaculture, creativity, knowledge and passion they educate and demonstrate by living sustainably themselves and maintaining a philosophy that there is no such thing as waste – just a failure of imagination. They hope to inspire Palestinians to stop throwing their rubbish down hillsides or burning it on the side of the…

  • How to recycle a pallet into an… armchair… and more!

    We are always thinking of ways to reduce, reuse and recycle so recently, when I realised how common it is to see wood pallets thrown out in nature, on the side of roads, parking lots or junkyards, I thought ‘what can I do with those?’ The good news is that with a bit of imagination and some DIY, there is a lot of potential in these seemingly useless wood stocks… I recently made this garden armchair from a pallet found in a street near where we are staying in Palestine! I know it’s far from perfect, but hey, it’s only my first attempt! 🙂 Here’s how I did it. How to upcycle…

  • The politics of olive harvesting in Palestine

    We are currently staying at Bustan Qaraaqa in Palestine and just happen to be here during olive harvest season… we are also here during an interesting time because of the Shalit Deal, where Israel swaps one Israeli soldier for 1027 imprisoned Palestinians… so, how do we link olives with the Shalit Deal?? Well, ironically, the olive leaf is a symbol of abundance, glory, wisdom, fertility, pureness and peace… but here people are oppressed, getting their olive groves and rain water cisterns destroyed by Israel as the natural water resources are monopolised (on average Israelis have access to 4 times as much water as Palestinians). People’s ability to sustain themselves is being taken away from them. In the past…

  • Week 9 – Eco-building in the Pyrenees, Hosting a project and community living

    Over the 5 weeks spent with Pierre I observed how he managed us helpers, his projects, his family life and himself.  I imagine the whole process could be quite physically and emotionally rewarding but also draining – dealing with various people from all walks of life, interrupting your routine, sharing your space, managing the build, training, supervising, etc.   As mentioned in a previous post, community living often seems harder than the project or building itself. So, this week’s post is from Pierre’s perspective. We’ve asked him some questions which he has kindly answered for us.   How many helpers have you had? So far, to the present day, which is…

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