A few weeks ago, Pearlie bought me a copy of Sandor Katz's book, Wild Fermentation. Maybe I'm a dork, but I found this book so exciting that I had to stop reading it before bed because it was keeping me awake at night, with so many promises of delicious and health-enhancing fermented foods.
First stop was a batch of kombucha, made using a kombucha scoby that our friend Thea gave us. I'd never tasted or even heard of kombucha before she offered her scobies on freecycle, but now I'm converted, and I always have a rolling brew on the go. It's delicious! Strangely refreshing, a little bit fizzy, kind of sour (in that distinctive and delicious fermented way) and made from black tea, so there's a bit of that in there too.
If you've never tried it, give it a go. I suppose it's not for everyone, but if you're partial to a bit of fermented beverage, it could be for you. And it's super easy to make! And the good thing is that the scobies multiply with each batch, so you always have one for a friend.
Kombucha's all well and good, and I'm super-pleased to have it in my life, but the real star of my fermenting career so far is kimchi.
Kimchi is also something I'd never heard of or tasted until our friends Mer and Myoung introduced me to it. As I sat there, revelling in the spicy sour deliciousness, I could not believe that it'd taken me 34 years to discover it. Massive kimchi convert right over here.
Mer and Myoung's supply of kimchi came from Myoung's mum, who, being in Sydney, cannot provide a regular supply. So it was time to take matters into our own hands. After many many hours on the phone to his mum, Myoung had the recipe and the process down pat, so we ordered some wombok and bok choy and organised a kimchi-making day, graciously hosted by some lovely and generous friends of Mer and Myoung's, who were also interested in learning the secrets of the kimchi.
The day was perfect! Lots of chatting and beer-drinking and chopping and eating in a gorgeous house in a very beautiful location, with kids running around playing and occasionally interrupting the preparations with absolutely hilarious skits and musical interludes.
I learned about fascias and barges and saw an entirely awesome in-progress bush pole shed, and we all took turns julienning carrots and rubbing the kimchi mixture (a kind of magical puree of nashis, tomatoes, cooked white rice, chillis, garlic, ginger...) into the womboks (2 garbage-bins full of them). We even did some experimental zucchini kimchi.
And then we had dinner. Curry and special Korean hand-made noodle soup called SooJaeBi and rice and, of course, kimchi! It. Was. Delicious.
|SooJaeBi - a traditional Korean soup made with potatoes and little hand-rolled and torn noodle-y-dumpling things.|
One thing's for sure: We WILL be making kimchi again, and we WILL be growing our own womboks for the occasion. We'll also be eating yesterday's kimchi for some weeks. There's a whole lot of it... An esky-full, in fact... which is alright by me! Koreans eat it with every meal, which seems like a very good idea to me.