Self-sufficient Off-grid
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Bread

Self-sufficient and sustainability is also about... food! In my course Self-sufficient Off-grid is that, however, is the one thing I say little about, other than a brief introduction to permaculture; the emphasis is more on all other subjects such as water filtering and solar panels. Nevertheless, I do undertake a lot of alternative experiments with food, such as bread.

Vegetable garden

A vegetable garden has not yet come about, except for pumpkins and courgettes. This year we are making another attempt at a vegetable garden; here you see a germination test to see if we can still use old seeds from last year.

Germ test before attempting another vegetable garden

Germ test before attempting another vegetable garden

So bread

I don't eat bread. Around 2010 I stopped eating bread every day, inspired by reading the Voedselzandloper and my chronic constipation. Since then I've suffered much less from constipation, although I don't really have an allergy to anything (including gluten). Besides bread I don't eat potatoes, rice or pasta.

What do I eat then? Strangely enough, I can just leave out all these carbohydrate-rich dishes, without feeling extra hungry. Of course there are also carbohydrates in the vegetables I eat. Fainting or an energy dip due to too little food is never an option for me: I can hardly eat anything for one to two days, and I am not yet acutely hungry.

Instead of potatoes, rice or pasta I eat no substitutes and do eat extra vegetables (instead of 1 we eat 2 or 3 main vegetables with hot food). If I do eat a carbohydrate product, it is sweet potato or parsnip.

Pots with nuts and additives in our kitchen

Pots with nuts and additives in our kitchen

In the morning I eat four pieces of fruit, a hand full of nuts and two eggs - I already get almost all the necessary vitamins and minerals from this. I usually don't eat lunch or very little. I never really did this, except when I was a kid (because I "had to"). If I do have lunch, I only eat the toppings, or homemade bars or hummus. During festivals or when I'm visiting, I sometimes get a strange look when I eat sandwiches for lunch. From my upbringing, it is "not done" to eat a slice of cheese on its own, or to empty a jar of hummus.

Ovenless lunch bars

A bar just before eating... and in the background our standard daily breakfast

A bar just before eating... and in the background our standard daily breakfast

Healthy bars can be made in 101 ways. I'm lazy and usually choose the easiest and most sustainable way, in this case bars that you can make without an oven. That saves energy for the oven - besides, I no longer have an oven at home.

You can make ovenless bars based on dates; that is a bit too sweet for me and also an expensive hobby. So I make bars based on one banana and a handful crushed by hand nuts (hazelnuts almond walnuts) that we already have in stock for our daily fruit breakfast. Sometimes sunflower seeds are also added. I mix and mash this together well in an oven mold, and after a day of drying on the kitchen table, they have become incredibly tasty, nutritious bars. Ideal to take to work or for a walk.

Sustainable hummus

Throughout 2018, I ate one plastic container of hummus almost every day. Delicious! Until I found out that 30% oil is added, while traditionally there is no extra oil in hummus. Then I immediately knew why I arrived this way in 2018. To get rid of all those plastic containers and all that oil, I started making hummus myself. Below you see a board full of variants, with all kinds of nuts seeds coconut and so on. In the end, the variant without tahini (so only chickpeas and herbs) and without additives tasted the best, so I often made that.

Various hummus variants

Various hummus variants

And I went one step further. Why do we actually eat a dish based on chickpeas? Chickpeas do not come from the Netherlands at all, not even from the EU! So to save food miles, I compared chickpeas with Dutch legumes, such as split peas green beans, garden peas, green peas and young capuchins.

It turns out that the nutritional value is comparable. Green beans even have some vitamins A and C that chickpeas don't have at all - but these differences are really minimal, so if you eat a little varied you can say that the nutritional value is about the same. So no benefit for chickpeas.

There are plenty of chickpea alternatives. Because of the extra environmental impact of frozen products, I don't choose frozen garden peas anyway (I don't keep anything frozen, to be precise). Unfortunately, glass has a greater environmental impact than a plastic bag (remelting glass takes a lot of energy). Still, glass products are easier than dried ones (split peas or chickpeas), because you don't have to soak them for a day and then cook them for hours. All products in glass are already cooked.

In practice I choose: young capuchins or peas or chickpeas or lentils from glass. These are much tastier than boring chickpeas, and you don't have to use (and clean) a stick blender anymore because you can mash them with a fork just fine. Because of the days-long hassle with soaking and cooking, I have stopped using dried split peas, which I find very tasty (also with chickpeas the stick blender can be avoided by boiling them just a little longer).

Split pea hummus

Split pea hummus

    With this recipe you can make perfect sandwich fillings, which you can also take outside the fridge for a day (for example if you go hiking all day). Can also be eaten without bread ;)
  • shell peas/chickpeas/young capuchins from glass or home-cooked split peas/chickpeas/garden peas/green beans
  • a dash of (salty, like Kikkoman) soy sauce
  • a dash of rapeseed oil (preferably because of omega 3, and otherwise other liquid oil)
  • a splash of water (especially with chickpeas)
  • no spices at all, or spices that you usually like (such as curry or paprika, gara masala, etc.)

Preparation: throw everything together, and then the immersion blender (or mash if you can), mix well, and then: taste it.

If it's too dry, add some water (not oil!), mix, and taste again.
If it's not flavorful enough, add some soy sauce, and if you like you can also add: curry, cumin, paprika, ground Japanese pepper berry, ginger powder, gara masala, ras el hanout. I don't add more garlic, because garlic that is in something is getting 2 times stronger every day (I warned you)... After four minutes of tasting and mixing, you have a tastier, more affordable, healthier product than the humus from the supermarket. And you can vary endlessly.

A variant I recently made: a jar of chickpeas, a jar of lentils, 1 tomato, half a red pepper, and then the base (salt soy sauce, rapeseed oil, splash of water). Super delicious! I sometimes add a large dash of curry and parsley, because that goes well with the tomato. Recommended!

Another variation I like: a jar of kidney beans, half a red pepper, and half a jar of black seedless olives and then the base. Mix only the bell pepper completely and the rest only half so that you occasionally taste a stray kidney bean or olive. Hmmm!

Ajvar

It's been a while since I made Ajvar, I think it was when I lived near a Turkish shop. There I could sometimes buy a batch of bell peppers for next to nothing that were just OK. Ajvar is nothing more than a few peppers and an eggplant with vinegar and garlic, heavily ground. Delicious! In principle, you can make a stew of any raw edible vegetable, such as carrots. Enjoy your meal!

Homemade hummus and Ajvar.

Homemade hummus and Ajvar.

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