Sheep’s kefir with gooseberries and lemon verbena

Sheep’s kefir with gooseberries and lemon verbena

By
From
Real Food by Mike
Serves
4
Photographer
Alan Benson

This is my ideal start to the day – fruit and a probiotic. You can buy ready-to-drink milk kefir from health food stores. However, if you want to follow the recipe and make your own sheep’s milk kefir, you can buy milk kefir grains at a health food store or online. These grains are the bacteria that ferment the milk into a probiotic drink. When you strain your kefir milk you will be left with the grains. You do not eat these milk kefir grains – these are used as a starter for making the drinking kefir in the recipe. Remember that the milk kefir grains after every batch will grow and, after a handful of times, you will have enough milk kefir grains to give some to your friends. When you are not making kefir, store the milk kefir grains in a puddle of milk in the refrigerator to keep them hydrated. Please note that milk kefir grains are different from water kefir grains, and you cannot interchange them.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
500ml sheep's milk
1 teaspoon milk kefir grains

Gooseberries in lemon verbena

Quantity Ingredient
100ml boiling water
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon verbena leaves, chopped
100g caster sugar
375g gooseberries
1/2 lemon, juiced

Method

  1. Mix the sheep’s milk and milk kefir grains in a 750 ml glass jar. Cover the jar with a piece of muslin (cheesecloth), secured with an elastic band, to allow the carbon dioxide to escape during fermentation. Keep in a dark place at room temperature for 24–48 hours. The timing depends on the ambient temperature – the cooler the temperature, the longer it will take. The texture should be similar to pouring cream. Once you have this consistency, strain the mixture through a sieve to catch the milk kefir grains. Store the strained drinking kefir in the refrigerator. It will last for about 1 week.
  2. For the gooseberries in lemon verbena, pour the boiling water over the lemon verbena leaves and allow to steep for 5 minutes until cool (if you can only find dried lemon verbena, use 1 teaspoon as it will be stronger than fresh). Strain the tea and pour it into a saucepan over medium heat with the sugar and bring to the boil. Add the gooseberries and simmer until they are soft and a syrup has formed – the temperature should have reached 100°C on a thermometer. Add the lemon juice to taste to add a tart flavour. Allow to cool to let the syrup set.
  3. Serve the gooseberries in a small bowl and serve the drinking kefir in a glass to sip with it, or pour it over the top.

Medicinal Benefit

  • Gooseberries contain a strong antioxidant called anthocyanin, which is anti-inflammatory, helps regulate blood sugar metabolism and also helps in reducing cholesterol. Lemon verbena contains essential oils that have a calmative effect on the nerves, are antiseptic, antibacterial and also help with digestion.
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