Lockdown Creations + Walnut Mince!

While Oli is beavering away in the kitchen with a pile of onions, I thought I’d share a few updates on our recent developments, and a recipe!



But the onions though. I love the onions! When The Urban Monk started up, my first experiments were with onions, carrots, and then cauliflowers, actually. From the beginning I intended that we would make a range of fermented veggies, and not just cabbage. I mean, I do love fermented cabbage of course. But lots of people, with all sorts of diets, and for all sorts of reasons, are looking for more fermented foods, but want more than cabbage.

I really love the onions. I’ve got my eye on some to put in the hotdogs I’m planning to make with the incredible veggie sausages from Ananda. What cool people. And their product is just such excellent quality.

Anyway, we have the very first, miniscule run of our new Special Edition range coming out today. This one is cabbage with fresh turmeric, chilli, carrot and ginger and it is a real treat. If you want to get any you will need to get in pretty quick I think. We have it in our store, right here: https://theurbanmonk.co.nz/collections/store/products/special-edition.




I am super happy that we have lots of non-cabbage ferments available, not only because it makes fermented foods more accessible to more people, but also because it means we can keep feeding people through the ‘Hungry Gap’. This is happening right now – the gap between one season and the next, when harvest is over but the new plants haven’t matured. Cabbage supply is pretty desperate! Our growers have basically run out and say there’s nothing more till November. Luckily, we have some in the fermenters and hopefully we will be able to hold out till then… but there is a chance that some of our main cabbage range will run out.

Something to be aware of!

Now, also, lockdown happened and the inevitable playing with food ideas occurred. We are lucky as our monastery garden has two large walnut trees. But normally we don’t have time to crack the walnuts to any decent degree. But lockdown meant that this could happen (we had a house guest who was great at doing this).

Being vegetarian, while also trying to reduce my use of plastic as much as possible, is a hard combo. Veggie protein usually comes in plastic and I am really over it!

So we made walnut mince. I found a simple recipe online and have been experimenting with a few flavours. It’s quite versatile so you can make it suit anything that would normally have mince in it.



We really love tortillas. They are great because you can put out a bunch of things with the tortillas and let people choose whatever they want to put in them. Next blog I’ll share the tortilla recipe. It’s so easy – but in the meantime, buying packets of them to use is fine!


You don’t really need to follow any amounts for this bit (or any bits).

Grab your shelled walnuts, as many as you think you will need to feed your people, and put them in a bowl. Cover with cold water and leave for 20-30 minutes.

Drain off the water (it may be yellow), rinse, and drain again. Now put the walnuts in your food processor and whizz them up. Not too fine though – you don’t want a paste.

Ok that is the first bit.

For the tortilla filling, we fry up some onions – you know, sweat them so they are soft and sweet – and add in some sliced or diced mushrooms. You can let your creative juices flow with the spices. I am a paprika fiend, although I way prefer sweet paprika to smoked paprika. Either works fine. Chilli can be good for this. Get some salt in there.

Then add in the walnut mince – as much as you want. Any you don’t use, stick it in the freezer for next time. It freezes really well. Stir it all round of course and then throw in some tomato passata if you have it, or chopped tomatoes. Or no tomatoes – it’s not essential. But you will need to add in some liquid. The walnuts are really thirsty and will start to stick. We normally add water just to keep things from burning. I am notorious for adding extra oil. A glurb of olive oil is really great at this point. Also, fresh grated, or dried, ginger is a brilliant addition. We’re not sure why, but every time we add ginger to the walnut mince it kind of lifts everything. You don’t need tonnes – a couple of teaspoons should be enough. You can add minced or finely sliced garlic as well. Yum!!

Then you just cook it for a while – say 20 minutes – until it is all good. The consistency should be fairly stiff, not really runny. Runny is hard to keep in a tortilla shell.

That is that bit.

All you need to do is pick out some other things to have in your tortillas. We always go for some fresh salad, maybe some cheese, and most definitely some fermented veggies. Any of our ones are good, but you know what goes really well with this? Our Eternal Onions! Hope you enjoy this! J