Chili fennel sauerkraut

Kicking goals and a recipe for chili fennel sauerkraut: journey to wellness

Perhaps when we find ourselves wanting everything, it is because we are dangerously close to wanting nothing. —Sylvia Plath.

It is a blustery Sunday afternoon. A day for Mothers. I am not a Mother but I have reached that age where I appreciate mine with every fiber of my being. Happy Mother’s day to my beautiful Mother and to all the amazing souls that embark on that wonderful, wild, life changing ride.

Our little beach shack home

I have spent the day well, achieving a happy balance of rest and productivity.  Because I live on a beach, camping with style and letting my gypsy spirit soar, it may seem quite unremarkable that I am achieving balance. However, my default position is reclining with a pot of tea, indulging in my great passion, reading books. Maybe it is my Ayurvedic type, which is the sentimental, slow and syrupy Kapha. Maybe it is my lofty, not quite in this world, star sign which is Aquarius. Who knows?  All I know is that left to my own devices things do not get done unless I take affirmative action.

A large tent on a beach is the perfect art studio

My default position is reclining with a pot of tea, indulging in my great passion, reading books.

There is so much I want to do, all at once, and quite suddenly. In the past these things did not really leave the rich soil of my imagination. I wanted to paint and write but luckily I was given insufficient talent, so I just thought about how nice it would be. I slowly learnt through the process of osmosis and amazing friends, that talented people work really hard. This may seem painfully obvious to others but it was something that slowly revealed itself to me. If I wanted to live a life full of creativity, well, I had to start working.

So I started. I made some wonderful changes in my life. I started to feel well and then I really started to kick down some self imposed walls that were blocking my progress.

Surrounded by nature I seek the best version of myself

Amazingly, I became a goal setter. I now make regular lists of things I want to do and then break that list down to achievable steps. I was inspired by the Japanese practice of Kai Zen which translates to “change for better” and is used in the workplace. Essentially the idea is that big results come from lots of small changes accumulated over time and this resonated with me because it was  simple and achievable. I made 3 lists of things I wanted to achieve in art, fitness and healing.  Kai Zen encourages  goals to be  broken down in to action steps and reward. Strangely enough my rewards were often the same as my goals. I wanted to paint with more intuition and confidence, the reward was painting with more intuition and confidence.

Days on the boat are a great source of inspiration

I am striding out toward my best self, it takes a small management plan, the rest is a breeze.

My days are a mixture of spontaneous flow and structured steps toward my goals. I run and lift weights on alternate days. I plan in my painting and writing time, meditation and yoga and I set aside time for recipe development. On the weekends I loosen up and allow myself chunks of time to read and drink tea. If all this sounds far too serious you will be happy to know that some days I restructure and just head out on the boat to shoot the breeze. The point is, I am making steps toward the rich creative life that I want. The more I achieve, the more I want to keep doing, making, running. I am striding out toward my best self, it takes a small management plan, the rest is a breeze.

Chili & Fennel Sauerkraut

I have been playing around with sauerkraut recipes, tweaking them for maximum flavour.  I tried a few different spice components and this was the winner. I also discovered I had been making some very common mistakes like putting my Sauerkraut in the fridge after a 4 day fermentation process. This is far too soon for all three bacteria stages to take place.

The benefits of fermentation are seemingly everywhere. There is so much information about the link between our gut health and our general well being. Sauerkraut and all the wonderful bacteria it produces are like a day spa for your gut. The health benefits range from boosted immunity to optimal nutrition absorption. Sauerkraut is so easy to make and this particular recipe has a great flavor kick which is particularly wonderful with poached eggs.

You will need

2 x 500 ml sterilized jars with lids (submerge clean jars in boiling water is the best method to sterilize)
large clean bowl.

Chili & fennel Sauerkraut


A few notes.

This is wonderfully hot thanks to the 2 tsp of chili flakes. Feel free to use less if you desire something less challenging. Remember that chili burns if you are packing the jars with your hands. Wash them immediately afterwards.

Leave somewhere in the house that is shady and cool. Avoid direct sunlight.

If using hot water to sterilize your jars remember that extreme changes in temperature will crack your jars.  Use a towel on the bench and don’t put cold jars in to boiling water.

I like the combination of fennel and chili but feel free to play around with the spice component. While traditional sauerkraut is delicious the addition of spices takes it to another level.

Enjoy x

Kicking goals and a recipe for chili fennel sauerkraut: journey to wellness

By: Bell Harding

Sauerkraut is so easy to make. This recipe has a great flavor kick which is wonderful with poached eggs.


Prep time

Cook time



  • 1 whole white cabbage
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 green apples
  • 1 tbsp good quality sea salt
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 2 tsp chili flakes


  • Pull a few outer leaves of the cabbage and set aside, you will use these as a lid later on. Shred the remaining cabbage as fine as possible on a mandolin. Place in large clean bowl. Julienne the apples and carrots and add to the bowl. Add the salt and with clean hands start squeezing the cabbage in big handfuls. You need to do this for several minutes to break down the structure of the cabbage and release the juices.
  • Once the cabbage has significantly reduced in volume and you have a good amount of brine add the fennel and chili and mix quickly with your hands. You are now ready to pack the sauerkraut in to the sterilized jars. I find this process much easier with my hands. Alternatively use a spoon to fill the jars. Tamp the mixture down with a wooden spoon to remove all air pockets after each handful. Make sure the brine is sitting on top of the cabbage mixture. Fill the jar leaving a 2 cm gap at the top. Take one of your cabbage leaves, tear and fold the leaf until you have a good shape that can operate as a lid. You want this piece of cabbage pushing all of the mixture down allowing the brine to sit on top. It is important to leave a 2 cm gap at the top of the jar as the cabbage will expand during the ferment process.
  • You can also place a thin layer of olive oil at this stage which will allow the co2 gasses to escape while preventing the oxygen from getting in. Sauerkraut is an anaerobic process. Oxygen will rot the cabbage instead of fermenting it.
  • For the first few days of the ferment you can open the lid and tamp the mixture down just to check that the mixture is sitting under the brine.
  • Leave at least 4 weeks before opening. Refrigerate once opened.


Tried this recipe? Mention @wellbeing_magazine or tag #wbrecipe!

Bell Harding

Bell Harding

Bell is wholefood cook and a barefoot gypsy. In search of a life less ordinary, she packed a tent and art supplies and took to the road. Seeking the dirt and poetry in the Australian landscape, she also discovered a path to wellness. Bell discovered what it means to be well by healing herself from weight gain and alcohol dependence. She draws on a professional career in cooking to create recipes that celebrate real food and shares her journey as a curious nomad.

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