Category Archives: CarolCooks2

The environmental A-Z… the letter A…week 1

 

Welcome to my new series…still an A-Z but with a difference …it’s not food-related!

But don’t worry one of my regular readers( Chel) came up with an idea for me…all these good ideas to keep the grey matter active…Thanx Chel x

In the meantime, the idea for this series came about because yes as my regular followers and commenters know I am passionate about the health of the world I am living in… however often when I am researching and reading articles I come across terms and have to look them up which spawned the idea for this…two-fold… it increases my knowledge and I hope yours…

Not wanting to bore you I decided to run with Chels idea on the opposite weeks to my new idea…Chels idea for me was to go through the alphabet (as) is getting a norm for me but with the said letter (A) for this illustration as the middle letter…e.g. wrAps which of course need no explanation I mean who doesn’t love a spicy chicken wrap?

The A-Z of the environment and Climate Change…

The best way to predict your future is to create it...Abraham Lincoln.

Air Pollution…

Air is composed of a number of gases, mostly oxygen and nitrogen with smaller amounts of water vapour, carbon dioxide, argon and other trace gases.

The open burning of waste from individual residences, businesses and dumpsites are a large source of air pollutants. Globally the emissions from CO2 from open waste burning are relatively small compared to total anthropogenic CO2.

Anthropogenic carbon emissions are the emissions of various forms of carbon – the most concerning being carbon dioxide – associated with human activities. These activities include the burning of fossil fuels, deforestation, land-use changes, livestock, fertilization, etc., that result in a net increase in emissions.

Regional CO2 emissions from developing country’s in Asia and Africa are a concern …it is often highlighted here as although it is illegal… farmers and individuals carry on burning the sugar cane fields.   

We humans however can breathe easy. The average human exhales about 2.3 pounds of carbon dioxide on an average day. (The exact quantity depends on your activity level—a person engaged in vigorous exercise produces up to eight times as much CO2. as his sedentary peers.

Conclusion: Air Pollution leads to Air Quality which is a measure of the level of pollution in the air.

An air quality index is used by government agencies to communicate to the public how polluted the air currently is or how polluted it is forecast to become. Public health risks increase as the AQI rises. Different countries have their own air quality indices, corresponding to different national air quality standards. Wikipedia

Algae Blooms…

No, they are not beds of pretty flowers…

They are…Sudden spurts of algal growth, which can affect water quality adversely and indicate potentially hazardous changes in local water chemistry.

As algae blooms grow, they deplete the oxygen in the water and block sunlight from reaching fish and plants. … And when the algae eventually die off, the microbes which decompose the dead algae use up even more oxygen, which in turn causes more fish to die or leave the area.

What can we do at home? 

  1. Recycling items — and properly disposing of items that cannot be recycled — keeps them from making their way to rivers and oceans. Even cigarette butts have a dramatic environmental effect when people drop them on the ground at a beach or riverside area.
  2. Eliminating or minimizing your use of harsh chemicals provides the surest way to protect global waters from chemicals. When chemicals leach into a body of water, they can devastate ecosystems. Nitrogen and phosphorus, commonly used in fertilizers, lead to a surge in algae growth when they enter a water body, killing off existing aquatic life, for example.
  3. Proper disposal of hazardous materials such as paints, motor oil and pharmaceuticals keeps them out of the water supply. Inquire with your municipal centre about chemical pickup or drop-off locations in your area.
  4. Water that runs down streets after rainfall, or after you wash your car with a hose, carries toxins from streets and yards that eventually may reach waterways. Sweep rather than hose down your driveway if you need to get rid of debris. When washing your car, use a bucket instead of a hose. Having porous outdoor surfaces like gravel, as well as gardens, also minimizes runoff.
  5. Get involved with local initiatives to plan responsible water use systems and ensure that healthy waters become a component of any development initiative. Attend city council and town hall meetings regularly to contribute your input, or even run for a position on the city council or your county board of supervisors. Even if you’re not an expert on water use, you can put the issue on the agenda, bring in expert consultants and educate yourself and the public. By exercising a direct impact on local planning, you’ll also be protecting waters at the global level.

Personally, I think each one of us needs to start taking responsibility for the world we live in…the time has come for individuals to feature in a look at their own home and surrounding areas and take responsibility…Make a difference!

Alternative Energy Sources…

Is the energy that does not come from fossil fuels (such as coal, oil, gas), BUT from wind, flowing water, solar energy and biomass.

Wind and flowing water are simpler to understand… the wind is another source of solar energy…Winds are caused by the heating of the atmosphere by the sun, the rotation of the Earth, and the Earth’s surface irregularities. For as long as the sun shines and the wind blows, the energy produced can be harnessed to send power across the grid.

Flowing water…Hydropower uses a fuel—water—that is not reduced or used up in the process. Because the water cycle is an endless, constantly recharging system, hydropower is considered renewable energy. When flowing water is captured and turned into electricity, it is called hydroelectric power or hydropower.

Solar energy is the transformation of heat, the energy that comes from the sun. It has been used for thousands of years in many different ways by people all over the world. The oldest uses of solar energy are for heating, cooking, and drying.

Biomass is the fuel developed from organic matter waste of living organisms like plant waste, animal waste, forest waste, and municipal wastes. In biological terms, the word biomass refers to organic plant matter, which is converted into fuel and used as an energy source.

That’s all for today…I hope I have explained it in layman terms and made some things clearer as I believe we should all have a clearer picture in our minds as to what we can change and how…

See you in two weeks for the letter B…next Wednesday it will be Part 1 of the new A-Z on food and terms with the middle letter being A as in toAst.

Thank you for reading and please leave a comment if you feel a need… I love to chat it makes my day…Love Carol x

#Meatless Monday…The Cauliflower…

 

Why Meatless Mondays?…

Introducing more plant-based meals into your diet can help you maintain a healthy weight if you have some weight to lose then adding more plant-based meals has the benefit of removing foods from your diet which cause weight gain.

Plants are high in fibre…this means by introducing more plant-based recipes to your diet that the health of your gut improves so you are better able to absorb the nutrients from your food… you will be eating foods that support your immune system and reduce inflammation.

Fibre can lower cholesterol and stabilize blood sugar and it’s great for good bowel management…

How is introducing more plant-based meals going in your kitchen… Going well or meeting with some opposition?...

This week …it’s a Cauliflower pizza base, cauliflower, rice, walnut and red pepper dip and cauliflower cheese…

Cauliflower and broccoli are both delicious vegetables…They come from the same family Brassicaceae…however broccoli is a member of the Italica cultivar group, while cauliflower is part of the Botrytis cultivar group…

I think I need to take a course in Olericulture…so much is the same but different…like cauliflower and broccoli…

As a family, we love most vegetables both my grandfather and my father had vegetable gardens and I myself have dabbled in England I had an allotment for a while I also used to grow fruits and vegetables in raised beds, pots, grow bags, on window sills and hanging baskets…I still have pots of herbs growing and fruit trees here and my aim is to cultivate some of the rarer Thai fruits…

Cauliflower Pizza Base…

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium head cauliflower.
  • 1 egg, large.
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning (dried oregano or basil)
  • 1/8 tsp salt.
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper.
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan or Mozzarella cheese, grated/shredded.
  • Cooking spray, I make my own spray I don’t do bought oil in spray cans…I have a little stainless steel one for oil.

Let’s Cook!

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F/190 C and line a baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper.

Rinse cauliflower, remove the outer leaves, separate into florets and chop into smaller pieces. Process in a food processor in 2 batches, until “rice” texture forms.

Transfer cauliflower rice on a prepared baking sheet and bake for 10 mins this just removes some of the moisture.

Remove cooked cauliflower rice from the oven, transfer to a bowl lined with a double/triple layered cheesecloth or linen towel, and let cool for 5 minutes.

Then squeeze the liquid out of the ball as hard as you can. Be patient and do this a few times until barely any liquid comes out.

Increase oven temperature to 4 degrees F/200 C. Then in a medium mixing bowl whisk the egg with dried herbs, salt and pepper for 10 seconds. Add cheese and squeezed cauliflower mix very well with a spatula until combined.

Line the same baking sheet with new parchment paper and spray with cooking spray. Transfer cauliflower dough to the middle and flatten with your hands until thin pizza crust forms.

Bake for 20 minutes, carefully flip with a spatula and bake for a few more minutes. Top with your favourite toppings and bake again until cheese on top turns golden brown.

Slice and enjoy!

Let the kids help you can never second guess a child and what they will like.  Encourage them to help prepare their food…They are more likely to eat what they help prepare.

THE VERSATILE CAULIFLOWER… I love it! x…I really like this pizza base and it may be because I am not a fan of the traditional pizza base…I loved the crispy edges where the cheese browned my family didn’t like it as much as a traditional Pizza base…

Cauliflower Rice…

cauliflower-rice-pork-thai basil-recipe

Cauliflower Rice

And all you need is a Cauliflower and an Onion.

A little Coconut oil to cook or other oil of your choice.

Sea Salt and a squeeze of Lemon Juice.

Either grate or blitz in a food processor ( but not too fine) you want some texture.

Heat pan and keep pan HOT as you don’t want Cauliflower to steam and go soggy.

Use Tablespoon Coconut Oil and put in the desired amount of Cauliflower and onion mix.

Cook quickly and then season and add lemon juice.

All in all, it only takes a few minutes to cook….. a bit longer if more than one portion but keep pan hot.

cauliflower-rice-pork-thai basil-recipe

If you wish to vary the taste you can add 1 tsp of Cumin seeds to the oil before adding Cauliflower if you are eating Indian food.

Eating Mexican AND WANT TO ADD SOME AUTHENTICITY……. then add 1/2 tsp turmeric to oil and tsp tomato puree.

This is very versatile and just use your imagination and add any herbs and spices that you like.

To store...I make a batch and keep it in the fridge during the week but keep it in a glass jar or zip lock bag…I think plastic containers may make it sweat too much…..Enjoy…. and if you are cutting the carbs it is an ideal and yummy substitute for rice and I love rice…… eat it all the time but happily substitute this as I am also a cauliflower lover.

Cauliflower Cheese…

Make any white sauce and add grated cheese and some mustard…A white sauce is essentially Béchamel sauce traditionally made from a white roux and milk.

Ingredients:

  • 500ml whole milk
  • 1tsp English mustard powder
  • 50g butter
  • 50g plain flour
  • 100gm mature cheddar, grated
  • 50gm parmesan grated

Let’s Cook!

Melt the butter in a pan and stir in the flour and mustard powder to make a paste. Gradually whisk in the milk and simmer to thicken to a smooth sauce, stirring constantly.

Take the sauce off the heat and stir in 2/3 of the cheddar and half the Parmesan. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Pour over your steamed cauliflower and broccoli and sprinkle over the remaining cheeses. I also add little cherry tomatoes around the edge or tomato slices…

Cauliflower and broccoli bake

Cook under the grill until the sauce is bubblier and the top is golden brown about 15-20 minutes on 180/200 oven.

I didn’t run out of tomatoes...lol…hubby doesn’t like tomatoes so I always leave a gap…

We love roasted or cauliflower florets in batter…nice and crispy with a dip it makes a nice snack or light lunch with a glass of wine…just saying…I have a new addition to my pantry a lovely pomegranate molasses… this molasses came from Iran with some Sumac…I wanted to try an original to get the taste as I haven’t cooked with sumac and the last time I had pomegranate molasses was when I was in the UK…

Pomegranate Molasses

This lovely Red Bell Pepper and Walnut Dip will be a great accompaniment to the Roasted Cauliflower…

To Roast a small head of cauliflower break in florets…

Toss cauliflower florets with a light drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Arrange on a small baking sheet and roast in a pre-heated oven at 220C (convection)/200C (fan-forced) for approximately 18-20 minutes until cauliflower is cooked and golden. Remove from the oven.

For the dip:

  • 2 red Bell peppers
  • 4 tbsp fresh breadcrumbs
  • 1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp red chilli flakes
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • ½ cup walnuts
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp sea salt flakes and crushed black pepper
  • To serve: Mint leaves, crushed walnuts, chilli flakes, olive oil…

Let’s Cook!

Place bell peppers on a small, rimmed baking sheet. Rub with olive oil. Roast peppers in a pre-heated oven at 220C /200C (fan) for approximately 20-25 minutes until the peppers are blackened and cooked. Remove from the oven and transfer capsicum to a bowl. Cover with cling film or foil to steam the capsicum as it cools. Cool for 10-15 minutes. Remove and discard the core, skin and seeds.

Place the red pepper flesh, breadcrumbs, pomegranate molasses, cumin, paprika, chilli flakes, garlic, walnuts, lemon juice, oil, salt and pepper in the bowl of a small food processor and pulse a few times to get a chunky ish dip.

Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.

Spoon the mixture into a serving bowl/dish. Create swirling dips with the back of a spoon and drizzle with extra olive oil (if using). Top with crushed walnuts, chilli flakes, mint leaves. Serve warm with pitta bread or your favourite bread.

Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 3 days. Can be warmed for a few seconds in the microwave before eating…if preferred ours never lasts that long…

That’s all for today on my journey into eating more plant-based meals on a Meatless Monday……Thank you again to everyone who is suggesting recipes I will try them all…xx

Thank you for reading this post If you have enjoyed this post please leave a comment as any tips or comments I love as you all know I just love to chat…Love Carol xx

 

The Last Post? — The Silent Eye

How could I not fail to be moved to share this post…A last goodbye from a lady who is so talented with words and gifted with an insight which many us would love to have…Over the years we have talked about Nick, our dogs and life…I will always remember you Sue not only for your gift with words and love of what has been but I will remember you when I eat fruit cake and always with cheese…

Go forward on your next journey filled with all the love and respect we all have for you knowing that your words will live on in our memories…In Teagans words Hugs on a wing xxx

This may be the final post that I get chance to write for the Silent Eye… that decision has been taken out of my hands. I spent much of last week in hospital, having, as many of you know, been diagnosed with incurable small cell lung cancer last September. It has been an interesting and […]

The Last Post? — The Silent Eye

CarolCooks2 weekly roundup…21st February-28th February 2021…#Recipes, Whimsy, Music and Lifestyle Changes

Recipes, Whimsy, Music and Lifestyle Changes…

Welcome to this week’s edition of my weekly roundup of posts…Especially for you just in case you missed a few posts during this last week…it’s also the last day of the month and then we will be in March… the time just flies…

Let’s go and see what goodies I had for you last week…so snuggle up in your favourite corner with your favourite drink tea/coffee or hot chocolate although depending on where in the world you live it could be a glass of wine…Cheers!

Meatless Monday’s…is going well…personally I prefer either just vegetables as in a vegetable curry, I love anything mushroom-based, made with beans, I don’t mind lentils I am getting better at cooking them…practise makes perfect I guess…We all loved those pancakes with mushrooms and leeks and will definitely make them again…

https://carolcooks2.com/2021/02/22/meatless-mondays-week-7/

Tuesday was National Banana Bread Day as well as National Dog Biscuit Day and while I think some of these days are just silly…I had so many bananas to use don’t they just all ripen at once and it gave me the opportunity to post about bananas and dogs always love a treat and a healthy recipe for your beloved pooch is good…

https://carolcooks2.com/2021/02/23/national-banana-bread-day-and-national-dog-biscuit-day/

Wednesday’s are my Alphabet Day and this one was the last in this series which means a new one starting next week …I would like to thank everyone who commented and contributed over the weeks it’s been fun…Thank you and I hope you enjoy the next series…

https://carolcooks2.com/2021/02/24/the-culinary-alphabet-with-a-little-twistthe-last-in-this-series-y-and-z/

It was then over to Sally’s for her Turning back the clock series…I mean who doesn’t want to turn back the clock even just a few years is good…we both did agree though that shouting at the screen does relieve stress and it’s unlikely that we will stop that habit…lol

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2021/02/25/smorgasbord-health-column-turning-back-the-clock-2021-part-seven-anti-aging-and-attitude-of-mind-by-sally-cronin/

CarolCooks2…Week 2…in my Kitchen……Made from scratch…Fajita Mix…

I hope you are enjoying this series as some mixes and sauces are really so easy to make… you wonder why you haven’t made them before as they are always cheaper, no nasties …give you a quicker turnover of spices and larger quantities… so many reasons to make your own…

https://carolcooks2.com/2021/02/25/carolcooks2week-2in-my-kitchenmade-from-scratchfajita-mix/

Fruity Friday’s…This week it was a fruit that tastes like chocolate mousse…how often do you get to say fruit and chocolate in the same healthy mouthful?

https://carolcooks2.com/2021/02/26/fruity-friday-sapote-chocolate-pudding-fruit/

Saturday Snippets rounds of the week nicely…If you love Prince Harry and James Corden then you are in for a treat…some great music and more…

Do you know where your loofah comes from?

https://carolcooks2.com/2021/02/27/saturday-snippets-27th-february-2021/

Well, that’s it for today…Thank you so much for dropping by…I hope you have enjoyed the read…if you have please head over and leave a comment it makes my day to hear from you …Love Carol xx

Saturday Snippets…27th February 2021…

Welcome to Saturday Snippets where I indulge my whimsy and my passions… maybe a tune or two…something which has caught my eye this last week…just anything…I am still waiting for my Easter Egg moulds…shipped yesterday so they said…

There are many people with many different thoughts on homelessness...Homelessness is a huge problem in the world…I say ” There but for the grace of God go I “…These sleep pods are one such good idea…

Many years ago however my Fridays nights were a trip to London on the Chocolate Run...No such pods then…just boxes and it is unbelievable what can be made from a box it still is, however, it isn’t as comfy as my bed or yours I am guessing…

Did you know?

People who live in Mamungkukumpurangkuntjunya Hill, Australia, need a little patience when it comes to learning to spell their hometown’s name. But you know what? So do the folks from Lake Chargoggagoggman-chauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg in Massachusetts and Tweebuffelsmeteen-skootmorsdoodgeskietfontein, South Africa.

None of them has quite as much work to do when jotting down their address as those who live in Taumatawhakatangihanga-koauauotamateaturipukakapikimaung-ahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu, New Zealand, though. At 85 letters long, this is the longest place name in the world.

I bet they don’t have trouble creating pwds which no hacker can hack!

This so funny and for me a pleasure to watch and  read such lovely comments instead of
spiteful ones …Thank you my American readers for taking Prince Harry into your hearts…

The poor old cows take a lot of stick for the methane gas they release into the environment and often it is forgotten how many others also contribute to gases and the greenhouse effect…This plan is not only to cut down on the methane but feed the cows healthier diets then they can graze in peace…

Good News for the cows…

Let’s have some music...it was back in February 1981 that Paul McCartney and Stephie Wonder produced Ebony & Ivory…

There are lots of weird fruit and vegetables around the world …That is what I love about the internet it opens up a world where we can find almost anything…This one was on my doorstep…

Not only are the flowers edible you can cook this edible squash-like gourd and have a Loofah to scrub your back. The plant produces both male and female flowers.loofah-vine-loofah-flower-vine-flowering-vine It is also both a fruit and a vegetable. The male flowers come first followed by the female ones. It flowers all summer long and produces blooms up to 5 inches across…it makes a wonderful screen in your garden and grows very quickly once established. In fact, the fruits grow 1 1/2 inches per day. If you wish to eat them then they must be picked when they are gherkin size or no more than 4 inches in length as once the fibres inside the fruit start to toughen then they can longer be eaten.

They can be sliced finely and added to salad dishes or hot can be used as a substitute for squash or eggplant.

Not only that if you crumble small pieces and add them to soap when you make it then has a pumice stone effect. It can also be  used to scrub pans…

If you are like me and always thought the loofah brush came from the sea…They don’t!

Did you Know?

That Kangeroo words are words that contain their own synonyms?

It’s actually a word that happens to contain its own synonym, with the letters to spell it in the correct order. According  to Dictionary.com, examples include the words “chocolate” (which includes the synonym “cocoa”), “masculine” (“male”), “blossom” (“bloom”), “chicken” (“hen”), “rambunctious” (“raucous”), and “deceased” (“dead”).

That’s all for today thank you for dropping in I hope you enjoyed my whimsy…It would be lovely if you left a comment as I do love to chat…Love Carol xx

 

 

Fruity Friday…# Sapote…Chocolate Pudding Fruit…

Fruity Friday…# Chocolate Pudding Fruit.

Fruity Friday is where I bring you a fruit I have discovered …some I find here and others I have discovered while doing my research and would try myself…Like last weeks fruit the Buddha Hand Fruit a fascinatingly weird but beautiful fruit which I hope to grow myself and one which I will most certainly be looking out for and longing for the day I  have my own fruit…I just love discovering new fruits and vegetables as it opens a whole new world, doesn’t it?

Sapote is a term for a soft, edible fruit…A word that is incorporated into the common names of several unrelated fruit-bearing plants native to Mexico, Central America and northern parts of South America.

Black, Yellow and White…

These three subtropical fruits are delicious, sweet and rare…three fruits that belong to 3 different botanical families but which are similar in that they have to be eaten ripe or to us overripe…in time I am sure they will be marketed worldwide as one of the limitations for transport is the lack of consistency of ripe fruit…

The yellow sapote or egg fruit is one such fruit…Called lamut khamen in the Thai language…which I mentioned in this post way back in January 2020… 

Black Sapote is one of those fruits which needs to be eaten when it looks as if it is past its sell-by date…Quite often I have come across fruits that look shrivelled like the passionfruit and yet inside they are a wonderful spoonful of heaven…Unripe like many fruits BLACK Sapote is unpalatable ripe…but ripe you need to try it…think chocolate mousse…

A quick glance at the fruits and the shape and size reminds me of the Asian persimmon fruits.

 

But there is no relation just a similarity in looks…

Once the Black Sapote starts to ripen it ripens very quickly…which is one of the reasons why it is not a commercial fruit. Native to Mexico it now cultivated in Australia, the Philippines, Florida, Hawaii, the Dominican Republic and Cuba…

A much healthier alternative to the real deal( chocolate), lower in fat and containing about four times as much vitamin C as your average orange…

When ripe, the Black Sapote is delicious eaten fresh or used as a chocolate substitute in recipes and milkshakes or simply mixed with yoghurt and lemon juice. In Mexico, the pulp is mashed with orange juice or brandy and served with cream.

If you are lucky enough to come across Black Sapote…then this recipe for:

Chocolate Sapote Cake with Kumquat Orange Marmalade...Looks and sounds delicious…x

I have since discovered that these trees grow well and fruit here as there are some to be found in Pattaya and Chiang Mai…It seems that my mission to find some trees has been a successful one and time to plant some of these rare trees in my garden…

White Sapote will just get a small mention of the three… it is the most cultivated it seems outside of Mexico and is a heavy cropper…if there is no frost then white sapote behaves like an evergreen and keeps its leaves in winter.

The skin of the white sapote does not change when ripened however the skin splits when ripe… the pulp is bright white, very juicy and sweet …some say overly sweet.

I do hope you have enjoyed learning about the sapote fruit as much as I have and if you are lucky enough to have tried this fruit please let us know in comments…I love to chat…Love Carol xx