Category Archives: Friday Food Review

CarolCooks2…Friday Food Reviews…The Definition of Processed Foods…

 

Welcome to Friday Food Reviews where I will be covering a different food or product each week and looking at… what are they?  where do they grow, what can we substitute them for in a recipe, are they safe to eat, how to store them, how to use them, cook them, anything connected to that food. or product..all the why’s and the wherefores…it will, of course, be mainly my own opinion or a known fact…good or bad…there may even be a tried and tested recipe…or three…

This week it’s…Processed Foods…

Processed food is any food which has been altered in some way during its preparation. Some examples are freezing, canning, drying and baking…

Not all processed food is unhealthy as we will learn in this post but many do contain high levels of salt, sugar and fats added to extend the shelf life of foods and make it more palatable. It is also very easy to consume far more than the recommended daily levels because many people do not read labels or labels can be misleading and a single item of food can be called by a few different names which can make it quite hard for the consumer…

I have given up the game of trying to read labels a long time ago and if I see a long list of ingredients with words I don’t know or understand then I don’t buy it…

As consumers, we cannot control what is in the food we purchase HOWEVER as consumers we can control what we choose to buy…

Something to help read those labels and tell you the sugar, salt and fat content and offer an alternative is a Food Scanner App… 

This link is a good start to finding the best food scanner app for you…

Now for examples of processed foods …

  • Cheese
  • Tinned vegetables
  • Bread
  • Snacks…Crisps, sausage rolls, pies
  • Meat: Bacon, Sausage, ham, salami and pate
  • Convenience ready meals
  • Cakes and Biscuits/Cookies
  • Drinks, milk or soft drinks
  • Breakfast cereal

Some processes are to make food safe such as pasteurisation which removes harmful bacteria from milk. Although there are many schools of thought on that now…As a child, I always had milk straight from the cows but now that many farmers use hormones etc that may not be as safe…Pasteurised fruit juices I never buy them I juice my own or buy freshly juiced I just don’t like food or drink which has been messed with unnecessarily…

Other processes to make food suitable for use such as pressing seeds to make oil. Processes to make our food safer or to enable us to eat or use something are fine it is just all the added sugar, salt and fats which get me…It gets people addicted and then it is a vicious circle and much of it is aimed at children which I think is unethical and really wrong…I can’t imagine what diseases our next generation will have because of all these additives…there is also the state of children’s teeth around the world ask any dentist!

Cereals… Porridge is good for you, especially in the winter months and keeps you full until lunchtime…Shredded wheat seems to be one of the good guys. As for other cereals like those below…I would not feed them to my children.

cereal-1444495_640

That being said, here are the worst cereals you can buy, based on their nutritional value
and sugar content…What tempts the kid’s cartoon characters like ” Cap’n Crunch” for 
one  and if I see “Quaker”  on a packet it  says to me healthy…not anymore it seems their 
 multi-grain cereal most certainly isn’t there plain old oats maybe but not those…
It does look like “Fruit Loops escaped that list this time and to be fair they have taken steps to
clean up their act…but that ingredients list is still far too long for me …

Why are they bad for you? Anything that states honey-coated, frosted or chocolate-coated contains a lot of added sugars and it is the added sugars in products which are harmful…

To me, they just sound like something which I would not wish my children to eat…Just sugar-filled nothing…cereals are something many people feed their children it quick and easy but so is putting the slow cooker on with porridge at night…

Crisps…Generally, crisps are better for you than chips as you can buy them in small packets thus restricting how much you eat… Crisps are high in salt and artificial food flavourings…

chips-3737973_640

This video on crisps and what they contain plus the best crisps to buy and eat is quite comprehensive.

There are so many processed foods that I think moderation should apply…

Biscuits…Something that we reach for when we have a cup of tea or just when we pass the biscuit tin but how healthy are they?

cookie-3216243_640

I love shortbread and a digestive with my morning cuppa but since realising just how much added sugar and calories 2 biscuits add up to over the course of the year I have stopped…This link will tell you what your favourite biscuit does or does not contain and maybe like me you will decide that they are just something that you can go without.

Or make your own and then you are safe in the knowledge that they may not be the healthiest things to eat but that they have no nasties and if eaten in moderation are much better than a store-bought packet.,,and fresh;y baked cookies/biscuits taste sooooo moreish….

https://www.goodtoknow.co.uk/wellbeing/biscuits-the-best-and-worst-revealed-41310

These biscuits are really easy to make and very moreish…

Homemade Coconut Biscuits…

I don’t make biscuits/cookies very often..almost never but once a packet of store brought cookies/biscuits are opened because of the humidity here they don’t last long they either go off or the ants take residence. I was guided to make these by the desiccated coconut and the golden syrup which was a gift from afar… aka visitors and the rolled oats which I mistakenly bought instead of the porridge oats…and they are so delicious…I know a biscuit is never either but if I have one I am going to enjoy knowing that they have no nasties and I can control the sugar…

These biscuits/cookies are my basic recipe …

Ingredients:

  • 150 gm rolled oats
  • 100 gm plain flour
  • 100 gm light brown sugar( I used raw sugar)
  • 100 gm desiccated coconut
  • 100 gm butter
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup
  • 1/2 tsp of bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tbsp of boiling water.

Let’s Cook!

Set oven to heat at 175 C, gas mark 4.

Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Combine the sugar, flour, coconut and oats mix to combine well.

In a small pan add the butter and golden syrup and melt the butter. meanwhile, bring the kettle to a boil and add two tbsp of boiling water to the bicarbonate of soda in a small cup. Add this to the melted butter/syrup mix. It will foam a little.

Make a well in the centre of your dry mix and pour in the melted butter/syrup mix. Stir to thoroughly combine and it will form a slightly sticky dough.

Roll out balls and put them on a baking tray leaving a space as they will spread on cooking ( the mix made 15 balls) Slightly flatten with your hand.

Put in the preheated oven and cook for 15-20 minutes, remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.

THE BISCUITS WILL BE SOFT TO THE TOUCH BUT WILL HARDEN ON COOLING.

Don’t make the mistake I made when I first made them and thought they weren’t cooked and gave them another 10 minutes. They were a tad harder than required when they cooled down…haha…I could build a wall with them…Opppps

Processed meat refers to meat that has been preserved by smoking, curing, salting or adding preservatives. This includes sausages, bacon, ham, salami and pâtés.

Any meat that has been cured, smoked, canned or salted is a processed food, and these types of meats, including hot dogs, salami and cured bacon, are associated with increased risk of conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and certain cancers such as bowel or stomach.

I can hear you asking are there any deli meats which are not classified as processed meats? Yes, there are …Fresh chicken, turkey, beef, minced meat and burgers, pork and fish that have not been modified are considered unprocessed meats…Check before you buy…

To recap many processed foods we could make at home and would be much healthier, they wouldn’t have the shelf life but would also have no nasties…or you can make an informed choice …read my post and all will be explained…

There are so many apps now where we can check out our favourite foods and be offered alternatives or we could make them at home…

Ready Meals…

I am just going to touch on ready meals today and most people’s favourite Mac and Cheese…

Homemade Mac & Cheese v processed Mac & Cheese.

macaroni and cheese

I know we can’t make everything at home and sometimes for ease, there is nothing wrong with buying processed food sometimes on occasion just not regularly as it will be detrimental to health…

Thank you for reading and I hope you now know a little more about processed foods and which ones are processed so we can eat them or cook with them safe in the knowledge that we are happy to do so… I hope you all have a great weekend xx As always I look forward to your comments xx

CarolCooks2…Friday Food Reviews…Salmon…how healthy it is with recipes…

Welcome to Friday Food Reviews where I will be covering a different food or product each week and looking at… what are they?  where do they grow, what can we substitute them for in a recipe, are they safe to eat, how to store them, how to use them, cook them, anything connected to that food. or product..all the why’s and the wherefores…it will, of course, be mainly my own opinion or a known fact…good or bad…there may even be a tried and tested recipe…or three…

This week it’s…Salmon…

Why Salmon? Well, it’s one of my favourite fish and if we buy sustainably caught salmon it is also very good for our health… Sally over at Smorgasbord Magazine posted about the type of salmon we should be buying and the benefits to our health so I thought I would share a couple of our favourite recipes which as you know are truly tried and tested in my kitchen…Just in case you missed Sally’s post then I have highlighted the link to that post above…

Cajun Salmon with Salted Lime Butter…

 

Ingredients for the Salted Lime Butter.

• 4 tbsp butter unsalted
• ½ Lime zested
• A pinch of sea salt

Mix the lime zest and salt into the butter, then keep in the fridge until required either in a ramekin or make a roll and slice as required.

Ingredients for the Cajun Spice Topping…

• 2 tbsp of dried oregano
• 2 tbsp garlic powder…
• 2 tbsp paprika
• 2 tbsp mineral or sea salt
• 1 tbsp black pepper
• 1 tbsp dried thyme
• 1 tsp cayenne pepper
• 1 tbsp onion powder
• 1 tsp chilli flakes ( optional)

Let’s Cook!

  • Mix all the dried ingredients together …I always add fresh garlic and chopped onion to mine so I make my mix excluding the onion and garlic and then when required I add the fresh ingredients…
  • Place the salmon on foil and add the amount of  Cajun topping you require
  • seal the foil and cook in the oven at 180 for 10-15 mins until cooked
  • I open the foil for the last 5 minutes of cooking and add my lime butter…
  • Serve with rice or noodles and freshly steamed vegetables.

Enjoy!

Quick and easy to do…this next dish will be ready as long as it takes your rice to cook…The dip I made just enough for one which is the beauty with this one …It is a favourite dip here, especially with young Lily who when she was here last week and I had fish while they had spag bol…put some over her spag bol…she likes it that much..weird child…haha

Pan-Seared Salmon.

  • 120 -150 gm of Salmon per person.
  • Olive oil and a little butter to cook the fish.

For the spicy sauce…

  • 2 nice sprigs of fresh coriander
  • 2 coriander roots (optional)
  • 1 spring onion(green onion) or shallot finely chopped
  • 1-2 red chillies finely sliced
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 cheeks fresh lime /lemon
  • Splash of water

Let’s Cook!

To make spicy dip wash and chop coriander finely. Finely slice green onions or shallots.

Finely chop chilli( I leave) the seeds in but they can be removed if you want a milder dip.

Put in a small dish and add the fish sauce and lime juice and a splash of water…

Taste and adjust seasoning if required…

Set to one side while you cook your fish…Score the fish skin and season with salt and fresh ground pepper…

Heat a pan and add the olive oil and butter when hot add your salmon skin side down. I cook for about 2/3 mins on the skin side and then turn and cook for 1-2 mins depending on the thickness of your fish and how you like your fish cooked we prefer ours just cooked rather than overdone. With salmon still pink in the middle. Baste the fish with the butter to keep it moist…

Place the fish on your rice skin side up and spoon over the chilli sauce…as little or as much as you like…Enjoy!

BBQ sauce leftovers were too good to waste so we coated some salmon just to try it…My taste tester Aston gave it the thumbs up…It was quick and easy to do…

I just marinated the salmon for about 15 mins in the BBQ sauce and then cooked it in foil for 10 mins..brushed it with a little more and served it on rice…Done! It was just right for a light lunch if you want something a little more substantial add some steamed veggies

Run out of your store brought BBQ sauce...again so easy to make from store cupboard ingredients…

  • 1 1/2 cups tomato ketchup
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce.
  • 1 tbsp lime/ lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 1 tsp hot sauce ….I use 1/4 cup siracha which gives a nice background heat.
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika

Whisk all your ingredients together in a small pan and heat and simmer for about 5 minutes then use as required…Today I halved the recipe and added a couple pinches of mixed herbs…I just wanted enough to baste some Pork belly which I did a couple times during cooking.

If not used immediately allow to cool and store in the fridge in a screwtop jar. It is good for about a week.

Lovely brushed on meat or fish or as we did last week we cooked our ribs in the sauce.

Salmon Trout …simple but delicious…

  • 180 gm  Trout or Salmon fillet.

For Topping:

  • 1 spring onion finely chopped.
  • 2/3 stems Coriander chopped finely.. I use the stem as well.
  • 1 red bird’s eye chilli finely chopped.
  • 1 tbsp Fish Sauce.
  • A cheek of lime.

Mix all ingredients together.

Put fish on foil and spoon topping on. I reserve some of the toppings to add when serving. Seal foil and put in the oven on 180 for 10/15 mins until cooked.

Saute some kale or spring greens and serve with Cauliflower rice… recipe here

One of my favourite ways is to eat salmon in Tom Yum Soup

Quite simply I make Tom Yum soup and then near the end I portion out enough for me and I poach my salmon in the soup with some noodles…it makes a beautiful meal…this is how I make it… add your noodles and after 2 mins add your salmon and cook for a further 5 mins until salmon is just poached…

Remove from heat and gently stir in fish sauce, lime juice, sugar and cilantro.

Taste and adjust if necessary.

This delicious soup is now ready to serve. Garnish with half a boiled egg and some coriander… Enjoy!

 

If you are doing an original Tom Yum with prawns only add your 500 gm of prepared prawns and cook for 2-3 mins max ( if overcooked the prawns will sink to the bottom of the pan. If you get any scum on the surface of soup it’s from the prawns then just skim off with a spoon. Then remove from heat and gently stir in fish sauce, lime juice, sugar and cilantro.

Taste and adjust if necessary.

Enjoy!

Of course, there are many other ways to eat Salmon…raw as sushimi is a lovely way… with pasta it can be flaked into the dish or just a sandwich with some tinned salmon and cucumber… which always reminds me of Sunday tea when I was a child…

or some lovely smoked salmon in a bagel …Smoked salmon is packed with nutrients, vitamins, and omega-3 fatty acids, all of which will boost your health …so many ways to eat this beautiful fish…How do you eat yours? what is your favourite salmon dish?

CarolCooks2…Friday Food Reviews…Regenerative Agriculture…

Welcome to Friday Food Reviews where I will be covering a different food or product each week and looking at… what are they?  where do they grow, what can we substitute them for in a recipe, are they safe to eat, how to store them, how to use them, cook them, anything connected to that food. or product..all the why’s and the wherefores…it will, of course, be mainly my own opinion or a known fact…good or bad…there may even be a tried and tested recipe…or three…

This week it’s…Regenerative Agriculture…

What is regenerative agriculture?

Regenerative agriculture is an alternative means of producing food that, its advocates claim, may have lower—or even net positive—environmental and/or social impacts. Regenerative agriculture has recently received significant attention from producers, retailers, researchers, and consumers, as well as politicians and the mainstream media.

It does seem however that there are no hard and fast definitions of what it means…I think transparency and clear guidelines are required as people are already bombarded with “sustainable farming”, pesticide-free foods, chemical-free foods and the like…is this just another way to hike costs to the consumer???

I would like to think that these companies and manufacturers are following indigenous people’s practices of animal husbandry and proper land and water management as I believe it should go hand in hand and is a circular process…

When I look at the list of companies who have pledged to do this and reduce their carbon footprint etc….my alarm bells ring…is that me being a sceptical old *** or am I worrying unnecessarily?

Without firm definitions of regenerative or many official certifications, can we trust regenerative commitments from big food companies? What should we look for, as consumers, to know whether a company’s claims can be backed up or not?

Have a listen to this podcast and tell me what your thoughts are…

Episode 6: Regenerative Mac and Cheese

Thank you for joining me today I look forward to your thoughts …

CarolCooks2…Friday Food Reviews…Spring Cleaning! The Spice Cupboard…

Welcome to Friday Food Reviews where I will be covering a different food or product each week and looking at… what are they?  where do they grow, what can we substitute them for in a recipe, are they safe to eat, how to store them, how to use them, cook them, anything connected to that food. or product..all the why’s and the wherefores…it will, of course, be mainly my own opinion or a known fact…good or bad…there may even be a tried and tested recipe…or three…

This week it’s…Time for some Spring cleaning…”The Spice Cupboard”

For some of you, spring has sprung…the daffs are in full bloom and the bluebells should be out soon…that’s when I get the urge to clean especially the cupboards…I hoard nothing anywhere else in the house the exception to that is the “Spice Cupboard”…

If you’ve moved house and come across out-of-date tins, packets past their sell-by and jars of spices that have lost their mojo then you know where I am coming from…sigh…

How do you know when it’s time to chuck out that jar languishing among the other jars?

Simply unscrew the lid and have a good smell and check the colour – the aroma should be fragrant and appetising. Or, check the date. We’re all guilty of holding onto a jar or two that still says 2020( 2017)…Who me?… Hands up I am just as guilty…

My Indian spice mixes I make myself which means I make enough for 6 curries and then make some more so those spices stay fresh as I get a good rotation and quickly…the Juniper Berries and the cardamon powder are another story?…big sigh…by now I am sure you get the picture…It’s that time!

We all know it’s hard to say goodbye – but we also want to get the most out of our herbs and spices, so if the time has come…

Ground spices… lose their freshness the quickest and typically don’t last past six months. The best freshness test for ground spices is to give them the nose test — if they smell like nothing, then it’s time to say goodbye.

If you can’t say goodbye then all may not be lost…

There are 3 ways to bring back a little life to spices that are fading but NOT ancient, two involve heat:

A gentle toast in a skillet can revive a curry powder or five-spice blend. Dump the full contents of the jar into a dry pan. Heat to medium-low and stir constantly until it gets noticeably more fragrant. Ground spices will burn easily, so don’t walk away from this one. Allow it to cool before putting it back in the jar.

“Fry” the spices in hot oil immediately before cooking with them as an alternative. This method is especially useful for aromatic blends like curry powder or single spices like coriander or cumin. Heat oil in a pan and add spices, stirring as they begin to warm and release their long-hidden aroma. Then, continue with your cooking as planned.

Repurpose older spices by making a Spice Potpourri and add fragrance to your home without cooking. You can even make these as gifts if your old spices selection is enormous.

Mixed spices… if you use them a lot, you can sometimes get them as whole spices from spice markets or online sources, but it’s more common to find them ground. It’s a good idea to label the ground spices to keep track of when you bought them. Also, use the smell test to check their freshness periodically and replace them when needed.

Whole spices… on the other hand, can be fine for up to five years. To liven them up, toast them in a dry skillet and then grind them before using. You’ll notice the flavour will be more pronounced than its untoasted brother.

Choose the whole nutmeg over the ground nutmeg, peppercorns over ground black pepper, and so on.

But if the whole spice looks faded, it may have seen its final days. That’s why you should always keep your spices in a dark cupboard instead of an open spice rack where daylight can penetrate the bottles…I know they look lovely all lined up but they don’t react well to light…

If it’s something you use every day then a nice ceramic pot looks good on your kitchen counter…

In the culinary world, spices are seasonings made from a plant’s dried roots, bark, or stem, whereas herbs are the plant’s dried or fresh leaves.

Salt is the only spice that keeps indefinitely for anything else as long as it is stored correctly it will have a long shelf life if it isn’t and you keep those spices prettily displayed then they won’t…be selective in what you buy and buy only the spices that you regularly use as for the others buy whole spices they last a lot longer…

CarolCooks2…Friday Food Reviews…Cabbage…Do you eat your #Greens?

 

Welcome to Friday Food Reviews where I will be covering a different food or product each week and looking at… what are they?  where do they grow, what can we substitute them for in a recipe, are they safe to eat, how to store them, how to use them, cook them, anything connected to that food. or product..all the why’s and the wherefores…it will, of course, be mainly my own opinion or a known fact…good or bad…there may even be a tried and tested recipe…or three…

This week it’s…Cabbage, Greens…

I love every sort of greens/cabbage either steamed lightly, stir-fried, pickled, fermented, raw we all do even the kids…I also think that school cooks, our grandmothers or mothers have much to answer for as to whether or not we love our greens or maybe we are just damn fussy or have never eaten them since we were a child and have carried that into adulthood and passed it on to our kids…there are as many who hate their greens as who ♥ their greens.

I ate them as a child I didn’t particularly like them or not but I had to eat my dinners or risk it being served for breakfast although I never remember that particular threat being carried out…lol…I also learnt as I started cooking that you didn’t need to boil the life out of them like my mother and my nanna did…although I have fond memories of the cabbage water with a touch of vinegar being a treat.

I also remember my father one Christmas saying to my mother “why don’t you cook your greens like Carol does”…I think if I had been the one that was said to my reaction would have been a tad different to my mother’s but from that day on she cooked her greens the same way I did…apart from that she also taught me much of what I know now and encouraged my love of cooking and baking…

I will now share with you some of the ways I cook and serve greens to my family and hope that if you don’t eat your greens that you will at least try one of them with an open mind…after all you may hate cabbage but do you eat coleslaw?

Types of Greens…

Affordable, versatile “Cabbage” makes an appearance in cuisines from all around the world. They can be braised, grilled, sautéed or even pickled and yet we often take them for granted,

But this humble vegetable can do way more in a dish than simply be tossed in a salad with some dressing…plus it goes without saying that cabbages are jam-packed with nutrients, packed with Vitamin C, K and B6…high in fibre…iron and antioxidants…crinkly or smooth leaf the cabbage belongs to the Brassica family which includes broccoli, cauliflower and kale…it is easy to grow even in a window box and its low cost…What’s not to like?

Around the world, the cabbage is king…a green, white or red cabbage with tightly packed leaves just like a cannonball is at its delicious best when delicious braised, stewed or boiled in a simple soup with chopped-up cabbage, carrots, corn and pork ribs…it’s perfect for shredding into coleslaw or fermented into sauerkraut…used as a wrap with Larb Moo is one of the ways I serve white cabbage and its one of Lily’s favourite and most request dinners.

She has a big chunk of white cabbage on the side and wraps a piece of cabbage around a spoonful of larb and eats it ..the taste and the texture of raw crispy cabbage with the spicy, pork with chillies and herbs is a joy to eat…we also sometimes make the larb into balls and fry them until crispy and wrap in the cabbage leaf there is a recipe for both in the highlighted link above.

Napa Cabbage…

I’m sure many of you are now familiar with seeing this beautiful cabbage for sale on markets and in your local store…In Korea, it is used to make kimchi…added to soups, or as a stuffing for dumplings…Try it shredded into a slaw, tossed with noodles, or stuffed in a hearty wrap…its uses don’t stop there though some Napa cabbage, bell peppers, carrots, and sliced pork tenderloin all stir-fried together in a Thai sweet chilli sauce that adds a pop of heat to the dish and you have a tasty meal…

But in keeping with my policy for waste not want not in mind I am giving you a dish made with the stems of napa/Nappa Chinese cabbage. Most days I start my day with a bowl of vegetable stir fry with rice…we all love veggies and on my plate, my veggies far outweigh the amount of meat I eat…

Who throws this away?

It is the stalk of the napa cabbage cut on the diagonal and am going to stirfry them with some chopped garlic, chopped ginger, dried chillies and chopped green onion. A sauce made from black vinegar, oyster sauce, soy sauce and a pinch of sugar.

Start by heating a little oil in your pan and adding the chillies, garlic and onion and cook for 1 min.

Then add your Nappa cabbage stalks and stir fry for a further 2-3 mins. Add your sauces I always mix mine beforehand so they are ready. Cook for another minute…

This can either be served with rice/noodles or as a side to your main dish…

Almost the same colour as the rice it was actually very tasty and the whole of the Napa cabbage was used…no waste…

Savoy Cabbage…

One of my favourite cabbages…easily recognisable the Savoy cabbage has wrinkly leaves. … They’re shaped into a tight, round head, like conventional green or red cabbages, but the leaves have the distinctively wrinkled appearance of Napa cabbage leaves. Savoy varieties are milder-flavoured than regular green cabbage, but the two can be used interchangeably in recipes.

How to cook cabbage…nothing fancy but as a side vegetable with your Sunday roast or midweek meal…

Boiled or Blanched:

Put the cabbage leaves or shredded cabbage in a large pan and cover halfway with water. Bring to the boil and cook for 3-5 mins or until tender. To blanch (so they can be sautéed or fried later), cover with water and boil for 3 mins. Transfer the leaves to cold water to refresh.

Steaming:

Best for spring green cabbage, Savoy cabbage…Put your prepared, shredded cabbage in a steamer and steam for around 5 mins or until tender.

Frying:

For all types of cabbage...Shred the leaves from half a head of cabbage, removing any tough leaf stems. Heat 2 tbsp of vegetable oil in a wok, then add the cabbage and 2 sliced garlic cloves. Stir-fry until the cabbage starts to wilt then add 75ml vegetable stock. Cover and cook for 3 mins until just tender.

Braising:

For red cabbage, white cabbage…Finely slice 1 large onion and put it and 50g butter, or 50ml olive oil in a heavy-based, flameproof casserole dish. Fry the onion over medium heat, stirring frequently, for about 5 mins. Cut the core from a 750g cabbage and finely slice the leaves. Add this to the casserole dish and toss everything together, cooking over low heat while you peel and slice 1 apple. Crush 1 tsp juniper and 1 tsp caraway seeds together, then add these and the apple slices to the pan. Season and pour in 500ml cider, red wine or water. Stir well and bring to a simmer, cover the dish and cook for 20 mins.

Other ways to cook include the following;

Spiced Red Cabbage: Not only is this a regular on our Christmas menu we also have it at various other times of the year…it can be eaten with cold or hot meats and keeps well in the fridge or freezer…Spiced Red Cabbage.

Pickled/brined Cabbage: White cabbage is a regular purchase here we either eat it raw or I brine it with salt or we just have it steamed as a side as above.

Pickled Cabbage, green onions and Eggplant…

Layer Cabbage, Green Onions, eggplants and salt in the dish add a little water. Mix it all together with your hands. I use lovely yellow eggplants on this occasion but any of the small eggplants can be used except for the pea eggplants.

We then leave the dish covered on the kitchen top or in the sun for 1 day.

Then drain and lightly rinse and add more salt if required. Cover and leave for 2/3 days or until it reaches your ideal taste. With pickled cabbage, it is purely down to personal taste some like it saltier or sour more than others. Just play with it and you will soon discover your ideal version.

My daughter in law who is Thai doesn’t like it as sour as we do… she doesn’t like the Winegar taste as she puts it… Once it reaches your required taste it is ready to eat…you can of course leave the eggplants out and add some spring onions or wild garlic which is lovely.

Not forgetting of course and one of the best recipes ever that you can make with leftover cold cabbage is Bubble and Squeak

bubble and squeak-potato-cabbage

Bubble and Squeak

This is one of the best meals ever with some bacon and eggs…

If you still do not like cabbage but like cheese sauce then make a nice au gratin with some cauliflower, broccoli and some white cabbage…

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, cabbage and broccoli and sprinkle over the remaining cheeses. I also add little cherry tomatoes around the edge or tomato slices…

Cauliflower, cabbage and broccoli bake

Cook under the grill until the sauce is bubblier and the top is golden brown for about 15-20 minutes in a preheated oven at 180/200 degrees.

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

That’s all for cabbage(although) there are so many other ways to cook this beautiful green vegetable I hope I have encouraged you to try cabbage or other greens…I look forward to your comments xx

Welcome to Friday Food Reviews where I will be covering a different food or product each week and looking at… what are they?  where do they grow, what can we substitute them for in a recipe, are they safe to eat, how to store them, how to use them, cook them, anything connected to that food. or product..all the why’s and the wherefores…it will, of course, be mainly my own opinion or a known fact…good or bad…there may even be a tried and tested recipe…or three…

This week it’s…the foods we hate…

This list is by no means exhaustive and is based on comments I have seen on my site or others so please feel free to add another and why…

Most of these I like/love and don’t understand why some don’t BUT it wouldn’t do for us all to be alike it would be most boring…I also think that what we didn’t like as a child as our tastebuds mature and develop our tastes change…

Beets…

I love beets pickled, warm from the oven, made into beetroot chutney or paired with orange in a smoothie…I love the earthy smell and taste of beets but some don’t…Here’s why…it’s not the soil that gives beets their earthy smell that some would liken to “dirt”… it’s the geosmin…Geosmin is an organic compound produced by the microbes in soil it is this which gives off the smell of earth after a rainstorm…I love that smell ..Human noses are very sensitive to geosmin and while I love it many don’t and turn their noses up at the smell.

Bologna…

This is one of the foods I would not let pass my lips and indeed it would not find its way into my shopping basket either…it is not the fact it is made from “parts of the animal’s body” which we may or may not normally eat but the fact it is also highly processed…

Cilantro…

Or coriander as it is also known as…I love it many do not and liken the taste to soap…It’s all in the genes!

Mushrooms…

I love shrooms and we are lucky that we have many different types of mushrooms to choose from…others for some reason do not like mushrooms…It is not like cilantro where it is in the genes or beets where your nose is sensitive to Geosmin its just a personal dislike…

Liver…

Cooked properly liver is not only healthy and full of nutrients but it is delicious…made into a pate with toast or crackers, liver and bacon with onions is a dish my mother served up every week. My mother used to use either pig’s liver or lambs’ liver and she always used to soak it in milk…soaking it in milk removes much of the gamey/bitter taste…I prefer to use chicken livers and I either cook them like my mother cooked liver with bacon and onions or I do a spicy liver with lime leaves and red curry paste with green beans which is delicious…

Apparently liver is one of Britain’s most hated foods…Do you like Liver?

Black Liquorice…

I love liquorice…my hubby likes Liquorice allsorts but doesn’t like the plain liquorice ones so I get to eat those…Because of the glycyrrhizin in liquorice, it should be eaten in moderation as it can lead to potentially serious health problems…Why do some people hate it..its in the genes just like Cilantro…

I used to love the liquorice sticks we used to get as a child..does anyone else remember these they were like little sticks of wood and also the tiny black liquorice imps.

Pickles…

In my kitchen, anything gets pickled fruit or vegetable we all love pickles…my favourite at the moment is red cabbage sauerkraut it is delicious…For some the phallic shape, their sour smell puts them of pickles plus the fact that some people can’t stand the crunch of a crisp pickled onion or wally as they are known in southern England, large gherkins pickled in vinegar are served as an accompaniment to fish and chips, and are sold from big jars on the counter at a fish and chip shop, along with pickled onions. In the Cockney dialect of London, this type of gherkin is called a “wally”…

Pineapple on Pizza…

I am not a great Pizza Eater but I do love the occasional slice and I also like pineapple on my Pizza…I have often seen debates about this and it appears that some do not think pineapple has a place on pizza…Which camp are you in?

Tomatoes…

Tomatoes I love them any which way they come raw or cooked my hubby has never ever liked tomatoes until a few years ago when he decided he would try Spaghetti Bolognese and ever since then he has eaten Spag bol or pizza anything with cooked tomatoes in he still doesn’t eat raw tomatoes which stems from childhood and lasted for a good 30 years of our marriage and now among other things he will eat tomato-based sauces…

Marzipan…

It’s that time of year when I can make a Simnel Cake which is an Easter cake topped with toasted marzipan…Again there is division in our household I love marzipan and hubby doesn’t and yet he eats almonds and it is apparently the almond smell that turns many people off marzipan…At Christmas, it is a tradition to make a fruit cake with marzipan and icing…Stollen is another popular cake with marzipan in the centre as are the lovely little marzipan fruits…Marzipan fruits are very popular on the continent as are almond/marzipan biscuits, especially in Italy.

Olives…

Olives are an acquired taste you either love them or hate them…as a child, I didn’t like them at all but as my taste buds matured I found a love for olives… Olives are quite high on the list of the most hated foods…on the continent, Olives are served before or in most meals it wouldn’t be a meal without Olives…

Blue Cheese…

Blue Cheese also divides people some love it some do not…a Connoisseur of blue cheeses will tell you that a developed palate is needed to appreciate the nuances of a delicious, matured blue cheese…with a glass of good Port, there is no better ending to a meal…

To develop a palate for blue cheese it is better to start with a milder Danish Blue or Gorgonzola then advance to a medium Stilton before partaking in the pleasures of Roquefort…

That’s all for today there are of course many more foods that are divisive some are just down to individual taste or maybe the way they were cooked others are down to our genes or a natural substance in the food which our noses take a dislike to…

As always I look forward to your comments and look forward to hearing what food you really dislike and why…x