Tag Archives: Made from Scratch

Christmas Recipes…Home Cured Ham & Bacon…

Christmas Ham and Bacon (2)

I have home cured my own ham/ bacon for a long time now…

Those of you who know me are well aware of my aversion to anything processed and ham/ bacon is no exception to that rule. The ham you purchase from the shops is just slimy, and not nice at all….The bacon of doubtful origins at best especially where I live now…In the Uk you could get some lovely home cured kinds of bacon and hams not so here or if there is I have not found them….I have also been experimenting with various different ways of curing bacon and ham which may be more healthy…

Bacon contains nitrates which some people have an aversion to using or it causes headaches and other adverse symptoms.

Today I am using celery juice..just put the celery into the juicer and out the other side and viola this lovely vibrant green juice.

Now celery also contains nitrates but they are naturally occurring nitrates although for some people it may still cause headaches but if your aversion is to chemicals only then celery may be a better way to cure your bacon.

I used 2 Kilo’s Pork Belly.

For every Kilo of Pork use I used:

  • 2 parts rock salt to 1 part sugar.
  • 4 cloves garlic.
  • 2 bay leaves
  • A bunch of Lemon Thyme.
  • 20/30 Mustard Seeds,
  • 12 Pepper Corns,
  • Celery Juice as required to make the mix damp.

Lets Cook!

Finely slice bay Leaves and lightly crush with other spices in Pestle & Mortar.

Combine with Sugar and Salt and mix with liberal amounts of celery juice until damp.

Rub into the Pork.

Belly pork bacon Naturallly cured

Place Pork in a sealed container or bag ( I used a brining bag). Turn halfway through the week. That is why I like using the brining bags as it is much easier to turn the pork belly over.

Store in the fridge for 5 Days.

After 5 days remove the belly pork and wash thoroughly.

Cook in the oven @ 100 C for 2 hours. Cool and slice.

Home cured belly Streaky bacon

It also looks lovely and pink ( no grey) which means the natural nitrates in the celery juice had worked their magic.

All I need now is a home-made smoker and some lovely flavoured woods. Maybe use some maple syrup, honey, someone suggested coffee..some nice tea springs to my mind so many options…A different blend of herbs or cut of meat…

Have you made your own bacon and if you did what did you use?

Now the tester…How will it taste?

Home cured Bacon frying

Naturally cured with celery juice

It smells like bacon, looks like bacon and made a lovely sandwich….  Most households have some who love thick bacon and some who like thinner bacon the beauty of making your own bacon is everyone can have their bacon sliced to their own requirements …How cool is that?

If you start experimenting now you can have some lovely home-cured bacon for Christmas or as a lovely present for someone you love …

My next two ham recipes are using Salt Petre I made the conscious decision that for the amount used and the dilution per litre of liquid that as the body can cope and disperse with the nitrate I would use that rather than getting botulism which the body generally doesn’t cope with. Also for the number of times, I make ham we are not eating it day in day out week after week the risk is minimal and considering the number of chemicals which are in foods by cooking my own food from scratch I have control. That is my decision. It is also extremely likely if you buy your ham ready to cook that nitrates have been used in the curing process I believe I use far less than any ham I buy ready to cook.

Christmas Ham Recipe.

A piece of Pork…top of leg……mine was 3 kilo.

Suitable plastic( not metal) container to brine meat in.

Ingredients for the Rub:

  • 4 tbsp salt (coarse)
  • 2 tbsp  Sugar.
  • 1/2 tbsp Saltpeter(saltpetre) See note at the end of the post 
  • Ingredients for Brine:
  • 5 litres water
  • 900 gm salt (coarse)
  • 2 tbsp Sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp Saltpeter.

Day one:

Mix the dry rub, and rub the ham, making sure it’s well covered. If using a 7-8 kilo ham you will need a double batch.

Place the ham in a large container, cover with a clean tea towel and leave in a cool place, like the fridge.

Now mix the brine in a pot and cook up and cook for 10 min. Remove the pot from the heat. Remove the foam when it stops bubbling and leave the liquid to cool and save in a cold place. I put it in the fridge.

Day two:

Pour the cold brine over the ham so it is covered.

Store the ham somewhere cold. If you have  a larder or cold store that is great I keep mine in the fridge

Turn the ham from time to time during the curing time. Use clean tongs and plastic gloves.

Let the ham brine for 14-20 days.

IF the brine goes cloudy, make new brine and replace the old brine with that and keep curing it.

Warning: Wear gloves even when dry rubbing. Clever clogs here didn’t the first time and I had a skin reaction all my own fault.

When the ham is cured use your favourite recipe to cook and voila a lovely ham.

I have cooked mine all ways usually I cover with water, bring it to the boil and then drain off all the water. Add fresh water and all my spices…I add a couple of bay leaves, cinnamon stick, mustard seeds, coriander seeds, about 3/4 cloves, a star anise and maybe a cardamom pod also about 2 tbsp of brown sugar…I cook for 20 mins per 500 gm of meat and then allow to cool overnight in the cooking water it is then ready to eat.

Ham- cloves- home cooked

Ham with scored skin studded with cloves

I have also once it has finished cooking scored the fat and studded with cloves, brushed with honey and put in the oven for 20 minutes.

My third way of making ham which I did last Christmas was to use loin of pork instead of the leg. It is also much quicker to brine than a whole leg and only takes between 4-6 days depending on the size of your meat and how salty you like your ham.

I used 2 kilos of Pork Loin.

Ingredients for Rub:

  • 2 tbsp salt (coarse)
  • 1 tbsp  Sugar.
  • 1/4 tbsp Saltpeter(saltpetre)

Ingredients for Brine:

  • 2 1/2  litres water
  • 450 gm salt (coarse)
  • 1 tbsp Sugar
  • 1/4 tbsp Saltpeter.

Mix the ingredients for the rub together and rub over the pork loin.

Place the ham in a large container, cover with a clean tea towel and leave in a cool place, like the fridge.

Now mix the brine in a pot and cook up and cook for 10 min. Remove the pot from the heat. Remove the foam when it stops bubbling and leave to cool and save in a cold place.

Day two:

Pour the cold brine over the ham so it is covered.

Store the ham cold.

Turn the ham from time to time during the curing time. Use clean tongs and plastic gloves.

Let the ham brine for 4-6 days.

Tip: The first time I used loin I left it for 4 days the second time I left it for 5 days which suited our taste… It is always wise to do a test run I think as personal tastes vary.

If I am making crackling ham I buy pork with the skin on and score the fat….when I get to the boiling stage I added water to just below the fat and then when it was cooked I covered the meat with foil leaving just the fat exposed then oiled and salted the fat put it in a high oven to crisp of the crackling…It went down a storm everyone loved it…A bit more work but crispy crackling with your ham…Awesome!

Ham- crackling-home cooked-sliced-platter

Home cooked ham and crackling

Most of the time I but my pork loin without the fat…When curing ham or bacon the meat must be fresh and not frozen.

I hope you are enjoying my Christmas recipes please let me know in comments and also what are your favourite maybe you cook something I haven’t tried or heard of…Please let me know…

About Carol Taylor:

Enjoying life in The Land Of Smiles I am having so much fun researching, finding new, authentic recipes both Thai and International to share with you. New recipes gleaned from those who I have met on my travels or are just passing through and stopped for a while. I hope you enjoy them.

I love shopping at the local markets, finding fresh, natural ingredients, new strange fruits and vegetable ones I have never seen or cooked with. I am generally the only European person and attract much attention and I love to try what I am offered and when I smile and say Aroy or Saab as it is here in the north I am met with much smiling.

Some of my recipes may not be in line with traditional ingredients and methods of cooking but are recipes I know and have become to love and maybe if you dare to try you will too. You will always get more than just a recipe from me as I love to research and find out what other properties the ingredients I use contain to improve our health and wellbeing.

Exciting for me hence the title of my blog, Retired No One Told Me! I am having a wonderful ride and don’t want to get off, so if you wish to follow me on my adventures, then welcome! I hope you enjoy the ride also and if it encourages you to take a step into the unknown or untried, you know you want to…….Then, I will be happy!

Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology: https://www.amazon.com/Phuket-Island-Writers-Anthology-Stories-ebook/dp/B00RU5IYNS

Connect to Carol

Blog: https://blondieaka.wordpress.com/
Twitterhttps://twitter.com/TheRealCarolT
Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/carol.taylor.1422

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/caroltaylor56/pins/

Thank you once again for reading this post I hope you all have a great week xx

 

 

Eat Smart, Eat Healthy…No more Diets

Winter warming Soups and chilli

Good morning from sunny Thailand… we are warm here as we are coming into our High Season soon while many of you I know are feeling the winter chills… This week some healthy lunches…which will warm you up …

It is quite difficult to think of what to suggest as when I worked in my last job although we had the heating on  the doors were continually opening and closing so if you were working on the ground floor it was a tad cold most of the time so a warm bowl of soup or a jacket potato was very welcome at lunchtime.

I always used to make extra if I made a stew or chilli and freeze in portions it was then easy to take to work and I know from experience that if I ventured out at lunchtime as I hadn’t bought anything in with me it was over to Marks & Spencer who do the most divine sandwiches and of course all their yummy sweet things are by the till…Do I need to say more???

Not taking in lunch is a trap many of us fall into without realising, isn’t it? Plus it is more costly…

As I am at home and  Lunch is my main meal I generally have a stir fry they are quick to do and cook while the rice is cooking which Is why I like them…

Fried Fish with peppercorns in black bean sauce.
Serves 1.

fish black bean sauce

  • 100 gm white fish cut into smallish pieces and rolled in rice flour.
  • Small onion roughly cut
  • 2 spring onion sliced
  • 1-2 chillies sliced diagonally
  • 1 stem of fresh peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp black bean sauce
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • Sm piece fresh ginger minced or finely Julienne
  • Fish sauce to taste.

Lets Cook!

Heat up the oil in a wok and shallow fry fish quickly on each side until it becomes golden brown, it will take around 2 to 3 minutes on each side.
In the same wok where fish is fried sauté garlic, chilli, onion and ginger.
Add green onion and peppercorns then stir-fry for a minute. Then add fish.
Add splash water, black bean sauce bring to a rolling boil, add fish and turn over once to coat with the sauce and simmer for 2 mins. If the sauce is thin you can add a bit of cornstarch/arrowroot slurry to thicken it.
Flavour with fish sauce and season with freshly ground black pepper.
Serve with steamed rice and a chilli dip( optional)

You could also make this at home and heat gently at work for lunch or microwave it.

Jacket Potatoes…Easy to do and will fill you up…If you have an oven at work then in your pop one in the oven and take a portion of chilli, baked beans, cheese, coleslaw, sweetcorn, caramelised onions and mushrooms what is your favourite topping?

jacket-potato-2906023_640

My favourite is chilli be it a meat or vegetarian one or cheese and coleslaw if it isn’t too cold.

Carol’s Chilli Con Carne

Ingredients:

  • 500 gm lean minced Beef ( I use pork) as I can’t get minced beef here.
  • 1 tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 1 red or yellow pepper chopped
  • 3/4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 2-inch piece of fresh ginger finely chopped
  • 1-3 heaped tsp hot chilli powder (or 1 level tbsp if you only have mild)
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1-2 bay leaves
  • 1 pint of fresh made beef or vegetable stock
  • 400 gm fresh chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp dried marjoram
  • 1/2 tsp sugar…I sneak this in when no one is looking as it brings out the sweetness of the tomatoes.
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 410 gm can red kidney beans, drained or pre-soaked dried kidney beans.

Let’s Cook!
Put the olive oil in a large pan and heat add the chopped onions, garlic, ginger, bay leaves and cumin seeds cook until onions are translucent about 5 minutes.
I like to add my cumin seeds with the onions as it brings out their full flavour and we love cumin.
Add the minced meat and cook, stirring until nicely browned.
Add the tomatoes, stock, peppers and tomato puree stirring in well and bring to a soft simmer.
Add the paprika, marjoram and sugar.
Cook for 20 minutes now this is where I taste and add more chilli and usually more cumin seeds and then add the drained kidney beans and cook for a further 30 minutes.

chilli-con carne-chilli peppers

Serve with steamed rice and sour cream sprinkled with smoked paprika ( optional)

Enjoy!

NB. HELP! I would rather use dried kidney beans rather than tinned HOWEVER I soak them for hours then cook then add to my chilli and they are still not soft…I don’t have a pressure cooker but is there anyone who can give me some tips and I don’t add salt while soaking.

My second Chilli recipe from a friend of mine …Richard and it is his vegetarian chilli…Thank Richard it is very nice. It is Richards recipe with a Thai twist and tasty…

Vegetarian Chilli with lentils.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large onion roughly chopped
  • 1 carrot finely chopped
  • 1 stick of celery finely chopped
  • 1 tomato finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 3 chillies
  • 125 gm mushrooms chopped
  • A handful of chopped green beans
  • 100 gm black lentils
  • 1 tbsp each of fish sauce, soy sauce, oyster sauce and sugar
  • Basil Leaves

 

vegetarian chilli with lentils

 

The instructions are as I received them as Richard obviously knows I can cook ( there wasn’t any) just ingredients …he is also male…lol

For anyone needing more details then cook as my chilli recipe above but adding lentils instead of the meat. I did add a couple more tomatoes and some kidney beans to Richards original recipe….I also soaked my lentils… he doesn’t as he likes his lentils al dente…

Cooking is all about personal taste and I sometimes just chuck it in the pot and take it from there… That’s how I cook most of the time and TASTE…

Enjoy!

Both of these make great toppings for jacket potatoes or with rice …

Soup is also very good...You make a batch at home and freeze in portions it just needs reheating or take it in a thermos flask…

Yesterday I made a lovely mushroom soup …a new recipe and it needs tweaking my little taste tester told me what I needed to do….lol

It pleases me though because it means that he tastes the food and knows when it needs something else so that is good for a child.

Mushroom Soup…

2 lbs of mushrooms…mixed I used straw, button, crimini and some small ones which I can’t remember the name.

1 onion sliced

6 sprigs of thyme tied together

3 cloves of garlic

6 cups of chicken or vegetable stock

2 cups of water

1 cup of cream

Salt and pepper to taste

Let’s Cook!

Melt the butter and add the mushrooms and add a pinch of salt and cook until they give up their juices and reduce the heat. Cook stirring until the juice has evaporated and the mushrooms start to brown.

crimini straw button mushrooms

Pick out a few nice pieces and set to one side for the garnish.

Mix the onions into the mushrooms and cook until the onion softens about 5 minutes.

Add the thyme and garlic and pour in the stock and water simmer for 1 hour.

Remove the thyme before blending the soup, if the consistency is still too thick then add more stock/water…Return to a pan and add the cream…Taste and season with salt and black pepper…

Mushroom Soup

 

I hope this has given you a few ideas about what to have for lunch…What is your favourite lunch?

I have added the link to a Chicken Noodle soup as it also has the recipe for homemade chicken broth.

Noodle-soup-Thai-chicken

https://blondieaka.com/2018/09/13/thai-chicken-noodle-soup/

All of these you could batch cook every two weeks and freeze in portions and you would never have to worry about what is for lunch… Just add your garnishes and herbs if required…

About Carol Taylor:

Enjoying life in The Land Of Smiles I am having so much fun researching, finding new, authentic recipes both Thai and International to share with you. New recipes gleaned from those who I have met on my travels or are just passing through and stopped for a while. I hope you enjoy them.

I love shopping at the local markets, finding fresh, natural ingredients, new strange fruits and vegetable ones I have never seen or cooked with. I am generally the only European person and attract much attention and I love to try what I am offered and when I smile and say Aroy or Saab as it is here in the north I am met with much smiling.

Some of my recipes may not be in line with traditional ingredients and methods of cooking but are recipes I know and have become to love and maybe if you dare to try you will too. You will always get more than just a recipe from me as I love to research and find out what other properties the ingredients that I cook with have to improve our health and wellbeing.

Exciting for me hence the title of my blog, Retired No One Told Me! I am having a wonderful ride and don’t want to get off, so if you wish to follow me on my adventures, then welcome! I hope you enjoy the ride also and if it encourages you to take a step into the unknown or untried, you know you want to…….Then, I will be happy!

Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology: https://www.amazon.com/Phuket-Island-Writers-Anthology-Stories-ebook/dp/B00RU5IYNS

Connect to Carol

Blog: https://blondieaka.wordpress.com/
Twitterhttps://twitter.com/TheRealCarolT
Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/carol.taylor.1422

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/caroltaylor56/pins/

Thank you for reading I hope you enjoy the soup …Or maybe you have already tried it…Do you love it?? Please let me know in comments xxx

Fruity Friday…The Red Banana

Red Bananas (2)

Banana trees are everywhere here in gardens, growing on wasteland, by the side of the road everywhere… Sometimes I can’t even give them away…

They can be frozen, used in fruit shakes and smoothies or banana bread…Banana pancakes are very popular here and we have a little stall just down the road from us.

The kids love them but they are too sweet for me and an occasional treat for them as they pour condensed milk all over them.

You will also see BBQ’S by the side of the road grilling them and serving with some sweet syrup or fried bananas, banana balls which are one of my favourites when I go to market but you name it you can get the banana any which way…

They range from tiny little bananas to fair sized one not sold by the kilo as in western countries but by the hand as bananas are freely available here and very prolific crops.

The red banana I was given as a gift by one of my neighbours they are very nice and so pretty… it has a balanced sweet taste and can be used as a cooking banana even though it isn’t plantain but we just enjoyed eating them just as they were.

Red Bananas (2)

The leaves of the red banana, however, cannot be used to cook, wrap or serve food on. The red banana is not so popular as other bananas as it is harder to grow they also require more water and the skins tend to crack so I think I got a bit of a treat as I hadn’t seen them before. and the skins on these were lovely and smooth so they obviously were well watered.

More so unusual because when I was showing a friend she told me that some red bananas sold as a sweet dish here are not a special variety that is naturally red like mine but rather, the bananas are soaked in red coloured hydrolyzed lime water, made with a lime powder obtained from fossilized shells dissolved in water. The soaking hardens the bananas so that they don’t fall apart when later boiled in syrup. These “Red ” bananas may be eaten on their own or served in sweetened coconut milk.

That was an interesting piece of info not sure if I would like to eat them but I will certainly be keeping my eyes out and have asked my friend to get me some if she sees them…I will now be investigating this fossilized shells they use.

You learn something every day don’t you??? Have you seen this dessert or tried it???

Healthwise the red banana is high on potassium and is alkaline in nature. Since it is red in colour, it has a high content of anthocyanin which acts like an antioxidant. It is also high on fibre and vitamin C.

Even though the basic constitutes of all varieties of bananas are the same, the red bananas are high in all the vitamins and minerals and is a great antioxidant-rich food.

Just a little tip… I was told that Red bananas are great for your skin when made into a paste… To prepare an easy and effective face mask mix powered oats, mashed red banana and few drops of honey to make a paste. Apply it on your face an let it dry and then wash it off.

Not only do they make a great face mask but they are good for your hair…

You can mash the banana with coconut, sesame or almond oil to moisturize your hair and to relieve problems like dandruff, hair fall and dry hair. Add few teaspoons of lemon in the mask and apply it all over your hair. Leave it on for 30 minutes and then wash off for bouncy and shiny hair.

I hope you enjoyed this post about my gift of red bananas…

If you did please hit the share buttons …xxx

Connect to Carol( Moi)

Blog: https://blondieaka.wordpress.com/

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/TheRealCarolT

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/carol.taylor.1422

Pinterest ( 1): https://www.pinterest.com/caroltaylor56/pins/

Thank you  for reading and have a lovely weekend x

 

Pickled Eggs

Love pickled eggs??

 

But want a change ?? Love the colour pink? Then add some beets…Fancy a bit of spice  ?? Then check out these recipes…

JALAPENO PICKLED EGGS:

jalapeno pickled eggs

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 a cup of Cider Vinegar.
  • 3/4 a cup of water.
  • 1/2 cup of sugar plus 1 tbsp sugar.
  • 6 cloves.
  • 2 Jalapenos cut in half lengthwise and deseeded.
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds.
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 onion sliced.
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 9 Hard-boiled eggs, peeled.

Let’s Cook!

Boil eggs for 10-15 mins until hard. Remove from heat and put into cold water.

In a medium pan, put vinegar, water( or beet juice) if using, onion, jalapenos, sugar, and spices. Bring to the boil and cook until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes.

Pour vinegar over eggs making sure they are completely covered.

If using beet juice also put some beet in the jar with the eggs. You will then have pickled beets as well.

Make sure the lid is tight and refrigerate. The eggs will be ready to eat in a few days and will keep for up to a month if you haven’t already eaten them.

CURRIED PICKLED EGGS:

Ingredients:

1 cup cider vinegar.

3/4 a cup of water.

1/4 of an onion.

3/4 cup white sugar.

3 cardamon pods

1 tsp mustard seeds( yellow or brown)

I tbsp yellow curry paste.

Let’s Cook!

As above bring all the ingredients to the boil until sugar is dissolved. Allow to cool a little and then pour the vinegar mix over the eggs making sure they are completely covered.

Allow to pickle for a few days in the fridge they are then ready to eat… Left with lots of pickle juice ????

Don’t want to waste that pickle juice???    Then have a …

Pickleback

What is a pickleback? You are about to find out!

It’s a shot of whiskey followed by a shot of pickle juice and some even follow that with a beer chaser…

A popular drink in bars around the world and apparently very good….Have you tried a pickleback????

Until later when I am going to show you some of the worst diets known to man…

Make sure you don’t miss it…xxx

 

 

Healthy Eating…How to lose weight and eat the foods you love…

board-1848736_1920

Welcome to my Tuesday ( Bootcamp) where we have sensible conversations on what we eat and enjoy… Yes, enjoy!

Just to recap on last week what have you been drinking??? ANYTHING NEW??

Have you stopped drinking something unhealthy and replaced it with something better for you???

Tell me…talk to me…I don’t want to know how much you weigh or why you ate 10 doughnuts… Your body, your health and you only cheat yourself… Here endeth the lecture… Haha

This should be fun…I love my food…I love living…I have much I want to do… I don’t want to be sick with anything that I have control over…Notice I said I..moi..me..myself…

Just a quick recap of last weeks post.

https://blondieaka.wordpress.com/2018/02/06/healthy-eating-how-to-lose-weight-and-eat-the-foods-you-love/comment-page-1/#comment-7592

What have I been drinking this week?... My first drink of the day…A small glass of hot water, with a tbsp of apple cider vinegar, 2 tsp raw honey and about a tsp of freshly grated ginger…

Apple cider vinegar with honey and ginger

I do alternate my drinks every so often but I also think this has helped curb my sweet tooth…Oh yes…This girl used to love her cakes and sweets…I still do but I don’t crave them anymore and if I do see something and think I fancy that then I may buy it but can just have a piece or one sweet and really enjoy it…but truly I couldn’t eat the whole packet like I used too… Is it my age? Has cutting out sweet, sugary drinks and caffeine curbed my sweet tooth???

Over to you...

What changes have you made to your drinks??? Tell me in comments I would love to know …

Before I turn to what I snack on as promised…

It’s Pancake day today! Shrove Tuesday and tomorrow is the start of Lent.

https://blondieaka.wordpress.com/2018/02/10/shrove-tuesday-aka-pancake-day-mardi-gras-or-fat-tuesday/

I am having a pancake…complete with Lime and sugar( i Can’t) get lemons… I am going to enjoy it! I am not going to feel guilty and neither should you…

We cannot go through life avoiding all these days of the year which tempt us with …yes unhealthy goodies…Can we???

board-1848736_1920

MODERATION…Simples!

Enjoy!

My snacks.

Honestly, I don’t snack a lot but when I do… I have a fridge full of pickles, Pickled Jalapenos and I eat a small piece of feta cheese and a couple of cherry tomatoes.

Pickled cabbage ( Pak dong), Pickled onions, pickled cucumber and Pickled Garlic…occassionally I pickle watermelon rinds and pickled eggs. All little nibbles to enjoy!

https://blondieaka.wordpress.com/2017/07/26/healthy-eating-just-pickled/

I might make a small bowl of fresh salsa or guacamole( occasionally) and here is where the moderation kicks in IF I eat Doritos ( moderation)

But make your own healthy chips for dips…

Salt and Vinegar Kale chips.

kale-2317181_1920

Just tear leaves from a bunch of kale then toss in 2 tbsp of Olive oil, I tbsp of Apple cider vinegar, 1 tsp of sea salt and 1 tsp of maple syrup.

Spread on a baking tray and bake at 180 for about 10 minutes turning after 5 mins and bake until crisp and dry. Cool down and enjoy either on their own or with some fresh salsa…

Vary kale chips by adding some garlic…Play with your flavours get the kids to help…

Beetroot and rosemary chips

Peel a medium beetroot and thinly slice with a mandolin if you have one or use a vegetable peeler. Arrange on a baking tray and sprinkle with a little Olive oil. Bake 180 degrees for about 20 minutes until the edges dry out. Sprinkle with a tsp of chopped rosemary and bake for a further 10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack they will crisp as they cool down.

apple-3100673_1920

You can also make healthy chips from apple, banana, pineapple, pears and papaya.

Do you make your own healthy chips? If so share your recipe with us in comments or PM  me and I will add it to my blog…

I hope you are enjoying the insight into what I eat …Feel free to add your tips…Let’s all share our knowledge and get healthier…Let’s protect our bodies from ageing and preventable diseases…We won’t stop everything but we can help ourselves as much as we can by being aware, by applying moderation and no excuses…

Until next Tuesday enjoy your food and laugh a lot… and share any good practices you have…we all want to know…I want to know…I am not perfect I just try to do what I can to preserve this old body of mine…

Moderation and cook from scratch using the best produce I can…If you can grow your own ..great… It is what I try to do and it works for me…

Don’t forget to share your healthy recipes … I will promote you and your blog…

Lastly!

Just don’t forget the exercise…walking is mine…What’s yours ???

Thank you for reading enjoy your week and be happy xx

 

 

 

 

Fruity Friday…Pomegranates…

The Pomegranate with fruit like beautiful red jewels glistening in the sun always makes me think of far-off climes and hot sandy deserts.

pomegranate-open-196800_1920

It just says eat me it is another fruit which grows in abundance here and I can see the little pomegranates as I type. The branches swaying in the gentle breeze.

It has beautiful flowers and is grown as an ornamental tree because of these.

Although not native to Japan or Korea it is widely grown there as when they mature the bark makes unusual, twisted patterns and hence this tree is very suitable for Bonsai trees some trees live up to 200 years.

Originally from Iran, it has been successfully cultivated throughout the Meditteranean and North India. It grows very successfully from seed and we have many pomegranate trees here..well in almost every garden, this edible fruit is a berry and the tree is extremely drought tolerant so suited to the climate here and other Asian countries.

Medicinally the fruit rind is used to treat chronic dysentery and diarrhoea. The pulp and seeds are used as a laxative.

Like many people I was put off by getting those little seeds out from the surrounding membrane don’t they make a lot of mess? but if you separate the seeds in a bowl of water it is much easier to do. Tricks of the trade so simple when you know how!

They make wonderful juices, smoothies, garnishes for cooking…I just love seeing those little red jewel-like berries scattered over some lamb, duck or just a simple eggplant dish and Pomegranate syrup is a lovely thing and elevates many a dish.

Lovely in a cocktail as well…just saying…lol

Just make a lovely gin and soda cocktail and add a handful of pomegranates and a splash of the syrup..very nice and a beautiful pink colour.

Pomegranate seeds are also used to make a spice called anardana which is very popular in Indian and Pakistan cuisine it is made from the dried seeds of the pomegranate and then ground to a fine powder. It is used as a flavour enhancer in many dishes from salads, meats, smoothies and yoghurts.

Pomegranate salad eggplants

I cannot buy pomegranate syrup/ molasses here but it is is very easy to make and I love it poured over Ice cream.

Let’s Cook!

To make the syrup you need

  • 4 cups of Pomegranate juice
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice.

Put the arils….which is what the fleshy coloured coverings are called into your blender and pulse just enough to break them up. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve. You will need enough to make 4 cups of pomegranate juice.

Put the juice into a large wide pan on the medium heat until the sugar has dissolved, let the juice simmer until it has reduced to about a cup or a cup and a quarter and is nice and syrupy. Pour into a sterilised jar/ bottle, cool and keep in the refrigerator.

Because Pomegranates vary in their sweetness and acidity you may need to add more or less sugar/lemon juice. 

Guinea Fowl, walnut and pomegranate stew.

Guinea fowl with pomegranates and walnuts

Ingredients:

  • 1 free-range guinea fowl jointed into 4-6 pieces
  • 1 ltr of fresh chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 large onions sliced
  • 6 cloves garlic sliced
  • 300 gm walnuts shelled
  • 1 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 125 ml pomegranate molasses/syrup
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Garnish with a handful of pomegranate seeds, coriander, parsley, tarragon, chives mint or basil and some sliced spring onions.

Let’s Cook!

Toast the walnuts on a baking tray in the oven at 180 degrees/gas 4

Then whizz them in the food processor I have a small little chopper until they have a smooth texture, scrape the sides down occasionally it will look like a smooth peanut butter.

Put the walnut mix in a large pan add the chicken stock and 1 ltr water and bring to a simmer cook until the mix has reduced by half stirring often so the walnut mix does catch and burn about 45-50 mins.

Heat the oil in a wide shallow dish when hot add the seasoned guinea fowl skin side down fry over a medium heat until the skin has browned.

Turn over and sear the other side transfer to a plate and cook the remaining pieces the same way. Set the plate to one side.

In the same pan add the onions and on a medium heat cook for about 10 minutes stirring often add the garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes then add cinnamon, sugar and tomato puree bring to a gentle simmer and add the walnut mix and the pomegranate molasses bring back to a gentle simmer add the guinea fowl legs skin side up and cook for  30 minutes. Add the breasts making sure everything is evenly placed to ensure even cooking and cook for a further 20 minutes or until the guinea fowl is cooked through. Check the stock every so often and if it is reducing too much top up with chicken stock or water and gently stir.

Once ready check and adjust the seasoning you are looking for a sweet but sharp, savoury balance of flavour it might require more molasses or sugar.

Scatter with the pomegranate seeds and a garnish of the freshly picked herbs.

N.B Guinea fowl can be tough to portion so get your butcher to do it or use chicken portions or baby quail.

This can be made a day or two in advance just loosen the sauce with some water when reheating.

Serve with rice or couscous…It is a lovely rich dish and ideal for that special occasion I just love the flavour the pomegranate molasses impart to this dish.

Enjoy!

Lastly, Pomegranate vinegar makes a lovely present and is also very nice and can be used to make a very nice personal gift which any cook would be pleased to be given.

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I use apple cider vinegar as it is readily available but a good quality wine vinegar can be used or a balsamic vinegar as it gives a sweeter tasting vinegar.

To make you will need equal quantities of pomegranate seeds to vinegar. What I do is decide on the bottles or jars I am using and measure the vinegar in that then once I know the amount of vinegar I then work out how many arils I will need( they must be deseeded)

.Put the pomegranate seeds in a saucepan and flatten them to release the juice ( use a plastic cup or something to flatten the seeds.

Bring them to a slow rolling boil not completely boiling so as to release the pomegranate juice and turn off the heat. Pour everything into a sterilized jar or bottle and cover the top loosely and allow to cool completely.Once cool put the cap on the jar or bottle and store in a dark cool place or in the fridge the flavour will develop as the days go by…When ready to use strain the vinegar you can add some molasses to strengthen the flavour or add sugar to sweeten.

It can be used as a drink by adding a tbsp or two of vinegar to a glass of water and sweeten with honey. OR used to make salad dressings either on its own or by mixing with Olive oil, garlic or mustard.

It also makes a lovely Christmas or birthday gift..who doesn’t like a bottle of a handmade vinegar…

I hope you are enjoying these Fruity Fridays …Thank you for reading and I hope you love the recipes …If you do please share on your favourite social media xxx

 

 

If Your Dreams Don’t Scare You, They Aren’t Big Enough!

Dare to dream…I said it! That was in 2015 and remember for every dream which comes true there are a few failures…Mine I never did master that dang Scrivener… The rest …I am still dreaming….

Retired? No one told me!

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So be scared, be very afraid and the sky will be the limit, ask any successful person who has and they will agree…Dare to dream…..

I am and it took me long enough..ha ha…but now I am and now I will… so watch this space……. and carry on dreaming…I DARE YOU!

What is scaring me? at the moment Scrivener….but armed with a webinar, u-tube etc I will master it! Yes, I will, of course, I will, a piece of cake, I will!

Anyway…FOOD….it was my eldest daughters birthday last week and as we were chatting she told me she had a great birthday brekkie and had Banana bread with Passionfruit Butter.

Well after said conversation finished I turned to my best friend ” Mr Google” and lo and behold it looked easy and sounded yummy.

So into the kitchen I went…. after I sourced the Passionfruit pulp, bought a lovely…

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