Tag Archives: Olive Oil

Smorgasbord Health Column – Cook from Scratch – Tomatoes for Breakfast Spanish Style

I love tomatoes any which way and tomatoes on toast for breakfast or brunch sounds good to me… Healthy doesn’t have to mean tasteless and boring it can be amazing and simple like this breakfast dish …Enjoy!

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Carol Taylor will be back in the New Year with the Food and Cookery Column after a well earned Christmas break.

In the meantime I will be sharing the Cook from Scratch series from two years ago which combined the health benefits of specific key ingredients followed by Carol’s recipes for cook from scratch dishes.

To kick that series off, I am sharing a breakfast that I was introduced to when we lived in Madrid. I love tomatoes and they were always readily available all year round. With some other simple ingredients, tomatoes provide a wonderful start to the day that keeps you going until lunchtime.

I would love to invite any of you who have favourite recipes that use fresh ingredients, to get in touch at the email at the bottom of the post. And of course another chance to promote your work.

Most of us associate a  breakfast…

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Christmas Recipes…Tahini Paste and Hummus recipes.

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It’s getting closer it will soon be Christmas and it looks like the Uk may have a white Christmas they have had a bit of snow and in some areas a good few inches…Snow looks so lovely when it is fresh and untrodden..Don’t you think???

My Recipe today is for hummus. and homemade Tahini paste… I had always bought my hummus it has only been since I have lived here and not being able to buy hummus that I investigated how to make it…The other factor was the extortionate cost of Tahini paste. To say I was amazed at how easy and quick it is to make is an understatement…this picture has the date and was my very first batch…I think I  need to update my photo next time I make it…

Tahini Paste

How to make your very own Tahini paste/butter..it is so quick and easy and the cost of a packet of sesame seeds is virtually pennies against the cost of a store-bought jar of tahini and no nasties….

Let’s Cook! 

Into the kitchen, a quick toasting of the Sesame Seeds, then into the mini blender, 3 tbsp Olive oil, and a quick whizz, scrape down the sides, another tbsp Olive oil and another scrape, a  bit more oil and a quick whizz and viola your  Tahini Paste is made.

How easy is that?

Next step…Hummus

Hummus

Combine 3tbsp Tahini Paste with 2tbsp fresh Lemon Juice and blitz in food processor.

Add 2tbsp Olive Oil,1 clove Garlic, half tsp ground Cumin and a half to one tsp salt and blitz.

Add half of drained, rinsed can of chickpeas and again blitz 1-2 mins. Add the other half of Chick Peas and blitz again 1-2 mins.

Put in a suitable container or serving bowl drizzle with tbsp Olive Oil and sprinkle with  Paprika.

Voila, it’s now ready to eat with Sliced pitta bread or cut up vegetables of your choice.

This will keep up to 1 week in the fridge.

That’s it for today…I am going to take a break now as it has gone midnight here and I am still typing away…

Until tomorrow…Nite Nite xx

Still got shopping to do? Snowed under or in then pop over to my other blog Orienthailiving for some inspiration… and if you sign up for my newsletter then I will send you a FREE PDF on how to make your own Thai Curry pastes from scratch.

 

Smorgasbord Health – Cook from Scratch with Sally and Carol Taylor – Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds who would have thought just what health benefits that little seed can provide for us…Well…Sally has and it is all here in one post with recipes … A one-stop post for healthy food and good health information….I hope you enjoy x

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Welcome to the series where I provide the nutritional health benefits for a food and Carol Taylor works all week in the kitchen to provide delicious recipes to include in your regular diet. I hope you will go over to her new blog which she has just started: http://myhealthyretirement.com/welcome-to-orienthailiving-my-first-post/ and discover more about her beautiful home in Thailand.

This week we are going to be featuring pumpkin seeds which are not only delicious but contain some very important nutrients that make this a snack that every man should eat once or twice a day.

When I was researching my men’s health book I came across some interesting statistics with regard to the very common problem of an enlarged prostate. In fact if you live to the age of 90 – 9 out of 10 men will have the condition!  Any man over the age of 50 who has a reduction…

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Fish Friday…….British Fish and Chips.

What better dish for my Fish Friday dish……I miss Fish & Chips not that it was something we ate often when in the UK but as we haven’t had it for at least 7 years;……..Sometimes you just get that hankering for it…Don’t you?

So I give you Fish & Chips….UK style with mushy peas.

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For 4 servings.

800 gm potatoes scrubbed and cut into chips or peeled and cut into chips.

Olive oil to cook and to coat. I more often than not also add some fresh rosemary sprigs.

For the mushy peas:

300 gm frozen peas

1 tsp Olive oil.

2 tsp lemon juice

Fresh pepper to season.

For the Fish:

650 gm approx of your favourite fish. Cut into 4.

50 gm flour plus 1 tsp

50 gm cornflour

1 egg white

125 ml ice-cold sparkling water

600 ml oil for frying

Lemon wedges for garnish.

Let’s Cook!

Cut your chips and parboil. Drain, shake lightly and I put a tea towel over the pan to absorb the steam.

Heat your oven to 220 fan/ 200, gas mark 7

Put baking tin with Olive oil in the oven and heat for 8-10 mins.

Meanwhile, put the chips into a bowl and coat with some more olive oil using your hands to turn and coat the potatoes. At this point add Rosemary or Sage if using.

When the oil is hot add the chips in a single layer. Bake 10 mins and turn, bake 5 mins and turn, repeat this process until the chips are nice and crispy. Drain on kitchen paper.

Meanwhile, cook the peas for 4 mins. Drain and lightly crush with a fork. Mix in the oil and lemon juice. Some freshly grated pepper and set to one side.

Fish...Pat the fillets dry with a paper towel. Put 1 tsp flour on a plate and coat the fish with the flour.

Heat your oil to 200C.

Meanwhile, mix the flour, cornflour, salt and pepper. whisk the egg white. Pour the sparkling water into the flours whisking all the time. Lastly, add the egg white still whisking but being careful not to whisk out all the bubbles…Bubbles make nice light, crispy batter. A balloon whisk is good to use to keep the bubbles. You want a bubbly batter, not a smooth batter.

Dip your floured fillets into the batter. Dip and drain and with a slotted spoon and carefully put into the hot oil. Fry 2 fillets at a time making sure you get your oil back up to the required heat or you will have soggy batter.

The heat must stay a constant 200 C.

Fry for 5-6 minutes, turn fish and cook until the batter is crisp and golden, drain and repeat with your other 2 fillets.

Serve on plates with the chips and mushy peas.

Garnish with lemon wedges.

Serve with mayo or my favourite tartare( caper) sauce.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

Down on the Farm…Sesame Plant(Ngaa)

 

The Sesame plant or Ngaa as it is known here is another plant which has popped up…I am loving this year as I am constantly being surprised at what plants and fruits are appearing  Down on the  Farm...next year I will know and can plan a little it will also help as I will know what and where so we can transplant and not build and destroy.

It is a beautiful and quite delicate looking plant with pretty white flowers.

Sesame seed plant

Of course, I now wanted to know what uses this plant had if any apart from producing seeds which are used mainly in desserts in Thailand. Here on the farm they are dried and used for just that really and to make that lovely sesame biscuit.

The oil from the seeds is not really used in Thai cuisine like it is in Chinese cookery.

The sesame seed is one of the most ancient seeds on earth there have been remains of Sesame seeds found and dated as far back as 3500BC. It was also widely traded in parts of Mesopotamia and the Indian sub continent around 2000BC.  Always highly valued in Eastern, African and Mediterranean culture it has been used for thousands of years in cooking to flavour foods. Sesame oil has one of the highest oil contents of any seed and a rich nutty flavour. Across the continent’s world-wide sesame oil, tahini and the seeds are widely used.

It is a good source of vitamins and minerals that boost nutrient absorption, it is beneficial to the human metabolism and the bodies fat burning ability.

Sesame oil is a strong antihypertensive and can also help normalize blood pressure levels.

Sesame butter or Tahini is a pretty calorific dense food with 89 calories plus 8 gm of fat per tablespoon BUT the majority of that fat comes from healthy unsaturated fat as Omega 3 oils which help lower inflammation thus lower the risk of heart attacks. However, as always I advise moderation.

How to make your very own Tahini paste/butter..it is so quick and easy and the cost of a packet of sesame seeds is virtually pennies against the cost of a store-bought jar of tahini and no nasties…

Let’s Cook! 

Into the kitchen, a quick toasting of the Sesame Seeds, then into the mini blender, 3 tbsp Olive oil, and a quick whizz, scrape down the sides, another tbsp Olive oil and another scrape, a  bit more oil and a quick whizz and viola your  Tahini Paste is made.

How easy is that?

Tahini Paste

 

Sesame seeds come in white or black, the white seeds having the highest iron content thus are used in food or as oil.

Black seeds are stronger, more flavorful and have 60% more calcium than white seeds and are used in medicines.

There has been some exciting news on a breakthrough in the research conducted at the Thailand Excellence Center for Tissue Engineering and Stem Cells at the Chiang Mai University  where  it was discovered that “Sesamin” extracted from black sesame seeds contains properties that hinder cancer cell growth as well as stimulate antibodies in the human body to fight cancer.

Dr. Prachya stated that patents for the medical breakthrough have been filed and received for the research both in Thailand and internationally.

This is great news.

As I have said before I am always being amazed by the extraordinary benefits that so many plants and seeds are being proved to provide… so much better in many cases than prescribed medicines and supplements although if you are already on prescribed medicines PLEASE speak to your doctor and discuss what alternatives you are looking at taking and remember with plants and seeds …No one size fits all…. All of our bodies are different and react differently…..But ask! Talk to your doctor, do your own research from reputable research bodies.

More news from down on the farm..we have 3 more turkey babies ..2 female and one male and a baby chook who thinks it is a turkey…Yes, it does and any attempts to put it back with the chooks results in it crying and making turkey noises…So we have left it with the turkeys…

The bananas are ripe for picking very soon.

That’s all for now DOWN ON THE FARM…I hope you enjoy these posts of our life and adventures in rural Thailand if you do please share or reblog.

I have also left some links below for previous posts just in case you missed them.

https://blondieaka.wordpress.com/2017/07/22/down-on-the-farm-introducing-our-new-turkey-babies/

https://blondieaka.wordpress.com/2017/04/18/down-on-the-farm-making-charcoal/

https://blondieaka.wordpress.com/2017/04/16/down-on-the-farm-thai-potatoes/

https://blondieaka.wordpress.com/2017/04/04/down-on-the-farm-jambulan-plum/

https://blondieaka.wordpress.com/2017/04/03/down-on-the-farm-snake-gourd-raita/

Until next time stay safe, have fun, laugh a lot as laughter as you should know by now is the best medicine known to man…..

 

 

Healthy Eating….Fresh Herbs

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Fresh Herbs

Fresh Herbs are something that I always have in my fridge and my garden..Don’t you?

Also, I want to show you that it is not time-consuming to give your food that little extra pizzaz…Food should be tempting, it should be fun and enjoyable as well as being good for you…and the occasional treat…Have it! Enjoy it! Safe in the knowledge that most of the time what you and your family are eating is good, healthy food… but never boring!

Some herbs you can grow at home and pick them fresh knowing that they are pesticide free. How satisfying is that???

They are also something that I sometimes forget that I have or keep meaning to use and end up throwing them away. Does the same thing happen in your house?

It is always those tender herbs like coriander, basil, mint, parsley or chives…The hardy herbs are the ones I always keep in the freezer.

Well, no more will I be throwing away my herbs I decided that I would use my herbs more or less immediately or do something with them.

I think herbs always lift an ordinary dish and make it a little bit more special  for example, if you are having a salad just snip a few herbs and toss them in with your normal salad vegetables or if you fancy a salad and have no salad in the fridge then a salad made of freshly picked herbs from the garden or the hedgerow makes a refreshing change.

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Freeze some chopped herbs in ice-cube trays and then all have to do is drop one or two into your cooking when herbs are needed.

Or make some lovely herb butter ideal for melting over your fish or dropping in a sauce.

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Add mint leaves to that bowl of ice cream see how much more refreshing it is.

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Or sprinkle some herbs into that omelette you are making and see what a difference it makes. It suddenly looks so much more appetising.

Herb Omellette

Mix chopped parsley with some chopped garlic and a little lemon juice and sprinkle it over your steak, chicken or your fish.

 

Now, who doesn’t like a dish of pasta with some lovely fresh pesto drizzled over it so it coats the pasta?

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Doesn’t that look enticing?

A quick herb pesto made by whizzing coriander, mint or parsley with olive oil, a handful of chopped walnuts and nice hard cheese like parmesan or pecorino takes 3/4 minutes to make.

Much more basil than you can use then make a lovely pesto it will keep in the fridge for at least a week.

 

Green Pesto:

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Homemade pesto

2 cups of fresh basil

2 cloves of garlic

1/4 cup of pine nuts…sometimes I toast mine for a slightly nuttier taste.

2/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup of freshly grated parmesan or pecorino cheese.

Salt and pepper to taste.

Wizz all the ingredients in your blender or food processor some people think that a blender makes smoother pesto. Except for a 1/3 cup of the olive oil and the cheese.

Then slowly add the remainder of the olive oil and then pour into a bowl and stir in the cheese and season.

If you are using a pestle then blanch the basil or coriander leaves in boiling water for 5-10 seconds until they are wilted and then put in ice-cold water.

If using coriander add a little lime juice to the pestle and use walnuts.

For Red Pesto add skinned tomatoes with the basil.

If you haven’t tried a beetroot pesto then it’s a must if you love beets. It is awesome on toast as a crostini it is to die for….

Roast two medium beetroots and then skin and chop them.

1/2 cup of roasted almonds

3 tbsp white wine vinegar

3 cloves of garlic finely chopped

1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil.

Blitz all the ingredients together.

If you don’t use all your pesto within the week then freeze in ice-cube trays. They can then be popped in a pasta sauce as required.

You should now never have to throw any of those tender herbs away ever again.

I hope this post has given you a few ideas of what to do with your tender herbs so have fun, experiment, use different nuts when you are making pesto, a squeeze of lime juice whatever takes your fancy.

I hope you are enjoying these healthy eating posts from this whimsical English lady who is living her dream in sunny Thailand…Note: I still have to cook and clean…. I love life and laughter and am slightly crazy or bonkers whatever you wish to call me …Oh, and my new handle from a cooking friend who shall be nameless is Wikipedia Carol… Like I know all….I wish…ha ha

If you have any thoughts on anything I would love to hear your comments and will answer you as soon as I can….I just love to talk and make new friends.

Thank you for reading my blog  I hope to see you here again please share or reblog if you think one of your friends would love it…Sharing is caring!

Have fun and laugh a lot …most importantly enjoy your food and have fun with it..experiment….If you love it will become a family favourite and if you don’t ..Well we all have made those dishes..lol so we won’t make that again will we????

—————————————————————————————————————————————–All my photos are taken by me ( Carol) or come from Pixabay and are free to use….

 

 

Healthy foods which may help reduce your blood pressure.

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Controlling your blood pressure is one of the most important things if not the most important thing you can do to improve your health and increase your lifespan. Of course, most of us now know there are alternatives to popping pills: Many foods can lower blood pressure naturally. Rather than cutting things out, science shows that you can really benefit from adding these foods to your diet.

These are all healthy foods that can be part of your diet. But whether any one food can lower your blood pressure isn’t entirely clear and will likely depend on a host of variables including your current blood pressure, your genes, how much of the food you consume and how often, and other components in your diet and exercise.

Of course, never ever stop taking any prescribed medication for your Blood pressure without your doctors say so. Always discuss your diet plans with your doctor if you are on medication and also if he is prescribing medication and you have not yet started taking it then discuss it with him..Show him that you have done your research and what you plan to do to help and he should be receptive to this and monitor your Blood pressure for a period of time to see if what you are proposing lowers it…Always ask, more and more medical practitioners are looking at natural methods of treating some conditions.

Work with your doctor.

A healthy diet and adding certain foods to that diet may help further reduce your blood pressure.

You probably already know that a diet rich in foods containing potassium, calcium and magnesium may help prevent or help normalise high blood pressure. But are there specific foods?

Salt has always been thought to be a major player in reducing blood pressure ..however, new schools of thoughts and current research into salt are raising doubts about this.

Myself I live in hot, humid climes and I need to keep my salt intake up..not in excess but not to cut it out as much as I can….my blood pressure has reduced since living here. I will admit it is lifestyle, diet and exercise which has all contributed to that. Nothing in isolation. While I am on the subject of salt in the diet this is a good  article about salt and the diet    

It doesn’t advocate cutting out salt completely or diving into the salt pot…Moderation not abstinence is what it is saying…

Below are some foods which if incorporated into your diet and some or most you may already be eating can help lower your blood pressure.

Leafy greens, which are high in potassium, include Romaine lettuce, arugula, kale, turnip greens, collard greens, spinach, beet greens, Swiss chard and broccoli.

Curly Kale

But PLEASE DON’T discount frozen vegetables as they contain as many nutrients as fresh vegetables, and they’re easier to store. You can also blend these veggies with bananas and nut milk for a healthy, sweet green juice.

Red Beets

Beets are high in nitric oxide, which can help open your blood vessels and lower blood pressure. Current research also found that the nitrates in beetroot juice lowered research participants’ blood pressure within just 24 hours.

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For a 2013 study in Nutrition Journal, Australian researchers looked at the effects of beet juice on blood pressure among healthy men and women.. Participants drank either beet plus apple juice or plain apple juice, then had their blood pressure monitored over 24 hours. The results: The researchers observed a reduction in systolic blood pressure six hours after participants drank beet juice, especially among the men. Beets naturally contain nitrates, which ease blood pressure

Servo, M., Lara, J., Ogbonmwan, I., & Mathers, J. C. (2013). Inorganic nitrate and beetroot juice supplementation

You can juice your own beets or simply cook and eat the whole root. Beetroot is delicious when roasted or added to stir-fries and stews. You can also bake them into chips.

Be careful when handling beets the juice can stain your hands and clothe and also colour your urine…

Oatmeal

Fits the bill for a high-fibre, low-fat way to lower your blood pressure. Eating oatmeal for breakfast is a great way to fuel up for the day.

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Overnight oats are a popular breakfast option. To make them, soak a cup of rolled oats and a cup of nut milk or milk of your choice in a jar. In the morning, stir and add berries, granola, and cinnamon to taste.

Bananas

Eating foods that are rich in potassium is in my book better than taking supplements.

Bananas

Slice a banana into your cereal or oatmeal for a potassium-rich addition. You can also take one to go along with a boiled egg for a quick breakfast or snack.

Love bananas? Then look no further some delicious health tips and recipes all tried and tested by Moi

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/08/16/smorgasbord-health-cook-from-scratch-with-sally-and-carol-banana-nutrient-boost-no-packaging-required/

Salmon, mackerel, and fish with omega-3

Fish are a great source of lean protein. Fatty fish like mackerel and salmon are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which can lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation, and lower triglycerides. In addition to these fish sources, trout contains vitamin D. Foods rarely contain vitamin D, and this hormone-like vitamin has properties that can lower blood pressure.

salmon

This recipe for Salmon trout cooked my way is one of my favourites..easy to do and very tasty https://blondieaka.wordpress.com/2015/03/20/i-cook-with-wine-sometimes-i-even-add-it-to-the-food-w-c-fields/

The only warning I would give on this is to make sure that fish is from a sustainable source and not farmed.

 Seeds

Unsalted seeds are high in potassium, magnesium, and other minerals which are known to reduce blood pressure. Enjoy a cup of sunflower, pumpkin, or squash seeds as a snack between meals…. a nice healthy snack.

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Chillies

For those who know me can just imagine the smile on my face …I love chilli and for anyone with high blood pressure, chilli peppers might be just what the doctor ordered, according to a study reported in the August issue of Cell Metabolism, a Cell Press publication. While the active ingredient that gives the peppers their heat – a compound that is known as capsaicin might set your mouth on fire, it also leads blood vessels to relax, the research in hypertensive rats shows.

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For those who can’t tolerate spicy foods, there might be some hope for there is the existence of a mild Japanese pepper, which contains a compound called capsaicinoid that is closely related to capsaicin limited studies shows that these capsaicinoids produce effects similar to capsaicin.

 Garlic

Garlic can help reduce hypertension by increasing the amount of nitric oxide in the body. Nitric oxide helps promote vasodilation, or the widening of arteries, to reduce blood pressure.

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 Dark chocolate

2015 study found that eating dark chocolate is associated with a lower risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD). The study suggests that up to 100 gms per day of dark chocolate may be associated with a lower risk of CVD.

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Dark chocolate contains more than 60 percent cocoa solids and has less sugar than regular chocolate.  So you can enjoy your chocolate without feeling guilty it is healthy…

 Olive oil

Olive oil is an example of a healthy fat. It contains polyphenols, which are inflammation-fighting compounds that can help reduce blood pressure.

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It’s also a great alternative to canola oil, butter, or commercial salad dressing.

Virgin Coconut Oil

new study looking at Virgin Coconut Oil and Hypertension was just published in Malaysia in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. The study compared a diet of “five times heated palm oil” with Virgin Coconut Oil, and a control group.

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For that special person…

How to make your own Coconut oil…How it is made traditionally here in Thailand…

https://blondieaka.wordpress.com/2017/03/24/how-to-make-your-own-coconut-oil/

Pomegranates

Pomegranates are a healthy fruit that you can enjoy raw or as a juice. One study concluded that drinking a cup of pomegranate juice once a day for four weeks helps lower blood pressure over the short-term.

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Pomegranate juice is tasty for a healthy breakfast. Be sure to check the sugar content in store-bought juices, as the added sugars can negate the health benefits.

GREEN COFFEE

Coffee beans are naturally green, but roasting turns them brown. So in essence, green coffee is just another name for unroasted coffee.

While roasted coffee beans have a similar chemical composition to green coffee beans, the roasting process destroys much of its chlorogenic acid. This is the active ingredient that gives green coffee beans additional health properties. It’s also the ingredient extracted for use in supplements such as green coffee bean extract.

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While green coffee bean extract may not be the “weight-loss miracle” Dr Oz claimed, it does appear to benefit blood flow, at least in the short-term.

One 12-week study using 480 ml green coffee extract (equal to 140 ml of chlorogenic acid) found it reduced heart rate and blood pressure by about 8 percent. These benefits were maintained for 12 weeks of supplementation, but only in those who began with high blood pressure. What’s more, benefits were lost once supplementation stopped.

Theoretically, drinking more green coffee should have much of the same benefits as supplementing, but it depends on the chlorogenic acid concentration. Doses used in these studies were equivalent to 120-300 ml of chlorogenic acid.

Try swapping your regular coffee for green coffee and then checking for any blood pressure changes after a month.

While this list is not exhaustive of foods which can help lower your blood pressure it gives you a starting point and please speak to your doctor about your plans you may be pleasantly surprised how receptive doctors are when you want to help yourself rather than just popping some pills.

You will also feel much better…I can vouch for that because I most certainly do and I still have the odd cake and biscuit it is about moderation…


Photos used in this post are taken by me(Carol) or from Pixabay and no attribution is required.

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New additional Bloghttp://myhealthyretirement.com/welcome-to-orienthailiving-my-first-post/

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Laters xxx