Tag Archives: Onions

Smorgasbord Health Column – Food Therapy – The pungent defenders Onions and Garlic by Sally Cronin

Sally certainly knows her onions…Lots of great info on the benefits of eating your onions and garlic and recipes to make your mouth water and your body healthy…Enjoy!

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

As a follow on from the recent series on the Weekly Grocery Shopping List of foods that contain the nutrients the body needs I am going to repeat my series from 2017 on the health benefits of some of our most common foods.

Food therapy is a broad term for the benefits to the body of a healthy, varied and nutritional diet of fresh foods.

Most of us walk through the fresh produce departments of our supermarkets without really paying much attention to the individual fruits and vegetables. This is a great pity because the vast majority of these foods have been cultivated for thousands of years, not only for their nutritional value but also for their medicinal properties. If you eat a healthy diet you are effectively practicing preventative medicine. A robust immune system, not only attacks external opportunistic pathogens, but also works to  prevent rogue cells in the…

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Christmas Recipes…Spiced Red Cabbage.


Red cabbage..our Christmas dinner would not be the same without it…I have been making this …Well, it seems like forever but it must be at least for the last 35 years so it is a well, tried and tested recipe and one which we absolutely love. The recipe was originally given to me by a very dear friend whom sadly is no longer with us..but every time we have this dish we remember you with much love Pauline…

The recipe has German origins which is where Pauline’s husband came from.

Cooked with Apples, red onion or shallots, some spices, balsamic and a tinsy, winsy drop of Red Wine….mmm..try a glassful…lol..

It is a lovely accompaniment to Roast Dinners and tastes even better when kept a day or two before eating…well if it lasts that long …and it freezes well. It wouldn’t be a Christmas or Thanksgiving Dinner without it…we love it.

Spicy Red Cabbage.

Spicy Red Cabbage


  • One medium-size Red Cabbage.
  • One medium to large Red Onion Or about 8 shallots…
  • 2/3 cloves of garlic
  • One large Bramley Apple peeled, cored and roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar.
  • A half to whole glass red wine.
  • Salt and Pepper to season.
  • 1-2 tsp Cinnamon or mixed spice.
  • Cinnamon Stick ( optional)

Let’s Cook!

Chop cabbage, Onions, garlic and Apple.

Cook Onions and garlic in butter or olive oil until onions are soft.

Add chopped cabbage and apple, half of the balsamic and half of wine.

Season and add spices.

Cook for at least 2 hours( I cook mine for 3 generally) and add more wine and balsamic to taste.If you think it is a bit dry then add a little water.

Tip: If like me Bramley apples are unavailable where you live then it’s trial and error.  I tried green apples and it was ok but this week I used 4 dessert apples and it was the best, the same with seasoning and spices its personal taste so play with it and adjust to your taste which is what I do with all my cooking ….and especially now I live here it has taught me a totally new way of cooking, I was very recipe and measurement driven. Now I just look inside the fridge or freezer and cook with what I have because it is about taste, taste and taste again… or it could be just certain ingredients are unavailable here…….the only time I now measure is when I make pastry or cakes and that does have to be more precise but any other dishes then I play with ingredients and I have much more fun when I am cooking.

This dish can be made at least a week in advance if you are keeping it in the fridge or longer if you are freezing it.

To serve just gently reheat and check the seasoning…

I hope you are enjoying these daily Christmas Recipes please share them with your friends as they may also love them…

Last minute shopping to do then pop over to my other blog Orienthailiving for some different ideas for a present for that special someone…A taste of the Orient… and as an added little bonus if you sign up for the newsletter then I have a Free PDF on how to make your own Thai curry pastes…Especially for you!


Smorgasbord Health – Cook from Scratch with Sally and Carol Taylor – Onions and Garlic.. keep the doctor away!

I am loving this collaboration …Are you? I have learnt so much from Sally and I am loving it!

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Welcome to this week’s post where Carol Taylor and I hope to give you reasons and recipes to include some of nature’s medicine cabinet in your daily diet. Today some really basic vegetables that add taste and nutrition that can help boost your immune system and have been utilised for 1000’s of years by ancient cultures for the treatment of disease.


Despite the current emphasis on healthy eating and weight, not many of us look at a plate of food and separate the ingredients out according to their nutritional or therapeutic benefits.  However, many foods have a long and distinguished history in natural medicine and the inclusion on a regular basis in your diet can bring many benefits.

One of the enormous benefits of living in Spain was the abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables available in supermarkets, most of which is sourced from within Spain and the Islands. …

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Eating for health… Roasted Onions with sun-dried Tomatoes.


lady holding veggiesLet food be thy medicine and no it is not boring or eating a dish of tasteless seeds and such like…Gone are the days when Vegetarian was this dry tasteless meatloaf and healthy eating was just plain boring.

I love this recipe so much and what isn’t there to love..luscious sun dried tomatoes, beautiful onions and tangy goats cheese. Over the years I have made many variations of these stuffed onions by swapping goats cheese for feta cheese,cheddar or blue cheese all lovely cheeses but now because everyone is becoming more aware of what they eat and how it impacts on their health I am more aware of what I am eating and serving to my family.

My post on diet and depression was very popular over a few different social media sites and I believe it is because people are concerned about the food they eat and the impact it has on their health.

Now those of you who read my posts know that I can never ever just give you a recipe…Yes, I ramble on a bit… I know.

So it will not really be any different I just feel that I should incorporate the benefits to your health of the foods I use in my recipes and what impact they can have on your and your family’s health and well-being.

I never use processed ingredients in my cooking anyway but that is how I have always been..make it from scratch is my mantra and then you know what is in it.

My family and friends used to think I was a bit eccentric and over the top as to what I would allow my children to eat and drink I would now say that 99% are now in total agreeance with me.

What a turnaround and I am not fanatic just careful and mindful as to what I buy and make.

 I don’t use a microwave for our families own reasons which stems back to when my daughter had a life threatening disease.

Yesterday I was watching a program about sugar or added sugar, I was not surprised but felt justified because muesli bars, soft drinks i.e  Apple Juice and low-fat yoghurts were the subjects. So many people eat them because they are promoted as being healthy.

Well, they are not!

I just don’t trust any claims to anything unless I read the ingredients and I can spot a no-no at 20 paces…trust me!

So I suppose what am saying is you can be healthier in an instant just by reading a packet or being aware of what is in your food and at no extra cost.

And baby steps, if you want to change do it gradually and just be aware of what is in your food.

There are some great tasting foods out there which are good for you and gradually your taste buds and awareness will change ..mine have but it takes time.

I know….. Let’s Cook!

Onions stuffed with sun-dried tomatoes and cheese.



4 large onions.

150 gm goats cheese

50 gm fresh breadcrumbs ( I use olive oil breadcrumbs)

8 sun dried tomatoes in oil chopped and drained. I am lucky that I live somewhere nice and sunny so I can sun dry my own tomatoes please click here to see how.

2 tbsp oil from the sun-dried tomatoes

1 small egg, beaten

3 tbsp toasted pine nuts

2 cloves of garlic chopped

1/2 Tsp chopped fresh thyme

1/2 Tsp chopped fresh parsley

Salt and ground black pepper to taste.

Just reading that list of ingredients makes my mouth water….I am salivating.

Add the onions in their skins to lightly salted boiling water and cook for 10 minutes. Remove the onions from the boiling water, drain and cool. When they are cool enough to handle cut in half and remove skin.

Using a small dessert spoon scoop out the centre leaving a thick outer layer.. 3 layers is sufficient.

Reserve the flesh for later.

Pre-heat your oven to 190C/375F

Place the onion shells in an oiled oven proof dish.

Add all the other ingredients except for the tomato oil and pine nuts to the scooped out onion flesh and season well. Stir in the pine nuts.

Divide the mix between the 4  scooped out onion shells and cover the dish with foil.

Bake for 20 minutes, remove foil and drizzle with the sun-dried tomato oil cook uncovered for a further 25-35 minutes until bubbling and cooked.

Baste occasionally during cooking.

And smell…. your kitchen will be filled with such a lovely aroma and even those who are not onion lovers will be salivating…I have had many a convert to this dish.

It is lovely just served with warm bread or as a side to some lovely grilled sardines.

Now all of those ingredients have amazing health benefits.

Some lovely variations to this recipe include using Feta cheese instead of goats cheese and substitute mint and pitted green/black olives instead of the other ingredients for a real Mediterranean taste. Just stir into the scooped onion mix, you could also add some currants or sultanas.

If you don’t want sun-dried tomatoes and pine nuts use 75 gm chopped walnuts add them to the scooped out onion mix add 115 gm chopped celery and cook in a tbsp oil until the celery is soft and put in the onion shell.

Experiment by substituting your own favourite ingredients that is what cooking is all about.

Further benefits of the ingredients used in the above recipe.


Eggs contain choline which is a nutrient that is found in many foods. Your brain and nervous system need it to regulate memory, mood, muscle control, and other functions. You also need choline to form the membranes that surround your body’s cells. You can make a small amount of choline in your liver, but most of the choline in your body comes from the food you eat meat, eggs, poultry, fish, and dairy products.

Sun-dried Tomatoes:

Homemade sundried tomatoes in a terracotta dish

Sun drying tomatoes preserves the tomatoes and enhances their flavour. A 1 cup serving of sun-dried tomatoes has 39% of the daily recommended intake of potassium. Full of iron, thiamine, riboflavin as well as 31% of niacin these B vitamins are essential for converting food to energy which is needed to maintain the nervous system and for keeping our skin healthy.

Tomatoes are a little powerhouse of antioxidants which contribute to the health of our heart by reducing inflammation in our blood vessels which help our heart muscles relax.

The magnesium and calcium which is in tomatoes help to regulate blood pressure by coordinating a bond to contract and relax the blood vessel walls.

Goats Cheese:

Smashed avocados with mushroom, goats cheese, poached egg and basil on toast at Porgie and Mr Jones in Hawthorn


Photo credit: ultrakml on Visual hunt / CC BY


Why use goat’s cheese? Goats cheese is much easier for humans to digest. Lower in calories and fat it is also a good source of calcium, protein, Vitamins A, K, niacin, thiamine and phosphorus. It is also low in fat and cholesterol.

Compared to a 1 oz serving of cheddar cheese which has 9 gm fat, 6 gm saturated fat and 25 mg cholesterol goats cheese only has 5 gm fat, 3 gm saturated fat and no cholesterol.


Onions garlic red onions brown onions

Well no omega 3’s in sight but the antioxidants in onions have great cerebral benefits and can safeguard our grey matter from a disease.

All of this means that this little onion dish is really rather healthy as well as being full of taste.


Thank you for taking the time to read this post if you liked what you read please share as sharing is caring and it makes me happy.

And if you think I am being too frivolous as health is a serious subject……..Laughter is also good for your health.

Until next time…Stay safe, laugh a lot, have a glass of red wine and  ASK a question.

Some other posts on eating for good health are below in case you missed them.

Healthy foods which may help to reduce your blood pressure

Foods which may help reduce your cholesterol levels

Natural foods to help treat pain and inflamation

Pigs Heads!

pigs-headOn our recent visit to Tesseban Market, I spied these pigs heads and trotters aka pigs feet (which ) brought back childhood memories as my dad loved a pigs trotter.

I also remember at Xmas the photos of a pigs head with an apple in its mouth being the centrepiece of many a festive table.

So I have dug out a recipe for you just imagine all that lovely crispy crackling and those soft, luscious pigs cheeks….mmmmmmmmmm


Olive Oil ( a good glug)

2 large onions, cut into chunks

1 head of garlic, cloves peeled ( I just bash to get more flavour)

½ a pig’s head (remove hairs with a razor)

1 cup sherry ( or balsamic vinegar)

1 small bottle cider.

1-litre chicken stock.

3/4 bay leaves.

Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper.


Picture source: Pixabay

Lets Cook!

Preheat the oven to 175 degrees.

Pour the olive oil into a  wide,  deep meat dish (large enough)to accommodate) your pig’s head and put it on the heat. Add the onions and garlic and leave them to sweat. Cook gently until soft and slightly coloured.

Rub salt and pepper over the head and cover the ears with foil to stop them from burning.

Pour liquids over the pig’s head, add the bay leaves and season with salt & pepper.

Cover the tray with greaseproof paper to ensure that the pig doesn’t dry out and cooks evenly.

Cook for 2 ½ hours until it is completely cooked  (soft). If you want crispy crackling take the greaseproof paper off after this time and leave in the oven to brown for about half an hour.

When ready, remove the head and place on a warm plate…

Serve with a salad and the  juices from the pan (boil to thicken)

This can make a lovely centrepiece if you have guests and use the whole head…especially if you do one and a half times the recipe and extend the cooking time.

Thank you for reading I hope I didn’t make you feel too squeamish….

KORI GASSI (manglorean style chicken curry)

OOOOH this sounds amazing guess who will be cooking this next week?

Plate it up recipes

Kori Gassi or manglorean style chicken curry is a traditional and popular dish made with an array of aromatic spices, chillies, curry leaves, tamarind and coconut milk – having loads of depth, flavour and aroma.

The use of fresh coconut and spices is important in preparing this curry. The coconut and spices are first dry roasted separately and blended together into a fine smooth paste. Towards end of the curry, fresh coconut milk is added to enhance its taste. A delicate combination and sweetness from the coconut milk balances the heat from the chillies. Adjust heat as per preference. This curry can be prepared with vegetables, mutton and prawns too. Back home, I had prepared this curry with country chicken – simple bliss! Enjoy this deliciously lip-smacking curry with rice, dosa, rotti (rice wafers), sannas, appams or pundi (rice balls).

prep time : 30 mins, cooking time : 45 mins…

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