The Culinary Alphabet, beginning with A.

My monthly post on The Recipe Hunter where I have decided to start a journey through the culinary alphabet,,,I am not sure if Esme realises that is just over 2 years of guest posting…Lol

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via The Culinary Alphabet, Beginning with A

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Fruity Friday…The humble Fig

The Fig…You can get it dried almost anywhere in the world and fresh and luscious from September through to autumn.

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There is nought like the taste of a fresh fig and dried they are different but sweet, with a chewy flesh and crunchy edible seeds.

Fig trees have no blossoms on their branches …The blossoms are inside the fig. Many tiny flowers which produce the crunchy little edible seeds that give figs their unique texture.

They are sweet with a chewy flesh, smooth skin and crunchy edible seeds.They are also one of the only fruits to ripen on the tree.

Did you know? Fig puree can replace fat/sugar in baked goods? Well neither did I until fairly recently a fig puree can be used as a sugar and fat substitution.

Just combine 8 ounces of fresh figs and 1/4 -1/3 cup of water in a blender; puree until smooth. If using dried figs, soak figs in water until softened before pureeing. Use as you would applesauce in baked recipes, as a substitution for both fat and sugar. Replace up to half the fat in a recipe with fig puree, and reduce or eliminate the sugar required.

Or use the puree as a spread over toast and fruits; or thin it out with more water and use as a liquid sweetener for coffee, drinks and in place of honey or maple syrup in your recipes.

The fig is also a great source of fibre, vitamins and minerals. It has Vitamin A, B1, and B2…. 3 figs have  5 gm of fibre..so if you are not careful you could if you eat too many figs end up with the “back door trots”. This is an old English saying just in case you were wondering.

In the Indian sub-continent, it is made into a soothing, calming salve which if applied by a topical application it can provide relief to Venereal Disease.  Although more research needs to be done to prove its effectiveness.

The Spaniards introduced figs to California in the early 16th century. The priests who lived in San Diego at the “Mission” originally planted the figs and the dark purple figs became known as Mission figs.

Native to the Middle East and western Asia the fig tree Ficus Carica is also a symbol of abundance, fertility and sweetness cultivated since ancient times it is mentioned many times in the bible and probably why many also believe that it was not apples in the garden of Eden but figs which tempted Adam and Eve. Now that is a thought.

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Figs made their first commercial product appearance with the 1982 introduction of Fig Newtons cookies…I just love fig bars.

Did you know that eating one-half a cup of figs has as much calcium as drinking a half a cup of milk?

Figs also go wonderfully with blue cheese and wrapped in parma ham they are to die for. Just saying…

So all in all like The Fig lots of these herbs, fruits and vegetables which we take for granted or don’t think about even think of trying…and if you did you may even like them… Most have amazing healing properties and I think we should look at what we have growing naturally in our beautiful world instead of buying all these ready-made processed foods which are not even convenient most of the time and full of nasties…

Here endeth the sermon…

This fig sauce is made with dried figs and is lovely over duck breasts or chicken.

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Fig Sauce

  • 12 dried black figs with the stems trimmed off.
  • 1 1/2 cups of fresh chicken stock
  • 2 sliced mushrooms
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp brandy
  • 1 sprig rosemary although I will admit to adding a bit more…
  • Salt and pepper to Taste

Firstly in a small saucepan cook the black figs in the chicken stock for about 10 minutes until soft, remove from the stock and chop finely and return to the stock. Set to one side.

In a small pan melt the butter and add the finely chopped garlic and mushrooms cook for 30 secs don’t allow to burn as garlic it catches quite quickly. Add the brandy and simmer for 1 minute.Add rosemary sprig and fig stock and figs simmer for 3 minutes until slightly thickened. Season with salt and pepper.

Just serve over your sliced duck breasts it is a lovely rich sauce and nice for that special occasion.

If fresh figs are in season then they are lovely served with the duck breast…

I hope you are enjoying Fruity Fridays don’t forget if you have a fruit you would like me to feature please send me a picture…

Previous weeks posts in case you missed them.

https://blondieaka.wordpress.com/2018/02/09/fruity-friday-pomegranates/

https://blondieaka.wordpress.com/2018/02/02/fruity-fridays-the-pineapple/

 

Plastic are you confused??? The truth is all in that number.

Something I have been thinking about for quite a while now but haven’t really acted upon apart from the other week we decided we would dispense with tinned tomatoes as we do use quite a lot and I have concerns about leaching into our food.

Sally’s post on plastics added even more fuel to the fire that has been burning inside me for a while not just health wise but environmentally.

Sally’s post about ” The hormone mimic in plastic and inside food cans”  was the catalyst for me to take action…

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/02/06/smorgasbord-health-column-health-in-the-news-the-hormone-mimic-in-plastic-and-inside-food-cans-2/

Tomatoes first and then bottles…

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Time for action: 

Tomatoes were easy and so much cheaper than in cans as well…they freeze well and cost wise I am saving over 100% based on my usage. No brainer and quick to do…I just put boiling water over the tomatoes and skinned them. Then I had a thought..yep…I put the skins with a little of the tomato juice in my small blender and viola blended smooth you wouldn’t know they were skins and a lovely bright red colour so I added to the tomato pulp which brightened the colour.

No waste at all…

Next on my agenda is tomato paste… That is for another day…

Plastic Bottles

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This is where the fun began…Simples? It is not!

There are plastic bottles and plastic bottles and even more plastic bottles…All sent to confuse the **** out of the poor health-conscious shopper who juggles two jobs, 6 kids, a husband and 2 dogs… and has to clean her own house…

So I have simplified it a little for you( and me) I have grouped the numbers into good and bad and given you a little background…my advice do some of your own research as well if you have any concerns about  how plastic may affect your health and your family’s health.

Group One. Are what I class as the baddies and I avoid like the plague.

 

1= PET ( Polyethylene Terephthalate)

This is the most commonly used plastic for consumer products which include:- Water bottles, soda bottles and some food packaging.

It is intended for single use only….One time useage…as reusing increases the risk of leaching and bacterial growth. It may leach carcinogens and should NOT be reused.

3. PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride)

A soft, flexible plastic which is used to make clear plastic food wrapping, cooking oil bottles, teething rings, children’s and pets toys.

PVC is known in many circles as poison plastic it contains many toxins which can leach throughout the life of a product.

It should not be re-used .

6. PS (Polystyrene)

Used to make styro foam drink cups, take out containers, egg containers, plastic cutlery and foam chips for packaging.

It may leach styrene which is a possible human carcinogen into food especially a risk when food is microwaved.

Chemicals used in the manufacture are linked to human health  and reproductive system dysfunctions.

Should be avoided where possible.

7. Other (BPA) Polycarbonate.

This is a known endocrine disruptor also this group 7 is a group for anything which doesn’t fit into the other categories.

Found in food containers labelled PC, baby bottles, sippy cups some of which are now labelled non leaching but it is still possible..

THERE IS A NEW GENERATION OF PLASTICS BEING DEVELOPED TO REPLACE POLYCARBS USING POLYMERS LIKE CORN STARCH.

#7 should not be reused and where possible avoid using for children.

 

 

Group 2 are better but I always look for alternatives where I can as in glass bottles.

2. HDPE ( High Density Polyethylene)

A stiff plastic used for milk containers and detergent containers. toys and some plastic bags.

Considered the safest form of plastic…Reuseable and recyclable.

4. LDPE ( Low density Polyethylene)

Used to make shrink-wrap, squeezy bottles, bread wrappers.

Considered less toxic( what is that supposed to mean) and relatively safe for use.

5.PP (Polypropylene)

This plastic is tough and light and a barrier against moisture, grease and chemicals  it is used as a cereal box liner… the bag your corn flakes are in…used for bottle tops, margarine and yoghurt pots, potato chip bags and straws.

Considered safe for re-use.

These symbols are generally found around the base or on the bottom of bottles. It is also the number which is found inside the recycable arrows which tells the real story behind your plastic.

I hope this post has been helpful …I have been left with the need to know more as everything I have read is seeming to say maybe and using words which don’t commit…I myself have made a start and will be changing what I can by only buying products which are in plastics which are considered safer and even that rings alarm bells with me as so often reports have been vilified and poo pooed by manufacturers and then a few years later peoples fears have been justified..

It is not just our health and our families but the worlds health, animals and the enviroment even the Queen of England has banned the use of plastic bottles/straws on her estates. I know this is based on helping the enviroment but my families health is also important and I think the two go hand in hand.

https://www.ecowatch.com/plastic-ban-uk-2534089763.html 

Thank you for reading this post if you are passionate about health and our enviroment please share xx

 

Asian Style Pork Ribs

If you love ribs …You will love these…They are best ribs we have made ever and I am not a fan of ribs but loved these 🙂

The Recipe Hunter

Asian Style Pork RibsThis is by far the best recipe I have eaten so far for ribs. I nearly didn’t eat them as I am not a fan of chewing on a rib, however, the meat on these was so moist and soft it just fell off the bone. We cooked it as one whole piece rather than cut the ribs into portions.

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Retired no one told me and Orienthailiving weekly roundup…Pomegranates, Pancakes and Water Chestnuts…

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Hello and welcome to the weekly roundup of all my posts…

Starting with the beautiful vibrant red arils of the jewel-like fruits of the Pomegranate…and the easiest, cleanest way to deseed the Pomegranate, Isn’t it always easier when you know how?

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https://wordpress.com/post/blondieaka.wordpress.com/15291

It was then over to Orienthailiving for a visit to Borough Market and my favourite Covent Garden in London.

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https://myhealthyretirement.com/london-covent-garden-borough-market/

And the best of British Food and who is ever going to agree on that?? Is it a full English Breakfast? Sunday  Roast? Pie, Mash and Liquor??

Sunday Roast at SR

 

https://myhealthyretirement.com/best-british-foodpie-mash-liquor/

It was then back over to Retired no one told me for everyone’s’ favourite…Pancakes…

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https://wordpress.com/post/blondieaka.wordpress.com/15297

 

Carol’s boot camp aka how to eat your favourite food and lose weight…Say no to dieting…Say yes to Healthy Eating!

https://wordpress.com/post/blondieaka.wordpress.com/15303

Hopping back to Orienthailiving it was a visit to Koh Panyee a Thai sea gypsy village.

houses on stilts Koh Panyee

https://myhealthyretirement.com/travel-thailand-koh-panyee/

Carol’s Food Column over at Sally’s and this week it is the Water Chestnut what a lucky find that was for me lovely fresh water chestnuts.

https://wordpress.com/post/blondieaka.wordpress.com/15309

That’s it for this week there will be a few more next week as I have guest posted over at my friend Steph’s blog to help her out and my monthly post on Thr Recipe Hunter comes out tomorrow and I will be doing a culinary crawl through the alphabet each month jeez I have just realised that is over 2 years of posts… I wonder if Esme has worked that out yet… Good idea Carol…Oooppps.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Carol Taylor’s Food Column – And these are? Water Chestnuts

Water chestnuts one of my latest finds…I always seem to discover something new at every market I visit…I hope you enjoy this post which was written for my food column on Smorgasbord and hosted by the wonderful Sally. Sally will soon be off on her birthday jolly and I hope you have a wonderful time Sally xx

Smorgasbord - Variety is the spice of life

And these are? Water Chestnuts

Wandering around a food market in Wanon, Northern Thailand…and losing myself among the sights and smells of beautiful tempting Thai food. I spied a few fruits and vegetables which were unknown to me and this one. Although once I knew what it was then I recognised the taste ….without knowing the name I was puzzled I sort of knew the taste but didn’t connect the dots…lol

We were talking and looking for these a few weeks ago when were thinking about what to cook for dinner and reminiscing about the Chinese food we remembered having years ago with these crunchy water chestnuts in..you never got many just a few slices… I was then looking in the shops at imported goods to see if I could them and no luck…Then there they were the other day right under my nose and fresh ones….strange world… When your…

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