Tag Archives: Made from Scratch

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

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

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.

vinegar-1924191_1920

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!

woman-2714174_1920

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…

View original post 353 more words

Have you made your Christmas pudding yet??

My oh, my is the time not flying now???

Time to make the puddings and mincemeat for Mince pies…

Christmas Pudding

This first recipe is gluten free..for all of my friends who have to eat gluten free for a diagnosed medical condition and it is delicious and quite frankly just as nice as my tried and tested recipe I always make..not much difference in taste.

So I am giving you both recipes one Gluten free and my tried and tested one which if you used gluten free breadcrumbs and flour would also be Gluten free..

Hopefully this year I will have proper rolls of wrapping paper as one’s son is in England and will be bringing some back for me…Yehhhh no juggling with those silly little rolls which are just enough to wrap a matchbox…I am not kidding!

 

 So here is the first recipe for a… Gluten FREE Christmas pudding… Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS:

100gm currants.

100gm sultanas.

100gm sour cherries.

Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon

Grated zest and juice of half an Orange.

1tsp of mixed spice and cinnamon.

1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg.

100ml of brandy..this is where my hand slipped…ha ha

180gm dark brown sugar

1 granny smith Apple( I can’t these) so used a new Zealand apple which is quite tart.

1 large carrot, grated.

250gm ground almonds.

50gm gluten free cornflour.

1tsp gluten free baking powder.

2 med free range eggs.

50ml vegetable oil( I use coconut oil)

plus extra for greasing.

2 tbsp black treacle.

This makes enough for a 2-pint pudding basin or two 1 pints.

To make:

In a large bowl put dried fruit, zest, and juice, spice, and brandy, stir to combine, cover and leave for 24hrs.

Then mix in sugar, apple, and carrot, add beaten eggs then stir in oil and treacle.

Lastly,  stir in dry ingredients with a pinch of salt.

Put mixture into a greased pudding basin it should be two-thirds full. Cover the top with a round of greaseproof paper the cover with pleated tin foil and secure with string.

You can now either sit the pudding in a saucepan on an upturned plate and fill the pan with boiling water about half way up the basin. Put the lid on and steam for 4 hours remembering to top up water as necessary.

I always use a steamer and in this case, it was my wicker rice steamer which the bowl sits in nicely over the pot of water.

If you have made a lot of puddings over the years like me  I think you find your own preferred method of steaming your puds.

Once steamed, cool and rewrap pudding and store in a cool, dry place. It is the fridge for me as too humid…I do miss my cool pantry…

To serve simmer or steam the pudding for 1-2 hrs, then invert onto a plate and flame the pud or serve with sauce, brandy butter or cream…

It’s cream all the way for me …and lots of it!

My second recipe is slightly different but adaptable to make gluten free and the one I make year after year….I could do it blindfold now…lol

So for all of you who want to get your Christmas Puddings made so they develop the lovely flavours then here is my tried and tested recipe….. 🙂

Ingredients:

300gm fresh white breadcrumbs ( I use brown)

100gm self-raising flour

1 tsp mixed spice

1 tsp ground cinnamon

½ whole nutmeg, very finely grated

350gm raisins

100g mixed peel

50gm flaked almonds

250gm suet

225gm Demerara sugar

225gm sultanas

225gm currants

2 carrots, peeled and very finely grated

2 cooking apples, peeled and very finely grated

(shhhh)Wet ingredients

Zest and juice of 1 orange

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

1 small wine glass of brandy  shhhhh and a tad more..ha ha

2 tbsp black treacle

4 eggs, lightly beaten

Method:

Put the breadcrumbs in the biggest mixing bowl you can find. Sieve the flour into the bowl with the mixed spice, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Then add the remaining dry ingredients, up to and including the grated apples. Combine all the wet ingredients in a jug. Pour the mixture over the dry ingredients and mix together, with a big wooden spoon. Take it in turns to give it a stir, closing your eyes and making a wish.

Cover the bowl with a clean, damp cloth and leave overnight.

Butter 2 x 1.2-litre pudding basins and spoon the mix into them. Place a disc of baking paper on top of the puddings, then seal with a big sheet of baking paper with a central pleat, to allow expansion. Cover with a cotton or muslin cloth and tie with string or foil. Steam for 6 hours in steamers, or in pans with simmering water that reaches two-thirds up the sides of the basins – be sure to keep the water topped up. Remove and allow to cool.

When cool, re-cover the basins and store in a cool, dry place. On Christmas day, or the day you’re going to eat the puddings, steam for another 1-2 hours. Turn the pudding onto a plate, then pour 75ml of brandy into a ladle and carefully warm over a low heat for 1 minute or so. Light the match and viola a flaming pud 🙂

N.B. As I live in sunny climes then I store mine in the fridge as they ferment very quickly here and that’s not quite what we want.

Happy Cooking and don’t forget to make wish 🙂

Just in case you missed it my turkey babies…  Down on the farm.…The turkeys are growing nicely so my Christmas dinner for the first time in two years will be ….Turkey!

The recipe for sweet mincemeat will follow maybe next week…lol…But you will get it ..If you can’t wait then it is here Sweet Mincemeat..the same recipe every year but tried and tested… family ones are the best…No nasties and made from scratch…

I hope by now you have forgiven me for using the dreaded C word…..But is creeping up and fast…. It is only 107 sleeps!!!

Stay safe, have fun and laugh a lot as you know what I am going to say it is Free and proven to be good for your health…..

Laughter aside ….My thoughts and prayers are with all the people who have been or will be affected by Hurrican Irma we are all thinking and praying for your safety and well-being…Much love and prayers…

 

Blogmas 2016…Some little nibbles..

Do you want to spend more time with your friends and less  time in the kitchen???? I know I do 😉

Do I need to use my cranberry sauce ( you all ) read the turkey saga..didn’t you? Well yes I do!

Then here are some simple yet tasty nibbles using my cranberry sauce..or some of it..lol.

Camembert Puffs.

camembert_puffs-1  

Ingredients:   

I pack of frozen Puff Pastry, thawed.

125gm(4 oz) of Camembert Cheese.

100gm Cranberry Sauce.

1 sprig of thyme…leaves picked.

1 large egg, beaten.

To Make:  

Line 2 baking tins with baking parchment.

Roll out puff pastry and cut into bite sized squares ( 3cm)

Put onto baking trays making sure you space well apart. Brush top with beaten egg. Chill in fridge for 20-30 mins.

Put into pre-heated oven 180 or gas mark 6. Cook for approx 10 minutes or until golden brown. Slice Camembert into equal sized pieces and put one in the centre of each pastry square. Top with a tsp of cranberry sauce. Put back into the oven until cheese has melted.

Garnish with Thyme.

Hummus: 

hummus

 

This is a really quick slightly different take on traditional Hummus.

Can Of chick peas.

1 clove of garlic.

1 tsp of cumin powder.

1 tsp of coriander powder.

1/2 tsp chilli powder…or a bit more..lol

The juice of 1 lemon.

3-4 tbsp plain yoghurt.

Wiz everything together. If it too thick then add a little more yoghurt as required.

Serve with carrot and pepper sticks, tortilla chips or sliced pitta bread.

Enjoy!

  

 

Thai Sweet Sticky Rice with Mango( Khao Neow Mamuang)

One of my favourite foods…Kow Neow aka sticky rice and my faithful rice pot can be found most days on the BBQ the water simmering away or on the hob.

Which is why the pot looks pretty well used on the outside.

This dessert is almost an iconic Thai dessert…sticky rice soaked in coconut milk with luscious ripe mango. A match made in foodie heaven.

The rice is soaked in water for at least hour and then just put in the rice and steamed this takes about 15 minutes.

To prepare the milk:

 Heat 1 cup of coconut milk in a pot over medium heat. Stir constantly and let the coconut milk simmer. DO NOT let it boil hard as coconut milk will curdle.

 Add  2 tbsp of sugar and 2 pinches of salt. Remove from heat. Pour 3/4 of the hot coconut milk over  1 cup of the hot sticky rice. Let it sit for 5 minutes. The hot sticky rice will absorb all the coconut milk. The rice should be a little mushy.

 Spoon the rest of the coconut milk on top of the rice at serving time.

Enjoy!

    Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery.

    Allelujah yesterday is now history…..too much vino methinks…no I don’t think….I know! Oops!

    Well what a mixed week, meeting with friends, some happy news and some so very sad and it makes you realize how mortal we all are and lucky to find out if tomorrow really is a mystery….

    It’s a lovely sunny morning here and after all the Rain, Thunder, Lightening and the power cuts. This weather sure does play havoc with ones Skype and the Internet.

    Not to mention that the ants who much prefer coming inside to braving the elements and we have had those in gigantic proportions even coming up the loo and a scorpion also thought it would venture inside mmmm….but it’s one of the joys of living in paradise.

    But the upside is the Coconut Palm is heaving so lots of fresh coconut juice to drink and the grass is growing at the speed of light and the flowers are blooming.

    SAM_6973SAM_6973SAM_6974SAM_6978SAM_6976SAM_6977

    The kitchen has also been a hive of activity this week we have been making ice cream ..a raspberry, banana, and coconut milk one. Bread and Butter Pudding, Meat Pies and a Fish Pie. Everyone loved the fish pie except for one and you always get one don’t you who said my idea of a fish pie is one which has mussels, squid, fish, prawns etc..unlucky we had a bog standard Fish Pie but this said person finished up the leftovers the next day still saying mmmm but would have been nicer with……… He is still breathing…..ha ha

    Fish Pie.

    Ingredients:

    For the mashed potato topping.
    • 1kg potatoes, peeled and chopped into large chunks
    • 2 tablespoons butter, zest of 1 lemon
    • Salt & Pepper to taste.Fish Pie
    For the fish pie filling.
    • 500ml (2 cups) milk
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 200g frozen hake fillets.
    • 200g frozen smoked haddock fillets.
    • 300g fresh uncooked prawns ( peeled)
    • 2 onions sm or one large, finely chopped.
    • 1 carrot, finely chopped.
    • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped.
    • 3 tablespoons flour.
    • 1 heaped teaspoon English mustard.
    • 40g (1/2 cup) mature cheddar, grated.
    • Juice of half lemon.
    • Salt & pepper to taste.

     

    • Place potatoes in a large pot of boiling water or in a steamer and cook until soft.
    • Mash the potatoes then mix in, butter and lemon zest. Season to taste.Pre-heat the oven to 200°c.
    • To make the fish pie, poach the fish ( not the prawns) in the milk with the bay leaf. When the fish is cooked, remove the fish and flake into large chunks. Reserve the milk.
    • In a large, oven-proof frying pan fry the onion and carrot in a splash of olive oil until soft and fragrant. Add the garlic and fry for another 30 seconds.
    • Add the flour and stir then add the milk the fish was poached to create a creamy sauce.
    • Add the English mustard and fish including prawns and stir well then add the cheese and lemon juice and stir.
    • Season to taste.
    • Top the fish filling with the mashed potato and create indents with a spoon which will become nice and crispy in the oven.
    • Place the pie in the oven and allow to bake for 30-40 minutes until the top is golden brown and crispy.
    • Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes then serve.
    • Note: I don’t cook prawns with fish but add prawns right at the end when adding cooked fish to sauce this way the prawns will be lovely and succulent.
     And enjoy! Until next time have fun love u all xxx