Summer Salads

Healthy Eating

We all love eating al fresco, whether it be a formal meal, in the garden or seated on the sun drenched terrace of that little Greek Taverna. Out door eating, brings out the best – or worst – in us all. It takes just a few golden rays pushing through the grey English gloom and POW! we go into lunatic mode and out comes the Barbeque. Of course, that means a frenzied rush to the Supermarket to gather the lurid red, synthetic coated, chicken wings, pork chops and gristly burgers, made from more animal derivatives than you would find in your average tin of dog food. In the bread aisle we grab a couple of packs of cotton wool textured baps – I can’t even call them bread. – Next you head for the chiller cabinets to pick up some salads? Why? OK, I can hear you crying “I don’t have the time”. Of course you do, with a little bit of organisation and less time on Social Media, you can make the time.

Freshly prepared, homemade salads, grains, beans, fruits, veg, dressings
Home made and healthy

Recently, through the media, we have been made aware of the dangers of obesity and various medical conditions, emanating from our consumption of unhealthy foods. Processed, fast food is all about flavour enhancing sugar, salt, fats, chemical additives and preservatives. The craving for these foods, have little to do with the food itself, but more to the added synthetic textures & flavours, giving you a sensory overload, to get you hooked. – Think nicotine. – Why do we want to eat these and feed them to our children, encouraging them to develop a taste for over sweet, salty, synthetic foods. Give them a taste of real homemade food & they won’t like it. You, have fed them these unnatural foodstuffs and denied them the fresh natural taste of homemade, unadulterated food. Processed foods and ready prepared, chopped fruits and veg, apart from being more expensive, have less nutritional value than their home made, freshly prepared counterparts. Pre-packed fruits and veg, once chopped quickly leak their Vitamin content and many have sugar, salt & preservatives added to them to preserve there colour. How long does it take to chop carrots or shred a lettuce?

Next time you visit the Supermarket, take a look at the labels on the foods you are purchasing. Out of interest, I looked at a pack of pre-cooked chicken breasts. You will be aware that foods have to be labeled with the ingredients in decreasing order. These chicken breasts contained, chicken, sugar, salt and various preservatives! Why do cooked chicken breasts need sugar?? I will leave it for you to work out.

chillis, chutneys, harissa paste, home cooking, peppers
Chop yourself some chillis

Prepacked, processed, convenience foods are not in the shops to provide you with healthy options, despite what the labeling might say. They are convenience foods which have been designed by marketing agencies. With their smart packaging and snappy slogans they fool you into believing you are providing yourself and family with fresh, healthy, natural food. In reality they are convenience foods, placed on the shelves to play on your insecurities. Forget it. These products are there to make money for the Supermarket and food manufacturing companies, they have no thought for your health.

Don’t give in, make the time, to prepare your own food from scratch. What have you got to loose? you will save money, eat healthier and once you become aware of the taste of real food, probably lose weight and certainly not expose yourself to the plethora of illness associated with unhealthy eating. Go on, you owe it to yourself and your family.

In my blog next week, I will be giving you some simple recipes, for salad dressings and salads. All will take you under 30 mins to prepare. If you make up a large amount of the basic dressing recipe, you can use you imagination to add different ingredients to create other dressings and salads of your choice. You can find some of my previous recipes by following the links below: https://truffleicious.blog/2018/02/10/warm-butternut-squash-black-kale-salad/ https://truffleicious.blog/2019/03/22/harissa-chutney/

Until next week. Happy healthy eating.

Freshly prepared fruits & veg salads & dressings

Harissa Chutney

A versatile combination

Hi foodies, after my move through the snow, from Wiltshire to devine Devon in February, I’m afraid I have been a bit slow in wrting my blogs from this gorgeous county.

Low tide, Appledore, Devon, Instow, boats
From Appledoe to Instow

No matter, I’m all settled in now & my mind is brimming with ideas as I fill my new kitcken with some local – & some not so local – ingredients to create tasty recipes to try & tempt your taste buds,

Being health consious & aware of what we are putting into our bodies, I am a big fanatic of home made food. Looking at the labels on jars of chutneys & harissa paste recently, I was amazed at the long list of ingredients – well I say ingredients! – that went into them As well as the amount of sugar & other dubious additives which take you down the highly processed route, in some the first ingredient was water. Are you aware that manufactures have to label their products with the ingredients listed in descending order? So, if water is first & chilli’s last, there isn’t a lot of those litte firey peppers in there.

Having procured a large bag of wonky peppers & some chilli’s I was off home to make my own.

Peppers, red onions, chillis, garlic, chutney
Colourful Veg

Harissa Chutney.

Makes 3.5 kg G/F D/F V Vegan. Utensils: Large saucepan. Sterilized jars & lids.

INGREDIENTS:

2 kg mixed peppers (from your local market). Deseeded & Sliced

2 Large Red Onions, peeled & chopped

100g Mixed Chilli’s. ( Vary the amount according to taste) Finely chopped.

3 Large Carrots, grated

6 Cloves Garlic, peeled & crushed

1 pack Italian Tomato Passata

340g Dark Molasses Sugar

600ml Red Wine vinegar

2 tbspns Rock Salt

3 Whole Star Anise

2 tbspn Ground Cumin

1 tbspn Ground Coriander

Juice of 1 Lemon

METHOD

In a large saucepan, over a medium heat, place the peppers, onions, carrots, & chilli’s. Add half the wine vinegar, cover & bring to the boil & cook until the onions are soft.

Add the remaining ingredients. Stiring, until the sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil, turn down the heat & simmer, uncovered until it reaches a jam like consistency.

Allow to cool & pot into sterilized jars.

Serve as a chutney, or if you want to use it as a harissa paste rub. Place a couple of large Tbspns in a blender with a Tbspn of olive oil & blend.

chutney, chillis, harissa, homemade, food
Hot & wholesome