Happy Halloween

Spiced Pumpkin & Apple Soup

It’s that time of year again. With things being so very different this year, treat yourselves to some homemade healthy soup.

As well as providing you with some of your seven a day it is also very economical to make, using the flesh from all that pumpkin carving and windfall apples.

For the adults I highly recommend using cider to make this soup, however, for the children vegetable stock is a better option.

To finish the soup, toast some bread, using a cookie cutter, stamp out to ghostly shapes, Sprinkle with grated cheese or a vegan alternative, float on tp of individual bowls of soup.

Dairy free, gluten free, Vegetarian, vegan. Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

  • 1kg Pumpkin flesh
  • 1 Large Potato, peeled & diced
  • 2 Large Bramley Apple., peeled & chopped
  • 1 large onion, peeled & diced
  • 1 Large Carrot. Chopped
  • 2 Sticks Celery. Chopped
  • 2 Sage leaves
  • 1 Tbspn Smoked Paprika
  • 1 Tbspn Curry powder
  • 1/2 tspn grated nutmeg.
  • 1.5 Ltrs Vegetable Stock or for the adults. 1/2 veg stock & 1/2 Cider.
  • 3tbspns Rapeseed Oil.
  • Seasoning

METHOD.

  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan, over a medium heat.
  • Add the vegetables & fruit. Fry for 5mins.
  • Sprinkle in the spices & fry for a further 3mins, stirring regularly.
  • Add the liquid(s). Bring to the boil, turn down the heat, simmer for 45mins.
  • Remove from heat, blend in a liquidiser or with a stick until smooth.
  • Season to taste and serve.

Should the soup be to thick for your liking, thin down with extra veg stock.

Enjoy

Happy Halloween

Driving me crackers

You are what you eat

Homemade and healthy

I had just returned after walking the dog and happened to catch something on BBC Radio Devons, afternoon programme that grabbed my attention.

A lady, born in Appledore, North Devon, now living in Canada was describing the larger individuals on this planet as ” Butterballs on legs “. Her words conjured up various mental images in my head, maybe the most amusing being a Mathews Butterball turkey – others are available -. The shape of this frozen lump of Xmas fowl with tiny arms and legs attached was reminiscent of many bodies seen on our streets today. How and why have they got to this stage? We all know we have to eat less and move more, but it’s not just a question of how much we stuff into our mouths it’s also the quality of the food and drink we consume that matters.

I quite agree with Boris Johnson’s statement regarding the state of the nation’s eating habits, especially in the light of the pandemic. We need to keep ourselves healthy and fit in order for our bodies to function efficiently and assist our immune systems in the fight against disease. I have always been an advocate of healthy eating and home-cooked, natural food, however, getting the message across is a difficult thing to achieve. Maybe the only way to make the general public see sense is to put a “Butterball” tax on all unhealthy, processed foods & drinks.

What drives me crackers, is crackers. A quick perusal of the savoury biscuit section in the Super Market the other day revealed that the second ingredient, after flour in any of the well-known makes of crackers is SUGAR. Why? To entice you into eating more, that’s why. Sugar is as addictive as nicotine and we all know what’s been said about that. Moving on to another aisle I am confronted with Sauces and Dressings. Barbeque, Tomato, Sriracha, Ceasar, Chilli you name it, the second ingredient after water, this time is SUGAR. apart from the fact that they are not just heavy on the hips, they are heavy on your purse as well.

Dietary No no’s

Making your own food, does not need to involve long complicated recipes or mounds of pots and pans to wash up. With a few simple ingredients you can produce, healthy tasty meals which are not swamped with sugar, salt and processed ingredients all added to give them taste and get you addicted.

Sugar laden dipping sauce

From the ingredients label on this sauce bottle, you can see that its main ingredient is water! what comes next SUGAR. This dipping sauce only contains 2% chilli & 1% garlic. That means that 97% of this bottle contains nothing that is actually good for you, or nutritious.

You can make yourself a perfectly delicious, quick dipping sauce, by finely chopping a 2 fresh chilli’s – remove the seeds if you don’t like heat – mix with 1 crushed clove of garlic, add 2 Tbspns Tomato Ketchup – contains SUGAR. mix well & thin with a little water, or red wine vinegar, if liked. To make a marinade simply omit the water adding 2 Tbspns oil & 1 tspn red wine vinegar. Brush onto chicken, fish, pork etc before cooking. A recipe for a spicy chilli chutney can also be found on this website.

Next time you are shopping, read the labels to find out exactly what you are eating. Help yourself to get and stay healthy, you will find you save money and you will feel more healthy. If you are a gardener you may like Love your Lettuce and other healthy recipes to be found on this site.

The rest is up to you. Stay Safe and Healthy.

Fish is the dish

Daily recipe 27 March 2020

Hey all, how are you doing? Hope you are all keeping positive and ready for today’s recipe. How much fish do you eat each week? Fish, especially oily fish is a very important addition to our diets and a good source of Omega three and vitamn B12. To keep your immune system healthy you need to eat a well balance diet, including fresh or frozen fruit and veg. Sorry to be a spoil sport, but you also need to remember, while self isolating and lazing in front of the TV, you need to reduce your calorie intake. Less activity means less food. Simples.

Today is not so much a recipe, but suggestions for you to create tasty dishes using fish. Fish is a great brain food, so no excuses. Use you imagination.

Cook some brown rice or quinoa in vegetable stock, add chopped apple, walnuts and celery. Stir in some flaked smoked Mackerel , dress with olive mixed with crushed garlic, lemon juice and a teaspoon of horseradish. Sprinkle with chopped parley or dill. Serve with a light lunch or supper.

Cooked brown rice – leftover, perhaps – can be mixed with lightly fried, chopped onions, celery and grated carrot. Mix in tinned tuna fish, olives and a tin of chopped tomatoes. Spoon into halved, de-seeded pepper shells, sprinkle with grated cheese. Bake in the oven until the peppers are just tender. approx 40mins.

In a food processor add two tins of sardines in olive oil, drained. Add half a grated onion, half a teaspoon of curry powder, two chopped hard boiled eggs and two skinned, chopped tomatoes. Process until smooth. Spread on toast and grill or serve with crackers.

Process two skinned smoked mackerel fillets, with 250ml greek yoghurt, chopped parsley and a teaspoon of grated lemon rind. When smooth, turn into a bowl, serve as a dip with cucumber, celery and carrot sticks.

Dip fresh Mackerel fillets in beaten egg mixed with a teaspoon of English Mustard and coat in rolled porridge oats. Lightly fry in 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Serve with baked potatoes and grated carrot and orange salad.

There’s a few ideas to keep you going You can use different fish and vegetables, the choice is yours. Post your fishy photographs to twitter or Instagram, using the #northdevondoesfish. We will share them in next weeks blog. Stay safe. Eat healthy.

salads, fish, leftovers, seasonal food, vitamins
Stay safe, eat healthy

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