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

Use your leftovers

Leftover tips & recipes

Good morning fellow foodies. I hope you all enjoyed your Christmas? you are probably feeling a few kilo’s heavier & a few pounds lighter today!! To address the balance, here are a few tips & recipes to help you use up those leftovers. After all, do you really want your hard earned cash, dumped in the bin?

If you were up early enough, you will have heard me on The Graham Rogers, Morning Show BBC Radio Wiltshire at 8.50 this morning, sharing these ideas, with the good people of Wiltshire.

TURKEY  (cooked)

Left over turkey breast can be sliced into finger sized strips, dipped in beaten egg & tossed in a mixture of Polenta & grated parmesan. Leave in the fridge for 30mins. Fry lightly in olive oil, turning once & serve with a dip of pesto, mixed with mayonnaise, for the Italian touch.

If its Spicy you are after. Follow the above, but replace the ingredients as follows: Dip in beaten egg & a Tbspn Soy Sauce & coat in sesame seeds. Serve with sweet Chilli Sauce.

Boil some macaroni. Make up a cheese sauce, or use a can of Campbells condensed Tomato Sauce. Layer in a casserole, Macaroni, cooked turkey chunks, chopped peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, olives etc. Finish with a layer of macaroni. Pour over the sauce, or soup diluted with a little of the Macaroni cooking liquid & sprinkle with grated cheese. Bake in a medium oven for 20-30mins.

CHEESES – SALAMI – HAM ETC

Place left over cheeses in a food processor, with chives & some butter. Process until smooth. Pot in small ramekins, seal with clarified butter & serve as a spread. (For adults, use stilton & a couple of Tbspns Port)

Recipe for savoury Truffles can be found by clicking the blue link.

Savoury Truffles Love your Leftovers

VEG & SALAD

How about a different take on that Boxing Day Bubble & Squeak. Whisk yourself up a Breakfast Frittata

leftovers, fritatta, roast potatoes, cheese, pigs in blankets
Left overs. Breakfast Frittata

Have you looked in the salad drawer? I bet a sad looking lettuce & cucumber, lurk there, together with a few spring onions, the odd pepper & that bag of healthy shoots, that would go with….. you can’t remember what!
Well dig them all out, heat some oil in a large saucepan & throw them all in. Saute for a few minutes with a tspn cumin, add some veggie or chicken stock & bring to the boil. Simmer for 30mins & blitz with a hand blender. Season & serve with a spoonful of Greek yogurt on top.

veggie soup,lettuce,cucumber,cumin,yoghurt
Left over Veg soup

CHRISTMAS PUD & CREAM
Got an ice-cream maker?
Make a basic custard mix, allow to cool, stir in 500ml double cream & 1 tbspn Brandy. Process according to your manufacturers instructions, 10 mins before the end of freezing time, crumble in Christmas Pudding, or any meringues you may have left over.

Ice cream,leftovers,cream.custard,christmas pud
Christmas Bombe

That it foodies. Hope you have found some inspiration to use up those leftovers. Have a great Boxing Day & Happy New Year.

Do real men eat Quiche?

Well. Do they?

PAWS FOR THOUGHT & EATING

How to make a man sized quiche

Its a bit of a poser this one, “Do real men eat quiche”? Well, to my mind, plonk a large slice of quiche, containing, bacon, eggs, mushrooms, cheese etc, in front of them & as long as you call it a breakfast quiche & they are not vegetarian, they probably do. Just look at it this way, the quiche in the header photo is just, breakfast on a pastry plate!

Below, you will find the recipe for a man sized breakfast Quiche. The pastry recipe you will find as a previousChristmascountdownpost, by clicking the link. At the bottom of the page, you will also find some variations, which may also help you use up your Festive leftovers, when the time comes.

bacon, eggs, cheese, pastry, cream,
Bacon & Eggs. Tempted?

Big Breakfast Quiche

Time taken 45 mins + cooking & chilling. Equipment 1. 13cm Deep fill…

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Christmas Leftovers

You may like to read this in a few days time #leftovers

PAWS FOR THOUGHT & EATING

Recipes for leftovers

In Day 13 of Christmas countdown you will find a couple of recipes for leftovers.

Christmas present, can soon become Christmas past. By past I mean, “Past that best before date”. That’s why you need to learn to loveyourleftovers. We all buy too much food over the Festive Season, whether it be for the unexpected visitor who may drop byor just because we are tempted by a vast array of food choices.

Looking in the fridge you come across a piece of mousetrap, a few slices of ham or salami, that piece of Parmesan you meant to grate over the Caesar Salad, along with the olives.  Slices of smoked salmon & in the chiller draw, half empty bags of herbs & limp veg.  You then look in the tins on the work surface & discover odd pieces of cake, broken biscuits, stale bread. Sound like you? Well…

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Merry Christmas

Christmas Countdown 22 Recipes for a Merry Christmas

If you have been. Thank you for reading. This concludes the 22 recipe Christmas Countdown. All thats left for me to say is “I hope you have found these recipes useful & you have enjoyed, reading these blogs.

Click the photos below to take you to the individual recipes. OR the blue link below will take you to all the recipes, mentioned below in the drop down menu of Christmas Countdown.

WISHING YOU ALL A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS & A HEALTHY & HAPPY NEW YEAR