“Tell me what you eat and I will tell you who you are.” Jean Anthelme Brillat – Savarin (1775 – 1826)
It was while substantiating this oft repeated quote by the man considered by many the founder of modern gastronomy, that I came across another he’d offered.
A poignant quote that urged the tired, the defeated and the lovelorn, to take comfort in the restorative powers of chocolate.
His astute words remind us that there are times in life when one must rely on sensual impulse, maybe even intuition, to soothe and nourish ones self with food.
I love chocolate, and indeed ate chocolate tonight.
Thank you Monsieur Brillat – Savarin, you’re right, I felt better.
However, it is also an definable act of self love when we can apply those same intuitive responses to our daily food choices.
I am the first to admit, I can be a lazy eater.
I live alone, time gets away from me, life gets busy.
All factors that at times seem to shrink my food choices down to variations on just a couple of themes.
Hence, the smoothie.
Nourishing, comforting, fast and pleasing to the senses, they just work for me.
This one pleased me much.
I wish you peace, comfort and good nourishment : for your body and for your spirit.
’till next time
Not just another smoothie post…
You know I love them.
I just can’t think of a easier, more delicious way to keep up my fruit and coconut oil consumption.
But, I have had to concede, my smoothies could be better.
You see, using an inexpensive bullet style blender meant I didn’t really have the option to include more of the “good stuff.”
Nutrient dense ingredients like :
Leafy vegetables, such as spinach, lettuce and kale.
Powerfully beneficial, (and with natural diuretic properties) plants like celery and parsley.
Seeds such as flax, pumpkin, sunflower and chia.
Nuts too : particularly almonds, brazils and walnuts.
My little blender would have spluttered to a permanent stop.
Well, times have changed!
sweetrosie has acquired a very powerful new bullet blender and it pleases her greatly.
This powerful little machine can not only reduce nuts and fibrous vegetables to a very fine form for your smoothies , it also comes with a milling blade for flours, nut butters and the like.
I luurve it!
What’s in the jug today? I’m glad you asked :
Spinach mix with carrot and beetroot.
Red grapes (including the nutritious seeds and stems)
Yes, it’s a hella lot of smoothie, but on the weekend, it’s breakfast and lunch, sipped at my leisure.
Maybe you’ll see one on special, or maybe someone will ask you what you want for your birthday.
Don’t hesitate, just do it. I don’t think you’ll regret it.
Because, all I can say is, why didn’t I do this sooner?
Have a wonderful weekend, eat beautiful, be beautiful.
“till next time
A lot of you are probably familiar with chia pudding. These tiny seeds of goodness are soaked until they take on a somewhat-like -tapioca bowl of nourishment.
I love chia pudding : it’s versatile, easy to make and extraordinary in its nutritional profile.
I also love smoothies.
Today’s Sunday brunch smoothie combined the best of both worlds.
The luxury of a portable, fruit filled smoothie, along with all the goodness of a chia pudding.
It wasn’t just the benefits of chia: protein, good fats, micro nutrients and satiety factor, that tempted me into this new way of looking at my smoothie.
It occurred to me that chia, once soaked, became much more palatable, and more nutritionally beneficial.
Chia seeds soften and swell in the liquid they’re soaked in, and this had to have its advantages.
It does. I am sure soaking chia, much as some people soak nuts, and when we sprout grains and seeds, well, that soaking has to enhance the possibility of increased nutrient uptake.
What do you think dear reader? Makes sense to me. I am going on the presumption we make it easier for our digestive system to access nutrients when we assist by compromising the hard, fibrous shell of certain foods.
This smoothie was made with a bowl of chia seeds, soaked overnight in coconut milk. I guess I used around a tablespoon of chia to around 200ml of milk.
It was covered and went in the fridge overnight.
I am fairly predictable when it comes to my smoothie mix, so, same as usual there.
All whizzed together. All happy to meet each other.
It’s great. I can carry it around the house, doing this and that.
Just perfect for a Sunday.
Enjoy your Sunday, and have a wonderful week.
’till next time
Such a beautiful term, isn’t it? Mother of vinegar, that strange mat you find in raw vinegar.
Heat processing prevents formation of a vinegar mother, so be pleased if you find one in yours.
The presence of the Mother confirms that your vinegar is active and alive with beneficial properties.
Mother of vinegar is created by the conversion of alcohol to acetic acid.
It is basically a mat of cellulose, composed primarily of (friendly, beneficial) bacteria.
I was prompted to show you my (teeny, tiny) mother out of pride!
This is my first time making apple cider vinegar, and I am so very happy it’s working.
My mother is small, but I am sure she’ll keep going.
I stir my vinegar every few days, the process benefits from the addition of oxygen, but I am gentle, and do try not to break up the mother too much.
Technically, it doesn’t matter, it will reform.
I think I just like looking at it…
’till next time
Let me just start this by saying, if anyone ever offers you quinces, take them. Say “yes, please.” Grab them, and think later.
These precious autumnal fruits, related to the pear, and the apple, are not all that readily available commercially, and most seem to come from old established trees, dotted around the suburbs and countryside.
The quince has a long gastronomic history. Quite probably originating in Asia Minor, it grew long, long before apples graced the planet.
The quince, and it’s desirability is documented in the cultural history of both the Greeks and Romans.
Okay, so someone gave you a bag of quinces, and you’re a little hesitant about preparing them? Don’t be, they are easy to cook, beautiful to taste, versatile, and freeze well.
When preparing your quince, there’s a couple of things, you want to keep foremost in your mind.
You will have to add sugar, maybe even a lot of sugar. The beautiful quince is astringent, and lip puckeringly tart. If you are trying to avoid added sugar, for whatever reason, then bad news I’m afraid. The quince, like rhubarb, needs sugar to make it palatable.
Think pear, or apple, if you’re wondering what to do with your cooked fruit. Any dish, sweet or savoury that uses apple or pear, well, quince will nestle in there beautifully.
On the flip side, when you think about cooking quinces, think turnip. Old turnip…The quince has quite a hard, woody/spongy texture that requires long, slow cooking to bring out it’s best features.
Think, and cook patiently, and slowly, and you will be rewarded with a special prize, slices of tender fruits, pink, and sweetly fragrant.
First peel and core your fruit. This is best achieved on a board, with a cloth underneath to keep it from slipping around.
Have ready a bowl of cold water, to which you have added the juice of a lemon. The fruit must go into this acidulated water as soon as it is peeled. The quince, like the apple, will go brown if exposed to air.
Gather, and sharpen your favourite knife. As mentioned, this is a tough fruit, and a blunt, or flimsy knife just makes for frustrating, potentially dangerous preparation.
They can be peeled using a vegetable peeler. See what suits you best. Paring knife or swivel peeler.
Cut into segments, peel and core. Pop them into the lemon water.
OK, two basic methods of cooking your quince are possible here. The first one involves simply stewing your fruit in a sugar syrup, much as you would for stewed apple. A lid is recommended.
The second option utilises the slow, gentle heat of the oven. Again, a sugar syrup is used and the fruit is covered with foil, or a lid.
In a pan, make a sugar syrup. To around 1 cup of water, add 1/2-1 cup of sugar (sweetness is subjective. You can start with less, and taste as you go)
Add your drained quince pieces.
The fruit is brought to the boil, and then the heat is reduced to a gentle simmer. Stir occasionally if you are using the stove top. The generous amount of sugar used can cause the fruit to stick. Just be gentle so as not to crush or break up the fruit too much.
In my experience, cooking usually takes around 1 and 1/2 hours. The longer you cook the quince, the more she develops the beautiful, characteristic pinkness, that can range the spectrum from rosy blush to claret.
If you like, you can happily gild this fragrant lily. Spices and fruits that complement the quince include:
lemon or orange peel
Australian bush spices like aniseed myrtle, or strawberry gum
Honey, to replace some, or all of the sugar is also delectable.
Please! Don’t throw away your luscious syrup, when your quinces are cooked. It makes a beautiful addition to mocktails, cocktails, and champagne.
Use your cooked fruit, as you would stewed apple or pear: crumbles, pies, with Greek yoghurt, or on porridge or cereal.
Stewed quince freezes well, and can be stored, in a covered container, in the fridge, for about a week.
If you feel like being more adventurous, find yourself a recipe for quince paste, or quince jelly/jam – very special indeed.
One last thing dear reader. Say, you took those fruits that were offered to you, got them home, and it all seems like just too much hard work…
Get out your prettiest, most favourite bowl and tip the quinces into it.
They look so beautiful, and their musky-sweet, indefinable fragrance will fill your home, and soothe your senses.
I did speak about the anecdotal, and the substantiated benefits of apple cider vinegar in my first post (see the link below) but, what is it that keeps me drinking it?
I’ve never been tempted to drink vinegar before this year. Who drinks vinegar? It’s sour…
Me. That’s who. I drink raw, unpasteurised apple cider vinegar everyday. I am not going to pretend that I particularly like the flavour, but it is tolerable mixed with raw honey, warm water and lemon juice. I’ve settled on once a day, just before my evening meal, and I just chug-a-lug it down in one go.
Dear reader, I can’t pretend to you that I know for certain, but my intuition tells me that it has offered me very definite health benefits.
I’m not a health zealot by any stretch of the imagination :) But, when something works, well, you go with it.
Stage 2 of making my own apple cider vinegar was easy. I’ll outline the steps:
Wash and sterilise a smaller jar than your original. As you can see from the photo, there is a degree of natural evaporation, and the apples themselves account for a considerable amount of volume in the starter jar.
Using a sterilised dish cloth, piece of muslin, or a paper coffee filter, strain your starter mix into the smaller sterilised jar.
I squeezed all the liquid out of the apples before discarding them. Doing this does add more sediment, and will contribute to a cloudier mix, but, that’s ok.
Cover with another material that will allow oxygen into the liquid. Oxygen, at this stage is necessary for the complete conversion of alcohol into vinegar. I used a layer of paper towel, and some string.
Label and date.
Place in a dark, temperature stable spot for another 3-4 weeks, stirring every couple of days. The stirring introduces further oxygen.
Not really a recipe, just an opportunity to say “hi!”, I hope you’re all well and happy.
My daughter came over today. She needed her mummy… Yes, she’s caught a cold, and was after food, cable TV, and TLC – in that order :)
Mama fed her :chicken salad and kimchi, and “medicated” her :hot lemon and honey.
She helped herself to my bed, and the television.
As long back as I can remember, hot lemon has been a family standard for anyone with a cold.
I will share that my own mother has an aversion to overly sweet things, so I guess her personal preference dictated that, growing up, our lemon drink was lip puckeringly tart.
Mummy also had an unwavering belief in the magical powers of Milk of Magnesia. A tbsp of that chalky concoction was supposed to cure you of anything amiss in your tummy and downstairs cupboards…
Well, according to Mum, anyway. She dolloped it out, left, right, and centre, and each of her bewildered children soon learned to think long and hard before squeaking, “I’ve got a tummy ache.”
I’ve digressed dear reader. My point is, It says something doesn’t it, when a home remedy stands the test of time?
Hopefully, Milk of Magnesia has been banned, but long may hot lemon and honey live on!
Here are my takes on why this tried and trusted go to remains a firm favourite for many.
It’s soothing. For starters, someone making you something special when you’re ill, is good for the spirit. The warmness calms and soothes too.
Tart, refreshing lemon cuts through the fug of the ill mouth, when sometimes nothing is tempting.
Lemons deliver vitamin C, and other vitamins and minerals.
The water itself rehydrates the frail body, gently but thoroughly.
Honey is soothing and can calm a sore throat.
The sweet taste tempts and satisfies a jaded palate.
Raw honey also offers nutrition and sugars for energy.
It felt so good to be able to offer my child love and care while she was feeling unwell.
Bless her for giving me that opportunity.
’till next time