Tag Archives: Made from Scratch

Fruity Friday…The Red Banana

Red Bananas (2)

Banana trees are everywhere here in gardens, growing on wasteland, by the side of the road everywhere… Sometimes I can’t even give them away…

They can be frozen, used in fruit shakes and smoothies or banana bread…Banana pancakes are very popular here and we have a little stall just down the road from us.

The kids love them but they are too sweet for me and an occasional treat for them as they pour condensed milk all over them.

You will also see BBQ’S by the side of the road grilling them and serving with some sweet syrup or fried bananas, banana balls which are one of my favourites when I go to market but you name it you can get the banana any which way…

They range from tiny little bananas to fair sized one not sold by the kilo as in western countries but by the hand as bananas are freely available here and very prolific crops.

The red banana I was given as a gift by one of my neighbours they are very nice and so pretty… it has a balanced sweet taste and can be used as a cooking banana even though it isn’t plantain but we just enjoyed eating them just as they were.

Red Bananas (2)

The leaves of the red banana, however, cannot be used to cook, wrap or serve food on. The red banana is not so popular as other bananas as it is harder to grow they also require more water and the skins tend to crack so I think I got a bit of a treat as I hadn’t seen them before. and the skins on these were lovely and smooth so they obviously were well watered.

More so unusual because when I was showing a friend she told me that some red bananas sold as a sweet dish here are not a special variety that is naturally red like mine but rather, the bananas are soaked in red coloured hydrolyzed lime water, made with a lime powder obtained from fossilized shells dissolved in water. The soaking hardens the bananas so that they don’t fall apart when later boiled in syrup. These “Red ” bananas may be eaten on their own or served in sweetened coconut milk.

That was an interesting piece of info not sure if I would like to eat them but I will certainly be keeping my eyes out and have asked my friend to get me some if she sees them…I will now be investigating this fossilized shells they use.

You learn something every day don’t you??? Have you seen this dessert or tried it???

Healthwise the red banana is high on potassium and is alkaline in nature. Since it is red in colour, it has a high content of anthocyanin which acts like an antioxidant. It is also high on fibre and vitamin C.

Even though the basic constitutes of all varieties of bananas are the same, the red bananas are high in all the vitamins and minerals and is a great antioxidant-rich food.

Just a little tip… I was told that Red bananas are great for your skin when made into a paste… To prepare an easy and effective face mask mix powered oats, mashed red banana and few drops of honey to make a paste. Apply it on your face an let it dry and then wash it off.

Not only do they make a great face mask but they are good for your hair…

You can mash the banana with coconut, sesame or almond oil to moisturize your hair and to relieve problems like dandruff, hair fall and dry hair. Add few teaspoons of lemon in the mask and apply it all over your hair. Leave it on for 30 minutes and then wash off for bouncy and shiny hair.

I hope you enjoyed this post about my gift of red bananas…

If you did please hit the share buttons …xxx

Connect to Carol( Moi)

Blog: https://blondieaka.wordpress.com/

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Thank you  for reading and have a lovely weekend x

 

Pickled Eggs

Love pickled eggs??

 

But want a change ?? Love the colour pink? Then add some beets…Fancy a bit of spice  ?? Then check out these recipes…

JALAPENO PICKLED EGGS:

jalapeno pickled eggs

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 a cup of Cider Vinegar.
  • 3/4 a cup of water.
  • 1/2 cup of sugar plus 1 tbsp sugar.
  • 6 cloves.
  • 2 Jalapenos cut in half lengthwise and deseeded.
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds.
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 onion sliced.
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 9 Hard-boiled eggs, peeled.

Let’s Cook!

Boil eggs for 10-15 mins until hard. Remove from heat and put into cold water.

In a medium pan, put vinegar, water( or beet juice) if using, onion, jalapenos, sugar, and spices. Bring to the boil and cook until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes.

Pour vinegar over eggs making sure they are completely covered.

If using beet juice also put some beet in the jar with the eggs. You will then have pickled beets as well.

Make sure the lid is tight and refrigerate. The eggs will be ready to eat in a few days and will keep for up to a month if you haven’t already eaten them.

CURRIED PICKLED EGGS:

Ingredients:

1 cup cider vinegar.

3/4 a cup of water.

1/4 of an onion.

3/4 cup white sugar.

3 cardamon pods

1 tsp mustard seeds( yellow or brown)

I tbsp yellow curry paste.

Let’s Cook!

As above bring all the ingredients to the boil until sugar is dissolved. Allow to cool a little and then pour the vinegar mix over the eggs making sure they are completely covered.

Allow to pickle for a few days in the fridge they are then ready to eat… Left with lots of pickle juice ????

Don’t want to waste that pickle juice???    Then have a …

Pickleback

What is a pickleback? You are about to find out!

It’s a shot of whiskey followed by a shot of pickle juice and some even follow that with a beer chaser…

A popular drink in bars around the world and apparently very good….Have you tried a pickleback????

Until later when I am going to show you some of the worst diets known to man…

Make sure you don’t miss it…xxx

 

 

Healthy Eating…How to lose weight and eat the foods you love…

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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???

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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.

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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.

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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

 

 

 

 

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.

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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.

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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!

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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…

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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…

 

Molaga Podi aka GUNPOWDER aka South Indian Style Spiced Dry Lentil powder

It is no secret that I love Indian cuisine as much as I love Thai food. I always grind my own spices and love reading authentic recipes like this…Thank you, Vidya for sharing 🙂

Masalachilli - A Celebration of Indian Vegetarian Cooking, with a twist!

I bet every South Indian household has this stored in their pantry especially since this is a breakfast special chutney. There are days when you are busy in the mornings & do not have much time to grind coconut chutneys, these dry chutneys come to your rescue.

Each household has their own recipe, so does mine. This is what my Mom has been making since I was little & it was taught to her by my grandmother (another fabulous cook).

Molagapodi means – Molaga = Chillies & podi means powder.

So ideally this podi should be spicy to ensure your South Indian breakfast staples like idlis or dosas doesn’t taste bland.

A spoonful of this podi & a generous drizzle of nella ennai or sesame oil is just pure bliss. This podi is very useful during travelling. Some idlis smeared with this podi & oil & neatly packed in a…

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