Category Archives: Cooking

Food on Friday ~ Rosehips

rose hips are the fruit of the flower of love

no matter what they say, rose hips are indeed a fruit

High summer presses its heat and humidity down on us, and yet in England the hedgerows are already beginning to ripen with wild harvest.  One of the hedgerow’s natural bounties is the false fruit of the dog rose, (rosa canina), more commonly known in England as rose hips.

p1050177You can do a lot of stuff with rose hips, from making syrups and jams, to my preferred use which is to make a tincture of rose hips and rosemary in apple cider vinegar.  As well as sweetening and adding taste to the cider vinegar. the rose hips also add diuretic, lithontriptic, and mild laxative qualities to your brew.  As for rosemary, this stuff is almost a cure-all.  I just add an odd number of fresh sprigs to the bottle, (for good fortune it must be an odd number.)

The finished product, (ready in about 6 weeks and will keep for a year or a lot longer), is a great basis for a salad dressing.  Diluted in water it is also a first class tonic and as part of a whole-body cleanse.  There may be no truth whatsoever in the persistent rumour that this concoction is a very potent female aphrodisiac.  However, it is well known to be a cure for practically whatever that ails you.

You can also make a true tincture of rose hips using medicinal alcohol, (or vodka).  For those of us with a real taste for booze, just make a rose hip brandy or vodka.  I have even heard of rose hip gin, and although I’ve never tasted it, I have it on very good authority, from a very close friend, that this booze is the bomb.

The dog rose is an important plant to the herbalist, because the leaves, petals, and hips all have their uses.  In a hedgerow, the plant may reach six feet or more in height, its flowers can be anything from white to a delicate pink, and if will guard its bounty with some particularly persistent thorns.  (You can also use the hips, leaves, and petals of the cultivated rose, but I would look for a rose variety that’s as close to the wild rose as possible.)

Some say that you must be very careful when picking fruits, berries, and salad leaves from the wild ~ the uninitiated may pick themselves a deadly poison.  And that everything belongs to somebody, so be discreet.  All I know is that the mixture of rose hips, rosemary, and organic apple cider vinegar is as near to a sorcerer’s brew as anything I know.

~

canina1jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

 

a rose by any other name is still as sweet

even if it’s a dog

Food on Friday ~ Gluten Intolerance

a gluten-free diet is not just a fad ~ modern wheat is bad for everyone

Some say that wheat is safe for everyone except those who have celiac disease.  And, that non-celiac gluten sensitivity isn’t a real medical condition.  So why is wheat bad for you?  Especially genetically enhanced, chemical laden, pesticide sprayed, modern American wheat is really, really bad for you.  If you have the sense your mother gave you, then you should stop eating anything made from wheat.

Gluten intolerance and celiac disease are direct results of American agriculture policy and, specifically, the government’s wading into the food arena.  ~  Joel Salatin.

Gluten is what turns a mixture of flower and water into glue.  Gluten is a family of proteins found in grains like; wheat, spelt, rye, barley, bulgur, oats, and seitan.  There is no gluten in either quinoa or rice.  Nor is there any gluten in potato or beans.  However gluten is found in almost all processed and packaged foods, sauces, and canned food.

Non celiac gluten sensitivity is poorly understood, and there are no specific medical tests of your blood, stool, or urine that can reliably diagnose gluten intolerance.  You and your doctors can only reliably diagnose gluten intolerance by the symptoms and health problems you have.  On the other hand, there are reliable diagnostic tests for full-blown celiac disease.

Common digestive and health problems caused by gluten intolerance include;

  • Irritable bowl problems such as abdominal pain, bloating, cramping, constipation, and diarrhoea.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Irritation of the mouth and throat.
  • Brain fog, difficulty concentrating, problematic memory.
  • Frequent headaches.
  • Mood changes, anxiety, depression, irritability.
  • Low energy and chronic fatigue syndrome.
  • Muscle and joint pains.  Osteoporosis.
  • Peripheral neuropathy, numbness and tingling in the hands, arms, feet and legs.
  • Skin problems, dermatitis, eczema, rosacea, skin rashes.
  • Nutrient deficiencies, vitamin deficiencies, iron deficiency, anemia.
  • Asthmatic attacks.
  • Higher risk of learning problems including autism and ADHD.
  • Sexual problems and in women missed periods.
  • Gut autoimmunity, damage to the gut biome

Gluten intolerance will affect every single part of the body as the bacteria in your gut help to control everything from nutrient absorption, to hormone production, to metabolic function, to the way your brain works.

The problem is that gluten from wheat is found in just as many products as that other evil and unnatural food; high fructose corn syrup.  One should read the labels before buying any food, and certainly avoid these foods

  • bread, crackers, pizza, burritos, tortilla, cakes, cookies and the like
  • beer, lager, stouts, ales
  • barley malt
  • packaged, store bought chicken broth
  • malt vinegar ~ buy natural organic apple cider vinegar instead
  • most salad dressings including mayonnaise
  • veggie burgers unless they are certified gluten-free
  • soy sauce
  • packets of seasonings and spice mixes
  • noodles unless they are rice noodles
  • all pasta, (unless it’s marked gluten-free)
  • most condiments
  • non dairy creamer
  • miso
  • bullion cubes and stock cubes
  • canned soups
  • cheese spreads and other processed cheeses
  • sausages and hot dogs
  • ice cream, frozen yogurt, and milk unless it’s from grass-fed cows.
  • Sour cream, which may contain modified food starch.

If you are even mildly gluten intolerant you will need to be very careful when eating out.  The same goes for buying Chinese take-out which is likely to be stuffed with MSG, (Monosodium Glutamate).  When eating out avoid fried foods, thickened sauces, and obviously bread.  Try to drink gluten-free booze such as cider, wine, spirits and liqueurs, (there are gluten-free beers).  And, if you’re drinking spirits don’t have diet soda as your mixer ~ diet soda is also bad for you.

Some say that gluten intolerance might really be glyphosate poisoning.  And that pre-harvest spraying of wheat and sugar cane with Roundup makes for an easier harvest.  All I know is that I don’t want to eat food contaminated with weed-killer.

Glyphosate is for sure, in every bite of food that contains wheat.  ~  Nancy S. Mure

As it goes, wheat flour and refined sugars are just so very bad for you that your best choice is to avoid them all together.  The list of health problems caused by these two staple foods is both long and nasty.

For most of us, giving up bread and beer is a pretty easy and very beneficial thing to do.

Some say that if you want to be really fit and healthy, start by never again eating anything made with wheat flour.  And that you know it makes sense.   All I know is that I’ve felt healthier, fitter, and more alert since I realised that wheat is bad for you.

~

jack collier

 

sigh…. Guinness and brown bread with Irish Stew is so good…..

Food on Friday ~ Quick and Easy

my friend cooks with wine, sometimes she even adds it to the food

In an ideal world each of us would have a gorgeous kitchen, a larder full of exactly the right ingredients, and lots of time to create wonderfully, brilliant, healthy and tasty dishes.  Mostly the world isn’t like that, and for many of us there are so many other things we need and want to do rather than stand over a hot stove.  Particularly when the weather is wonderful ~ or we have to go to work.  Or have a long, hot, soak in the tub.

This week we’re concentrating on quicker and easier wonderful, brilliant, healthy, and tasty recipes.

First up this week, from Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest; 15 Minute Garlic Butter Ramen Noodles.  Simple, easy, fast, and looking delicious.

15 Minute Garlic Butter Ramen Noodles

Another noodles dish, this time from Chungah at Damn Delicious; Quick Chicken Ramen Noodle Stir Fry.  I like stir fry dishes, my perfect one pan meal every time.  This one should be ready in 30 minutes.

Quick Chicken Ramen Noodle Stir Fry

Something I must try, from Tiffany at Creme de la Crumb is a Cajun Shrimp and Rice Skillet.  This is a one pan dish you should be ale to prepare and cook in just 30 minutes, less if your seasoning is ready mixed.

Cajun Shrimp and Rice Skillet

At this time of year some of you may have peppers growing in your yard.  From Jessica Merchant at How Sweet Eats we have these Grilled Marinated Peppers with Burrata and Breadcrumbs.  This dish may take a little longer than the others we’re looking at this week, but it’s a very relaxing kind of longer.

Grilled Marinated Peppers with Burrata and Breadcrumbs

Our first collection this week is from Diane, The Minimalist Baker 26 Quick & Easy Recipes, all of which should be ready in 30 minutes or less.  As the weather is not only mostly sunny, it’s also probably hot where you are, I’ve chosen to feature this Greek Goddess Bowl ~ something an Aphrodite would enjoy.

Greek Goddess Bowl

Another collection, this time from Country Living; 77 Best Quick, Easy Dinner Recipes You Can Make In 30 Minutes or Less.  I’ve chosen to feature this dish of Grilled Pesto Chicken with Summer Squash ~ and talking of things you may have in your vegetable patch, how brilliant if you have squash growing in your yard.

Grilled Pesto Chicken with Summer Squash

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

we each have our own idea of an Aphrodite

Food on Friday ~ Arugula

arugula is an American made-up modern word

Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs is an absolute mine of information when it comes to the annual weed we call by a variety of names, including roquette, rocket and arugula.  Mind you, anyone with an ambition to be an herbalist could do no better than to begin by following the brilliant website.  This cruciferous Mediterranean salad green has a stack of health benefits, and for most men is a much preferred alternative to kale.  (My straw poll tells me that Kale does seem to be much more liked by the distaff side of the table.)

Parmesan Chicken Arugula

Our first new recipe this week is from Jessica Merchant at How Sweet Eats and it’s especially for those who may have just stopped ‘working from home’ and gone back into the office.  So, for breakfast or lunch how about a Gruyere, Fig Jam and Arugula Sandwich?

Gruyere, Fig Jam, and Arugula Sandwich

This looks tasty from Andrea at Cooking with a Wallflower, Sun-Dried Tomato Pistou Pasta with Arugula.  This seems to be really easy, using only a few ingredients you may already have in your larder.

Sun-Dried Tomato Pistou Pasta with Arugula

You can’t get anything much easier and tastier than this Arugula Salad with Shaved Parmesan from Heidi at Foodie Crush.  (Actually you get 3 recipes for the price of one here.)

Arugula Salad with Shaved Parmesan

Our first collection this week is from delish; 15 Ways to Add Arugula to Everything.  I found this super looking recipe for Pork Chops with Arugula Pesto and Roasted Cauliflower.  (OK some don’t like pork chops, but some love them.  And there are another 14 recipes in this collection).

Pork Chops with Arugula Pesto and Roasted Cauliflower

The second collection this week is from Cookie + kate who offer us 29 Epic Salad Recipes. which includes an Arugula, Dried Cherry and Wild Rice Salad with a Zippy Lemon Dressing.  How pretty!

Arugula, Dried Cherry, and Wild Rice with a Zippy Lemon Dressing

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

for a change, some kale

blackened shrimp kale caesar salad

 

Food on Friday ~ 4th of July

I like to see a man proud of the place he lives

It’s July this this weekend, an important holiday in the USA.  I have no idea what traditional Independence Day food is in the USA, because, obviously we do not celebrate that here in England,  So, I’ve chosen some nice healthy dishes for this weekend.

From Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest we have this melon basil burrata salad with crispy prosciutto.  I really like the look of this dish

Melon Basil Burrata Salad with Crispy Prosciutto

Tiffany at Creme de la Crumb has this super recipe for cilantro lime marinated steak with corn salsa.  Can’t get much more American than this.

Cilantro Lime Marinated Steak with Corn Salsa

From In Diane’s Kitchen we have this easy ginger soy glazed chicken.  Ginger goes really well with chicken, and it’s so very good for you.

Ginger Soy Glazed Chicken

Jessica Merchant at How Sweet Eats has this fabulous looking collection of 25 recipes for July 4th.  I have chosen to feature these smokey blood orange BBQ ribs with avocado butter greens.  Enjoy

Smokey Blood Orange BBQ Ribs with Avocado Butter Greens

Finally for this week we have 59 easy 4th of July recipes from Good Housekeeping.  I’ve chosen to feature something different, a grilled leek potato salad.

Grilled Leek Potato Salad

And, these charred shrimp, leek, and asparagus skewers.  I happen to like leeks.

Charred Shrimp, Leek, and Asparagus Skewers

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

Balboa Island

I wonder if anything will be open this July 4th

Food on Friday ~ Strawberries

a time for healing and letting go of your burden

Tonight’s full moon is often known as the Strawberry Moon, not because it’s strawberry coloured, but because in England and North America this is likely to be when the first fruits of the year are ready to harvest.  So this Friday I’ve decided to feature some recipes which include this sweet, red, heart-shaped fruit.

If you can find them, and if you can afford it, then buy organic strawberries, it’s well worth it.  Organic strawberries will not only taste better, they will also not be full of chemical pesticide and fertiliser.  The humble strawberry is the world’s best at absorbing whatever is in the soil and whatever it may have been sprayed with.

First up this week is this pretty looking dish of strawberry salsa from Cookie + kate.  If strawberries seem strange in a salsa to you, then live dangerously……

Strawberry Salsa

This is a really fresh and tasty strawberry arugula salad with balsamic vinaigrette, this dish from Cookie + kate again.  That girl must love her strawberries, unless it’s the dog cookie…..

Strawberry Arugula Salad

As we all know, strawberries are a great accompaniment when it comes to the traditional English scone, so from Heather Christo, what about this strawberry rhubarb scone.  Looks delicious, and come on, scones are easy to bake.

Strawberry Rhubarb Scones

Another very traditional dish, from In Dianes Kitchen, why not try this rhubarb and strawberry pie.  Perfect for a traditional English afternoon tea.

Rhubarb and Strawberry Pie

Our Collection this week is from Good Housekeeping Magazine and their 40+ delicious strawberry recipes.  From there, and just to be non-traditional, I’ve chosen to feature this strawberry and almond galette.  Now all you need is some champagne to go with it.

Strawberry and Almond Galette

As a drink to celebrate this full moon what about a rose and ginger paloma?  This is from Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest.  You know that ginger is extremely good for you ~ this paloma should boost your libido no end.

Rose and Ginger Paloma

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

tonight’s full moon is also known as the Rose Moon, because the dog rose is in bloom

Food on Friday ~ Scallops

you can keep your oysters, but give me Scottish Scallops

Just around the corner from the garret is a fantastic old-fashioned fishmonger ~ well this is an old-fashioned fishing harbour, although because of the European Union we don’t do that much fishing from here at present.  But, this fishmonger is the real deal, they have fresh fish and shellfish you just wouldn’t get at the fish counter in your local supermarket.  They may be slightly pricier, but you get what you pay for, and do these guys know their fish…..

So, this weekend I have a fancy for scallops, and I know the fishmongers usually has great Scottish King Scallops, (a.k.a. great scallop, clam, Couquille St. Jaques).

Now all I need is a great recipe.

Andrea at Cooking with a Wallflower has a really nice recipe for pan seared scallops pasta carbonara.  I know this recipe is very fast and very easy, as well as being something you could serve at a posh dinner party.  I love this.

Pan Seared Scallops Pasta Carbonara

Now, from Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest I can offer you these honey butter blackened scallops with herby polenta.  I love that these scallops are just seared in a hot pan with spices, honey, and butter.  Perfect if you just happen to have a skillet in you pan drawer.  Simple, easy, perfect.

Honey Butter Blackened Scallops with Herby Polenta

Next up is Chungah from Damn Delicious with her garlic butter scallop bowls ~ I love the cilantro lime rice and pico de gallo too.  Now that summer is with us, (even here in England), this is a perfect dish for an alfresco luncheon.

Garlic Butter Scallop Bowls

Another dish from Chungah at Damn Delicious; bacon scallops with garlic butter sauce.  I just had to include this recipe because of it’s 3 great components; scallops, bacon, and garlic butter.  What’s not to like?

Bacon Scallops with Garlic Butter Sauce

From Petra at Food Eat Love we have this delicate dish of scallops with mango and spring onion salsa.  Perfect to serve with drinks, and so very, very easy.

Scallops with Mango and Spring Onion Salsa

Last for this week is a collection of 18 scallop recipes from Delicious Magazine.  I’ve chosen to feature this warm salad of pear, scallop, and chorizo.  I think the disparate flavours in this dish will go well together, and you should be able to have it ready in under half-an-hour.

Warm Salad of Pear, Scallop, and Chorizo

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

I don’t think they’re after scallops

Things To Do During Lockdown

the devil finds work for idle hands

If you are unlucky enough to find yourself in lockdown / quarantine / self-isolation, then you will know just how boring, enervating, and soul-destroying the long, long days can be.  Unless you are so ill that all you want to do is sleep, you will probably be tempted to do three things; drink too much, eat too much junk food, watch too much mindless TV.  If you are so inclined you may also be tempted to smoke too many cigarettes, and over-indulge in your other drugs of choice.

None of the above activities are such a good idea.  May I make some alternative suggestions;

  1. Make a plan.  With your partner, friend, long-distance friend(s) make a plan for how you are going to survive and thrive during this present coronavirus crisis.  Make a plan for what you are going to do after lockdown is over.  Make a plan for what you are going to do with the rest of this year / next year / next 3 years.  Me, as soon as air travel is allowed I’m flying to the USA to visit a friend, and we are going to take a long road trip.
  2. If you are well enough take yourself for a walk in the fresh air and sunshine.  Just stay at least 6 feet away from any other people you may meet.  Take your dog if you have one.
  3. Exercise at home.  There are hundreds of exercise sites on the internet.  If you’re not feeling so good then try learning yoga, which is an excellent form of exercise.  If you’re not well enough for that then look for exercises you can do sitting down.
  4. If you are lucky enough to have a garden, get out there and get your hands dirty.
  5. If you aren’t well enough for that, then sit on your balcony, in your garden, outside your apartment.  Take no notice of any officious neighbours, and assume that the police are too busy to be jerks on your behalf.
  6. If your mind is working well enough, then read something challenging, preferably while you are sitting out of doors.
  7. Even if you don’t feel much like eating, then just make yourself cook something you will eat.  Use whatever ingredients you have in the larder, refrigerator, freezer.  Or find a recipe and go to the store, and that will also get you out of your place.  (or order on-line, or get a friend to go to the store for you)
  8. If you’ve been very unwell then you probably look like hell.  Get yourself clean and tidy, put on some cool clothes, and launder all the dirty stuff.  Change your bedding and launder that too.
  9. If you’re anything like me, not doing anything much for 10 days or so, then your place is most likely a hell of a mess.  Clean it all, including your kitchen and bathroom ~ and I mean really clean it.  Me, I did the garret in half-hour stints, because after a half hour I had to sit down and rest a while.
  10. Work on your relationships.  If you live with a partner, then give them some TLC.  If you live with your kids then find some fun things for them to do with you.  Repair any damage you may have done when you were depressed, angry, and insane.
  11. If, like me, you have long-distance relationships, then use the internet and telephone.  Or even write your to your friend(s) in an old-fashioned pen and ink letter or card.
  12. Learn something new.  There are innumerable on-line courses.  A friend of mine is studying Late Medieval Devotional Art through a free Harvard course.  Me?  I’ve reading all about how to survive the end of the world….

The thing is you can be utterly depressed and miserable during this period of enforced self-isolation.  Or, you can make the most of this time so that you emerge from lockdown a better, fitter, healthier, more grounded person than you were in March this year.  I know which one I’ve chosen.  I’ve tried the insane misery route, trust me, it doesn’t work.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

all of the above applies if you’re working from home

Food on Good Friday ~ 2020

this Good Friday share all the bread, wine, and love you have

Back when I was a boy, Good Friday always meant eating fish ~ and for many in England it would mean going down to the local ‘chip shop’ for cod, chips, and mushy peas.  And if you’ve no idea what I’m talking about then you’ve missed out on one of the great meals.

In reality, if you’re a Christian, then Good Friday means not eating meat.  After all we are still in Lent.  So, this week I’ll be concentrating on fish and vegetarian dishes.

If you are a Christian, you will not be able to go to church today, and whatever your religion you will most likely be banned from attending your place of worship.  Personally, I will be going down to the sea to pray for all of us.

First up this week, from the Minimalist Baker, how about this 1-pot curried chickpea soup.  You can’t get much easier than this, and if you’ve been feeling unwell the garlic and ginger in this dish should do you the world of good.  This is both vegetarian and gluten-free.  Gluten is bad for us.

One Pot Curried Chickpea Soup

To go along with that curried chickpea soup, what about the rosemary focaccia bread from Ali at Gimme Some Oven?  I love the flavour of fresh rosemary.

Rosemary Focaccia Bread

From one of my favourite cooks; Chungah at Damn Delicious let me show you this sheet pan Easter dinner.  Now you probably wouldn’t eat this today, but I know a lot of people will be having family over for Easter Sunday lunch / dinner.  If you don’t like the pineapple ham, then try garlic butter chicken instead.  I love sheet pan cooking, it’s so damn easy.

Sheet Pan Easter Dinner

If you are having people over for lunch or Easter drinks, then what about these Easter deviled eggs as an appetiser.  This very easy and colourful recipe is from In Dianes Kitchen.

Easter Deviled Eggs

Heather Christo has a fabulous little collection called Easter brunch decadence.  I really like the look of her strawberry rhubarb scones.

Strawberry Rhubarb Scones

Our final collection today is from Cookie + kate; 50+ spring brunch recipes.  All of these are vegetarian.  I have chosen to feature the roasted cauliflower and faro salad with feta and avocado from this great collection of easy Easter recipes.

Roasted Cauliflower and Faro Salad with Feta and Avocado

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

unlike most of us Marmaduke can get away for the Easter holiday break

Food on Friday ~ Healthy and Easy

the basis of all happiness is good health

It’s all very well my trying to eat a very healthy Paleo diet, but face it, if the recipes are too difficult or too time consuming I’m just not going to make them.  There is a limit to how much time a chap living alone is prepared to spend in the kitchen.

All of these recipes are healthy and easy, so enjoy.

First up this week, from Ali at Gimme Some Oven we have chicken and wild rice soup.  May as well face it, it this viral epidemic gets worse we may all be glad of some chicken soup.  This is real comfort food.

Chicken and Wild Rice Soup.

Next, from Joy The Baker we have a roasted lemon chicken soup. This looks and sounds fabulous.  I’ll bet this is a great pick-me-up too,

Roasted Lemon Chicken Soup

From Well Plated by Erin there this great looking but deceptively easy salmon wellington, (although I would have called it salmon en croute). I’d serve this with roasted asparagus.  What a fabulous and fabulously easy meal to serve for dinner, or for a dinner party

Salmon Wellington

Another salmon dish, sheet pan chipotle salmon with cilantro lime special sauce, this one from Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest; .  I like sheet pan cooking, a lot.

Sheet Pan Chipolte Salmon with Cilantro Lime Special Sauce

With St. Patricks day coming up what about trying this Irish Stout beef stew with herbed dumplings?  This recipe is from Jessica Merchant at How Sweet Eats.  (To be honest, St. Patricks day is a non-event in most of English England.  And right now the last place I want to spend any time is in a crowded bar.)

Irish Stout Beef Stew

And finally for this week, from In Dianes Kitchen we have a really simple recipe idea for sugar snap peas and bacon.  What a smashing side dish, or with rice it would make a good light lunch to take to work, perhaps.

Sugar Snap Peas and Bacon

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

even on his little boat, Marmaduke is quite the chef

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