Category Archives: Cooking

Food on Friday ~ Snack Tax

don’t do as I do, do as I say

eat algae instead of traditional roast beef

Here in roast beef and Yorkshire pudding scoffing England, where a salad is something you feed to your pet rabbit, the woke government has come up with the brilliant idea that they should stop us from consuming so much sugar and salt.  So; the gluttonous, obtuse, lazy, deceitful, slothful, self-important, public school and Oxford educated Prime Minister Boris Johnson asked one of his old school chums to write a report justifying a new set of taxes on fat people.

The fat and self-important, Old Etonian Henry Dimbleby was appointed Government Food Advisor.  His National Food Strategy calls for a new tax of £6 a kilo on salt and £3 a kilo on sugar, (a kilo is 2.2 lbs in real money).  Lots of sugar and salt go into snacks, canned food, cakes, bread, biscuits, cookies, pizzas, prepared meals, burgers, candy, and junk food.  (Coincidentally Dimbleby owns the ultra woke incredibly green Leon fast food chain, which serves unhealthy very expensive very fashionable crap.)

These new taxes would cost the average English family an extra £250 a year on food.  For example, I don’t eat Nutella, but if I did a jar would go up from about £4.75 to about £6.00.  FFS!

A couple of fat Dimbleby’s other ideas are that we poor should eat algae-based foods and that exercise is a waste of time.

Unsurprisingly these ideas have not attracted much approval ~ in fact the popular press has been condemnatory in their derision.

Unsurprisingly fat Boris has distanced himself from the whole mess.

For the time being the idea of taxing the less well-off for wanting to eat tasty food has been kicked into the long grass.

But, given this left-liberal government’s rabid desire to interfere in the lives of everybody, I expect all of these taxes and regulations to sneak back by stealth.  In the not too distant future.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

no salt please, we’re English

Random Jottings ~ Food & Drink

beer is made by fat men, but wine is made by Gods

~

wine is poetry in a bottle

~

live to eat, don’t just eat to live

~

when your world falls apart

eat a tub of chocolate ice cream

~

ask not what you can do for your country

ask what’s for lunch

~

time is an illusion, lunchtime doubly so

~

my wife cooks with wine

sometimes she even adds it to the food

~

when your world falls apart

drink Guinness and let the world fall out of your bottom

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

all major food groups,  beer and bread

Food on Friday ~ Thyme

I know of a place where the wild thyme grows

Thyme_Common

Thymus Vulgaris, garden thyme, is one of the four great medicinal and culinary herbs; parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme…..  A herb is a plant where the leafy green and flowering parts are found useful in cooking and natural medicine.  Whereas, a spice is produced from other parts of a plant; seeds, bark, roots, fruit….  Ergo ginger is a spice, whereas the ash tree is used both as a herb and a spice.

Trust me, thyme is most definitely a herb and an important ingredient in Mediterranean, Indian, and Caribbean recipes.  Thyme is also a basic ingredient in perfumery.

In medicine, thyme should be treated with caution because, like all herbs, it contains some very powerful and complex chemicals, especially thymol.  Interestingly the antiseptic thymol is a major ingredient of Listerine mouthwash and most alcohol-free hand sanitisers.

Other major and powerful compounds found in the common or garden thyme are; borneol, carvavrol, eucalyptol, menthene, thymene, and tannin.  The major effects of these compounds are; antibiotic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, balsamic, carminative, and soporific.  (Balsamic really means ‘elixir’)

Thyme tea, (usually made with dried leaves), is calming, helps most people to sleep, fights off coughs, reduces inflammations, and much reduces embarrassing night-time flatulence.  As with most natural herb teas women of child-bearing age should take care as it increases blood flow to the uterus.  Thyme in wine is good, and I use sprigs of thyme in both olive oil and apple cider vinegar, (makes a fabulous salad dressing)  Thyme tea is a potent female aphrodisiac.  Thyme and marijuana cookies should be treated with very great care indeed.

A sprig of thyme under the pillow is an aid to calm sleep, and a good bunch of thyme in your bath will help kill off very nasty things like toenail fungus, athletes foot, and the hookworm ancylostomiasis.

Thyme of any variety is easy to grow, it prefers a well-drained gravelly soil in full sun.  Collect your thyme in spring and early summer.  Bees love thyme as the flowers are nectar-rich ~ real thyme honey has all of the properties you can find in the plant.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

if you have a scrap of space, grow herbs

Food on Friday ~ Shrimp

you don’t need a silver fork to enjoy good food

Here in England we have been in lockdown for just about a year, and trust me there’s not much fun in that.  There is also a regrettable tendency to eat the wrong things at the wrong times; which isn’t healthy.  One of the few things we can enjoy is good, healthy food, hopefully some of these recipes will cheer us up.

First this week, from Tieghan at Half Baked Harvest we have this Lemon Garlic Butter Shrimp Special.  Looks deliciously easy.

Lemon Garlic Butter Shrimp Special

From Karina at Cafe Delites we have this wonderful Jambalaya; chicken, sausage, shrimp, rice in a Creole saute from New Orleans.  Fabulous.

Jambalaya

Jessica at How Sweet Eats says this dish; Lemon Butter Shrimp and Broccoli Skillet is the perfect weeknight dinner.  I aver that this would be a perfect, healthy meal at any time of the week.

Lemon Butter Shrimp and Broccoli Skillet

Holly at Spend with Pennies says this Shrimp Lo Mein can be ready in just 30 minutes.  I’d take a little longer, just to enjoy cooking this good-looking dish.

Shrimp Lo Mein

If you get weary of shrimp, yet want to stay with the theme, From Chungah at Damn Delicious we have a recipe for Garlic Butter Clams with White Wine Cream Sauce.  I’d want some crispy garlic bread to go along with this dish.

Garlic Butter Clams with White Wine Cream Sauce

Our big collection this week is from Delish Magazine; 82 Shrimp Recipes That’ll Make Meatless Mondays Your Favorite Day Of The Week.  From this list how about a Cilantro-Lime Shrimp Pasta?

Cilantro-Lime Shrimp Pasta

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

maybe Marmaduke is waiting for the shrimp-boats to come in

Food on Friday ~ Soup

only the pure in heart can make a good soup

In many parts of England and the USA it’s cold, dark, and miserable.  At times like these I believe that we all need comfort food, and what better than a nourishing, warming, interesting soup?

And, if you are pure in heart, then you can make a decent soup over an open fire, if you have to.  Better still would be an unfashionable wood burning stove.  The people of Texas will tell you that relying on electricity is not always a good idea, nor mains gas either.  BTW, never, ever use petrol, (gasoline) to start a fire ~ not if you want to go on living.

First up this week, from Chungah at Damn Delicious we have this Slow Cooker Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup.  You know what?  If you don’t have a slow cooker, then get one.  At this time of year it will be a brilliant investment.

Slow Cooker Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup

Tiffany at Creme de la Crumb has a recipe for Easy Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana Soup.  Tuscany is one of my favourite places in the entire world.

Easy Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana Soup

Holly at Spend with Pennies has a wonderful looking recipe for Chicken Corn Chowder with Bacon; how very American!  This really is a meal in a bowl.

Chicken Corn Chowder with Bacon

Dana the Minimalist Baker has a collection; Healthy Winter Recipes for Cold People, and from that I’ve chosen to feature her very easy, very healthy, gluten free, one pot, Curried Potato and Lentil Soup, (with kale).

Curried Potato and Lentil Soup

Meanwhile, Jessica at How Sweet Eats offers us 20 of Her Favorite Soup Recipes for Winter; from which I give you this Easy Lemon Chicken Soup.  OK it’s the second lemon chicken recipe this week but they are very different.

Easy Lemon Chicken Soup

Finally for this week Country Living has a collection of 55+ Extra Comforting Soups and Stews to Warm You Up on Chilly Winter Nights.  How about this Broccoli and Cheddar Cheese Soup for something very different?

Broccoli and Cheddar Cheese Soup

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

they even get snow in Arizona

I know, I was there

 

Digging Deep

when things get bad it takes everything you’ve got

keep on keeping on

It’s now the 332 day of lockdown, and this morning it took a lot of determination just to get out of bed and get moving.  I could say that I wasn’t feeling so good, but that wouldn’t be true, today it’s all in my mind.  If you haven’t suffered the agony of strict self-isolation for almost a year, then you don’t know how I was feeling at 04:00 this morning.  Kind of lethargic and depressed, with a touch of meaningless thrown in.

As a matter of fact, lockdown is completely meaningless.  All this destruction of the very fabric of modern society is doing is to make politicians and health officials feel better about the myriad of public inquiries they are going to face when all this is eventually over.

So, how do I get through this mess?

  • set small goals for each day
  • if that’s too difficult set small goals for the next hour
  • keep as fit and healthy as possible
  • eat regular, high quality meals
  • stay away from booze, drugs, candy….
  • read something challenging every day

What I really want to do is get out of the garret and go somewhere warm and sunny ~ but taking a vacation is illegal here.  I want to see my friends, but that’s also illegal here.  In fact having any pleasure at all is just about illegal here.

So, I will look of the bright side, and do the best I can.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

every door is locked

Moroccan Beef Tagine

first, use what you have to hand

On Friday, looking through my refrigerator and store cupboard I found an eclectic mixture of bits and pieces; steak, red onion, garlic, olives, and dried apricots.  All of that’s been there a little while, and it’s either use it or lose it into the trash.

I thought I could turn these into something like a Moroccan Beef Tagine for Saturday’s dinner.  I’ve no doubt I have enough in my spice rack to come up with vaguely the correct blend.  (I have some baby bell peppers too.)

Moroccan Beef Tagine

That wasn’t my picture because I hadn’t made it yet….

As it happened it turned out well, especially for a first attempt at the recipe.

 

Next time it will be better.

I’m not quite certain what tweaks I need to make, but hey, I cook for Marmy and me……  I need to practice my food photography too.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

except I don’t think Marmaduke likes Moroccan food very much ~ he is an English bear

Food on Friday ~ Moroccan Beef Tagine

first, use what you have to hand

Looking through my refrigerator and store cupboard I found an eclectic mixtire of bits and pieces; steak, red onion, garlic, olives, and dried apricots.  All of that’s been there a little while, and it’s either use it or lose it into the trash.

I think I can turn these into something like a Moroccan Beef Tagine for Saturday’s dinner.  I’ve no doubt I have enough in my spice rack to come up with vaguely the correct blend.  (I have some baby bell peppers too.)

Moroccan Beef Tagine

That’s not my picture because I haven’t made it yet….

I will let you know how it works out.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

I don’t think Marmaduke likes Moroccan food

Food on Friday ~ With Friends

one should not merely eat to live

Life should be fun, filled with enjoyment, good friends, good times, and great memories.  Too much of our mealtimes today are snatched, eaten on the run, filled with convenience food, fast food, and takeouts.  And, in all honesty, too many of my meals are from a can or the freezer, and eaten alone.  I guess that’s a lockdown thing.

Let’s see if we can change that lonely, bland, and unhealthy life for the better.  Let’s taste our food again.

Despite having spent quite a lot of time in Southern California I’ve never had anything like these Queso Fundido Taquitos ~ from Tieghan at Half Baked Harvest.  Served with avocado lime crema.

Queso Fundido Taquitos

I’ve never had a Chicken Sheet Pan Quesadilla either.  This from Ali at Gimme Some Oven.  Easy, delicious, perfect to share with friends.

Chicken Sheet Pan Quesadilla

Tiffany at Creme de la Crumb has this very nice-looking recipe for Sweet and Spicy Thai Chicken.  It’s a 45 minute dish, but I think most people I know could spend a very relaxing hour making this yummy concoction.

Sweet and Spicy Thai Chicken

Joy the Baker says these Mediterranean Salmon Parcels are a weeknight dinner.  I think you could serve this recipe to your friends any time.  I really like cooking in foil.

Mediterranean Salmon Parcels

Another seafood dish, this time from Chungah at Damn Delicious; Brown Butter Scallops.  Quick, easy, and very healthy.  You could serve this with rice, salad, or just some crusty bread.

Brown Butter Scallops

It turns out that over in the USA it’s about to be Super Bowl Sunday.  Ergo our collection this week is from Jessica Merchant at How Sweet Eats; 21 Favourite Recipes for Superbowl Sunday.  From her collection I’ve chosen to feature a Caesar Salad with Pizza Croutons ~ very pretty.

Caesar Salad with Pizza Croutons

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

Gear Patrol has a list of the 13 best brews for this Sunday watching Sports

Food on Friday ~ Healthy Recipes

healthy eating is a way of life

Most Americans are unhealthy.  The USA spends twice as much on heathcare as the average OECD country, yet has the lowest life expectancy and highest suicide rate among the 11 OECD countries.  Almost half of adult Americans are obese, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the USA, and almost 35 million Americans have been diagnosed to have diabetes.  Most of these illnesses can be put down to unhealthy lifestyles ~ about one third of Americans are classified as ‘physically inactive’, and the US Department of Health says 80% do not take enough exercise to be even moderately fit and healthy.  Things are not much better here in England.

To eat a healthy diet, to live with a healthy lifestyle, isn’t difficult.  It does mean giving up a couple of things; drinking and smoking chief among them.  There are also some things we should consume a lot less of; refined sugar, caffeine, stuff made with white flour, dairy, canned food, fast food, processed food, take out meals, sugary carbonated drinks, and anything and everything with high fructose corn syrup in it, (HFCS).

Now that I have to control my recently diagnosed high blood pressure, the kinds of dishes I’ll be eating are shown here.

Petra at Food Eat Love has a great recipe for Beef with Ginger and Grapefruit.  Beef is more than just OK, and both ginger and grapefruit are great for keeping one’s blood pressure under control.

Beef with Ginger and Grapefruit

Oily fish is very good for our health and so are cilantro and citrus.  Tiffany at Creme de la Crumb combines these ingredients in her Baked Honey Cilantro Lime Salmon in Foil.  An easy and healthy 30 minute dish.  Supposedly, honey has some surprising health benefits.

Baked Honey Cilantro Lime Salmon in Foil

A good breakfast is important to maintain a healthy blood sugar level.  Jessica Merchant has a collection of her 10 Favorite Weekday Breakfasts.  From that I’m featuring these Pumpkin Protein Pancakes, so easy and so healthy.

Pumpkin Protein Pancakes

A healthy hearty diet need not be lots and lots of salads, we can also eat comfort food and Holly at Spend With Pennies has a great side dish of Colcannon ~ mashed potatoes and cabbage, fabulous served with corned beef.  Potato and cruciferous vegetables are good for helping to control one’s blood pressure.  (there is the obvious farting issue when it comes to eating lots of cruciferous vegetables)

Colcannon

Joy the baker has this very interesting dish; Mushroom and Brussels Sprout Hash.  Brussel Sprouts are cruciferous vegetables and really good for us, and mushrooms have lots of potential benefits when it comes to preventing cardio vascular diseases.

Mushroom and Brussels Sprout Hash

Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest has this very attractive recipe for Healthier 25 Minute Kung Pao Chicken.  I have just got to try this easy, healthy dish ~ using brown / wild rice.

Healthier 25 Minute Kung Pao Chicken

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

alcohol is not part of a healthy diet

but a glass of good red wine is probably beneficial most evenings of the week

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