Category Archives: Cooking

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

Food on Friday

our caveman ancestors didn’t have combine harvesters

My healthier living plan involves something like the Paleo diet, although not in a strict nor fashionable way.  However, it does mean that there are some types of food that I’m not going to tuck into on a regular basis; dairy, eggs, and most especially wheat / grains and their products like bread, noodles, and pasta.  (I love pasta.)  However, my food guru tells me that long grain and wild rice as well as quinoa are good on even my pretty strict Paleo diet.

First up this week from Erin Clarke at Well Plated by Erin I’d like to show you this Korean beef bowl recipe.  This looks super delicious, and I would serve it with long grain and wild rice.

Korean Beef Bowl

I am really going to make this blackened shrimp kale caesar salad next week.  One of the things I like about this dish is that it’s complete with so few ingredients.  You can usually rely on Jessica Merchant at How Sweet Eats to have some very healthy, tasty, yet simple recipes.

Blackened Shrimp Kale Caesar Salad

Earlier this week I made salmon and asparagus in a garlic lemon butter sauce, cooked in a foil pack, the recipe from eatwell101.  Let me tell you, it was simple to prepare and absolutely delicious.  I can recommend this to you all.  (That’ not my picture, but my dish came out looking exactly as per.)

Salmon and Asparagus in Garlic Lemon Butter

From Holly at Spend with Pennies I like this recipe for instant pot chicken and vegetables.  I don’t have an instant pot, (we call them a pressure cooker), but I’m pretty certain I can make this dish in my little combination microwave / fan oven.

Instant Pot Chicken and Vegetables

This is a different take on a staple vegetable; from Dianes Kitchen why not try these herbed carrots?  As a ‘wonder food’ carrots are a brilliant source of beta carotene, fibre, vitamins, potassium, and antioxidants.

Herbed Carrots

Despite that I’m in England in winter I’m eating a lot of salad, and I am attracted to this brussels, butternut, and edamame salad with orange sesame sauce by Heather Christo.  Her dishes always look so fabulous.

Brussels Butternut Edamame Salad

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

no longer on my menu

and I liked both

Food on Valentine’s Friday

if music be the food of love, play on…..

At St. Valentine’s Day a young man’s mind turns to love and romance, and having been a young man once I can vouch for that.  For all I know a woman’s mind turns to love and romance, and probably food too.

But what to do?  Perhaps the young man want’s to take his best girl out for a special meal, in which case find the best restaurant within a reasonable distance of her place, even if you can’t quite afford it…..  If the restaurant is in or near a good hotel, and if you think she would like it, then book a room, have champagne sent up.

Or, you could cook something special for the object of your affections.  Here are some recipes that might go down well on this Valentine’s weekend.

First for this Valentine’s Day we have a steak.  Cooking a great steak is fairly easy if you know how, and Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest has a fabulous recipe for smoked ancho chile salted steaks with drunken burst sweet cherries + burrata.  If your paramour likes a big red with their steak, then maybe find a bottle of Barolo.

Smoked Ancho Chile Salted Steak

From Joy the Baker there’s a fabulous recipe for shrimp étouffée risotto.  Joy suggests that you cook this dish together ~ whatever floats your boat.  (An étouffée is a spicy Cajun stew made with vegetables and seafood.)

Shrimp Étouffée Risotto

If you want to risk pasta, what with your date dressed up to the nines and all, then we have 15 romantically simple pasta dinners that scream ‘That’s Amore!’  This from Brit+Cco.  This is a very risky dish of linguini with clams, but it’s so easy and so impressive.

Linguini with Clams

Should your love be vegetarian, vegan, of just into eating a lot of plant-based food right now, then Heather Christo has a collection of 100 plant-based recipes.  To save you the bother of looking through this list I’ve found you this beet quinoa salad with pomegranate, mint, and pistachio.  This dish can serve as a starter, entree or a side, and you can make it ahead of the evening and keep it in the refrigerator.

Beet Quinoa Salad with Pomegranate, Mint, and Pistachio

Our idea for a romantic dessert comes from In Diane’s Kitchen; this delicious looking strawberry pie.  Diane says this is the easiest strawberry pie she has ever made, and face it, you don’t want to be spending all evening in the kitchen.

Strawberry Pie

Our final collection for this Valentine’s day comes from Country Living; 65 Best Valentine’s Day Dinner Ideas for the Most Romantic Date Night.  I particularly like this Engagement Chicken Pasta, but maybe don’t tell her what it’s called unless you have the ring.

Engagement Chicken Pasta

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

if you are eating Italian, ask if the restaurant has a demi-frizzanti Franciacorta.  That will impress.

Food on Friday ~ Healthier Eating

life is not merely being alive, but being well

It still behoves me to search out recipes which will help me to live a healthier life ~ to be fit and well.  And in all honesty, that isn’t hard, there are plenty of very tasty, good-looking, and very healthy recipes out there, including on many of the cookery blogs I have been following for ages.  Not only that, some of the cooks I follow feature mostly very healthy, allergen-free, and gluten-free dishes.

For me, the three main things I need to concentrate on are to eat much leaner meats, eat a lot more fruits and vegetables, and use much less salt.  That shouldn’t be too hard, should it?  Actually, I’m finding the much less salt thing quite difficult.  Oh well, nothing worthwhile is ever that easy.

First this week we have Diane’s recipe for vegetable rice soup ~ and if you ask me this dish is fantastic.  This looks easy, nutritious, and very healthy, perfect for a weekend lunch or a light dinner.

Vegetable Rice Soup

Next, from that specialist in wholesome food, Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest there is this citrus avocado salad with orange tahini vinaigrette.  This is a very simple recipe, but so good looking that I’m prepared to bet good money that it’s delicious.

Citrus Avocado Salad with Orange Tahini Vinaigrette

From Erin Clarke, at Well Plated by Erin we have an easy, healthy, and juicy crockpot Mexican chicken. You can make this with chicken breasts or thighs, depending what’s good in your supermarket today.  Looks great.

Crockpot Mexican Chicken

Another chicken dish, this time classic chicken noodle soup from Holly at Spend with Pennies.  Easily made from scratch Holly says it’s cozy, comforting and delicious ~ it looks it.

Classic Chicken Noodle Soup

From Jessica Merchant at How Sweet Eats, how about this smoky butternut kale salad with goat cheese and apricot vinaigrette ~ and it’s not just another boring butternut squash kale salad either.  (except I might be tempted to use Wensleydale instead of goat cheese)

Smoky Butternut Kale Salad with Goat Cheese and Apricot Vinaigrette

Our collection this week is from Good Housekeeping; 16 healthy salmon recipes that are beyond tasty.  These are all fabulous dinner recipes, and not just midweek either.  From the list I’ve chosen to feature this very easy roasted salmon and beets with herb vinaigrette.  I must try this recipe this weekend.

Roasted Salmon and Beets with Herb Vinaigrette

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

poor Marmaduke only has healthy eggs for his dinner tonight

Food on Friday ~ Wellness

love yourself enough to live a healthy lifestyle

You might have read here that I made myself so ill through a combination of too much booze and not eating the right things at the right time, (and eating a lot of the wrong things, like processed food), that I had to spend a week in hospital.  You know what?  I would have gone on in the same old way if I hadn’t turned-up for a routine health check.

What has that got to do with a recipes post?  From now on I am mostly going to post recipes that seem healthier and better for us in body, mind and spirit.  Less fats, more lean meat and oily fish, and much more fruits and vegetables.  It also seems that not all plant-based foods are good for us.  That high-fructose corn syrup is very bad for us seems obvious, but corn oil, wheat, legumes…..?  They’re bad for us too, generally.

So, I will try to avoid recipes that contain anything that’s generally on the minus side of the wellness equation.

First up this week from Dana The Minimalist Baker is her easy 30 minute Chinese Chicken Salad.  I think this fits my healthy eating bill perfectly, especially as it’s soy-free ~ plus, just look at those colours.  There are a stack of tasty-looking salad recipes on this site, it may well be that this is one of my new go-to sites.

30 Minute Chinese Chicken Salad

Next, from Heather Christo a vegan white bean sweet potato chili.  This also has chunks of avocado, fresno chili, cilantro, and green onions.  I need to eat less meat so this dish will be ideal when I really want a smoky chili, but shouldn’t eat any beef for a while.

Vegan White Bean Sweet Potato Chili

Chicken has to be part of my new way of living, but chicken can be bland and boring.  Not so this roasted garlic butter chicken with lemon olive dressing, from Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest.  I think this dish has got so much going for it…..

Roasted Garlic Butter Chicken with Lemon Olive Dressing

Salmon has to be part of my wellness diet, and I really like the look of this baked teriyaki salmon from Erin Clarke at Well Plated by Erin.  I especially like that the salmon fillet is cooked in foil ~ I love cooking in foil.  Erin also shows us how to make our own, healthier, Teriyaki sauce ~ brilliant.

Baked Teriyaki Salmon

Not many know that, until the end of WWII, pork was not much eaten in England.  We English ate mutton, pork is actually a German staple.  However, this recipe for the best baked pork tenderloin is positively part of my healthier eating plan.  Tiffany from Creme de la Crumb tells us how to do it.

Best Baked Pork Tenderloin

As my new eating plan is kind of a modified Paleo Diet our collection this week is from Delish magazine; 40 Paleo recipes that will make you forget you’re on a diet ~ well there are diets and there are diets.  I have chosen to feature this good-looking baked swordfish steak, and if you have never tried swordfish steak then you’ve missed out on one of the great things in life.

Baked Swordfish Steak

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

poor little Marmaduke can’t have his canned spaghetti any more.

Keto Diet Myths

Jack Spratt could eat no fat
his wife could eat no lean

apple, butter, and sage pork chops

Some confuse the Keto diet with the Paleo diet, and while there are some similarities, in reality they are radically different, and you will be on one or the other for completely different reasons.  The Paleo diet is all about a healthy way of eating that should normalise your weight.  Other benefits of the Paleo diet are improved heart and circulatory health, less inflammation, and it also helps people with type 2 diabetes, and / or staves off diabetes.

The Ketogenic Diet is something else all together.  It’s also a low / zero carb way of eating, (less than 50 grams of carbs per day), but the key thing is that it’s a very, very high fat diet.  Among the principal benefits claimed for the Keto Diet are that it helps with diabetes, polycystic ovaries, and it also staves of cancers, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, drug-resistant epilepsy and acne.  But mainly, the Keto diet is about weight loss.

I have read that one should not begin a proper Ketogenic Diet unless you have proper medical supervision, because the whole point of the keto diet is to completely change the metabolism of your body, especially the way the liver works.  Instead of turning carbohydrates into glucose, your liver must turn fat into ketones.  Thereby your body will become incredibly efficient at burning fat.  You will see a massive reduction in blood sugar and insulin levels.  Once you start this diet it will take your body 3 to 5 days to reach the point where it switches from using sugar to using ketones.

One danger of the keto diet is ketoacidocis, where excessive ketone bodies accumulate and you will get a dangerously toxic level of acid in your blood.

On the keto diet you don’t eat carbohydrates, (less than 50g a day, say a bagel), and only 10% to 20% of your daily food intake should be protein.  The rest of what you consume is fat.

Eat; high fat meat like bacon and a good steak, cocoa butter, lard, goose fat, olive oil, palm oil, coconut oil, almond oil, avocado, coconut meat, fat-rich nuts and seeds, green low-carb vegetables, butter, hard cheeses, wild caught oily fish, liver, eggs, dark chocolate, hard liquor without a sweetened mixer…..

Do not eat; any grains or anything made from flour, like bread, refined sugars, mayonnaise and the like, starchy root vegetables like potatoes and sweet potatoes, corn, squash, fruits, fruit juices, peas, beans, peanuts, anything marked ‘low fat’, beer, wine, flavoured and sweet booze….

The keto diet can be dangerous causing; low blood pressure, kidney stones, constipation, nutrient deficiencies, Beri Beri, heart and circulatory disease, dizziness, low energy, mood swings, upset stomach.  The keto diet is very antisocial.  The keto diet is utterly unsafe for anyone who has problems with their pancreas, liver, thyroid, or gallbladder.

Some say the keto diet is a great way to lose weight fast.  And that it helped with their diabetes.  All I know is I wouldn’t try this without consulting my doctor and a dietitian.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

you can drink this with a little spring water

 

 

 

Food on Friday ~ Muffins

I’ve been told some people are obsessed with bran muffins

Now I’m not certain what’s going on, but several of the cooks whose blogs I follow have posts about muffins this week.  I looked it up, thinking it was National Muffin Week or something, but no, it’s seems it’s just one of those spooky coincidences that keeps happening for me right now.

National Muffin Day in the USA is actually February 20th.

Two interesting things; #1 here in England we do not eat a lot of English muffins.  #2 I didn’t know there was a second meaning for the word muffin, or stud muffin at any rate.

However, be all that as it may, here are some cool muffin recipes, which I may have to reprise on February 20th, or not.

First up this week we have Heather Christo’s delicious looking almond poppyseed muffins, and being from Heather they are allergen free, vegan, and gluten free.  All I know is they look very yummy.

Almond Poppyseed Muffins

Andrea at Cooking with a Wallflower has a recipe for ube mochi muffins.  I have to admit the only bit of that I understand is muffins, but these little cakes look fantastic and I would be interested to try them.

Ube Mochi Muffins

And I thought I should include a recipe for ‘space muffins’ for those of you who would like to ingest their marijuana.  Personally, I cannot see the attraction, but then I have enough of a problem with booze.

Cannabis Muffins

Now for something else completely different we have these pizza muffins from In Dianes Kitchen.  Now that is a good idea for a pre-prepared snack or for something to take to work for lunch.

Pizza Muffins

Erin Clarke, at Well Plated by Erin has a cool collection of healthy muffin recipes.  I very much like the look of her unique muffin recipes, especially the gingerbread apple muffins.  How interesting.

Gingerbread Apple Muffins

Our last collection this week is from delish magazine; 52 muffins to make your morning a little more enjoyable.  From this great collection I’ve chosen to feature the chocolate lover’s chocolate chocolate-chip muffins by our friend Averie Sunshine.

Chocolate Lover’s Chocolate Chocolate-Chip Muffins

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

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