Category Archives: Food

Food Glorious Food

One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.  ~  Virginia Woolf

After my depressing piece about how practicing veganism is most likely very bad for you, something more upbeat about food.

I’m more the Artful Dodger type than any wimpy snowflake like Oliver.

Note the use of the English word ‘cadge‘ at the beginning of the song.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

slow cooked Scottish beef stew

Food on Friday ~ Asparagus

Asparagus, when picked, should be no thicker than a darning needle.

Back in the day they must have had some pretty fat darning needles.

I don’t know about you guys, but I am always nervous about cooking asparagus.  For a start one is supposed to have a proper asparagus cooker, which I once had but eventually gave to a thrift store.  I could buy a new one, but who in their right mind will pay $300 for a pot they will only use once in a while?  (I kid you not, I looked on Amazon, and the asparagus cooker I liked was $300.)

OK, this has to be my very favourite recipe idea for asparagus, from in Diane’s Kitchen we have bacon wrapped asparagus ~ and need I say more.

This is a very healthy, tasty, and nutritious lunch idea from Andrea at Cooking with a Wallflower: roasted asparagus mushroom quiche.  This is easy to make and would be perfect for a weeknight dinner as well as something to take to work for lunch~ to be eaten either hot or cold.  You can also freeze a quiche.

Roasted Asparagus Mushroom Quiche

Now, from Jessica Merchant at How Sweet Eats we have asparagus one pot pasta.  Next to sheet pan cooking, I love one pot cooking just the best.  This looks a wonderful recipe.

Asparagus One Pot Pasta

From Chungah at Damn delicious we have sheet pan garlic butter tilapia.  This is a 30 minute recipe, and you can substitute any white fish for the tilapia.  Personally I like deep, cold water fish; cod, haddock, halibut…  and I’d add lots of fresh herbs, like basil and parsley.  But, I love the asparagus and tomatoes, and I really like sheet pan cooking.

Sheet Pan Garlic Butter Tilapia

From Heather Christo, another great recipe, grilled romaine, red onion, avocado and bacon salad.  Remember to make far too much of this dish, so you’ll have enough leftover to take to work for lunch.

GRROA&BS

Grilled Romaine, Rd Onion, Avocado, And Bacon Salad

This is especially for an American Girl I know, who I am certain doesn’t always eat a good breakfast.  Again, from Andrea at Cooking with a Wallflower we have a perfect summer weekend brunch, roasted garlic asparagus and bacon eggs benedict, with basil avocado cream sauce.  Yeah, the only time my friend will get to eat this is if I make it for her.  (funny thing about asparagus…)

Basil-Avocado-Cream-Sauce-3

Roasted Garlic Asparagus And Bacon Eggs Benedict With Basil And Avocado Cream Sauce

I know how much you like recipe collections, so from Wide Open Eats here are 20 foil packet recipes making dinner a breeze ~ how cool is that?  Anything that makes mid-week dinners easier is a good idea.  Included in this collection is a great recipe for lemon chicken and asparagus from Creme de la Crumb.

Lemon Chicken and Asparagus

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

Really?

$300, check it out

 

Eating Bread is Killing You

The truth doesn’t change just because you don’t want to hear it.

Wheat is routinely sprayed with a chemical that will give you cancer.

Glyphosate is legally classified as a carcinogen, and glyphosate is the main active ingredient of a weedkiller called Roundup.  A federal jury in California found that Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide was a substantial factor in causing Edwin Hardeman’s non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Monsanto, which is owned by the German chemicals company Bayer, is facing more than 9,000 similar lawsuits.  We all know that German chemicals companies have a very dark history.  In recent times the evil corporation Monsanto / Bayer has bullied scientists, suppressed evidence, and hid the cancer risks arising from Roundup / Glyphosate.

Even the US Environmental Protection Agency is not immune to collusion with Monsanto ~ the EPA lied when they stated that glyphosate is probably not carcinogenic to humans.  Monsanto knowingly lies when they say that Glyphosate has excellent environmental features….. and extremely low toxicity to mammals, birds, and fish.  Roundup was introduced in 1974, is used in 130 countries, to control weeds and improve the yield of more than 100 crops.  Every damn year in the USA, over 300 million pounds, (150,000 tons), of Roundup are sprayed on the crops you eat, especially wheat corn, soya, and canola, (from which we get the shit called canola oil).

People will have Roundup ready soya whether they like it or not.  ~  Ann Foster, spokeswoman for Monsanto.

That means that a hell of a lot of the everyday products you eat and drink are contaminated with a deadly, carcinogenic poisonous chemical.  Eating bread, cakes, cookies, anything with flour in it, anything with high fructose corn syrup in it, drinking beer with grains in it, using canola oil, are all seriously damaging your health.  Eat bread, drink beer, and be ill before you die sooner than you should.

There are more damn good reason that you shouldn’t eat bread; gluten sensitivity, wheat allergy, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and heart disease.  Bread is not the staff of life, bread is a killer food.

High fructose corn syrup will also kill you though; heart disease, obesity, cancer, dementia, liver failure, fatty liver, bad teeth…..  And, the average American consumes more than 60 pounds of this shit every damn year.  High Fructose Corn Syrup, and Cane Sugar are not the same thing, and the body handles them differently ~ cane sugar is safer, but more expensive.

Some pray, and give us our daily bread.  And some say that Roundup is completely safe to fish, birds, animals, and humans.  All I know is that I won’t eat shit.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

there are a hundred reasons why Marmaduke shouldn’t eat canned crap

the interconnectedness of agribusiness and you

Gambling with your health and well-being for the sake of more profitable hamburgers.

One of the main purposes of genetically modifying food plants such as wheat and corn is to make them resistant to a weed-killer called Roundup, which is sprayed on food crops several times in a season ~ including right before harvesting to dry the crop out.  The principal active ingredient of Roundup is a chemical called Glyphosate.  Of many lies told about glyphosate is that it was discovered by Monsanto in 1970.  In fact this nasty chemical was first patented as a descaling and chelating agent for boilers and pipes by the Stauffer Chemical Co. in 1961.  It’s a drain cleaner.

Glyphosate is a poisonous organophosphorus carcinogen.

When I was a boy, learning about farming, I was told about field rotation, (or crop rotation), which is the practice of changing what the farmer grows on any piece of land on a four-year cycle.  This prevents such nasty things as soil erosion, soil exhaustion, soil poisoning, and poor soil fertility ~ all of which lead to poor crop yields.

Modern agribusiness doesn’t practice crop rotation, instead it uses monoculture farming.  This destructive method of land use requires large amounts of artificial fertilisers and pesticides to make it work, and it leads to an unbalanced and unsustainable ecosystem.  Agribusiness in the USA does not work in harmony with the land, instead it beats the land into submission to produce larger and larger amounts of poisonous food and drink.

These are very similar farming practices to those which caused the Great Plains dust bowl of the 1930’s, except modern farming practices are far more intensive and artificial than anything dreamed of by the farmers who helped cause the Great Depression.  Today, agriculture is based on very capital-intensive heavy machinery.

If a farmer in a typical high plains farming community decides to eschew intensive chemical-based monoculture and embrace more ecologically sustainable organic agriculture, he / she is likely to be ostracised by the rest of his / her community.  Peer pressure is a powerful thing and very difficult to ignore.  Most farmers are in denial about the damage they are doing to the soil, the rivers, the sea, and the wider environment.  Not to mention the poisons they are putting into your food and drink.

These chemical fertilisers and pesticides can take decades to completely clear from the environment.  The half-life of glyphosate in soil and water is much longer than Monsanto would like to admit.  Monsanto is a German company.

Some say they would never shop at a farmers market or buy organic produce.  And some people don’t believe that intensive farming practices are killing them.  All I know is that in 1945 about 45% of American food was grown in people’s back yards.

And, by the way, probiotic drinks are very bad for your health. The live bacteria in probiotic drinks originated in cows.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

anything made with grains is bad for you

unless it’s organic, then it’s not so bad

Rituals and Habits

We are what we repeatedly do.

If you are at rock bottom, deep in the slough of despond and fighting off depression, then sometimes you can see no way out.  Everything seems hopeless and pointless, and you may feel helpless and aimless.  There may come a time when you don’t even want to get out of bed ~ unless it’s go and get your next drink or other drug of your choice.  Sometimes, late at night I’ve seen disheveled individuals shopping for booze, obviously wearing a coat over whatever they last went to bed in.

When it’s that bad, may I suggest a way to get yourself back onto this planet with the ordinary people?  Try to develop some useful rituals and habits that will stick with you for the rest of your life.  Perhaps in order of bringing you back to normality, do these things every single day;

  1. Get yourself out of bed at the same ‘reasonable’ time every day.  Say, eight in the morning.
  2. Go to the bathroom, have a wash, and if you’re a guy get a shave.  If you’re a woman, do something with your hair.  Do this every morning.
  3. Every single fucking damn day, find some clean clothes and get dressed.  If you went to bed dressed, get changed.
  4. In the kitchen, drink a pint of water.  Try some tea, coffee, and something to eat too.
  5. Take out the obvious trash, and then walk to the nearest store. Do Not Drive.  While you’re there buy food and fruit or vegetable juice.  Do Not Buy Booze or Medications.
  6. After lunch take a couple of hours to nap on the sofa or in the chair.  Make it an unbreakable ritual to take an afternoon nap.  If you can meditate, make it an unbreakable ritual to try to meditate during that time.
  7. After your nap telephone someone to tell them you’re alive and doing better.  It might be a while since they spoke to you when you were sober, so they’ll be pleasantly surprised.  If you don’t know anyone phone AA, or NA, or the Samaritans, but for Gods’ sakes talk to someone.
  8. Always go for an afternoon stroll.  Don’t go into a bar, or the store, or any of your usual haunts.  Walk in the park, or by the sea, somewhere peaceful.
  9. Read something difficult, useful, inspirational, helpful ~ if you have nothing to read, find a big book, or a Bible, or a discarded newspaper, or join the fucking damn library.
  10. Eat an evening meal, every single fucking damn day.  Eat a meal even if you feel like throwing up ~ you need the calories and other nutrients, or you will die.  Drink a pint of water with your meal
  11. If you have been to a 12-step meeting before, go back.  Attend regularly.  If you haven’t been to a 12 step meeting find one that suits your particular problem.  If you can’t find something that matches your current form of self-harm, go to AA.  If you can’t get there, phone them, and they will send someone to get you.
  12. Go to bed at the same time every day.  Say ten o’clock.  Drink a pint of water and then get changed before you go to bed, even if that means sleeping nude.  Go to the bathroom before you go to bed, wash, clean your teeth, examine yourself for injuries that might need treatment tomorrow.

If you have never been where I’ve been, where some still are, the above 12 rituals and habits might seem bleeding obvious.  But, if the last thing you drank was booze, and the last thing you ate were pills, then those 12 habits might just keep you alive, sane, and on the road to recovery.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

you may think you look as cool as this when you go to your bar

you don’t

 

Songs on Saturday ~ Alicia Keys

New York, if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere.

I want to wake up in a city that doesn’t sleep

And find I’m king of the hill, top of the heap

I like New York, I like the Plaza, the Monkey Bar, the Circle Line, Saks on 5th, and eating at Lincoln Square Steak.  I don’t like gypsy cabs, the subway, Times Square, or Central Park.

Please listen responsibly.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

In New York, “have a nice day…..” doesn’t mean what you think it means.

A short break in Wales

Or, how not to drown.

Not so very long ago, during a solo vacation in Turkey, I very nearly drowned in the Mediterranean.

These are my co-vacationers in Turkey- who didn’t almost drown.

As I’m going to Crete in a couple of weeks I thought I should do something about my non-swimmer status, (for all practical intents and purposes).  So casting around on the internet I found Sarah Kentish, ( http://www.swimwithsarah.co.uk/   sarah.kentish@btinternet.com ) who could give me some intensive, 1 to 1 swimming instruction, before my vacation in Crete.  And believe you me, finding some proper swimming instruction in the narrow time-window I had available was nothing short of miraculous.

Sarah said that she could teach me how not to drown every time I went in the water, and she was going to be teaching in the Imperial Hotel in Llandudno. And so, I booked a series of lessons and sent off my payment.  Snag was, I had no real idea where Llandudno is, other than it’s a seaside resort.

Llandudno is in Wales, and about 250 miles from where I live….. which doesn’t sound so bad.  Except I was travelling by train.  The journey there took six-and-a-half hours and involved 5 different trains.  (The journey home from Llandudno was not as bad.)

Still, I got there to find that the Imperial Hotel is a Magnificent Victorian Edifice.  My room was nice, the pool in the basement was nice, and Sarah was nice.  Under Sarah’s instruction, in 5 x 40 minute sessions I went from being effectively a non-swimmer to a chap who was more than just ok in the water.

Other than just how much I needed proper swimming instruction, the most surprising thing about this trip was that the main dining room at the Imperial Hotel is world-class.  They serve the most sublime food in elegant surroundings, (posh frock and expensive shoes elegant).  How they can have a world-class dining room in Llandudno is beyond me.

The downsides were; the trip cost a small fortune, the weather was dreary, and Llandudno by rail from my place may as well be on the dark side of the moon.

Llandudno is a pretty smart place, but it seems to attract the elderly more than cute girls in small bikinis.  On the other hand there is a hell of a lot more to do in that Welsh seaside resort than you’d think.  The Imperial Hotel is fairly pricey, but mostly worth it.  Individual, 1 to 1 swimming instruction is also fairly pricey, but very, very worth it.  It might save my life one day.

And, that’s why I took a short break in Wales.

Jack Collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

The pool at the Imperial Hotel

Food on Friday ~ Easy Summer Dishes

All I’ve got’s this lazy summer afternoon, food, and wine, and you…..

Face it, on a nice warm summer’s day, the last thing we want to do is spend ages in the kitchen.  These dishes are perfect for summer, and they’re all amazingly easy; the kind of recipes where you can do much of the prep work in your yard, in the sunshine…..

It seems a while since I did a Food on Friday, so let’s see if I can still pull together a good menu.  There are a lot of peaches involved this week.

First for this Friday we have summer spaghetti with tomatoes and burrata from Chungah at Damn Delicious.  (I guess if you can’t get burrata then a mozzarella would work pretty well too.)  This really is a 25 minute meal which would be perfect for lunch, a light dinner, or to take to work and zap in the microwave.

Summer Spaghetti with Tomatoes and Burrata

Next this week we have a fabulous 30 minute recipe from Sabrina Modelle; grilled salmon with peach salsa.  This dish has so much going for it; you can cook the salmon on the BBQ, which means you can make the whole recipe in your yard.  Anything with grilled salmon looks really special, so this is something you can serve to guests.  And, best of all, it’s a 30 minute recipe that will make a great lunch, dinner, or something to take to work the following day.  (This recipe was found for us by Elise at Simply Recipes).

Grilled Salmon with Peach Salsa

Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest has posted a lot of great recipes recently, but for this Food on Friday I’ve chosen to feature this 25 minute recipe for pesto zucchini and peach pizza with burrata.  This really is a taste of high summer, and so very easy to make.  Again you could serve this dish at lunch, dinner, as a snack, or take some to work the following day ~ maybe.

Pesto Zucchini and Peach Pizza with Burrata

From San Diego girl Averie Sunshine at Averie Cooks, we have this very, very easy recipe for sheet pan summer vegetables and chicken.  I love sheet pan recipes, they are just so simple and there is so little clean-up afterwards.  Averie says this easy, healthy, one pan meal should be ready in half-an-hour or so.

Sheet Pan Summer Vegetables and Chicken

The Minimalist Baker concentrates on vegetarian recipes of 10 ingredients or less that take less than a half-hour to prepare.  This cheesy spaghetti squash pasta will actually need about an hour and a half , including cook time, but the prep is dead easy.  This 9 ingredient dish looks fabulous

Cheesy Spaghetti Squash Pasta

Jessica Merchant at How Sweet Eats says this following recipe is THE SALAD OF THE SUMMER; or less shouty, the best summer panzanella salad.  You know what?  Jessica may just be right, this easy dish looks delicious.

The Best Summer Panzanella Salad

For something to drink that isn’t sucking down beer from a bottle, Jessica also has this delicious pinot peach sangria ~ another sangria recipe, and more peaches……  You can’t have too much of a good thing.

Pinot Peach Sangria

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

A little while ago Food on Friday was about summer vegetables and salads.

Some perfect side dishes to go with this week’s recipes.

Crete ~ another vacation

Socrates and Plato took a house on Crete in the summer months.

Another month, and another vacation planned.

This time I’m going to Chania on Crete, a spectacular island in the blue, blue Mediterranean sea.  I fly out to Crete on Tuesday September 4th for a week, and I’ll be staying at a small, family run hotel, the Pella Steve II, which is exclusively for the more adult single traveller.

Chania is the most beautiful, interesting, and evocative town on Crete ~ from the Venetian Harbour to the narrow shopping streets and waterfront restaurants.  Chania also has it’s own international airport, which is very cool when it comes to transfer times.

I’m fully expecting the weather, hotel, sightseeing, shopping, entertainment, food, drink, and company to be brilliant.

These singles holidays are something different and exclusive.  Always in a smaller hotel, everyone has their own double room, everyone is open and friendly, and there always seems to be a lot going on among ‘the group’.  These singles vacations are not just sitting by the pool and reading.  In my experience these singles vacations are fun from waking in the morning to getting off to bed early the following morning.  Luckily, these days I never touch booze and get by with a few hours sleep.

In my experience you don’t need to worry about not knowing anyone before you get there ~ on this kind of vacation, new and very interesting friends are made pretty quickly.  Anyhow, on this type of vacation everyone hangs out with anyone they wish to ~ starting at the hotel bar.

However, I was thinking that it would be cool to have a travelling companion to share the experience with, not as a couple, but as friends who travel together.  Being a guy, of course I’d be the one spending all the money.  That’s what guys of my generation do.

You never know, I may find a cool travelling companion yet.  And, after this holiday on Crete, there will be another vacation coming along soon.

My email is always at the end of these blog posts.

~

jack collier

email:     jsckcollier7@talktalk.net

 

Crete is a very beautiful island

Food on Friday ~ Summer

The blue sky in July trembles like a butterfly.

It’s high summer.  I have just returned from Turkey and the best vacation ever.  The food in Turkey was fabulous, and went perfectly with their hot summer sunshine.

These recipes may not all be authentically Turkish, but they are all the kind of dishes you would get in the better Turkish restaurants in the tourist areas, and they will all go perfectly with our long summer days.

First up this week, found by Elise Bauer at Simply Recipes, we have 4 Great Add-Ins for Hummus.  Hummus is almost an essential component of a Turkish banquet, and these ideas from Katie Workman are just brilliant.  I especially like the roasted red pepper hummus, and Katie even tells us how to make perfect roasted peppers.

Hummus

Now, from at How Sweet Eats we have summer BBQ Quinoa Salad, which is a perfectly Turkish inspired side dish, or a lighter meal to take to work.

Summer BBQ Quinoa and Chicken Salad

Well now, OK, this recipe for orozo stuffed red peppers with lemony basil tomatoes from Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest is actually Greek, but I had an exactly similar dish when I was in Turkey.  This is a very quick and easy 30 minute vegetarian dish, (other than it has cheese, but you can buy vegan cheese).

Greek Orozo Stuffed Red Peppers with Lemony Basil Tomatoes.

From lovely San Diego girl Averie Sunshine we have this wonderful looking dish of Peach Chili Grilled Chicken, just the kind of thing you could be served in the better Turkish restaurants in the tourist parts of the country.  This damn easy 10 minute dish needs no cleanup afterwards ~ how cool is all that?

Peach Chili Grilled Chicken

I almost never feature the same cook twice in one Food on Friday, but here’s another Dish from Tieghan Gerard, at Half Baked Harvest.  Turkish fried eggs in herbed yogurt.  You could have these at breakfast, lunch, or dinner ~ and the whole thing takes only 30 minutes to prepare.

Turkish Fried Eggs in Herbed Yogurt

For desert, this is another sort-of Greek dish: frozen honey Greek yogurt dipped strawberries, shown to us by Andrea at Cooking with a Wallflower.  But, there is nothing to stop you from using Turkish honey and Turkish yogurt to make this guilt free desert recipe.

Frozen Honey Greek Yogurt Dipped Strawberries

Finally for this week we have a great collection of Turkish recipes from Delicious Magazine, including this fabulous Lamb Kofte Tagine.  This is an easy 30 minute dish that would make a super mid-week meal, or something fast for a Saturday night in with friends.  Buy Turkish beer to go with it.

 

Lamb Kofte Tagine

~

jack collier

email;   jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

we sat in an outdoors restaurant watching the parasailors landing.

how cool was that?

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