CMFARRELL36   107,392
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Vegetables (and some fruit) - 12

Sunday, June 05, 2011

I just love some of the things that happen on SP.
Like getting the 100 points for goodies yesterday. Any time I get one of these bonuses, I like to send something to every friend on my friend list.
What a reminder that I haven't been as good a friend as I could be, to a number of folk!
And then getting some contact afterwards, too - brill!

Tonight's dinner was mainly left-overs from last night.
So the mince with onion and mushroom through it, reheated.
Last night, DH had it with: spinach, onion, tomato mix; carrot and courgette; and pickled beetroot. With rice.
Tonight he had it with some cooked-from-frozen chips (french fries); peas; pickled beetroot, and mushroom.

Mushroom -
I like to peel my mushrooms - especially the value-pack ones - rather than just wiping them.
Then roughly slice. My younger son does this more finely than I do!
Add some olive oil and a small knob of butter to your frying pan (skillet) - or omit the butter.
Add the sliced mushroom to the pan.
Tonight i also added 3 big cloves of diced garlic.
Add in seasonings, and loads of parsley. I use dried. Younger son uses sage, thyme and other stuff as well as parsley.
I let this cook all over, turning the slices as they cook.

Tonight I cooked it a bit less in the pan on top of the stove, then poured into a dish in the pre-heated oven, to finish cooking and keep warm.

I've never got around to using different kinds of mushrooms - we're always on a strict budget, so the fancy stuff doesn't get much chance!
My only other attempts with mushroom really would be the big mushrooms, stuffed. I'll get back to that another day,
Meantime, please send me any recipes you know and love, using mushrooms differently.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CANBDONE 6/5/2011 5:30PM

    I'll have to send you my walnut, mushroom, black olive, black bean veggie burger recipe! (I'll look it up first) Tonight I'm tossing diced butternut cubed squash in 1 T olive oil and baking with sea salt. I'll be having a piece of tilapia with it.

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Vegetables (and some fruit) - 11

Friday, June 03, 2011

Me again!
This is becoming a bit of a habit LOL

I've had some fantastic comments back from the last few blogs. Thanks folk. I really appreciate that some of you are enjoying what I do for leisure and pleasure. Cooking for the evening meal is frequently (though certainly not always) a stress-buster for me, and has been for years. Even when my sons were wee, I could enjoy getting meals prepared, knowing that the most important folk in my life were going to enjoy their dinner.

I've just been asked about chickpeas.
This is something I've never yet cooked with - I keep looking at them on the shop shelf, and I keep leaving it for "some other time".
So I reckon I'm going to give it a try, sometime very soon. Something absolutely new to cope with, so I'll have fun.

Tonight, I was cooking aubergine for DH. (Egg plant)
This is one vegetable I really so cannot get to grips with to eat. It's not just the flavour - consistency too. They gang up together to keep me away LOL!
I've tried all sorts of things - different cooking methods, prepared with salt and without salting, whatever. I've tasted restaurant prepared dishes ordered by DH or sons. NO - I cannot cope. And I find it so annoying, cos there are so many recipes out there from around the world that use aubergine, and I'd love to try some of them.

So, tonight, DH had a "platter" -
Ham - Bavarian ham needing used up, instead of the bacon which I usually use. Lightly fried then put onto the plate and into the oven at a low temperature.
Pineapple - several spoons of pineapple bits from a jar of it in juice, put in a bowl in the oven to heat.
Mushrooms - gently fried in olive oil, both sides, then the rims rolled in the oil, and the mushrooms put on top of the ham in the oven. That helped the ham to not dry out! And it also let the mushrooms finish cooking.
Asparagus - cooked lightly with water and some lemon juice, in the microwave.
Radishes - topped and tailed, washed, very lightly steamed in the microwave.
Aubergine - sliced on the slant, then fried in olive oil till nicely coloured and nearly soft.

I used to serve this with the aubergine covered with the bacon rashers, then the heated pineapple on top. But DH has now asked for the aubergine to be separate from the bacon and pineapple - he adds some vinegar to the aubergine before eating.

Tonight he also had a dollop of reheated leftovers from last night - spinach cooked with tomato and onion - on his plate.

Yes - some of my enjoyment is also from how it looks on the plate. I so love the square white plates we bought a couple of years ago when we had the kitchen redone. I'd wanted plates like this for years, and I am still really enjoying them.

Anyways - enough for now.
I'm looking forward already to getting some comments and feedback!
Especially if anyone can give me advice how to cook aubergine completely differently, to let me eat it too!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CANBDONE 6/3/2011 5:34PM

    My SIL used to fix it for my husband and we loved it. She peeled it, sliced it and soaked it in milk for about 30 minutes. Then she dipped it in beaten egg and then flour and fried it. In the restaurants I order Eggplant Parmigian (sp)...cheesy and with spaghetti sauce.

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NEW-CAZ 6/3/2011 4:32PM

    loved the sound of your meal....budge up and make room for a small one emoticon emoticon

You're so right about meal presentation too; I recently purchased some square white plates and small dishes for side salads.
They say you eat with your eyes as well as your mouth so food looking appetizing is half the battle.
Keep the tips coming Christine emoticon emoticon

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Vegetables (and some fruit) - 10

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Wow - thanks for the feedback to Blog 9. I'll be renaming that salad as Crucnhy Rainbow Salad, now emoticon

Beetroot - glad you asked!

I tend to use the vacuum packed cooked beetroot that has absolutely nothing added.

1. Beetroot Salad with Horseradish Dressing
I've made this a couple of times - just I'm not a fan of horseradish. But this worked out fine.
Dice some cooked beetroot. In a bowl, mix some "good" quality horseradish sauce (apparently it's less vinegary, and less "raw") with some creme fraiche or some good greek yogurt. Add whatever seasonings you think would help. Stir till thoroughly mixed. Add in the diced beetroot and mix gently to coat and cover.
I reckon about 1 teaspoon horseradish sauce with a dessertspoon (or even a tablespoon) of the cream or yogurt will be plenty for several small beetroots.
But it keeps quite well in the fridge, in a lidded container for about a week.

2. Beetroot Salad
Preheat the oven - I use Gas Mark 4, so the lower end of medium!
Again I'm using the cooked vacuum-packed beetroot.
Open the packet, drain and rinse - quarter the beetroot (or whatever works for the sizes in the packet) and put in an oven dish. Add some oil (olive or rapeseed is what I use), some seasonings, some cloves of garlic, and then drizzle on some runny honey OR mix in some redcurrant jelly. Mix all the stuff together well, and put into the oven to heat right through (and soften the beetroot a bit if you wish)..
Bring the beetroot out of the oven and let it cool slightly.
Make your salad dressing, then transfer beetroot to a bowl (via a chopping board and dice it, if you fancy that - it can be nice!). Toss with the salad dressing.
Sometimes after it's all mixed and ready, I throw in some finely chopped spring onion (scallion), both the green and the white.

3. Last, but not least, Beetroot Jelly
Dice your cooked beetroot and put into a nice bowl.
Make up a jelly - I use store's own, or sometimes Rowntree - lemon, lime or pineapple. Pour the liquid jelly over the beetroot, and leave to set.
If you're more adventurous - make your own jelly with gelatine and apple juice - that is wicked with the beetroot.

Let me know, please, how you get on with anything I've suggested - or your own version of something similar.
I am so enjoying this!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

AKELAZ 6/3/2011 12:10PM

    Thanks so much Christine -
Bizarrely I make a sort of dressing for mackerel with the ingredients of your horseradish and beetroot salad. At the end of our road which leads to the beach, we have a fish shack - literally - the guy goes out every morning catches what he catches, comes back to his shack and sells it - so when it's gone it's gone. BUT he also has a tiny smoke-shed and smokes mackerel which is actually a bit strong for me so I mix puree of beetroot with crème fraiche and horseradish and it takes away the taste that I don’t entirely like and gives me something fresh and delicious. Will definitely be trying it as a salad with chopped beetroot thanks to you.
All your recipes sound good and I will be trying them over the next few days. Coincidentally I have to take a salad to a bbq this weekend - may even take two - both beetroot!!!! Definitely your horseradish recipe and might spice up the jelly a bit for a relish-type accompaniment to the meat - or halloumi which is the option for the vegetarians
Another way I like beetroot is not as a salad - but risotto. Pre-roasted beetroot (with roasted garlic of course!) diced and added to the rice once it begins to soften in the stock with sliced green parts of scallion and then I finish off the cooking process. I stir some parmesan thro and dollop (low-fat) creme fraiche (with or without horseradish) on top. This is certainly not low in calories but a small amount for a treat - or starter if I've got guests - is very good.
Wish I could think of something more than thank you to say to you Christine – you have really perked up my Spark Life. emoticon

PS - forgive the epistle!!

Comment edited on: 6/3/2011 12:14:25 PM

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FAIRYDANCER1 6/2/2011 10:58PM

    I am not a cook but I do enjoy reading your recipes. I wonder, do you have any good chickpea recipes??



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CANBDONE 6/2/2011 7:41PM

    Girl, your recipes always make my mouth water...I hear your passion for cooking and it makes me want to try new things. Keep 'em coming! I'm having tilapia with lemongrass and cauliflower mashed like potatoes with a little butter and seasonings.

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NEW-CAZ 6/2/2011 5:36PM

    I love strong flavours so may well try the horseradish idea. emoticon

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COROZALOVE 6/2/2011 4:45PM

  I love this,I think I will try it and let you know. Thanks

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Vegetables (and some fruit) - 9

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Hi friends, sorry for the delay - had to head off for a few days with DH to see his Mum.

Today I was out with a friend - she'd asked me to give her a lift to a clinic today, to save her husband having to take more time off work. No problem at all. Then she phoned me this morning, and suggested meeting for lunch before we headed off the other 10 miles!
We have a fantastic wee lunch eaterie place called Nicaea - paninis and toasted sandwiches, as well as a few other things.
Today, I was there in time to ask for the all day breakfast - bacon, black pudding, sausage, egg, tomato, mushroom, baked beans, served with a half panini and a wee pot of tea or coffee. I very rarely take this. I don't like sausage (especially not square sausage). I won't touch black pudding. I try not to eat bacon. I don't tolerate beans too well. But, just on a very odd occasion - put all those dislikes together, and I'll really enjoy the plate!
Today was one of those days - but I was so disappointed. I'd said not to give me any black pudding - but there were 3 slices of it on my plate. There was only a really small serving of beans. Only 1/2 tomato. No mushroom. And I never got my 1/2 panini and butter.
My friend took the soup - lentil and vegetable - which looked delicious. And she got a nie buttery roll with it.

But it set me thinking - cos to go there and have a panini or whatever, you get a "garnish" of half the plate covered with salad and coleslaw.
And I was thinking, as I ate my -ish "breakfast" - I used to make loads of different kinds of salads, especially for special occasions.
And the salad that's been in my mind all afternoon was what I used to call Crunchy Salad.

Again, I'm sorry, but I can't give you quantities or measurements, or any of the nutritional breakdown.
All the ingredients are diced to about the size of a pea, or a single small niblet of sweetcorn.

Onion - white or red or shallot or spring
Corn Niblets
Peppers - sweet/bell peppers, all the colours you want!

When I first made this, I called it a 7-Veg Salad. But over the years, other things got added in, like -
Apple -
anything with a crunch!

Salad dressing for this was always basic.
2 parts oil to 1 part vinegar or lemon juice, and always some coarse grain mustard. Plus whatever else you like in your salad dressing.
Or just use whatever you like that you buy.

Make sure you keep it in the fridge.

Give it a try - the colours are as fresh as the flavour!
It will keep for several days.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DAVENALEE 6/2/2011 5:30AM

    Your salad sounds SCRUMPTIOUS!!!! I look forward to trying it! Thanks for sharing it. Blessings!

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NEW-CAZ 6/2/2011 3:01AM

    I can't remember the last time I ate a sausage emoticon let alone the "full works"!

I adore salads and I've found a need balsamic low cal dressing in Sainsburys; their own range. Mustard and Honey is my fav of the moment but I add a tsp of Dijon mustard to it and it's lovely tossed into a huge salad with mackeral or salmon.

Thanks for the ideas, I keep meaning to try radishes! where's my shopping list for 2moro...........................>
Have a good one emoticon

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AKELAZ 6/1/2011 7:58PM

    MMMM!! emoticon
Sounds delish - I love salad and this sounds great - as CANBDONE says - crunchy rainbow salad. The thing about salad is it's so easy to add things and make it different every time. So - interesting - varied and filling!
I like raw peppers and barely cooked asparagus and green beans, when they're cheap, added to Rocket/Spinach/Watercress - absolutely lu-urve dark green veggies especially with some Parmesan shavings. I like adding tinned artichoke hearts too which I char on the grill. Dunno if you ever add seeds or nuts but when the basic leaves are soft I like the added crunch.
When my kids were younger and we had family BBQs, their favourite salad with that was traditional coleslaw with toasted walnuts and thin strips of garlic sausage. They always said - so kindly - that it took the edge off 'Mother's charred chunks' - nice huh?
My favourite dressing is olive oil/lemon juice/garlic/a small amount of low cal HELLMANS
Very sorry to hear your breakfast wasn't all you wished but the cloud has a silver lining as it put salads into your mind at an appropriate time of year - and now into OUR minds.
SALAD FEST coming up!!! Must remember the chopped apple! Do you do anything clever with raw beetroot BTW?

Christine - truly I love these blogs - every one makes my mouth water!!

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

PS Hope the visit went well and you came away happy . . .

Comment edited on: 6/1/2011 8:22:25 PM

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CANBDONE 6/1/2011 6:27PM

    ...a rainbow crunch salad! Yummy
I'm still learning how to order a healthy meal at a's a challenge.

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Vegetables (and some fruit) - 8

Thursday, May 26, 2011

I'm really enjoying the feedback and comments I've been receiving about this "series" of blogs.

I've had some suggestions for cooking the same things but in a different way, and I've received a few recipe suggestions too.
Thanks friends - keep it coming!

I wasn't intending to blog tonight, but a couple of comments have made me stop and think.

1. Duck for a stir fry.
I love the idea, though I don't often see it within my budget.
I think I'd flash fry it first, to get the dripping from the skin. Remove the duck from the pan, and use the dripping for stir-frying the veg. Slice the duck, if needed, once it's out the pan and cooled a bit.

2. I tend to microwave the veg when it's straight from the freezer. I also like to steam my vegetables - but not from frozen. I think the freezing tends to change the consistency slightly once they're defrosted - well some of them, anyway. Rather like frozen fruit. You know how strawberries and raspberries go really mushy when you defrost them? I think broccoli and cauliflower, and some of the others, are similar, though not as extreme. So frozen goes either in the microwave or it goes right into the pan.
Or peas and corn niblets - just in a bowl covered with boiling water and left for up to 5 minutes!
Fresh cauliflower - I have to steam it! I have never yet managed to cook fresh cauli properly in the m'wave! Whereas I can cook fresh broccoli (ordinary, tender stem or purple sprouting) as easily in the m'wave as the steamer.

Btw - steaming - is in a pan on the stove with 1, 2 or sometimes even 3 steamers on top. It's a wee set of pan plus 2 steamers I got in Asda for £9.99 that I use. Then I got a second one for older son going to university, but he didn't want it. So I use both!
I did buy a small electric steamer for younger son - but he didn't want it, originally, for lack of space. I don't know where it is - there's a thought! But I don't have worktop space either, and I work pretty well the way I'm used to.

3. Different meals.
I've been cooking that way since we had children!
It annoys me when folk tell me "that's wrong" - it suited me, and sometimes it still suits me to cook 2 different meals. And I didn't have to put up with arguments and tantrums at meal times.
Some evenings I'd be cooking 4 "different" dinners. But - and it's a very big "but" - I don't know how I would have coped if all the meals were entirely different from each other. I always had 2 or 3 items in common across the 4 meals.
For example:
DH likes meat, vegetables and preferably potatoes, but he'll take rice and, at a pinch, pasta. Also tuna, eggs, cheese.
DS older was meat, potatoes, carrots or tomatoes, and he'd take a bit of broccoli because I'd cooked it. And he loved eggs, and he enjoyed tuna and sardines.
DS younger was chicken but not too much red meat, broccoli, some carrot because it was cooked, pasta, cheese. Egg whites, but no yolk. Some tuna.
Me - yes, I did consider myself occasionally - I like bits and pieces from each of those, so I could always get my dinner quite the thing.

So - although I had 4 different meals to make, there were things in common between various of us. I had fairly peaceful mealtimes. And my boys grew up able to eat some of what they didn't particularly enjoy when we were out for a meal, or visiting.
And they are still the same - though their tastes have changed dramatically, so each can eat more other stuff!
Which made it great fun last Christmas, when they were both home together. Older son made lunch one day. And younger son made dinner that same day. I only had to pitch in to help when I was asked or when I was needed!

Sorry - that went a bit off subject!
But I don't think folk should worry about everyone having to have the same thing.
At the very simplest, make a variety of veg and put it in serving dishes on the table. More especially if you are trying to have the family all sit down together for meals.
DH and I both lived through the "eat it or get it for your next meal" syndrome - which was understandable (in hindsight) given the restrictions in food and in family budgets post WW2.
But that doesn't have to happen now. And I think it's probably better to feed folk (mainly) what they like and avoid wastage.

OK - I'll get off my high horse, and my soap box, now.

I'll be on the look-out for some duck, now it's been mentioned!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

AKELAZ 5/27/2011 2:33AM

    *things in common between various of us*
Absolutely the way forward as far as I'm concerned. When the whole family get together now - DH with his school dinner preferences - DS older, vegetarian - his partner, voracious meat eater - DS younger and partner - anything as long as it's healthy (phew!) - and their two little sons (depends on the day!) I make a multiplicity of foods to suit various tastes - something meaty accompanied by a variety of veggies with cheese sauce on the side or small vegetable tart-like quiches (so egg/cheese for protein for the elder son). I also often do a bean or lentil side dish for the same reason. Always a luscious salad with cheese/nuts/seeds. A lot of work but I'm used to it now and generally get some help from the family and - as you say - definitely worth it to see that everyone is tucking in to their preference and leaves the table satisfied.

Thanks again for a thought provoking blog and for tips on different ways of cooking veggies - great great exchanges! emoticon

Comment edited on: 5/27/2011 2:39:20 AM

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CANBDONE 5/26/2011 6:45PM

    Love your culinary tips!

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NEW-CAZ 5/26/2011 5:30PM

    Christine you can get 2 duck breasts in Sainsury's for £5! special offer!
Freeze well, one breast (about 5 oz with the fat attached) is more than enough for a substantial stirfry and get thee a bottle of hoi sin sauce, 1 or 2 tablespoons is enough to make it delishhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

nks for more tips about multiple dinners......but if you only knew my DH emoticon emoticon

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