CMFARRELL36   105,182
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Vegetables (and some fruit) - 14

Friday, June 10, 2011

I was just wandering through the SparkPages about Protein etc, and ended up at Lentils. My goodness - there are a huge number of recipes there! Far too many to look through in this evening's browse.

I love lentils - the wee dried orange ones that cook to virtually a mush.
I put them in soup. I've used them to eke out mince and stew, and to help thicken gravy!

One of my favourites is something I occasionally cook - and I use it as a cross between carbs and veg. Though now I realise I should be including it in my protein count, as well.

I toss a good handful of lentils or 2 (I usually only make this for myself) into a small pan of boiling stock or water - no salt in the stock or the water. Then cover and bring it back to the boil, turn down to a low simmer, and leave it for maybe 10 minutes - about 2/3 of the cooking time on the packet.
While the lentils are simmering, dice some onion and chop some garlic. Put into a pan with a small amount of heated oil (I use olive or rapeseed) to soften. Add whatever seasoning you like.
Once the onion is softening and going translucent, you could also add diced celery, diced bell peppers. I like some finely diced courgette (zucchini) tossed in with the onion.
Once the veg is all softened, slightly - don't let it get mushy - add some chopped tomatoes (either tinned, or peel and dice what you have lying and going soft). Heat it through then check your seasoning. Add in the lentils and cook for a final few minutes, checking your seasonings again before serving.

That is so tasty served with meat, or chicken, or fish, or........

Anyone got some other ideas?

Oh - by the way, re an earlier blog and comment. I bought myself a packet of dried chickpeas today. At some point I'll get round to cooking some and I'll let you know what happens!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

AKELAZ 6/12/2011 4:22PM

    Missed this when you posted - just far too busy at the moment. However - glad I caught it. I don't cook lentils enough - generally I cook green ones cos I like the more solid texture - I cook them in a similar way to you and either add chopped bacon or have them with a gammon slice. I like the idea of using the orange ones to thicken stews and gravies (or even soups I guess).
I also like making dahl – with orange lentils. First I heat a frying pan (NOT non-stick) and when it’s hot I put about a tablespoon of cumin seed and Iet them just turn brown (take them out of the hot pan once they’re done or they burn). Then fry chopped onion and garlic gently in a tblsp of oil and add curry powder –how much depends how hot you like things - and some turmeric – again gently - doesn’t taste the same if it ‘scorches’. Add the cumin and stir. Then add chopped tomatoes and when they’ve cooked a bit add some low sodium bouillon and approx 2 cups of water. When the whole mix is simmering add a wedge of lemon and a cup of orange lentils and continue simmering until the lentils fall. You may like to add a squeeze of more lemon juice. I eat this with Indian flatbread because I rarely fancy rice with things. It’s a tasty dish and, as you say, full of so much that is good for us.
Again- thank you, Christine, for these really worthwhile blogs - glad to see the comments are gathering momentum.

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CANBDONE 6/12/2011 3:16PM

    I'm having fresh asparagus...drizzled with a little olive oil and baked until almost crisp (which is how I like them), tilapia topped with lemongrass, baked potato with ff sour cream and light butter. I need to give the lentils another try...I'll get the orange ones this time. They are SO good for you.

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SUNSET24 6/12/2011 1:31PM

    smiles, it is wonderful to come across someone who lovesssssssssss to cook! you GO girl! yahooo!!!!!!!!! emoticon

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CAROLJEAN64 6/10/2011 5:14PM

    We love lentils as well... especially lentil soup... although I usually just add onion and garlic. This time of year I think I may add some greens just at the end to have them wilt and add a different flavor.

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MMRB7111 6/10/2011 5:06PM

    Your recipe sound very Yummy and similar to what I use to make years ago which I would eat over brown rice.

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Vegetables (and some fruit) - 13

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Tonight I've been motivated be talk about Curry.

In the 60's, my family started to make curry, same as many other families.
I do have good memories of sliced banana in lemon juice to go with curry.
In the 1960's when curry was becoming a family weekday meal - we had whatever the meat was with boiled rice. And the additionals were sliced banana in lemon juice - or even maybe lime juice; dessicated coconut (which I still don't like) - it came straight from the packet, as was; raisins in lemon juice,...
I'm sure there were always 4 things, but I cannot recall the 4th one just now. It certainly was NOT yoghurt with anything - that didn't happen till late 60's and would never have been used with "the main course", or for my Dad.

I do remember that the "seasonings" was curry powder!
One weekend when my Mum and Dad had to be away, I was left at home, being over 16 - oh bliss. But I decided to make myself a curry for dinner one night. I misread the recipe and added tablespoons instead of teaspoons of curry powder. The wooden mixing spoon never lost the yellow colour till it fell apart! And that was well over 20 years later! It remained yellow-stained for all those years!

Maybe the 4th item was pickled onions - you know, the wee ones? I always got confused with the shampoo Silvikrin - so silverskin pickled onions. That may well have been the 4th bowl added to the table, for those family curries.

Changed Days!
I can tolerate a good curry, so long as the spiciness isn't too hot. My stomach muscles rebel otherwise, and I have a very painful several days,
But - i do like to use a bit of tabasco, occasionally. Sometimes, depending how much tabasco, I'll add a teaspoon or 2 of sugar, as well - that does ease off the bite of the spice.

But I can do it to suit me, or to suit DH, or to suit us both - it's so much easier now there's just the 2 of us again.
Cos I can even do it to suit DH - with a bit more spiciness, having taken my portion out first!

Tonight, we had nothing to do with spicy or curry.
Simple & plain: bacon and eggs - with frozen soy beans cooked in the m'wave and halved tomatoes seasoned and heated. DH also had some oven cooked Hash Browns with his.
Flavours - soy beans were plain, cooked in a bit of water in the m'wave. Tomatoes, halved and the core wedge taken out - sprinkled with various seasonings, and put in the oven with the pre-fried hash browns. So DH got his beans and tomato, without me going to baked beans, for a change - and he managed to enjoy them as well.

Very simple and very plain this evening - cos that works too.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SUNSET24 6/10/2011 12:49AM

    what a lovely blog!

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CANBDONE 6/9/2011 10:59AM

    I'm having fried rice tonight: brown rice, mixed frozen veggies, fresh asparagus, onions, mushrooms, a little olive oil, very little lite soy sauce, ginger, chicken breast, and one scrambled egg.

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    This is a great blog Christine. You made me smile with memories of those ‘curries’ back in the late 60s, which were so far removed from curry it’s unbelievable. Do you remember those Vesta curries? We have come a long way since then thank goodness. I was fortunate that during my twenties a couple of my Indian friends taught me some authentic Punjabi cuisine, which has stood me in good stead ever since. Unfortunately, due to health issues, I can no longer eat spiced food, but still love to cook it for my husband and friends.

I saw in one of your blogs that you don’t like aubergine (eggplant). Perhaps one day soon I’ll post on my own blog a couple of very healthy and tasty aubergine recipes for you to try.

All of your blogs are really entertaining and informative, so I shall pop along again from time to time.


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AKELAZ 6/9/2011 3:08AM

    Great blog Christine. You have such a balanced and interesting attitude to cooking and I am finding your thoughts really make me think more about what I cook and eat.
I have been cooking curries in different ways over the years - I can't tolerate too spicy either but I have developed a basic curry paste which I make myself (with variations) and enjoy altho I haven't made one for a long while. I always make a cucumber raita to accompany them because I love yoghourt with all sorts of savoury dishes. I am reminded, thanks to you, that it's time to make a good curry again soon. That'll please my partner - he loves curry and cooks a really good one himself altho he tends to use hotter spices and more oil than I do. I also enjoy curried vegetables on their own, My tastes have changed a lot - partly thanks to Spark and my efforts here, and I actually enjoy plainer food - simple grilled meat or fish and salad or steamed vegetables (sometimes both!) - or a mix of vegetables and beans, or indeed egg, bacon and vegetables - generally in an omelette in my case, because as you say, simple works too.
Thanks for all these blogs - I really enjoy them. emoticon

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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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