Sauerkraut

I love sauerkraut – not to be confused with vinegary pickled cabbage – fermented cabbage. Not only because I enjoy the taste, texture and flavour but also because of its nutritious qualities – rich in fibre, vitamins, minerals and probiotics.

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This is a jar of beetroot sauerkraut just starting the fermenting process.

I advise you to wear rubber gloves to avoid staining your hands.

Ingredients:

300 g red cabbage – shredded

200 g beetroot – peeled and finely chopped

1/2 small apple – peeled and finely chopped

2 tsp salt

1 tsp fennel seeds

1 tsp coriander seeds

1/2 tsp caraway seeds

Method:

Put all of the ingredients into a bowl and mix them well until the vegetables start to release water. Then crush the vegetables with your hands – or use a pestle / end of rolling-pin.

Put the mixture into a sterilised and resealable glass jar – 500 ml capacity – leaving sufficient space at the top to allow for the fizz!

The vegetables need to be submerged in their juices so a cabbage leaf with a weight on top works well.

Leave the sauerkraut at room temperature for anything up to 3 weeks. It needs to be left for at least 3 days..

Salads…definitely not boring

I overheard someone the other day saying that they found salads boring. This made me feel a little sad. With such a diversity of flavours and endless possibilities of combinations how can salads become boring? I thought the days of  salads comprised of iceberg lettuce, cucumber and tomato had long since passed. Seemingly not.

I have a simple formula for my salads: green leaf, 3 or more additions – ideally different colours and a dressing – preferably with one ingredient that is a fermented food. Often one ingredient that is hot e.g.roasted butternut squash

Different dressings I make:  (a splash of each in to a small jar and shaken)

Tamari (gluten-free soy sauce), apple cider vinegar and olive oil

Tahini, apple cider vinegar and tamari

Peanut butter and apple cider vinegar

Avocado oil drizzle

Lime juice and olive oil

Here are a selection of the salads we have eaten over the last couple of weeks:

A                                                        B

A: papaya, roasted butternut squash, watercress, olives, tomatoes and olive oil and lime dressing

B: Beetroot houmous and chia seed oatcakes with avocado, tomatoes, olives and watercress

A                                                          B

A: Apricot, pomegranate seeds, mange tout, houmous, tomatoes, olives and rocket with avocado oil drizzle

B:Tomatoes, mange tout, yellow pepper, watercress and houmous – no dressing

A                                                         B

A: peas shoots, watercress, avocado, tomatoes and mange tout with olive oil, tamari and apple cider vinegar dressing

B: shredded carrots, red and white cabbage, hen and quail eggs, avocado, tomatoes and houmous with drizzle of olive oil

A                                                         B

A: rocket, watercress, avocado, apricot, roasted butternut squash with peanut butter and apple cider vinegar dressing

B: carrot sticks, houmous, mango, tomatoes, avocado, beetroot and avocado oil drizzle.

…definitely not boring!!

What is your favourite salad combination?

Raw cranberry sauce

No cooking involved.

Ingredients:

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300 g fresh cranberries    1 large orange        grated nutmeg

80 g muscovado sugar     1 tsp mixed spice

Method:

Peel and coarsely  chop the orange. Put the orange pieces and cranberries in to a food processor and blitz.  Add all the remaining ingredients  and mix thoroughly .

This freezes well. Delicious with hot turkey, pork and also with cheeses.

Chilli roasted vegetables 

We eat roasted vegetables at least once a week. It is such a versatile dish and one that involves minimum effort – perfect 🙂

Invariably we have it as a supporting dish but it is worthy of being a main dish.

This dish posted is simply an assortment of vegetables – carrots, parsnips, peppers and sprouts – roasted in a drizzle of coconut oil for about 40 minutes with the occasionally gentle turning.Then I mixed in a tin of chopped tomatoes and a generous tsp of chilli powder and  topped with grated cheese. Back in to the oven to heat through. Serve with crusty bread.

What to do with some much produce…apple, honey and rosemary jam 

I first tasted this delicious combination at a friend’s house a couple of years ago. Whenever they visited some friends in France they would come back with a jar of loveliness called: Confiture de pommes au romarin et au miel de montagne. I acquired a recipe and then promptly forgot about it until recently. Recipe translated and tweaked resulted in 5 jars of apple, honey and rosemary jam in my kitchen yesterday. I resisted the urge to taste it until today to allow the rosemary to infuse the jam…delicious.

This is what I did:

Ingredients:

2kg of cooking apples – peeled, cored and chopped in to small pieces (pips saved)

100g sugar

250g honey – I used set

Juice of 3 lemons – keep pips

20 ml of water.

Rosemary sprigs – washed and dried

Method:

Put the sugar, water, lemon juice and honey in a large pan and bring to the boil – stirring frequently. Put the apple pieces in to the syrup mixture along with the apple and lemon pips wrapped in a piece of gauze. Bring back to the boil and simmer gently for about 15 minutes or until the apples are soft. Remove from heat and mash about half of the apple mixture down – I used a potato masher. Put back on the heat and simmer for anohter 5 – 10 mins.  Put in to prepared jam jars and push a sprig of rosemary in to the mixture ahead of sealing the jar.

I have no idea how long this will store  – probably quite irrelevant as one jar has nearly gone already. I didn’t treat this like an ordinary jam, cheese or jelly in that a setting point wasn’t reached. The consistency is of a very, very thick sauce. Delicious on toast but I would imagine equally scrumptious with pork or game.

Mint and Feta whip

This combination of flavours tastes absolutely gorgeous and compliments many dishes – my husband enjoys it with burgers and I think it adds a new level to a salad. Unfortunately no picture does it justice ..so here goes:20160723_171433Ingredients:

200 g Feta cheese chopped in to small chunks

150 ml sour cream         2 tsp paprika

2 tbsp honey           Handful of chopped mint

Method:

Put all the ingredients in to a bowl and mix thoroughly until smooth.

Place in fridge until serving.

Cranberry salsa

I think the finest meal is one where you have the opportunity to have a multitude of different flavour combinations – probably why I love a roast dinner with all the extra trimmings.

A barbecue is one such opportunity – a plate can be laden with a multitude of little bits of this and that.

This is one such dish.

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Ingredients:

1 large white onion – finely chopped             Zest and juice of 2 limes

1 large green pepper – finely chopped          600 g of cranberry sauce

Mint – large handful chopped          Coriander – large handful chopped

Method:

Put all the ingredients in to a large bowl and combine thoroughly.

 

This salsa is perfect with meat, fish and salads – an all round great accompaniment.

I put the salsa in to the empty cranberry sauce jars. It will last for at least a week in the fridge (if not devoured beforehand!)

Guacamole 

The perfect companion for a chilli con carne.

Serves 2

Ingredients:

1 large ripe avocado – coarsely chopped

10 plum tomatoes – finely chopped

4 spring onions – finely chopped

Juice of half a lemon

3-4 drops of tabasco sauce

Method:

Put all the prepared ingredients in to a bowl and mix gently.

 

Avocado salsa

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Ingredients:

1 avocado  – cut in to cubes

1 papaya peeled – deseeded and cut in to cubes

1 small red onion  – chopped in to small pieces

Handful of fresh coriander – roughly chopped

2 red chillies  – deseeded and cut in to small pieces

Juice of 1 lemon and lime

Method:

Put all ingredients in to a bowl and mix gently