Journey Forth

21 March, 2009


Filed under: Family,Food,Fruit,Health,Life,Random,The Good Life,Vegetables — by Karen @ 6:10 am


 The tomato is a fruit – it contains the seeds of a flowering plant ans therefore it is a fruit or, more precisely, a berry. However, the tomato is not as sweet as those foodstuffs usually called fruits and, from a culinary standpoint, it is typically served as part of a salad or main course of a meal, as are vegetables.The tomato is low in Sodium, and very low in Saturated Fat and Cholesterol. It is also a good source of Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol), Thiamin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Magnesium, Phosphorus and Copper, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Potassium and Manganese.

My favourite tomato recipe: Stuffed Baked Tomatoes

8 ripe tomatoes
16 oil-cured black olives, pitted
handful of stale breadcrumbs
125g Gruyère, grated
1 sprig thyme
2 tablespoon black olive tapenade
2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
extra virgin olive
freshly ground salt and black pepper
chunks of bread, to serve (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 220°C/gas 7.
2. Cut the tomatoes in half horizontally. Using a teaspoon, scoop out the seeds and core.
3. Place the tomato halves cut side up on a roasting tray. Put a pitted olive into each half. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
4. Mix the breadcrumbs with half the grated Gruyère. Stuff the mixture into the tomatoes.
5. Strip the thyme leaves from the stalk and mix with the olive paste and mustard. Brush the over the tomatoes.
6. Sprinkle the rest of the grated cheese over the top, then dribble with olive oil. Bake for 20 minutes.
7. Serve warm with chunks of good bread.

Serves 4
Preparation time: 25 minuutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes

Recipe from Tasmin Day-Lewis


1 March, 2009

Sweet Pointed Red Peppers

Filed under: Family,Food,Life,Random,The Good Life,Thoughts,Vegetables — by Karen @ 11:22 am


 Sweet pointed peppers are a sweet variety of the common pepper. They are slightly smaller and due to a higher sugar content their taste is sweeter than that of normal peppers. They have a longish pointed shape and exist in three different colours, red, yellow, green. They can be eaten raw or cooked. They are suitable for stuffing with fillings such as cheese, meat or rice. They are also frequently used both chopped and raw in salads, or cooked in stir-fries or other mixed dishes. They can be sliced into strips and fried, roasted whole or in pieces, or chopped and incorporated into salsas or other sauces.

My favourite sweet pointed red pepper recipe is: Roasted Red Peppers

4 red sweet pointed peppers, cut in half and seeds removed
2 tablespoon olive oil
2 chopped onions
12 baby plum tomatoes
2 tablebspoon chopped mixed herbs
4 tablespoon tomato puree
1 chopped clove garlic
100g grated cheddar cheese

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/ gas 4.
2. Put the peppers on a baking tray and leave in the oven for about 7 minutes, until softened, but not coloured.
3. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan, tip in the onions and fry until softened.
4. Add the tomatoes, herbs and tomato puree to the pan and cook for a few minutes.
5. Fill the peppers with the tomato mix, top with the grated cheese and bake for 15 minutes until the cheese is golden-brown and bubbling. Serve.
Preparation: 10 minutes
Cooking: 25 minutes
Serves 4

 This is an adaptaion of a Gary Rhodes recipe.
Its a really tasty dish and so easy to make.

How hot are your chilli peppers?

Filed under: Food,Life,Random,The Good Life,Thoughts — by Karen @ 9:56 am
I found this great site this morning all about chillis –

In particular, it talks about the scoville scale – this measures the “hotness” of your chilli peppers. The scale is a measure of the concentration of capsaicin in the pepper.

What’s the hotest chilli you’ve eaten?

Check this site out.


20 December, 2008

Brussels Sprouts

Filed under: Family,Food,Life,Random,The Good Life,Thoughts,Uncategorized,Vegetables — by Karen @ 6:07 am


Brussels sprouts are among the same family that includes cabbage, collard greens, broccoli, kale, and kohlrabi. They contain good amounts of vitamin A, vitamin C, folic acid and dietary fibre.



My favourite sprouts recipe is: Sesame and Ham Brussels Sprouts

100g cooked ham
450g small Brussels sprouts
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 tablespoon sesame oil
knob of butter
freshly ground black pepper

1. Cut the slice of ham into 5mm dice and chill until needed. To prepare the sprouts, remove any damaged outside leaves, then halve each sprout.
2. Cook them in a large saucepan of rapidly boiling salted water for a few minutes until tender, but still with the slightest of bites. Drain in a colander.
3. While the sprouts are cooking, heat a non-stick frying pan and add the sesame seeds.
4. Cook on a medium heat for just a minute or two to roast the seeds to a golden brown. Remove the seeds from the pan.
5. Add the sesame oil to the plan, along with the knob of butter, and warm the ham in the bubbling butter and oil, then add the drained sprouts.
6. Increase the heat and fry for 1-2 minutes, then season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
7. To finish, add the roasted sesame seeds, and spoon the sprouts into a vegetable dish.

Preparation time less than 30 mins
Cooking time 10 to 30 mins
Serves 4

Recipe by: Gary Rhodes

16 November, 2008


Filed under: Family,Food,Life,Random,The Good Life,Thoughts,Vegetables — by Karen @ 10:08 am


Salsify, a root vegetable, looks like a long, thin parsnip with a creamy white flesh and a thick skin. It belongs to the dandelion family and has the most pretty flower. It is also known as the oyster vegetable because it has an oyster taste when cooked. Like most root vegetables, it can be boiled, mashed and used in soups and stews. If the skin is removed prior to boiling, the peeled root should be immediately immersed in water mixed with lemon juice to prevent discolouring.It contains potassium, calcium, phosphorous, iron, sodium, and vitamins A, B1, E and C. It also contains the glycoside inulin, which consists of fructose, and so it is particularly suitable for diabetics. It is available from October to January.

My favourite salsify recipe is: Spicy Roots.

3 parsnips , peeled and trimmed
3 carrots , peeled and trimmed
1-2 salsify (about 250g)
½ lemon
1 teaspoon mild curry powder
1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
25g butter
2 peeled garlic cloves
some fresh marjoram leaves or flat-leaf parsley

1. Cut the parsnips and carrots into lozenges of about the same size. Peel the salsify under cold running water and rub with the cut lemon at the same time. Cut off the woody core and slice into similar sized lozenges.
2. Sprinkle the parsnips with curry powder, and the carrots and salsify with 5-spice. Heat a large pan with the oil, then toss in the vegetables. After a minute, add the butter and garlic, season and continue to cook, stirring often, for up to 10 mins. If the vegetables start to colour too much, stir in 2-3 tbsp water to stop them burning. Toss through the marjoram leaves, allow to wilt then serve. Try serving this alongside lamb or robust game. 

Cooking time: 25 minutes
Serve: 4 – 6 people

Recipe by Gordon Ramsay

9 November, 2008


Neil’s Original Thought of the Day

Why is it that cheese has holes in it BEFORE you start eating it?

1 November, 2008


Filed under: Children,Family,Food,Life,Random,The Good Life,Thoughts,Vegetables — by Karen @ 6:38 am

Sorrel is part of lettuce family and looks like a pale green version of baby spinach. The pointed leaves have a tangy, lemony gooseberry flavour. The bite comes from the high content of oxalic acid, which means it should only be eaten in moderation. Sorrel appears soon after winter. It has one of the largest roots of all vegetables and lives a long time. The leaves can be used raw in salads. Bigger leaves can be puréed into soups, sauces and risotto. Khaki-coloured sorrel purée is a good acidic accompaniment to oily fish, chicken or veal, or poached eggs on toast. It can be stirred into crème fraîche to give quick sauce. The lemony taste means sorrel can also be added carefully to fruit salads, jellies, custard and fruit drinks, as lemon balm or verbena.

My favourite sorrel recipe: Sorrel Pesto. A great accompaniment for pasta, or simply served with grilled or roasted fish or chicken.


50g Sorrel
10g flat-leaf parsley
1 large clove garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon pine nuts
6 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
25g grated Parmesan


1. Blanch the sorrel and flat leaf parsley for 20 seconds in rapidly boiling water. Refresh in cold water, drain and squeeze out any excess.
2. Place in a blender with the garlic, pine nuts, olive oil and a pinch of salt. Blend until you have a smooth puree.
3. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the parmesan. Taste and add a little more salt if required.

Preparation time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 5 minutes

Serves 4

Recipe by John Burton Race.

25 October, 2008


Filed under: Family,Food,Life,Random,The Good Life,Thoughts,Vegetables — by Karen @ 7:48 am

Beetroot is a deep red root vegetable. It is usually either boiled and then eaten as a cooked vegetable or served cold in a salad. Beetroot has a higher sugar content than most vegetables. It is rich in vitamin C, fibre, potassium, magnesium, manganese, and folic acid. The leafy tops are an excellent source of beta-carotene, iron and calcium. 
My favourite beetroot recipe: Beetroot Soup


1 tbsp olive oil
4 spring onions, chopped
350g cooked beetroot, chopped
200ml chicken stock (vegetarians can substitute for chicken stock)
1 tablespoon horseradish cream
250g sour cream
squeeze of lemon
To garnish
2 tablespoon chives finely chopped


1. Heat a saucepan until just hot, then add the olive oil and spring onions and cook for two minutes.
2. Add the cooked beetroot, chicken stock and horseradish and bring to the boil.
3. Simmer for 2-3 minutes.
4. Place in a blender and process until smooth, squeeze in juice from lemon.
5. Return to the saucepan and stir in the sour cream.
6. Serve with a sprinkling of chives.

Preparation time: Less than 30 minutes

Cooking time: 10 to 30 minutes

Serves 2

Recipe by Anthony Worrall Thompson 

19 October, 2008


Filed under: Family,Food,Health,Life,Random,The Good Life,Vegetables — by Karen @ 11:01 am

Pumpkins are part of the cucurbitaceae family (as are cucumbers, courgettes and melons). The are ver versatile in cooking – most parts can be eaten from the fleshy shell, to the seeds, and even the flowers. When ripe, the pumpkin can be boiled, baked, steamed, or roasted. Pumpkins are a good source of beta-carotene, an antioxidant.Current research indicates that a diet rich in foods containing beta-carotene may reduce the risk of developing certain types of cancer and offers protect against heart disease, as well as some degenerative aspects of aging.
My favourite pumpkin recipe is: Roasted Pumpkin & Thyme Soup with Gruyere Cheese

3kg unpeeled pumpkin
2 tablespoons sunflower oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
75g butter
2 medium onions, chopped
8 small sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only, plus extra leaves to garnish
2.25litres vegetable stock
1 teasp salt
300ml single cream
175g Gruyere cheese, coarsely grated



1. Preheat the oven to 200C / Gas 6.
2. Cut the pumpkin into chunky wedges and scoop away all the fibres and seeds. Rub the wedges with oil, season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper, then place them into one large or two smaller roasting tins, skin-side down. Transfer to the oven to roast for 30 minutes, or until tender.
3. Remove the pumpkin from the oven and, when cool enough to handle, slice away and discard the skin and cut the flesh into small chunks.
4. Melt the butter in a large pan. Add the onion and half the thyme leaves and cook gently for about ten minutes until the onion is very soft but not browned. Add the roasted pumpkin, any juices from the plate, the stock and one teaspoon of salt. Cover and simmer gently for 20 minutes.
5. Leave the soup to cool slightly, then add the remaining thyme leaves and liquidise in batches until smooth. Return to a clean pan and bring back to a gentle simmer.
6. Stir in the cream and season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Ladle into warmed bowls and place a small handful of the grated Gruyère into the centre of each. Scatter a few more thyme leaves on top and serve.

Serves 8
Preparation time: less than 30 mins 
Cooking time: 30 mins to 1 hour 
Recipe by Rick Stein

12 October, 2008


Filed under: Food,Life,Random,The Good Life,Thoughts,Vegetables — by Karen @ 9:15 am

The eggplant, also known as the aubergine or the brinjal is originally from India. It is a fruit that is used as a vegetable in cooking.The raw fruit can have a somewhat bitter taste, but becomes tender when cooked and develops a rich, complex flavor. Salting and then rinsing the sliced eggplant (known as “degorging”) can soften and remove much of the bitterness. Some modern varieties do not need this treatment, as they are less bitter. The eggplant is capable of absorbing large amounts of cooking fats and sauces, allowing for very rich dishes, but the salting process will reduce the amount of oil absorbed. The fruit flesh is smooth; as in the related tomato, the numerous seeds are soft and edible along with the rest of the fruit. The thin skin is also edible, so that the eggplant need not be peeled. Eggplants are a good source of folate, potassium and fibre.


My fvourite eggplant recipe is: Moussaka 


150-175ml olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
900g lean minced lamb
50ml white wine (a generous splash)
1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
1 x 5cm piece cinnamon stick
a handful of fresh oregano leaves, preferably wild Greek oregano, chopped
3 large aubergines
salt and pepper
For the topping
75g butter
75g plain flour
600ml milk
50g Parmesan cheese, finely grated
2 medium eggs, beaten



1. For the lamb sauce, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a pan. Add the onions and garlic and fry until just beginning to brown. Add the minced lamb and fry over a high heat for 3-4 minutes. Add the wine, tomatoes, cinnamon and oregano and simmer gently for 30-40 minutes while you make everything else.
2. Slice the stalks off the aubergines and cut them lengthways into 5mm slices. Heat a frying pan until it is jumping hot, add 1 tablespoon of the oil and a layer of aubergine slices and fry quickly until tender and lightly coloured on each side. Lift out with tongs, layer over the base of a 2.5-2.75 litre pint shallow ovenproof dish and season lightly with a little salt and pepper. Repeat with the rest of oil and aubergines and seasoning each layer as you go.
3. For the topping, melt the butter in a non-stick pan, add the flour and cook over a medium heat for 1 minute to cook out the flour. Gradually beat in the milk, bring to the boil, stirring, and leave to simmer very gently for 10 minutes, giving it a stir every now and then. Stir in the cheese and some salt and pepper to taste. Cool slightly and then beat in the eggs.
4. Preheat the oven at 200C/400F/Gas 6. Remove the cinnamon stick from the lamb sauce, season to taste with some salt and pepper and spoon it over the top of the aubergines. Pour over the topping and bake for 25-30 minutes until golden and bubbling.

Preparation time less than 30 mins

Cooking time 1 to 2 hours

Serves 6

Recipe by Rick Stein


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