Sprucing up your sprouts is a great idea as those little balls of green are packed full with essential vitamins and minerals to protect our health in the winter, yet not to everyones liking.
We tried something on the solstice that had people going back for more. Give it a try and let us know how you like the suggestions:
There is something about raosting sprouts that seems to chainge their flavour. This recipe involves Steaming the sprouts until they are almost ready to eat and them popping them in the over on a medium heat with a little olive oil and some finely chopped onions until they are beginning to brown and the onions are clear.
Remove them from the oven and place in a saucepan with double cream to taste. Season with salt, black pepper and a little nutmeg.
Roast Sprouts and mushrooms
Roast the half cooked sprouts with finely chopped onion, chopped mushroom and crushed garlic. Cook until the sprouts are beginning to brown. Season with salt and black peppet.
Home made Hummus has no comparison with the commercial stuff. it's like trying to compare real coffee with the powdered instant sort.
And it is so easy to make that I don't know why they ever sell any in the supermarkets
The short cut version:
Take a tin of chick peas and drain the liquid but retain
Put chick peas in a mixing bowl. add one table spoon of tahini, a good squeeze of lemon and some zest. a clove of garlic a little olive oil
Blend everything together, if it is dry then add some of the drained liquid or more oil . Season There you have it done.
To make it even more special add to the ingredients a small handful of fresh herbs.
If you want to be extra authentic you can use dried chick peas, soak overnight and boil then simmer until tender DON'T THROW THE WATER AWAY
If you want to make your own tahini it is just sesame seeds roasted and ground with pestal and motar into olive oil with a little seasoning
You can add chilli instead of herbs
Balsamic vinegar instead of some of the liquid and a thousand other things - just experiment and use your imagination.
The flavour of commercial stock tends to influence the flavour of the dish you are making whereas the pure water from veg or chick peas just provides a backdrop for your dish =- this is especially relevant with soups.
It's not often you can get it. Certainly it is something that you can't get in tin. The taste is like a velvety.wholesome tantalising and delicious sensation. To top it all you could well be taking a dose of nutritional supplements with every spoonful.
What is this soup of Specialness. Why it's nettle soup of course!
Once you have a taste for it you are more than prepared to dedicate all the time and effort and face the very possible odd sting here and there to get at it. It has a short season and we're in it right now. When you pick a lot of it you begin to notice the slight difference in taste depending on where you picked it.
So if you would like to become an afficionado of nettle soup then here's how to go about it.
First identify which weed is a nettle. Check it out online.
Look for nettles that are in places that would be difficult for dogs and other animals to access for their (not to put too fine a point on it) toileting.
Pick the top of the stem so you are getting fresh young leaves - they taste better.
To pick you will need to wear rubber style gardening gloves. Sometimes I have used scissors and cut the stem then very carefully trapped it in the scissors and dropped into a carrier bag. You will most likely get stung somewhere on your forage but it will wear off eventually. I've not tried grabbing a handful which is said to not sting.
Getting them ready for soup:
Empty the contents into a washing up bowl filled with cold water and swish them about to clean off any unwanted bits. Take a colander full and rinse thoroughly under the tap, continue until all is rinsed.
You need a pan ful of nettle as it soon diminishes.
Now to the cooking stage
Soft fry one medium onion in a large saucepan.
Add one peeled potato and water or any stock you have from vegetables you have cooked (don't use concentrated stock as it alters the taste)
Add the nettles by cutting the leaves off the stalk and popping in the pan - Dont touch them use scissors.
You will see that they will almost immediately wither. Add one leaf of spring green cabbage and a crushed clove of garlic.
Add a handful of fresh herbs such as sage, parsley, rosemary, oregano etc do not use a lot of one herb. This will act as the background stock taste.
Cook until the potato is soft then liquidise. Add seasoning to taste
The potato is there to thicken the soup as it would be very watery otherwise.
Eat and enjoy. Become addicted.
Read this blog about the benefits of nettle and feel a little smug
No doubt you have seen some of the mind manipulation techniques on TV programmes where the 'stooge' is answering questions along with about a dozen other people. After building up some rapport as everyone answers the questions correctly for one question the rest of the people answer it slighly wrong but all the same give the same wrong answer and the stooge who happens to come last invariably goes along with the consensus - to fit in with everyone else or for fear of being wrong.
You would think that a confident person who was sure of themselves would be brave enough to stick with what they believed and chance being wrong.
However, as far as i am aware, no-one ever does.
You know that in certain cultures animals are religiously worshipped and protected. You know that it is a habit worldwide of making symbols to represent what is important to us, some have deep meaning others are religiously significant. But those symbols are like a logo for a belief or commitment. If you see a cross it's Christian (don't shoot me if it also represents something else) everyone knows the green leaf of vegetarianism etc
The V people - non meat eaters
I am one of them but I am confused. When you take a piece of processed soya or pea protein or whatever and mould it into the shape of something that you have made a conscious decision to give up eating, what are you doing?.
I don't think the nutritional value of the product is enhanced by its shape (but I could be wrong)
I know that hours of research and manipulation try to produce a taste as close as possible to the shape thus furthering the impression of eating the real thing - the idol.
The only explanation I can think is to conform to the rejected norm.
I am jusr very confused about why it is so important for people who don't eat meat to buy into pretending that they are eating meat.. .
I don't think it is worshipping an idol as generally you don't go ahead and eat them
It's like there is something missing if we don't have the compensation of pretend meat. That doesn't make sense.
If you don't smoke you don't go around pretending to smoke unless you have a problem with it. Is there something I have missed are some people addicted to meat and find trouble giving it up. As is becoming more and more accepted these days - even by the pharmaceutical and mediacal giants, addiction is mainly a psychological state then what are they addicted to.
Why do we have to have meat free sausages, bacon, fillets, burgers, mince, fish fingers and more. Why can't we have the 'bacon' tasty s it is for some people in rounds and by a different name. Why can't we revolutionise our eating patterns instead of playing copy cat.
What IS going on?
Logically if you decide not to eat animals for hraalth reasons then I can see nothing strange about eating 'healthier pretend' anmials.
However if you are eating vegetation to avoid harming animals and to protest about the way animals are farmed then to me it's not making sense.
Surely you need to move away from the animal culture os eating. Someone facebooked a cake made very realistically in the shaped of lifesized baby to be cut up and eaten at a baby shower and the comments were negative - it looks barbaric.
Why then are we not concerned about giving out the same message with animals. Is it because it's only a selected bit of the animal you are pretending to eat
I know some people like the taste of meat but honestly the shape doesn;t make the taste and frankly though its 36 years since I tasted meat can't see it being that authentic.
It is more likely that as more people are becoming v's then food manufacturing companies are seeing their profits disappear and are desperately looking for ways to provide for the relatively new market - and we're , like sheep, all buying into it.
It is not only the money but the acceptance that we will eat pretend meat keeping meat on the plate for the meat marketing board too.
Lets work towards getting meat off the plate and rejecting the need to eat animals even if it is only pretending.
It's a little like stopping giving children guns to play cowboys and indians. They are not real guns but are creating an acceptance of the fight.
(Ohh if quorn or Linda MacCartney get's hold of this they're going to close us down lol)
Time to rethink methinks
There are some really tasty meals that you can make very quickly without pretending to eat a piece of animal. Keep reading for some ideas over the next few weeks.
Andrea Lowe Zen lounge
Mind & Body Therapies Ltd. Registered address: 52 Bolton Street, Bury BL9 0LL Tel: 0161 764 1440 Company registration no 7736136