Category Archives: Miscellaneous

Grey hair and wrinkles

Well, as you know I accept and embrace my greying hair & wrinkles, they are part of the person I am.

I must tell you a funny story.

Several months ago, before the weather turned cold, I was out for a walk. Casually dressed in my skinny jeans and boots, with a fitted little jacket over the top, the sunshine warmed my soul and I skipped along to the sound of salsa music drifting from an open window. I became aware of a manly footfall behind me. It seemed to move in step with me for several minutes.

Eventually the man, about fifty, moved to pass me by, as he did so he glanced in my direction, and the look of surprised shock was evident. What he saw from the front did not seem to fit with his image of me from the back! I winked, and grinned, to let him know I knew what he was thinking! 😉  He smiled and walked on.

Yes, my face is stamped with laughter lines and the hair that frames my face has assumed the glow of natural hi-lights.

Hell, grey hair is better than no hair at all, and it keeps my head warm. To see the real me, you need to look into my eyes, we are after all told that: ‘The eyes are the window to the soul’ and souls are ageless.

Food Monday ~ Roasted tomato, apple and onion chutney

Chutney needs time and patience and is not for the five minute cook. Stick with it and the rewards can last for weeks or months. Chutney works well with cheese, salads, and cold meats, or as I do: I use it to line my bread in a sandwich.

We made this chutney in three stages, so I have broken up the ingredients & method for each part.

Roasted tomato, apple and onion chutney

Stage 1

1 kg tomatoes.
4-5 cloves of garlic * (optional)
Fresh thyme
sea salt and fresh ground black pepper

Cut the tomatoes in half end-to-end, and place cut side up on a baking tray. Slice 4-5 cloves of garlic, if using, and sprinkle over the tomatoes. Strip several sprigs of fresh thyme, and sprinkle the leaves over the tomatoes. Season with sea salt and fresh ground black pepper and drizzle extra-virgin olive oil over all of the tomatoes.
Place in the oven at 200°F for about 50-60 minutes.

Stage 2

3 large onions, chopped
225g Sultanas
30mls dark brown sugar
30mls balsamic vinegar
extra-virgin olive oil

Heat 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil in a frying pan over a low heat and gently soften the onions for 10 minutes. Raise the heat to medium and add in the balsamic vinegar and brown sugar, stir well and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, add the sultanas and cook for five more minutes.

Stage 3

1 kg Bramley cooking (tart) apples, peeled, cored and chopped to large dice
450 ml water.
150g caster sugar

Place apples and water in a large saucepan. Bring to the boil, reduce heat, and cook 25 minutes, or until apples are tender, stirring occasionally. Add more water as necessary to keep the apples simmering. Reduce heat, add the sugar and dissolve over low heat.

Stage 4

Add the roasted tomatoes, & onion and all their juices plus all the remaining ingredients.

10mls dessertspoons salt
550ml white wine vinegar
5ml mixed spice
5ml Peppercorns
Inch of root ginger, grated **
Good dash of white wine (optional)

Stir well. Bring the mixture to the boil. Reduce heat to a strong simmer for about 3 hours, stirring occasionally, until reduced to a thick chutney. Seal chutney in sterile containers until serving.

* My sister is not a fan of garlic, so we omitted it.
**We had no root ginger, so we added ½ a teaspoon dry ginger &1 tablespoon stem Ginger syrup.

I will make it again, changing the spices with my mood on the day.

Food Monday ~ Beetroot Pickle

Beetroot Pickle

500g cooked beetroot, grated* into a large Pyrex bowl
400ml hot water
200ml white vinegar
200g granulated sugar
pinch salt

Add vinegar, sugar & salt into hot water and bring just to the boil. (do not allow to boil until sugar is fully dissolved).

Once it has reached the boil, pour over beetroot, cover the bowl with a clean tea towel and allow to cool. Strain and store in sterilised jars in fridge for up to 2 weeks.

* I use the food processor to grate my beetroot, it has it done in seconds.

Food Monday ~ Slow Peppers

Slow Peppers

3 bell peppers – 1 each, red, yellow & green, washed, de-seeded & finely sliced.
15 ml olive oil
15 ml honey
15 ml Vermouth
dash Worcestershire sauce
5 ml coriander
5 ml cumin
5 ml smoked paprika
1 star anise
Pepper & salt

Mix liquids & spices an pour into slow cooker. Add chopped peppers & toss to coat in liquid, cook on high for two hours, turn to low and go off and forget all about them for several hours.

When the aroma tantalises not alone you, but the dog and all the neighbours along the street, the peppers are ready.

Put warm peppers into a hot sterilised screw-top jar and seal immediately. Allow to cool before storing in the fridge.

Yield: 454g jar.

Food Monday ~ Red-Onion Relish

Red-Onion Relish

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound of red onions, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
dash of sherry, port or red wine

Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat for 1 minute, then add olive oil.  When oil is hot add sliced onion.  Stir the onion to coat in the oil and reduce the heat slightly.  Place a layer of greaseproof on top of the onion (this prevents the moisture evaporating and reduces the cooking time) and cook 15 minutes or until very soft, stirring occasionally. Stir in sugar, cider vinegar, alcohol and salt. Reduce heat to low and simmer 5 minutes longer. Transfer onion relish to medium bowl; cover and keep warm.
This makes enough for four.

* I like to double the quantity and save any unused relish in a sterilised screw-top jar, for adding to sandwiches, or serving with cheese when I have guests.

Food Monday ~ Orange Sorbet

Orange Sorbet
Serves 4

6 Oranges
1 Lemon
4ozs Icing Sugar

Squeeze the oranges and lemon to make just over 1 pint of juice.  Stir in the icing sugar and whisk until it dissolves.  Transfer to an ice-cream maker and freeze, or pour into a freezer tray.  Freeze to a slush, then transfer to a bowl and whisk well, or whiz in a food processor so that the sorbet becomes very light and fine grained.  Return to the tray and freeze until firm.  Transfer the sorbet to the fridge about 30 minutes or so before eating, to let it soften.

Food Monday ~ Tomato and Chilli Sauce

Last week following my post Sauce for your Chipswisewebwoman asked if I had a recipe for a similar sauce with Chilli like her mother used to make.  It has taken me almost a week to locate this one and I hope it comes close to the mark.

Tomato and Chilli Sauce

3 lbs firm and ripe tomatoes,
1 small onion, cut into chunks,
1 large or two small tart apples, cut into chunks,
12 ozs brown sugar,
½ bird’s eye chilli, minced,
¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper,
¼ teaspoon ground paprika,
¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black peppercorns,
12 fl ozs malt vinegar,
salt to taste,
1 teaspoonful corn flour dissolved in
½ teaspoonful water
Reduce any spices you think will make the sauce too hot for you.

Put the halved or quartered tomatoes, onion and apple chunks in the food processor. Process until smooth. Pour into a large saucepan on a medium heat. Put in the rest ingredients
Stir to dissolve the sugar. Let the mixture bubble and keep stirring to avoid the fruit mixture sticking on the bottom of the pan. When the mixture is reduced and the colour is darker, have a taste. You can add more spices, salt or sugar, to give the correct balance, according to your preference.

Line a large bowl or jug with a muslin cloth.  Remove the saucepan from the heat, then, pour the hot sauce through the muslin.  Press to get more moisture from the sauce and scrape any residue on the outside of the muslin into the bowl.  Discard the leftover tomato mixture in the muslin and return the sauce to the saucepan and put it back on the heat.
Simmer on a low heat until bubbling again. Add the cornflour dissolved in the water, and cook for another 10 minutes to thicken. Pour immediately into the prepared sterilised jars or bottles leaving ¼ inch headroom.
When cold, cork tightly and store.  Mark with name and date.

Food Monday ~ Sauce for your Chips

Do you shake a blob of tomato sauce on you chips, or eggs & bacon?  I know people who cannot live without a bottle of Tomato sauce in the fridge.  Have you ever thought of making it?

On my journey down memory lane with this old cookery book, I found a recipe for tomato sauce.  I will reproduce it here.

Tomato Store Sauce

3 lbs red tomatoes
1 small onion
1 clove or more
10 peppercorns
1 bay leaf
1 blade of mace
1 dessertspoon salt
½ pint vinegar
3 ozs sugar

Cut the tomatoes in halves and chop the onions.  Place all the ingredients, except the sugar and the cayenne, in a pan and simmer for 1 hour.  Pass through a sieve, return to the saucepan and boil hard for a few minutes to reduce to a thin cream.  Add the sugar and cayenne.  Pour the sauce into bottles.  When cold, cork tightly and store.



Now I challenge Not Junk Food to update it! 😉

Food Monday ~ Breakfast Surprise

Breakfast Surprise

I am not a great lover of Christmas, but one of the memories that will remain in my heart was the breakfast cooked by my son-in-law for all of us on Boxing St Stephen’s Day (well… I was in the south of Ireland remember!).

A bitterly cold morning was soon forgotten as we tucked into his very own, made from the ground up Yee- Haw Yankee Breakfast Pancakes.  With yummy Blueberries.

I recognise that plate and I want more pancakes!

The only sounds were “Pass the Maple Syrup please” and “Any more ready yet, Uncle George?”  From seven to Seventy there were happy faces all around the table.

So today I am feeling lazy and instead of typing out the recipe I suggest you click on the link and join in George’s new adventure at Not Junk Food .  There will be plenty more to come.  I know.  I have been a guinea pig in the past few months. 🙄

Huh!  They were blaming me because they lost weight. Seriously though, they have both lost weight, look and feel better and are eating far more healthily.

Food Monday ~ Budget Meals for Students

I came across these low cost recipe suggestions that I sent to Elly when she was away at University.  I know several folk at college who might find them handy to ring the changes.  If there is an ingredient you do not like then change for something you do like.  Students seldom bother with kitchen scales so I have not given amounts.  Experiment.  That is how all the best dishes started.

Pulse Dishes

Tuna & Bean Salad: drain a can of cannelloni beans and toss with flaked tuna, sliced onions, French dressing and parsley.

Black-Eye Bean Lasagna: Mix two cans of drained black-eye beans, a jar of tomato pasta sauce, then layer with sheets of no-cook lasagna. Top with cheese sauce and grated cheese. Bake until golden.

Potato Dishes

Baked Potatoes: Bake the potatoes in oven or microwave. Cut along the cooked potato and fill with Grated cheese, baked beans or tuna fish sweet corn & mayonnaise.

Tuna Fish cakes: Mix mashed potatoes with canned tuna fish, beaten egg and seasoning to taste. Press into cake sized patties and shallow fry until golden.

Potato Cheesies: substitute grated cheese and a little pickle for the tuna, and prepare as above.

Rice Dishes

Mushroom Risotto: Sauté sliced mushrooms and onion in butter, add risotto rice, then chicken stock in stages. When the rice is tender and the liquid absorbed, stir in grated cheese.

Pilau: Fry one onion and add pre-cooked rice, with left over cooked meat, vegetables and curry paste; heat stirring through.

Kedgeree: Boil Rice with curry powder and stock, drain. Stir in cooked flaked smoked cod and chopped hard-boiled eggs. Keep stirring until hot.

Chinese fried Rice: sauté sliced carrot, mushrooms, bean sprouts & peppers. Add five spice powder, soy sauce and drained cooked rice and stir-fry.