Tea is a natural and additive-free beverage.

Served hot or cold made by steeping processed leaves buds or twigs of the tea bush in hot water for a few minutes.

Cherries are glossy deep-red stone fruit, related to the plum, peach and apricot.

Cherries are used to decorate desserts, in fruit salads or as a garnish to cocktails.

Starwberry is unique in that the seeds grow around the outside of the fruit rather than inside it

The name of this fruit comes from the fact that they were orignally grown on straw.

Eat brighter, live lighter

Eat 5 serves of vegetables everyday.

9/06/2018

Borage

An annual herb with a light cucumber flavor.  It thrives in all temperate and warm climates.  The fresh young leaves are used to flavor and garnish iced beverages, vegetables and fish salads.  

Both dried and fresh leaves are used to flavor soups and stews.  The star-shaped blue flowers can be crystallised and used for cake decorations.  

9/01/2018

Peas


Small, round juicy seeds encased in a green pod. The three main varieties are the garden peas, the field or grey pea (these are dried and not eaten fresh) and the wild Mediterranean pea. Peas should be cooked quickly in boiling water or a little butter.  They are usually served hot as a vegetable or added to soups and risottos.    

Peas go with baby onions, bacon, duck, ham, mashed potato, risotto.

Varieties:

Mangetouts: These are eaten whole and have a delicate flavor, providing they are not overcooked.  Unfortunately they are easy to overcook ad the texture then becomes rather slippery.  Alternatively blanch or stir-fry them.  They are also good served raw in salads.

Petits Pois: These are not,  as you might expect, immature peas but are arre a dwarf variety.  Gardeners grow their own, but they are not available fresh in the shops as hey are mainly grown commercially for canning or freezing.

Snow peas, sugar peas, sugar snaps:
These have the distinct fresh flavor of raw peas and are more plump and have more snap than mangetouts. 

Buying:
Look for bright, shiny, green pods that feel firm and crisp. Peas can also be purchased frozen, tinned, bottled and dried.  In some cases frozen peas are actually fresher than freshly podded peas because fresh peas deteriorate so quickly.  The frozen pea manufacturers pick and pack the peas at their prime freshness. 

Preparing:
Shelling peas can be very relaxing. Press open the pods and use your thumb to push out the peas.  Mangetouts and sugar peas needed to be topped and tailed. 


Grater

A kitchen tool with a rough surface used for rubbing food down to small particles.  

These vary in shape but the important part is the cutting edge which should be very sharp.  A box grater does not slip easily and is good for grating large quantities.  The Microplane grater has very sharp blades and works well for smaller quantities as it can be held over a bowl or a dish of food.


8/31/2018

Smoothie


A thick drink made by blending fresh fruit or fruit juices such as bananas, berries or orange juice with milk, ice cream or yoghurt.  Smoothies are often made using low-fat dairy products such as low-fat frozen yoghurt, or soya or skim milk.  

They are touted as being a nutritious breakfast substitute or sport's drink and some maybe supplemented with honey, wheat gem or bran. 


Banana smoothie
1 chopped banana
2 tablespoons natural yoghurt
250 ml milk 
Honey(optional)
Nutmeg or Cinammon

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend for 1-2 minutes until smooth.  Sweeten with honey, if desired, then pour in tall glass. Sprinkle with nutmeg or cinnamon.   


8/30/2018

Capsicum


Also known as 'bell pepper' or 'sweet pepper'. These colorful crunchy vegetables are native to tropical America and became known in Europe and Asia only after the voyages of Columbus and other early explorers. 


Capsicums are used in salads, dishes sauces and can be stuffed, available all year round. 

They can be green, red, orange, yellow, brown or purplish-black in several different shapes: squat and bell-like, rectangular or tapering.  The riper the fruit, especially the red varieties, the higher the content of vitamin C, other vitamins and minerals.  


Capsicums are used raw in salads; also stir-fried, sauteed, baked, grilled or stuffed.  Finely chopped they are used in salsas and sauces. 

8/27/2018

Sesame seeds

A tropical or subtropical plant that produces seed pods that, when dried burst open and then are shaken to encourage the release of hundreds of tiny seeds.  Sesame seeds are usually cream in color but may also be yellow or reddish or black, depending on the variety.  The seeds can be used raw but when toasted, take on a nutty, slightly sweet flavor.  

Sesame seeds are used in cooking, throughout the world on bread and as garnishes for salads.  In the Middle East they are used in halvah, are crushed to make tahini or ground with chickpeas to produce hummus.  In Japan sesame seeds form the basis of seasoning such as gomasio.

Because of their high oil content, the seeds become stale quickly. Purchase in small amounts or store in the fridge for up to 3 months.  Sesame seeds may also be frozen.  


Sesame Oil
Made from crushed seeds and ranges from amber-yellow to darker brown. It has a very strong flavor and aroma.  

The lighter colored oil is used as a salad dressing and for frying in the Middle East, the darker colored oil made from toasted sesame seeds, is stronger in flavor and is ideal to use in small amounts as a flavoring, condiment and seasoning to Asian foods. Sesame oil can be used for frying as it has a high smoking point however the roasted oil burns very quickly.   

8/26/2018

Rocket


A slightly bitter salad leaf with a nutty, peppery flavor.  Younger leaves are milder than the mature, which can get quite hot.  Rocket is use predominantly as a salad ingredient and is one of the traditional ingredients of Provencal mesclun salad; it can be used as a pizza topping, added to soups and purees or served wilted as a vegetable.

Rocket is sold in small bunches and is best used on the day of purchase as it wilts quickly but will keep in the fridge wrapped in plastic up to two days.

Also known as Arugula.

Recipe: 
Rocket and Parmesan salad
  • Put 2 of washed and dried rocket in a serving dish.
  • Mix 4 tablespoon olive oil with 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar.
  • Pour dressing over the rocket and mix well.
  • Use a vegetable peeler to shave off pieces from a block of Parmesan.  
  • Scatter over the rocket, sprinkle with a little coarse salt and pepper.
  • Serve 4.   

8/25/2018

Doughnuts


Doughnuts are small rings of lightly sweetened deep-fried yeast dough.  They maybe sprinkled with icing sugar or sugar or finished with a strawberry chocolate or butterscotch icing.  Some doughnuts are made in twisted, oblong or round shapes, usually served coated in cinnamon and sugar, iced or filled with custard, fruit, cream or jam.  


The North American doughnut with a hole in the centre was the original form and was made by wrapping dough around the stick, which was then immersed in hot oil.  

The first doughnut cutter was patented in the 1870s by John Blondel. 



8/24/2018

Bean curd

A white cheese-like curd made from soya beans, bean curd was invented by the Chinese about 2,000 years ago.  The Chinese call it doufu meaning "rotten beans" and the Japanese name is tofu.  

To make it, soya beans are liquified to form soya milk.  A coagulating agent is added, causing the whey (the  liquid remaining after milk has been curdled and strained) and protein to separate.  The whey is drained off and the curd is pressed into blocks.


Bean curd is bland in taste but its soft, silken texture absorbs the flavor of the ingredients it is cooked with.  It is an excellent source of protein, is low in fat, high in vitamins B and E and useful in meatless diet.  Bean curd is usually sold in blocks, either fresh, vacuum-packed or in small tubs or cartoons of water.

Storage:  Store fresh bean curd covered in water in the fridge for up to 5 days and change the water daily.

Preparation: Dry bean curd before use by sitting on paper towels.   Don't squeeze the water outs as it will make it chewy. 

Types of Bean Curd:

  • Soft (silken)- Soft bean curd needs to be handled carefully.  It can be added to soups (at the end of cooking or gently steamed and piled on top of noodles.  
  • Firm and silken firm - This is more robust and can be stir-fried or deep-fried without it breaking up, added to miso soup or eaten as a side dish.  Dust cubes of bean curd in rice flour before frying to give them a crisp coating.  
  • Sheets (yuba, skins, wrappers) Sheets can be bought, dried, frozen or vacuum-packed. If dried, they need to be soften before use with a little water.  Fill them with rice, use to wrap food parcels, or cut into strips and use as a garnish.   They can be fried, braised or steamed.
  • Deep-fried (puffs) Sold as large cubes, usually in plastic bags and used in stir-fried and soups.  If using in soup, such as laksa, prick the skin a few times to help them absorb the flavours.  Adds at the last minute or they will soak up all the soup.