Where does the time go? I can hardly believe it is now over two years since we packed up our lives in UK and settled into life in Nicaragua. Settled though is probably the wrong word to use right now since we have spent the last three months here in the cold and altogether we have slept more nights here, in UK, than there, this last twelve months.
Our time on The Mountain of Flowers is, however, drawing to an end and tickets are booked for our return to sunnier climes once again. It is a strange thing having another life in what feels like another world and for the most part the only way I can cope with it is to not think about it. Every so often though, I just have to cook something that connects me to my other life and generally I turn to Gallo Pinto (Painted Cockerel).
In Nicaragua everybody eats frijoles at least once a day. They are red beans, smaller than red kidney beans, but larger than adzuki. Since it is unlikely you will find frijoles in the UK I would suggest you could use either of these other two beans. Cook several portions since it costs the same in gas to cook one cup full as it does to cook several; then freeze in bags ready for a future time to make a quick meal. Don’t drain off the cooking liquid, this too is needed, and for this reason tinned beans don’t work.
I have to say that before moving to Nicaragua the idea of eating fried banana with a savoury meal did not appeal to me, I have, however, come to appreciate it, so don’t be put off, it really is worth trying.
Next time: Green Pizza – Courgette and Pesto
Next time: Something Nicaraguan – Gallo Pinto and Fried Bananas
Good morning to all. I just wanted to quickly share an interesting link I received this morning to a film about the dangers of blood transfusions. All you have to do, if I have got this right is just click on the ‘The Film’ above and you will be taken to the site. Have a good look around the blog and watch the trailer , you will learn interesting things just from that.
I think this is one film we will be buying and watching several times.
Bye for now, enjoy your day.
P.s. many thanks to the friend who sent us the link (I hope you feel better soon) xxx
The first time I ever tasted fried halloumi was one of those lovely hot summers a few years ago when we spent every evening out on the patio enjoying the warmth, eating, drinking and reading until we couldn’t see any more as the light had faded too much.
Halloumi, if you have never had it before, is a delicious, firm, white, Cypriot cheese, traditionally made from goats or ewes milk and then eaten cooked – fried, barbecued, baked or grilled.
Fried Halloumi Salad
To make this dish:
1 block of Halloumi Cheese
2-3 tablespoons of plain four, seasoned with a little salt and pepper
2-3 tablespoons of olive oil
Cut the halloumi into 8 slices. Put the seasoned flour onto a plate and dip the slices of cheese into it, covering well and shaking off the excess.
Gently heat the oil in a frying pan, put the cheese in and cook over a moderate heat until the cheese is golden, but not for so long that it melts.
Pile two plates with your favourite salad greens and other salad ingredients, put the cheese on top and drizzle over a salad dressing. I used a simple vinaigrette with wholegrain mustard.
This meal makes a satisfying lunch or a nice light evening meal. It can be changed by altering the base salad and/or the salad dressing.
Another dressing which works really well has capers and garlic:
There is no doubt about it getting the day off to a good start really does make a difference. Somehow, though, it can be very easy to skip breakfast, for all kinds of reasons. That is why making it simple, effective and beneficial, really helps.
Although it might look like a lot of ingredients, don’t be put off, I have found with a little organisation i.e. making sure everything is easily to hand, this can be made and everything tidied away in under ten minutes.
Green Energy Drink Ingredients
I know that having something green for breakfast goes against the Traditional English Breakfast idea, even if this has been short-cut to cereal or toast with coffee. If, though, you want to feel energised and clear-headed through the morning you have to give your body the fuel it needs – not the kick and crash feeling you get from caffeine.
To understand a little more about the benefits of greens have a look at an earlier blog: Long Ears and Great Big Feet
Green Energy Drink
Next: Fried Halloumi Salad
Fried Halloumi Salad
Although not on the highly alkaline side of things this breakfast drink really hits the mark for taste, speed and energy for me. Having already made the Almond Milk this is really quick to whizz up to get you going in a morning.
Strawberry Power Shake Ingredients
Take 1/3 of the almond milk, about 1/2 pint and put into your blender with a large handful of strawberries, hulled and roughly sliced. Add a scoop of TNT and blend until smooth, adding more water if necessary.
Note: just click on the TNT link above to be taken directly to our website to buy. Here’s what the makers have to say about the product:
Are you getting enough? Fibre is an important part of a healthy diet, but it’s not always easy to obtain as much daily fibre as you need. Just one scoop of TNT a day helps to boost your daily vitamins, minerals, fibre and protein intake, in a delicious orange flavoured drink. This ‘family favourite’ supplement is available only from Nature’s Sunshine.
BENEFITS OF TNT
- 18 different sources of soluble and insoluble fibre
- 12 vitamins and 11 minerals essential for healthy growth and good health
- Contains Vitamin C to help protect against free radical damage, maintain the normal functioning of the immune system and nervous system, and normal collagen formation. Increases iron absorption and contributes towards a reduction in tiredness and fatigue
- Antioxidants – contains beta-carotene, lycopene and other carotenoids
- Has a great orange taste that the whole family can enjoy
- Contains no added sugar
Strawberry Power Shake
Tip: Once you have poured your drink into a glass put a drop of washing up liquid into the blender jug and 1/4 fill with warm water, blend to clean then rinse with water under the tap. It saves work and stops you putting yourself off making smoothies in the future.
Green Energy Drink
At the request of a special friend here is a recipe for Almond Milk. We had been talking about it the other day and she mentioned they were buying it in packs from the supermarket, but she was concerned about the sugar content.
I decided to do little looking around and see just what they put into a commercially produced almond milk.
Every 200ml, ( 1/3 of a pint) or glassful contains a teaspoon of sugar – but you can get the sugar free sort. If I am correct in saying that the ingredients are listed in order of quantity then there is apparently more sugar than almonds (2%) in the box, also a whole list of other ingredients too: Tri-calcium phosphate, Sea salt, Stabilisers (Locust Bean gum, Gellan gum), Emulsifier (Sunflower lecithin), Vitamins (Riboflavin (B2), B12, E, D2). Add to that the almonds are roasted before being ground, meaning that the health benefits of the raw nut and it’s enzymes are sacrificed.
So how easy is it to make it yourself? Very, all that is needed is a little preparation beforehand and a few simple kitchen utensils:
That’s it – so simple! Just remember to put the almonds to soak in the water (ideally alkaline) in the jug of your blender overnight and in the morning a quick whizz and strain and the most delicious creamy drink results. You can make it thicker or thinner by using either more or less water, adjust to your personal taste. This will make sufficient quantity for three portions, or three mornings worth of breakfasts, so you don’t even have to make it every day, just cover and store in the fridge.
Almond milk on it’s own tastes mouthwateringly good, but there are ways to use it too. In the next blog I will show you one of my breakfast drinks I enjoy several mornings a week.
Strawberry Power Shake
750g (1lb 11oz) small New Potatoes cut into half
1 Red Onion, cut into medium-thin wedges
1 knob of Butter or 1 tbsp Olive Oil
200g (7oz) Cherry Tomatoes
4 x 150g (5oz) Salmon Fillets
- Preheat oven to 220c (gas mark 7)
- Put potato halves and onion wedges into an oven proof dish or roasting tin.
- Add oil or butter (if using cold butter, put the dish into the oven with just the butter to melt it, then add the potatoes and onions, stirring to cover with the butter)
4. Roast for 30-40 minutes or until the potatoes are tender and just starting to brown
5. Remove the dish from the oven and stir in the cherry tomatoes
6. Lay the salmon fillets on top of the vegetables, season well
7. Return the dish to the oven for a further 12 minutes or until the fish is opaque and cooked through
8. Make the dressing:
Juice of 1 Lemon
1tsp Wholegrain Mustard
1 tbsp Runny Honey
50ml Olive Oil
Put all the ingredients into a jar and shake well or a jug an mix well with a tiny whisk.
When the Salmon is cooked, remove from the oven and pour the dressing over the top.
Serve with salad and/or green veg. e.g. Garlic Beans
Baked Salmon with Roasted Vegetables
Posted in Recipes
Tagged potato, salmon
Beans, fresh from the garden, are one of my favourite foods; I could quite happily survive for several days on a plates of garlic beans, heaped high and squeaky on the teeth.
Runner Beans – a reminder of summer days on the Mountain of Flowers
I am aware that gardens in UK right now do not have rows of beautiful runner beans, but like I pointed out in the last Blog in this country we are able to eat out of season, and sometimes we need the reminder of sunnier days to keep us going through the cold of winter. If beans are only available for you in the summer keep this recipe for future, it really is worth doing, and so simple:
- String and slice your beans.
- Melt a knob of butter in a nonstick saucepan.
- With the heat on a medium setting add freshly pressed or chopped garlic. Be as generous as you like with this. I will often use six or eight cloves, depending on their size.
- Cook the garlic gently, you don’t want it to brown.
- Tip in the prepared beans, about a tablespoon of water and a teaspoon of Marigold Bouillon Powder, stir and put on the lid.
- Turn the heat down so that the beans don’t catch but steam gently. They will also produce their own juice as they cook.
- Cook for just a few minutes, don’t overdo the beans as they are lovely with a slight bite to them.
Frozen beans really do not give the same result as fresh and are inclined to be soft and soggy rather than have a ‘bite’ to them.
The above idea also works really well with broad beans, both young and the older mealier ones.
Baked Salmon with Roasted Vegetables, served with Garlic Beans and salad
Next up – Baked Salmon with Roasted Vegetables.
See you soon xx
Posted in Recipes
Tagged Bean, Garlic
Ages ago (October last year to be exact) I promised to tell you how to make these delicious Courgette/Zucchini Fritters:
One of the indulgences of living where there is access to all types of food at any time of the year, (as we do when in the UK) is the vegetables that traditionally had their season now can be bought throughout the year. I am aware there are people that are against this – carbon footprint concerns and all that, but I personally feel that if the food is in the shop enjoy it, that’s got to be better than it going to waste. If the damp dreary weather of winter is getting you down, what better than eating something reminiscent of sunny summer days?
1 large (about 9”) Courgette/Zucchini, cut into half and each half then sliced into quarters
3/4 cup fresh fine Breadcrumbs
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan Cheese or other hard cheese you like
1/4 tsp Himalayan Salt
Courgette Fritters – Ingredients
- Melt the butter in a dish.
- Pat the courgette pieces dry on some kitchen roll if needed.
- Mix the breadcrumbs, cheese and salt together in a dish.
- Roll the pieces of courgette in the butter to cover and then press into the breadcrumb mix, covering each piece all over.
- Place the breaded courgette pieces in a non-stick pan and bake in a hot oven – 220c for about 15 minutes or until cooked through and the crumb mix has gone a nice golden colour.
- Serve immediately to enjoy the crispiness of the outside and the delicious softness of the inside.
Garlic Beans, Courgette Fritters and mixed salad
These fritters work really well with fish or chicken dishes along with a large mixed salad, with these I think you will find, like we did, that there is no need for potatoes or rice.
I hope you enjoy them. Next up Garlic Beans
Posted in Recipes