• Steamer using pot and strainer
    Frugal tips,  Tips

    If you don’t have a steamer, make one – it’s easy!

    Steaming is the most healthy way of cooking most vegetables and it preserves not only the nutrients but the color. Having a steamer on hand is a great idea. There are many steamers out there, one of the most well known is the bamboo variety used in Chinese cooking. But if you don’t have access to one and/or are limited in space for too many specialist extras you can easily engineer your own. By using a standard pot with lid and a strainer that has pot hooks all you need to do is put enough water into the pan to almost come up to the bottom of the strainer, put…

  • Pea and Ham Soup
    Recipes,  Uncategorized

    Pea and Ham Soup – Wonderfully Healthy and Fulfilling

    This healthy and hearty Pea and Ham soup really hits the spot! I usually have ham available because I love it so, and it can be frozen if you have too much at once (it changes the look and texture somewhat but doesn’t affect the flavor). Dried split peas are as ‘cheap as chips’ and can usually be found in bulk. Kept cool and dry they will be good a very long time. And unlike most dried legumes they don’t need pre-soaking. Makes 3-4 servings 2 cups dried green split peas 1 medium yellow onion, diced 1/2 tsp all purpose seasoning 1 small stalk of celery, chopped 1 medium carrot,…

  • Risotto
    Recipes,  Side dishes

    Risotto – a delicious rice dish and perfect as a side or a main

    Risotto – delicious rice dish with abundant options for flavor and ad-ins I have heard some people intimidated  by the idea of making Risotto. It’s quite simple and a nice alternative to plain rice or other sides. You can flavor it in many ways. The most popular (and what I featured in this post) is mushroom. I served it with a grilled pork chop and grilled courgette (zucchini). Risotto isn’t a recipe as much as it is a method. Once you follow the method it all falls into place very easily. Most importantly, you must use Arborio rice. Nothing else will do – it’s the nature of the short grain/high starch…

  • Hummus
    Side dishes,  Tips

    Homemade Hummus – delightful & with countless options

    Making your own Hummus is quite easy and there are countless ways you can flavor it. All you need is some Tahini,  Chickpeas (which have many nutritional benefits), neutral flavor oil (such as canola), lemon juice and seasonings. A food processor will also be required. The trick to making good hummus is the order you add the ingredients. Drain a 425 g (15 oz) can of chickpeas and rinse well. Add 1/4 cup tahini and 1/4 cup lemon juice along with salt and pepper to taste into your food processor (I recommend 1/2 to 1 tsp of all purpose seasoning). Puree for a minute. Then add your main flavorings (see ideas…

  • Tahini cooking the Sesame Seeds
    Side dishes,  Tips

    Homemade Tahini – easy, healthy and practical

    You can buy Tahini but doing it yourself is quite simple and more cost effective. Tahini is a necessary part of Hummus but can also be used to mix into salad, drizzled over vegetables (I find a mixture of olive oil and tahini poured over cauliflower especially nice) so it has multiple uses. Make as much as you want but remember it’s only good for a week or so in the fridge. For Tahini all you need is raw sesame seeds and some mild flavor oil (such as canola oil).   Brown the sesame seeds lightly in a pan over medium heat. Stir frequently. When they just begin to smoke…

  • Meatloaf
    Recipes

    Myrna’s Meatloaf – #1 in my book

    My Filipina wife taught her American husband how to make a better meatloaf loaded with flavor. We both find it humorous that the Asian taught the American how to make a better meatloaf and the American taught the Asian how to do a better stir fry! She added vegetables to the meatloaf to enhance the texture and flavor and even though now I’m cooking it I follow her example. 500g (1 pound) minced beef 500g (1 pound) minced pork (chicken can be used as a substitute if desired) 2 beaten eggs 1/2 cup finely diced carrot (I do the vegetables in a food processor to get them very fine and…

  • Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes
    Side dishes

    Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes – mashed potatoes plus

    I’m sure once you try this roasted garlic mashed potato recipe you won’t be satisfied with plain mashed potatoes again. There’s no fixed recipe for mashed potatoes, it’s simply a method best described. My normal quantities for 2-4 people is as follows: 4-5 medium sized potatoes cut into quarters (or whatever is necessary to get approximately the same size pieces so they cook evenly) Cook the potatoes in salted water until quite tender (you can do this ahead of time if desired and leave the potatoes in the water removed from heat until you are ready to serve. Nobody likes cold mashed potatoes. Drain all the water from the pan and…

  • Roasted Garlic ready to use
    Tips

    Roasted Garlic – soft and sweet Garlic flavor

    Roasted Garlic results in a soft, sweet and gentle Garlic flavor. Spread the roasted garlic on bread/toast or add to a variety of dishes for a delightful garlic touch without the normal intensity. Roasting garlic is a simple process and the results are amazing. The garlic becomes soft and sweet and quite mild while still retaining the garlic flavor. It takes just a bit of time in the oven and while it may seem using the oven for such a small item I usually do it while cooking something else (roasting a chicken, cooking a meatloaf, etc.) so the oven heat isn’t wasted. The individual cloves can be roasted in…

  • Tips - support plants with caps
    Tips

    Tips – Keeping Plants from sitting in water in their Saucer

    Tips – when watering plants usually some water drains into the saucer and therefore the plant sits in it. This can sometimes be fatal. I have a lot of house plants and I work hard to take care of them properly. Of course they all need watering to varying degrees and it’s inevitable that some drains out and into the saucer I use to protect my furniture. And I have enough to take care of that taking them all outside to water them and then bring them back in is simply too much work. I tried using some river stones but it seems the plants always slide around a bit…

  • Tips - using a Bouquet Garni
    Tips

    Tips – Bouquet Garni – tidy way to add herbs

    Tips – using a Bouquet Garni when cooking to make working with fresh herbs easier. I love cooking with fresh herbs and I recommend everyone have their own herb garden which I mentioned in another post. However when using fresh herbs it can be something of a burden removing leaves from stems and other preparations. And throwing stems and all into your dish leaves you fishing out your stems and bits later (and it seems I always miss one and serve someone a nice thyme stem). The answer is a Bouquet Garni. Simply take your herbs and tie them together with some cook-safe string or twine and add them to your…

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