Do you think that healthy food is boring? Not very interesting? Or even bland?
That's what I thought and certainly back in the 80s when I was growing up, healthy food either wasn't available or when it was, it tasted like dry cardboard.
A lot of things have changed since then, so when I recently had the opportunity to work on a Healthy Business Retreat with my friend Claire, I was very happy to be introduced to a whole range of tasty treats. And I'm glad to say that healthy food can indeed be very tasty!
If you know me, you know I like a bit of a cake. Home baked cake is miles better than any shop bought one, but it's still a cake! (Translation: sugar, flour and all things not particularly healthy...)
So, if you are looking for some good cake with a bit of a healthy undertone, I can offer Banana and Butterscotch Loaf. I made it this afternoon and my husband was perfectly content with having it after dinner for pudding. So, you see, it is a very versatile cake...
The loaf is also perfect for an afternoon snack and will still be a better option than a Twix for your packed lunch. The loaf has a really nice texture, does not crumble too much and it is not too sweet to taste. And if you are still feeling guilty after Easter you can even omit the chocolate, but you will be missing out!
How are cocoa beans harvested? It’s a question we’re often asked, here at Cocoa & Heart by our curious and interested students who naturally want to know more about the origins of the chocolate they’re working with.
Harvesting cocoa beans is a time consuming and largely highly intensive manual labour activity where a large machete like knife plays a starring role. So, let’s cut to the chase.
The pods containing cocoa beans grow right from the trunk of the cocoa tree. This means harvesting requires cutting down the ripe pods from the trees and opening them up to remove the wet, sticky, pulp like, white beans.
Have you ever wondered, whether you can make cheese at home?
Well, I did!
And after a visit to several working farms in Kent, watching re-runs of Victorian Farm on BBC2 and our favourite cheese place going out of business, I decided I wanted to have a go myself to see whether it's possible to make a cheese at home.<blog_break>
Looking through few cookery books I soon realised that making traditional cheese at home is quite an art and you really need to have a fairly specific equipment. Hard cheese also takes a time to mature and I was hoping to try my own cheese for lunch on the same day!
Fortunatelly you can make soft type of cheese at home, which is very easy and quick to make.
So, here is what I did (and if you have a spare 30 minutes, you really can make your own soft cheese too!)
This is what you need to make your own soft cheese:
Soft Cheese Making Ingredients
1 ltr Milk (any will do, but best is to get one that's 'raw' e.i. not homogenised or pasteurised)
2-3 table spoons of vinegar (or lemon juice - up to 6 table spoons) - I used White wine Vinegar, which has a lovely mellow taste
salt - table salt is best to start off with
Any other flavouring that you want to add to your cheese
Cheese Making Equipment
muslin cloth (or similar - sterilised gauze or tea towel)
This is what you do:
Heat the milk gently up to 38 C. Take it off heat and add vinegar (or lemon), stir and leave for a bit.
You will see that in a few moments the milk curdles and separates.
Then you just pour it on to a muslin cloth resting in a colander and bowl and twist the muslin cloth to squeeze the liquid. Leave it for 30 min or up to 1 hr - either hanged over the side of the bowl or somewhere where the water can still safely drip down.
The next bit is just to add some salt (to taste) and mix in any other flavouring that you want to add. I added garlic chives from my herb garden to mine cheese, which gave it just the right flavour. 1 ltr of milk will give you about 200g of cheese.
The cheese will last up to 1 week in a fridge (keep in airtight container), but ours never does - we just eat it straightaway! I hope this recipe is simple enough for anyone to re-create and I love to hear how you got on making your own soft cheese!
This blackberry muffins recipe is one of my favourite muffin recipe - especially in late summer and early autumn, when we can collect wild blackberries on our long countryside walks.
But, the best wild blackberries, that I've tasted so far were either in Isle of Wight or from my father-in-law back garden. The latter is slightly more accessible, although it does require a 270 miles round trip. I guess a visit to one's parents in law is always overdue, so it's good to have some extra excuse...
By the way, my father in law is a very good baker, so I'm sure he will appreciate this muffin recipe.
The 1920s & 1930’s was an era of extremes. Great wealth and borderline poverty. First there was the swinging jazz scene of decadence and excess of a generation who survived the first world war and were determined to enjoy themselves. But it wasn’t to last and the stock market crash of 1929 led to a great depression and world wide economic crisis. Soon the frenetic whirl of the Charleston was replaced by the slow shuffle of hobnail boots in the dole queue. The Lindy Hop for some and the Jarrow March for others.
The best thing about 'all in one' recipes is that they are fault - prove. You would really need to try hard to get this type of cake wrong! It's handy that you only need just one bowl for mixing, and there is no need to faff around with mixer or other specialist baking equipment. All you need to do is to gradually add all the ingredients, mix it well as you go, stick it in a tin and bake!
My marmalade fruit cake is precisely this kind of simple recipe. It's also delicious and moist cake with just the right amount of fruit in it.
Although I like winter, I can't wait now for the spring to arrive. The other day, I suddenly realised, that it is colder now, then it was around Christmas! And, that is really not fair! Christmas is the real winter for me, so once we move over to February I'm expecting spring to arrive. It's England after all, not a Czech Republic...
So, I thought that regardless to what the thermometer outside says, I can bring spring to my home.
To continue with the 'Spring theme' I decided to bake some Blueberry & Vanilla Macarons to take to friends house for dinner.