food to glow

feel good food that's good for you

baked stuffed squash blossomsSquash blossoms are the ultimate in edible flowers. Unlike nasturtiums, borage, violets and other pretty posies consigned largely to salad and ice cube duty, squash blossoms can be stir-fried, frittata-ed, casseroled, gratineed and, most notably, stuffed. If you have loads of blossom knock yourself out with a risotto or casserole, where they will add a pretty and uber-seasonal note to each dish. However, if you have but a few precious farmer’s market blooms, the vote always has to be for stuffed. Plated up in their crunchy panko summer coats these little morsels shine on their own with a chilled glass of white wine,  whispering “it’s summer.” Continue Reading

Korean Sweet Potato Noodle Stir Fry (Japchae) with Marinated Baked TofuJapchae is a classic Korean stir fry dish using deliciously chewy, gluten-free sweet potato vermicelli. Although mainly a party or celebratory dish in Korea, it is easy enough to make for the (non-party mode) family – even as a midweek meal. The sweet potato vermicelli makes it sound very exotic, but it is in fact pretty straightforward. If you can do a Chinese stir fry, this is not much more of a culinary stretch. The flavours however are very different to a typical stir fry, with sweet and salty predominant in a typical japchae.

I know! Something sweet from me! Continue Reading

intense roast tomato soupI often get funny looks when I suggest this at my weight management groups and my cancer nutrition classes. No one quite rolls their eyes, but I do feel a collective will not to laugh; a suppression of an exasperated “you’ve got to be kidding me.”

I eat tomatoes like candy. At least at this time of year when tomatoes are at their delectable and nutritious peak. And I suggest that others give it a go, too. Continue Reading

green shakshukaThis post should have been subtitled, “How To Deal with a Glut of Greens.”

The long and short of it is that I have planters and planters full of green things. Big green things. Sword-like black kale, great frothy tufts of curly kale (redbore and Pentland), umbrella-like rainbow and Swiss chards, two types of sorrel (Buckler leaf and some mysterious big-leafed variety) as well as wine boxes of over-spilling herbs. {The less said about the black pak choi, the better.}. I have other bits and bobs growing in the garden, but it is pretty much a case of macheteing back the rampant greens to get to these smaller, less bold edibles.

I am not bragging here. I have done nothing other than sow some seeds and plant them out in bought compost. I’ve not fed, clothed or otherwise shaped their upbringing. Save for early morning slug patrol when all were in their vulnerable infancy, I have left them to it  Does that make me a bad plant mother?  Continue Reading

fig and labneh tartinesDon’t let the fancy name fool you, tartine is just French for ‘open-faced sandwich’. And I find it easier to say than the Danish smørrebrød, or the Finnish voileipä – the latter of which I have eaten when ages ago I did some work in Helsinki. Cured herring and butter as I recall. I ate it to be polite but I will admit it did taste better washed down with some local beer and perhaps a shot of Finlandia vodka.

I wasn’t working while I was eating/drinking, btw.:-).  Continue Reading

all-fruit ice lollies by kellie's food to glowIf it is hot where you are, eating cool foods and sipping iced drinks will be high on your agenda. Ice lollies are always a hit – whether bought or made; whether you are young or old. Why not keep it healthy and fun by making these all-fruit ice lollies?

It’s a hectic weekend for many of us so I shan’t keep you with one of my typical rambling posts. I will let the pictures and wee recipe – such as it is – speak for themselves. Enjoy your weekend. K x

all-fruit ice lollies by kellie's food to glow

All-Fruit Ice Lollies

  • Servings: depends on the lolly mould but at least 6 of each
  • Time: 15 minutes plus freezing time
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

I don’t wish to be bossy but if you want to keep these as all-fruit you MUST have the ripest sweet fruit. Otherwise add a touch of date syrup, good acacia honey, maple syrup, or even a stock syrup (sugar-water). I’ve added lime juice and a little kaffir lime leaf to the pineapple puree, but pure and simple is our favourite.

Special equipment: Ice lolly moulds or small suitable cups (such as small paper ice cream cups) and wooden lolly sticks (available at WH Smith or hobby stores)

all-fruit ice lollies by kellie's food to glowPineapple and Strawberry

½ medium ripe pineapple, trimmed, cored and large dice

¼ tsp finely whizzed kaffir lime leaf or finely grated lime zest

Juice ½ small lime

3 tbsp Greek yogurt or vegan/coconut yogurt (optional)

1 cup chopped ripe strawberries – finely chop 2 tbsp of the strawberries

Any sweetener, to taste

1. Add the pineapple, lime leaf/zest, lime juice and yogurt to a blender or food processor and process until mostly smooth. Taste and add any sweetener if necessary, bearing in mind that frozen fruit tastes less sweet. Scrap the mixture into a jug with a lip. A jug makes it easier to pour the mixture into the moulds.

2. Rinse out the blender/food processor, then add all but the 2 tbsp finely chopped strawberries and process to a crimson pulp. Taste for sweetness and adjust as needed. Scrape the strawberries into another lipped jug.

3. Line up your ice lolly moulds or cups. Add a little of the finely chopped strawberries to the moulds, top with some of the pineapple, followed by some of the strawberry, and then finally a little more of the pineapple.

4. Top with the ice lolly stick covers (they usually have the stick integrated) or – as I did – push in the wooden sticks. The mixture is firm enough not to need any foil, cling film or card to steady it, but you may wish to use one of these. If so, I would top with some cling film and secure it with a rubber band then make a small nick where you want your stick to go and then follow this with the lolly stick.

5. Freeze for two hours before dipping the moulds/cups in warm water and loosening.making all-fruit ice lollies by kellie's food to glow

DSC_0352Four-Fruit Ice Lollies

The raspberries and especially the blackcurrants are fairly nippy fruits so you may wish to sweeten them up a bit, either keeping with the fruit theme using banana or dates, or pouring in a little of your favourite liquid sweetener. Oh, and I forgot to take photos of the making of these lollies, so don’t think you aren’t looking hard enough. ;-)

3/4 cup each cup each raspberries, halved strawberries and blackcurrants

1 small banana (a small one won’t make the lollies taste of banana)

Maple syrup, honey, date syrup or stock syrup to sweeten as needed

1. Blend until smooth and fill ice lolly moulds. Freeze for 2 hours before enjoying. 

nectarine saladHappy 4th of July! Once again, a holiday sneaks up on me and I am here, at the last gasp, tippy tapping away trying to write a relevant post. My excuse is that as an ex-pat American living in the UK we of course don’t celebrate the 4th. While the US is celebrating getting away from past religious intolerance and heavy taxes (no comment), we – the offending country – might have a little shelf at Tescos with red, white and blue foods. Aside from fresh berries, it is all unnatural. Of course.

But I know that Stateside the only way to not know it is The Fourth of July (it has to be in caps, btw) is to be in sedated in hospital, or living deep in a wood somewhere with only bears and wolves for company.  I trust none of you fall into those categories. Continue Reading

spicy kale crisps

spicy and tangy kale crisps + foamy matcha green tea – my perfect snack

I don’t know if you are into gardening, or have the opportunity to garden, but certainly here in the UK we are having a good growing season. Drive anywhere just outside of cities and towns and you see fields and hillocks covered in vegetables plots, neat rows of climbing raspberries and sprawling strawberries, waving ripples of wind-tossed grains. In Scotland I’ve already spotted tell-tale tassels of sweetcorn.

Aside from the washout of Glastonbury last weekend, we have been so lucky with the weather – warm, a little rain and not too much drying wind. In fact it has been so nice that it has been difficult to stay indoors and do proper work and chores. Consequently I have a dusty house and bits on the carpet but great-smelling line-dried laundry and a swept deck. It is almost painful to be indoors when the sun is out and the air is balmy. Do you feel that way? Continue Reading

IMG_20140630_122453A few weeks ago on Instagram I posted a pic that had a number of you intrigued, titled #foodiepenpal.

“What a great idea!” “What’s a Foodie Penpal?” and “How can I get involved?”was the gist of the responses to my pic. A few of you were quite excited about the concept. Well, all is revealed here.

I have recently signed up to participate in a monthly foodie penpal exchange. The basic idea is simple: each month the organiser (founder Lindsay of The Lean Green Bean for the US and Canada, and Carol Anne at This Is Rock Salt for the UK/EU) assigns each person someone to send food goodies to and receive from in US and Canada, and in the UK/EU a person to send you foodie goodies and a different person for you to send to. Hope that makes sense.

To make life easy there is a list of stuff to ask your recipient, such as any food allergies, likes and dislikes, that kind of thing. But really it is up to you what you wish to send, including a handwritten note. There is a budget limit – for US/Canada it is $15 and UK/EU, €10/£10, plus posting – just to keep everyone on even footing.

This was my first month and I was lucky to get a terrific package from Chiara on the island of Capri. How exotic for me! My mail person was dead-impressed. :-). Not only had she sent me a lovely email in the first instance to sound out what I might want, but her food gifts were so thoughtful, including a handwritten chocolate cake recipe that is on my must-make-soon list. Thank you so much, Chiara!

My recipient wasn’t so lucky as I was just down the road from her (well, she’s near Leicester) when speaking in global terms – hi Elina! She said she liked raspberry flavoured things and liked to bake so I sent some freeze-dried raspberries, some pretty baking cup papers and matching gift boxes, as well as a couple of healthy things (including a Weck pot of my coconut bacon) and some Scottish thistle tea, just to give her something Scottish. I got a really lovely thank you email back from her. I think I did alright for a first-timer!

So, to the package from Chiara. Well she knew I was a bit of a healthy blogger but that I also wanted a wee treat too. She did great on both scores with some delectable, locally-made limoncello biscuits – very treat-ish – some oregano grown on ‘her’ mountain, the hand-written cake recipe (now pinned to my fridge to remind me to make it soon) and the biggest surprise – liquorice! Not just any liquorice but pure liquorice – liquirizia – no sugar, just concentrated taste in tiny ebony nuggets. Initially they are a surprise in the mouth and then you think, well I will just have another. And another! Both treats are on my rather shabby coffee table (I really need to sand that down…).IMG_20140630_014718

I really enjoyed my first month of Foodie Penpals. If this has you intrigued, either contact Lindsey or Carol-Anne, depending on where you live. As far as I understand it is only for Americans, Canadians and Europeans for now but some of you others might like to start something like this yourself. It is a fantastic way to meet new people and experience new foods too. The special touch of the hand-written note is also pretty awesome.

Oh! And you don’t have to be a food blogger, or even a blogger, to join in.

All being well I’ll be back tomorrow with a recipe and a giveaway.IMG_20140630_015121

 

pakistani gooseberry pickleDespite my advanced (advancing?) age I love Instagram. Any downtime (standing in a queue, riding the bus) I will scroll away on my phone, staring happily at hazy beaches peopled with the lithe and the tanned; folks’ daft dogs coming way too close to the camera; style parades of impossibly impractical shoes and smart city shorts. Sigh.

I don’t get jealous, but I do sometimes wonder how close to real life-perfect are these mesmeric images. Do these stunning people eating sushi in neon dens of cool have zits? Or suffer heartache?

Are there filters for these? Continue Reading

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