“Oh, thrice and four times happy those who plant cabbages.” Francois Rabelais, 16th century French writer
M. Rabelais might now be in the minority with that opinion, but from a health standpoint, he’s spot on. Cabbages have been cultivated for at least 6000 years, probably originating from wild, non-head forming greens (acephala), of which modern kale is perhaps the truest descendent.
Our forebears may not have known why kale and cabbages are so fiercely good for us, but historical figures have thought well enough of it to pass comment: Pythagoras praised it as an all-purpose remedy; Hippocrates (who else) declared it “the vegetable of a thousand virtues“. Continue reading →
I realise that some of you may be reclining on the sofa digesting a rather large meal. Feet up, hand on distended belly, telly at full volume (to drown out the clattering of a million dishes being cleaned in the kitchen). You may be kicking back waiting for a second wind; after all, Auntie Jean’s famous sweet potato meringue pie isn’t going to eat itself. *must find a clean plate* Continue reading →
All day long I have been under the misapprehension that Thanksgiving is this Thursday. With a wee panic I have been peeling, chopping, mixing, roasting…burning my hand. But, I have literally just popped ‘Thanksgiving Day 2013′ (with my good hand) into a well-known search engine and see with relief that it is the 28th. The 28th, *sigh*. And, glory be, I’m not working. Woo hoo!
It’s a proper, audible woo hoo because the chocolate-walnut pumpkin pie – sitting Siren-like on the countertop – can now be demolished; its burnished, gooey top soon to be breached by a trio of greedy spoons. Bliss. But first we will tuck into these kale stuffing-stuffed butternut squash stacks – trying saying that three times quickly :D. We’ll have them with steamed Brussels sprouts, braised celery and some homemade za’atar bread. I know the latter doesn’t strictly ‘go,’ but you know me and za’atar…
Regular readers will know I am a bit of breakfast-head. If breakfast were a religion I would be proselytising on a street corner, shoving avocado-smeared toast in your hand as you rushed by, late and ratty for your train. In other words, a bit evangelical. Small e, mind.
Happily, I’ve noticed in my nutrition groups that when we discuss breakfast and its importance for blood sugar control (and consequently weight control), energy and basically running on all cylinders, I am preaching to the choir. A calm, unratty, insulin-controlled choir. Hooray! Big H.Continue reading →
I was almost going to call this A Nearly Store Cupboard Shakshuka, but I realised that might be a tad presumptuous. I have had plenty of times in my life when the cupboards contained barely a tin of soup, let alone the fixings for a whole meal, so I can’t assume that the likes of marinated artichoke hearts are going to be sitting idle in your pantry. Tinned tomatoes, I hope, but perhaps not the ‘chokes or the roasted peppers. The point is that these aren’t fresh, and you don’t have to do anything but chop them and thrown them in the sauce. And they are optional anyway. So it’s just plain old Easy Shakshuka. I digress… Continue reading →
We are having a cracking day in Edinburgh. Actually the past week has been about as perfect as autumn days get around here. Leaves are bursting into crimson, burnt umbre and magenta flames before falling under foot; the sun is beautifully low and soft in the sky, while the breeze is almost non-existent. And of course there is the frost. Not quite nipping at our noses, but necessitating digging out hidden away gloves and scarves. Being from Florida I still get a wee thrill when cool temperatures combine with clear, crisp air. Just now my Miss R (a keen sunset watcher) dragged my away from my computer to stand in awe at yet another heather-pink sunset, all molten and oozing across the horizon. You can take your summer with its ice cream cones and flirty skirts. I’ll happily slip on an over-sized woollen sweater and pad about in my dog-eared moccasins, thank you very much. Continue reading →
quote from Sumayya Jamil, speaking at Food Blogger Connect, London 2012
Last Friday saw me quite literally stumbling onto the 7.15 Edinburgh-London train. I am not the most co-ordinated of people (I can fall off a pair of flipflops), but my flawed proprioception couldn’t be blamed on this occasion. As I attempted to board the train a sudden shift in the ever-present wind blew hair into my eyes, and I had a heart-pounding, and nearly electrifying, experience as my foot slipped between the step up and the clearly marked walkway. Still clutching my bags and cup of tea I just managed to lurch forward into the carriage, my body tingling with adrenalin that you get from a proper near-miss. Yowz.
The reason I mention this seemingly random incident is that I also experienced the same all-body tingle later that day. But not due to clumsiness or wind-whipped hair. When I pushed through the imposing blue doors into a sea of people at Food Blogger Connect I had that overwhelming ‘new girl’ feeling. You know, the heart-pumping anxiety you get when you walk into a room where everyone seems to know each other and you only have one shot at making a decent impression? I was that girl, but with fictional spots, greasy hair and a selection of slide rules and leaky pens poking out of my pocket. Yup, that nervous. Continue reading →
Yesterday was Mothers’ Day in the UK – or Mothering Sunday, if you prefer not to pander to the Hallmark hijacking of celebrations. Although Andrew and Rachel were away on the train to Newcastle for the football – with my blessing I should add – I managed to have a special day with Andrew’s mum Ann, and great-aunt Trudy. We had thought we would splash out on a slap-up restaurant lunch, or indulge in a fancy afternoon tea at one of the hotels, but I just couldn’t bring myself to book a table. Although I like being waited on hand and foot as much as anyone else, what I wanted – and what I knew Ann wanted too – was to chill out with some nice food, a bottle of something bubbly and just relax. For us going out to a restaurant is a treat and not a weekly occurrence, but sometimes you just want to take your time, not worry about getting crumbs on your face and, for us, watch the hens take sun baths in the hard-baked ground. Simple pleasures. Continue reading →