In the Kitchen

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I don’t know about you but there’s something about the cold winter days that makes me want to spend longer in the kitchen. Usually baking something unhealthy (but tasty) like cakes laden with lemon icing or chocolate something or other. I haven’t completely stopped making that kind of thing but I am trying to err more on the healthy side.

So I thought I’d share a little of what’s been going on in my kitchen lately.

I made a North african squash and chickpea stew from River Cottage Veg Everyday by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall (bit of a tongue-twister that one). I got this book for Christmas. Loads of recipes I would like to make from here in my bid to eat/cook more healthily.

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I made this warm kale salad, stir-frying some kale with chopped baked potatoes, and adding a dressing: natural yoghurt, lemon zest and juice, pepper, garlic paste, chopped chilli and a little grated cheese all shook up in a jam jar and dotted over. Kale is probably my favourite of all vegetables these days. I only discovered it few years ago, so I have to make up for all the lost years of living without it.

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And an apple pie, of which I shall not show you a picture of the cooked result, as I burnt the top of it just a tinge. It looked very pretty indeed before it was cooked, so we’ll focus on that if you don’t mind.

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Lastly in my kitchen, here is my Christmas cactus. Flowering at last in January, but well worth the wait.

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So, what’s been going on in your kitchen lately, any tasty ideas to share?

8 thoughts on “In the Kitchen

  1. Very nice, Kim. Kale has become a popular green leafy vegetable. I’ve been eating it since a lad. Those and collard greens. I think in England they just call them “greens”? England too, they were one of the few veggies fresh all year around. That and the ubiquitous cabbage. Cruciferous vegetables are a wide ranging family and very important for good health. It was once difficult here in Canada, to find kale much. When it was available, it was once one the most inexpensive. These days as the different vegetables are “discovered” by media. Touted and lauded about their various benefits. The price goes up with this exposure. I might have mentioned being a vegetarian? So, it’s something noticed.

    Kale is not properly digested when eaten raw. Another fad, I’ve noticed. It needs to be cooked, to ensure the vitamins inside are released. Not all vegetables are best eaten raw. I add a little lemon juice.

    I love lentils. Rice and lentils. Sometimes I cook them in the same pot. I start with a mirapoix in oil, spices like cumin, mustard seed, ginger, asafoetida and fenugreek. Maybe a bay leaf, habenaro pepper and garlic. Oh and maybe a cardamom or three? Add rice, turn heat low until rice – long grain usually jasmine rice, is translucent. Then add red lentils; a little extra water, or stock, to make up for the lentil addition. When liquid starts to boil, turn very low until liquid is absorbed. I hour for brown rice. 27mins for white. Remove from heat and allow steam to finish, about 4 mins. Do not take off lid until that time has expired. Some people cook rice like pasta, with lots of water? I use the ratio of rice to water method.

    Sorry for being long winded. P.S. Don’t forget to fish out cardamom and bay leaf. I can never be bothered, bay leaf is easily spotted; but when I bite into the seeds it’s an intense hit. Cheers Jamie.

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    1. Well, I suppose it is impossible for supermarkets and greengrocers to stock every vegetable that exists. They cycle through different kinds and hence the variable popularity. It is not such a bad thing I don’t think. I have been growing kale in my garden for the last few years – when the slugs can be kept under control that is. It tastes superb when picked and cooked straight from the garden.
      Thank you for the recipe idea – I will try it. Thanks Jamie… and I like long comments. 🙂

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      1. Oh, okay Kim.

        I always feel a bit guilty with the length of some comments.

        When I was younger, greengrocers were pretty much the only source for veggies and while there were some imports. Mostly the veg was home grown, so seasonal. … The E.U. saw to the end of that.

        Greengrocers are unheard of here, except in and around Vancouver. It’s all supermarkets. Even the Mom and Pop stores, buy from the same distributor.

        Yes, you are right with regard to vegetables being many more, than can be stocked. Many more.

        What I bemoan is the bland flavour of many varieties that are stocked. For reasons like storage or shelf life; other than customer’s taste.

        I’m in the process of selling and moving. So my garden is non-existent, apart from perennials. I use containers for hot peppers. Like yourself, kale was included except the deer love that plant more than we do.

        As for the rice recipe. That was it, at its basic. I did not mention the bell pepper, mushroom, kale, or brussel sprouts, that can be found in it from time to time. Herbs like thyme, oregano or cilantro. Maybe even the humble parsley. Or the turmeric added with liquid.

        I use a fairly large pot so it’s flexible. Toasted cashews, sunflower seed or dried cranberries. Can be found in the rice pilau, or dirty rice. I also use other lentils separately. Yet usually red lentils or split mung bean, in with rice.

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      2. There is only one greengrocer in our nearest town, it seems to be doing pretty good business so I’m hopeful it’ll last a while yet. The produce is usually of a better quality than the supermarkets. I also sometimes get fruit and veg from the weekly market and there are lots of companies here now that do a weekly delivery of boxed produce and they are very reasonable. I suppose local deliveries are more practical economically in a smaller compact country such as the UK than they would be in somewhere like Canada.
        I will write out that recipe so I can try it. I love one pot meals that will last a while.

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      3. Okay Kim. I didn’t give any quantities. Really, rice to liquid. Is about the only main one? If you want a more detailed version, I can send you. It wasn’t truly meant as a recipe, except as a demo. Of rice and lentil, love.

        My sister lives in North London and is a teacher. So, she orders from Tesco once a week and they deliver Friday nights.

        My town is not close to that yet. We do have a fantastic organic whole food store. A co-op, one that I sat on the board for 9 years+. The town itself is about 10,000 people. With about 15,000 in the surrounding districts. The outlying areas have grown substantially in the last 20 years.

        I’m planning on moving to Vancouver Island. To be closer to my son and grandson. Looking forward to that! Cheers Jamie.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Loved the look of your recipes! Especially the squash and chickpea stew! What specifically is in it, and is it spicy? I can’t eat spicy, though I’m sure I could leave out any overly hot seasoning.

    I also love your title, “Spiral Spun.”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Fimnora, thank you for your comment! The stew was delicious – spiced but not spicy – if you know what I mean. I don’t much care for spicy foods.

    Here is a summary of the recipe:
    – Fry 2 diced onions in a little oil in a large pan until golden
    – Add 2 finely chopped garlic cloves, 1 diced celery stalk, 1tsp freshly ground pepper, 1 tsp ground turmeric, 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ground ginger and sauté for a few mins
    – Add 100g of red lentils, 400g tin of chickpeas (drained and rinsed), 8 toasted saffron strands, 500ml passata, a handful of chopped parsley and chopped coriander. Cook over a low heat for 15 mins
    – Add 300g of cubed squash or pumpkin, a bay leaf and 1.2 litres of vegetable stock. Cover and simmer gently for about 30 mins
    – Add 50g of vermicelli or orzo or other small pasta (I used risotto rice) and simmer until cooked.
    – Season with salt and pepper to taste
    – Serve with scattered chopped coriander, dates or plain yoghurt

    I think it is one of those recipes that can be easily adapted according to what ingredients you have available. It is definitely a recipe I will cook again.

    Thanks for following – always nice to meet a fellow hermit 🙂

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