Saturday, January 29, 2011

Sorrel year round?

I've made a wonderful discovery. (Well actually I've known about this for years but only recently acted on it.) You can buy bags of dried sorrel in the supermarket year round; you don't have to wait till December when the mountains of fresh flowers start appearing in old pick-up trucks by the side of the highway to make the sorrel drink! Yay!

Sorrel just happens to be one of my favourite things, and a couple of weeks ago, on one of my so numerous trips to hi-lo, I discovered "Value Packs" of dried sorrel stuck among the onions and potatoes (of all places)! So I bought a package and brought it home. I soon realised that inside the package, in among the dried sorrel flowers, was another small packet - this time, of cinnamon sticks, bay leaves and cloves - everything one needs to make sorrel (well, apart from the sugar).

So I made a massive batch, adding some additional things I like such as cardamom pods and a few juniper berries. It was super easy without having to go through the laborious process of cleaning the fresh sorrel, and it was delicious. So much so that Richard has insisted I make it more often. So, I suspect it's going to replace cranberry juice at our house, and let me tell you, it's a whole lot cheaper!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Simple Niçoise Salad

I'm obsessed with salads. And not for health reasons either! I love their freshness and crunchiness, and the zillions of permutations that are salads, not to mention all the dressings! (As my friend Nicola would say, "What's the point of salad without dressing?") These days I'm also trying to eat healthier - make sure I got those five recommended portions of vegetables into my daily eating. I realised that days would pass without a single vegetable passing my lips, and that just doesn't feel good to me. So today I made a personal favourite - a classic. The Niçoise. A healthy a filling salad - on account of the potatoes and hard boiled eggs. Even Richard, who often complains of my love for bush, enjoyed it!

For the salad:
6-8 big leaves of lettuce washed and roughly chopped
3 tomatoes cut into quarters
2 young cucumbers peeled and cut into large chunks
3 or 4 sprigs of chive chopped
2 potatoes boiled, cooled and cut into large chunks
a handful of fresh green beans, blanched and cooled
2 hard boiled eggs cut in half
1 tin of tuna in water

This salad is loosely "arranged" in a large, wide bowl, adding all the ingredients by scattering them around the bowl. Plonk the eggs on last.

My dressing:
Equal parts lemon juice and olive oil (about 2 tbsp of each)
2 teaspoons of good grainy mustard
2 or 3 of minced anchovies
2 teaspoons chopped olives or olive paste
a healthy pinch of sea salt

Mix everything up in a bottle and sprinkle liberally on your salad.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Not just an ordinary tea!

So, I recently made the decision to cut caffeine out of my life. It may just end up being a temporary measure to detoxify, or I may decide to stick with it - I haven't made up my mind just yet. But the frustration of drinking non-caffeinated beverage is dreadful! What follows is a series of posts on my facebook page about my woes. I hope my friends won't mind that they are re-produced here, but I think some of the tea recipes sound delicious!

Two weeks without tea or coffee is manageable, but only if you don't have that gorgeous smell of a fresh cup of coffee confronting you as you walk into the office!!
5 hours ago · Privacy:Friends only · LikeUnlike · Comment

Tillah i lasted a few days and then went back to my java ways :(

Lorraine s can you have herbal tea?

Mariel I'm doing peppermint and ginger teas - but frankly, they're just not the same as caffeine!!

Lisa green tea. enough caffeine for a slight buzz but all the medicinal benefits of the anti-oxidants. jasmine flavoured is the most palatable without sugar to me.

Mariel Thanks guys. Lisa, I hear you're opening Caribbean Tales Film Fest. Congrats, Missy!

Lorraine Try making Indian masala tea but use fresh ingredients...fresh ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, cardamon with lots of milk and honey...yummy!!!
Mariel Brown Oooh! That sounds sensational, Lorraine.

Lorraine It's honsetly amazing....had one after dinner tonight. Also discovered this gorgeous ginger and tulsi tea in India.

Mary Not sure who you are. But while in India, I had the pleasure of that gorgeous tulsi tea. I am looking for it here so I can continue enjoying.

Lorraine C Mary, the first time I had it was when a friend brought some for me as a pressie. I was recently in India and bought loads...No idea where to get it outside of India, sorry. Try ordering online?

Ira Mariel, ( and friends) finally a recipe this non cook can give you: Mix low fat milk and water. Add five cardimoms, several cloves, a dash of giner, bring to a gentle boil. Add teabags of your choice. Mix them up. (I like to mix Earl Grey with the Indian variety). Take off the stove. Let it simmer for a couple fo minutes, ( Dont let the bags soak in too much or it gets too strong-get the colour you like) . Add honey or brown sugar. Serve with something savory like samosas :)

Ira do add a pinch of nutmet and cinnamon. Too much overpowers the tea

Mariel I'm loving this foody series! Thanks Ira - I will definitely try your recipe as I think I've got all the components at home. Sounds completely yummy!