Smitten by a Chiogga- Candy striped beet, be my valentine, anytime…

ImageNow, what could be prettier than that? Some of my favourite one-clove red garlic, a candy coloured chiogga beet, a blue tile from home and… Ok, so the little pock-marked fellow in the middle aint so charming but what this jerusalem artichoke lacks in beauty, it fully makes up for it in taste! This last week I have making soups, and using these gorgeous beety beasts in salads and coleslaw! I used them raw by the way plus I used them in the curried chickpea soup!

Some people have commented I am quite a good cook. Actually this is very, very kind of them and probably untrue. What I am is a rather greedy person, who is very curious about using new ingredients, who rather detests spending money on bad food, and who has the luxury of having time to experiment! Good cooking is a learned behaviour and as I frequently say to students, if you can read (or watch) then you probably can cook. Good healthy, frugal cooking using all our wiles will be the trend this year as the recession bites deeper and food becomes dearer.

I also grew up with two diabetic (type 2) parents who were both good cooks and loved to grow and harvest food. Lucky me to have been surrounded by reasonably good & plentiful food (although, we all ate too many baked goods, and lived off the fat of the land, literally) all my life, unlucky Mum & Dad to have suffered from the dread disease of our developed age. But on to sunnier things, namely cauliflower, jerusalem artichoke, potatoes, veggie stock and if you are feeling naughty some cream!

Soups are easy. These are the basics – begin with a chopped onion in some olive oil and fry gently until translucent. Add in your raw veggies such as cauli florets, chopped cubed potatoes, roughly peeled and chopped jerusalem artichokes and fry for a few minutes without browning. Add in a good litre of hot water with a crumbled stock cube, and cook until veggies are al dente (tender to the bite).

Hey presto, you got yourself a soup! Now you can blend it, or mash it or leave it with chunks. You can add some saffron, some cummin, some other fresh herbs or you can leave it as it is! Naturally you have to taste it and add any seasonings, freshly grated black pepper and salt. Serve with BROOD’s spelt cake (I mean bread of course!)

By the way these little creatures – the Jerusalem artichoke-  are not potatoes but members of the sunflower family! Lovely though!

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Originally posted on Dear Mr Dog/meneertje hond:

It’s been a good few years since we started The Kids in The City Foundation to clean up our city streets and parks! We have been having a bit of a time out for the past few years, a bit of a relax, a stock take, a lie in – but now we are back. And we think this city could do with a right royal, wet dog sort of shake up! It’s high time to see what’s happening in terms of doggy doo doo, don’t you think!!!!

So here we are again, sniffing the streets, barking in parks, looking to see what’s what! What do you think? Time for a review? We’ve still got loads of Mr Dog/meneertje books to give away if there’s a grubby little problem around your street, around your school, your play area – drop us a line and we will send a copy of…

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Like Totally Non-toxic Birthday Parties (well almost!)

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To Do list for party

Make own cake pops (using any muffin type mixture but Morning Glory is best!) Note to self, these types of cakes are really easy but you need a silicone mould which makes them a doddle! Note to the wonderful Rita, gouging them out of normal shaped cake is not the way forward. Involve anyone handy in decorating process using cream cheese icing. For this party though my daughter is in charge and makes a dark choc fudge cake recipe – slightly on the toxic side!

Make Raw Cashew Raspberry Dream Cake from mynewroots.blogspot.com and put in freezer, removing approx 1 hour before party.

Make filo pastry triangles with feta, ricotta, herbs and eggs and bake at 185 for 15 minutes.

Slow roast tomatoes with garlic, rosemary sprigs, black pepper, rock salt and olive oil for pizza sauce.

Squeeze loads of lemons/limes ( and my wonderful bergamont lemon) and heat up with honey and a few frozen raspberries  to make concentrate. Cool slightly and add water, pour into pretty recycled glass bottles and place in fridge.

Raspberry lemonade

Make dips such as guacamole, tapenade, greek yoghurt, hummus, baba ghanoush to serve with veggie sticks and organic corn chips.

Make Fruit Kebabs with strawberries, melon, grapes, raspberry, mandarin segments, apples and bananas (sprinkled with lemon juice to stop from browning. Daughter insists on adding  jelly beans and gummy bears onto end of stick which I allow – it is her birthday!

Make wholemeal pizza dough, knead and put aside to double in bulk.

Arrange decorated cake pops on muffin stand, put out streamers, serviettes, fruit kebabs, and wait for the onslaught of 15 wonderful tweenagers!

Recently my friend Michele and I were comparing muffin recipes. It just so happens that I have a number of recipe books that I have worked my way through, trying these muffins, those muffins and combinations of various. But we agreed the best of all, the most moist, the yummiest (and hopefully the healthiest) were the good old Morning Glory muffins. So here they are again. Enjoy!

Morning Glory Muffins

In a large bowl mix 2 cups of spelt flour, 2 teaspoons of baking soda, half a teaspoon of salt, half a cup of sugar or sugar substitute, maple sugar etc. and 2 teaspoons of cinnamon.

Stir in 2 cups of grated carrot, half a cup of nuts, half a cup of chopped apricots, half a cup of coconut and one grated apple – can use zucchini instead of carrot!

In another bowl beat together 3 large eggs with 1 cup of salad oil such as sunflower oil and 2 teaspoons of vanilla.

Fold all ingrediants together until batter is only just combined. Spoon into paper lined muffin or cake pop moulds and bake at 180 fan forced for approx 20 minutes. Makes 12 large delicious muffins. Yummy for at least 3 days!

Morning Glory, best muffin in town!

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