Posted in Food

Celery: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

Celery is a marshland plant with a long fibrous stalk and leaves at the top. Cultivated since antiquity its seeds have been used as a spice, leaves and stalks eaten raw or cooked, and extracts used in herbal medicine. A member of the Apiaceae family which include carrots and parsley.

Celery is 95 percent water and due to its high water content it has the ability to bring stale bread back to life. Simply place a stalk of celery in a bag with the bread, seal and place in the fridge for a few hours or over night. The bread will have a fresh lease of life, having absorbed the moisture from the celery.

Celery has many health benefits including relieving heartburn and reducing cholesterol. High in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties make it beneficial for arthritis, toothache, insomnia and anxiety. But within seven days of harvest most of the antioxidants will have disappeared. Celery is a fantastic source of vitamin K and fibre.

But unfortunately despite its continued popularity it is not all good news. Celery can induce severe allergic reactions including fatal anaphylactic shock. The seeds and root contain the highest allergens. Cooking does not destroy the allergen and anything that has been in contact with celery can contaminate other foods. The Greek philosopher Socrates chose death by hemlock poisoning when he was forced to publicly deny his humanistic and democratic principles or be sentenced to death; hemlock is in the same family as celery. Consuming large amounts of celery can lead to gastrointestinal problems, goitres and malnutrition. Unless organically grown, celery ranks high on the Environmental Working Groups dirty dozen list of vegetables containing large amounts of pesticide. It also contain psoralens, a chemical which if applied to the skin can induce intense sensitivity to UV light.

Finally a Recipe for Celery Soup

Photo by Ponyo Sakana on Pexels.com

Ingredients

  • Olive Oil
  • 300g Celery
  • 1 Garlic Clove
  • 200g Potatoes 
  • 500ml Vegetable or Chicken stock
  • 100ml Milk

Method

  • Remove the tough string on the celery stalk and chop into chunks, peel and dice the potatoes and garlic. Heat the oil in a large saucepan on a medium heat and add the vegetables. Coat in the oil and season. Add the stock and bring to the boil, simmer the soup until the potatoes are falling apart and the celery is soft, about 20 minutes.
  • Add the stock to the pan and bring to the boil, then turn the heat down and simmer for 20 mins, until the potatoes are cooked and the celery is soft. Remove the soup from the heat and blend into a puree. Stir in the milk and season. Serve with a good crusty bread.
Posted in Food

Sweet Chili Pork With a Sprinkle Of Italy

The benefits of a traybake are endless. They are cheap, simple and tasty, with minimal mess and pots to wash, perfect for using up whatever is lying about in the kitchen. Alternatively experiment with all the taste and aromas that appeal to you, the options are endless. This recipe came about because I had some Jersey Royals, that were going to sprout and turn green if I didn’t eat them soon. I had nothing to go with them, so my daughter and I dragged out our face masks and braved the supermarket. Tiny new potatoes make me think of salads doused in dressing, so sticking with this theme I added red onion, bell peppers and tomatoes to the trolley. On offer at the meat counter were pork steaks marinated in sweet chili dressing. Very nice! And the smell of fresh basil lured us over, so in it went. I was tempted by a tub of sour cream, but my inner calorie counter chose creme fraiche instead. Shopping paid for we went home, heated the oven and began to peel and chop.

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Posted in Food

Wheat We Going to Eat for Breakfast

Pop goes the toaster and minutes later I’m running for the bus, with a coffee in one hand and a soggy piece of buttered toast in the other. Marmite, cheese, peanut butter, jam; the choices are endless with this super quick and easy feed. But it may become a limited menu option, as the National Farmers Union (NFU) predict the worst wheat harvest the UK has seen in decades. Lockdown and fears of a no deal Brexit have exasperated a flailing farming community. But the climate crisis is at the forefront of issues for crop growers, with increasing years of weather extremes dominated by periods of wet and dry weather. Three major storms produced the wettest February on record, drenching already saturated fields. Farmers were forced to sow a reduced crop and quality is variable.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCkohRt_A0ZVxi0yTXxMXktg
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Posted in Health & Wellbeing

Getting Back on the Weight Loss Wagon

Photo by Polina Tankilevitch from Pexels

Strength is the capacity to break a chocolate bar into four pieces with your bare hands – and then eat just one of the pieces.

— Judith Viortst

Britain like so many other privileged countries are tipping the scales toward a global obesity pandemic. Two thirds of the nation are overweight, with half of that figure considered obese. Covid-19 and the resulting lockdown has further fuelled the problem as a third of Britons admit gaining half a stone or more, which the media were quick to name the Covid Stone. Now the NHS have released data stating, death from Covid-19 increases by forty percent in obese patients. The government has responded with an initiative to tackle obesity.

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The Taste of Chicken Never Tasted so Bitter

Call for Action

Animal Equality has launched a petition urging Tesco to sign up to the Better Chicken Commitment and eliminate some of the worst abuses for chickens within its supply chain.

I won’t deny meat is a regular ingredient in my diet, and remind non-meat eaters that predator and prey are an acceptable mix in the natural world. However the animals we put on our dinner plate deserve respect in life. In recent years change has taken place to try and protect farmed animals in life, so I was saddened this morning to see more undercover footage of cruelty to chickens on farms operated by Moy Park who supply the supermarket chain Tesco.

Image by hagaiocohen from Pixabay

Thou hast seen
nothing yet

Posted in Food

The Coolest Cheese on Toast

Guacamole and Cheese on Toast

Classic cheese on toast is a firm favourite when in need of comforting sustenance. There are many varieties of this simple meal, but choice of cheese matters to ensure a perfectly melted slice each and every time.

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Posted in Journal

Birthday Bonanza

The Birthday Girl

When my Dad retired in 2017, my parents purchased a Nissan converted camper van to enjoy their retirement in. My daughter turned nineteen two weeks later and our first trip out in their new found pleasure was to Chatsworth, Derbyshire where we set up camp in a secluded spot by the river. Pulled out the folding chairs and fired up the burners for sausage and bacon rolls, coffee and birthday cake. We watched a group of elderly swimmers disappear down stream and in glorious August sunshine, a wonderful day was had by all.

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This Heat Equals No Sleep

Image by zgmorris13 from Pixabay

Bring in the bottled lightening, a clean tumbler, and a corkscrew

Charles Dickens

It’s almost 2am and I am out of bed, brew in hand. The air is thick with heat and laced with anticipated electricity that silently lights the sky. A brief shower teasingly hisses upon the concrete, only for a moment fades then stops. And still the dark sky flares white, silver, and occasionally gold. For a while I lay then sat and watched, before standing in search of the pathetic breeze incapable of rippling the drapes.

A poet is somebody who stands out in the rain hoping to be struck by lightening.

James Dickey

Posted in Food

National Bakewell Tart Day: Maybe, Maybe Not

Dear Wikipedia, famous for its swathe of inaccuracies. I was recently planning a post on a national or international food day and came across National Bakewell Tart Day on August 11th, listed under United Kingdoms national food days. A practised researcher I proceeded to delve deeper into this and hit a brick wall. I discovered from the 10th-16th August is Afternoon Tea Week and some sources claim today to be National Raspberry Tart Day closely related, but sorry Wikipedia I think this is another faux ou inexact. Moving forward: I like Bakewell, I’m from Derbyshire and I love food. So here is a post to celebrate Bakewell and the tart it is known for.

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