Snacks

Savory Lovage Biscuits

The perfect nibble to accompany a sundowner on a warm terrace (though the chances of either warm terrace or downing sun seem slim at the moment). The original recipe is in Ottolenghi’s The Cookbook and features more cheese and some poppy seeds, but I’ve buggered about with it as is my way, and I must say it turns out not half bad:

  • 210g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3 tbsp finely chopped lovage
  • pinch of salt
  • 165g un-salted butter, at room temperature
  • 150g freshly grated parmesan

Beat the butter and cheese together well. Add all the other ingredients and mix until you have a soft dough.

Divide the dough in half and mold each half into a long block (you’re going to slice the biscuits off the block like a loaf of bread so make it as big or small as you like your biscuits). Wrap in cling film and chill for an hour.

When ready, pre-heat the oven to 170 degrees. Remove the dough from the fridge and slice into biscuits. Anything over 5mm thick is fine, anything thinner will snap. Place them on a silicone sheet a little way apart (they grow) and cook for 12-15 minutes.

Cool and serve with G&T on any terrace you can find. Makes about 40.

About Lovage:

Lovage is an ancient healing herb, mostly used for its diuretic properties in cases of water retention and urinary difficulties, and also for pain and swelling (inflammation) of the lower urinary tract, for preventing of kidney stones, and to increase the flow of urine during urinary tract infections.

The seeds, leaves and leaf stems have a strong, earthy, celery flavor that enriches soups and stews and is particularly useful in vegetarian dishes, with rice, vegetable stuffings and nut roasts. More info on this herb can be found at the Encyclopedia of Herbology.

Recipe: Gluts and Gluttony

Buckwheat Chocolate Chip Cookies


Ingredients:

  • ⅓ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • ⅓ cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 3 cups buckwheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ⅓ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Beat together sugars with butter until smooth. Add in egg, vanilla, and honey, beating well. Combine dry ingredients, including chocolate chips, in a large bowl and cover with wet ingredient mixture. Form 2-inch balls of dough and create rows on baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 10 minutes or until slightly brown.

From: Jen Reviews

Coconut Stuffed Limes

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 12 medium-large limes, rinsed well
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • Green food coloring (optional)
  • 2 cups shredded fresh coconut
  • 1/2 cup water

Instructions

Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil over high heat, add 1 teaspoon of the baking soda, stir to combine, and then add the limes. Cook at a soft simmer until slightly tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the limes from the water with a slotted spoon and let cool.

Make a small incision in the top of each lime with a sharp paring knife and carefully scrape out the flesh, making sure you don’t tear the rind; discard the filling. Return the intact rinds to the pot, add cold water to cover, and stir in the remaining 1 teaspoon baking soda. Bring to a boil, strain, and repeat this process (without any more baking soda) 3 more times to remove the bitterness from the limes.

Return the limes to the pot, add cold water to cover, then stir in 1 1/2 cups of the sugar and a few drops of food coloring. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring, until the syrup has thickened to the consistency of corn or maple syrup, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the heat, let cool completely in the syrup, then transfer the limes to a wire rack and let dry.

Combine the coconut, the remaining 1 cup sugar, and the 1/2 cup water in a saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring, until the coconut is soft, almost translucent, and thick. Let cool until it is safe to handle.

Fill the limes with the coconut mixture and let cool completely. Eat by biting into the lime. Store in an airtight container lined with parchment paper in a cool, dry place for up to 2 months.

From: The Splendid Table

Going Bananas!

Finally a cure for what ails you – Bananas! A professor at CCNY for a physiological psych class told his class about bananas. He said the expression ‘going bananas’ is from the effects of bananas on the brain.

  • Important:

Never, put your bananas in the refrigerator!!!

After reading this, you’ll never look at a banana in the same way again.

Bananas contain three natural sugars – sucrose, fructose and glucose combined with fiber. A banana gives an instant, sustained and substantial boost of energy. Research has proven that just two bananas provide enough energy for a strenuous 90 minute workout. No wonder the banana is the number one fruit with the world’s leading athletes.

But energy isn’t the only way a banana isn’t can help us keep fit. It can also help overcome or prevent a substantial number of illnesses and conditions, making it a must to add to our daily diet.

Depression: According to a recent survey undertaken by MIND amongst people suffering from depression, many felt much better after eating a banana. This is because bananas contain tryptophan, a type of protein that the body converts into serotonin, known to make you relax, improve your mood and generally make you feel happier.

PMS: Forget the pills – eat a banana. The vitamin B6 it contains regulates blood glucose levels, which can affect your mood.

Anemia: High in iron, bananas can stimulate the production of hemoglobin in the blood and so helps in cases of anemia.

Blood Pressure: This unique tropical fruit is extremely high in potassium yet low in salt, making it perfect to beat blood pressure. So much so, the US Food and Drug Administration has just allowed the banana industry to make official claims for the fruit’s ability to reduce the risk of blood pressure and stroke.

Brain Power: 200 students at a Twickenham (Middlesex) school were helped through their exams this year by eating bananas at breakfast, break, and lunch in a bid to boost their brain power. Research has shown that the potassium-packed fruit can assist learning by making pupils more alert.

Constipation: High in fiber, including bananas in the diet can help restore normal bowel action, helping to overcome the problem without resorting to laxatives.

Hangovers: One of the quickest ways of curing a hangover is to make a banana milkshake, sweetened with honey. The banana calms the stomach and, with the help of the honey, builds up depleted blood sugar levels, while the milk soothes and re-hydrates your system.

Heartburn: Bananas have a natural antacid effect in the body, so if you suffer from heartburn, try eating a banana for soothing relief.

Morning Sickness: Snacking on bananas between meals helps to keep blood sugar levels up and avoid morning sickness.

Mosquito bites: Before reaching for the insect bite cream, try rubbing the affected area with the inside of a banana skin. Many people find it amazingly successful at reducing swelling and irritation.

Nerves: Bananas are high in B vitamins that help calm the nervous system.

Overweight and at work? Studies at the Institute of Psychology in Austria found pressure at work leads to gorging on comfort food like chocolate and crisps. Looking at 5,000 hospital patients, researchers found the most obese were more likely to be in high-pressure jobs. The report concluded that, to avoid panic-induced food cravings, we need to control our blood sugar levels by snacking on high carbohydrate foods every two hours to keep levels steady.

Ulcers: The banana is used as the dietary food against intestinal disorders because of its soft texture and smoothness. It is the only raw fruit that can be eaten without distress in over-chronicler cases. It also neutralizes over-acidity and reduces irritation by coating the lining of the stomach.

Temperature control: Many other cultures see bananas as a ‘cooling’ fruit that can lower both the physical and emotional temperature of expectant mothers. In Thailand, for example, pregnant women eat bananas to ensure their baby is born with a cool temperature.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): Bananas can help SAD sufferers because they contain the natural mood enhancer tryptophan.

Smoking & Tobacco Use: Bananas can also help people trying to give up smoking. The B6, B12 they contain, as well as the potassium and magnesium found in them, help the body recover from the effects of nicotine withdrawal.

Stress: Potassium is a vital mineral, which helps normalize the heartbeat, sends oxygen to the brain and regulates your body’s water balance. When we are stressed, our metabolic rate rises, thereby reducing our potassium levels. These can be rebalanced with the help of a high-potassium banana snack.

Strokes: According to research in The New England Journal of Medicine, eating bananas as part of a regular diet can cut the risk of death by strokes by as much as 40%!

Warts: Those keen on natural alternatives swear that if you want to kill off a wart, take a piece of banana skin and place it on the wart, with the yellow side out. Carefully hold the skin in place with a plaster or surgical tape!

So, a banana really is a natural remedy for many ills. When you compare it to an apple, it has four times the protein, twice the carbohydrate, three times the phosphorus, five times the vitamin A and iron, and twice the other vitamins and minerals. It is also rich in potassium and is one of the best value foods around So maybe its time to change that well-known phrase so that we say, ‘A banana a day keeps the doctor away!’

Before you get too excited about bananas, however, you might want to read the other side of the banana story!

Pond Lily Popcorn

nuphar-lutea=yellow-water-lily

You can eat the seeds of yellow pond lily (Nuphar lutea) also called spatterdock, yellow water-lily, or cow lily. Here’s a recipe from Janice Schofield, an Alaskan herbalist:

Pop 1/4 cup of seeds in 2 tablespoons of oil and flavor with butter, nutritional yeast and whatever else you fancy. The Assiniboin and Micmac peoples ate them: fried in bear fat.

Enjoy!

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"Diet has the distinction of being the only major determinant of health that is completely under your control. You have the final say over what does and what does not go into your mouth and stomach. You cannot always control the other determinants of health, such as the quality of the air you breathe, the noise you are subjected to, or the emotional climate of your suroundings, but you can control what you eat. It is a shame to squander such a good opportunity to influence your health." ~Andrew Weil, MD
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I think it's time to go shopping... maybe even buy some really cool stuff at my online shops!!

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