Iceberg Lettuce with Fruit and Nuts

iceberglettucefruitandnuts pin

Iceberg Lettuce with Fruit & Nuts

Another stunning salad centre piece from ‘Cooking for Today’. It looks so refreshing and delicious. I’m definitely going to try this one 🙂

 

 

Ingredients

1 small iceberg lettuce

1 grapefruit

1 orange

2 kiwi fruits

For the dressing

4-5 tablespoons oil

2-3 tablespoons lemon juice

2-3 tablespoons white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon sugar

2oz/50g./½ cup chopped walnuts

salt and pepper

few walnut halves

 

Method

  1. Remove rough outer leaves of the lettuce and tear inner leaves into pieces
  2. Peel the grapefruit and the orange, carefully remove the white pitch and cut the flesh into thin slices.
  3. Quarter the grapefruit slices. Peel and slice the kiwi fruits
  4. Arrange lettuce and fruit in a salad bowl or serving dish.
  5. Make dressing by mixing together the oil, lemon juice, white wine vinegar, sugar and chopped walnuts.
  6. Season to taste with salt and pepper
  7. Pour dressing over the salad, toss lightly and garnish with the walnut halves. Serve immediately.

 

Bon Appetit!

Linda x

 

Daisy Love

Daisy Love!

Daisies aren’t as rich in uses as dandelions but shouldn’t be ignored. The daisy family of plants includes many healing herbs such as chamomile and feverfew. The common daisy has been the subject of many myths and legends over the centuries and has been part of the landscape for as long as records can be traced.

In the 14th century, with daisies as the main ingredient, an ointment was used to cure wounds, and the daisy was considered to be a cure for all aches and pains for many years.

In Medieval times it was thought that seeping daisies in wine and drinking for 21 days would cure liver problems – this seems a little counter-productive now, but you never know!

The leaves of a daisy can be eaten and have been grown as a pot herb, but the sap inside the leaf is very bitter and is not widely eaten these days.

A tisane made from daisy flowers, drunk regularly, is said to help cure:

-coughs
-arthritis
-headaches
-muscle pains
-mouth ulcers

The flower essence may also be valuable in treating symptoms of shock and calming the nervous system. A few daisies infused with your favourite herbal tea can calm the system and encourage a good night’s sleep.

Daisies symbolize innocence, gentleness and purity and have been adored by children for pretty much always.

Leave them to grow in the lawn and make daisy chains this summer 🙂

Happy Gardening!
Linda x

P.S. Please don’t self-medicate unless you check with your GP first or you really know what you’re doing! This post isn’t a medical cure, but simply an overview of a pretty flower and it’s history.

Choosing your Path

Choosing your Path

 

A while ago I watched a Wayne Dyer talk and as usual was blown away by his words. He told a story of author Porsche Nelson who had gone to, if I remember correctly, a writers workshop where the students were given five index cards and asked to write their life story. This is what she wrote:

 

Chapter One:
I walk down the street. There’s a deep hole in the sidewalk. I fall in. I’m lost. I’m helpless. It isn’t my fault and it takes forever to find a way out.

Chapter Two:
I walk down the same street. There’s a deep hole in the sidewalk. I pretend I don’t see it. I fall in again. I can’t believe I’m in the same place. It isn’t my fault. It still takes a long time for me to get out.

Chapter Three:
I walk down the same street. There’s a deep hole in the sidewalk. I see it there. I still fall in. It’s a habit but my eyes are open. I know where I am and it’s my own fault and I get out immediately.

Chapter Four:
I walk down the same street. There’s a deep hole in the sidewalk. I walk around it.

Chapter Five:
Finally, I walk down another street.

Powerful stuff ay?

To your well-being 🙂

Linda x

Herbed Cream Cheese on Cress

Herbed Creamed Cheese on Cress-pinterest

This is a delicious herb feast!

(Another recipe from ‘Cooking for Today’)

If you haven’t got access to all the herbs, improvise by using more of those you have got.

 

 

 

Ingredients

1 punnet of mustard and cress

1 tablespoon each of the following herbs (chopped):

parsley

dill

chives

borage

lemon balm

basil

1 teaspoon of chopped thyme

1 clove of garlic

1 teaspoon of grated lemon rind

1 tablespoon of whipping cream

8 oz / 225g / 1 cup of cream cheese

3 oz. / 75g. /⅓ cup of butter

Method:

  1. Soften the butter and beat together with the cream cheese until smooth.
  2. Stir in the cream and lemon rind
  3. Peel and chop the garlic and stir into the cream cheese mixture with all the chopped herbs
  4. Place in a small bowl and chill for 4-5 hours.
  5. Wash the mustard and cress, drain well and arrange on a plate. Turn out the cheese mixture on top.

I like the idea of the herby cream cheese dressing – it would probably go well with lots of different salads.

Bon appetit!

Linda x

Celery Juicing

Celery-pinterest

Celery Juicing is big news! My daughter is a fan and turned me onto it the other day. Although it’s probably best to drink it first thing in the morning to get the full benefits, I tried it later in the day and after a good nights sleep, had the most productive day I’ve had for ages!

Yes, it could have been coincidence but there are a lot of healthy vitamins and other stuff in celery so it’s definitely worth a try.

Celery stalks and leaves can be used and you should allow a whole bunch for a couple of small glasses. I used to grow a lot of celery when I lived in France but didn’t have a juicer back then and I doubt if I would have thought about juicing celery anyway!

Celery juice is said to reduce blood pressure and sugar levels among other things.
NB: Google health benefits of celery or celery juice and always double check with your doctor if you are self medicating.

Because celery has been considered to be a herb for centuries I included it one of my herb books. The following text is the intro to growing celery and you’ll find tips on growing this superfood as a herb or as a ‘juicing’ vegetable. 🙂

About Celery

Although we consider it to be a vegetable, celery has been used as a herb for centuries. It was very important in Roman cuisine and also used medicinally. Celery was developed and cultivated into the vegetable we know today during the 17th century in Italy and later became popular in other parts of Europe.

Celery herb grows wild in many parts of Europe, Africa, South and North America, but will not develop the blanched stalk unless cultivated. Grown as a vegetable in the kitchen garden, a few leaves can be picked and used in the kitchen for flavouring before the stalks have matured.

Wild celery, apium graveolens, is more resistant to pests and diseases than cultivated varieties.

Medicinal uses for Celery

Celery is used in Ayurvedic medicine for bronchial problems, including asthma, wind and as a nerve tonic. Seeds collected when ripe are used to distill into oil and dried into powders. Seed sold for cultivation shouldn’t be used medicinally.

Text taken from Growing 20 Everyday Herbs

website-20everydayherbs

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To your good health!

Linda x

 

 

 

Moving House

Moving Housepinterest

Oh, the joy of moving house! Moving is apparently one of the most stressful things you can do but, with a little planning and, hopefully, the knowledge that you are moving somewhere nicer it can be a lot less stressful and some of it may actually be fun!

One of the things I concentrated on before I re-located was de-cluttering…. wow, did I have some excess stuff! Everything I owned got the third degree in the months before the big day.
-Do I need it?
-Do I want it?
-Can I do without it?
Well, some of the things I gave away I kind of miss for their practicality – a couple of units that just wouldn’t fit in the van for instance – but in all honesty they wouldn’t have suited my new home, so hey, something new maybe just around the corner.

But big stuff aside, if you’ve been living in your home for a few years and you have a family, chances are there’s a fair amount of clutter you don’t really want or need anymore. When I started de-cluttering the small stuff my local charity shop couldn’t believe their luck. At one point, their shop window looked like my ex-sitting room 🙂

So, if you’re moving home or you just need to re-claim some space, start from the top and take each room/cupboard or drawer in turn. By taking baby steps, overwhelm doesn’t get you and you may find some long lost bits and pieces you thought had gone forever!

I like to follow some simple steps when I tackle a big job so, if you’re like me and could do with a little guidance through the craziness, I put together a step by step process you can download below.

Enjoy the space!
Linda x

De-Cluttering

 

De-Cluttering

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Pink Loveliness

clematisThese beautiful clematis flowers bloomed after just a couple of days of Cornish sunshine. I couldn’t remember what they were called – and I call myself a gardener, tut tut!
My daughter suggested pink loveliness 🙂 which I think suits them much better than the real name which, according to a gardener friend, is actually
‘Clematis Montana Rubens’
It may be too late to plant this year but if you’re planning a pretty garden next year, these must be worth considering. I had a quick look online at Thompson & Morgan’s website – they have a huge selection of clematis and other flowers. Here’s the link if you feel like admiring the beautiful blooms 🙂 Thompson & Morgan

I hope the sun’s shining in your world today

Linda x

Lazy Cook got Tasty!

Lazy Cook got Tasty! pinterest

I am a lazy cook. My excuse is that after cooking for a family of six for years, I’m slightly allergic to kitchens… but really? Actually I used to love to bake, which is probably why I’ve been binge watching the Great British Bake Off on Netflix… ho hum….

So, down to business. I’ve very recently re-located to a beautiful house in Cornwall and sharing it with my grown up son who’s been cooking for the super rich in the south of France for years and puts my lazy dinners to shame! But the best part of this new home is that I have a garden … pure bliss … and I can start growing herbs again.

Herbs can cover a multitude of sins and bring super tastes to an otherwise bland meal. When I lived in France and grew plenty of herbs (and fruit and vegetables) I got away with my lazy cooking skills and now I’m learning from a top chef I can’t wait for my plants to get going.

So, if you’re longing for tingling taste buds and nutritious and delicious dinners, get some herbs growing now. Herbs can be grown on a windowsill or in a bright spot in the house as long as you remember to water them. The house I lived in before this one was painfully dark, damp, cold and oh dear I’m not going there. I was grateful for the roof over my head but that’s about all!

There are a few herby downloads over on this page that you can be immersed in within minutes .. oh, and also I’ve put together an overview of everyday herbs (FREE!) if you would like to check out which herbs to grow before you start.

Happy Eating!

Linda x

P.S. If you grab the Free everyday herbs download I’ll send you an extra surprise gift 🙂

Gardening for Health

healthyhomehobby-pinterest

“In the past few months I’ve been kind of ‘on the road’ but settling nicely into my new house now and thought it was about time I started blogging again! Maybe I’ll write about my exploits another day but for now, having my own garden, but still feeling a bit overweight and sluggish, has inspired and reminded me of all the wonderful health benefits of gardening and a quick article came pouring out 🙂 ………”

 

If you are trying to lose weight and busy counting calories every day. And if you are stressing because you can’t get to the gym, or don’t want to be forking out for gym fees, take heart…. there’s a revolutionary new way to lose weight without the struggle and you’ll tone up your body too.

Actually, it isn’t revolutionary at all, but simply a natural way of life that probably kept our ancestors from being overweight and will benefit you and your descendants for generations to come… yep – get out in the garden!

Gardening For Health on a regular basis:

Weather permitting, you should aim to get into the garden for at least 30 minutes every day, even if you ‘re just pottering or planning next season’s flower display. Regular gardening actually burns about the same amount of calories as cycling. It also provides you and your family with food, herbs for medicinal, cosmetic or culinary preparations, and flowers to brighten up your home and keep that ‘feel-good’ feeling right through the year.

The healthiest foods are organic fresh fruit and vegetables and you can eat just about as many as you can without fear of putting on weight. Fruit and veg are high in vitamin and mineral content and most have barely a trace of fat, if any.

*************************************

Grow your own organic vegetables to make the finest meals for your family….Gardening for health at it’s best!

gardeningforhealth

Thompson and Morgan (UK) are online award winning suppliers of seeds and other products and they have some great pictures to drool over!

Gardening for health with Thompson and Morgan UK 

Gardening For Health continued…

Raw foods are great for the digestion and the chewing reflex. Chewing for longer makes us feel fuller and so we don’t feel the need to supplement our diet with a bag of crisps or other snacks.

A bar of chocolate takes very little time to bite, chew and swallow, so when it’s gone we look around for more. A plate of salad will take ages to chew and swallow, satisfying the chewing and all digestive needs so we feel much fuller. If you ever thought salad doesnt fill you up and is only good for rabbits (?!) think again! It’s full of vitamins and minerals so will feed your body with the fuel it requires, it contains so few calories they are hardly worth counting and it will fill you up.

The vitamins in fresh fruit and vegetables are, in their raw state, the best fuel for your body. Tomatoes are an exception to this rule.

Cooked tomatoes are said to be better for you than raw, but the difference is minimal so don’t feel you have to have cooked tomatoes with your salad! When you’re gardening for health, you don’t have to be too fussy – the vitamins and minerals are there for the taking 🙂

Mix in a few sunflower and pumpkin seeds for the natural oils, and even more healthy vitamins.

If you have the time stroll around the garden in the morning before breakfast and pick a few veggies to eat on your walk round. Chew on a few mange tout, or sugar snap peas and you’ll probably find by the time you go back in the house for breakfast, you’ll only need a yoghurt or a small bowl of cereal to keep you going for the whole morning.

Don’t get hung up with fad diets or crazy exercise routines. Although, having said that, a short exercise routine every day does benefit you in that it will give you more energy and help tone those dodgy bits :-). And a balanced low fat (and low sugar) diet should be enough to maintain your weight or lose a few pounds if you need to.

If you do need to lose a fair amount of weight simply reduce your portions, drink lots of water and be aware of what you’re eating – fresh raw vegetables straight from your garden will satisfy that snacking habit anytime.

NB: Don’t overdo things in the garden. Remember gardening for health not backache!

Happy Gardening!
Linda x
P.S. This quick download will help you get the most from your crops. Ten everyday vegetables are included with healthy reasons and a few easy recipes for every veggie!

Growing EverydayVegetables

 

Growing Everyday Vegetables
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Enjoy!

 

Growing Apples & Pears

GrowingApplesandPears-pinterest

I’ve been having a bit of a tec-detox recently but now it’s that time again – Spring just around the corner bringing with it some blue skies and sunshine we hope. Many plants are getting ready for their growing season so, depending on your regional climate, some trees and shrubs can be planted now – in milder climates you could even be planting out your garlic cloves or onion sets around.

If you have a little backyard space, start your own organic fruit crops this year. How about apples and pears? There are many different varieties available. Do a little research in your area and see which types local growers are having success with – or ask at your local garden centre.

tandmfruit

If you are in the UK and prefer to buy online, Thompson & Morgan has this wonderful collection of fruit trees on special offer at the moment saving nearly £20.

Fruit Tree Collection

 

Here’s an extract from one of my growing guides – Apples and Pears – I’ll P.S. the details

Choosing your plants

Apples:
From sweet soft varieties through to large hard cooking apples, the choice is huge. Choose a variety you like to eat! Many hybrid varieties are designed to be trained on a fence or similar structure.
Always check on pollination requirements as you may need to buy more than one tree. Often apple trees are sold as one or two year old plants. Apples will produce fruit from its third year of growth and in the right conditions will produce fruit for decades.

Pears:
Varieties of pears sold in supermarkets are usually limited to one or two but there are many varieties you could grow at home.
Conference pears are self-pollinating but will produce more fruit if pollinated by another variety. Check on pollination requirements before buying.
Pear trees are usually sold as two or three year old plants. They don’t produce fruit until their fifth year of growth but can go on to produce fruit for sixty years!

Checklist for both apple and pear tree buying:
-Check pollination requirements
-Look at planting and pruning instructions
-Make sure the bark and roots are healthy and undamaged before buying
-Consider the potential size of your tree.

Apples and pears can be bought as ‘cordons’ that stay small but crop well. They are ideal for a small space and can be grown successfully against a south facing wall or fence.
Small bush varieties are suitable for a slightly larger garden and if you have an acre or two, you could always go for the full-sized versions!

Happy Gardening!
Linda x

P.S. This growing guide will help you get the most from your apple and pear trees.

ApplesandPears

 

‘How to Grow Apples & Pears’

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