Ye Olde Potato Recipes

More century old recipes with potatoes this time…

potatorecipes

Cracked Potatoes.

Prepare and boil new potatoes and, when ready to serve, crack each by pressing lightly upon it with the back of a spoon, lay them in a hot dish, salt to taste, and pour over them a cup of hot single cream or rich milk.

Scalloped Potatoes.

Peel the potatoes and slice thinly; put them in layers in an ovenproof dish and dredge each layer lightly with flour and salt. Pour over enough good, rich milk to cover well. Cover, and bake slowly till tender, removing the cover just long enough before the potatoes are done, to brown nicely. If preferred, a little less milk may be used, and a cup of thin cream added when the potatoes are nearly done.

“A little crushed garlic or chopped herbs could be sprinkled over each layer if liked.”

Potato Puff.

Mix a pint of mashed potato (cold is just as good if free from lumps) with a half cup of cream and the well-beaten yolk of an egg; salt to taste and beat till smooth; lastly, stir in the white of the egg beaten to a stiff froth. Pile up in a rocky form on a bright tin dish, and bake in a quick oven until heated throughout and lightly browned. Serve at once.

Potato Balls.

Mash some boiled potatoes with a little butter, pepper, salt, chopped parsley, chopped onion or shallot, and add a few savoury herbs. Mix up one or two (or more) well-beaten eggs, according to the quantity of potato, roll the mixture into balls, flour them, and fry them a nice brown colour. Serve hot.

Potato Croquettes or Cutlets.

These are very similar to potato balls, only they should be smaller and more delicately flavoured. Boil and mash potatoes. Drain, and for a rich mixture, mix in two hard-boiled yolks of eggs. Flavour mixture with finely chopped or grated shallot, savoury herbs or thyme, chopped parsley, and a little nutmeg.
Stir in one or two well-beaten eggs. Roll mixture into small balls no bigger than a walnut. (“Flatten slightly to form a ‘burger’ shape.”) These are then dipped in well-beaten egg, and then bread-crumbs. Fry in hot oil until a nice golden-brown colour and serve hot.

Potatoes Γ  la Barigoule.

Peel some potatoes and boil them in a little water with some oil, pepper, salt, onions, and savoury herbs. Boil them slowly, so that they can absorb the liquor; when they are done, brown them in a frying pan in a little oil, and serve them to be eaten with oil and vinegar, pepper and salt.

These are all very different from my usual repertoire of baked, roasted or mashed! Might try a few of them though…

Bon Appetit!

Linda x

 

Garden Water Features

GardenWaterFeatures-pinSomething to consider while planning your outdoor space this year….

Garden Water features are a relatively new fashion in the west. According to the feng shui experts, water features in the east are simply a way of life.

*Sitting on top of a cliff watching the waves break against the rocks is exhilarating.
*Relaxing in the countryside watching and listening to a river flowing nearby is calming.

Creating a water feature in your own space is both exhilarating and calming….. and excellent feng shui!

 
Decide on your plot

Although water features are a lot more productive ( and easier to keep clean ) if positioned in full sun, many small water features, fountains or waterfalls can be positioned in a more shady corner of your garden.

Make some plans first. Consider:
– The overall size of your water feature
– Sunny or shady position?
– Waterfall or fountain ? Or both?
– Will you keep fish?
– Rocks and stones to place around the pond / waterfall
– Water friendly plants and flowers – if your pond is in full sun, you will need to cover around two thirds of the surface with plants (water lilies for example)
Let your imagination run free and sketch some ideas or make lists of ideas for your garden water feature.
NB: Building and maintaining a large garden water feature isn’t necessarily cheap, and budget should be considered before you start your project.

waterfeature-amazon

Amazon have all sorts of water garden features , like this fun solar powered creation

Solar Powered Buckets and Tap Water Feature

Read all you can before taking on a water gardens project. And talk to those who’ve done it. You don’t need to take ALL the advice you’ll get, but some of it will be very useful. Know what’s in store before you start.

Garden water features are a stunning addition to a regular home garden, and encourage plenty of wildlife….

Frogs and toads will beat a path to your door when you have an outside water supply. They are great tenants and eat all sorts of bugs and slugs.

You may have to net your pond to protect the fish from birds – and possibly kittens and toddlers?

Encourage children to spend time in your water garden. Much healthier than the play station!

Grow flowers around your pond to encourage bees and butterflies. You could build a miniature rockery, and plant rockery plants. The only thing holding you back is your imagination!

Happy Gardening!
Linda x

P.S. This is a copy of the 50th content page of my new website – Garden Ideas

Gardening Now

gardeningnow-pinQuite a few years ago I ran a very popular gardening website – I even had an email list!

For various reasons, I had to give it up, but my passion for plants and all things gardening never went away so, drum roll please, I’m doing it once more πŸ™‚

I have a garden again, a small one, but space enough to grow some fabulous herbs and even a few veggies I hope. But, true to my nature, I can’t keep it to myself so I’ll be sharing extracts from my huge collection of articles and books and a few new ideas thrown in for good measure.

At the moment I’m doing it via a free platform but if it takes off, I’ll get a proper domain name. Here’s the link if you’d like to take a look, although it is a work in progress so not fully populated yet. Garden Ideas

The plants section has some great tips on growing flowers, fruits, veggies and herbs. And there are a few general gardening ideas and decor pages but that’s about it for now!

I’ll keep you posted as and when new stuff gets published, but start planning your gardening endeavours now so you’re ready for spring planting…

Happy Gardening!

Linda x

P.S. Now’s the time to start planning your next garden adventure! Just posted a new page with some great outdoor decor ideas – 10 Stunning Outdoor Decorations

 

 

 

 

Asparagus Recipes

AsparagusRecipes-pin

More olden style recipe ideas. This time it’s asparagus in the spotlight. Personally I love asparagus and tend to fry it gently in olive oil for a few minutes or grill it but there are other ways …. πŸ™‚

“I would prefer to read ‘steam’ rather than simmer or boil, but whatever works for you is good!”

 

Kitchen Garden Asparagus Recipes

Asparagus Points. -Cut off enough heads in two-inch lengths to make three pints. Gently boil until tender, drain off the water, add a half cup of cream, and salt if desired. Serve at once.

“This seems a little wasteful as read, but the rest of the asparagus stalks can be made into a soup or simply steamed and served as they are.”

Asparagus on Toast. -Cook the asparagus until tender, drain and place on slices of lightly cooked toast moistened slightly with the asparagus water. Pour over all a cream sauce prepared as directed below.

Asparagus with Cream Sauce. -Thoroughly wash asparagus, tie in small bunches, and put into boiling water; boil till perfectly tender. Drain thoroughly, untie the bunches, place the stalks all the same way upon a hot plate, with a dressing prepared as follows: Let a pint of cream come to boiling point, and stir into it salt to taste and a level tablespoonful of flour creamed with a little (cold) cream.

Asparagus with Egg Sauce. -Prepare and cook asparagus as directed above. When tender, drain thoroughly, and serve on a hot dish or on slices of lightly browned toast, with an egg sauce prepared in the following manner:
Heat a half cup of rich milk to boiling, add salt, and turn into it, very slowly, the well-beaten yolk of an egg, stirring constantly at the same time. Let the whole just thicken, and remove from heat at once. Pour over asparagus and serve hot.

Stewed Asparagus. -Wash, break into inch pieces and simmer till tender. Add sufficient rich milk, part cream if convenient, to make a gravy, thicken slightly with flour, a teaspoonful to a pint of milk; add salt if desired, boil quickly, and serve.

Asparagus and Peas. -Asparagus and green peas make a nice dish served together, and if of proportionate age, require the same length of time to cook. Wash the asparagus, shell and look over the peas, put together into boiling water, cook, and serve as directed for stewed asparagus above.

“Sooooo much cream again! Nice treat from time to time but it’s probably best to experiment with lower fat alternatives whenever possible.”

Bon Appetit!

Linda x

 

The Natural Garden

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Be at one with nature…

A natural garden encourages birds, bees and butterflies – and frogs, toads and lizards to a friendly environment.

Letting a garden go back to nature doesn’t always achieve this result. Sometimes nature needs a little help…..

Some years ago, my partner and I bought an acre of neglected woodland in France.

The land had been left to it’s own devices for many years and the undergrowth and overgrowth had become so entangled, the whole area was slowly dying.

For a natural garden to develop, it needs to breathe. When the brambles get going around young trees, it won’t be long before they are strangling the tree and eventually kill it. Brutal huh?! Deciding what must stay and what must go isn’t always easy.
First get rid of the heavy duty predators! Get them under control, or they will control you! Limit a bramble patch to a small area of the garden and cut back every year after fruiting. Enjoy the wild blackberries, or leave them to the birds – the choice is yours.

The same with nettles – Nettles are great in a natural garden. Not only do they encourage butterflies, they are also a good source of human nourishment – Nettles are high in iron and vitamin C and make great soup! BUT they will take over the whole plot if not contained. Again, limit their growth.

If you have a number of trees in your garden, serious decisions are needed. Don’t cut in haste! Be prepared to lose a few trees along the way though. We were obliged to cut down a number of large trees and it was heart wrenching to see them lying on the floor. BUT they were stealing light from the land and worse – leaning on other trees, passing on viruses, lifting the tiles off the roof of the house! etc;

thenaturalgarden2

When we started making sense of our woodland/giant bramble patch, the task was enormous and we approached the ‘natural garden’ project on a day to day basis, discovering forgotten paths, fruit trees the birds had obviously planted, wild flowers we had no names for, luminous green lizards, and even the odd snake skin, shed by a rather large snake I guess!

We wanted to create a natural garden from a natural mess. Nature hadn’t been kind to our acre of land, and it was up to us to put it right. What a responsibility!!
Our priorities were WITH nature and not against it, so we went with the lay of the land as much as possible, and now the garden feeds us as well as much of the local wildlife.

We have hazelnut trees but also many red squirrels = NO hazelnuts for us!

There are frogs all over the garden although we still haven’t got a ‘proper’ pond. The frogs live in the vegetable patch and do a great job of keeping the slugs under control.

Creating a natural garden relies more on common sense than great horticultural experience. Keep nature in mind at all times while you plan your garden. Consider:

*wildflowers

*friendly creatures ( frogs, toads etc;)

*the natural lay of the land

*controlling brambles and nettles

*using trees for shade ( adjust seating areas perhaps )

Water is the key to life!

Whatever you do don’t forget the water supplies. Rather than battling with hoses, sprinklers and complicated watering systems, try collecting rain water!

We’ve used this system for years in our garden and it truly works. We keep a water butt next to the greenhouse, and direct the water from the roof through odd scraps of guttering and old pipe.

The reflection from the glass of the greenhouse also warms the water slightly – much better for the small greenhouse plants than direct cold tap water…brrrr!

Find an old plastic container, with a lid to avoid drowning stray mice, cats or hedgehogs. Rig up your water collecting system as best you can. It may take a little trial and error, but persistence will conquer all!

A water storage system is a MUST-HAVE in your natural garden – practical and environment friendly.

Creating a natural garden isn’t just a question of letting nature ‘take its course’. Help it along a little…and you will gain many hours of pleasure from your wild outdoor space – So will the butterflies and bees πŸ™‚ Plant some flowers in strategic places round the garden. Or go for the natural look and save a space for a mini-flower meadow! These wildflower collections are available at Thompson & Morgan UK – the seeds are such a good price, it’s worth having a go at growing flowers even if you have a small space available.

wildflowerseeds

Cornfield Mixture (UK)

Happy Gardening!
Linda x

P.S. Don’t forget to create some seating areas so you can relax and enjoy the moment as often as you can πŸ™‚

Cabbage Recipes

CabbageRecipes-pinThese Kitchen Garden Cabbage Recipes come from a book dating back a hundred years called “Science in the kitchen”.
I’ve been trawling through to find the best of the kitchen garden recipes that can be incorporated into today’s lifestyles. So far cabbage and potatoes seem to come up a lot, as they have always been pretty much staple foods over the years.

In the introduction to my resource for kitchen garden recipes, the author refers to good food being the way to a healthy mind, body and spirit. At the time, housekeepers were berated for not preparing food properly, nowadays we have the processed foods to moan about.

Although processing systems have vastly improved over the decades, the fact remains that well prepared fresh organic food will be healthier for the body than most processed foods….so get those crops going and experiment with new ways of eating them!

This first set of recipe ideas are all about cabbage… haven’t tried them yet so let me know what you think..

Baked Cabbage.β€”Prepare and chop a firm head of young white cabbage, boil until tender, drain, and set aside until nearly cold. Then add two well-beaten eggs, salt to taste, and a half cup of single cream or rich milk. Mix and bake in a pudding dish until lightly browned.

“This would probably be best baked in a medium preheated oven. The time depends on the size of the dish etc;. I would check it every 10-15 minutes”

Cabbage and Tomatoes. -Boil finely chopped cabbage in as little water as possible. When tender, add half the quantity of hot stewed tomatoes, boil together for a few minutes, being careful to avoid burning, season with salt if desired, and serve. If preferred, a little single cream may be added just before serving.

“I haven’t tried it, but I think you could probably use a tin of tomatoes if you haven’t any fresh ones. Heat through first.”

Cabbage Hash. -Chop fine, equal parts of cold boiled potatoes and boiled cabbage, and season with salt. To each quart of the mixture add one half or three quarters of a cup of single cream; mix well and boil till well heated.

“Not sure what a ‘quart’ is in todays weights and measures πŸ™‚ but I would suggest adding cream a little at a time, and judging how much you need as you go.”

Chopped Cabbage or Cabbage Salad. -Take one pint of finely chopped cabbage; pour over it a dressing made of three tablespoonfuls of lemon juice, two tablespoonfuls of sugar, and a half cup of whipped cream, thoroughly beaten together in the order named; or serve with sugar and diluted lemon juice.

Mashed Cabbage. -Cut a fine head of cabbage into quarters, and cook until tender. When cabbage starts to cook, add 3 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters. When vegetables are tender, drain through a colander, press out the water and mash very fine. Season with cream, and salt if desired.

Stewed Cabbage. -Chop cabbage quite finely, and boil for about twenty minutes. Turn into a colander and drain thoroughly; return to the pan, cover with milk, and let it boil till perfectly tender; season with salt and cream to taste. The beaten yolk of an egg, stirred in with the cream, is considered an improvement by some.

“well… I guess there’s all sorts of things you can do with cabbages! They seemed to favour using cream quite a lot, but lower fat alternatives could be used I think.”

Bon Appetit!
Linda x

P.S. Sorting out some asparagus recipes for next time – my favourite veggie πŸ™‚

Goals and Dreams

dreamsandgoals-pinWow, another decade!

I have loads of plans for the coming year – probably too many but I decided to incorporate personal stuff in my goals and schedules this time round. I tend to have vague goals and intentions about my own well-being but this year I’m going for it!

One thing to remember about resolutions and goal setting is that we all tend to over-estimate what we can do in a year but under estimate what we can do in two or more years.

Whether you’re planning on……

losing weight, getting fit, eating well, starting a yoga practise, launching your own business or growing your own food… or a happy mix of all of the above πŸ™‚

..…..take a little time now to draw up a schedule – work out what has to be done daily, weekly, monthly and fill in your calendar or journal – I’ve created a folder specifically for my goals this year.

I started by listing all the things I want to achieve and then breaking them down into doable steps and fitting them in around the stuff that has to be done. Remember to be realistic if you take this approach. If you give yourself too much to do and don’t consider the time it takes, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and lose heart in your dreams and aspirations – there are only 24 hours in a day and you have to eat and sleep!

Be easy on yourself and you’ll find you get more done. We know that 20 minutes of meditation daily results in an hour’s worth of productivity. If that works for you, factor it in to your schedule now. But if it becomes a chore, change your approach. Meditation moments throughout the day are just as beneficial.

Setting goals is important to help us grow and achieve our desires but those goals must be realistic. When we emphatically declare that we are going to lose 3 kilos by the end of the month, the underlying feeling of denying ourselves can rear its ugly head and before we know it, we ‘treat’ ourselves to a donut and a latte. Ouch.

Maybe scale it down. Be happy to lose 1 or 2 kilos.

Have you been longing to launch your own business, but can’t give up the day job yet? Difficult because, again, there are only so many hours in a day. If that’s you, baby steps are a must. Even if you just grab a couple of hours at the weekend or in the evenings, a strategic approach will move your plans forward. You may have to brush up on how to create a business plan first. That’s okay. It’s all part of the process.

Be specific. If you start the year with a vague resolution such as ‘I’m giving up the day job this year’, unless you work out the alternatives and create a loose or fixed plan, it won’t happen. However much we may or may not believe in the monetary system, it’s necessary to survive, so if you have a wage, you won’t want to give it up until you’ve secured an alternate surce of income.

One of my goals this year is to learn Portuguese. It’s a challenging language to learn and I may never live in Portugal to exercise my skills but I enjoy languages and I find the learning process helps me overcome feelings of unworthiness or lack of confidence. There is always an up-side to doing something you love!

Happy 2020 everyone. Wishing you peace, love and happiness now and always.

Linda x

“Growing Mushrooms”

Yes I’m posting this on Christmas eve – just taking a moment to consider next year’s projects. Fungi is featuring large at the moment!

Growing mushrooms at home is very do-able, with the right growing conditions, to produce a bumper crop. Fungi are just as nutritious as vegetables and don’t have to be treated as a luxury crop.

treemushrooms

They have their own particular seasons, and different species of fungi require different conditions to thrive. They taste good too πŸ™‚ and can be grown in kit form throughout the year. Add them to the family meal every night .. mm, how good is that!

Growing mushrooms – Collecting wild species:

There are hundreds of different species of fungi. Fungi have an important role to play in the natural world around us. Some aid growth of other plants and trees, some will poison those same plants.

NB: Never eat any form of fungi without a positive identification first. Some wild varieties really are highly dangerous and should not be eaten.

However, once you know what to look for, collecting wild food is a rewarding and tasty experience! As a family, we have collected and eaten chanterelles, giant puff balls, shaggy ink caps, field mushrooms, and, my particular favourite, ‘chicken-of-the-woods’. The chicken-of-the-woods fungi lives on the bark of trees like the beefsteak fungi.

One sizeable ‘chicken-of-the-woods’ will feed a family for 2 days. And it really is delicious!

GrowingMushrooms-fb

Growing mushrooms – Life cycle:

Mushrooms are the fruit of a fungi, as a pear of a pear tree. The fungi lives under leaves, in grassland, under the bark of trees and anywhere else that suit them!

When conditions are right fungi will produce its fruit -which starts to deteriorate almost as soon as it’s fully grown and therefore should be picked and eaten while still young.

Wine growers have to be very precise in the timing of their harvest of grapes and fungi enthusiasts need to develop that same skill. But luckily it’s not that hard!

Watch how they develop and decay. It all happens over a couple of days. A scientific experiment and a little research won’t take up much of your time and will benefit you and your family in the long run.

Using a kit will demonstrate the life cycle beautifully… the three stages are:

-spawning: the spawn is established in a growing medium

-pinning: Tiny pin heads of mycelium appear

-fruiting: the developing mushroom

 
Growing Mushrooms – the kit:

If you’ve never grown them before, a kit really will help with the fungi learning curve!

Each stage of development requires different conditions. Button varieties will develop without light, while other species may require light during one or more of its stages of development.

They can also be grown in those out of the way dark corners in the garden, where nothing else will grow. Many varieties can be grown outside in mild climates. They rarely cope with very low temperatures though and should be grown indoors during cold weather conditions.

oystermushrooms-amazon

There are loads of kits on Amazon. This one caught my eye!

The easiest mushroom Growing Kit on the market
Unique viability guarantee – 100% success every time
Grow your own delicious mushrooms at home
Excellent gift
Excellent educational product for children

 

Growing mushrooms for Nutrition:

Growing mushrooms not only adds a special taste to every meal, mushrooms also have plenty of nutritious qualities!

They are relatively high in protein, low in fat, high in fibre, and they also contain a range of vitamins. Lots of great reasons to grow your own.

They have been found to have anti-cancer properties and can help with all kinds of medical conditions, from menopausal problems to immune system deficiencies. If you are really getting into growing mushrooms you may want to find out more about them.. try The Mushroom Council – Their factsheets are fascinating. And they’ve got loads of mushroom recipes!

And this looks interesting – Although it’s been out for a few years now, this book is still a best-seller of it’s genre. On my wishlist!

mushroombook

Mycelium Running: A Guide to Healing the Planet Through Gardening with Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms
Mycelium Running is a manual for the mycological rescue of the planet. That’s right: growing more mushrooms may be the best thing we can do to save the environment, and in this groundbreaking text from mushroom expert Paul Stamets, you’ll find out how.

 

Let me know how you get on if you decide to have a go at saving the world with fungi!

Best wishes for a happy holiday πŸ™‚

Linda x

Florentines

There’s so much fruit in these delicious cookies that I’m over-riding my healthy eating conscience – again! Found in The Chocolate Book by Valerie Barratt

Florentines-fb

Ingredients to make 8-10

2oz. (50g.) butter
2oz. (50g.) sugar
1oz. (25g.) all purpose (plain) flour, sieved
2oz. (50g.) almonds, blanched and chopped
2oz. (50g.) candied peel, chopped
1oz. (25g.) raisins, chopped
1oz. (25g.) glace cherries, washed and chopped
rind of half a lemon, finely grated
4oz. (125g.) plain chocolate

Method

1. Line baking trays with non-stick waxed paper and pre-heat oven to Gas mark 4 (180C)
2. Put the butter and sugar in a pan and gently heat until melted
3. Remove pan from the heat and stir in the flour
4. Add the almonds, peel, raisins, cherries and lemon rind and stir well.
5. Put teaspoons of the mixture well apart on the baking trays
6. Bake in the pre-heated oven for bout 10 minutes or until golden brown
7. While still warm, press the edges of the biscuits gently back into shape. Leave to cool on the baking sheets.
8. When cool, carefully lift the florentines onto a wire rack
9. Melt the chocolate and spread over the smooth sides of the florentines. When the chocolate begins to set, mark wavy lines into it with a fork. Then leave to set.

Bon Appetit!
Linda x

P.S. I was a little confused that 4oz. (of chocolate) equals 125g. when 2oz of everything else equals 50g. But as it allows us more chocolate, I’m going with it!

P.P.S. How about making a few that fit in a box and separating them with waxed paper. Lovely gift idea πŸ™‚

These favour boxes at Amazon are pretty cool and they are very inexpensive!

giftpaperboxesVintage Favor Gift Paper Boxes Chic
These party favours boxes are beautiful enough for wedding favours, party favours, sweet, confetti, candy, chocolate, small gift and jewelry, and other gadget.it also suitable for nuts sugars tea leaves hand make biscuits small gifts

There are more chocolate delights over at Simply Chocolate (my personal indulgence!)

Chocolate is Good for you!

chocolateisgoodforyou

When you think of how many steps the cocoa bean has to go through before it reaches our eager taste-buds, it’s incredible it ever gets here!

The cocoa bean pod, growing as big or bigger than our hands, contains beans which are extracted, then fermented, dried, roasted and turned into a chocolate liquer which then goes through more processing before it gets wrapped in a package and shipped to our stores…..phew.

But that’s just in today’s world!

Chocolate has been consumed in various forms for literally thousands of years. Not the commercially produced milk chcocolate that we know, love and try to avoid these days but in a much more natural form.

Here are some quick chocolate facts that have been well documented…

1. The Mayan civilization believed cacao – later the word was changed to cocoa – was a food sent to them by the Gods.

2. The Aztecs also revered and chocolate and considered it to be a food from the Gods

3. Ancient civilizations used chocolate as a healing aid for many ailments, including burns and sores.

4. There are a couple of different theories of when chocolate came to Europe but what is sure is that by the late sixteenth century, chocolate was well established in Spain and other European countries.

5. For most of the 1800’s, chcocolate was enjoyed as a drink, mixed with milk or water. In the French culture, many people still enjoy a bowl of hot chocolate for breakfast – with maybe a pain au chocolat or a croissant.

6. Chocolate contains vitamins and minerals, many of which we can use efficiently in our bodies.

7. Dark chocolate – with cocoa solids of 85% – has been scientifically shown to have anti-oxidant properties and has become a ‘heart healthy’ food. We seem to have come full circle on this one!

I go into this a bit more on my new Simply Chocolate website – Simply Chocolate – there are a few recipes for you chocaholics as well!

Enjoy!
Linda x

P.S. I found most of the fascinating facts in a book called ‘Chocolate’ by Margaret Briggs. It’s on Amazon if you’d like to check it out….

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‘Chocolate’ by Margaret Briggs