Just Basil

Just Basil pin

Basil has that gorgeous smell of summer and can and should be added to your meals every day – unless you have an allergy, then definitely ignore that!

Basil is native to southern Asia and the Middle East but will grow as an annual plant in most moderate climates. It was introduced to Europe as a culinary herb in the 16th century.

Basil has, for centuries, been considered to be a herb of love and purity and myths and legends have often been attached to it such as:
The belief that it will open the gates of heaven, or
That a sprig worn in the hair will attract your loved one.
Well, anyway….

It’s been cultivated for thousands of years and been used medicinally as well as in the kitchen for just as long. It was believed to cure many different ailments from coughs and colds through to digestive aids. Perhaps the most common use of basil today is its addition to tomato dishes and many people refer to it as the tomato herb.

Medicinal uses for Basil
Basil belongs to the same family of plants as mint and is considered to be a good digestive aid. Herbalists use it to help cure headaches, constipation and sickness.
A small cup of basil tea after a meal aids digestion.
It has also been used cosmetically to add shine to dull hair.

Storing
Basil is always tastier if used fresh but can be stored by freezing or drying.

To Dry:
Hang sprigs or small bunches upside down in a dark, warm but airy room until dry. Crumble leaves into a sealable glass jar and label. Store out of direct light.

To Freeze:
Freeze whole sprigs quickly on a flat tray and store in the freezer in sealable containers. Label.

Growing
Grow a pot or two on the kitchen windowsill, outside in your herb garden or anywhere in between!

Enjoy 🙂

Linda x

P.S. This is kind of an extract from ’20 Everyday Herbs’ where there’s lots of growing info along with nineteen other everyday herbs you could be enjoying at home… Pop over to Herbs and Healing and you can download from iTunes, Barnes & Noble. Kobo and yes, even Amazon!

Cauliflower and Egg Salad

cauliflowerandeggsalad pin

Cauliflower and Egg Salad

This is a must try for me 🙂 Again from ‘Cooking for Today’. Give it a go!

Ingredients

1 cauliflower

For the Sauce:

2 hard-boiled eggs

1 egg yolk

125 ml/ 4fl. oz / ½ cup oil

2-3 tablespoons of vinegar or lemon juice

1 teaspoon of prepared mustard

2-3 tablespoons of chopped mixed herbs

salt

sugar

 

Method

  1. Place the cauliflower in a pan with the stalk end downwards.
  2. Cover with lightly salted boiling water, bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until tender.
  3. Drain well. Divide into florets and arrange on a serving dish.

Make the sauce:

  1. Shell and halve the hard-boiled eggs.
  2. Press the yolks through a sieve and mix with the egg yolk and a little salt.
  3. Gradually beat in half the oil until thick.
  4. Then mix in the vinegar or lemon juice and the mustard and beat in the remaining oil.
  5. Finely chop the egg whites and fold into the sauce with the herbs.
  6. Adjust the seasoning with salt and sugar to taste and spoon over the cauliflower florets.
  7. Chill for 30 minutes before serving.

Bon Appetit!

Linda x

Holiday Hobby

Lazing on the Beach_

Is it just too boring lying on a sun-drenched white sandy beach all day doing nothing? No? Ok cool, stop reading this, close your eyes and relax.

But, if you get fidgety and you’ve read all the holiday romances you can stomach for now, have a stab at knitting!

Not only is knitting one of the most relaxing hobbies you can have, it’s also creative and practical and could conceivably solve the Christmas present list this year – sorry didn’t mean to use the dreaded C word before summer’s really got going, but hey, it’s not a bad idea if you think about it…..

Had a think? Get onto youtube or get an obliging friend or relative to show you the basics – it’s really not rocket science – and off you go. If you can’t beg borrow or steal the yarn and needles you need, a very small financial outlay may be necessary – but really we are talking affordable here – even for me!

Don’t be put off by thinking you have to knit a scarf… strange how we often assume that …. There are plenty of fun designs out there for beginners. Check out Etsy or pop into your local knitting shop (yes, they tend to be few and far between these days, but if you find one support it by shopping there if you can).

I’ve put together some simple patterns – listed here. You can choose from a couple of different suppliers, download them straight away and get those needles clicking instantly!

Happy Holidays!
Linda x

 

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

Download from your favourite supplier

Amazon US , Amazon UK , iTunes , Kobo , Payhip , Barnes & Noble ,

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

Choose from your favourite supplier….

Amazon US , Amazon UK , iTunes , Kobo , Payhip , Barnes & Noble ,

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