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Boom time for berries – Telegraph

I made it. As the name implies, a selection of...

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Boom time for berries – Telegraph.

For a really good fruiting year you need a whole set of circumstances. The first is that the previous autumn is warm and long, so that the fruiting wood has plenty of time to grow.

Then you need the previous winter to have been properly cold. A lot of fruit trees are programmed to only produce fruit after a truly cold winter. With the trend for warmer winters, this spark to fruit production has been lacking.

The cold also kills off huge numbers of the pests and parasites that can destroy the flower buds and the nascent fruit. It cleans the environment into which the new blossom will emerge.

November 10, 2010 Posted by | environmental, gardens, natural, recipe | , , , , | Leave a comment

gulfnews : Story of a rare spice

Picture taken at a Indian spice store

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gulfnews : Story of a rare spice.

via gulfnews : Story of a rare spice.

But the old apothecaries were more cautious with nutmeg than with other spices. The Salerno School decreed: “One nut is good for you, the second will do you harm, the third will kill you.” That isn’t strictly true but in large doses nutmeg can be intoxicating. Its oil contains myristicin: in large doses this acts as a deliriant, while causing palpitations, convulsions, nausea, dehydration and pain. It is fatal to a number of animals, including dogs.

The Dutch, who had time to get to know nutmeg, add it to most of their vegetable dishes. It is also popular in Quebec. The spice is popular in historical spheres of Moorish influence but not, oddly, in India.

In England, nutmegs are essential to the spiced foods of Christmas, to custard tarts and to the mealy, stodgy brood of national puddings. It has an affinity with cinnamon and can often take its place. It is lovely in mashed potato.

Of course, the spice is almost universally available today. Jars on supermarket shelves don’t begin to hint at its past. But the story of food can sometimes be the story of humanity, and nowhere does that seem more true than in the case of nutmeg, the headiest, most alluring, most blood-soaked of the spices.

October 31, 2010 Posted by | cooking, death, global, health, history, medicine, recipe | , , , | Leave a comment

Indian Recipes Samar Halarnkar “Our Daily Bread”: Hindustan Times

List of vegetables in Assam

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My Srinagar garam masala
2 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp fennel (saunf) seeds
1 tsp sesame seeds
1 tsp poppy seeds
2-inch piece of cinnamon (dalchini)
12 dried red chillies (Kashmiri chillies, or any other)
2 black cardamoms
5 green cardamoms
12 cloves
Roast these spices on a medium flame until the seeds start to snap and crackle. Stir constantly for a minute, as the aromas release, but take care not to let them burn and blacken. Either pound the spices in a mortar pestle or in a mixie (which is what I normally use). Empty into an airtight glass bottle.

Once I had my masala, I found it enough for these three dishes.

Serves 4

Roast chicken with Srinagar masala
1 full chicken, skin intact
4 tbsp Srinagar garam masala
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup rum
Salt to taste
Marinate the full chicken, skin intact but slashed with a knife, with the garam masala and olive oil. Add salt and rum (I always use Old Monk). Let it marinate for 4 hours, at least. Place chicken in a casserole with lid and roast on oven mark 4 (or 180 degrees Celsius) for 2 hours or slightly more. You may not need to do anything for the first hour. Use the liquid released to periodically baste the chicken as it starts to brown. Serve whole, with roasted potatoes and onions if you wish. Carve on the table. It should yield to the first plunge of the knife.

Serves 4

Eggplant with coriander and sesame seeds
12-14 small eggplants, quartered or smaller
1 large onion, sliced
1 large tomato, chopped fine
2 tsp coriander seeds, roughly pounded
2 tsp sesame seeds
3 tsp Srinagar garam masala
11/2 tsp ginger-garlic paste (better, use freshly chopped ginger and garlic)
1 tbsp olive oil (more if needed)
Salt to taste
Splutter the sesame seeds in gently heated olive oil in a non-stick pan. Add the coriander seeds and stir for 30 seconds. Add the onion and sauté until translucent. Add ginger and garlic. Add the Srinagar garammasala and sauté (with a dash of red-wine vinegar or water) till the masala blends. Add the tomato and toss well. Add eggplant and sauté until well done. Adjust masala if you wish. Top with fresh coriander or parsley (I used parsley) and serve hot.

Serves 4

Couscous with peppers, zucchini and Srinagar masala
1 large cup of couscous
1 zucchini, cut lengthwise and sliced into slim half-circles
1 red pepper, cut into 1/4-inch pieces or juliennes
1 yellow pepper, ditto
5 large garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp sesame seeds
1 tsp Srinagar garam masala
2 tsp parsley, finely chopped
1/2 tsp coriander seeds, pounded
Salt to taste
Lay the couscous on a flat dish. Pour boiling water or vegetable stock, as per instructions on couscous packet. Add a few drops of olive oil, salt and fluff up with a fork. In 1 tbsp of olive oil, splutter sesame seeds. Add the garlic and sauté until it starts to brown. Add zucchini and sauté. Add salt. Sprinkle the masala and toss. Add 1 tbsp of red-wine vinegar or orange juice while sautéing. Add peppers and toss for a minute before taking off flame. Pour the vegetables over the couscous. Sprinkle with parsley and pounded coriander seeds. If this is too vegetarian for you, add-as I did-leftover kebabs or sausages (after chopping into small pieces) to the couscous.

October 11, 2010 Posted by | culture, India, recipe, social | , , , , | Leave a comment

Recession Tomato Soup



-3 28 ounce cans whole, peeled tomatoes, juices drained and reserved

-2 Tbsp brown sugar

-5 shallots, minced

-2 Tbsp tomato paste

-1/4 tsp ground allspice

-1 1/2 tsp thyme

-1 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

-3 Tbsp unsalted butter

-3 Tbsp flour

-3 cups chicken broth


-Heat oven to 450

-Line 2 baking sheets with foil. Open cans of tomatoes and pour them into a strainer over a bowl separating the tomatoes from their juice. Use you fingers to open the tomatoes and scoop out the seeds (you can trash them). Place tomatoes flat on the foil lined baking sheet and sprinkle with brown sugar. Bake for 30 minutes. Let the tomatoes cool.

-Mince shallots. Set aside.

-Heat butter in a stock pot on medium until foaming. Add shallots, tomato paste and spices. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the shallots are soft, about 10 minutes.

-Add flour to the shallots and cook until combined, about 30 seconds. Gradually add reserved tomato juice, chicken broth and roasted tomatoes. Bring the soup to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer on low, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.

-Remove the pot from the heat and strain the soup to separate the solids from the liquids. Put the solids in a blender with 2 cups of the liquid and puree until smooth. Return the puree to the pot with the rest of the liquid and return the pot to the stove. Heat on low for 5 minutes until everything is hot and combined. Correct seasoning with salt, pepper or brown sugar (if too salty).

Serve or store in Tupperware or glass jars for up to a week!

September 13, 2010 Posted by | recipe | , | Leave a comment

Recipe: Polenta Lasagna with Fire Roasted Tomato Sauce « The Left Over Queen

Recipe: Polenta Lasagna with Fire Roasted Tomato Sauce « The Left Over Queen.

August 31, 2010 Posted by | recipe | | Leave a comment

Norah ODonnell: Baby Love: 5 Healthy, Homemade Meals for Infants PHOTOS, RECIPES

Norah ODonnell: Baby Love: 5 Healthy, Homemade Meals for Infants PHOTOS, RECIPES.

August 31, 2010 Posted by | recipe | | Leave a comment

Fresh herbs: The two best ways to preserve them for the winter

Fresh herbs: The two best ways to preserve them for the winter.

August 31, 2010 Posted by | gardens, natural, recipe | | Leave a comment

Perfect guacamole

Perfect guacamole. Photograph: Felicity Cloake
1–3 fresh green chillies, depending on heat, and your taste, finely chopped
2 spring onions, thinly sliced
Handful of fresh coriander, roughly chopped
3 ripe avocados (Hass, the knobbly brown ones, tend to be the creamiest and most flavoursome)
1 ripe medium tomato, cut into 3mm dice
Juice of 1 lime

1. Put a teaspoon each of the chilli, onion and coriander into a pestle and mortar, along with a pinch of coarse salt, and grind to a paste.

2. Peel the avocados and remove the stone. Cut into cubes, then mash into a chunky paste, leaving some pieces intact.

3. Stir the chilli paste into the avocado, and then gently fold in the tomatoes and the rest of the onions, chilli and coriander. Add lime juice and salt to taste. Serve immediately, or cover the surface with cling film and refrigerate.

What’s your perfect guacamole recipe – is the avocado the only sacred ingredient, or would you fight like an Aztec warrior king for onions, coriander, or tomato? Do you prefer it chunky or smooth, is a molcajete worth the money; and has anyone found a good ready-made version?

August 12, 2010 Posted by | recipe | Leave a comment