You’ll Never Know who You’ll Find in There!

Good Day Dear Readers!

Hope you all had a lovely weekend as we had a four-day weekend as Chef P took off on Friday and also yesterday.  We did the rounds of Thanet on Friday:  Cliftonville for the kitty food and litter, Ramsgate to the Asian store for noodles, the Green grocer for garlic and chili peppers and  Lidl for fresh veg, then to the farm shop for potatoes and cherries (for mum) and then to Tesco for the bulk of the shopping.

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We picked up our usual 12.5kg/27.5lb bag of potatoes (for a whopping £1.50/$2.27).  Chef P made shepherd’s pie on Sunday and as he was pulling potatoes out of the bag, look who was hiding inside…

It’s a Jimmy Durante Mr. Potato Head!

For you youngsters who don’t know who Mr. Durante is, here’s his picture…

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Hey, I’ve just recently joined Pinterest, so please click on my button over on the right to follow me!

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Chef P took the day off yesterday, so we headed over to Canterbury again.  This is the third time in about as many months.  We stopped for lunch at the Forge Restaurant in Nason’s Department Store and had quite a healthy lunch, although I didn’t take any pictures.  I had an open-faced sandwich of turkey, apple slices and cole slaw on whole wheat bread with a nice little side salad of lettuce, tomato and cucumber and a cup of green tea.

We also stopped in Whittard’s of Chelsea which are the purveyors of fine teas since around 1836 and got myself a box of Gunpowder Green Tea Leaves.

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And here’s a lovely shot of my beautiful lillies that I have out in the front of the house.  I’ve been quite lucky this year that the lily beetles didn’t get to them as badly as they have in the past.  I managed to squash a good many of them this year and I think all the rain kept them away too.

Lovely Lilies

Just a quiet day here at Terri’s Kitchen, so until next time…

♥ Terri  ♥♥

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Green Tea ~ One Lump or Two?

Good Day, Dearest Reader!

Over the past several months, I’ve been reading and hearing about some of the benefits of green tea.  Not that I remember half of what I’ve read about it, but I do know it’s supposed to be good for you in various ways.

So I figured I would do a post on it to inform not only myself, but also you, although you may already know about its benefits.

As last Friday was my birthday, Chef P and I went to Canterbury for the day.  We popped in to the tea and coffee store, Whittard’s.  My mum-in-law wanted some Assam loose leaf tea and I decided to get myself some Green loose leaf tea.  I currently have a green tea blend that I drink on occasion, but wanted to get just some proper green tea.

So what do we know about green tea?  Well here’s the technical facts according to Wikipedia:

Green tea is made solely from the leaves of Camellia sinensis that have undergone minimal oxidation during processing.  Green tea originates in China and has become associated with many cultures throughout Asia.  It has recently become more widespread in the West, where black tea is traditionally consumed.  Many varieties of green tea have been created in countries where they are grown.  These varieties can differ substantially due to variable growing conditions, horticulture production processing, and harvesting time.

Over the last few decades, green tea has been the subject of many medical and scientific studies to determine its health benefit claims with some evidence suggesting that regular green tea drinkers may have a lower risk of developing heart disease and certain types of cancer.

Because of the minimal processing – leaves are steamed instead of fermented – green tea catechins are unique and contain a more concentrated form of epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), which is the active ingredient that many studies have highlighted as the driving force behind green tea benefits.

CAFFEINE

My first cup of the new green tea was first thing in the morning which is quite unusual for me.  My first cup in the morning is usually decaf, whether it be coffee or tea and I don’t have any caffeine until my second cup.  My reasoning for this has to do with my blood sugar and if I have caffeine first thing, it really affects me and not in a good way.  I thought I had heard that green tea was lower in caffeine so wanted to test it out.  I was pleasantly surprised that I didn’t get that shaky feeling that I would when I drink a regular cup of coffee or tea.  Yay, one for me!

It’s difficult to put an exact figure on the amount of caffeine in green tea. Like other drinks from cultivated plants (tea, coffee), there are numerous variables that can alter caffeine content.

Length of brewing time also affects caffeine content so the longer the brew, the higher the caffeine.

One study compared the content of dry matter from tea leaves and found Green Tea had 10-20mg per 1 gram dried matter. Black Tea had 22-28mg per 1 gram dried matter.

One study compared the content of dry matter from tea leaves and found Green Tea had 10-20mg per 1 gram dried matter. Black Tea had 22-28mg per 1 gram dried matter.  So as a general rule, Green Tea has less caffeine than Black Tea.

Green tea is also high in the amino acid L-theanine. This has a calming effect and aides with concentration. There’s a myth that green tea has more caffeine than coffee, but this isn’t true. L-theanine is most likely responsible for this. People will have a different level of alertness when drinking green tea which people mistake for the caffeine’s effect when it is really the effect of L-theanine.

BEAUTY BENEFITS

Traditionally, many types of beauty products have used chemical antioxidants, or vitamins A, C and E as preservatives for their products. Now, with research indicating that green tea has even more antioxidant properties than these powerful vitamins, there is a surge in products capitalising on its natural benefits.

You don’t need to rush to the chemist to stock up on goodies. Concentrated green tea extract is simple to make at home and is a flexible addition to both your daily beauty routine and your medicine cabinet.

Simply steep 100g of green tea in half a litre of still mineral water at room temperature for at least one hour. Strain the liquor and it’s ready to use! It’s better to make small quantities and use it fresh but surplus liquid can be poured into clean, sterilised bottles and refrigerated.

The liquid can be used as a spritzer, to freshen up the face, or cotton pads soaked in it can be particularly soothing for tired or strained eyes. It has antiseptic properties, so can be used to treat minor cuts and rashes, and is surprisingly effective when applied to spots and blemishes. It can even be used as a treatment for sunburn – soak a cloth in the liquid and leave on the skin until the area begins to cool.

Green tea is also known for its ability to prevent bad breath – and it has the added advantage of tasting good if it’s inadvertently swallowed. Try making your own toothpaste to test it out.

Pour one cup of boiling water over 100g of Himalayan Green Tea and leave to infuse for at least 30 minutes. Make a paste using this liquid and one teaspoon of baking soda, and use this to brush your teeth as usual. The natural properties in the tea will curb mouth odor and help prevent plaque-forming microbes from attaching to the teeth.

Antibacterial properties found in green tea are also used by your body to kill the bacteria that causes plaque on your teeth. Research by the Journal of Periodontology has also shown that for every cup of green tea you drink, there is a decrease in indicators for gum disease. Fluoride is also found in green tea which helps to protect against cavities.

This gentle facemask will help remove toxins from your skin, as well as leaving it silky smooth.

Mix three tablespoons of mayonnaise with one heaped teaspoon of organic Himalayan green tea leaves. Apply evenly to the face, avoiding the delicate eye area, and leave for 20 minutes. Rinse the mask off, then dry and moisturise your face.

One of the latest benefits of green tea is the effect it has on your skin and the aging process. It is again down to the antioxidants that prevent cell oxidation and damage that can make you look older than you really are. Studies are mixed on this particular green tea benefit as new research has come to light which suggests the full benefits can only be had by applying green tea topically to your skin. However, many people have found that potent green tea extracts do have a positive effect on their skin, leaving it softer, more supply and younger looking.

Both green tea and green tea extract have been shown to fight obesity and lower LDL cholesterol – both of which ultimately lead to a reduced risk of heart disease and diabetes. The polyphenols in green tea are extremely useful for dissolving triglycerides, a substance in the liver and small intestine made up of mostly sugar and fat, and this is thought to be the reason green tea benefits fat loss. EGCG is also known to stimulate your metabolism and accelerate weight loss. When combined with the caffeine in green tea, this causes your central nervous system to release fat into the bloodstream to be used as fuel which burns your body fat off.

Researchers believe that green tea lowers your cholesterol levels by reducing its absorption in your digestive tract and increasing the rate of which it is excreted. However, your body does need cholesterol to build cell membranes, insulate nerve fibres and create hormones. For this, green tea benefits you by preventing the conversion of LDL cholesterol into it’s more dangerous, oxidized form. Oxidized LDL is one of the main factors in the development of atherosclerosis (the build of plaque that blocks your arteries as LDL gets sticky and clings to your artery walls) and increases your risk of heart attack or stroke. The amazing antioxidant effects of green tea protect this, helping to keep your arteries clean.

GREEN TEA

There is this tea
I have sometimes,
Pan Long Ying Hao,
so tightly curled
it looks like tiny roots
gnarled, a greenish-gray.
When it steeps, it opens
the way you woke this morning,
stretching, your hands behind
your head, back arched,
toes pointing, a smile steeped
in ceremony, a celebration,
the reaching of your arms.
~ Dale Ritterbusch (2005)

So drink your green tea…and reap the benefits!

♥ Terri  ♥♥

What Has….

…five racks, four doors, three glass panels, a glass cover and five gas burners?

My range!

The reflection on the floor is from the sky light

I decided to give my ovens (yes, that is plural) a good clean this morning.  Cleaning the oven(s) is just one of those jobs that you…or at least I…put off cleaning just because it’s a pain in the butt to do, especially since I have two (one is a fan oven-bottom, left).  It also has a separate broiler/grill (upper left) and a storage area, bottom, right.

I do have some great oven cleaner (Ovenmate) and it also works on the racks and the glass panels

The glass cover is up. There’s four burners plus a central wok burner and plate warmer on the right, which is also great for melting butter and chocolate.

without barely any effort.  You just brush it on and leave it be for anywhere from 3 minutes to 3 hours, depending on how bad the grease and grime is then wipe it off.  It’s a clear gel and doesn’t smell and has no fumes.  I’ve also got a huge plastic tray that’s big enough to put the racks in to give them a good soak.

Now that it’s all cleaned, I’m not going to want to mess it up later by cooking dinner, but alas, I shall.

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OTHER BITS AND BOBS….

I also picked out some potatoes that we had growing from a sprouting potato that I planted a few months back.  Guess what I’m making with the chicken tonight!

New potatoes

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On Saturday we headed to Ramsgate to the green grocer where we can get 12 bulbs of garlic for £3.99.  They also had boxes of mushrooms: 4 lbs. for £2.50 and these are HUGE mushrooms…bigger than Portobello!  When the girl rang them up, they came up at £1.99 (bargain #1).  We then stopped at a pet store as I needed some more bird seed and they had a 20kg bag sitting outside, but no price on it so I went in to ask how much it was.  The guy says £8.99, which is a really good price.  Chef P grabbed one off the shelf and as we left with the seed, Chef P notices that the priced marked on the bag was £10.99 (bargain #2).

We then headed to the farm shop and picked up four cauliflowers for £1.00 (bargain #3) – (One of the big stores here, the one that claims ‘every little helps’ sells cauliflower for £1.87…each!), a 20kg bag of large onions for £7.00 (bargain #4) and a 12.5kg bag of maris piper potatoes for £1.60 (bargain #5) (the same store sells maris pipers; a 2.5kg bag for £1.90)

I love saving money!

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This coming weekend, there are a couple of major events going on.  It’s the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II; the celebration of her being on the throne for 60 years.

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip on the balcony at her Majesty’s Coronation

As this country will take any excuse for a party, it  has been gearing up for this over the past year, but even more so in the past couple of months.

Everywhere you look you see the Union Jack flag, crowns, red, white and blue, pictures of the queen and in all the magazines and newspapers, tips and recipes on how to celebrate the jubilee with parties and food.

This is such a big deal, they’ve even given an extra two bank holidays for the occasion, so next Monday and Tuesday, pretty much the whole country has off for the Diamond Jubilee.

Here’s a few facts about the Queen’s monarchy over the years:

1953 ~ The Coronation At 25, Elizabeth II was the youngest monarch to succeed to the throne since her great-great grandmother, the 18-year-old Princess Victoria, became Queen in 1837.  On June 2, 1953, the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II took place in Westminster Abbey, following a 900-year-old Royal tradition.

1955 ~ Portrait Sittings The Queen has been painted and drawn by more than 70 artists in the past six decades, giving a total of 712 sittings.

1970 ~ Gone Walkabout For the first 20 years of her reign, the queen was restricted by Royal protocol in who she met and talked to.  All that changed overnight on a state visit to new Zealand.  She had been on an engagement when she came across a group of young schoolchildren eagerly waiting to greet her.  Quite spontaneously, she departed from the original program and walked informally among the children, chatting, shaking hands and accepting their gifts of small bunches of flowers.

2011 ~ Royal wedding of William and Kate 2011 proved to be a red-letter year for the Queen.  The wedding of her grandson William to Catherine Middleton was a cause for nationwide celebrations and there was a groundswell of public affection towards the couple and towards the Queen and Prince Phillip, who were obviously delighted William had found such a beautiful bride.

So make some food, have a party, buy some souvenirs and celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee!

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Oh yes, I did say there were a couple of major events this weekend….Friday is…MY BIRTHDAY!  Chef P is taking the day off and we’ll be heading to Canterbury again.  Looking forward to it!

Have a nice day! 🙂

♥ Terri  ♥♥

Lunch at Fern’s in Canterbury

Chef P was on holiday from Good Friday until this past Monday and went back to work on Tuesday.  As you may know from reading some previous posts, we had been very busy.  On his last day off, we decided to head over to Canterbury, which we tend to visit about 3-4 times a year, even though we’re only a short distance away.  The last time we were there was around Christmas.

We took the train in, which is always so much easier than driving.  We strolled around and found that there was a Whittard’s and was finally able to find a tea infuser for my mother-in-law. 🙂  Don’t really know how long this store was there, but was glad to find it.  The last time I was at one of their stores was back in July when we were in London.  It just occurred to me; I’m in England where they drink tea like there’s no tomorrow and yet we had a hell of a time trying to find a tea infuser!  We looked in four other stores before I finally found one!

Around midday, we decided to get some lunch.  We don’t do fast food so had to find some place proper to eat.  We found a place that was actually hidden away as there’s really no storefront for it, just the entrance door with a sign pointing you upstairs.  We went to Fern’s Restaurant and Tearoom.  It’s a quaint little restaurant and as it was a weekday, it was rather quiet.  There was a woman dining alone at the table behind us and a couple who were sitting in one of the window seats having lunch.

The seats were leather with high backs and rather comfortable I might add.  The tables were a heavy wood (oak?) with cast iron pedestal bottoms.  Many of these places in Canterbury were once homes and it’s usually quite obvious.  There were two fireplaces (one in each corner) in the section of the room we were sat in with tiled edging.  Many homes back in the early times had more than one fireplace in a room just to get it warm enough.

Chef P ordered a vegetable quiche which came with fries(chips in the UK) and a cappuchino and I ordered a ham, cheese and tomato paninni which came with a small dressed salad and some potato chips(crisps in the UK) and a diet coke.

Now those of you who follow South Beach know that I shouldn’t have eaten some of what was placed in front of me.  The paninni bread alone is a no-no as it’s made with white flour and I really shouldn’t have eaten some all of the crisps.  Another thing that I never have anymore is soda, even diet soda, but I just felt like having it.  We never buy soda or potato chips and I very rarely eat them except in situations like this, so I really don’t feel guilty for having them.

It was a lovely relaxing lunch; something we don’t do often enough.  We’re heading up to Scotland at the end of June for a week, so we’ll get to do that quite a bit.  I’ll fill you in more on our upcoming trip as it gets closer.  Here’s one bit of info:  We’re taking a sleeper train up there!

Have a nice weekend!

♥ Terri  ♥♥

Foodie Gifts

So what kind of foodie gifts did you get for Christmas?  Yes, I know that Christmas was nearly two weeks ago, but I’m just getting around to this now.

Other than the wonderful box of fresh food from Italy, I also got some other great foodie items; some requested, some not.  I received a couple of cook books, some knives, a kitchen diary, cookie press and new salt & pepper grinders.

A few days prior to Christmas, Chef P and I took a day trip to Canterbury to do a bit of shopping.  I love going there because there are more stores than you can shake a stick at. (why anyone would want to shake a stick at anything is beyond me) Continue reading

Simple Pleasures

(Soooo…do you all like the new look??)

Welcome to Friday everyone!  The end of the workweek and the beginning of the weekend…Woo Hoo!

I’ve been very busy this week making various jams, butters and chutneys in preparation for the Christmas fair at the end of November.  I’m not only setting up there, but the regular farmer’s market is the next day!  Therefore, it’s a busy, busy time for me over the next three weeks as I’ll need to have enough inventory for both days.

Today, I decided to make more quince butter as I received such a glut of them last week.  In fact, I have more than I could possibly use…I must have gotten about 200 quince.  Unfortunately, they are starting to go bad and I’ve had to dump a good bit of them onto the compost heap in the back garden, but still can salvage many of them.

While I was peeling and cutting up the quince, the postman slipped the mail through the mail slot in the door.  (Nobody seems to have mail boxes in this country…everyone has a mail slot on their front door and the mailman rides a bike to deliver the mail…no mail truck for him!)  I washed my hands and then went to see what goodies came through the magic slot!

As I approached the door, I could see that two catalogs came through…oh goodie!  I LOVE receiving catalogs as they give me an excuse to sit down with a cuppa and peruse through them to see what I’d like to purchase.  Now that doesn’t mean I WILL purchase, but it’s nice to dream.

One of the catalogs was from House of Bath which sells household goods such as rugs, small tables, knick knacks, linens, things for the bath, etc.  I’ve purchased from them before and this is their Christmas catalog.  The other one is from Steamer Trading Cookshop which made my eyes light up and say ‘ooh!’  I adore this store…almost as much as Lakeland  Both of them have stores in Canterbury which is close by, but far enough away that I can’t get to it by walking a couple of miles.  P and I have gone by train on a few occasions and Canterbury is a great little shopping city.  Otherwise I would be spending too much money in both of them, although I do order by phone from Lakeland.

So while the quince are cooking down, I thought I’d go make myself a nice cuppa and my lunch, and have a sit down with my new catalog.

Have a great weekend everyone…and just think, only 51 more shopping days till Christmas!

T~