Terri’s Tuesday Tips ~ Mar 5

What a gorgeous day we have here today in southern England!  The sun has been shining brightly most of the day, albeit it’s a tad on the cool side.  Come on, Spring!

Here are today’s tips.  Has anyone tried any of the past tips yet?  Would love to hear your comments or experiences.

 

ξ  Cheat with a ready meal (once in a while), but add a sprinkle of fresh herbs, a squeeze of lemon or a drizzle of olive oil to pep up the flavors.

TT:  Sorry, but no.  I don’t touch ready meals and haven’t eaten one in nearly 8 years.  I can add fresh herbs and lemon juice just as easily to freshly prepared food and prefer to do just that!

sponge

 

ξ  Heat dish cloths or sponges in a microwave for 30-40 seconds to kill all bacteria.

TT:  I prefer using a sponge over a dish cloth.  All my dish towels, rags, counter wipe cloths, etc. are put into the hamper at the end of each day and are washed in temps of 60°c(140°f) or above with bleach added every second or third wash.  The sponge is replaced every other week.

 

 

ξ  Before squeezing citrus fruits for recipes, microwave 15-30 seconds to double the amount of juice you get.

TT:  This absolutely does work!  Cut the fruit in half first before microwaving.  I zap a lemon for 30 seconds and it’s just enough.

ξ  Wrap celery in foil before storing in the fridge.  It will keep for weeks.

TT:  Can’t say that I’ve ever tried this as we go through a good bit of celery so usually end up buying it every other week.  It doesn’t get a chance to go bad!

AHrefrigeratorξ  Sprinkle empty waste baskets and kitchen bins with a little baking soda/bicarbonate of soda from time to time to absorb any lingering smells and odors.  Pour the old baking soda down the kitchen drain to keep it sweet smelling.

TT:  I do this all the time and it does appear to help.

ξ  Certain varieties of potato can go gluey when mashed.  This can happen as a result of using cold milk.  Instead, try warming the milk before adding and grate some nutmeg over top for a touch of added flavor.

TT:  I usually get the milk out ahead of time so it’s not actually cold, but it’s room temp.  Nutmeg on taters is yummy!

Your kitchen tips for the week!

♥♥  Terri  ♥♥

 

What to do with…GINGER

HenryVIIIHenry VIII is said to have used ginger as a medicine for its qualities, as outlined by Culpeper, the herbalist, 150 years later:  ‘Ginger helps digestion, warms the stomach, clears the sight and is profitable for old men; it heats the joints and is therefore useful against gout’.

ginger

fresh root ginger

Ginger has an impressive record in treating many ailments:  it is said to help poor circulation and to cure flatulence and indigestion.  It is taken as a drink for coughs, nausea and influenza.  In the East, ginger is chewed to ward off evil spirits.  It is considered to be a cure for travel sickness and the essential oil is used in perfumery.

CULTIVATION

red ginger

red ginger plant

The ginger plant is an upright tropical plant, which is propagated by dividing the rhizomes.  It grows to about 3 feet, with elegant lance-shaped leaves and yellow flowers tinged with purple or red flowers.  Harvesting takes place 9-10 months after planting and in many parts of the world, this is still done by hand.  Much of the crop is washed, sun dried and then ground to a powder for domestic and commercial use.

CULINARY USE

gingerbreadThe essential oil is used in commercial flavorings.  Fresh root ginger is extremely popular in a variety of stir-fry or curry dishes.  It is used in different techniques; slices can be added to marinades or in cooking and removed before serving.  Grated, chopped or crushed ginger is used in pastes or braised dishes.  Finely shredded ginger can be added to fried or stir-fried dishes or it may be used raw in salads.  Pickled or preserved ginger is served as appetizers or used in savory cooking.  It is also used in Western baking, for example, in traditional ginger breads, cakes and biscuits such as ginger snaps.  The spice is also used in chutneys, pickles, jams and sweet preserves as well as drinks such as ginger beer, ginger ale and ginger wine.

TYPES OF GINGER

Fresh Root Ginger   Look for plump, silvery skinned pieces, which are called ‘hands’.  Young ginger has smoother, thin skin firmly clinging to the firm and quite heavy root.  Older ginger has thicker, papery skin which sits more loosely on the root.  Avoid ginger that is wrinkled, softened or very light in weight.

Ground Ginger  Pale sand-colored spice widely used in baking.

crystallized ginger

crystallized ginger

Crystallized Ginger  Preserved by cooking in syrup, then dried and rolled in sugar.

Pickled Ginger  A savory condiment used in Oriental cooking.  Chinese pickled ginger is light, sweet and sour and quite hot in flavor.  Sweet red pickled ginger is slightly tangy, but mainly sweet as it is candied.  Japanese pickled ginger is more delicate than Chinese pickles.

Preserved or Stem Ginger  Traditionally packed into decorative, bulbous Chinese ginger jars.  The plump, tender young ginger is peeled and preserved in syrup, making it sweet and fairly spicy.

COOKING TIPS

Use a little crushed ginger in marinades for pork steaks or chops.

Try adding a little finely grated fresh or chopped crystallized ginger to fruit puddings using rhubarb, plus or pears.  Can even be used in crumbles or pastry pies.

ginger-tea

ginger tea

Make a soothing tea when you’re feeling under the weather.  Drop a slice or two into a mug and add hot water and honey along with a cinnamon stick and a slice of lemon or orange or add a slice to some lemon tea.  Ginger tea is also a natural remedy for menstrual cramps and helps relieve stress.  It encourages normal blood circulation, strengthens immunity and reduces inflammation.

Minced fried ginger can be added to Asian dishes just as you would fried garlic to Italian dishes.  It takes ordinary rice to a new level!

Got an overload of ginger?  You can freeze fresh ginger.  Simply freeze the whole root in a resealable plastic bag.  You can then use it without thawing.  Using a sharp knife, peel off the skin for the amount needed and then use a microplane to grate what you need.  Don’t leave the whole root out to thaw as it will become soft and mushy when thawed.

Hmmm….I may just have to go make myself a cup of ginger tea…..

♥  Terri  ♥

Terri’s Tuesday Tips ~ Feb 19

Good Morning Campers!

Welcome to another sunny day here on Planet Earth!

Here’s your tips for this week…

Whole Wheat Pancakesπ  If you make pancakes in advance of needing them, reheat them in a pile in the microwave wrapped in clingfilm/plastic wrap, with pieces of greaseproof paper between each pancake.

TT: I don’t make pancakes very often, but when I do, I want them right then and there.  If I’m going to make them, I’m not going to eat them later!  If I do have leftovers, then I would wrap them and reheat them as noted.

π  Got garlic breath?  Then try these tips and see which one works for you:  eat some fresh parsley, chew a coffee bean or eat a bowl of lemon sorbet.

TT:  As we both eat a good bit of garlic in this house, I see no need to worry about offending each other.  However, if you’re the only one eating it, then this is a good idea!

meatπ  Fresh meat such as beef, lamb or pork can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days before cooking, but should be eaten within 2-3 days when cooked.

TT:  When we buy fresh meat, it gets re-wrapped in portioned sizes and frozen for later use, whether that be 5 days or 5 weeks.  It saves having to waste it by throwing it out because it was forgotten in the fridge.  Leftovers are usually taken for lunch the next day by Chef P and if there’s still more, I’ll eat it for lunch here at home.  Any remaining cooked meat, such as from a roast, is put into the freezer to use later in stews.

π  Romantic meals should be simple, to avoid spending too long in the kitchen.  Asparagus is an aphrodisiac so makes a good starter.  A pie can be made in advance.  Chocolate desserts are the ultimate end to a romantic meal.

TT:  Don’t want to spend too long in the kitchen?  Here’s a better tip…Pick a nice restaurant and go out to eat! 😉

π  Put clingfilm/plastic wrap over the top of the food processor before using.  It keeps the lid clean, saving washing it and also saves space in the dishwasher if you use one of those.

TT:  Haven’t tried this yet, but really like this tip.  Will definitely try it next time I use my food processor.

π  Massage copper-bottomed pans with ketchup to dissolve the tarnish.  For stubborn stains, add a pinch of salt while you rub.

TT: I don’t have any copper-bottomed pans, but my mom does and I remember cleaning them with lemon juice and salt.  I would cut the lemon in half, sprinkle with the salt and scrub the pan using the lemon half.

Have a lovely day!

♥  Terri  ♥

Christmas Mulled Wine

Ah yes, the countdown has begun and it’s now a mere 36 days until you-know-who comes down the you-know-what with his bag of you-know-whats!

So that means that it’s time for me to start sharing some festive foods and beverages with you.  Today we’ll start with a beverage that is a tradition here in the UK (I don’t remember it being a big deal in the U.S.).  I don’t make this myself but maybe someday I will.  We do have a little Christmas gathering of some family and friends, but they all drink various things and no one has ever asked if we had any mulled wine!

There are various recipes for this and they’re all pretty basic.  This one is compliments of Mary Berry from her book, Real Food – Fast.

(For those of you in the US, a pint here in the UK is equal to 20fl oz.)

**CHRISTMAS MULLED WINE**

(serves 12)

4 lemons

2 large oranges

2 bottles red wine

2 pints/40fl oz water

16 cloves

2 cinnamon sticks

150g/5oz caster(fine) sugar

110ml/4fl oz brandy

Thinly slice 1 orange and 1 lemon, then cut the slices into quarters.  Put on a plate, cover and reserve for the garnish.  Peel the zest very thinly from 2 lemons and 1 orange then squeeze the juice from the lemons and orange into a large pan.

Pour the wine and water into the pan with the citrus juice.  Add the cloves and cinnamon sticks.

Bring to simmering point, cover and keep at simmering for about an hour.  Stir in sugar to taste.

Strain and reheat.  Stir in the brandy and add the reserved citrus slices as a garnish. 

Serve hot with mince pies.

TIP: The mulled wine can be kept in a covered container in the fridge for up to three days.  Add the brandy and citrus slices just before serving.

♥♥Terri ♥♥

Bistro Chicken ~ SBD

Hello Campers!

I think that the Autumn winds are slowly approaching us here in southern England.  It was a bit cool this morning and I’ve actually had my jeans on today along with a light sweater.  The leaves are falling off the trees and the days are getting shorter.  Before you know it, it will be Christmas!

OK, I can hear you all groaning about that and probably giving me a few choice words for even mentioning it, but even if I didn’t, it’s still on its way…only 114 more days…ho ho ho!

Onto the subject at hand…

I took out chicken breasts for dinner tonight, not knowing what I was going to do with them.  That seems to be my dilemma just about every morning as I stare into the freezers. (No, that is not a typo…we have three freezers)  I take something out and then ponder over what I’ll do with said frozen meat or fish.

I decided to look through my own binders rather than in the SBD books just because I felt like it.  I came across a recipe that I haven’t made in some time.  It’s got only five ingredients other than the chicken and it’s simple to put together and it’s SBD friendly.  Considering I haven’t been such a good girl on my eating, this was a good thing.

You can’t go wrong with mayo, rosemary, thyme, garlic salt and lemon on chicken.  The recipe calls for the chicken to be grilled/barbecued, but I like to do it in a skillet to keep all the juices together rather than them dripping down into the coals.  If you don’t want to grill it, you could even put it under the broiler, or in the UK, under the grill.  Feel free to cook it as you wish; I think it will still come out really tasty.  You could also pound the breasts thinner if you want a shorter cooking time.

Grilled Bistro Chicken

1/2 C mayonnaise

1/2 tsp dried rosemary

1/2 tsp dried thyme

1/2 tsp garlic salt (or 1/4 tsp each garlic powder and salt)

juice of 1/2 a lemon

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

In a shallow bowl, mix together the mayo, herbs, garlic salt and lemon juice.

Add the chicken breasts and toss around to coat.

Leave to marinate until ready to use.

Cook on the grill, in a heated skillet or under the broiler until done, about 10 minutes each side, if thick.  If using a skillet, add a bit of olive oil to the pan first.

See, told you it was simple.

This is an older picture of this recipe, taken when I first made it about 3-4 years ago.  I’ll be serving it tonight with cabbage and rice (for Chef P) and bulgar wheat for me.

Enjoy!

  Terri