Wednesday, 1 February 2017

February 2011: processed meat



Yes it's easy but - should we be eating it quite so much?

If you eat meat, try avoid the processed versions: the smoked, the pickled, preserved, refined and recombined: sausage, bacon, salami, hotdogs, sandwich meats ...... Sodium nitrite is only one of the preservatives used, and the reason this has not been banned is because no one would buy the grey, old, dead stuff which lies really behind the attractive red colour in your butcher's displays.
Sodium nitrite lowers your liver and pancreas function, and is potentially carcinogenic. And then there is the mechanically recovered meat, commonly used for pies or sausage filling. [1] 

Do you fancy growing veg, but are you still a bit scared? These websites show the easiest to grow veg with simple instructions, time of sowing and reaping, pictures, you really can't go wrong. [2]

In the UK each month we waste up to £50 worth of good food and drink, simply because we cook too much, buy too much, don't store it properly, etc. etc. works out for you how much to cook, tells about storage, meal planning, how to use leftovers, explains 'best before' dates, and helps save money in the process. An extremely practical site.

Veg: Beet, broccoli, brussels, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, chard, kale, leek, parsnip, pumpkin, rocket, spinach, swede, turnip, celeriac, jerusalem artichokes. Salad leaves, spring greens, chicory, endive, black radish, salsify/scorzonera
Fish: mussels (cheap!), mackerel, cuttlefish, red gurnard, red mullet, whiting, pollack, seabass, cockles, crab, lobster.
Meat: goose, guinea fowl, venison, mutton, wood pigeon.

Continue to sow early peas and broad beans in mild areas.
Keep the weeds down, don't leave them it till spring.
Save plastic bottles to make cloches. Saw in half, keep the neck end.
Runner bean trenches: dig a ditch one spit deep, fill with rottable refuse. Tread down, cover with soil.
Discarded vegetable matter can be added bit by bit over time. When the trench is full, cover with soil. Runner bean seedlings are planted in mid-May at 8" intervals, so you can work out the desired length. Well-rotted farmyard manure can also be used.
If a long freeze seems likely, dig up some leeks and heel them in to dug ground.

Add chopped, boiled leeks to mashed potato with a good knob of butter and plenty of black pepper.
For a vegetarian lasagne: roast or sautéed butternut squash and leeks, lots of crème fraiche and cheese.
Finely sliced leeks are a delicious addition in a Welsh rarebit topping.
Or cut the green (the best!) bits finely into soup.

Here follows only a small selection of all the simple but appetizing recipes I discovered on the net. Throw out those frozen runner beans, and have some proper winter food!

450g kale, collards or other greens, 120ml dry white wine or water, 1-2 crushed cloves garlic, butter or extra virgin olive oil, 675g white fillet. [3]
Wash greens and shake dry, allow some water to cling. Cut up and discard stems thicker than 1/4". Put greens in a pan with wine, garlic, half the butter, salt and pepper. Turn heat to medium, cover and cook, making sure it doesn't dry out, until greens just tender (10 mins). Put fish on top of greens, season and dot with rest of butter. Re-cover, cook until fish and greens done, 5-10 mins more.

350g beet, 350g celeriac, 120ml apple juice, 120ml water, thyme, salt, pepper.
Preheat oven to 190°C. Peel celeriac, and slice beet and celeriac very finely. Fill pan with layers of beet and celeriac slices, season between layers. Mix juice and water, add. Boil 2 mins. Cover, put in oven 15-20 minutes. Remove cover, raise oven to 205°C, cook 10 more mins.

250g sliced mushrooms, 250g curly kale, 2 crushed cloves of garlic, 400g tin of chickpeas or any beans, drained and rinsed, 2 tblsp olive oil, 2 tblsp sesame oil, 2 tblsp soy, 2 tblsp sesame seeds, black pepper, (1 tblsp spicy chilli sauce)
Pull kale off the stalks. Heat oil, add mushrooms and cook for a few mins, until juices start oozing out. Stir in kale and cook for 15 mins until it starts to soften. Add a splash of water if it gets too dry. Add garlic, cook for 2 mins; add chickpeas, sesame oil, soy, seeds, pepper (and chilli). Cook on low heat for 5 mins: serve with rice on another grain.

1 bunch of kale (or leafy cabbage), 400g chopped tomatoes, 400g chickpeas, 1 onion, 2 cloves minced garlic, 2 tblsp of olive oil, 1 tsp chilli powder, ½ tsp paprika, ½ tsp ground cumin, ½ tsp lemon juice, ¼ tsp pepper, ¼ tsp salt.
Heat oil over a medium heat. Add chopped onion, cook for 5 mins, stirring occasionally. Add garlic, stir in for 2 -3 mins until golden. Drain and rinse chickpeas (canned chickpeas are ideal). Add chilli powder, chickpeas, paprika, cumin to the pan. Stir in until spices coat the peas. Add tomatoes, stir in together. Lower heat, simmer for 5 mins. Coarsely chop kale (or chard, cabbage or other leafy greens). Add, stir, simmer for 5 mins till greens tender. Add salt, pepper, lemon.
Serve over brown rice, pasta or noodles.

1 celeriac, 2 apples, 2 tblsp olive oil, (1 tblsp honey).
Pre-heat oven to 190°C. Chop celeriac into 4 and use a sharp knife to peel the rough outside. Slice into 1cm slices and boil for 10 mins, until starting to soften. Chop apples in half, remove cores, slice into ½ cm slices. Drain celeriac. While the pan is still warm, use to mix olive oil and honey. This will help melt the honey. Add celeriac and apple, stir to coat the slices. Arrange row of celeriac in a dish, add row of apple slices, continue to alternate. Bake for 30 mins, until the celeriac is soft and the apples starting to brown. Delicious with lightly steamed green vegetables, such as broccoli or kale.

And for those of us who like their smoothies, here is a highly unusual concoction which is nicer than it sounds:
1/2 bunch kale, 1 banana, 60ml red grapes, 1/2 tsp. vanilla, 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1 dash cayenne pepper (to taste), 120ml ice, 120ml water (or until consistency is reached). Use a powerful blender.

[3] Some white fish from sustainable sources are: dab, pouting, coley, megrim, grouper, flounder, gurnard, whiting, bream. Try and avoid cod, halibut, plaice, hake, and whitebait; for sole and seabass it depends on how they are caught (see

Next month: eat weeds