Greenie goodness

What are the benefits of a green smoothie once you get past the colour?

Dr Joanna McMillan is a PhD qualified nutrition scientist, accredited practicing dietitian and former fitness instructor. She said that some of the commercial ones “are glorified fruit juices, served in enormous portions with only a little spinach to make them green.” However, if you make them at home instead and “make them with at least 70 per cent veggies, a little fruit and whatever other ingredients you want to add…then you have a fabulous nutrient rich drink”. (Source: Is your go-to green smoothie doing you any good? A nutritionist explains.)

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Full of fiber, which lowers cholesterol and glucose levels, keeps you feeling fuller for longer and regulates your body’s cleansing processes. It is also it’s a tasty way to get a strong dose of fruits and veggies, which provide vital nutrients like vitamin A, vitamin C, folate and potassium.

So:

  • 1 stalk of celery for your base vegetable
  • A big handful of spinach for your iron.
  • Add jucy pear in there.
  • A squeeze of lemon juice for sweetness and alkaline.
  • Then ginger for your superfoods!
  • 2 glugs of plant based milk, I chose Oat.
  • 1 banana.

Blend it all together in a blender and there ya have it! Goodness on the go!

Cover picture: https://images.app.goo.gl/g12DDCsr9cqZqUp88

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Italy 2018, Part 3

This is the 3rd part of the 3 part series. It has been really nice to look back on previous adventures and it has really made me appreciate the relative freedom we enjoyed before Coronavirus times. I cannot wait to return!

Links to part 1 and part 2 here:

Part 1: https://talithastravels.com/2021/03/26/italy-2018/

Part 2: https://talithastravels.com/2021/04/15/italy-2018-part-2/

Day 8

Monday 18th

Travels to Capri and the chair lift!

Early in the morning, we boarded the big ferry to Capri with Laura the tour guide.

Capri is seriously beautiful. When we visited, it was a bright sunny day and we could see for miles. There were next to no clouds to be found and the colour blue stretched for miles both below and above us. It is located in the Tyrrhenian Sea off the peninsula of Sorrento. There are many attractions on the Island, including the ruins of the Imperial Roman Villa and the Marina Piccola – the little harbour.

It took 20 mins for the ferry to glide into the harbour. Laura took us to the chair lift, (In the video above) . Here is their official website which took me ages to find lol: http://www.capriseggiovia.it/.

It was a great opportunity to see the island from a birds eye view when we got to the top! As we were on our way up though, we could see the farms below us that belonged to the people of the land. They were out there farming and digging while we were floating above them. I honestly do not know how they manage it, I would feel so self conscious knowing that tourists, who are naturally noisy when in another country so would be looking, were peering down at me (literally not figuratively.)

When we got to the bottom again, (another 13 minute chair lift), Laura took us to a little restaurant that served pastries cake and coffee. The restaurant is called: Ristorante Buca Di Bacco

Then we were taken to a beautiful garden called: Giardini di Augusto. Truly beautiful if you get to visit!

These fantastic gardens were established by a German industrialist Friedrich Alfred Krupp in the twentieth century to build his mansion. At first the gardens were called “Krupp Gardens” but in 1918 the gardens were renamed to “Gardens of Augustus“. From these terraces that overlook the sea, you can get a 180-degree panoramic of the island of Capri because one can see Mount Solaro, the bay of Marina Piccola, and the Faraglion.

Okaaay so I know I said it would be a 3 part series buuut there is much more to talk about and I do not want to overwhelm one post. So look out for the bonus part 4!

Palak Paneer

So I understand that the picture makes it look rather gross. However, this dish is so nice and tasty. The paneer when browned is just so sweet and squidgy. Soooo good!

Ingredients:

  • 220g Paneer
  • 2 Onions
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric
  • 600g spinach
  • 4 garlic
  • 1 green chilli
  • 1 ginger
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 200g peas
  • 1 tsp mild chilli powder

Recipe:

Cut the paneer into chunks and place in a bag. Add the salt, chilli and turmeric then shake to coat. In a frying pan with some oil, fry the paneer until browned. Add more of the oil if you need to.

Once paneer is cooked, remove to the side and add the onions, garlic, chilli, ginger, cumin, coriander and then fry.

Add spinach then blend until it’s a smooth sauté. Add paneer back in, then peas and garam masala. Cook on a low heat for a further 10 mins and then serve with rice. Serve!

Japanese Day

Soba Noodle Salad

So not that long ago, me and my friends, (following the rules set by the government), we had a Japanese themed day. We had Japanese snacks, drinks and sometimes music too. But we also enjoyed making different popular foods from their culture and the regions in Japan.

Among the many of the yummy delights we made was a Soba Noodle Salad. It was really easy and quick to make. Soba noodles are made from buckwheat and can be served hot or cold, we decided to serve our delicious salad cold. Excellent thing about soba noodles is that they are Vegan & Vegetarian friendly therefore are a nice alternative to Ramen noodles. They are also a good source of magnesium and fibre.

So, I will stop ranting on and give you the recipe for the:

Soba Noodle Salad

Ingredients:

  • 250g Soba noodle
  • 150g Edamame beans
  • 1/4 Cucumber, julienned. ( I had to google what ‘julienned’ meant. Here is a useful video: Cooking Tips: How To Julienne Cucumbers )
  • 1/4 Red Cabbage shredded finely
  • 1 Grated Carrot
  • 3 Spring Onions sliced on an angle

For the dressing:

  • 1tbsp Neutral oil like sunflower or olive oil.
  • 3tbsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red peppers
  • 3 tbsp runny honey
  • 3 tbsp dark sweet soy sauce

Recipe:

You start with making the dressing. Combine the vegetable oil, sesame oil, and the crushed peppers into a small saucepan. Then, over a medium heat, whisk and infuse this mix together.

Add the honey and soy sauce. Whisk together until the honey is dissolved. Set aside to cool. Now prepare the vegetables!

If you have already prepared the vegetables before you started cooking, well done on being organised haha! If not do not worry, you have time to do it now while the sauce is cooling down.

Once you have prepared the veg, you need to boil the soba noodles in a big pan for 4 – 5 minutes, then rinse them under cold water to remove starch and it stops them overcooking

Once the noodles are cooled and no longer dripping, add the vegetables you prepared earlier and then mix in the beautiful sauce. I would recommend serving immediately so that your vegetables do not go soggy as a result from the sauce.

And that’s it! Very easy to make and so refreshing too. Perfect for a nice summers lunch with the family, or even just for yourself. I know personally I could have eaten the entire lot!

The finished reward for your hard work!

Let me know if you tried making it yourself!

Lemon and Poppy seed cookies


(Audio description above for those who need it!)


I enjoyed making these, they were dead cute and tasted really nice! I hope you enjoy making them yourself.

Ingredients

  • 100g soft unsalted butter
  • 30g Icing Sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice
  • 175g of Plain flour
  • ½ teaspoon of Baking powder
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons of poppy seeds

Method

Place the soft Butter and Icing Sugar in the bowl of your mixer, and cream them together using with the paddle attachment for at least 5 minutes on medium speed. You will know it is done when it goes nice and pale and fluffy.

Add the egg yokes 1 at a time. Do not worry too much if they curdle slightly at this point. They will bake fine.

Add your lemon zest and your juice.

Sift in the Flour, Baking Powder and Salt. Now mix until the dough starts to come together, stopping to scrap the edges of the bowl if you need to, then add the Poppy Seeds.

Transfer the dough over onto a lightly flour surface and bring it together into a ball and gently press on it to flatten it. Cover with a sheet of baking paper and roll into the desired thickeness with a rolling pin.

Now, try and put the flattened dough onto the baking sheet cover with another one covering it, so it’s like a baking sheet sandwich. Let it chill for 15 mins in the fridge.

Preheat the oven on 160’C/325’F.

Remove the top sheet of baking paper and transfer to a lightly floured work surface and use a Cookie Cutter to shape the shortbread.

Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the thickness of the cookies, or until the edges start to turn golden brown.

And that’s it! Very easy and doesn’t take all that long to make. Let me know how your cookies turned out!

Italy 2018, Part 2

So here is part 2 of our Italy series, I hope you enjoy!

Part one is here: Part 1

Day 5

15th June

Today we travelled to the city of Naples. I personally, wasn’t a massive fan of the city but I know others who have visited and said they enjoyed their experience.

This city is situated between two areas of volcanic activity: Mount Vesuvius to the east and the Campi Flegrei (Phlegraean Fields) to the northwest. Naples was bombed heavily during WW2 with it being quite a big port. In modern times, even though it is not the port it used to be, this city remains to be the centre of the nation’s southern commerce and culture.

On the way through Naples, we actually got an excellent view of Mt Vesuvius in the distance.

Click the link for the first short video: https://youtu.be/MuA7BxysWZ0

We travelled through Naples to get to the place called Sorrento. Sorrento is known for its love of lemons, and its absolutely stunning cliffside views of the bay that looks out over Naples.

We stayed at the hotel Michelangelo. We had a lovely relaxing evening in the Italian sun listening to the hustling and bustling sounds of Sorrento.

Day 6

16th June

The next morning we had a lovely breakfast to prepare for our day and then we set out onto the street! We set off in the direction of some limoncello shops. We stopped off at one and the guy was doing shots with the customers, who knows how many that guy had had before we’d gotten there.

Limoncello is a liqueur made in Italy, mainly the southern part of Italy, that uses Lemon zest. It is made particularly in Sorrento, Capri, and along the Amalfi Coast, so do not be surprised when you visit and find shops selling just Limoncello. It’s made by steeping lemon zest in highly concentrated vodka until oil is released, then mixing the resulting yellow liquid with simple syrup. I recommend trying it when you are there, the flavours are amazing!

We visited a farm which made Limoncello, they even made different flavours such as Mandarin and Liquorice. It was beautiful, and walking around with the owner of the farm, you could really see how much farming meant to him, the way he looked at his produce with joy. It delighted him to show others his hard work and wanted them to enjoy it too!

DAY 7

17th June

Our new tour guide Laura, (pronounced Low-ra), took us to visit Positano on the Amalfi coast. It was gorgeous! The sea was glistening and all of the coast line was gleaming. All the different colours of the various houses, blues, yellows and oranges.

Visit this link to see the video slideshow: https://youtu.be/FxJ269fm6eg.

We could see he coastline for miles and miles. Sometimes, the road would narrow a little and if you looked straight down through the window of the bus, you could see the jagged rocks below. It was often more than a 60ft drop the the sea from the road we were on!

On our way home, we travelled through the mountains. We came to a place called Ravello, (Picture 1). It was an adorable little village that overlooked Positano and the Amalfi coast. As you can see, we had a breath taking view of the coastline!

“When we got back to the hotel, I was shattered”

16 year old me

Comfort food!

(Recipe included for Allotment pie)

Why do we have comfort food? What is comfort food? When I searched for the definition of what comfort food is, it came up with this:

It is usually a food that provides a feeling of well-being, typically having a high sugar or carbohydrate content and associated with childhood or home cooking.

This would make sense because it is food associated with the security of childhood, when you were young, had no worries and had someone looking after you. In fact, that is the main reason why, when under extreme emotional stress, adults turn to food for comfort. It brings back memories of when they didn’t have to worry about anything.

Comfort food is food that provides a nostalgic or sentimental value to someone, this nostalgic affect created when eating your favourtite comfort food may be specific to an individual, or it may apply to a specific culture

The food that you eat when in those circumstances, (comfort food), are believed to be a great coping mechanism for rapidly soothing negative feelings. The interesting thing is that the food that is considered ‘comfort food’ varies from country to country. For example, comfort food for Britain include: Cottage pie, Beef stew with dumplings, rice pudding (my comfort food), Custard, Bangers and mash, and Jam Roly-Poly.

You can’t beat a lovely tasty and filling and meal on a cold and damp day, and my own recipe of Allotment pie is just that! This is a warm and satisfying food, and in these cold and foggy December days, you need something that just hits the spot…

Allotment pie

(Great for freezing)

Serves: 6 people

Preparation: 30 minutes Cook: 1 Hour 55 minutes

(This meal happens to be vegetarian but can be easily adapted to accommodate meat)

For the filling, the ingredients you will need:

  • 50 grams’ butter
  • 2 onions finely chopped
  • 4 carrots diced small
  • 1 head of celery chopped
  • 4 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 150 grams’ pack chestnut mushroom, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 500 grams’ pre-cooked lentils,
  • 1.7l of vegetable stock
  • 3 tablespoons of tomato purée
  • 150 grams soya mince

For the topping, you will need:

  • 2 kg potato
  • 85 grams butter
  • 100 millitlitres milk
  • 150 grams cheddar, grated

Method:

  1. To make the sauce, heat the butter in a pan, then gently fry the onions, carrots, celery and garlic for 15 mins until soft and golden. Turn up the heat, add the mushrooms, then cook for 4 mins more. Stir in the herbs, then add the lentils. Pour over the wine and stock – it’s important that you do not season with salt at this stage. Add the soya mince. Now season to taste, take off heat, then stir in the tomato purée.
  2. Tip the potatoes into a pan of water, then boil for about 15 minutes until tender. Drain well, mash with the butter and milk, then season with salt and pepper.
  3. To assemble the pies, divide the filling mixture between the dishes that you are using, then top with the fluffy mash. Scatter over the cheese, heat oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5, then bake for 45 minutes or until the topping is golden.
  4. Enjoy!

Allotment pie is a very useful dish for using up a glut of vegetables, or it’s been a long day and it’s your turn to cook that day and you don’t want to make something complicated, but something warm and tasty. I really enjoyed making this dish and it definitely warms you up. I hope you enjoy making it just as much has I did!

Bacon, Brie and Cranberry sauce Palmiers


(Audio reading available for those above who find that easier than reading)


So restrictions have now been updated in the UK, meaning that we now can have 6 people in our garden. Having people round for association means a perfect opportunity to get baking! Shout out to Delicious Table who gave me this idea with their recipe.

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Ingredients

• 1 Sheet of Puff Pastry

• 7 ounces of Brie at room temperature. Depending on preferences, you can either remove the rind or keep it on. I personally removed my rind.

•½ Crispy Bacon bits.

• 2 Tablespoons of cranberry sauce, any brand

Recipe

  1. You need to preheat the oven to 200°c.
  2. Making sure it doesn’t rip, unfold the thawed puff pastry on a lightly floured work surface.
  3. Using a spoon, evenly blob cranberry sauce on the pastry, then use the back of the spoon smooth to spread it all about.
  4. Now, sprinkle your bacon and your brie all over, making sure every centimetre has a fair share of the brie and bacon goodness.
  5. Start rolling from each side, gently squeezing as you go, making sure it is nice and tight. Roll until both sides meet in the middle.
  6. Then, cover with clingfilm or greaseproof paper and let the roll relax in the fridge for 15 mins. This means it will be easier when you come to start cutting it.
  7. Once it has been properly chilled, take it out and start slicing it with a small serrated knife. It makes it easier if you first cut it in half and then slice those halves into quarters.
  8. Place the slices onto a baking tray covered with greaseproof paper. Bake for 10 to 15 mins until gloriously golden!

Great thing about these are they can either be eaten warm or cold! I hope you enjoy. Comment below how your Palmiers turned out x