Contents

Peanut butter thins

I know that whenever I have made these cookies they have always been a massive hit and it is rare that they last 4 days. Sadly, I have a nut allergy so I am not able to scoff them but it is safe enough for me to make them. I hope you enjoy making them and eating them yourself. Please comment down below what you thought of them!

Peanut butter thins

Makes: 23     Baking time: 30 minutes

Enjoy these thins whenever. Why not, as a variation, put a peanut in the middle or a chocolate drop.

 

Ingredients:

115g butter

1 teaspoon baking powder

115g peanut butter (obviously)

1teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

140g caster sugar

115g rolled oats

50g light muscovado sugar, (Warmed up in the microwave for 10 seconds)

1 beaten egg

1 teaspoon salt

100g sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

1 teaspoon almond essence

Method

  1. Mix the butter, peanut butter. Castor sugar, muscovado sugar together. Add the beaten egg, vanilla and almond essence too. Preheat the oven to 140C.
  2. Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and salt into the mix and blend well. Then add the oats.
  3. Grab a small handful of the dough, roll it into a ball then cut it in half. Roll both halves into balls, place onto a greaseproof tray and flatten a little with the back of a spoon. Do this until none of the mix is left in the bowl.
  4. Put them into the pre-heated oven for 30minutes on the middle shelf. Keep checking on them. When baked, leave them on the tray for 5mins before moving them onto a cooling rack, otherwise they may break in half. Replay this step until all thins have been naked.

Let me know in the comment section below what your cookies turned out like! Feedback welcome!

Italy 2018, Part 1

Audio reading: https://open.spotify.com/episode/2RjXDLWcgyT2LpceujMN9x

So three years ago me and my family took a coach holiday and toured around Italy. If you don’t know what a coach holiday is, it is a holiday where you get on a fancy bus with 30 to 40 strangers and spend either a week or 2 with them staying at different places. It can either be a living hell or it can be fun! This holiday back in 2018 was a fantastic holiday and lasted 11 days, touring all over the place.

My mum, in preparation for this holiday, made each of us 5 a journal to write in each day. It had a schedule of the days, where we were going, doing and staying. It also contained a handy little phrase page so if we needed to find a loo or the nearest restaraunt we could refer to it and ask a local Italian.

16 year old me wrote extensively in this little journal, sticking postcards, bus tickets, train tickets and even ferry tickets in this thing making it look like a little scrap book of memories. I thank my younger self because I now have a very detailed account of what we got up to…of which I’ll share with you now in a 3 part series.

DAY 1

11th June

We had an early 5AM start, ( pahah can’t believe I used to think that 5am was early), and the taxi came at 6am to the house and it took us to Liverpool John Lennon airport. We rushed around to get our luggage ckecked and my nan had to have a pat down. We then sat down in a comfy lounge and waited what felt like forever for us to be called for departure. We were finally called to gate 3 for the Ryanair flight to Rome!

When we landed after flying for 5 hours, the company we were travelling with were waiting for us and took us to Pinewoods hotel. We spent the rest of the day basking in the warm Italian sunshine and unpacking.

Day 2

12th June

The coach driver took us into Rome and parked somewhere near The Vatican City. Little bit of interesting information about The Vatican City. It is a city-state surrounded by Rome, and it is the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church. It’s home to the Pope and a treasure trove of iconic art and architecture, for example in the Sistine Chapel, there are the beautiful frescoes such the famed “Laocoön and His Sons” as well as the Sistine Chapel, famous for Michelangelo’s ceiling.

The tour guide took us to a place called Caffè San Pietro in the Vatican and told us that this would be the meeting point for that day later on. Some went into the Vatican but we decided to do a little exploring of our own on our first proper day in Rome.

We decided to visit many places such as: Castel Sant’Angelo, Piazza Navona, Vittorio Emanuele II Monument, Trevi Foundation and the Spanish Steps.

DAY 3

13th June

A guide called Rita took us on a tour around different parts of the city, such as the Roman Forum, The Constantine Arch and the famed Colosseum. We also went into the Pantheon. The Pantheon is a big monument that is one of the best preserved ancient buildings in the world. It is truly beautiful if you get to visit. Now here comes the tasty bit hehe. Rita the tour guide took us around different areas tasting coffee and tiramasu.

The Sant ‘Eustachio Il Caffe goes all the way back too the 1800s, and is a stones throw away from Piazza Navona and the Pantheon. From their website, they have said of their history: “ Since 1999 the restaurant is owned by the Ricci brothers, who keep the tradition intact with the first goal of always serving a quality product, using organic and fair trade coffee, coming from sloow food principals, for a fine blend of 100% Arabica coffee. imported directly from South America.

I can honestly say it is some of the best coffee I have ever tasted and it was made even better recieving it from the hands of the experts.

Next up: Tiramisu! Ria took us to a prestige Tiramisu shop called Pompi. The Italian Pompi family is the sole owner of the brand and the company, keeping alive the passion of Giuliano Pompi, the founder of Pompi. it was founded 60 years ago when Giuliano opened a small dairy making icecream. Fast forward to modern day and they have been satisyfying many with their sweet treats. My tiramisu was Strawberry and cream! Very nice!

DAY 4

14th June

Now on this certain day of our holiday we went and visited the markets. These markets were so interesting to visit as they were so full of life. You had people bartering all over the shop with different market stallholders, family heads shopping for food with their family and young children. Stall holders shouting out deals for their wares. So bustling with life. I cannot help but think how much those communities have suffered during Covid with so many dying in the towns and cities.

https://www.romeing.it/food-markets-in-rome/

We made our way to the Roman Forum, but sadly we were rained off as a flood of rain came upon us. This site is located at the center of the ancient city of Rome and it was the the location of important religious, political and social activities. In modern day times it is now a massive tourist attraction that millions of people visit every year.

Even though we weren’t able to go and see the Roman Forum in person, we were able to peer in from the pavements around the ancient site.

…and that is a wrap on part 1! Next part is about our journey through Naples and the beautiful Sorrento! I hope you enjoyed reading this. It has been fun researching the places we visted those years ago and sharing my expericnce with you. Part 2 will be up soon so make sure you follow my blog to recieve an notification. Take care!

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

Indian cuisine!

(Photo from my Instagram)

When you investigate into the food of India, it’s plain to see that there is no stereotypical Indian food, as it varies from region to region. For example, the cuisine in Kerala is different to that of Gujarati. What is grown in the area has a big influence on cuisine, but religion also plays a big part in it also!

In Gujarati, food culture is dominated by the main religion: Jainism. Jainism is a religion that regards all life as so sacred that every dish is vegetarian, and is made without anything that grows below in the ground, such as garlic and onion. Staple foods in Gujarati consist of Rice, buttermilk and pickles. For the people in Gujarati, they get the majority of their carbohydrate, daily intake from rice, whereas those who live in Britain get theirs from bread, potatoes and the like.

Did you know that Kerala is the home of pepper, turmeric and cardamom? Due to large spice ports on the Arabian Sea, Arab,Jewish and oriental traders travel from all over India to Kerala, and have done for hundreds of years.

Chicken Jalfrezi

Did you know: ‘Jal’ means pungently spicy and ‘frezi’ means ‘stir fry’

Origin

Jalfrezi is a popular type of Indian cuisine that involves frying marinated chunks of meat, fish or vegetables in oil and spices to produce a dry, thick sauce.

In South Asia, chicken jalfrezi is considered an Indian Chinese, as it has a mix of Chinese and Indian cooking techniques used in its preparation.

Jalfrezi was created because people didn’t want to waste leftover food from the meal the previous day. It’s likely it was created by Muslims as this would have deeply displeased the Hindus.

Here’s what you’ll need it:

  • 1 large bottled red pepper
  • 2 onions, 1 chopped the other sliced
  • 30grams root ginger chopped
  • 230grams chopped tomatoes
  • 700grams diced chicken, {Or vegetables}
  • Fresh or dried coriander
  • 4 large Garlic cloves
  • 1 red pepper sliced
  • 1 yellow pepper sliced
  • 2tablespoon Ga ram masala
  • 2 tbsp Tomato Puree.
  • 1 chicken stock cube

How to make it:

  1. Put bottled red pepper, chopped onion, garlic, and ginger in a food processor and blend until it’s smooth.
  2. Spray a large frying pan; add the sliced onions and peppers fry for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the pepper puree along with spices, spices, chopped tomatoes, stock cube and 350ml of water; simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Add the chunks or meat or vegetables and simmer for a further 10 minutes.
  5. Stir through chopped coriander, fresh or dried, and taste to adjust the seasoning if needed.
  6. Plate up and enjoy!

I hope you enjoy giving this recipe a try as it’s super tasty and quick to make. Comment down below what yummy food you’d like to see on here and I’ll see what I can do!

(I try to make sure my information is correct but I might occasionally get something wrong so please forgive me!)

The perfect chocolate chip cookies!

Biscuits are amazing. Everyone loves an odd biscuit now and then, with maybe a cup of coffee, tea or even milk. I have a recipe for the perfect chocolate chip cookies that will make your mouth water. They’re so incredibly easy to make, and they don’t take long in the oven, so when you have a cookie craving, you can have them in minutes; that’s my type of biscuit!

Where did biscuits originate from and when?

The earliest biscuit style cakes were made back in 7th century Persia A.D. (now Iran), which was one of the first countries to cultivate sugar. The name cookie is derived from the Dutch word koekje, meaning small or little cake.

As people started to explore the globe, biscuits became the ideal traveling food, because they stayed fresh for long periods of time. It was a portable food that had a long storage life and was perfect for traveling.

What are they called around the world?

In America, this “small cake” are called cookies and are called biscuits in England and Australia. In Spain they’re galletas. Germans call them keks, and in Italy there are several names to identify various forms of biscuits including amaretti and biscotti and many more. Biscuit comes from the Latin word bis coctum, which means, “twice baked.”

These Chocolate chip biscuits make a good companion on a plate with those peanut butter thins. But that’s not the best thing about them. These crunchy chocolate chip biscuits are low in calories, and so cheap to make. And they freeze brilliantly for whenever your cookie needs arise again.

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Chocolate chip cookies!!

Baking time: 12minutes

Ingredients:

60g butter

60ml oil

150g sugar,

1 free range egg,

240g plain flour

Half a tsp bicarb,

200g chocolate, chopped

  1. First dice your butter and leave it to come to room temperature, or pop it into a microwave-safe bowl and ping for 10 seconds to cheat it. Preheat your oven to 180C.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together with a fork or wooden spoon.
  3. Add the oil and the egg and mix thoroughly. Now the bicarb. Now the flour to form a dough, and mix well. Fold through the chocolate chips.
  4. Lightly grease a baking tray. Add golf-ball sized pieces of dough, flatten slightly with the prongs of a fork, and place very far apart as they will flatten and spread as they cook.
  5. Bake in the centre of the oven for 12 minutes or until the edges are golden. Remove from the oven and just like the thins, allow to cool for a few minutes before moving.

Enjoy!

Bread through the ages

This week I’d like to talk about bread.  Bread is considered as a staple and is viewed as important all around the world. Bread has even been used to stop wars, (The Dampfnudel, Germany. I Learned that thanks to Mel on the Great British Bake Off, bread week). Bread is still important today, why? It’s simple, wholesome and it fill a hole.

The ancient Greeks were baking more than 80 types of bread in 2500 B.C. There was serious rivalry between bakers about who baked the best bread. The Greeks ate Barley bread, griddle cakes, Pitta, and honey and oil bread.

Bread Traditions

There are also traditions. Scandinavian traditions hold that if a boy or girl eat from the same loaf they are bound to fall in love. In Ukraine It is forbidden to throw bread away as bread is considered a gift from God. Even if a slice of bread fell on the floor by accident, it should be picked up, kissed by the one who picked it, and put back on the table. This tradition is rarely followed nowadays, despite the 5 second rule!

Even with all of these traditions and rivalry, no one knows specifically when the first loaf was baked, however, it is thought round about 10,000 years ago that the first loaf was made. The first bread produced was probably cooked versions of a grain paste, made from roasted ground cereal grains and water.

Victorian poor families’ week’s money was mostly spent on bread, leaving little for any other daily essentials such as milk, cheese and potatoes. The bread they ate would be have been Honey and Wheat bread. They only ate this bread because it was what they would have afforded at the time or available. Bread was not as processed as today.

In 1918, (during WW1) ration books were introduced for butter, margarine, lard, meat and sugars especially for bread as Britain’s supply of wheat decreased to just 6 weeks’ worth of grain. British people love bread, especially sliced bread. Otto Rohwedder of Davenport, United states, invented the first loaf-at-a-time bread slicing machine. He built a prototype in 1912, then in 1928, he had a fully working machine ready to feed the nations with sliced bread!

Although pre-sliced bread is popular. Simpler and purer loaves have become popular again. I dabbled with some traditional soda bread. It is so nice to eat and, it works very nice with soup, maybe even with the Cod and tomato chowder soup recipe I posted.

History of Irish Soda bread

Soda bread was introduced in the 1800s and it meant that you could make bread without an oven. Instead, they cooked the bread in what’s called a bastible—a big cast-iron pot with a lid on it, that would have been put right onto the coals or onto the turf fire. And it was another plus because soda back then was relatively inexpensive. They would also have used the buttermilk from the cows on the farm, and flour from the wheat. Butter was not put into the bread in the making, however when it’s come out of the oven and it’s cooled, you would slather the butter on then.

I have a lovely recipe for a tried and tested Soda bread that is delicious and, in my experience, will disappear in seconds.

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Wholemeal Irish Soda Bread

Makes 1 loaf.

Ingredients:

  • 275g Wholemeal bread flour
  • 275g Plain white flour
  • 1tsp Bicarbonate of soda
  • 450ml buttermilk

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 230c/450f/Gas mark 8. Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl. Make a well in the centre, pour in the buttermilk. I suggest pouring the buttermilk in slowly and gradually. You don’t want to swamp your dry ingredients. However, if it is the complete opposite of swamping and it appears to be too dry, add a little more. Mix it all together to make a soft dough. Turn the mix out onto a lightly floured surface and knead LIGHTLY and very BRIEFLY into a round. Flip the dough over, and keep in a round shape.
  1. Lightly dust a large baking sheet with flour, place the dough on it and then using a large knife, cut a large X on the top, cutting almost all the way through. Put the bread, that’s on the baking sheet onto a baking tray.
  2. Bake the loaf on the middle shelf of the oven for 15 minutes, then lower the temperature to 200c/400f/gas mark 6 and bake for a further 40-50 minutes/ until it sounds hollow when you tap its bottom.
  3. Remove from the oven and enjoy when cooled.

I had a baking day the day I made the Soda bread and decided to make also some sweet potato buns. These are just some of the best buns you’ll ever taste, and you can have so many variations with the seeds on top. Just delicious! Use them for sandwiches, or maybe even with a slathering of butter and a cup of tea!

Sweet potato buns

Makes 10 healthy sized buns (Read paragraph below)

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I said that when I started this blog, that I would include in my blog post any mistakes I made, and unfortunately, I made a mistake when I first made them these balms. For the 1st batch of balms I made, I used 450g plain flour, and as you’ll read, the recipe states that you should use strong white BREAD flour. Fortunately, it didn’t ruin the bread itself, but actually made it better!! When I made the 2nd batch, (which contained bread flour), I compared both of the batches and saw that the balms with plain four had a much better rise than the ones with the bread flour. You can, if you choose to, use plain flour instead of the bread flour if you’d like to or have no bread flour in. It makes no difference in the colour or taste, but it gives a better rise.

 

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces’ sweet potato, (I put it into ounces because it was easier to calculate better than 225g.)
  • 1 Tbs butter
  • 1 tsp grated nutmeg
  • 100ml milk
  • 450g strong white bread flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 7g yeast
  • 1 egg beaten, until it cries for mercy, and beat one more egg at the end to wipe over the buns before they go into the oven.
  • 1 tbs Oatmeal

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200c/ 400f/Gas mark 6, 15 minutes before baking. Peel the sweet potato and cut into small chunks. Cook in a big saucepan of boiling water until tender.
  2. Drain and mash with the butter and nutmeg. Stir in the milk slowly, being careful not to swamp the mash. Leave until barely walk.
  3. Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl. Stir in the yeast. Make a well in the centre.

Add the mash and beaten egg and mix to a soft t dough. Add a little bit more mil if needed.

  1. Turn out he dough onto a lightly floured surface and for about 10 minutes, knead until smooth and elastic.
  2. Put into an oiled bowl, cover with Clingfilm or a food bag, place in a warm place to rise for an hour.
  3. Turn out he dough and knead again until soft.
  4. Divide into 10 or 16 equal pieces, shape into rolls and place onto a large baking sheet. Cover with oiled cling film or food bag and leave for 15 minutes, to rise in a warm place.
  5. Brush the balms with beaten egg, then sprinkle half with Oatmeal and the other with whatever seed of your choice.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes or until well risen, lightly browned and sound hollow when their bottoms have been tapped. Transfer to a wire rack an immediately cover with a clean tea towel to keep the crusts soft.

 

Little fishy on a little dishy

Fish are fantastic ! So nutritional. Eating fish and shell fish regularly is beneficial for our eye sight, joints and heart. Fish contain amazing omega 3 oils and not only do these oils help protect the the skin from harmful UV rays but they boost brain power too. Studies have proven over time that people who eat fish regularly are less likely to suffer from Depression and Dementia plus aids concentration.

I have made for our family dinner a simple yet great tasting chowder minus any cream. This is light easy and super healthy to make for and level of skill.

Cod and Tomato Chowder

  • tbsp Olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • few dashes of Hot sauce (optional)
  • 2 medium onions sliced and chopped
  • 2 celery sticks trimmed and roughly chopped
  • 2 large carrots peeled and roughly chopped the same size as above
  • 2 large waxy potatoes (400g approx) peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 yellow pepper deseeded and roughly chopped
  • Few sprigs of fresh time. You can use 1 tbsp of dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 400g of tinned plum tomatoes
  • 1 handful of fresh baby plum tomato’s chopped in half
  • small handful of Kale chopped
  • 1 handful of peas/chopped green beans/Endame beans
  • 500ml of fish or chicken stock.
  • Chopped parsley.
  • min 500g of white fish this time i used Pouting but normally cod/monk fish are fab. How about making it with Ling/ river cobbler ? keep in mind the meatiness of the fish for cooking.

Here’s how.

Heat the oil in  a deep pan. Add the onions, celery and the seasoning cook stirring slowly over a medium for about 6-8 minutes. the vegetables should be starting to soften. Add the carrots/potatoes/ pepper along with the herbs. Saute for 5 mins and they will take on a little color.

Add the tomatoes to the pan and pour in the stock plus add the fresh tomatoes. Cover and simmer on low for 10 minutes. Next add the green vegetables and hot sauce, check the seasoning

In a separate dish season your fish and them on top of the vegetables . Cover the pan and this allows the fish to steam. After about 5 minutes gently push the fish into the mixture this will break it in to chunks.

Ladle in to large bowls and garnish with the chopped parsley.

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I made my mom a different dish with her favorite fish … rainbow trout in a parcel.

This was really good for beginners as it only had a few steps but it tasted great.

I took a rainbow trout and washed it and made sure the inside was nice and clean. This next part is totally customizable to your taste . . I made sure I seasoned the fish first with salt and pepper then I layered the filling inside. This time I used lemon slices and fresh basil leaves with a final sprinkling of finely chopped fresh parsley.  I scattered baby plum tomatoes around for the little burst of sweetness.  I wrapped in grease proof paper and baked at 140 for 25 mins

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Kippers are extremely popular in the Isle of Man. Maybe due to the fact that they have  beautiful rich waters surrounding the island.  Moore’s Traditional kippers factory is located in Peel. They have been curing in the traditional way since 1882.

After a recent visit to the Moore’s Smokehouse ive learned a little about the process

First the Herring are passed through the splitting machine . this step measures washes splits and guts each fish . Then each fish is brined for 10 minutes to ensure the unique flavor freshness is locked in.

Then come the essential part of the process the fish are oak smoked for 6-12 hours. Then they are ready for sale.

It’s as simple as that no nasties no artificial preservatives or flavour enhancers!

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These can be ordered by post . They also smoke bacon, salmon crab and scallops http://www.manxkippers.com/buy-seafood

Sustainability… HOT TOPIC

  • What this means for the consumer. In simple terms seafood is sustainable if it comes from a process without reducing a particular species ability to survive and maintain its population with adversely impacting on another species by removing their food source from the food chain. This can happen by over fishing or by  trawling or using methods without moderation. Even down to the type of indiscriminate nets
  • Catching fish using those methods can result a faster catch haul which leaves fewer fish left so repopulate and over a slower period of time. Floating fish factories can process over 100 tonnes of cod an hour and they work 24 hours!

What can we do?

  • Our choices fuel the process, shop wisely ask our fishmonger questions. Perhaps choose a more sustainable fish, I chose Pollock for one of the recipes above instead of cod. Fish is a well known source of protein and yet people are not as bothered about the consequences of irresponsible fishing. In some cases we are at dangerous levels. We are running the risk of removing entire links out of the oceans food chain.
  • 50% of fish that is being caught is being thrown back DEAD! this is again down to they way it is being fished, bycatch and down to customer demand and EU laws
  • Some research has shown that on average 20% of what is caught for the US is thrown away resulting in 2 BILLION pounds of waste! This has to stop.

If you would like to read more or need extra help in making your fish decisions read more here http://www.fishfight.net/index.html

A little Intro

I am interested in food. Its taste, the way it looks and the way it can make us feel. I really enjoy learning about the journey of food through tradition and customs. The history of why we eat the way we do, right down to the special place certain recipes have within our life. My little travel through food will be varied and hopefully exciting. Where should I go first?