Tag Archives: Healthy

Freeze it for the future…


Let’s continue our basil saga and add to our recipe book…

Frozen basil for cooking

When I’ve started growing basil on my window seal, I didn’t expect it to go so well that I’ll have to look into several ways of using basil as well as storing some for rainy days.

After trying basil infused olive oil and basil pesto…the next best thing is to prepare basil ready to use for cooking and then freeze it so it keeps for longer.

This is the simplest way of storing basil and completely ready to be used.

Ingredients: 2 cups basil leaves, 4 tbs olive oil. Whizz it all together until the leaves are finely chopped (you might have to add a bit more olive oil if the mixture doesn’t look smooth enough).

I’ve used one of my trays for ice cubes, heart shaped…hahaha, it doesn’t really matter what you use to freeze them as long they are frozen in the shape/quantity you would use them for cooking.

I like a light flavour, when I am cooking so I’ve only filled 1/2 of each heart cube. I’ve left them to freeze for two days after which I’ve transfer them into a freezing bag to store for longer in the freezer.

When cooking, I would just add them directly frozen depending on the dish. I mostly use basil in tomato based dishes, but it can be added to so many other recipes.

Hope you’ve find this useful, if you ever have too much basil on your hand.

Your Girl with their Apron,

Julia

Just another pesto…


Following from my last post about the basil infused olive oil…happy to report the basil saga continues with …you’ve guessed it, pesto.

I absolutely love to grow basil and it feels amazing to cook with it, smell the beautiful green leaves…

Besides using fresh leaves in cooking, I have recently made my first basil infused olive oil, which is a game changer when it comes to certain dishes, especially tomato sauce.

Today, I want to share with you the next best thing you can make with basil and that is pesto.

I absolutely love pesto and so far we have only made kale pesto which is delicious with pasta.

Basil pesto with pasta

Ingredients: 2 handfuls of washed basil leaves, 30g pine nuts, 20g walnuts, 40g Parmesan, 100ml olive oil, 1 clove garlic. Cook the pine nuts until golden, then add them to the remaining ingredients using a food processor. Whizz until smooth, then season to taste, I only add a sprinkle of salt.

The above will get you enough for 2 servings of pasta. You can always double the quantities to have pesto for later, always store in the fridge until used.

I always fry the pesto, just a bit before coating the pasta and serving straight away, but that is a personal preference, you do not need to do it, but it does elevate the taste of the dish.

Once all ingredients are mixed, you should get a a smooth like texture, you might need to add more olive oil as you mix, depending on the rest of the ingredients. The secret is, bigger the quantity, easier the mix.

Basil Pesto

Just another pesto…but so delicious.

Your Girl with the Apron,

Julia

Sour but so sweet


This year has been another great summer for our sour cherry tree, so it was a no brainier that we’ll do some jam…and oh, what jam we did!

Homemade sour cherry jam

This is hands down, the best so far…and yes, it does look like strawberry or raspberry jam, hahaha, but it’s not.

My secret ingredient is chia seeds, super healthy and your best friend if you want to use less sugar but you want the thick texture.

Ingredients: 2kg pitted sour cherries, 1kg caster sugar, the juice of 2 lemons. Bring to boil, then turn the heat down and let it simmer slowly until it thickens, but not all the way. Make sure you do stir using a wooden spoon and the heat is always on low. Once it starts thickening and the juice has reduced at least 3/4, you can smash the fruit using a fork or a potato smasher.

Once you are happy with the texture, I’ve let it simmer for about 2 hours, you can turn the heat off and add 4 tbs of chia seeds. Stir and leave to cool half way, so not completely cold, before you store in jars.

I usually place the jars on a tray with greaseproof paper in the oven for about 10 minutes, this will disinfect the jars and kill any bacteria. Once the jam is stored and still warm, cover the jars with a kitchen towel and leave it until they cool down completely. Once a jar is opened, store it in the fridge until consumed.

I would love to see what other recipes you guys use for homemade jam. This has worked for me both times and the jam is absolutely delicious.

If you want to reduce the sugar, you will need to increase the quantity of the chia seeds to obtain the thick texture. As I have used the sour cherries, sugar was needed for a sweater taste, but for sweet cherries I would definitely use around 800g sugar and 6 tbs of chia seeds.

Let me know if you ever try the recipe.

Your Girl with the Apron,

Julia

The king of leaves


Homegrown Basil

My adventure started learning how to grow basil at home.

I love basil, the flavour, the smell…the taste in food, absolutely everything about it. After successfully growing my own basil from cuttings, I was a bit worried I wouldn’t be able to store it any other way besides drying them. So the research began…

Besides drying the leaves and using them in everyday cooking, I have also found how to infuse olive oil with basil leaves and then use to cook or as dressing for salads and cold plates.

I thought you will find it useful if I share how I’ve done it, as there are so many recipes out there, but this one worked for me.

Recipe/How to infuse olive oil with fresh basil/no cooking involved

First, wash the leaves well, my basil is homegrown/indoor, so I know exactly what’s on the leaves…NOTHING, but nevertheless they need to be clean. Once washed, the leaves are put in boiling water for exactly 1 minute, process called blanching.

Remove them from the hot water and place in ice cold water to cool down quickly.

Dry them on a paper towel, I’ve also used a paper towel on top to soak the excess moisture

Place the blanched basil leaves, olive oil and pinch of salt in a blender and mix until completely smooth.

This should be your final result

You can use immediately or store in the fridge for just over 1 week.

I’ve used mine straight away in making some delicious tomato sauce for spaghetti, the taste is absolutely amazing, nothing compares to it.

Especially that before I used to add leaves to my sauce but the flavour wasn’t always there.

See below measurements:

1.5 cup of basil leaves, pinch of salt and 1 cup olive oil.

If you want a stronger basil flavour, put 2 cups of leaves to one cup of oil, this will also make it much thicker, perfect for dressing salads.

Let me know if you have tried this recipe and what do you think.

Lots of love,

Your Girl with an Apron

Chocolate Snow White


Childhood memories…

That item, colour, sound, taste or smell that takes you back to those years when everything was just like magic and tasted like cotton candy.

This recipe I am sharing with you is just that…one of my sweet childhood memories that I have kept along the years and which always brings me joy and happiness with every bite.

My Snow White cupcake….just a little twist on the original recipe

The original recipe comes as a cake, but I just recently wanted to try something new, so the Snow White cupcake was born.

Ingredients:

Cake/cupcake

200 g plain flour, 250 g caster sugar, 85 g cocoa powder, 1 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda, 2 eggs, 200 ml milk, 120 ml vegetable oil, 2 tsp vanilla essence, 150 ml boiling water.

Meringue/top decoration

4 egg whites, 220 g powdered sugar, pinch of salt

Kitchen items:

Hand whisk or food processor (in my case I have used KitchenAid for the cake and a hand whisk for the meringue), large heatproof bowl, cupcake cups, decorating pipe, cake tin or muffin pan.

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas 4 and line the cake tin with great proof paper or get your cupcake cups ready using a muffin pan.

2. Beat the eggs and sugar until smooth, then add the rest of the ingredients except the boiling water.

I’ve used my KitchenAid to mix everything well but you can also use a hand whisk. Once the ingredients are well combined, add the boiling water slow while whisking. The mixture will now be very liquid. Pour the batter into a cake tin or the muffin pan and bake for 20-30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

3. Remove the cake/cupcakes from the oven and let it cool down before decorating.

Meringue

Beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until the mixture resembles a fluffy cloud, then add the sugar bit by bit while still whisking at a higher speed and making sure you add the sugar slowly.

When ready the mixture should be thick and glossy and ready to be whisked over hot steam.

Put water to boil in a dish that can hold a heat proof bowl above.

You can now transfer the mixture into the heat proof bowl and continue to whisk above heat at a low speed for about 5-10 minutes.

Remove from the heat, set aside for 10 minutes before decorating the cake or cupcakes; then sprinkle with dark chocolate, optional.

I’ve only decorated with chocolate the cake version of this dessert, see below.

The cake version is the one I remember from my childhood

This dessert takes me back but it’s also one of the best I have ever made.

Try it and tell me what you think….

Your Dessert Girl,

Julia xxx

My Red Page © 2015-2021 All rights reserved

‘Juice Diary’ – Day 12


‘The struggle you’re in today is developing the strength you need for tomorrow’

SONY DSC
Juice Diary – Day 12

Most used word today…’Weekend anxiety’ 🙂

Since I’ve started this Juice fest, I’ve never been so worried about the weekend…

You might have the ‘Friday feeling’…I have the ‘Weekend freak-out’…

The weeks are passing by quickly, but the moment I get closer to the only time I could slip up or have to go food shopping again…I feel like I am loosing my mind!

Don’t get me wrong…the past two weeks were just an awakening of how much I can achieve just by being focused and being more aware of how food can affect my life…but 28 days on pure juice it starting to sound more crazy than on my first day!

I am almost at the end of week 2 and I can’t believe I’ve been living on juiced ginger, spinach, pineapples, carrots, lemon….countless apples and other vegetables I’ve never thought about before.

If anything, I am proud of myself but even more of my ability to continue …even though sometimes I feel like I cannot look at my Juicer anymore, with a smile on my face 🙂

‘Dear Friday,

I’ve used to dream about you all week…now, not so much :)’

What is my plan?

No idea…

I might just jog my way through the weekend and hope that I will still be best friends with the bag of beetroot that is smiling back at me 🙂

Here we go again…write the shopping list for the next week.

Will it be just veggie and fruity?

I guess, we’ll have to wait and see!

 

Day 12 down…16 to go!

 

Your Juice Girl,

Julia

xxx

My Red Page © 2015 – 2016 All rights reserved