This delicious salad is an ideal light nutritious meal during the summer months.
Its ingredients couldn’t be more Mediterranean: tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, onions and olives, all of which grow in abundance in southern Europe and conjure up images of long sunny days, happiness and holidays. All these ingredients are full of essential vitamins, minerals and water. The topping of feta cheese with its “piquant” taste is characteristic for this salad and provides protein, supplying from the nutritional point of view, a complete meal.
Making it is simplicity itself:
For 4 people we need three or four ripe tomatoes, one or two cucumbers, one medium red onion and a handful of tasty black olives. Finally a portion of feta cheese, extra virgin olive oil, some oregano and possibly a little salt (feta is quiet salty).
Cut the tomatoes, cucumbers and pepper into pieces, the onion into rings. Place all into a dish and dress the salad with the oil and a little salt if needed. Add the olives, put the feta portion on top sprinkled with some dried oregano and a drizzle of olive oil. Accompany this with a piece of good quality toasted bread and indulge in another drizzle of oil on the bread if the fancy takes you. — And Enjoy !!!
Turmeric, the natural spice colouring in curry powders is a natural analgesic (painkiller) which can help relieve arthritic and other pain and has been used in Ayurvedic Medicine for centuries. It has been found to have many other health promoting properties including:- being a liver and nerve protector, lowers cholesterol, benefits heart health, helps remove toxic metals from the body, is anti microbial and fungicidal, a powerful antioxidant and anti-carcinogenic. Adding black pepper to the turmeric is reported to significantly increase it’s anti cancer properties.
It clearly is a spice with many health benefits and by using it when we can in our food we help our bodies to regulate our health and wellbeing.
Here is a simple, quick and tasty soup to make on these cold evenings which is loaded with health giving properties:-
(See the accompanying photo’s):
* 1 medium onion, * +/- 600 grms. pumpkin (type – butternut), * 1 heaped tbsp. Turmeric powder. * ½ tsp. black pepper.
Cut up the onion and pumpkin into small pieces, put in a pot and add the turmeric and pepper. Add several glugs of olive oil and mix all together coating all the pieces in the pot. On a relatively high heat sauté the ingredients for about two minutes constantly stirring, then, add boiling water to just cover the ingredients, turn down to a medium heat, put the cover on the pot and allow the contents to cook until soft (+/- 20 minutes).Blend in a blender until smooth. Put in a bowl, decorate, serve and enjoy.
In our modern day lifestyle more and more of our foods are manipulated in unnatural ways and / or processed with artificial additives so that they can taste, smell and look better and last longer. With these ever increasing combined chemical cocktails in our food a growing number of experts believe that these are a major contributing factor to the increasing number of allergic and intolerance reactions in people today.
Clearly eating food in its most natural state is the ideal, but living in today’s society we can’t always ensure all we eat is completely natural. We have to have faith in our bodies to deal with the bad cocktails and mixtures we ingest and come in contact with but clearly we want to limit these occurrences to the minimum and not take undue advantage of our body’s capacity to deal with too much toxic ingestion. Listening to our bodies and taking action when we realise something is not right, is also, clearly essential. Learning to incorporate natural foods, herbs and spices into our diet that will help our bodies to help us can only improve our quality and enjoyment of life.
When we are in pain we generally do something to try to get rid of it. Pain is our body’s way of telling us something is wrong and it needs help. Instead of using a propriety analgesic, our bodies will appreciate and benefit more if we use something natural.
Three of natures more powerful anti inflammatory (painkillers) are turmeric, ginger and bromelain. In forthcoming articles we will give some simple recipes and ways to use these natural painkillers.
All participants on the recent chair course in Madrid showed great interest in all aspects of the weekend and worked hard over the two days of intensive learning. The mid-day meal on the Saturday was pasta for which we made a large bowl of “Pesto” salsa. From all the encouraging and enthusiastic comments we received about the course and the weekend Pesto seemed to clearly stand out and all wanted to know our recipe for it. So here it is:
Ingredients:- (Serves two people)
_ +/- 20 g. of chopped fresh basil (small packets provided in supermarkets)
_ 2 heaped tablespoons of pine nuts
_ 2 heaped tablespoons of finely grated cheese (“grana padano” or “parmesan”)
_ Extra virgin olive oil
_ 1 medium clove of garlic
_ ½ teaspoon sea salt
Put all ingredients in a blender, push them down a bit and cover with extra virgin olive oil. Blend all together. Let it stand for at least half an hour before serving.
For larger quantities simply increase proportionately the quantities in the basic recipe. Make it thicker or thinner by increasing or reducing the oil.
The salsa can be kept covered in the fridge for several weeks without deteriorating.
Make and enjoy – Let us know how it turns out for you.
As we love and appreciate nature and the right to eat natural foods, we are concerned by the cultivation of genetically modified cereals in our country (soya and maize) and the silent war that some multinationals _Monsanto is the best known_ are waging in the European Union and other South American countries.
A genetically modified plant is one that has had a gene from another species introduced into it. A well known example is cultivations that have had an insecticide gene taken from a bacteria introduced into their DNA. The effect of this change is that all insects (not only those that are harmful but also those that are not) are in danger if they come in contact with these plants. In addition, some insects develop a resistance to the insecticide gene making it necessary to produce a new and possibly more potent change to combat future plagues.
The real problem is that humankind have only very recently entered into this unknown field of manipulating genes between species in a manner in which nature never intended and we have no idea of the possible future consequences on our health or on the environment. Particularly for these reasons one would expect that prudence would indicate the necessity for extensive scientific studies over a period of time to ensure we are not been exposed to possible dangerous and unpredicted consequences in the future.
However the attitudes of the multinationals that are at the forefront of this biotechnical research are less than prudent: a good part of the scientific community is not satisfied with the rigor of the investigations carried out by the multinationals to show that their GMO products are harmless and this is supported by a grand majority of the consumers in Europe.
These multinationals apply pressure to governments and ignore the rights of the people to know what they are consuming by such subterfuges as_ persistently refusing to label those of their products that have been manipulated –“GMO“ (genetically modified) or those that have not been treated “no GMO”, to allow the consumer the right to choose.
It is alarming that 92% of the territory in Europe dedicated to the cultivation of transgenic soya and maize is in Spain. What do they use the soya and maize for? They use it to produce animal feed, which in its turn enters into the human food chain. In addition the derivatives of soya and maize (are present in thickeners, baby foods, bakery products etc.) and soya lecithin found in health food shops may also be from GMO sources.
What can we do? To start, consume ecological products _ at the moment, ecological, by law, can not contain GMO products. In the long term, reclaim our rights, and those of all living beings to natural and healthy foods which respect the laws of Nature.
Yes, very important. Because of this, this week we are going to give you some ideas to make breakfast healthy and appetising.
For this you need to have all or some of these ingredients.
*Whole food ecological cereal flakes (oats, rye, barley…)
*Sunflower or pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sultanas, nuts
*Natural yoghourt without sugar, if possible ecological
*Whole flour bread (wheat, spelt, rye)
*Extra virgin olive oil, butter
As you wake up drink a glass of warm water and have some fruit (whole or freshly pressed). By doing this, your body gets hydrated and the digestive function is stimulated.
If possible, allow 30 minutes before eating breakfast. Then, decide what you are going to have:
For instance, you can start with some yoghourt followed by bread drizzled with olive oil, some grated tomato and avocado. Occasionally, you can use butter instead of oil and add some honey or sesame seeds if you like them. You can alternate bread with a home made wholemeal cake (see recipes in our blog).
The above is a Mediterranean sort of breakfast, but you can opt for a “warmer” version such as porridge made preferably with ecological oat flakes, some sultanas, seeds and nuts. Oats are easily digested and help to alleviate constipation problems.
To drink, have a small cup of coffee, some tea or a herbal infusion.
Within this basic frame, you can introduce variations: what about some fresh cheese, a poached egg or toast with ecological jam (with little sugar)? Or still better: Introduce your own variations, personalise your breakfast and make it a work of art!
This is a fairly common recipe found in many cooking books. The difference is in the quality and quantity of the ingredients. For example, we are using “panela” instead of ordinary sugar. “Panela” is sugar taken directly from the sugar cane. Because it hasn’t been refined, it conserves all its minerals and we can assimilate it better than white sugar, which is absorbed rapidly, raising our blood sugar and taking calcium out of our bones.
Sugar quantities in most recipes are quite high. In this recipe, it has been reduced from 150 to 100 grs. The additional sweetness is provided by raisins. The result is a nicer and healthier cake.
For 6/8 people
_200 grs. whole spelt or meal flour
__100 grs. “panela”
_1 Greek or natural yoghourt ((125 ml.)
_125 ml. olive oil
_50 grs. seedless raisins (sultanas)
_ A small handful crushed walnuts
_1 tsp. ground cinnamon
_1 tsp. ground or liquid vanilla
_1 tsp. sodium bicarbonate
_Grated coconut, a little jam and a few almonds to decorate
_In a bowl, whisk eggs, “panela”, oil, yoghourt, cinnamon and vanilla until smooth consistency.
_In another bowl, mix flour, sodium bicarbonate, walnuts and raisins and add to the first bowl until well mixed.
_Pour all into a suitably oiled baking tin. Decorate and place in the middle of the oven (180º) for 45 minutes.
In our climate, aubergines are finishing by the end of October. You can buy them out of season, but these are generally cultivated in greenhouses.
Aubergines are a summer vegetable (actually, a fruit!),juicy and refreshing.They are alkalizing, rich in potassium and vitamins B2 and B5. They are diuretic and mildly laxative. Before they are finished, let’s celebrate the end of summer enjoying this tasty dip.
_2 medium aubergines
_1 large garlic clove
_A small bunch of parsley
_2 or 3 tbs. of lemon juice
_2 tbs. of tahini (or 4 tbs. of ground sesame seeds)
_1 pinch of cumin powder
_Salt and pepper to taste
_ Pierce the aubergines with a fork several times. Place them in a dish with a little water and put into the oven (180%) 45 to 60 minutes, until tender.
_ Take out the pulp with a spoon and put it with the other ingredients in a blender and whisk until well emulsified.
_ Empty into a bowl and decorate with some olive oil, sweet paprika and a sprig of parsley.
_ Allow to rest for at least one hour before serving.