Superfoods “Oh no, what have we done?”

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Quinoa

Since 3000 BC The Spice trade routes have been in operation, countries trading foods between each other, simplistic in nature it worked. Supplying an over abundance of product for a shortfall.

Somewhere in the process greed and marketing took a strangle hold.

Many an article has been written in recent times on the affect of the popularity of Quinoa on the Bolivian and Bulgarian way of life.

Quinoa was a staple food for the people of those countries , I say was, as now the demand from Western countries is so high that the average Bolivian and Bulgarian can no longer afford their precious grain, the price of Quinoa is now more expensive than Chicken in those countries.

The need is so high that traditional farming methods of crop rotation no longer take place causing soil and nutritional damage that eventually will make those lush farming areas devastated, this will cause commercial farmers to move to larger farming areas and as a result more deforestation of the world.

Our want for more and more Superfoods has become a Western addiction with no responsibility to where our next hit comes from and the impact of such hunger it has on its countries origins.

Quinoa is not the only product over history, Cacao, Coffee, Chia seeds and Palm oil all has had just as a horrific impact on developing countries.

Within in our own countries we have depleted and in some cases made extinct so many foods that where growing in their natural environment we now Wildcraft farm them on large scale to meet demand.

I am not trying to make every mouthful of Quinoa you consume be guilt ridden; I think we need to take the time to understand what we eat, where it comes from and the impact on the people of those countries.

There is no quick answer and the whole Superfood debate is very complex, the depth of its impact environmentally, socially and culturally is so debilitating it is beyond the everyday consumer’s comprehension.

Please check out the websites below and help lessen the impact.

10 Homegrown Superfoods Without Super Hype or Super Cost

How to Grow Quinoa at home

 

 

 

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On Rue Tatin By Susan Loomis Review

By Gary Keenan

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When ever I feel my inspiration for food wading, I pick up this book and read it (about ten times so far)


It is the story of the author and her life in a small French village with her husband and child.

Susan Loomis is a trained chef, cookbook writer and cooking school proprietor she shares her inspiring journey  as she chooses her produce from shopkeepers and markets, sharing over thirty recipes inspired by her surroundings.

This book will make you fall in love with France, its way of life and its food. You will laugh at her encounters and the real characters, and feel the need to start cooking her recipes.

This is not a recipe book, its a book about a way of life, food and the sharing of recipes from generation to generation.

La Dolce Vita By Isabel Coe Review

By Gary Keenan

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This book tells the story of the authors family, three generations of a Swiss – Italian family’s passion for chocolate.

Isabel Coe allows us into her life growing up and shares her families stories and recipes, which include.

Bitter Chocolate, Nut and Honey Semifreddo.

Chocolate and Almond tart.

Chocolate Orange Almonds.

Merenda Chocolate Bars.

And so many more.

This book is a must read for any Chocolate lover.

The Two Greedy Italians Review

By Gary Keenan

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This DVD series is full of great food.

At first this series feels a bit cheesy, lots of slap stick humour, and the feeling you are watching a travel video, then these two great chefs Gennaro Contaldo and Antonio Carluccio start sharing their stories and passion for food.

Watching them gather, prepare and cook wonderful rustic Italian food gives you goose bumps and the  over-whelming  need to whip down to your local Deli, come home and start making Pasta, Pizza and baked Sardines.
                                    Watch on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

DUCK STOCK

By Gary Keenan

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When we cook a whole duck at home I become very excited I love duck in all shapes and forms. it is what happens after the duck is consumed that makes my taste buds start dancing.

There are many fantastic already made gourmet stocks on the shelves however I have not been able to find a good Duck stock though.

People seemed to be scared of making their own stocks, it really is a simple process and rewarding, so here’s my easy Duck stock recipe.

Ingredients

1 Duck carcass

1 med Onion (diced)

1 stick of Celery (diced)

1 Carrot (diced)

Salt and Pepper to season

Method

Once you have removed everything you want off the Duck that you are having for dinner, place all the ingredients into a heavy based pot and cover with water, don’t forget to scrape the bits off the roasting pan along with any juices into your pot.

Bring to boil and then simmer for a couple of hours, if the water level drops too much add some more water to avoid any burning on the bottom of the pot.

Strain the contents of the pot keeping the liquid and discarding the carcass and other ingredients.

Pour the liquid into a clean pot and bring back to boil then to a simmer, reduce stock to about half.

Let cool and skim fat off the surface. At this stage some people would strain the stock through cheese cloth to produce a clear liquid, I choose not to as I like my Duck stock rustic.

Once stock is cooled place into an air tight container and place in the refrigerator over night.

Now this is the exciting part.

Take the stock from the refrigerator and remove the lid, there will be a thin layer of Duck fat on the top, gently scrape this off and this can be used to roast Potatoes or any veg for that matter.

The stock has now set like a jelly this stuff tastes amazing.

I use this to flavour my vegetables, soups, stir fry’s and some times I am really naughty and spread it over my toast, it is like heaven on a stick.

Enjoy

EASY FRIED RICE

By Gary Keenan

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Prep time 10 min’s   Cooking time 30 min’s   Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 cup of long grain Rice

2 cups of Water

6 rashers of Bacon (diced)

1 med Onion (diced)

300 gm fresh Prawn meat (diced)

3 Tablespoons of Soya sauce

1 Tablespoon of Black Bean sauce

2 cloves Garlic (minced)

2 Tablespoons of Canola oil

1 Egg

dash of Milk

3 Spring Onions (chopped)

Method:

In a sauce pan add water bring to boil add Rice and cook, after the Rice has absorbed all the moisture I like to put it into the refrigerator for a couple of hours before frying, helps firm the rice.

Place 1 Tablespoon of oil into a Wok and bring to hot heat add Bacon,Onion and Garlic and cook for 5 minutes, remove from Wok and set aside keeping oil and juices in the Wok.

Whisk the Egg and a dash of milk together and pour into a small fry pan, cook the Omelette until firm, then remove from pan and roll into a tube shape, with a sharp knife cut the Omelette into fine slithers and add to other ingredients ready for frying.

Add the remaining Tablespoon of oil to the Wok and bring to a high heat add Rice and toss regularly, add Bacon, Onion, Garlic, Prawn meat, Spring Onions, Egg, Soya sauce and Black Bean sauce and cook for 5 minutes constantly moving the Rice to avoid sticking to the bottom of the Wok.

Enjoy

SLOW COOKED BEEF RAGU WITH RIGATONI PASTA

By Gary Keenan

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Slow cooked Beef Ragu

Prep time 1/2 hour     Cooking time 3 hours  Serves 4

Ingredients

750 gm Chuck steak

200 gm Pancetta (diced)

1 Onion medium (diced)

1 Carrot medium (diced)

4 Garlic cloves (minced)
Ingredients

1 can of Tomatoes (diced)

100 gm Tomato Paste

2 1/2 cups Beef Stock

1 cup Red Wine

Flour plain

Parmesan cheese (shaved for garnish)

2 tablespoons Olive oil

250 gm Dried Rigatoni Pasta

Method

Heat the Olive oil in a fry pan add the Onion, Pancetta and Carrot and cook for five minutes, remove from pan.

Trim fat from Chuck steak and cut into four pieces, dust with flour, seal and brown in  the fry pan with the oil and juices from the Onion, Carrot and Pancetta.

Place all the ingredients  into a casserole dish, cook in oven at a moderate heat  about 180 degrees for three hours.

About half an hour before the Beef Ragu is cooked bring a large pot of water to the boil add the Rigatoni Pasta and cook, then drain.

After three hours remove the casserole dish from the oven and take out the steak, with two forks shred the meat and place back into the casserole dish stirring through the other ingredients.

Serve over the top of the Rigatoni Pasta and garnish with shaved Parmesan.

Enjoy

Stop with all the Jars “Already”

By Gary Keenan

I often wonder who starts food fads. Is there some collective world foodie group that meets in a dark room chuckling over their latest idea? Coming up with such ridiculous ideas and waiting to see us Punters fall for it. I can imagine that in a cynical kind of way it could be very rewarding.
This brings me to Jars, at first I could see the novelty value in the idea, chucking in a thick detox smoothie helped make those ugly thick green looking drinks some what more pleasing to the eye

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Unless you are some kind of NCIS build a boat in the cellar kind of guy I cannot see the need to consume anything from a jar unless it’s a condiment. A chunky jar with a massive handle on it, stuffed with every ingredient you pop into a smoothie finished off with mandatory sprig of Mint or Coriander and two designer straws protruding from the rim, if you are going to use straws then what does the jar add to the feel, taste of the smoothie, if its ascetics your after then it’s a big fail.
I am tolerant human being and see the fun in most new things associated with food, as usually the ridiculous ones fade after a little time, so I was happy to run with the jar for a little time, as long as one didn’t enter my kitchen. Then the most horrific culinary murder occurred people started putting salads into jars what’s next?

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Stop I say, stop this ridiculous movement now.
Jars are for preserving , looking after the excess of our home grown Tomatoes we have meticulously cared for all summer and that will add the magnificent flavours to our winter dishes to inspire us to grow more next season.
I am currently having jar nightmares.
Christmas day where Mum leaves the kitchen for the first time in days, slaving over the perfect Christmas lunch, she enters the dinning ladened up like a waitress from the local Bier Haus carrying handfuls of large chunky jars slamming them down on the table. I peer into the thick glass to see layered slices of Ham, Turkey, Pork and slow roasted vegetables, and a garnish of a thin sliver of Pork crackling precariously balanced on the rim topped with some homemade apple sauce.
Wake up; wake up before it’s too late.
Imagine a romantic dinner date, you and your partner, out to impress you order a bottle of Perrier Jouet Vintage Champagne, bang onto the table two massive Jars, with straws.The waiter proceeds to empty the entire contents of the bottle into the jars. You wish you had kept you Gym membership up as you struggle to lift the monstrosity; you give up, peering over the giant towers saying cheers through a clenched smile.
It s time to stop this silliness .
If you a serious Foodie join me in the anti Jar movement before it’s too late.
Please.