The Green Folder


Asparagus how to store, cook and eat it

Fresh asparagus should have crisp, not bendy or soft stalks, the tips should be firm and held tightly together, walk away from anything less.  I would also urge, only eat asparagus when it is in season, for New Zealand, September – December.   Personally, lightly steamed and dripping in butter is the way to eat this stunning shoot.  It is rumored that Julius Caesar loved it this way, who knows,  it was certainly cultivated by the Romans more than 2000 years ago.

  Top tip, store your purchase standing up in a container of water, like a bunch of flowers, covered with damp kitchen towel, they start to die as soon as they are cut.  This will keep them fresher for longer

Asparagus provides vitamins A, B2, and C.  It is also a good source of potassium, iron and….calcium – surprised? Now if only I could find a way of making my children eat asparagus, all would be good in my green world.  For the rest of us here’s some asparagusy stuff.shoot (2) Continue reading “The Green Folder”

The Green Folder


The most misunderstood purple fruit.

4 great aubergine recipes that are quick, easy and healthy

There is just so something utterly seductive about a  glossy purple aubergine.  I just have to buy the egg shaped fruit whenever it is in season.  Not everybody feels the same way, in fact the earlier varieties, which were more bitter than the ones we use today, were thought to be able to cause insanity, leprosy and cancer.  Funny because we now know that the skin is an antioxidant.

You say Eggplant, I say Aubergine – it’s a fruit

The ancient ancestors of eggplant grew wild in India and were first cultivated in China in the 5th century B.C. Eggplant was introduced to Africa before the Middle Ages and then into Italy, Europe was last in the chain, where it was used more as a decorative plant for some time.  Not until the 18th century did it throw off it’s bitter reputation and wear the royal purple with pride.  Anyway, here are 4 great ways to eat them. Continue reading “The Green Folder”

The Green Folder


What’s a mung bean? It is three things

A quick and simple guide to cooking and eating mung beans – 4 fabulous dishes

P1130043 (2).JPGHigh in vitamins and minerals, especially iron, calcium, vitamin A, B1, B2 and C, these small green dried beans have a pale yellow inside.  You might not have seen them in this form, but I bet you have seen and probably eaten them as bean sprouts. That’s how they are most commonly used.  Buy them non heat treated and watch them grow!!  Once sprouted, mung beans punch above their weight increasing the amount of Vitamin A by 300% and a staggering increase of up to 600% for their vitamin C value.  Because their starches are converted to simple sugars during the sprouting process, they are easy to digest.  When mung beans are hulled and split they are called mung dal.  Get to know them, in all their forms.mung beans

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The Red Folder


Quick and easy slices, most requested recipes

Lemon – Chocolate – Caramel – Lemon – Chocolate – Caramel – Lemon – Chocolate 

After the  raspberry chocolate cheesecake brownie these are the next three most requested slice recipes.  I have finally found time to leave them in this space.  The names are what they have become in our family for various reasons.  Call them what you want but you must make them.  My favorite is the lemon so that is where I will start.

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Lemon Hearts
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Orange Hob Knob
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Fred cake

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The Green Folder


Buckwheat a heavyweight in nutrition

A quick and simple guide to cooking and eating buckwheat, a gluten free food

Buckwheat is a fruit seed – related to rhubarb and sorrel and nothing to do with wheat, good news for all those trying to avoid the stuff. I have seen pictures of buckwheat crops which look like a field full of white flowering weeds. The tiny seeds contain higher levels of zinc, copper, and manganese than other cereal grain. Buckwheat also provides a very high level of  protein which is well-balanced and rich in lysine (think cold sore defense).  Why then, is Buckwheat not carried on our shoulders as a food superhero? Well. there is some evidence that humans find it hard to digest the protein, so absorption is low – pre-soaking before using, makes all grains more digestible. While this makes it a less than ideal source of protein for growing children or anyone with digestive tract issues, for most of us it is a useful food to include in our diets and a must for vegetarians and those that are Gluten free.

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I allow buckwheat polenta to cool and eat as a sort of pate with warn wholemeal toast

Buckwheat’s most common forms are,  hulled groats, which can be cooked like rice. Ground  buckwheat flour, most famously used in Japanese soba noodle and french blinis and toasted groats, which does not take as long to cook. The hulls can be used as  stuffing in hypo-allergenic pillows, heating pads, and other homeopathic applications.  Interesting but how can we eat it.  Here’s how. Continue reading “The Green Folder”

The Green Folder


Couscous Balls – Seriously it works

I jumped up and down when it did, a happy combination.

Sometimes towards the end of the week, I look in my fridge and wonder what to do with its contents.  This is cooking off-piste and actually the most exciting and creative.  Somethings are nearly there and need tweaking, somethings just work straight away.  I had ½ a butternut squash, a bunch of spinach and some cooked couscous left from a previous dish. Drum roll please as I lift the tea towel and bring you………

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I ate six in the testing and they sold so quickly I had to make another batch.  First time around I used fresh spinach, apricots and blue cheese because that is what I had to hand, in the second batch I used frozen spinach, feta and cranberries, which I photographed.  The soft centre and crunchy outside make this dish a versatile winner, use what you have.  I served them with an aubergine relish that I made and then a fig relish that was store bought, they are not fussy and ate well with both.  On a salad or in a wrap or pita, try them. You’re welcome!!

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The Green Folder


Pearl barley, a blast from the past

A quick and simple guide to cooking and eating pearl barley.

Refined into barley malt for use in beer, fed to livestock or hidden in thick soups and stews; poor pearl has been on the bench for many years now.  Let’s give her some new dresses and ask her to dance!!  She is just as good as quinoa.

pearl barley salad
Just waiting for green leaves and roasted pistachioss for a complete vegetarian meal.

I actually do not like the texture of pearled barley in soups, I find it’s kind of slimy and chewy.  When I read that whole grains are a must for the postmenopausal woman I went on a whole grain mission. Pearled barley was on my list, but I left it to last, sad face, because of my stew bias.  It is a great source of fibre and packed with vitamins and minerals. Reading on Health benefits.  I sighed and looked up some recipes I have in old books, they were seriously uninspiring.  I was a little lost until I stopped thinking about pearled barley as pearled barley!!!!!  I thought of it as rice or quinoa. Everything changed.

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