MALIBU, California

MALIBU, California

Friday, November 30, 2012

Please follow this blog for fabulous Holiday cooking

I will be posting some very old fashioned European and American recipes for candy and cake making for the holidays..stay tuned and please feel free follow this blog over the next few weeks..
I also appreciate feedback from my world wide readers ......

Fudges and rum balls, Victorian English sugar mice, tea pastries and cakes, breads and buns..all kinds of treats that have been almost forgotten or whose goodness has become lost in commercial large factory output products.
Preserves for elegant dinner parties or something special for breakfast..whisky orange marmalade, blinis for caviar or nut loaf...these and many more recipes will appear this month for your holiday partying.

Drinks and party beverages that can be made ahead and stored in a cool dark place..there is still time to make real ginger beer for Christmas.

It DOES Rain in Southern California

We are having our first 5 day 'winter' storm with  warm rain..well it is not cold during the day and last night when it stopped raining for 6 hours, the crickets were chirping in the back's what my flowers think of it...

Thick Green Split Pea Soup..the ultimate, economical cold weather dish

 We are finely having some great rain, we have had 1 1/2 inches so far in west Los Angeles and the foothills are having a bit more. Hopefully these 3 storms will last through Sunday.

 If you can boil water, then you can make this soup!

Nothing is as easy and filling as green split pea soup, a pound of green split peas can easily feed 6-8 people with the correct vegetables and grains added.

I grew up a meat eater and in the North of England where this is traditionally made with pigs trotter's ( feet), here a few decades later I am making it with vegetable stock, and loads of vegetables and pearl barley.

It is nice and thick and great with some crusty bread and a piece of cheese.

This is a slow simmer soup (over an hour cooking time) and is much better the day after it's made.
If you are in a hurry, don't attempt making this soup.

you will need:

1 pound dried split green peas..washed well  and drained
1 pound carrots chopped in big chunks ( 1 inch)
2 medium brown onions roughly chopped
3 sticks celery rough chopped
1 pound starchy potatoes ( Russets)
6 ozs pearl barley washed and drained (3/4 cup)
Vegetable stock or water
Sea salt, pepper, bay leaf, fresh or dried thyme

In a large heavy bottomed pan, add the stock/water, the bay leaf and herbs and bring to boil, adding the vegetables. Bring to a rolling boil and add the washed and drained split peas, stir to mix in.
 Lid the pan, turn heat down to a simmer and cook for 40 mins. Stir occasionally
Remove any scum form top of soup and add the potatoes and the washed and drained barley, salt & pepper.
Lid the pan and cook on a high simmer for 30 mins.
Stir occasionally. ( be careful it doesn't start to stick to the bottom of the pan as it thickens up)
Check seasonings and serve

This soup thickens as it stands, so add more stock/water as needed; I prefer mine thick enough to stand a spoon up in.

Chopped fresh parsley*, mint, scallions or cilantro at the end. 
1/2 tsp smoked paprika, add after skimming off the scum, adds a smokiness that adds to the depth of flavor.
Add sweet potato, when you add the regular potato.
Finish with defrosted frozen peas; add chopped fresh tomato; add any kind of fresh vegetables available when you are finishing, or if they are tough like winter greens, finely chop and add them when you add the barley.
Finish with a tablespoon of Dijon mustard for a deep flavored soup.
Add dumplings ( use a buttermilk biscuit mix, with some added chopped fresh herbs and drop them into the simmering soup, you may have to add more stock as the dumplings will absorb some liquid as they cook) and keep lidded for the last 30 mins of cooking.

This is a great "stick to your ribs" kind of soup and is popular where ever there are Europeans.

*Also don't pluck just the leaves off a bunch of tender herbs (parsley, mint & cilantro) chop the stems with the leaves to add some texture and more flavor & vitamins, the stalks are tender and tasty.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Orders up! Photos..Samosas, sprouted beans, & Steam-stirred vegetables

These 2 ..stir-steamed vegetables

own made fresh peach and tomato chutney ( made in May 2012)

Sweet potato-tomato-basil pasta sauce

5 day old sprouts ready for eating

"Samosa" mix turnovers

these are served with the chutney and also some live yogurt with fresh mint and cilantro

 organic herbs online

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Samosa Turnovers and a "meaty" vegan Barley Bean soup & other delights

We are waiting for  a 4 day storm to hit Southern California,it's just low 70f's today, the first big storm of the season ( but the forecasters keep promising these and nothing happens).

So my clients have chosen a  fully international menu to cope with this odd weather ( it was 86f on Sunday!).

A "meaty" broccoli, bean barley soup with hints of sage and basil, this is a great soup and very adaptable can be made with a good vegetable-white wine base as this is or with a canned tomato base, sometimes adding mushrooms.
Carrots, garlic, onions and celery form the base, and then I added black eyed peas, and pearl barley,later cooked black beans and broccoli florets and cooked for about an hour.

Finished with fresh chopped parsley

A rich and "creamy" (Vegan) carrot and potato..partially blended and finished with coconut milk & ground nutmeg. This is the artist Mr. David Hockney's favorite type of soup. A base of celery and onions, sometimes white of leek.

Then I am making curried vegetable turnovers..a samosa vegetable type filling with sweet potatoes, regular potatoes, celery, broccoli, carrots, peas, cumin, garam masala and curry powder with  a turmeric-poppy seed whole wheat pastry.
These are served with my own made tomato- peach chutney from the summer.
I  prefer the larger type of turnovers than the 2 bite original samosas, this way you get more variety and more vegetables per portion.

I am also making a mild,fresh  basil packed, tomato-sweet potato sauce for pasta, and comes with grated Parmesan cheese.

And tomorrow a stir-steamed side dish( sugar snap peas, carrots, celery, green beans and wild asparagus with cashew nuts)

Apricot, almond and sunflower seed, oatmeal cookies

Then own grown bean sprouts and rejuvelak ( sprouted rye berries in spring water allowed to ferment for 3 days..a natural non-Dairy probiotic)) with spiralina( green algae)

some photos:



2 day old sprouts..takes 5 days to produce good sized

Sprouted Rye Berries also 2 days

Great large fresh carrots, Russet potatoes & brown, Spanish onions

The curried vegetable mix for the samosa turnovers

The pastry for the turnovers..whole wheat flour with turmeric and poppy seeds

The bean, barley, broccoli soup

These 2, the apricot-almond, sunflower seed, oatmeal cookies

keeping the cookies on parchment until cool prevents breaking
Newmans Own Organics 35494 Organic Mediterranean Dried Apricots (Google Affiliate Ad)


Tuesday, November 27, 2012


For centuries mankind has sought help from plants to cure his ailments, in the middle ages the Doctors of the time would look for
 "variations of the principles of sympathetic magic.
Based on the search for  similarity, contrast and pattern on the earth around them..toadstools growing on dead tree trunks were placed with the dead in the hope of bringing them back to life; ivy berries would cure drunkeness because the vines strangles ; parasitic plants might in turn cure inner parasites.
Many classical authors thought that planting lentils around a garden would protect from gale force winds!"

We have come a long way and now used more plants in more ways to cure our ailments, and more discoveries are being made daily from plants in the inner rain forests.
We still use aspirin widely to cure headaches, many having no clue it originated from chewing birch twigs, so maybe it is time that more of the power of common herbs, was known.

A lot of the use of herbs in cooking is not just for flavor, in times before refrigeration they were a way of preserving the food as they prevented mold & bacteria growth.

However, I  am a firm believer in the power of herbs to alleviate some forms of illness or just give the body a boost and have been involved in herbalism for the best part of 40 yrs.

For drink infusions (teas) it is a good idea to purchase a tea ball ( there are tea bags that you can purchase to fill your self but they have to be steam ironed shut and can become fiddly,  a tea ball for personal use is ideal)

Some basic ailments and proposed remedies: (all dried herbs can be purchased online from notable herbalists or dry your own, but do not try and  dry wet herbs as they mold fast)

Sore throat:..a gargle of sage, cider vinegar and honey.
Make an infusion of blackberry and or raspberry leaves, chopped fresh sage and chopped garlic, when cool strain it and add  1 tsp cider vinegar, and 1 tsp honey. Gargle 4 -5 times daily ( this can also be effective with  Laryngitis)

Cough...a simple cough syrup..slice a large brown onion into rings and pour to cover, runny organic honey, leave overnight.
Next day strain off the onion rings and take this "syrup" in 1 tbsp. 4-5 times a day.
Avoid gluten and dairy during this period.
An infusion for coughs is 1 part each of coltsfoot flowers, marshmallow leaves, hyssop and 1/2 part liquorice root & aniseed. Simmer the infusion for 10 mins,  and strain and sweeten with honey, drink this hot 3-4 times daily.

Sinusitis... to remove mucus use 1 egg cup full of fresh beetroot juice and same of warm water and sluice out your nasal passages

Liver cleanse..( do not use these methods if you are pregnant):
2 tbsp fenugreek seeds in  2 cups spring water ..either soak overnight and strain or simmer for 20 mins then strain..drink the liquid, 1 cup last thing at night, cool or luke warm.
Can also sprout the seeds and eat after 5 days of rinsing twice daily.
Eat fresh artichoke  as often as possible, relieves constipation, encourages good digestion and is a gentle liver cleanser.
After heavy holiday or winter meals an infusion of 1 part dandelion root, barberry, gentian with spring water simmered for 10 mins then strained, sweetened with honey and drink 1 cup before bed.

Inflammation of gall bladder or infusion..1 part of each: chamomile, crampbark, marshmallow leaves and slippery elm, spring water, simmer for 10 mins then strain..1 cup (8ozs)

Leg cramps can be caused by low calcium levels increase calcium intake add more raw sesame seeds and tahini paste to the diet.
Ginger tea also helps with the circulation.

to 1 cup boiling water add 2 parts each of skullcap,and passionflower, 1 part each of valerian & hops and 1/2 part liquorice root..simmer for 10 mins, strain and drink sweetened with honey.
Also Epsom salts and lavender oil ( fresh/dried lavender flowers in muslin sachet) in a warm not hot bath just before bed.
2 tsp  cider vinegar to 1 tsp honey add hot water and drink just before bed

In a Funk? increase intake of Brewer's yeast (also nutritional yeast)
Ginseng..available in capsules or tincture
Lemon balm, rosemary and borage lift the spirits..make an infusion with equal parts fresh or dried.
Essential oils applied to  temples and massage are: bergamot ( also flavors Earl Grey Tea), orange, lemon, jasmine, rose, and neroli

Be well, eat better, Live Longer   GOOD LIFE

Monday, November 26, 2012

Monday Nov 26th Orders only

Descriptions of these dishes are in previous blog ( Miso, Kasha Nov 25th)..enjoy the photos...

Roasted Vegetable Rustic Tarts..wholewheat Brioche type rich dough

kasha ( Buckwheat) stuffed cabbage rolls

Granola Balls...just grind some good toasted granola with sunflower, pumpkin and chia seeds, add some roasted ground nut butter ( peanut, sunflower seed, almond), chocolate chips, dried fruit. Allow to sit overnight in fridge and roll in sesame seeds. All natural and not baked trail mix bars, great for trips/kids playtime but must be kept cold. High calories and chia makes you feel full so only eat 1 ( if you can help yourself)

Making the most of out of season tomatoes, bake them with some onion and olive oil to maximize their Natural sugars, then add chopped fresh herbs and raw sesame seeds, salt and pepper

The baked tart sprayed with olive oil

Sunday, November 25, 2012

ALWAYS HAVE BEEN VEGAN....Miso, Kasha & Cabbage rolls for 21st Century

Sometimes it is hard to improve on Perfection, so I have just tweaked these very old types of dishes for the 21st Century, using less oil, no trans fat and so they are completely Vegan, (but in most cases they already were).
Many cultures ate/eat far less meat than we do in the West, and are naturally vegan, before it became  hip to be so.
So here are my takes on Miso soup, Stuffed cabbage rolls and a roasted vegetable, rustic pie/tart, Winter versions

Miso is a fermented mix of brown rice, soy beans and sometimes other grains, like flax seed.
It is high in B vitamins and can be high sodium so read your labels.This week I am making 2 miso noodle soups, one with own grown organic broccoli; and the other with fresh shitake mushrooms.( you may use dried shitake mushroom, just reconstitute with some fresh hot water , chop finely and add the liquid to the soup before the miso.
The key here  is to cook the vegetables( leeks, carrots, peppers, zucchini, mushrooms, broccoli, green beans, sea vegetables..whatever is available fresh) in boiling water, add dried sea vegetables at the beginning, after washing them well to remove any salts.
Add the tenderest vegetables last.
Once the vegetables are cooked, add the Soba noodles and cook for 3 mins, skimming the surface.
Remove from heat and gently stir in the fresh miso paste ( depending again on the variety use about 1 tbsp per person, but check before you add to much), stir to mix and then serve  with chopped parsley, scallion or cilantro.
Add sake or sherry and stir well, serve in deep bowls and enjoy the steam.

As Miso is a fermented product do not re-boil once the miso is added as this can kill off a lot of naturally occurring nutrients.

Stuffed cabbage rolls...(a dish that has been around as long as cabbage has been cultivated)

Cabbage is a strong anti-cancer thought to help block breast cancer and suppress growth of polyps, a prelude to colon cancer. Eating cabbage once a week for a man cuts his chance of developing colon cancer by 66%,..As little as 2 tbsp cooked cabbage a day protects against stomach cancer, also has anti-viral and antibacterial properties  and should be in one's diet at least 3 times a week, the tight green-white  cabbage heads are available all year in Northern climes and are the  natural main stay for fresh vitamins in Winter as they store well..make more use of them.

To remove the large leaves for the head of a cabbage,leave it whole and gently cut out the inner hard stalk and remove..can be used grated in a salad.

Place the entire cabbage in a large pot of boiling salted water and cook boiling for 20 mins ( lid the pan), carefully remove the cabbage and place under running fresh cold water, then place in a collander and allow to cool and drain.

When cool enough, gently remove the large leaves and  keep them whole, lay flat on a cutting board.

The filling: ( the amounts vary depending on size of cabbage and amounts served), for 4 persons:
 saute 3 medium brown onions finely chopped
 5  thick  chopped carrots,
4 ribs  celery chopped
2 leeks finely chopped
add spices of choice ( I used turmeric and cumin),

Cook until tender, then add 2 cups toasted buckwheat groats ( these are a gluten-free, dried "seed" not a grain, although it is classed as a grain in the west, and have been used in cooking for thousands of years)
They are sold already toasted.
Buckwheat is high in protein 20% and contain the bioflavanoid rutin which strengthens  circulation and the veins, very good for people with varicose veins.
Wash the dried buckwheat in running water then drain and add to the tender vegetables, and cover with boiling water.. just to cover (1/4 inch), reduce to simmer and tightly lid the pan, cook until all water has evaporated/been absorbed. approx. 20-30mins.

Remove  gently fluff the mix and add 1 cup washed and rinsed dried raisins and 1 cup chopped  raw nuts ( walnuts, pine nuts, pistachio, pecans).
Stir well together then pour onto a cookie sheet and allow it to cool/dry

When cooled add salt & pepper to taste and chopped fresh parsley stalks ( adds crunch and freshness, save the tender leaves for the miso soups).

The may use any tomato based sauce you feel comfortable with, just cook tomatoes ( canned are fine) with garlic and celery, add herbs or spices of choice, as I used cumin in the mix the spices I added are cinnamon and cumin.
Cook slowly ( I also added some brown sugar, red wine vinegar, red wine and 1 tsp ground smoked make a picante sauce..again it is your choice and taste)
To assemble:
Place a large blanched cabbage leaf on a cutting board, remove the tough center stalk with a knife, add some of the filling and tightly roll up like a Spring roll wrap or a Burritio, place seam side down in a heat proof oiled dish,with 3 tabsp sauce on the base.

Continue with this until the dish is completely tightly packed, add more sauce to cover the rolls, cover the dish and bake in a 350f oven for 35-45 mins until completely heated through...remember everything is already cooked so you are just heating it but it has to be hot.

Remove from oven and place on a trivet,and wait 10 mins before removing cover & serve.

This is a  Nutritionally Dense Powerhouse Meal. 
Although, it also comes steamed organic Volcano Rice, (grown on the fertile volcanic soil of Java, a naturally pink & white whole long grain rice), it is just as good on it's own.

And if you do have leftovers, which I doubt, they are just as good, and have more flavor the day after.

I am also making the rustic tart mentioned in previous blogs, the roasted winter vegetables are potatoes, carrots, onions, yellow  bell pepper, tomatoes, zucchini.

The desserts are:
 A  Berry Vanilla Cake ( fresh blueberries, strawberries, raspberries topped with vanilla sponge cake)

Dried cranberry-almond oatmeal cookies

The tart filling base for roasting

The fresh berries ( I freeze then so they hold their shape better) with blueberries

The tender vegetables with the added buckwheat before adding hot water

Toasted buckwheat, rinsed

Broccoli noodle Miso

The shitake mushroom Miso

The All Berry Vanilla Pudding (Cake)

The drying cooked buckwheat with parsley stalks, raisins and walnuts added

The roasted vegetables for the tart filling ( they are going to be cooked
   again in the tart)