Tag Archives: cayenne

Pick-me-up porridge

23 Jul

Pick-me-up recipe with cocoa, oats and spices

Good-for-you chocolate oats – what better to perk you up when you need it?

This morning I wasn’t hungry, so breakfast (unusually for me) was just a cup of coffee. I felt a bit bleurgh, a bit soggy. Not enough sleep, a bit too much stress… you know how it is.

But around 11.30am  I was feeling a bit light-headed as well as soggy, so although still not hungry, I knew I needed something.

Oats. Easy, quick. Boring. But jazzed up with gusto (did you know that ‘gustos’ in Romanian means taste or flavour? from the Latin, of course…) and rude health, I’m waiting for the zing to zap through me any minute now.

For oomph, the oats. For pick-me-up yum, organic cocoa. For zing, cayenne. For zap, cinnamon. For vim, raw cane sugar. For vigour, flax seeds. For a bit of extra zing, a sprig of mint.

Needless to say the closer you can get to home-grown, organic, free-range, etc, the better. In this picture the mint is from my garden and the cherries from my orchard. The rest is from packets, but organic packets. If organic, home-grown etc is out of reach, then it’s still a pretty damn’ good indulgent health-kick.

What you need

1 mug rolled oats (I like them coarse, but fine if you prefer)

1.5 mugs water

1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

2 tablespoons raw cane sugar (or soft brown)

2 shakes of cayenne pepper

3 shakes of cinnamon

1 tablespoon flax (lin) seeds

 What to do

Put it all in a pan and bring gently to the boil and simmer till it all goes gloopy. Add a bit more water if it needs it. Should be no more than 10 mins.

Decorate with a sprig of fresh mint and some fruit – cherries, strawberries, pear, raspberries all go well.

Add a few flaked almonds or chopped hazelnuts if you like, and top with some milk or a slug of double cream.

Positive health ingredients: oats, cayenne, cinnamon, cocoa, flax, fruit

PS I’m feeling the zap and the zing already.

PPS This does at any time of day – breakfast, brunch, lunch, tea, supper or midnight snack. As well as or instead of – a purely pleasurable pick-me-up.

PPPS Oops – I forget to mention the coconut. Half a handful of organic unsweetened coconut flakes gives you lots more health benefits, a bit of extra bite, and a subtle extra flavour.

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Fridge supper 1 – hammy cabbage

30 May

crunchy and tender spring cabbage

Are you one of those organised people who shops for a week of planned meals? So you know what you’re going to be eating that week?

I admire you, but I’m FAR too lazy and disorganised for that. So I buy what catches my eye, or what’s being flogged off as cheapo bargains, and the usual things I like to have in the fridge… and then see what I fancy when hunger strikes.

Sometimes I have a hankering for, er, chicken with beetroot in white sauce, so I buy what’s needed. Or my lurgy-ridden body is screaming for Vitamin C and anti-oxidants, so I yield to the demand for a truck-load of fruit.

But usually, it’s make it up as aI go along. Last night’s fridge supper was as follows.

What?

1 fresh drumhead (early green) cabbage [the kind that squeaks when you cut it, and is almost as tender as lettuce. Needs very little cooking.]

Chunk of ham and/or salami

Spoonful or two of garlicky cream cheese OR sour cream OR fresh double cream

Paprika and (if desired) a bit of cayenne

How?

Chop ham and/or salami into little chunks (about 1cm cubes. ish.) Throw them in a deep saucepan with a bit of olive oil, a heaped teaspoon of paprika, a shake or two of cayenne (depending on your chilli tolerance) and may be a half teaspoon of turmeric if you fancy it.

Let the ham sizzle for about five mins on a gentle heat, while you chop the cabbage.

In the spring, new cabbages are fabulous – all crisp and tender and bright green and flavoursome. You can do this perfectly well all year with different kinds of green, white, red, savoy, sweetheart cabbage, kale, sprout tops, turnip tops, etc – experiment!

Anyway – I’ll eat half a small one, because they wilt down quite a lot (not as much as spinach). Chop into little slivers (say, two inches by quarter of an inch, or 4cm by half a cm. You don’t have to be precise! But easily eatable, anyway.

Dump cabbage into saucepan on top of sizzling ham, add a tiny bit of salt (less than half a teaspoon), and stir well to mix the spices, ham and cabbage. Put the lid on and leave it for 5 mins. Stir, taste, and if still too crunchy for your taste, put the lid back on for another minute or two. When happy with crunch/soft balance, tip into bowl and eat with dollop of cream cheese, sour cream etc on top, with crusty rye bread.

Healthy bulletin: What’s good about this, apart from the taste? The sulphur in the cabbage (we western folk don’t get enough sulphur in our diets, on the whole), the fibre, anti-oxidants, all the goodies in cruciferous veg, the calcium etc etc in green leafy veg, the lutein and lubricants in the extra virgin olive oil, the vits and mins in the spices (turmeric, cayenne and paprika all stuffed with good phytochemicals). The low-carb GI index is pretty good, too. Downside – the preserved pork and the shop-bought cream/cheese aren’t so healthy, but you’re only eating a little bit, and the flavours are delicious.

Vegetarian/vegan option: instead of the meat, you could sizzle mushrooms and/or peanut or cashews, perhaps.

Zingy porridge

20 May

Image

I was in Vienna, and had just said goodbye to my kind chum who’d put me up en route from Romania to England; she worked in the Naschmarkt and had to start work, and I had to drive to London. But before I left I wanted a decent breakfast, and in one of the many eateries in the market I ordered a Swiss breakfast. Warm, soft oats and other grains, fresh fruit, creamy yoghurt – and black pepper. That was a surprise, and one that I’ve repeated with every bowl of porridge at home since. The pepper adds a spicy warmth and that glorious aromatic flavour to the creamy oats, with the fruit adding crunch, tang and sweetness.

I now add a bit of cayenne and a good shake of cinammon as well as the black pepper, and switch between my neighbour’s raw organic full cream milk, oat or rice milk, or when I have it, the cream skimmed from the same milk. I’ve found great German coarse rolled oats, to which I add a spoonful of flaxseeds, water (about 5mm above the oats in the saucepan) and the spices, and leave it all to soak while I have my shower. Then I cook over a gentle heat for about five minutes and serve with milk, cream, flaked almonds, some coconut, maybe some sliced apple or whatever’s in season. Quick, easy, very satisfying, aromatic, complex and healthy. A pretty damn’ good start to the day, if you ask me.

How do you do your porridge?