Thursday, 23 June 2011

Xylitol Syrup for Fresh Fruit Salads - Making Fresh Fruit More Appetising


1 cup of water (1 cup = 6 fluid oz)
2 tablespoons of Xylitol (natural sweetener)

This should cover about 200grams of fruit.


Put the water into a saucepan and bring it to the boil.  Add the Xylitol and stir it in until it dissolves.  If you want thicker syrup, boil it until you have the consistency you require.

For people who want to eat fresh fruit but find it difficult for one reason or another to eat fruit raw, a quick, healthy way of doing it is to put it into syrup.  I use a natural sugar substitute called Xylitol - they say it's made from birch tree bark and often, corn. 

It's beneficial to teeth - whilst sugar rots teeth and gums.  It also has a low GI (glycemic index), which means that diabetics can use it safely.  It also has much lower calories.  So with Xylitol, you're a winner all round, as long as you're not a dog.  IT KILLS DOGS!  However, I know you're not a dog; otherwise, you'd be in the circus - if you were able to read this, and work a computer. 

Another reason for putting fruit into syrup is to preserve it.  My wife brought some strawberries back from the supermarket yesterday and they were already starting to decompose.  They had these purple/pink patches on them, which I cut out.  I washed the strawberries thoroughly, pulled off the stalks and put them into the syrup. 

I also made a fresh fruit cocktail, for the same reasons.  There were some cherries and peaches looking a bit sorry for themselves.  So I cut out the dodgy bits, washed them, pitted and diced them and put them in this Xylitol syrup.  I added a mandarin orange, which was a bit sour anyway, and a banana and got a pat on the head for being a good boy.  That way it stayed eatable, until it we ate it; whereas, the peach, which already had a beard on it, wouldn't have made it through the night.

Here's the recipe (yet, it's so simple I wonder if I should call it a recipe): 


1 cup of water (1 cup = 6 fluid oz)
2 tablespoons of Xylitol (natural sweetener)

This should cover about 200grams of fruit.


Put the water into a saucepan and bring it to the boil.  Add the Xylitol and stir it in until it dissolves.  If you want thicker syrup, boil it until you have the consistency you require.

If you want to make this with ordinary sugar (did I mention that Xylitol is much more expensive than sugar?), use the same proportions - and remember to brush your teeth to get rid of the plaque. 

Ah!  That reminds me.  I didn't mention that, according to the guff, Xylitol inhibits the growth of the bacteria that causes plaque.  Don't ask me how, but I'll put a few links up herewith for you to check out:

Monday, 20 June 2011

Semolina and Strawberries Made with Xylitol Sweetener

Here's another simple, quick and healthy pudding today.  I'll call this Semolina and Strawberries Made with Xylitol Sweetener, because that's exactly what it is. 


A fistful of strawberries
1 heaped tablespoon of semolina
1 tablespoon of Xylitol
½ pint of milk


Wash the strawberries - I had about a dozen left that I hadn't scoffed over the weekend.  Chop them into quarters, and put them into dish, keeping about three of them to decorate the top.  

Put about half the milk into a saucepan and bring it near to boiling.

Here's a tip - gas is easier to control than electric cookers, because once the milk comes up to the boil, you can turn it down to a peep to stop it from burning.  However, if you keep two hobs going: one going full blast to bring the milk up to the boil, and one going at its lowest possible, to put the milk onto the minute the milk nears boiling point, you'll have the same control over the process. 

So now, you have the milk just at boiling point, but on the lowest heat possible. 

Mix the semolina in with the remainder of the milk, a little at a time to avoid lumps.  When the mixture is smooth and runny, pour it slowly into the hot milk.  It should thicken almost immediately, but it'll take some time to cook through.  Don't get impatient and turn the heat up, or it'll burn to the pan.  Give it time and keep stirring, and it'll thicken without sticking to the pan.

Pour the semolina over the strawberries and decorate the top with the remaining strawberries. 

Here's some guff about Xylitol:

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Tuna Fish and Broccoli with Crumbly Quinoa Topping

2 knobs of coconut oil
 My cheap Tesco camera isn't giving me good pictures.  (A bad photographer blames his camera - until he can afford a better one.  Then he runs out of excuses - and money). 
 I'll put them up anyway because they'll help to get the proportions across.  (Proportions like a knob of coconut oil in proportion to a dessertspoon.) 

quinoa flour makes a good roux
 I'll call this recipe Tuna Fish and Broccoli with Crumbly Quinoa Topping.  I liked it, and I think Madeleine did too, because she scoffed the lot. 

I made a thick velouté (white) sauce using quinoa flour.  I’m experimenting a lot with quinoa just now.  I made a proper roux this time, just to see how suitable quinoa flour is for making roux, and it worked fine.  In future, I’ll probably just make Liverpool roux; it’s quicker and as no fat is used, it’s probably healthier.

Ingredients for filling:
Add stock slowly

A knob or two of coconut oil
1 heaped dessertspoon of quinoa flour
Hot water or stock
1 stock cube or 1 teaspoon of bouillon mix
100 grams of raw broccoli florets
1 tin of tuna chunks in brine or spring water

Method for filling:

To make the roux, melt the coconut oil in a saucepan.  Keep the heat as low as the hob goes.  Add the quinoa flour, and blend it to a thick paste (a white roux).  When the roux is cooked, slowly add the hot water or stock, keeping the heat as low as possible.  (You can use a bain-marie or double steamer if you have such things). 
Keep the hob as low as possible

To begin with, the roux will thicken, but just keep adding the stock and allowing the sauce to come back up to the boil - but at the lowest possible heat - until you have a thick creamy velouté (white) sauce.  If you’re using water, add flavouring like stock cube or bouillon mix.  Otherwise, use a suitable fish or vegetable stock.  Mix in the broccoli florets.

Broccoli in a thick veloute with a layer of tuna beneath
Press the tuna fish down to the bottom of an ovenproof dish.  Spread the broccoli and velouté over the tuna fish. 

Ingredients for crumbly quinoa topping:

½ cup of dried quinoa
1 knob of coconut oil
1½ cups of water

Method for topping:

I use 1½ cups of water to every ½ cup of quinoa.  It takes about 10-15 minutes to cook and absorb all the water.  After it's cooked, add the coconut oil and stir it around to coat the quinoa with the oil.  You can stir in a little spices or flavouring too.  Pour this over the rest of the dish.

Cooked quinoa coated in coconut oil
So, you have a layer of tuna on the bottom, a layer of raw broccoli florets in velouté and a layer of cooked quinoa coated in coconut oil. 

If you prefer to cook your vegetables, give it 10 minutes in the microwave.  Then just lightly brown the quinoa on top, under the grill or in the oven.  Don’t roast it to death, or so hard that it breaks you teeth. 

Brown lightly under grill
That's it - I'll put the photos up tomorrow if it's raining.

It was raining.

Fish Kedgeree Made With Quinoa and Sprouted Mung Beans
Quinoa - Health Benefits and Cooking Tips

Friday, 17 June 2011

Apple Crumble Made With Quinoa Flour, Xylitol and Coconut Oil

Apple Crumble Made With Quinoa Flour, Xylitol and Coconut Oil

My wife (tha-boss-o-tha-hoose) said she fancied something sweet with fruit in it, so I've put together an apple crumble made with all the healthiest ingredients.

To spare you the preamble, I'll get straight to the recipe, and maybe I'll make a quick account of the health benefits of the ingredients.  However, the internet is teaming with such info, so I won't go on too much.

Stewed apples ingredients:

1 Bramley apple (1 cooking apple)
1 tablespoon of water
1 knob of coconut oil
1 heaped tablespoon of  Xylitol (natural sweetener)


Core and chop the apple into inch cubes (don't bother to peel it unless you're a sissy).  Bring it to the boil in a saucepan with the water, Xylitol and coconut oil.  As soon as it boils, turn the heat right down as far as you can and let it simmer. It'll take about 10 minutes for the apple to mush. Put it into an oven proof dish.

Crumble topping ingredients:

1 heaped tablespoon of Quinoa flour
1 dessertspoon sized knob of coconut oil (keep it cool so it doesn't melt)
1 heaped dessertspoon of Xylitol

Throw these three ingredients into a mixing bowl and rub in the coconut oil until you get a gritty, crumbly consistency.  Don't handle it too much, coconut oil melts at 76 °F (24 °C). 

Cover the stewed apples with the crumble topping, and bake until it's brown on top.

Here's some guff about Xylitol (sweetener):

Here's some guff about Quinoa:

Guff about coconut oil:

I'm not convinced about the health benefits of coconut oil.  I did some Googling some time ago to see if there's anything concrete regarding the health benefits, and I wasn't too convinced because there's no official (government) endorsement of the stuff.  (Not that I'm all that convinced about government info either).

Ya' pays yar money and ya' takes yar choice.

Monday, 6 June 2011

Work is like food

I was thinking today that work is a bit like food, in that too much of the wrong kind is unhealthy, and so is too little of the right kind.  Does that mean I won't retire when I'm eligible to do so?  It depends upon the available diet.
Pensions and the F***'em Factor

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Fish Pie Made With Quinoa Flour

Fish Pie Made With Quinoa Flour

 The fish pie got the thumbs up yesterday.  The idea was simple:  I used quinoa flour instead of  wheat flour, and made a simple, basic fish pie. 

So here's the recipe measured very roughly (it was an experiment):


50grams of white fish
50grams of uncooked broccoli
½ pint of milk
1 small onion - finely diced
1 tablespoon of quinoa flour
Thick bechamel sauce
½ a teaspoon of bouillon mix
2 medium sized potatoes boiled and mashed


Lightly poach the fish in half of the milk, along with the onion, using the lowest heat on the hob. 

Chop the broccoli into ¾" florets. 

When the fish flakes easily under a little pressure from a fork or spoon, it's cooked.  Take it out of the pan and lay it aside.  Use the milk still in the pan as stock for the white sauce - leave the diced onion in too. 

I use a Liverpool roux.  I think it's healthier than a proper roux because you're not using fat. 

Sauce Covering White Fish and Broccoli
To make a Liverpool roux, just mix the quinoa flour in a little fresh milk, and keep adding milk until you’ve mixed it all in and it pours easily.  Slowly add that to the milk and onion in the pan - keeping the hob at its lowest possible heat (especially now, to keep the sauce from sticking to the pan.)  Keep stirring until it cooks through and you get a thick white sauce.

Chop or flake the fish into a pie dish.  Add the uncooked broccoli on top of that.  Pour the white sauce over and cover it all with the mashed potatoes.  You can top that with a little grated cheese. 

Potato Topping
I put mine in the microwave for 5 minutes to par-cook the broccoli and then use the grill to brown it quickly on top.
Quinoa - Health Benefits and Cooking Tips

Friday, 3 June 2011

The Schneechie-cat caught a bat last night

The Abominable Schneecher On the Prowl (after the cameraman)

Do Bats Give You Rabies?
The Schneechie-cat brought a bat in last night.  I recognised the predatory sounds; the barging around the floor in stops and starts - and mice squeak, birds cheep but the sound of a hunted bat is something else.

I've always thought there's 'something of the night' about the Schneecher. Or am I thinking of Michael Howard MP?  If Anne Widdecombe said that, it must be right.  I've always thought that they're two of a kind - the unkind, kind.  Or, to put it another way - he has a kind face; the kind you'd like to stick the nut on.

Anyway, I got the Schneecher to lay off, then I thought I should pick it up and evict it, then I thought I'd better not, because I couldn't remember whether bats bite or not.  So I got a glove and picked it up with that, whilst distracting the Schneech. 

I couldn't remember what, but there was something about bat bites being dangerous in the news a few years ago.  It was some kind of disease, which I couldn't remember until I told my wife about it this morning and she said, "Bats give you rabies”.  Then she said, “I’m glad I wasn’t there”.  I bet the bat could empathise with that.

Then I remembered that some guy in Aberdeen had died of rabies after a bat bite.  So, then I started foaming at the mouth, because I was cleaning my teeth. That wee bat didn't get a chance to bite me, but unfortunately, I can’t say the same about the Schneech - her and me have compromised:  She does what she likes, and so do I (do what she likes).

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Fish Pie With Quinoa Flour and Pumpkin Seeds (Maybe)

Sunlight and Cabbage

I think I'll experiment with fish pie some time soon; here's the plan:

Instead of thickening the white sauce with wheat flour (common or garden flour), I'll try it with quinoa flour.  I can't get that locally, but I have some that I got from the internet some time ago.  Quinoa is full of nutrients and all 9 proteins according to the guff.

I don't use potatoes often; I think they're empty calories, but I can't imagine fish pie without mashed potatoes on top. 

I’ll maybe mix in some pumpkin or sunflower seeds.  I think that pumpkin seeds have a smoky flavour to them, so maybe they’ll work out well with this dish.

That's about it.  I'll see if I can get some potatoes today - Sir Walter Raleigh would be so glad he took the trouble.
Quinoa - Health Benefits and Cooking Tips
(This blogging is really just narcissism.)

Fish Kedgeree Made With Quinoa and Sprouted Mung Beans

I was busy putting a post up on HubPages yesterday, so I'll just put a link to that here (lazy twerp):

Fish Kedgeree Made With Quinoa and Sprouted Mung Beans
Mirepoix and Cabbage
Here are some pictures -

Sunlight and Cabbage 1
Sunlight and cabbage 2
Sunlight and Cabbage 3