What’s the worlds largest citrus fruit?

In Surinane we know the world’s largest citrus fruit as the “pompelmoes.” I always thought this was a Dutch word but when I googled the name, I found out that it is indeed called “pamplemousse,” (different spelling, same phonetics), as well as pomelo.


Suriname has a rich variety of tropical fruits and pomelo is one of my favorites. My dad worked at the Department of Agriculture and used to bring fruit home every day. Growing up in the country later on, I was surrounded by at least 10 different fruit trees so there was never a lack of fresh fruit. I learned early on how to pick and peel fruits including “pompelmoes.”

When peeled, the fruit looks like a giant mandarin with large, pink parts. The skin peels off easily, revealing firm, dark pink droplets similar to pomegranate seeds. Very refreshing, this fruit is usually sweet, sometimes tangy. The skin and peel are bitter like that of a grapefruit. 


If you ever get a hold of this food at the farmers market, here are the instructions on how to peel it. 

1. Cut a cap off the top. 

2. Cut 4-6 scores from top to bottom. 

3. Grab each part from the top and pull the skin down to the bottom.


4. Pull the pomelo apart from the bottom. 


5. Peel the skin off of each part to reveal the pink droplets inside. 

Enjoy!

Additional facts: A pomelo contains Vitamins A, D, C, B-6 and B-12 as well as Calcium, Iron, and Magnesium.

Spices for flavor and health

My mom has always been such a good cook, that I never bothered learning how to cook until I was on my own and with a husband to cook for. Fortunately, I was intrigued by what was making her food taste so good that I was happy to learn.

spicesMust have spices

All the spices and herbs she is using are a must in her kitchen and now in mine. Spices like coriander, cumin, ginger, allspice, nutmeg, cloves, celery, parsley, bay leaves, etc., are always stocked in our pantries. The first reason we use these spices is to enhance the flavor of our dishes, but recently I have been seeing many reports about the health benefits and that made me really curious. So I decided to do some research and I was really stunned by what science is now revealing about the advantages of these spices and herbs.

Surprising health benefits

For years we have been cooking with these spices, without knowing about the health benefits and they are truly amazing! Spices and herbs have been used for a long time by traditional healers who knew the results, but could not explain what the herbs and spices were actually doing for our bodies. Now I think I finally understand why many of us (in my family) are seldom sick. While many people around us may be suffering from, for example the flu or a cold, we carry on without catching any one of those bugs. I was never sure why, but now I believe that the spices we use may be playing a role in keeping us healthy (speaking from personal experience, so this is not a claim). Some other benefits include lowering blood sugar and cholesterol levels, easing stomach discomfort, pain relief and much more. Isn’t that another wonderful excuse to use the natural flavor enhancers in our food?

Some experts claim that the amount of spices and herbs we use in our cooking may not be sufficient to deliver the results they claim. For example, to experience the anti-inflammatory effects of turmeric, a daily serving of one tablespoon would be necessary and in the article they indicate that no one would actually use that every day in their cooking. While that may be true, I still think that any amount of turmeric consumed is better than none and if it’s combined with other spices, that’s even better. Of course, for those who want or need the specific effect of a spice, there are supplements to serve the purpose. Foodie that I am, I prefer to have the dual benefits by enhancing the flavor of my food, and at the same time help my body naturally heal or become resistant to disease.

Spices and weight loss

In the reports I also saw another good reason to use spices and herbs. They may help with weight loss! How, you may ask? Well, it seems that some spices help to suppress the appetite (i.e. garlic) and others speed up metabolism, burning fat faster (i.e pepper). Spices are also used to flavor low calorie and low sodium food, in turn helping to keep your meals, and therefore your body, healthy.

Healthy Spices & Herbs articles

Doesn’t this make you want to learn more about the topic? You could browse the internet and find tons of good resources, reports, blogs, news articles and such. But I made it easy for you and wrote a series of articles about healthy spices and herbs.Why not save your time and sign up here to get the free newsletter article series? You will learn much more about the health benefits of spices frequently used in the recipes on this blog.

Visit the page of Free Spice Articles to learn more and sign up. I will send you two newsletters per week, each highlighting a spice with some interesting facts, the healing properties and recipe recommendations. In addition, you will also receive blog posts and (occasional) news updates that may not be posted on the blog. Go ahead and sign up here. You will not regret it!

 

 Live healthy, live happy!

Potato one-pot meal with cabbage and smoked sausage

Does this sound familiar? You come home late and you’re starving. There are no leftovers or frozen meals, and instead of ordering pizza or chinese, you want to have a quick, healthy meal. That was me, for the past two days! Glad I know some quick and easy recipes that get dinner on the table in less than 1 hour. This recipe is for a one-pot meal that has your starch, vegetables and meat, all in one! And yes, it’s tasty too!

 

Cabbage-sausage-potato meal

 

If you do the food prep the night before, it will take you even less than 30 minutes to have dinner on the table, fresh and yummy! Boil the potatoes, slice and dice the rest the night before, so all you do when you come home is cook (combine) everything in the order listed below. Go try it!

Cabbage-Sausage-Potato dish

 

Ingredients:1 smoked sausage, sliced4 potatoes, peeled and cooked

1 cabbage, cut thin, wide or in big squares

1 onion, sliced

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 tomato, chopped

3 bouillion cubes

1 tsp sugar

black pepper

2 tsp oil

1/2 cup water

 

  1. Heat oil in a wok or pot big enough to hold all ingredients.
  2. Add onion, garlic and stir for a few minutes.
  3. Add tomato, bouillion, sugar and stir for 2 minutes.
  4. Next add smoked sausage, stir, then add cabbage with half of the water, turning over the mixture. Cover the wok or pot and cook for about 5 minutes.
  5. Turn over the mix then cover again, cooking until cabbage softens. If it’s really firm, you can also pre-cook the cabbage for 5-10 minutes in boiling water.
  6. Cut the cooked potatoes in large chunks and add to the cabbage and sausage, stir and cover with mixture for better blending of flavor. Add the rest of the water and cook for a few more minutes until the sauce thickens a bit.

There! Dinner is ready in less than one hour. Wasn’t that easy?

Simple as this meal is, it’s one of my family’s favorite and I hope you’ll like it too.

Tip:
If you don’t like sausage, you can substitute for any smoked meat. Yes, the smokey gives this dish the special flavor.

 

Enjoy!

 

French clay pot chicken

Some say the first clay pots were used by native Americans who cooked their meals in pottery placed in the ground and surrounded by hot coals, essentially creating an oven. Others claim that the clay pot has been in existence since Roman times. No matter it’s origin, this form of cooking creates one of the best tasting and healthiest meals with poultry, meat or fish. Some even use it to make desserts!

romertopf clay pot

Romertopf Reco No.111 Clay Baker
 

The Römertopf is a nonglazed (porous) claypot that needs to be soaked in water for about 20 to 30 minutes before using. All ingredients are placed in the pot, covered and baked in an oven that is not preheated, gradually increasing the temperature from 200 to 350 or higher, depending on the recipe.
Cooking time depends on what you’re cooking (beef, chicken, fish), but generally takes at least 2 hours.

Great thing about cooking in a clay pot? You don’t really have to monitor the cooking because it won’t dry out or burn. Instead the meat remains moist without the need to add oil or butter (healthy!) and will be very tender. Best of all, your meal will be deliciously tasty because the pot locks in all the flavors of the ingredients.

French Clay Pot Chicken

1 whole chicken2 bay leaves2 sprigs rosemary (or 1 tsp dry rosemary)

1 tsp sea salt

1 tsp ground pepper

2 onions, sliced

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 lb mushrooms, sliced

1  cup white wine

lemon juice or vinegar (to wash the chicken)

One of my favorite Clay pot Cookbooks

 

Soak the clay pot before you start the preparations. Do NOT preheat the oven or your pot may crack.

Clean the chicken (I prefer to remove the fat and first rinse with lemon juice or vinegar, then water, pat dry), rub the garlic and sprinkle with salt and black pepper inside and out. Let it marinade while you are cutting the onions and mushrooms.

Take the clay pot out of the water and place the chicken, breast side up, in your pot. Add a layer of onions and mushrooms around the chicken, spread the rosemary and bay leaves, and cover with the remainder of the onions and mushrooms. Pour the wine on the sides. Cover the pot and place in the middle of the (cold) oven, turning the temperature to 200 degree.

Gradually increase the temperature to 350 (in 15 minutes) and cook the chicken for 2 hours until it’s done. If you prefer to brown the skin a bit, open the lid in the last 10-15 minutes and continue cooking the chicken uncovered.

Voila! Enjoy your chicken with French bread or boiled potatoes … Bon Appetit!

Tips:

  • Make an easy one-pot meal by adding 4-6 small potatoes, 2 stalks of celery and 1/2 lb of carrots with the onion and mushrooms.
  • If adding more veggies, sprinkle additional salt (1/4 tsp) over the vegetables before cooking, or wait until the chicken is almost done, then add to taste.
  • Use chicken bouillon powder instead of salt.
  • Serve with steamed rice instead of bread.
  • For a crispier skin, use 1 tbs butter on the chicken before cooking. Less healthy, but still tasty.

 

 

Ginger Carrot Soup for the soul

It’s Fall and almost Thanksgiving!

 

When my family and I were creating the menu for our Thanksgiving dinner, the girls all wanted Ginger Carrot Soup to start the meal. I’m not a huge fan of carrots, but when I saw this recipe on the Foodnetwork.com, I had to admit that the combination with ginger sounded appealing. So I gave it a try and the soup was a hit with my family!

Here’s the recipe for my version of this tasty soup.

 

Ginger Carrot Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 onions, peeled and chopped
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 2 pounds carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 3 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • Sea salt and white pepper
  • Sour cream
  • Parsley sprigs, for garnish

 

Directions

Melt butter in a pot, add onions and cook until onions are glazed. Add broth, carrots, and ginger. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook until carrots are tender enough to be pureed.

Remove from heat, allow cooling for 5 minutes and then puree in batches in a blender. Cover the blender, remove the inner lid (or open one corner), thereby avoiding pressure build-up from hot liquid and chances of burning yourselfand.  Hold a kitchen towel over the top of the blender to prevent spills. Pulse the blender and then puree until smooth. Return to the pan and add cream, stir over high heat until hot. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Ladle into bowls and garnish with a teaspoon of sour cream and parsley.

Total preparation time is one hour and a half and the recipe serves 8.

Enjoy, and have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

 

Note:
Besides the fact that ginger tastes good, it appears to be a healthy supplement. Learn more about the health benefits of ginger.
Like ginger, carrots are also very good for your health and you can read more about health benefits of carrots here.

 

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