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mediterranean living

Month: June, 2014

The Secret to the Mediterranean Diet may be in the Salad…

salad leaves

So,  it seems there’s still some degree of debate as to exactly why people in the Mediterranean live longer and how elements in their diet such as vegetables, fish, grains, red wine and fatty nuts and oils help to increase their life expectancy.  However, scientists now believe that  the combination of salad and olive oil is one of the things that has beneficial effects on health. According to recent research, early studies suggest that it’s this combination of olive oil and salad that creates a special kind of nitro fatty acid that lowers blood pressure which in turn has a positive effect on the reduction of life shortening cardiovascular diseases such as stroke, heart failure and heart attack.

Lettuce is one of the easiest things in the world to grow, especially if you buy little plantlets from the Vivero (garden centre).  They are mostly cool climate plants so grow just as happily in Northern Europe as they do in the Mediterranean and can even be grown in a window box.  If you haven’t tasted freshly picked salad leaves then I really would recommend it  – the difference in taste between a freshly picked salad leaf and a shop bought one is incredible, they are simply delicious and bursting with just picked energy.  We pick the leaves off as we need them, just a  handful at a time starting from the outer edge and it actually encourages the plant to grow.  The bowl of leaves then gets soaked in cold water with a dash of vinegar to ‘out’ any crawlies, before being drained in a colander and shaken in a tea-towel Jamie Oliver style using centrifugal force.  Then, all you need do is toss them in olive oil, lemon juice and crushed garlic – simply delicious!

home grown salad leaves

 

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Lavender & Honey Ice-Cream

nourishment for the soul…

 

…For years now I’ve been a fan of lavender, perhaps it’s having an aromatherapist for a Mum but I’ve been using lavender essential oil as a calming night-time remedy to help induce a peaceful night’s sleep ever since my kids were babies.  A few years ago I came across a recipe for lavender and honey ice-cream and thought how lovely and soothing it sounded with its beautiful combination of cream, honey and lavender and not an ounce of sugar in sight.  This recipe is one that I’ve adapted using fresh lavender that grows in my garden and locally produced honey:

  • 2 cups of cream
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1 vanilla pod, (split to allow the contents to ooze out during cooking)
  • 2/3 cup of honey
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh lavender
  • 2 large eggs
  • Pinch of finely ground pink Himalayan salt

Combine the cream/milk/honey/lavender and vanilla pod and bring to just under a boil then leave to steep on the hob covered with a cloth for about half an hour to allow the lavender and vanilla to infuse the cream and honey.

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Sieve the mixture, discard the lavender and vanilla pod, then re-heat until hot.  Whisk the eggs and salt together and add one cup of the hot cream mixture whisking all the time, then pour this  into the hot cream mix and continue whisking

lavender and honey ice-cream

Then cook this whisked mixture over a low heat until it coats the back of a spoon, (as if you were making custard or creme anglais) – this should take at least 5 minutes. Allow to cool, then chill for 3 hours in the fridge before churning, (ideally) in an ice-cream machine.  Transfer to a Tupperware and freeze until you need it…simple!

 

19th april 2014 039

 

 

 

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