Local Heart, Global Soul

I have a small confession to make…   My post yesterday was made to lead you to todays one.

There’s method in my madness.. Why? because the cousin that we shared Christmas Day with had a salad on the dining table that we fell in love with.

It’s easy, tasty and  healthy…  it has only three ingredients but it’s a wonderful mix and when I started making it for other friends it was snapped up in a flash.

So, here’s todays treasure… an ultra simple salad that can be make in minutes with fresh seasonal ingredients, a true taste that sings “Summer”…

…which needs no additional dressings, is healthy and which is an exciting change from  the same-old, same-old offerings at pot-luck gatherings and your staple holiday menu.


– fresh mint (chopped)

– fresh strawberries (chopped)

– beetroot, cooked and sliced … here’s a wonderful recipe if you want to…

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Beetroot and Orange Salad

Beetroot and Orange Salad

Beetroot and Orange Salad

I wanted something to serve with basic tinned tuna. Yes, I know it is better to eat fresh but I’d been out all day so this is my interpretation of a healthier “ready meal”.

1 small cooked beetroot
1 orange
Fresh chives
Ground black pepper

Peel and thinly slice orange and beetroot and arrange in a circular pattern on the plate. (I added the 2 tablespoons of tuna to the centre of the salad) Chop up chives or herbs of choice and sprinkle over the salad. Season with ground black pepper.

Prep time less than 10 mins!

Facts about Beetroot

According to Self Nutrition Data beetroot is

“Very low in Saturated Fat and Cholesterol. It is also a good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin C, Magnesium and Potassium, and a very good source of Folate and Manganese.”

But I also learn from the About.com Guide

“Beetroot has one of the highest sugar contents of any vegetable. Up to 10 per cent of beetroot is sugar, but it is released slowly into the body rather than the sudden rush that results from eating chocolate.”

Sounds good to me providing I practise portion control!

This recipe sounds so delicious I could not resist adding it to my healthier eating collection of recipes!

Spirit Lights The Way

This fragrant soup is easy, inexpensive, healthy, full of fiber, filling, and  delicious . . . perfect for creating welcoming aromas on a cool rainy day.

Curried Lentil Soup


1 Tbsp. vegetable or olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 Tbsp. curry powder
4 cups vegetable stock or bouillon
2 cups water
16 oz. can, fire roasted tomatoes
2 cups dried lentils, uncooked
2-3 carrots, chopped
2 ribs of celery, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1/2 c. red wine (optional)
1 c. chopped parsley (optional)

In a large saucepan, heat oil.  Sauté onion and garlic until soft, not browned. Stir in curry powder, sauté 1 minute. Add broth, water, tomatoes, lentils, (wine), carrots, celery, and red pepper.  Simmer covered until lentils are cooked, about 45 minutes. Stir in parsley, simmer 5 minutes.

For an even heartier soup or stew . . . serve over cooked brown rice or pearled barley.

Lentil soup is also delicious with…

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Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide

This salad is a great way to use slightly unripe tomatoes if someone happened to get overzealous and pick a few in the garden. I am not naming any names but her initials are Katherine.

Tomato Cucumber Salad

  • 1 cucumber, sliced thin
  • 2 medium tomatoes, sliced thin
  • 1/4 small red onion, sliced paper thin
  • 1 tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
  • Dry sherry
  • Olive oil
  • Salt/pepper

In a pie dish layer onion, then cucumber, then onion, then tomato. After each layer drizzle with oil and a cap full sherry, sprinkle with salt, pepper and oregano. Let sit in refrigerator at least two hours before serving.

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Piglet’s Endive Salad

Piglet's Endive Salad

Piglet’s Endive Salad

My daughter introduced me to endive recently, and much to my surprise it was delicious! Plus it has good anti-inflammatory properties.

When I returned to Portugal I was delighted to discover endive was readily available here at affordable prices. This simple salad is now one of my lunchtime favourites.

Lean bacon lardons
Hard boiled eggs
Black pepper

Slice endive, wash and dry. Add to salad bowl. Cut hardboiled eggs into quarters and arrange around the edge of the bowl. Fry lardons until crispy and add to the centre of the salad. Sprinkle black pepper, chopped chives and marjoram and sprinkle over the top of the salad.


Please share your endive recipes in the comments below.

Globetrotting for Food

Quinoa is a great source of protein. Coupled with another good protein source, chick peas, and with a bunch of fresh veggies makes with salad exciting yummy and healthy.


1 cup pre-cooked (boiled) quinoa, ½ cup boiled black peas, ½ peeled and chopped carrot, ½ sliced leek, 5 chopped red radishes, 8 – 9 largely chopped sweet pods, handful of fine chopped fresh mint, 1 grated garlic clove, 2 finely chopped green chillies, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste and a drizzle of olive oil



  1. Heat the oil in a pan and temper it with the grated garlic and chilli.
  2. Add the leeks and sweat them for about a minute.
  3. Add the carrots, sweet pods and radish and stir well. Cook on a medium flame with the lid on for just about 1 minute…mostly to warm up the vegetables and allowing them…

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These cup cakes are really tempting!

Sweet Potato, Tuna and Leek Patties

I love these patties but I do find the them a little time-consuming to prepare. Sweet potatoes can turn a strange greenish colour when left so I tend to cook them and serve immediately. However, I am going to experiment and see if I can prepare the patties the evening before while cooking dinner. Lunch the following day would then only be a matter of making the ginger sauce and heating them through.

Sweet Potato, Tuna & Leek Patties

Sweet Potato, Tuna & Leek Patties


2lb (900g) sweet potato (pre cooked and mashed)
4tsp sunflower oil
2 leeks (chopped)
1 garlic clove(finely chopped)
7oz (200g) can of sweetcorn (drained)
7oz (200g) can (drained) or fresh tuna (cooked and flaked)
2tbsp Low fat natural yogurt (I used Soya)
60g (2oz) flour (I used rice flour)

Ginger Sauce
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tsp light brown sugar
1 red chilli (de seeded) finely chopped
Fresh root ginger (approx 1 inch finely grated)
4 tbsp vegetable stock
1 tsp cornflour


Peel the sweet potatoes, cut evenly into small pieces and boil in a pan with water until cooked (soft). Drain, mash and leave to cool.

Fry leeks, garlic and ginger for 3 minutes. Add to the mashed potatoes.

Add tuna to the mixture and mash together.

Add pepper and salt to taste

Add Sweetcorn and yogurt to mixture and stir in with a fork.

Form the mixture into eight evenly sized patties and toss in the flour. Leave to stand for 1 hour.

Add 2tsp oil to frying pan heat and then add the patties. Cook for 10 minutes on each side until golden brown. (I use a lid on my pan to keep the heat in)

Place on kitchen paper to remove any excess fat.

Serve patties with ginger sauce and salad. I served with red cabbage and apple. Delicious!

Ginger Sauce

Add vinegar, sugar, chilli, and ginger to pan. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 5 minutes

Mix the vegetable stock and cornflour to a smooth paste and stir into the sauce (add more or less chilli to personal taste). Stir continuously until smooth and sauce has thickened.

Pour sauce over the patties and serve with vegetables or salad.

Simple Sultana Loaf

We went to a friend’s house to celebrate their Wedding anniversary and I was horrified to see a tempting selection of very “naughty” cakes on offer. Could I resist? Would I succumb to temptation? I certainly felt tempted, very tempted! I then spotted this innocuous looking cake – a Sultana Loaf. I questioned my friend at length as to the ingredients and discovered it was fat-free. My only “sin” was a little gluten in the flour. The sultana loaf proved delicious, she kindly shared the recipe and I baked it today.

Fat Free Sultana Loaf

Fat Free Sultana Loaf


180 ml cold black tea
225gr sultanas
225gr self-raising flour (I used gluten-free and 1 teaspoons of baking powder)
150 gr brown sugar
pinch of salt
1 XL egg (I used 2 small)

2lb (900gr) loaf tin (greased – I used corn oil)
Oven 180C (350F or gas mark 4)

The day before

Put cold tea in a bowl, add sultanas and leave to soak overnight.
The sultanas will then plump up and absorb the tea.

The following day

Sift flour. Add flour, salt and sugar to the sultanas.
Beat egg(s) and stir into mixture.
Spoon mixture into loaf tin and spread out evenly.
Bake on the middle shelf for about one hour. I tested with a skewer after 45 minutes and my loaf was cooked.
Release from tin and turn out onto wire cooling tray. Leave the tin over the cake for 30minutes. Remove tin and allow the loaf to cool.

Serve in slices and spread with homemade jam or dairy-free spread.

The loaf improves if left a day or so.


Cauliflower Cheese without the Cheese (Dairy Free)

Here’s a quick an easy vegetable idea that doesn’t require much preparation and tastes good – Cauliflower Cheese without the Cheese!

First up, steam your cauliflower until slightly undercooked then mash it up. Whilst your cauliflower is cooking make some Healthy Béchamel Sauce using this recipe but substitute the herbs and spices for ones that you want to incorporate in your Cauliflower Cheese. I used some ground nutmeg and rosemary as well as dried garlic.

Once the cauliflower is steamed and the Healthy Béchamel Sauce ready, mix together, season to taste and then cook in the oven for 30 minutes.

I made this whilst I had the oven on for a chicken but I’ll reheat it tonight for my dinner. A healthy meal and a frugal way to make second use of the oven whilst it was already on.