Of Kids, Mystery Ailments and Jam Jars

You may have noticed I’ve stopped making excuses for long silences. Something will, and must, fall between the cracks when one juggles home, work and blogging. But I’m sorry to have kept the three of you hanging all these weeks ūüėČ

On Monday, my younger boy woke up in tears because he couldn’t walk. Bewildered, I urged him to stay in bed while I got my older son ready and out the door to catch his school bus. Eventually, he got out of bed, and, I gave him an umbrella to use as a walking stick while I set up an appointment with his doctor. He couldn’t climb stairs, he could barely hoist himself onto a chair, and I later had to lift him into the car. In between banging out seven stories, I took him to four different medical establishments – his pediatrician, a lab for bloodwork, radiology, and finally, a pediatric orthopedist (or is it orthopedic pediatrician?) way out in Cedar Knolls, Morris County.

Let me tell you about that journey. (more…)

May 6, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , . Health, Kitchen Snippets, Kitchen Stuff, Musings, Salads, Sauces and Dressings, Stories. 17 comments.

Cara Cara Orange and Blueberry Salad with Crystallized Ginger

I am in luck, with Cara Cara oranges being available freely at Costco (8 pound bag for under $6, is that a bargain or what?). They are going in everything these days, side salads, fruit salads, smoothies, muesli, cakes, muffins, and next week, I’m scooping the flesh out of halves of Cara Cara and setting jelly in them (aka Jell-O) for my younger son’s birthday.

We have fruit salads for dessert on week nights and it’s often challenging coming up with something new and interesting. For this one, which serves two, combine slices of banana, two large handfuls of blueberries, one Cara Cara orange and small chunks of crystallized ginger. Here’s another salad I made a few weeks ago with these lovely oranges, which are less acidic than regular oranges, and have a reddish flesh.

Have you been buyings lots of oranges this winter? Where are they ending up? Do tell!

January 27, 2010. Tags: . Desserts, Fruit, Nutrition, Salads, Superfood. 4 comments.

Beet and Rocket Salad with Goat Cheese and Pine Nuts

A week into the New Year and I’m keeping to the salad theme, woo hoo! This doesn’t mean I’m only eating salads or shunning the odd square (or nine) of chocolate as I try to shed a few holiday-feasting pounds. The key components of my fitness and food regimen for 2010 are regular exercise and moderate avoidance of naughty things (hence the lack of baked goods so far). Oh, and not forgetting eating for my size, rather than for a 6-foot tall woman pregnant with triplets.

Having forced gently persuaded one of my sons to resolve to widen his repertoire of fruit and vegetables, while narrowing the one for candy and cookies, I decided it’s only fair I should conquer some food fears myself. There are very few things I don’t eat, apart from pork and shellfish (for nominal kosher reasons. It helps that I was deathly allergic to shellfish as a child).

Top of that No list is beetroot.

A bit of a surprise considering the strong beet presence in both my husband’s Jewish background (borscht) and my Indian one (it’s turned into a curry with coconut, mmm. Gotta try that, maybe it would be pink?). (more…)

January 8, 2010. Tags: . Salads, Superfood, Uncategorized, Vegetables, Vegetarian. 3 comments.

Strawberry and Cara Cara Orange Salad with Basil

So I’ve started the year off with two healthy posts. Let’s see how long this lasts before cake begins to assert its upper hand!¬†Cara Cara oranges, which are grown in California’s San Joaquin Valley (and sold by Sunkist), are tantalisingly juicy, sweet, low acid and have a beautiful grapefruit-red flesh, which lent itself happily to the creation of this vivid and refreshing salad. I didn’t need further reason to pick this fruit but it’s nice to know it’s packed with vitamins A, C and fiber, along with foliate, potassium and antioxidant lycopene. In fact, the oranges and strawberries were so sweet, I did away with the original plan of a balsamic reduction as a dressing, instead just sprinkling the salad with a light dusting of icing sugar, purely for aesthetic reasons. The only herb at hand happened to be basil, which was just as well – it was the perfect touch. Feel free to substitute the sugar with stevia, or nothing at all.

  • cara cara oranges, 2
  • handfuls of strawberries, halved, 2
  • cherries, a few (for colour contrast)
  • basil, a few leaves, sliced into ribbons
  1. Arrange on plate and dust with icing sugar or stevia

January 3, 2010. Tags: . Fruit Salads, Nutrition, Salads. 5 comments.

Fit for a New Year: Kale and Cranberry Salad with Candied Pecans

Happy 2010! Ten years ago, my husband and I joined friends (and 10,000 strangers) on London’s South Bank to soak in the atmosphere of an impending new millennium. Both couples were expecting our firstborns in 2000 and we were on the cusp of a whole new world we knew little of, but which also couldn’t happen soon enough.

Since then, we’ve seen and been in many amazing places, held interesting jobs and made wonderful new friends, but our favourite moments and memories revolve around life with our two little princes. The princes joined us at their first New Year’s eve party last night and enthusiastically managed to stay up, for the first time, past midnight – well past their regular bedtime of 8pm. (I admit this was rather impressive for me too as I had secretly fantasized about going to bed at 10. I know, pathetic!)

(more…)

January 1, 2010. Tags: . Dinners, Festive, Salads. 5 comments.

Brussels Sprouts with Candied Pecans, Lime and Rosemary

Brought this over to Deb and David’s for Thanksgiving, where there was such an amazing spread of beautiful dishes and a majestic queen of a turkey.

I came up the recipe a day earlier, determined not to look at existing recipes because, let’s face it, I have never had a brussels sprouts dish that I enjoyed.

The sprouts have been sliced purely for aesthetic reasons, and were bought for the same reason – I spotted them sprouting fetchingly out of a long stalk at Trader Joe’s. (more…)

November 29, 2009. Tags: . Autumn, Festive, Salads, Vegetables, Vegetarian, winter. 1 comment.

Black Bean and Corn Salad

This salad is inspired by one that a friend brought over to a potluck dinner party recently. I was wowed by the bite, colour and tanginess of it, and its fiberful promises. As I guessed at the basic ingredients and remembered only three (corn, beans, lime juice), I have ended up throwing in additional ingredients which seem to work well together. The salad would go beautifully with grilled fish. Enjoy!

  • black beans, 1 can, drained and rinsed
  • corn on cob, 2, microwaved 1m10s each and decobbed
  • large tomatoes, 2, chopped in tiny cubes
  • red pepper, 1, cubed similarly
  • english cucumber, 1/2, cubed tinily
  • shallot or red onion, 1, chopped finely

Dressing:

  • chilli, 1 or 2, green, chopped finely
  • garlic cloves, 3, chopped finely
  • lime juice, squeezed out of 2 limes
  • brown sugar, 3/4 tbsp
  • olive oil, 1 tbsp
  • cilantro/coriander leaves, 1 handful, chopped
  • mint, handful, chopped
  • salt and pepper, as needed

  1. Combine all the veg and beans together in a bowl
  2. Whisk salad dressing with a balloon whisk and pour over the salad
  3. Give it a good grind of salt and pepper, throw in the herbs and toss
  4. Perfect for a barbecue or as a summer meal accompaniment

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August 10, 2009. Tags: . Salads, Sauces and Dressings, Summer, Vegetables, Vegetarian. Leave a comment.

Cucumber Salad


My mother-in-law makes a very morish version of this salad. I asked her once what she put in it and she reeled off some ingredients hastily, probably embarassed that the seemingly humble dish had attracted such interest, when on the dinner table lay at least five other items warranting adulation. I hope I mentioned these others to her too, because she is such a superb cook!

Here is my approximation of this salad, with an added twist (of lemon).

  • English cucumbers, 4, sliced thinly
  • white vinegar, distilled, 1/2 cup
  • water, 1/2 cup
  • sugar (or sweetener), 3 tbsp
  • celery seeds, 1/2 tsp
  • mustard seeds, 1/2 tsp
  • dill, handful, chopped finely
  • mint, handful, chopped
  • spring onion, 3, sliced finely
  • lemon juice, of one lemon
  • lemon zest, of a whole lemon
  1. Slice the cucumbers thinly
  2. Separately, add all the other ingredients, except herbs, in a saucepan
  3. Bring the marinade to a simmer, just enough to ensure the sugar is well incorporated
  4. Allow to cool slightly, add chopped herbs, taste and adjust sweetness, piquancy and seasoning, then pour over the sliced cucumber
  5. Refrigerate at least 12 hours
  6. Before serving, check seasoning and adjust if necessary, adding some fresh herbs on top

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April 9, 2009. Tags: , . British, Jewish, Passover, Salads, Sides, Spring, Summer, Vegetables, Vegetarian. Leave a comment.

Mango and Pepper Salad


Here’s a salad that takes the challenge out of having one’s daily government-mandated ten veggie servings. It’s also the perfect antidote for those days when the leafy-green boredom sets in.

  • Alphonso mango, 1, julienned
  • red and green or variety of peppers, 2, julienned or sliced thinly
  • English cucumber, 1, sliced thin and long
  • carrots, 2 medium ones, as above
  • corn, 1, boiled and sliced off the cob
  • lime juice, about 4-6 tbsp
  • fish sauce, 2 tbsp
  • zest of 1 lime
  • brown sugar or stevia, 1 rounded tsp
  • garlic cloves, 2-3 large ones, minced
  • sesame oil, 1/2 to 1 tsp
  • mint leaves, handful, chopped
  • coriander/cilantro leaves, handful, chopped
  • thai basil, several sprigs, chopped
  • handful peanuts, roughly chopped

  1. Place all the sliced and chopped veggies in an attractive bowl
  2. Using a whisk, combine the dressing ingredients, including herbs
  3. Pour the latter over the former and toss
  4. Serve in individual bowls with a sprinkle of peanuts over
  5. Turn into a meal with a hunk of seasoned, pan-browned salmon or tuna

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April 4, 2009. Tags: , . Asian, Nutrition, Salads, Sauces and Dressings, Spring, Summer, Vegetables. 1 comment.

My Favourite Mint Dressing


My favourite dressing with mint and yoghurt – I whipped it up last night for a lamb salad, for which it was perfect. I then fancied a cucumber snack today, et voila, another winning combo!

  • thick yoghurt, preferably Greek, 1 cup
  • mint leaves, two handfuls
  • ginger, fresh, 1 tsp grated
  • garlic, 3 cloves
  • lime juice, 2 tbsp (or more if you like things tangy)
  • salt, 1/2 tsp
  • pepper, grind of
  • shallot, 1, small
  • green chilli, 1 (optional)
  1. Bung everything in a food processor and whizz
  2. Consume immediately or refrigerate for salads

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March 31, 2009. Tags: , . Condiments, Salads, Sauces and Dressings, Spring, Summer. Leave a comment.

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