It's been a year since I started this blog with this post. I created the blog so I could post my recipes, and eventually some book reviews. The Oat Biscuits were my new recipe back then, and my favourite procrastination method while I was writing my dissertation. Whenever I didn't feel like doing any work, I would go to the kitchen and bake cookies. At least I didn't feel like I was wasting my time.
Not that I've been posting many recipes this past year (the blog has been devoted more to the spoilers part, go figure). I posted only two recipes, but that doesn't mean I haven't been cooking (or eating, my waistline sure attests to that). It's just very hard for me to write recipes, because most of the time I don't follow them, I improvise and use no measures at all (I'm more of a pinch of this and dash of that kind of gal).
But I guess I cannot let the Nuts anniversary pass without at least some tips when it comes to cooking.
So, if I have any tip to give regarding food is to experiment: look at your spices and mix them. But careful, don't throw them all into the pot, that would be overwhelming, just 3 or 4, and see if they fit together. Take note of what works, and what doesn't, but change it from time to time. Different seasoning for the same recipe means it will feel like a different one.
There are some spices that go well with any food, like thyme and parsley. Some are a must in some types of food: Rosemary for roasts, Basil and Oregano for Italian, Cumin and Cinnamon in spicy foods. Others need to be used in moderation, like Ginger or Chilli.
Another spice that you need to pay attention to is Salt. This past year, due to my hypertension, I had to start cooking with no salt at all. It was a pain at first, but I eventually got used to it. To reduce the salt consumption is always a good idea, and not only for health reasons. A lot of people resort to salt when it comes to seasoning. Sometimes they add pepper or garlic, but that's about it. Eventually everything they cook ends up tasting the same.
Most of the food we eat has some salt naturally. If it's processed food, it has bucketloads of it. In many cases there is no need to add more. Before this imposed diet, I already cooked with less salt than most. Grilled meat or fish hardly needs it. Pepper will suffice, garlic gives it an extra kick, and if you really want something special why not add a bit a lemon or orange juice to it?
Some foods will need salt. Rice and couscous taste awful without salt. If you fry the rice, it gets better. Fry some onion and garlic in olive oil before adding the rice, and add a bit of white pepper for seasoning, and it will pass.
Vegetables are probably the easiest to cook without salt. A stir-fry hardly needs spices, but if you add them, it will still taste good. Sometimes I like them fried in olive oil with garlic. Other times I go for ginger and pepper. Add in a curry mix, and it will be very good.
The rule for cooking without salt is: avoid simply boiled food. It's tasteless even with salt. Stews can be made to taste good if you add some spices. Stir-fries and grilled food is the easiest, because it hardly needs salt.
Now, because I feel that there haven't been enough Nuts in the blog, here are some suggestions:
You can add Nuts and Seeds to most of your food - even in soup. Nuts are good for your health, they contain omega-3 and reduce cholesterol. You can make rice with pine nuts thrown in. Or add sunflowers seed into a stir-fry. I sometimes put sesame seeds and linseeds in the soup.
Muesli Cereal already has some Nuts and Seeds, but add more. Usually it is heavy on grain and there is not much variety in the nuts found in it.
Another way I like my Nuts is as a snack. Instead of going for chocolate or something equally sweet, I eat Almonds with skin. Hazelnuts and Walnuts are also very good as a snack.
With that piece of advice I end this Nuts post. And because I spent a lot of time after the first post not writing anything, my Spoilers Blogoversary will come in December.
Until then, enjoy your Nuts (and food)!