Honey Pickled Cucumber Slices

Crisp, sweet yet at the same time slightly tart with a fantastic aroma and just a hint of a vinegary bite these honey pickled cucumber slices are the perfect way to preserve them for winter time.

Crisp, sweet yet at the same time slightly tart with a fantastic aroma and just a hint of a vinegary bite these honey pickled cucumber slices are the perfect way to preserve them for winter time.The recipe below is from my Mum. She has been preserving cucumbers this way for years now and everyone who tries them always complements her on their taste. They aren’t your standard pickled cucumbers; that sharp vinegary taste is replaced with a sweeter, honey based brine, which puts a totally new spin on your pickled cucumbers… Try it and you will not be disappointed.

The batch below will allow you to make five 0.72l jars (if you pack the cucumbers pretty tight).

Crisp, sweet yet at the same time slightly tart with a fantastic aroma and just a hint of a vinegary bite these honey pickled cucumber slices are the perfect way to preserve them for winter time.

Ingredients:

  • ~3.5kg cucumbers
  • 750ml filtered water
  • 250ml 6% vinegar
  • 150g white sugar
  • 1tbsp salt; heaped
  • 5 whole allspice or 1/4tsp if using grounded one
  • 5tbsp honey

Additional per jar:

  • 1 garlic clove
  • 10 mustard seeds
  • 3 cloves whole

Crisp, sweet yet at the same time slightly tart with a fantastic aroma and just a hint of a vinegary bite these honey pickled cucumber slices are the perfect way to preserve them for winter time.Method:

Fill a cooking pot with the water, add vinegar, sugar, salt and allspice and bring it to a boil. Make sure everything is dissolved (well all but the allspice that it). Put aside to cool, then add the honey and stir well till dissolved.

Wash your cucumbers and slice them into about 1cm thick slices. Too thin slices will make the final pickled pieces to soft and wobbly 🙂

Now, it’s time to pack the cucumber slices into the clean jars… pack them tightly, the tighter the better.

Once the cucumbers are packed in, add garlic, mustard seeds and cloves, and finally slowly pour the earlier prepared brine into the jars until they are full. Put the lids on and close tightly.

Take a large cooking pot and test to see how many jars you can fit comfortably inside, you may need to do the cook in batches. Remove the jars and add a wet folded kitchen cloth to the bottom of the pan, return the jars to the pot making sure none of the jars touch the bottom and the side of the pot directly. Fill with cold water until the jars are covered to ¾ of the jar height and bring to a boil, once boiling cook for 5 minutes. Do not over boil them… the longer you boil them the softer the final slices will be we are after a pasteurising effect here to kill off any bacteria not to actually cook them.

Crisp, sweet yet at the same time slightly tart with a fantastic aroma and just a hint of a vinegary bite these honey pickled cucumber slices are the perfect way to preserve them for winter time.Whilst they are happily bubbling away, somewhere on the worktop make a temporary resting den for the jars… they will have to stay there for about 24h. Place a thick towel or two on the worktop. When the five minutes of boiling are up, using thick kitchen gloves remove the jars from the boiling water, check the lids are still tight and put to rest on the towels in an upside down position, yep stand them on their lids. Once all the jars are placed on the towel then cover with a few more towels or even a blanket and let them stay like this until the next day.

Move to their long term storage place and enjoy as and when needed.

Crisp, sweet yet at the same time slightly tart with a fantastic aroma and just a hint of a vinegary bite these honey pickled cucumber slices are the perfect way to preserve them for winter time.

Why Go Organic?

Organic September might be coming to an end but it is never too late to join it… after all the changes we should be making are supposed to be for life not just for the month.

Last month I shared with you a post about #organicbeauty and a campaign for clarity organized by The Soil Association, this month however I would love to talk about food.

Why Go Organic?

Food must be the first thing which comes to mind when we think organic, but why should we buy it?

Well, organic food can have huge positive benefits for us as consumers, for general animal welfare and most importantly for the environment. Some people say: “Oh, but I simply can’t afford to be buying organic”. Excuse me, but that is just a lot of poppycock. In general as a nation we buy so much mass produced food, we spend thousands upon thousands of pounds on unhealthy, chemically enhanced food products and we can always somehow find the money for it… but I offer this point of view; wouldn’t it be easier and better to shop less but buy higher quality products? Wouldn’t it be better to take care of our health, our future and actually have a care about what we put on our plates? Wouldn’t it be better to go organic?

Yes, it would but… most people don’t really think about it.

Most of us don’t bother to wonder why one product can cost 50p and its organic “brother” £2 or £2.50… there is a reason for it!

Have you ever stopped and wondered what is actually inside your 50p favourite product?

Stop, think about it and read the limited packaging information… you would be amazed what your cheap and cheerful food contains! (Try by checking out a can of soup some of which are 97% water)

In the long term going organic will pay off, I am sure of it. Feeding yourself and your family with good quality, real food will pay off in the future… better wellbeing, better health; it all counts and it all matters.

According to The Soil Association for food to be labelled as organic, at least 95% of the ingredients must come from organically produced plants and animals. All organic food must display the code number and prefix of the body that certified it, as well as the EU’s organic logo.

I don’t know how about you but we rather eat less of a good quality food product, then stuff ourselves with cheap and cheerful products. If the family budget is tight then you can always go part ways to converting to organic. How about the big family meal together, the traditional Sunday roast, it’s a minor special occasion and justifies the additional expense as a treat.

Organic products taste so much better, you can really tell the difference even if it is only a simple cup of tea, savoury snack or a chocolate treat these foods taste like a real food!

So tell me, are you a pro organic or it really doesn’t make any difference to you where your food comes from?

12 Delicious Matcha Recipes

12 Delicious Matcha RecipesHave you ever even heard about matcha?

Matcha green tea powder is an amazing source of antioxidants including the powerful EGCg, fibre, chlorophyll and vitamins like vitamin C, selenium, chromium, zinc and magnesium; it boosts metabolism, burns calories, calms the mind and relaxes the body… it is truly a source of wonders!

Lately, during my journey towards the new me, I stumbled into the unusual world of matcha. Thanks to Kiss Me Organics I became the proud owner of some Organic Matcha Green Tea Powder of a culinary grade and… surprise surprise… hardly any idea what to do with it next.

Luckily my purchase came with a recipe book, handy hey?

My e-book contained over 50+ recipes for drinks and cocktails, smoothies, breakfast dishes, sweets, breads, pizza, soups, even poultry and seafood. It was becoming apparent to me that this matcha was proving to be both useful and versatile but I was hungry for more… I wanted to know what else I could create with matcha…

I’ve searched the wondrous internet for more inspiration on how to use it. I came across some wonderful recipes which will keep me going all day long.

As it ended up matcha is indeed very versatile and it would seem it can be used in or with almost anything. Currently I am perfecting my breakfast matcha pancake recipe, which I want to make gluten free… it isn’t ready for publishing or even viewing as yet but hopefully it will be very soon… in the meantime I’ve decided to create a recipe round up… just in case you have or are going to discover matcha and end up stuck for some matcha inspiration too.

White Chocolate Matcha LatteWhite Chocolate Matcha Latte
White Hot MatchocolateWhite Hot MatchocolateMatcha Green Tea LatteMatcha Green Tea LatteMatcha Smoothie with pineapple, kale and coconutMatcha Green Tea and Pineapple SmoothieBurmese Steamed Coconut Buns with MatchaBurmese Steamed Coconut Buns with MatchaHomemade Lemon-Matcha Pasta with PistachiosHomemade Lemon-Matcha Pasta with Pistachios
Dippy Egg with Matcha Toast SoldiersDippy Egg with Matcha Toast Soldiers
Green Tea Soup NoodlesGreen Tea Soup Noodles
Lemon Matcha MintsLemon Matcha Mints
Matcha Shortbread CookiesMatcha Shortbread Cookies
Strawberry Oat Matcha MuffinsStrawberry Oat Matcha Muffins
Matcha Macarons with Red Bean FillingMatcha Macarons with Red Bean Filling

Have you discover the wonderfulness of matcha yet?

Have you ever tried to cook with it?

If so, what is your favourite matcha recipe?

#OrganicBeauty – Campaign for Clarity

#OrganicBeauty – The Soil Association’s Campaign for ClarityHave you ever wondered if that organic product standing on the shelf in your bathroom is truly organic?

Currently there is no legislation governing products labelled as organic; if the product contains just 1% of an organic ingredient it can be labelled as such but this isn’t really organic is it?

It’s really puzzling… once you start reading the labels instead of clarity and peace of mind most of the time you are met with confusion. I wish things were much simpler.

Wendy Stirling, founder of the multi-award-winning beauty brand Botanicals, is passionate about natural and organic beauty. She is sharing her tips on how to select true natural and organic skincare products:

  • Select products that are certified by key natural and organic certification bodies.
  • Check the ingredients list carefully avoiding any synthetic or chemical ingredients and opting for natural and a high percentage of organic ingredients instead.
  • See whether the company has won any awards and been recognised for its commitment to the natural and/or organic skincare industry.
  • Research how a natural and organic product is made. Usually they are produced with care, passion and dedication and in smaller batches, for greater quality products with better quality ingredients and enhanced benefits for skin.
  • Organic skincare products are usually no more expensive than many ‘luxury brands’ and, in many cases, provide comparable if not superior results, as well as being safer and kinder to your skin.

I have had the pleasure of using Botanicals products and I have no reservation of any kind in recommending them to others. Botanicals creates real natural products which are formulated with our beauty, health and wellbeing in mind by harvesting the pure power of plants. Botanicals has its entire range certified by the Soil Association.

Botanicals’ Soil Association Organic Certification Commitment:

  • no synthetic, petrochemical or toxic ingredients used
  • only certified organic ingredients
  • or ingredients from substantially produced natural resources
  • safe ingredients, both from a human and environmental perspective
  • fully biodegradable ingredients that are also certified non-GM
  • reassurance there is minimum processing of ingredients
  • clear labelling for informed choices about what to buy
  • strict ethics based on personal & environmental health & wellbeing

How many other brand can show such a commitment to being truly organic?

On 14th September, Organic Beauty Week will start with a Twitter Takeover and a Thunderclap of tweets surrounding this issue. Botanicals is showing its support for the Soil Association by using Botanicals’ blog and social media sites to promote the benefits of clarity in the organic skincare industry. Why not join in and help spread the word? Share your thoughts and campaign for clarity in the natural and organic beauty industry using #organicbeauty and #campaign4clarity.

Will you be joining in?

New Discoveries – Mirabilia – Organic Olive Leaf Tea

New Discoveries – Mirabilia – Organic Olive Leaf TeaA few months ago I spotted a tweet about olive tea, as I’ve never had olive tea before I was truly intrigued. I was under the impression that you actually need a tealeaf to make a tea… but apparently you don’t.

The owners set up Mirabilia Olive Leaf Tea in an effort to maximise the local resources, to provide employment in an area where work on the land is dying out as the young people migrate to the cities, and most importantly to safeguard the ancient and historic olive groves from the onset of open-cast mining which is absolutely iniquitous in an area of outstanding natural beauty such as Piano La Roma.

I simply adore stories like this and businesses which came to be from the need to help others.

The Mirabilia Organic Olive Leaf Tea as the name suggest is organic. In addition to being delicious, olive leaf tea is also:

  • Caffeine and tannin free
  • Very high in antioxidants
  • Antibiotic
  • Anti-viral
  • Anti-fungal
  • Proven to aid weight loss
  • Used to lower blood pressure and cholesterol
  • Proven to boost immune system
  • Reduced tooth discoloration compared to tea-leaf based tea

So you see, all the benefits… no downside at all 😉

And if you wonder how to prepare olive leaf tea, one short instruction set coming right up…

How to make Olive Leaf TeaIt is important to brew olive leaf tea properly. Because olive leaves are much thicker than the ordinary tea leaves we are used to using, it needs more time to “develop” the taste.

Mirabilia Olive Leaf Tea is at present sold in three different flavours:

  1. Organic Olive Leaf Tea
  2. Organic Olive Leaf Tea with Organic Pomegranate
  3. Organic Olive Leaf Tea with Lemon and Wild Mint

The Mirabilia Olive Leaf Tea is sold in 30g packs and it costs £4.69 for the pure olive leaf tea or £4.99 for a flavoured option. It can be purchased directly from Mirabilia website or other shops of which the full list you can find here.

Remember that by purchasing Mirabilia tea you are helping to safeguard the artisan traditions of rural Abruzzo.

Have you ever tried olive leaf tea?

Are you a tea lover or more of a coffee junkie?