“Look What I Found!” Friday (Edition 2)

lookwhatifoundThis is the second edition of my “Look What I Found!” Friday feature, where I share what I have found, been given, picked, planted and bought. I love a nosy in peoples’ kitchens. I hope you enjoy having a nosy around mine.

tideford-soups image by food to glowI love soup, and as an adopted Scot soup-making and soup-eating is pretty much a must around here (It’s the cold you see). I usually make my own, but when I was offered the chance to try these newly created soups by the upmarket – but still affordable – Devon company Tideford Organics, I of course said, “yes.” I mean, who could turn down the chance to have a sneak preview of Cucumber Soup with Dill and Kefir, or Watercress with Spirulina and Lemon? Not me, that’s for sure. And these are so good; the flavours distinct and tasting very much of themselves -if you know what I mean. I’m pretty sure that if I were blind folded that I would be able to name most of the major ingredients. Can’t say that about Heinz, can you? This new range is available from May 5 at these stockists in the UK. Their sauces are extremely good too, and available in the chiller cabinet.

DSC_0041You may already be familiar with Yutaka products: most supermarkets carry their mini miso soups (a staple item in my pantry) and their Japanese condiments. But they also make other products too, and I was lucky enough to be sent some Konnyako and Shirataki Noodles to try. “Eh?” Well, if you have heard of ‘slimming noodles’ these are the very ones, but the original ones. Made from filling but very low carbohydrate konjac these are a must for anyone doing intermittent fasting as they REALLY fill you up. Like tofu they don’t really taste of anything (that is a good thing!) so you can make them taste of whatever you wish. I use them in broths with vegetables and am always surprised at how full I feel. It is safe food to eat but those who take meds to control Type 2 diabetes should be aware that it lowers blood sugar.

finnberry image by food to glowThese ‘super fruit’ berry powders are a MUST if you are a smoothie-head like me. My Instagram feed has featured quite a few blended concoctions starring these gorgeous powders. Just a tablespoon added into my blender with the other bits and bobs is all you need to add Nordic berry-goodness that is exceptionally rich in vitamins, flavonoids, carotene, antioxidants. And I LOVE the nippy-sweet taste (no-added sugar, no added anything!). I will definitely be buying some replacements once these packets, kindly given to me by Finnberry, run out. Although I mainly use them in smoothies, I have seen some quite interesting desserts and breakfast ideas on Instagram. I even made my own wee sweet – raw freezer fudge – and dusted the tops with lingonberry and buckthorn. They also have bilberry and cranberry powders, as well as dried berries and – mmm – chocolate-covered berries. Have a look at their site for nutritional info, ordering info and beautiful recipes. Their About Us page is pretty special, too.

DSC_0043I have some very good friends. Friends who know me all too well. I rarely get chocolate from anyone, nor fancy jewellery. These things are perfectly nice to receive, don’t get me wrong (and if you have ordered me any fancy jewellery please don’t let me stop you!), but the way to keep me sweet is to give me cheese (in moderation, of course). Or stuff to do with cheese. My exceptionally lovely friend and neighbour Kath (and blog reader – it’s in her contract) gave me this fab cheese making kit for my recent birthday. Looking on the website, these kits have got rave reviews, and there are many other options too. I really can’t wait to get on with this little project! I wonder if I can order one of those natty white coats and mesh hats to go with my role as cheese maker in chief at food to glow? Thanks so much, Kath. I’ll share.🙂

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And what to have with homemade cheese? Some fabulous crispbreads. I occasionally make my own crispy flatbreads (here and here), but these absolutely must-have Peters Yard Swedish crisp breads are ALWAYS in my kitchen. Usually awaiting a slice of cheese or spread of almond butter. You can order them online, buy them at Waitrose or, in Edinburgh, pick them up from their three bakeries. I am a lucky so-and-so, I know. Three Swedish bakeries in Edinburgh; who’d have guessed. I have honestly never tasted a better crisp bread. And a lovely Norwegian lady on one of my recent cancer nutrition courses has given it her seal of approval, too. PS the Makro in Edinburgh (Sighthill) has them at trade prices. Shhh.

manomasa tortilla chips image by food to glowAnother thing that friends know  – and you too if you are a regular reader – about my snacking habits is that I am a sucker for a tortilla chip (or 20). I blame my childhood. Growing up in Florida in the 70s and 80s there weren’t all the flavours you have today, of course. And I don’t remember my mother buying them at the supermarket. But we did have a wonderfully over-the-top restaurant chain called Casa Gallardo that made their own tortilla chips. Quite often my friends and I would eat so many complimentary and refillable (!) tortilla chips that we barely managed a dent in our chimichangas or burritos.  But we always had room for a margarita (this was before you had to be 21 to drink alcohol). Anyway, my taste for salty things is my downfall and now that I have been introduced to the delights of Manomasa tortilla chips I really have no hope of changing my ways. I didn’t eat ALL the bags (as much as I would have liked that) but I had enough samples to know that this is something I will buy. My daughter and her flatmates really loved them too. Impressively they made their bag last 2 whole days. She obviously didn’t have the rigorous training that I had.😉 The texture is superbly light and crisp with no oiliness. And the flavours? Well, think Mexican street food and you get the picture. Total treat.

DSC_0044If you are looking for a sustainable form of protein and, not to put too fine a point on it – are rather adventurous – why not check out Planet Organic’s venture into edible insects. While 2 billion people eat insects on a regular basis  we in the West, with our millions of acres devoted to feeding livestock, have not really been interested. We watch others eat insects on reality programmes (live ones, which is pretty rank) but opportunities to try them in a more palatable form have not really been available. Until now. My husband spent his early years in Zambia where it was not uncommon to eat things such as crickets. He says they were really good! To be honest I haven’t plucked up the courage to try my Buffalo Worms yet but a stir fry is on the cards.

Screen Shot 2015-04-30 at 19.42.49Why am I showing you my laundry? Isn’t that a bit TMI? Well, see those white-ish balls in the basket with my dish cloths, towels and pillow slips? They are my new best buy. I was in TK Maxx fairly recently when these caught my eye. I had heard about their laundry softening powers, and how they cut the drying time, but had never seen them before. Reasonably priced I popped the box of three in my basket and planned to use them the next day. Well, I sprinkled them with some frankincense essential oil and had not only kitten-soft laundry, but it smelled like ‘high church‘ too. Oh, and it shaved off at least 20 minutes of drying time. If the sky above us would stop with the intermittent hailstorms then I could dry my laundry outside. But I will still soften it up for 10 minutes with these great woollen balls. You can buy them in some shops, online but you can also make your own.

homemade vanilla extractAnd lastly, from a friend and fellow healthy blogger, an extremely thoughtful gift. As a thank you pressie for writing up this article for her blog, Katie at The Muffin Myth sent from her home in Stockholm a bottle of 12-month (exactly!) vanilla extract made by her own talented hands. I have only had a chance to use it once but it is so good that that I have even dabbed some on my neck to carry the aroma with me! Perhaps if you write her an article on a tricky subject she will send you some too. But, if not, she has an easy recipe that I can vouch gives brilliant results. Perfect for presents and to keep. foraging image by food to glow

Okay, one last picture. This is what I picked in the local woods when I was walking back from dropping off my car to get serviced: wild garlic, nettles, daffodils (still!), some bluebells and some yellow pom pom things. Although I had work to do I immediately came in and made pesto combining the two edibles, making two batches: one with walnuts and one with pine nuts and sunflower seeds. Lesson: always carry a bag. You never know what you might find.🙂

See you next week lovely people. This weekend I’m off to the Big Smoke (London) for some food and, um, food. If you want to see what I get up to, follow me on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter. But only if you aren’t offended by big plates of Japanese food, Vietnamese food, and frothy cocktails.😉

Disclosure: I was given some of the above products to try. I was not asked to write a review (positive or otherwise) on any of the items received. All opinions are my own, and freely given.