Thursday 31 January 2013

Trying out black rice and red rice

I have always been a lover of rice, be that as  a main course either hot or cold, or as a sweet. For main courses I have always preferred brown rice to white, it has more texture, flavour and nutrition. I have to admit though in all my years I have never heard of black rice or red rice.

Black rice 

Whole Organic Black Rice

  • Creamy in texture, nutty in flavour.
  • High in fibre, anthocyanin antioxidants, minerals and amino acids.
  • Non-glutinous.
  • Cooks in less than half an hour & turns deep purple in colour.
Black rice is also known as "Forbidden Rice", as in ancient China it was considered only suitable for Emperors to eat and as a result peasants were litterally forbidden from eating it. Research has shown that black rice contains more anthocyanin antioxidants than blueberries, vitamin E without the sugar content.

Black rice risotto 

Heat 1 oz rice bran oil in a pan.
even the peas are purple. 
add  a chopped onion and a chopped pepper and fry for 2 mins  
(Add any spices or flavourings of your personal choice now)
Add 75g black rice and fry off for 5 mins.
Add 225 ml of ham stock slowly one ladelful at a time until most of the stock is absorbed, this will take 20-25 mins.
Add half a cup of garden peas.
Put lid on pan and leave to simmer gently for 5 mins, then remove from heat and leaving lid on pan leave to stand for another 10 mins for all stock to be fully absorbed.

I stirred in 6 oz cooked gammon during the final ten minutes

It cooks up more purple than black. Texture very like brown rice, and had totally absorbed the flavour of the stock.

Red rice is a variety of rice with bran that's red, maroon or purple in color. The manufacturer 
only removes the outer husk of the rice grain in the milling process, while leaving the bran. You  
typically soak red rice in water before cooking it in order to make the rice softer. Red rice is 
generally high in starch, like other types of rice.

Read more:

Red rice vanilla rice pudding

Bring 750ml of alpro soya vanilla milk to the boil ( you can use normal milk and vanilla extract)
add 50g coconut sugar
1 teapsoon nutmeg
and stir in 125g red rice
and a handful of mixed dried fruit

Simmer for 35 mins. I served mine with peach slices.

This made a very nice pudding, and is equally as nice cold as warm.

I will be making more meals with the remaining rice as I enjoyed these very much.

The linked items were supplied by Healthy Supplies, but the recipes and ideas are all my own making.

Tuna and Quinoa wraps.

Take two weigh watchers wraps

top with tuna mayo and tomatoes and season

then sprinkle on some cooked tricolore quinoa 

wrap and serve.

The tricolore quinoa was supplied by Healthy Supplies

Project 365 31st January

Gosh one month down all ready.

We went for a walk down the river and it was very very high. The water was up on the pavement both sides with one side being impassable unless you had on wellies.

Can you afford to be without?

Life happens, and some of it is beyond our control. Most of us are feeling the pinch in one way or another and trying to cut corners where we can. You can go from "best" food in the supermarket, down to name brands, and from there to "own brands" and still eat healthy and nutritionally without noticing a huge difference in most foods. 

So much is going up, and I for one have not had a pay rise for three years now, I am at the top of the pay scale for my level of job, and as we are not even getting a rate of inflation rise then some where along the line something needs to give. 

I now do fewer miles in the car, pretty much essential mileage only. The heating is turned down a degree or two and I took nearly 25% off my heating bills last year. I don't drink and I don't smoke, we rarely have a takeaway and all food is made from scratch. 

But there are a few items that some would not consider essential but I do. One of these for me is house insurance. I have been the victim of a burglary before, lost a lot of electrical goods and the children's game consoles as well as my CD collection. That was a laugh, I had a rack nearly full, nearly a hundred CD's and the insurance company asked me to name them so they could replace them. Name them? Off the top of my head? I toddled off to Woolworths as it was at the time and went through their collection picking the ones I wanted, yes a lot of them I did have, some of the ones I had were no longer available. In the end they gave me the cash for them instead of replacing them so I picked what I wanted anyway. 

I also remember the day hubby decided the inside of our lights needed a wash, along with our kitchen ceiling, the inside of a lot of the kitchen cupboards and the inside of the microwave. He had gone upstairs to run some water in the bath as we had had a note from the water board to say we were being switched off for twelve hrs. 

I finished making the tea and dished it up, we ate tea and then hubby took the plates through to the kitchen. Squelch wasn't in it, the idiot had left the tap on.  It even got inside my microwave and my tumble dryer, talk about mess. We placed buckets and bowls under the lights and used approx forty towels to mop up with. It was not only in the kitchen but in the bathroom, across the top landing and half way down the stairs.  I shall not tell you what I called him....I will leave that bit to your imagination. 

Burglary and accidents can not be predicted, but you can compare the deals you can get with home insurance comparison. This lets you look at excesses, clauses, what is actually covered, levels of cover etc and decide what is good value for you and your home. With insurance of any kind cheapest may not always be the best. Insurance for me is peace of mind.

This is a sponsored post, but the words and sentiments are all my own. 

Wednesday 30 January 2013

Tricolore Quinoa and haggis burgers.

I was reading Claire's blog this morning and saw her post on Middle Eastern Lamb and Quinoa Patties and thought what a brilliant way of using an ingredient as healthy as Quinoa.

the cooked quinoa
 Quinoa is a little plant seed that has properties and uses similar to larger cereal crops. This packet contains three types of quinoa: red, white and black. There are no colourings or additives in this product, just 100% quinoa grain.Quinoa is naturally gluten free and a good source of protein. It can be used to bulk out soups and stews as well as being used instead of rice and cous cous. 
A good source of Iron, Calcium, Magnesium and Phosphorus. 

So expanding on Claire's idea I decided to make;

                                Tricolore Quinoa and haggis burgers.

cold haggis

1/2 cup tricolore quinoa
1 small onion
a haggis
1 egg whisked

uncooked burgers
1. Bring 1/2 cup tricolore quinoa and 1 cup water to the boil and cook for ten mins. Remove from the heat and leave to stand for approx ten mins.
2. finely chop an onion
3. mix the quinoa and chopped onion through the haggis, add the egg.
4) shape into burgers and cook for 10-12 mins at 180 oC

served with mash and turnip

We served this with a potato and sweet potato mash with mashed turnip.

This is my entry into the Morphy Richards  competition being run over on foodies 100

 What we need are some good hearty recipes that are healthy too. Our latest competition with our friends at Morphy Richards is calling out for your delicious recipe recommendations that have a healthy twist. Maybe it’s a simple switch from ordinary potato to sweet potato? Or cooking a leaner cut of meat in your trusty slow cooker? The more creative the better! We want to hear about your best recipes (that have a healthy twist) and if you impress the judges with them, you could be in with the chance of winning an Intellisteam Compact from Morphy Richards.

I am adding this to Cass at Frugal families new linky, why don't you go check out the others?

Project 365 30th January

Have been saying for a while that I am going to be treating myself to two new glass worktop savers. Finally got round to it, these go nicely with my red and black kettle and toaster.

Tuesday 29 January 2013

Project 365 29th January

Playing together nicely at 7.15 am. Must admit this road map and cars, along with the train track are still well loved and played with just about every week. 

TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky

Monday 28 January 2013

Project 365 28th January

They are back, now I have room for them we can resume normal service on a Monday night.

Didn't have time for baking as they had the dentist for check ups but we had time to play games, have fun and read bedtime stories.

playing whac a mole, some cheating going on somewhere though. 

Sunday 27 January 2013

Project 365 27th January

This is the third prize I won on the same day as the other two a few weeks back, and very cute she is too.

complete with her Disney label. 

Saturday 26 January 2013

Project 365 26th January

Whilst out for our daily walk we wandered a slightly different route and went over the bridge that spans the water at the edge of the dock. I took this "from where I stand" picture through the gaps in the bridge to the water about 15 feet below.

When my children were much much younger we went swimming every weekend, hail, snow, sleet or sun we dressed appropriately, wandered off to the pool and had some fun. Back in the day it was acceptable for one adult to take three children under eight swimming on their own.

Too get to the pool we had to cross over a slatted bridge, the type you could see through with gaps in the slats, and every week we had tears at this point as daughter No2 use to run on ahead and jump and thump and yell her way across the bridge as noisily as she could yelling at the troll to wake him up (think Billy Goats Gruff) which would leave daughter No1 howling and greeting cos she was now terrified to cross the bridge in case the troll came to get her. Sadly there was not an easier way to get to the pool without a massive couple of miles extra diversion, and when your walking that is not feasible.

Still to this day it is a family joke where daughter No2 will stamp her way across a bridge and No1 still hates to cross them, with or without her sister there.

thought I would join this up to as their theme for the 27th Jan (oddly enough) is memories, how apt.

Friday 25 January 2013

Project 365 25th January

Today Scotland celebrates the birthday of Rabbie Burns, and as we live in the birth town it seems an appropriate theme for my 365.

Today we went along to The Robert Burns birthplace Museum to have a look at the new art exhibition they have in there.

On the wall as you go in is this really bright and cheerful very effect 3D piece of crochet work. It is called Carnaby by Joana Vasconcelos, and the piece of work is on sale for a mere £57,000 (exclusive of VAT, collection/delivery costs and where appropriate framing costs) Mind you it was 9ft by 6ft. by 2 ft

My favourite was called Blue on Blue by Angela Hunter, this is the blue sheep, it is an acrylic and pencil artwork measuring 4ft by 4ft. It was a very reasonable £790. If I had the money to spare I would give this one house room.

By the same artist, same size and same price you have the brown sheep, called The Pen.

The two wee lambs are bronze, and called lamb lying flat and lamb lying alert, and sell for £750 each or £1375 the pair, and were made by Jill Watson.

Lastly is a very good replica of Burns Cottage itself. It is being sold for charity so price on it as such.

you can click here to see the rest of the pieces being displayed if you wish.

EXHIBITION: Using Burns' Ca the Yowes as a theme, over a dozen artists have created sheep of all shapes and sizes - although not necessarily as you will have seen them before! Works exhibited by: Helen Denerley, Amanda Gizzi, Alasdair Gray, Patrick Hughes, Angela Hunter, Fiona Hutchison, Chad McCail, Moy Mackay, Robert Powell, David Shrigley, Joana Vasconcelos, Jill Watson, Silvy Weatherall and Adrian Wiszniewski.

Thought I would let you see the special offer price as well.......not sure if it is my maths that are no good, or theirs.

Unsure which one to link up this week, but having enjoyed our afternoon out I thought I would share this with you. I have children back on Monday night so they will reappear in my posts regularly again now.

TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky

Wednesday 23 January 2013

Project 365 23rd January

Last week when I was at my friends house I took a picture of her wooden toys that had been used by her children sixty years ago.

Today I was getting some fascinating history out of her. My friend D will be ninety one in June. D went to Nigeria with her husband with 3 young children, one a baby of 8 weeks. When she went out there they had to live in the jungle, no running water, no electricity, miles away from civilisation as her husband was the architect that drew up the plane and over saw the building of the first University In Nigeria, The University of Ibadan

I have a photo collage of some of the items she brought back with her and some of the history that goes with them.

Top left is a camel hair blanket. These were made on portable back looms that the African woman carried and when they had time they made they made the panels from camel hair. The hair was dyed with vegetable dyes which only allowed shaded of browns, blacks and yellows to be achieved. They were designed to go keep your camels warm, but if people were stuck they would use them. They are amazing when you think these woman could not count and the patterns were passed on from person to person.

Bottom left is a wall hanging made in the same way.

Top Middle is a wooden mask, she never explained if this had a purpose or just an ornament

Bottom middle is made from wood and is a gift given to a mother on the birth of a baby.

Top right, D has four of these, two male and two female, these are given away by a family when they had twins and one of them died. They believed this protected the living twin from evil spirits.

The other two items are bronze and again I have no explanation as to what purpose they served.

She tells such fascinating stories and has led an interesting life.

Tuesday 22 January 2013

Project 365 22nd January

We decided fairly spur of the moment today to go out for lunch. We toddled of to The West Kirk which is part of the Wetherspoon chain. Their food is very reasonably priced, very good quality in  clean and pleasant surroundings and no noisy blaring music.

We had burger and chips with salad in the burger, I had a soft drink and OH a pint, and change out of £10.

As is typical time we got back we had missed two parcels, need to pick them up tomorrow,

Monday 21 January 2013

Project 365 21st Jan

huurrrraaayyyyy I have got snow.....time for me to join has snowed here steadily for 8 hrs so far today.....who knows what later will bring.

now dont all get jealous...pmsl

Joe Browns Review

I was recently asked to look at a website called Joe Browns and pick an item I would like to do a review on.

 First up  - Who are Joe Browns?

Joe Browns is a true lifestyle company, which was started to offer something more exciting and more individual than the other clothing catalogues in the UK Рit's a state of mind, for those that enjoy life and want to live a bit, and although it's a clich̩, we feel the more you put into it, the more you get out of it.
The business continues to grow and long may it continue - over 900,000 customers can't be wrong!
 As most of the country have snow at the moment, and for those of us without cold winds and rain I decided to look at their winter jackets. I have been looking round the shops for a long, heavy padded coat to use when walking but have not managed to find one that fitted my criteria, but I was pleasantly surprised to find a parka . Its description is

Climbing a mountain or trekking to the pub? This parka will serve you well. The big pockets, tough quilt lining and a roll away hood are standard issue.
65% Cotton, 35% Polyester

Ok so technically it is a mans jacket but to me it it looks plenty unisex  and it fits the criteria I was looking for.

I have used this jacket twice for walks so far, once when cold and dry and once when drizzly white stuff that had the cheek to call itself snow was coming down. The hood comes out easily and both  myself and the jacket were still dry when we got home, the water sits on top of it rather than soaks in. It is a large made jacket but that gives the leeway of adding an extra layer or two under it for really cold weather.

The two large pockets on the front easily carried my purse, my phone, my digital camera (never leave home without it) the car keys and two canvas shopping bags while I trailed round the market, I hate handbags so for me pockets are needed. The pockets are very deep so no chance of losing items out of them. They also have double flaps on so they do not fill up with water in the rain.  The sleeves have pop studs on to make them tighter fitting if need be. Inside the jacket at waist level is a drawstring and bobbles to stop the drafts from howling. The zip works both up the way and down the way, so if you have the jacket done up and you want to sit in the car or on the bus the jacket can be unzipped from the bottom.  The biggest thing that I like is it is  washable. I imagine I will need to wash it in special liquid but it is readily available.

They sell a wide variety of mens and woman clothing, from hooded tees, to brogues, 50's dresses to capes, hats and gloves to jewellery. Items for all tastes across a good age range and good choice in sizes.

Sunday 20 January 2013

Cooking on a self catering holiday.

My children are all grown now, but when they were young we use to enjoy holidays. be that camping, caravan, holiday chalets they always loved the freedom that holidays bring.

I always found when going on these sorts of holidays that forward planning and being prepared made for a more relaxed holiday. Before we went we would menu plan for the holiday. This made for less tears during the holidays and made the children more involved in what we were doing.

We use to  take advantage of the local foods like fruits, breads,cold meat and salad ingredients. My children always preferred salads and fresh fruit over hot meals, and it is easy to prepare a huge amount that will do a few nights thereby making it easy to eat without too much delay when we all arrived  back at the caravan.

Simple meals like Potato Salad with Coronation chicken with a side salad.

Potato Salad

Wash 2 lb new potatoes, then cut them them into 1/2 inch cubes. Being to the  boil in a pan with some garden peas, boil for 5-7 minutes until cooked. Whilst the potatoes are cooking finely chop a red onion.

Drain the peas and potatoes and whilst still warm add the onions, then add enough mayonnaise to make a nice moist potato salad. Place in fridge for flavours to develop for at least 8 hrs.

serve with Coronation Chicken      

mix together

4oz mayo
3 oz chutney of choice
1 teaspoon curry powder (strength of your taste)

chop 1 eating apple, 2 spring onions  half a red onion and four cooked chicken breasts into small pieces and stir through the mayo mix..

Leave in fridge to cool and for flavours to develop.

Serve with a mixed salad of lettuce, cucumber and tomatoes.

You could also use the Coronation Chicken and make vol-au-vonts

If you have vegetarians in the house this works equally as well with tofu as it does chicken.

Now the children are all grown we would consider going further afield with the children and the grandchildren, it is easy to plan a self catering holiday in Europe with the help of a company like  Thompson Al Fresco, For me a holiday was always about family time, time to relax and enjoy each others company, and  now we have the opportunity to do the same but with the grandchildren  

Nowadays these sorts of places come with well equipped kitchens, with no real reason not to enjoy your favourites like pizza, spaghetti bolognese, sausage and mash or even chicken curry and rice. 

I received a choice of products from Lakeland in return for this post. 

Project 365, 20th January

I have not seen these stickers on the lamposts before now, wonder if they are new or if I just have not noticed them.

Was not much else interesting to photograph along the river.

Saturday 19 January 2013

Healthy Fruity Muffins

Not been doing much baking these last few months as life has been stressful in the house due to circumstances beyond my control, but it has eased this week, so I went off to my kitchen to play earlier.

I had a few black bananas in the veg rack, nice and ripe ready for mashing into baking and some of  the blueberries I bought on Wednesday are looking a bit sorry for themselves so decided to use them.

Banana and Blueberry muffins.

7oz light brown self raising flour
1oz wheatbran
1 teaspoon baking powder
a pinch of salt
2 tablespoons of cocoa powder
2 mashed bananas
4 oz blueberries
2 oz flora cuisine
2 oz coconut sugar
7oz oat milk
handful of pumpkin seeds (for sprinkling on top)


1. Place all dry ingredients into a bowl and mix together well.
2. stir washed blueberries into flour mix, doing it at this stage will help to stop them sinking.
3. mix the flora with the milk and banana and add to dry mix.
4. combine together and place into 12 muffins cases and top each with a few pumpkin seeds.
5. cook at 180 oC for approx 12 mins.

Blueberry muffins

The same recipe as above, but leaving out the banana and cocoa powder. Add an egg to replace the banana and a teaspoon of vanilla extract instead of the cocoa.

A great way of getting fruit into the family, the wheat germ is high in Protein, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Niacin, Phosphorus, Zinc and Vitamin B6. 
Whilst the oat milk is free from dairy, soya, lactose and added sugar and  helps to lower cholesterol levels. Your family will never notice the difference. 
The coconut sugar is  a low-GI alternative to normal table sugar. This means that it releases energy more slowly into the body, resulting in less of a "sugar rush" and helping to keep the appetite under control.

Ideal to throw into a pack lunch box, or breakfast on the go.

Alternatively - Both lots will also work just as well without the flora,which would make the banana ones fat free. 
If you felt like it you could add some carob drops to the banana ones instead of the blueberries. 

Project 365 19th January

Its cold here, but dry and not a flake of snow, so went for a walk along the beach. The tide is right out so we walked along the beach, at the waters edge,in the dark as you do, and took this picture. The street lights are reflected in a long strip of water that didnt go out with the tide fir some reason,

Friday 18 January 2013

Gammon and vegetables with onion dumplings

At this time of year I like to try and use seasonal vegetable to make warming, filling, healthy meals. Tonight I had some gammon left in the fridge from last nights tea to use up.

I cut up carrots, leaks, potatoes and sweet potatoes and added them into a ham stock, cook for approx 15 mins, I then added the gammon to the pan and the dumplings.


4 oz light brown self raising flour
2oz vegetable suet
1 teaspoon onion powder 

mix together with just enough cold water to bring the mixture together.

Split into four small dumplings and add to the stew. Cook for approx 12 minutes and serve.

The linked items were supplied by Healthy Supplies, but the recipe ideas are all my own.

Project 365 18th January

I had an e-mail about three prizes on one day last week, here is prize number two that turned up today. I was hoping to win the bike, but hey ho such is life.

I got through the prize today, it was described as a years supply of High 5 products. Its worth just over £170 so another nice win.

This months products from Healthy Supplies (Jan 13)

As it is wintery weather, this month I have gone more for savoury items to make healthy vegetable filled meal and soups rather than cupcakes and cold food.

I chose

various noodles

flours for adding doughballs to meals

red and black rice should be interesting

coconut sugar and cereals

some carob drops to try wand cardamon

different lentils. 

Last month I made mostly Christmas related items 

Thursday 17 January 2013

Project 365 17th January

Gosh is it really thirty years sine Breakfast Time started.  Breakfast Time, gosh how the world has changed, some of the quotes about it

Richard Ingrams writing in The Spectator said: "There is no earthly reason why anyone of intelligence should want to watch it."

Hmmm that quote could aptly fit to most day time tv programmes today as well.

Thirty years ago, Daughter No1 was coming up on her 4th birthday, daughter No2 was 2 1/2, we were living in Bo'ness at the time, and I did not see much of it as we did the playgroup run so was busy getting ready. It was a lot more upmarket in those days when news was for posh people.

Wednesday 16 January 2013

Project 365 16th January

Was visiting an elderly friend this morning, and I have spotted these wooden toys many a time before, so I asked her if I could photograph them, none of the pictures were brilliant.

They are wooden toys made by Brio, think train sets nowadays, and they belonged to her children when they were young, all her children are now in their 60's so they have stood the test of time well.

Not really sure what to link up, but decided on this one just because I like the colours and the fact they are that bit different. TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky

Tuesday 15 January 2013

A walk round Culzean Castle

The sun was out, not a breath of wind, and it was as lovely at 2 oC as it gets at this time of year.So we decided to take a drive down to Culzean Castle and take a walk along the beach.

Some random pictures I took I thought I would share  with you.

a cormorant on the swam pond

from one side of the castle

to the other

a duck at the swan pond

feeding a swan

erosion on the bricks

a flat calm blue sea with Arran in the background

a gnarly old tree

a random pot

an information sign

hunting in rock pools