This month’s issue:...
Hello healthy people,
I hope you’re enjoying our Scottish summer thus far. It’s been excellent exercise weather so be sure to get out and get active. It’s often quicker to walk around Edinburgh than drive, so think about making short journeys on foot. Going out to a restaurant? Why not walk? The walk home will help burn it off and we’ve still got lovely light evenings.
A favourite summer event of ours is the Foodies Festival weekend next month, 8 to 10 August. It started at Holyrood Park a few years ago, and has now moved to Inverleith Park. Every year I cycle there with empty pannier bags and fill my bags up with delicious goodies from local producers (and importers). It’s a brilliant day out for anyone who loves food.
Competition We have 5 pairs of FREE tickets to give away for Foodies Festival. Simply email me with your favourite summer salad combination. The first five entries received will win a double pass.
What’s in Season at the Allotment
It’s peak growing season down the plot and we’re harvesting the last of the rhubarb (you’re meant to stop picking it mid-summer), rocket, lettuce, radishes, strawberries, raspberries and new potatoes. Our plot is completely full, so we're holding off sowing anything else.
Easy Seasonal Recipe: Elderflower Concentrate
Diluted elderflower cordial is wonderfully summery drink to have in a drink bottle when running or cycling. Water with a small amount of carbohydrate (i.e. sugar) is more readily absorbed through the stomach wall compared to plain water (that can ‘flush’ through the system). This means a carb solution hydrates you better with less rushing to the loo; very handy on long bike rides. This is how Powerade can advertise that it hydrates better than water. Anything with a wee bit of sugar will!
There’s the last of the elderflowers out over the few weeks, so go for a wander and pick some if you’re keen to try this. Pick freshly opened flowers early in the morning, away from road pollution. You’ll need 10 to 20 heads, and make sure they don’t get squashed on the way home. Leave some flowers on the trees for the bees and other folk.
In the kitchen, cut off any big stalks and toss flower heads in a big bowl or pot. Cover with 1kg sugar, and 1 Litre of hot water (not boiling as this may scald the flavour, around 80 degrees C). Gently stir in sliced ribbons of rind from an unwaxed lemon and the flesh chopped into slices. Cover and leave for 24 hours, stir occasionally, ensuring the sugar gets fully dissolved. After a few hours your kitchen will smell very floral.
The next day strain the mixture into a large jug. I used a strainer, then discovered some black bits so put it through a muslin as well. Adjust concentrate to taste. Store in sterilised bottles in the fridge. You can also freeze some in plastic water bottles. To sterilize bottles place in a 180 degrees C oven for ten minutes, allow to cool slightly before bottling.
Insiders Tip of the Month
Each month I’m going to share with you a tip that I’ve learnt that makes exercise more effective. Running or cycling with a higher cadence will make it easier and you might even go faster without noticing. A good example of this is the chaps from the Tour de France whose legs pump away like the billy-o. A high cadence in a low gear means that there’s less leg strength required to push the pedals, and therefore it should also help improve your endurance. For runners, a higher cadence means taking more, and possibly smaller steps. This is turn means a smoother ride and you’re not bouncing around so much.
Fad or Fab... Nutribullet
Nutribullet is a newly-fangled drinks blender, presented in snazzy packaging, but is it worth £99? I am very fond of my new Nutribullet, but not as excited as some of the folk advertising it in this YouTube ad.
It’s a small blender that has sharp enough blades to pulverise apple into juice and greens into a green smoothie. There’s three different cups (with lids) which are very handy and easy to wash. I bought it to make green drinks (adding salad leaves etc), however after a couple swampy experiments, decided I preferred my greens as a salad rather than a drink. The target market for the Nutribullet is clearly folk who don’t eat much fruit and veg to being with; to them, this may indeed be a revolutionary idea. The Nutribullet is in fact a very handy blender, and small enough to keep on the countertop (and thus get used more often than an unwieldy jug blender). I have been making more juices and smoothies since I got it, but I’m not sure it warrants it’s £99 price tag. We’ll see how long the motor lasts... A tentative fab, with elements of fad-ishness.
Article: Juicing Ideas to Try at Home
I decided to make and rate a different Nutribullet blend for every day of June. Here’s what happened:
1 June: sooo excited! Apple, orange and banana was the first juice in the new machine. Had no appropriate leaves in the house to make a green drink. 8/10
2 June: Orange and carrot juice. Mildly successful, had to strain the carrot fibre. Not much juice. 5/10
3 June: Apple and kiwi. Gritty seeds. 6/10 Later that day, zizzed a packet of short-dated Co-op fruit salad. Better. 7 /10
4 June: Raspberries, orange, nectarine (still no green!) 7.5/10
6 June: Raspberry, strawberry, melon. Light and refreshing. 8/10
7 June: Apple, orange, rocket leaves. Tasted grassy. 6/10
8 June: Strawberry, grape, melon, fresh mint. So summery. 9/10
9 June: Melon, deseeded cucumber, avocado. Creamy and green. 8/10
10 June: Orange, frozen mango, banana. Tropical! 9.5/10
11 and 12 June: Hommous experiments, very smooth and easy to make. 9/10
15 June: Raspberry, pineapple, banana. There’s a fruity theme going. 9/10
17 June: Pineapple, banana, raspberry, spirulina. Made the spirulina taste better than normal, but not a fan. 7/10
19 June: Banana, natural yoghurt, semi-skim milk, vanilla protein powder. An easy protein energy hit. 9/10
26 June: Strawberry, banana, sunflower seeds. Seeds blended very well and added bulk. 9/10
27 June: Strawberry, banana, coconut water. Couldn't taste the coconut, but still tasted good. 8.5/10
As you can see, the blended drinks tailed off towards the end of June, when we were very busy (ironically when we could’ve done with the extra vitamins). It’s great how you can easily make one or two servings without creating a lot of dishes – it is handy to blend drinks, but it’s important to be aware of the extra calories from fruit.
And Finally... If You Love Dance
If you love dance, you’ll be mesmerised by this clip. A stunning performance from Ukraine's Got Talent.
© Copyright all material Tracy Griffen 2014