2014 December |

Monthly Archives: December 2014

Real tomato ketchup


Tomato ketchup and roasted spicy nuts have been this year’s Christmas home-made yummies to give to friends.  The ketchup is easy and delicious – add more chilli if you like yours to have a real kick.

For approx 3 bottles

3kg tomatoes
1 red pepper
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 red onions, finely chopped
50ml apple cider vinegar
2 tsp sharp paprika
a pinch cayenne
3 tsp ginger, freshly grated
2 tsp nutmeg
1 tbsp coriander seeds


Halve and de-seed the pepper then cut it, and the tomatoes, into chunks.  Combine both in a pot with the finely chopped onions and garlic and some water.
Leave to simmer for about an hour, stirring occasionally and adding more water if it’s too thick at this early stage. Remove from the stove and blend until smooth.  Add the vinegar and spices and simmer for another 1.5 – 2 hours, until it thickens.
Do a taste test and add seasoning if required, then pour into sterilized jars.
Seal and turn upside down until cooled. The ketchup will keep, unopened for about a year. Once opened, store in the refrigerator.

Roasted savoury nuts


All about nuts and seeds at the moment.  I’ve just posted more about them here on the blog and  Appleaday facebook page because I seem to have spent weeks roasting different combinations for presents.
This recipe is such an easy and delicious addition to the festive season and they will store for a couple of weeks in airtight containers… if you’re very good at self-control.


100 g cashew nuts
100 g macadamias
50 g brazil nuts
50 g almonds
100 g pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
25g butter
1 generous tbsp thyme or chestnut or dark honey (ideally manuka…but too expensive at the mo)
about 4 small sprigs rosemary and thyme, leaves removed, finely chopped
sea salt, freshly ground pepper
pinch or three of cayenne or chilli powder


Preheat the oven to 160 degrees centigrade and arrange the nuts on a sheet of baking paper.  Bake until golden and crunchy, c. 15-20 mins.

Meanwhile, heat the honey and 3 tbsp water until dissolved.  Remove from the heat and stir in the spices, butter and salt.

Quickly fold in the nuts and transfer them back to the baking sheet and spread them out as much as possible so they’re not touching (they’ll clump otherwise due to the honey).

Bake for another 5 or so minutes in the oven until a lovely caramel colour, then remove and allow to fully cool.

Nuts and seeds: health-giving zinc in pumpkin seeds


Nuts and seeds are health-giving bombshells.  They are not just sources of protein, fibre and healthy fats, but also vitamins, minerals and a host of phytonutrients which have some extraordinarily specific health benefits.     Provided the soils where nuts/seeds grow are not depleted, or overworked, they will also give you minerals such as manganese, magnesium, zinc, selenium, copper, phosphorous….all of which play vital roles in every single system in your body.

So many benefits to be found in such small packages.
Today’s blog is looking at just ONE mineral in ONE type of seed  –  so imagine how many health-giving goodies you will eat in a handful.

When I think of pumpkin seeds I think ‘zinc’ because even though this mineral is found in many nuts and seeds, it is particularly high in pumpkin seeds.  It’s a great anti oxidant mineral, and one which is often low in our body.  Nuts and seeds are an ideal healthy way of increasing these levels.

Zinc is involved in a huge number of enzymatic reactions in the body.  A bit like magnesium, this mineral seems to be required everywhere, all the time.  And because we can’t store it, we need to eat it on a daily basis.

Zinc’s largest claim to fame is probably its role in immune health:  increasing production of white blood cells, helping fight infection and wound healing plus increasing killer cells which we need to fight disease….or the common cold (zinc supplementation will help reduce your cold’s severity and duration).

Skin health would be another biggie to think about.  Zinc is THE skin mineral, regulating sebaceous gland secretions, compensating for dry – or oily – skin conditions, hence it would be beneficial for both acne and something like dermatitis.

Do you know zinc is vital for your ability to taste and smell?  If you’ve lost either of these, don’t fear the worst.  Testing zinc levels would be an important first step, as it’s required to produce an enzyme called carbonic anhydrase, critical for the efficient functioning of your senses of taste and smell.

Another zinc benefit, crucial to male health, is the role it plays in sperm motility.  Anyone planning a family will ideally be taking at least three months to get their health in order, and good zinc levels, particularly for the future dad,  are vital.

All this is just a taster of zinc’s benefits, a mere page of information about one single mineral in one type of seed.
I’ve not touched upon pumpkin seed’s high magnesium, or tryptophan, or the wonderfully exotic cucurbitacin, let alone all the other seeds and nuts in these jars!

Another day…