Welcome to Eat Well Every Day

Welcome to Eat Well Every Day!

I've spent years researching nutritional information, food ideas and recipes, because cooking and eating - especially with family & friends - are some of life's great pleasures. And guess what- healthy food doesn't have to be boring! It can be exciting and delicious!


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Saturday, February 20, 2010

Limes and Seasons

Continuing my meditation on eating locally, seasonally and sustainably - with recipes.

To read the first half of this meditation, go to Local and Seasonal

To continue the theme of eating locally and sustainably, here's how some inner-city denizens tackled the challenge. They might not produce enough to feed all of them all the time, but at least they have the pleasure of adding home-grownh produce to their meals.

Sustainability in a city street
Photo courtesy Saim Ali

With the support of Sydney City Council, residents of the inner-city of Chippendale have planted garden beds at the ends of residential streets. These were originally a guerrilla garden effort, but luckily for the residents, the Council saw sense and gave them support to build more.

Making the Most of What's Available

We might not be able to dig up inner-urban streets, or find a bit of waste ground, or forage from the local park, but we can buy what produce is in season, when it’s tasty and cheap, and make the most of it.

Since it’s the end of summer, I recently converted 12 really cheap limes into lime marmalade and a refreshing lime drink. The marmalade took 24 hours, the drink, five minutes.

Limes, like lemons, are high in vitamin C; they also contain small amounts of vitamins A, B, and E, folate and pantothenic acid, plus the minerals boron, copper, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc and a tiny amount of sodium.

To the Recipes

Although the vitamin C will be destroyed by the long boiling in making marmalade, all the other elements and the tangy flavour will reman.

Lime Marmalade

This recipe is from a 1970s English paperback, long out of print: Let’s Preserve It, by Beryl Wood. If you can find it, it’s a delight, and has helpful hints about making jams, jellies and relishes. I use it about once a year.

  • 1lb (500 gms) of limes (about 6)
  • 2 ½ pints (1400 ml)of water
  • 2 ½ lbs (just over a kilogram) of fine white sugar
  • Jam pan – a preserving pan bought from a kitchen store, or a stock pot, or a large, heavy bottomed saucepan. It must be big enough that your boiling sugar mixture does not boil over.
Makes about 5 medium jars

Finely cut the limes – this is vital as lime peel is amazingly tough to cook. Put the lime slices in the jam pan with the water, cover and leave overnight.

At least 2 hours before you’re ready to make marmalade, start cooking the lime slices. Bring the water to the boil, and simmer covered, for at least 1 ½ hours, or until the peel is soft.

When the peel is almost ready, rinse out your jam jars and put in a low oven to dry and warm up. Add the sugar to the simmering peel, stir until it is all dissolved, then bring the heat up to high.

Boil rapidly for about 20 minutes until your marmalade is setting. Test by dropping a small amount onto a cold saucer – it should gel, and wrinkle to the touch, or divide and not run together if you pull a finger through it. Remove your pan from the heat while testing for set so as not to over-boil your marmalade.

Fill your jars and seal while hot and wipe clean with a damp cloth.

Lime Drink
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 teasp sugar or to taste
  • 350 ml (approx) iced water, soda water or lemonade.
Mix together juice and sugar, stirring vigorously; dilute with iced water.

It is possible to make lime cordial by boiling sugar and water to make a syrup, but it’s not worth the effort unless you’re making enough for a party or a picnic.

Buon Appetito!

Local and Seasonal

A meditation on some ways of eating sustainably

While I've been buying fresh produce from my local farmer's market and trying to nurture some green vegetables and herbs on my tiny balcony, I’ve noticed an interesting trend on television and in the foodie magazines I sub-edit. It seems top of the line chefs have fallen in love not with only seasonal foods, but the gratification of growing and in some cases, breeding organic produce for themselves. Of course, if they run restaurants or bistros, they can’t produce enough for their commercial kitchens, but have to source local growers of the esoteric produce they’ve discovered.

Because not only are some of these chefs sudden converts to the joys of growing veggies and fruit – being food specialists they naturally fall for the rarer or old fashioned heritage produce.

This month I’ve subbed articles with gardening chefs extolling the joys of purple carrots, heirloom tomatoes in every shade from pale yellow to bright orange, beetroot that aren’t magenta in colour, but warm gold, or even a parsnip off-white. Except that cream-coloured parsnip is rather passĂ© – they also come in a range of hues similar to non-orange carrots.

Starting from Scratch

Paralleling this trend is the one where food lovers, who may or may not have a connection to commercial cooking, decide to start from scratch producing food the pre-industrial way. It may have started with Hugh Fearnley–Whittingstall and his delightful attempts to show ordinary English folk how to feed themselves sustainably and seasonally from tiny patches of waste land, hedgerows and local parks.

But he’s not alone – ex-UK marine Monty Halls, lived for six months on the West Coast of Scotland at Beachcomber Cottage, an old crofter’s cottage, where he grew vegetables for the first time and attempted to survive by hunting and fishing (and the odd cappuccino in the village cafĂ©).

In Australia, ex-Sydney restaurant critic Matthew Evans moved to Tasmania, to a small farm to plant vegetables, keep chickens, goats and a dairy cow, and generally enjoy the good life away from the city crowds and smog.

So what has this to do with the real world of sourcing and cooking healthy food, given that most of us can’t flee to a beautiful but relatively isolated spot and live for a year or so on our bank account while we reinvent agriculture? Some inner-city denizens may have one answer.

Continued on Limes and Seasons