Cucumbers grow on a creeping vine and come in several varieties. Some varieties have a tender skin and can be eaten without peeling. Cucumbers are eaten in salads, as a vessel to scoop up dips, grated in yoghurt dressings to eat with hot and spicy dishes and the smaller varieties are perfect to pickle. Cucumbers are mainly water (a 100 gram serve of raw cucumber is 95% water).
Cumin is a medium - hot spice which blends well in curries and is the main spice in the Middle Eastern dip, hummus. It is being studied for potential anti-oxidant and anticancer effects.
Curry powder is a mix of spices, different brands can have different combinations. Most curry powder recipes contain coriander, turmeric, cumin, fenugreek, chili peppers, garlic, caraway and can also contain mustard seed and cinnamon. Read your labels as some cheaper brands container fillers like maize (corn), I purchase the 'Simply Organic' brand.
In some of my recipes I have used Paleo approved dark chocolate drops/chips, they are dairy, soy, and gluten-free (my favourite brands are, 'Absolute Organic' or 'Chef's Choice' certified organic 70% cacao, purchase online or from health food stores). I also used 70 - 85% organic dark chocolate blocks, they can be broken into pieces or melted for recipe. I also make my own chocolate from: cacao butter or coconut oil, raw cacao powder and sweetened with 100% maple syrup, pinch of sea salt and vanilla extract.
Dehydrated chicken bone broth powder is a great option for when a small amount of broth is required or when extra flavour needs to be added to a dish. Add 3 teaspoons of powder to 250ml of boiling water or add the powder directly to a pot of simmering soup or stew to add extra nutrients and flavour. I use the Nutra Organics brand or Broth of Life.
Tomatoes are acidic which increases the rate at which BPA enters food and this can be a concern with canned tomato products, make sure you purchase in a BPA free can. Organic is best and read the label to avoid high sugar and salt content. Tomatoes are a useful source of vitamin C, beta carotene folate and potassium, also contains properties that may protect against prostate cancers. Tomatoes are a nightshade vegetable.
Mustard is a condiment made from various varieties of seeds from the mustard plants (white or yellow mustard, brown or Indian mustard and black mustard). The seeds are ground to make different kinds of mustard. Dijon mustard is made when ground into a paste with added ingredients like water, salt, lemon juice and flavours and spices. It is a much milder mustard and is excellent to add to sauces and dressing.
Dill is an annual herb in the celery family. The leaves and seeds are used for flavouring food. The fern-like leaves of dill can be used dried or fresh. The aromatic flavour of dill leaves is delicious added to fish dishes. It's always best to use organic dried herbs.
Dried apricots are an excellent source of vitamin A, a good source of vitamin C, copper, dietary fibre and potassium. Choose organic dried apricots that have been dried naturally without preservatives (sulphur free). The colour will be darker, as sulphur dioxide (E220) has not been used to preserve the colour. My favourite brand is Fruit Bliss, the apricots are infused with water and keep lovely and juicy.
I use dried Wild Blueberries in my recipes. When you are purchasing your dried blueberries make sure they are preservative-free (no sulphur dioxide) and sugar-free. Blueberries are packed with super-rich antioxidants, they also assist with stress, brain health, gut health, liver, immune and nervous system support. I purchase 100% Dried Wild Blueberries online from Resilient Health, they don't contain any oils, sugars or preservatives. The Wild Blueberries are dehydrated at very low temperatures which preserves their nutrients and high levels of antioxidants. (Resilient Health distribute throughout Australia).
Choose organic dried cranberries that contain no preservatives (sulphur). Cranberries have a tangy sweet flavour and deliver a big healthy dose of antioxidants. My favourite organic brands are Edan or Dr Superfoods, which can be purchase from health foods stores or online.
When purchasing Active Dry Yeast for baking bread at home, choose a dried yeast that doesn't contain additives. Saccharomyces cerevisiae is the type for baking bread. I've used dried yeast to create a more bread-like texture, it helps to produce a more soft and aerated centre. Store sealed in the fridge after opening.
Egg white is the clear liquid part of an egg, also called the albumen. Egg white consists primarily of about 90% water into which is dissolved 10% protein and almost no fat or carbohydrate. Egg whites can be whisked, which will increase the volume making them ideal to use in light desserts, like mousse. Egg white can also be brush on baked goods to form a shiny glaze. Purchase free range or organic eggs.
Poultry egg yolk is a major source of vitamins and minerals. It contains all of the egg's fat and nearly half of the protein. Vitamins A, D, E and K are found in the egg yolk. Egg yolk is one of the few foods naturally containing vitamin D. Egg yolk is at times separated from the white and used in cooking for mayonnaise, custard, hollandaise sauce etc.
I have used large free range or organic eggs from a 700g carton in my recipes. Eggs are one of the few foods considered to be a complete protein because they contain all 9 essential amino acids, also studies have shown that lutein (yellow colour) in egg yolks protects against the progress of early heart disease.
Fennel seeds are highly aromatic. The seeds are pale greenish in colour and have a faintly sweet and refreshing flavour. The seeds can be used whole or crushed and ground down to a powder. Add fennel seeds to salads, soups, meatloaf and stews. Fennel seeds aid digestion and used as a mouth freshener.
Figs are a good source of potassium, calcium and iron, high in fibre. Figs are harvested late summer and early autumn. Fresh figs spoil quickly and need to be eaten within 2 - 3 days, because of this figs are usually dried. When purchasing dried figs, buy organic without preservatives.
I feel it's much better for our health if we filter our water. Our tap water contains disinfectants, chlorine and chloramine. Also floride is add which I believe is toxin to our bodies.
There are 32,000 species of fish, I'm referring to white flesh fish here, like: Hoki, Whiting, Barramundi, Herring, Hake, Cod etc. Choose wild caught fish (not farmed). Fish is an excellent source of protein and essential fatty acids.
Just a little of this sauce will make a big difference to a recipe. Fish sauce is used in Asian cooking, be adventurous and add to other types of dishes to enhance the flavour. Read your label when purchasing as you just want fish and salt, no preservatives or sugar added.