Perfect Pastas

Pasta is such a perfect food for walkers, not only can you eat it hot or cold but it is versatile and can be paired with many different things that may take your fancy.

Today I’m sharing one of my favorite, quick and easy pasta dishes that I have enjoyed both hot and cold and also sharing some suggestions of things to try…

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This is steamed veg and fish pasta with mushrooms that I had a few nights ago.

You will need

  • A handful of mushrooms
  • Pasta (I used Penne but you could use any kind that takes your fancy)
  • A steamer bag of veg (I love the ones which have sweetcorn, carrots and broccoli in them!)
  • Boil in the bag fish (I used fish in butter sauce but you could use fish in parsley sauce, or even make your own sauce and use a fish steak)

I put the pasta and boil in the bag fish on to boil as they cook in roughly the same amount of time.  While the pasta and fish were warming up and starting to cook I prepared the mushrooms by cutting them up into even sized pieces which I then “fried” in a tiny bit of water (I don’t really use oil at all when cooking, or salt…) for around 5 mins.  Once the pasta was cooked I drained it then placed it back in the pan, fished out the boil in the bag fish and opened the packet and added that to the same pan as the pasta.  I then microwaved the steamer bag of veg (the ones I chose take 2.5mins), then add that to the pasta along with the mushrooms, mix and serve!

Other pasta suggestions…

Pasta with tinned, chopped tomatoes, onions, peppers, sweetcorn and olives,

pasta with peas, carrots, broccoli, beans and cheese sauce

Pasta with red kidney beans, broccoli, pesto and spinach

Pasta with mushrooms, pesto, kale and pine nuts.

Pasta with tinned tuna, tinned chopped tomatoes, red pepper and mushrooms

All of these dishes can be served hot or cold and be garnished with finely chopped basil, parsley, Parmesan or nuts.  All can be served with side dishes of salad or crusty bread too!

What do you eat with your pasta?

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The Environment – Micro Beads

This series will look at the environment we live in and how we can look after it and protect it for years to come.  This series came about from spending so much time outdoors and seeing the effects that man has had on where we live, what impact we have had on nature and starting my own quest on helping lessen the impact we have.  This series will cover things like pollution in the air, water and terrain, rubbish, recycling, erosion, acid rain and a whole host of other environmental concerns.

Today’s post looks at our water pollution, specifically plastics in our seas and oceans, rivers and lakes.  Plastics get into our water in many ways, from being dumped at sea to being left behind on beaches by tourists.  Whatever the way the plastics are getting there doesn’t matter, they are there and they are causing hazards and environmental damage to our Eco-systems.  What we should be doing is becoming more aware of products we use and by becoming aware, changing our habits to slow the plastics entering the water in the first place.

One of the ways that the plastics are getting into our waters is through the beauty industry adding polyethylene to face and body washes, this is a manufactured micro-plastic and these are teeny, tiny bits of plastic added to all manner of body care products to give a “scrub” effect.  I have found micro beads in hand washes, body washes, face scrubs and all manner of foot care products, products manufactured to remove hard/dead skin or marketed as complexion brighteners.  I have heard that micro-beads can be contained in toothpaste too which is worrying.  These plastics are suspended in the product and once used, get washed down the drain and float off into oceans and rivers.  They are so small that normal removal of plastics from the water is useless, the size of these particles is so small, and they just slip through.  Once in the rivers and oceans, they get consumed by unsuspecting fish that then end up in our food cycle.  This means that we then consume the plastics ourselves and it ends up inside us.

There are 2 main problems with this micro-beads usage, 1) once it gets back into the food chain and we consume it, it can stay in our systems, our natural acids can break it down and the chemicals released can cause a whole myriad of health problems, or these beads can adhere to our insides and cause cancer to form.  2) The micro-beads are left in the oceans and waterways are causing pollution and affecting sea life (both in the water and out – fish, birds, water mammals like seals and otters), it gets into their systems and can cause them to die.

That is not the end of it though, there are things we can do to change the micro beads usage and manufacture.  The biggest change we can make is to switch to scrubs that contain more natural ingredients like pumice, salt, sugar or ground nut shells.  When you want to purchase these scrubs, check the back of the pot or tube or packet and check the ingredients – look for words that end in ethane (polyethylene, polypropylene are good examples of micro beads used) and choose not to buy them.  Look for other brands that use natural scrub ingredients and use those instead, or step away from scrubs and make your own instead (there are lots of recipes on line, use search terms as “DIY natural face scrub” or “Make your own natural scrub for body/face”).  If we don’t buy into the companies that make these products then they cant make money from these products and will have to change, until then we are just going to be washing plastics down our drains, into the sewers and out into the wide world.  If we can stop this practice, one person at a time, then we will be stopping an untold amount of damage being caused further down the line.

Further reading – http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2017/02/06/511843443/are-we-eating-our-fleece-jackets-microfibers-are-migrating-into-field-and-food (added to this post on 7th February 2017)

Food For Walkers – Leftovers Lunches

I started this series last year as I thought it would be nice to share recipes that are either good for taking on walks, are quick and easy to prepare and make for after a walk or something you can make before going out, cook while you are out and it be ready to serve when you get back.  I used to go out on walks with my Aunt and Uncle and they would always have tasty snacks and meals that they had made in their rucksack to eat on the way (always with a flask of tea!), and on returning there would always be something ready and waiting, smelling delicious, or something we could whip up within half an hour.  Since then, if I go out I always like to have something to return to, or take with me!  Many of the recipes and ideas I will be sharing in this series will be vegetarian or have fish in them, I have not eaten meat since I was around 19/20 (though it could be before or after, I can’t really remember the exact date or year!), I know I gave up bacon and lamb first and chicken last.  I gave up meat as I didn’t like the texture or taste or the smell of it cooking though I don’t have anything against people eating meat, I choose not too.  I have continued to eat fish though, I have really fond memories of being little, probably around 3, and sitting with my dad while he showed me how to shell prawns!  I never had a dummy either, I got given frozen crab sticks to gum on!  And I really like the diverse range of fish that are available to eat.  Anyway, that was a little off topic, but I thought I had better explain rather than have questions later!  I will probably, every now and again, share meat recipes (like today…) but most will feature veg options which meat can be added to if you so wish!  Anyway, on to today’s “Food For Walkers” recipes and ideas!

Today’s post is inspired by leftover’s from Christmas and the New Year.

Leftover’s Sandwiches or Rolls

Pretty much any leftovers can be made into sandwiches or rolls, from cold meats, cheeses and even roast veg.  The key to a good leftovers sandwich or roll is the bread type and the condiment you combine with the leftovers.  I love crusty rolls or white bread for leftovers sandwiches personally.  Some ideas to try…

  • Turkey and cranberry
  • Turkey, stuffing and mayo
  • Cheese and cranberry
  • Strong cheddar and brambly apple sauce
  • Roast potato (cut into slices) with Brussels sprouts (cut small) and mint sauce
  • Roast Veg (parsnip, carrots, potato, onion) with gravy

Leftover fruit can be added to oats, honey, plain yogurt and milk, mixed together and left in the fridge overnight to be eaten for breakfast.  This works well with dried fruits and also nuts as well as fresh fruit or tinned.

Leftover dried fruit and nuts can be combined with oats and made into flapjacks that can be wrapped and taken out in a pocket to enjoy on your walks.

And leftover veg can also be added to veg stock and made into a tasty stew or casserole with the addition of pearl barley, lentils or other pulses, for a filling after walk meal, or blended down to make a hearty soup to be enjoyed with fresh crusty rolls.

And I can’t leave out my all time favorite leftover lunch – bubble and squeak!

What are your favorite leftover recipes?