Friday, 18 November 2011

Autumn dry fruits and their benefits.

The long hot summer days have vanished until next year and with them most of the juicy fruits. At the moment pears and apples are the autumn kings, but soon we need to start to look in our local markets and shop for dry fruit for find plenty and enjoyable natural sweetness.

La Boquería dry fruit stall by neoMagic
Here are the most popular and how you benefit.

ü  Dry figs and prunes for healthy bones.
ü  Dry peaches and apricots for the hypertension
ü  Raisins rich in antioxidants
ü  Dry grapes and dates rich in energy for a quick recovery
ü  Dry Apricots and prunes for extra fibre 


Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Speculating with Soya in the stock market

The drop in the soya prices and another raw material is bringing Latin America to the global crisis.
The Latin American countries have been dealing well with the global financial crisis and have been growing at very good rates, some of them around 6 %. Thanks to  previous learned lessons in the past decade and how they readjusted the economic and financial system and also because most of them have now a strong link with China and the rest of Asia, eager of the raw material and food of the Latin American countries.
But now the prices of the raw materials (copper and even gold) and also the soya (one of the main products of the Latin American economies) has been falling for a while. Everyone can think it is because the raw materials use to vary time to time their prices (offer and demand), but never before 15-20 raw material have been rising and falling all together. The reason can be because the slow recovery of USA and the European crisis has put in a halt the Chinese growth. But no, the main reason again is for those how manage the money and the market. Like in the 90s they speculate with the technology bubble and more recently with the state market they have been speculating with the raw material market for a while, and we know now very well what happen when everyone is speculating in the same market.
Actually the soya price is U$ 437, when the last august was in a record price of U$ 534.  The soya export have a high tax retention in some of the countries (Argentina 34%) and if they start to lose those millions of dollars, the Latin America grow and investment will put on halt in a moment where the global market is in total chaos.


Monday, 14 November 2011

Canned tomatoes Sauces.

Supermarket tomatoes sauces are a  bit expensive and can be high in sugar content and use industrial artificial preservatives. But you can make some easy and tasty tomatoes sauces for your pasta, pizza, or even for dipping with just a tomato can and some essential cooking herbs and vegetables.

Special Tomato Sauce.

Vegetable Tomato Soup
You need: 2 can chopped tomatoes (about 400g each) - 1 small onion (chopped) - 1 carrot (chopped) – 1 celery stick (chopped) – 1 garlic clove (crushed) – Bunch of basil leaves – 2tsp dried oregano. 6 tbsp olive oil
1.     Heat the olive oil and in a heavy saucepan put in the onion, garlic, carrot and celery. Stir for a couple of minutes. Add the tomatoes and the oregano. Simmer in a slow heat for 25 minutes.
2.     Remove from the heat and puree in a blender or food processor with the basil leaves
3.     Return to the pan, season and simmer for another 10 minutes.

Because this is a sauce rich in vegetables it is better to use two cans of tomatoes and refrigerate or freeze the leftovers.

Extra rich tomato sauce

Tin tomatoes with shallots
You need:  2 can chopped tomatoes (about 400g each) – 2 shallots (chopped) 2 garlic cloves (chopped) 50g unsalted butter – 5 tsp. caster sugar – 4 tbsp olive oil - 2 tbsp red wine vinegar – Pinch of ground cinnamon a bunch of parsley leaves (chopped)

1.       Combine the butter with the olive oil in a heavy saucepan. When the butter is melted adds the shallots and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes in a medium-low heat.
2.       Add the tomatoes and parsley; simmer for about 25 minutes, stirring from time to time.
3.       Remove from the heat and purée the sauce in a blender or similar until just smooth.
4.       Put back the sauce into the pan. Add the sugar, vinegar and cinnamon. For me 1 tsp of cinnamon is more than enough. Simmer for 25 minutes further with lid on. Stir from  time to time.
5.       Put 50 ml water in one of the cans. If the sauce becomes too thick add some of this water.

I use the extra rich tomato sauce for a strong penne pasta  on a cold day. But is very good for use with some baked pasta, sausage dishes or topping simple white rice. Also is great for a dip with a nice piece of bread

Concentrate tomato sauce

You need: 1 can chopped tomatoes -  1tbsp sun-dried tomato purée - 1tsp dried oregano - 1tsp caster sugar – 1 garlic clove (crushed) -  3 tbsp olive oil
1.       In a heavy sauce pan, put in all the ingredients. Add 50ml water to the empty can, shake a few and add the tomato water to the pan.
2.       Then, stir and simmer for 25 minutes in a low heat. Stir occasionally. When you get a thick and concentrate sauce, season
That is a very easy tomato sauce to make for 2, perfect for spaghetti pasta or like a tomato base for pizza. You can add 4 tbsp. of parmesan cheese like some commercial sauces, but I really prefer scatter parmesan cheese in my pasta dish.  If you like to try something different add at the end of the simmering process 50-60g of Danish blue cheese.

Non cooking tomato sauce!!
Peperoni pizza with tomato sauce like base
You need:  1 can chopped tomatoes -   6 sprigs of basil with leaves – 1 garlic clove (peeled) – 2 tbsp. olive oil - 1 tbsp.  red wine vinegar – 1 tsp. fennel seeds
1.       With a mortar crush the fennel seeds and keep apart.
2.       Put the remaining ingredients in a blender or liquidiser, and smooth nicely. Season.
3.       Add the fennel seeds.
This tomato sauce is great when you are really short of time, you don’t need to simmer. When your pasta is ready and drain, mix the tomato sauce and pasta in a serving dish. Also perfect for a pizza tomato base or topping a crunchy toast.