Wells: A Gold Award winning farmers’ market

In 2014 the farmers’ market in Wells won the Gold Award in The Taste of the West Hospitality and Retail Awards as well as the best farmers’ market in south west England.


The hustle and bustle of a farmers’ market has a certain vibe which makes it unique. Hawkers calling … loud voices … people rushing from one stall to another … the smell of fresh produce … vibrant colours!  It’s so alive!

I love browsing through the food stalls … even if I’m not buying anything! With this in mind, I set out to have a wander around and find out more about the farmers’ market in Wells.

Where is it?

As you get to the high street, you come across a flea market with stalls selling the typical bric-a-brac, antiques and other collectables.  Turn right at the top end of the road and there you find the farmers’ market.

It’s “an extension” of the flea market; located right outside the walls of the Bishop’s Palace and opposite the Local Council’s office.

What can you buy?

The farmers’ market is made up of seventeen stalls offering a wide variety of good quality food from meat to fish, to cheese, fruit and veg, cakes, homemade jams and chutneys, lemonade and much more.

The products sold at the market have one thing in common. They’re all sourced or produced in Somerset, by members of the local community.

As with many farmers’ markets, the main objective behind the market is to provide a platform for producers and customers to meet. Farmers’ markets provide an excellent opportunity for farmers to sell their produce directly to the consumer, making high quality food more affordable.

The farmers’ market in Wells is held between 9am to 2.30pm on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Next week … a visit to a farm shop.

My thanks go to:

Somerset Farmers’ Markets




Watermelon: more than just a fruit

During the hot summer months, chilled watermelon is one of the most refreshing fruits you can think of.  Here in Malta, families and friends organise beach BBQs throughout summer.  They make the most of the balmy summer evenings with picnic coolers full of food – meat, fish, salads, beer, wine, nuts etc. – and head to their favourite beach (which is only a short distance away).

If the evening is hot and sticky they go for a dip before they light up … the smell of smoked food fills the air.  They eat and drink … and as the last cinders die out between the charcoal, out comes the watermelon from the cooler.  It is cut up in slices and everyone helps themselves.  They’re stuffed, but no BBQ is complete without the sweet, refreshing taste of a ripe watermelon.

Fruit or Veg?

Watermelon is generally thought of as a fruit.  But, according to some interesting facts I came across, watermelon is also a vegetable. It is related to cucumbers, pumpkin and squash.  Did you know you can eat the seeds and the rind of the watermelon?  I have never tried it myself, but studies show that if you blitz the rind with lime juice, you end up with a very refreshing treat full of the amino-acid Citrulline which, is very good for your heart and to maintain your immune system.

In Southern United States, the rind is stir-fried, stewed or pickled and in the Vietnamese culture, the seeds of the watermelon are used in the New Year.

Do you know where the watermelon came from?

GeoffreyNdung’u - watermelon in fields

It was the Moors who introduced the watermelon to Europe.  The fruit is a native of South Africa where it grows wild.  In the second millennium BC, it was grown around the Nile Valley and seeds of the watermelon were found in Tutankhamun’s tomb.

Today, China is the biggest producer of watermelons.

There are more than 1200 varieties of watermelon.  The size of a fruit ranges from under one kilogram to over 90.  The flesh and the rind vary in colour.  The flesh of the watermelon comes in red, orange, yellow or white and the rind comes in yellow, dark green stripped and other colours.

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Is watermelon good for you?

Watermelon is 91% water but it is an excellent source of vitamins, minerals and lycopene – a carotenoid antioxidant which decreases the risk of strokes and has potential anti-cancer activity.

Watermelon has a number of health benefits, which makes it good for you, but as always, eat it in moderation.  Go easy cause watermelon contains plenty of sugar (fructose).

How can you use watermelon?

Watermelon can be used both as dessert and as a salad ingredient.

It goes very well with herbs such as mint and basil and it also works well with certain types of cheeses.  Try this three melon and mozzarella salad or this Asian burger with minted watermelon.

For a refreshing drink, try this watermelon-lime cooler or watermelon jelly.  And for the little ones … how about watermelon lime ginger pops?

Keep cool this summer with one of nature’s gifts – a thirsty-quenching, refreshing watermelon.

If you would like to find out more about the health benefits of watermelons, go to 6 Things You Didn’t Know About Watermelon by Dr Mercola or for interesting facts check out Watermelon on Wiki.


My thanks go to:

  • Mercola.com
  • Wikipedia
  • Google images

How to peel a butternut squash

Yesterday, when I was getting my fruit and veg, one of the ladies at the shop, asked me how I peel my butternut squash.  She reminded me of a friend of mine who expressed concern for the safety of her fingers when peeling squash.

I used to peel the squash with a sharp knife, until I discovered this very easy method.

Peeling butternut squash in 5 easy steps

  1. Scrub the skin of the squash under running water and pat dry.Scrub butternut squash under running water
  2. Pierce the skin with a fork and rub the squash with olive oil, salt and pepper. Pierce skin with fork
  3. Place on a lined roasting tin and put in a hot oven (230 degrees C.) for 60 minutes – turning once – until tender.Coat squash with olive oil and season with salt and pepper
  4. Let the squash rest at room temperature until it is cool enough to handle.Roast butternut squash (2)
  5. Peel the skin off with a paring knife or with your fingers and use the squash as required.  Roasted squash keeps for a couple of days (in a closed container) in the fridge.peeling butternut squash

Indeed, you can peel or scrape the skin off a butternut squash without roasting it.

However, experience taught me that the squash has a better taste when roasted and it is so much easier to peel.

Another option would be, placing the squash in the microwave for a five minutes. Personally, I am not a fan of this method, cause I find that the taste of the squash suffers in the process.

Try roasted squash in soups or in salads.  Once you roast your squash, you will not go back.

My thanks go to:

Good Housekeeping for video

Italian cuisine

Surprise! I’m back from a surprise weekend break in Lampedusa!

I didn’t know much about this little island, but I quickly found out … Lampedusa the land of sea, sun and good food!

Lampedusa is the largest island of the Italian Pelagie Islands. With a surface area of 20.2 square kilometres, it  is the southern-most island of the Republic of Italy; closer to Tunisia than it is to Sicily, even though it forms part of the Sicilian Province of Agrigento. Lampedusa is referred to as the Tropics of the Mediterranean.

A must destination if you love the sun, sea and good food.  And that’s what I’m going to talk about, today … good food … Italian food!

What makes Italian food so unique?

The Italians are renowned for their mercato – food market.  They are known to go to the markets first thing in the morning and buy the freshest produce they find.  They will choose seasonal, local produce over fruit, veg and fish which are “force produced”. This is a  cardinal secret behind Italian cuisine.

The second secret is keeping food simple.  Most Italian dishes consist of fresh food which is cooked in the simplest way possible.


Grilled fresh tuna.JPG

Grilled fresh tuna


Up to this very day, a lot of Italian households still prepare their own homemade pasta. In Italian households and restaurants sauces are made from scratch; they do not come in jars. They like their ragù made with fresh tomatoes, but more often than not, most dishes come with a simple drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and some balsamico.  Gravy has no space in Italian cuisine.  When food is nice and fresh, you don’t want gravies and sauces masking the taste.

The Italians also respect tradition.  They do not forsake quality for quantity.  A perfect example would be the famous Parmigiano Reggiano. The slow process behind making this renowned cheese has come down over the centuries through generations.  It takes time to produce cause it needs to mature for months, but Italians will not choose to speed up the process. They know that people from all over the world are prepared to pay the right price for a matured piece of Parmigiano.

Last but not least, the Italians have flair when it comes to food.  They are known to be capable of whipping up a healthy meal with the most basic of ingredients.

Lunch - simple salad

Salad made with basic ingredients


For Italians, cooking is an art full of amor propio – true love – which has come down through the generations. The food cooked in Italian households is same food you find in restaurants, with very little or no tweaks at all.

What makes Italian food healthy?

By and large, most Mediterranean food is healthy, but I guess the Italians’ way of life adds to the benefits of their cuisine.

In Italy people take their time to eat.  Dining with friends and family is an experience which cannot be rushed.  Most restaurants do not take “second sittings”, as has become customary in most of Europe, including Malta. You are allowed to enjoy and savour your food; fresh, wholesome food served in sensible portions.

The Italians eat to live not live to eat.

Chef Gennaro Contaldo is one of the brains behind the chain Jamie’s Italians.  Here are some of his recipes for you to try.  Go for it and let me know how you get on.


My thanks go to

The Ultimate Guide to the Mediterranean Diet

Dr Hyman – The Secret Way Italians Stay Healthy and Thin

and to Vimeo.com


Kids’ lunch box

When my daughter was in kindergarten, I got a call from the playschool asking if my daughter had a medical condition which prevented her from having sweets. What a question! I explained that I chose not to give my daughter sugary stuff in her lunch box. Bet they thought I was weird! (Patience …)

Lion-Jungle-BentoYears later, my granddaughter is not allowed to take sweets to school.  Times changed. Schools (in Malta) no longer allow sweets in a kid’s lunch box. Some schools allow birthday cakes (which I think should also stop).  But, in the main, children, especially in junior schools (5-10 years) are encouraged to get “healthy” lunches.

What are healthy lunches?

Healthy-Lunch-Ideas-for-Kids-at-Home-copy1Children can be fussy, and some even more than others.  I remember my son was ever so difficult with his packed lunches, but we got there in the end.  I think, the secret of a “healthy” lunch is fresh, simple food; no fuss, no frills.  Children love colour … go for it! The more colourful their lunch, the healthier it is. Mix and match from raw vegetable sticks to cherry tomatoes to different kinds of bread and pieces of fruit plus plenty of water. Variety is the spice of life … keep them guessing what’s for lunch or involve them; whatever works best for you.

Kids’ lunch box ideas

I do not use processed meats (in fact, I do not eat meat at all) so  will suggest alternatives.  Hopefully, you will find something your kids like …
salmon burgerThe first recipe that caught my attention is this superhealthy salmon burger.  It makes a nice supper and can also double-up as a school lunch.  Children love burgers and fish fingers; go healthy and make your own mushroom and chickpea burger. If children are brought up eating wholesome foods, they will grow to love them. How about a slice of minty salmon and broccoli frittata with some tomato salad or a Vietnamese chicken baguette?

With a little bit of planning and imagination the possibilities are endless.  Healthy lunches for … kids gives you more tips and suggestions on what to put in your kids’ lunch box.




Photo credits




Real powerfoods

What are “powerfoods”?

In all probability you have quite a selection of powerfoods in your kitchen.  You  are just not aware of their potential.  Powerfoods are, very much, everyday foods; real foods – from the earth to the table – to use one of my favourite expressions!  Powerfoods are made up fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, grains and beans as well as some exotic stuff, such as green tea, honey and turmeric.

Why are these foods classified as powerfoods?

Powerfoods energise and balance the body.  They make you feel good and healthy. Powerfoods are almost always whole, but not necessarily raw or gluten-free.  Their chemical influence on the body includes:

  • Alkaline-forming vs. acid-forming
  • Organic vs. chemical-infused
  • Raw vs. cooked
  • Gluten-free vs. gluten-containing foods
  • Complex carbohydrates (smart carbs) vs. simple sugars (dumb carbs)
  • Whole vs. processed.


Here is a list of powerfoods (thanks to RealFoodforLife.com) with their nutritional benefits:


Apples: Powerfood Pomme

Bananas:  Healthy, Silly and Sexy   

Lemons: the Alkaline Powerfood

Mangos:   10 Health Benefits

Pears: ‘Gift of the Gods’

Pumpkins:  the biggest powerfood…ever!

Saskatoons: Our favorite berry.

Raspberries:  Summer Red Powerfood.

Watermelon:  It’s alkaline and tastes soo good.


Asparagus:  The Balanced Powerfood

Cabbage: The big Powerfood for glowing skin and hair – some say it collects “moon power”

Carrots:  This crunchy powerfoods have health benefits that go beyond your eyes!

Celery for Weight Loss and Calm

Cranberries:  The little powerfood with a big punch!

Green Peas:  Much MORE than a poor man’s meat!

Onions:  The World Health Organization says “Eat them for Better health”

Spinach:  The First Green Powerfood

Squash:  Powerfood for all seasons

Zucchini Love:  Why Diana Had to live on this nutritious powerfood

 Nuts and seeds:

Almonds: King of nuts

Walnuts:  The crinkly powerfood with the highest antioxidant activity of any nut

Pumpkin Seeds: The alkalizing seed

Grains and beans:

Brown Rice: Why it is better then white rice

Lentils:  This high protein, low cost bean is a stable of healthy diets

Millet: The alkalizing grain

Quinoa Powerfood: This nutty flavored powerfood  is pronounced Keen – Wa

Oatmeal: 10 smart reasons to enjoy oatmeal.


Green Tea:  the Powerfood that Rules the World

Honey: 10 Health Benefits

Miso: Powerfood from the East

Seaweed: Ancient Powerfood

Stevia:  Learn its sweet benefits

Tumeric:  The REAL Spice of Life.

I bet there’s hardly one item on the above list you are not familiar with.  Too right!  Powerfoods are real foods.  Good natural food … try to go for organic when you can and if not, wash your fruit and veg well.

Out with food supplements and in with powerfoods.

For further reading go to http://realfoodforlife.com/