November 2017: love your heart

28% of all UK deaths are due to heart disease.
For decades now, most of the emphasis has been on reducing cholesterol levels through diet and medication. However, three leading cardiologists have recently proclaimed this is misguided. They say heart disease is very largely due to poor diet, lack of exercise, drug or alcohol abuse, and stress, although with some genetic factors. Therefore, instead of focusing primarily on reducing cholesterol levels, we are much better off making small improvements in lifestyle, for these improvements will help reduce levels of chronic inflammation [1].
Acute – shortlived – inflammation is there to help us heal from injury and infection. But this process can get out of hand and become chronic. And chronic inflammation contributes greatly to heart disease – as well as to the development of cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, even depression [2].

The current emphasis on medication (statins!) and low-cholesterol food has brought its own problems. Statins are the most popular drugs in history: drug companies made $26 billion selling statins as long ago as 2008. It is said they use manipulative tactics and expensive advertising to sway lawmakers, the FDA and the public to increase sales [3].
Any medication has side effects, statins not least [4]. They are usually prescribed to individuals to prevent heart attacks and strokes, which could be avoided quite easily by practising good lifestyle choices – eating right, staying active, quitting smoking and trying to lower stress.

Also, the fashion for low cholesterol is ignoring some vital facts. Cholesterol is arguably the most important substance in your body. What’s more, dietary, animal based, cholesterol doesn’t raise blood cholesterol at all. The cholesterol in our bloodstream is made in the liver, and pumped into the blood when you need it: and eating high cholesterol foods has very little impact on our blood cholesterol levels.
Most people who have a heart attack, have the same cholesterol levels as those who have not had a heart attack. The number of people with so-called “high” cholesterol has been going down for a long time, while the number of people with heart disease has risen. And people with heart disease tend to have lower levels of so called “bad” cholesterol than people without heart disease. Some studies have even shown a correlation between higher cholesterol levels and increased life expectancy [5].
Meanwhile, the number of cholesterol medications prescribed has increased dramatically – no doubt to the delight of those who sell it.
See also http://jeffreydachmd.com/heart-matter-maryanne-demasi-cholesterol-myth/ and https://www.sott.net/article/267956-Heart-of-the-Matter-Dietary-Villains.

So what are the lifestyle changes we’re talking about? I’m afraid it’s the usual: a Mediterranean-style diet with mostly fresh un-processed foods, regular physical activity, no smoking and finding ways to reduce stress.
Better, much better! than pills, but not quite so easy.
On the other hand, if you do manage babysteps in that direction, you can be sure that they will lead to an improved health all round, both of body and of mind.

AND ….
“Full-fat cheese raises healthy cholesterol levers, levels, which are associated with a decreased risk of heart disease, better than does consumption of low-fat varieties.”
“Fat from milk, cheese and yogurt does not contribute to the development of coronary artery disease.” See [6] – Hurray!


EAT
Veg: Brussels’, beet, sprout tops, cabbage, celeriac, celery (with stilton!), corn salad, Jerusalem artichokes, carrots, salsify, kale, kohlrabi, landcress, leeks, parsnips, pumpkin/squash, rocket, spinach, swede, turnips, winter radish, endive, winter purslane, cavolo nero.
Fish: megrim, clams, crab, cuttlefish, mussels, oysters, scallops, whiting.
Meat: wood pigeon, pheasant, wild duck, goose, grouse, partridge, venison. For (Christmas) game recipes, see www.gametoeat.co.uk/.

DO
Sow broad beans and peas. You can still try sow American landcress, Chinese leaves, winter lettuce and corn salad.
Plant rhubarb sets, autumn onion sets, spring cabbage. And garlic: it likes sun, and woodash.
Give brassica’s attention before the winter. Firm soil around stems, mulch with rotted manure, maybe support with canes. Pick off yellowing leaves.
As ground becomes vacant, dig it over and spread manure. Leave roughly dug in large clumps and the worms will break them up.
If you leave veg in the ground, apply a thick mulch (straw, bracken), both for protection and to get them out more easily.


PERFECT RED SOUP serves 6-8 – freezes well
750g raw beet cut into small pieces, 1 large chopped onion, 50g butter, 1 tbsp olive oil, 2 tsp ground cumin seeds, creme fraiche/yoghurt, 750ml water/stock, chopped parsley, sea salt, pepper.
Soften onion in butter/oil, add cumin, beetroot and then stock. Simmer for 30 mins, or till the beet is tender. Puree, season. Serve with crème fraîche/yoghurt, and toasted cumin seeds plus parsley on top.

CAULIFLOWER CHESTNUT GRATIN for 2.
300ml cauliflower florets, 6 roughly chopped chestnuts, 1-2 tbsp butter, 2 tbsp flour, 120ml of cream (or milk), mustard, 60ml mature cheese, more for topping, breadcrumbs, salt, pepper.
Parboil the cauli for 4 mins. Drain, (keep the liquid,) place in an oven-proof dish with the chestnuts. Preheat oven to 190°C. Melt butter, add flour and stir in. Very slowly, add cream and as much of the cooking water as needed to make a thick sauce, stirring all the while. Add mustard, cheese, season. Pour the sauce over the cauli and chestnuts, stir. Put a bit of grated cheese on top if you like, and some breadcrumbs. Cook until cauli is tender, 20-25 mins.

CARROT and PUMPKIN MASH with CREME FRAÎCHE
About: 300g carrots, 120g chopped pumpkin, 25ml crème fraiche, 1/4 tsp grated orange rind (make sure it’s unwaxed!), 1tblsp orange juice, 1/2 tblsp butter, freshly grated pepper, 1/4 tsp salt, (spring onion), rosemary.
Put the chopped carrots in a pan with some cold water and when it boils, add the pumpkin. Cook till soft, drain and mash. Mix creme fraîche, orange rind, freshly grated pepper and spring onion. Add to the mash, also the butter, orange juice and salt. Heat through. Decorate with spring onion if you like, and/or very finely cut rosemary.
You can also cook rosemary with the veg, but put it in an infuser, so you won’t be bothered by the leaves later.

ROASTED COLEY on CAVOLO NERO
600g pollack/coley/colin fillets, (25g capers), 4-8 sliced stoned black olives, 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, 300g tomatoes, 400g shredded cavolo nero, chopped chives, chopped parsley.
Preheat oven to 200°C. Place fish on a greased tray. Mix together olives, oil and capers if you use them. Season and spoon over the fish; add tomatoes. Bake for 15–20 mins. Meanwhile, boil cavolo nero for ab. 8 mins. Drain, return to the pan. Stir in herbs and fish juice. Divide between 4 plates and top with fish and tomatoes.

POTATO, GREEN CABBAGE, and LEEK SOUP with LEMON CRÈME FRAÎCHE for 6.
300g chopped green cabbage, 300g chopped leeks, 120ml crème fraîche/sour cream*, 550g potatoes, 3 garlic cloves, finely grated lemon peel, butter, olive oil, bay leaf, chicken stock, chives, (lemon juice).
Saute leeks and cabbage for a short while in oil and butter. Add stock and potatoes, cook till done. Take out the bay leaf, blend. Mix the crème fraîche with the lemon peel and stir in. Season. You may want to add a little bit of lemon juice. Serve with chives.
*Try find wholefat cream if at all possible: the fat is good for you – see above! – and helps absorb the other nutrients.

CRAB-and-LEEK (or PARSLEY) PASTA
400g spaghetti, 400g crabmeat, 4 chopped leeks or parsley, 1 tbsp olive oil, 2 finely chopped garlic cloves, 1 deseeded and finely chopped red chilli, 1tsp fennel seeds, crushed; 1 lemon, (small bunch of flat-leaf parsley roughly chopped); extra virgin olive oil to finish.
Bring salted water to the boil, throw in both pasta and leeks. Cook until the pasta is al dente; the leeks should be done more or less at the same time. Meanwhile, fry garlic, chilli and fennel seeds in oil for 2 mins until soft but not coloured. Add zest of half a lemon and the juice of all of it; stir in the crab meat. Drain pasta/leek mix, reserving a few spoonfuls of cooking water. Stir into the sauce. Add the extra water if it’s a little dry. Season, drizzle with olive oil, and serve immediately.
If you don’t fancy leeks, add some parsley instead but only just before serving.

BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND CREAMED SPINACH GRATIN, 5 servings.
675g fresh or 450g thawed frozen spinach, 900g butternut squash, 1/2 small chopped onion, 2 minced garlic cloves, 120ml heavy cream, butter, grated cheese, 3/4 tsp salt, pepper, nutmeg.
If using fresh spinach, cook it first but not for too long. Squeeze (thawed) spinach, chop. Cook onion and garlic in butter till soft, add this to the spinach with salt, pepper, nutmeg and cream.
Preheat oven to 200°C. Cut squash into 3mm slices. Layer the squash-and-spinach mix in a buttered dish, using 1/5 of squash and 1/4 of spinach for each layer, beginning and ending with squash. Sprinkle with cheese, dot with butter, cover. Bake until the squash is tender, 25 mins. Uncover and bake some more until browned in places.

DUTCH BREAD-APPLE PUD the way my mother used to make it!
Butter an oven dish, put in a layer of applesauce, layer of bread (as it is, or lightly buttered), layer of applesauce, cover with bread again. Mix sugar and cinnamon, strew on top, add bits of butter. Half an hour in the oven: make sure that it gets a nice crust.


[1] https://www.sott.net/article/349277-World-leading-cardiologists-Long-held-belief-that-saturated-fats-clog-arteries-and-cause-heart-disease-are-plain-wrong
[2] http://thoughtforfood-aw.blogspot.co.uk/2017/05/may-2014-inflammation_2.html
[3] http://naturalsociety.com/astrazeneca-makes-worlds-best-selling-drug-but/
https://www.drugwatch.com/manufacturer/
[4] http://www.webmd.com/cholesterol-management/news/20140818/statins-side-effects-news#1
https://chriskresser.com/the-hidden-truth-about-statins/
http://www.anh-usa.org/the-grave-dangers-of-statin-drugs-and-the-surprising-benefits-of-cholesterol/
[5] http://www.cholesterol-and-health.org.uk
[6] From http://health.usnews.com/wellness/food/articles/2016-10-28/5-reasons-to-start-eating-full-fat-dairy-according-to-science.

 

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May 2015

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WHY I LIKE TO USE ‘HOME REMEDIES

1)   I have nothing against doctors as such. However, they are pressurized and constantly being ‘informed’ by the pharmaceutical industry. Which, nowadays, tends to be part of a global conglomerate, whose interest is purely commercial.
And why would they sell a medicine which quickly gets rid of our pain/pimples/panic, if they can supply us with something we’ll have to take our whole life long?

2)  “Try this, and come back after three weeks. Then try that.”  And so on, till we end up more ill than we were in the first place.
Can you blame them? Doctors don’t have time. GPs, specialists, burocrats, the NHS, anyone who has a say or who gives health advice is subject to a barrage of information – all supplied from the pockets of the above-mentioned industry.
Of course there are exceptions.
My personal view is that patients should be listened to when they offer their views on the cause of their symptoms … perhaps the most useful questions a doctor can ask a patient is: ‘What do you think is going on?’“ says Dr. Briffa [1], and in that he is right.

3)   When we’re unwell, something is starting to go wrong deep inside us. The illness is just a symptom. We may manage to get rid of the symptom, but unless we address the root cause, we bury our head in the sand – and more serious problems await.
‘Home remedies’ may well sometimes do the same, but without the chemical interference of mainstream medicine, less harm is done.

4)   The best of ‘alternative’ therapists look at all of you. They take time to get to know you and they listen properly. Of course this is expensive, and many of them are not ‘the best’. But if you can afford it, it’s worth finding a good one.
If you can’t: home remedies are often cheap. Find out what helps you. Trust your intuition.

At best, doctors prescribe something that will alleviate symptoms until you heal yourself. At worst, by masking the symptoms, they make things worse.

I am emphatically NOT saying you should never go to the doctor. There are plenty of exceptions to what I said above: but not as many as you think. [2]

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NB: did you know that onions and blackstrap molasses are excellent foods to help prevent osteoporosis? They also can improve matters once you have it. [3]

EAT:
Veg: spring greens, cabbage, spinach, chard, cauli, salad leaves/lettuce, radish, rocket, asparagus, sorrel, watercress, rhubarb, seakale.
Herbs: chives, parsley, mint, lovage, summer savoury and chervil.
Wild food: broom buds, chives, dandelions, fat hen, hogweed shoots, hop shoots, meadowsweet, sea spinach, sorrel, watercress, wild fennel, wild garlic, wild rocket, samphire.
Game: wood pigeon, lamb, mutton, guinea fowl, rabbit, duck.
Your fishmonger may sell samphire: serve fresh in salads or have as veg with melted butter. Wash thoroughly and don’t add salt.

SOW:
direct: beet, calabrese, carrots (though June sowings get less rootfly), french/runner beans, kohlrabi, lettuce, sweetcorn, swede, spring onions, spinach (beet), courgettes, marrows, (sugar) peas. If pea moth’s a problem, wait till mid May.
in seedbed to transplant: leeks, cabbage, cauli, sprouting broccoli (early May), kale.
in trays: beans, courgettes, cucumbers, melon, pumpkins, pepper, sweetcorn, tomatoes.
plant out: cauli; cucumbers, marrows, pumpkins, tomatoes, squashes late May.
green manure: if you have space, do it now. See www.bbc.co.uk/gardening/basics/techniques/soil_growgreenmanure1.shtml

RECIPES

CREAM CHEESE SOUP
200g cream cheese, 400g cubed potatoes, smallish minced onion, 1.2l stock or water, salt, white pepper, cayenne pepper or chilli, herbs or spices of your choice (e.g. parsley, chives, paprika powder, coriander).
Combine liquid, potatoes, onion, and seasonings. Boil until potatoes are tender, mash. Add cream cheese, for instance by diluting the cheese with a bit of the soup first. Stir or whisk, add herbs/spices.

FRIED POTATOES
What to do with those tired old potatoes? Cook, slice, and fry them up. Thought there comes a point when even that does not work anymore.

SPRING CHICKEN for 2
Chicken bits (with skin!) and finely sliced spring cabbage for two. Chopped onion, butter/oil/fat for frying. For the marinade: 1 tblsp red wine, 1 tblsp soy sauce, 1/2 tblsp lemon juice, 1/2 tblsp grated ginger, 1 clove garlic, red pepper, salt.
Marinade the chicken pieces for a few hours or overnight. Fry hot in as large a frying pan as you’ve got. When the pieces are browned, lower the fire, add the marinade, cover and cook for about half an hour. If too much liquid forms, leave the lid off for a while so it can evaporate. Then add cabbage and onion to the pan and stir-fry them in the chicken juices/marinade, keeping the lid off. Serve when they are done to your liking.

SAUTEED ASPARAGUS with GARLIC
1 bunch asparagus, plenty of butter, 3 cloves of garlic.
Melt butter, add asparagus; cover and cook for 10 mins stirring occasionally, or until the asparagus is tender. If you like your asparagus well done, reduce heat and cook 10 more minutes. Thinly slice and add garlic for the last few minutes, stir a few times.

TURKISH MACKEREL
This dish can be served hot, warm or even cold.
4 whole mackerel, 1 carrot, 2 red onions, ab. 400g potatoes, 4 tomatoes (or half a tin), 2 garlic cloves, 3 bay leaves, flat-leaf parsley, 1 lemon, marjoram, pepper, salt, olive oil.
Clean mackerel. Preheat oven to 200C. Saute chopped onions, garlic and carrot with bay, marjoram and some chopped parsley (including stems) for 8-10 mins, stirring occasionally. Add diced potatoes, chopped tomatoes, and 200ml cold water, stir, cook 8-10 more mins. Slice lemon thinly and place slices on the bottom of an oven dish, fish on top, season generously. Put veg mix around the fish, some oil too. Bake 20-30 mins.

PAN FRIED SPINACH
ab.175g spinach, 2 slices bacon, 1 1/2 tblsp butter, 2 tblsp olive oil, 1 minced garlic clove, 1 small chopped (red) onion, salt, pepper.
Fry bacon until brown and crisp. Drain, crumble, set aside. Melt butter, heat oil; mix in bacon, garlic and onion. Cook and stir 2 mins, then mix in spinach. Cover, reduce heat, cook, stirring often, until spinach is tender. Season.

OXTAIL STEW
ab. 1400g oxtail, 1 1/2 tsp salt, 1tsp black pepper, 1 tblsp curry powder, 1 tblsp paprika powder, 2 cloves garlic, 2 tblsp oil, 2 sliced onions, 1 tsp thyme, cayenne/chilli pepper, (savory,) 1 1/2 tblsp tomato puree, 2 cups water, 3 bay leaves, 1 tin (500g) butter beans, drained but keep liquid.
Season oxtail with salt, black pepper, curry powder and garlic. Place onions on top, cover and place in fridge overnight or for at least for 2 hrs before cooking. Heat oil, add oxtail less onions: sear to seal in juice. Add 1 cup of water, thyme, savory and onion, chilli/cayenne and tomato puree; cook for 5 mins. Add second cup of water, bay and bean liquid; cover and simmer until meat is tender (2½ hours). Add beans, stir. Bring to a rapid boil until gravy thickens, stirring at intervals. Serve with barley or rice, and peas.

SIMPLE FISH and SOUR CREAM BAKE – no gourmet fare this, but I liked it.
450g white fish fillets or steaks, 25g flour, 150g sour cream, 130g mayonnaise, 2 spring onions or 1 small onion, 1 tsp dill or fennel seeds, fresh dill/fennel to garnish, plenty of paprika powder.Coat fish in flour. Place in a greased ovenproof dish. Finely grate onion, or chop spring onion. Mix sour cream, mayonnaise, onions, dill and lemon juice. Spoon over the fish, top with the paprika powder. Cook at 180°C for 30-35 mins until the fish flakes with a fork. Towards the end, check that the top doesn’t burn. Serve hot, garnished with fresh dill or fennel.
*The following white fish are from sustainable sources: dab, pouting, coley, megrim, grouper, flounder, gurnard, whiting, bream. Avoid cod, halibut, plaice, hake and whitebait; for sole and seabass it depends on how they are caught (see http://www.fishonline.org)

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[1] http://www.drbriffa.com/2012/07/02/perhaps-the-most-useful-question-a-doctor-can-ask-a-patient/
[2] See also ‘Corporate power’ (March 2015).
[3] Onion increases bone density and can help menopausal women who experience loss of bone density. In addition, women who have passed the menopause may be able to lower their risk of hip fracture through frequent consumption of onions.
Blackstrap has an ideal calcium-magnesium ratio: we need lots of magnesium to help absorb similarly large quantities of calcium. Both of these minerals aid development of bones.

For many more subjects in the health-and-food category, see http://thoughtforfood-aw.blogspot.co.uk, in the archive on the right hand side.

July 2015

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Enough. It can be as hard to say ‘enough’, as it is to start something new. New things are exciting, they follow hope: “Life could be better if I did this!” Often, of course, after the excitement has died, we end up the same way we always were.

‘Stopping’ is different. We may be taking a medicine. Or follow advise, from experts, or a friend. We have a relationship, or smoke, or follow a habit, routine business.
There is an art to saying ‘stop’ at the right time. We don’t want to give up too easily – but nor do we want to end up doing the same thing all our lives, just because we once started.

How to decide?

Listen to yourself. Listen, first, to your body. We like to trust machines, doctors, measuring our blood pressure and our cholesterol, our driving speed or test results. More and more we depend on gadgets to tell us whether to see a professional, or when the chicken is done in the oven.
Can we still feel? Are we able to realize that we’re going too fast, even when the speedometer says it’s ok? Can we gauge that we’re working too hard, before our heart stops forever?

Saying ‘stop’ to ourselves, at exactly the right moment is very difficult.
On the other hand, maybe we’d like to stop but can’t?

Maybe it’s time to stop trying. To admit defeat. To stop beating ourselves up. To relax. To let go ……..

If you really can’t stop doing something, you may have chosen the wrong strategy. Something else may have to change first.
Resisting the temptation of those biscuits at eleven is a whole lot easier when you’ve had a decent breakfast.
Or you might be short of nutrients, which makes you crave particular foods – see [1].
Or a hormone called leptin, which normally tells you when to stop eating, is not doing its job. ‘Leptin resistance’ might be caused by consumption of fructose (in soft drinks for instance), sugar in general, stress, or overeating. In that case,too, to try and stop eating has become impossible unless you fix the leptin resistance first [2].

What can’t you stop doing, why not, and – should you?

 

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OYEZ OYEZ:
I just read in the New Scientist that they finally, have discovered that sun is good for you. The exception is if you rarely venture outside and then, suddenly, go on a sunbathing holiday. But if you catch the sun regularly, you escape many other diseases from which even taking vitamin D won’t protect you.
So no need for all those nasty chemical sunscreens! And if you got yourself a bit burned, apparently there is always sage tea. See http://ourheritageofhealth.com/sage-tea-sunburn-remedy/. Who knew?

~~~

When your chives flower, that’s not the end of it. The flowers can be used  whole or torn up, fresh in salads,
or fried. You can even dry them, and use for a subtle flavouring in the same way. If dried properly they’ll last for years.

EAT:
Veg: beet, broad beans, carrots, chinese leaves, globe artichokes, kohlrabi, cauli, cabbage, (sugar) peas, beans, lettuce, sweetcorn, turnips, courgettes, broccoli, spring onions, squash, radish, tomatoes, samphire, spinach (beet), chard, endive.
Fish: mackerel is at its best in July, cheap and an invaluable source of omega 3. Otherwise: dab, black bream, crab, mackerel, clam, dover sole, megrim sole, grey mullet, flounder and American signal crayfish.
Meat: lamb, rabbit, wood pigeon.

SOW:
chinese/spring cabbage, calabrese, carrots, chicory, coriander, endive, florence fennel, kohlrabi, salad onions, (mangetout/sugar snap) peas, mooli, pak choi, turnips, (black) radish, perpetual spinach, chard, parsley, beetroot, french beans.
Half July: if you like fresh greens early spring, sow endive, escarole type. If the winter is not too cold they won’t need any protection, and will produce leaves either for salad or the famous Dutch ‘andijviestamp'[1] till March.
End of the month: corn salad, black radish, endive, kohlrabi. Sowing kohlrabi late in July should supply them well into the winter. They will stand in the soil until needed.
Remember: only crisp lettuce (little gem, cos, webb) germinates well when soil temperature goes above 25C.
Plant: kale, sprouts, leeks, winter cabbages, broccoli, calabrese, cauliflower.

 

RECIPES

On a hot day, if you like cold soup (I don’t), try:
SCRUMPTIOUS GREEN SOUP
Plenty of radish tops, onion, garlic clove, butter, cumin, sour cream, (1 tsp curry powder, walnut oil)
Saute onion, garlic, cumin and curry powder in butter. After ab. a minute, add  l stock/water, bring to the boil. Add radish tops and cook for ab. 5 mins, whizz. Add sour cream, take off the heat and put some walnut oil on top if you have it.

BROAD BEAN SALAD
400ml shelled broad beans, 10 radishes, 2 tomatoes, 150g lettuce, rocket or young spinach leaves, 2 tblsp olive oil, 1 tblsp cider vinegar, 1 level tsp mustard, (½ tsp honey/sugar, soy sauce, herbs)
Cook beans about 5 mins (with some of the herbs), drain and let cool a bit. Tear the leaves into smallish pieces, chop radishes and tomatoes. Mix dressing ingredients, and then everything together.

COURGETTE-POTATO MIX
450g sliced courgettes, 225g sliced (uncooked)  new potatoes, 3 tblsp oil, 1 sliced garlic clove, 1/2 tsp chilli powder, 2 tsp ground coriander, 1 tsp ground cumin, 1 tsp salt, 2 tblsp water, 1 tblsp finely sliced red pepper
Fry garlic for 30 secs. Add spices, salt and water, stir and fry gently for 2 minutes. Add vegetables and a bit more water, stir, cover and cook gently until the veg are done, stirring occasionally. Garnish with red pepper and  some fresh coriander if you have it.

MIXED VEGETABLE PASTA: use any veg you fancy or which needs to be eaten!
Pasta for 4, 150g fresh tomatoes or (part of) a tin, 2 courgettes, ab. 10 runner or broad beans, 150g cooked butter/kidney beans or chick peas, 1 heaped tblsp of pesto, 100ml creme fraiche, sour cream or yoghurt,  knob of butter & 1 tblsp of olive oil, 50g grated Cheddar (optional).
Chop courgettes into 1 cm pieces. Cut tomatoes into halves or quarters, depending on size. Slice the runner beans into 2cm chunks, halve french beans or pod broad beans. Cook pasta normally. Meanwhile, heat butter and oil. Add courgettes and tomatoes if fresh, mix. Cover and cook on a low heat until the courgettes are soft, add tinned tomatoes at the last minute. Stir occasionally. Add all the beans to the pasta 4-5 minutes before it is due to finish. Add creme fraiche/cream/yoghurt, cheese and pesto to the tomato-courgette sauce. Drain pasta and mix with the sauce.

COURGETTES and TOMATOES with ANCHOVY
500g courgettes, 4-5 tomatoes, 1 anchovy filet, 1 minced clove garlic, 1 tblsp bread crumbs, oregano, 3 tblsp olive oil, salt, pepper
Slice tomatoes and courgettes into 1cm slices. Cook courgettes for 10 mins, drain. Preheat oven to 190°C. Arrange veg in a buttered dish. Mince garlic and anchovy, combine with oil, pour on top. Season and dust with oregano and crumbs. Bake for 25 mins.

BROAD BEAN, CHORIZO and POTATO SIDE DISH
Sauté slices of cooked potato in oil until they begin to turn golden. Add slices of chorizo, the cooked beans and chopped tomato. Stir until the beans are hot and the chorizo crisp and heated through. Finish with chopped parsley. You can use mint and leave out the chorizo, to make it vegetarian.

TRADITIONAL DUTCH RUNNER STEW for 5
1k potatoes, 800g runner beans, 250 gram (half a tin) white beans, 25g butter, 100ml milk/stock, nutmeg, pepper, salt, 200-250g ripe tomatoes, (herbs)
Cut the runners into strips. Cook them with the potatoes for 25 mins, drain, let steam dry without lid for a sec. Add butter, warm the white beans and tomatoes in the milk/stock, add everything else. Mash, season. Nice with sausages.

FRENCH BEANS and CARROTS with CHEESE
480g carrots cut in 7cm julienne strips, 225g French beans, 1 tbsp. oil, 2 tbsp. grated mature cheese (Montgomery’s is very good!)
Cook carrots and green beans in 1/2 inch boiling water until tender; drain. Mix with oil, sprinkle with cheese. Nice with fried potatoes and onion.

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[1] http://thoughtforfood-aw.blogspot.co.uk/2014/06/june-2012-cravings.html
[2] http://wellnessmama.com/5356/fix-your-leptin/

For many more subjects in the health-and-food category, see http://thoughtforfood-aw.blogspot.co.uk, in the archive on the right hand side.

August 2015

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Bananas: bland and easily digested, bananas are rich in pectin, a soluble fibre that helps to absorb liquid in the intestines. Their high level of potassium helps to replace lost electrolytes. Bananas also contain inulin, a prebiotic, which promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria (probiotics) .

White rice and (peeled) mashed potatoes: low in fibre, these are easily digested. Eat rice and potatoes plain; the fat in butter irritates and contributes to intestinal cramping.

Applesauce: apples, too, are a good source of pectin. However, the fibre in raw apples makes them too rough for a dicey intestinal system, so they need to be cooked. Cooked carrots are also good.

Yoghurt: generally, dairy products should be avoided during acute diarrhea, but yoghurt is excellent. Look for a type that contains live or active cultures, or more specifically Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium bifidum.

Steamed chicken: a bland, easily digested source of protein. However, avoid the use of butter or oil.

Blueberries: either chew dried blueberries or make a tea by boiling crushed dried blueberries for 10 minutes. They contain tannins, an astringent, which contracts tissue and reduces inflammation and secretion of liquids and mucus. Blueberries contain not only pectin, but anthocyanosides, which have antibacterial properties, as well as being a good source of antioxidants.

Peppermint tea soothes the gastrointestinal system. It calms and relaxes the intestinal muscles, reducing spasms. It also reduces gas. [1]
Other herbs for diarrhoea are: sage, plantain, lavender, lady’s mantle, bramble, nettles and salad burnet.

Avoid foods with high sugar content. Don’t consume lots of fibre, which is in: nuts, seeds, fruit and whole grain products. Stay away from caffeinated drinks, spicy/fried foods and full-strength fruit juices.

Also:
do keep eating: you will recover sooner if you don’t fast.
sugar is bad (where did I hear that before?): it “passes right through you and draws water and salts out of the body, leading to vomiting”. Diet drinks are even worse. By far best are starchy liquids: a thick soup or drink made from any starchy food, such as rice, corn, wheat or potatoes. [3]

CAUSES:Screen Shot 2015-06-20 at 11.33.47
Of course, it is important to know the reason for your trouble. This may be:
* medications [4]
* surgery or radiation therapy
* bacteria and parasites from contaminated food and water, which is common in developing countries and known as traveler’s diarrhea
* digestive disorders such as celiac disease, ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome or Crohn’s disease.
* food intolerance, such as difficulty digesting dairy products. Artificial sweeteners and fructose can also cause diarrhoea.

See also www.foods-healing-power.com/diarrhea-diet.html
www.foods-healing-power.com/causes-of-diarrhea.html.
And for herbal help: www.everygreenherb.com/diarrhea.html

~~~~

Timothy Caulfield, Canada Research Chair in Health Law and Policy, Health Senior Scholar with the Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research, Research Director for the University of Alberta’s Health Law Institute and Trudeau Fellow:
“The real secrets of a long life? Don’t smoke, exercise, eat real food, watch your weight, wear a seatbelt, get a good night’s sleep and love somebody.” [5]

~~~~

EAT:
Veg: aubergines, french/runner/broad beans, calabrese, cauli, cucumbers, fennel, chard, spinach (beet), summer squash, sweetcorn, globe artichokes, beet, carrots, courgettes, cabbage, kohlrabi, lettuce, peas, peppers, radish, turnip, marrow, tomatoes, spring onions, salsify/scorzonera, samphire, rocket, watercress.
Cheap, free range good-for-you meat: rabbit and wood pigeon. Puffballs!
Fish is excellent at this time of year: mackerel, black bream, crab, grey mullet, trout, scallops, sea bass, flounder.

SOW:
Chinese cabbage, spring cabbage, chicory, kohl rabi, lettuce for harvesting November/December, quick variety peas, winter-hardy spring onions, salad leaves, fast-maturing carrots (Adelaide), endive,  red, white (= mooli) and black radish, spinach beet. Lamb’s lettuce (corn salad), rocket and especially land cress will survive the winter.
Perpetual spinach, (spinach beet, or leaf beet) tastes as good as ‘true’ spinach, is more forgiving of soil and weather and doesn’t go to seed so quickly. Sow now for winter/spring crop.
Early August only: chard, florence fennel, spring onions, turnip.
Plant: cauliflowers (early in the month), winter cabbages, kale.

Screen Shot 2015-06-20 at 11.39.28

BROAD BEANS with SOUR CREAM
1k unshelled broad beans, 1 tsp lemon juice, 1 tsp grated rind, 1 tsp mustard, 1 beaten egg yolk, 120ml sour cream, nutmeg, 1 tsp chopped mint, (2 tsp brown sugar), salt, little soy.
Shell beans, steam till tender. Put everything bar the yolk in a pan. Let thicken over low heat. Add yolk, stir but don’t boil. Serve immediately.

FRENCH BEANS and CARROTS SAUTEED in BUTTER and GARLIC
300g French beans, 2 large carrots, butter, chopped garlic, salt, pepper.
Trim beans and cut carrots into sticks the same size as the beans. Cook carrots until they start to soften but are not yet done. Add beans to carrots, cook some more. The veg should be just a little bit underdone. Drain, set aside. When almost ready to serve, heat butter until foamy, throw in garlic and veg, stir for 2 mins. Season.

RUNNER BEAN STEW serves 2
300g runner beans, 3 tblsp olive oil, 3 sliced garlic cloves, chilli powder, 2 cloves, 400g tomatoes and some tomato puree or 2x400g tins; basil, grated cheese.
Destring beans and cut on the diagonal into 1cm pieces. Heat oil in a frying pan, add garlic. Cook for 1-2 mins then add beans, potatoes, chilli and cloves. Cook for 2 mins, then tip in the (drained) tomatoes (and puree). Cover and cook for 20-30 minutes until the beans are tender and the sauce is thick and rich. You may want to add a bit of water while this is cooking, but don’t add too much. Stir through the basil just before serving and season to taste. Serve with grain or pasta and grated cheese.

VEGETABLE MARROW HONGROISE  
1 marrow, seeded and cut into slivers; 25g butter, 1 tblsp finely chopped onion, 1 tblsp vinegar, dill or the crushed dill seed, salt, pepper, 1 tsp paprika, 1 heaped tsp flour.
Melt 3/4 of the butter, add marrow, cover and cook until it’s soft, stirring frequently. Lift the marrow out, add the onion to the pan and fry until soft. Stir in vinegar, dill, salt, pepper and paprika, then return the marrow to the pan. Mix and cook gently for 2 mins. Mash the remaining butter with the flour to make a paste and add to the pan, stirring well. Simmer until thick. The dill can be replaced by cumin or coriander.

BROAD BEANS with CHARD and DILL
280g shelled broad beans, 280g sliced chard l(eaves and stems), 5 tbsp butter, 1 diced onion, 8 tbsp chopped fresh or 1.5 tsp dried dill; 1/2 tsp salt.
Heat butter: when foaming, add onion and stir for 1 min. Add beans, saute 1 min. Add chard and dill, stir for some mins. Add salt and 3 tbsp water. Cover tightly and simmer for 15 mins. Serve hot or warm with grains or pitta bread. (Gardenorganic).

FRENCH BEANS and MUSHROOMS with SOUR CREAM
225g French beans, butter, 225g mushrooms, 120 ml crème fraîche, salt, pepper.
Steam beans until just tender, drain. Melt butter and sauté mushrooms on a high heat so they don’t lose their juices. Cook slowly until tender. Stir in beans, heat through. Add crème fraiche, season. Cook briefly; serve immediately.

COLEY/POLLOCK with CIDER
700g coley or pollock, 250ml cider, 2 onions, green pepper, 3 tomatoes, marjoram, cayenne, 3 tblsp breadcrumbs.
Bring cider to the boil, add onions and green pepper, simmer for 5 mins or until the cider has reduced by 1/4. Remove from heat.
Cut fish into 10 cm pieces: put into ovenproof dish. Stir in cider mix and tomatoes, marjoram, cayenne, salt, pepper. Cover; bake at 170°C for 30 mins or until the fish is cooked: the flesh should flake easily. Uncover and sprinkle breadcrumbs over it. Grill until the topping is lightly browned.
The fish can also put in a frying pan on top of the cooker, covered with the cider sauce and other ingredients. Cook without lid till done. When done, (and not too wet anymore), cover with breadcrumbs and put under the grill. (from http://www.ifood.tv/recipe/haddock-with-cider)

BARE BUTTOCKS in the GRASS (at least that’s what it’s called in Holland …)
1-1.2k new potatoes, 500g runner beans, 1 tin ab. 400g white beans, 200g very mature cheese, chives, 150-200ml milk or stock, mustard, 8 gherkins.
Cook potatoes in not too much water – 20 mins. Cut up runner beans, also cook – 10 to 12 mins.
Rinse or drain the white beans, and heat them with the runners for a few minutes. Chop cheese into small cubes. Chop chives. Heat the milk/stock. Mash potatoes and stir in the liquid, then the bean mix, cheese and chives. Season. Heat through till the cheese is just starting to melt. Serve with mustard and gherkins.
For a non-veggie version, serve with sausages instead of cheese.

Screen Shot 2015-06-20 at 11.33.56


 

[1] From http://ibs.about.com/od/diarrhea/tp/Diarrhea-and-Food.–04.htm
[2] www.livestrong.com/article/258348-foods-to-eat-to-stop-diarrhea/
[3] www.foods-healing-power.com/diarrhea-treatment.html
[4] antibiotics, while going after bad bacteria, also kill the good ones which protect you. See  www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/medications-that-can-cause-diarrhea.
[5] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/celebritynews/11591936/Is-Gwyneth-Paltrow-wrong-about-everything.html

For many more subjects in the health-and-food category, see http://thoughtforfood-aw.blogspot.co.uk, in the archive on the right hand side.

September 2015

Screen Shot 2015-06-20 at 11.44.31We keep hearing a lot about antibiotics. How they are overprescribed. How they deplete the good bacteria in your gut.
Screen Shot 2015-06-20 at 11.44.39But what are the alternatives? And, if you haven’t been able to avoid them, how to follow them up so that your intestines recover?

Antibiotics are only effective against bacterial infections, certain fungal infections and some kinds of parasites. If antibiotics are used too often for things they can’t treat—like colds or viruses—they stop working effectively against bacteria when you really need them.
For viral infections they are worthless On the contrary, antibiotics can make colds worse by killing beneficial bacteria and creating an environment more favourable to the cold virus.
Overuse of antibiotics, too, is one of the factors that contributes towards the growing number of bacterial infections which are resistant to antibacterial medications. [1, 2]

I’m afraid that if you really want to avoid unnecessary antibiotics, you also have to be careful when choosing your meat. Use of them in the farming industry is rampant: about half of all Europe’s antibiotics are given to livestock, 350 tonnes a year in Britain alone. Between ⅓ and ½  of antibiotic resistance in human infections originates from agriculture. [3]

See also
www.naturalnews.com/036479_antibiotics_immune_system_destruction.html
www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/why-antibiotics-today-could-threaten-your-life-tomorrow/

What are the alternatives? Garlic, onions, cinnamon, ginger, raw honey, probiotics, echinacea and fruit and veg in general are all natural antibiotics. See
www.care2.com/greenliving/common-foods-herbs-with-antibiotic-properties.html,
www.livestrong.com/article/122218-natural-antibiotic-foods/,
and http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/how-to-use-best-natural-antibiotics/
For herbal alternatives: http://www.doctoroz.com/article/herbal-antibiotic-alternatives?page=3
For ear infections: http://www.greenthickies.com/11-holistic-remedies-for-ear-infections/
For strep throat: http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/are-antibiotics-necessary-for-strep-throat/

And if you can’t avoid them, make sure you eat plain natural yoghurt, garlic, onions, raw honey, cabbage or any fermented foods during and after, to repair your intestines. See
http://www.healwithfood.org/best-foods-eat/after-antibiotics.php
and http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/protocol-for-gut-support-during-and-after-a-round-of-antibiotics/

For more extensive background info, see the article in
http://ThoughtforFood-aw.blogspot.com for September 2014 (at the right hand side of the page), taken from the New Scientist: “Microbe City”.

~~~~~

A new campaign hopes to persuade doctors from carrying out unnecessary – or even harmful – procedures and tests. See here what you should watch out for: Five Things doctors Do They Shouldn’t.

EAT :
Veg: broad/runner/french beans, marrow, squash, courgette, lettuce, turnip, peas/mangetout, aubergine, pepper, spinach (beet), chard, sweetcorn, shallots, tomatoes, cauli, carrots, cabbage, beet, globe artichoke, cucumber, fennel, radish, kohlrabi, calabrese, chicory, endive, celery, broccoli, swede.
Fish: Mackerel, seabass, black bream, crab, mussels, scallops.
Meat: rabbit, lamb, wood pigeon, duck, goose, grouse, partridge, venison.

SOW:
spring cabbage, spinach, turnips, oriental vegetables, overwintering onion sets, garlic, landcress, rocket, corn salad, winter lettuce, winter purslane.

Screen Shot 2015-06-20 at 11.44.46

COURGETTE with CREME FRAICHE
Large courgette or some small ones, butter, olive oil, garlic, crème fraîche, mature grated cheese (white wine, tomatoes, onion, thyme)
Thinly slice courgette and onion, fry in butter and oil. Add crushed garlic, (thyme), fry a little more, add wine and tomatoes/puree, let reduce a little. Add crème at the last minute, just heat through. Finish with the cheese.
You’ll find more recipes for your glut of courgettes at http://www.vegbox-recipes.co.uk/ingredients/courgette.php#recipes. It takes a while to download, at least on my computer!

COLOURFUL CABBAGES
Green cabbage; red cabbage, cooking apple, onion, butter, bay leaves, and spices like caraway, ginger or the like
Cook the green cabbage with some caraway seeds. Cook the red cabbage in a different pan with sliced onion and bay. Add the chopped apple to the red cabbage halfway through the cooking proces. When they are both done, mix together but not too forcefully: you should still be able to recognize the two cabbage types by their colour. Stir in some butter. Pretty – and very nice with any kind of meat.

SCALLOPS
Scallops, sour cream, spring onions, olive oil, butter, flour
Coat scallops in flour. Chop spring onions, including the green parts. Heat oil and butter almost to smoking point. Stir in onions, sauté 30-40 secs till they smell good. Keep the heat high, add the scallops, brown them on all sides by constant agitation of the pan. When slightly browned, add 2 heaped tblsp sour cream, stir with a wooden spoon the until scallops are well coated. Serve over steamed rice/noodles or any other grain. 3-4 minutes total cooking time no longer!!

Though kohlrabi is at its most magnificent in soups or mash (with plenty of cream!), here is a recipe for
KOHLRABI FRITTERS, makes 8
Serve them as an appetizer, or several as a light meal with a salad. Top with crème fraîche for instance.
200g cleaned kohlrabi, 1 egg, 2 tblsp flour, ¼ tsp fine sea salt, oil, any herbs/spices you fancy
Peel kohlrabi well: the peel is tough and fibrous. Grate on the large holes of the grater. Put onto a clean kitchen towel, twist and squeeze out as much liquid as you can. Crack the egg and beat, combine with kohlrabi. Add flour and salt, stir. Heat a generous layer of oil: batter dropped into the pan should sizzle immediately. Put spoonfuls of this in, flatten. Partially cover, and cook until browned on one side. Turn over, do the same for the other side. When completely tender, put on a towel to drain, fry the rest and serve.

CABBAGE with CREAM CHEESE
1 chopped cabbage, 100g softened cream cheese, 2-3 tblsp milk, 1 tsp celery or caraway seed, salt, pepper
Cook the cabbage until it starts to soften, drain well. Mix cream cheese, milk and seasoning. Stir this mix into the cabbage, serve hot.

3 ways of preparing PIGEON BREASTS:
I prefer my meat falling apart. And with a bit of fat! So pigeon breasts are not my cup of tea, but Mike liked them:
1) Cut into thin strips. Soak in soy sauce, ginger, garlic, spring onions for couple of hours – even a bit of sherry? Flash fry; serve with noodles and stir fried veg.
2) Soak in olive oil, rosemary, crushed garlic, lemon juice, onions and salt overnight and then take them out and fry.
3) Shallow fry in olive oil with a bit of seasoning.

POLLOCK in GARLIC-BUTTER SAUCE
4 (150g) pollock* fillets 1.25cm thick, 3 tbsp lemon juice, 1 tbsp olive oil, 3 tbsp butter, 4 minced garlic cloves, 2 tbsp chopped parsley
Drizzle fish with 2 tbsp lemon juice, season. Heat oil, add butter to melt. Add garlic; cook and stir for 1 min. only. Add fillets: cook covered, 3-4 mins per side or until they flake easily. Transfer to a plate. Stir the remaining tbsp lemon juice into the pan, drizzle over fillets. Sprinkle with parsley.
*or whiting, coley, dab or any firm white fish. Or the unsustainable cod if you must!

GARLIC BROCCOLI WITH COCONUT-PEANUT SAUCE (vegan, gluten-free)
Broccoli for 4, chopped into florets and small stems; 2-3 chopped garlic cloves, olive oil.
Sauce: 240ml coconut milk, 2.5 tbsp peanut butter, 1/2 tsp sea salt, 1/2 tsp nice vinegar, 1/2 tsp turmeric, 1 pinch cayenne pepper
Carefully sauté garlic in oil for 30 seconds until fragrant. Add broccoli and turn up the heat a bit. Sauté for 3-5 mins until the broccoli is bright green and browning in spots. If you like your greens soft, add some water, put a lid on and cook longer.
For the sauce, put the ingredients in a small pan. Whisk together until thick and bubbly. Spoon over the broccoli – and rice if desired. Or stir in, if serving with noodles.

Screen Shot 2015-06-20 at 11.44.55


[1] http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/drugs-procedures-devices/prescription-medicines/antibiotics-when-they-can-and-cant-help.html
[2] http://www.everydayhealth.com/cold-flu/the-danger-of-antibiotic-resistance.aspx
[3] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/journalists/geoffrey-lean/8555976/We-should-all-have-a-beef-with-factory-farming.html
See also
http://www.soilassociation.org/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=G9q4uEb5deI%3d&tabid=1841
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/jun/11/is-rise-farm-antibiotic-use-threat-humans

For many more subjects in the health-and-food category, see http://thoughtforfood-aw.blogspot.co.uk, in the archive on the right hand side.

November 2015

Screen Shot 2015-07-12 at 10.40.14

Screen Shot 2015-07-12 at 10.42.01

A friend came up the other day and said: “I read your piece about sugar and how lethal it is. I practically live on sugary stuff. And I’m not doing badly, am I?” He was just about to cycle up the hill, and well in his 70s.
I am sure there are many who react like that to my sermons. Something is supposedly bad for us, but you notice no ill effects at all.
Of course, there may well be effects which you – and any doctors you care to consult – attribute to passing bacteria, ‘life’ or old age.
However, there are plenty of foodstuffs which are bad for some but not for others.
So what’s going on? Why does the way foods affect people vary so?

a) We are born different, each with their own genes. Even when very young we thrive, or not, on different foods: allergies are a clear example.
b) Right from the start, life treats us differently. These allergies for instance, if not innate, could also have been caused by overprotection against dirt [1], or by the chemicals in your laundry softener [2].
c) They – everything! – can also be psychosomatic. For instance, any kind of disease can be a way of getting attention from parents who are otherwise engaged, busy, or not interested.
d) Then we get ill, if only to develop our immune systems. How illnesses are dealt with when we’re young will also affect our further lives.
e) And nowadays: you get a headache. Take an aspirin. A tummy upset, can’t sleep, get a cold, flu, a backache: take a pill. We so often self-medicate, without addressing the cause of the problem, or indeed being aware of it.

Does it matter?
I think so. Pills have side effects, and small dis-eases can change into big ones.
But you’ll say: “Who has time or inclination, to hunt down the cause of every little twinge?”
Not many. However, there are some things you can do.
When the cause is obvious, try and address it in the long term.
Stress, overwork – we rarely can, or need to, change our lives overnight. But tiny improvements, babysteps, help more than you expect.
Our intuition will often tell us what’s wrong, and the more attention we pay to our intuition, the better it works. Spending just a little bit of time on it, may give us ideas on how to improve things, if only marginally.
For me, going for walks often gives me ideas. Or chatting to a friend. Maybe listening to beautiful music. Anything, really, bar watching the telly, working some more or playing computer games!

And what about that sugar? Or the coffee, snacks, drink, whatever it is which bothers some people and not – apparently – others?
I know what they do to me. I’ve looked up what they can do to others. But what they do to you, if anything – only you yourself can find that out.

TO EAT:
Veg: Brussels’, beet, sprout tops, cabbage, celeriac, celery (with stilton!), corn salad, Jerusalem artichokes, carrots, salsify, kale, kohlrabi, landcress, leeks, parsnips, pumpkin/squash, rocket, spinach, swede, turnips, winter radish, endive, winter purslane, cavolo nero.
Fish: megrim, clams, crab, cuttlefish, mussels, oysters, scallops, whiting.
Meat: wood pigeon, pheasant, wild duck, goose, grouse, partridge, venison. For (Christmas) game recipes, see http://www.gametoeat.co.uk/
And don’t forget to pick up those lovely chestnuts!

TO DO:
Sow broad beans and peas. You can still try sow American landcress, Chinese leaves, winter lettuce and corn salad. Plant rhubarb sets, autumn onion sets, spring cabbage. And garlic: it likes sun, and woodash.
Give brassica’s attention before the winter. Firm soil around stems, mulch with rotted manure, maybe support with canes. Pick off yellowing leaves.
As ground becomes vacant, dig it over and spread manure. Leave roughly dug in large clumps and the worms will break them up.
If you leave veg in the ground, apply a thick mulch (straw, bracken), both for protection and to get them out more easily.

 

Screen Shot 2015-07-12 at 16.25.51
CREAMY KOHLRABI SOUP
2 tblsp butter, ab. 600g kohlrabi, 1 chopped onion, 1100ml water/stock, 100ml milk, 1 bay leaf, salt, black pepper.
Sauté onions and cook gently until soft, some 10 minutes. Add kohlrabi and cook for 2 mins. Add stock, milk, bay, bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 25 mins or until kohlrabi is tender. Remove bay, blend, season.

CREAMED (SAVOY) CABBAGE, serves 1. Fantastic with roast pheasant!
¼ savoy cabbage, core removed and shredded, 1 tblsp butter, 2 tblsp crème fraîche, salt, black pepper (bacon), any herbs or spices you like.
Steam cabbage with herbs/spices for a minute or two, until just a little crunchier than you’d like. Drain and sauté gently in butter for a minute. Add crème fraîche, stir and season. Add chopped bacon if using, and stir.

CURRIED SQUASH/PUMPKIN with WINTER GREENS
ab. 300g cleaned squash meat, 4 tblsp butter, 1 tsp turmeric, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp coriander, 1/4 tsp garam masala or curry powder, 1/4 tsp ginger, 1/4 tsp cinnamon or cardamom, 1 tsp sea salt, 2 tblsp olive oil, (cayenne); ab. 250g cleaned greens like: kale, cabbage, chard, etc.; 2 tblsp water.
Preheat oven to 200°C. Grease large baking sheet. Mix spices and salt, set aside. Peel squash, discard seeds. Chop into 1-2cm cubes. Melt 2 tbsp butter, add spices and sauté for 2-3 mins until the flavours release. Don’t let it smoke!
Turn off the heat, add squash, mix well. Spread this evenly onto a greased baking sheet – keep the spicy pan for reuse. Bake squash for ab. 10 mins at 200°C. Take out, stir, and put back for 10-15 mins until soft and starting to brown.

MASHED POTATO with CHEESE and LEEK BUTTER for 3.
1 leek, 60g butter, 1 grated clove of garlic, 1.5-2 tbsp crème fraîche, 400g floury potatoes, 300g grated cheese.
Boil potatoes in salted water. Don’t use a food processor because it makes them go gluey.
Split the leek lengthways and trim off tough tips. Wash and chop finely. Melt butter and add the leek – let it simmer gently, until tender. Drain potatoes, turn heat down very low. Stir in the garlic and crème fraîche with a wooden spoon, then the cheese. Taste for salt and serve immediately with the leek butter ladled over the top or stirred in, whichever you prefer. You can add crisp fried smoked streaky bacon if you like.

STIR FRIED CAVOLO NERO with APPLE and CHEESE
250g shredded cavolo nero (weighed after taking out the ribs), 140g mature cheese, 1 large or 2 small cooking apples, 1 diced red onion, 200g cooked cannelini* beans or a 410g tin beans, drained, ginger, cayenne.
Cut cheese into small cubes. Steam or cook cavolo for 5 mins, drain. Meanwhile, fry onion, sliced apple, beans and spices for a few minutes. Add cavolo nero and season. Stir fry till done to your liking.
You can add some sliced cooked potatoes to the frying pan, to make it a full meal.
*Can be replaced by navy beans, flageolets or any white beans.

SAUTEED SPINACH with PINE NUTS and WHITE WINE
450g spinach, 2 crushed garlic cloves, 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, 80ml dry white wine, 2 tbsp lightly toasted pine nuts, (60ml mature cheese), pinch of nutmeg, salt, pepper.
Wash spinach and dry very roughly. Heat oil, add spinach a few handfuls at a time, stir. Add garlic, nutmeg, salt and pepper, stir. Add wine, cover immediately and reduce heat to low. Let cook for 2-3 mins, longer if you use perpetual spinach. To serve, sprinkle with (cheese if you like and) freshly ground pepper: garnish with pine nuts.

GARLIC BUTTER ROAST MUSHROOMS
450g mushrooms, halved if large, 3 large minced garlic cloves, 2 tblsp oil, 3 tblsp butter, 2 tsp lemon juice, thyme, chopped parsley, (2 tblsp rinsed and chopped capers).
Heat oven to 230 °C, toss mushrooms with garlic, oil, pepper in a shallow dish. Top with bits of butter and roast, stirring occasionally, for 15-20 minutes or till they are tender and golden. Stir in lemon and parsley. Serve immediately (with nice bread to wipe up the juices).

TAGLIATELLE with CREAMY STILTON SAUCE for 3.
145g Stilton, 150ml cream, salt, pepper, 2 tbsp chopped parsley, 1250g tagliatelle or spaghetti.
Cook, drain pasta. Crumble Stilton into a pan, add cream. Heat slowly until cheese has melted, season. Add pasta, parsley too. Serve immediately.

And you don’t have to be paleo to like “45 GRAIN-FREE PUMPKIN RECIPES”!

Screen Shot 2015-07-12 at 10.43.22


[1] http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/media/releases/newborns_exposed_to_dirt_dander_and_germs_may_have_lower_allergy_and_asthma_risk
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111102125601.htm
http://www.nbcnews.com/health/kids-health/dirty-baby-healthy-baby-early-filth-may-reduce-allergies-n123921
[2] https://www.womentowomen.com/inflammation/allergies-and-sensitivities/

For many more health-and-food subjects, see http://thoughtforfood-aw.blogspot.co.uk, in the archive on the right hand side.

December 2015

Screen Shot 2015-08-30 at 10.05.54

December is, unquestionably, the most feverish month of the year. Which one of us does not feel their temperature rise wScreen Shot 2015-08-30 at 20.19.18hen thinking of Christmas?
Even those who take a relaxed view of the festivities in general, find something to get het up about. The crowds and the inescapable carols. The relentless cheer, dutifully punctuated by thoughts for those less favoured than ourselves.
Even if all this hoo-ha leaves you cold, you could do worse than prepare yourself by reading up on fever. Just in case some unfortunate might need your attention in the coming weeks!

Fever is always a symptom of an underlying health problem. When you are sick, your body employs defense mechanisms to rid itself of the virus, bacteria, toxin, or inflammation. Raising the temperature is one such mechanism. The warmer you are, the faster your immune system works to heal you. And virus and bacteria don’t like heat.
We are used to seeing fever as an enemy: in fact it is a friend, and we fight it at our peril. [1]

So what should we do instead of grabbing a tylenol?
– drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration.
– rest. Rest! Don’t force yourself into work out of a misplaced sense of duty. Rest will heal you faster, and everyone benefits.
– there are herbs you can take to promote sweating and get rid of toxins. Chamomile, thyme, sage and mint for instance. [2]
– for children, a sponge bath may help bring the fever down a bit. “The biggest challenge is to keep children hydrated. Children that will drink fluids are usually safe using natural methods. ‘Dry’ fevers are dangerous as the child will not drink and this may necessitate going to the doctor.” [3]
– avoid anything with sugar, refined foods, caffeine and alcohol.

Screen Shot 2015-08-30 at 10.07.43CREAMY KOHLRABI SOUP
2 tblsp butter, ab 600g kohlrabi, 1 chopped onion, 1100ml water/stock, 100ml milk, 1 bay leaf, salt, black pepper.
Saute onions and cook gently until soft, 10 minutes. Add kohlrabi and cook 2 mins. Add stock, milk, bay, bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 25 mins or until kohlrabi is tender. Remove bay, blend, season.

SEA BASS with APPLES (or other firm white fish grey mullet, pollack, snapper, grouper, coley)
This recipe originally adds honey, but I think it’s better without that. The result depends a lot on the quality of the apples, and tangy is best.
4 apples – cored and cut into thin wedges, 14 tblsp butter, (2 tblsp honey), 60ml cup flour, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp black pepper, ab. 480ml dried bread crumbs, 1 beaten egg, 4 fish fillets of ab.150g each.
Melt half the butter, fry apples until tender. (Stir in honey). Keep warm. Mix flour, salt, and pepper. Place crumbs in another shallow bowl, egg in another. Melt rest of butter. Dip fish in flour, egg, and crumbs. Place in hot pan, cook for 3-4 mins per side. The fillets should be brown and flake easily. Serve with the apples on top.

BRUSSELS SPROUTS + HAZELNUT BUTTER, serves 2.
20g chopped hazelnuts, 20g butter, softened, 300g brussels sprouts, salt + black pepper.
Dry roast nuts until golden. Mix into butter. Boil sprouts in salted water for about 10 mins. Drain, mix with hazelnut butter, season.

SWEDE and COCONUT DAAL, serves 4-6.
Good with for instance whole roast pheasant, but we had this with just boring cooked potatoes and green veg and loved it. If you haven’t got some of the ingredients just use your fantasy, but the coconut milk is essential.
240ml lentils (pref. brown or green), 200g finely diced swede, carrot or squash, 1 diced onion or 6 chopped garlic cloves, olive oil, 2 bay leaves, 1 chilli, 1/2 cinnamon stick, 1 tbsp freshly grated ginger, 2 tsp cumin seeds, 1 tsp ground coriander, 1 mug of coconut milk, 3 mugs of water, 1 lime or lemon, zest and juice, handful of toasted dessicated coconut and/or almonds, large handful of fresh coriander, sea salt, pepper.
Saute diced veg, season and sizzle till just softened and starting to colour up a bit. Add bay, chilli and cinnamon. Stir in the lentils, onion/garlic, ginger, cumin and coriander seed. Pour in coconut milk and water, cover. Simmer for 45 mins or till the liquid is absorbed into the lentils. Stir every so often. Add a little more water when needed. Taste, add more spices if you like. Season. Finish with a hit of lime/lemon zest, the juice, toasted coconut and/or almonds and fresh coriander.

LEEKS with CREME FRAICHE (or sour cream)
Sauté leeks until softened, added some stock and cook it all down for about 20 mins. Season. Add a tiny pinch of sage, and stir in some creme fraiche.
Adding more stock and creme fraiche would make this recipe more of a sauce  – a good topping for pastas.

CURRIED SQUASH/PUMPKIN AND WINTER GREENS
ab. 300g cleaned squash meat, 4 tblsp butter, 1 tsp turmeric, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp coriander, 1/4 tsp garam masala or curry powder, 1/4 tsp ginger, 1/4 tsp cinnamon or cardamom, 1 tsp sea salt, 2 tblsp olive oil,(cayenne); ab. 250g cleaned greens: kale, chard, etc., 2 tblsp water.
Preheat oven to 200°C. Grease large baking sheet. Mix spices and salt, set aside. Peel squash, discard seeds. Chop into 1-2cm cubes. Melt 2 tbsp butter, add spices and sauté for 2-3 mins until the flavours release. Don’t let it smoke!
Turn off the heat, add squash, mix well. Spread this evenly onto a greased baking sheet – keep the spicy pan for reuse. Bake squash for ab. 10 mins at 200°C. Take out, stir, and put back for 10-15 mins until soft and starting to brown.
Meanwhile, wash and chop greens. Melt 2 tblsp butter in spicy pan, add 2 tblsp of water. and sauté until done. If they start to stick, add a a bit more. When the greens are done, add squash, stir in lightly. Serve.

CREAMY SHREDDED CAVOLO NERO WITH MUSTARD
300g shredded cavolo nero (or kale), 1 tblsp oil, 1 sliced onion, 140ml double cream, 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard.
Cook cavolo nero for 6–8 mins until tender, drain. Meanwhile, fry onion for 4–5 mins. Add cream and mustard. Stir in cavolo nero and heat through, season.

VERY NICE AFTER-XMAS PUD
Leftover xmas pudding, (leftover) custard, clementines/oranges, double/whipping cream, flaked and toasted almonds, finely grated orange zest, cinnamon, (brandy).
Share out the pudding over the right number of glasses, or put in a large glass bowl. Peel citrus and slice into rings. Arrange these on top, sprinkle over some cinnamon. Put the custard on top of that. Whip the cream and add brandy or sugar if you wish. Just before serving, scatter almonds and zest on top.

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[1] There are exceptions. When a fever is caused by an overdose of, for instance, insulin, i.e. artificially, it can be dangerous. See http://www.karenhurd.com/pages/healthtopics/specifichealthconcerns/ht-shc-fevers.html
[2] https://daveshealingnotes.wordpress.com/2015/06/02/natural-remedies-for-fever-in-adults/
[3] https://daveshealingnotes.wordpress.com/2015/06/02/childrens-natural-fever-remedies/
http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/fevers-are-fabulous-how-to-manage-them-without-meds/
http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/using-fever-bath-for-faster-recovery/

For many more subjects in the health-and-food category, see http://thoughtforfood-aw.blogspot.co.uk, in the archive on the right hand side.