Saturday, 4 June 2016

June 2016: did you know?



June: did you know?


So-called Natural Killer cell, a white blood cell, part of the immune system.



A. Ten immunity killers which we should learn to avoid now, if we want to get through the next cold season healthily.
1) sugar [1] and artificial sweeteners [2]; 
2) processed carbs;
3) chemically altered and artificial fats;
4) lack of high quality protein;
5) man-made chemicals in other things than food; man-made sources of radiation;
6) pharmaceutical drugs;
7) lack of fresh air and physical activity; and lack of exposure to common microbes.
And to boost our immune system, we could do worse than eat - yes, really - animal fat and cholesterol. Raw egg yolk - a nice soft-boiled egg! - is excellent. As for vegetables, you can’t really beat onions and garlic. [3]

B. Fast food: "I grew up on it and I’m still healthy - why make such a fuss?” Why indeed. Because fast food isn’t what it used to be! See [4].

C. Insects pollinate 80% of plant species, including most fruit and many vegetables. However, there is increasingly sparse foraging for them. Growing pollinator-friendly plants makes a difference. Years of selection for showy blooms, means many flowers have lost their attraction to pollinators, but there are plenty of traditional cottage garden plants which can help.

In summer flowers are in shorter supply than in spring, so then gardens can make their greatest contribution. If you only have room for a few, choose borage, lavenders and Erysimum 'Bowles's Mauve’ - pretty and easy to grow. Plant in a sunny spot where you can enjoy watching the bees and insects. See also [5].

D. To prevent, or cope better with the following: 
1) cardiovascular problems
2) high blood pressure
3) PMS
4) depression
5) osteoporosis
6) vision loss
there is a useful website: see [6]. For osteoporosis in particular, see also [7].

E. Children’s illness: why ‘do nothing’ can be the best approach. And for grown-ups too, maybe …. See [8].

F. And for what might just turn out to be a decent summerwatercress will replenish iron and calcium lost in sweat; nuts and seeds contain fatty acids, so your skin won’t dry out.


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EAT
Veg: broad beans, beet, cabbage, carrots, lettuce, new potatoes, artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, mangetout, peas, cauliflower, radish, spinach, spring onions, spring greens, watercress, kohlrabi, turnips, rhubarb, redcurrants, strawberries, gooseberries.
Meat: lamb, wood pigeon [9].
Fish: grey mullet, black bream, gurnard, pollock, whiting, mackerel, lobster, whelks, clams, cockles, coley, crabs, crayfish, flounder, grouper, gurnards, herring, megrim, scallops.

SOW:
beetroot, calabrese, lettuce, french beans, kale, carrots, cauliflower (mini only), salad onions, (sugar) peas, radish, kohlrabi, mooli, turnip, chicory, Florence fennel, courgettes and pumpkins.
Sow swede and sweetcorn in early June. If the soil is above 25°C, sow crisphead, cos or little Gem only.
Plant out: courgettes, cabbage, sprouting broccoli, sprouts, celery, celeriac, ridge cucumbers, runner/french beans, pumpkins, tomatoes, sweet corn.




RECIPES

I have only two new recipes this month: for more, click on 2016 ‘June’ at the right hand side of this page and check the past six years.

BRAISED LETTUCE WITH PEAS
4 Little Gem lettuces, 1 small onion, finely chopped, 400g (frozen) peas, 4 tbsp single cream or crème fraîche, small knob butter, 200ml water/stock
Fry onion gently until soft. Meanwhile, clean the lettuces and trim: cut in half lengthways through the base. Place them with the cut side on top of the onion and cook for half a minute, then turn over and do the same. Pour over the stock, lightly season. Put a lid on, turn the heat down and cook for 10 mins.
Lift the lettuces out and strain over a bowl. Add this liquid to the pan, raise the heat and boil until the juices have been reduced by half. Add cream/crème fraîche and peas. Boil until the peas are cooked. Arrange the lettuces in a dish and pour over the pea-and-cream sauce.
If you don’t mind how it looks, you can put the lettuces back into the pan with the peas to reheat them. 
I added cashew nuts to the peas which was nice, but if they are salted, beware when you season.

We always produce plenty of potatoes, and I don’t much like buying rice or even more locally produced grains. So here is my 
POTATO-BASED CURRY
Potatoes for 4; different vegetables like cauliflower, swedes, turnips, leeks, kale, carrots, cabbage, spinach or the like. Onion, oil, 400ml coconut milk. Spices: curry powder, ginger, garlic, chili or cayenne, plus any other you fancy. Stewed apricots or chutney, peanuts or peanut butter. 
Cut the potatoes up quite small, slice/chop the onion and any harder veg which you want to add, like cauli, roots or cabbage. The idea is that they will all cook at roughly the same time.
Add minced garlic, ginger and other spices: sauté the lot in oil for a short while. Then add the coconut milk (or flakes and water), salt, and put the lid on. Cook till all is nearly done. At this point
add any quick-cooking veg like spinach. When that has wilted sufficiently, check the seasoning. Some stewed apricots are nice in it, or else chutney.
Now either mix in the peanut butter and heat through, or scatter peanuts on top. Serve! 

Otherwise:
*   It may be June and (nearly) summer, but fresh local greens are still quite thin on the ground. However, at www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/collection/spring-greens you can find plenty of recipes for those precious (but boring?) spring greens

*   There are also young turnips to be had: don’t peel them.  Cut off the leaves and root. Chop into chunks and boil or steam for 20 minutes, or roast for about 45 minutes, depending on the size.

  Rhubarb is another vegetable of which there is plenty. The Rhubarb Compendium tells you all, from rhubarb bars to rhubarb wine, and ‘things with rhubarb that defy simple categories’ …. www.rhubarbinfo.com/.
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[1] But how to avoid sugar? See http://thegoodhuman.com/eliminate-sugar/, or “How to eliminate sugar”, on the right hand side of this Thought for Food page.
To get the most health benefits out of your onions or garlic, see http://therightnutritionplan.com/2011/06/hidden-health-benefits-of-garlic-and-onions/.
[8] www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/the-do-nothing-approach-to-illness-your-ticket-to-wellness/
[9] Wood pigeons can be roasted whole. Lightly brown with melted butter and cook for ab. one hour at 200°C. Serve with roasted red onions and roast potatoes.


NEXT MONTH: food and mood




Natural Killer cell kills cancer or virus
infected cell before it can wreak havoc.




June 2015: sugar




SUGAR


There are 0 vitamins and minerals in sugar.
Sugar is an anti-nutrient: it depletes your body of more nutrients than it provides [a].
If you want to know exactly what sugar does to you, on the internet you can easily find 5, 10, 25, 141 or even 144 reasons why sugar is bad for your health [b].
A ‘disease generator’, sugar affects your mind, your heart, your veins, your hormones, your bones, your skin and your digestion [e, f].

Sugar goes under many names. Such as: high-fructose corn syrup, diastatic malt, dextran, galactose, maltodextrin, caramel, diatase, fructose, glucose, invert sugar, maltose, treacle, rice syrup, barley malt, corn syrup solids, ethyl maltol, dextrose, malt syrup, ethyl maltol, molasses, sucrose etc.  
These are no better than plain ‘sugar’: on the contrary, they’re usually worse. 
Fructose, for instance, often called HFCS, glucose-fructose syrup or the other way round, seems by far worst. [g]

Are sweeteners any better?
You can find both answers - yes and no - on the internet, though there is always the question of who pays for the research. Weaning yourself off the sweet taste seems by far the best option. [h]

So what else can you do?
Sugar hides especially in processed, precooked food so if you make your own as much as possible, that’s a start. If your skills don’t stretch to baking bread, buy it from decent shops, along with sugarless cereals.
Oats are wholesome, cheap and filling.
Don’t go shopping when you’re hungry.
Eat enough before you go to places where you’ll be tempted.
Eat naturally sweet foods.
Don’t skip meals, and make sure you have protein and fat in them.
And for some of the many more websites with suggestions, see [i]. 

PS: I recommend a brilliant little booklet which you can read, for free, on the internet: “Emotional Eating”, by Elizabeth Walling. If the title arouses your interest, go to Emotional Eating.

EAT
Veg: broad beans, beet, cabbage, carrots, lettuce, new potatoes, artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, mangetout, peas, cauliflower, radish, spinach, spring onions, spring greens, watercress, kohlrabi, turnips, rhubarb, redcurrants, strawberries, gooseberries.
Meat: lamb, wood pigeon.
Fish: grey mullet, black bream, gurnard, pollock, whiting, mackerel, lobster, whelks, clams, cockles, coley, crabs, crayfish, flounder, grouper, gurnards, herring, megrim, scallops.

SOW:
beetroot, calabrese, lettuce, salsify/scorzonera, french/runner beans, kale, carrots, cauliflower (mini only), salad onions, (sugar) peas, radish, kohlrabi, mooli, turnip, chicory, fennel, courgettes, marrows and pumpkins.
Sow swede and sweetcorn in early June. If the soil is above 25°C, sow crisphead, cos or little Gem only.
Plant out: courgettes, cabbage, sprouting broccoli, sprouts, celery, celeriac, ridge cucumbers, runner/french beans, pumpkins, tomatoes, sweet corn.

RECIPES

WATERCRESS SOUP  
2 bunches of watercress, 1 potato, 1 diced onion, 2 chopped garlic cloves, 1 tbsp butter, 1 tbsp oil, 1l stock, bit of milk, salt, pepper.

Sauté onion for a few mins in oil and butter. Add garlic, fry for 30 seconds. Grate potato and add, fry 1 minute. Add stock and milk, stir, simmer for 5 mins. Add chopped cress, cook 5 more mins, season

GREEK BROAD BEANS for 2
3 to 4 tblsp olive oil, 1 grated onion, 400g podded broad beans, 250ml water, 2 tblsp tomato puree, 1 to 2 tsp dried oregano, sea salt, pepper.
Sauté onion for 5 mins in oil, making sure it doesn't brown. Add beans for one more min. Raise heat, add water and tomato puree, oregano, salt and pepper. Cover partially and cook at a strong simmer for 20-25 mins. You don't want water left in the pan; if toward the end of cooking there's too much water, uncover the pan so it evaporates, leaving a rich tomato and olive oil sauce.
To enjoy it the traditional Greek way, serve a big plate of broad beans as a main course with some crusty bread to mop up the sauce, and slices of good feta. Or have as a side dish.

A FISHY SUGGESTION:
Mash up a tin of sardines or mackerel with lemon juice and olive oil or sour cream, to form a sauce for a warm potato-and-pea (with herbs) salad. Or for pasta cooked with peas. Add herbs (dill is nice), pepper and some paprika powder. You can also sauté some onion very slowly - don't let it go brown - to mix in. 

SAUTEED SPINACH with WHITE WINE: side dish for meat or fish. Very quick!
spinach, dry white wine, olive oil, salt, pepper, (lemon juice).
Sauté spinach in the oil. Add salt and pepper. Once it cooks down, add wine. You may or may not want to add a bit of lemon. Serve hot. 

WATERCRESS/CARROT STIR FRY (or use spinach)
1 tblsp olive/sesame oil, 3 spring onions/1 onion, 3 carrots, 1 bunch watercress/spinach, 1 tblsp tamari/soy, (250g firm tofu [j], sesame seeds).
Wash and dry the cress. Chop, especially the thicker stems. Cut carrots into ½ cm slices. Chop (spring) onion(s). (Cut tofu into 1cm squares). Heat oil, add carrots and onions. Cook 4 mins. Halfway through, add tofu if using, stir regularly. Add cress/spinach, cook till done. Add soy, stir. Sprinkle with seeds.

STIR FRIED LETTUCE serves 2About 400g cleaned lettuce, oil or butter, soy sauce, toasted sesame seeds, onion.
Chop the onion and cut the lettuce into strips. Start sautéing the onion. After a few minutes add the lettuce. Stir until the lettuce wilts, add the soy. Stir some more and add the seeds, serve when done to your liking. 

MUSHROOMS and BROAD BEANS
Per person: 220g unpodded or 60g podded broad beans, 50g mushrooms, small (red) onion ab. 30g, 1tblsp creme fraiche, thyme, pepper, butter. 
Pod the beans, cook in salted water, 5–8 mins, drain. Sauté the mushrooms and onions with thyme in plenty of butter until soft. Stir in crème fraîche, then the beans. Season and cook until the beans are heated through. Grate on some pepper. With nice bread (or anything else you fancy!)

SPINACH-PEA OMELETTE for one.  
100-150g spinach, 75g peas, large egg (or two), 1/2 tblsp cream or milk, 1 tblsp flour, salt, pepper, (garlic).
If using fresh peas, cook them first for a few mins, add the spinach, cook together 5 mins. If using frozen peas, put them on at the same time as the spinach. Drain. Fry both in plenty of butter for a few mins, add flour. Mix the egg with cream or milk, season, add to veg, stir, put lid on. When nearly done, put the sliced garlic on top and turn over. 






If you want to know the difference between sucrose, glucose and fructose, see http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/difference-between-sucrose-glucose-fructose-8704.html
[j] Tofu, being a non-fermented soy product, is not exactly good for you. See for instance www.guardian.co.uk/news/2006/jul/25/food.foodanddrink and www.frot.co.nz/dietnet/basics/soy.htm.





NEXT MONTH: STOP!



June 2014: little known facts


LITTLE KNOWN FACTS


 
Heartburn can be caused by too little, not by too much stomach acid. In which case, taking antacids may be the worst thing you can do. See:  
To improve heartburn, also have a look at: 


The unlovely truth about boxed breakfast cereals.
(Funny names, but they say it clearest:)


Vitamin B12: if you are short of this for a while, the damage will be irreversible. Even if your levels are only slightly lower than they should be, you may have symptoms like poor memory, depression and fatigue. A more serious deficiency may lead to Alzheimer's. Vitamin B12 is in animal foods like meat, fish and eggs. Therefore deficiency is widespread among vegans and vegetarians, who avoid these foods. If you choose to avoid animal foods, it is absolutely vital to supplement with Vitamin B12 or eat foods that have been fortified with it. http://authoritynutrition.com/5-brain-nutrients-in-meat-fish-eggs/


“You should probably avoid products that make health claims. Because a health claim on a food product is a strong indication it’s not really food.” www.passionatehomemaking.com/2009/10/in-defense-of-food-an-eaters-manifesto.html 
“It's a whole lot easier to slap a health claim on a box of sugary cereal than on a raw potato or a carrot, with the perverse result that the most healthful foods in the supermarket sit there quietly in the produce section, silent as stroke victims, while a few aisles over in 'Cereal', the Cocoa Puffs and Lucky Charms are screaming their newfound "whole-grain goodness" to the rafters.” www.shelfari.com/books/1357132/In-Defense-of-Food 
Real food has started to disappear, replaced by processed foods designed to include nutrients. Those component parts are understood only by scientists and exploited by food marketers who thrive on introducing new products that hawk fiber, omega-3 fatty acids or whatever else happens to be in vogue… www.barnesandnoble.com/w/in-defense-of-food-michael-pollan/1102239989?ean=9781594201455&itm=1&usri=9781594201455


Nutrient destroyers: even if you do know this really, you may well have hidden it far away in your subconscious. Which common foods, drinks and medications destroy all your hard-won nutrients? 


Dark meat is better for you than light. The reasons we are encouraged to eat white meat only, are: 1) it has marginally more calories and 2) it contains more of the dreaded saturated fat [1]. On the other hand, dark meat it has many more nutrients: iron, zinc, B1, B2, B6, B12, selenium, taurine, amino acids, vitamins A, K and the B complex, amongst which we also find B12, see above. 
Eating the skin as well, provides valuable fat-soluble vitamins and antimicrobial fatty acids.
PS The dark parts of vegetables, too, tend to be much better for you. See Thought May '11: green greens.  


ADHD - Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder - often turns out  just to be a case of, for instance: bad eyesight, poor hearing, sleep deprivation, autism, substance abuse, etcetera, according to US neurologist Richard Saul. It's an easy and fashionable diagnosis, and the producers of Ritalin are laughing all the way to the bank. 


The Daily Mail can be right sometimes! Whole milk is far better for you than (semi) skimmed - never mind the calories. 
Unless you drink gallons of the stuff, switching to semi-skimmed or skimmed is unlikely to make any great impact on your fat intake. And (semi-skimmed) cows’ milk is much less nutritious than whole milk, because cream contains the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. These are important, among other things, for strengthening immunity to infections, neutralising the effects of damaging free radicals and keeping bones healthy. 


If you have kidney problems, beware of taking (multi)vitamins until you have asked you doctor.  Some vitamins or minerals may be bad for you.

And, unless you have faithfully read all the others issues of Thought for Food: 

Sunscreen: what you eat will prevent your skin from being burned, as much as what you may slap on your skin. Plus, if you choose taking the sun using food as a sunscreen, you'll get valuable vitamin D as well. See Thought April '12.

Soy - unless it is properly fermented which it rarely is - is bad for you. And it's EVERYWHERE, often under different names. See Thought August '13 [2].


EAT: 
Veg: broad beans, beet, cabbage, carrots, lettuce, new potatoes, artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, mangetout, peas, cauliflower, radish, spinach, spring onions, spring greens, watercress, kohlrabi, turnips, rhubarb, redcurrants, strawberries, gooseberries.
Meat: lamb, wood pigeon.
Fish: grey mullet, black bream, gurnard, pollock, whiting, mackerel, lobster, whelks, clams, cockles, coley, crabs, crayfish, flounder, grouper, gurnards, herring, megrim, scallops.
 
SOW:
beetroot, calabrese, lettuce, salsify/scorzonera, french/runner beans, kale, carrots, cauliflower (mini only), salad onions, (sugar) peas, radish, kohlrabi, mooli, turnip, chicory, fennel, courgettes, marrows and pumpkins.
Sow swede and sweetcorn in early June. If the soil is above 25°C, sow crisphead, cos or little Gem only.
Plant out: courgettes, cabbage, sprouting broccoli, sprouts, celery, celeriac, ridge cucumbers, runner/french beans, pumpkins, tomatoes, sweet corn.



RECIPES:  

BROAD BEAN SOUP with GINGER and LEMON 
300 g fresh broad beans (=1.1k unshelled),  2.5 cm grated ginger, 2 crushed cloves garlic, lemon juice, cream, black pepper.
Place broad beans in a pan with enough cold water to cover generously. Bring to the boil. Cook beans until tender, ab. 2 mins. Blend. If you like your soup very smooth, strain through a sieve. Add ginger, garlic, some lemon juice and cream. Season, gently reheat.

Or on a hot day, if you like cold soup (I don't), try:
SCRUMPIOUS GREEN SOUP 
Plenty of radish tops, onion, garlic clove, butter, cumin, sour cream, (1tsp 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. Yum!

SPICY BROAD BEAN OMELETTE

3tblsp olive oil, 1 large sliced (red) onion, 150g thinly sliced waxy potatoes, 200g podded broad beans, 6 eggs, ¾tsp cumin, ½tsp turmeric, cayenne pepper, plenty of fresh chopped coriander and chopped mint, 30g grated mature cheese, salt, pepper.
Slice potatoes and onion. Sauté potatoes for 10 mins in half the oil, add onion, cook for 10 more mins, stirring occasionally. Place beans in a bowl, cover with boiling water for 10 mins, drain. Whisk eggs, add cumin, turmeric, cayenne, coriander, mint, cheese, ¼ tsp salt, pepper. Stir in onion, potato and beans. Add remaining oil to frying pan: when hot, add egg mix, and stir immediately. Let cook for a few minutes, stirring quite often, until egg is almost set. Use a fork to gently release sides from the pan. Turn by placing inverted plate over pan. Finish cooking for 1-2 mins. You can use cooked potatoes instead of raw ones, and shorten the frying time accordingly.
 
CREAMY CHEESEY SPINACH    
500g spinach, 40g butter, 2 sliced garlic cloves, 75g full-flavour cheese, nutmeg, 50ml double cream.

Cook spinach for 3 mins until wilted. Tip into colander and squeeze to remove water. Melt butter, add garlic and cook for 2-3 mins until soft, but not coloured. Add spinach and nutmeg. Season; stir in cream and cheese and cook for 1 min until melted. Serve with boiled potatoes.
 
HEARTY LETTUCE SALAD    
3 Little Gem, 50g lightly toasted almonds, 7 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp cider vinegar, 1 crushed garlic clove, parsley, dill.
Though the recipe was meant for the barbecue, the lettuce can easily be cooked briefly in a lightly oiled frying pan.
Prepare and light the barbecue. Chop the almonds and mix in a bowl with the garlic, parsley, dill, 6 tbsp of the oil, vinegar, sugar and plenty of seasoning. Cut each lettuce into quarters and brush the cut sides with the remaining oil. Once the barbecue is hot, lightly cook the lettuce wedges, turning them from one cut side to the other until lightly seared. Transfer to a serving plate and spoon over the dressing to serve.
 
BROAD BEANS, BACON and ROCKET    
300g shelled broad beans, 100g bacon, in 1cm strips, 200ml crème fraîche, rocket leaves, 1tbsp butter/olive oil, 1 crushed garlic clove, mint, pepper, salt, 500g barley or pasta, (grated mature cheese).
Cook barley or pasta according to instructions. Cook broad beans 5 mins, drain. Fry bacon until brown, add garlic, fry for a minute. Stir in crème fraîche and broad beans; simmer for 1 minute to heat it through, then add chopped rocket and mint. Drain pasta if using. Stir grains or pasta into the sauce. Serve with (grated cheese and) black pepper.  

SQUEAKY BUBBLE with PEAS      
Leftover cooked spring greens (or other cabbage), leftover mash, onion, chopped bacon, peas. 
Fry onion and bacon till nearly done, add mash and greens, fry till brown underneath. Meanwhile cook peas. Turn the squeaky bubble so the other side can brown too. Have with the peas.

BRAISED PEAS with LETTUCE and ONIONS, serves 2-3 as a side.
240ml shelled peas, handful of shredded lettuce leaves, 1 onion, generous knob of butter, 1 tsp olive oil, 60ml liquid, sea salt, white pepper, a bit of lemon juice, dill or mint.
Melt butter with oil, add sliced onion and cook till soft before adding the peas. Stir, about 1-2 min. Add lettuce, stir to combine. Then add liquid and seasoning, bring to a simmer, cover and cook for 2-3 min. Uncover, let simmer to reduce for just a while, before removing from heat. Add dill or mint and lemon juice.






NEXT TIME: "Just relax ....."





June 2013: chocolate





  
CHOCOLATE: GOOD or BAD?



Even as I write the word, my mouth waters. Count yourself lucky if you don't like the stuff. It's addictive. And it's got sugar in: from 53% (milk chocolate) to 68% (Mars bar), and we know what that does to us. 

So why is chocolate so often recommended as the holy grail of health, with its anti-oxidants, polyphenols, and super-protective procyanidin flavonoids? “Dark chocolate may be as good for health as exercise." cheers the Daily Mirror. "As good as jogging" rejoices the Daily Mail. All this on account of a study of the effects of epicatechin, a chemical found in cocoa, on 25 mice. [1]

It's worth remembering that, the world being what it is, there is enormous pressure both from above (the producers) and below (the punters) to paint chocolate as the knight in shining armour, coming to rescue us from boredom, cancer and heart disease. Superfood, medicine and love potion in one.

So therefore it is no great surprise that the flavanols in chocolate may "decrease blood pressure, increase insulin sensitivity, improve arterial blood flow and help with chronic fatigue syndrome".
Natural cocoa powder is by far the best source of these goodies. Strangely though, most of us go for the chocolate bars: a bit of cocoa (20% minimum for milk, 35% for dark chocolate), padded out with sugar, fructose, harmful fats and flavourings. All those healthy flavonoids have often been processed out. What's more, even the best, most flavonoid-rich dark chocolate is replete with sugar and additives.
So it's as well that you can easily get the polyphenol-related health benefits by eating other flavonoid-rich foods. As well as flavonoids, vegetables and fruit provide countless vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals that protect our health in many ways.

So - chocolate: good or bad? Bars: bad, definitely. If you then consider that even this wholesome natural cocoa is one of the world's most heavily sprayed food crops [2], you might want to source your flavonols from fruit and veg instead. [3]




Here follows 'What to Eat and Sow' in June. In view of the cold facts of 2013 however, it might be better to look at last month's lists when figuring out what to eat and to sow .....  


Eat: 
Veg: broad beans, beet, cabbage, carrots, lettuce, new potatoes, artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, mangetout, peas, radish, spinach, spring onions, spring greens, watercress, kohlrabi, turnips, rhubarb, redcurrants, strawberries, gooseberries.
Meat: lamb, wood pigeon.
Fish: grey mullet, black bream, gurnard, pollock, whiting, mackerel, lobster, whelks, clams, cockles, coley, crabs, crayfish, flounder, grouper, gurnards, herring, megrim, scallops. 

Sow:
beetroot, calabrese, lettuce, salsify/scorzonera, french/runner beans, kale, carrots, cauliflower (mini only), salad onions, (sugar) peas, radish, kohlrabi, mooli, turnip, chicory, fennel, courgettes, marrows and pumpkins.
Sow swede and sweetcorn in early June. If the soil is above 25°C, sow crisphead, cos or little Gem only. 
Plant out: courgettes, cabbage, sprouting broccoli, sprouts, celery, celeriac, ridge cucumbers, runner/french beans, pumpkins, tomatoes, sweet corn. 

Sow a green manure cover crop on any bare ground. Buckwheat, phacelia, mustard and fenugreek are quick growing green manures that can be sown now. They’ll help to improve the ground, suppress weeds, make a good ground cover for beetles and other predators and, if you let them flower, buckwheat and phacelia are very attractive to bees – and people. Green manure seeds are available from The Organic Gardening Catalogue.

BROAD BEAN SOUP
115g chopped onion, 1-2 cloves chopped garlic, 60g butter, 340g broad beans (weighed after shelling), 3 bean pods, chopped sage or parsley,  salt, pepper, 6 tblsp double cream.
Cook onion and garlic gently in butter for 3 mins without colouring. Add beans, pods, 1l water and a tblsp of chopped sage or 2 of parsley. Simmer until beans are cooked (10 mins). Discard pods, liquidise. Stir in cream, season.

SCANTY HARVEST SOUP for 2. 
Radishes bolted? Nothing else in the garden? Don't despair - this soup is one of the best I've made.
(Bolted) radish green with its (bolted) radishes, onion, 1-2 garlic clove(s), 1 tblsp sour cream, 1 tblsp peanut butter, water/stock, (cayenne) pepper, salt. 
Slice onion and garlic, saute in butter for a min., add plenty of chopped radishes with their leaves, even when bolted. Saute for a few more minutes, add water/stock. Cook till everything is soft. Loosen peanut butter with the hot liquid, add to the soup along with the sour cream, blitz if you like, season. You can leave out the peanutbutter, or add tomato puree instead.
  



PEAS, BROAD BEANS, GOAT CHEESE, RADISH and MINT with FLAT PASTA 
200g podded peas, 200g podded broad beans, 300g pasta pref. flat, 100g goat cheese like Ticklemore, olive oil, mint, finely sliced radishes. 
Cook peas and beans for 2 mins., drain. Cook pasta in salted water. Just before the pasta is ready, saute the peas and beans in oil, then add drained pasta, stir. At the very last, add shaved cheese, radishes, and mint. Stir and season, add a bit more oil if wanted, serve immediately.

LAMB and RHUBARB RAGOUT
500g stewing lamb, 1 chopped onion, oil, 500g carrots and 300g rhubarb both cut in 2 cm pieces, 150ml water, parsley, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, ginger, pepper. 
Brown lamb with onion in oil. Add everything bar the parsley. Cover, bring to boil. Simmer for 1 hr, stir often. Serve over noodles, sprinkle with parsley.
  
SPRING GREENS and PEAS in CREAM CHEESE
200 grams shredded spring greens, 3 sliced garlic cloves, 200 grams diced bacon, 100 grams peas, 200 grams cream cheese, handful of basil, black pepper, 2 cups pasta.
Cook greens in water for 5 mins until slightly wilted and tender. Saute garlic for 1-2 mins, then add drained spring greens. Fry for 5 mins, add peas and cream cheese and stir until melted. Add a teensie bit of water, cover and cook for 7-10 min until peas are done. Add torn basil and pepper. In another pan prepare pasta in the usual way. Drain and mix in the cheesey sauce. 

GREENS and FISH
450g spinach or chard, some leaves of sorrel, garlic clove, 900g thin fish fillets, salt, pepper, nice bread (onion, thyme, ginger) 
Split leaves from stalks if using perennial spinach, and cut them all. Season the fish. Boil little bit of water, add the cut stalks if any, cook for 3-5 minutes. Then add the rest of the greens and chopped garlic, put the fish on top, cover. Cook for about 15 minutes, no longer.
Place bread on a plate and add fish, greens and liquid,which should't be too much by now.
This is surprisingly nice, but to improve it still, fry plenty of onions with some ginger and thyme, and add that to the mass.

SPRING GREENS with ANCHOVIES, CREME FRAICHE, LEMON and PINE NUTS
Spring greens, anchovies, garlic, balsamic vinegar, crème fraîche, lemon juice, pine nuts, salt, pepper.
Dry roast pine nuts. Remove stems from the cabbage and chop. Chop garlic. Drop both into boiling salted water for 6 mins. Drain, save liquid for stock. Melt at least 4-5 anchovies in some of their oil and maybe a little bit more olive oil. Cook gently until they break down and soften. Add balsamic vinegar, some lemon juice and plenty of creme fraiche and freshly ground pepper. Tip greens into the mix and stir to warm and coat it. Put on mashed potatoes, pine nuts on top, serve immediately. 

CARPACCIO of KOHLRABI with RADISHES and BLUE CHEESE
2 small, young kohlrabi, 6 radishes, 4 tblsp extra-virgin olive oil, 4 tsp cider vinegar, a pinch of English mustard powder, blue cheese, flaky sea salt, pepper.
Strip leaves off the kohlrabi and cut off tops and bottoms. Using a mandolin, cut into paper-thin slices. Do the same with the radishes. Arrange kohlrabi and radish on a platter. Whisk oil, white wine vinegar and mustard powder together, drizzle over the slices. Season and sprinkle with crumbled blue cheese. Serve immediately.



1] www.nhs.uk/news/2011/09September/Pages/dark-chocolate-and-fitness.aspx[2] www.xocoatl.org/harvest.htm
[3] The raw version of chocolate really does arouse passions, both for and against. If you're really interested, read the following and draw your own conclusions! 
Against: www.holistichelp.net/blog/is-raw-cacao-really-healthy/ and 
www.living-foods.com/articles/toxiccacao.html
For: www.naturalnews.com/022610_cacao_chocolate_raw.html (better than:)
www.highonhealth.org/is-cacao-good-or-bad/
In between: www.highonhealth.org/is-cacao-good-or-bad/


Photograph peas/beans: Catherine Lee 'Growing Well'