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.