Saturday, 1 October 2016

October 2016: bread








GIVE US TODAY OUR DAILY BREAD! 


As the Good Lord is slowly disappearing from many lives, so is his bread. For breakfast we have cereals - meaning cornflakes, weetabix or worse [1]. Alternatively there are crackers or crispbread. For lunch it is increasingly common, if you’re working, to pick up a sandwich from a nearby bakery - unless it’s a bap, a brioche, or a plain hot dog. 
And when we buy ‘normal’ sliced brown, in a supermarket, or in that sandwich, this is what we get. 

After World War II, breeders developed wheat strains which delivered higher yields thanks to intensive applications of herbicides and pesticides. At the same time, the amount of minerals and vitamins in the grain went down: modern wheats are 30-40 per cent poorer in iron, zinc and magnesium than the old strains. 
Sulphur and nitrogen were put on the wheat to boost growth. The resulting flour has nearly double the number of omega-gliadins - known to trigger inflammatory reactions in the gut of sensitive people.
In the sixties the Chorleywood Bread Process appeared [2], which is still how most breads are made today. This speeds up baking dramatically, using enormous amounts of energy, additives and yeast.
Before Chorleywood, bakers took time to let their dough rise. The very little yeast they put in multiplied, and reacted with the flour: this produced enough gas to aerate the bread. Time ripened the dough, making it tastier. More importantly: as dough ferments, those parts of the protein which trigger bowel disease and other auto-immune and inflammatory reactions to gluten, are neutralised.
And then there are the additives. To avoid too many frightening chemical names, manufacturers are now allowed to group them under bland headings such as ‘flour treatment agent’ and ‘emulsifier’. These additives are derived from substances that would never normally form part of the human diet.
It was also found that the right mixture of enzymes produces light fluffy bread and stops it from going stale. What’s more: these enzymes don’t have to be declared! A loophole in the regulations classifies most enzymes as ‘processing aids’, not additives. Baking magazines even carry advertisements for ‘clean label’ improvers - cocktails of emulsifiers and enzymes, often genetically modified, which can be used without any mention on the label ….. [3]

So - what to buy instead? 

The ‘Real Bread Finder’ [4] helps you on your way. Although it does not (yet) mention quite a few decent local bakeries that I know of, it’s a start.

If you want to keep it simple, just follow these rules:
  • Bread from a wholefood shop you can normally trust.
  • Small local bakeries are more likely to deliver the goods than supermarkets.
  • If your bread goes stale quickly, this is a good sign. It means fewer preservatives have been used. Mind you, stale bread is easier to digest, and personally I prefer it to fresh. 
  • Most of us know by now that supermarkets pump out the smell of freshly baked bread in the bread aisle, so you think you’re buying freshly-baked loaves. Smell it when you’re home. 
  • Recent studies found that, among commercially baked breads, sourdough is by far best for you and your digestion. They compared three types of bread: the ‘normal’ kind you buy in supermarkets (reconstituted whole wheat flour = white flour plus bran, a typical formulation. Sounds good, doesn’t it!), yeast bread and sourdough bread [5]. The latter came out with flying colours. In sourdough the absorption of iron, zinc, and copper is enhanced, and the content of phytate, which prevents absorption of calcium, is lower [6]. 
  • To bake, yourself, simple, slow and good bread — no kneading! Here's a recipe: [7].
  • If you are using gluten-free bread, beware! Give all supermarket gluten-free products a very wide berth, says Ingrid Eissfeldt in ‘The madness of mainstream gluten-free bread’ [8], sketching horrors which would put anyone off. However, if you follow the above advice, you might not need it anymore! Otherwise, spelt or rye bread from a wholefood shop or a decent baker seems the best idea. 
And, just out of interest, in 2006 the Pesticide Action Network UK published the government's own test results which detected pesticide contamination in 78% of British bread [9].






EAT:
Veg: celeriac, turnip, beet, broccoli, cabbage, calabrese, carrots, cauliflower, chard, fennel, kohlrabi, runner beans, salsify/scorzonera, spinach, tomatoes, Jerusalem/globe artichokes, brussels', chicory, endive, swede, celery, corn salad, leek, peas/mange tout, courgettes, marrow, pumpkin/squash, (white) radish, rocket, spring onions, watercress, sweetcorn.
Meat: rabbit, goose, grouse, guinea fowl, partridge, pheasant, wood pigeon, duck, venison, squirrel.
Fishcrab, clam, cuttlefish, lobster, mackerel, mussels, scallop, sprats, cockles, black bream, gurnard, winkle, pollack, grey mullet, American signal crayfish.

SOW:
broad beans, land cress, round seeded peas, chinese leaves, corn salad, winter purslane, winter lettuce.
Plant rhubarb sets; spring cabbage; garlic; autumn onion sets if the weather is good. The garlic should be suited for autumn planting. Don't use your old cloves! Plant out spring cabbage and, in South England, cabbages and winter/spring lettuce.
What else can you still do in the garden? See www.thompson-morgan.com/what-to-do-in-the-garden-in-october.


RECIPES

CURRIED POTATO, CARROT and BROCCOLI SOUP for 8
1 tblsp olive oil, 2 chopped onions, 2 large diced potatoes, 1 large sliced carrot, 1 head of broccoli, stems trimmed and diced, florets broken into small pieces, 1 tsp curry powder or more, 700ml water/stock, 200ml whole milk, 1 1/2 tsp sea salt, pepper, (grated cheddar for garnish optional).
Sauté the onions until translucent. Add potatoes, carrot, broccoli stems and curry powder: stir. Raise heat and pour in stock/water. Bring to the boil, reduce heat, and cook for 20 mins or until the veg are tender. Stir in milk and heat up again. Remove from heat and purée a portion of the soup with a hand blender — a larger portion if you prefer a creamier soup, or a smaller portion if you prefer it chunky. Season. Add broccoli florets and simmer for 3-4 mins or until they have turned bright green. Serve hot with grated cheddar if desired.

WHITE FISH with APPLE SAUCE
Ab. 650g white fish fillets like coley, pollack, whiting; 2 cooking apples, 1 large chopped onion, 2 tbslp oil, 2 tsp curry powder, 2 tsp ground coriander, 1 tsp cumin, 300ml fish stock/water, chives, 1 tsp salt (lemon juice, coconut milk).
Sauté onion until lightly browned. Core and slice apples and add to pan, together with everything bar the fish. Let cook slowly for 20 mins. Add fish to the sauce and simmer uncovered for 10 mins, until it flakes easily. Taste, season if necessary and add chives. You can also add lemon juice and coconut milk.
Good with rice and peas. 

For more recipes, see the same months in the past few years. Or look at https://thoughtforfoodaw.wordpress.com, which still has a selection of 8. 





[1] See also Thought for Food August 2012: click on 2016 on the right hand side of this page. By the way, did you know weetabix contains added sugar? Of the familiar cereals, only shredded wheat (not shreddies!) has not additives whatsoever. 
[9] And in 90% of oranges, 59% of bananas, 78% of apples, 71% of cereal bars, 83% of oily fish! See www.pan-uk.org/food/best-worst-food-for-pesticide-residues.
NEXT MONTH: Intuitive eating? 




October 2015: salt (II)


SALT (II)



Natural salt is an essential element in the diet of humans, animals, even of many plants. Its use is as old as history. It contains vast amounts of minerals which are essential to our functioning.
Our bodies crave salt. Our blood contains 0.9% salt, which maintains the delicate balance of sodium throughout our bodies. Just about every system needs salt to make it work, and it is especially important for our nervous systems.

On the labels in supermarkets and health food shops, the word 'sea salt' appears often. However, this  'sea salt', has been totally refined. Originally it may have come from the sea, but has been artifially degraded and heated to crack its molecular structure. It has been robbed of its essential minerals, which are, after all, much more valuable if sold to be used on their own. It has been adulterated by chemical additives to make it free-flowing, bleached, and iodised.

When salt is being harvested, the water is naturally evaporated by the sun: dirty brown salt is left on the bottom and pretty white salt at the top. As most people are used to the pretty white version, the top salt is skimmed off and called 'sea salt'. Unfortunately, the trace minerals are mostly in the brown stuff at the bottom …
The best natural salt is not white and it is not dry. It is grayish and feels a bit damp.  It must be labelled 'unrefined, no additives added'. It usually comes in a bag or jar. 
However, the 'fine sea salt without additives' which you see in wholefood shops, is a whole lot better than table salt. This refined salt is 99.9% sodium-chloride. It contains additives like potassium iodide, sugar - to stabilize the iodine and as an anti-caking chemical - and aluminum silicate.
The result of consuming table salt is the formation of overly acidic edema, or excess fluid in the body tissue. That’s why doctors tell us to avoid salt. 
Natural salt, on the other hand: helps stabilize heartbeats, clear lungs of mucus and phlegm, balance sugar levels, absorb food, and maintain libido. It prevents muscle cramps, osteoporosis and gout, and clears catarrh and sinus congestion. See also [1].

People who suffer from high blood pressure tend to have an improper balance of salt/potassium. If you are trying to bring down your blood pressure, you want to stop or limit consumption of table salt, and replace this by proper natural salt. It also helps if you consume more potassium-rich foods such as leafy greens, prunes, apricots, bananas, broccoli  and beetroot. [2]

Listen to your body. Let your salt craving dictate how much salt to consume. But let it be good salt. 

~~~~~~~~~

BY THE WAY:
The New Scientist of 14/8/15 tells us that eating more trans fats is linked to coronary heart disease. However, eating saturated fats is absolutely fine
Most advice recommends limiting consumption of saturated fats, which are found in butter, milk, meat and egg, due to the risk of developing heart disease. But Russell de Souza of McMaster University in Ontario could not find a clear association between these fats and the chances of heart/cardiovascular disease.
This wasn’t the case with industrial trans fats, made by hydrogenating plant oils and found in refined/packaged or ‘partially hydrogenated’ food [3]. Eating more trans fat is associated with a 28% rise in the risk of dying of heart disease.
Who knew? Well …… see Thought for Food March ’10, June ’10, Oct ’13 …..

~~~~~~~~~



EAT:
Veg: celeriac, turnip, beet, broccoli, cabbage, calabrese, carrots, cauliflower, chard, fennel, kohlrabi, runner beans, salsify/scorzonera, spinach, tomatoes, Jerusalem/globe artichokes, brussels', chicory, endive, swede, celery, corn salad, leek, peas/mange tout, courgettes, marrow, pumpkin/squash, (white) radish, rocket, spring onions, watercress, sweetcorn.
Meat: rabbit, goose, grouse, guinea fowl, partridge, pheasant, wood pigeon, duck, venison, squirrel.
Fish: crab, clam, cuttlefish, lobster, mackerel, mussels, scallop, sprats, cockles, black bream, gurnard, winkle, pollack, grey mullet, American signal crayfish.

SOW:
broad beans, land cress, round seeded peas, chinese leaves, corn salad, winter purslane, winter lettuce
Plant rhubarb sets; spring cabbage; garlic; autumn onion sets if the weather is good. The garlic should be suited for autumn planting. Don't use old cloves! Plant out spring cabbage and, in the South, cabbages and winter/spring lettuce.


RECIPES




PUMPKIN SOUP - what do do with the pumpkin contents at Halloween?
200g peeled and deseeded pumpkin, 1 onion, 1-2 garlic cloves, celery leaves, coriander leaves or seeds, ½ l water/stock, butter, seasoning.
Cube pumpkin, sauté with crushed coriander seeds, chopped onion and garlic in butter for a few mins. Add liquid and chopped celery leaves (or -seeds), cook till the pumpkin is soft. Squash or puree, maybe add some water if it's got too thick, season. 


GARLIC BROCCOLI WITH COCONUT-PEANUT SAUCE (vegan and gluten-free)
Broccoli for 4, chopped into florets and small stems; 2-3 chopped garlic cloves, olive oil.
Sauce: 240ml coconut milk, 2½ tbsp peanut butter, ½ tsp sea salt, ½ tsp nice vinegar, ½ 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 for 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.

CURRIED SQUASH/PUMPKIN and GREENS
Ab. 300g cleaned squash meat, 4 tblsp butter, 1 tsp turmeric, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp coriander, ¼ tsp garam masala or curry powder, ¼ tsp ginger, ¼ tsp cinnamon or cardamom, 1 tsp sea salt, 2 tblsp olive oil, (cayenne); ab. 250g cleaned greens: kale, collards, 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.

BROCCOLI CHEESE SOUP
1 tblsp butter, 1 chopped onion, 60ml butter and 60ml flour, 1l stock/water, 200g chopped broccoli, 100g carrots, salt and pepper, ¼ tsp nutmeg, grated sharp cheddar.
Saute onion in butter: set aside. Make a roux with the 60ml butter and 60ml flour as follows: melt butter, add flour using a whisk. Add liquid bit by bit, slowly, adding more only when it boils. After a while you can add the rest more quickly, whisking all the time*. Add broccoli, carrots and onions. Cook over low heat until the veggies are tender for 20-25 minutes. Season. Blend or puree if you like. Stir in some cheese and the nutmeg, serve with more cheese.
* If you use brown flour, it’s easier!
KOHLRABI MASH 
Chop 2 pounds kohlrabi. Cook in boiling salted water until soft, about 20 mins; drain. Puree with 1 tblsp each heavy cream and butter; season. Drizzle with olive oil and top with chopped parsley. 

CABBAGE and SARDINES for 2 
(Mike liked this, I wasn't sure. Try for yourself! A lot must depend on the quality of the fish)
½ cabbage, 1 large tin spicy sardines in tomato sauce (or add spices yourself), 2 tblsp butter, 1 onion, 120ml water, salt, seasonings.
Chop cabbage and onion. Sauté onion until soft. Add sardines, cabbage and water, let simmer for 5 mins. Season.

FENNEL and CELERY SALAD
Cut 2 fennel bulbs in quarters lengthwise, discard outer layer if tough. Slice quarters very thinly; slice three celery ribs equally thin. Put it all in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice. Season and combine. If liked, top with lots of grated mature cheese and chopped fennel fronds.

This one's so lovely, wholesome and easy. I can't resist mentioning this, although it's not often people spot an endive/escarole in their shop/back garden. If you want to grow some yourself, make sure it's an escarole type. Here it is:
DUTCH ENDIVE MASH (Andijviestamppot)
1k starchy potatoes, ab. 250g endive, large onion, 150gr cubed bacon or cheese, vinegar, milk, butter, salt, pepper.
Cook potatoes as usual. Chop endive finely, drain well. Fry bacon and onion gently in butter. Mash potatoes. Put endive on mash, pour bacon with fat over it, mix. If dry, add milk or butter. Let everything heat through, but the endive must stay more or less raw.
In Holland they use 'rookworst' instead of bacon, but that is not easy to get here. Cheese instead is fine.




[2] Plus mushrooms, tomatoes, carrots, potatoes, peas/beans, yoghurt, molasses, (shell)fish, beef, poultry and raw fennel! See also http://wakeup-world.com/2012/05/21/good-salt-bad-salt/.
[3] Trans fats are found in margarine, vegetable shortening, ice-cream, puddings & pudding mixes, ready-made pies, cakes and cake mixes, biscuits, pizza, potato chips, fritters, doughnuts, gravy and sauce mixes, artificial creamers, confectionery and other processed foods, including many foods marketed at children, including some sugary breakfast cereals. They are also commonly found in restaurant food, especially - but not only - in fast food. So inspect the ingredients before you buy, looking for hydrogenated vegetable oil, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, vegetable shortening, and margarine. (http://www.tfx.org.uk/page13.html)

October 2014: the common cold


THE COMMON COLD












 PREVENTION


is best, of course. If your body is in good condition you won't catch a cold, even if your spouse is infected.
There are various ways to try and achieve this.

Consume enough vitamins and minerals, ideally in real foods. Eating an apple, for instance, is much better than taking a vitamin C tablet. The apple contains fiber, potassium, vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, E and K, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, folate, calcium, iron, protein quercetin and pectin: all in a form that is ideally suited to make best use of this vitamin C. 

Rule 1: eat more FRESH VEGETABLES and FRUIT, healthy proteins and whole foods.

Particularly important to prevent or lighten a cold, are the following:
Zinc, in: meat, shellfish, yoghurt, beans, whole grains, peas, milk, nuts, seeds, mushrooms.
Vitamin C: oranges, grapefruit, strawberries, tomatoes, red peppers, broccoli, potatoes.
Selenium: nuts especially brazils, mushrooms, meat, whole cereals.
Vitamin E: sunflower seeds, almonds.
Probiotics boost the immune system. Live yoghurt is by far best: 'probiotic supplements' rarely work [1]. Or take miso, sauerkraut, or properly fermented pickles. [2]

Useful foods are for instance:
Garlic: it's health effects are strongest if you cut or squash it 5 minutes before use, and then don't cook it for longer than 15 minutes [3]. For the full effect, eat it raw: I used to give it to my kids in a spoonful of honey [4].
Grapefruit: best of the citrus [5]. But beware, for grapefruit may interact with prescription medications [6].
Mushrooms contain beta-glucans for the immune system; plus anti-oxidants, vit B2 and B3.
Spinach contains vitamin C, E and zinc.

Rule 2: hydration. DRINK REGULARLY. This will keep your mucous membranes soft and moist, preventing tiny cracks that allow viruses and bacteria to enter

Other things you can do to build up your immune system are: get enough sleep and rest; take regular exercise (preferably outdoors) and, maybe hardest of all: control your stress levels. [7]




ONCE YOU HAVE IT

you can still influence the extent of your suffering. It's too late for vitamin C, but not for:

lots of hot! drinks:
Drink plenty of warm water with a pinch of sea salt. This should be as warm as possible, yet not hot. The water will relieve soreness in the throat and the sea salt (not table salt) helps break up accumulating mucus and congestion in the chest.
However, plenty of warm, soothing liquids such as tea, broths, soup are all good. Drink something every hour while awake if possible. [8]

spicy foods
Spicy foods may also reduce congestion associated with the common cold. For this reason, hot peppers, miso and spicy international dishes such as Indian or Thai curries and Asian stir-fries may prove helpful.

chicken soup
Chicken soup is often mentioned as a tasty and healing comfort during a cold. It is - but especially if homemade. For the proper way to make it, see [9], or for a simpler recipe, [10].
Once made, freeze in batches and enjoy whenever you feel the need.

honey
A recipe mentioned by many is the following: take a tablespoon lukewarm honey with 1/4 spoon cinnamon powder daily for three days. This process should cure most chronic coughs and colds, and will clear the sinuses. [11]

ginger tea [12]

quercetin, a powerful antioxidant which reduces inflammation, contains natural anti-histamine and anti-inflammatory properties. In onions, apples w. skin, blueberries, grapes, black beans, red cabbage, and ginger. [13]

Try to avoid:
sugary foods/drinks; mucus-forming dairy esp. milk; junk food; heavy, high-fat food; alcohol and tobacco. Fruit juice is not ideal either, as it contains too much sugar, though fruit itself is of course excellent.

And keep warm! [14]

PS Did you know that Scandinavians have been taught to sneeze and cough in their elbows? That way you don't pass on the germs so easily.

PPS Sugar = poison. I’ve said it before and I say it again. Read the interview with ‘maverick scientist’ Robert Lustig in last month's Guardian. [15]

EAT:
Veg: celeriac, turnip, beet, broccoli, cabbage, calabrese, carrots, cauliflower, chard, fennel, kohlrabi, runner beans, salsify/scorzonera, spinach, tomatoes, Jerusalem/globe artichokes, brussels', chicory, endive, swede, celery, corn salad, leek, peas/mange tout, courgettes, marrow, pumpkin/squash, (white) radish, rocket, spring onions, watercress, sweetcorn.
Meat: rabbit, goose, grouse, guinea fowl, partridge, pheasant, wood pigeon, duck, venison, squirrel.
Fish: crab, clam, cuttlefish, lobster, mackerel, mussels, scallop, sprats, cockles, black bream, gurnard, winkle, pollack, grey mullet, American signal crayfish.

SOW:

broad beans, land cress, round seeded peas, winter lettuce, corn salad, Chinese leaves. Field beans are the only green manure you can still sow in October.
Plant rhubarb sets; garlic; autumn onion sets if the weather is good. The garlic should be suited for autumn planting. Don't use old cloves! Plant out spring cabbage and, in the South, cabbages and winter/spring lettuce.



RECIPES:

CHICKEN SOUP for BEGINNERS
Half an (organic) chicken, onion, potato, vegetables like parsnip, turnip, carrots, celery
Put chicken in a pot with water to cover. Bring to boil and add, for instance: 1 onion, 1 potato, 1 parsnip, 1 turnip, 5 carrots. Cook on low fire for about  hours. Add seasalt. Then add 3 ribs of celery and a bunch of parsley; cook till all the veg are very soft. Remove the chicken and use elsewhere. Blend, season. Once made, you can freeze it in batches.

GINGER TEA: traditional Thai cold remedy.
5cm piece fresh ginger, 2 stalks lemongrass, 1.5l water, 3 tblsp honey, (1 tsp chilli)
Peel ginger, slice thinly. Trim and cut lemongrass. Bring ginger, lemongrass, and water to a boil. Remove from heat, add honey, stir. Let steep partially uncovered for 15 mins. Strain, serve immediately.

WARM APPLE-CABBAGE SLAW 
360ml shredded cabbage, 1 sliced apple, 1/4 cup broth or water, cider (or other nice) vinegar, seasalt. Herbs/spices as liked (such as coriander, cumin, caraway, fennel, bay, juniper, thyme, paprika powder, savory, thyme, marjoram)
Cook cabbage and apple in the liquid until soft. Stir in vinegar and salt.

FRIED MARROW, CARROT and ONION with SOUR CREAM
1/2 - 1 marrow, 1 carrot, 1 onion, 2-3 tblsp sour cream, parsley, salt, pepper
Peel and cube marrow, add salt and fry for 15 mins. Cut carrot very fine, onion too, add salt, fry these separate from the marrow for 10 mins. Mix all together, add pepper, fry 5 mins. Switch off fire, add sour cream. Serve with parsley on top.

SWEET and SOUR CABBAGE   
1/2 kg firm white or red cabbage, 1 cooking apple, 1 tblsp butter, 1 tblsp flour, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp caraway seeds, 1/4 litre cold water, (1 tsp honey, 1/2 tblsp vinegar).
Mix spices with the flour. Shred cabbage. Slice apple. Heat butter and add cabbage, apple, flour/ spices in layers. Pour cold stock over all this. Cover and cook until cabbage has become tender. Shake now and then, but don’t stir. Add liquid if it becomes dry, and more seasoning if necessary. Lovely with ham and pork.

SPICY STEW of LAMB or MUTTON (or any other meat, if need be)
1k diced mutton, and as much of the following as you have: cayenne/chili, ginger, coriander, turmeric, cumin, ground cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, salt, onions, thyme, curry, bay leaf, rosemary, tomato puree, masala, garlic.
Mix meat with salt, pepper, thyme, chopped onions, ginger, garlic, other spices and some olive oil. Cover, chill at least 1 hr or overnight. Put in pan, cook 30-60 mins. If more cooking is needed, pour 60 ml water at a time down the sides of the pot, not directly on to the meat, and give it a bit longer. If there's not enough sauce, add another 60ml water and simmer for 5-10 more minutes, stirring occasionally.

SAUTEED SPINACH with GARLIC and WHITE WINE, serves 2.
250g spinach, 3 minced garlic cloves, 2 tblsp olive oil, 130ml (cheap) white wine
Heat oil: when hot but not smoking, toss in garlic and move it around constantly. Once it becomes fragrant (very quickly), drop all the spinach into the pan and stir. Once it begins to wilt slightly, pour wine over it. Don't cook it for too long – you want the leaves to still be bright green when you take it off.

SPAGHETTI with ANCHOVIES, CHILLI and GARLIC, serves 2.
200g spaghetti (or linguine or tagliatelle), extra-virgin olive oil,, 6-8 anchovy fillets in oil (or 10-12 if you love them), 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped or chilli powder, 2 sliced cloves garlic, salt, lots of parsley
Cook spaghetti al dente. Meanwhile, heat oil very gently in a heavy-bottomed small deep pan (you can use oil from the anchovy tin). Add anchovies and chilli and cook for 2 mins, crushing the anchovies. Add garlic, cook for 30-60 secs: don't let it colour. Mix in the drained pasta. Transfer to warmed dishes. Give the pasta some extra oil and freshly ground pepper, and serve with the chopped parsley on top.



[1] http://www.express.co.uk/life-style/health/509785/Brits-are-wasting-millions-of-pounds-of-probiotic-drinks
[2] www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/probiotic-foods/
[3] http://whfoods.org/genpage.php?tname=george&dbid=136
[4] The same holds for onions, only onions need to wait 10 minutes after being cut up.
[5] http://holistic-online.com/Remedies/Flu/cold_nutrition-and-diet-for-cold.htm
[6] http://holistic-online.com/Herbal-Med/_Herbs/grapefruit-interactions-home.htm
[7] http://www.futurefit.co.uk/nutrition/news-and-views/2014/03/17/can-what-you-eat-prevent-the-common-cold/
[8] http://holistic-online.com/Remedies/Flu/cold_nutrition-and-diet-for-cold.htm
[9] www.seedsofhealth.co.uk/articles/joys_of_stock.shtml
http://holisticsquid.com/making-chicken-bone-broth-from-basic-to-adventurous/
www.savorylotus.com/easy-bone-broth-chicken/
www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/broth-is-beautiful/
www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/soup-stenance/
http://theconsciouslife.com/natural-remedies-for-colds-and-flu.htm
Or if you prefer a video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=4w9RJrXe9zw
[10] http://juicing-for-health.com/fun-free-recipes/juicing-by-health-conditions/natural-cold-remedies.html
[11] www.freehealthcures.com/honeyandcinnamon.htm
[12] www.top10homeremedies.com/home-remedies/home-remedies-for-common-cold.html
[13] http://eholistic.com/article/detail.php?article=simple_holistic_approach_to_fight_the_common_cold
[14] www.karenhurd.com/pages/healthtopics/specifichealthconcerns/ht-shc-coldsandupperrespiratoryflu.html
[15] http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/aug/24/robert-lustig-sugar-poison

There are innumerable websites devoted to the common cold. Here are some of the better ones:
http://us6.campaign-archive2.com/?u=adef8e40ed227ddc91f55263a&id=d009772ef6&e=4c97c09ce5
www.top10homeremedies.com/home-remedies/home-remedies-for-common-cold.html
http://www.ourheritageofhealth.com/5-foods-to-fight-a-cold-without-medicine/

NEXT TIME: THROATS








October 2013: cooking with fats







USING FATS


My neighbour, who keeps pigs, gave us some ribs. We cooked them, saved the fat and I was happy: finally I had managed to get some decent stuff for frying.
For years I have not been able to fry with a clear conscience. Olive oil? Doesn't like the heat. Butter? Burns easily. My husband buys dripping from a good butcher - ideal for the purpose, but the toxins collect in the fat, don't they? Oh, for organic dripping!
So I have decided to do some research. What do you use if you want to fry really hot? And what is so wrong about good old lard?

Fats are vital for health. Withouth them, nothing works. All fats are a mix of 'good' and 'bad' fats, but some have more good, others more of the bad.
'Good' fats protect you from cancer; 'bad' fats allow it, for instance by compromising the integrity of the cell membranes.
Good fats come from fish, egg yolks, nuts, seeds, olives, and unrefined oils.
Bad fats like trans fats, result from high-heat commercial processing. Your body is unable to deal with them, so they take the place of good fats in your cell membranes. Sources of bad fats are: refined oils, partially hydrogenated oils and commercially deep-fried foods.
Although very small amounts of trans fats occur naturally in milk, cheese, beef or lamb, these do not share the harmful properties of synthetic trans fat.
Saturated fat is not very good, but it's not particularly bad, either. At least your body knows how to burn it for energy. It is also naturally chemically stable, giving it a long shelf life, and the ability to withstand high cooking temperatures.

For use cold, buy only unrefined or extra-virgin, for even 'cold-pressed' oils may have been heated and worse, before pressing. [1]
Unfortunately, these unrefined oils spoil quickly if heated up. They smoke, which makes them harmful after all.
For deep frying or really hot cooking, use dripping, lard, tallow, suet - these are all animal fats. They don't burn. They are naturally saturated fats which aren't harmed by heat. Unrefined oil or butter you ought to use only if you sauté below 160°C/320°F, and then you have to heat it up very slowly. [2]

Nowadays, saturated fats are perceived as harmful. For explanations as to why, on the contrary, they are good for you, see [3].
If you do start to use animal fat though, it should it come from a trusted source. Here are two, though a reputable local butcher might not be too bad either. [4]
An excellent explanation of this subject is given in www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/cooking-with-olive-oil-yea-or-nay/. For more, see [5].
Next time: cholesterol made easy!

STOP PRESS: The Pesticide Action Network tells us that the worst ten foods for pesticide residues in the UK are, in order: flour, potatoes, bread, apples, pears, grapes, strawberries, green beans, tomatoes and cucumbers [6].

EAT:
Veg: celeriac, turnip, beet, broccoli, cabbage, calabrese, carrots, cauliflower, chard, fennel, kohlrabi, runner beans, salsify/scorzonera, spinach, tomatoes, Jerusalem/globe artichokes, brussels', chicory, endive, swede, celery, corn salad, leek, peas/mange tout, courgettes, marrow, pumpkin/squash, (white) radish, rocket, spring onions, watercress, sweetcorn.
Meat: rabbit, goose, grouse, guinea fowl, partridge, pheasant, wood pigeon, duck, venison, squirrel.
Fish: crab, clam, cuttlefish, lobster, mackerel, mussels, scallop, sprats, cockles, black bream, gurnard, winkle, pollack, grey mullet, American signal crayfish.

SOW: broad beans, land cress, round seeded peas.
Plant rhubarb sets; spring cabbage; garlic; autumn onion sets if the weather is good. The garlic should be suited for autumn planting. Don't use old cloves! Plant out spring cabbage and, in the South, cabbages and winter/spring lettuce.

You don't want bare soil in winter. Try and protect it somehow, to maintain fertility and structure. Green manures or leafmould are the best options. Or leave plant debris, such as a pile of runner bean foliage, covering the soil in winter.
For green manures, this is your last chance. Field beans are the only reliable option for this time of year, though you may get results from grazing rye in milder areas. The Organic Gardening Catalogue carries a wide range of green manures for all soils and situations.

BEETROOT and CELERY SALAD
2 eggs, 2 beet, 3 sticks celery, 4 tblsp olive oil, 2 tblsp vinegar or lemon juice, lettuce leaves, salt, pepper.
Hard boil eggs, slice. Grate raw beet (or slice, if you prefer it cooked) and chop celery, mix, dress. Serve over lettuce, eggs on top.

BRAISED CABBAGE with CARAWAY, CARROTS and CREME FRAICHE
600g cabbage, 3 carrots sliced into 2mm rounds, 3 tblsp olive oil, 120ml water, 2 tsp toasted caraway or cumin seeds, 200ml creme fraiche, paprika powder, (soy sauce) salt, pepper.
Sauté carrots, cabbage and paprika powder in oil for 5 mins while stirring. Add water, salt, and caraway, cover and cook till the veg are tender. If water evaporates before that, add a bit more. Remove pan from heat, fold in crème fraiche, season with salt, pepper and a bit of soy.

AUTUMN VEGETABLE STIR FRY
Use any veg you have, such as: squash, carrot, onion, swede, cauli, 200g chick peas or any cooked beans, spinach, 2 tbsp oil, 2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce or chilli powder, salt, (1 tbsp peanut butter), soy.
Chop squash and swede into 1 cm cubes, sauté for 5 mins, covered. Slice onion, add and cook for 2 mins, stirring regularly. Add cauli florets, carrot pieces, Cook for 3 mins, stirring regularly. Add chopped spinach and beans, cook for 2 mins, still covered. You may want to add a bit of water so it won't burn. When the veg are almost done, mix chilli (sauce) with peanut butter, soy, seasoning, maybe some water. Put with veg and stir for 2 mins.

AUTUMN SALAD with SPINACH and FENNEL
400g spinach, 200g Florence fennel, 400g couscous, 100g mushrooms, tin of sardines in oil, 1 onion, salt, pepper, lemon juice (paprika powder).
Make couscous according to directions. Chop vegetable ingredients. Pour the tin of sardines into a pan and warm gently for 1-2 mins, then add onion, mushrooms, and a little bit later the spinach/fennel mix. Heat till done to your liking. Once the couscous has absorbed its liquid, add all this, stir and season. Add lemon juice slowly, tasting in between so you get the right piquancy. Heat everything through if you like, serve.

SPICY PASTA with TINNED FISH for 2.
1 tin fish in tomato sauce, 1 Florence fennel, 1 carrot, 100g pasta or more, smallish onion, 1 clove garlic, plenty of ginger and chilli/cayenne pepper, parsley, butter, salt.
Cook pasta with chopped fennel and carrot in salted water along with ginger and pepper. Meanwhile, sauté chopped onion and garlic. When everything is done, drain pasta/veg and add tomatoed fish and onion/garlic mix. Reheat. Strew on vast amounts of parsley. Season if necessary. Keep the cooking water for soup, especially if it was home grown or organic.

SAVOURY MARROW BAKE
225g grated marrow squeezed dry, 50g plain flour, ½ tsp baking powder, ½ tsp salt, 25g freshly grated cheddar, ½ tblsp minced fresh parsley, 1 tsp chopped oregano, ½ tblsp chopped fresh basil, 2 eggs, 60ml oil, 1small chopped onion.
Preheat oven to 180°C. Combine flour, baking powder, salt, cheese, parsley, oregano and basil. Beat eggs and oil, mix with onion; fold into dry ingredients just until combined. Fold in marrow. Turn into a greased 20x30cm baking dish. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown and set. Cut into squares. Nice with potatoes and some sort of veg.

SOUR CREAM CABBAGE
1 cabbage, sour cream, paprika powder, any herbs/spices you like, 240ml stock/water. 
Cut up cabbage, cook in stock/water (with herbs or spices). Put sour cream in bowl. When cabbage is cooked, pour off the liquid and add (some of) it to the cream, stir. Pour cream mix over the cabbage, reheat very gently, sprinkle with paprika powder.

The CHEAPER CUTS: MARINADE
I like marinading, as you can prepare meat or fish at your leisure whenever it suits you, like the night before. Then put it in the fridge and next day all you have to do is put it on the gas, fire, hob, Aga or Rayburn.
The principle is as follows: make a mix containing oil, acid (vinegar, wine or citrus), salt, pepper and flavourings like onions, garlic, herbs and/or spices. Stir in the meat and leave for at least an hour, or overnight in the fridge.
Marinading is suitable for the cheaper cuts, or for meat which is tough and needs a lot of cooking. If you marinade overnight, you won't have to cook it for so long.
(From: www.marksdailyapple.com/how-to-marinate-meat/#ixzz2OSrv6OQg)






[1] www.treelight.com/health/nutrition/FatFacts.html
[2] www.myhumblekitchen.com/2012/01/how-to-cook-with-extra-virgin-olive-oil-the-right-way-including-an-experimental-video/#sthash.bxvcNlc4.dpbs
[3] www.artandscienceoflowcarb.com/the-sad-saga-of-saturated-fat/
www.kitchenstewardship.com/2009/10/05/food-for-thought-the-evils-of-saturated-fats/
[4] www.laverstokepark.co.uk/from-the-kitchen/laverstoke-park-farm/beef-dripping-400g_ct483bd190pd1848.htm
www.devonrose.com/shop/beef/offal-fats/devon-tender-beef-suet-important-informationplease-click-this-link.html
[5] www.independent.co.uk/life-style/food-and-drink/features/fat-is-back-rediscover-the-delights-of-lard-dripping-and-suet-1642912.html
http://www.treelight.com/health/nutrition/FatFacts.html
http://www.savorylotus.com/top-5-healthy-fats/
http://www.westonaprice.org/know-your-fats
[6] www.pan-uk.org/archive/Projects/Food/

Recommended reading: "Fat: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient, With Recipes" by Jennifer McLagan.

Next issue: in praise of cholesterol.