Tuesday, 1 November 2016

November 2016: intuitive eating


INTUITIVE EATING? 




It sounds ridiculous: ‘intuitive eating’. What else have we done in the last few million years? How did we survive?
It’s not so easy anymore though. We are bombarded with advertisements for foods which were never meant to be eaten; for foods which were fabricated by machines. There’s wise - and well-paid - advise from experts who studied with other experts. Intuition has disappeared down the drain.
Only to be dragged back in 1995 by a book called “Intuitive Eating’ by Tribole and Resch, the “go-to book on rebuilding a healthy body image and making peace with food”. It all sounds too fashionable. Too American.
But can we, down-to-earth Europeans (yes, we are, and will always be, Europeans, whether we like it or not) learn something from this? Something we don’t know?
Here are some tenets of the book.

  1. Reject the diet mentality. Indeed. My attitude to ‘dieting’ is: don’t. See Thought for Food of January 2015. [1] 
  2. Listen to your hunger. Pay attention to your body. If you haven’t got time to pay attention or indeed to eat, your body, and you, will suffer. 
  3. Make peace with food. Restricting certain foods can lead to uncontrollable urges and overeating. People who diet often end up gaining weight, instead of losing it.
  4. Challenge the food police. Those experts who said that butter is bad for you have recently had to change their tune. How long will the advertisements for Country Life, Utterly Butterly and the like, go on lying to us? Till the stocks are all gone, the machines reprogrammed, and the people in charge have retired. Unfortunately they are cheaper as well, but isn't nice butter, eaten with a clear conscience, one of the good things in life? [2]
  5. Respect your fullness. Try avoid extremes of both hunger and being stuffed. Realise when food becomes less enjoyable and stop eating. That surplus on your plate is better off rotting in the compost, than wreaking havoc in your tummy. 
  6. Discover the pleasure of eating. Take your time. Sit down, pay attention, share a meal. Knowing that you can eat whatever you want, when you want, can help you to stop when you’ve had enough. 
  7. Try not to use food if you really want something else. If all you really want is sit still for a bit, read a book, watch the telly, you can do this perfectly well without eating. If you’re upset, go for a walk. If you’re bored, think of something new to do.
  8. Respect your body - yes, as it is, now! Don’t be too critical of yourself. You got where you are for a reason. 
  9. Move. For the fun of it, for the fresh air, for the change. Walking, dancing, playing, refresh you more than that gym. 
Much easier said than done! And better not take all this too seriously, mind, or it will be just another diet ….. [3]

TO  ENJOY:
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/

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 the soil around the stems, mulch with rotted manure, maybe support with canes. Pick off yellowing leaves.
If you leave veg in the ground, apply a thick mulch (straw, bracken), both for protection and to get them out more easily.
As ground becomes vacant, dig it over and spread manure. Leave roughly dug in large clumps and the worms will break them up.


RECIPES


ROSEMARY BRAISED RED CABBAGE
½ red cabbage, 1 tbsp olive oil, knob of butter1 sliced red onion, 30ml red wine vinegar, 6 tsp soft dark brown sugar, 1 chopped red chilli or powder, 2 rosemary sprigs, 1 large cooking apple roughly chopped.
Halve the cabbage, remove the tough stem and slice thinly. Place in a pan with all the other ingredients, then mix in 300ml water and some salt and pepper.
Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat, cover with a well-fitting lid and gently cook for 1 hr, stirring frequently. If it gets too dry, add a little more water. Serve alongside simple mash or boiled potatoes. Very good with pheasant! Or just sausages.

LIME CRUSTED COLEY (also called pollack, pollock or lythe) 
4x175g coley fillets, 2 limes, 200g fresh or 150g old breadcrumbs, 50g melted butter, salt, pepper, 1 tblsp olive oil, lime wedges to garnish.
Preheat the oven to 200°C. Grate the lime zest. Mix the crumbs with butter and zest. Cook gently for 2-3 mins, stirring until the crumbs are pale golden. Put fish in a shallow dish. Season and squeeze a little lime juice over it. Brush with oil. Pat crumb mixture on top and bake for 10-12 mins until cooked.

ESCAROLE SALAD (or radicchio or chicory) with ANCHOVY DRESSING 
1l bite-sized pieces escarole (or similar greens), grated raw beetroot, 2 minced anchovies packed in oil, 1/2 tsp mustard, 2 tblsp cider vinegar, 4 tblsp extra-virgin olive oil, pepper, 3 chopped spring onions, olives or raisins, sunflower seeds.
Mash anchovies, add mustard, vinegar and olive oil, whisking to create an emulsion. Add everything else and mix.

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.









November 2015: we're different






WE’RE DIFFERENT

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 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. 

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/

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.

RECIPES

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.

WINTER VEGETABLE PASTA with ANCHOVY for one, or multiply.
Quantities approximate: wholewheat pasta for one, small onion, 1/4 raw beet, 1/4 Florence fennel, 50g cleaned spinach or kale, 2 or more anchovies + some of their oil, soy sauce, ginger (toasted seeds).
Grate beetroot roughly, cut up fennel, onion and greens. Bring enough salted water to the boil for the pasta but not too much. Add pasta and veg, let cook till pasta is ready. Strain (keep water for soup!), add chopped anchovies and oil, let warm through. Season with soy sauce, ginger and pepper. Nice topped with toasted seeds. 

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”!


~~~~~




November 2014: throats








Sore throats and coughs are often mentioned in one (labouring) breath. Usually, the one follows the other like night does day. For the sake of clarity, here we look at them separately.

SORE THROAT

CAUSES
- The usual cause of a sore throat is a virus or bacterium. But throat irritation from smoking, dry heat, postnasal drip (where a runny nose drips down the back of your throat, especially when asleep), or an allergic reaction can also cause soreness. A more unusual cause is acid reflux, when strong stomach acids rise back up into your throat while you're asleep. To prevent this, raise the bedhead on wooden blocks or put a couple of phone books under the top feet of the bed.
- Soreness brought on by viruses (like those causing colds or flu) usually develops gradually, with little or no fever. On the other hand, a bacterial infection such as strep throat (from streptococcus) often comes on suddenly, accompanied by swollen glands and fever.
- In general, it's best to let nature run its course and not suppress a cough, which is only doing the job of clearing lungs and airways of foreign substances. A wet cough during a respiratory infection gets rid of mucus. And the mucus is there to fight pathogens and keep tissues from drying out. Only in case of a dry cough, caused by throat irritation, can it be beneficial to suppress this.

PREVENTION
- To build up your immune system, eat the following.
Protein: seafood, meat, poultry, eggs, beans, peas, unsalted nuts, seeds.
Vitamin A helps regulate the immune system and protects you from infections by keeping skin and tissues in your mouth, stomach, intestines and respiratory system healthy. From liver, kale, spinach, colourful veg (carrots!), apricots, pumpkin, paprika powder, butter, full milk.
Vitamin C stimulates the formation of antibodies and boosts immunity. From fresh fruit, veg, and potatoes.
Vitamin E works as an antioxidant, and neutralizes free radicals. From whole grains, nuts, unrefined vegetable oils, leafy greens.
Zinc: from liver, red meat, poultry, (shell!)fish, milk, whole grains, beans, nuts.
Other nutrients are also involved, so try, ideally, to get these vitamins and minerals in the combinations in which they occur naturally: from whole, mostly fresh, foods.
And don't forget to add mushrooms, (proper organic) yoghurt, ginger, honey, black pepper and spices, which all in different ways will keep you safe from invasion. [1]
- During the cold-and-flu season, wash your hands often and make an effort to keep them away from your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Place a bowl of water on your radiator each night. Adding moisture to the air will help keep it from drying out and prevent the lining of your throat from becoming too dry.
- If you smoke, quit. Cigarette smoke is extremely irritating to the lining of the throat.
- Breathe through your nose rather than your mouth. It's a natural way to humidify the air you breathe.

ONCE YOU HAVE IT 
You can usually take care of a sore throat yourself, and it should clear up on its own within a day or two. But if soreness is accompanied by at least a 38ºC fever for over 3 days, or if you also have an earache, see a doctor. Also if you find it difficult to swallow saliva, or open your mouth, if your throat is hoarse for 3 weeks or more, or if your phlegm has streaks of blood in it. [2]
Otherwise you can choose from all sorts of home remedies. For instance:
- To relieve a sore throat, gargle with a 1% seasalt solution. This moistens, disinfects and regenerates the mucous membrane, loosens bacteria and viruses. Repeat several times each day. [3]
Garlic contains many healing properties, including antiviral and antibacterial agents. If you cook with garlic, it's best to wait five minutes after cutting or squeezing it, and then putting it in the soup, stew or whatever you use it in. After that, don't heat for longer than 15 minutes. [4]
Eating it raw is even better, for instance in a spoonful of honey. Best not eat it on an empty stomach though.
Honey has long been used as a sore-throat remedy. It has antibacterial properties and reduces swelling and discomfort. Add 2–3 tsp to a cup of hot water or herbtea.
- Hot lemon with honey can relieve pain. Combine the juice of half a lemon with hot water and add 2 teaspoons of honey. You can add a tablespoon of brandy or whisky, too.
- Cut an onion, put in a cup, soak with honey, cover the cup and leave for one hour. Swallow 1 spoon of the honey every few hours.
- Mix 1 tsp of cider vinegar, a pinch of cayenne pepper, juice of 1/4 lemon, and 1 tsp of honey. Add 1 cup of hot water, stir. Drink up to 4 cups a day. Or for a slightly different recipe, see http://naturesnurtureblog.com/2012/11/23/natural-sore-throat-cough-remedy/.
- According to folk tradition, you can cure a sore throat by taking 3 tblsp each of honey, lemon juice and red/white vinegar, 3 x daily for 3 days.
Steam inhalation
Drink more
- Spicy chicken soup;
Liquorice - especially the wholefood-shop type - helps. And is nice!

COUGH

CAUSES:
1) the common cold. To guard against this, our immune system increases mucous secretion, which gives you a runny nose: the excess fluid and mucus cause coughing.
2) smoking
3) Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). Unexplained coughs in the mornings; night-time coughs; or a cough which is aggravated after eating a heavy meal, can all be caused by GERD. [5]
4) chronic cough - a cough lasting more than 8 weeks - is usually caused by 'post nasal drip'.  which comes from inflammation in the nasal passage (rhinitis) and/or sinusitis. See [6]
5) whooping cough (pertussis) is a serious upper respiratory infection which can even be fatal. Initial symptoms are the same as those of a common cold – runny nose, sneezing, mild cough, low-grade fever. See [7]

HOME REMEDIES
Fast and effective: saltwater gargle. Salt acts as a mild antiseptic and also draws water out of mucous membranes in the throat, which helps to clear phlegm. Dissolve 1/2 tsp of (pref sea-) salt in a glass of warm water: use the warmest you can safely tolerate. Gargle, spit out. Repeat every hour.
You can use onions to make a cough syrup: chop onions into small pieces and extract the juice. Mix one tsp of juice with one tsp of honey and leave for about five hours. Take twice daily. [9]
For a spicier gargle, add chillies so it works like capsaicin and also has antiviral properties. Don't swallow, as it may irritate your stomach.
A warm gargle made from sage tea will temporarily relieve the pain. Sage is astringent: it soothes irritated tissues and reduces swelling.
See also www.blissplan.com/wellness/natural-remedies-for-cough-relief/

Plenty of rest, I'm afraid, is always indicated for any of this stuff. Good luck!



EAT:
Veg: Brussels', beet, sprout tops, cabbage, celeriac, celery (and 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.
Fishmegrim, 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/
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.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

RECIPES

SIMPLE SICKBED CHICKEN SOUP
1 large chicken, 
1 turnip and 
1 onion both cut into chunks, 
2 parsnips and 3 carrots both cut into slices, 
4 stalks of celery cut into pieces, 
plenty of  fresh dill.
Put everything into the pot with about 3-4l water. Simmer until done. Debone the chicken, put into the fridge!

BRUSSELS SPROUTS
Cook brussels sprouts with some crumbled chestnuts, and then mix with butter, crispy bacon, some garlic, nutmeg, finely chopped rosemary and pepper.

WEST COUNTRY CIDER MUSSELS, 4 as a starter, 2 as a feast
1kg mussels, scrubbed and debearded, 1-2 finely shredded leeks, or 1 finely sliced onion, 2 sliced garlic cloves, 50g butter, 1 tsp thyme, (1½ tsp cider vinegar), 280ml real cider (medium is best; or use dry plus a splash of apple juice), (2 tblsp double cream), sea salt, pepper.
Saute leek/onion and garlic in butter. Cover and sweat for 5 mins, stirring occasionally, until soft but not coloured. Raise heat, throw in thyme. When its scent hits you, add (vinegar and) cider, then mussels, salt and pepper. Give quick stir and a shake, then cook, covered, for 3–4 mins, shaking pan a few times. When all the mussels are open (discard any that remain closed), finish with cream and serve with good bread and more cider (in a glass, this time).

SPICY MARROW with MUSHROOMS
1 small marrow, 250g chopped mushrooms, 80ml butter, 1 chopped onion, 2 bay leaves, 1 tsp cumin seeds, 80ml plain yoghurt, 2 chopped tomatoes, salt, 1tsp curry powder, 1tblsp chopped coriander leaves or some ground coriander seeds.Grind into paste: 1 onion, 2 cloves garlic, 1 tsp turmeric powder, 1 tsp red chili powder, 1" fresh ginger.
Peel marrow, take out pips. Cook in some salted boiling water for 5 mins. Drain, chop in 2cm pieces. Heat butter, fry onion, mushrooms and bay until golden. Add cumin and paste and fry for 10 more mins. Add yoghurt, tomato, salt and marrow, stir well. Cover tightly and cook on low heat for 15 mins. Serve hot, sprinkled with coriander.


 APPLE-ROASTED CHICKEN for 6. 
1 chicken cut into pieces, 120ml apple cider, 3 cooking apples, rosemary, sage, 1 1/2 tsp sea salt, 3/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper.
Cut the apples up, cook in the cider till soft. Preheat oven to 185°C. Arrange chicken pieces on a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, rosemary and sage. Place in the oven and roast for 15 mins. Baste the chicken with cider mix. Roast for another 15 mins. Baste again with the cooking juices and roast for 15 more mins. Let rest for 5 mins before serving. Very good with oven-roasted squash and onions.

SPINACH CASSEROLE
500g fresh spinach or 600g frozen, 200g cream cheese, 120ml melted butter, 240ml seasoned bread crumbs, (paprika).
(Thaw spinach and) press to remove water. Combine spinach, cream cheese, and half the melted butter. Spoon into dish. Sprinkle with crumbs (and paprika), drizzle with remaining butter. Bake at 180°C for 25 mins. Very nice with potatoes and squash which are just cooked together.

LAMB NECK STEW
2 lamb necks sliced into 4 (your butcher will do this), plain flour, salt and pepper, 2 onions, 2 carrots, 2 celery stalks leaves included, rosemary.
Roughly chop all the veg. Coat necks in seasoned flour. Heat oil and butter. When it starts to sizzle, add a few lamb slices - don't overcrowd the pan! Once both sides are brown, remove and do the same with the rest of the slices. Set the meat aside. Add onions, carrots, celery and rosemary to the pan. Let soften but not colour before putting the lamb back in. Cover with water and stew, on very low fire, for an hour or until it falls from bone. If you can let it cool overnight, this will enrich the flavour. Reheat. Put meat into serving bowls along with veg and broth. Serve with steamed potatoes.

SPICED APPLE and BEETROOT CAKE
300g grated cooked beet, 300g diced cooking apples, 100g cream cheese, 185g self-raising flour; 2 tsp cinnamon, 2 tsp nutmeg, 200g brown sugar; 185g melted and cooled butter, 3 eggs, honey, softened butter. 
Sift flour, spices, sugar. Whisk eggs and butter, add grated beet. Add to dry ingredients, stir in gently. Add apple, stir again. Grease cake tin, pour in the mix. Bake at 180° for 20-25 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean. Cool. Mix cream cheese, softened butter, honey and vanilla extract or something like that. Smear on, decorate with apple slices if you like.

NEXT MONTH: DRINK - DRANK .... DRUNK?

~~~~~~~~~



See also: http://www.karenhurd.com/pages/healthtopics/specifichealthconcerns/ht-shc-coldsandupperrespiratoryflu.html
www.naturalnews.com/035323_home_remedies_colds_coughs.html


[1] www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/06/immune-system-foods_n_1257903.html
[2] From http://www.readersdigest.co.uk/health/winter-health/sore-throats/how-prevent-sore-throa
[5] http://gerd.net/natural-cures-for-gerd
[6] http://altmedicine.about.com/od/healthconditionsdisease/a/postnasaldrip.htm
www.speedyremedies.com/home-remedies-for-post-nasal-drip.html
[7] www.natural-homeremedies.org/homeremedies-whooping-cough.htm
www.home-remedies-for-you.com/remedy/Whooping-Cough.html
www.naturalnews.com/045839_whooping_cough_vaccinated_children_booster_shots.html
http://blessedmom.hubpages.com/hub/Home-remedies-for-whooping-cough
[8] From www.naturalremediescenter.com/3352/natural-remedies-onion-for-common-cold-flu-and-cough/






November 2013: in praise of cholesterol








The good, the bad and the ugly:

CHOLESTEROL


There is no 'good' cholesterol, nor 'bad' cholesterol. There is just one kind of cholesterol. Only the way in which it is transported through our arteries gives it its good or bad name.
This works as follows.

Lipoproteins carry cholesterol through the blood. Low Density Lipoprotein carries it from the liver to tissue, while High Density Lipoprotein carries it away from tissue and back to the liver to be metabolized and reused. As LDL is found at the place of damaged arteries, it is called 'bad' cholesterol. But do we call ambulances dangerous, because they are often in the company of sick people? HDL, carrying the cholesterol away from those places, is normally called 'good' cholesterol.
A high level of LDL indicates an excessive amount of cellular damage that needs to be repaired. The causes of this train-wreck are not being addressed. In fact, atherosclerosis is caused by cell damage and inflammation, and not by the cholesterol, which only comes to the rescue. [1]

Cholesterol is a vital ingredient for every cell in our body: without it, we could not function at all.
Which is why our body produces lots of it itself. When we cut down on cholesterol, our body will produce more; when we eat plenty, production goes down. So it's almost impossible to lower our cholesterol by avoiding it in our diet. [2]
The only effective way to lower cholesterol is with drugs. However, contrary to general opinion, these drugs have not improved heart mortality, nor total mortality. On the contrary, statins may well shorten your life. Why aren't we told this?

Because of commercial interests. Once an industry exists which makes lots of money out of anti-cholesterol pills and numerous fashionable foods such as low-fat spreads, it is almost impossible to turn the clock back. Global corporations have the clout to influence everyone, if only via carefully choosing the kind of research they subsidize and publish.
They cleverly influence the information which reaches not just *our* ears, but also those of the government and the medical profession [3]. The few voices who call this into question, are branded quacks, or just ignored.

Did you know that people with high cholesterol levels tend to live longer than those with low levels? That people with heart disease tend to have lower levels of so called "bad" cholesterol than people without heart disease? That saturated fats have not been linked to heart disease, but polyunsaturated vegetable oils have?
According to data published by the World Health Organization, cholesterol levels in different countries have little or no correlation with the numbers of heart attacks.

So cholesterol-lowering medications are not as beneficial as we are led to believe. The benefits that they seem to convey, can always be provided by dietary or other means, with far fewer side effects [4].
While billions are made from statins and low-cholesterol products, however, 'general opinion' will remain in favour.



With an eye to Christmas: the cost of turkey. See www.theecologist.org/green_green_living/behind_the_label/1171257/whats_the_real_cost_of_bernard_matthews_christmas_turkey.html. There'll be plenty of tasty alternatives in the December issue.

EAT: 
Veg: Brussels', beet, sprout tops, cabbage, celeriac, celery (and stilton!), corn salad, Jerusalem artichokes, carrots, salsify, kale, cavolo nero, kohlrabi, landcress, leeks, parsnips, pumpkin/squash, rocket, spinach, swede, turnips, winter radish, endive, winter purslane.
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/
And don't forget to pick up those lovely chestnuts!

TO DO: 
Sow broad beans and peas. Plant rhubarb sets. You can still plant garlic: it likes sun, and woodash.
Give brassica's some attention before the winter. Firm soil around the stems, mulch with rotted manure, maybe support with canes. Pick off yellowing leaves.
Plant fruit trees, -bushes and -canes as soon as the leaves have fallen.
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.
Planning ahead:
"68% of salad sold in bags is wasted according to Tesco. We can cut this to 0% by growing our salad in containers - one of the best and easiest crops for small spaces." Says Vertical Veg, experts at growing anything anywhere in anything at all. Get inspired! See [5].

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.

CREAMY PUMPKIN SOUP
850g pumpkin, 3 cloves garlic, 1 onion, 1/2 tsp cumin powder, 1l water/stock, 100ml sour cream, parsley, butter, (2 slices of bacon).
Chop pumpkin, onions and parsley stalks. Heat butter and fry onions with a pinch of salt. Add garlic and parsley stalks, stir. Once the mix become fragrant, add pumpkin and cumin, mix. Add liquid, stir. Let it simmer till soft. Slice bacon and fry, set aside. Blend soup, reheat. Just before it boils, stir in the sour cream. Serve with chopped parsley and top with bacon.


FENNEL and CELERY SALAD  
Cut 2 fennel bulbs in quarters lengthwise, discard the outer layer if tough. Slice the 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 you like, top with lots of grated mature cheese and chopped fennel fronds.

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.

PASTA with PUMPKIN and STILTON SAUCE
350g pumpkin, peeled and de-seeded, 175g Stilton, crushed garlic clove, parsley, 300ml cream, nutmeg, pasta (sunflower/pumpkin seeds), 25 g butter
Grate the pumpkin. Melt butter, add pumpkin and garlic. Cook over low heat for 5 mins, stirring, until it has softened. Stir in the parsley, cream and nutmeg and cook for another 2 mins. Cut cheese into small pieces and add these to the sauce. Heat through until the cheese has melted. Season. Cook the pasta, drain and return to pan. Add sauce, mix. Serve hot (sprinkled with seeds). Very good with plenty of cooked greens.

SWEDE with BARLEY and MUSHROOMS  
350g diced swede, 300g barley, 100g mushrooms, 2 chopped onions, 50g grated well-flavoured hard cheese, 1l water/stock, 40g butter, 1 chopped garlic clove, chopped parsley, nutmeg, salt, pepper.
Bring liquid to a simmer. Heat butter in pan over a low heat. Add onions, sweat gently, stirring, until they are soft. Add garlic and swede, stir for 2 mins. Add the barley, do the same. Now add the water/stock. 
Cook on very low heat till the barley is done. Stir in the parsley and cheese. Add salt, plenty of black
 pepper and nutmeg. Serve, topped with more grated cheese. With leeks or green salad.

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] "Inflammation is the number one factor in heart disease. This is an accepted fact now, but it still gets little attention and no real prevention or treatment.
What is inflammation caused by? Not fat, but carbohydrates. Mainly sugars and processed carbs, but grains and starches as a whole also contribute. LDL rises directly, not with the amount of saturated fat you eat, but with rising levels of inflammation caused by carbs and trans fats." (www.marksdailyapple.com/cholesterol/)
[2] Given all the work cholesterol has to do, the liver ensures the body always has enough, producing 1000-1400 milligrams each day. So the 300 milligram recommended limit for dietary cholesterol is a drop in the bucket - www.marksdailyapple.com/cholesterol/ - an excellent article if you really want to know the details.  

See also
www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2004/apr/06/foodanddrink.shopping
www.thincs.org/
www.scribd.com/doc/150155049/Cholesterol
www.youtube.com/watch?v=XPPYaVcXo1I
More difficult: www.jpands.org/vol10no3/colpo.pdf

[3] To approve a (drug), the US Food and Drug Administration only requires two large-scale studies to verify that the drug is superior to a placebo. However, pharmaceutical companies are under no obligation to supply the FDA with every study they have conducted; only with the positive ones. (New Scientist 27/7/2013 p.35: "Rebuilding Broken Brains" Samantha Murphy)

[4] www.cholesterol-and-health.org.uk/  
[5] www.verticalveg.org.uk/

Next issue: Christmas recipes.







November 2012: vegetarianism







TO MEAT OR NOT TO MEAT?



There are many reasons to become a vegetarian. You don't want to kill animals - plant eaters need less space to grow their food - could it be healthier?
I used to be a vegetarian but no longer.
If you drink milk, this means the males have to be killed: you might as well eat them. And if we do,  we should also make use of the cheap cuts, the offal and the difficult bits (see Oct. issue). At the moment the bulk of our pork offal, for instance, is exported to China: 5000 food miles for food which we won't eat ourselves .....
What about health issues?? For vegetarians, beans or whole grains eaten on the same day as eggs or milk, supply all the protein they need. For vegans it is trickier: they have to take at least a regular supplement of vitamin B12. See [1].
As Lierre Keith says in her book The Vegetarian Myth, you cannot live but by killing things. "The truth is that agriculture requires the wholesale destruction of entire ecosystems. The truth is also that life isn’t possible without death, that no matter what you eat, someone has to die to feed you."
Personally, I eat meat every few days, and then only animals which have had a happy life. I like what traditional Chinese medicine says, namely that you should think of meat as an accent, not the centerpiece of a meal. Be selective, respect what you eat, don't stuff yourself with sentient beings.
As to soy, commonly used as a meat substitute, see [2]! For sources and more info, see [3].


To do:
Now is the time to plant autumn raspberries. They have many advantages over the more common summer ones: See www.cottagesmallholder.com/nows-the-time-to-plant-summer-and-autumn-raspberries-5697/ and www.telegraph.co.uk/gardening/9481098/A-foolproof-guide-to-growing-raspberries.html.
Sow broad beans and peas. You can still plant garlic. It likes sun, and woodash.

To eat:
Veg: Brussels', beet, sprout tops, cabbage, celeriac, celery (and stilton!), corn salad, Jerusalem artichokes, carrots, salsify, kale, cavolo nero, kohlrabi, landcress, leeks, parsnips, pumpkin/squash, rocket, spinach, swede, turnips, winter radish, endive, winter purslane.
Meat: wood pigeon, pheasant, wild duck, goose, grouse, partridge, venison. Judging by the shooting going on outside, pheasant can't be that expensive! For (Christmas) game recipes, see www.gametoeat.co.uk/
Fish: megrim, clams, crab, cuttlefish, mussels, oysters, scallops, sea bass, whiting, American signal crayfish.

If you are interested in growing and growers in Somerset, see http://incredible-edible-somerset.ning.com/ - there is plenty of stuff going on.  


MOCK PUMPKIN SOUP   
2 onions, swede, carrots, garlic, stock, milk, cream, bayleaf, seasalt, pepper, nutmeg.
Chop onions, sauté. Add chopped swede, carrots, garlic and fry until they start to change colour. Add 600ml stock and 300ml milk, simmer with bayleaf until tender. Remove bay, liquidise. Add salt, pepper, plenty of nutmeg. Serve with cream.

GRILLED APPLE AND CHEESE SANDWICH, serves 2.
2 slices of bread; cheese, 1 sliced apple.
Toast both slices of bread. While waiting, slice apple and cheese. Put cheese on bread, apple on top. Place under grill until cheese is melted and starting to brown.

ENERGY BREAKFAST for one.
Sauté clove of garlic, add large handful of spinach (and squeeze of lemon juice). When the spinach cooks down, make hole, crack egg into it, cover pan, cook to desired consistency. When the yolk has set a little, top with cheddar and pepper. On toast.

BROCCOLI CREAM CHEESE CASSEROLE 
300g broccoli, 200g cream cheese, 1 celery, 400ml water, 1 onion, 120g butter, 240g dried breadcrumbs, sunflowerseeds, grated cheese. 
Slightly undercook broccoli and celery in salted water. Drain, save water. Mix this with cream cheese. Combine this with broccoli/celery, put in casserole. Saute onion, add crumbs and seeds. Spoon crumb mix over broccoli mix, top with grated cheese. Bake for 30 mins at 160°C.

GREEN and RED SALAD, serves 2-4 
Green salad leaves, grated raw beet, olive oil, lemon juice and zest, sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, (chopped red chilli; soft crumbly goat's cheese; toasted pine nuts, walnuts or almonds).
You can keep it simple and mix it all together. Or, to enjoy the contrast in colour, dress the red and the green separately and put the beet on the leaves without mixing.
Nice dotted with goat's cheese and/or toasted nuts. 


BUTTERNUT SQUASH HOTCAKES for 2 (if main course)
500g butternut squash, de-seeded and sliced thinly, 125ml milk, 30g butter, 1 egg, 115g plain flour, ½ tsp bicarb of soda, ¼ tsp salt, oil, (sour cream).
Cook squash for 10 mins until tender. Mix with milk & butter. Add egg, stir. Add flour, bicarb, salt: stir. Heat oil: cook tablespoonfuls of the mix for 2 mins; little bubbles appear. Cook other side, serve immediately. Very good with sour cream. Leftovers can be gently reheated in a frying pan.

HERBY SWEDE, serves 4 as a side dish.
1 large swede (about 650g), 40g butter, 2 thinly sliced onions, sage, rosemary, stock to cover.
Cut swede into slices as thick as a pound coin. Put slices of swede and onion in pan, season and strew sage and rosemary over. Cover veg with stock, add butter. Cook, stirring from time to time, until the veg are tender enough to crush between your fingers. Serve as a side dish, with some of the juices spooned over.


BEETROOT CAKE 
220g grated beetroot, 130g wholemeal flour, 2 tsp baking powder, pinch of salt, 150g softened butter, grated zest of 1 orange, 75g caster sugar, 3 eggs, 60g ground almonds, 150g of dried fruit and nuts.
Cream butter and zest, beat in sugar. Beat in eggs one at a time. Sift flour, baking powder, salt and spices, fold in. Add fruit, nuts, ground almonds and beet. Spoon into lined tin and bake at 180C for 40-45 minutes.






Next issue: British cheese.

[1] http://eatlocalgrown.com/article/12323-5-brain-nutrients-found-only-in-meat-fish-and-eggs-not-plants.html
[2] Though soy is a bean, unless it has been fermented, don't eat too much of it: www.guardian.co.uk/news/2006/jul/25/food.foodanddrink and www.endo-resolved.com/soy.html.
[3]
www.guardian.co.uk/business/2012/may/18/uk-pork-deal-china
www.veganhealth.org/
www.zoeharcombe.com/2011/08/the-vegetarian-myth-lierre-keith/
but also www.amazon.com/review/R3M4LC3USB5H3S?ie=UTF8&ref_=cm_cr_rdp_perm 








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