Thursday, 2 March 2017

March 2012: let food be thy medicine

“Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food.” - Hippocrates    

Do you trust your doctor? Of course you do: (s)he may be busy, but has your best interests at heart. But do you really trust them to get it right where your body is concerned?

The complaints we take to the surgery may be more or less serious - flu, backache, indigestion, short of breath - but most of them are only symptoms. And symptoms point to an underlying cause. That's what they are: warning lights, flickering up to show something is wrong. And in many cases doctors - whether GP or specialist - treat only the symptoms you bring them. So it's left to you to dig for the root cause - if you want to.

Little resistance to 'bugs doing the round'? Stress, or bad eating habits. Backache? Bad posture. Indigestion? Bad eating habits, again. Short of breath? You know what you are doing all day. You know what you are eating and drinking.
A GP does not have time to go into all this. You may not have the schooling or the expertise, but schooling and expertise can lead astray. You know yourself; you have insight in your body; and presumably you have some common sense, and aren't not quite so much affected by the ceaseless pressure of the pharmaceutical industry.

Maybe you don't want to know what you can do for yourself, or where you go wrong in your habits. You may not want to change. But if you do, be confident that, deep down, you have a source of wisdom and insight in the state of your body, which no expert can match.

When you get ill, something is the matter. You may need professional help to get over the worst. But in the end, getting truly better is up to you. Any medicine has side effects, which may well last longer, and be more insidious, than the original complaint.
Less stress. Good, simple food. Talk about things. Dare I say it, less work? You know. Rome was not built in a day, but a little babystep in the right direction can make no end of difference.

broad beans, early carrots, leeks, brussels, swede, celery, parsnips, maincrop peas, radish, spinach beet (better value than proper spinach, and nicer), chard, turnip, lettuce, early/summer cabbage, spring onions, early cauli, bulb onions, beet. Plant: potatoes, onion sets, shallots, asparagus.

Veg: sprouting broccoli, kale, cauli, spring greens, radishes, rhubarb, leeks, carrots, spring onions,
salad leaves, parsnips, cabbage, chicory, sorrel, swede, beet, brussels, rocket, turnips, celeriac, Jerusalem artichokes, watercress.
Fish: dab, black bream, red gurnard, red mullet, mussels, oysters,
clams, sardines.
Meat: rabbit, turkey, wood pigeon, beef, mutton, pork, venison.

LEEKS: Add chopped boiled leeks to mash with plenty of butter and black pepper. Don't discard too much green: it's got most of the nutrients! 
Finely sliced leeks are a delicious addition to a Welsh rarebit topping.

Rocket leaves, potatoes, 2 small sliced onions, (cream/milk).
Put potatoes and onions on with just enough boiling water to cover. Simmer until soft. Chop rocket, add. Liquidise and serve. (Add cream or milk.)

40g kale, 70g mushrooms, garlic, butter, 1/2 tblsp flour, 1-2 slices of bread. 
Chop kale and mushrooms finely, saute in butter, covered, for 10 mins. Stir at times, and add chopped  garlic for the last few minutes. Add flour, stir, and then some water to absorb the flour. Season, eat on one or two (toasted) slices of bread

500g cooked chopped beet, 500g cooked chopped potatoes, 90ml sour cream,1 tblsp chopped fresh dill (1 tsp dried), salt, pepper, 25g butter.
Place beet and potatoes in a bowl with all everything bar the butter. Puree to a paste, adjust seasoning. Reheat gently with the butter if needed, although it is just as nice cold with bread sticks.

SORREL OMELETTE, serves 2.   
40ml milk, 3 eggs, salt, pepper, (1 finely chopped clove of garlic), 1/2 handful sorrel leaves, oil/butter.Whisk eggs with seasoning and milk. Roll up sorrel and chop. Heat butter/oil on medium, pour eggs into pan. Let the bottom of the omelette cook a bit before adding the sorrel. Mix leaves slightly into the eggs. Cook until done. Flip sides of the omelette in toward the middle to cover. With nice bread, fried tomatoes and lots of pepper. You can also add young spinach/chard, wild garlic, or spring onions.


Or try making this with curly kale. Delicious on its own as a starter, or with roast lamb or mutton.
4 garlic cloves, 2 dried chillis, olive oil, 6 chopped anchovy fillets, white wine, 400ml double cream, 450g purple sprouting broccoli, 100g mature grated cheese.
Slice garlic. Deseed and chop chillies. Heat a good slosh of olive oil. Throw in garlic, chilli and anchovies. Fry until garlic takes on a golden tinge. Add a splash of wine, boil for a few secs and add cream. Simmer until the sauce is reduced by half. Cut broccoli very fine or else they get stringy; split thickish stalks. Put in a dish, pour over the sauce, then cheese. Bake at 190°C for 10-12 mins until golden.

First I must confess that this is one recipe I haven't tried myself! Here goes:
Large leg of lamb 2.2-2.5kg, 3 carrots, 2 onions, 3 leeks, 4 whole cloves of garlic. Marinade: 750ml bottle of dry white wine, 5 finely chopped cloves of garlic, 2 tblsp dry fried and coarsely ground cumin seeds, 2 tblsp dry fried and coarsely ground coriander seeds, plenty of salt and black pepper, 5 tblsp of olive oil.
Put meat in a black bin liner with wine, garlic, spices, oil, salt and pepper. Toss. Put into a bucket and place somewhere cool for 24-48 hours. Turn regularly so the meat is coated in marinade. Five hours before you want to eat, preheat oven to 140ºC. Peel and coarsely chop veg, put in roasting tin; contents of bag on top. Put in oven, roast for 4½ hours. Take out and rest - covered in foil and tea towels - for 30 minutes. (From

BUTTERY LEEKS or CABBAGEA head of cabbage or a couple of leeks, few pats of butter, little splash of olive oil, seasoning. 
Shred cabbage into 1-2 cm thick ribbons, or cut leeks into 1-2cm thick rounds. Heat oil and butter on medium heat. Add veg just when butter starts to froth. Gently cook, adding a bit more butter and/or oil, until veg has softened and has a glossy, vibrant shine. Season if needed.


100g kale (or cabbage, or spinach), 200g broccoli or calabrese, 150g mushrooms, 2 cloves garlic, (200g firm tofu*, 1 tsp barley miso paste), butter/oil, 3 tblsp tamari/soy, 1 tblsp toasted sesame seeds.
Take stalks from kale and slice. Chop broccoli, garlic and mushrooms. Saute garlic and mushrooms for 5 mins, until mushrooms are lightly browned. (Chop tofu into cubes. Add to pan and cook on a high heat for 3 mins, stirring regularly, until it starts to brown.) Add broccoli, stir and cover for 3 mins. Add kale, cover for 2-3 mins, until it starts to wilt. Mix sesame seeds with tamari/soy sauce and miso if using: add to the pan. Mix and serve immediately.

* Tofu, being a non-fermented soy product, is not exactly good for you. See for instance and

"What do you expect the doctor to do? He can only prescribe something that will mask the symptoms until you heal yourself. He can not heal you.  -  Gitti

“Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food.  -  Hippocrates (460-377 B.C.)