Saturday, 1 April 2017

April 2011: cholesterol; eggs

Research on the effect of a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet is confusing. We long for the voice of authority, but even 'health providers' tend to be influenced, directly or indirectly, by the long arm of Big Pharma. Research is only done, or publicized, if it leads to money. Millions are at stake. Our intuition probably tells us that simple is best, but ...
As it happens, our intuition is right. What the latest honest research (hard to come by!) shows, is that the baddies are NOT cholesterol or saturated fat, but commercial processing: fats which do not occur in nature.
If the flood of ads and misinformation on the subject of fat baffles you, here is some simple advice. Consume unaltered natural oils and fats and avoid oils that have been chemically modified or created in a laboratory. Animal fats can be used to meet some of your needs, but only from organically raised animals, because many pesticides concentrate in fatty tissues.
And enjoy your Easter eggs, especially the yellow-and-white variety!
Eggs are good for you. They do NOT raise your blood cholesterol. Eggs are packed with nutrients which are essential for your body and for your mind, like omega 3. Of course: the healthier the (free-range, organic!) chicken, the better for you.*

direct: lettuce, rocket, radish, beet, broad beans, summer cabbage, calabrese, kohlrabi, parsnips, peas, spinach (beet), spring onions, chard, early carrots, autumn cauli, salsify, scorzonera, celeriac, celery. Late April: courgettes, french beans, pumpkins.
plant: summer cabbage, onion sets, potatoes, summer cabbage.
sow to transplant: leeks, brussels, sprouting broccoli, autumn cauli, kale, tomatoes (indoors).

purple sprouting broccoli, chard, cabbage, leeks, spring onions, spinach, watercress, loose-leaved lettuce, radish, sorrel, spring greens.
FISH: just ask your fishmonger what's local!

Too much spring green cabbage?
Stir into soup towards the end of cooking time.
Or, also towards the end, wilt into a sausage and bean stew.
If you have cooked leftover cabbage: fry onion, shred cabbage and add; also add cooked crushed potatoes, fry until crusty underneath. Turn over, brown other side. Delicious with bacon and a poached egg.

Ramsons/wild garlic: quickly blanch in salted boiling water. It can be finely chopped, then blended into a soup or sauce at the last moment.

Hawthorn leaves: Shred and sauté in olive oil and butter as for any other spring or wild green. Leave to wilt in the heat of boiled potatoes or fold through risotto, but I wouldn’t use them as the main ingredient: they’re more of a supporting note.

PASTA with SPINACH and GOAT CHEESE, serves 2. 
1 onion, 1 clove garlic, 125g mushrooms, olive oil, 180g fresh spinach, 80g goat cheese, 1 1/2 tsp soy sauce, 2 tbs yoghurt, 90g pasta.
Cook pasta in salted water, drain. Roughly chop spinach, onions and mushrooms. Mince garlic. Sauté onions, garlic, mushrooms for 10 mins in oil, until lightly browned. Add spinach and stir-fry until spinach just wilted. Add crumbled cheese, stir until it melts. Stir in soy sauce and yoghurt. Mix in with pasta, serve immediately.

RADISH TOP SOUP sounds quite offputting, is surprisingly nice! 
Chopped radish tops, diced onion, diced potatoes, oil/butter, stock/water, milk, salt, pepper (tarragon).
Fry onion till soft, add potato and radish tops, stir. Add stock and bring to boil, simmer until potato is soft, whiz in a blender, add milk. Add salt, pepper, tarragon. 

This provides more dressing than needed, but it keeps in the fridge.
700g broccoli or kale, 2 knobs of butter, 50g drained anchovy fillets, 150ml olive oil, 2 garlic cloves, thyme, basil (optional), ½ small red chilli or pinch of dried chilli, 1 tsp English mustard, 2 tsp cider vinegar, freshly ground black pepper.
Blend everything bar broccoli/kale and butter until smooth. If using fresh chilli, keep separate and chop finely by hand, then stir into dressing. Steam greens for 20 mins. Toss with butter. Warm dressing slowly, whisking in second knob of butter. Arrange broccoli on warmed plates and trickle over a generous amount of the hot dressing. Serve at once, with good bread to mop up.

700g chopped cabbage, 50ml olive oil, 3 chopped onions, 200ml ginger wine, 25g butter.
Heat oil, add onions and fry until light brown. Add the wine, bring to a boil and cook down to a quarter of its original volume. Cook cabbage in salted water for 6-8 mins; drain. Add the reduced wine/onion mix and butter. Season, serve straight away.

500g rhubarb cut into 3cm lengths, 40g sugar, 180g rolled oats, 750ml milk, 250ml cream, cinnamon.
Put rhubarb and sugar in a pan, stir over low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to gentle simmer. Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until just tender. Set aside. Serve warm, at room temperature or cold.
Combine oats, milk and cream. Cook over low heat, stirring often, until oats very tender (10-15 mins). Add water if necessary. Spoon into bowls. Top with rhubarb and cinnamon. Add sugar if necessary.

200g pasta, olive oil, 150g broccoli, trimmed and halved lengthways, 2 chillies cut in half, 2 sliced garlic cloves, 1 tbsp sesame seeds, large handful chopped parsley, juice of a lemon.
Cook pasta. Meanwhile heat some oil in a frying pan and add broccoli, cook for 4 mins, add chilli and garlic. Fry, stirring, until broccoli cooked. Mix in seeds, brown briefly. Add parsley and lemon, toss through pasta, with lots of seasoning.

*For more information, see:
And "The Politics of Fats", at the end of

Next month: greens greens!