Saturday, 1 July 2017

July 2011: diet

We influence our health by diet and exercise. By which we usually mean, these days, things like diet coke and gym workouts. How far we have strayed from our origins!
What I mean by 'diet' is 'what we eat'. And 'exercise', to my mind, is how we go about life: do we use our body, or only our head and our wallet?
1 Eat whole, natural foods.
2 Eat only foods that will spoil, but eat them before they do.
These are the first two nutrition guidelines developed by the Weston A. Price foundation. You may not agree with all of them but the ideas at are worth looking at.
Traditional foods - the real, unprocessed, whole-fat foods of our grandparents - deliver the winning combination of maximum health and maximum taste.
As for exercise: why not walk if you still can?

The Marine Conservation Society has launched a new website, with advise for the responsible fish-eater. Find-a-fish, Fish-of-the Day and Recipes - there's no longer an excuse to deplete the seas or not eat fish altogether (

Beware: supermarket claims such as ‘sustainably sourced’; ‘protects the marine environment’; and ‘responsibly farmed’ are often misleading or incorrect.

Veg: beet, broad beans, carrots, chinese leaves, globe artichokes, kohlrabi, cauli, cabbage, (sugar) peas, beans, lettuce, sweetcorn, turnips, courgettes, broccoli, spring onions, squash, radish, tomatoes, samphire, spinach (beet), chard, endive, lettuce.
Fish: mackerel is at its best in July, cheap and an invaluable source of omega 3. Otherwise:
dab, black bream, crab, mackerel, scallop, clam, dover sole, megrim sole, grey mullet, flounder.
Meat: lamb, rabbit, wood pigeon.

Chinese/spring cabbage, calabrese, carrots, chicory, coriander, endive, florence fennel, kohlrabi, salad onions, (mangetout/sugar snap) peas, mooli, pak choi, turnips, black and white radish (mooli), perpetual spinach, chard, parsley, beetroot, french beans, mini cauliflower, lettuce*.
Half Julyif you like fresh greens early spring, sow endive, escarole type. If the winter is not too cold they won't need any protection, and will produce leaves either for salad or the famous Dutch 'andijviestamp'[1] till March. 
End of the month: corn salad, black radish, endive, kohlrabi. Sowing kohlrabi late in July should supply them well into the winter. They will stand in the soil until needed.
If you sow kohlrabi by the end of July, it should last into the winter,  and can stand in the ground until needed. For info and recipes see
Plant: kale, sprouts, leeks, winter cabbages, broccoli, calabrese, cauliflower.
*Remember: only crisp lettuce (little gem, cos, webb) germinates well when soil temperature goes above 25C.

Dab is a bycatch: a fish caught unintentionally when fishing for something else, and therefore most is thrown back as waste. So dab is cheap but surprisingly lovely! The flavour is rich and if you eat it off the bone, the meat just pulls off the large bones with the scrape of a fork.

Dab-in-a-BAP: 3-4 fillets of dab rolled in seasoned white flour and fried in olive oil, served in a white bap with plenty of butter and a squeeze of lemon juice.


500g courgettes, 100g floury potatoes, 2 cloves crushed garlic, 1 chopped onion, butter, grated cheese, chopped chives and other herbs, (paprika powder), 1l water.
Wash courgettes, chop. Cut potatoes into small cubes. Saute onion, garlic, potatoes and courgettes in butter for 5 mins. Add water. Cook gently, covered, till everything is soft, stirring occasionally. Liquidise if you like. Add cheese and herbs, season, serve with bread.


4 lettuces (for instance 3 butterhead and 1 little gem), 50 g butter, 8  chopped spring onions, (optional peas), 1l stock/water, herbs like mint, basil and chervil, good squeeze lemon juice, 2 tbsp double cream.

Melt butter and sweat onions for a few mins. Trim base off each lettuce, slice or tear and add to onions (along with the peas). Heat until lettuce wilts and softens. Add herbs and liquid, cook till done to your liking. Blend. Add lemon juice, cream, season. Serve hot or cold.


800g whole dab or megrim sole or 4 x 200g fillets, 2 tblsp plain flour, 1 pinch sea salt, 1 pinch pepper, 1 tblsp olive oil, 60g butter, ½ lemon, 1 tblsp parsley, 1 tblsp capers.
Season flour, coat fish with it on both sides. (I put it in a bag, add fish and shake until coated.) Heat oil, add fish, lower heat slightly, add 20g butter, fry on moderate heat for 4-5 mins, turn over, and cook through. Lift fish onto serving plate and keep warm. In the same pan, melt rest of butter over moderate heat. Once it starts to froth and turns light brown, add lemon juice, capers and parsley. Check seasoning and pour over fish. Serve with lemon wedges.

SWISS CHARD: serves 4 as a side dish.

400g chard, 2 onions, 1 tblsp oil, 1 heaped tblsp sesame seeds, 1 tblsp balsamic vinegar, 1 tblsp tamari, (fresh coriander leaves). You can use proper spinach for this recipe, but fry it slightly less long. 
Slice onions, chop chard into strips and dry thoroughly. Heat pan (no oil), toast sesame seeds until they pop. Put seeds aside. Heat oil, add onion and stir fry a few mins. Add chard, stir fry 3-4 minutes. Turn off heat, add vinegar, tamari, coriander and seeds. Mix well, serve immediately. Goes with noodles or mashed potato and (veggie) sausages.


2 finely sliced courgettes, 1 sliced onion, 6 eggs, 75g grated Cheddar, butter, parsley, seasoning. 
Heat oil, add onion and courgettes, fry for ab. 10 mins till golden. Beat eggs with salt and pepper. Add, cook stirring until egg lightly set. Sprinkle on cheese, put 2 mins under grill. Serve warm in wedges with parsely (and basil).


Broad beans, fromage frais (not the skinny version), lots of ground black pepper, (clove of garlic).
Boil beans, turn off heat. Drain, leaving beans in pan. Add enough fromage frais to coat, plus pepper and garlic. Heat it all very carefully for just a few seconds, serve immediately.

With love, Annemieke.

Next month: cancer prevention.