Saturday, 1 July 2017

July 2013: sugar


At last, someone with sense AND authority speaks out - and is listened to. The truth is so simple, and yet many heard it first from Robert Lustig, Professor of Clinical Pediatrics at the University of California [1].
Sugar is bad. It's not the fat that makes you fat! Sugar is often hidden and always toxic, especially in its fructose form.
Unfortunately, that does not mean sweeteners are better. They ruin your body's ability to count calories and so enlarge your appetite. They increase carbohydrate cravings, and stimulate fat storage and weight gain.
Aspartame, for example, has a long list of studies indicating its harmful effects, ranging from brain damage to pre-term delivery.
Splenda reduces the amount of good bacteria and increases the pH level in your intestines. It can also have crucial health effects, particularly if you're on certain medications like chemotherapy, or treatments for AIDS and certain heart conditions. [2]
So what are we to do?
A lot of our taste for sugar is down to habit, a habit which the sugar industry have done a lot to encourage. Don't forget: sugar is a cheap ingredient, and the more sugar in a food, the longer it will keep - ideal for the manufacturers.
An awful lot of the sugar (substitutes) we consume is found in ready-made food, and the more 'light' they are, the worse. The sweetness is meant to hide lack of taste and natural ingredients in crisps, bran flakes, bread, pizzas, salads, ready meals, tomato sauce, musli bars, flavoured water, pringles and the like.
So making your own is a good start. And although there are decent sugar substitutes on the market,  you should eat even those quite sparingly, if only because they are very expensive. [3]
And if you want to know all of the 146 reasons to avoid sugar, see [4]. 

Vegbeet, 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.
Fish: mackerel is at its best in July, cheap and an invaluable source of omega 3. Otherwise:
dab, black bream, crab, mackerel, clam, dover sole, megrim sole, grey mullet, flounder and American signal crayfish.
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.
*Remember: only crisp lettuce (little gem, cos, webb) germinates well when soil temperature goes above 25C.
Plant: kale, sprouts, leeks, winter cabbages, broccoli, calabrese, cauliflower.

If you're lucky enough to have lots of parsley, try this parsley salad, It is not actually a salad in that you eat lots of it: best used as a sidedish/condiment with meat or fish. 
50g flat-leaf parsley (weighed without too much stem), 50g finely chopped red onion, 2 tbsp rinsed capers, 12 anchovy fillets, 50g chopped tomatoes, lemon zest, lemon juice, 4 tbsp extra virgin olive  oil, salt, pepper.
Chop parsley and fish, mix everything, season. 

This is a great salad to serve on toast, mixed with pasta or as a side dish with grilled chicken or fish.

400g spinach, 4 sliced spring onions, 4 tblsp crème fraîche, 2 tblsp olive oil, 800ml stock, ½ tsp nutmeg, lemon juice, salt, pepper.
Heat oil in a large pan. Add spring onions and sauté for 2 mins. Stir in spinach, cover and cook for 3 mins. Pour in stock, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Bring to boil. Cover, simmer for 5 mins. Whizz with food processor till smooth. Add lemon juice and crème fraîche, mix well. Gently reheat, adjust seasoning. Serve with swirl of crème fraîche in each bowl if liked. 

100g courgettes, 2-3 anchovy fillets, some of the oil they come in, (sugar) peas, broad beans, sliced cooked new potatoes, garlic, butter, thyme, 1 tomato, rocket or radish tops.
Chop anchovy, 
sauté in their oil until they disintegrate. Add finely chopped courgette, chopped garlic and thyme, stir, cover. Meanwhile, fry potatoes in butter and cook the beans/peas as usual. When the courgettes are nearly soft, add tomatoes, fry some more. At the last minute, add rocket/radish tops, saute for a minute, season. When everything is done, mix the contents of the three pans, serve.  

LETTUCE MASH! for 3-4.  
What to do when you have bolting lettuces but not much else? Try this:
800g potatoes, 200g (just bolting) lettuce, 300g peas (after podding), 60g butter, salt.
Cook potatoes in not too much salted water; add peas 5 minutes before they are done. Add chopped lettuce, stir in and heat through thoroughly, drain, season. Add butter, mash. 

1.5 kg young fresh broad beans; lettuce, tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, cider vinegar/lemon juice, chopped fresh mint, rocket, 200g goat's cheese or feta, (thyme, basil,) 1-2 chopped chilli without seeds. 
Pod and cook beans for 4 mins, rinse cold. Make dressing with oil, vinegar, garlic, chillies and mint. Pour over beans and rocket, stir in cheese.

Have you ever tried pigs cheeks? Cheap and very nice, but they do need a couple of hours stewing.
PIG'S CHEEK STEW with CAULIFLOWER MASH for 2 (from reciperifle)
4 pig's cheeks, 2 carrots, 2 sticks celery, 2 cloves garlic, 1 onion, 1/3 bottle cheap red wine, 1/3 pint of stock, 4 peppercorns, assorted herbs like parsley, sage, thyme and/or bay leaf. 
For the cauli mash: 1 cauliflower, 175g or more floury potatoes, 1 tblsp of cream, large pinch of salt.
Brown cheeks for 4-5 mins each side. Fry in sunflower oil or lard, olive oil will burn. Add sliced onions, carrots, garlic and celery, cook for 10 mins over very low flame. Add wine and stock, bring to a brisk simmer. Add herbs and peppercorns, stir and put lid on: cook on low heat for 2 hrs. Season with salt after it's cooked. Boil potato and cauli until soft. Mash, add cream and salt, serve separately.

350g shelled broad beans, 175g cream cheese, salt and freshly ground black pepper, herbs, (garlic), sprigs of mint.
If the beans are old, remove the skins either before or after cooking. Boil lightly in salted water until tender, with summer savory if you have it. Mash or put through a vegetable mill with enough cream cheese to make a thick paste, add herbs of your liking. Season with salt and pepper.  Press into individual dishes and garnish each with a sprig of mint. Serve with triangles of wholewheat toast.
GRILLED MACKEREL with CARROTS and CHARD (recipe from The Vegbox Diaries) 
Slice 3 carrots per person thinly, boil al dente, drain. Take big handful of chard per person and separate leaves from stalks. Chop stalks into 2cm pieces, boil for 5 mins, add cut leaves. Drain when practically done. Chop 2 garlic cloves and some red chilli, saute in oil. Stir and add all the vegetables. Sauté for a few mins, season. Serve with grilled/steamed mackerel, nice with boiled potatoes.

800g mixed veg like podded broad beans, (sugar) peas, French beans, cabbage; also 3 anchovies, 3 tblsp creme fraiche, 1-2 garlic clove(s), some chopped tomatoes (can be tinned), thyme, butter, breadcrumbs. 
Preheat oven to 190°C. Cook the green veg till more or less done. Mince garlic and anchovies, mix with tomato, creme fraiche, and drained veg. Season and top with thyme and crumbs. Bake in greased dish for ab. 25 mins.

Who needs sugar? 
With love, Annemieke Wigmore.

What to watch out for - sugary names:

Next month: soy.