Wednesday, 1 November 2017

November 2017: love your heart





LOVE YOUR HEART


28% of all UK deaths are due to heart disease.
For decades now, most of the emphasis has been on reducing cholesterol levels through diet and medication. However, three leading cardiologists have recently proclaimed this is misguided. They say heart disease is very largely due to poor diet, lack of exercise, drug or alcohol abuse and stress, although with some genetic factors. Therefore, instead of frantically trying to reduce cholesterol levels, we are much better off making small improvements in lifestyle. For these improvements will help reduce levels of chronic inflammation [1].
Although acute - shortlived -  inflammation is there to help us heal from injury and infection, this process can get out of hand and become chronic. And chronic inflammation is what contributes greatly to heart disease - and to the development of cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, even depression [2].

The current emphasis on medication (statins!) and low-cholesterol food has brought its own problems. Statins are the most popular drugs in history: drug companies made $26 billion selling statins as long ago as 2008. They use manipulative tactics and expensive advertising to sway lawmakers, the FDA and the public to increase sales [3].
Any medication has side effects, statins not least [4]. They are usually prescribed to prevent heart attacks and strokes, which could be avoided quite easily by practising good lifestyle choices - eating right, staying active, quitting smoking and trying to lower stress. 

Also, the fashion for low cholesterol ignores some vital facts. Cholesterol is arguably the most important substance in your body. What’s more, cholesterol from food doesn't raise blood cholesterol at all. The cholesterol in our bloodstream is made in the liver, and pumped into the blood whenever you need it: eating high cholesterol foods has very little impact on our blood cholesterol levels.
Most people who have a heart attack, have the same cholesterol levels as those who have not had one. The number of people with so-called "high" cholesterol has been going down for a long time, while the number of those with heart disease has risen. And people with heart disease tend to have lower levels of so called "bad" cholesterol than people without heart disease! Some studies have even shown a correlation between higher cholesterol levels and increased life expectancy [5].
Meanwhile, the number of cholesterol medications prescribed has increased dramatically - no doubt to the delight of those who sell it.

So what lifestyle changes are we talking about? I’m afraid it’s the usual: a Mediterranean-style diet with mostly fresh, un-processed foods, regular physical activity, no smoking and finding ways to reduce stress.
Better, much better! than pills - but not quite so easy.
On the other hand, if you do manage babysteps in that direction, you can be sure that they will lead to an improved health all round, both of body and of mind.

SO - you won't be surprised to hear that 
“Full-fat cheese raises healthy cholesterol levels, which are associated with a decreased risk of heart disease, better than does consumption of low-fat varieties.”
“Fat from milk, cheese and yogurt does not contribute to the development of coronary artery disease.” See [6] - Hurray!



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/white radish, endive, winter purslane, cavolo nero.
Fish: megrim, clams, hake, 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/

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.

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RECIPES


CARROT and PUMPKIN MASH with CREME FRAÎCHE
About: 300g carrots, 120g chopped pumpkin, 25ml crème fraiche, 1/4 tsp grated orange rind (make sure it’s unwaxed!), 1tblsp orange juice, 1/2 tblsp butter, freshly grated pepper, 1/4 tsp salt, (spring onion), rosemary.
Put the chopped carrots in a pan with some cold water and when it boils, add the pumpkin. Cook till soft, drain and mash. Mix creme fraîche, orange rind, freshly grated pepper and spring onion. Add to the mash, also the butter, orange juice and salt. Heat through. Decorate with spring onion if you like, and/or very finely cut rosemary. 
You can also cook rosemary with the veg, but put it in an infuser, so you won’t be bothered by the leaves later.

ROASTED COLEY on CAVOLO NERO
600g pollack/coley/colin fillets, (25g capers), 4-8 sliced stoned black olives, 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, 300g tomatoes, 400g shredded cavolo nero, chopped chives, chopped parsley.
Preheat oven to 200°C. Place fish on a greased tray. Mix together olives, oil and capers if you use them. Season and spoon over the fish; add tomatoes. Bake for 15–20 mins. Meanwhile, boil cavolo nero for ab. 8 mins. Drain, return to the pan. Stir in herbs and fish juice. Divide between 4 plates and top with fish and tomatoes.

POTATO, GREEN CABBAGE, and LEEK SOUP with LEMON CRÈME FRAÎCHE for 6
300g chopped green cabbage, 300g chopped leeks, 120ml crème fraîche/sour cream*, 550g potatoes, 3 garlic cloves, finely grated lemon peel, butter, olive oil, bay leaf, chicken stock, chives, (lemon juice).
Saute leeks and cabbage for a short while in oil and butter. Add stock and potatoes, cook till done. Take out the bay leaf, blend. Mix the crème fraîche with the lemon peel and stir in. Season. You may want to add a little bit of lemon juice. Serve with chives. 
*Try find wholefat cream if at all possible: the fat is good for you - see above! - and helps absorb the other nutrients. 

CRAB-and-LEEK (or PARSLEY) PASTA
400g spaghetti, 400g crabmeat, 4 chopped leeks or parsley, 1 tbsp olive oil, 2 finely chopped garlic cloves, 1 deseeded and finely chopped red chilli, 1tsp fennel seeds, crushed; 1 lemon, (small bunch of flat-leaf parsley roughly chopped); extra virgin olive oil to finish.
Bring salted water to the boil, throw in both pasta and leeks. Cook until the pasta is al dente; the leeks should be done more or less at the same time. Meanwhile, fry garlic, chilli and fennel seeds in oil for 2 mins until soft but not coloured. Add zest of half a lemon and the juice of all of it; stir in the crab meat. Drain pasta/leek mix, reserving a few spoonfuls of cooking water. Stir into the sauce. Add the extra water if it's a little dry. Season, drizzle with olive oil, and serve immediately.
If you don’t fancy leeks, add some parsley instead but only just before serving. 





For more recipes see November issues from former years - click on November 2017 on the right hand side. Or go to https://thoughtforfoodaw.wordpress.com, which still has eight recipes for this year. 
You'll also find an alphabetical index of subjects if you click on 2017 > November, in the top right hand corner. 
Next issue: happy drinking!? To see this now, go to https://thoughtforfoodaw.wordpress.com and scroll down.





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/. And every whole food shops will have plenty of herbal remedies which don't have the side effects of 'normal' medicine.

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?

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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/