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Saturday, 20 January 2018

norah jones / forever young

Saturday night again already, and music night on this blog. This is one of my favourite songs and dedicated to the people who read and comment on our blog. May you stay forever young. Eddie

Saturday Night Supper ...

This is a nice Saturday Night Supper Dish ... and as it's Saturday perhaps you may give it a try tonight !

Red peppers are definitely our favourite, and when put aside a yellow one, what a great colourful and nutritious plate of food you've got. What do you think?

Serves Four
1 celery stick, cut into 5mm (1/4in) dice
1 small onion, cut into 1cm (1/2in) dice
250g/8oz of swede (rutabaga) peeled and cut into 1cm (1/2in) dice
2 tsp olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
2 red peppers
2 yellow peppers
250g lean steak mince
1 fat garlic clove, crushed
1 tbsp. tomato puree
1 tsp dried herbs
1 heaped tsp smoked paprika (optional)
125ml (4fl oz.) red wine or beef stock

Put the carrot, celery, onion and swede into a large saucepan and pour over 2 tbsp. olive oil. Cover with a disc of non-stick baking paper and a lid, then cook over a low heat for 6-8 minutes or until softened, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, prepare the peppers. Make sure the peppers can stand upright by slicing slivers from the bottom. Slice the top off each pepper, about 1.5cm (3/4in) from the top, keeping the stalk intact. Use a sharp knife to carefully cut away and discard the seeds and any excess white pith inside the peppers. Reserve the lids and set the peppers aside.

Preheat the oven to gas 6, 200°C, fan 180°C. Uncover and remove the baking paper from the pan. Add the beef mince and turn up the heat to medium/high. Cook for 3-4 minutes until the mince is browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute before adding the tomato purée, herbs and paprika (if using). Stir well and cook for a further minute. Add the red wine or stock, then reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 8-10 minutes.

Pour some water into a baking tray and stand the peppers upright on the tray. Spoon the beef mixture into the peppers and put the lids on top. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and bake for 25-30 minutes until the peppers are tender. Serve.

Adapted from an original recipe idea here

We bring a variety of recipe ideas to this blog, and not all may be suitable for you. If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues these must always be taken into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use your meter.

Enjoy your weekend ...

All the best Jan

Friday, 19 January 2018

Hot Cross Buns : The Low Carb Way

No sooner was Christmas over and many of the supermarkets started filling their shelves with Easter Eggs, and just recently Hot Cross Buns! Now, I know many do enjoy a hot cross bun with a cup of tea, or coffee, but the hot cross buns to enjoy if you live the LCHF lifestyle are these ...

It's a recipe suggestion from Chef Craig, and he says 'a delicious LCHF alternative to the standard buns for celebrations and gatherings this Spring and Easter are these'

Makes 12 - 16
4.5 carbs per bun

4 tbsp. (60g) Chia Seeds
3/5 cup (150ml) Water
4 tbsp. (60g) Butter
6 Eggs, whisked
2 cups (210g) Almond Flour/Ground Almonds
1/3 cup + 1 tbsp. (30g) Psyllium Husk
1 tsp (5g) Ground Cinnamon
1 tsp (5g) Ground or grated Nutmeg
2 tbsp. Raisins
2 tsp (10g) Baking Powder
1 tsp (5g) Salt

For brushing the buns:
1 Egg yolk
1 tbsp. (15ml) Cream

To one side, soak the chia seeds in the water for 10 minutes until they become gelatinous.

Melt the butter in a suitable dish in the microwave or on a stove top. When melted, add the butter to the whisked eggs and then whisk in the chia seeds with their liquid.

Weigh and mix all the remaining dry ingredients together in a large enough bowl to take all of the mixture. Pour the wet ingredients and the raisins into the dry bowl and mix together well. Allow to stand for 15 minutes to allow the psyllium husks to absorb the moisture and make the dough pliable.

Once the dough has dried a little, turn it out on to a sheet of cling wrap. Cut another sheet of cling wrap and place this over the top. This is a clever little way to roll out something that might be a bit sticky without having to use extra almond flour which could dry out the mix in the end. Roll the dough to a thickness of around 3cm (inch and a half) and cut out with a pastry cutter – or you can just roll them by hand into little rounds the size you like without having to use cutters.

Mix an egg yolk and a tablespoon of cream together and with a pastry brush lightly brush this mix over the buns, which will give them a golden finish. Leave a little bit of your dough to roll into a long thin dough length and cut it into pieces to the size of your buns to criss-cross on the top.

Lastly, place your buns almost touching together so they bake into one batch that you will tear easily into the individual buns leaving the traditional patterning on the sides.

Bake for 12 – 15 minutes and cool on a cooling wire.

Prep time: 10 minutes (additional standing time 10 minutes – chia seeds; 15 min psyllium husk)
Cooking time: 12-15 minutes
Makes: 12-16
Carb count: 4.5g carbs
Bake at: 160º C / 325º F / gas mark 3

Recipe from What The Fat Blog here - but more to see here

Now all I need to do is make a nice cup of tea
I'll just put the kettle on

All the best Jan

Benefits of Green Tea

Kris Gunnars BSc writes:
"Green tea is the healthiest beverage on the planet.
It is loaded with antioxidants and nutrients that have powerful effects on the body.
These include improved brain function, fat loss, a lower risk of cancer and many other impressive benefits.

Below are 10 health benefits of green tea that are supported by studies.

Green Tea Contains Bioactive Compounds That Improve Health
Green tea is more than just liquid.
Many of the plant compounds in the tea leaves do make it into the final drink, which contains large amounts of important nutrients. Tea is rich in polyphenols that have effects like reducing inflammation and helping to fight cancer. Green tea also has small amounts of minerals that are important for health. Try to choose a higher quality brand of green tea, because some of the lower quality brands can contain excessive amounts of fluoride. That being said, even if you choose a lower quality brand, the benefits still far outweigh any risk.
Summary Green tea is loaded with polyphenol antioxidants, including a catechin called EGCG. These antioxidants can have various beneficial effects on health.

Compounds in Green Tea Can Improve Brain Function and Make You Smarter

Green tea does more than just keep you awake, it can also make you smarter. The key active ingredient is caffeine, which is a known stimulant. It doesn't contain as much as coffee, but enough to produce a response without causing the "jittery" effects associated with too much caffeine. Many people report having more stable energy and being much more productive when they drink green tea, compared to coffee.
Summary Green tea contains less caffeine than coffee, but enough to produce an effect. It also contains the amino acid L-theanine, which can work synergistically with caffeine to improve brain function.

Green Tea Increases Fat Burning and Improves Physical Performance
Summary Green tea has been shown to boost the metabolic rate and increase fat burning in the short term, although not all studies agree.

Antioxidants in Green Tea May Lower Your Risk of Some Types of Cancer

Cancer is caused by uncontrolled growth of cells. It is one of the world's leading causes of death. It is known that oxidative damage contributes to the development of cancer and that antioxidants may have a protective effect. Green tea is an excellent source of powerful antioxidants, so it makes sense that it could reduce your risk of cancer, which it appears to do:
Breast cancer: A meta-analysis of observational studies found that women who drank the most green tea had a 20-30% lower risk of developing breast cancer, the most common cancer in women.
Prostate cancer: One study found that men drinking green tea had a 48% lower risk of developing prostate cancer, which is the most common cancer in men.
Colorectal cancer: An analysis of 29 studies showed that those drinking green tea were up to 42% less likely to develop colorectal cancer.
Many observational studies have shown that green tea drinkers are less likely to develop several types of cancer. However, more high-quality research is needed to confirm these effects. It is important to keep in mind that it may be a bad idea to put milk in your tea, because some studies suggest it reduces the antioxidant value.
Summary Green tea has powerful antioxidants that may protect against cancer. Multiple studies show that green tea drinkers have a lower risk of various types of cancer.

Green Tea May Protect Your Brain in Old Age, Lowering Your Risk of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's
Not only can green tea improve brain function in the short term, it may also protect your brain in old age. Alzheimer's disease is the most common neurodegenerative disease in humans and a leading cause of dementia.
Parkinson's disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disease and involves the death of dopamine producing neurons in the brain. Multiple studies show that the catechin compounds in green tea can have various protective effects on neurons in test tubes and animal models, potentially lowering the risk of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.
Summary The bioactive compounds in green tea can have various protective effects on the brain. They may reduce the risk of both Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, the two most common neurodegenerative disorders.

Green Tea Can Kill Bacteria, Which Improves Dental Health and Lowers Your Risk of Infection
Summary The catechins in green tea may inhibit the growth of bacteria and some viruses. This can lower the risk of infections and lead to improvements in dental health, a lower risk of caries and reduced bad breath.

Green Tea May Lower Your Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is a disease that has reached epidemic proportions in the past few decades and now afflicts about 400 million people worldwide. This disease involves having elevated blood sugar levels in the context of insulin resistance or an inability to produce insulin.
Summary Some controlled trials show that green tea can cause mild reductions in blood sugar levels. It may also lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Green Tea May Reduce Your Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
Cardiovascular diseases, including heart disease and stroke, are the biggest causes of death in the world. Studies show that green tea can improve some of the main risk factors for these diseases.
Summary Green tea has been shown to lower total and LDL cholesterol, as well as protect the LDL particles from oxidation. Observational studies show that green tea drinkers have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.

Green Tea Can Help You Lose Weight and Lower Your Risk of Obesity
Summary Some studies show that green tea leads to increased weight loss. It may be particularly effective at reducing the dangerous abdominal fat.

Green Tea May Help You Live Longer

Of course, we all have to die eventually. That is inevitable. However, given that green tea drinkers are at a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer, it makes sense that it could help you live longer.
In a study of 40,530 Japanese adults, those who drank the most green tea (5 or more cups per day) were significantly less likely to die during an 11 year period:
Death of all causes: 23% lower in women, 12% lower in men.
Death from heart disease: 31% lower in women, 22% lower in men.
Death from stroke: 42% lower in women, 35% lower in men.
Another study in 14,001 elderly Japanese individuals aged found that those who drank the most green tea were 76% less likely to die during the 6 year study period.
Summary Studies show that green tea drinkers are likely to live longer than non-tea drinkers.

The Bottom Line
In order to feel better, lose weight and lower your risk of chronic diseases, then you might want to consider making green tea a regular part of your life."

The above is only a snippet of Kris's article.
You can read it in full, with related research links etc. here

We bring a variety of articles, studies etc. plus recent news/views and recipe ideas to this blog, we hope something for everyone to read and enjoy.

Please note, not all may be suitable for you.

If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues these must always be taken into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use your meter.

All the best Jan

Thursday, 18 January 2018

Chicken Casserole - with a selection of vegetables

There are many good recipes for Chicken Casserole, but can you have too many? No, I don't think so ... If you'd like to add another version of a chicken casserole to your recipe collection, this one is very tasty. Read on and see what you think!

For the casserole:

Serves Four
4 chicken breasts, or 600g/1lb 5oz cooked leftover roast chicken
2 onions, 1 roughly chopped, 1 thinly sliced
1 carrot, roughly chopped
1 celery stalk, roughly chopped
6 whole peppercorns
1 fresh  bay leaf
water, to cover
55g/2oz butter
30g/1oz plain flour 
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 small head broccoli, cut into florets and blanched
1 x 225g/8oz tin water chestnuts, drained
1 free-range egg yolk, lightly beaten
2-3 tbsp. double (heavy) cream
squeeze lemon juice

To serve:
1 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
boiled baby carrots

1. Place the chicken breasts, roughly chopped onion, carrot, celery, peppercorns and bay leaf into a large pan and add enough water to cover the ingredients.
2. Bring the mixture slowly to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 25-30 minutes, or until the chicken is completely cooked through.
3. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside. Keep warm. Strain the cooking liquid and reserve 450ml/16fl oz. of it. Set aside.
4. Heat half of the butter in a large separate pan and add the flour. Stir over a low heat until the mixture forms a smooth paste that leaves the sides and base of the pan cleanly. Gradually add the reserved cooking liquid, stirring well after each addition, to make a sauce. Season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
5. Add the broccoli and water chestnuts to the sauce. 
6. In a bowl, mix the egg yolk with the cream and slowly add this mixture to the sauce. Add a squeeze of lemon juice and stir to combine.
7. Cut the cooked chicken into bite-sized pieces and return to the sauce. Stir well.
8. In a separate pan, heat the remaining butter and fry the remaining thinly sliced onion until soft and golden-brown.
9. To serve, sprinkle the onion over the casserole, garnish with parsley and serve with the boiled baby carrots.

You could make this healthy mid-week dish using leftover roast chicken – tear it into pieces and add at step seven.

From an original idea here

a glass of white wine served with the meal - optional

A variety of recipe ideas are found within this blog, and not all may be suitable for you. If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues these must always be taken into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use your meter.

All the best Jan

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Thai Curry Soup With Tofu : Vegan, Lower Carb, Gluten Free

As regular readers know, this blog brings a variety of articles, studies, thoughts, music and recipes! It is presented in a magazine style - we hope something for everyone. Our main focus is about the Low Carb Higher (Healthy) Fat lifestyle, LCHF for short, and you can read/find out more about that here

In recent months we have seen that more and more we have regular readers, and followers, who choose to eat vegetarian or vegan. With that in mind I am passing on this recipe suggestion from Martine at Low Carb Vegan Blog.
It is for a lower carb vegan style Thai curry soup which uses Tofu, and if you would like a little more information about Tofu, then please use this link here

Martine at Low Carb Vegan, says:
" I love meal soups. They are quick and easy to make, and you can chuck in any ingredients you have lying around. This Thai-ish version is nice to use up all the odd and ends of veggies that are lying around in your fridge. Peppers, celery, cauliflower, broccoli, carrot, leeks, rutabaga (swede), parsnip and many others work well in this. If you don't have some of the veggies in the ingredient list, just substitute something else.

Serves 3 - 4
Gluten Free
1 onion, minced
1 bell pepper, in strips
1 garlic clove, minced
2-3 handfuls of green beans, peas or broccoli, in small pieces
2-3 handfuls of cauliflower, in small pieces
1 1/2 cup (1 can) cooked chickpeas (optional, use only if the carb count doesn't have to be super low)
1 heaped teaspoon un-chicken or vegetable bouillon powder
3 cups water
2 tablespoons (green) Thai curry paste
3 oz. /100 g creamed coconut in a block (or replace half the water with a can of coconut milk)
16 oz. / 500 g firm or extra firm tofu, cubed

Sauté the onion in a little oil until it is translucent. Add the bell pepper and garlic and sauté for another minute. Add the green beans, cauliflower, optional chickpeas, bouillon and water. Bring to a boil and cook for 6-7 minutes until the veggies are done. Stir in the curry paste and creamed coconut.

In the mean time, fry up the tofu cubes in some oil until they are crispy and golden brown. Divide the soup over 3 or 4 bowls and sprinkle the tofu on top."

You can see the original recipe here
If you should need help with measurement and conversion please see here

Readers please remember, not all the recipes ideas featured in this blog may be suitable for you. If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues these must always be taken into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use your meter.

All the best Jan

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Why You Should Never Use Your Phone After 6:00 PM !

Why You Should Never Use Your Phone After 6:00 PM ! Impossible I hear many saying, me included, as I do sometimes make calls after 7pm when I know I am likely to get hold of family and friends who have been out working ... but in a recent article I read
Ronald Goedeke says:

"A good night’s sleep is one of the best things we can do for the health of our body, yet the majority of us still struggle with what sounds like a simple facet of life. The importance of enough quality deep sleep should not be underestimated. It is the time where we rest, recover and rejuvenate.

Unfortunately many modern day aspects are working against us when it comes to our sleep. Artificial light, electronics, stressful jobs, and caffeine are a few things that can have a significant impact on your sleep, however, there are a few simple things to considering doing for a better night’s sleep.

Exercise has countless health benefits. One of them is its ability to help us sleep by fatiguing the body. While exercise is extremely beneficial, it is best done during the day rather than at night when you’re trying to relax. Strenuous exercise can result in a release of adrenaline and make you feel awake for a period of time afterwards; exactly what you don’t need in the evenings.

Avoid Caffeine After Noon:
Caffeine is a stimulant that will affect sleep. With a half-life of approximately 5 hours, about a quarter of the caffeine in a 3:00 p.m. cup of coffee are still in the system after 10:00 p.m. when you should be heading to sleep. While you may not feel the effects of the coffee that you had earlier, caffeine has been shown to disrupt your sleep.

Eat Dinner Early:
Get your final meal in as early as you can to give your body enough time to fully empty your stomach. It may take up to two hours for a full stomach to empty, so give yourself adequate time before trying to sleep. An empty stomach will help avoid acid reflux issues which can worsen when you lie down to sleep.

Install A Blue Light Filter On Your Computer And Phone:
If you’re like most people, using your phone and computer in the evenings, consider installing a blue light filter. The blue wavelength of light is the most potent portion of the visible light spectrum that affects our sleep. These filters are easily downloadable for your mobile devices and computers, and act by automatically cutting out blue light in the evenings.

Black Out Your Bedroom:
Try and sleep in complete darkness. This may be difficult to achieve, but our body’s melatonin production, which helps us sleep, is best in dark environments. Any artificial light present while trying to sleep can interrupt our circadian rhythm as well as suppress melatonin production, negatively impacting your sleep. If any light is making its way into your bedroom, try and eliminate it as best you can. This may involve turning off or unplugging all electronic devices, installing thicker curtains, or using black sheets to block out street lights.

Go To Sleep Earlier:
Studies have shown the hours before midnight to be extremely beneficial when it comes to a good night’s sleep. It is recommended you try to get to sleep before 10:00 p.m. as these earlier hours are more important than the total number of hours sleep you get. If you’re feeling groggy upon waking, don’t try to sleep more. Rather, try to get to sleep earlier and wake up earlier.

Sleep plays a huge role in our energy levels and can dictate how we feel during the day, which is why everyone should consider these six tips. Some might not work for everyone and changing your daily habits may take some time, but keep working at it and hopefully you’ll be getting that regular good night’s sleep you’ve dreamed of having."

Words, picture and more to see from article here

Talking to many friends and fellow bloggers, it would seem that one thing many of us do struggle with is a good night's sleep.
I do think it a good idea to eat your dinner as early as possible, but of course the time for a meal slot can be limited and set by whatever is going on in your family. I well remember the days when the children were all at home and some nights having a 'shift' of meal times to fit in with the after school or after work activities that were scheduled. We just have to do our best ...

I wonder, have you any tips for a restful night's sleep?

All the best Jan

Almond Flour Bread : Low Carb, Gluten Free and Grain Free

If you are new to low-carb baking, bread made with almond flour is the easiest low carb flour to begin with. Low-carb almond flour bread is also naturally grain free and gluten free bread.

This is a classic recipe for low-carb almond bread. Throw it all together and voila! A low-carb almond flour bread that slices like the real thing - just low-carb. This should be your go-to recipe for a healthy low-carb bread. Perfect sliced for a low-carb sandwich, toasted or even used for a bread stuffing.

15 slices

200 g almond meal/flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt, or to taste
20 g psyllium husk
4 eggs
50 g coconut oil melted
125 ml of warm water

Words and image above are Libby's, please see instructions and more at her Ditch The Carbs Site here

this bread can go perfectly with a cheese and meat platter - image from google

We bring a variety of recipe ideas to this blog, but please note, not all may be suitable for you. If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues these must always be taken into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use your meter.

All the best Jan

Monday, 15 January 2018

Have We Really Demonstrated the Cardiovascular Safety of Antihyperglycemic Drugs?

Rethinking the Concepts of Macrovascular and Microvascular Disease in Type 2 Diabetes


A primary goal of the treatment of type 2 mellitus is the prevention of morbidity and mortality due to cardiovascular disease. However, antihyperglycemic drugs have the capacity to cause deleterious effects on the circulation, a risk that is not adequately reflected by the endpoints selected for emphasis in large-scale clinical trials that are designed to evaluate cardiovascular safety. The primary endpoint of the large-scale studies mandated by regulatory authorities focuses only on 3-4 events that depict only a limited view of the circulatory system.

One of the most serious adverse effects of many glucose-lowering drugs is new-onset or worsening heart failure. Most antidiabetic drugs can aggravate heart failure because they exert antinatriuretic actions, and possibly, adverse effects on the myocardium. In addition, certain antihyperglycemic agents may worsen peripheral vascular disease and trigger cardiac arrhythmias that may lead to sudden death. Initiation of treatment with antidiabetic medications may also cause deterioration of the function of the kidneys, retina and peripheral nerves, which are typically regarded as reflecting microvascular disease.

The current confusion about the cardiovascular effects of glucose-lowering drugs may be exacerbated by conceptual uncertainties about the classification of large and small vessel disease in determining the clinical course of diabetes. Physicians should not be falsely reassured by claims that a new treatment appears to have passed a narrowly-defined regulatory test. The management of diabetic patients often carries with it the risk of important cardiovascular consequences, even for drugs that do not overtly increase the risk of myocardial infarction or stroke.


Cheesy Haddock and Spinach Bake

This recipe suggestion uses Pié d'Angloys cheese, which is a full flavoured and creamy cheese. On its authentic packaging, the seal certifies its constant quality and is the proof of the cheese-markers' excellence.

On the outside the product has an ivory rind which once cut reveals a golden honey coloured brie-like paste. The texture is always creamy and melts in the mouth and the taste is rich and flavoured with a hint of honey. Pié d’Angloys is perfect for any occasion – its uniqueness graces any cheeseboard but can also be eaten simply with low carb seedy bread, to turn a light lunch into a real treat.

Serves Two
20g butter
20g plain flour
240ml milk
2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
Squeeze of lemon
100g spinach
70g Pié d'Angloys - chopped into small cubes
400g smoked haddock
Salt and pepper

Oven temperatures in 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6

Preheat the oven. Melt the butter over a medium heat, remove and stir in the flour to form a roux. Place back on the heat and cook for 30 seconds stirring with a wooden spoon.

Gradually add the milk a little at a time whisking as you go to prevent any lumps from forming. When you have incorporated all the milk and the sauce has a creamy consistency add in the Dijon mustard, Pié d'Angloys and a squeeze of lemon juice. Season to taste.

Wash the spinach and cook for 1-2mins, squeeze out any excess liquid using a sieve and the back of a spoon.

Divide the spinach between two small crockery-baking dishes, place the fish on top and finish with the sauce.

Bake in the oven for 15 to 20min until golden on top.

From an original idea here

Please note - there is a variety of articles and recipe ideas within this blog. It is important to note, not all may be suitable for you. If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues these must always be taken into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use your meter.

All the best Jan

Sunday, 14 January 2018

Lamb Casserole with aubergine, red pepper and tomatoes - so easy !

I do like recipes that use aubergines/eggplants and they are often in my menu plans. Not only are they an excellent source of dietary fibre, they are also a good source of Vitamins B1 and B6 and potassium. In addition it is high in the minerals copper, magnesium and manganese. A 100g serving of raw aubergine provides: 25kcal 1g protein 0.2g fat 6g carbohydrate 3.4g fibre.

This lamb casserole recipe suggestion contains a great selection of vegetables including an aubergine! It's a great easy dish to prepare you may like to give it a try ...

Serves Four
1 aubergine/eggplant
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 red pepper, de-seeded and sliced
550g - 600g diced lamb
15g butter
1 tbsp. plain flour
400g can chopped tomatoes with herbs
300ml lamb stock

Cut the aubergine/eggplant into 2cm cubes and put in a colander. Sprinkle with 1 tsp salt and set aside for 30 minutes. Rinse and pat dry.

Pre-heat the oven to 160C/140C Fan/Gas 3. Heat half the oil in a frying pan and cook the onion. Add the garlic and pepper and cook for another minute. Add the aubergine and stir. Transfer to a casserole dish.

Add the rest of the oil to the pan and brown the lamb in two batches, adding to the casserole when done.

Melt the butter in the pan and stir in the flour. Add the tomatoes and simmer, stirring all the time. Add the stock to the casserole with the tomatoes. Season, cover and cook in the oven for 2 ¼ hours.

From an original idea here

All the best Jan

Saturday, 13 January 2018

Freya Ridings - Lost Without You (Live At Hackney Round Chapel)

Another singer with a powerful voice that's new to me, enjoy

Ed Sheeran - Andrea Bocelli - Perfect Symphony

Saturday Night is music night on this blog, and here we have Ed Sheeran and Andrea Bocelli - Perfect Symphony. I happened upon this lovely video on Sandy's blog and she said, 'it's great', I definitely agree - hope you enjoy it too. All the best Jan

Scallops Parmesan ... delicious low carb food !

These are elegant little appetizers 'kissed with the flavours of wine and cheese ... everything about these are right ' says Anne Aobadia. You could start a special dinner party with these ... and they are low carb too! You could even consider this dish for a Valentine's Day starter!

Serves Four
5g carbs per serving

8 scallops
1 tablespoon butter
1 shallot, finely chopped
4 tablespoons / 60ml white wine
1 cup / 240ml heavy (double) whipping cream
1⁄6 oz. / 30g grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper

You may like to pair these with different types of dry wine, to accentuate the delicate flavours.
Please see Anne Aobadia's recipe instructions at Diet Doctor site here

Did you know that the history of Parmesan cheese and its etymology are fascinating, and it goes back a few centuries, please read more here  

Readers - you will find a variety of articles and recipe ideas, are within this blog. It is important to note, not all may be suitable for you. If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues these must always be taken into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use your meter.

As always thanks for reading, and enjoy your weekend.

All the best Jan 

Friday, 12 January 2018

Five Health and Fitness Tips For 2018

These are my five simple health and fitness tips, but please note I am not a medical person, nor do I have any underlying health issues. I can only share my experience with you, the reader, but by following these five simple tips for almost ten years now, my health and fitness has been good.

Eddie, my husband a Type 2 diabetic reduced his HbA1c from in the 12’s (at diagnosis) to the 5’s. By living this lifestyle, his blood sugar levels remain constant, and his only diabetic medication is metformin. Some Type 2 Diabetics, who have also followed this lifestyle, have reduced their dependence on medication too, which surely must be beneficial.

These five markers have become a ‘lifestyle’ and I certainly would not go back to eating ’carbage’. I do not eat more than 50 carbs each day but it is balanced by the amount of fat and protein I eat. You need to work out a balance that suits you, take your lifestyle, your work patterns etc. into account. This is not difficult to do but you have to make the choice and then put your choice into action.

If you are diabetic use your meter to keep a check on your blood sugar readings. If you choose to start out on this lifestyle take it one step at a time, it’s not a race and you may find that a gradual reduction works better for you.

So to re-cap for me - keeping my body healthy is following this lifestyle:

1) Eating low carb whole foods,
2) Eating high fat natural foods,
3) Eating moderate protein foods,
4) Taking exercise, that suit’s the individual,
5) Establish a good sleep pattern.

You only have to read around the many blogs and forums, read the various articles, look at who is talking about living this low carb lifestyle, to get a good indication of the many people this has helped.

Whether you are non diabetic, a Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetic. Perhaps your family has a History of other illnesses that could benefit from living this lifestyle, if you haven’t already given it some thought I would urge you to.

As always dear reader the choice is yours ...

Thanks for reading, the picture below shows the low carb food pyramid.

If you should be interested in reading a little more about the LCHF lifestyle then why not have a look at our 'Introduction to low-carb for beginners' post here

All the best Jan

Thursday, 11 January 2018

"Not a lot of people know that" Michael Caine

We are constantly told we need to get our cholesterol levels down. The $64,000 question must be WHY? the lower the cholesterol the sooner we die. Don't believe me, check out this very short video by UK Medical Doctor Malcolm Kendrick a heart disease expert. Eddie 

Frittata with Fresh Spinach, Bacon or Chorizo : Low Carb

This gorgeous dish looks so tasty - and it is! Simple to make, it combines eggs, spinach, bacon or chorizo and some grated cheese! So nutritious and as my grand-daughter may say ... 'it's yummy in your tummy'

Serves Four
4g carb per serving
8 eggs
1 cup / 225ml heavy (double) whipping cream
8 oz. / 225g fresh spinach
51⁄3 oz. / 150g diced bacon or chorizo
51⁄3 oz. / 150g shredded (grated) cheese
2 tablespoons butter, for frying
salt and pepper

Please see recipe instructions here
Just serve with a lovely cup of coffee or tea.

 ... and for you dear reader, these flowers to cheer up a cool winters day,
or a hot day if you may be in the Southern Hemisphere !

image from google

All the best Jan

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Beef, cooked slowly with onions, carrots and cabbage : Low carb

Slow Cooked Beef Casserole

For a lovely heart warming meal you just can't beat a nice slow cooked beef casserole.
This one has onion and carrot added with some salt, pepper, mixed herbs and beef stock.
Simply served with white cabbage. A truly tasty low carb meal...

For dessert why not have some lower carb fruit like blueberries, with some thick double (heavy) cream !

A satisfying low carb meal, and not a potato in sight!

Ingredients: Serves two
250/300 grams braising steak cut into small cubed pieces
1 large red onion chopped
1 large sliced carrot
1 teaspoon of dried mixed herbs
salt and pepper to taste
Just under 1 pint of gravy stock

Easy Method
Clean, cut and place all ingredients in a casserole dish or earthenware oven proof pot with lid.

Pour over the stock and cook at 180c in an electric oven, or Mark 4 Gas Oven for 90 to 120 minutes.

Obviously ovens do differ so check food is cooked thoroughly before serving.

Once you've enjoyed your casserole just serve up some low carb fruit - like blueberries and cream.

Bon Appetit!

All the best Jan

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Is coconut oil a superfood?

Sales of coconut oil are rocketing, propelled by celebrity endorsements and claims that drinking the stuff will cure everything from bad breath to digestive disorders.

Actress Angelina Jolie-Pitt is said to have a tablespoon or so with her breakfast most mornings, while model Miranda Kerr says she not only adds it to salads and smoothies, but she cooks with it and splashes it on her skin as well.

The health claims that swirl around coconut oil are treated with a great deal of scepticism by scientists.

If anything coconut oil is seen, in the scientific community, as an unhealthy fat. It is very high in saturated fat (86%), even more so than butter (51%) or lard (39%).

The reason that foods rich in saturated fats are frowned on is because eating them causes a rise in blood levels of LDL (low density lipoprotein).

LDL is known as "bad cholesterol" because high levels are linked with increased risk of heart disease.

On the other hand, saturated fats - which are particularly bad for you - also tend to raise HDL, "good" cholesterol, which has the opposite effect. It is possible that a particular food can raise overall cholesterol levels, yet still be heart-friendly.

Cholesterol check

So is coconut oil a cholesterol-busting wonder food, as some claim, or is this all dangerous hype?

Despite all the sound and fury that surrounds coconut oil there have been surprisingly few human studies carried out to test specific health claims.

So for the current BBC2 series of Trust Me I'm a Doctor, we thought we should help organise a trial.

The Trust Me team started by contacting Prof Kay-Tee Khaw and Prof Nita Forouhi, both eminent Cambridge academics.

With their help we recruited 94 volunteers, aged 50-75 and with no history of diabetes or heart disease, and designed a study to assess what effect eating different types of fat would have on their cholesterol levels.

We began by randomly allocating our volunteers to one of three groups. Every day for four weeks, the first was asked to eat 50g of extra virgin coconut oil - that's about three tablespoons full.

The second group was asked to consume the same amount of extra virgin olive oil.

Olive oil is a key element of the Mediterranean diet, which is widely seen as being extremely healthy.

And the third was asked to eat 50g of unsalted butter a day. Again, that adds up to just over three tablespoons.

The volunteers were told that they could consume these fats in whatever way they pleased, as long as they did so every day for the whole four weeks.

They were also warned that, because they were consuming an extra 450 calories a day, they might well put on some weight.

Before our volunteers started on their new high-fat regime we took blood samples to get baseline measurements, focusing mainly on their levels of LDL (the "bad" cholesterol) and HDL (the "good" cholesterol)

The importance of these two measures is that your heart attack risk is best calculated, not by looking at your total cholesterol score, but your total cholesterol divided by your HDL score. NHS Choices suggests that this figure should be below four.

So what happened? As expected the butter eaters saw an average rise in their LDL levels of about 10%, which was almost matched by a 5% rise in their HDL levels

Those consuming olive oil saw a small reduction, albeit a non-significant drop, in LDL cholesterol, and a 5% rise in HDL. So olive oil lived up to its heart-friendly reputation.


But the big surprise was the coconut oil. Not only was there no rise in LDL levels, which was what we were expecting, but there was a particularly large rise in HDL, the "good" cholesterol, up by 15%

On the face of it that would suggest that the people consuming the coconut oil had actually reduced their risk of developing heart disease or stroke.

I asked Prof Khaw, who was clearly surprised by these results, why she thought it had happened

"I have no real idea," she candidly replied. "Perhaps it is because the main saturated fat in coconut oil is lauric acid and lauric acid may have different biological impacts on blood lipids to other fatty acids. The evidence for that comes mainly from animals, so it was fascinating to see this effect in free-living humans."

So should we be hailing coconut oil as a health food?

"I think decisions to eat particular oils depend on more than just the health effects", she said. "This is just one study and it would be irresponsible to suggest changing dietary advice based on one study, however well conducted."

This was a very short-term study and compared to olive oil, research on coconut oil is at an early stage.

So the claims about coconut oil being a superfood are premature.

But if, like me, you enjoy putting coconut in your curries, there seems no very good reason to stop.


Monday, 8 January 2018

Low Carb 'Rice Pudding'

In a fairly typical 'old fashioned rice pudding' there are 59.9g carbohydrate (carbs) per one cup serving. If you are a diabetic eating this amount of carbs would result in your blood sugar readings going 'high' ... as your meter would show! Many Type 2 (and Type 1) diabetics exclude rice from their menu plans because of this reason ... elevated blood sugar readings are the last thing a well controlled diabetic would want. So if you are diabetic, or indeed like me a non-diabetic but choose to live the LCHF lifestyle - what do you do?

Well, for many of the higher carb foods there are excellent alternatives, and you can swap many foods e.g. pasta for courgette, tacos for lettuce etc.

If you may be looking for a low carb (alternative) version of 'rice pudding' then look no further. Anne Aobadia at Diet Doctor site has made this super 'Creamy Cottage Cheese Pudding' ... she says 'this is a low-carb version of the classic rice pudding - and you can serve (and enjoy) it all year round'

Serves Six
just 3g carb per serving

300 g cottage cheese
300 ml heavy (double) whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
60 g fresh raspberries or other berries of your liking

Delicious serves with red berries of your choice, or why not try a few wedges of a clementine ...

Just look at the difference in carb count:
3g per serving in the low carb version
59.9g per serving in the 'old fashioned' version

Please see original recipe and instructions here

Did you know ... Cinnamon is a popular spice often associated with baked treats, cereals and smoothies. However, you may not have considered that the teaspoon of cinnamon that you add to your baked treats may be doing you more good than you realized. Studies have shown that cinnamon could assist with boosting brain function, fighting cancer, aiding in digestion, supporting weight loss and fighting diabetes.

Incorporate cinnamon into your life by:
Adding a cinnamon quill into your morning tea, sprinkling half a teaspoon of ground cinnamon onto your homemade granola or adding a sprinkle of cinnamon into your next bowl of breakfast oatmeal.

We bring a variety of recipe ideas to this blog, but please note, not all may be suitable for you. If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues these must always be taken into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use your meter.

If you would like to read more about eating lower carb foods, and the LCHF lifestyle, why not see our post 'Introduction to low-carb for beginners' here

All the best Jan

Sunday, 7 January 2018

More drugs?

Anyone who believes more drugs is a better option than eating real whole, home cooked, fresh food, is probably on too many drugs already. The choice is yours.


Looking For Non Alcoholic Substitutes For Wine - both red and white !

Brianna Elliott RD writes:
"Wine is a popular alcoholic beverage made from fermented grape juice. Red and white wine are also popular cooking ingredients. They are included in many recipes to enhance flavour and colour. Additionally, wine is often used in cooking to provide moisture, tenderize meat or to deglaze a pan. If you don’t have wine on hand, or if you choose not to consume alcohol, there are many non-alcoholic substitutes you can use in cooking that will make your food just as delicious.

This article discusses 11 non-alcoholic substitutes for wine in cooking.

1. Red and White Wine Vinegar
Wine vinegar can replace wine in cooking without having a major impact on the taste of recipes. However, it is important to dilute vinegar with water before using it in cooking, due to its intense acidity. 

2. Pomegranate Juice
Pomegranate juice is an excellent substitute for red wine in cooking due to its similar colour, flavour and acidity.

3. Cranberry Juice
Cranberry juice has several properties similar to red wine, so it makes a great non-alcoholic replacement for red wine in cooking.

4. Ginger Ale
Ginger ale may replace white wine in cooking as a result of its similar acidity and sweet taste.

5.Red or White Grape Juice
Since grape juice and wine have similar colours and flavours, grape juice can be used to replace wine at a 1:1 ratio in recipes.

6. Chicken, Beef or Vegetable Stock
Chicken, beef and vegetable stock may be an effective replacement for wine in recipes, due to their similar function in cooking. 

7. Apple Juice
Apple juice is a great non-alcoholic substitute for white wine because of its similar flavour and colour.

8. Lemon Juice
Lemon juice is an excellent way to add flavour and acidity to dishes, so it makes a great non-alcoholic replacement for white wine in cooking.

9. Liquid From Canned Mushrooms
Canned mushroom liquid is an excellent replacement for red wine in cooking, especially in savoury dishes.

10. Tomato Juice
Tomato juice is acidic and has a similar colour to red wine, thus making it a great non-alcoholic substitute for red wine in cooking.

11. Water
Water contributes liquid to recipes, so can be used to replace wine in cooking. However, it does not contribute any flavour, colour or acidity.

The Bottom Line
There are several non-alcoholic ingredients that have properties similar to wine and can be used as substitutes for wine in cooking. Some ingredients, such as grape juice, may replace wine equally in recipes, while others may need to be mixed with other ingredients to make an effective substitute. It is important to keep your desired flavour in mind when you are replacing wine in recipes. For example, if you are looking for a sweet taste, it is best to use a sweet ingredient. Also, you may find it helpful to do a taste test when replacing wine in cooking, to ensure you are achieving your desired flavour in a dish." 

The above is only a snippet of Brianna's article.
You can read it in full, with related research links etc.

We bring a variety of articles, studies etc. plus recent news/views and recipe ideas to this blog, we hope something for everyone to read and enjoy.

Please note, not all may be suitable for you.

If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues these must always be taken into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use your meter.

All the best Jan

Saturday, 6 January 2018

Sara Bareilles - She Used To Be Mine

Saturday night is music night, I enjoyed this song hope you like it too

Normandy Pork Casserole ... Perfect For Cooler Days

This recipe suggestion is what many would call comfort food, and is perfect for chilly winter evenings. This is an easy one pot recipe suggestion which melts in the mouth, you really can't go wrong! In fact, I think I can smell the aroma coming from the kitchen right now!

Ingredients: serves 10 (easily halved if there are 4 – 6 of you eating)
100g butter
Olive oil
2kg shoulder of free-range (British) pork, cubed
400g (14oz) lardons or chunky streaky bacon, chopped
32 shallots, peeled and left whole
2 small onions, chopped
4 celery sticks, chopped
1 litre dry cider
200ml chicken stock
8 tbsp. single cream
4tbsp corn-flour mixed with 2tbsp water
4tbsp wholegrain mustard
4tbsp fresh tarragon leaves

How to prepare/serve:
1. Heat the oven to 170 C, 150 C fan, 325 F, gas 3.

2. You will need a large, flameproof casserole dish. Put half butter and drizzle of olive oil (to stop butter burning) with half the cubed pork, season and fry for about 10 minutes until thoroughly browned. Remove the meat from the pot with a slotted spoon and reserve. Add the rest of the butter to the casserole and fry the rest of the pork for 10 minutes until evenly browned.

3. Meanwhile, in another pan, dry-fry the bacon until crispy. Remove, set aside, then fry the shallots, onion and celery for a few minutes, to soften slightly.

4. Combine all the pork, the lardons, shallots, onion and celery in the casserole. Pour over the cider and chicken stock to cover. Cover the dish and cook in the oven for 2 hours until the pork is tender.

5. Add the cream, corn-flour mix, mustard and tarragon to the pan. Heat on the hob and stir until the sauce has thickened slightly.

6. Serve with vegetables of your choice but a lovely dark green steamed vegetable like cavolo nero or purple sprouting broccoli can work well.

From an original idea here

A variety of recipe ideas are found within this blog, and not all may be suitable for you. If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues these must always be taken into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use your meter.

All the best Jan

Friday, 5 January 2018

Brussels Sprouts and Cheddar Cheese Soup ... delicious !

Well you don't need to be a Sherlock Holmes, or Agatha Christie to see where this rather lovely recipe idea for soup came from ... yes ... Sainsbury's magazine! It really is the perfect way to use up leftover sprouts, but don't worry if you have none leftover - see the kitchen secret tip below!

Serves Four
Ready in approx. 35 minutes
7.9g carbohydrate per serving

a splash of olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
2 medium onions, chopped
300 g cooked Brussels sprouts
2 garlic cloves, crushed
650 ml vegetable stock
4 tbsp. single cream
100 g mature cheddar, grated, plus extra to serve

1. Heat the oil in a medium pan and fry the onions over a medium heat until soft, 8-10 minutes. Meanwhile, roughly chop half the sprouts and cut the rest into halves or quarters, depending on size.
2. Add the garlic to the pan and stir-fry for 1 minute, then add the chopped sprouts and stock, cover with a lid and bring to the boil. Take the pan off the heat and leave to cool slightly.
3. Purée the soup. Stir the cream, remaining sprouts, cheese and some seasoning into the pan and simmer for 2-3 minutes or until the cheese has melted. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and a scattering of extra cheese.

Kitchen secret: if you love sprouts so much you don't have any leftovers, simply cook raw sprouts in boiling salted water for 8-10 minutes, or until tender.

... Brussels sprouts are thought to have been cultivated in Belgium in the 16th century - hence the name. They are rich in many valuable nutrients, find out more here

All the best Jan