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Sunday 30 September 2018

Oven-baked Swede / Rutabaga Wedges : Low Carb Side Dish

The picture above shows what Americans know as "rutabaga". The Scottish call it "neeps" and serve it with haggis. I know it as swede, a fairly recent root vegetable, which is thought to have originated around the 17th century in Bohemia. In 1620 a Swiss botanist described the root vegetable, believed to be a hybrid of the cabbage and the turnip. By 1664 it was growing in England. A good source of vitamin C, fibre, folate and potassium. It's low in calories. 

Wash then peel thoroughly to remove the thick outer skin. Swede / Rutabaga can be prepared and served in any of the methods used for potatoes. Swede can be added to soups, stews and casseroles. Use mashed swede instead of mashed potato it has a slightly sweet taste. Swede can also be made into fritters, rosti's and pancakes. Collins Gem states 2.3 grams of carb per 100 grams. It doesn't spike blood sugar numbers like a potato may. Swede is just great, try it and see.

Oven-baked swede /rutabaga wedges
Swede/Rutabaga is just great for Autumn (Fall) and Winter meals

Serves Four
15 oz. (450g) swede / rutabaga
4 tbsp. (60ml) olive oil
1 tsp chili powder or paprika powder
salt and pepper
Cooking instructions
Can be found here
Need information about low carb vegetables
There is a good guide here

Hope you may try some of these wedges soon …

All the best Jan

Saturday 29 September 2018

Hozier - Nina Cried Power (Live From Dublin Academy)

It's Saturday night time for music 🎾tonight's offering is a powerful new song from Hozier, enjoy your weekend folks. Graham

Coconut Curry Lentil Soup : Vegan and Gluten Free

As regular readers know, this blog brings a variety of articles, studies, thoughts, photographs, 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. So with that in mind I am passing on this recipe suggestion … it's for a 'Coconut Curry Lentil Soup' and is from Angela at Vegangela blog.

She says 'it's fragrant with just the right amount of spice, and she, actually used a whole teaspoon of red chili flakes the first time she made it, making it just hot enough to make noses tingle a little bit while eating it. In the recipe below she halved the amount, but says feel free to kick it up a notch if you like things on the spicier side.'

Serves Four 
1 tbsp. coconut oil (or olive oil)
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp. fresh ginger, minced
2 tbsp. tomato paste (or ketchup)
2 tbsp. curry powder
½ tsp hot red pepper flakes
4 cups vegetable broth
1 400ml can coconut milk
1 400g can diced tomatoes
1.5 cups dry red lentils
2-3 handfuls of chopped kale or spinach
salt and pepper, to taste

Garnish: chopped cilantro (fresh coriander) and/or vegan sour cream
Tips and Cooking instructions
can be found here
Need help with weight/measurement conversion
please see here

Another tasty recipe suggestion (with 13 carbs per serving) is 'Vegan Style Kale and Spinach Soup' please see it 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.

and as it's the weekend ...
thought these flowers nice, image from here

All the best Jan

Friday 28 September 2018

New Alzheimer’s report: The disease will double by 2060

This article is from Diet Doctor site written by Bret Scher, MD FACC he says:

"Alzheimer’s disease is perhaps the most feared diagnosis for all patients and their families. It doesn’t claim as many lives as heart disease or cancer, but its devastating effect on the lives of loved ones is immeasurable. For some, it is a fear worse than death. 

Unfortunately, the data surrounding Alzheimer’s is not encouraging. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released its estimate for the progression of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) from 2015-2060. As of 2014, five million Americans, or 1.6% of all Americans, suffered from AD. The CDC predicts this number will increase to 13.9 million by 2060. 

Why will there be such a marked increase? One reason is simply the aging population. The other, however, is the explosion of chronic diseases such as diabetes (DM), insulin resistance (IR), and obesity, which may all play a role in the development of AD. In fact, an emerging name for AD is “Type III Diabetes.”  

Although that sounds discouraging, having AD related to insulin resistance and DM may turn out to be a good thing. After all, we are now learning that IR and DM are completely reversible. They are no longer the lifelong incurable diagnoses they were once thought to be. Interestingly, that is the same way we have always thought of AD. All too often doctors have said, “There is no good way to treat it or prevent it. Once you have it, it’s too late.” For that reason, some physicians even recommend against risk factor screening (i.e. with ApoE genetic testing), arguing “There is nothing to do to prevent it, so why would you want to know if you are at higher risk?” 

Fortunately for us, that mindset is starting to change. Starting with Amy Berger’s book, The Alzheimer’s Antidote, and Dr. Dale Bredesen’s book, The End of Alzheimer’s, we can now see a clear path to preventing and treating AD. But that path does not involve expensive drugs that have failed in trial after trial. 

Instead, the path to AD prevention and treatment may be the same as it is for DM, IR and obesity — low-carb nutrition, combined with an overall healthy lifestyle of regular physical activity, consistent sleep, stress management and other healthy practices. 

We hope to lead the way as you transform your health — and avoid an Alzheimer’s diagnosis down the line — with satisfying low-carb food.

Thanks for reading."

All the best Jan

Thursday 27 September 2018

Autumn Frittata with Butternut Squash and Spinach

Serves Six Slices
1 ½ teaspoons oil
2 cups cubed butternut squash (cut into small bite-sized cubes)
1 ½ oz. prosciutto, thinly sliced and chopped
1 cup chopped fresh spinach
8 large eggs
1/3 cup non-fat plain Greek yogurt (like Fage)
1/4 teaspoon salt, to taste (plus a sprinkle more for the squash)
¼ teaspoon black pepper (plus a sprinkle more for the squash)
½ teaspoon dried rubbed sage
½ teaspoon dried thyme
2 oz. Parmesan cheese, finely shredded/grated

1. Pre-heat your oven to 350Âș F  180Âș C  gas mark 4-moderate.
2. Bring the oil to medium heat in an 8”-10” oven-safe non-stick skillet/frying pan over medium heat. Add the cubed butternut squash and stir to coat. Sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring regularly, for 6 minutes. Add the chopped prosciutto and stir together. Continue to cook for an additional 2 minutes. Add the chopped spinach and stir. Cook for 2 more minutes, stirring a few times, until the squash is softened and a bit browned and the spinach is wilted.
3. While the squash is cooking, break the eggs into a large mixing bowl and whisk together until just combined. Add the yogurt, salt, black pepper, sage, thyme and shredded/grated parmesan and stir together until mixed.

4. When the squash, prosciutto and spinach are cooked, transfer them into the bowl containing the egg mixture and stir together. Spray the skillet/frying pan you used liberally with cooking spray and then pour the egg mixture into the skillet. Cook on a burner set to medium heat for 5-7 minutes until the very outside edge of the frittata starts to turn opaque/look cooked. Transfer the skillet into the oven and cook for 15-17 minutes until the centre is set. Let cool for 5 minutes, then slice into 6 slices and serve. 

Nutrition Per Slice:
Fat 11g Carbs 7g Protein 15g
From an original idea here
For help with weight/measurement conversion see here

Although a fruit, butternut squash is used as a vegetable that can be roasted, toasted, pureed for soups, mashed and used in casseroles.

In Australia it is regarded as a pumpkin, and is used interchangeably with other types of pumpkin.

Butternut squash finds common use in South Africa. It is often prepared as soup or grilled whole. Grilled butternut is typically seasoned with spices such as nutmeg and cinnamon, or stuffed ... for example spinach and feta before wrapped in foil and then grilled. The grilled butternut is often served as a side dish to braais (barbecues) and the soup as a starter dish.

It is a good source of fibre, vitamin C, manganese, magnesium and potassium. It is also an excellent source of Vitamin A and Vitamin E.

The fruit is prepared by removing the skin, stalk, and seeds, which are not usually eaten or cooked. However, the seeds are edible, either raw or roasted, and the skin is also edible and softens when roasted. One of the most common ways to prepare butternut squash is roasting. To do this, the squash is cut in half lengthwise, lightly brushed with cooking oil, and placed cut side down on a baking sheet. It is then baked for 45 minutes or until it is softened. Once roasted, it can be eaten in a variety of ways.

The above information taken from here

You will find a variety of articles and recipe ideas within this blog. It is important to note, not all may be suitable for you. If you 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 26 September 2018

The New Forest

Last night down here on the South Coast the temperature dipped to around 5 degrees Celsius, but the Sun rose to reveal a truly stunning late September day. With the start of Autumn and knowing the nights will soon be closing in, Jan and myself headed for The New Forest equipped with a picnic basket and camera. We live within a mile or so of the Forest and a couple of miles from the coast, and we are determined to not take our good fortune for granted. 

Approximately 15 million people visit The New Forest every year, today we had the place pretty much to ourselves. At our picnic spot it was totally silent other than the sound of birds, and far away from the madding crowd, a day to remember.


"The New Forest is one of the largest remaining tracts of unenclosed pasture land, heathland and forest in the south-east of England. It was proclaimed a royal forest by William the Conqueror, featuring in the Domesday Book. Pre-existing rights of common pasture are still recognised today, being enforced by official verderers. In the 18th century, The New Forest became a source of timber for the Royal Navy. It remains a habitat for many rare birds and mammals." From Wikipedia 

Click on images to enlarge
New Forest Heathland 

Straight trees

Moss on an ancient tree


Featured food of the day Beef !

Following on from the article Graham posted here, I thought these words, pictures and recipe suggestion, which I first posted back in 2014 would make a good post today! 

250 grams of diced braising steak
A handful of shallots
A handful of button mushrooms
50 grams of smoked bacon lardons
1 teaspoon of mixed dried herbs
1 bay leaf (optional)
2 beef stock cubes
1 large glass of red wine
Salt and pepper to taste
1 table spoon of olive oil

Heat the oil (to medium heat) in a frying pan.
Add the shallots and mushrooms, fry/saute until golden brown, Remove from pan into oven proof casserole dish.
Add bacon lardons to pan and cook until they are lightly browned, add to casserole dish.
Finally put diced beef into frying pan and lightly brown each side of cubed beef then put into casserole dish.
Make up the beef stock to approx. half to three quarters of a pint, but the red wine should make up about half of the liquid.Bring to a gentle simmer in the frying pan and add the mixed herbs, salt and pepper to taste.
Pour over the ingredients in the casserole dish, add your bay leaf (optional). Cover and cook for approx. two to two and a half hours at Regulo 4 Electric 180 stirring after the first hour. Serve with steamed broccoli and white cabbage or vegetables of your choice. 

Delicious, very easy to make and very low carb...
Did you know that broccoli is just brimming with good nutrients, see here 

"A recent study of children and teens in the U.S. has shown that individuals in these age groups depend on their intake of beef for the following key nutrients and in the following amounts.
Vitamin B12: beef provides 14-21% of this B vitamin to U.S. children and teenagers
Zinc: 13-19% of this mineral is provided by beef to these age groups
Vitamin B3: U.S. children and teens receive 6-10% of their vitamin B3 from beef
Vitamin B6: 5-8% of this vitamin is provided by beef to these age groups
Iron: up to 8% of dietary iron is provided to these age groups by beef"

These words and more great beef information can be found at the Worlds Healthiest Foods site here. WHF is a not for profit goldmine of great food information.

Dear reader, you will find a variety of articles and recipes within this blog, 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

Tuesday 25 September 2018

Want a healthier heart? Eat a steak

I'm a cardiologist — and I encourage patients to eat red meat.

This advice defies conventional wisdom. For decades, nutritionists and physicians have urged people to limit consumption of red meat and other fatty foods, which were thought to cause heart disease.

But new studies debunk this conventional wisdom. Indeed, it now looks like low-quality carbohydrates — not saturated fats — are driving America's heart disease epidemic. It's time to stop demonizing steak.

The medical community frowns upon the kinds of saturated fats found in meat, dairy and coconut oil. The American Heart Association recommends avoiding red meat — and if people insist on eating it, they should “select the leanest cuts available.” Federal nutritional guidelines suggest that less than 10 percent of one's daily calories come from saturated fats, while the AHA recommends even less.

These recommendations have never been supported by rigorous research. The idea that saturated fats cause heart disease stems from decades-old observational studies. Researchers asked participants to complete lengthy questionnaires about their eating habits and then tracked their health over time.

Researchers noticed that people who ate lots of saturated fats were more likely to contract heart disease. They concluded that meat and dairy were the root of all our chronic diseases, especially heart disease. Yet subsequent researchers found that in many cases, scientists cherry-picked data to support that conclusion.

More importantly, these kinds of observational claims are weak science. In 2011, a comprehensive analysis of 52 separate claims made in observational studies concluded that none — that's right, zero — could be confirmed in a clinical trial — a more rigorous type of science.

Observational studies can only show correlation, not prove causation. Vegetarians, for example, have lower rates of heart disease. Is this due to their meatless diet? Or because they smoke less and exercise more regularly than people who eat large amounts of meat? Observational studies cannot sort out these kinds of issues.

In recent years, numerous teams of researchers worldwide have reviewed all the data on saturated fats — and concluded that these fats do not have any effect on cardiovascular mortality.

A recent, comprehensive review of two dozen high-quality studies conducted by Purdue University researchers found no link between red meat intake and any negative cardiovascular outcome. In a separate 2014 analysis that examined 72 different observational and clinical trials involving more than 650,000 people, the lead researcher concluded that “[I]t’s not saturated fat that we should worry about.

So what should we worry about? Carbohydrates.

Consider how the American diet has evolved. The most recent government data reveals that from 1970 to 2014, the availability of red meat fell 28 percent. Whole milk availability declined 79 percent. And animal fats — like butter and lard — dropped 27 percent.

If saturated fats were truly unhealthy, then obesity, diabetes and heart disease rates should have plummeted alongside this drop in saturated fat consumption.

Instead, disease rates have skyrocketed — largely because Americans replaced saturated fats with carbohydrate-rich grains. From 1970 to 2014, grain availability surged 28 percent. The body converts these carbohydrates to glucose, thereby raising blood sugar levels which — over time — can contribute to obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

New research supports this idea. The largest-ever analysis of diet, which included 135,000 people in 18 countries, revealed that people who consumed high-carb diets were 28 percent more likely to die during the study than people with lower carbohydrate intake. By contrast, those who consumed the highest amounts of saturated fats had the lowest rates of stroke.

While this is observational data, it’s not alone in contradicting government recommendations.

Even more revealing is a recent controlled clinical study on people with Type 2 diabetes conducted with high-quality evidence. Researchers from Indiana University found that minimizing carbohydrates while encouraging fat — including saturated fat — actually reversed diabetes in 60 percent of patients after 1 year. The diet also reduced inflammation and triglycerides, and increased HDL — so-called good cholesterol — all strong indicators of improving cardiac and metabolic health.

Additional research points specifically to the potential benefits of eating red meat while decreasing carbs. Two studies led by researchers at the University of Western Australia found that substituting carbohydrate-rich foods with red meat reduced inflammation and blood pressure.

Medical experts have long dispensed unproven advice about meat. But newer, better research indicates that red meat and saturated fats aren't harmful when combined with a lower carbohydrate diet.

So if you're looking to safeguard your heart, fire up the grill and cook that burger — but skip the bun and the pasta salad.

Scher is a cardiologist in San Diego.

Roasted Autumn Vegetables with Lancashire Cheese

We do enjoy vegetables … and this colourful and hearty vegetarian supper dish is just tasty, and so right for Autumn (Fall). Another plus is that it's made in one roasting tin, so saves on the washing up! LOL!

Serves - 4 as a side dish or, 2 as a main dish
1 large butternut squash (about 600-700g/1lb 5oz - 1lb 9oz in weight)
1 medium red onion
6 tbsp. olive oil
1 large sprig fresh sage
1 large courgette (zucchini)
1 tbsp. balsamic or sherry vinegar

1. Preheat the oven to fan180C/conventional 200C/ gas 6. Using a sharp knife, cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Cut the halves into smaller pieces so you can peel them more easily. Chop the flesh into big bite-sized pieces – they don’t have to be neat.
2. Halve the onion and trim the root end leaving a little on to hold the segments together. Peel and then cut each half into four wedges. Scatter the squash and onion in a large roasting tin so they have plenty of room to roast, drizzle over 5 tbsp. of the oil and toss together. Strip the sage leaves from the stem and roughly chop – you should have about 2 tbsps. Scatter over the vegetables and season. Roast for 20 minutes, stirring once halfway through. 
3. Meanwhile, slice the courgette thickly and toss with the remaining oil. Remove the roasting tin from the oven and push the partly cooked squash and onion to the side. Put the courgette slices flat on the base and season. Roast for a further 10 minutes, until all the vegetables are tender. 
4. Remove tin from the oven, sprinkle the vinegar over the vegetables and toss. Crumble over the Lancashire cheese. Toss lightly so the cheese melts a little and serve.

25g Fat 14g Carb 8g Protein
From an original idea here

The colour of downy sage leaves and their flavour varies but, in essence, sage is a very strongly aromatic and slightly bitter herb that can withstand long cooking times without losing its flavour.

The strong flavour of sage means that a little goes a long way, especially if you're using dried leaves, so use sparingly. Sage goes well with pork, beef, duck and chicken recipes, and fatty meats in particular. In Italy it is commonly chopped, mixed with melted butter and served stirred into pasta or gnocchi. Fry sage leaves with liver or kidneys, or try dipping them into a light batter and deep-frying - they can be used to garnish dishes or eaten as a snack.

Words and picture about sage taken from here

All the best Jan

Monday 24 September 2018

Little Things

Little Things

There's nothing very beautiful and nothing very gay
About the rush of faces in the town by day
But a light tan cow in a pale green mead
That is very beautiful, beautiful indeed
And the soft March wind and the low March mist
Are better than kisses in a dark street kissed
The fragrance of the forest when it wakes at dawn
The fragrance of a trim green village lawn
The hearing of the murmur of the rain at play
These things are beautiful, beautiful as day
And I shan’t stand waiting for love or scorn
When the feast is laid for a day new-born
Oh, better let the little things I loved when little
Return when the heart finds the great things brittle
And better is a temple made of bark and thong
Than a tall stone temple that may stand too long

Orrick Johns  1887 – 1946 

I found this on the internet, it fits in with how I am thinking these days. The world has been going in a direction I do not like, for some time, and I am going back. Back to a time when I was blissfully ignorant. In recent years I have spent too much time on the internet. I have seen things I wish I had not seen, heard things I wish I hadn't. I have seen a side of human nature I did not know existed for much of my life. 
Can we go back in time, can we go back and live an uncomplicated life? Is shying away from the failing fake news newspapers and thoroughly corrupt main stream media a sign of weakness, or walking away from reality? Right now I have had all the reality I want for a while. I'm going back to the time, when I was too busy trying to create something of value, if only to me, family or friends. 
Some say I look back with rose tinted glasses, that may be, but looking forward fills me with apprehension. Not for me you understand, but for our kids and grandchildren. 
So, enough of the gloom and doom, and I will start paying more attention to Jan's advice, who has said countless times to me "why do you read so much stuff that depresses you" why indeed.


Sunday 23 September 2018

Have you ever heard your doctor use the word “deprescribe?”

I recently saw this article on Diet Doctor site, written by Bret Scher, MD FACC and thought it one to share.

"I have been a doctor for over 20 years. I can tell I never heard it in medical school, residency or fellowship, and I have never heard a colleague use it. Why is that? 

Our medical culture is far too focused on prescribing medications to temper our symptoms or make our lab numbers look better. The result is we frequently fail to see if the medication actually helps us achieve better heath. 

A recent article in gives us hope that we are starting to change this. 

The article explains how hundreds of primary care doctors in the UK are joining forces to publicly emphasize the importance of lifestyle changes over drug prescriptions. A movement like this cannot come soon enough. 

In the U.S., for instance, it is estimated that 60% of the adult population takes a prescription drug, and 15% take more than five. This is despite the fact that nutrition and exercise are equally or more effective than drugs for treating common conditions such as depression and hypertension

An even bigger example is the prescription of statins for lowering cholesterol. The UK study cited 11 million prescriptions in 2007 increasing to 37 million in 2017 for atorvastatin alone. This is despite the fact that treating 217 people for five years with a statin prevents only one heart attack. 

Said another way, 216 of those taking statins did not benefit, yet still had the potential for side effects and had the cost and inconvenience of taking the drug. Based on those numbers, it is long overdue for us to reevaluate our statin use. And just to show no drug is completely safe, even aspirin is more complicated than we thought. Recent studies in NEJM showed aspirin has no overall benefit for primary prevention in those with diabetes, and two studies showed no benefit for those over age 70

What can we make of all this? It is encouraging that groups of doctors are speaking out in favor of lifestyle, not drugs, as first line treatment. Combined with the growing body of evidence that low carb diets can reverse type II diabetes, the movement for fewer prescriptions allows doctors to focus on what really works- nutrition, physical activity, sleep hygiene, stress management, and other essential healthy lifestyle practices. 

Next time you see your doctor, ask them when the last time was they used the word “deprescribe.” Hopefully, just by asking the question, you will help your doctor use that word more often in the future. That’s a movement I can support! 

Thanks for reading"

All the best Jan

Saturday 22 September 2018

Vaya Con Dios ~ I don't want to know

It's Saturday night must be music night, another song I came across whilst browsing youtube, enjoy Graham

Celeriac and Walnut Gratin : Vegetarian Low Carb

This dish does make a great vegetarian main meal, or you can have it as a side dish - the choice is yours dear reader.

Serves 4 - 6
1 large celeriac
2 tbsp. walnut oil
300ml vegetable stock*  
handful chopped walnuts
100g blue cheese, such as Bleu d'Auvergne or Stilton


Heat oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5.
Peel, quarter and very thinly slice the celeriac - this is best done with the slicing blade of a food processor.
Toss in the walnut oil, salt and pepper, and spread over a gratin dish.
Pour over the stock and bake for 40-45 mins, then sprinkle with the walnuts, crumble over the cheese, then cook for 15 mins until crisp and golden.
Nutrition Per Serving:
Fat 18g Protein 9g Carbs 4g

* you can also reduce the amount of vegetable stock slightly and add crĂšme fraiche... it makes for a slightly creamier texture.

From an original idea here

You will find a variety of articles and recipes within this blog, 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 21 September 2018

A cloudy and windy afternoon at Mudeford Quay Dorset

What a difference a few days make in the UK regarding the weather. On Monday glorious warm sunny weather, and by Wednesday, cold, windy and raining. Jan has said on previous posts, we retired at the end of last year. We are determined to use the time we have left, getting out and about, whatever the weather, as much as possible. 

Some of our favourite pastimes, involves mooching about sites and places of interest, loafing about in junk and book shops, and taking a few photographs as souvenirs, a sort of photographic diary. I intend to post at various intervals, details of our travels in the UK, I hope you will find something of interest. 

Good luck and health to you and yours. 

Click on images to enlarge

Hengistbury Head from Mudeford Quay

Lobster pots on the quay  

The lifeboat station Mudeford quay 

Thursday 20 September 2018

Lemon Coconut Pound Cake : Low Carb - Gluten Free - Sugar Free

Did you know that a Pound cake is a classic American plain cake similar to an English sponge but with a slightly denser texture. However, this Lemon Coconut Pound Cake I share here is made entirely grain free, sugar free, gluten free and low carb! It's a recipe suggestion from Brenda at Sugar Free Mom blog.

Serves 14
2 cups coconut flour
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 cup Swerve sweetener
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 eggs
1 cup butter room temperature
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups heavy (double) cream
3 teaspoons lemon zest
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon coconut liquid stevia or lemon liquid stevia

optional topping: unsweetened coconut flakes 

If you are not a fan of coconut you can make this pound cake more lemony with some adjustments …

Brenda explains more, plus the directions for cooking, here

If you would like help with weight/measurement conversion, please see here

Oh yes! The kettle is on …

You will find a variety of articles and recipe ideas 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

Para Gliders on the Solent

Jan and myself had a drive up to Barton-On-Sea Hampshire on Monday afternoon. As you can see it was the most glorious September day.The Barton Cliffs, when weather conditions permit, are a favourite place for Para Gliders. We sat on the grass enjoying the late summer sun, and were treated to a wonderful and colourful flying display. One thing we agreed on, we are far too old, and well past the time, we want to jump off a cliff for kicks. Eddie 

Click on images to enlarge

The Cliffs at Barton-On-Sea looking across the Solent to the Isle of Wight

Para Gliders cruising along the Cliffs

Free as a bird

Wednesday 19 September 2018

Marrow ... can be marvelous !

A marrow is a cucurbit, which means it’s from the same family as the melon, cucumber, squash and courgette. The marrow is actually a courgette that has been left on the plant to grow a little longer; likewise, if you pick a marrow when small it is classed as a courgette. Marrow has a creamy flesh, edible skin and seeds and a mild flavour. 

In season in August and September.

Choose the best
Size matters - a huge marrow is best reserved for a horticultural competition. Hunt out the smallest marrow you can find - it should be no bigger than your forearm. Large marrows will taste bitter and have a watery consistency.

Prepare it
You can steam, bake, boil, fry or roast marrow. The stripy skin is edible, but if you are roasting or frying you might want to remove the seeds and stringy middles so you can just enjoy the flesh.

Store it
Keep refrigerated in a vegetable bag if you have one and use within three days.

Cook it
Marrow is a blank canvas so works well with strong flavours - pile on citrus, chilli, garlic, bacon, spices and robust herbs like rosemary and thyme. Stuff them and cover with cheese, mash into savoury dishes or grate into cakes. You can also turn marrow into chutney to serve alongside cheeseboards, ham or curry.

Try courgette or squash.

Above words and picture from here

Some may say that Marrows are an acquired taste, a little more watery and bland than young, sweet courgettes, but they’re a wonderful blank canvas for spiced or strongly flavoured foods. Add marrows to curries to soak up and amplify the flavours of the spices, or stuff them with marinated meat, pungent cheese or hot chorizo.

Looking for a marrow recipe? Why not consider trying this!

Chorizo and Couscous Stuffed Marrow

Serves Four
1 large marrow, peeled
100g/3oz couscous *
1 lemon, juice only
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 red onion, finely sliced
100g/3oz chorizo, cut into small chunks
1 roasted red pepper, finely sliced
2 vine ripened tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 tbsp. parsley, roughly chopped
1 tbsp. mint, roughly chopped
1 tbsp. coriander, roughly chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat an oven to 200C/390F/Gas 6.
2. For the chorizo, pepper and couscous stuffed marrow, slice the marrow lengthways and scoop out all the seeds, then place on a roasting tray.
3. Place the couscous in a bowl along with the lemon juice and enough boiling water to cover.
4. Cover with cling film and allow to soak for five minutes.
5. Meanwhile, heat a frying pan until hot then add the olive oil. Add the red onion and stir-fry for 3-4 minutes until just softened. Add the chorizo and fry for a further two minutes until just crisped and the juices are released. Add to the couscous, along with the pepper, tomatoes and herbs.
6. Mix well and season to taste with salt and black pepper. Spoon into the centre of the two marrow halves.
7. Place in the oven for 20 minutes and cook until piping hot and the marrow is just tender.
8. To check if the marrow is done, place the tip of a knife into the side, if it offers just a little resistance it is done.
From an original recipe by Anthony Worrall Thompson here

*Have you tried low carb cauliflower couscous? It's cauliflower that resembles couscous. Do please have a look at this quick and easy recipe, it's gluten free … and all natural. It really makes a great lower carb alternative/substitute for couscous, mashed potatoes, or rice! Details can be found here

We bring a variety of articles and 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.

All the best Jan

Tuesday 18 September 2018

Superfoods - Some Cheaper Alternatives

Lee Holmes writes:
"You’ll find no shortage of celebrities endorsing various superfoods all over the world wide web and their social media accounts; which is all well and good until you get a closer look at the price of these super-expensive life enhancers! 

You don’t need to burn a hole in your wallet to achieve a healthy and balanced diet. Keep reading for some delicious, healthy, and very affordable alternatives to so called superfoods! I like to call them Supercharged Foods. 

Many of you may be wondering, what makes a food a ‘superfood’? Well, to be honest, there’s no concrete definition; however, the name ‘superfood’ is actually a marketing term, not a scientific one. A superfood is described as being any food that contains high levels of antioxidants, flavonoids, vitamins and minerals. Antioxidants are well known for their ability to strengthen the immune system, thereby warding off diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes. 

The health benefits of these ‘superfoods’ are the result of studies done on specific essential nutrients that are known to prevent disease and improve immunity, and the foods that they can be found in, in large amounts. If studies show that a specific food contains high concentrations of antioxidants, trace minerals and vitamins, such as Vitamin C, K and B, it can then be referred to as a superfood. 

Each time a new study is released shedding light on the health benefits of a specific food, the media runs with this information, publishing their own news stories about these newly researched superfoods. 

In 2014 kale farmers struggled to keep up with the new demand for kale after several studies reported that kale contained high levels of antioxidants and other essential nutrients, leaving many supermarkets out of stock. 

The media has a lot of influence over consumers, and with consumers becoming increasingly aware of the benefits of eating healthy, wholesome foods, it’s no surprise that supermarkets take advantage of this by drastically increasing the price of these foods! 

However, some studies can be misleading, and the results reported can be misinterpreted by the media and consumers. Just because studies have reported that a specific food, such as blueberries, contain large amounts of antioxidants, it doesn’t mean that you have to start eating blueberries every day to maintain vibrant health. 

Superfoods Aren’t The Only Foods That Contain Essential Nutrients ... and by eating a balanced diet that is full of variety, you can guarantee that you’re eating enough essential nutrients without even picking up a superfood. 

It’s safe to say that the superfoods market is booming, and supermarkets and pharmaceutical companies are taking full advantage of it. But the hype of superfoods tends to shine a negative light on many other beneficial wholefoods. Apples and oranges are neglected for berries, rice and pasta are replaced with teff and ancient grains... But why should superfoods be thought of as healthier than other unprocessed foods or Supercharged Foods? Is it because they cost more in the supermarket? Or maybe it’s because the local news reported a story about kale, but not English spinach. 

The take home message here is fill your shopping basket/cart with good, unprocessed healthy foods and try to buy what’s in season…. Those are usually the fruits and vegetables on special, by the way. 

Here’s A Snapshot Of Well-Known Superfoods And Their Nutrients:
Kale: contains large amounts of Vitamin A, K and C.
Avocado: contains monounsaturated fats, fibre and Vitamin C.
Acai Berries: contain fibre, antioxidants, essential amino acids, vitamins and minerals.
Goji Berries: contain fibre, antioxidants, valuable trace minerals and vitamins, phytosterols.
Blueberries: contain antioxidants, manganese, polyphenols and Vitamin C and K.
Chia Seeds: contain omega-3 essential fatty acids.
Quinoa: contains large amounts of protein, iron, zinc and Vitamin B.
Coconut Water: contains natural sugars and electrolytes.

If you’re on a budget and want to experiment with more affordable alternatives, look for these key Supercharged Foods and enjoy their associated health benefits: 
Broccoli: contains high amounts of Vitamin C, calcium and fibre.
Spinach: contains folate, fibre, Vitamin C and iron.
Sweet Potato: contain niacin, Vitamin A and C.
Kiwi Fruit: contains fibre, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, potassium, magnesium and phytochemicals
Buckwheat: contains fibre, folate, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, iron, Vitamin E, zinc, magnesium and phosphorus.
Sardines, Salmon and Mackerel: contain high levels of protein and omega 3 unsaturated fats.
Nuts: contain zinc, iron and unsaturated fat.
Water: needed to help carry nutrients and oxygen to cells, both of which, if are in low supply, can lead to fatigue and nausea."

Words and picture above from article 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