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Saturday 30 March 2019

Jack Savoretti - What More Can I Do? : Saturday Night Music

Saturday Night once again so time for a music post. You only have to put the name Jack Savoretti in this blogs search bar, and you will discover that we (I) like him and his music! This video features Jack (of course) but to me it's more than his voice … the English lyrics sung in a wholly Latin style is just wonderful. Plus the arrangements, Rome, the Italian handsomeness and beauty...all in one place. Perhaps something for us all? Suffice to say I like it, and I hope you do too. All the best Jan

Mother’s Day 2019 : What are the origins of Mothering Sunday?

"The origins of Mothering Sunday in the UK lie in the Middle Ages but the modern celebration owes much to the US-created Mother's Day holiday.

Every year, Mother’s Day gives us the chance to celebrate our mothers – but the changing date means there’s a distinct possibility that you can get caught out. Here’s when Mothering Sunday falls in 2019, the origins of the occasion and why it’s celebrated at different times around the globe.

When is Mother’s Day 2019?
This year Mother’s Day falls on Sunday 31 March in the UK, with the date set by the celebration’s Christian foundations as Mothering Sunday. It always takes place on the fourth Sunday in the festival of Lent, exactly three weeks before Easter Sunday. The origins lie in the Middle Ages, when children who had left their families to work in domestic service were allowed to go to their home – or “mother” – church. So initially, the “mothering” aspect of the occasion had no connection to the way mothers are celebrated today. However, the journey home inevitably became an occasion for families to reunite, with the custom developing for children to pick flowers en-route to give as a gift to their mothers.

The date took on a further celebratory air because it was traditionally an occasion for the fasting rules of Lent to be relaxed, allowing revellers a long-awaited feast. Consequently, it also became known as Refreshment Sunday, Simnel Sunday (after the Simnel cakes traditionally baked in celebration) and, most evocatively of all (and only in Surrey): Pudding Pie Sunday.

How did ‘Mothering Sunday’ become ‘Mother’s Day’? 
Today, most people know the occasion as “Mother’s Day” rather than the traditional “Mothering Sunday”. This owes much to the American festival of Mother’s Day, which is held later in the year and has no religious connotations.

It was created in 1907 by Anna Jarvis, who held a memorial for her mother Ann Jarvis, a peace activist who treated wounded soldiers in the American Civil War. Her daughter campaigned for a day to honour the role played by mothers following Ann’s death, and the idea gained such traction that by 1911 all US states observed the holiday. In 1914, it had become so ubiquitous that President Woodrow Wilson declared Mother’s Day a national holiday “as a public expression of love and reverence for the mothers of our country”. Mother’s Day rapidly became a major commercial opportunity, with Hallmark leading the way in manufacturing cards by the early 1920s.

Jarvis deeply resented the materialistic side of the holiday that she had created. The commodification of sentimental symbols like the white carnation led her to withering criticism and even to being arrested for protesting against organisations selling Mother’s Day merchandise. While Mothering Sunday is technically a different celebration to Mother’s Day, the success of the US holiday led to a resurgence in the traditional observance after interest had waned in the early 20th century. By the 1950s, the practices of the Christian festival had broadly merged with the commercial aspects of Mother’s Day, with the moniker gradually overtaking Mothering Sunday and the celebration becoming increasingly secular.

What date is Mother’s Day around the world?
Mother’s Day is now observed around the world, with the majority of countries taking their lead from the US practice of celebrating it on the second Sunday of May. In 2019, this falls on 12 May, with almost 100 countries – including much of Europe, Africa and South America – following the American system. Far fewer commemorate the fourth Sunday of Lent, although Nigeria joins the UK and Ireland in marking Mothering Sunday. Other countries, including Russia, Vietnam and Afghanistan, commemorate mothers on International Women’s Day: 8 March. Bolivia marks Mother’s Day on 27 May, the date of the Battle of La Coronilla, when women fighting for the country’s independence were slaughtered by the Spanish army in 1812. Elsewhere, France – and many of its former colonies – celebrate mothers on the last Sunday of May, while Argentina marks “Dia de la Madre” on the third Sunday of October."

The above words from an article by David Hughes here

these two photographs bring happy memories
a walk around a garden centre with Grandson and Grand-daughter

I'm looking forward to seeing family,
I have a nice lemon cake ready,
and the kettle will be on for a cuppa!

If you should be celebrating Mother's Day, have an especially nice day

Forever in my heart
Forever in my thoughts
Forever in my life
My mum is always with me
Thank you Mum
I'll always love you

All the best Jan

Friday 29 March 2019

Parsley ... a lovely herb, here's how you can use it in low carb recipes

Have you read the article about Parsley and the benefits it may have for your health? If you haven't you can find it here. If, like me, you like using parsley, here are some low carb recipe suggestions you may like to try.

Spicy mushrooms with peppers : Low carb starter or side dish
see details here

Sausage with Cauliflower and Parsley Rice 
see details here

Chicken with mushrooms and peas 
see details here

Individual Fish Pies : Low Carb and Dairy Free 
see details here

You will find a variety of articles and recipes ideas within 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

Thursday 28 March 2019

Is keto a cure for COPD? Or are we getting a little too excited about possible benefits?

Bret Scher, MD FACC writes:
"As covered in Yahoo Lifestyle, pulmonologist Dr. Raymond Casciari is promoting the use of a keto diet to help people with COPD (chronic obstructive lung disease, or emphysema). Although there are no published studies to back his claim, he cites his clinical experience with his patients improving. 

He hypothesizes that since burning fat for fuel creates less carbon dioxide than does burning glucose, our bodies do not have to work as hard to expel that carbon dioxide through the lungs when in ketosis. This creates a potential mechanism for why a keto diet could help people with COPD breathe better, but we are still missing the all-important evidence. 

Could there be other explanations? Of course. As we know, a keto diet is effective for weight loss and improving energy in general. These effects could also lead to improved breathing. 

It was interesting to see Dr. Albert Rizzo, chief medical officer of the American Lung Association, acknowledge keto as potentially helpful for COPD, while acknowledging that this is based on patient anecdotes, not studies. 

It is certainly premature to claim that a keto diet is beneficial for COPD. However, we can see a trend that helping people lose weight and feel better can impact their health in many different ways. I look forward to more data in the future helping guide the use of nutritional ketosis as treatment for multiple disease processes."

Words and picture above from an article on Diet Doctor site here

COPD stands for Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and is the name for a group of lung conditions that cause breathing difficulties. Please read more here

You will find a variety of articles and recipe ideas within this blog, not all may be suitable for you. If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues please take these 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 27 March 2019

Oreos Cookie Biscuits : Keto / Low Carb Recipe

One of our Grandsons has a particular liking for Oreo's as an after-school treat - but Grandma, 'Oreo's' are very moreish, he will say - and yes they are!

I was so pleased to see this Keto/Low Carb recipe suggestion, because each individual cookie is less than 1 net carb each! Amazing …

Servings: 30-40 Cookie Sandwiches 

2 1/4 cups almond or hazelnut flour
3 tablespoons coconut flour
4 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup Swerve Sweetener
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cream Filling
4 oz. cream cheese – softened
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup powdered Swerve (you can grind granulated Swerve in a spice grinder) 

Pre-heat oven to 350º F  180º C   Gas mark 4-moderate 
In a medium bowl mix together the dry ingredients.
In a separate bowl, cream together the Swerve and butter until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
Add egg and vanilla, mix until fully combined.
Add dry ingredients and mix until combined.
Roll out dough between two sheets of waxed paper to a rectangle about 1/8 of an inch thick. Using a circle cutter, cut out as many cookies as you can. Place them onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Re-roll out cookie dough until you run out!
Bake cookies for 12 minutes. Let cool completely before filling - important!

To make filling:
Using a food processor, cream together cream cheese, and butter.
Mix in vanilla extract.

Gradually mix in powdered Swerve.

The ENTIRE batch has about 34 net carbs. So the individual cookies are less than 1 net carb each!

Yes, these are low carb … but please do not eat too many!!!

If you are new to the keto/low carb lifestyle you may be wondering about the purpose of the xanthan gum? It's that Xanthan gum improves gluten free baking. It mimics gluten to make your final product not crumbly. It’s not necessary but it will be better with it.

Please see original recipe and more here
Need help with weight/measurement conversion see here

now time to put the kettle on

If you are just starting a low carb diet/lifestyle you may feel confused with which low carb flours to use. You may never have used any of them before and how to use them properly can be daunting. Low carb flours do not behave like wheat flour, and how to use them in your old regular high carb recipes is a common question. Of course you may also be interested, or want to know more about them. If that is the case then Libby at 'Ditch The Carbs' site has a very good guide, and you can read it here

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 please take these 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

A comment received yesterday

"Wish you wouldn't get political. I come here for nutritional info not politics." anon

Politics controls almost every aspect of our lives, including the food we eat, including the junk masquerading as food, that has fuelled the obesity epidemic and type two diabetes. From our website I wrote this article ten years ago. The situation is now worse, there are over 400 million diabetics now. 

"The book called The Politics of Food was written some twenty years ago and highlights the extremely cosy relationship between Members of Parliament and the food industry. It was  staggering to learn, that in 1987, when the sugar industry was coming under attack, no less than 64 M.P.s were involved in the promotion of the sugar industry and its high sugar using customers. Michael Shersby M. P. was not only the Chairman of the Conservative backbench committee on food and drink, he was also the Director-General of the Sugar Bureau.

It is also a fact many experts advising the government on food have to sign the official secrets act. When a scientist queried this and stated "I have to sign the official secrets act to advise on a sausage" he was informed it had to be done because companies wanted to protect their trade secrets. I expect an analytical chemist could tell you exactly what's in a Walls pork without too much trouble.

Over the last forty years or so many of the large trials and studies on food and diet have been sponsored by large food companies and their associated trade bodies and conglomerations. As you would expect, findings and results have been heavily biased towards commercial interests and considerations. Would a large international company spend huge sums of money so that the end result would be to rubbish their own products ?

Upon diagnosis, the NHS often issue a 24 page booklet called "Diabetes A Practical Guide For Patients" The booklet is supported by Takeda, the largest manufacturer of insulin in Japan. The diet information is the usual eat plenty of carbs with every meal recommendation. Lots of high carbohydrate food is the last thing we diabetics need. Would a manufacturer of insulin have an interest in recommending low carbohydrate diets. Clearly the more people low carb. the less insulin they require. Would an insulin manufacturer, sponsor a book that promoted a low carbohydrate diet for diabetics, and therefore lose sales and revenue?"

From the Guardian here


Tuesday 26 March 2019

Rosemary Crusted Lamb with Parsnip Fries

How about pairing succulent lamb with a rosemary, lemon and almond crust and serving it with delicious thinly cut ‘shoestring’ parsnip fries.
Sound tasty? Want to know more? Then please read on ...

Serves Two
Medium handful of fresh rosemary
1 garlic clove
½ lemon
4 tbsp. ground almonds
1½ tbsp. oil
400g parsnips
2 x 150g lamb leg steaks
180g cherry tomatoes
2 tsp Dijon mustard

40g mixed salad leaves 

1. Preheat the oven to 200C/gas mark 6.
2. To make the rosemary crust, finely chop the rosemary (removing the stalks) and the garlic. Zest the half lemon. In a bowl, mix the ground almonds with the rosemary, garlic, lemon zest and ½ tbsp. of the olive oil. Season with sea salt and black pepper and set aside.
3. Peel and cut the parsnips into very thin ‘shoestring’ fries, 5mm thick. Place these in a bowl with a pinch of sea salt and ¼ tbsp. olive oil, toss to coat and spread out on a baking tray. Place in the oven for 15-20 mins, turning halfway through, until golden and turning crispy.
4. Meanwhile, heat a frying pan with ½ tbsp. oil on a medium-high heat and fry the lamb steaks for 2-3 mins on each side until browned. Place on a baking tray and spoon over the rosemary crust. Place in the oven for 7-10 mins until cooked.

To make the salad; cut the cherry tomatoes in half. In a bowl, mix ¼ tbsp. olive oil with the mustard and the juice from the half lemon. Add the cherry tomatoes and the mixed salad leaves and stir to combine.

Serve the rosemary crusted lamb on two warm plates, alongside the parsnip shoestring fries and the cherry tomato salad.

Original recipe can be seen here and here 

Lamb makes a tasty dish, it can be a little expensive, so do keep your eye open for any special deals your supermarket or Farmer's Market may have - I know I do!

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 please take these 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

Interesting times ahead!


Monday 25 March 2019

Meatballs, Meatballs and Vegan Power-Balls : Recipes and More !

The humble meatball - do you like them? There are many varieties and recipes for this dish that can make a great mid-week (or any day) meal. I wondered when and where this dish originated, but apparently the true origin of the meatball remains unknown. The most likely candidate for the original meatball seems to be kofta, which originated with the Persians, who passed it to the Arabs. They likely travelled from the Arab world along trade routes to Greece, North Africa, and Spain.

Perhaps pinpointing the exact origin of the meatball is less significant than acknowledging its global popularity. Nearly every major culture has its own version of the meatball: Spanish albondigas, Dutch bitterballen, Chinese lion’s heads, South African skilpedjies. Kofte, too, is cooked everywhere from India to Morocco.

One possible reason for the meatball’s ubiquity … it’s an exceptionally accessible dish, simple and affordable. Meatballs can be made with nearly any kind of meat, and since that meat is ground and mixed with herbs and other flavours, cheap cuts of meat can be transformed into something delicious. Nowadays, there are also vegetarian and vegan options for this humble dish.
More about meatballs here 

Swedish Meatballs - delicious !
see details here

Chicken meatballs with cauliflower mash 
see more details here

Pork and Apple Meatballs : so tasty served with a lower carb mash
see more details here

Italian Meatballs with Mozzarella Cheese : Low Carb and Delicious
see more details here

Vegan power-balls with courgetti and cashew cheese
see more details 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.

All the best Jan

How long before we hear this?


Saturday 23 March 2019

Joe Cocker - With a Little Help from My Friends : Saturday Night Music

Earlier today a friend phoned for a chat … am I interrupting anything important she asked? No, was my reply, I'm just doing some dusting and Joe Cocker is helping me! Well it was true, with duster in hand and this track playing by Joe! Sadly no longer with us, but his music will live on. I hope you enjoy this video. Happy Weekend Wishes. All the best Jan

Reduced Carb Beef and Mushroom Pie : A Joe Wicks’ Family Favourite

Our son and daughter-in-law both enjoy cooking and are often found in the kitchen preparing a meal for their family. Just recently they enjoyed cooking and eating this delicious 'reduced carb' meal. It's from the Joe Wicks recipe book they have on their kitchen shelf! It's a firm favourite of theirs, and I know the grandchildren enjoy it too!

sons delicious plate of food - photograph taken on his mobile phone

Serves 4

2 tbsp. coconut oil
1.25kg rump steak, chopped into large chunks
1 tsp butter
1 onion, diced
2 celery sticks, diced
1 carrot, diced
12 mushrooms, roughly chopped
2 sprigs of thyme
1 bay leaf
1½ tbsp. tomato puree
3 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
500ml beef stock
1 tbsp. cornflour
large handful of parsley, roughly chopped
4 sheets of filo pastry drizzle of olive oil
steamed greens, to serve

1. Preheat your oven to 190°C (fan 170°C, gas mark 5).
2. Melt half of the coconut oil in a large pan or casserole dish over a high heat.
3. Add half of the meat to the pan, brown it all over and remove to a plate.
4. Repeat the process with the remaining coconut oil and meat.
5. Dollop the butter into the same pan and melt it over a medium to high heat. When bubbling, add the onion, celery, carrot and mushrooms and fry, stirring occasionally, for about five minutes.
6. Drop in the thyme and bay leaf and continue to fry for another minute.
7. Add the cooked meat back into the pan and squeeze in the tomato puree.
8. Stir-fry the puree with the rest of the ingredients for one minute and then pour in the Worcestershire sauce and stock.
9. Bring to a gentle simmer.
10. Mix the cornflour with one tablespoon of water and then stir it into the beef mixture. The mix should thicken pretty quickly.
11. Tip the beef mix into a baking dish and leave to cool for 10 minutes.
12. Take the filo pastry out of the fridge, crumple the individual sheets into a loose ball and place straight on top of the cooling stew so that it is entirely covered.
13. Drizzle the pastry with olive oil and then bake in the oven for 20 minutes, or until the pastry is browned and crisp.
14. Serve up with mounds of steaming green veg.

another mobile phone picture …
good home cooked food gives grand-daughter and grandson plenty of energy

Dear reader, you will find a variety of recipe ideas and articles 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 22 March 2019

The Big Test


Some Effective Ways to Increase Your Vitamin D Levels

Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that your body needs for many vital processes, including building and maintaining strong bones. Low vitamin D intake is considered a major public health concern across the globe. In fact, vitamin D deficiency is estimated to affect 13% of the world’s population.

What is vitamin D?
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that primarily aids calcium absorption, promoting growth and mineralization of your bones. It’s also involved in various functions of your immune, digestive, circulatory, and nervous systems. Emerging research suggests that vitamin D may help prevent a variety of illnesses, such as depression, diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. However, vitamin D’s relationship to these conditions is still poorly understood. 

How much do you need? 
There is significant debate within the scientific community about how much vitamin D your body needs. While the U.S. National Academy of Medicine considers 600–800 IU of daily vitamin D to be sufficient for the majority of the population, the U.S. Endocrine Society recommends 1,500–2,000 IU per day. The Reference Daily Intake (RDI) is currently set at 600-800 IU of vitamin D for adults, based on the U.S. National Academy of Medicine’s recommendations. The optimal blood level of vitamin D is not concretely established but likely falls between 20 and 50 ng/ml. The U.S. National Academy of Medicine further suggests that a daily intake up to 4,000 IU of vitamin D per day is safe for most people, although much higher doses may be temporarily necessary in order to raise blood levels in some individuals. Although toxicity is rare, it is best to avoid long-term vitamin D doses in excess of 4,000 IU without supervision from a qualified healthcare professional. 

Here are 7 effective ways to increase your vitamin D levels.

Spend time in sunlight
Your skin can produce large quantities of vitamin D on its own when exposed to the sun’s UV-B rays. However, many factors affect this process.

Consume fatty fish and seafood
Fatty fish and seafood are among the foods highest in vitamin D, though exact vitamin content may vary depending on the type and source of the food in question. 

Eat more mushrooms
Much like humans, mushrooms produce vitamin D when exposed to UV light. Wild mushrooms — or commercially grown ones treated with UV light — have the greatest vitamin D levels. 

Include egg yolks in your diet
Free-range and pastured eggs are a great source of vitamin D, as chickens with access to sunlight produce more vitamin D in their eggs than those that remain indoors.

Eat fortified foods
Vitamin D is often added to food staples such as milk to increase intake of this nutrient.

Take a supplement
Vitamin D supplements vary in dosage. That said, the amount you need depends on your current vitamin D levels. Supplements are often needed if you don’t obtain enough vitamin D from food or sunlight. Having your vitamin D levels checked before supplementing is the best way to pick the appropriate dose.

Try a UV lamp
You can purchase lamps that emit UV-B radiation to stimulate vitamin D production. However, they can be expensive and dangerous if used for more than 15 minutes at a time.

The bottom line
Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that many people around the world don’t get enough of. That said, you can boost your vitamin D levels by getting more sun exposure, eating foods rich in vitamin D, and/or taking supplements. If you suspect you’re low in this essential nutrient, consult with a health professional to get your levels checked.

Words and picture above taken from an article by Ansley Hill RD LD
Read it in full with all related links here 

Related post
Signs and Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency - more to read here 

Regular readers will know that 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.

All the best Jan

Thursday 21 March 2019

Brexit the pressure on the Government mounts !

We Brits certainly know how to pressure a corrupt to the core Government. They must be shaking in their boots. Government health warning. Song contains swearing, now at number 2 best sellers list on Amazon. Eddie

Wednesday 20 March 2019

Cheese and Onion Pork Chops

Enjoy British pork with melted Cheshire cheese and a kick of English mustard. This is such an easy dish, a family favourite!

Serves Four
4 pork chops
2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp English mustard
4 tbsp. caramelised onions, from a jar (make your own if preferred)
50g Cheshire cheese, grated

1 tsp thyme, chopped
    1. Heat grill to high, then place the chops on a grill pan, rub with oil and season. Grill for about 6 mins on each side, until golden.
    2. Spread a little mustard over one side of each chop, then top with 1 tbsp. onions. Mix the cheese and thyme, sprinkle over the chops, then grill until golden and bubbly.
    Nutrition: per serving:
    fat 23g carbs 8g protein 36g
    From an original idea here

    You may like to serve these chops with mashed swede (rutabaga) or cauliflower rice, and perhaps some green beans... 

    Cheshire is a British cheese produced in the English counties of Cheshire and the neighbouring four counties of Denbighshire, Flintshire, Shropshire and Staffordshire. Reputed to have been made since Roman times, the cheese is also mentioned in the Domesday Book of the 11th century.

    Dense and crumbly, Cheshire is made using vegetarian rennet and pasteurised cow’s milk. The taste and flavour of cheese develops with ripening. Young Cheshire is firm, crumbly and white in colour. It is mild, milky and aromatic leaving behind a slightly tangy aftertaste on the palette.

    Sometimes, to add a different dimension to the cheese, annatto is added to the milk, which gives Red Cheshire a deep shade of red orange. However, there is no difference in the flavour and texture in both cousins. Another variant is a Blue Cheshire ripened with Penicillium culture molds.

    An aged Cheshire becomes firmer and darkens considerably. It is now a full-flavoured cheese yet with no hint of bitterness. Though still crumbly, the cheese turns dry with maturity.

    Cheshire with its lower salt content makes for a perfect crumble on fruits, chutney, and vegetable and baked dishes.

    Dear reader, you will find a variety of recipe ideas and articles 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

    Tuesday 19 March 2019

    Some Food Choices this March

    Well, for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere we hope that Spring is on the way, bringing plenty of fresh seasonal food ingredients with it. Foods such as delicate mushrooms and spring onions (scallions) can both be used in a wide variety of dishes or served as the star of the show – try a mushroom omelette for an easy brunch. For herbs, hardy rosemary adds a fragrant aroma to stews and casseroles as well as fragrant bakes. Papaya can add a summery, tropical twist to both sweet and savoury dishes, perfect for sunnier days ahead.

    This sunny tropical fruit, which hails from the Americas, is delicious in both sweet and savoury recipes. Look for fruits with smooth, firm skin and an even yellow tone. Streaks of green indicate that the fruit isn’t ripe. Try using in place of mango – they have a similar sweetness and texture, but they also work well together. 
    Papaya's, Fruit of the Angels, and a Thai green papaya salad (som tum) recipe can be seen here

    Spring onions 
    Less bitter than other alliums, spring onions (scallions) have a fresh, peppery flavour and add a punch to all kinds of dishes. Don't discard the green tops: they have a milder taste than the white bulb and can be shredded into fine ribbons and used in salads or dressings.
    Recipes for 'Cilantro & Lime Cauliflower Rice with a taste of spring onion/scallion' and a 'Greek island salad with chicken & avocado & spring onions/scallion' can be seen here

    Mushrooms are a fungus which come in a wide range of varieties that belong to two distinct types: cultivated and wild. There’s plenty of varieties to experiment with in the kitchen – from giant Portobello mushrooms (perfect for veggie burgers) to delicate chanterelles and porcini. 
    Some recipes using mushrooms:
    Lemon Garlic Pork Steaks with Mushrooms : Low Carb and Gluten Free, details here
    Mushroom Bourguignon with Celeriac Mash : Vegetarian, details here 
    Cheesy mushroom omelette, details here

    Onions and shallots 
    A household staple, versatile onions are the first ingredient in a whole host of dishes. Choose onions that feel firm, with papery skins and store in a cool, dry place. To avoid watery eyes when chopping onions, freeze for 10 minutes beforehand and avoid cutting through the root. As well as providing the base for sauces and stews, onions can shine on their own.
    Some recipes using onions/shallots: 
    Bistro Beef In Beer, using button onions or shallots, details here
    Chicken Korma, a lower carb Curry, using brown onions, details here
    Know your onions - some health benefits, details here

    This fragrant herb is great for perking up dishes as it retains its flavour and aroma even after slow-cooking. Traditionally associated with roast lamb and savoury dishes, you could try something different with this hardy herb, such as using it to infuse soft drinks. 
    Garlic and Rosemary Cauliflower Bread, details here 
    Lamb Rump with Rosemary Cauliflower Mash, details here
    Pomegranate rosemary spritzer, details on this post here 
    Rosemary and citrus spritz, see here

    spring flowers to bring a smile

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

    Saturday 16 March 2019

    Dido - Hurricanes : Saturday Night Music

    Tonight's music choice is Dido - Hurricanes. Dido is an English singer and songwriter, and watching the video and reading some of the comments I too think this song and video is a total piece of art … something a little bit different. Have a look and listen and see what you think. I hope you enjoy it.
    All the best Jan

    Roasted Red Pepper and Chilli Soup ... so warming

    I don't know about you, but I can't keep up with the storms we seem to have experienced lately here in the UK! No sooner do we say goodbye to Storm Gareth, then we have Storm Hannah … so please keep safe and warm.

    No matter where in the world you live, and whatever weather you may be experiencing, I do hope you have an enjoyable day. But if the weather is too bad (or too hot) why not stay indoors, sit down and read a good book or blog! 

    You may have seen in other blog posts that we love red peppers, they are so nutritious and can be eaten in so many ways. The grandchildren love to eat them raw … or in this Red Pepper and Tomato soup … details here

    But the recipe I'm sharing today is for another delicious soup which looks beautiful, and the flavour is rich but subtle. Some may think it a little fiddly to prepare, so do allow yourself time in the kitchen when you start cooking. This soup freezes well (see below) so you may prefer to make extra and freeze it.

    Serves 2 - 4
    6 red peppers (capsicums), halved, cored and deseeded
    2 red chillies*, halved, cored and deseeded
    1 bulb garlic, halved but not peeled
    6 tomatoes, halved
    1 tbsp. olive oil
    1 vegetable stock cube, made up to 450ml
    4 tbsp. savoury seed mix
    4 tsp pesto

    a few croutons for topping (optional)

    1. Preheat oven to Gas Mark 6, 200°C, fan 180°C.
    2. Place peppers, chillies and garlic in a large tin and roast for 15 minutes.
    3. Add tomato halves and roast for a further 10-15 minutes until peppers have charred on the outside. Remove from the oven and cool until you can handle them.
    4. Skin peppers and place flesh in a liquidiser. Skin and deseed tomatoes. Place seeds in a sieve and collect juice. Add this to the liquidiser plus the flesh of the tomatoes and chillies.
    5. Squeeze the flesh out of the garlic cloves into the liquidiser with the oil and vegetable stock and liquidise until smooth.

    6. Reheat to serve and top with seed mix — add pesto and croutons if desired.

    Freezing and defrosting guidelines:
    Make the soup, then leave to cool at room temperature. Freeze (without garnishes or toppings) in a rigid container, leaving a bit of space for expansion, for up to 1-3 months. Reheat either from frozen or defrost in the fridge overnight. Once piping hot, add toppings or garnishes and serve.

    Each serving contains:
    Carbohydrate 24.8g Protein 8.8g Fibre 8.6g Fat 15g 

    * if your taste is for less spicy use 1, medium spicy 2, more spicy 3 

    Please see original idea here

    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 please take these 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 15 March 2019

    Purple Carrots ... so nutritious, tasty and versatile

    Jillian Kubala, MS, RD writes:
    "Carrots are tasty vegetables that come in a variety of colours. Purple carrots are especially eye-catching and provide unique health benefits specific to purple fruits and vegetables. All types of carrots are highly nutritious, but purple carrots are especially rich in powerful antioxidants known to fight inflammation and benefit certain health conditions.

    This article reviews the benefits of purple carrots and gives you tips on how to add these vibrant vegetables to your diet.

    Though most people envision an orange vegetable when picturing a carrot, carrots were originally purple or white. In fact, the first evidence of carrots being used as a food crop was in the Iranian Plateau and the Persian Empire in the 10th century AD — these ancient carrots were purple and white. The modern, orange carrot likely originated from a new breed of yellow carrots, which were developed as a result of a genetic mutation. Red and purple carrots are considered Eastern varieties, while yellow, orange, or white carrots are known as Western-type carrots. The Eastern-type carrots have been largely replaced by the orange Western types that are common in today’s grocery stores. 

    All carrots — independent of their colour — are packed with a variety of nutrients, such as fibre, potassium, vitamin C, manganese, vitamin A, and certain B vitamins. In addition, like other purple fruits and vegetables, they contain potent antioxidants called anthocyanins, which benefit your health.

    Contain Powerful Antioxidants
    Purple carrots are particularly rich in anthocyanins, which are antioxidants shown to protect against heart disease, mental decline, and diabetes.

    May Have Anticancer Effects
    Eating purple carrots may reduce your risk of certain types of cancer including colon and breast cancer.

    May Promote Weight Loss 
    Purple carrots are highly nutritious and low in calories. Population studies demonstrate that people who eat vegetable-rich diets tend to weigh less than people who eat fewer vegetables. This is because vegetables like carrots are low in calories yet highly nutritious, making them a weight-loss-friendly food. Replacing high-calorie, processed snacks and meals with vegetable-based meals and snacks can help reduce your overall calorie intake and lead to healthy weight loss. 

    May Benefit Certain Medical Conditions
    Research indicates that purple carrots may benefit certain medical conditions, including metabolic syndrome, Colitis and inflammatory intestinal conditions. 

    Easy to Add to Your Diet 
    Purple carrots are not only nutritious but also versatile and tasty vegetables that can be used in a variety of dishes. They’re similar in taste to other carrot varieties and can be used in the same ways.

    Here are some ways to add purple carrots to your diet:

    Chop, grate, or shave and add to salads.
    Roast — whole or sliced — with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
    Cook and add to homemade hummus.
    Grate and add to baked goods.
    Slice and serve with a tasty dip.
    Add to juices and smoothies.
    Dehydrate slices and enjoy as a healthy alternative to potato chips.
    Dice and add to stir-fries and other dishes.
    Spiralize and toss with pesto.
    Grate and toss with olive oil and fresh herbs to make a slaw.
    Add to soups, stews, and broths.

    Steam and coat with a flavourful spice mix like harissa. 

    The Bottom Line 
    Purple carrots contain an impressive array of vitamins, minerals, and powerful plant compounds that may benefit your health in many ways. Though all types of carrots are nutritious and healthy, purple carrots contain powerful antioxidants called anthocyanins that have impressive effects on your health. Eating purple carrots may improve heart health, encourage weight loss, and reduce inflammation and your risk of certain cancers. These brightly coloured veggies not only pack powerful health benefits but can also add colour and flavour to many of your favourite dishes."
    The above is only a snippet of Jillian's article, read it in full with all related links here

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