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Wednesday, 31 March 2021

Baked Mascarpone and Blueberry Dessert : LCHF Dessert

From an idea by Pascale Naessens, this sugar-free yet deliciously decadent low-carb dessert has only three ingredients, so simple and easy! 


Ingredients
Serves Two
9g carbs per serving
2 egg yolks
200 g (200 ml) mascarpone cheese
100 g (160 ml) fresh blueberries (strawberries, or raspberries could be used).
Instructions
can be seen here


Mascarpone originated in the Lombardy region of Northern Italy during the Renaissance. It is ivory-coloured, exceptionally smooth, and an easily spreadable fresh cream cheese. The flavour is milky and slightly sweet. The rich, buttery texture comes from the high butterfat content. Mascarpone generally comes in tubs, and it should remain refrigerated. Check the "use by" date on the package for storage time, but it's generally a week.
You can read more about this cheese here

Related Posts
What is LCHF Anyway - see here

This blog offers a wide variety of recipes/food ideas, and not all may be suitable for you. If you have any food likes / dislikes, 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, 30 March 2021

Take A Walk In The Park Day : March 30th

Today is 30th March and it's 'Take a walk in the park day'. Yes, a great day to stretch your legs and get some fresh air. If the weather holds up why not even go out and have a picnic, Covid 19 restrictions permitting.


When cities are being designed one of the primary things they ensure to make space for is city parks. From small parks the size of just a couple of blocks to large ones that cover acres of land, city planners know the importance of providing green areas for people to go. Take A Walk In The Park Day celebrates these small excursions and the differences they can make to our mental, physical, and emotional health.

History of Take A Walk In The Park Day
This day was founded to help people reconnect with the wilder spaces within our civilized world. Thousands of people all over the country walk in local parks, exploring the wildlife and beauty of the natural world around them.

During these walks many opt to bring cameras so they can take pictures of the beauty they find, others opt to bring a book and enjoy the peace of the natural space. Jogging, playing games, drawing pictures from nature, all of these are things people do when they go out and enjoy time in the park.

Getting out into nature has been proven to have a number of therapeutic effects on those who take the time to do it. Their stress levels go down, their heart and mind feel refreshed, their creativity gets inspired, and they become more productive at work. All of this doesn’t even include the physical health benefits they get from walking in the park.

Keeping our bodies in motion and remaining active are important parts of our long term health. Daily walks help keep joints healthy, our muscles limber, and our hearts beating steadily. Every day you walk walking gets to be just a little bit easier and you’ll find yourself less tired than the day before. Take A Walk In The Park Day encourages you to get out and do that, every day of the year.

How To Celebrate Take A Walk In The Park Day
Celebrating this day is as simple as doing what it says on the tin, go take a walk in the park! Everyday people take walks as an easy way to get exercise and reconnect with nature, and that’s been proven to have a positive effect on our sense of well-being. Taking a walk can relieve stress, ease worries, and otherwise make every day just a little bit better. 
Above information from here

Are you planning on enjoying a walk today? I may not walk in a park but I hope to enjoy a leisurely walk locally.
Enjoy your day.

All the best Jan

Monday, 29 March 2021

Curry Anyone : Cauliflower, Swede & Turnip Curry

A friend of mine often says, any day with a 'y' in it makes it a good day for curry,  and she could be right! The first curry recipe in Britain appeared in the recipe book, The Art of Cookery made Plain and Easy by Hannah Glasse in 1747. Of course the original curry pre-dates this by centuries, and you can read more about curry, its history etc. here 


In more modern times curry can make a nice addition to your menu plans, and this suggestion uses root vegetables, which I know many readers find delicious. Once cooked serve this dish how it suits you ... on it's own-very tasty, or perhaps with rice and yogurt, or why not keep it lower carb and consider making some cauliflower couscous.

The recipe given below is 6.2g carb per serving.

Ingredients
Serves Four
Vegetable oil for frying
1 tsp brown mustard seeds
25-30 fresh curry leaves
1 small onion, grated
2cm fresh ginger, grated
2-3 dried red chillies
½ tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp fenugreek seeds
200g chopped tinned tomatoes
4 tbsp. desiccated coconut
250g mixed swede and turnip, diced
1 small cauliflower, broken into florets
Handful of chopped fresh coriander

Method
1. Heat a little oil in a frying pan, then add the mustard seeds and curry leaves. Cook for a minute until the mustard seeds just start to pop, being careful not to let them burn (see tip), then add the onion and ginger and fry for 3-4 minutes.
2. Add the dried chillies, turmeric, fennel and fenugreek seeds, then fry for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, coconut, swede, turnip and a good splash of water. Season, cover and simmer for 20 minutes, adding more water if necessary. Stir through the cauliflower, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Scatter with the coriander and serve.

Tip
Keep an eye on the mustard seeds – if they start to burn the dish will taste bitter.

Nutritional Information
Fat 9.7g Protein 2.3g Carbs 6.2g Fibre 4.3g
From an original idea here

Did you know about Fenugreek seeds, they are a popular seed in Indian cookery, in which it's termed methi, this small, hard, mustard yellow seed has a tangy, bitter, burnt-sugar flavour.


The herb of the same name (see fenugreek herb) is grown from it and is also used in Middle Eastern cooking.


Fenugreek Seeds
They are available all year round, but choose the best:-
Like all seeds, fenugreek seeds are best bought little and often - that way, instead of having them languish in your store cupboard for a long time, you can buy more, fresher seeds as and when you need them. The best place to buy them is Indian speciality stores.
How to prepare them:-
You'll get more flavour out of fenugreek seeds by grinding or dry frying them. To dry fry, heat up a pan, tip in the seeds and, over a medium heat, brown for a couple of minutes, tossing them around the pan frequently. As the seed's so hard, they're difficult to grind by hand so, for recipes that call for ground, rather than whole, buy ready-ground, unless you have a small coffee grinder.
When you store them:-
They are best kept in an airtight container in a cool, dark place, and should last for up to one year.
Cook them:-
In curries, pickles and sauces.

You will find a variety of recipe 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

Saturday, 27 March 2021

Spring Cleaning Time : Some Tips !

Some may say, there's no better time than spring to give your home a good and thorough clean! Well, with signs of Spring around my pink duster has been out of the cupboard and those winter cobwebs have been dealt with, furniture has been moved out so all the nooks and crannies can be vacuumed, our windows are sparkling (thanks to Eddie) and even the Easter Chicks are sitting on the window-sill in readiness for the coming Easter weekend. Easter Sunday being on the 4th April in 2021.

Do you like to Spring Clean? Not everyone does. I did come across this article which has some helpful tips you may find interesting, and I share them below.


"Declutter your home
There's a simple rule you can use to declutter you home. If you haven't used something in the past six months, then you should consider throwing it away. The only exception to this rule is seasonal items and clothing. Separate out the 'keep', 'donate' or 'throw away' items and clearly label them to avoid any treasures getting thrown away by mistake. By taking this ruthless stance, you'll soon discover how many excess items you have around your home and how much additional room you'll have if you throw a few things away.

Deep clean your carpets
You'll be surprised how much dirt, dust and hair builds up in your carpet. This can be especially bad in bedrooms and dining rooms, where you're less likely to move bulky furniture around when you're cleaning. A deep clean will help restore the carpet's colour and texture. Using a high-performance vacuum cleaner or hiring a professional will allow you to breathe new life into your carpets. While your furniture is out of its usual place during the clean, you can start to think about rearranging certain items. You don't necessarily need to invest in new furniture, but a move around might bring a new function to a room or just give it a new look.

Remove pet hairs with rubber gloves
Pets are a delight to live with, but a menace when it comes to keeping your home clean. Cats and dogs especially will cast their hairs everywhere. That's where a pair of rubber gloves comes in handy. Because of the material they're made from, and the friction it creates, hairs will naturally stick to them. So, whether you need to de-hair your sofa, curtains or bedding, your trusty rubber gloves can sort you out. Failing that, a trusty lint roller work wonders on removing pet hairs from fabric.

Clean your oven with bicarbonate of soda
Oven cleaning is a time-intensive task, but a small amount of bicarbonate of soda can go a long way. Add bicarbonate of soda to water in a spray bottle and you've got your own handy oven-cleaning solution. You just need to spray the solution on the interior surfaces of your oven, avoiding the heating elements. Leave overnight and wipe clean the next day. If any soda remains, spray with vinegar to remove it. Avoid using harsh chemicals as these could cause irritation to your skin and damage your oven. If you'd rather put your feet up than get stuck in, it's worth having your oven professionally cleaned to get it sparkling again.

Get your fridge sparkling clean
We're all guilty of not cleaning our fridge as often as we should. This means that stains, food matter and water can build up. To battle this, you need a few household items. The first two are a toothbrush and toothpaste. The chemicals found in toothpaste will help remove stains easily and the toothbrush provides the friction and accuracy that you need to get the job done. Once you've got your fridge nice and clean, it's time to tackle any lurking smells. Cut a lemon in half and place the two halves in your fridge: one on the top shelf and the other on the bottom shelf. The lemon will naturally absorb any odours and leave your fridge smelling fresh.

Unleash the power of your dishwasher
Your dishwasher is a superhero in disguise. Its helpfulness doesn't stop at cleaning the dishes: you can place children's plastic toys (without batteries) into the dishwasher, along with your normal detergent or tablet, and get them nice and clean again. Not only that, it helps to sanitise the toys, so that they can be played with time and time again. The beauty of using your dishwasher to wash toys means that you can simply put it on and let it get to work. Essentially, you get a thorough clean without much effort.

Steam clean your microwave
Dirt and grime can easily build up in your microwave. It's one of those appliances that you use so often that you take for granted. So, a good clean will not only get it back to its former self, but also improve its general hygiene. Tackling built-up food and grease normally calls for bucket loads of elbow grease, but our helpful hint will put a stop to that. Using a combination of vinegar and water, you can create a solution that will help you tackle those stubborn stains. Heat a measuring jug with a fifty-fifty solution for ten minutes in your microwave, until it steams up. Remove the jug and then use a cloth to wipe away the moisture and dirt.

Revamp your wardrobe
You may have a wonderful array of outfits, but chances are that you don't wear them all-year round. So, it's time to revamp your wardrobe. First separate your clothes into seasons: spring, summer, autumn and winter. Then try your outfits on. Do they still fit? Do you still like them? If the answer is 'no' then get rid of them. You could either donate them to charity, sell them on eBay or organise a swap shop with friends and family. For the clothes you decide to keep, bag up the ones that are out of season and store these in your attic or wardrobe. Another handy tip to help you out in the morning is to organise your clothes by colour, so that you can put outfits together in half the time, with no need to hunt out your favourite top.

Breathe life back into your bedsheets
We all have that favourite duvet set that we return to time and time again. But over time colours can fade and soon you're left with drab looking bed sheets. Rather than throw them away, it's work soaking them in bicarbonate of soda and white vinegar as this can help you breathe life back into your bed sheets and get rid of any lingering odours. Make sure you rinse them thoroughly to eradicate the vinegar smell before using. You can also use bicarbonate of soda to deodorise your mattress. Simply sprinkle all over your mattress and leave for up to eight hours. Then vacuum up any excess powder and your mattress is as good as new.

Clean your bathroom while you sleep
No, we don't literally mean clean while you sleep: you deserve your rest after all! We've found a way for you to leave your bathroom to get clean overnight. Limescale is notoriously difficult to remove. That's where white vinegar can help. It's great at breaking down the molecules and removing a build-up of limescale. In fact, it can remove stains from the toilet, shower and sink. All you need to do is spray it on and leave it to get to work. For showerheads, simply fill a bag with white vinegar and tie it around the head, leave it to break down the limescale overnight. To avoid smelling strongly of vinegar, make sure you wear protective gloves and ventilate your bathroom where possible."
Words above from article here

Related Post
Natural Cleaners To Use Around The Home - see here

Do you like to Spring Clean?
Have you any tips? Do please share them in the comments.
One very important tip, is to reward yourself with a nice cuppa after all of your hard work, and perhaps a Low Carb Chocolate Cookie / Biscuit, see more details here


Dear reader, this blog is presented in a magazine style - we hope something for everyone. You will find a variety of articles, studies, thoughts, photographs, music and recipes!

Please note, not all recipe suggestions 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, 26 March 2021

Aubergine / Eggplant Tacos with Cilantro and Brie

Erin Gleeson writes; "these aubergine/eggplant "tacos" are a tasty appetizer… It’s basically just a little round of baked eggplant with brie and cilantro in the middle, folded up like a mini taco! You could also serve them alongside a main course as a vegetable. I bake/roast the eggplant rounds on a greased cookie sheet, drizzled with olive oil (generously) plus a bit of sea salt if you wish. If you flip the aubergine/eggplant half way through, it’ll get brown on both sides. About 8 minutes on each side - but watch them closely - if some slices are thinner, they’ll cook faster.
Enjoy!"




Cilantro is an herb with wide delicate lacy green leaves and a pungent flavour. The seed of the cilantro plant is known as coriander. Although cilantro and coriander come from the same plant, their flavours are very different and cannot be substituted for each other. (Some countries refer to the cilantro as coriander, so any references to "fresh coriander" or "coriander leaves" refer to cilantro.) It can be easily confused with flat-leaf parsley in appearance, so be sure to sniff carefully. Look for a bunch with un-wilted leaves in medium green. Found fresh year round in most markets.
Information about Cilantro from here

Related Post
Health Benefits of Aubergines / Eggplants ... and some recipes, see here

This blog offers a wide variety of recipes/food ideas, and not all may be suitable for you. If you have any food likes / dislikes, 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, 25 March 2021

Scallions : Spring Onions : Green Onions ... so good raw or cooked

Spring onions are also known as scallions or green onions. Spring onions are in fact very young onions, harvested before the bulb has had a chance to swell. Both the long, slender green tops and the small white bulb are edible, and are good either raw or cooked. They have a similar flavour to onions, but are much milder.



Availability
All year round, and easy to grow in a vegetable patch from seed.
Choose the best
Go for spring onions with firm, unblemished bulbs and bright green perky leaves. Avoid those that are slimy or wilting. The skin covering a spring onion bulb can be either white or deep red fading to white at the roots - there's no significant difference in taste. Similarly, the bulb can be quite pronounced or more like a leek in shape, with no noticeable swelling; again, this has no impact on flavour.
Prepare it
Wash, then trim off the root as well as any ragged ends at the top. Slice the bulb into rounds. Cut the green tops across (kitchen scissors are good for this) or lengthways with a knife, then lengthways again, according to what shape you'd like. If you want to make the tops into a garnish, cut into slim lengths, as above, then stand in ice cold water for 30 minutes.
Store it
In a perforated bag in the fridge. Spring onions don't last as long as onions, so use within four or five days.
Alternatives
Try shallot.
Recipe suggestions using spring onions / scallions

Veggie Scramble : Breakfast Quick and Easy : Low Carb / Keto
recipe/more details here


Scrambled Egg and Feta Hash : Low Carb : A Joe Wicks favourite
recipe/more details here


Garlic and chilli prawns with cauliflower rice
recipe/more details here


Salmon, Cucumber and Radish Salad : Perfect For Salad Days
recipe/more details here


Chicken Wings Provençal
recipe/more details here


Dear reader, a variety of articles, and recipe ideas, are 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

Wednesday, 24 March 2021

Thai Fish Curry with Coconut Cream : Great tasting and Low Carb


Mid-week already! Whatever happened to Monday and Tuesday? Our days passed by happily and quietly, the temperatures were warmer and Spring was definitely in the air, perhaps a sign of better things to come, we hope so.

But as it's now mid-week, how about considering this creamy oven-bake curry for dinner today! It is a great way to cook fish, nicely seasoned and flavoured (as you can see from the ingredients), and it's quick and easy to make. Who knows it may just become a new favourite in your menu plans.

Ingredients
Serves Four : 10g carbs per serving
1 tbsp coconut oil for greasing the baking dish
650 g salmon, boneless fillets or white fish (e.g. cod, haddock, halibut), in pieces
salt and pepper
28 g butter or ghee
2 tbsp red curry paste or green curry paste
475 ml coconut cream
120 ml (8 g) fresh cilantro, chopped (also known as coriander/dhania)
450 g cauliflower or broccoli

Tip
If you can't find coconut cream in your grocery store you can use canned coconut milk, but then use two cans. Let the cans sit in the refrigerator for a few hours or over-night. Carefully open the cans and scoop out the coconut cream that will have solidified on top.

Don't use the thinner coconut water from the can for this recipe, but don't throw it out either. You can save it and use in smoothies and other refreshing drinks.

Instructions
can be seen here

Cilantro is a herb with wide delicate lacy green leaves and a pungent flavour. The seed of the cilantro plant is known as coriander. Although cilantro and coriander come from the same plant, their flavours are very different and cannot be substituted for each other. (Some countries refer to the cilantro as coriander, so any references to "fresh coriander" or "coriander leaves" refer to cilantro.) It can be easily confused with flat-leaf parsley in appearance, so be sure to sniff carefully. Look for a bunch with un-wilted leaves in medium green. Found fresh year round in most markets.
Information about Cilantro from here

Talking Thai, you may also want to try these choices
Time For Thai Choices : Fish, Pumpkin, Vegetables, Chicken, Tofu : see here

Dear reader, this blog offers a wide variety of recipes/food ideas, and not all may be suitable for you. If you have any food likes / dislikes, 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, 22 March 2021

Extra Virgin Olive Oil : Why Is It The Healthiest Fat On Earth !



Do you use extra virgin olive oil? Is it included on your shopping list? My answer is yes to both questions. Most people agree that extra virgin olive oil is incredibly healthy - read on and find out more.

Kris Gunnars BSc writes:
"Why Extra Virgin Olive Oil Is the Healthiest Fat on Earth
Dietary fats are highly controversial, with debates about animal fats, seed oils, and everything in between in full force.

That said, most people agree that extra virgin olive oil is incredibly healthy.

Part of the Mediterranean diet, this traditional oil has been a dietary staple for some of the world's healthiest populations.

Studies show that the fatty acids and antioxidants in olive oil can offer some powerful health benefits, including a reduced risk of heart disease.

This article reviews why extra virgin olive oil is one of the healthiest fats.

What is olive oil and how is it made?
True extra virgin olive oil is 100% natural and very high in antioxidants. Many of the lower quality olive oils have been processed and adulterated with cheaper oils.

Nutrient composition of extra virgin olive oil
Olive oil is very high in monounsaturated fats and contains a modest amount of vitamins E and K. True extra virgin olive oil is loaded with antioxidants, some of which have powerful health benefits.

Extra virgin olive oil contains anti-inflammatory substances
Olive oil contains oleic acid and oleocanthal, two nutrients that can fight inflammation. This may be the main reason for olive oil's health benefits.

Extra virgin olive oil and cardiovascular disease
Olive oil may be one of the healthiest foods you can eat for heart health. It reduces blood pressure and inflammation, protects LDL particles from oxidation, and may help prevent unwanted blood clotting.

Other health benefits of extra virgin olive oil
Preliminary evidence suggests that olive oil can help fight cancer and Alzheimer's disease, although human studies need to confirm this.

Can you cook with it?
Overall, olive oil seems to be very safe even for cooking at a fairly high heat.

The bottom line
Olive oil is super healthy. For those who have heart disease or are at a high risk of developing it, olive oil is most definitely a superfood. However, be sure to purchase extra virgin olive oil that hasn't been diluted with cheaper oils. The benefits of this wonderful fat are among the few things that most people in nutrition agree upon."
The above words are just a snippet from Kris Gunnars original article, which can be seen in full with all information and research links here

Do you like to use extra virgin olive oil?
Is it included in your shopping list?


Dear reader, a variety of articles, and recipe ideas, are 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

Sunday, 21 March 2021

Perfect Roast Parsnips

Catching up with family and grand-children this weekend (courtesy of the internet) the talk was about fun and food. At home movie nights had been enjoyed, with home-made burgers. A local walk, and a fabulous Sunday Roast complete with perfect roast parsnips. From the description the grand-children gave me they sounded delicious. In fact it gave me the idea for this post because I happen to know of a nice recipe ...

So if you may be looking for a simple side dish to make with your Sunday Beef or Tuscan Butter Salmon or Caprese Chicken. Parsnips are your answer. Roasting them makes them slightly sweet and perfectly tender for a quick side dish you might love more than the main course.


Ingredients
Serves Four
900 g parsnips, peeled and cut into 5cm pieces
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp. dried oregano
Flaky sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
Method
1. Preheat oven to 220°C (200ºC Fan). Spread parsnips on 2 large baking trays, being sure to not overcrowd. Drizzle with olive oil and season with oregano, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Toss to evenly coat.
2. Roast until golden and easily pierced with a knife, about 30 minutes, tossing once halfway through.
From recipe idea here

Parsnips
Parsnips are a delicious type of root vegetable that has been cultivated and enjoyed around the world for thousands of years. They are closely related to other vegetables like carrots and parsley roots, parsnips have long, cream-colored tuberous roots with a sweet, slightly nutty flavour. In addition to bringing a unique taste to your dishes, parsnips are incredibly nutritious and have been associated with many health benefits. Read more here

Recipes to try
Mushroom and Parsnip Rösti pie - see here
Parsnip & Cauliflower Soup - see here

sharing a picture from 2019
happy memories

We bring a variety of articles and 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

Saturday, 20 March 2021

Farmhouse Country Chicken - it's a little bit French !

Lay the table, open the wine, enjoy the company, and the aroma of great food cooking and then sit down and enjoy. This warming French dish may bring some readers happy memories (or dreams) of a weekend in Provence, this dish uses chicken thighs with a mustard braise and sweet root vegetables.



Ingredients you'll need for two
4 shallots
1 carrot
1 celery stick
200g white mushrooms
4 bone-in chicken thighs
1 large potato, peeled and roughly chopped*
or chopped swede may be used instead*
2 garlic cloves
1 chicken stock cube
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 bouquet garni
4 tbsp. double (heavy) cream
1 tbsp. olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
450ml boiling water
You'll need
A shallow casserole dish or deep frying pan with a lid
Measuring jug
Here's what you do
1. Peel and halve the shallots. Peel and roughly chop the carrot. Trim the celery stick and slice it. Slice the mushrooms or quarter or halve them if they are small.
2. Warm a casserole dish or deep frying pan over a medium heat for 2 minutes. Add 1 tbsp. olive oil and the chicken thighs, skin side down. Fry for 5 minutes till the skin is golden brown. Turn the thighs over and fry for another 2 minutes. Lift the chicken thighs out of the pan and pop them on a plate.
3. Add the shallots, carrot, celery and mushrooms to the pan. Season with salt and pepper. Cook over a medium-low heat for 5 minutes, stirring a few times, till the veg are soft and glossy looking.
4. While the veg are cooking, peel and roughly chop the potato or swede. Peel and crush the garlic. Crumble the stock cube into a measuring jug and stir in 450ml boiling water.
5. Stir the potato/swede and garlic into the veg with the Dijon mustard. Add the bouquet garni. Pop the chicken thighs back in to the pan. Pour in the stock. Cover and turn up the heat. Bring the casserole to the boil, then turn the heat back down and simmer for 30 minutes.
6. The chicken thighs should be cooked through and the veg tender. Turn off the heat. Lift out the bouquet garni and discard it. Stir in 4 tbsp. double cream.
7. Taste the casserole and add more salt and pepper if you think it needs it. Ladle the chicken casserole into 2 warm bowls and serve.

Bouquet garni is French for 'garnished bouquet' and it's a little bundle of herbs used to add flavour to dishes in traditional French cooking. You can tie them together to make them easier to find and fish out once the casserole has finished cooking.
Recipe is from an original idea here


You will find a variety of recipe 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

Friday, 19 March 2021

Dyslexia : New research shows that Ancient Greek may help cure dyslexia

As regular readers know, this blog is presented in a magazine style - we hope something for everyone. You will find a variety of articles, studies, thoughts, photographs, music and recipes! 

The article today is about Dyslexia, I hope you may find it interesting.

Dyslexia is a learning difference which primarily affects reading and writing skills. However, it does not only affect these skills. Dyslexia is actually about information processing. Dyslexic people may have difficulty processing and remembering information they see and hear, which can affect learning and the acquisition of literacy skills. Dyslexia can also impact on other areas such as organisational skills.

It is important to remember that there are positives to thinking differently. Many dyslexic people show strengths in areas such as reasoning and in visual and creative fields.

It is estimated up to 1 in every 10 people in the UK has some degree of dyslexia.

Dyslexia is a lifelong problem that can present challenges on a daily basis, but support is available to improve reading and writing skills and help those with the problem be successful at school and work.


New research shows that Ancient Greek may cure dyslexia
"A study by the University of Toronto, shows that the Ancient Greek language can help cure dyslexia, because it activates many parts of the brain, compared to other languages.

The study was conducted by Charles Lumsden, Canadian biologist and Professor at the Department of Medicine and Medical Science at the University of Toronto, and Derrick De Kerckhove, Director of the Marshall McLuhan Centre of Communication Theory at the University of Toronto.

The two professors curated the findings of multiple studies and scientific research publications, which explained how Ancient Greek, if taught from a young age, can help in the development of the brain and cure symptoms of dyslexia.

“The benefits that result from the formation and proper use of the human brain have long been recognised by teachers and scholars from all around the world, who have suggested the systematic teaching of the Ancient Greek language as a treatment for dyslexic children,” Lumsden’s and De Kerckhove’s study reads.

Discussing the common symptoms of dyslexia, research shows that “a person with dyslexia might face multiple challenges in writing, serious difficulties in spelling, delay in learning how to read, or even have short memory problems. That person might often encounter difficulties in mathematics, especially in the assimilation of symbols and forms, such as multiplication tables, organisation of numbers, sequences, and more.”

The study also emphasizes the widely accepted medical belief that “dyslexia has nothing to do with a child’s level of intelligence. It is a learning difficulty, where dyslectic people take a long time to retrieve words, so they might not speak or read as fluidly as others.”

Lumsden and De Kerckhove also previously wrote the “Alphabet and the Brain” best-selling book released in 1988, which discusses how the study of languages, and especially Ancient Greek, can help in the faster development and growth of the brain.

Their latest study refers to research from critically acclaimed and accomplished scientists, philologists and linguists, with Professor of Philology, Eric Havelock, among them.

British Professor Havelock, an avid supporter of the Greek language and pioneer in classic studies, based many of his analyses on Plato, and strongly believed that “all of Western thought is informed by a profound shift in the kinds of ideas available to the human mind at the point that Greek philosophy converted from an oral to a literate form.”

Havelock suggested that the Ancient Greek language, because of the structure of its alphabet and the etymology of its words, was one of the reasons why so many advanced philosophical concepts were born in Ancient Greece, as the language activated multiple parts of the brain of its speakers.

“Many abstract concepts were conceived in Ancient Greece. That is because the language by nature enables the speaker to think thoroughly and overcome speech and learning difficulties that might impede his or her thinking,” the study explains.

“Dyslexic people might have difficulties in oral speech, spatial and temporal orientation, or right-left distinction. Of course, these difficulties, qualitatively and quantitatively, vary from person to person, and the symptoms vary according to age. When people are able to activate more parts of their brain thanks to the use of a language, they are likely to fight back some of the symptoms of dyslexia.”

Similar research and studies have also been presented by Greek scientists, such as the work by the scientific team of Ioannis Tsegos, Greek psychiatrist and psychotherapist, which was published in the revolutionary book “The Vengeance of the Tons”.

Their study demonstrated that the measurable indicators of verbal intelligence and abstract thinking, with acceptable techniques, were accelerated in a group of 25 children, which were taught Ancient Greek weekly from the age of 8 years until the age of 12.

The same indicators however, slowed down in the same number of children, who were not taught the Ancient Greek language on a weekly basis.

In addition, Australian researcher, Kate Chanock, from the La Trobe University, describes in her project “Help for a Dyslexic Learner from an Unlikely Source: the Study of Ancient Greek” how she successfully managed to help a dyslexic English-speaker become non-dyslexic and overcome dyslexia difficulties, by learning Ancient Greek."
Above article seen here

All the best Jan 

Thursday, 18 March 2021

Cauliflower Steak with Red Pepper and Capers

How about cauliflower steaks with a beautiful salsa of red peppers and capers!
Have a look at the recipe suggestion, do you think you may try it?


Ingredients
1 small head cauliflower
Extra virgin olive oil
Pinch of unrefined sea salt and pepper

for the salsa
1 small jar green olives in brine
1 small jar of capers in brine
1 red bell pepper (capsicum)
½ bunch parsley
1 lemon
Pinch of unrefined sea salt and pepper

to serve
1 tablespoon activated almonds, roughly chopped

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Slice cauliflower into 4 even slices and place on the baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with sea salt and pepper. Place in the oven for 15 minutes.
3. While the cauliflower is roasting, prepare the salsa. Chop the green olives, bell pepper, and parsley. Combine with the drained capers, a squeeze of lemon, and a pinch of sea salt and pepper, to taste.
4. Once the cauliflower is cooked, serve half of the cauliflower with half of the salsa and a sprinkle of chopped activated almonds on top.
5. Store the remainder in an airtight container in the fridge for lunch tomorrow.
Recipe idea from here

What are activated almonds?
Activating almonds essentially is just soaking the nuts in water for a few hours, after which you can eat them raw or cook them. Doing so makes the almonds begin to sprout, which causes the enzymes inside of the almonds to break down. In their sprouting state, all of the proteins, vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids are activated, which means your body can absorb them all and get the most out of this tasty food, whether you're just eating them as a snack or adding them to a meal. Inactivated almonds, whether they are raw or roasted, contain enzyme inhibitors that prevent your digestive system from extracting all of their valuable nutrients.
Read and see more here

Anyone for Soup?
Red Pepper and Tomato Soup - see here
Creamy Cauliflower Soup - see here

We bring a variety of recipes and articles 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

Wednesday, 17 March 2021

Eating the Mediterranean way !

Erika McKellar writes:
"With all of its fresh, colourful ingredients, the Mediterranean diet has become a preferred way of eating for many around the world.

When eating the Mediterranean way, you get to discover complex flavours and fill up on healthy fats like olive oil and avocado and rich sources of protein like fish and eggs.

This diet also features fresh vegetables like spinach and zucchini/courgette, which are rich in plant-based fibre to help you stay fuller for longer.

Not only does the Mediterranean diet represent delicious food, but UNESCO also recognized it as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity for its emphasis on hospitality, intercultural dialogue, and creativity. 

The Mediterranean diet may not only help you live healthier but also bring out your inner hospitality. Remember: Mangia bene, ridi spesso, ama molto, or "Eat well, laugh often, and love much."


Health benefits of a low-carb Mediterranean diet
Research shows the Mediterranean diet can improve your health. Plus, the Mediterranean way of eating paired with a lower-carb diet may be particularly beneficial for people with diabetes.

Whatever your reason for trying a Mediterranean diet, you’re sure to love the rich flavours in the Mediterranean low-carb diet foods.

Fish & seafood
Shellfish, shrimp, squid and fish are staples of the Mediterranean diet. Especially fish rich in healthy omega-3 fatty acids like salmon, tuna, and mackerel
Protein
Chicken and eggs are featured proteins in the low-carb version of this diet.
Healthy Fats
Olive oil, avocado, nuts, and seeds are satisfying additions to the Mediterranean menu.
Vegetables
Nutritious vegetables, particularly leafy greens like spinach and kale, are included in large amounts.
Fruits and squash
Although they contain carbohydrates, small portions of fruits and squash provide vitamins and fibre. Some high-fibre, low-carb fruits include tomatoes, pomegranate seeds, and berries. Zucchini/Courgette is also an excellent lower-carb choice."
These words (and more) can be seen here

Recipes you may like to try.

Lemon and Chilli Crusted Salmon, with extra fine green beans
see recipe here

Horiatiki / Villager's Salad, it's delicious
see recipe 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, 16 March 2021

Nicky Nook and Victoria Sponge Cake !


Regular readers will know that, on many occasions, we have enjoyed visiting the Lake District and nearby Forest of Bowland 

Of course in the present times of Covid, travel has been restricted/banned, but hopefully sometime later this year things may change.

We have family/grandchildren who live 'up North' as they call it and talking to them recently they were telling us about their wonderful visit to Nicky Nook, Bowland. It is practically on their doorstep thus enabling the visit! Grandma you would have loved it, the view from the top was wonderful. They even mentioned the delicious Victoria Sponge Cake they enjoyed once they got back home, I think it was a Mary Berry recipe but if you would prefer a lower carb version see here


Victoria Sponge Cake : Low Carb : Keto : Details here


These two pictures and more to read about Nicky Nook here and here

Let's hope we can all start travelling and visiting loved ones soon.

All the best Jan 

Monday, 15 March 2021

'Nutrition Can Strengthen the Immune System to Fight COVID-19'


Sharing an article by Georgia Ede MD, she writes:
"Dietary changes can help bolster your natural immunity against viruses.

Obesity, high blood pressure, and type two diabetes may raise the risk of hospitalization and death from COVID-19, research suggests.

Eating a whole foods diet and monitoring blood sugar may help maintain metabolic health.

Diet and metabolic health can strengthen the immune system to fight COVID-19 and other viral infections.

No diet can reduce your risk of catching COVID-19. Viruses can’t reproduce without you, so if they find you, they’re going in. However, we are not passive Petri dishes. The human body is armed with a sophisticated security system for identifying and eliminating intruders of all kinds. Therefore it is largely the health of your immune system that ultimately determines your fate. So, is there a diet that strengthens your immune system?

Some advocates of Mediterranean, vegan, and low-carb lifestyles claim that following their diet of choice can help you fight off COVID-19, but no diet has been scientifically tested against this virus.

Yet even with a grand total of zero dietary studies available thus far, it would be a mistake to conclude that diet doesn’t matter in a pandemic. In fact, a pandemic should motivate all of us to double down on dietary quality, because the majority of people who suffer serious consequences from COVID infections have something in common: poor metabolic health.

The Link Between Metabolic Health and Severe Cases of COVID-19

A new study of over 900,000 COVID-related hospitalizations in the U.S. confirms that people are at far higher risk for complications and death from this virus if they have obesity, high blood pressure, and/or type two diabetes.

While these conditions may seem unrelated, often they are simply different tentacles of the same underlying beast: insulin resistance, aka pre-diabetes. The bad news is that at least one-third of American adults have pre-diabetes—and 80% of us don’t know it, because most doctors still don’t test for it.

In people with insulin resistance, insulin levels tend to run too high. The problem with high insulin levels is that insulin is not just a simple blood sugar regulator—it is a master metabolic hormone that orchestrates the behaviour of every organ system in the body. High insulin levels shift us into growth and storage mode, making it easy to accumulate excess body fat. Insulin also plays a major role in controlling blood pressure, blood sugar, and the immune system—all three of which are intimately involved in how we respond to COVID-19 infections."

More to read/continue reading here

Related Posts
BMJ Editorial - Endorse low carb for COVID-19 prevention - read here
Boosting your immune system to fight the coronavirus : What you need to know - read here

All the best Jan 

Sunday, 14 March 2021

Mothers Day 2021

Today in the UK, we celebrate Mother's Day. Cards and gifts, perhaps flowers may have been sent, or given, as children take time to say some special words to their mum.


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

Wishing Mum's everywhere a lovely day

All the best Jan

Saturday, 13 March 2021

It's All About Choice

Back in 2014 I wrote a post called 'It's All About Choice' and it still is !

When you pick up a magazine you don't always know what's inside, what articles you'll read, what recipe idea you might try, what car you may read about!
Magazines are great because you can dip in and out - even start reading it from the back if you want to. I'm not always 'in the mood' to sit and read a book. Now when I'm on holiday (in the days before Covid), that's a different matter as I tend to read a lot of books. A holiday read is a must, which brings me on to the question are you a book person or do you have a 'Kindle'?

Most of my friends are still book people, is this an age thing I wonder? Younger members of the family go on holiday (Covid restrictions allowing) with their 'Kindle's and are quite happy, indeed there are so many on the market these days a lot more choice!

Choice is a good thing, variety is a good thing and since its inception this blog has always been about providing a choice and variety of articles, that to me is what makes a good magazine and a good blog!

Each of us has to make choices, we read, we talk, we discuss different things. We think - but of course we don't all come up with the same answer. Some might say wouldn't life be boring if we were all the same.

For thirteen years now I have been living the LCHF lifestyle and I am often asked but isn't the food you choose to eat boring? No is my answer. There are some great choices available, just look at some of the recipe's we've shown on this blog.

My choice of meals today have been:

Breakfast - Scrambled eggs, mushrooms and low carb sausages.

Lunch - Sliced Ham with a little green salad.

Dinner - Creamy Garlic Mushroom Chicken - more details here

I don't always have a dessert, but choices may be blueberries or strawberries with double cream, or some cheese served with a few grapes.

Well there's a gorgeous aroma coming from the kitchen so I'm off to serve up dinner. What did you/ will you have for dinner today?


Bon Appetit
All the best Jan

Friday, 12 March 2021

"High glycemic index-linked to higher cardiovascular mortality."

 Sharing an article Marks Daily Apple site highlighted

Glycemic Index, Glycemic Load, and Cardiovascular Disease and Mortality
Abstract:

BACKGROUND
Most data regarding the association between the glycemic index and cardiovascular disease come from high-income Western populations, with little information from non-Western countries with low or middle incomes. To fill this gap, data are needed from a large, geographically diverse population.

METHODS
This analysis includes 137,851 participants between the ages of 35 and 70 years living on five continents, with a median follow-up of 9.5 years. We used country-specific food-frequency questionnaires to determine dietary intake and estimated the glycemic index and glycemic load on the basis of the consumption of seven categories of carbohydrate foods. We calculated hazard ratios using multivariable Cox frailty models. The primary outcome was a composite of a major cardiovascular event (cardiovascular death, nonfatal myocardial infarction, stroke, and heart failure) or death from any cause.

RESULTS
In the study population, 8780 deaths and 8252 major cardiovascular events occurred during the follow-up period. After performing extensive adjustments comparing the lowest and highest glycemic-index quintiles, we found that a diet with a high glycemic index was associated with an increased risk of a major cardiovascular event or death, both among participants with pre-existing cardiovascular disease (hazard ratio, 1.51; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.25 to 1.82) and among those without such disease (hazard ratio, 1.21; 95% CI, 1.11 to 1.34). Among the components of the primary outcome, a high glycemic index was also associated with an increased risk of death from cardiovascular causes. The results with respect to glycemic load were similar to the findings regarding the glycemic index among the participants with cardiovascular disease at baseline, but the association was not significant among those without pre-existing cardiovascular disease.

CONCLUSIONS
In this study, a diet with a high glycemic index was associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and death. (Funded by the Population Health Research Institute and others.)
Read more here
Read more about the glycemic index 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

Thursday, 11 March 2021

Creamy Spinach Chicken : So Delicious and Low in Carbs

Perfect for a midweek or any-day dinner; cook your chicken breasts until tender in a thick, creamy sauce. Adding fresh baby spinach and zingy lemon juice just ups the flavour, why not try it and see!



Ingredients
Serves Four
100g drained sundried tomatoes, sliced lengthways, plus 1 tbsp oil from the jar
600g chicken breast fillets
5 tsp cornflour
1 red onion, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, crushed
½ chicken stock cube, made up to 100ml
250g baby spinach
½ lemon, juiced
150ml single cream

Method
1. Put the sundried tomatoes in a small, heatproof bowl and cover with 200ml boiling water; set aside.
2. Lay the chicken breasts between 2 pieces of clingfilm and use a rolling pin to gently bash the thickest parts to flatten them a little, so the breasts are an even thickness. Season with salt and lightly coat with 4 tsp cornflour. Heat the sundried tomato oil in a large, deep, lidded frying pan over a medium-high heat, then fry the chicken breasts, without turning, for 4-6 mins each side until golden and cooked through. Transfer to a plate and cover to keep warm.
3. Reduce the heat to medium-low, add the onion and garlic and cook for 10 mins, stirring occasionally, until softened; add a splash of water if it starts to catch. Add the stock and sundried tomatoes
4. Mix 1 tsp cornflour with 2 tbsp water in a small bowl. Stir the cornflour mixture, lemon juice and cream into the pan and simmer for 2 mins until thickened. Return the chicken to the pan, stir through the spinach until wilted, cover and cook for 2-3 mins more until the chicken is warmed through, then serve.
Nutrition
Per Serving: 8.7g Carbs 3g Fibre 16g Fat 40.1g Protein
Original idea here


Spinach is such a lovely green vegetable, so delicious and a good source of folic acid, manganese and vitamins A and C, it really can be thrown into just about any dish for a quick veggie boost!

Did you know that "Baby spinach" is a term typically used to describe spinach that has been harvested during a fairly early stage of plant growth, usually between 15-35 days after planting. We're usually familiar with baby spinach in the grocery store because of its small leaves, tender texture, and sweet taste in comparison with mature, fully formed spinach leaves. (For these mature spinach leaves, the harvest dates are usually between 40-65 days.)

Talking spinach you may like to try these recipes:
Cauliflower Spinach Chicken Alfredo - see more details here
Spinach and ricotta lasagne with courgette pasta - see more details here


A variety of recipe ideas and articles are within this blog. 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