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Thursday, 19 April 2018

Baked Apples : Low Carb

Anne Aobadia at Diet Doctor site says:
"Smells like apple pie... tastes like a dream. This easy take on low carb baked apples comes together in no-time. Don't forget the luscious finishing touch—a dollop of whipped cream"

Four Servings
7g carb per serving
2 oz. / 50g butter, at room temperature
1 oz. / 30g pecans or walnuts
4 tablespoons coconut flour
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tart/sour apple
For serving
¾ cup / 175ml heavy/double whipping cream
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

These baked apples can be served with whipped cream, full-fat crème fraiche, mascarpone, or a slice of cheddar. If you’re allergic to nuts you can simply exclude them or substitute sunflower or sesame seeds to keep the crunch.

Please see cooking instructions here

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

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

It also adds flavour to the recipe featured above ...

All the best Jan

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Happy Wednesday !

Yes, it's Wednesday ... the middle of the week. I do hope that the week is going well for you. Here in the UK most school aged children have returned to school after the Easter/Spring break. Our grandchildren went back to school after enjoying their two weeks at home ... they had parties to go to, activities to keep them amused. Wellington Boots were put on as they enjoyed a walk in the rain ... it certainly didn't dampen their spirits! LOL!

Eddie and I had the opportunity of joining in with some of their fun ... it's always a joy spending time with them, and we always cherish the happy memories times like this can bring.

Only the other day as well as being Grandma I had fun being 'Barbie' and a 'Power Ranger' all in one day ... yes, I know the mind boggles! Shame we didn't take any photographs! LOL!

Today, it's some household chores and shopping ... we need a few more vegetables. Among many other items broccoli and peppers, especially red ones are on the list ... and some mushrooms too.

I wonder have you a favourite vegetable?

Whatever you have planned today, I wish you a good one.

All the best Jan

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Cream - perfect on your dessert, in your cooking, in your coffee !

Isn't cream wonderful ... luscious and smooth, there really is nothing that spells dessert satisfaction, like cream.

"Fresh unpasteurised milk quickly separates and the fat rises to the top. This fat layer is then skimmed off and is known as cream.

Cream has long been a versatile ingredient in the kitchen and can form a base to desserts, such as posset, or can be added to both sweet and savoury sauces to create a rich, smooth texture. Cream is also served just as it is, poured or spooned over hot or cold puddings and used as a garnish for soups. 

Choose the best, it’s important to choose the right type of cream depending on what you are making. As a rule the higher the fat content the easier it will be to use, as the fat will holds the liquid elements together. A higher fat cream will therefore be less likely to split or curdle when incorporated with hot ingredients and will also whisk up well to an airy whipped cream.

Single cream, is a richer version of milk, with around 18% fat content. You can use it for pouring or adding to coffee. Single cream will not whip and will curdle if boiled, so it can't be a substitute in recipes that call for whipping or double cream.

Whipping cream, has around a 36% fat content, which allows air to be trapped when whipped, roughly doubling the volume. Once whipped, it can be used to top desserts or fill cakes and pastries.

Double cream, is the thickest with around a 48% fat content. It makes an ideal pouring cream, such as when serving with fruit, or it can be whipped and piped for decorating desserts. It can also be used to add richness and creaminess to savoury dishes. Extra thick double cream is made by heating then rapidly cooling double cream - this creates a thicker cream.

Soured cream, has been treated with lactic acid, which gives it a tangy taste. It has a thick texture but only around an 18% fat content. Use it for making cheesecakes, dips, topping nachos, and in soups and sauces - but it cannot be boiled or it will spilt.

Créme fraîche, is similar to soured cream but with a milder taste. It is traditionally made from unpasteurised cream that has been left to ferment, but nowadays, pasteurised cream is thickened and soured with the addition of bacteria. It has around a 48% fat, which means it does not curdle when cooked. Serve with fresh fruit and in soups, casserole and dips. Low or half-fat crème fraîche is readily available and this means some of the fat is replaced with natural thickeners and stabilisers so that it will still hold together in cooking.

Clotted cream, has the highest fat percentage of all creams at 55%. It's made by baking double cream until a delicious crust forms on the surface. This silky, butter-coloured cream is a speciality of Devon and Cornwall (in England) where it is served with scones, butter and jam.

Store it, always store fresh cream in the fridge and use within one or two days of purchase. Créme fraîche will keep for 10-14 days in the fridge. Cream with a fat content of more than 35% can be frozen. Remember to pour a little from the top as it will expand when it freezes. Lower fat creams like single cream will separate when thawed but can be frozen when already incorporated into a dish.

try yogurt."

Words from article here

You may also be interested in reading 'All About Types of Cream for Desserts' e.g. Chantilly cream, half and half, heavy cream and others in article here

...would you like some cream in your coffee!

You will find a variety of articles 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

Monday, 16 April 2018

Hungarian Style Savoury Minced Beef - with savoy cabbage and carrots

This recipe suggestion can make a wonderful Monday, or mid-week meal ...
Having said that  - yes of course you could enjoy it any night - or lunch-time ! The choice is yours ...

Serves Four
350g extra-lean minced beef
225g onions (peeled and diced)
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1/2 tin (200g) chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato ketchup
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
salt and freshly ground black pepper
a little water

1. Heat a non-stick frying pan and dry fry the minced beef for 5 minutes, or until the meat is brown and crumbly. Stir in the chopped onions and the smoked paprika and cook for a further 5 minutes.
2. Add the remaining ingredients and about half a tin (tinned tomatoes) of water, mix well, cover and cook gently (simmer) stirring occasionally for 30 to 35 minutes. Season to taste before serving.
3. Serve with steamed savoy cabbage and carrots. 
Original recipe idea here

Hungarian cuisine ... did you know:
Hungarian or Magyar cuisine is the cuisine characteristic of the nation of Hungary and its primary ethnic group, the Magyars. Traditional Hungarian dishes are primarily based on meats, seasonal vegetables, fruits, fresh bread, dairy products and cheeses.
Read more here

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

All the best Jan

Sunday, 15 April 2018

Asparagus - Reasons Why You Should Eat More !

Daisy Coyle APD writes:

"Asparagus, officially known as Asparagus officinalis, is a member of the lily family. This popular vegetable comes in a variety of colours, including green, white and purple. It’s used in dishes around the world, including frittatas, pastas and stir-fries. Asparagus is also low in calories and packed with essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. 

Seven Reasons Why You Should Eat More Asparagus:
1. Many Nutrients But Few Calories
Asparagus is a low-calorie vegetable that is an excellent source of essential vitamins and minerals, especially folate and vitamins A, C and K.

2. Good Source of Antioxidants
Asparagus provides a good source of antioxidants, including vitamins C and E, flavonoids and polyphenols. Antioxidants prevent the accumulation of harmful free radicals and may reduce your risk of chronic disease.

3. Can Improve Digestive Health
As a good source of fibre, asparagus promotes regularity and digestive health and may help reduce your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.

4. Helps Support a Healthy Pregnancy
Asparagus is high in folate (vitamin B9), an important nutrient that helps reduce the risk of neural tube defects during pregnancy.

5. Helps Lower Blood Pressure

Asparagus contains potassium, a mineral that can help lower high blood pressure. In addition, animal research has found that asparagus may contain an active compound that dilates blood vessels, thus lowering blood pressure.

6. Can Help You Lose Weight
Asparagus has a number of features that make it a weight-loss friendly food. It’s low in calories, high in water and rich in fibre.

7. Easy to Add to Your Diet
Asparagus is a delicious and versatile vegetable that’s easy to incorporate into your diet. Add it to salads, frittatas, omelettes and stir-fries.

The Bottom Line
Asparagus is a nutritious and tasty addition to any diet. It’s low in calories and a great source of nutrients, including fibre, folate and vitamins A, C and K. Additionally, eating asparagus has a number of potential health benefits, including weight loss, improved digestion, healthy pregnancy outcomes and lower blood pressure. Plus, it’s easy to prepare and makes a delicious addition to a number of recipes."

The above words have been taken from Daisy's article, read it in full here 

searching for asparagus recipes ...

Asparagus Crustless Quiche
see more details here

Asparagus soup 
see more details here

Asparagus Wrapped With Prosciutto
see more details here

Bon Appetit !

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

All the best Jan

Saturday, 14 April 2018

Alice Merton - No Roots

My pick for music night has had a lot of radio airplay's lately and is debut single, enjoy

Pink Floyd - Two Suns In The Sunset

Saturday night is music night on this blog. After the madness of the last 24 hours, this seems appropriate. Eddie

"Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe." Albert Einstein

In my rear view mirror the sun is going down
Sinking behind bridges in the road
And I think of all the good things
That we have left undone
And I suffer premonitions
Confirm suspicions
Of the holocaust to come.
The wire that holds the cork
That keeps the anger in
Gives way
And suddenly it’s day again.
The sun is in the east
Even though the day is done.
Two suns in the sunset
Could be the human race is run.
Like the moment when the brakes lock
And you slide towards the big truck
“Oh no!”
“Daddy, Daddy!”
You stretch the frozen moments with your fear.
And you’ll never hear their voices
And you’ll never see their faces
You have no recourse to the law anymore.
And as the windshield melts
My tears evaporate
Leaving only charcoal to defend.
Finally I understand the feelings of the few.
Ashes and diamonds
Foe and friend
We were all equal in the end.
On the radio:
“And now the weather. Tomorrow will be cloudy with scattered showers
Spreading from the east with an expected high of 4000 degrees Celsius”

Crispy Baked Chicken (Gluten Free Crust) with BBQ Mayo : Low Carb

Crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside. This super easy recipe combines tender chicken with a gluten-free crust, a delicious BBQ sauce, and a fresh green salad. So delicious ... and low carb!

Serves 4
6g carbs per serving
1⁄3 cup / 75ml coconut flour
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
¾ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
2 lbs / 900g chicken thighs


1 cup / 225ml mayonnaise
2 tablespoons tomato paste or sugar free BBQ sauce
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
salt and pepper

4 oz. / 110g baby spinach
1 green bell pepper, sliced
½ red onion, sliced
4 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper

Please see cooking instructions at Diet Doctor site here

Benefits of Baking with Coconut Flour 
  • Coconut flour is rich in protein, fibre and fat which makes it exceptionally filling.
  • Coconut flour is also a good source of lauric acid, a saturated fat thought to support the immune system and the thyroid. Like most healthy fats, lauric acid also promotes good skin health.
  • Coconut flour is an exceptionally good source of manganese which helps you to better utilize many nutrients including choline and biotin (found in eggs), vitamin C and thiamine. Manganese also supports bone health, nervous system function, thyroid health and helps to maintain optimal blood sugar levels.
  • Coconut flour is not grain-based, and, as such does not present many of the issues that accompany grains. Coconut flour is gluten-free and, while it does contain food phytate, the mineral-binding effects of phytates in coconut are virtual non-existent so coconut flour does not need to be soaked.
Read more here

You will find a variety of recipes 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.

... and as it's the weekend, I wish all readers a happy one.

All the best Jan

Friday, 13 April 2018

Happy Birthday To You : Low Carb Birthday Cake

No, it isn't my birthday - but a friend of mine has hers soon! So this recipe suggestion from Maya at Wholesome Yum site couldn't come at a better time!

It's a gluten-free (Sugar-free, Low Carb, Keto) birthday cake recipe. It's rich and moist and no-one will guess it's low carb and sugar-free. It's easy to make with just ten ingredients!


1 cup Erythritol
3/4 cup Butter (softened)
8 large Eggs
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 tbsp. Vanilla extract
3 cups almond flour
1/2 cup Coconut flour
1 1/2 tbsp. Gluten-free baking powder

Cream cheese frosting
32 oz. Cream cheese (softened)
1/3 cup Butter (softened)
2/3 cup Powdered erythritol (adjust to taste; regular granulated *not* recommended)
1 tsp Vanilla extract

chopped pecans (optional) if desired to decorate.

For cooking instructions and full details please see here
If you need help with weight / measurement conversion this should help, see here

Please note, you will find a variety of recipes 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.

Have a lovely day
All the best Jan

Thursday, 12 April 2018

What am I missing here?

We are living in a mad house, and no mistake! How can more death and destruction help anyone? other than the war mongers and floggers of weapons? For a long time now, the people who suffer the most are children, Women and old people.


Sausage and Bean Casserole ... so warming

This is a comforting and hearty one-pot sausage stew with chorizo, smoked paprika and plenty of vegetables ...

Serves 4 - 6
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 medium sticks celery, finely chopped
1 yellow pepper, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
3 fat garlic cloves, chopped
6 cooking chorizo sausages (about 400g)
6 pork sausages (about 400g)
1½ tsp sweet smoked paprika
½ tsp ground cumin
1 tbsp. dried thyme
125ml white wine
2 x 400g tins cherry tomatoes or chopped tomatoes
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 chicken stock cube
1 x 400g tin aduki beans, drained and rinsed
1 bunch chives (optional)

1. Heat the olive oil in a large heavy-based pan. Add the onion and cook gently for 5 minutes. Add the celery and peppers and cook for a further 5 minutes.
2. Add the sausages and fry the sausages for 5 minutes, then stir in the garlic, spices and dried thyme and continue cooking for 1 – 2 minutes or until the aromas are released.
3. Pour in the wine and use a wooden spoon to remove any residue stuck to the pan. Add the tinned tomatoes, and fresh thyme and bring to a simmer. Crumble in the stock cube and stir in.
4. Cook for 40 minutes. Stir in the beans and cook for a further five minutes. Remove the thyme sprigs, season with black pepper and serve.

Nutritional Details Per Serving:
Fat 33.8g Protein 24.5g Carbs 25.9g
From an original idea here

  • This recipe can be adapted to a vegetarian meal ... using vegetarian sausages and vegetarian bacon in place of the chorizo.
  • If you are allergic to wine (or do not drink it) it can be omitted from the recipe.
Did you know - the aduki bean is a tiny, reddish-brown bean with a cream coloured seam and sweet, nutty flavour. Aduki beans are regarded as the king of beans in Japan and are prized for their health-giving properties: reputedly benefitting the liver and the kidneys.

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

All the best Jan

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Natural Ways to Improve Your Memory

Jillian Kubala MS RD writes:
"Everyone has moments of forgetfulness from time to time, especially when life gets busy. While this can be a completely normal occurrence, having a poor memory can be frustrating. Genetics plays a role in memory loss, especially in serious neurological conditions like Alzheimer’s disease. However, research has shown that diet and lifestyle have a major impact on memory too.

Here are 14 evidence-based ways to improve your memory naturally.

1. Eat Less Added Sugar

Eating too much added sugar has been linked to many health issues and chronic diseases, including cognitive decline. Research has shown that a sugar-laden diet can lead to poor memory and reduced brain volume, particularly in the area of the brain that stores short-term memory. For example, one study of more than 4,000 people found that those with a higher intake of sugary beverages like soda had lower total brain volumes and poorer memories on average compared to people who consumed less sugar. Cutting back on sugar not only helps your memory but also improves your overall health.
Summary Research has shown that people who regularly consume lots of added sugar may have poorer memories and lower brain volumes than those who consume less sugar.

2. Try a Fish Oil Supplement
Fish oil is rich in the omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). These fats are important for overall health and have been shown to lower the risk of heart disease, reduce inflammation, relieve stress and anxiety, and slow mental decline. Many studies have shown that consuming fish and fish oil supplements may improve memory, especially in older people.
Summary Fish and fish oil supplements are rich in the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. Consuming them may help improve short-term, working and episodic memory, especially in older people.

3. Make Time for Meditation
The practice of meditation may positively affect your health in many ways. It is relaxing and soothing, and has been found to reduce stress and pain, lower blood pressure and even improve memory. In fact, meditation has been shown to increase grey matter in the brain. Grey matter contains neuron cell bodies. 
As you age, grey matter declines, which negatively impacts memory and cognition. Meditation and relaxation techniques have been shown to improve short-term memory in people of all ages, from people in their 20s to the elderly.
Summary Meditation isn’t just good for your body — it’s also good for your brain. Research suggests meditation may increase grey matter in the brain and improve spatial working memory.

4. Maintain a Healthy Weight
Maintaining a healthy body weight is essential for well-being and is one of the best ways to keep your body and mind in top condition. Several studies have established obesity as a risk factor for cognitive decline. Interestingly, being obese can actually cause changes to memory-associated genes in the brain, negatively affecting memory. Obesity can also lead to insulin resistance and inflammation, both of which can negatively impact the brain. A study of 50 people between the ages of 18 and 35 found that a higher body mass index was associated with significantly worse performance on memory tests. Obesity is also associated with a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, a progressive disease that destroys memory and cognitive function.
Summary Obesity is a risk factor for cognitive decline. Maintaining a body mass index within the normal range may help you avoid a host of issues associated with obesity, including a poorer memory.

5. Get Enough Sleep
Lack of proper sleep has been associated with poor memory for quite some time. Sleep plays an important role in memory consolidation, a process in which short-term memories are strengthened and transformed into long-lasting memories. Research shows that if you are sleep deprived, you could be negatively impacting your memory. For example, one study looked at the effects of sleep in 40 children between the ages of 10 and 14. One group of children was trained for memory tests in the evening, then tested the following morning after a night’s sleep. The other group was trained and tested on the same day, with no sleep between training and testing. The group that slept between training and testing performed 20% better on the memory tests. Another study found that nurses working the night shift made more mathematical errors and that 68% of them scored lower on memory tests compared to nurses working the day shift. Health experts recommend adults get between seven and nine hours of sleep each night for optimal health.
Summary Studies have consistently associated sufficient sleep with better memory performance. Sleep helps consolidate memories. You’re also likely to perform better on memory tests if you’re well rested than if you’re sleep deprived.

6. Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness is a mental state in which you focus on your present situation, maintaining awareness of your surroundings and feelings. Mindfulness is used in meditation, but the two aren’t one and the same. Meditation is a more formal practice, whereas mindfulness is a mental habit you can use in any situation. Studies have shown that mindfulness is effective at lowering stress and improving concentration and memory.
Summary Practicing mindfulness techniques has been associated with increased memory performance. Mindfulness is also linked to reduced age-related cognitive decline.

7. Drink Less Alcohol

Consuming too many alcoholic beverages can be detrimental to your health in many ways and can negatively impact your memory. Binge drinking is a pattern of drinking that raises your blood alcohol levels to 0.08 grams per ml or above. Studies have shown it alters the brain and results in memory deficits. While having a drink or two now and then is perfectly healthy, avoiding excessive alcohol intake is a smart way to protect your memory.
Summary Alcohol has neurotoxic effects on the brain, including reducing memory performance. Occasional moderate drinking isn’t an issue, but binge drinking can damage your hippocampus, a key area of your brain associated with memory.

8. Train Your Brain
Exercising your cognitive skills by playing brain games is a fun and effective way to boost your memory. Crosswords, word-recall games, Tetris and even mobile apps dedicated to memory training are excellent ways to strengthen memory. Plus, brain-training games have been shown to help reduce the risk of dementia in older adults.
Summary Games that challenge your brain may help you strengthen your memory and may even reduce the risk of dementia.

9. Cut Down on Refined Carbs
Consuming large amounts of refined carbohydrates like cakes, cereal, cookies, white rice and white bread may be damaging to your memory. These foods have a high glycemic index, meaning the body digests these carbohydrates quickly, leading to a spike in blood sugar levels. Studies have shown that the Western diet, which is high in refined carbohydrates, is associated with dementia, cognitive decline and reduced cognitive function. One study of 317 healthy children found that those who consumed more processed carbs like white rice, noodles and fast food had reduced cognitive capacity, including poorer short-term and working memory. Another study demonstrated that adults who consumed ready-to-eat breakfast cereal daily had poorer cognitive function than those who consumed cereal less frequently.
Summary Like added sugar, refined carbohydrates lead to a spike in blood sugar levels, which can damage your brain over time. Diets high in refined carbs have been associated with dementia, cognitive decline and reduced brain function.

10. Get Your Vitamin D Levels Tested
Vitamin D is an important nutrient that plays many vital roles in the body. Low levels of vitamin D have been linked to a host of health issues, including a reduction in cognitive function. Low levels of vitamin D have also been linked to a greater risk of developing dementia. Vitamin-D deficiency is very common, especially in colder climates and in those with darker skin. Speak with your doctor about getting a blood test to find out if you need a vitamin D supplement.
Summary Vitamin-D deficiency is very common, especially in colder climates, and has been associated with age-related cognitive decline and dementia. If you think you might have low levels of vitamin D, ask your doctor for a blood test.

11. Exercise More
Exercise is important for overall physical and mental health. Research has established that it’s beneficial for the brain and may help improve memory in people of all ages, from children to older adults. Many studies have shown exercise may increase the secretion of neuro-protective proteins and improve the growth and development of neurons, leading to improved brain health. Regular exercise in midlife is also associated with a decreased risk of developing dementia later in life.
Summary Exercise brings incredible benefits for your whole body, including your brain. Even moderate exercise for short periods has been shown to improve cognitive performance, including memory, across all age groups.

12. Choose Anti-Inflammatory Foods
Consuming a diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods may help improve your memory. Antioxidants help lower inflammation in the body by reducing oxidative stress caused by free radicals. You can consume antioxidants in foods like fruits, vegetables and teas. A recent review of nine studies with more than 31,000 people found that those who ate more fruits and vegetables had lower risks of cognitive decline and dementia compared to those who consumed less of these nutritious foods.
Summary Anti-inflammatory foods are great for your brain, especially berries and other foods that are high in antioxidants. To incorporate more anti-inflammatory foods into your diet, you can’t go wrong by consuming a variety of fruits and vegetables.

13. Consider Curcumin
Curcumin is a compound found in high concentrations in turmeric root. It’s one of a category of compounds called polyphenols. It is a potent antioxidant and exerts powerful anti-inflammatory effects in the body.
Summary Curcumin is a potent antioxidant. Animal studies have shown it reduces inflammation and amyloid plaques in the brain. However, more research in humans is needed.

14. Add Some Cocoa to Your Diet
Cocoa is not only delicious but also nutritious, providing a powerful dose of antioxidants called flavonoids. Research suggests flavonoids are particularly beneficial to the brain. They may help stimulate the growth of blood vessels and neurons and increase blood flow in parts of the brain involved with memory. A study of 30 healthy people found that those who consumed dark chocolate containing 720 mg of cocoa flavonoids demonstrated better memory compared to those who consumed white chocolate without cocoa flavonoids. To get the most benefit out of chocolate, choose dark chocolate with a cocoa content of 70% cacao or higher. That will help ensure it contains larger amounts of antioxidants like flavonoids.
Summary Cocoa is high in antioxidants that may help improve memory performance. Make sure to choose dark chocolate with 70% cacao or higher so you get a concentrated dose of antioxidants.

The Bottom Line
There are many fun, simple and even delicious ways to improve your memory. Exercising your mind and body, enjoying a quality piece of chocolate and reducing the amount of added sugar in your diet are all excellent techniques. Try adding a few of these science-backed tips to your daily routine to boost your brain health and keep your memory in top condition."

The above is only a snippet of Jillian's article to read it in full with all relevant links please see 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

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Cheesy Cauliflower Pepperoni Pizzas

'Pizza' with a difference! Cut a whole cauliflower into thick steaks and top with sun-dried tomato paste, pepperoni and oozy mozzarella cheese to create a moreish midweek or Friday night treat! These gluten-free cauliflower pizzas take less than an hour to prepare and cook. They taste delicious with a fresh green salad...

Serves Four
2 large cauliflowers, sliced into 8 steaks
2 tbsp. olive oil
375g low-fat mozzarella
8 tbsp. sundried tomato paste
16 slices pepperoni
1 tsp Italian-style herb blend
200g green salad of your choice
100g cucumber, sliced

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/gas mark 6. Add the cauliflower steaks to two large baking trays and drizzle with the olive oil. Season well, making sure they are covered on both sides.
2. Transfer to the oven and roast for 30 minutes, turning the cauliflower over halfway through. Meanwhile, cut the mozzarella into slices. Place in a single layer on some kitchen towel and cover with more kitchen towel to help absorb any excess moisture.
3. Preheat your grill to medium. Spread 1 tbsp. tomato paste over one side of each cauliflower steak. Add the mozzarella, then top with the pepperoni. Sprinkle over the herbs. Transfer to the grill and cook for 2 minutes until the cheese melts and the pepperoni begins to crisp on the edges.
4. Serve with the salad and cucumber.

Each Serving
13.8g carbohydrate 6.7g fibre 28.7g protein 30.0g fat
From an original idea here

'Cauliflower good for you' ... read more here

Please note, there is a variety of recipes 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

Monday, 9 April 2018

Mini Spinach and Cottage Cheese Frittatas : Low Carb : Vegetarian

Oh so delicious ... small omelette bites that are ideal for lunchboxes ... dill, nutmeg and spring onion keep them flavour-packed, but they're still good for you!

Makes Six
butter, for greasing
85g baby spinach
3 large eggs
6 tbsp. low-fat cottage cheese
3 spring onions (scallions), sliced
few sprigs of dill, roughly chopped
fresh nutmeg, for grating

1. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Lightly grease a 6-hole muffin tin and line with squares of baking parchment to act as muffin cases (greasing the tin first will help to hold the parchment in place).
2. Put the spinach in a colander in the sink and pour over a kettle of boiling water, then leave to drain. When cool enough to handle, squeeze as much liquid as you can from the spinach, then roughly chop.
3. Beat the eggs and season well. Marble through the spinach, cottage cheese, spring onions, dill and a generous grating of nutmeg. Divide the mixture between the muffin cases. Bake for approx. 25 minutes or until just set. Leave to cool a little before removing from the tin.

These will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days.

Nutritional Details Per Serving:
Fat 3g Protein 6g Carbs 1g
From an original here

This recipe uses nutmeg - is it the forgotten spice?
Nutmeg is thought to have been imported into Europe during the 12th Century by Arab merchants. But by 400 years ago it had become the most valuable spice in the world.

In the 17th Century, displaying a bowl of nutmeg in your home was a sign of immense wealth, says Giles Milton, author of history books including Nathaniel's Nutmeg, an account of English adventurer Nathanial Courthope.

"Nutmeg was the ultimate luxury," says Mr Milton. "Of all the spices, nutmeg was the most elusive to find and it was also the most valuable."

But a dark history surrounds the spice.

"Hundreds maybe thousands of people died - were slaughtered - fought in battles over this spice," says Mr Milton. "And all to satisfy the tastes of the elite."

The Portuguese found the spice growing on the Banda Islands of Indonesia (Spice Islands) in 1512.

At the time, nutmeg trees grew on only six remote islands in Indonesia and the east indies.

By the early 1600s Dutch troops had control of the nutmeg trade. But in 1616 English trader Nathanial Courthope and his men took over the Island of Run, and struck a deal with native chiefs to ensure the English would keep control of the island and send nutmeg back to the UK.

Today nutmeg trees are grown much more widely. In the Caribbean, the centre of the nutmeg trade is the island of Grenada.

Most of the nutmeg growing there is exported but the spice is also much-used in Grenada in the cuisine and as a medicine. In Grenada "You use it on meat, you use it in soup, you use it in bread, we use it in everything."

Nutmeg has been used as a medicine in some parts of the world for centuries.

In Grenada it is commonly used to treat a range of ailments such as aches and pains and arthritis.

The island's nutmeg industry was devastated in 2004 by hurricane Ivan.

Many trees on the island were flattened and it will still take several more years for new ones to reach full production (around 300lbs of nutmeg from each tree).

One silver lining however is that farmers have reported a better quality of nutmeg being produced by their post-hurricane trees.

Nigel Slater says he would love to see nutmeg regain popularity, and be added to a wider variety of dishes.

"The thing about nutmeg is that it keeps very well. Particularly as a whole spice. It's there. It's sitting in your cupboard."

"Get it out and let's grate it. Let's put it in our white sauce... it's fabulous on cauliflower... let's put it in our cheese sauces. You know, let's bring nutmeg back."
More about nutmeg here

You will find a variety of recipe ideas 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

Saturday, 7 April 2018

Chris Rea "And You My Love"

Saturday is music night and it's time to chill out with Chris Rea, enjoy

Happy Weekend To You !

Whatever your weekend plans are, I wish you a good one

maybe a walk

maybe some cooking - this is nice
oven baked paprika chicken - from article here

so is this
omelette with a goats cheese twist - from article here

or how about a mousse?
orange mousse - from article here

I'll leave you with some flowers ...
All the best Jan

Friday, 6 April 2018

Italian Baked Cod Fillets

This is such a simple style recipe for cod fillets baked with tomatoes and Italian herbs. Although the original recipe uses dried herbs, which for many of us are kitchen cupboards must haves, if you have them on hand, you can substitute fresh herbs, garlic and onions for the dried versions in this recipe.

Serves Four
7g carbs per serving
cooking spray
14 1/2 oz. canned Italian style stewed tomatoes
1/4 tsp onion flakes
1/2 tsp powdered garlic
1/4 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried parsley
1/4 tsp ground oregano
1 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
1 lb fresh cod fillets

1. Preheat oven to 375°F.  190°C.  Gas Mark 5.
2. Coat baking dish with cooking spray.
3. Drain liquid from tomatoes. Reserve 4 tablespoons of tomato liquid.
4. In small bowl, mix tomatoes and reserved liquid, onion flakes, garlic, basil, parsley, oregano, and cheese.
5. Transfer to baking dish. Arrange fillets on top of tomato mixture. Spoon 1 tablespoon of tomatoes on top of each fillet.
6. Bake uncovered, 20-25 minutes, until cooked (internal temperature reaches 145°F.) 
From an original recipe here 

Parmesan Cheese ..."Originates from the Parma region of Italy, this is one of the world’s most popular cheeses, stamped with the official Parmigiano Reggiano mark as a guarantee of origin. Fragrant and tangy, it has a hard, grainy texture and a buttery yellow colour. Once tasted, it's hard to resist the delicious piquant taste and crumbly texture of parmesan. There are countless ways to savour the flavour.

Parmesan, or Parmigiano-Reggiano to give it its proper name, is one of those magical flavour-enhancing ingredients. A few curls of finely shaved parmesan, for example, make a pear and fennel salad taste irresistible, just as a chunk of parmesan rind transforms a slow-simmered minestrone into a gorgeous savoury meal.

The secret of parmesan's intense flavour lies in the fact that it's made with fragrant unpasteurised milk and that the cheese is carefully matured over a long period. The cheeses are matured for between 18 and 48 months, depending on the kind of cheese and the producer. The result is a hard, honey-coloured cheese with a crumbly, almost crystalline texture."
More about Parmesan here

We bring a variety of articles, studies etc. plus recent news/views and recipe ideas to this blog, we hope something for everyone to read and enjoy. Please note, not all may be suitable for you. If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues these must always be taken into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use your meter.

All the best Jan

Thursday, 5 April 2018

WA gets its first factory in decades as butter bounces back

An enterprising couple in Western Australia's South West is capitalising on a global butter resurgence by opening the state's first commercial-scale butter factory decades after the big processors shut up shop.

Despite rising butter prices, Australian consumers are becoming increasingly obsessed with the simple spread. Sales have been growing from between two to six per cent every year since 2013, and show no sign of stopping.

Amid the craze, Nick Power and Margaret Neilson saw a gap in the market. The husband and wife team has set up Jardin Estate inside the Margaret River Organic Creameries dairy factory.

"We love food and wine and it was a chance to mix business and pleasure and do something which we all enjoy, which is enjoy food," Mr Power said.

"Now it's really a case of finding a venue, finding a place where we can source the cream and have the passion to be able to say 'okay, let's create a new industry'."

A big state's sole factory

While only small, the butter factory has overcome three years of regulatory hurdles to finally open.

Now in its 10th week of operation, it's producing about 30 kilograms of butter a week.

But Mr Power said they had plans to expand.

"Our longer term plan is to head up to 150 kilograms of butter a week," he said.

Mr Power is not new to the food industry. He has owned farms and share farms for the past two decades and has a long history with the wine industry.

He and Ms Neilson said they intended to stay artisan but were "very confident" the new venture would be successful, having travelled to Europe for research and looked to Asian markets for export opportunities.

Although they said it didn't play a role in their decision to launch, the new buttery factory has opened during a modern butter revival.

The global price for butter has increased by 60 per cent in the past year and retail prices in Australia have grown by about 25 per cent.

Chefs and dietitians say butter's natural credentials are pushing its popularity at the expense of margarine, which consumers now see as too processed.

In the six years WA chef Sophie Budds has been running a restaurant, catering company and cooking school, she said she had noticed more and more people appreciating butter's simplicity.

"People are getting reconnected to how things used to be done and it has been going on for a few years, but it's now on a bigger scale and more of the public are starting to get it."

She said the scores of local chefs prioritising local produce would ensure the factory's growing popularity.

"It's kind of crazy that we don't have a big, decent butter producer in WA," she said.

The health benefits of duelling spreads

Dietitian and spokesperson for the Dietitians Association of Australia Lisa Renn said her clients were all talking about butter.

"I definitely have seen a trend," she said.

"The desire to eat well and to eat naturally and to eat close to whole foods as you can is across the board."

While its ingredient list is small and its production process simple, butter isn't necessarily better.

Margarine is still the marginal winner in the duelling spreads with 10 per cent less fat than butter and more of the goodness that comes from vegetable oils, according to Ms Renn.

Dairy isn't the heart disease culprit it was thought to be for decades, but Ms Renn said her advice would never be to eat more butter.

"Whether you choose butter or margarine, it's certainly about the consumption levels," she said. "It's not about copious amounts of anything."

Renewed hope for WA's dairy industry

For the Western Australian dairy industry, this small factory has brought hope for the future.

WA Farmers dairy section president Michael Partidge said it would also help with an excess supply of cream flooding the market.

"It's another WA product going to be made which is great," Mr Partridge said.

"It's better for the consumer and it also gives confidence to the industry as a whole that there's a bit of investment in manufacturing.

"You can't margarine a scone and you can't margarine a hot cross bun," Mr Partridge added.