8 reasons you are always hungry: you eat too fast

It’s been an hour since your last meal and you’re already raiding the refrigerator. You feel like a bottomless pit every day. What’s going on?

Even if you’re always hungry, it may not be because your body needs more calories. Diet, hormones and emotions drive hunger.

Chrisanne Urban, a Marshfield Clinic registered dietitian, explained 10 reasons why you might feel overly hungry. Once you figure out why you’re always hungry, you can make changes to control your appetite.

1. Thirst.

The hypothalamus is the part of your brain that regulates hunger and thirst. “Sometimes it gets confused and tells you you’re hungry when you’re actually thirsty,” Urban said. Next time you’re hungry and it’s not mealtime or you’ve already eaten, drink a glass of water and see if the feeling goes away.

2. Drinking too much alcohol.

Alcohol dehydrates you, which can confuse your hypothalamus and make you feel hungry. Stop the “drunchies” by drinking a glass of water for every alcoholic drink you consume.

3. Skipping meals.

An empty stomach stimulates production of the hunger hormone ghrelin. “A lot of ghrelin makes you more prone to binge eating,” Urban said. “Once you start eating, you can’t stop.” Instead of eating less by skipping meals, you end up eating more.

4. Eating too fast.

It takes about 20 minutes for your stomach to tell your brain you’re full. If you eat quickly, you may feel hungry even though you’ve finished your meal.

5. Not sleeping well.

Poor sleep hygiene causes fatigue and brain fog, which can make you crave simple carbs that don’t keep you full very long. Poor sleep also stimulates ghrelin production and decreases production of leptin, the hormone that makes you feel full.

6. Stress.

Stress makes you produce the hormones adrenaline and cortisol, which are involved in the body’s fight or flight response. “You feel hungry and think you need more energy when your body feels like it’s under attack,” Urban said.

7. Food images and aromas.

Seeing pictures of delicious food on cooking shows and social media actually can make you hungry by stimulating ghrelin production. Food aromas do the same thing.

8. Medications are making you hungry.

Certain psychiatric medications and steroids like prednisone stimulate appetite. Talk to your doctor if you think medications are affecting hunger.

If you feel overly hungry, create a healthy eating environment to control your appetite or make an appointment with a dietitian for help.

“Remember that you’re in control of what you eat,” Urban said.

This vegetarian stew is very adaptable: Use any potato that will hold up in the soup.Credit...David Malosh for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Barrett Washburne.

A bright, comforting one-pot stew with West African roots

This vegetarian stew is very adaptable: Use any potato that will hold up in the soup.Credit...David Malosh for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Barrett Washburne.
This vegetarian stew is very adaptable: Use any potato that will hold up in the soup.Credit…David Malosh for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Barrett Washburne.

When I returned from Nigeria at the end of February, it was at the tail end of the Harmattan, a season when the winds from the north deposit the finest sand from the Sahara onto Lagos’s every surface. The city was hot and dry, and the markets were bursting with life.

I’m not a vegetarian, but in Lagos, nutrient-dense produce surrounded me, inviting me to cook with it. I was grating coconut flesh to extract its milk, pickling star fruit and replenishing the salad bowl with bunches of palm-sized spinach greens straight from the backyard.

Back in Brooklyn, I am still cooking, but mostly from my pantry, using staples and hearty vegetables that I am stretching as far as my imagination allows. I first made this spicy vegetarian yam and plantain curry on a hot night in Lagos, but I now find myself revisiting it again and again. It is a brothy version of asaro, a rich stew made in kitchens and bukas, or roadside restaurants, across the south of Nigeria, and it is my ultimate comfort food.

Built around long-lasting hearty greens and root vegetables, the core components are West African yam and plantain, but you can substitute at will. No yams? Use any potato that’ll hold up in a soup. Yellow plantains instead of green? Use them, but drop them in toward the end of cooking. And there is room for herbs, greens and any alliums you have on hand. It is gluten-free and vegan, but it doesn’t have to be; add a little crayfish or bacon to give it heft, or a little flour to thicken the broth.

This asaro is a one-pot meal that makes plenty, so several meals will come of the washing, trimming and chopping required. It’s the kind of stew you can heat and reheat, and the flavors intensify each time. If you hold off on adding the greens until you’re ready to serve, you can refrigerate it up to a week, and it freezes beautifully, too. The real joy is that it is a lighter, warm-weather kind of stew that is a meal on its own or paired with any grilled meat or fish.

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It’s a dish that reminds me of the last trip home I’ll be making for a while, and one that lends comfort in the meantime.

Recipe: Yam and Plantain Curry With Crispy Shallots

Recipe for baked spring cabbage with sweet potatoes

The recipe

Put 150ml of olive oil in a blender with 100ml of water, 10g of dill fronds and 15g of parsley leaves, then process to a vivid green dressing. Add a little salt and pour into a large bowl.

Cut a spring cabbage, or 2 if they are small, into slices about 2cm in thickness. Wash thoroughly, then toss them gently in the herb dressing and set aside.

Peel 750g of sweet potatoes, then cut into large pieces. Pack into a steamer basket or colander and place over a pan of boiling water. Cover tightly with a lid and leave them to steam for 25 minutes, until you can easily pierce them with a skewer.

Set the oven at 200C/gas mark 6, then line an oven tray or grill pan with kitchen foil. Place the slices of cabbage on the foil side by side, reserving any extra dressing that may be in the bowl. Dot 65g of butter between them, then bake for 20 minutes, until tender to the point of a knife. Baste them a couple of times as they cook.

While the cabbage is baking, tip the sweet potato into a bowl and mash to a smooth, thick purée with a masher or fork, then season generously. Divide the sweet potato mash between 2 warm plates, then remove the baked cabbage from the oven, trickle over any remaining dressing and serve. Enough for 2

The trick

Baste the slices of cabbage as they bake with any dressing or butter in the oven tray (and with a little more melted butter if necessary), and test every few minutes. You ideally want the outer leaves to be green-gold, lightly crisp at the edges and the stalks to be tender.

The twist

Use other root vegetables for the mash, including swede or large, maincrop carrots. If you didn’t want to bake the cabbage, you can sauté it in a little oil and butter instead, basting it as it cooks.

Follow Nigel on Twitter @NigelSlater

Sunday lunch recipes

Routine, oh how I miss you … To know what to expect, every single day, is priceless: it keeps you sound and sensible; it gives purpose and focus. But not all is lost in these days of lockdown. Old routines are transforming into new ones, and many of them, I am happy to say, revolve around food. Mealtimes have been regaining their past glory as our main way to punctuate the day, or week. In my house, lunches are now makeshift picnics, Saturday mornings are official pancake time, Tuesday afternoons are dedicated to baking, and on Sundays we’ve reclaimed the old lunch tradition. If you are able to sit down for Sunday lunch, with family, housemates or Zoom pals, it can really provide that bit of comfort that is so needed right now.

Roast chicken with creamy garlic and peppercorn sauce (pictured above)

If you can’t get bone-in chicken legs, use a whole chicken, jointed, instead. Leave out the black garlic if you can’t get hold of it and mix a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar into the sauce instead.Advertisement

Prep 25 min
Cook 1 hr 25 min
Serves 4-6

3 banana shallots (or 5 ordinary shallots), peeled and finely chopped
2 tbsp green peppercorns, roughly crushed, or 2 tbsp roughly chopped capers
1 lemon, cut into 5 slices
400ml dry white wine
105g unsalted butter
, cut into 2cm cubes
Salt and black pepper
6 chicken legs
, bone in and skin on, or 1 whole chicken, jointed into 8 pieces (ie, 2 legs, 2 thighs and 2 breasts cut in half)
2 tbsp olive oil, plus 1 tsp extra
20 garlic cloves, peeled and left whole
20 black garlic cloves, cut in half lengthways (or 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar – see recipe introduction)
90ml double cream
2-3 tbsp (10g) flat-leaf parsley leaves
, finely chopped
3½ tbsp (10g) chives, finely chopped

Heat the oven to 200C (180C fan)/ 390F/gas 6, and put the first five ingredients and 150ml water into a large 38cm x 28cm oven tray with half a teaspoon of salt and a very generous grind of black pepper.

In a large bowl, mix the chicken with two tablespoons of oil, three-quarters of a teaspoon of salt and a generous grind of black pepper, then lay them skin side up in the tray and spread out as much as possible; take care you don’t get the skin wet.

Toss the whole peeled garlic cloves (ie, not the black garlic) in a teaspoon of oil, arrange them around the chicken legs, then put the tray in the oven and roast for 30 minutes. Scatter the black garlic into the sauce around the chicken legs and return to the oven for another 35 minutes, or until the chicken legs are crisp and golden brown.Advertisement

Lift out the chicken and place skin side up on a second oven tray, large plate or board. Whisk the sauce mix, scraping the sides and base of the tray as you go, then gently stir in the cream and herbs. Return the chicken skin side up to the pan, and serve directly from the tray.

Radish and horseradish salad

 Yotam Ottolenghi’s radish and horseradish salad.

This punchy and fresh salad is perfect to cut through richer dishes such as the creamy garlic chicken. The dressing works on any mixture of leaves you can find – iceberg, romaine or even white cabbage would work well here.

Prep 15 min
Cook 5 min

30g fresh horseradish, peeled and very finely grated (20g net weight), or 1 tbsp jarred prepared horseradish
3 tbsp olive oil
60ml rice-wine vinegar
, or white-wine vinegar
Flaked sea salt
150g breakfast radishes
, very thinly sliced (use a mandoline, if you have one)
2-3 baby gem lettuce, trimmed, quartered and leaves separated (200g)
3½ tbsp (10g) chives, finely chopped
1 small mooli, or ½ large one (220g), peeled and thinly sliced into rounds (again, use a mandoline if you have one), or 220g extra breakfast radishes

Mix the first three ingredients in a large bowl with two and a half teaspoons of flaked salt. Just before you’re ready to eat, add all the remaining ingredients to the bowl, toss to dress and serve.

Hazelnut roly-poly with lemon custard

Yotam Ottolenghi’s hazelnut roly-poly with plum jam and lemon custard

This traditional school-dinner dessert gets very special treatment here with the flavours of hazelnut and plum, which pair wonderfully with a simple maple- and lemon-infused custard. I like to eat both the cake and custard at room temperature, but you could warm either element, or both, if you prefer. The plum jam can be easily swapped with another jam, and if you don’t have hazelnuts, blanched almonds would also work well.

Prep 15 min
Cook 1 hr 45 min
Serves 8

300g plum jam
2 tbsp lemon juice

For the cake and praline
140g blanched hazelnuts
4 eggs
80g caster sugar
30g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp lemon zest
2 tbsp double cream
2 tbsp maple syrup

For the custard
300ml double cream
50ml whole milk
2 tsp lemon zest
2 egg yolks
½ tsp vanilla bean paste
, or vanilla extract
60ml maple syrup

Heat the oven to 170C (160C fan)/350F/gas 4. Put the hazelnuts on a baking tray and roast for 14 minutes, until very fragrant, leave to cool, then transfer to a spice grinder or the small bowl of a food processor and blitz until finely crushed.

Turn up the oven to 190C (180C fan)/390F/gas 6. Line and grease a 32cm x 22cm swiss roll tin. Put the eggs and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment in place and whip for three minutes, until tripled in size. Add the flour, baking powder, lemon zest, 80g of the blitzed hazelnuts and a pinch of salt, and gently fold together until fully combined. Pour into the prepared tin, smooth the top with the back of a spoon and bake for 12 minutes, until golden brown. While still warm and with the shorter end facing you, use the parchment paper to roll up the cake from the shorter end, then set it to one side to cool while you get on with the rest.

For the praline, put the remaining 60g blitzed hazelnuts in a spice grinder or the small bowl of a food processor with the cream, maple syrup and a pinch of salt, and blitz to a smooth paste.

To assemble, unroll the cake, then spread the inside all over with the praline mix. Mix the jam with the lemon juice and use two-thirds of it to cover the praline, leaving a 2cm border around the edges. Starting at the shorter end, roll the cake back up, then discard the paper.

For the custard, put all the ingredients in a medium saucepan on a medium-high heat and cook, whisking continuously for about five minutes, until the mix thickens a little, but is still pourable, then leave the custard to cool.

Serve slices of the cake with some of the cooled custard, with the remaining custard and jam in two separate bowls alongside.

Covid-19: Don’t worry, bread-lovers, I have a solution

There is so much I don’t understand about all this ghastly business. But one question torments me above all others: where has all the bloody yeast gone?

First, they came for the toilet roll. And then for the flour. The strong white bread flour was first to go, followed by the plain white, the wholemeal, the self-raising and then, in no particular order, the rye, the spelt, the khorasan and all the other mysterious varieties that no one normally buys. Soon there was none.

I was livid. I thought I was the only clever dick clever enough to bake his own bread. Who were these flour thieves? I know we are all in this together blah blah, but this was beyond the pale. I bet these arrivistes watched a couple of Bake Offs and bought Paul Hollywood’s book, which I dare say has remained unopened. Well, good luck to the lot of you.Advertisement

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The first flour to make it back on to the shelves in my supermarket was strong white bread flour, in big 3kg bags. I had a glowering standoff with a bloke who had the last one clutched to his chest like a rugby player going into a maul. I would happily have fought him, as he was much smaller than me, but couldn’t have done so without breaching social distancing guidelines. We were nose-to-nose, resembling fighters at a weigh-in, except these floury fighters’ noses were 200cm apart. He flicked his eyes upwards to the top shelf. There were three more bags up there I hadn’t seen. So I forgave him and the matter was closed.

When this crisis first broke, I felt I knew for the first time what really mattered: the health of loved ones, and not much else. Big things I had previously worried about suddenly seemed so small. But then the small things, like bread flour, themselves became big things.


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I have flour now but nowhere, anywhere, can I get yeast. Where has it all gone? There must be so much out there that if a biblical flood were added to our woes, all this unused yeast would dissolve in it and rise up, frothing, to bake us in a giant crusty loaf of calamity.

Luckily, I don’t need yeast. Since I was a student, I have been fascinated by Irish soda bread. When I was revising for my finals in 1990, I tore a recipe out of a newspaper and, seeing a fine excuse not to read any more stupid Henry James, I got busy. I have been fiddling away trying to perfect this recipe for 30 years now, to the extent that it’s now no more authentically Irish than I am. But it is, if I may say so, perfect. This is my gift to the yeastless:

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Combine 15g of bicarbonate of soda, 10g of salt, 5g of caraway seeds, a handful of porridge oats or any other random seeds you have. Then mix that with 400g of a combination of any flours you have. Stir in half a litre of any milk, soured with the juice of one lemon. Then melt together a generous tablespoon of black treacle and an equally generous teaspoon of Marmite in a small pan and stir that in, too. Lick the Marmitey/treacly pan clean; it’s a taste sensation. You should now have either a sloppy dough or stiff batter, depending on how you look at it. Bake at 190C (fan-assisted) for an hour in a one-litre loaf tin.

The yeast-rich can try it when they finally run out in five years or so.

• Adrian Chiles is a writer, broadcaster and Guardian columnist

Sugar is not the enemy

When my older daughter was 4, her favorite snack to bring to preschool was a chocolate chip granola bar. I tucked one into her backpack almost every day, until one afternoon I opened up her backpack and saw the granola bar still sitting there. “Are you getting sick of these?” I asked her. She wasn’t. But a new teacher had taken over the class and instituted a new rule: no sugar before lunch.

Dr. Katja Rowell, M.D., a family physician and childhood feeding specialist, has a similar story: “My daughter’s preschool celebrated ‘Sugar Day’ once a year,” she recalled. “And there was so much conversation from all the adults to the kids of, ‘You’re going to be crazy! It’s crazy sugar day!’ And the kids were kind of bonkers. But there was so much anticipation of their craziness, it was like we gave them permission.”

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Indeed, it has become the norm for both parents and educators to express their fear of the proverbial “sugar high” at parties, on birthdays and pretty much anytime treats are eaten, whether it’s chocolate chip granola bars or triple scoop ice cream sundaes.

“We encounter damaging messages around sugar intake from well-meaning dentists and doctors, as well as in the nutrition curriculum in early education,” said Crystal Karges, R.D.N., a registered dietitian nutritionist who focuses on mothers and families in San Diego. Yet the evidence has long shown that sugar doesn’t actually get kids high. So why does this myth persist?

“What many parents are really afraid of is the message they get from diet culture that any amount of sugar is bad for them and their kids,” said Anna Lutz, M.P.H., R.D., a dietitian in private practice in Raleigh, N.C., who writes a blog about family feeding challenges called Sunny Side Up Nutrition.

[Your kids don’t have to inherit your body-image issues.]


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The theory that sugar intake could lead to what was then called “the neurotic child” was first proposed in the medical literature in 1922 and later gained popularity during the 1970s, when researchers were first trying to understand and treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

“These studies were problematic because they didn’t control for so many outside factors,” Karges said. When it comes to A.D.H.D. symptoms, clinicians must consider every piece of the puzzle, she said: “We know now that the genetic make-up of a child, as well as her sleep schedule, stress level, meal structure and other environmental factors all play a role.”

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Meanwhile, the sugar high concept was decisively debunked by a double-blind, controlled study published in the New England Journal of Medicinein 1994. In that experiment, researchers recruited a mix of normal preschoolers and those whose parents described them as sensitive to sugar, then randomly assigned some kids to eat sugary food and others to eat foods sweetened with aspartame. (Nobody — including parents, kids and researchers — knew which child ate what.) No behavioral or cognitive differences were detected, and as Dr. Richard Klasco, M.D., reported recently in The New York Times’s “Ask Well” column, these results have been replicated in several subsequent studies.

But how to square this scientific reality with parents’ impressions of how sugar affects their children? “Our brains and bodies can feel a burst of energy after eating sugar, especially if it’s been awhile since we’ve eaten and we’re feeling low on energy,” Lutz explained. “That’s because table sugar is a simple carbohydrate that breaks down quickly in our digestive tract, to reach our bloodstream.” But that quick burst doesn’t translate into hyperactivity or tantrums.

When sugar is consumed by itself, the initial energy spike can be followed by a crash as the amount of glucose in our bloodstream dips down again a little while after eating. Again, this won’t necessarily result in bad behavior, but some kids may feel tired, hungry or moody at this stage. “Each person’s body reacts differently to food; some of us are more sensitive to blood sugar dropping than others,” Lutz said. “But these symptoms are really just an indication that it’s time to eat again.”

[Getting your kids to eat (or at least try) everything.]

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If kids are eating a mix of fat and protein alongside their sugar, as we find in yogurt, for example, or my daughter’s chocolate chip granola bar, any sugar-related energy bursts and subsequent dips should be barely perceptible. Serving a glass of milk alongside a plate of cookies can even things out, Dr. Rowell said, noting that many “treat foods,” like cake, offer built-in balance because they’re made with butter or another type of fat. “So if you offer milk but your child doesn’t drink it, this is not the end of the world,” Dr. Rowell explained.

How you talk about food matters, too. “If you tell your child that sugar will make them act crazy, that can become a self-fulfilling prophecy,” Dr. Rowell said. This can also happen if your child eats sugar only at birthday parties or other high-excitement events. If emotions are already running high about piñatas and presents, a mid-party meltdown may be inevitable, but it doesn’t mean the sugar was to blame.

Children will also pick up on your sugar anxiety if you regularly describe cookies and other treats as “bad,” or try to police how much they eat in one sitting. “The psychological effect of food restriction cannot be overstated,” Karges said. “When we restrict children’s access to sugar, they are naturally going to become more preoccupied with and drawn to these foods and overreact and have erratic behavior when they do get them.” You can neutralize this by making sugar a regular and structured part of your family’s food life.

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If you serve dessert every night with dinner, Lutz said, it’s reasonable to limit that to one child-size serving to ensure the treat doesn’t steal too much focus from other foods on the table. But it’s also important to pick times (like a regular weekend trip to the ice cream store, a cookie baking project or candy-heavy holidays) where we let children be in charge of how many treats they eat. When kids don’t feel restricted around a food, it’s much easier for them to tap into how much of it they really want to eat — and their response may surprise you.

Dr. Rowell encourages parents to give kids the option of saving a treat for later: “Let’s say you have dessert with dinner and you can see your child getting full. One of the most powerful things you can say is, ‘Do you want to save that brownie to have with breakfast tomorrow?’” she suggested. “Then follow through. This sends home the message that she has access to these foods and doesn’t have to eat it just because it’s there.” (Don’t stress if your child’s response is to immediately eat the brownie, though! Remember that kids are a better judge of their hunger than you.)

[Your baby doesn’t need to go Paleo.]

When you do go to birthday parties and other spaces where “sugar high” talk is likely to be rampant, avoid falling into traps like “eat three bites of pizza before you have the cupcake.” Instead, let your child choose from the food that’s offered, and if he wants seconds or thirds, say something like, “Yes, as long as there are enough for everyone to have more.”

“Kids need experiences like parties, where sugar options are readily available, in order to learn how to self-regulate the sugar intake that feels best in their bodies,” Karges said. “And they are capable of doing this if we trust them and allow them to do so.”

9 simple tricks to healthy eating

The ancient saying that ‘Health is wealth’, have never fallen short of its pristine truism. It is the measure of life’s longevity; this is the reason the sorts of food we consume should be given conscientious attention.

By Ezinne Success

Food consumption is a life-long affair: a thing that contributes to maintaining an ever-radiant skin, a robust physical fitness, a mentally alert mind, and a healthy and overall balanced body. Apart from knowing the foods to eat, being aware of how best to consume them, the time for its intake and the most acceptable quantity for each consumption, is requisite.

Measures need to be taken towards ensuring that the correct amount of nutrients and right dietary statistics are contained in every food, as these are things which make eating salubrious. 

1. Pick meals with a certain concentration of starchy carbohydrates: The quantity of carbohydrates should be a little above one third of the total food served. Among a lot of them are; cereals, oats, rice, bread, potatoes, yam and pasta. Also, ensure to include a minimum quantity of starchy foods with every main meal.

Though the general misconception is that starchy foods are fattening agents, yet, with the appropriate gram, they provide less calories of fat. In other to be safe than sorry, limit the fats when making or serving these kind of foods, as incorrect measurement could heighten the calorie content. For instance, oil during baking or frying, margarine on bread and sauces with pasta. 

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2. Consume plenty of fruits and vegetables: This is a unique food class composed of a plethora of fibre, vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, which have active body building effects.

The benefits fixed with the intake of veggies and fruits seem not to be over-stressed. They are: the protection from cancer, heart disorder, effects accompanied with aging, obesity and an increased life span. It is advised to always add some quantity of fruits or its equivalent- a glass of fruit juice, smoothies and vegetables, with every meal, to be taken.

It may mean having your breakfast with one or two balls of apples or a glass of smoothie, alongside your afternoon meal. 

3. High fish intake: As a quality protein provider, the consumption of fish is so essential to the body’s growth and maintenance. Fish is widely acclaimed to contain a healthy amount of fat. This is exceptionally true of fatty fishes as Salmon, Mackerel, Herring, Sardines, which have a great degree of Omega-3 fats that has the likelihood of preventing heart disease, dementia, diabetes and depression.

The American Heart Association recommends fish consumption at least twice, every week. 


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4. Minimize saturated fat and sugar: However vital fat is to the diet, it is expected to be consumed in the right proportion and moderation. There are fat of 2 types; Saturated and Unsaturated Fats. Excess saturated fats increase the cholesterol content in the blood leading to the danger of heart disease.

Saturated fats are contained in foods as: slices of fatty meat, cakes, hard cheese, sausages, biscuits, pies cream etc. This makes it advisable to reduce saturated fat intake and opt for foods containing unsaturated fats such as vegetable oils and spreads, avocados and oily fishes. However, every kind of fat needs to be eaten in little amounts, and measured adequately, since they are all high in energy. 

On the other hand, steadily consuming foods and liquids, with intense volume of sugar, raises the risk of obesity and tooth decay. With the high degree of energy, if eaten very often, contributes to weight gain. Also, the danger of tooth decay happens when eaten between meals. Moderation in its intake, needs to be applied, so that there will be no less or more consumption. 

5. Cut down the salt intake: There needs to be a reduction in the overall quantity of salt to be consumed, everyday. More salt consumption exposes our bodies to high blood pressure which has an adverse effect of culminating into a disease of the heart, or also, stroke.

Food labels will serve a proper guide in knowing the exact quantity of salt, each day. It is prescribed that adults should have no more than 6g, about a teaspoonful, per day, in their overall meals. 

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6. Work out to maintain healthy weight: Healthy eating is directly proportional to a healthy physique. Aside the regular eating of fine quantities of foods with exact nutrients, constantly engaging in exercise sessions, are equally weighty.

It assists in cutting short the chances of severe health issues. The risks being overweight poses are: diabetes, cancer, stroke and heart disease. In trying to have a reduced size, consume fewer calories, eat less and remain active. With the wholesome, balanced diet being taken in, a healthy weight is achievable. Also, do not push away the thought of visiting a dietitian for advice. 

7. Remain hydrated: The essence of fluids – water, fruit and vegetable juice, smoothies, low fat milk and low sugar drinks will never lose its value. The body needs a lot of water to get healthier and perform metabolic functions.

Medical practitioners  recommend the consumption of 6-8 glasses of water daily. In addition, during the hot season and exercising, it is best to have more fluids. 

8. Opt for whole foods rather than processed ones: In an attempt to eat healthy, the preference of whole foods, should be ranked highest on the food scale. It is best doing away with junk foods, as they are most times unhealthy and unfit for the body.

These could be ramen or instant noodles, processed meat, sugary drinks, processed cheese, pizza, industrially produced vegetable oils, which are extremely low in fibre, protein, vitamins and micronutrients, thus providing empty calories to the body, contrary to the numerous benefits of whole foods.

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9. Stick to ideal timing: It is imperative recognizing the best time for meal intake. They have positive, far-reaching effects in our bodies, in the long run. The acknowledged time for breakfast is 7a.m., while that of lunch is 12:45p.m. and dinner, before 7p.m. or at most, at 7p.m.

This gives room for early and sufficient digestion, thereby helping in muscle growth, sports performance and fat loss. 

Christmas breakfast: Eggs royale

Start Christmas in the best possible way with a sumptuous, hollandaise-smothered egg on a muffin with smoked salmon, ham or spinach.

Decadent brekkie: Felicity Cloake’s eggs royale, three ways. Photograph: Louise Hagger/The Guardian. Food styling: Rosie Ramsden. Prop styling: Rachel Vere.

Eggs royale – a decadent pile of salmon, eggs and a criminally rich sauce atop a fluffy muffin – is my dream breakfast on 25 December, even if in reality the big day tends to start with chaos and a hurried slice of toast. If you have fewer children and dogs in residence, however, enjoy an extra dollop of sauce with your eggs royale – and benedict or florentine for me, too. It is Christmas, after all.

Prep 5 min
Cook 20 min
Serves 4

4-8 eggs, depending on hunger
1 drop vinegar
4 English muffins
Butter, to spread
400g baby spinach (optional)
4 slices cooked ham or 100g smoked salmon
Salt and pepper
Nutmeg (optional)

For the hollandaise
125g cold unsalted butter
2 large egg yolks
¼ lemon

1 Precautionary measures

Start with the hollandaise. Fill the sink, or a heatproof bowl larger than your saucepan, with about 5cm cold water and boil a little water in the kettle. These are both insurance policies in case of disaster, but don’t worry: as long as you make these preparations, you won’t need them. Cut the butter into cubes.

2 Combine the eggs and butter

First make the hollandaise. Melt the butter, egg yolks and water, and stir on low heat until the mixture thickens.

Put the butter in a small, heavy-based saucepan with the egg yolks and two tablespoons of cold water. Put over a very low heat and stir to help melt the butter; I find it easiest to start with a wooden spoon, then swap this for a whisk once the lumps have turned liquid.

3 Stir until it thickens

Gradually, the sauce will thicken; don’t be tempted to turn up the heat to hurry it along, but if it looks like it’s threatening to split or scramble anyway, plunge the base of the pan into the cold water and whisk vigorously. This should bring the temperature back down and you can put it back on the heat and continue whisking.

4 In the event of disaster …

If it does curdle, whisk in a little boiling water to see if it can be rescued; if not, pour the mess into a jug, wash the pan, then put a fresh egg yolk in there with a splash of water, and gradually whisk in the curdled sauce over a very low heat.

5 Finish the sauce and keep it warm

Beat in the lemon juice, season, then set the pan over, but not touching, a pot of hot water to keep the hollandaise warm.

Once the sauce has thickened, beat in the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer the sauce to a heatproof pan set over a second pan of hot water, making sure the base of the hollandaise pan doesn’t touch the water, and stir occasionally: unfortunately, hollandaise doesn’t reheat well, so you can’t make it too far ahead, though it will sit happily for a while.

6 Poach (or boil) the eggs

Crack each egg into a ramekin.

Bring a small pan of water to a boil, and crack each egg into its own ramekin. Put a drop of vinegar into the water and whisk vigorously, then immediately slip the eggs into the centre two at a time. Poach on a low heat and set the timer for three minutes. (Alternatively, make soft-boiled eggs: simmer them for seven minutes, then plunge into cold water and peel.)

Put a dash of vinegar in a pan of hot water, then poach the eggs for three minutes.

7 Now for the muffins and spinach

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Meanwhile, split, toast and butter the muffins. If you want spinach, wash, then put in a medium pan on a medium heat with the water still clinging to its leaves. Cover and cook until wilted, shaking the pan from time to time, then squeeze dry and season generously with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Make sure you haven’t forgotten about the eggs.

Toast some muffins, slather in butter, and top with the eggs and sauce.

8 Plate and serve

Drain the eggs and pat dry on kitchen paper. Working quickly now, put two muffin halves on each plate and top first with the spinach (if using) and then the ham or salmon, followed by an egg and a good dollop of hollandaise. Finish with a grating of black pepper or a little nutmeg, and serve at once before the sauce goes cold.

Finish your muffins with ham or salmon, or maybe some spinach, season and serve.

9 Variations on the theme

If you’re not a slave to tradition, swap in ripe avocado, grilled bacon, warm crab meat or brown shrimp, or a grilled field mushroom or beef tomato for the ham, etc. Or swap the muffin for a crumpet or good toast. Or spice up the hollandaise with a squeeze of hot sauce, anchovy paste or a handful of fresh, soft herbs.

Today’s recipe: detailed crispy chicken

The festive season is here again, a season to be jolly, that wonderful time of the year. What Can be more merrier than celebrating the festive season with your family, friends, Loved ones, and colleges.

By Asogwa Precious

Are you still looking for what to do with your chicken this festive period? Are you still confused about what to take to that end of the year party/ get-together?Or do you still plan on cooking your chicken the same ancient way? Lol don’t be boring.Why not try something different from the regular, we want a taste of something different and flavorous.

Here’s a detailed recipe on how to get that crispy chicken you’ve always craved for. For the first recipe you need just six ingredients, and most of these ingredients are what you have and use in your kitchen.

  1. Chicken
  2. Eggs
  3. Bread crumbs
  4. Flour
  5. Vegetable oil or butter
  6. Seasoning and spices

Preparation

  1. Crack your eggs in a separate bowl, add your dry ingredients, salt pepper, grounded garlic, thyme, curry, and any other spices of your choice
  2. Season your bread crumb with a pinch of salt, do same with your flour
  3. Coat your chicken with your flour
  4. Dip into the beaten eggs and coat with your bread crumbs untill it is fully coated\
  5. Heat up your pan with vegetable oil or butter
  6. Fry on both sides for 10-15min until they’re golden brown

(Note: cooking time vary depending on how thick your chicken is and how crispy you want it) The taste is out of this world…it also gives your chicken a very attractive look.

Detailed crispy chicken (2)

  • Ingredients
  • Chicken
  • Buttermilk
  • Flour
  • Baking powder
  • Dry pepper
  • Seasoning and spices
  • Vegetable oil or butter

Recipe

  1. Start by marinating your chicken with buttermilk, cover and keep it overnight in the freezer
  2. In a empty bowl, combine all your dry ingredients together, (flour, baking powder, thyme, curry, pepper, grounded garlic. You can also add any other spices of your choice that isn’t listed here. Note: this step starts after your chicken have been marinated.
  3. Get your marinated chicken, transfer it to a different bowl and spice it up with a spoonful of thyme and curry
  4. Pick your chicken one after the other and dip it in the mixture, do that till you have all your chicken well coated
  5. Heat up your pan with vegetable oil or butter
  6. Fry on both sides for 10-15 min till it’s golden brown( cooking time vary depending on on thick your chicken is and how crispy you want it.

Serve with any meal of your choice. Trust me you won’t order for a kfc chicken After trying out this recipes. Voilà!

The vegans are coming!

Between the rise of plant-based sausages and veggie burgers that “bleed”, vegan protesters at supermarkets, and Disney adding hundreds of vegan items to its theme park menus, veganism is in the news. Not to mention the woman trying to sue her neighbours for their meat-grilling ways. For a group once perceived as placid and potentially anaemic, vegans have sure been making a lot of noise.

By Matthew Ruby

Who are the “new vegans” and what is behind their rise in prominence?


Origin story

The term “vegan” was coined in 1944 by a group of people in the UK to describe a diet excluding meat, fish, dairy, and eggs. In 1988, the UK Vegan Society settled on a definition of veganism that described it as:

“… a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose”.

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For many years, veganism had relatively few adherents, and was largely dismissed as a fringe movement, if not met with outright hostility.

In his 2000 book, Kitchen Confidential, Anthony Bourdain, didn’t mince his words:

Vegetarians, and their Hezbollah-like splinter faction, the vegans, are a persistent irritant to any chef worth a damn. To me, life without veal stock, pork fat, sausage, organ meat, demi-glace, or even stinky cheese is a life not worth living.

Bourdain was by no means alone in his view of vegans. An analysis of stories run in UK national newspapers in 2007 that used the words “vegan”, “vegans”, or “veganism” found that 74% of articles portrayed veganism negatively – describing vegans as hostile, oversensitive, or ridiculous.


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Despite an initial bad rap, interest in veganism has been growing, particularly in the past decade. Data from Google Trends indicates that the relative frequency of Google searches for “vegan” has approximately quadrupled since 2012.

The increasing popularity of veganism

Note: Numbers represent search interest relative to the highest point on the chart for the given region and time. A value of 100 is the peak popularity for the term. A value of 50 means that the term is half as popular. A score of 0 means there was not enough data for this term.
Source: Google Trends  Get the data

A number of prominent public figures, such as Moby, Angela Davis, Bill Clinton, and Ellen Degeneres, have drawn attention to veganism. At the same time, numerous studies and reports have discussed links between meat consumption and health and environmental outcomes.

Media outlets such as The GuardianNBC, and The New York Times have run stories on the mistreatment of animals on factory farms. Furthermore, popular movies such as Okja, about a young girl and her pig-like best friend, have been credited with turning people toward plant-based diets.

Challenging stereotypes

As veganism becomes more prominent, a number of people are challenging conventional beliefs, particularly the idea that one needs to eat animal products to be strong and healthy.

Touring at film festivals in 2018, and reaching mainstream Australian cinemas in August, The Game Changers draws on a mixture of dramatic footage, scientific studies, and celebrity glamour.

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Executive produced by a team including James Cameron, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jackie Chan, Lewis Hamilton, Novak Djokovic, and Chris Paul, The Game Changers bills itself as “a revolutionary new documentary about meat, protein, and strength”, and challenges the old stereotype of vegans as weak.

Vegan athletes stand in stark contrast to old-fashioned portrayals of hippie vegetarians.

The film follows combat instructor and UFC fighter James Wilks as he travels around the world meeting people like world surfing champion Tia Blanco, eight-time US national cycling champion Dotsie Bausch, and strongman Patrick Baboumian. Sitting down with the chair of nutrition at Harvard University, Dr Walter Willett, Wilks discusses the benefits of plant-based diets.

Motivation and location

Although vegans are often motivated by some combination of concern for animal welfare, animal rights, health, and environmental sustainability, individuals often emphasise particular motivations more strongly than others.

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Chef and activist Bryant Terry has written and spoken extensively on the health and food justice aspects of veganism. Youth climate activist Greta Thunberg adopted a vegan diet for environmental reasons. The Forest Green Rovers Football Club transitioned the food in their stadium to be 100% vegan in 2015, out of concern for animal welfare and environmental sustainability.

Other common motivations are religious and spiritual beliefsadherence to social norms, a preference for the taste, smell, and texture of plant foods, and an explicit rejection of mainstream industries that treat animals like commodities.

Spanish protesters on World Vegan Day. Andreu Dalmau/AAP

East meets West

Although veganism is often discussed through a Western cultural lens, several Eastern philosophies – such as Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, and Taoism – favour plant-based diets. Hinduism, practiced by the majority of India’s population, has a history of plant-based diets extending across thousands of years.

While in many Western countries, vegans may be negatively stereotyped or face social alienation, responses to those following plant-based diets in other cultures differ markedly.


In India, for example, the present day food hierarchy places a plant-based diet at the top as it is associated with a higher status. The slaughter of animals and meat-eating is associated with a certain baseness and physical and spiritual pollution.

Customers and traders in a street market in Jaipur. www.shutterstock.com

Similarly, many people in China regard plant-based eating as central to physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. In 2016, the Chinese government released updated dietary guidelines encouraging their population of more than 1.3 billion to reduce their meat consumption by 50% between now and 2030 for primarily health-related reasons.

Reaction to veganism in other cultures is not always positive though. Japanese media has expressed concern about how vegan tourists and locals can maintain their diet in a nation “hooked on meat”.

Is the future plant-based?

Today, countries with traditionally meat-based diets – such as Germany, France, Italy, Spain, and South Africa – are among the world’s top ten when it comes to the global share of vegan product launches.

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The adoption of plant-based diets and lifestyles is projected to keep rising. For example, the percentage of Italians who identified as vegan nearly doubled from 2016 to 2018, and the number of vegans in the UK quadrupled between 2014 and 2018.

In 2017, the global plant protein market was valued at US$10.5 billion (A$15.65 billion) and this number is predicted to increase to USD $16.3 billion (A$24.3 billion) by 2025.

In the future we can expect to see and hear more from those who choose not to consume animal products.

Africa is undermining global effort on malnourishment

Every year the World Food Day is observed across the globe on October 16  with the aim of eliminating malnutrition and hunger. At this year’s World Food Day ceremony themed Our actions are our future. Healthy diets for a #ZeroHunger world which took place in Rome Italy, speakers called for bolder and faster action across sectors to make healthy and sustainable diets available and affordable for all.

The task of eliminating hunger and malnutrition as set out in the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), as well as in the African Union 2025 Malabo Commitments, is actually a race against time towards delivering on the targets.

For decades, the world has been making progress in the fight against hunger. Sadly, the number of undernourished people is on the rise again. More than 820 million people, or roughly one in nine people, globally including Africa are going hungry.  In the fight against hunger, Africa is the world’s last frontier currently, one in three Africans—422 million people—live below the global poverty line this represents more than 70 percent of the world’s poorest people.

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Thankfully, there is some hope for Africa. According to projections from the World Data Lab, Africa has now reached a milestone in the fight against poverty. For the first time since the start of SDG, more Africans are now escaping extreme poverty than are falling (or being born) below the poverty line. Although the pace of this net poverty reduction is currently very small at only 367 people per day, it is expected to increase to over 3,000 people per day by the end of this year.

Food security in our times isn’t only a matter of quantity, it’s also a question of quality. Unhealthy diets have now become a leading risk factor for disease and death worldwide. This shows that there is an urgent need to make healthy and sustainable diets affordable and accessible to everyone, according to a report by the United Nations (UN) Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

A report on the Brookings Institution revealed that the most significant challenges for reducing poverty in Africa are found in just two countries: Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The population of both countries represents one-quarter of total poverty in Africa today and they are expected to represent almost half of Africa’s poor by 2030.

Currently, in Africa, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Mauritius, and Seychelles already have poverty rates of below 3 percent. Mauritania and Gambia are projected to join this group by 2030. The poverty rates of Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Angola, Côte d’Ivoire and Djibouti are expected to reach below five percent. With a slight acceleration of growth, these economies could also make extreme poverty history by 2030.

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Globally, including Africa, Malnutrition affects one in three people and can take the forms of vitamin and mineral deficiencies, stunting, wasting, overweight and obesity. And an unhealthy diet is the leading risk factor for deaths from non-communicable diseases, including heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers. Health problems linked to obesity are costing national health budgets up to $2 trillion per year.  

According to FAO, this is because we have dramatically changed our diets and eating patterns as a result of globalization, urbanization and income growth. A lot of people have moved from seasonal, mainly plant-based and fibre-rich dishes to high-calorie diets, which are high in refined starches, sugar, fats, salt, processed foods and often marked by excessive consumption of meat.

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People spend less time preparing meals at home, and consumers, especially in urban areas, increasingly rely on supermarkets, fast food outlets, street food vendors and takeaway restaurants. In much of the world, guaranteeing availability and access to healthy diets remains an enormous challenge. This can be true of people with limited financial resources, including smallholder agricultural producers and families in crisis situations caused by conflict, natural disasters and the impact of climate change. Some people, due to where they live, don’t even have the option to purchase fresh and nutritious foods. 

What can countries do?

There are many ways in which governments can help to reduce hunger, improve nutrition and transform food systems by addressing the root causes of malnutrition in all its forms. The governments should increase the availability and affordability of diverse and nutritious foods for healthy diets by setting, enforcing and regularly updating national dietary guidelines and nutrition standards.

They can design and implement nutrition-sensitive policies and programmes in line with national guidelines. Strengthen legal frameworks and strategic capacities to support this. They need to work across sectors to improve food and agricultural policies, including those which support school food and nutrition programmes, food assistance to vulnerable families and individuals, public food procurement standards and regulations on food marketing, labelling and advertising. They should also  Monitor and reinforce the need for agrobiodiversity. Do this not only for dietary health but, also, to protect biodiversity and natural resources, improve productivity and income, and increase the resilience of farmers to challenges such as climate change.


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What can the private sector do? 

Private sector businesses have enormous influence over food systems and people’s access to affordable, healthy diets. As a food manufacturer, retailer or other food-related business, you have numerous opportunities to improve the quality of food and drink products, the information available to consumers and the ways in which products are marketed.

In most Sub-Saharan countries, for instance, inadequate food packaging for fresh and processed foods undermines the competitiveness of local producers. It also contributes to food loss and waste along the food supply chain. 

The private sector needs to phase out advertising, promotion of, and discounts on, foods that are high in fat, sugar and/or salt, especially when targeted at children and adolescents. They need to provide consumers with adequate and easy-to-understand product and nutrition information and avoid nutrient claims (such as “high/low fat” or “enriched”) that are used mainly to boost the competitiveness of a product and which may, instead, mislead consumers about its overall nutritional quality. They should also make it a priority to improve nutrition and food safety along the food chain. 

Contribution of farmers

According to FAO,  Men and women in agriculture, fisheries and forestry are our primary sources for nutritious foods. They also play vital roles in managing natural resources. If you are a farmer or other food producer, you can influence the sustainability and variety of food supplies.

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Farmers need to plant a wider variety of nutritious foods like fruits, vegetables, legumes and nuts. Where possible, turn to local, smallscale fishery production as a source of income and affordable, vitamin-rich foods for local communities. Fish provides protein, vitamins, minerals, and polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acids (which are generally not found in staple crops). They can also reduce food loss and waste from harvest to distribution by taking advantage of processing and storage methods to conserve products, where possible.

What can we all do? 

As consumers and members of households, we can make personal decisions to improve family nutrition by increasing our intake of fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and whole grains. By consuming fewer foods and drinks which are high in refined sugars, saturated fats and/or salt. We also need to learn or revisit lessons about local, seasonal foods, their nutritional values and how to cook and preserve them. 

Achieving Zero Hunger is not only about feeding the hungry. It’s also about nourishing people with healthy diets that include a sufficient variety of safe and nutritious foods while maintaining the health of the planet on which we all depend. Every year, World Food Day calls on us all to take action across all sectors to achieve Zero Hunger.

Why our love for snacks is making us fat

We’re told there isn’t, but our love of eating between meals has made the UK the nation with fattest people in Europe – and we’ve touch with what it feels like to be genuinely hungry

At the end of the summer Ali Catterall, 49, sent a tweet celebrating his fasted blood sugar count dropping below the key figure of 48 mmol/mol, when he ceased to be technically diabetic. The tweet says he will be celebrating with a box of Maltesers. It was a joke, but Catterall’s story is far from funny.

“Like a lot of people with solitary sedentary jobs I already had a tendency to snack my way through the day.” A respected writer, a couple of events in 2018 left him both injured, grieving and depressed. “I decided to kill myself by eating.”

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Technically a snack is a small amount of food between meals. This could be an apple, the pious handful of raw and unsalted almonds, or it could be, says Ali Catterall, “My thing: chocolate milk,” and if he was out, “KFC and McDonalds. Industrially made snacks were my main substance of abuse because they’re so easy, grab them, eat them and get an instant rush.”

The truth is, even if your snack is a banana or nuts, unless you are not just peckish but actually, genuinely hungry, many experts now believe there is no such thing as a healthy snack. Yet many of us seem to have lost touch with what it feels like to be genuinely hungry.

Mintel’s report into Consumer Snacking earlier this year points out that only half of snackers are driven by hunger. The rest are driven by “cravings” and “emotional needs” and the use of “snacks as an antidote to busy lifestyles.”

Could our endless snacking be at the root of the explosion in obesity?

Dame Sally Davies in her stinging child obesity farewell report as Chief Medical Officer seemed to think so, and she suggested that snacks be wrapped in plain paper like cigarettes and that eating be banned on public transport, junk food be banned from anywhere near schools.

The UK is now the nation with the most overweight and obese people in Europe, and we are also the most frequent snackers. The Mintel Report shows 66 per cent of British adults snack at least once a day and 37 per cent of 25 to 34-year-olds say they regularly snack instead of having a proper meal.

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In the US, the unrivalled Land of Snacks, a place where one in three kids will grow up to have Type II diabetes, (one in two if they’re Latino), 91 per cent of consumers snack multiple times a day and, according to food industry analysts, Hartman Group, 50 per cent of all ‘eatings’ are in snack form. Nearly 10 per cent never eat a proper meal at all. Snacking is big business. Estimated values of the global snacking market lies somewhere in the region of $161,937,000,000 – that’s trillions, isn’t it?

Dr Aseem Malhotra, Consultant Cardiologist at the Lister Hospital and a founding member of Action on Sugar says people don’t need to snack: “People only need two to three meals a day to get full nutritional and energy requirements – providing they eat real food. The food industry that deliberately produces highly addictive cheat ultra-processed junk that encourages overconsumption. I tell my patients if it comes out of a packet and has five or more ingredients, avoid it.”

The food industry has responded to critics and the boom in healthy eaters by investing in so-called “healthy” snacks, with added fibre, vitamins and reduced sugar. The global healthy snacks market is expected to be worth nearly 33 billion in 2025. Yet examine the ingredients and many of these snacks are not actually healthy at all.

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Is it sensationalist and babyish to blame snacking for the obesity crisis? Nutritional Consultant and author, Ian Marber, says: “Snacking suits some people. But in general, it’s been oversold to us by the food industry as a solution to a hunger problem that didn’t really exist in the first place.

“It’s all about something to “keep you going” as though we will expire if we don’t eat every two hours which is nonsense. If you think back to the language used in the 60s and 70s when obesity levels were between 1-2 per cent, snacking was discouraged because it might ‘ruin the appetite’ and the appetite was something to be enjoyed.”

But there is a more complex arc to the anti-snacking story and that is one of if the body is asked to process food constantly then a person’s insulin resistance can be affected. Not everyone subscribes to this. Most people talk about calories in and out.

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Nutritional therapist Kim Pearson, who specialises in weight loss, is bold about the frequency of eating being an issue not just in terms of calories, but also the constant triggering of the insulin response. The majority of her clients are obese and pre-diabetic. She is sympathetic about the compulsion to eat for reasons other than hunger.

 “Of course, a snack can have its place. If you’ve eaten a decent lunch but aren’t going to be home until late don’t starve yourself for the sake of not snacking. But there is a difference between mindful snacking and mindless eating, which is what a lot of snacking is. The snacks that most people eat have no place in our life, aside from a very occasional treat. Even those that look healthy, like breakfast biscuits or energy bars will still raise your blood sugar and trigger an insulin response. Even eating something like a banana or a pack of raisins.” This is where it starts getting controversial. A banana, bad? “The odd banana’s fine, of course, it is, but if you’re constantly excessively raising your blood sugar levels with carbohydrate-heavy foods, then it has the potential to lead to insulin resistance and diabetes. Smart choices, particularly ones with healthy fats like olives or sugar-free nut butter are not likely to raise blood sugar levels significantly.”

Jo Murdoch, 48, a signwriter from Wakefield, went from nine stone to over eleven in three years when her family was going through some difficult times, “The snacking arrived with the stress. It’s like being a smoker, I needed something in my mouth all the time. My body was telling me I was hungry, but nothing really left me satisfied for long…in the afternoons I’d get the shakes because I’d eaten so many carbs all morning.”

Jo Murdoch went from nine stone to over eleven in three years when her family was going through some difficult times. CREDIT: LIZ MCAULAY 

She got control of her eating with a diet called Jane’s Plan that was delivered to her door, “It was a relief to know I could eat that and only that. It was a struggle at first. Food is everywhere, and if food has taken over your life for emotional reasons you don’t realise you’re doing this habitual eating, but putting on weight had sent my blood pressure up, I was pre-diabetic, my hips hurt. I retrained my eating habits. Now I see kids going in to Greggs or to MacDonalds for their after school snacks and it horrifies me.”

Saying all snackers will become overweight is like saying all national treasures will turn out to be paedophiles. Clearly, it’s not a priori. Two friends with IBS stood up for snacks, “If you’ve got even mild IBS, eating a big meal can mess you up for days and snacking becomes more of a necessity than anything.”

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One very lean friend said, “I have a very physical job and am always picking at food.“

To call a clear causal link between snacks and obesity and/or diabetes is also problematic for academics. Dr Ada Garcia, Lecturer in Public Health Nutrition, at the University of Glasgow says, “There is not enough evidence. If you feed a child every other hour there will be a state of insulin resistance but you could not possibly do a robust study like this on children. It would be cruel.”

Several people said their addiction to snacking was a result of it being the only way to eat in their workplace. “My diabetes arrived with the menopause,” says Poldark actress Beatie Edney. ”On set though, I’ve had a lifetime of no break, no set meals, just eating willy nilly. I am having success reversing diabetes with 16:8 intermittent fasting and a low carb diet. But what made a big difference, was simply, stopping snacking.”

7 local dishes you need to try as you visit Nigeria this Christmas

Nigeria is located at the western part popularly referred to as the Giant of Africa because of her large population, its economy, different ethnic groups, different languages and her wide variety of cultures.

By Asogwa Precious

The Nigeria cuisine is known for it’s richness and Varieties especially when it comes to her native food. It is mostly consists of different spices, and herbs. It’s a well all known fact that Nigeria dishes are over priced and packaged abroad and might not give you that local homemade or unique taste you crave for.

Some of these food can make you home sick, if you’re a Nigerian living Abroad or planning on Visiting for the first time. Here’s a list of some mouthwatering Nigeria dish you shouldn’t miss! 

African Salad

Popularly known as ‘Abacha’ is a mouthwatering dish mostly common eaten in the Eastern part of Nigeria. It is made of shredded cassava. Abacha is Rich in nutrients as ingredients such as crayfish, garden eggs, potash, stock fish are used to prepare this local dish. This scrumptious dish is one of my favorite Nigeria dish.

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Ewa Agoyin

There is a saying that Ewa Agoyin isn’t complete without agege bread. This local dish will most likely make you a beans lover if you’re not because of it’s unique taste. It’s a local dish in the southern part of Nigeria and it is best served with bread, yam or fried plantain. It is made of beans which is usually soft or smashed.

Nkwobi

This is a lip smacking dish you shouldn’t miss on your stay in Nigeria. No words can do justice to this delicacy which is common among the Igbos. It is made using cow leg, cow head or any assorted meat. It is very delicious. If you have never eaten this delicacy, you have been missing out. Just a taste will make your taste buds crave for more.

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Banga soup with Starch:

Banga soup is made out of palm fruits, a local dish that is common among the Delta region, mostly the Urhobo’s. And it is also loved and enjoyed by a lot of tribes in Nigeria, for instance the Edo’s, This delicious meal can be served with Eba, starch or any choice of swallow.

Tuwo Shinkafa

A popular dish among the northerners, this is made with soft rice which can be served with miyan kuka or any delicious soup of your choice.

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Afang

It is one of the most delicious dishes common among the Efik and the Ibibio’s of akwa ibom states. It is a stew made with Afang leaves (okazi, Eru) as known in other tribes and assorted meat of your choice. It can be eaten with Fufu, Pounded yam, Eba, or any swallow of your choice. Rich in nutrients, Afang soup can be made vegan.

Nigeria Jollof

Nigerians know that just like fried rice there’s no party in Nigeria without it. It is referred to as the mother of Nigeria dishes. It is known for its unique taste and aroma. It is made using long grain rice. This is my favorite kind of rice and I always look forward to eating it. It can be served with any assorted meat/chicken, it also goes well with Moi Moi and salad vegetables.

Let us know which Nigeria dish you miss and will like to try as you visit this Christmas.


Asogwa Precious is a Bloomgist writer, and is currently studying Economics at National Open University of Nigeria Abuja.

Cocktail of the week: tropical vegroni

From the Island Social Club comes this pineapple-scented, campari and vermouth concoction made with vodka instead of gin – a perfect fireside aperitif.

Stirred drinks, with their bright, clear colours, make great winter cocktails. The pineapple in this one lends it a welcome touch of the warm tropics, although the drink itself was a total accident. While testing a negroni recipe, I picked up a bottle of vodka by mistake and ended up with this. You’ll need to steep the fruit in Campari at least three days ahead.

Serves: 1

For the pineapple Campari
1 small wedge fresh pineapple, peeled, cored and cut into cubes (75-100g)
150-200ml Campari (depending on the size of your jar)

For the drink
25ml good vodka
25ml sweet vermouth
25ml pineapple Campari (see above)
1 twist grapefruit peel (or orange or lemon peel – something citrussy and sour, rather than sweet adds another layer to the drink)

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First make the pineapple Campari. Put the pineapple in a small sterilised jar, top up with Campari to submerge, then seal. Keep in the fridge for three days, shaking the jar once a day, then strain into a second sterilised jar and store in the fridge; it will keep for up to three months.

For the drink, pour all the liquids into a mixing glass, add ice and stir to chill. Strain over ice into a rocks glass, garnish with a twist of grapefruit peel and serve.

• Joseph Pilgrim, Island Social Club, London E8

I don’t like pizza, and I’m fine

In this part of the world, Lagos, there are some food that has been turned into what everyone should eat and what we must all like, if we want to fit in – Pizza is one of them.

By Sade Olakunle

So I walked into the office one day, with the news of one of the staff celebrating promotion and increased pay, expecting to see, probably ice cream cups on the tables and maybe, bottles of different varieties of soft drinks as alcohol isn’t a thing to bring into the company, but no, I was greeted with the burning aromas of Pizza and packs.

It’s not like I wasn’t going to ask for my share, but I wasn’t expecting to be made to feel that my not being excited about the packs of Pizza has made me an abnormal being.

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Placed on my desk was half a pack, nicely decorated with tomatoes and some pieces of mushrooms to make it look yummy, but you see, this is not my thing. As soon as I sat down, I picked it up, appreciated the celebrant, wished him the bests and prayed him more exciting future, but then, easily handed it over to my pizza-addicted colleague while I seat and sip the cold drink that accompanied it.

This, to me, wasn’t a big deal, but not until I noticed that everyone had this kind of shock expressions on their faces.

Firstly, they were shocked because I wasn’t excited that the celebrant went out of his way to get something that is rarely used for such celebrations, and secondly for not being a pizza person. I don’t know how this made me feel, but the experience has left me wondering if not being a pizza person makes you an abnormal person around here.

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I don’t like pizza, I don’t know if I am alone in this, but then, I don’t think that makes me an abnormal person, or maybe I’m not normal like they think, yet I just don’t like pizza, to the extent that even at half price I will still not take a second look at it.

What do you think about the pizza frenzy flying mood?

Living in a poor country means you have bad food choices – here’s what we found

Poor diets are the number one risk factor in the global burden of disease: they account for one in five deaths globally.

In higher income countries sugar, fat and red meat increase the risks of heart disease, diabetes and cancer. These usually kill people later in life. Meanwhile people in lower income countries struggle to access nutrient-dense foods like fruits, vegetables, dairy, eggs, meat and fish. This puts them at risk of wasting, stunting and micro-nutrient deficiencies. These tend to kill people in early childhood, but also result in various nutrition disorders and slower cognitive development.

The decision-making processes that lead to poor dietary choices are undoubtedly complex. Diets are affected by culture and tradition, by nutritional knowledge and the importance people attach to good health. But economic factors like income and relative prices are also important. This is especially true for the poor because their food budgets are just that much tighter.

We wanted to explore this economic aspect of dietary decisions. So we analysed consumer food prices for 657 products in 176 countries surveyed by the World Bank’s International Comparison Program. The aim was to understand the global food system from poorer consumers’ perspective by examining the “relative caloric price” of any given food: how much consumers must fork out for healthy versus unhealthy sources of calories.

Our analysis of these relative caloric prices yielded a striking result. As countries develop, their food systems get better at providing healthier foods cheaply, but they also get better at providing unhealthier foods cheaply. This means that in less developed countries poor people also live in poor food systems. Nutrient-dense foods like eggs, milk, fruits and vegetables can be very expensive in these countries. That makes it harder to diversify away from nutrient-sparse staple foods like rice, corn and bread.

The problem in more developed countries is rather different. Unhealthy calories have simply become a very affordable option. In the United States, for example, calories from soft drinks are just 1.9 times as expensive as staple food calories and require no preparation time.

The fact that relative food prices differ so markedly and so systematically provides a very strong rationale for nutrition-focused food policies. Governments’ food policies prioritise the incomes of farmers and the profits of food producers and retailers. Instead, they should be designing their food policies with consumers’ nutrition and health outcomes as their top priority.

Nutrition transition

Niger is one of the world’s poorest countries. People’s staple foods include rice, bread or corn. Eggs would be a useful nutrient boost as they are dense in high-quality protein and a wide range of micronutrients. This makes them a super food ideal for young children and pregnant mothers especially.

But egg calories in Niger are 23.3 times as expensive as calories from staple foods! In contrast, egg calories in the far wealthier United States are just 1.6 times as expensive as staple food calories. This suggests that even if poorer consumers in Niger want to diversify away from their staple foods, this is economically very hard.

Our findings are consistent with the so-called nutrition transition: as countries develop, diets diversify into more nutritious foods (though sometimes slowly). But they also diversify into unhealthy foods like soft drinks.

So what is it about the global food system and the process of economic development that delivers the wrong price of healthy and unhealthy foods in so many settings?

Part of the answer lies in the foods themselves. Sugar is very dense in the basic calories needed for survival and adequate energy; green leafy vegetables are rich in micronutrients but don’t offer much energy, so they’re expensive in caloric terms. Hence when money is tight, poor consumers find cheap sugar-dense foods very appealing, and food manufacturers see sugars as a very cheap way of getting both flavor and calories into their products.

The perishability of foods is also a hugely important determinant of relative prices. Eggs and fresh milk can’t easily be traded over long distances. Egg production is low in Niger, because poultry production in African countries faces major problems with disease, low technology and poor access to capital.

In principle, Niger could just import cheap eggs from the US but that’s not an option for a highly perishable and fragile food like eggs. On the other hand, countries can import less perishable foods like beans, nuts, milk powder, or frozen meat or fish.

Differences in the costs of healthy and unhealthy calories are therefore partly determined by the nature of the foods themselves, and partly by local productivity levels and whether the food can be cheaply traded. These complexities mean that different strategies are needed for different kinds of foods in different countries.

Potential solutions

Clearly the main food system problem for consumers in poor countries is the high price of healthy foods.

For perishable foods that cannot easily be traded it will be essential to increase investment in agricultural research and development (R&D) to improve productivity of nutrient-dense foods.

For the developing world perhaps the most important multilateral institution for agricultural R&D is the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), which helped produce the Green Revolution super crops in the 1960s and 1970s, such as high-yielding rice, wheat and maize varieties. But the CGIAR hasn’t invested anywhere near as much in nutrient-dense crops and livestock or fish.

This same bias towards staple foods is also true for developing country governments, who all too often remain fixated on the supply of their most basic staples. That needs to change.

For more tradable foods, countries need to review their import policies to ensure they’re not taxing foods that consumers need to eat more of. Not every country needs to be self-sufficient in dairy, for example. Milk powder is super nutritious and very tradable, and can be often be mostly imported from high-productivity exporters like New Zealand and the US.

And for all types of healthy foods, improvements in infrastructure and the broader business environment should also help to improve storage, trade and processing of healthy foods.

The low and often declining cost of unhealthy foods is a much trickier issue to grapple with. Taxes on unhealthy foods may be one solution. But the caloric cheapness of sugars and oils and fats is very striking, and we suspect there might be more traction in nutrition education and supply-side regulations such as food labelling.

Weekend recipe: Hot brown

Hot brown – Bloomgist Food recipe
  • YIELD4 servings
  • TIME25 minutes

The Hot Brown was invented in 1926 at the Brown Hotel in Louisville, Ky., by the chef Fred Schmidt. The open-faced turkey sandwich, smothered in Mornay sauce and topped with bacon, was served to customers at late-night  dances, while the band was on its break. The dish has become a Louisville staple, one well suited for Derby Day or after Thanksgiving, when roast turkey is plentiful. Thick slices of bread do not get lost under the meat and sauce. Hand-carved turkey is best for the dish; deli turkey slices do not deliver the same Hot Brown experience.

INGREDIENTS

FOR THE SANDWICH:

  • 1 (8-inch) sandwich loaf (about 20 ounces), cut evenly into 8 slices, crust removed
  • 2 tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 pound roasted turkey breast, thickly sliced

FOR THE MORNAY SAUCE:

  • ¼ cup unsalted butter (1/2 stick)
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ½ cup shredded Pecorino Romano (about 1 1/2 ounces)
  •  Pinch of ground nutmeg
  •  Salt and freshly ground pepper

FOR ASSEMBLING:

  •  Shredded Pecorino Romano, for sprinkling
  • 8 slices crisp cooked bacon
  •  Chopped parsley, for garnish
  •  Paprika, for garnish

PREPARATION

  1. Prepare the sandwich: Heat oven to 400 degrees. Cut 4 bread slices in half diagonally. Divide the remaining 4 whole slices among four individual 7-by-9-inch (or other similarly sized) baking dishes (see Tip), and place 2 pieces of halved bread on opposite sides of the bread, positioning the longest side of each triangle closest to the whole slice of bread. The formation will look like a two-way arrow. Nestle a piece of tomato on either side of the whole slices of bread, forming a square shape with the bread triangles. Divide the turkey slices among the whole slices of bread. Transfer the casseroles to the oven to toast as you prepare the sauce.
  2. Prepare the Mornay sauce: Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour until mixture forms a roux. Cook over medium-low heat, whisking frequently, 2 minutes. Whisk heavy cream and milk into the roux and cook over medium until the sauce begins to simmer and thicken, 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Remove the sauce from the heat and whisk in 1/2 cup Pecorino Romano until the sauce is smooth. Add nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Remove the dishes from the oven and pour the Mornay sauce over each, smothering the meat, bread and tomatoes.
  5. Sprinkle additional Pecorino Romano on top of each dish and broil until the cheese begins to brown and bubble, 4 to 5 minutes, working in batches, if necessary.
  6. Remove from the broiler and cross 2 slices of bacon over each dish. Sprinkle with parsley and paprika, and serve immediately.

Tip

  • You can also assemble this in a 9-by-13-inch casserole dish. Do not slice the bread into triangles, and instead overlap bread to fit casserole, dividing turkey among each bread slice, and nestling tomato quarters evenly along the longer sides of the dish. Prepare and broil as described. Top each broiled square with a slice of bacon broken in half and crossed. Garnish.
Jollof is made of rice, tomatoes and spices

Prince Charles intervenes in Jollof wars

Prince Charles has spoken about the ongoing dispute over whose Jollof rice is best, only to side step the issue of revealing his own preference.

Jollof is made of rice, tomatoes and spices
Jollof is made of rice, tomatoes and spices


Speaking in Nigeria at the end of his West Africa tour, he said:

Quote Message: Having also visited The Gambia and Ghana over the past week, our visit to Nigeria may perhaps provide an invaluable opportunity to compare – if one ever dares do such a thing! – the relative merits of each country’s Jollof rice… however, for fear of sparking a diplomatic incident, I suspect I shall have to let you draw your own conclusions about which country’s Jollof we found to be the most delicious!”

The last high-profile British person to dare to talk about Jollof rice was the chef, Jamie Oliver, who at least seemed to unite West Africans in condemnation of his own recipe.

We suspect that Prince Charles was briefed about the ongoing rivalry over the traditional dish made with rice, tomatoes and spices because he was so careful not to reveal his favourite.

Weekend recipe: pot roast

At Spoon and Stable, his Minneapolis restaurant, Gavin Kaysen cooks a version of his grandmother Dorothy’s pot roast using paleron (or flat iron roast), the shoulder cut of beef commonly used in pot au feu, as well as housemade sugo finto, a vegetarian version of meat sauce made with puréed tomatoes and minced carrot, celery, onions and herbs. This recipe uses a chuck roast and tomato paste, both easier to find and still delicious.

pot-roast-articlelarge

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 pound boneless beef chuck roast
  •  Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 medium red onions, cut into quarters
  • 4 carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 3 stalks celery, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 rutabaga, peeled and cut into 12 to 16 pieces, about a pound
  • 8 cremini mushrooms, halved
  • 2 parsnips, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 head garlic, top cut off to expose cloves
  • ¾ cup tomato paste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 sprigs rosemary
  • 1 ½ cups red wine, preferably cabernet
  • 4 cups beef broth

PREPARATION

  1. Preheat oven to 340 degrees. Season meat generously with salt and pepper. On the stove top, heat oil in a large Dutch oven, or other heavy roasting pan with a lid, over medium-high heat. Sear the meat until a dark crust forms, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Remove meat to a plate.
  2. Reduce heat to medium and add butter to the pan. Melt the butter and add the whole head of garlic and vegetables, stirring frequently and scraping the bottom of the pot, until the vegetables start to color, 8 to 10 minutes.
  3. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring frequently, until it darkens slightly, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add bay leaves, rosemary and wine and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid is reduced to a thick gravy consistency, 5 to 7 minutes.
  5. Return meat to the pot. Add broth, then cover the pot and transfer to the oven. Cook for 2 hours 20 minutes.
  6. Let roast sit at room temperature for at least 10 minutes. Remove meat to a cutting board to slice. Discard bay leaves and rosemary stems. Squeeze any garlic cloves remaining in their skins into the stew and discard the skins. Serve slices of meat in shallow bowls along with the vegetables and a generous amount of cooking liquid ladled over top.

 

Lasagna recipe

Weekend recipe: we have lasagna

In 2001, Regina Schrambling went on a week long odyssey in search of the ultimate lasagna recipe. She tested several, and finally found her ideal in a mash-up of recipes from Giuliano Bugialli and Elodia Rigante, both Italian cookbook authors.

Lasagna recipe

“If there were central casting for casseroles, this one deserved the leading role. But its beauty was more than cheese deep. This was the best lasagna I had ever eaten. The sauce was intensely flavored, the cheeses melted into creaminess as if they were bechamel, the meat was just chunky enough, and the noodles put up no resistance to the fork. Most important, the balance of pasta and sauce was positively Italian. At last I could understand why my neighbor Geoff had told me, as I dragged home more bags in our elevator, that all-day lasagna is the only kind worth making.”

INGREDIENTS

FOR THE SAUCE:

  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium red onions, finely diced
  • 2 large cloves minced garlic
  • 8 ounces pancetta, diced
  •  Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 ½ cups good red wine, preferably Italian
  • 2 28-ounce cans Italian plum tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • ¾ pound ground sirloin
  • ¼ cup freshly grated pecorino Romano
  • 2 eggs
  • 10 sprigs fresh parsley, leaves only, washed and dried
  • 2 large whole cloves garlic
  • ½ cup flour
  • 1 pound Italian sausage, a mix of hot and sweet

FOR THE LASAGNA:

  • 1 15-ounce container ricotta cheese
  • 2 extra-large eggs
  • 2 cups freshly grated pecorino Romano
  • ½ cup chopped parsley
  • 1 pound mozzarella, grated
  • 16 sheets fresh lasagna noodles, preferably Antica Pasteria

PREPARATION

  1. For the sauce, heat 1/2 cup oil in a large heavy Dutch oven or kettle over low heat. Add the onions, minced garlic and pancetta, and cook, stirring, for 10 minutes, until the onions are wilted. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Raise heat slightly, add the wine and cook until it is mostly reduced, about 20 minutes. Crush the tomatoes into the pan, and add their juice. Add the tomato paste and 2 cups lukewarm water. Simmer for 1 hour.
  2. Combine the sirloin, cheese and eggs in a large bowl. Chop the parsley with the whole garlic until fine, then stir into the beef mixture. Season lavishly with salt and pepper. Using your hands, mix until all the ingredients are well blended. Shape into meatballs and set aside.
  3. Heat the remaining oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Dust the meatballs lightly with flour, shaking off excess, and lay into the hot oil. Brown the meatballs on all sides (do not cook through) and transfer to the sauce.
  4. In a clean skillet, brown the sausages over medium-high heat. Transfer to the sauce. Simmer 1 1/2 hours.
  5. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the ricotta, eggs, pecorino Romano, parsley and all but 1 cup of the mozzarella. Season well with salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly.
  6. Remove the meatballs and sausage from the sauce, and set aside to cool slightly, then chop coarsely. Spoon a thick layer of sauce into the bottom of a 9-by-12-inch lasagna pan. Cover with a layer of noodles. Spoon more sauce on top, then add a third of the meat and a third of the cheese mixture. Repeat for 2 more layers, using all the meat and cheese. Top with a layer of noodles, and cover with the remaining sauce. Sprinkle reserved mozzarella evenly over the top. Bake 30 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Your Independence Day food is shrimp curry sauce

As the country celebrate its 58 years of freedom from their colonial masters, a lot of activities which we have been following have been going on, and we have been publishing couple of things to do today to enjoy the holidays, from movies to watch, to places to visit, now here is a special meal to relax at home with.

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Ingredients
  • 20-25 shrimps (peeled, devined and cleaned)
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder (more as needed)
  • 1 can (400ml) Coconut milk (Thai brand is my favorite)
  • 1-2 maggi cubes
  • Salt – to taste

Food 1

Directions
  1. Place a skillet on medium high heat. Add in the oil. Stir in minced onion. Stir fry until the onion is wilted but not brown. Add in curry powder and turmeric. Stir fry for another minute.
  2. Add in coconut milk. Season with maggi and salt. Stir well.
  3. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Add in shrimps. Simmer for another 2 minutes.
Powder room: Ruby Tandoh’s Bird’s custard creme brulee. Photograph: Louise Hagger for the Guardian

Today’s recipe: Instant custard creme brulee

This storecupboard essential forms the base for a no-fuss – and nearly instant – version of this classic pudding.

Powder room: Ruby Tandoh’s Bird’s custard creme brulee. Photograph: Louise Hagger for the Guardian
Powder room: Ruby Tandoh’s Bird’s custard creme brulee. Photograph: Louise Hagger for the Guardian


It’s not uncommon for me to step out into the world dressed up like a tin of Bird’s custard powder, decked out in primary red, yellow and blue. Of all the icons I could copy, of all the causes I could espouse, I’ve forged myself in the image of Britain’s most beloved eggless cornflour custard mix. I love this stuff: I love that if you have a tub of it in the cupboard, you have the makings of a midweek pudding – bananas and custard, a makeshift apple crumble or this back-to-basics creme brulee – no baking, no split custard, no water bath.

Bird’s custard creme brulee

If you don’t have a blowtorch for the crust, you can get quite similar results under a grill. You won’t get quite the same deep, mottled brown as you would with a blowtorch, but you’ll still get a pleasing, brittle crust.

Prep 10 min
Set 2 hr 30 min
Makes 4

1 tbsp custard powder
2 tbsp caster sugar
2 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract
200ml whole milk
200ml double cream
2-3 tbsp caster sugar, to top

Stir together the custard powder, caster sugar, egg yolks and vanilla extract, then briskly whisk in two tablespoons of the milk to make a smooth paste.

Heat the remaining milk and the cream in a small pan until they are just starting to simmer, then pour the hot mixture slowly into the golden custard base, whisking as you go. Decant the custard back into the pan and stir constantly as you bring it to a simmer. Once it is bubbling and thickened, divide between four ceramic ramekins. Refrigerate for at least two hours to cool and set.

Heat the grill as hot as it will go. Sprinkle the caster sugar in a smooth, even layer over each custard. Place carefully under the grill, as close to the heat source as you can, and keep a close eye on them as the sugar begins to liquefy, bubble and brown. (If you do have a blowtorch, just sweep it over the sugared surface until it begins to caramelise, taking care not to let it blacken and burn.)

Leave the custards to cool for a while before putting back in the fridge for half an hour. Serve with a little fruit – the tartness of raspberries is a perfect foil to the sweet, velvet custard.


  • Food styling: Emily Kydd. Prop styling: Jennifer Kay 

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Your favourite ‘Kuku Porno’ may take you to an early grave


The chicken served at some popular fast food cafes in Nairobi could be laced with a toxic cocktail of bacteria and in some cases, chemicals that could cause cancer.

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Fried chicken and chips. Photo: Mickey/Flickr


Tests commissioned by the Nation show that the ready-to-eat chicken is contaminated with bacteria such as E.coli, salmonella, staphylococcus, enterobacteriaceae and coliforms.

It also tested positive for sodium metabisulphite, a preservative that scientists have said causes cancer if consumed in large amounts.

While proper cooking and handling should eliminate most of these bacteria, these cases point to shocking laxity in public health standards at the sampled fast food cafes.

“The presence of these bacteria points a direct finger to bad cooking and hygiene practices, because they indicate that the meat has been in contact with fecal matter.

FRESH FOOD

“The person handling this food is either not cooking it properly or is not washing hands after visiting the toilet,” Dr Joseph Wahome, a toxicologist at Meru Level Five Hospital, said.

He added that heat, however, has no effect on the sodium metabisulphite, which should not be present at all in fresh food.

“Sodium metabisulphite should only be in processed food and in small quantities. Its presence in fresh meat shows that suppliers are using it to prolong shelf life, without knowing the correct quantities to apply.

“This could be particularly dangerous for those allergic to sulphur as it could give them skin eruptions or send them into anaphylactic shock,” he said.

Raw chicken from a supermarket was also found to be contaminated with the same bacteria.

CONTAMINATION

Dr Wahome said that chicken should be washed before cooking to reduce bacterial contamination, although he warned that washing had limited effect on chemical contaminants.

“There have been incidents of meat, especially beef, being preserved with formalin, the chemical used to preserve bodies in the mortuary.

“Washing would not eliminate this or the sodium metabisulphite as the chemical usually penetrates into the very fibre of the meat.

“Be wary of butcheries that seem to be completely free of houseflies since flies avoid meat that has been chemically preserved with formalin,” he said.

Milk, fruits and vegetables are also compromised, leaving Kenyans with limited options for safe foods and contributing to a growing disease-burden that continues to clog health facilities and derail economic development.

A health craze has taken over the world by storm. As more diseases are linked to lifestyle and nutrition, people are beginning to grow more conscious of their food.


SOURCE: Nairobi News

Chew it over: a guide to eating slowly

People who savour their food are apparently far less likely to be overweight or obese than fast eaters. So if you are the latter, how do you break the habit?

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Go slow: studies show that it takes up to 20 minutes for us to register that we’re full. Photo: Granger Wootz/Getty Images/Blend Images


Chew your deep-dish filled-crust pizza slowly. Slurp your thickshake with care. Do not pour cooking oil down your neck to act as a slide for your next Cinnabon.

Eat slowly. Get thin. This is the promise underlined by researchers at Japan’s Kyushu University, who pored over the data of 60,000 Japanese health insurance claimants. Slow eaters were 42% less likely to be overweight or obese than fast eaters. Even normal-speed eaters had a 29% lower risk of being overweight.

“It’s all to do with the signal to the brain,” explains performance nutritionist Elly Rees. “Studies show that it takes up to 20 minutes for us to register that we’re full. So people who overeat tend to eat too quickly.”

That 20-minute gap can be vast. If people eat more slowly they “find that they’re actually full,” Rees says.

While many of us might think that we have evolved to guzzle food as fast as we can, there are a range of ways to break the habit. Many nutritionists recommend putting down your utensils between bites. Others suggest drinking a glass of water before a meal – “a lot of hunger is mistaken thirst”, Rees suggests. Talking works, too. The best advice for most of us is simply not to eat in front of screens. Simply looking at our food helps the brain feel full.

Chewing is the point at which scientific advice and “not looking weird” clash. Many dietitians suggest that hard foods – meats and vegetables – should be chewed 20 to 30 times. Others have it pegged at the curiously precise 32.

Finally, while chewing hard, replacing your utensils, and mindfully venerating what’s on your fork go some of the way, it’s also a good idea to eat foods that are tricky to swallow.

2011 study suggested that pistachio eaters who ate unshelled nuts consumed 41% less than those who ate shelled ones, but felt just as full. Basically, eat anything with a shell or an exoskeleton, or anything that is still clawing at you as you gnaw it down.


 

When did it become fashionable to eat with a fork in the right hand?

When did it become fashionable to eat with a fork in the right hand?

The long-running series in which readers answer other readers’ questions on subjects ranging from trivial flights of fancy to profound scientific concepts.

When did it become fashionable to eat with a fork in the right hand?
Fork only required? Photo: Alamy

When did it become fashionable to eat with a fork in the right hand (for right-handers) and no knife? I am forever raging at the TV when watching period dramas and the actors are eating with one hand.

Denise Ambery


Post your answers – and new questions – below or email them to infobloomgist@gmail.com

Today’s recipe: North African bean stew with barley and winter squash

Today’s recipe: North African bean stew with barley and winter squash

Today’s recipe: North African bean stew with barley and winter squash
Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times

This warming, highly spiced stew is rich in beans, grains and chunks of sweet winter squash. Feel free to substitute other grains for the barley. Farro works particularly well. If you’d prefer something soupier, thin it with a little broth or water before serving.

  • YIELD8 to 10 servings
  • TIME1 hour 45 minutes

INGREDIENTS

  •  cup extra-virgin olive oil, more for serving
  • 2 leeks, white and green parts, diced
  • 1 bunch cilantro, leaves and stems separated
  • 1 cup finely diced fennel, fronds reserved (1/2 large fennel bulb)
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 ½ tablespoons baharat (see note)
  • ½ cinnamon stick
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 quarts chicken or vegetable broth
  • ½ cup pearled barley
  • 2 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, more as needed
  •  Large pinch saffron, crumbled (optional)
  • 4 cups cooked beans or chickpeas
  • 2 cups peeled and diced butternut squash (1 small squash)
  • ¾ cup peeled and diced turnip (1 medium)
  • ½ cup red lentils
  •  Plain yogurt, for serving
  •  Aleppo pepper or hot paprika, for serving

PREPARATION

  1. In a large pot over medium heat, heat oil and cook leeks until they begin to brown, 10 to 12 minutes.
  2. Finely chop cilantro stems. Stir into pot, along with diced fennel and garlic. Cook for 2 minutes. Stir in baharat, cinnamon and tomato paste, and cook until paste begins to caramelize, about 2 minutes.
  3. Stir in broth, 3 cups water, the barley and the salt. Bring to a gentle boil, stir in saffron, if using, and reduce heat to medium. Simmer uncovered for 40 minutes. Stir in beans, squash, turnip and lentils; cook until barley is tender, about another 20 to 30 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings, if desired. Remove cinnamon stick.
  4. Ladle stew into bowls. Spoon a dollop of yogurt on top and drizzle with olive oil. Garnish with cilantro leaves, fennel fronds and Aleppo pepper or paprika.

Tip

  • Baharat is a Middle Eastern spice mix. You can buy it at specialty markets or make your own. To make it, combine 2 tablespoons sweet paprika, 1 tablespoon ground coriander, 1 tablespoon ground cumin, 1 tablespoon ground turmeric, 2 teaspoons black pepper, 1 teaspoon grated nutmeg, 1 teaspoon ground cardamom and 1 teaspoon allspice.

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Black panther, Cholera, Babangida: Your Wednesday briefing

Hepatitis E claims a third victim in Namibia
Namibia’s Goreangab residents use contaminated water. Photo: New Era


(Want to get this briefing by email? Here’s the sign-up)

Good morning, Here are yesterday’s top stories, and a look ahead – Click on any title to read the complete story.

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Feras Fayyad’s Oscar-nominated film has come under attack as ‘western propaganda’. Photo: Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

THE film-maker behind the Oscar-nominated documentary Last Men in Aleppohas been targeted by a smear campaign that seeks to paint him as a terrorist sympathiser in the run up to the Academy Awards.

Feras Fayyad spent a year following a handful of volunteer rescue workers in the besieged Syrian city as they rushed towards bombed buildings to try and find people in the rubble. The resulting documentary has earned widespread critical praise and won awards including the Sundance grand jury prize.

However, the international recognition has been accompanied by an organized attempt to tarnish the film-maker’s reputation, following a playbook of Russia-backed disinformation and manipulation.

Bloomgist Jobs 1

President Muhammadu Buhari has been asked to call the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, to order.

Human rights lawyer, Jiti Ogunye, made the call in a statement.

Mr. Ogunye said Mr. Idris decision to declare Kassim Afegbua wanted for releasing a statement on behalf of ex-military ruler, Ibrahim Babangida, was improper.


The cholera outbreak in Chegutu is now under control, Health and Child Care Minister Dr David Parirenyatwa has said. Speaking after touring health and council facilities in Chegutu and Norton on Saturday, Dr Parirenyatwa said while Government was attending to all suspected cholera cases, no one is admitted to any hospital over the disease at the moment.

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Photo: Nancy Palus/IRIN

He said there was no need to panic over the disease, while increasing alertness in the communities.

“No one is admitted for cholera across Zimbabwe at the moment. We had 94 cases of suspected cholera and only six were positive. Unfortunately, four of these cases recorded in Chegutu were fatal,” he said.


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The pushback against an attempt to lower the superhero movie’s score on Rotten Tomatoes has shown that the culture war’s latest battleground is still raging.

You come at the king, you best not miss. Last week, an attempt to maliciously derail the record-setting rollout of Black Panther – Marvel’s upcoming blockbuster spotlighting the lithe warrior-monarch T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) – was itself promptly derailed. A scurrilous Facebook event page, whose stated purpose was to “give Black Panther a rotten audience score on Rotten Tomatoes” purported to be a grassroots protest against Disney and its “treatment of franchises and its fanboys”. Amid garbled claims that the corporation that owns Marvel had somehow paid off critics to trash the recent crop of superhero movies from their longstanding rival DC, the page organisers encouraged the use of hashtags like #DownWithDisney and #DCOverMarvel as social media rallying points.


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Photo: Twitter/Reuters

Israel has started handing out notices to 20,000 male African migrants giving them two months to leave the country or risk being thrown in jail.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government is offering the migrants, most of whom are from Sudan and Eritrea, $3,500 and a plane ticket to what it says is a safe destination in another country in sub-Saharan Africa.

The fate of some 37,000 Africans in Israel is posing a moral dilemma for a state founded as haven for Jews from persecution and a national home. The right-wing government is under pressure from its nationalist voter base to expel the migrants, while others are calling for them to be taken in.


  • Today’s recipe: Braised lamb with red wine and prunes

braised-lamb-with-red-wine-articlelarge
Sam Kaplan for The New York Times. Food stylist: Susan Ottoviano.

Though far less glorified than rib chops or legs, lamb shoulder is explosively delicious and juicy – also, cheap. Like the shoulders of pigs and cows, it is a hardworking muscle rippled with intramuscular fat, which makes it ideal for stewing or braising.

But the shoulder’s not that hardworking, which keeps it tender enough to be subjected to the shorter blasts of heat typically reserved for more elegant cuts. Here, it’s braised in a flavorful mixture of prunes, red wine and spices until tender.


Three games, 15 goals; yes, you’ve got to love the old FA Cup. A great night for Swansea City, Rochdale and Huddersfield Town, one to forget certainly for Notts County. Just the one fourth-round tie remains: can Newport County go to Wembley and knock the eight-time winners Tottenham Hotspur out? Join us tomorrow evening on the MBM to find out.


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Today’s recipe: Braised lamb with red wine and prunes

braised-lamb-with-red-wine-articlelarge
Sam Kaplan for The New York Times. Food stylist: Susan Ottoviano.

Though far less glorified than rib chops or legs, lamb shoulder is explosively delicious and juicy – also, cheap. Like the shoulders of pigs and cows, it is a hardworking muscle rippled with intramuscular fat, which makes it ideal for stewing or braising.

But the shoulder’s not that hardworking, which keeps it tender enough to be subjected to the shorter blasts of heat typically reserved for more elegant cuts. Here, it’s braised in a flavorful mixture of prunes, red wine and spices until tender.

  • YIELD4 to 6 servings
  • TIME2 hours 30 minutes

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 pounds lamb shoulder
  • 1 cup pitted prunes
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  •  Salt and pepper
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 2 teaspoons minced ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 ½ cup red wine
  • ½ cup stock or water

PREPARATION

  1. Cut lamb into 2-inch cubes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and brown in a large skillet over medium-high heat; remove.
  2. Add onion, garlic, prunes, ginger, cinnamon, salt and pepper; cook until fragrant. Add wine, stock or water and browned lamb. When the liquid boils, lower heat to a simmer, cover and cook until tender, 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours. Garnish: Parsley.
Today’s recipe: Buttermilk panna cotta with apricots

Today’s recipe: Buttermilk panna cotta with apricots

Today’s recipe: Buttermilk panna cotta with apricots
Ruby Tandoh’s buttermilk panna cotta with apricots. Photo: Louise Hagger for the Guardian


There’s not much that can’t be salvaged with butter. Here, it’s tinned apricots: thrown into a hot pan until they begin to char, then glazed with molten butter and maple syrup. Served with a tangy, silken buttermilk panna cotta, these precious little orbs are enough single-handedly to salvage the reputation of untrendy tinned fruit. You can replace the apricots with pears or even pineapple, if that’s what you’ve got lurking at the back of the cupboard. Just treat them with respect. And butter.

Serves 4

  • 2-4 gelatine leaves or vegetarian gelatine (gelatine varies in strength, so use enough to set a half-pint of liquid (285ml), according to the packet; you want a soft set for this panna cotta)
  • 150ml double cream
  • 300ml buttermilk
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 x 400g tin apricot halves in light syrup
  • 25g butter
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp toasted flaked almonds, to serve (optional)

Cut the gelatine into pieces and put in a bowl of cold water. Leave for five minutes, during which time they’ll transform from brittle shards to soft, slippery slivers.

Drain the gelatine, squeeze out any excess water, then put in a small pan with the cream. Set over a low heat, and stir continuously until the very first bubbles just start rising to the surface. Immediately turn off the heat, add the buttermilk, sugar and lemon juice, and whisk until smooth. Taste for sweetness and acidity, adding a little extra sugar or lemon accordingly.

Divide the mixture between four lightly greased ramekins or individual pudding basins, then put in the fridge to cool and set for two to three hours.

Just before you’re ready to serve, drain the apricots and pat dry with kitchen towel. Heat a nonstick frying pan or griddle on a medium-high flame and, once hot, lay in the apricot halves cut side down (if using a griddle, brush the fruit with a little oil first). Leave to colour and char for a minute or so, then flip over and cook for a minute more. Add the butter and maple syrup, then swirl around the pan to coat the apricot in the rich syrup.

To unmould the panna cottas, dip the ramekins in hot water for 20-30 seconds, then carefully flip out on to a plate. Serve the cool, quivering cream with the hot apricots, scattering over a few toasted flaked almonds for crunch, if you wish.


Food stylist: Emily Kydd. Prop stylist: Jennifer Kay.

Bujumbura's Belvédère restaurant delights the Senses

Belvédère restaurant delights the Senses – restaurant review


Despite being one of the poorest countries in Africa, Burundi is one of the most beautiful, with rolling hills surrounding the capital city of Bujumbura. The city sits on the northeastern shores of Lake Tanganyika.

Bujumbura's Belvédère restaurant delights the Senses
The brochette de capitaine served at the Belvédère Restaurant in Bujumbura, Burundi. Photo: Supplie


Locals say that the city hasn’t changed much since Independence, largely due to the political conflict that has rocked the small landlocked nation for over two decades. The wide boulevards and stone pavements give this quiet little city a unique feel.

During the three months that I stayed in Bujumbura last year, I found the city to be a juxtaposition of peace and tension. While there is a palpable air of fear of conflict resurgence, both locals and expatriates dine, drink, and dance liberally.

I visited many restaurants and coffee shops in the city and its suburbs. One of my favourite was the Belvédère Restaurant.

The Belvédère is located in the upscale Kiriri suburb, where most expatriates and diplomats live. My friend and I arrived at the restaurant at around 7pm so we missed the sunset.

No regrets though, for the view at night was magnificent, with the lights on the hills and the city below shimmering like sequins on a dark canvas, and Lake Tanganyika quietly stretching like a deep blue ribbon on the northwestern side. Unlike the hot and humid air during the day, the evening was refreshed by a cool breeze.

We were shown to our table, not very far from the view, so that we could continue taking in the scenery below. The cushioned reed seats were comfortable, against the sturdy wooden tables decked with burgundy cloths, and the vases were filled with fresh flowers.

When the waiter brought the drinks menu, my friend, a diplomat with the French Embassy in Bujumbura, recommended the virgin mojito. She said that it was the best she has ever tasted. The drink certainly lived up to its reputation.

The barista informed us that the restaurant grows its own mint just next to the kitchen.

The Belvédère has a wide selection of food — from Italian to Japanese, catering for the international community in Bujumbura. Although the waiter spoke English, I wanted to utilise my rusty French as was happy to see that he understood my order despite my Kenyan accent.

As a fish lover, I ordered the brochette de capitaine — a Nile perch skewer flavoured with onions and olive oil.

My friend asked for beef steak and chips. While we waited for the main dish, the waiter brought us some bruschetta, a classic Italian starter. The crusty bread topped with savoury garden ripened tomatoes, fresh basil, garlic and olive oil was the best way to begin the meal.

The service at Belvédère is faster than the other restaurants I had been to in Bujumbura, so before long, our food arrived. The brochette de capitaine was delectable, and I savoured it.

Above us, lanterns hang around wooden poles giving a rustic feel and radiating a peaceful ambience amidst quiet conversations and soft French music. As we were about to finish our meal, the proprietor came to our table.

Bonsoir. Tout va bien? (Good evening. Is everything alright?

Oui! (Yes!) We both said.

We let him know that the food was excellent and could we have more virgin mojitos? He motioned the barista and two glasses came right up. We were too full for dessert, but the choices on the menu were tantalising. Next time I am in Bujumbura, I will definitely have some.


SOURCE: The East Afrcan

Today’s recipe: Moroccan chickpeas with chard

An array of aromatic spices, along with chopped dried apricots and preserved lemons give this chickpea stew a complex, deep flavor, while chard stems and leaves lighten and freshen it up.

clark-chickpea-stew-superjumbo

Served with couscous or flatbread, it’s a satisfying meatless meal on its own. Or serve it with roasted chicken, beef or lamb as a hearty side dish. If you can find rainbow chard, you’ll get the best color here, but any chard variety (red, Swiss, yellow) will work well.


  • YIELD6 to 8 servings
  • TIME2 1/2 hours, plus overnight soaking

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 Spanish onions, chopped
  • 1 large jalapeño pepper, seeded if desired, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger root
  • 2 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  •  Pinch of cayenne
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 fennel bulb, diced (save fronds for garnish)
  • 1 very large bunch chard, stems sliced 1/2-inch thick, leaves torn into bite-size pieces
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 large turnip, peeled and diced
  • 1 pound dried chickpeas, soaked overnight in water to cover or quick-soaked (see note)
  •  cup diced dried apricots
  • 2 tablespoons chopped preserved lemon, more to taste
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro, more for garnish

PREPARATION

  1. Heat oil in a large pot over high heat. Add onion and jalapeño and sauté until limp, 3 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, salt, turmeric, paprika, cinnamon, cumin, black pepper and cayenne and sauté until they release their fragrance, about 2 minutes. Add tomato paste and sauté for another minute, until darkened but not burned. (If tomato paste looks too dark too quickly, lower heat.)
  2. Add fennel, chard stems, carrot and turnip and continue to sauté until vegetables start to soften, about 10 minutes. Add chickpeas and water to barely cover.
  3. Return heat to high if you lowered it and bring to a simmer. Partly cover pot, lower heat to medium low, and simmer for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until chickpeas are softened. Add more water if needed (this should be like a stew).
  4. Add chard leaves, apricots and preserved lemon to pot and continue simmering until chard is tender, about 5 minutes longer. Season with more salt if desired, and serve garnished with cilantro and reserved fennel fronds.

    Tip

    • To quick-soak chickpeas, bring them to a boil in water to cover by 1 inch. Turn off the heat and let soak for 1 hour. Drain.

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‘A good first day in a new job’ – restaurant review

‘A good first day in a new job’ – restaurant review

Declaring in print that any new joint is a blissful find is probably a spurious blessing. Presently, Fordwich, three miles east of Canterbury and officially Britain’s smallest town, is gorgeously unspoiled. By this I mean Fordwich is unbesmirched by Londoners, who, as I write, lie a mere 63 miles away and are now reading that Dan Smith, an ex-Clove Club chef, has taken harness of a gargantuan country boozer in this tiny town.

‘A good first day in a new job’ – restaurant review
The Fordwich Arms: it’s currently unbesmirched by Londoners. But for how long? Photograph: Sophia Evans for the Observer

Recall, if you will, the plight of the poor people of Seasalter in north Kent when Stephen Harris transmogrified The Sportsman into a restaurant-world sacred cow. Seasalter did not deserve the metropolitan elite washing up daily, in their peculiar trousers, whiffling on about keto-diet options and normalising £11 for a slice of salt-baked celeriac.

Fordwich parish council should know that within 20 minutes of alighting the fast train from St Pancras to Canterbury West (one hour!), passing the Goods Shed farmers’ market selling local cheese and ale, then settling in at The Fordwich Arms with a glass of blanc de blanc and a plate of freshly baked fougasse, I was checking property prices. You poor Fordwich bastards. Centuries of remote rural splendour ruined by me ambling about with my labrador, clutching a bag of Cropwell Bishop stilton and looking like a boil-washed Noel Fielding.

But this is what good food does. It moves people to want to move house. Smith, a former Observer young chef of the year, has teamed up with fiancee Tash Norton and ex-Clove Club sommelier Guy Palmer-Brown in taking on a pub, dining room and, notably, capacious beer garden overlooking the River Stour. This garden, which Smith vows will stay dog-friendly, is made for lost summer lunches gone wildly awry. But, in January, we take root in the elegant dining area, separate from the bar, to umm and ahh through a menu which is that peaceable level of challenging, while warmly reassuring at the same time.

Yes, house-cured meats, Maldon rock oysters and local crab. But also plump pheasant dumplings – think big, wobbly, dim sum dumplings, not your nan’s suet chestcloggers – stuffed with Stour valley bird in a vivid, roast onion-flecked broth. Or a parfait of chicken liver with gingerbread and red grape. A pre-lunch amuse-bouche – I don’t hold with the savagery of the modern term “snack” – is a teensy cheese tartlet served in a flip-top box of decorative pebble. I adore that The Fordwich Arms is not afeared to have bold strokes of Michelin-manner whimsy – rare sika venison on kale with plum – and exemplary straightforwardness, too, such as a piece of fresh grilled Kentish mackerel with al dente broccoli and the sharp, sweet prang of pickled shallot.

‘A good first day in a new job’ – restaurant review
Michelin-style whimsy: sika venison. pumpkin and braised shoulder crumble Photograph: Sophia Evans for the Guardian

The Fordwich’s vegetarian option will live on in my heart, or more accurately my phone’s photo library, as a death row lunch that could soften a summary execution. Sweetcorn panisse – thick chips hewn of a stiff, carb-a-licious corn batter that’s alive with tarragon –come perched on a corn chowder with a wobbly confit duck egg yolk.

Why can’t all vegetarian food be like this? I’m a huge fan of the not-killing-stuff option on any menu. I’ve made it a 2018 resolution to wage war on all chefs who offer me a meat-free afterthought of pre-made tagliatelle avec low-excitement mushroom (no porcini, perish the thought of a shiitake – that’s 11 quid, please). Please refer to The Fordwich Arms, where that sweetcorn panisse comes festooned with girolles. My friend Kate cooed through a plate of Lincolnshire lamb, titivated three ways and accompanied by turnip and spinach. We drank a glass of riesling trocken, then some Château De Champ des Treilles.

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The Fordwich Arms’ sticky gingerbread, baked cheesecake and roasted quince. Photograph: Sophia Evans for the Guardian

I am chalking this up as a good first day in a new job. If you go, which you really must (my visit was three weeks after the team opened, so it will only improve), do demand the baked vanilla cheesecake with roasted quince on a layer of sticky gingerbread. Or, if you’re no longer hungry but still greedy, order the pavlova, because it’s very pretty: a soft, sticky, brown sugar meringue on tartish blackberries with yoghurt.

As we settled the bill, they sent chunks of homemade fudge. I ate one and pushed another into my Mulberry Bayswater so it could inevitably clog around my house keys and serve as an aide-memoire as to why I did not need a second glass of bordeaux. Book a table at Dan Smith’s place sooner rather than later. The food scene is coming. I apologise in advance, Fordwich. Your sleepy hollow just got woke.

 The Fordwich Arms King Street, Fordwich, near Canterbury, Kent, 01227 710444. Open all week, noon-11pm (10.30pm Sun). About £40 a head, plus drinks and service.

Food 10/10
Atmosphere 8/10
Worth the trek? 10/10

Today's recipe: Lasagna

Today’s recipe: Lasagna

In 2001, Regina Schrambling went on a week long odyssey in search of the ultimate lasagna recipe. She tested several, and finally found her ideal in a mash-up of recipes from Giuliano Bugialli and Elodia Rigante, both Italian cookbook authors.

“If there were central casting for casseroles, this one deserved the leading role. But its beauty was more than cheese deep. This was the best lasagna I had ever eaten. The sauce was intensely flavored, the cheeses melted into creaminess as if they were bechamel, the meat was just chunky enough, and the noodles put up no resistance to the fork. Most important, the balance of pasta and sauce was positively Italian. At last I could understand why my neighbor Geoff had told me, as I dragged home more bags in our elevator, that all-day lasagna is the only kind worth making.”


  • YIELD: 8 to 10 servings
  • TIME: 4 hours

INGREDIENTS

FOR THE SAUCE:

  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium red onions, finely diced
  • 2 large cloves minced garlic
  • 8 ounces pancetta, diced
  •  Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 ½ cups good red wine, preferably Italian
  • 2 28-ounce cans Italian plum tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • ¾ pound ground sirloin
  • ¼ cup freshly grated pecorino Romano
  • 2 eggs
  • 10 sprigs fresh parsley, leaves only, washed and dried
  • 2 large whole cloves garlic
  • ½ cup flour
  • 1 pound Italian sausage, a mix of hot and sweet

FOR THE LASAGNA:

  • 1 15-ounce container ricotta cheese
  • 2 extra-large eggs
  • 2 cups freshly grated pecorino Romano
  • ½ cup chopped parsley
  • 1 pound mozzarella, grated
  • 16 sheets fresh lasagna noodles, preferably Antica Pasteria

PREPARATION

  1. For the sauce, heat 1/2 cup oil in a large heavy Dutch oven or kettle over low heat. Add the onions, minced garlic and pancetta, and cook, stirring, for 10 minutes, until the onions are wilted. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Raise heat slightly, add the wine and cook until it is mostly reduced, about 20 minutes. Crush the tomatoes into the pan, and add their juice. Add the tomato paste and 2 cups lukewarm water. Simmer for 1 hour.
  2. Combine the sirloin, cheese and eggs in a large bowl. Chop the parsley with the whole garlic until fine, then stir into the beef mixture. Season lavishly with salt and pepper. Using your hands, mix until all the ingredients are well blended. Shape into meatballs and set aside.
  3. Heat the remaining oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Dust the meatballs lightly with flour, shaking off excess, and lay into the hot oil. Brown the meatballs on all sides (do not cook through) and transfer to the sauce.
  4. In a clean skillet, brown the sausages over medium-high heat. Transfer to the sauce. Simmer 1 1/2 hours.
  5. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the ricotta, eggs, pecorino Romano, parsley and all but 1 cup of the mozzarella. Season well with salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly.
  6. Remove the meatballs and sausage from the sauce, and set aside to cool slightly, then chop coarsely. Spoon a thick layer of sauce into the bottom of a 9-by-12-inch lasagna pan. Cover with a layer of noodles. Spoon more sauce on top, then add a third of the meat and a third of the cheese mixture. Repeat for 2 more layers, using all the meat and cheese. Top with a layer of noodles, and cover with the remaining sauce. Sprinkle reserved mozzarella evenly over the top. Bake 30 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

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Today's recipe: Haitian pork griot

Today’s recipe: Haitian pork griot

Pork griot (pronounced gree-oh) is one of Haiti’s most loved dishes, and it’s easy to see why. Big chunks of pork shoulder are marinated in citrus and Scotch bonnet chiles, then simmered until very tender before being fried crisp and brown. This recipe departs from the traditional in that instead of frying the meat, it’s broiled.

Today's recipe: Haitian pork griot

The pork still gets charred edges and bronzed surface, but broiling is easier and less messy to do. However feel free to fry if the skillet calls out to you. And do make the traditional cabbage, carrot and chile pepper pickle called pikliz(pick-lees) for serving, which gives the rich meat just the right spicy-vinegar punch.


Ingredients

  • 1 small Scotch bonnet or habanero chile
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 small green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 small red bell pepper, diced
  • ¼ cup fresh chopped Italian parsley, more for serving
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt, more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme, plus more thyme leaves for serving
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup cane vinegar or cider vinegar
  •  Juice of 1 orange
  •  Juice of 1 lemon
  •  Juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 pounds pork shoulder, not too lean, cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil (melted) or olive oil, more as needed
  •  Cooked rice, for serving

Preparation

  1. Quarter the chile and remove the seeds and membranes. Finely chop one quarter; leave the rest in whole pieces. Handle pieces carefully, preferably while wearing gloves; they are extremely hot.

  2. Transfer quartered and chopped chiles to a large Dutch oven or heavy pot with a lid. Add onion, bell peppers, parsley, salt, pepper, thyme and garlic. Stir in vinegar, orange juice, lemon juice, lime juice and Worcestershire sauce. Mix in pork. Cover pot and refrigerate overnight.

  3. The next day, remove from refrigerator at least 1 hour and no more than 3 hours before cooking. Heat oven to 325 degrees. Place pot over high heat and bring liquid to a simmer; cover and put pot in oven. Cook, stirring occasionally, until meat is very tender, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

  4. Using a slotted spoon, remove meat from pot, allowing all excess liquid to drip back into the pot and picking any bits of vegetables or herbs off the meat. Transfer meat to a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle meat with 2 tablespoons oil and salt to taste, and toss gently to coat.

  5. Strain braising liquid, discarding any solids. Return sauce to pot and simmer over high heat until reduced by about half, about 25 to 30 minutes.

  6. Meanwhile, heat the broiler. Broil meat, tossing occasionally, until meat is evenly browned, about 5 to 10 minutes. You want it nicely browned in spots but not so brown that it dries out.

  7. To serve, drizzle meat with additional oil and top with sauce, parsley and thyme leaves. Serve on a bed of rice with pikliz on the side.

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By Olaleye Omoteniola Akinwalere

Hullo people. How was your day? I’mhoping you would say fine instead of hectic, stressful or uneventful. Whatever your reply is, cheer up. Fellas, the weekend is upon us! It’s time to relax, unwind and get your groove on

To accompany you on this weekend journey and further add spice to your weekend groove is this recipe I’m posting today. Give it a trial and come back later to thank me. *Winks*

Ingredients 

  • – Chicken breasts and drumsticks 
  • – Onions
  • – Water (Just enough to cook the chicken and make the soup)
  • – Salt
  • – Seasoning cubes
  • – Scent leaves
  • – 2-3 fingers of unripe plantains 
  • – Grounded pepper/Scotch bonnets/Habanero pepper

Directions 

  • – Cut your chicken into desirable sizes
  • – Wash chicken 
  • – Boil the chicken with salt, onions, seasoning cubes and pepper.
  • – While chicken is boiling, peel your plantains and cut into small sizes
  • – Add the plantains and leave to boil with the chicken 
  • – Add the scent leaves
  • – Constantly check and stir vigorously to thicken the soup and prevent burning 
  • – When both the chicken and plantains are cooked, turn heat off
  • – Serve hot

It can be eaten alone or with poundo, semo or pounded yam.

OPINION: Jollof rice and other matters

I was amused to no end the other day by the storm-in-a-tea-cup matter of jollof rice, our own very dear jollof rice, when the irrepressible and dramatic CNN reporter Richard Quest paid a PR visit to Lagos Nigeria.

basmati-jollof-rice-2

A Nigerian government official who may have been mandated to do public relations for his ‘imaginary in-laws’ in Senegal argued that jollof rice is a delicacy from another country! And I said, ‘our own dear jollof rice? Something that I grew up on, looked forward to eating, and made a feast of each time it graced the table? Something my mother, like most mothers, my sisters and later my wife became expert in preparing? Something that was a must-eat at parties, whether by the rich or the poor? What did it matter to me anyway if jollof rice as the man knew it was first prepared by Senegalese or Congolese or Hottentots?

A hot argument then followed on social media. You know, the social media world is a dark place. You can hide behind your phone, lie down on a comfortable bed or the hard surface of a mud house in Koko and insult anybody in the world. People are allowed to pontificate on subjects they know nothing about. Some abused the Nigerian official, calling him names I can’t mention here in a respectable paper. Jollof is Nigerian. The word ‘jollof’ derives from ‘Wollof’. God punish you for taking our jollof away. You could have for nationalistic reasons have remained silent! All kinds of inanities! It’s called social media, report yourself, show your ignorance or your nakedness, literally or figuratively!

By the way Richard Quest’s visit was quite sweet. You know, with Quest reporting positively from Lagos about our dear native land, the world would take notice. His voice, his zest and aplomb could be seductively infectious. One could easily miss it when he is sugar-coating after having enough reasons to do so. He stressed the positive, needling us a bit on the power generation and supply problem, and assured the world that we were up and about, about our national challenges. Which was good; with a President who has sworn to wrestle kleptocracy to the ground, we should be happy and advertise it. It does not really matter that the hero is supinely reclining somewhere in a cold room in the Queen’s country, receiving treatment for age-related issues, much unlike our hero in the epic.

There was something somewhat disquieting about the nature of the broadcasts. Did I feel that it was essentially image-laundering? Wondered why he didn’t go to Abuja, report from Abuja, the seat of the nation’s government. I wondered aloud too whether he summoned all the big officials, including our Oil Minister to a dark spot in a dark night in Lagos to report to the bright world. Is it because Lagos is the commercial capital of the country? Well, that is for another day. Let me return to the heart of my narrative, the jollof rice matter, lest I be accused of gerrymandering like a female story teller!

Well, jollof rice! I grew up on jollof rice. We looked forward to it every evening, as soon as rice took over the favourite spot for dinner. Time was when rice was especially for occasions; then it became a Sunday affair. These days, it is a must for every family every day, such that some, particularly daughters of delicate disposition, eat it three times a day with dodo. May be it is because it is easy to prepare. Indeed, with some tomato and pepper and onion blended or chopped and thrown into a pot of boiling rice, with some palm or vegetable oil, be sure that jollof has arrived, the type my mother used to refer to as ‘okpariku’, (how-for-do type of jollof); it is also the typical students’ version. Others add all kinds of stuff to make it more than the ordinary jollof. For those who know, jollof has different grades, different quality. In Pidgin English, we say ‘jollof pass jollof’!

While thinking about the jollof rice matter one of the things that came to my mind was whether we have now made jollof rice a money spinner, a national and cultural asset, whether we now export if to the world as the Chinese have done with their cuisine. I also wondered whether we have started growing rice to feed the nation or to feed the world. Have we developed our brand of rice that we could universally push as ours? I once visited a Nigerian restaurant in Chicago. I had been in the U.S. for some weeks eating what we in Delta State would call ‘menemene’, and was therefore hungry for ‘swallow’. Two friends, one from India and the other from Palestine accompanied me to the restaurant in the hope that they might take a bite. When they took a look at the mound of pounded yam in my plate they decided to watch I would demolish the hill. I wasn’t amused that my food could not attract the taste bud of my international friends. Yet I was able to dine in Indian and Chinese restaurants.

I do hope that going forward the Nigerian version of jollof rice would take us forward in cultural tourism. Picture a long queue of visitors arriving Murtala Muhammed or Nnamdi Azikiwe Airports respectively and the sweet aroma of our jollof rice hits their nostrils and they ask ‘where is that aroma coming from’; and their guide would say ‘it’s Nigerian jollof’ and they spend the day eating jollof till they drop! Of course the rice would be harvest from Egbema in Ekiti State or Abakaliki in Ebonyi State. The protein in the delicacy would be Nigerian goat meat or beef from Kaura Namoda, not Niger Republic or Chad or some miserable hamlet in the desert outside Nigeria. Picture also a signpost at Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco carrying ‘Nigerian Jollof Available’, and there is a long queue of Chinese and Japanese visitors jostling to have a taste of our Jollof.

So when we eat jollof or sardine or ‘corned beef’, let us remember that we can easily produce those items here in Lagos or Kano or Warri and build up our foreign reserves. That it doesn’t matter who cooked the rice in a special way first; what matters is what we have done with it. As Sapele wisdom says, a girl may have passed through many hands; it is the man who finally keeps her in the house as wife that can be said to have won the jollof of her heart, the ultimate trophy!

Banga rice (The improvised version)

I’ve been thinking all day of the particular recipe to post today but I just couldn’t come up with anything exciting, and while I was sitting there, just playing with my phone and hoping that an idea would come soon, I got it! Eureka! Just like that, it landed in my palms.

So, I remembered this delicacy my bunk mate taught me how to make while we were in school. It’s called Banga rice but most of the time, we didn’t cook the main dish, rather we made the one known as the ‘improvised version’. We did this because we were in school and it could be stressful if we had to make our banga concentrate from the scratch. So, instead 

we made use of palm oil. I hope you’ll have as much fun reading and trying out this recipe asmuch as I did while writing it. Ciao!

Ingredients 

  • – Palm oil
  • – Scotch bonnets 
  • – 2 big red onions
  • – Smoked fish (as much as you want)
  • – 1 tbsp ground crayfish 
  • – 2 seasoning cubes (star/knorr)
  • – Salt to taste
  • – 2-3 cups of rice 
  • – Scent leaves/utazi leaves
  • – Water (as required)

Instructions 

  • – Rinse and chop scotch bonnets into thin bits
  • – Rinse and chop red onions as well 
  • – Wash the smoked fish, debone and break into big pieces
  • – Rinse the scent/utazi leaves and chop finely 
  • – Wash your rice and set aside Cooking Directions
  • – Bring the rice to boil until it is almost completely cooked 
  • – Drain in a colander and set aside
  • – Now, put your saucepan on the cooker and add palm oil
  • – Make sure the palm oil is just enough for the quantity of rice you’re cooking. You don’t want your rice to be too oily.
  • – After the oil has been heated enough, add onions, scotch bonnets with smoked fish and fry over medium heat.
  • – Add salt to taste, remember to add just a little salt because the rice already has salt in it.
  • – Add ground crayfish, scent leaves and seasoning cubes.
  • – After your sauce has been cooked, slowly add the rice to it in small quantities while you keep turning it as you add the rice. This is to make sure the rice absorbs the sauce.
  • – After every bit of rice has been added to the sauce, add a little water and leave to cook over medium heat for five minutes.
  • – When you’re sure there’s no more water left in the rice, turn off the heat.

Serve hot.

This delicacy can be eaten with chicken, beef, goat meat or as the spirit leads. Lol. It is best enjoyed when it is still hot.

Kale and peanut butter: The Green smoothie recipe loaded with Kale, Peanut Butter, and Joy

Kale and peanut butter: The Green smoothie recipe loaded with Kale, Peanut Butter, and Joy

You love the classic peanut butter combos, like bananas and peanut butter and chocolate and peanut butter. Now, get ready to fall in love with a new one: kale and peanut butter.

Kale and peanut butter: The Green smoothie recipe loaded with Kale, Peanut Butter, and Joy

This green smoothie recipe is guaranteed to make you a fan of this power couple—not only because of its taste but because it’s a nutritional powerhouse.

You already know kale is a superfood green; it supplies more than 650 percent of your recommended daily value (RDV) of vitamin A and more than 900 percent of your RDV of vitamin K in a single cup, plus more iron per ounce than beef (when cooked) and 45 types of flavonoids (which have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties).

If you’re a PB addict, you can probably recite the health benefits of peanuts by heart; they’re loaded with healthy fats that help reduce your total and LDL (bad) cholesterol. Combine these two delicious, healthy superfoods, and you really can’t lose.

If this green smoothie was *mind-blowing* for you, give these other kale smoothies and peanut butter smoothies a try.

Kale Peanut Butter Green Smoothie

Ingredients

  • 1 cup kale, packed
  • 1 banana, sliced
  • 2 tbs peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup ice
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • Chia seeds (optional)

Directions

  1. Add kale to the blender first, then banana and peanut butter, followed by the rest of the ingredients.
  2. Blend until smooth, garnish with chia seeds (optional), and enjoy!

P.S. Next time your kale is about to spoil, or your banana is getting a little too brown, don’t toss them—freeze them! Prep the ingredients (wash and slice as necessary), then store in an airtight freezer bag.

Next time you’re craving a one of these smoothies, you’ll have the ingredients (minus the peanut butter, almond milk, and ice) ready to go. From there, just add liquid ingredients first, then solid ingredients, and blend.

Rice is one of the most popular foods in Nigeria

‘102 bags of plastic rice’ confiscated in Nigeria

Nigeria has confiscated 102 bags of “plastic rice” smuggled into the country by unscrupulous businessmen, the customs service says.

Rice is one of the most popular foods in Nigeria
Rice is one of the most popular foods in Nigeria. Photo: GETTY Images


Lagos customs chief Haruna Mamudu said the fake rice was intended to be sold in markets during the festive season.

He said the rice was very sticky after it was boiled and “only God knows what would have happened” if people ate it.

The Customs Area Controller of F.O.U. Comptroller Mohammed Haruna, on Tuesday in Lagos said that the commodity was stored for distribution as Yuletide gifts for the public.

Haruna said that officers of the unit intercepted the plastic rice along Ikeja area on Monday, adding that a suspect was arrested in connection with the seizure.

He said, “Before now, I thought it was a rumour that the plastic rice is all over the country but with this seizure, I have been totally convinced that such rice exists.

“We have done the preliminary analysis on the plastic rice. After boiling, it was sticky and only God knows what would have happened if people consumed it.

It is not clear where the seized bags came from but rice made of plastic pellets was found in China last year.

Investigations are under way to establish how much of the contraband has already been sold.

The customs official called on “economic saboteurs who see yuletide season as a peak period for their nefarious acts to desist from such illegal” business activity.

“The unit has decided other operational modalities that will make them run for their monies and count their losses.”

He described smuggling as a global phenomenon, adding that such act could not be curbed entirely but could be brought to its barest minimum.

Haruna appreciated well-meaning Nigerians who provided the service with prompt information that led to the discovery of the bags of plastic rice.

The controller, however, advised the media to educate the public on the existence of plastic rice, adding that it was no longer a rumour.

Haruna assured the public that the distribution point of the particular plastic rice seized by the unit had been blocked with immediate effect.

He said that investigation was still ongoing.

The controller said the unit would handover the plastic rice to the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control for proper investigation.

Mr Mamudu did not explain how the plastic rice was made but said it had been branded as “Best Tomato Rice”.


SOURCE: The Bloomgist/Punch/BBC

 

American pancakes

FoodPrep: The American pancakes

These pancakes are light and fluffy and great for a weekend brunch. Continue reading “FoodPrep: The American pancakes”

baked peppers with tomatoes and feta. Photograph: Jonathan Lovekin for the Observer

Bloomgist recipe: baked peppers with tomatoes and feta

A stuffed vegetable dish that’s delicious and versatile

baked peppers with tomatoes and feta. Photograph: Jonathan Lovekin for the Observer
baked peppers with tomatoes and feta. Photograph: Jonathan Lovekin for the Observer


It is the season for stuffed vegetables. Aubergines with cinnamon-spiced onions; courgettes with crumbs and parmesan; tomatoes with soft, garlicky orzo and, of course, the sweet bell pepper – this last lending itself to anything from minced lamb with cumin and garlic to a jumble of tomatoes, olives and feta.

The recipe

Halve 4 large, ripe peppers and remove and discard any stalks, cores or seeds. Set the peppers, cut side up, in a roasting tin.

Halve 350g of cherry tomatoes and put them in a mixing bowl. Crumble 200g of feta into large pieces and add to the tomatoes. Stone 16 olives, adding them to the bowl with a grinding of black pepper (no salt).

Stir in 8 tsp of basil pesto then spoon it into the halved peppers. Pour enough olive oil into each to come up to the top. Bake for about 25 minutes at 180/gas mark 4, until the top is lightly brown.

The trick

This is one of those dishes that seems more appropriate warm than hot, so leave the peppers to settle for 20 minutes before eating. While they are in the oven you may want to cover the dish with foil to stop the pesto from darkening.

The twist

Fist-sized beefsteak tomatoes are a good vehicle for filling. Hollow out the cores and seeds and stuff them with the feta, pesto, olives and small, golden tomatoes. A splash of red wine vinegar is a good trick, sprinkled over the dish just before it goes in the oven, to sharpen its edges.


SOURCE: The Bloomgist/Nigel Slater/Guardian UK

Cucumber-watermelon salad recipe

Asian (hoisin sauce) and Mexican (jalapeño) combine in this bright summer salad, which Continue reading “Cucumber-watermelon salad recipe”

Freezer confusion … British people do not know how to use their freezer properly. Photograph

Tips on how to freeze food – without getting ill

A nation is frozen with indecision thanks to its ignorance of basic food preservation. Follow these Continue reading “Tips on how to freeze food – without getting ill”

Reasons you should stop using tomato paste to cook

Due to the increased price of tomatoes, Nigerians have been forced to use tomato paste more as we basically

Continue reading “Reasons you should stop using tomato paste to cook”

Some easy tricks to lose weight in just few days


By Hayden Jiggins


Losing weight is never easy; while it is all about Calorie balance (which makes the concept easy to understand), it’s hard in reality because psychologically and physiologically our bodies tend to fight back.

Ingredients for my fasting drink above.


Here are some tips more-so than tricks, to help lose weight:

  1. It is okay to be hungry, it’s not ok to starve.

    Seriously. This holds even more truth when a person is considered obese. Leptin and ghrelin are two hormones that influence hunger and energy balance, and both are disturbed in an obese state. Leptin is secreted by adipose tissue where it crosses the BBB where ideally it signals for inhibition of food intake. Ironically, circulating levels of leptin are higher in states of obesity, and so researchers have noted that obese people tend to be leptin resistant – so they constantly feel hungry.

    So if you get to the end of the day, have eaten enough but are still hungry, that’s ok. You will have to learn to fight through these hunger pangs.

  2. Don’t do a complete overhaul of your dietary habits on your new ‘diet’.

    For one, as soon as people realise they need to change for the better of their health/ well-being, they automatically consider themselves on a diet and proceed to overhaul EVERYTHING. Whether that means eliminating entire food groups, trying out the latest dieting fad, or something else along these lines, this is a very common approach people take. Don’t get me wrong, it CAN work for some, but for most it will backfire and you will fail. If you aren’t accustomed to these protocols, you are not planning for the long term.

    Start small, try including more vegetables in your daily intake if you know you could use more. Try smaller portions of less nutrient dense foods but still feel free to include your daily treat. It’s not the individual foods that got you big in the first place, it’s how much you were eating.

 

2. Play around with meal frequency.

This is one I’ve found that works for many people. The saying that more meals increases the metabolic fire is just pseudoscience, but this approach can help limit unnecessary snacking. If you find that the standard 3 meals a day approach is too hard to maintain, what I get people to do is plan food intake around those times but then split the meals in half so they can eat what they might eat in one meal over two instead. Ultimately you will have to find a schedule that works around family/ work life, but the take home message is to not allow snack meals to exceed your daily Calorie intake.

3. Enjoy food and variety!

Losing weight does not have to be boring, keep it interesting and use it as a time to play around with spices, flavour combinations and other such things to keep it interesting. Keep portions in check, maximise vegetables and limit strategies to ‘bulk’ up each meal. This ties in with #1. Allow yourself to enjoy the foods you like, just be sensible with how much of everything you are putting away.

4. Be mindful of what you do on the ‘weekend’s.

What people often don’t realise is that a couple of splurges can undo the progress you have made throughout the week, especially if your Calorie deficit only ranges <500kcals per day (which I tend to recommend). It would have to be a heck of a splurge to undo 2500 kcals worth of progress, but it can be done, especially over two days. Just be mindful, that’s all.

5. There is no easy way, despite what people may tell you.

There are no tricks, no hacks, no silver bullet. Every pound you lose will be a struggle (well, not every pound but you get the idea). Your body has mechanisms in place to ‘fight back’, and so it can and it will. Stick it out.

There are plenty more tips I could give, but honestly there is no hacks, just eat less.


Hayden Jiggins, BSR in Exercise Science, study clinical nutrition and work within the field

Responses originally published on Quora. With credit to above mentioned contributors.


SOURCE: The Bloomgist/Quora/Tom Chandler/Hayden Jiggins


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