The Cherry on Top
Modern lifestyle advice with a Traditional Chinese Medicine twist
Not sure what you might be cooking or eating with your loved one(s) tomorrow but today lets look at rhubarb. If you grow your own you might be forcing it under a cloche or simply buying it at the grocery store fresh.
Research attributes rhubarb for aiding digestion with excellent source of fibre, provides vitamin K for healthy bone growth and neuron function in the brain, natural antioxidation from vitamins C and A, as well as anti-infection properties, healthy skin, mucous membranes, vision, and potential cancer protection. So quite beneficial.
The temperature of rhubarb is cooling and it has a bitter taste. In TCM terms, it might used if someone is experiencing 'sluggish' bowels. It has the ability to move 'stagnation' this might described as bloating, constipation or the feeling of over eating. It is also attributed to moving blood, so its great for circulation.
Many of us will think rhubarb pie, well I do! But here is a savoury recipe (and healthy)
Mackerel with soy, ginger & rhubarb
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 20-25 minutes
100g forced rhubarb
1 whole medium mackerel, cleaned, head and tail removed
2cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and shredded
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
¼ tsp dried chilli flakes
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp soft brown sugar
1 tbsp cider vinegar
1 Preheat the oven to 190°C, gas mark 5. Oil a large piece of foil. Cut the rhubarb into 7cm lengths, then each length into long, thin slices. Arrange in the middle of the foil. Place the mackerel on top of the rhubarb.
2 Season the mackerel, then scatter over the ginger, garlic and chilli, pushing some into the cavity of the fish. Sprinkle the soy sauce, sugar and cider vinegar over the top. Fold in the sides of the foil and make a pleat along the top to make a neat parcel enclosing the fish.
3 Place the parcel on a baking sheet and cook for 20-25 minutes until the fish is just cooked through. It should come easily away from the bone when you put a knife into the middle. Serve with steamed rice and stir-fried pak choi.
Good afternoon, I hope your January has been full of good vibes for 2019.
Why not consider leeks? part of the onion/ allium family, They contain a large amount of flavonoids, specifically kaempferol which protects your blood vessel lining from damage, as well they have a high content in vitamin B-folate which impacts our levels of homocysteine. If homocysteine raises to high levels in the body it can affect cardiovascular health. Research also shows that leeks have low amounts of pesticides compared to other veggies.
From a TCM view, leeks are warm in temperature, and have a variant of flavour from pungent, sweet and sour. Any type of onion will break down rich foods which in turn prevents accumulation of damp as well as stimulating digestion.
I know everyone enjoys 'cheesy leeks' but why not try this simple salad?
Leek & Seaweed Salad
3 x 6 inch strips of wake seaweed
1 TBSP cider vinegar
1/2 TBSP sesame oil
Garnish with finely sliced red pepper or toasted walnut
Soak the wake for five to ten minutes and remove the tough central rib. Chop and steam the leek adding the sliced wake for the last 30 seconds. Pour on the vinegar and oil, ad sprinkle with garnish. Serve warm or at room temperature.
From: Daverick Leggett, Recipes for Self Healing
High in antioxidants containing beta carotene and Vit C & B this root vegetable is supportive for the digestive system and may have beneficial effect on providing a balanced diet in reducing cancer risks.
From a TCM perspective they are sweet in taste, neutral in temperature and provide support for the stomach and spleen. Sweet potatoes are considered a 'tonic' for patients who may suffer with digestive issues. Versatile as you can use them as a mash, bake them whole or cut thinly to make a dauphinoise.
Try this latest recipe from Waitrose Food:
Smoky roast sweet potato wedges
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 50 minutes
Total time: 1 hour
Serves: 3 as a side
550g (3 medium) sweet potatoes, scrubbed, each sliced lengthways into 8-10 wedges
2 tbsp sunflower or light olive oil
½ tsp hot smoked paprika
1 red chilli, sliced
1½ tbsp maple syrup
50g smoked almonds * , slivered or roughly chopped
1. Preheat the oven to 200˚C, gas mark 6. Line a large baking sheet with parchment. Toss the sweet potato wedges with the oil and paprika; season and spread out on the baking sheet in a single layer. Cook for 35 minutes.
2. Remove the wedges from the oven and add the sliced chilli, maple syrup and smoked almonds, tossing through with a spatula. Return to the oven and cook for a further 15 minutes, until the potatoes are soft and caramelised and the almonds toasted. Serve straight away.
Cranberries, not just for Christmas!
Beneficial in a rich source of Vit C, Vit E, Vit K1, Manganese and Copper, they have a high antioxidant level. Well known to help urinary tract infections, but only if you use a concentrate, store bought cranberry juice won't help. I suggest Biona cranberry juice, water it down a bit as it will taste very sour!
If consumed regularly research to suggests cranberries can reduce the risk of stomach cancer and reduce cardiovascular disease.
In TCM terms cranberry is sour & sweet, temperature is cold and aids in clearing 'damp and heat' which is what we refer to in chinese medicine as a bladder infection with hot or cold symptoms.
But how do you eat cranberries? probably not raw, so ideal in juice concentrate or cooked down or using the raw fruit in baking. Try homemade cranberry sauce for your turkey or any poultry.
2 cups granulated sugar, (alternatives may include Xylitol or Stevia, apple juice, or just reducing the sugar here)
1 orange ; juiced and zest grated
1 lime ; juiced and zest grated
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup red wine
1 tbsp fresh ginger ; finely chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 2-inch cinnamon stick
1 1/2 lbs fresh cranberries
1/4 cup orange liqueur
1. Combine all ingredients EXCEPT for the fresh cranberries and orange liqueur in a heavy pot.
2. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until sugar dissolves.
3. Bring to a boil and let boil for about 3 minutes.
4. Stir in remaining ingredients and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes. Most of the cranberries should have "popped" by this point.
5. Remove from heat and cool.
6. Refrigerate in jam jar, this keeps for at least a month and can be made ahead.
Avocado, thought to write about something green that wasn't a brussel sprout before Christmas. Avocado is a fruit with many benefits. Firstly, high in potassium which is hard to find in most fruits, they contain good fat containing oleic acid much like olive oil. The fibre of an ava is soluble vs. in-soluble. Soluble fibre supports good gut flora. They increase good fat 'HDL' which helps lower cholesterol which has been shown to lower risk of heart disease. Due to being high in anti oxidants they support eye health which lowers risk of cataracts & macular degeneration. Oh so many benefits!
From a chinese med view they are cool in nature and sweet in flavour. Supporting liver, lungs and intestines. They support blood and yin. One other interesting point; if someone struggles with fats being reactive with liver and gall bladder avocado is a great healthy fat source.
One cant think of ava without thinking guacamole!
Here's my recipe:
2 large ripe avacadoes
Juice of one lime or two
Handful of coriander
1/2 a red onion finely chopped
6 to 10 vine tomatoes cut in quarters
Dig out the avocado with a spoon into a bowl, mash with fork. Squeeze lime juice in, add 5 drops of tobacco, add red onion, tomatoes and coriander. Taste! add more tobacco or lime depending on your preference. Complete by adding some salt & pepper.
If you don't eat all the guacamole, reserve the large pit from the fruit and put it into the bowl and cover tightly in the fridge.