Spinach is very versatile and it is easy to incorporate spinach into a diet. That is great because spinach has so many health benefits. Vitamin C, or ascorbate, is chemically the simplest vitamin. Unlike humans, plants can synthesise ascorbate, accumulating it up to 10% of the total water-soluble ‘carbohydrates’, according to research findings. The washing process of pre-packaged spinach, which uses circulating water with chlorine-based sanitiser, “can be a potential source of ascorbate loss and younger plant tissues often have higher ascorbate concentrations than older ones, e.g. in spinach.” (Food Chemistry 233 (2017) 237–246) So, if you are buying spinach for a salad, try the baby spinach that is sold unpacked and wash it yourself.
The following is very interesting too:
“Dark green leafy vegetables are primary food sources for lutein and b-carotene, however these bioactives have low bioavailability… Lutein liberation and in vitro accessibility were three-fold higher from spinach puree compared to whole leaves. Results for b-carotene liberation were similar, whereas that of b-carotene accessibility was only about two-fold.” (Food Chemistry 224 (2017) 407–413) This is good to know, well supports my recipe for Tabouleh. They call lutein ‘eye vitamin’.
Spinach can be added to many savoury dishes, raw or cooked. I prefer cooked spinach in winter and raw in summer. We are in the middle of the winter right now in Australia. And, here I am again with a new soup recipe. Please enjoy!
Cloudy Spinach Soup
2 cup vegetable stock
2 cup filtered water
250g diced turnip
150g leek white, thinly sliced
300g fresh baby spinach
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 small bunch of dill
salt and pepper
1/2 lemon, juiced
*for vegan version replace eggs with 1/3 cup of almond milk
1. Cook diced turnip and leek in the vegetable stock and water mix until ready.
2. In the meantime, wash dill thoroughly and chop up. Put aside.
3. Beat the eggs until consistent and creamy. Put aside.
4. When leek and turnip are cooked, add seasoning, spinach leaves, dill and garlic.
5. As the soup starts boiling, immediately add beaten eggs in a thin running stream and rotate the soup with a ladder in one direction. Add lemon juice and switch off the heat.
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Millet is an ancient grain that is gluten free and has less starch than wheat and rice. Millet has a high anti-oxidant activity and it contains multiple vitamins and minerals, also contains higher levels of protein.
In eastern Europe, they make porridge from millet, in central and west Asia they fry the grain and use them in the tea or consume as a cereal.
My great-grandmother used to make a millet bread for my mother when she was a child during the hungry post-war years. She remembers that bread as one of the most delicious treats of her childhood. So I decided to make a millet bread of my own and share with you.
Millet Bread Recipe
1 1/4 cup warm milk (cow, goat, almond, cashew, soya, any)
1/4 cup oil
2 tablespoon honey
1 cup millet flour or 3/4 cup dry yellow millet
1/4 cup white rice flour
1/4 cup almond flour
1/2 teaspoon Himalayan salt
1 teaspoon Bi-Carb soda
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup dry currants
* a silicone bread form
* an electric coffee grinder
1. Turn oven on to 180C.
2. Grind about 3/4 cup of yellow millet to make 1 cup of flour and sift. Repeat with larger particles.
3. Oil-spray the form, put it on the baking tray. Mix all the ingredients and pour the bread mixture into the form.
4. Keep the form at the room temperature until the oven os hot or for 15-20 minutes.
5. Mix the dough with a spoon thoroughly, and bake first for 20 minutes with fan on, then for 30 minutes with no fan at 160C.
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Food allergies. People have different approach to handling their food allergies. Some are proactive and want to change their diet. In Australia, Clinical Labs have a remarkable blood test called Food Sensitivity Test that checks 93 products. Others prefer to enjoy their current lifestyle and diet. In any case, everyone can enjoy this recipe below, this roulade is divine.
My Zucchini Roulade recipe is ideal for someone who is on gluten free diet. Especially, it will be perfect for those who have discovered that they are allergic to cow milk. I guess, I created this for myself 🙂
5oog small zucchini
1/2 cup goat milk
1/4 cup oil
1/4 cup amaranth flour
1/2 cup white rice flour
seasoning as desired
200g Greek goat cheese, white and crumbly
optional: 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
tray 25cm x 37cm (approximately), baking paper
1. Grate zucchini on medium. Like this on the picture:
2. Mix all the ingredients for the base.
3. Layout baking paper over the tray so paper is hanging over the edges.
4. Spread the mixture on the tray with paper and bake for 20-25 min at 180C.
5. In the meantime crumble the cheese and add a nutmeg. I use this cheese:
6. Take out the hot zucchini base and immediately distribute the crumbled cheese over it.
7. With the help of paper, lifting one edge on the shorter side of the tray roll the zucchini base, press gently to make it as tight as possible and leave for 5 minutes to set. (You may need gloves or use a towel to roll as it will be hot.)
8. The roulade to be cut at the serving time. If it gets cold, warm it up in the oven for 5-8 minutes. Cut into 1cm thick slices, it will make about 14-16 pieces for 25cm wide tray.
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Courgette (Zucchini) is a simple and affordable fruit that is harvested immature. Some information about zucchini was collected in the other post for Zucchini Patties recipe. Young zucchini have a subtle taste and they are perfect for being used raw in salads. If you like cucumbers try to substitute them with young zucchini and you will increase your vitamin intake. Below recipe uses uncooked zucchini but not completely raw!
Marinated Zucchini Salad
5 small zucchini
100g soft goat cheese
This is a very simple and easy way to enjoy a fresh, high quality piece of tuna. I find, it is a perfect entrée meal to share or a snack for two on the weekend.
I was served a similar dish in one of the Melbourne’s restaurants years ago and since, I have been using this idea to experiment with different coatings and sauces. This method is so versatile. So, next time you see a beautiful piece of tuna in the shop, get it and have a try.
Hawthorn (Greek Crataegus) is a beautiful plant that grows in all continents now. The leaves, flowers and berries have health benefits and they are used to produce medicine for heart diseases.
The British Homeopathic Review revealed of Dr. Green (Ireland):
“… For many years had a reputation for the cure of heart disease that caused patients to flock to him from all parts of the United Kingdom. He cured the most of them and amassed considerable wealth by means of his secret.
For, contrary to the code, he, though a physician in good standing, refused to reveal the remedy to his professional brethren. After his death … (in 1894), his daughter, a Mrs. Graham, revealed the name of the remedy her father had used so successfully. It is Crataegus oxycanthus …”
The health qualities of Hawthorn are still being researched:
‘This study was to investigate the anticancer effects of the peel polyphenolic extract (HPP) and flesh polyphenolic extract (HFP) from hawthorn fruit in human MCF-7 breast cancer cells. It was found that the polyphenol and flavonoid contents of HPP were significant higher than that of HFP. Both HPP and HFP inhibited cell growth in a dose-dependent manner with …, suggesting that HPP was more effective against MCF-7 cells than HFP. … All these findings indicate that hawthorn fruit, especially its peel, is an excellent source of natural chemopreventive agents in the treatment of breast cancer.” (Food Chemistry, Volume 141, Issue 2, 15 November 2013, Pages 1008-1018)
Hawthorn tree, Daylesford
In addition to being healthy, pumpkin also contains another healthy ingredient, that is pepitas, or pumpkin seeds. Pepitas are very rich in minerals such as zinc, magnesium and iron. They are also high in protein content, about 20%. Unfortunately, like many other nuts and seeds, pepitas contain anti-nutrients like phytic acid, or phytate, that can make all the previously discussed important nutrients less bioavailable when you consume them. These anti-nutrients bind to minerals, especially zinc and iron, and the minerals cannot be absorbed.
I found a study that was specifically designed to research this factor in pumpkin seeds. It concluded, ‘The subsequent digestion under intestinal conditions showed that Zn becomes less accessible, indicating that antinutrients like naturally present phytate may be responsible for complex formation in the small intestines, thus reducing the potential for Zn bioavailability.’ (Food Chemistry, Volume 128, Issue 4, 15 October 2011, Pages 839-846)
So, if you plan on consuming seeds or nuts on a regular basis, it would be wise to soak or sprout them, that is what doctors advise. Unfortunately, ‘the soaking of whole seeds for 24 h can lead to leaching of iron and, to a lesser extent, of zinc ions into the soaking medium.’ The same applies to all legumes and grains. The good news, it was also proved that fermentation can completely hydrolyze the phytic acid. (Food Chemistry, Volume 138, Issue 1, 1 May 2013, Pages 430-436) And by the way, the heating also causes phytic acid reduction.