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Healthy food

Diets containing two percent, six percent, or nine percent walnuts, when given to old rats, were found to reverse several parameters of brain ageing, as well as age-related motor and cognitive deficits, says James Joseph, PhD, of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Human Nutrition Research Center at Tufts University in Boston.

Researchers at the University of California, at Davis tested a variety of wines to determine which types have the highest concentrations of flavonoids. Their results concluded that the flavonoid favorite is Cabernet Sauvignon, followed closely by Petit Syrah and Pinot Noir.
Scientists believe that flavonoids, reduce the risk of coronary heart disease reducing production of bad (LDL) cholesterol, boosting good (HDL) cholesterol, and reducing blood clotting.

Doctors often prescribe daily aspirin usage for its cardioprotective effects. However, a percentage of the population is unable to take aspirin as required and chocolate therapy is a pleasant and beneficial alternative. The polyphenols in cocoa can also lower LDL levels.

To maximize the health benefits, you should crush garlic at room temperature and allow it to sit for about 15 minutes. That triggers an enzyme reaction that boosts the healthy compounds in garlic.

dark chocolate, chilli, onion, ...


Baked Florence Fennel

Florence Fennel


Trim and quarter each bulb of fennel. Use the stalks and leaves for soup. Dot with butter, drench with double cream, strew with grated parmesan. Bake covered, slowly for an hour or more, then uncover and raise the heat to brown.


Zanzero, Edinburgh



The slogan is slow food served quickly. Newly opened in Stockbridge, the decor is uncompromisingly modern—plenty of lime green and purple. The menu is short but tempting. Olives and caper-berries, bread, pasta salsiccia, and a slow-braised lamb shank from the list of weekly specials, all shared, made a satisfying lunch for two. £35 in total including sparkling water and coffees.

For starters, generous portion of good, black and green, olives, with plently of caper berries, to whet the appetite. Slight apprehension, as the adjacent table has a party with four under-fours, and a couple of couples. This could become noisy and distracting.

The pasta arrives in a large shallow dished plate, intended for one, but, we hope, sufficient for two. The dish is hot, the pasta bow-ties coated in cream, flecked red with chilli, and topped with slivers of parmesan. A smaller dish of normal size for one, provided to facilitate sharing, is disappointingly cold. A shriek from the next table is piercing; they are coping with the arrival of four smoothies.

Once shared, the pasta portion looks smaller; once tasted, I regret the decision to share. The cream and cheese sauce is just right: not too thick, not too thin; not over-poweringly cheesy, but not bland; not too much, nor too little—just right. The sausage is outstanding house-made from tender pork, lightly salted with a hint of fennel; delicious! The chilli gives a subtle zing. Why share this with anyone?

Pasta has also arrived at the next table. Silence reigns.

We need bread to mop up every last trace of sauce from our plates. We have to wait as this is ciabatta, freshly baked. It comes with a dish of olive oil, in which sits a slice of lemon, for dipping. Once our pasta plates are wiped-clean, it is tempting to keep dipping. After a brief struggle, we resist: we will need some bread for the lamb.

Pommes dauphinoise—potatoes, sliced and baked in cream with a cheese gratin— are one of my few weaknesses. The lamb shank, meaty and moist, came with braised florence fennel (coincidentally another weakness—this blog is full of them), and pommes dauphinoise, in another of the large dished plates intended for one. We shared it using two normal bowls, and had two servings each—an elegant sufficiency.

The fennel was braised with tomato and pancetta: a robust combination to match the complex flavours of the meat; the delicate fennel flavour somewhat overpowered in this rich setting, but contributing nonetheless. The meat was tasty, soft and tender; perfectly cooked to produce the complex flavours and gelatines that make this dish. Most of it fell from the bone. Nevertheless, the bone had to be chewed, and the marrow delicately extracted, so no scrap of flavour was wasted.

Uncontrolled squeals of ecstatic delight, from the next table, probably signalled the arrival of the final course from the children's menu: ice cream—surely ice cream is fast food? Satisfied with our slower, grown-up pleasures, we had no need to order "some of what she's having".
We settled for espresso, then left, replete.

It's slow food, served quickly. It was just what we needed.

Peploes, Dublin


I had a flight to catch, so had time for only starter and dessert.

Fois gras on toasted brioche followed by tarte au citron.

With a glass of Alsatian wine; Domaine Dussourt Reisling—divine.

16 St. Stephen's Green,
Dublin 2,
+353 (0)1 676-3144


Twinstar cake


Birthday Cake for Max (20)

Sue Pedley sp.iced
Cambridge, Hamilton,
New Zealand
+647 823 5499

Delicious moist chocolate mocha cake.

Decorated with sp.iced’s unique ribbons and wires.

Max and his CTC mates were well-impressed by the Twinstar rendition, and by the innards of the cake. They were slightly worried their instructors might think it too alcoholic for pre-flight consumption ...

Thank you, Sue!

Sue says,

Also, you might be interested to know that the sending of the diamond twin star aeroplane pictures, has had the US military visiting my web site. Do you think they want a cake or is this what Mr. Bush calls homeland security?


Rigo Ugo: Pasticceria in Mori, Trentino, Italy


The best pasticceria.

Pastcceria Rigo Ugo, Via Gustavo Modena, 92, 38065 Mori, TN, Italia
Tel. 0464 910730

Beware, this is Italy! Closed from 1300-1500. Through the arch to the North is a gentle walk up to the church on the hill. Continuing further brings you to this spot, at the foot of the Monte Albano via ferrata — you can wait here in the shade.


The Wheel


Highly recommended!

Almost directly opposite the Queen's Hall on Nicholson Street, in Esinburgh.

Use it or lose it!

Now, sadly, closed :-(


Red Sea Food Store


Red Sea Food Store

35 Marshall St,
Nicolson Square,
Edinburgh, EH8 9BJ
0131 662 6555

The butcher

Khalid, the (halal) butcher is a proper butcher, and the fridge contains olives, pickles (mixed vegeatables), mish (yoghurt laced with nigella, fenugreek and other spices), khobs (flat round bread), and other goodies. Well worth a visit!


The butcher makes his own merguez. They are good. He will prepare a crown roast of lamb, and he will bone and stuff a chicken or a chicken supreme. This makes the recipe simple, and reduces the task of carving to mere slicing.

Much of the other stock is tinned—varied, exotic and good, but tinned. Don't let this put you off!

Boned chickens

A simple lunch for two

Take one boned, stuffed chicken supreme (the two breasts, still connected, breast-bone removed). Top and tail a couple of small red onions, halve them top-to-bottom. Rub the chicken and the cut surfaces of the onions with olive oil, dust with freshly-ground black pepper, and salt to taste. Place chicken and onions in an oven-proof dish, all skin-side-up. Roast 40 minutes in a fairly hot (190 °C 375 °F) oven. Allow the chicken to rest 10 minutes. Remove the onion skins, carve slices right across the chicken. Serve with rice, bread, or roast potatoes, the juices from the chicken and a salad.


Confit de Canard

Two boned whole ducks in the pan with salt and pepper.

Tesco has a special on duck legs: four legs for £3!

The recipe for Confit de Canard is simple. Here is a brief outline:

Rub the flesh and skin of each leg with a dry marinade of salt, herbs and spices. Leave covered in a cool place for 24-48 hours.

Sear the duck in a hot oven until nicely brown, then pack it in a casserole. Bake in its own fat, long and slow. The confit, cooled in the fat, can be kept for several days, or used immediately.

To serve, remove the meat from the fat, and brown briefly in a hot oven. The skin will be crisp and brown; the flesh tender, rich and succulent.


Suggestions and Comments

This blog is for quick notes. Popular recipes may be reworked and transferred to my eclectic recipe collection.

Please also use this blog to leave comments, suggestions, and recipes.


Yufka chicken pie

Yufka pastry

Yufka is a paper-thin Turkish pastry used for borek, baklava, and other treats. If you can't find yufka, filo pastry makes an acceptable substitute. Filo is thinner, and raw, while yufka is slightly thicker, cooked, and easier to handle.

Sweat finely chopped onions in butter slowly. Poach a whole chicken until just cooked, in a snugly-fitting covered pan, with the onions and enough water to cover.

While the chicken cools, reduce the stock, then use it to make one or two cups of thick sauce velouté. Flavour with pepper and cinnamon.

Remove the meat from the chicken (don't forget the"oysters"), cut it into bite-sized chunks. Spread the sauce in a pie dish and add the chicken.

Melt plenty of butter. Brush the sheets of yufka with butter and lay them, one-by-one, slightly crumpled, over the chicken.

Bake in a moderate oven until golden.


Chocolate Soufflé with Crème Anglaise

Eclectic Recipes has details for Crème Anglaise, and variations such as Crème Pâtissière and Crème Saint Honoré.

5 eggs
2 heaped dessertspoons potato starch
1 7/8 cups milk
4 oz dark chocolate
espresso coffee, dark rum, orange liqueur, or other flavouring

Butter inside of soufflé dish liberally, and dust with cocoa powder. Heat oven to 350°F 180°C.

Separate five eggs: whites in a large copper bowl, ready for beating; three yolks in one small bowl, two (which will be used for the crème anglaise) in another. If you don't have a copper bowl, use a glass or ceramic one, but add a pinch of salt to the eggwhites.

Measure one 8-ounce cup of whole milk. In a saucepan, mix two heaped dessertspoons of potato starch with one level dessertspoon of sugar and a little of the milk, to form a paste; then gradually mix in the rest of the milk, taking care to leave no lumps. Cook gently, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the mixture thickens; continue cooking, and stirring one minute more.

Melt four ounces of dark chocolate, stir in a small shot of espresso coffee (or a small shot of orange liqueur, or other flavouring). Beat the three yolks and then gradually mix in the chocolate. Mix this chocolate mixture into the thickened milk.

Beat the egg whites to stiff peaks. Mix one fourth of the eggwhites into chocolate mixture, to loosen it. Scrape chocolate mix into remaining eggwhites. Fold whites and chocolate together, quickly and gently. Transfer mixture to prepared soufflé dish, tap sharply against worktop, to settle, and place in oven.

Bake 30 minutes; dust quickly with powdered (icing) sugar from a sieve; turn oven up to 390°F 200°C, bake ten minutes more. Meanwhile, prepare the crème Anglaise.

Crème Anglaise Beat a couple of teaspoons of sugar with the two remaining egg yolks. Scald a scant cup (7 oz) of whole milk. Gradually add the hot milk to the yolks, beating all the while. Heat gently, stirring until the custard thickens—you can do this over a low flame, over a bain-marie, or, five seconds at a time, stirring in between, in a microwave. The custard should reach 160°F 70°C, no more.