March 19, 2012

Good for soup and symphonies…

Posted in cooking, food, health, music tagged , , , , , , at 3:35 pm by Margi Macdonald

Sometimes when we’re thinking about dinner, and the shift from summer to autumn, our thoughts turn to soup.

You know, soups made from scratch, with a foundation of homemade stock and that great soupy trinity of carrot, celery and onion (or leek).

Sometimes when we’re pottering about on locavore and sustainability websites, we come across a gem such as this.

Now…I’d love to know about your all-time favourite soup; why you like it, memories made while supping its nurturing deliciousness, super-soup ingredients… all of that. Please share with a comment!

Convinced soup-making is all together too time-consuming?  You need this.

October 12, 2010

“Sugar is good for you!” – and for the people who sell sugar (via The Ethical Nag)

Posted in cooking, food, health, life tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 10:51 am by Margi Macdonald

India - Haridwar - 010 - vegetables for sale in Bara Bazaar

Do we imagine things are different here in Australia?
I think not.

Do you have a sweet tooth? Do you chew your food quickly, eat while watching TV or checking your emails, or constantly snack while on-the-run?

Many foods, including a number of vegetables and most meats, are naturally sweet. We don’t appreciate their naturally sweet appeal unless we take a bit of time to chew thoroughly, mindfully paying attention to our food and the pleasurable ritual of eating.

The benefits are that an enzyme in saliva which breaks down the natural sugars in these foods does its best work when food spends an adequate period of time in our mouths. We can enjoy the sweet flavour without ever needing to ingest added sugars and sweeteners. We simply need to chew thoroughly.

The other benefit of mindfully enjoying naturally sweet foods – indeed all foods – is that we consume less.

Yes, you read it correctly! There’s a satiety centre in our brains which signals to us when we’ve had sufficient. Unfortunately, the distractions of all our screens, and fast-food-gulping ensure that many of us keep wolfing it down, well after the brain has reminded us we need to stop.

Your sweet challenge for the week?

See how many common vegetables are really quite sweet, when cooked simply and eaten slowly.

Yum yum!

"Sugar is good for you!" - and for the people who sell sugar I just love this. Guess what the Sugar Association recommends in its publication called “Pleasing Picky Eaters’ Taste Buds”? Apparently, “youngsters may find vegetables sprinkled with sugar more enjoyable to eat”. Of course they will. Personally, I’d find corrugated cardboard sprinkled with sugar more enjoyable to eat, too.  That does not make it good for me. And under the “Don’t Worry, Mom” section, the Sugar Association reassures us: “The good … Read More

via The Ethical Nag

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Image: India – Haridwar 010 – vegetables for sale in Bara Bazaar. McKay Savage on Flickr. Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

Words: © Margi Macdonald at Some Energy Thing. © Carolyn Thomas at The Ethical Nag

August 30, 2010

Asparagus. A cure for road-rage, rampaging and ranting?

Posted in brisbane, food, health, life tagged , , , , , , , , , , , at 6:42 pm by Margi Macdonald

Thanksgiving Asparagus. Marilyn M King

Spring is upon us in this great land down-under, and springtime means fresh asparagus. Don’t be fooled into thinking this classy vegetable grows naturally all year round. It doesn’t. It’s one of nature’s sublime springtime treats, best when its hidden, subterranean parts had the pleasure of a good, cold winter.

So what about the road-raging and ranting? Is there a natural sedative in the pert spears of an asparagus bunch?

Well, not that I know of, yet in Chinese herbal medicine its underground tuber is described by Paul Pitchford as able to “improve the feminine principle, especially in the aggressive person, and is used to ease menstrual difficulties, promote fertility, and increase one’s receptive and compassionate nature.” He s not just talking about women, by the way!

The ritual of preparing and cooking fresh asparagus to perfection, enjoyed with a strip of smoked salmon and a soft-boiled egg might at least slow us down, and give cause for gratitude to mother nature for her spring bounty. Perhaps compassion follows such a dainty feast?

Here’s what else we know about fresh asparagus – not that sad, soggy stuff in cans:

  • It has a natural diuretic, making it an ideal food to naturally shift a little fluid retention
  • When fresh and seasonal, it has good amounts of vitamin C and A, sulphur, folic acid, and potassium, and is naturally low in kilojoules and sodium.
  • it also contains an amino acid – a protein building block – called asparagine, which gives urine that unusual smell after we’ve eaten asparagus.

We understand that in Chinese medical terms, asparagus nourishes the cooling, calming, restorative nature of Yin energy. No surprises there, for a food which spent the winter slumbering and gestating underground, away from Yang warmth and light.

Did you know that the little tips of asparagus are actually its flowers, and that aged Parmesan is a great friend to asparagus?

If you live in Brisbane  Australia, and would like to learn how to cook slow-roasted Kealford Farm Organic Pork with spring asparagus on a cauliflower and white bean mash, and many other seasonal wonders contact me.

My colleague Jillaine Wheeler – The Pantry Practitioner – is cooking this, and other family friendly fare in a cooking class this September. There’s also an artichoke and aioli starter, a wild salmon rillette, deeply nourishing, creamy green ice cream, and organic, preservative-free rose on the menu. I hope you can join us.

How do you like to serve and enjoy asparagus? Are you lucky enough to live in a place where fat,white asparagus is common? Let us know with a comment.

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Image : Thanksgiving Asparagus Oil on gessoed board.© Marilyn M King. Used with kind permission. This and other similarly beautiful oil paintings available at Small Oil Paintings

Words: Margi Macdonald

Cautions: The information here is not a substitute for face-to-face health care provided by a health professional, nor can it be construed as advice for the management of any physical, mental or emotional disorder. Please see your Doctor is you have a health concern.

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