Saturday, 16 June 2012

Blooms Day Dinner

June 16th, Bloom's Day.  
The day on which the story in James Joyce's novel 'Ulysses' takes place.

A good enough reason for a themed dinner.

Starter: Pumpkin & Gorgonzola Tart; served with a dressed rocket salad.
At one point, Leopold Bloom stops for a Gorgonzola sandwich and a glass of burgundy.  That's the Gorgonzola connection.  I found a potato and Gorgonzola tart recipe which enhanced the Irish connection but, as I want potato in the main course, have opted for pumpkin.

Main: Pork Loin Chops with Colcannon and Guinness Gravy.
Colcannon is like an up-market bubble and squeak: potato, cabbage, bacon medley.

Dessert: Banbury Cakes.
Flaky pastry with a currant and ginger filling.
Again, Leopold eats some, feeds some to the ducks.

Coffee, vanilla fudge & Irish Cream.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

The World's Most Misunderstood Health Food

Graphic by KaiThePhaux.

I have to give a 'persuasive' talk that 'sells' a product or an idea for a course I have been doing.  No sense in choosing some thing easy, is there?   So, for you personal amazement, I give you a sneak preview of my talk.

The World’s Most Misunderstood Health Food.

Good Evening,

It is entirely fitting that, in the week when the Northern territory Coroner found, finally found that Lindy and Michael Chamberlain were innocent of the death of their young daughter, Azaria, that I should be standing here before you.

I, too, am here to right a great wrong, to right a terrible public perception of guilt and derision that hangs over a product that has been grievously slurred by large pigeon-breasted women in floral frocks in mother’s clubs across the nation.

I refer to that iconic breakfast food (Uncovers box) – Froot Loops!

And, yes, I sense your mirth, I sense your feeling that this is a comic presentation and not one of great substance or worth but I intend to prove that Froot Loops are a serious contender for the designation of being the Health Food of a Nation.

Certainly more worthy than an ice-cream.

I will start by showing you how much better they are than other perceived health foods and then I will show you how they contribute to nations emotional wellbeing.

Would any among you argue that honey is not a healthy food?  And what of dates? Dried figs? Or indeed any dried fruit?  Do these all not get the public acclamation of healthy foods, commendable foods, foods fit for our dietary attention?

And yet they all have more sugar than Froot Loops.

Think about that (pause)…

And who would argue that milk, cheese, eggs, meat, fish, oats, sardines and ice-cream, the aforementioned iconic Health Food of a nation, are not healthy and yet they all have considerably more fat than Froot Loops.  Oats, the sustaining cereal of the wild Scots and well recognised as a healthy breakfast, have six times the fat content of a similar portion of Froot Loops. 

And I am not differentiating between good fats and bad fats here,  just fat.  Froot Loops have a mere 1.5% fat in total.

And what of iron?  That essential mineral for the healthy transfer of life-giving oxygen around the body?  Do normal cereals - oats, wheat, corn, rice – have more iron than Froot Loops?  No.  Do green vegetables have more iron than Froot Loops?  No.  Does meat have more iron than Froot Loops?  No, it doesn’t. 

Yes, that surprised me too but the only meat that has, weight for weight, more iron than Froot Loops is liver and, if you are like me and indeed most normal people, liver is not a big source of dietary iron in your life.  My own homemade chicken liver paté excepted, of course.

Consider the following list:  (recite slowly) Pineapples, bananas, cherries, watermelon, figs, raspberries, persimmons, pomegranates, apples, quinces, melons, pears, peaches, plums and grapes.  They all have something in common.  Yes, granted, they are all fruit.  And they all have less vitamin C, weight for weight, that Froot Loops.  And I also grant you that Froot Loops are not up there with the citrus heavy weights when it comes to Vitamin C but, as you could see from the list, it is no slouch either.

And let’s not forget folate, that essential element for the prevention of Neural Tube Defects in new born babies.  Now, I wont try and list all the folate levels here.  Just let me say that in a database I have of compositional data for 822 different foods, 784 of them, that’s over 95%,  784 of them have less folate than Froot Loops.  The 35 food that contained more folate than Froot Loops included nettles, liver and turnip greens.  Again , not the biggest movers at the express checkouts across the land.

And surely there is a sweet irony that a hollow cereal will play such a telling role in redressing a tubular deficiency?  Actually, have you thought about this, they look like little inner tubes, don’t they?  Perhaps they have a better claim to be called LifeSavers than that well know confectionery?  A confectionery that has considerably more sugar than Froot Loops and no folate what so ever.  Some Lifesaver!

Now, I am sure a lot of you are thinking “what about the colours?”.  Certainly they were an issue.  Once.  Not any more.  When I first met Froot Loops, and I blush to recall how many years ago but will admit that I am talking double digits, Froot Loops were artificially coloured.  Tartrazine, Brilliant Blue, Green S, Sunset Yellow, Allura Red – all coal tar colours and all recipients of the hyperactive finger of scorn.  Maybe rightly, maybe wrongly, this is not the talk to debate that, but how many of you realize that Froot Loops are now coloured with things like turmeric?  Paprika?  Carmine?  Chlorophyll?

That’s right, Ladies and Gentlemen, Froot Loops are now coloured with some of those amazing super foods that are so praised by nutritionists and cutting edge advertisers for their antioxidants, polyphenolics and free-radical mopping up constituents.  These are new age Froot Loops, Froot Loops that will soak up free-radicals faster than they will soak up warm milk.

And I could go on and on here, showing how the compositional perfection of these little rings of goodness stacks up against other more recognised but less credentialed foods.  You just need to read the label to see that they have the essential B vitamins – Thiamin, Riboflavin and Niacin – that they have other minerals, such as sodium and zinc. 

Granted their level of fibre is not high, a mere 2.4%, but still respectably higher than the levels found in most fresh fruit and vegetables.

Finally, before I move on from the compositional virtues of Froot Loops, let me just point out that they are made with a mixture of corn, wheat and oats.  Have you not heard dieticians extol the virtues of a varied diet?  Here you have a medley of cereals in one small doughnut of virtuous pleasure.

But enough of the physical attributes.  I also want to point out their psychological benefits.  Did you notice how you all laughed when I told you the topic of this talk?  Each and every one of you benefitted from a wave of health giving endorphins washing through your body when you laughed.  This sort of warm and fuzzy benefit is usually only received from new babies and small kittens.

And look at kids, the ones with enlightened parents, look at the way the kids light up with delight when they have Froot Loops to eat.  It is as if instinctively they realise how good they are for them.  And if they are not eating them as a cereal, they are making a necklace with them, stacking them up in piles, trading them, using them as edible currency in Fantasy Land Monopoly.  They are a source of constant pleasure and give an enhanced learning experience.

So, in summary, Ladies and Gentlemen, I commend Froot Loops to you.  They have been grievously maligned over time by ignorant but well-meaning critics but the current new-age Froot Loop, is the super food of its time.  They are packed with nutrition, run rings, nay loops, around other so called health foods, they taste good, and they are fun.

With such credentials, how can they not be a super food?

Thank you.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

A slight change of plans...

The possums have found a new path to the tamarillos.

(I have visions of them singing "Is this the way to Tamarillo?" in surprising baritone voices.)

So I have harvested them all. 

The tamarillos.  Apparently I am not allowed to harvest the possums.

So, will try poaching them.  The tamarillos.  Forget possums for the remainder of this post.

Will also try dehydrating some.  Who knows; quinces were unexpectedly magical.

Will also try a tamarillo chutney tomorrow.

Others will be sliced, sprinkled with sugar and eaten.

Had an avocado, tamarillo and onion salsa with lunch.  Not bad.  Needed some roast pork.

Anyone nearby who would like some, let me know.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

A Long Weekend Menu

Okay, here’s the plan:


Slice and marinate meat for beef jerky.
Make Lemon Tart for Sunday dinner.

Starter: Black Pepper Prawns
Main: Tandoori Lamb Loin Chops with salad and pappadums
Wine: Traminer Riesling
Dessert: Poached Quinces with ginger and yoghurt.


 Put beef jerky in dehydrator.

Starter: No, better not.
Main: Home-made spinach & ricotta cannelloni.
Wine: a sparkling Shiraz.
Dessert: Lemon* Tart & Cream.

Monday (Queen’s Birthday Holiday)

Try not to eat all the beef jerky.

A ‘Jubilee’ Dinner
(requested by the UK elements.)

Starter: Almond Soup
Wine: Chardonnay.
Main: Roast Beef, roast potatoes, various vegetables.
Wine: Shiraz.
Dessert: Queen of Puddings (of course!).

Tuesday to Friday

Heart Starter: Short black.
Lunch: Something light.
Main: Something poached.
Dessert: Ahhh…I don’t think so.

Stay tuned for a post-weekend update:
as Robbie Burns was known to say, the best laid plans
of mice and men and, indeed possums, ‘gang aft agley’.
* First post had lime instead of lemon.
Error picked up by external quality auditor.
Corrective Action Report initiated.