Vegan truffles on prescription: “Jewelled Date & Walnut Truffles”

I made this recipe today with two of the ladies who attended the Ladies Lunch Group at Princess Alice Hospice. These are ladies with metastatic breast cancer, who attend our monthly social-get-together-and-have-lunch event that the social work team at the hospice organise. One of them told us that she never cooks, the other one is a highly accomplished cook who wanted to learn how to take the seeds of a pomegranate. They stood side by side and prepared with me this very easy recipe, giggling with excitement and enjoying every bit of it. This was for me another proof how cooking recipes and a cooking demonstration from a doctor can not only educate, connect and give nice food-is-your-medicine to patients, but can also help to lift the spirits and bring a smile to peoples’ face.

And it tastes delicious!!

Jewelled Date & Walnut Truffles

Date paste
Walnuts
Desiccated coconut
Pomegranate seeds

Method:
Use 2 tsps of the paste for each truffle. Add half a walnut in the mixture and shape into a ball.
Roll balls in coconut to coat.
Decorate with pomegranate seeds.
Keep in the fridge until you serve

POFTĂ BUNĂ! (Enjoy your meal, in Romanian)

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Sardines on prescription: “Sardine & Watercress Pâté”

At the Ladies Lunch Group at Princess Alice Hospice today, ladies with metastatic breast cancer met to have lunch and listen to my presentation on

‘Cooking on Prescription from the Doctor’.

I made this pâté in front of them to demonstrate how easy it is to prepare a healthy meal with readily available ingredients. Perhaps the most exotic ingredient in it is turmeric, which is however very easy to find and is one of the most important spices for health. A number of studies have demonstrated its’ antioxidant/anti-inflammatory properties. More research is underway to investigate its’ potential against cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, diabetes and other illnesses.

So, another straightforward recipe to make in your kitchen. You will need a food processor for this one, which will do most of the hard work for you. The combination of the ingredients in this recipe make it a most healthy food to have as a snack or main meal with a side salad or some cooked vegetables. Full of omega 3 fatty acids, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and hundreds of other micronutrients that work together to help your body and mind function well.

Sardine & Watercress Pâté

Tinned sardines in springwater or brine
One small baked sweet potato
A handful of watercress leaves or cabbage
Parsley and chives (optional)
1 tsp turmeric
1-2 tsps mustard
Lime juice
Pepper

Method
Add all the ingredients in a food processor and mix until smooth
Serve on rye or wholemeal bread with a side salad of tomatoes and watercress.

Καλή όρεξη (enjoy your meal, in Greek)

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Green soup on prescription: “Watercress & Broccoli Soup”

A wonderful, tasty soup that is full of healthy ingredients. It won’t take you more than 20 minutes to prepare it. Just make sure you don’t overcook the greens. Add some parsley also if you have it. Eat it with some white fish and you have everything you need for a whole meal, full of nutrients that your body and mind need to function well.

Watercress & Broccoli Soup

Broccoli cut into small pieces
A handful of watercress leaves
A handful of spinach leaves
1 small sliced onion
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1cm piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and cut into small pieces
Olive oil
Thai fish sauce
Lime juice
Salt and pepper

Method
Gently sweat the onions, garlic, ginger, fish sauce and tamari sauce in a little water.
Add the broccoli and enough water to cover and bring to the boil. Simmer until the broccoli is just tender.
Add the watercress and spinach and leave to boil for another minute.
Blend the soup in a food processor until smooth and thick.
Add oil, some lime juice, season with salt and pepper and serve.

Bon appétit (enjoy your meal, in French)

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Cooking on prescription

Doctors teaching cooking? Why not. More and more physicians turn to this simple measure to inspire people to get back to their kitchen. This is a place where a treatment for any illness can start, a cure can be found and a sense of community and connection can begin to heal the mind and soul of every person.

Cooking can change lives, can even save lives. This is why in my hospice we have started giving cooking demonstrations for patients and bereaved relatives. And they are such fun, both for staff and for patients and relatives! To paraphrase Andrew Boorde from his 1547 medical book ‘Breviary of Health’: ‘A Good Physician Is Half A Cook’.

As a doctor with specialisation in nutritional medicine I am delighted to be putting on my apron at work and taking part in the new revolution in medicine and healthcare which starts from real food in our kitchens!

PAH Bereaved relatives Nov 2013 copy     Ladies lunch group colour version IMG_3673

Japanese Chocolate Agar Mousse

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Dark chocolate, often referred to in historical literature as the ‘Food of Gods’, is high in calories but is also rich in various polyphenol antioxidants and other positive nutritional factors.

These have been found to have anti-inflammatory properties and an effect on mood, memory and other neuro-psychological parameters. Chocolate high in cocoa has also been reported to improve symptoms in people with chronic fatigue syndrome.

Further research will allow us to establish how this tasty and nutritious food can help us feel better.  But in the meantime, we can all enjoy its flavour and sweetness, now knowing that, at the same time, it may also be beneficial to our cells.

An unusual but delicious recipe for Chocolate Mousse has been created by Japanese acupuncturist Michiko Yamaguchi. It is satisfying, richly flavoured and wonderfully textured.

The recipe uses agar-agar which is derived from seaweed. Agar-agar is used to create jellies and puddings and is suitable for vegetarians or those who want to avoid the pork-derived gelatin.

Chocolate Agar Mousse

10 gr agar-agar flakes

400 gr dark chocolate

1 tsp ground cardamom, 1 tsp cinnamon and ¼ tsp nutmeg

1-4 tbsp honey (optional, according to taste)

12 black glacé cherries

12 cooked chestnuts in syrup

100 ml cream (optional)

Mulberry syrup 

Soak agar-agar in water for a few hours.

Drain it and put in a non-stick pan with 500 mls water. Let it boil.

Add the chocolate, honey and spices. For a lighter mousse you can add cream.

Stir the mixture for 10 minutes, until it becomes slightly thicker, but don’t expect it to become jelly when hot.

Pour the mixture in a container.

Add the cherries and chestnuts in various places in the mixture.

Let it cool for a few hours. Once set simply turn it on to a plate out of the container.

Serve in small pieces with mulberry syrup over it.

 

 

FASOLADA – Bean Soup: a Traditional Greek Recipe for Nutrition, Pleasure and Comfort

This old mediterranean recipe of soup of haricot beans, originally the traditional food of Greeks called ‘fasolada’, can be made into a full meal with the inclusion of bread.

Beans and bread make up a good combination providing complete proteins.

Τhe addition of onion and garlic, herbs, spices and tomatoes make this soup a very nutritious food.

Remember to chop the onions at least 10 minutes before you cook them, so that they keep their therapeutic properties.

In contrast, the more you cook tomatoes and carrots the more nutritious they become!

If you have some (or if you are from Kozani in Greece where they grow it!) add a pinch of saffron (κρόκο). It will give extra colour and aroma to the soup and make it an even more ‘anti-inflammatory food’, which is what we need to feel young and healthy.

Enjoy!

Ingredients

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 yellow onion, finely chopped

1 carrot, peeled and thinly sliced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 pinch of dried oregano

1 teaspoon of paprika

200g copped canned tomatoes with juice / or diced beef tomatoes

100g haricot beans, soaked overnight (will double in volume)

1.5 l water

¼ of lemon

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Method

In a large saucepan over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the onion, carrot and garlic and sauté until the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. Don’t let them get colour. Stir in paprika and oregano and cook until fragrant, for about one minute more.

Add beans and half of the water, bring to the boil on rapid fire, reduce the heat, close the lid and let it simmer for 30 minutes. Check the volume of liquid every 10 minutes, add the rest of the water.

Add the tomatoes when beans are cooked half-way through; acidity will harden the outer shell of the bean if added straight away.

 

Season, add 2 slices of lemon, simmer until the beans are soft.

When you serve the soup in the bowl, drizzle with olive oil and a bit of lemon juice over it.  Serve with bread and olives.

 

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Olympic Gold Diet

My latest article and recipe in the Help the Hospices Information Bulletin

In Ancient Greece it was forbidden to export figs (called ‘syco’ in Greek). Furthermore, people were encouraged to expose those who secretly exported figs for profit. Some used this as an opportunity to falsely accuse others of this crime, to take personal revenge. This is where the modern word sycophant comes from.

Eleni’s article-Hosp Info Bul Jan 2012

Quince – Golden, Aromatic and Therapeutic

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Quince (Cydonia Oblonga), one of the oldest fruit on Earth, has powerful historic symbolism, beautiful aroma and therapeutic properties.

It was suggested as the ‘apple’ that Eve gave to Adam in the Garden of Eden. Quinces were probably the three ‘golden apples’ that Hercules stole from the Garden of Hesperides for his 12th and most dangerous labour. Historians believe that it was a quince that Paris gave to Aphrodite in exchange for the love of Helen of Troy, the most beautiful woman in the world. Aphrodite is often depicted holding a quince in her hand as a symbol of love. As recently as the 18th century, a father-in-law would present his son’s bride-to-be with a basket of quinces as an offering to bring happiness to their marriage.

Quince with its distinctive aromatic, tangy perfume is used to sweeten the breath or refresh a room, but that is not all.

Quince has been used for centuries in traditional medicine as a tonic and a diuretic. An infusion of the leaves and/or the fruit has been used for the treatment of diarrhoea and bowel bleeding, an infusion of the seeds for sore throats and the boiled fruit for cystitis.

Now, modern science has found a number of nutrients in quince, including high concentrations of polyphenols in quince pulp, peel, seeds and jam.

Quince polyphenols are natural anti-oxidants and when tested showed:

·      significant antimicrobial and anti-viral activity

·      protective effects against oxidative destruction of red blood cells

·      protection against stomach ulcers and

·      healing effect on skin lesions (the quince seeds).

Quince needs to be cooked, it cannot be eaten raw.

Cooked quince eaten alone or with other foods, can support the healing of various damaged tissues and organs and encourage the restoration of biological systems to normal function. Traditional/folk medicine has long known these properties, perhaps now is the time for us to use quince again as part of our gentle approach to natural nutritional therapy.

Recipe: Quince Rouge  à la Grecque

 

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Cut two quinces (800g -1 kg) into quarters. Place them cut side down in 1 litre of boiling water in which you’ve added the juice of 1/2 lemon.

Use the whole fruit with the skin, pulp and seeds as these contain most of the therapeutic properties and the pectin, which helps form a delicious red jelly.

To the pan with the quince and water, add the following ingredients:

4-6 tbs of brown sugar or honey

a cinnamon stick

3-4 cardamom pods

3-4 cloves and a pinch of saffron.

Simmer until the fruit is soft (usually over an hour) and the syrup turns into reddish jelly.

Serve with yoghurt. 

 

JEWELLED PORRIDGE – AN ANCIENT RECIPE MADE NEW

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Porridge is a traditional Scottish food. I took this nutritious dish and added a Mediterranean twist to it with some extra beneficial, fragrant and colourful ingredients.  

Saffron is a precious spice with numerous health benefits, including anti-tumour activity and anti-depressive effects, which are currently being researched. You can find good quality saffron in a Persian or Middle Eastern shop where it is often cheaper than the high-street supermarkets.

The ingredients in this recipe go back to Antiquity, although perhaps Hippocrates would have used barley instead of oats. If you choose the Hippocratic version, then soak the barley overnight and follow the steps below:

Ingredients:

1 cup rolled oats

2 cups milk (goat’s, soya or rice) or 1 cup milk and 1 water

3 green cardamom pods

1 cinnamon stick

1/3 tsp ground saffron (or a small pinch of saffron threads roughly cut with your fingers). Alternatively, make ‘saffron water’ the previous day by adding 1 cup boiling water to the saffron threads and leave overnight.

1 tbsp raisins

1 tbsp goji berries or other dried fruit

For the sprinkling on top:

1 tsp cinnamon powder

1 tbsp freshly ground mix of poppy, flax and sunflower seeds

1 tbsp pumpkin and sesame seeds

fresh berries or pomegranate seeds, when in season

1-2 tbsp good quality, cold-pressed honey (avoid heated honey as the process of heating destroys its healing nutrients)

Directions: 

Bring the milk and water (or saffron water) to a boil in a non-stick pan.

Add the oats, raisins and goji berries and mix well.

Add the cinnamon stick, cardamom pods and ground saffron.

Cook slowly on low heat.

Simmer until the mixture reaches a creamy consistency.

Spoon the porridge into individual serving bowls.

Sprinkle the ground seeds, cinnamon powder and berries.

Serve hot with milk and honey.

Enjoy the smell and the colours.

Taste it and appreciate the textures.

It will give you energy to start your day.