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Archive for the ‘Diabetes’ Category

Fishcakes!

There’s a recipe in both my cookbooks–and they are the most visited on the blog.

I am not alone in loving them!

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They were always a favorite with me–but were off the menu after my diagnosis because they usually share the space with an equal mount of mashed potatoes (sometimes more, one suspects, in restaurants!). Potatoes have a very high glycemic index rating–mashed especially.

So when I spotted the alternative versions, I was delighted.

One recipe mixes the salmon with smoked haddock; another adds fresh dill.

These secondary ingredients are not always easy to find—so here is a third version with the perennially available smoked salmon.

My local supermarket sells 200gm/8oz packets of smoked salmon off-cuts—-perfect for this and less expensive than traditional slices.

LUNCH–with a green salad!

for 2

200 gms/8oz skinless salmon fillet

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200gms/8oz smoked salmon

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  • 1 shallot–chopped small
  • white of an egg
  • 1 tbsp chickpea flour–or any whole flour
  • 1 tsp wholegrain mustard
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 2 tbsp parsley–chopped
  • salt and pepper

Cut up the fresh salmon and the smoked salmon into pieces as illustrated above–roughly bite-size.

Pulse them briefly in a food mixer–they should not be mushy.

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Empty them into a bowl.

Carefully turn in the rest of the ingredients.

Taste for seasoning–delicious exercise!

Scoop out the mixture and form your patties (I use a tablespoon.) Don’t “overwork” the mixture.

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If you have time, cover and refrigerate for half an hour or so–it helps firm up the fishcakes.

Heat the oil to HOT in a frying pan. Very important that the fishcakes cook in hot oil.

Slide them carefully into the pan and flatten them a little with a fish slice/spatula to hasten the cooking.

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After a couple of minutes flip them over and cook briefly the other side.

When you see the milky liquid appearing from inside the fishcakes, they are READY.

Lift them gently out of the pan and arrange them on a serving plate with sliced lemon.

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Delicious served with a little yogurt sauce:

  • 1 pot yogurt
  • 1 tsp wholegrain mustard
  • pinch of salt

Whisk the yogurt smooth and stir in the mustard and salt.

Whisk again.

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Diabetes Logo

This week marks the end of the testing season–feet, heart, liver, kidneys, prostate, skin–you name it!

On Monday it was the annual love fest with Dr Nguyen Ngoc Luong, my opthamologist.

A man of few words, Dr Luong sits on a swivel chair with an alarming revolving table to his right.

At the push of a button this table goes in to action, swinging round to position a new chin rest at eye level between me and the good Doctor. This happens three times in the course of the test.

Then comes the checking of my long sight.

Reading off the numbers or letters projected on the wall opposite, as Dr Luong slips different lenses in and out of the “pince-nez” he fastens onto my nose.

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I feel like a schoolboy keen to answer teacher’s questions correctly.

Now it’s time for the most intimate moment of the session.

We both shift nervously on our chairs preparing to stare into one another’s eyes for a few breathless moments.

My freshly shaved chin juts towards his as he points a penetrating light at my pupils–shining  it into every corner of my cornea and beyond.

Breaking the spell, he leans back and utters three precious words. To my relief–a few days short of Valentine’s Day–not “I Love You” but…

“Pas de diabétes!”

I uncross my fingers–and feel foolish again for indulging in the Superstition Game.

Another year CLEAR!

 

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Meredith shows me a Breugel 16th century winter scene reminiscent of the world outside our windows at the moment–except for the skating.

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It leads her into thinking of other artists’ depiction of winter.

“Who was that painter we liked at the Metropolitan after we saw that Matisse exhibit a few years back? Industrial landscapes and the boxers. Remember?”

Club Night by George Bellows

“B-B-B-Be…”

I use my hands to mime the thing that fans a fire into life.

“Be-Be-Bel-Bello-BELLOWS!”

“George Bellows–brilliant realist painter–died too young–42, he was. Painted winter–town and country.”

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“Wow!” says Meredith. “Nothing wrong with your memory!”

Next day this article appeared in the newspaper–explaining why…!

Apparently the antioxidant, resveratrol, found in the skin of red grapes, some berries and peanuts, has a positive effect on the hippocampus–the part of the brain vital to memory, learning and mood.

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Cheers! Santé! Good health! Chin chin! Salud! Prost!

Now what did I say was for supper…?!

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I used to think walking was pedestrian!

I ran or jogged, or bicycled–walking took so long.

But then we moved here to rural France, where it’s a bit hilly. As I was getting older, I started walking.

Six times a week–usually for about 40 minutes–usually the same route, which never felt the same two days running (so to speak)!

Then one day I OVERDID it–and my left knee “went”.

I stopped for a while and tried the exercise bike– but it wasn’t the same.

Gradually my knee healed and I started walking again, but less–three or four times a week.

I settled into a routine of roughly 40 minutes every other day.

Three times 40 equals 120--so some weeks I was 30 minutes shy of the 150 minutes recommended aerobic exercise per week.

Recently I changed my routine again: Now I walk every day but for less time–a little over 20 minutes.

So that ring ups the magic 150.

And I feel good on it. “Ah, that’s done!

Exercising each day–but not TOO long–lifts my spirits without becoming a burden.

One is less likely to throw in the towel.

(Also I’m thinking of my knees.)

I’m in good company…

 

If I could not walk far and fast, I think I should just explode and perish.

~Charles Dickens

 The sovereign invigorator of the body is exercise and of all the exercises, walking is the best.

~Thomas Jefferson

 I am a slow walker, but I never walk backwards.

~Abraham Lincoln

 To find new things, take the path you took yesterday.  

~John Burroughs (American naturalist)

Thoughts come clearly while one walks.

~Thomas Mann

The best remedy for a short temper is a long walk.

~Jacqueline Schiff  (poet)

 

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Every three months I take a trip to see Cyril, my podologue, for a foot service–an essential on a diabetic’s check-up list.

Eyes next month.

It’s a relaxing 45 minutes–he has a naturally calm manner and doesn’t flinch at my halting French.

We chat while he gently works.

He’s signed the French version of our petition au sujet de l’église, he tells me.

Merci beaucoup, Cyril!

He told me he and his wife are expecting their second child–a girl–in three weeks time. They are favoring “Rose” as a name.

I booked another session in the first week of April and, stepping lightly on my “new feet”, headed across the road to the car.

I started pondering dinner–before lunch.

(One can never be too prepared….)

“Ah!” I remembered a friendly family butcher (husband and wife) nearby whom I occasionally frequent–and I recalled a one-pot recipe in Delicious Dishes that calls for spare rib chops, white beans and oranges. See recipe below….

From Delicious Dishes for Diabetics

From Delicious Dishes for Diabetics

Both husband and wife were busy working as I entered.

“Deux bouchers!”

Une bouchère, Monsieur!” [One of us is a woman, Sir!]

“Ah–tout a fait!–excusez moi, Madame! Est-ce que vous avez d’ échine de porc?” 

“Bien sur!”

“Deux, s’il vous plait–assez fines [not too thick].”

Comfort food again.

I picked up some broccoli at the quiet Tuesday open-air market in Castres and headed home.

A couple of nights ago, I’d mis-timed the broccoli; it was ready too soon–so I drizzled it with olive oil, seasoned it and sautéd it a low flame to keep it warm.

When it came time to serve, one side was slightly charred but it tasted GOOD.  I enjoy happenstance in cooking and decided to try it again–deliberately!

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It works–and made a nice color contrast to the pork.

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Serves 4

This lovely autumn/winter comfort dish is based on one by the talented Frances Bissell.

2 x 400 g/16 oz tins/bottles white beans
4 spare rib chops (echine in France – these are the tastier ones)

1 onion – sliced
1 stick celery – sliced
2 oranges
1 tsp coriander seeds
150 ml/5 fl oz/1⁄2 cup vegetable stock
salt and pepper
chopped fresh coriander or parsley

The timing for cooking depends in part on the thickness of the chops.

Heat the oven at 160°C/325°F/Gas Mark 3.

Rinse the bean and pour into the oven proof dish you will serve from.
Brown the chops well in a non-stick frying pan. (No oil needed as the chops are a bit fatty.)

Lay them  atop the beans.

Brown the onion and celery in the same frying pan – the fat from the chops will be enough to cook them in.

Lay them on the chops.

Carefully cut some strips of zest from one of the oranges.

Bury these in with the chops and beans.

Squeeze the juice from the two oranges over the chops.

Crush the coriander seeds and sprinkle over. Add the stock.

Cover and cook in the oven for about 2 hours.

Check after an hour to ensure that there is enough liquid–but be careful not to add too much–or the concentrated taste of the sauce will weaken.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Before serving, sprinkle the chopped coriander or parsley over to garnish.

 

 

 

 

 

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Bought a cauliflower this morning. There wasn’t a lot of choice–it’s freezing cold and the local growers’ produce is limited.

What to do with it?

I flick through this cook book and that–then suddenly remember comfort lentils from Delicious Dishes for Diabetics.

COMFORT is the key word.

Outside it’s damp and cold–so comfort food that acts as an interior blanket is just what I need.

I search the index for “cauliflower“.

Aha! Cauliflower with mustard seeds and fennel seeds–inspired by Madhur Jaffrey.

YES!

Double comfort!!

A fire in the grate and the evening holds promise!

COMFORT LENTIL DAL

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Rinse thoroughly a pound of red lentils–until the water runs clear.

Add two vegetable stock cubes to a litre of water and bring to the simmer.

Add the lentils.

Cover and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are cooked–about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile chop a medium onion and in a separate pan color it gently in four tablespoons of olive oil .

Then stir in these spices:

One and half teaspoons cumin powder; one teaspoon coriander powder; half teaspoon cayenne powder; and (if you have it) one teaspoon garam masala.

Cook the onion in the spices for a couple of minutes and then stir this mix into the lentils.

Gently reheat the dal.

Check for salt.

Comforting…

CAULIFLOWER with FENNEL and MUSTARD SEEDS

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Deconstruct a large cauliflower into bite size pieces.

Heat six tablespoons of olive oil in a pan (large enough to hold the cauliflower in a single layer–more or less–but don’t add the cauliflower yet!).

Add a tablespoon of black mustard seeds and two teaspoons of fennel seeds.

When they start to pop–add three garlic cloves chopped fine.

When they start to color add a quarter teaspoon each of turmeric and cayenne powder.

Cook these briefly to release their aroma–and then stir in the cauliflower pieces.

Turn these thoroughly in the spicy oil and add four tablespoons of warm water.

Add a decent pinch of salt and cook covered until the cauliflower is tender–about 20 minutes.

These two comforting friends make good partners for a chilly winter night.

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Meredith, who used to think that cauliflower was a pointless vegetable, had seconds!

 

 

 

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This got the “ding” from Meredith at lunch today.

Spotted in “Jamie’s Italy“–Jamie Oliver’s lively and loving tour of the peninsula–it offers a twist on roasted pumpkin by including fresh sage, cinnamon and a hint of heat in the mix.

It is simplicity itself.

a small pumpkin–sliced in half and seeds removed

1 small cinnamon stick–split into smaller–not too small–lengths

1 small chili–chopped

a good handful of fresh sage–chopped roughly

2 tbsp olive oil

salt and pepper

  • Heat the oven to 220C/430F
  • Slice the pumpkin carefully into smallish crescents
  • Add them to a large bowl
  • Add the sage, chili and olive oil to a mortar and pound gently to release the flavors
  • Add the cinnamon pieces and mix them in thoroughly without allowing them to break up too much
  • Add this mix to the large bowl and season well with salt and pepper

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  • Turn it all over to coat the pumpkin boats
  • Arrange the boats in a shallow, oven-proof pan

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  •  Roast in the upper part of the hot oven for about 20-30 minutes–the time it takes to cook them to tender depends on the thickness of the pumpkin pieces
  • Check after 15 minutes for doneness
  • They should develop a pleasing seared look

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We ate them with magret de canard (duck breast) to welcome in the New Year on a spectacularly beautiful winter’s day.

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Also spectacular is the walnut and garlic sauce, nestling in there.

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(The recipe for this sauce is in Delicious Dishes for Diabetics.)

All good wishes to everyone everywhere for a healthy, happy New Year!

Bonne Année!

Bonne Année!

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