Archive for the ‘Diabetes’ Category

The END!

Full circle.

East coast to West coast and back–three weeks “on the road” and here we are in Washington DC about to fly back home.


It has ended brilliantly with two memorable meals–both cooked by others.

For three weeks I’ve stayed out of the kitchen–apart from making four omelets in Palo Alto.


We have relied on the kindness of friends for places to stay–without their generosity this trip would not have been affordable.

New York City was the US launch and a lively pop-up event at a Scottish bar and restaurant called St. Andrews in the heart of the theatre district.




Enthusiastic POLDARK fans in the pub snug



An American version of Demelza!

Our friends Melanie and Bruce kindly lent us an apartment on West 22nd Street–a long stone’s throw from where the bomb went off last week.

Melanie sent us photos of the Malibu Diner where we had lunch together–now a crime scene.

Then on to Dallas–hosted by our friends Cindi and Jay.

It’s hot in Dallas–every day! Close to 100F–we duck in and out of air-conditioned buildings and cars.

Screening of the first episode of season two of POLDARK at a local cinema–over 200 in the audience and it looked fabulous up there on the BIG SCREEN.


Q & A afterwards with Bill Young–the Vice President in charge of programming at KERA, Dallas’ excellent PBS station.


Thanks, Bill, for your creativity, perseverance and organization.

Some of the Dallas folks had scrapbooks of my FIRST visit to Dallas with Angharad 39 years ago!




Poignant visit to Dealey Plaza and the Sixth Floor Museum in the Texas Book Depository, kindly hosted by the museum’s British executive director, Nicola Longford.

With Nicola Longford

With Nicola Longford


The Texas School Book Depository on Dealey Plaza. The museum inside is the second most-visited site in Texas after the Alamo.


Brilliant audio tour helps bring some understanding to the tragedy.

Breathless we fly to Los Angeles and arrive late at the lovely little house in Los Feliz of Christy, widow of TV director brother Peter–who died suddenly ten years ago of a heart attack.

Christy helped make the original contact with the flourishing bookstore in Larchmont Village, Chevaliers, where LA Times TV critic Robert Lloyd moderates beautifully the next evening.

With Robert Lloyd, TV critic for The Los Angeles Times

With Robert Lloyd, TV critic for The Los Angeles Times


Sold out of books!

The following day a visit SoCal (KOCE), the PBS station for Los Angeles to record some pledge material with Maura Phinney.



A short flight to San Francisco and on to Palo Alto I visit the Gates of Hell (!) in the Rodin Sculpture Garden on the Stanford University campus with our local host, Holly Brady.

The Gates of Hell do not dampen our enjoyment of the beautiful California day.

Big turn-out at Books Inc— our third visit to this remarkable bookstore opposite the Stanford campus.


They’ve hosted us for all three cookbook tours.



I demonstrate that a diagnosis of Diabetes is not the end of convivial eating and drinking–in moderation, of course!

We sell out of books again.

We fit in a private tour of LucasFilms HQ in the Presidio quarter of San Francisco, close to the Golden Gate Bridge, thanks to Hilary and Yves.


It’s here that cutting edge special effects in films and animation are created. The halls are lined with artifacts at every turn.





We head back east for the final event at Arlington Library last Sunday.

We stay with our friends, Irv and Iris. Irv, retired Washington correspondent for The New York Times, agreed to moderate the event at Arlington’s Central Library. A double act is born!

The sell-out audience (over 180) enjoyed it enough to buy us out of cookbooks.



A good finish to a whistle-stop, heads down, no-time-for-shopping tour.

We spend a blessed 24 hours with our friends Ray and Ann in their waterside house on Chesapeake Bay–where I learn to breathe again.

Ray cooks a delicious meal of crab cakes with the local catch and pork fillet with clams–bliss it is.

Back in the D.C. last night Iris cooks up a storm for us.

Salmon marinated in soy, ginger and garlic preceded by an intriguing cantaloupe melon soup served chilled.

First day of autumn passes.

The prospect of walnuts and wood fires.

A bientôt, America and thanks!









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All these events are free.

If our paths cross, hope you’ll come say hello!


Screen Shot 2016-08-16 at 1.53.28 PM


In New York City:


In Los Angeles:


In Palo Alto:


In Arlington, Virginia (Washington D.C. area):




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May Day! 

Today, in the postbox, a letter from Prime Minister, Theresa May!

I sent her a copy of Mediterranean Cooking for Diabetics a few weeks ago.

She has Type 1 Diabetes and I’ve read that she is a keen cook–possessing over a hundred cookbooks!

(We have THAT in common!)

It could greatly benefit the campaign to fight the rise of Diabetes to have such a public figure as the new FEMALE Prime Minister of the UK,  declaring so publicly, that she is Type 1 diabetic.



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“Doctors are able to identify silent attacks via an electrocardiogram (ECG) scan which reads any damage in the heart.

Heart disease is the world’s biggest killer, with the latest WHO figures showing it was responsible for 7.4 million deaths in 2012.

Experts believe many of the deaths happen in patients who have previously suffered a heart attack without knowing it.”

A month ago I was at the Clinique Pasteur in Toulouse for a follow-up stress test after my local cardiologist–Dr Lefevre (Dr Fever!)–decided that he was not a 100% happy with the annual test.

So my heart is on my mind–so to speak and this report caught my eye.


The heart attack you don’t know you’ve had.

I haven’t had one of these little earthquakes–yet!

But my mother died suddenly, aged 67, of a heart attack related to her Type One Diabetes and my middle brother–a Hollywood TV drama director–died suddenly of a heart attack at 58.

So two fatal attacks in the family are enough to give me pause.

A heart examination is one of the regular annual checks I have .

This involves ten minutes on an exercise bike with wires attached to your torso, monitoring how your heart is coping with the increasing level of effort you are having to exert on the bike.

[Kidneys, liver, feet, eyes, cholesterol, glucose, blood pressure—you name it, I am monitored.]

The heart is one of the organs put at risk by Diabetes.

And the problem for people with the condition is that it’s often not obvious there is a problem.

Our affected nervous systems can mask the symptoms–Monsieur Lefevre says it’s not clear why this happens–but being cautious and the least feverish man I know–he wanted to be sure the blip he saw was just  a blip.

I’d been to the clinic in Toulouse a couple of times before–in fact I’d had three stents fitted there successfully three years ago–a procedure that may have saved my life.

This time the sweet doctor who showed me the X-ray results, pronounced it nothing to worry about (a blip) and me–fit for purpose.

Je vous remercie, Dr Lefevre–Give me Fever !



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Tomorrow (April 7) is World Health Day –and one of the major themes this year is



Exercise is a key element in the battle.

Walking as part of an exercise campaign has been important to me–doubly so since my three precious stents were fitted four years ago.

I asked my cardiologist, Monsieur Lefevre (the least feverish man you could meet), why the blockage I had in my main artery showed no symptoms–no shortage of breath when out on my walks. “It dulls the nervous system,” he said, thus turning off the alarm mechanism.

“Keep on walking!” he advised, after the procedure.

And I do–every day, for about 25 minutes.

I’ve written three or four blogs about walking, but this is my favorite:


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




All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking.
– Friedrich Nietzsche

I was walking six times a week, usually for about 40 minutes. I tried to do a circular route, which suited me better.

[Now I usually limited myself to 25 minutes or so, every day]


I am a slow walker, but I never walk backwards.
–   Abraham Lincoln

I liked the freedom of it, and starting from home–no time spent travelling to exercise. And there was no equipment needed—just a good pair of shoes and warm clothing. I usually took the same route–which never felt the same two days running–so to speak!– varying with the weather and changing  seasons.



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

Then one day I overdid it–and my left knee felt bad.

I had to stop for a while and missed it. I used an exercise bike–but it wasn’t the same.

Gradually my knee healed and I started walking again–but less. Now it’s three or four times a week– preserving old knees.

If one keeps on walking everything will be alright.
–   Soren Kierkegaard


Thoughts come clearly while one walks.
Thomas Mann


It is not talking but walking that will bring us to heaven.
–  Matthew Henry


Straw men stretching after a walk…


 Type 2 Diabetes is a devil.

It’s a sneaky beast, a lurker and a patient one.

Diabetes UK estimates that there are about 549,000 people in Britain who have diabetes but have NOT yet been diagnosed.

Since 1996, the number of people diagnosed with diabetes in the UK has more than doubled–from 1.4 million to almost 3.5 million.

It’s diagnosed with a simple blood test. (I had NO symptoms!)



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Described as a Catalan omelette by Patience Gray in her beautiful cookbook Honey from a Weed, I am making this for lunch:


It’s the morning after we return from the launch fortnight in the UK for my new cookbook, Mediterranean Cooking for Diabetics.

A predictably slow morning–I’m heavy-lidded and creaky.

It will thus be the lazy version–made with artichoke hearts from an Italian jar (bounty from a trip to Tuscany)–surprisingly good!

Patience Gray’s version uses fresh artichokes (a lot more work!).

It reminds me of lunches eaten over 40 years at la Sostanza in Florence–discovered by chance on a trip in 1978.


I always order artichoke omelette–served flat–and a plate of white beans with olive oil.


In a beauty contest, Sostanza’s omelette (tortino) wins…

Patience says the Catalan version is served folded.

Chose where you are having lunch–in Florence at Sostanza or a little restaurant on the Spanish Costa Brava (Wild Coast)–folded or flat–it is delicious.

I’m choosing Sostanza and making it as a single omelette to be divided in two.


For the Look, I might try Patience’s version next time–i.e. folded!

Tasted good like this, though.


Serves 2

1 tin/jar cooked artichokes–drained and sliced on the vertical

2 tbs olive oil

2 tbs parmesan cheese–grated

4 eggs

salt and pepper

Gently fry the artichoke slices in the oil.

Season the egg mixture.

When the artichokes are nicely browned, turn up the heat and add the egg mixture.


Push back the liquid from the rim of the pan, letting the liquid mixture run into the spaces.


Sprinkle over the parmesan and slip the omelette out of the pan and onto a plate.








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