Category: Nutritional Facts

Guyabano, Superfood

Ripe Guyabano, Photo by JMorton

Ripe Guyabano, Photo by JMorton

Guyabano, Superfood

My sister, Marilou, is obsessed with this fruit. Every time she sees one, she got to buy it. ūüôā

But then again Marilou is very clever.  She knows things that I need to know.  Apparently it is widely known in the Philippines the wonder of this prickly pear looking fruit.  It is so full of goodness that it is called a superfruit.

Guyabano is rich in vitamin C, vitamin B and vitamin B1.  It also contains high level of carbohydrate and also fructose.

Guyabano apparently has anti-cancer and anti-diabetic elements because of its high content of anti-oxidant..

The goodness of the guyabano does not start and end with the fruit alone.  Apparently the bark, the seeds and the leaves are used to cure some other ailments as well as used in the beauty industry.  It is indeed interesting to research more on these properties.

Anyway, ripe guyabano taste very sweet but there is some sourness to it.  It has rather soft spongy texture and you have to eat the flesh off from black seeds, it is like eating sugar apple (atis).

Guyabano is popular for juicing and making smoothies.

While growing up in Marag, Philippines, we used to have a ready supply of guyabano as they grew in our farm; one was even growing at the back of our house.¬† We ate a lot of it as it was one of my father’s favourite fruits.¬† He would cut the fruit in many portions and he would then expect us to eat our lot.¬† We were willing as we did not have many shops around in our barrio selling sweets, cookies and candies.

Looking back, it was probably the many fruits like guyabano that kept us healthy when younger.¬† Now it is a different story, perhaps it is time to start on guyabano again…..

Ginisang Ampalaya (Sauteed Bitter Gourd)

ginisang ampalaya, Photo by Cristy Castillo-Miclat

Ginisang Ampalaya (Sauteed Bitter Gourd),Photo by Cristy Castillo-Miclat

Ginisang Ampalaya (Sauteed Bitter Gourd)

 

Ampalaya or bitter gourd also known sometimes as bitter melon is as what its name says, bitter.  But there is something appetising about it that makes it rather deliciously complimentary with fried pork, fish, chicken or beef.

Ingredients:

2 medium size ampalaya, cut lengthwise then thinly sliced
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 lb pork, cubed
2 tsp. alamang (shrimp paste) or 1 tbsp patis (fish sauce)
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups water
freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp salt
vegetable oil

Method of preparation

1. Ampalaya can be really bitter and if you do not have the stomach or palate for it, the easiest way to lesses the bitterness is to soak the ampalaya slices in hot water with a generous pinch of salt. Leave for 5-10 minutes and then drain by squeezing the soften ampalaya using your hands. Set the ampalaya aside.

2. Heat the vegetable oil in a large sauce/frying pan.

3. Saute onion, garlic and tomato.

4. Stir in the pork. Cook until it has turned golden.

5. Add the shrimp paste or fish sauce.

6. Pour in the water, bring to a boil and then lower down the heat and simmer until the pork is tender.

7. Add the ampalaya. Cook for about five minutes until completely heated through.

8. Add the salt and blac pepper to taste.

9. In the middle of the simmering ampalaya, make a well and pour in the beaten eggs. Leave to cook for a couple of minutes and then stir the eggs so that it will be fully incorporated with the rest of the ingredients.

The dish may taste bitter but the palate will get used to the taste rather quickly.

Enjoy with boiled rice. So yummy and apparently full of goodness. Amapalaya is known in the Philippines to be good in lowering blood pressure.

Win win situation here. ūüôā

Five-a-Day Fruits And Vegetables

 

Vegetables and Fruits by PH MortonVegetables and Fruits by PH Morton 

Five-a-Day Fruits And Vegetables

 

By eating more fruits and vegetable, you are warding off a lot of diseases by increasing your metabolism and immune system.

Fruits and vegetables are also anti-ageing.  True that fruits and vegetable can be expensive but if you buy those in season, they tend to be cheaper and better.

Things to consider:

  • Try to buy organic food; they are more expensive but they are free from pesticides, fungicides, hormones and antibiotics.
  • If you cannot buy organic food, try to always peel them.
  • Try to buy food that are in season. ¬†Some fruits and vegetable are not in season are forced usually with excess fertilisers and fungicides.
  • Beetroot is a superfood. ¬†It contains a form of nitrate that lowers down blood pressure. ¬†Have some beetroot juice as part of your diet.
  • Berries are also superfood and blueberries are considered the best of them all. ¬†Berries are low in calories but high in nutrients.
  • Instead of adding salt to your food, add herbs and spices instead for flavour.
  • Remember: your everyday dinner plate should be half filled with vegetables.
  • Grow your own; even a few little pots by the window sill or by the balcony are better for freshness than shop-bought!
  • Serve meal with 2 to 3 vegetables or a salad or both.
  • Wash fruits and vegetables before use, especially if they are to be eaten raw!

 

Raspberry, Raspberries

Raspberry, photo by JMorton

Raspberry, photo by JMorton

I am the type who needs some kind of fruits in my diet.  I miss fresh fruit; though I have a selection of canned ones in my food cupboard ready to drizzle with custard or cream whenever I wanted, I really pine for fresh, crisp fruits.

Raspberry, Raspberries

 

Whilst at Willesden a few days ago, I came upon a shop with vegetables and fruits tantalisingly displayed in their shopfront. ¬†I got some bananas, satsumas, bitter gourds (ampalaya), okras (lady’s fingers) and avocados.

While I was inspecting the colourful display of fruits and vegetables, some familiar, some rather alien to me, the seller got into an argument with a woman in a djellaba, who apparently wanted freebies. ¬†They made such a racket that the seller gave me a packet of raspberry for my patience and as an apology. ¬†Thanks! ūüėČ

As I got home, I unpacked my packages and got to thinking what to do with the raspberries. ¬†I have seen raspberries before, I have had raspberry muffins, but I am not sure what to do, I tasted one and it was rather bitter-sweet and there is an after-taste of mineral compound-like, don’t really know how to describe it.

So I thought I’ll make cupcakes with them, which I did and Peter, the hubby, and I enjoyed.

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Raspberries

Apparently raspberries belong to the Rubus of the rose family.  The above red kind of raspberries is what I am familiar with but actually there are different cultivars such as  golden raspberries, black raspberries, purple raspberries, blue raspberries and yellow raspberries.  They can be eaten as fresh fruits, made into juices, dried raspberries for cakes and puddings or preserved as jams.

Raspberry is a bit of a superfood.  It is rich in vitamin C and contains a lot of fibre.  It also contains flavonoids and a great source of antioxidant.  Also the leaves of red raspberries can be used as tea-leaves!

 

Breastfeeding – Natural Nourishment

Sculpture is the art of the hole and the lump.
– Pierre Auguste Rodin

‘Peasant woman nursing her baby’
Jules Dalou (1838-1902)
Britain
1873
Terracotta
Museum no. A.8-1993

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Breastfeeding – Natural Nourishment

I saw this lifesize sculpture at the V&A Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green last week.  I thought it was so beautiful.  Obviously Jules Dalou managed to capture in terracotta the love and nurturing ability of a mother to her baby.

Breastfeeding is as old as mammals. ūüėČ ¬†And yet we as society would feel uncomfortable to the naturalness of a mother breastfeeding in public. ¬† I have to admit, I would find it weird to see a woman breastfeeding while I am tucking in to some steak in Garfunkel’s! ¬†There is still that taboo for mothers exposing their mammary glands to nourish their babies for all to see.

I saw an exhibition of classic and iconinc paintings at the National Gallery of light and illumination.  One of the paintings was that of a daughter breastfeeding her imprisoned father.  There was a yucky factor about it.  But reading the caption, I found the act very brave.  Apparently the painting was based on a story of Pero and her father, Cimon.

Cimon was imprisoned and sentenced to die of starvation.  His daughter Pero was a very brave lady, who took it upon herself to help her father who was becoming more weak and dehydrated as the days went by.

She secretly breastfed him at each visit.

But no secret remained hidden forever. ¬†The jailer, who started to suspect something amiss as Cimon continued to be in fairly good health despite not being given jail food, found out what was happening. ¬†Luckily the officials was so ¬†impressed with Pero’s bravery and ¬†ingenuity that they pardoned and released her father.

Roman Charity, Peter Paul Reubens

Roman Charity, Peter Paul Reubens

Quinoa

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Quinoa is gathering pace in popularity. More and more recipes are incorporating the addition of quiona.

But what is quinoa?

First and foremost, quinoa is pronounced as keenwah. It is not a grain like rice, nor like
couscous, which are tiny granules made from steamed and dried durum wheat. Quinoa is a seed. It is a seed from a distant relative of spinach.

Though it is only becoming popular in the west as well as in China and Japan, quinoa has been cultivated in South America for more than 5000 years. It was the staple food of the Incas.

Quinoa is something of a superfood; a powerhouse for minerals and nutrients. It contains the essential amino acids, which the body can’t make. It is also low in fat and a good source of vitamin B, which is important in cell repairs. It also contains irons, calcium, potassium and magnesium.

So encapsulating quinoa in your diet can be a win win situation especially for older women. Vitamin B is good for repair of body cells and makes the metabolism works much better, the iron gives energy, calcium is good for the bones, potassium is known to reduce high blood pressure and magnesium will do away your headaches as it relaxes the blood vessels that supply the brain.

I think quinoa should be in everyone’s shopping list.

Quinoa is cooked the same way as the rice.

Eggs, Glorious Eggs

DSCN6996

Eggs Photo by JMorton

An egg is always an adventure; the next one may be different.
– Oscar Wilde

helpful tipsTo those who love their eggs boiled, whether hard-boiled or runny, top tip is to add vinegar to the water you are poaching the eggs in. The vinegar helps the egg white to seal quickly, preventing the yolk from bleeding into the white.

 

Eggs are very versatile.  It can be a complete food in itself.  It provides protein, iron, zinc and vitamins A, B and E.

It is also high in amino acid ‘cystein’ which is necessary for the maintenance and growth of the body’s tissues.

Superstition:

Apparently there are some people who would save the eggs laid on a Good Friday as they are supposed to be good at extinguishing fire when thrown at it.

Camden, in his “Ancient and Modern Manners of the Irish,” says that if the owners of horses eat eggs, they must take care to eat an even number, otherwise some mischief will betide the horses. Grooms are not allowed eggs, and the riders are obliged to wash their hands after eating eggs.

In Derbyshire it is considered a bad omen to gather eggs and bring them into the house after dark. Eggs ought not to be brought in on Sunday, and no hen must be set on that day. The number of eggs for a setting must be either eleven or thirteen; the number must be odd, and if twelve eggs are sat upon, the hen will scarcely succeed in hatching them; or, if hatched, the chickens will do no good.

In some parts of England it is believed that the first egg laid by a white pullet, placed under the pillow at night, will bring dreams of those you wish to marry.

In some parts of Java, at a wedding, the bride, as a sign of her subjection, kneels and washes the feet of the bridegroom, after he has trodden upon raw eggs.

In Ireland, at Hallow E’en, among other curious customs, the women take the yolks from some eggs boiled hard, fill the cavity with salt, and eat egg, shell and salt. They are careful not to quench their thirst until morning. If at night they dream that their lovers are at hand with water, they believe they will be jilted.

duck & Quail eggs, photo by PH Morton

duck & Quail eggs, photo by PH Morton

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BOILED EGGS

Boil in boiling water for 3 minutes for soft boiled.

Boil in boiling water for 5 minutes for hard boiled.

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Did you know?

In China, people were eating eggs as early as 1400BC.  The Chinese also developed a method of preserving eggs of which one is burying them in the soil.

Latest Findings:

Experts are now saying that it is safe to eat eggs, even the runny ones,  during pregnancy.

An egg a day will not send your cholesterol soaring sky-high.  In fact it can actually reduce a chance of having a stroke.