Sunday, 20 March 2011

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about healthy diet. Especially, since the media promote it widely trying, however not effectively to fight the civilisation’s diseases, such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease. Well, and for this, since we have an excellent access to the products from around the world and the preparation of daily meals has become a rather enjoyable culinary trip. I also like to have a full control of the products we buy every day - meat from a halal butcher, Spanish tomatoes, or maybe fruits from Pakistan... selection is huge! Among the friends, I’ve noticed this trend to buy terribly expensive organic food. But does healthy food must be so expensive, and why something that 10 years ago was so normal and cheap and hosted on the table of every housewife, today is a luxury? Do we, the inhabitants of the western world know really what to eat to feel great and healthy for many years? While ordinary Europeans, suffering from flu seek an advice of another doctor of conventional medicine, on the other side of the globe Chinese, the world's healthiest people eat a delicious warming meal, which also has an antiviral properties... I had a chance to experience the blessings of Chinese medicine myself, when treated a chronic problem which conventional, seemingly well-developed medicine could not treat. And so I came across a book 'Chinese System of Food Cures: Prevention and Remedies Who would have thought that chewing fresh cherries may fight laryngitis... The book presents a fascinating, proven ways to use the healing properties of foods by understanding their flavours, energy, action and movement. It also explains why the food affect people in different ways. The key is 's score', a scale based on the traditional principle of Yin and Yang that applies to food and body types. The book contains a huge number of ideas for selecting and preparing hundreds of vegetables, fruit, meat, grains and legumes in order to alleviate and treat a wide range of health problems such as obesity, smoking, insomnia, asthma, peptic ulcer, diabetes, hypertension, inflammation kidneys, hepatitis, diarrhoea, anaemia, and many others. Who among us would have thought that the food has such a power – well, Chinese have known this for centuries. Energy of foods relates to their capacity to generate sensations - cold or hot - in the human body. So according to this principle - the consumption of products with a warm energy will allow us to experience the sensation of heat in the body and the food with cold energy, feeling cold. In everyday life, everyone knows that eating ice cream makes you feel cold and drinking hot beverages causes a feeling of warmth in the body. In addition to heat and cold energy, food also has a cooling energy, warm and neutral. They do not refer, however, the current state of food. An example is tea, which has a cooling energy, so even if we drink hot tea is as if we drank cold drink, because soon after tea enters the body, the heat will be lost, and it begins to generate cold energy, which makes our body cool. Conversely, intake of red pepper, which has energy generating heat and even if you eat peppers straight from the refrigerator, her seeming cold is lost in the body after ingestion, causing a sensation of warmth. That all knowledge seems to be very enigmatic, however, we use it unwittingly in everyday life, choosing the right foods. For example, on rainy, cold day when completely wet going home, the first thing we can think of is to eat something warming - for example, a bowl of hot soup with roasted vegetables.

It’s very warm here today, the first signs of spring's probably for good hit the island, the sun warms us through the window and in a large pot mung beans is simmering ... According to the rules of yin and yang, it has a cooling energy and thus restores the balance when we are hot or have a fever. Although we do not have a fever and we’re fully enjoying the heat of sunlight today, the simplicity of this soup has confounded us to the extent that we decided to cook it. You cannot miss, of course, all other good properties contained in this little bean, such as proteins, vitamin B6 and C, folic acid and other ....
This soup can be enjoyed either hot or cold, and it is refreshing and healthy!

It is difficult to write the exact recipe for this soup, since the amount of ingredients depends on individual taste. For two hungry people like us, we used these amounts of ingredients:

2, 5 cup fresh mung beans (soaked for two hours in advance)
3 tablespoons sugar
5 cups water

Place the mung beans and water in a pot. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 1 hour. Add sugar to taste.

And that's all - is it not the easiest and healthiest soup of the world?


Thursday, 17 March 2011

Today, it will be a bit oriental... We definitely craved for "Chinese food" as well as something light. We prepared a Japanese-inspired soup embellished with some typical ingredients for Chinese cooking. Unusually for the Slavic kitchen, chicken breast looked incredibly aesthetically pleasing, while still tasted like grilled meat, not cooked. But let's start from the beginning.

We had a huge pot of polish style chicken broth in the fridge, you know, one of those very traditional with lots of vegetables and chicken pieces, fat one... :) In fact, Chinese or Japanese "chicken soup" is a little different. But still. So to get a more oriental version of the broth for the soup we boiled chicken soup with garlic, few spring onions and a small amount of mild red chili peppers and ginger. After about 40 minutes we got rid of all ingredients just leaving the watery part of the broth, we added some pak choi leaves and spring onion cut into about inch pieces. Boiled for 10 minutes and there it is, soup is ready.

Ingredients for the broth "oriental"
1 liter of pure broth
2 green onions
6-8 cloves garlic
1 small red chili pepper - mild
1 cm ginger root
1 / 2 pak choi

When I made a transcontinental conversion of the broth, my chicken breasts drew a flavor from the marinade in a fridge.
After about two hours the lovely flavoured fillets landed on a grill until deliciously browned on both sides.

4 tablespoons water
4 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 tablespoons Mirin
4 cloves crushed garlic squeezed throughly
2 cm fresh ginger root well pressed
pinch of brown sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Now when all the flavours made us hungry already we need to prepare noodles. Well, we used just a traditional Japanese noodles, bought in our local oriental shop. We cooked them for few minutes and strained in a colander. Then put them on a side of the bowl. Grilled and wonderfully aromatic, crispy chicken breasts chopped into slices, so to be able to eat them with chop sticks and put them on the pile of noodles in a bowl. Vegetables with chicken soup landed on the other side of the plate. Then pour chicken broth into a bowl. Gently so as not to destroy the delicate composition of this beautiful looking soup;) at the end it is just to decorate the dish and fill the gaps in flavour. On top we just arranged thinly chopped pieces of ginger, spring onion, red pepper strips and garlic.

Pickled ginger
Chopped green onions
Chopped red chili peppers - the focus at the discretion of
Garlic, sliced ​​into strips

Enjoy your soup!!!! 

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Oh Dear.... What happened to me last week? That was a really strange week - weird though... Is that Saturday or Sunday today? For some reason (Only God knows what) I've lost a plot...
Last week, everything turned upside down - sleepy days, then the sleepless nights, the weather didn't want cooperate with us at all... one day the sun was shining so we took all the gear out to welcome the balcony season, the next day we put the winter coat on again... arghhh...

... I've missed a three yoga classes - VERY BAD OF ME!!!! :(

...We didn't even cook anything particular, just a super extra quick dishes... most probably we were eating them in an extra rapid pace... I don't remember what we've been feeding our bodies with last week... :(

Ok, I remember something - I remember the exam I had last week - Oh God, I was afraid of it like a hell... however, when I left the class all my emotions and stress have gone forever. VERY WELL!!! :)

Oh, I must not forget to mention all the beautiful words and response we received from friends and strangers on the appeal for help to Jarek's sister...for which we are very grateful... THANK YOU!!!

The week ended with a visit of a good friend of mine who I haven't seen for a long long time...We sat for a whole night, chatting, gossiping, watching films... All these seasoned with some great food (finaly) and with bottle of our favourite Pinot Grigio...

... And now relax... flannel pyjama, woollen slippers, favourite fluffy blanket, huge cup of lemon tea, our comfortable sofa and the strong wind outside the window... Oh..and let it blow...

...and sundried tomatoes and olive loaf with fresh rosemary and mozzarella cheese...

Recipe tracked down a few weeks ago on this blog, and then forgotten, and found again by an accident at the BBC Good Food, slightly modified by us, which was associated with the current contents of our fridge... as we do not waste any food at home. It is so great recipe that can be easily modified according to your taste! We took an advise of Polka who left the loaf in the oven until completely cool to not fall down .... and our didn't fall down!!

100 ml olive oil, plus extra few drops for greasing
200g plain flour
2 large sprigs of fresh rosemary
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
100ml soy milk (Original recipe contained cow's milk)
a handful of black olives, pitted, plus extra small handful of green olives (optional)
100g sundried tomatoes in olive oil, roughly chopped and drained of oil
120g mozzarella cheese (or other favorite cheese)
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper

Preheat oven to 190stC. Grease the loaf tin with oil and sprinkle it with bread crumbs or coarsely ground cornmeal.
Drain off the tomatoes and olives on paper towels and cut it carelessly. Grate the cheese. In a bowl, mix the flour and baking powder. Add the remaining spices and herbs (at your option, preferably fresh).
In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs with olive oil and milk. Then mix together the dry and wet ingredients and mix gently with a wooden spoon. Add the cheese, tomatoes and olives, leaving a little of each to decorate at the end. Pour the mixture into the tin and decorate with remaining tomatoes, olives and cheese. Bake for 30 - 40 minutes until the cake feels firm to the touch and is golden and crusty on top. And now you can serve it on its own or with a sprinkle of olive oil.

Enjoy and have a nice, relaxing weekend!!

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