The latest ‘warning’ that low levels of selenium in British soil* are having a damaging effect on our health as we are not getting enough of the mineral through the food we eat, is yet another spur to buy yet more supplements.
Most people I talk to about this find the whole subject confusing. Many friends say they take a multi vitamin tablet every day just to be on the safe side. And yet we hear from scientists that our diet is quite adequate and multi vitamin tablets are unnecessary and natural sources are far easier for our bodies to digest.
So this latest selenium information is I feel just adding to the confusion and for manufacturers to benefit from our anxiety.
A nutritionist has pointed out that natural sources of selenium include sardines, sunflower seeds, prawns, eggs, wholemeal flour and lean meat. Brazil nuts are an especially concentrated source of selenium.
So as brazil nuts, sardines and prawns don’t grow in British soil I’ll be eating some of each every week.
PS Brazils are high in fat – 10g = 6.8g fat, 68kCal and even higher if surrounded by chocolate!
Val Reynolds Brown, Editor
*With so much fruit and veg imported from abroad I wonder just how valid this ‘warning’ is.
A copy of French Provincial Cooking by Elizabeth David was on my shelf for years and years, and when it disappeared I didn’t notice for a long time! Enough to say I had used it so frequently it was falling to bits, her philosophy and recipes the basis of my own cooking, with adaptations of course, and gradually I didn’t have need to refer to it very often.
What a joy it was to get a copy of Elizabeth David’s Table – her very best everyday recipes compiled by Jill Norman. Reading it I got that comfortable feeling of meeting up with an old friend and read it cover to cover. The inclusion of some down to earth features she wrote for various papers and publications over the years placed at the beginning of the various sections of the book made it a joy to read. Her distinctive, no nonsense way of describing a recipe and how to make it remains in my memory.
I loved her description of the market town of Cavaillon and history of the surrounding area. Full of imagery, her writing is inspirational.
I immediately started adding PostIt notes to mark recipes, Coriander Mushrooms, Aubergine Chutney, Chicken Liver Pate, Pork and Liver Pate – this recipewas one I used at a party many years ago, although I never got to eat any, it went so fast! Rillettes, Green Gnocchi, Broad Beans with bacon, egg and lemon, so many recipes I had forgotten. Those broad bean recipes in particular stimulated my purchase of some “http://realseeds.co.uk/”>Aquadulce Longpod seeds; well adapted for winter sowing and early spring eating.
I love this book and would recommend it to anyone interested in tasty, no fuss cooking, and wanting to experiment without making a hash of things!
Published by Penguin in hardback and softback editions
Lizbeth Canvey, Contributing author and professional cook
How often have you been seduced by the REDUCED label in a supermarket – say ten or more onions, or like today, twenty limes – in your supermarket and find it irresistible and confidently expecting to make something of it? But it gets put to one side, gradually to the back of the fridge, forgotten and then discarded, optimism lost in the chasm of inertia! Well it has happened to me of course. The good news is that it happens less often now. Why? I can explore the web for ideas of what can be done with whatever I have bought.
Today I have twenty limes – these are going to be either made into lime curd (my mouth is watering at the prospect!) which takes very little time, or lime chutney – here’s a Google page with lots of recipe sites to choose from.
I collect jars to re-use and buy new tops from Lakeland. Jam and curd take time but very rewarding and make good standby gifts for many occasions.
A recent cookery course I attended included truffles – three different flavours, one including lime zest* which gives me the excuse to make some. They are so luscious I’m not sure they will get to their intended recipients … we just love ‘em! We rolled the truffles in a mix of plain and toasted coconut.
Here’s a recipe I found on the web which is similar to the one I used on the course.
Celeriac, not as often used by home cooks here as they do say in France, is frequently reduced in my local supermarket and it gives me the opportunity to produce Salmon with mustard coating, potato, pea and celeriac mash found on the BBC Good Food website. Again a recipe that works very well.
It’s this time of year when I look out for peaches and nectarines getting lower and lower in price and especially in the Reduced section. Then I usually reach for Elizabeth David’s cook book – At Elizabeth David’s Table – for her easy recipe Peaches in Wine. She tells us the best peaches for this dish are the yellow-fleshed variety. Dip the fruit in boiling water so the skins can be easily peeled off. Slice them straight into big wine glasses, sprinkle with sugar and pour a tablespoon or two of white wine into each glass. Preparing them too far ahead will make the fruit go mushy. If you would like to give the glasses an attractive look, before you start working on the fruit, put a little water in a saucer, put sugar in another saucer, holding the glass upside down gently dip the glass in the water, shake it to remove any excess water, dip the glass in the saucer of sugar, shake off any excess. Voila! You can now add the fruit and wine, carefully! This works with lots of different fruits and you could experiment with flavoured liqueurs – Cointreau and oranges, raspberries and pear vodka! Pears and raspberry liqueur, the list could go on … and on. Just experiment, great fun.
By the way, my favourite prune sweet is to use prunes soaked in white wine – could be red – for at least 3 months. I use screwtop jars, covered with cling film and the cap screwed on lightly, no need to tighten hard. This is so easy to do and makes a wonderful treat with custard! or cream or even better fromage frais, unsweetened. I keep them in a cupboard out of sight otherwise they are just too easy to dip into and devour the lot!
* For any recipe using lime zest be sure to remove the wax generally added to citrus fruit, unless marked as unwaxed. The easiest way to do this is to dunk the fruit in boiling water for 5 minutes, twice if needs be.
Katie Simpson Guest writer, Caterer for the Choosey