Thursday, October 22, 2015

Classic French Mussels


This is a very straight-forward classic French method for serving mussels.  It takes about 25 minutes to prep and cook the mussels and this amount serves two.

When cleaning and de-bearding the mussels, inspect each one, if a mussel is partly open give it a tap or a gentle squeeze and watch that the mussel closes its shell - the mussel does not need to snap shut but it should close, if the mussel does not close then discard it.  Similarly, discard any mussels that have not opened during the cooking process.

The 'beards' are the wiry filaments that may protrude from a mussel shell, they take a little effort to pull out but do so - a properly pulled beard has a white tip of a root.

Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio are excellent choices for a dry white wine to cook the mussels in.



Ingredients:
  • 3 tbsps. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 shallots, chopped finely
  • 4 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
  • 2 pounds of mussels, cleaned and de-bearded
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 4 tbsps. butter, cut into pieces
  • 1/2 of a bunch parsley, chopped
  • Sea salt
Directions:
  • Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high.
  • Add the chopped shallots and garlic, cook until they are soft, about 5 minutes
  • Add to the pot the mussels, wine, cream, butter and the parsley and season with sea salt.
  • Cook until the mussels open and are cooked right through, about 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Portion the broth between two bowls then divide up the mussels over the broth.
  • Serve with a crusty bread such as baguette.
Enjoy!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Banana for Breakfast anyone???


This is interesting. After reading this, you'll never look at a banana in the same way again.
Bananas contain three natural sugars - sucrose, fructose and glucose combined with fiber. A banana gives an instant, sustained and substantial boost of energy.

Research has proven that just two bananas provide enough energy for a strenuous 90-minute workout. N...o wonder the banana is the number one fruit with the world's leading athletes.

But energy isn't the only way a banana can help us keep fit. It can also help overcome or prevent a substantial number of illnesses and conditions, making it a must to add to our daily diet.

DEPRESSION:
According to a recent survey undertaken by MIND amongst people suffering from depression, many felt much better after eating a banana. This is because bananas contain tryptophan, a type of protein that the body converts into serotonin, known to make you relax, improve your mood and generally make you feel happier.

PMS:
Forget the pills - eat a banana. The vitamin B6 it contains regulates blood glucose levels, which can affect your mood.

ANEMIA:
High in iron, bananas can stimulate the production of hemoglobin in the blood and so helps in cases of anemia.

BLOOD PRESSURE:
This unique tropical fruit is extremely high in potassium yet low in salt, making it perfect to beat blood pressure So much so, the US Food and Drug Administration has just allowed the banana industry to make official claims for the fruit's ability to reduce the risk of blood pressure and stroke.

BRAIN POWER:
200 students at a Twickenham school ( England ) were helped through their exams this year by eating bananas at breakfast, break, and lunch in a bid to boost their brain power. Research has shown that the potassium-packed fruit can assist learning by making pupils more alert.

CONSTIPATION:
High in fiber, including bananas in the diet can help restore normal bowel action, helping to overcome the problem without resorting to laxatives.

HANGOVERS:
One of the quickest ways of curing a hangover is to make a banana milkshake, sweetened with honey. The banana calms the stomach and, with the help of the honey, builds up depleted blood sugar levels, while the milk soothes and re-hydrates your system.

HEARTBURN:
Bananas have a natural antacid effect in the body, so if you suffer from heartburn, try eating a banana for soothing relief.

MORNING SICKNESS:
Snacking on bananas between meals helps to keep blood sugar levels up and avoid morning sickness.

MOSQUITO BITES:
Before reaching for the insect bite cream, try rubbing the affected area with the inside of a banana skin. Many people find it amazingly successful at reducing swelling and irritation.

NERVES:
Bananas are high in B vitamins that help calm the nervous system..
Overweight and at work? Studies at the Institute of Psychology in Austria found pressure at work leads to gorging on comfort food like chocolate and chips. Looking at 5,000 hospital patients, researchers found the most obese were more likely to be in high-pressure jobs. The report concluded that, to avoid panic-induced food cravings, we need to control our blood sugar levels by snacking on high carbohydrate foods every two hours to keep levels steady.

ULCERS:
The banana is used as the dietary food against intestinal disorders because of its soft texture and smoothness. It is the only raw fruit that can be eaten without distress in over-chroniclercases. It also neutralizes over-acidity and reduces irritation by coating the lining of the stomach.

TEMPERATURE CONTROL:
Many other cultures see bananas as a 'cooling' fruit that can lower both the physical and emotional temperature of expectant mothers. In Thailand , for example, pregnant women eat bananas to ensure their baby is born with a cool temperature.

So, a banana really is a natural remedy for many ills. When you compare it to an apple, it has FOUR TIMES the protein, TWICE the carbohydrate, THREE TIMES the phosphorus, five times the vitamin A and iron, and twice the other vitamins and minerals.. It is also rich in potassium and is one of the best value foods around So maybe its time to change that well-known phrase so that we say, 'A BANANA a day keeps the doctor away!