Beetroot Sandwich

SandwichActually, the description beetroot sandwich doesn’t do this gem justice. For a start the bread is a marvelous Italian concoction. In addition to the beetroot is a slice of chicken and a slice of Italian ham, and there is also a slice of cheese hiding below on a small bed of lettuce and tomato.

But the best bit is that there is no butter nor margarine, no pickle, no mustard, no chutney, in fact no dressing of any type; nothing extra is needed when a sandwich is this good.

Kangaroo burger

Kangaroo burgerThis is not your average burger. Firstly it is made with real bread, not the soft, sweet stuff that masquerades as a burger bun. Secondly it contains freshly cut local vegetables. Thirdly the meat is kangaroo, lean and wholesome (tastes closest to venison in my opinion). And lastly there is the volume, so much so that it needs a wooden skewer to keep it pinned in place.

All in all, a very satisfying meal.

Almonds: Neglected Food No1

(Please bear in mind this is merely my opinion based on personal experiences, research and observations, and I take no responsibility for any misleading information or errors)

almonds dAlmonds, a humble nut? Sadly not.

A nutritional treasure chest mired in a fierce argument, shrouded in a dilemma. The almond story is far from simple.

Firstly the nutrition. A treasure chest? In a word, yes! The almond is known as the king of nuts for a great many reasons, and the list, based on USDA data is long.

Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy    2,408 kJ (576 kcal)
Carbohydrates    21.69 g
– Starch    0.74 g
– Sugars    3.89 g
– Lactose    0.00 g
– Dietary fiber    12.2 g
Fat    49.42 g
– saturated    3.731 g
– monounsaturated    30.889 g
– polyunsaturated    12.070 g
Protein    21.22 g
– Tryptophan    0.214 g
– Threonine    0.598 g
– Isoleucine    0.702 g
– Leucine    1.488 g
– Lysine    0.580 g
– Methionine    0.151 g
– Cystine    0.189 g
– Phenylalanine    1.120 g
– Tyrosine    0.452 g
– Valine    0.817 g
– Arginine    2.446 g
– Histidine    0.557 g
– Alanine    1.027 g
– Aspartic acid    2.911 g
– Glutamic acid    6.810 g
– Glycine    1.469 g
– Proline    1.032 g
– Serine    0.948 g
Water    4.70 g
Vitamin A    1 IU
– beta-carotene    1 μg (0%)
– lutein and zeaxanthin    1 μg
Thiamine (vit. B1)    0.211 mg (18%)
Riboflavin (vit. B2)    1.014 mg (85%)
Niacin (vit. B3)    3.385 mg (23%)
Pantothenic acid (B5)    0.469 mg (9%)
Vitamin B6    0.143 mg (11%)
Folate (vit. B9)    50 μg (13%)
Choline    52.1 mg (11%)
Vitamin E    26.2 mg (175%)
Vitamin K    0.0 μg (0%)
Calcium    264 mg (26%)
Iron    3.72 mg (29%)
Magnesium    268 mg (75%)
Manganese    2.285 mg (109%)
Phosphorus    484 mg (69%)
Potassium    705 mg (15%)
Sodium    1 mg (0%)
Zinc    3.08 mg (32%)

Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient Database

But take care, these figures are based on a daily intake of 100g (3.5oz). No-one eats this many almonds. Perhaps 10g, which equates to about a handful of almonds, is a more realistic figure, so please divide everything by 10.

The list is certainly impressive, the highlights being the high levels of Vitamins B2 and E, and also magnesium (essential in every cell of the body), phosphorus (for strong bones and teeth), manganese (essential in many enzymes), and its high protein content (about 15% by weight). In addition there is zero cholesterol.

Detailed articles regarding the multi-benefits of almonds can be found below:

and of course wiki:

almonds bFor me the most interesting properties of almonds are the ability to reduce low-density cholesterol (the bad cholesterol), and also to help alkalize the body, balancing the modern body which tends to be too acidic.

So are there any demerits? Yes, and this is where the arguments begin.

In the USA almonds have been implicated in some cases of Salmonellosis (salmonella food poisoning). It is not clear how serious these cases were. In the USA there are about 40,000 reported cases of Salmonellis each year, but probably thousands more go unreported. A very few cases may develop arthritis, and for some (usually the weak, elderly or infants) it may be fatal. Probably with this in mind the state of California passed a law stipulating the pasteurization of almonds, thus preventing the risk of Salmonellosis in almonds.

A good move? Not for the nutritional benefits of the almonds. The pasteurization, which may be by means of steam, irradiation, or chemical, gets rid of the Salmonella bacteria, but also gets rid of a great deal of the nutrients. In the words of some it kills the almonds, leaving them bereft of their nutritional treasure chest. Read this article for one side of the argument:

So what? This only affects almonds from California. The USA happens to grow more than half the world’s almonds, and the majority of these are grown in California.

almond treeThe growers in California are the ones who are arguing. Their carefully nurtured almonds (in many instances organically-grown) are downgraded from the king of nuts to a tasty little morsel before they even enter the packet. And the rest of the world continues to grow and sell nutritious raw almonds.

Nevertheless we cannot simply ignore the Californian legislators, who are often at the vanguard of new and important laws. It is certainly a dilemma. I assume their decisions were taken with the utmost integrity and consideration, and if I had a relative who had died from Salmonellosis contracted from almonds I would surely feel differently, but the rest of the world seems to get along very well without  these draconian almond laws. And why single out almonds? Surely tobacco has a lot more to answer for … ?

Incidentally if pasteurization can seriously affect the nutritional benefits of almonds, then surely roasting, baking or any kind of cooking will also have a similar effect.

But there is another demerit, the phylates (enzyme inhibitors). The science gets a little complex, but here is my reading. Phylates are present in almonds for a reason: to prevent sprouting (germination) in adverse conditions, especially in the dry. And these same phylates can also prevent our intestinal enzymes from going about their business, thus making a serious dent in the nutrients that the body can extract from ingested almonds.

To get around this we can stimulate sprouting by soaking the almonds in water. This nullifies the effect of the phylates, effectively ‘drawing their sting’. But we don’t want to go too far and grow another almond tree, merely starting the germination process is enough. It is estimated that a 10/12 hour soak  (overnight perhaps) is about right to trigger germination whilst being a minimal drain on the almond’s nutrients.

The almond story is not a straightforward one.

So, what to do? This is my gameplan:

  • purchase raw almonds which have not been grown in the USA.
  • soak a handful of almonds overnight.
  • eat a handful of almonds most days (I will probably add them to my breakfast muesli).
  • not eat almonds when I am feeling unwell.
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Fish and Chips

Many years ago this would be served in a sheet of old newspaper, and the only condiment would be malt vinegar.

Fish and chips, considered a national dish of the UK, hasn’t changed all that much (except it is now much dearer, even in relative terms), and with mushy peas, tartar sauce and the ubiquitous tomato ketchup, it makes one extremely filling, and farly nutritious meal.


How would you like a Ham Portsmouth? Or an Egg & Salad Portsmouth.

A sandwich could have been called a portsmouth, but for a quirk of history.

As many people know the Earl of Sandwich became very hungry in the middle of a card game so he ordered his servants to prepare a bit of meat inside two slices of bread, in order that he could continue his card game without leaving the card table to have a meal. One of his fellow players looked at the snack and decided that he rather liked the look of it, and he too ordered ‘the same as Sandwich’. And so the sandwich was born.

But the Earl of Sandwich is a title, not a name, and the 1st Earl of Sandwich was able to choose his name. He was a sailor and he wanted his name to be that of a famous port. The two biggest ports at that time were Sandwich and Portsmouth. Sandwich was the bigger, so he chose Sandwich as his name. In a twist of fate Portsmouth later became much bigger, and was the base for the British Navy for hundreds of years, so perhaps the earl made the wrong choice.

That was exactly 250 years ago, and while most of the world was celebrating Mother’s Day last Sunday, the folks in the town of Sandwich, Kent had Sandwich Day.

Deutsch: John Montagu, 4. Earl of Sandwich (17...