Friday, 29 June 2007

The Heart of the Matter #5 - Waterlife


So now when Joanna's roundup of HotM #4 has been up for a couple of days, here and here, it's time for the announcement of July month's round! But first I have to say that I am so happy that so many have discovered this event because it really helps us to fulfill its purpose, that of building up the HotM blog with a recipe base of heart healthy food where you can go to find recipes and inspiration! A heartfelt thanks (now, how could I resist a pun like that here?) to all of last rounds participants!

This month the theme is fish! But not only fish, anything that swims or just lives in the water is OK (well maybe not mermaids if you happen to find any, they are too beautiful and the same goes for sea horses, I have had a soft spot for those since I was little) which means that you can use lobsters, prawns, oysters, clams, eel, tuna in cans and roe, just to mention a few! You can boil or fry, make pasta dishes or salads, stews or finger food-there are no limits to what you can make as long as it is heart healthy. Fish is particularly good for the heart as it has Omega 3 oil and the fatter the fish the better they say so for once we are allowed to go for a fat product! Try to avoid using bad fats (like butter and trans fats) and too fat dairy products, serve it with a lot of vegetables that are in season (possibly) and you have a heart healthy meal on your table! It's not difficult is it? So please help us to build up a heart healthy recipe base and participate in
HotM #5, all you have to do is to send me the link to your entry at i_beretta AT yahoo DOT it before the 23 of July( the last day is the 22), make a link to Lucullian or to the HotM blog if you prefer so that your readers get to know about the event and can see the roundup later! In order to keep this focused on heart health we ask you to consider this as a one entry event, i.e. we prefer that you don't use your entry for other events as well. (But we are known to have made exceptions, see Lisa'sentry in the last roundup for example!)

Wednesday, 27 June 2007

HotM 4: vegetables roundup

One thing's for sure, everyone knows that vegetables are good for you ... this is the best yet for Heart of the Matter, now in its fourth month. Ilva and I set it up so that we could all pool our knowledge of good good-for-you recipes, concentrating on food that won't damage your heart.

It's a record entry, with contributions from 32 different blogs: thank you everyone for taking part - it's really exciting for us both to see Heart of the Matter take off. And if I've left anyone out, please email me straight away - I've checked and double-checked, but there are so many entries I'm feeling a little paranoid!

The first entry came from Wendy within 24 hours of the announcement. It's for Simon Hopkinson's delicious spiced aubergine salad, an adaptation of an Elizabeth David Sicilian recipe. I'm going to make it tonight.

Lisa at Food and Spice makes vegetarian miso soup with lots of seasonal vegetables. She says it's traditional to add tofu to this soup, but she doesn't, and there's more information for anyone else worried about eating soya in a link she's included.

Deborah's tomato stuffed with couscous is a favourite in her house - and she's included a per-serving nutrition calculation. There's a link to some software which will do this for you - check it out at the Humble Housewife.

Lorraine at Italian Foodies sent me two submissions in one email, both delicious salads - one's a cannellini bean salad, which she can make now that you can buy cannellini beans in Ireland where she lives. The other's a potato salad, a little more traditional in Ireland. A few days later, she sent me a link to another HotM post, this time for a lovely rice salad, which you can adapt according to what's in your fridge.

Nora at Life's Smorgasbord (sorry, I can't do all those accents!) thinks that we'll all be put off by the title of her post - Chinese cabbage and anchovy stock. But lots of comments show that the recipe one that's created a lot of interest. I'd never heard of anchovy stock before (it's a traditional Malay ingredient), but I'm definitely going to source some, because I use a lot of anchovy in my cooking to add depth of flavour, and to increase our omega oil consumption.

Ilva at Lucullian Delights, my co-founder for Heart of the Matter, has sent several entries ... it's always hard to choose a favourite amongst her lovely photographs - this one is corn couscous with zucchini, tomatoes, peppers, rucola and olives
- delicious as well as beautiful. Next she gave us a minty zucchini and tomato salad which is so good that she ate it for her lunch three days in a row! Her spinach and green split pea soup flavoured with fennel is just right for the kind of cold, wet days we're having at the moment, even though it's the summer solstice!

Richa at As Dear As Salt has made a pumpkin dish which she calls For the Love of your Heart, Butternut Squash. It is gently spiced, as you'd expect from someone whose blog proclaims her pride in her Indian roots. I can't wait to try it, as I LOVE butternut.

Susan, the Well-Seasoned Cook, has a glut of huge courgette to conquer (or should that be a huge glut of courgette?). Lots of us will be there too in a week or two, so her post is timeley - sneaking out to check on the zucchini, giving it to neighbours if they get too big for her squash fries.

Johanna invented her deconstructed pumpkin hummus because squash is her favourite food since childhood, and she wanted to eat tahini for her supper. Read all about it at Green Gourmet Giraffe, where Roxy Music is the music of choice to cook by.

Alanna at A Veggie Venture wants to know who says hummus always has to be made with garbanzos? And she gives us a recipe for lima bean hummus which she used to make crostini for her book club, topped with a little goat's cheese. As she says, the light green colour makes a welcome change from the muddy colour of traditional hummus.

Katie at Thyme for Cooking has made a lovely salad of lentils on a bed of spinach leaves. There's a creamy mustard dressing, too. And she gives a great method for cooking parcels of vegetables on the barbie, to make sure you get your five-a-day!

Emma the Laughing Gastronome uses brussels sprouts in her coleslaw. And it's not just the veg that's unusual, the dressing sounds wonderful - yoghurt, cider vinegar, wasabi paste .. not your average coleslaw!

Kalyn at Kalyn's Kitchen posted this fabulous recipe for roasted asparagus with soy-sesame flavours just before she left for San Francisco. She adapted one of her own earlier recipes - because asparagus is one of the world's healthiest foods. She provides links for you to follow up information about asparagus.

Sarina Nicole at Trinigourmet has a recipe for pasta with cauliflower, lighter than many because there's no white sauce involved. It was part of her Mother's Day menu.

Over at Vanille and Chocolat, Inne has made a lovely green salad. She was inspired by one she bought ready-made at M & S, and has been making her own version ever since.

Kazari at I Think I Have a Recipe for That made a simple minestrone while watching CSI. She's paired it with basil pitta chips. Comfort food for the Australian winter. (Sorry Kazari, I couldn't get your picture to upload ... some strange blogger blip.)

Tigerfish gives us Choy Joy - choy is Cantonese for vegetables. She gives us a really helpful rundown on the differences (or lack of them) between all the different names you find for the various sorts of Chinese greens you can buy. And then she treats us to a delicious Bok Choy Sum and Tomatoes Salad in Scallion/Ginger Dressing.

Abby at Confabulation in the Kitchen has prepared sesame broccoli. As she says, It's broccoli, it's green, it's olive oil, it's honey, it's balsamic vinegar. What's bad about all of that?

At Anita's Mad Tea Party, there's an unusual treat in store - Kashmirir greens, or monjji haak, to give them their proper name. It's kohlrabi greens, for those of us that need a translation!

Laura's made orange crush - it's a yummy butternut squash salad, and you can read all about it at Eat Drink Live.

Don't these look great? Baked lotus root chips, and Bee says you can easily buy Lotus root (nadur in Kashmiri/bhein in Punjabi/kamal kakri in Hindi) in Thai/Chinese/Indonesian shops. Bee's put in all the nutritional information you could want, and you'll find all the details at Jugalbandi

My old friend Jeanne at Cook Sister! has prepared pak choi with peppadews, which she says goes well with salmon steaks.

Ayone at Food is Love gives us an Indonesian treat, Cap Cay, which has five different spiced vegetables - a great way to get your five-a-day in one dish.

Look at all the summer squash Christine bought in the market! She made Zucchini and Sunburst Squash Sauteed with Garlic and Herbs and A Medley of Squash, Red Bell Peppers, Corn, Edamame, Garlic and Herbs. Read all about it at Christine Cooks.

Lisa at La Mia Cucina liked Alanna's beans so much that she asked Alanna of A Veggie Venture if she could submit them to HotM4 ... and Alanna said yes. So you have two chances to read the recipe!

Priya at Live to Cook is a vegetarian cook from India, and says that many indian veggie dishes are not particularly healthy (think pakora, samosa, tikki, kofta). Here, she redresses the balance with her beautiful Cracked wheat and Vegetable Baath.

Amanda at Little Foodies not only cooked these beans, she grew them, so they got extra special attention as she steamed them. She gives cultivation hints (and advice about how to deal with the slugs that might get to them first!), and a recipe for broad bean soup.

Marla at Bella Baita View is an experienced blogger who is just beginning to blog about food. This is her fennel and beetroot salad with mint, which I can't wait to try, because it's got so many of my favourite tastes in one dish. I can't make a permalink to the salad, because every time I try I get back to Joanna's Food, but you'll find it with the link I've given you (and she posted on 21st June).

Another old friend, Johanna the Passionate Cook, is sharing a heart-healthy recipe with us. And as you'd expect from Johanna, it's an elegant salad, beautifully presented. She uses seasonal vegetables for her Broad bean, asparagus, feta & parma crisp salad with lemon & mint dressing. It's versatile, too, as you can serve it both as a starter or a main.

Susan at Fat-Free Vegan Kitchen has lots of ideas for anyone looking for heart-friendly food, low in fat, high in taste, and preferably involving lots of vegetables. Here she has reworked a spinach kofta recipe, reducing the fat by replacing cheese with tofu, and served with a cucumber / soy-yoghurt sauce.

Cin from A Few of My Favourite Things has contributed a Kylie Kwong recipe for steamed eggplant. The twist is that the aubergine was grown by her father-in-law, so deserved special attention.

I was just about to publish this post when I remembered that I haven't included any of my contributions. Here they are: Pesto mash, kohlrabi, Kohl slaw, Mushrooms in stabilised yoghurt sauce, and One vegetarian day a week will save the earth, as well as your health..

Thanks to everyone for all the lovely recipes. Together we are building a really worthwhile resource. See you next time!

Friday, 1 June 2007

HotM 4 - vegetables

Time to announce the fourth round of Heart of the Matter, and this month's theme is vegetables. They are the basis of the healthy eating pyramid. So just about the easiest thing you can do to help your heart's health is to eat more vegetables ... five a day, seven a day ... you know the drill! The trouble is, once you start to eat more veg, you can quickly get bored of them plain steamed / boiled - and, of course, for many people in the northern hemisphere, vegetables are often served smothered in butter, which is a definite no-no if you're at all concerned about your cholesterol.

So, we're looking for fresh ideas, new ways with vegetables - either as a side dish, or a main course. Lots of the so-called superfoods are vegetables. Quick and easy, or elaborate and sophisticated - you decide ... just so long as the result is heart-healthy. This is how my fellow HotM eventer Ilva at Lucullian Delights explained HotM last month:

If you feel uncertain about ingredients, check out Joanna's list here or the links here on the Heart of the Matter blog. Remember that you are doing yourself a great favour when you eat heart healthy food and if you participate in the HotM you do the whole community a favour because all the roundups are collected here at the HotM blog so that it in the end becomes a permanent recipe base to go when you need inspiration for your heart healthy cooking.

This time the roundup will be at Joanna's Food (as well as at Heart of the Matter of course) so please send the link to your entry to me joannacary AT ukonline DOT co DOT uk, the last day is 22nd June, please remember to link here and that we want only one-event entries.

Any thoughts?