Tuesday, January 17, 2006

ARF/5-A-Day Tuesday: Black Beluga Lentils

Yesterday, I finally started the diet. I need to lose at least 15 kg, which roughly translates into 2 ½ stones. I’ve done it before, so I reckon I can do it again. For my ideal weight, I would have to lose even more than that but last time I came near, I had got rather wrinkly, and even bony in areas where my husband doesn’t like me bony (in fact, my husband would be quite happy with me staying as I am – mainly so that he doesn’t have to go on a diet...). More on that topic later.

sweetnicks’ ARF/5-A-Day-Tuesday fits in nicely with the intentions to eat a healthier diet, s
o I intend to be part of it from now on.

If you already know all about it, skip the following, and go straight to the recipe, which probably only just qualifies but has the added advantage of using a pulse type I had not tried before.

ARF stands for Antioxidant Rich Foods

Below, I have reproduced sweetnicks' list of the top 20, but I have grouped them into categories because that way they can be checked more easily for adding them to recipes and/or thinking up recipes:

Antioxidant Rich Foods (the Top 20):

Wild blueberries
Other fruit:
Red Delicious Apples
Granny Smith Apples
Gala Apples
Sweet cherries
Black plums
Small red beans (dried)
Red kidney beans
Pinto beans
Black beans (dried)
Artichokes (cooked)
Russet potatoes (cooked)

sweetnicks also provided this link and Alanna,
trying to find more VEGETABLES for this list, reports the following:

“I did find this helpful list, many thanks to the Heart Center from the Cleveland Clinic.
Antioxidant - Good Food Sources
For Vitamin C -- Citrus fruits and their juices, berries, dark green vegetables (
spinach, asparagus, green peppers, brussel sprouts, broccoli, watercress, other greens), red and yellow peppers, tomatoes and tomato juice, pineapple, cantaloupe, mangos, papaya and guava.
For Vitamin E -- Vegetable oils such as olive, soybean, corn, cottonseed and safflower, nuts and nut butters, seeds, whole grains, wheat, wheat germ, brown rice, oatmeal, soybeans,
sweet potatoes, legumes (beans, lentils, split peas) and dark leafy green vegetables.
For Selenium -- Brazil nuts, brewer’s yeast, oatmeal, brown rice, chicken, eggs, dairy products, garlic, molasses, onions, salmon, seafood, tuna, wheat germ, whole grains,
most vegetables.
For Beta Carotene -- Variety of dark orange, red, yellow and green vegetables and fruits such as
broccoli, kale, spinach, sweet potatoes, carrots, red and yellow peppers, apricots, cantaloupe and mangos.
In my search, one name keeps popping up. It's MJ Smith, a nutritionist and
cookbook author who ten years ago wrote a great book on cooking with antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables called The Miracle Foods Cookbook. Her book is everywhere! Written before its time, just at the start of the scientific research boom about antioxidant foods, the book remains an extraordinarily useful reference for home cooks preparing healthful meals for their families.”

And I think it’s this author which she then quotes as saying, "The best vegetables are the ones you actually eat!" Couldn’t agree more!

And what an effort it is, in a household dominated by men ! With my boys, I have to actually slip them one, play Hide the Veg, and PASTEURISE.
Ozzy is the worst, he doesn’t really eat any vegetables (which proved a bit of a stumbling block whenever he’s tried to become a vegetarian), except for broccoli, peas (now that he can manage to get enough of them on the fork) and cold (!) sweetcorn (yes, directly from the can!). Unless, of course, you put them into a very rich cheese sauce, when he will quite happily eat cauliflower and leeks.
Frank, on the other hand, loves carrots, especially raw, but will painstakingly fork through his food in order to eliminate even the tiniest sliver of a vegetable he doesn’t like (his plate always contains a heap of apparently inedible food at the end of every meal...).
Tom, of course, brought up at a time when grown-ups forced you to eat whatever was on the table – never mind your preferences or the fact that you were gagging – will eat anything (unless it’s beetroot or radish), as long as you smother it with butter or cream or cheese, or preferably a combination of all three. (There is no hope, is there
But more on Food Terrorism later. Here’s the recipe:

Black Beluga Lentil Salad

110g Black Beluga Lentils
½ red pepper
2 TBsp sweetcorn
1 spring onion

Cranberry jelly*
Blackberry vinegar**
lemon juice
lemon zest
olive oil
dash of tabasco (optional)

Cook the lentils as per packet instructions (no pre-soaking necessary), then rinse in cold water and refrigerate. Slice the spring onion, cube the red pepper (I used preserved roasted peppers, which adds a certain piquancy, but a fresh red pepper would be more nutritious and adds fragrance and crunchiness), then prepare the dressing. Toss all the ingredients into the dressing and let flavours develop.

I loved the contrast of the sweet-and-sour effect of the dressing with the earthiness of the lentils, and it also looked a lot more exciting than on my photo (any hints as to how I can get this camera – Sony DSC-P51 – to focus are greatly appreciated). Though it has to be said, while the lentils do resemble Beluga before they’re cooked, their black- and shinyness fades considerably once cooked. Still, they make an interesting change, and would certainly look good with their orange cousins, methinks.

* As this recipe mainly came about in order to include one or two ARF foods, using a jelly is probably not quite the original idea. But it was all I had in and it worked a treat. But I’m sure other ‘forms’ of cranberry would work, too. In particular, dried cranberries, I reckon.

** Berry vinegars: They can be very easily made by mixing fruit and white wine vinegar or even cider vinegar. Any form of reduced/preserved berries should work. I used homemade blackberry jam. Berry syrup can also be used. I made a very tart dressing with cider vinegar*** and Elderberry Syrup with Cloves from Pinks Farm (I buy the syrup from the Farmers’market but I’ve also seen them at Waitrose. Ultimately, I’d like to make my own, of course...) For less of a sugar content, I’m sure one can use fruit pulp, it simply has to be used up more quickly. Very nice little bottles can be bought at Oil & Vinegar. (See my earlier entry ‘Not so much waxing lyrical than burning the house down’. They also sell small 0.2l flip-top bottles like the one shown in Johanna’s Choco Mocca Liqueur post – just in case you were hunting for them...).

*** Cider vinegar: On Severine’s blog, Mes recettes de cuisine favorites, I found the following information:
Did you know that it is rich in minerals, such as phosphor, magnesium, calcium, sulphur, fluor, iron and silicon? Apparently, it is good for fighting obesity and cellulite because it destroys excess fat in your cells.

Gosh, in that case I would have to drink it by the gallon! I wonder whether bathing in it would show any significant effects?!!


Kai said...

I'm joining the event, too, I need to lose like 25 lbs, arghh! Don't worry about your kids not eating vegetables, mine don't, too, but I just take comfort in the fact that I once eschewed any vegetable on my plate, but now that I've grown up all I cook are the vegetables I once considered un-eatable. I just hope my kids inherit this path.

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