Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Proper Rice Pudding

This is the real, traditional English rice pudding and it is a fantastically comforting pudding for the impending Autumn days. It's also about as easy as recipes come - sling it in the oven and forget about it for a few hours. You will be rewarded with soft, creamy rice under a caramelized skin. If you like a slightly richer pudding, you can either use whole milk or evaporated milk.

Almost every culture has a variation on rice pudding and as something of an addict, I'll be posting a few of them over the next few weeks.

Ingredients:
60g pudding rice
600ml semi-skimmed milk
30g soft brown sugar

Serves 4

Put all the ingredients in a deep oven-proof dish. Give a little stir and then pop in the oven at 150c for about 2 hours. Easy.

Arthritis diet notes:
As this recipe is based on milk, it is a great source of calcium. One serving will give you about 25% of your daily calcium requirements and 25% of your daily vitamin D requirements, both of which are vital to build and maintain strong bones and prevent osteoporosis.

Friday, 26 August 2011

Marvelous Marinades

I'm optimistic that someone,somewhere might get good enough weather for a BBQ this weekend so I thought I would post some easy, arthritis-friendly marinades. If the weather isn't quite up to it, these marinades also work well under the grill!

Ingredients:
Mediterranean
2 tablespoons olive oil
Fresh oregano (or other herb of your choice)
1 crushed clove of garlic
Juice of 1 lemon

Indian
1 teaspoon of turmeric
1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
1 crushed clove of garlic
1 tablespoon of good curry paste
150g low fat natural yoghurt

Spicy BBQ
2 tablespoons BBQ sauce
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh red chilli (or dry or pre chopped if easier - add more if you like things hot)
1 tablespoon wholegrain mustard
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar

These all make enough marinade for 4 pieces of fish, pork or chicken.

Mix together all the ingredients in a blender or by hand. Put your meat or fish in a non-metallic dish and cover with marinade, turning to make sure all the surface is covered. Cover and allow to marinade in the fridge for at least 30mins.

When you are ready to cook the meat or fish, wipe off any excess marinade and grill until cooked through.

Arthritis diet notes
A marinade is a great way of making meat or fish tender and flavoursome without alot of fat or salt. Each of these marinades has anti-inflammatory herbs or spices packed into them: the Indian marinade combines turmeric and ginger; the BBQ has chilli; and, the Mediterranean one uses powerful oregano. You can read more about the effects on arthritis of including garlic, turmeric and ginger in your diet by checking out the 'Arthur investigates...' series of posts.

Try them on pork, fish or chicken rather than red meat, which has been linked to an increased risk of inflammatory arthritis.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Arthur Investigates...Garlic

Garlic is powerful stuff. Able to ward of vampires, over-amorous admirers and, apparently, fleas. With that kind of might behind it, you would expect that including it in your diet might have some benefit for arthritis, so Arthur has been looking into it.

The chemical that gives garlic it's powerful smell is called 'allicin' and it's this compound that is thought to give garlic it's other benefits. Garlic has been shown to be effective in helping reduce high blood pressure and help prevent stomach and bowel cancers. It also has powerful anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties.

It's effectiveness in helping arthritis is less clear: there is some recent and promising evidence to suggest that women who consume garlic (and related leeks and onions) are less likely to suffer from early osteoarthritis of the hip. In rheumatoid arthritis, it's usefulness is even less clear. I found one Russian study claiming that a compound made with garlic was as effective as other treatments, but the study was very small and is 12 years old...

Regardless, garlic is certainly a good healthy addition to your diet and a tasty one at that. If you find it very pungent, it might be worth trying to slice in rather than crush it. When you crush garlic you break the cell walls so more allicin is released creating that powerful flavour. Slicing it results in a milder flavour.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Fruit and Nut Energy Bars

This recipe is an adaptation of Nigella's breakfast bars and is a brilliantly straightforward alternative to making flapjacks. Really all the preparation you have to do is to open a can of condensed milk - no faffing around weighing out butter/sugar/syrup etc and getting in a sticky mess. I've played with the recipe to make it a little more arthritis-friendly and slightly less fruity, but you can fiddle around with the mixture and try different combinations.


Ingredients:
397g can of condensed milk
300g rolled oats
50g chopped dates
50g brazil nuts
50g almonds
50g cranberries

Makes 16

Pre-heat your oven to 120c.

In a large bowl, stir together the all the ingredients. Grease a 23x33 tin well with sunflower oil or butter. Pour mixture in and press down well with a fork.

Bake the bars for about 45 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes before cutting into 16. Leave to cool entirely before removing from tin.

These will keep for about two weeks in an airtight tin.

Arthritis diet notes:
These are a great way of getting a big energy boost in a small package, so are perfect for when you are feeling worn out and hungry. You get a quick burst of sugar from the dried fruit and condensed milk, followed by the slower release of energy from the healthy fats in the nuts and the fibre-full oats. They are very high in sugar so go easy if you are watching your weight or your teeth!

 Check out this post if you want to find out more about benefits of brazil nuts in arthritis.

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