Good Friends healing foods
We had some very good friends come for dinner last night. One of them is in the fight of her life. In March she was diagnosed with Leukemia and she is immersed in cancer treatment to put her body back in fighting shape. I asked Ellen and Jim for dinner expecting Ellen to say she didn’t have the energy to make the trip. I was thrilled when they agreed to come. I have this wonderful cookbook called cooking with Foods that Fight Cancer and we were going to have a meal based on recipes from this book.
The first half of the book discusses how cancer manifests itself in our bodies and how we each have a certain number of mutated cells in our body. It discusses the relationship between food and the preventive effect it has on disease. Many of the diseases we are surrounded with today are often directly linked to lifestyle and may in many instances be avoided. We are already seeing the next generation having lower life expectancy than the previous one for the first time in history. It is a fascinating read and I recommend it to anyone who is interested in understanding how diet impacts certain types of cancers. Every time we put food in our mouths we have a choice of putting quality foods or food that enables the growth of disease.
Dinner tonight included a combination of anti inflammatory spices and herbs that contribute to slowing down the development of cancer. They do their magic by preventing tumors from taking advantage of favorable conditions for growth. Turmeric and ginger seem to be particularly effective in the prevention of several types of cancer – particularly colon cancer.
As most of you know, we have a sweet spot for Indian dishes. The fact that they pack a punch in fighting cancer is a bonus! I selected Spicy Indian-style lamb (page 177) served on a rice pilaf with green peas and almonds (page 230) accompanied by stir fried rainbow chard with homemade pesto (recipes I’ve blogged about in the past). The combination of these three recipes delivered a well balanced heavy hitting nutritious meal. Dessert was an almond flour raspberry ginger cake which was a nice sweet way to finish off the meal.
What the photo lacks in creativity, it makes up for in flavour.
It is easy to see the colour of turmeric in the basmati rice. The flavour is rich without being over powering.
Spicy Indian-style lamb
- 700 g (1 ½ lbs.) lamb shoulder, cubed
- 1 ½ Tbsp. coconut oil
- 80 g (1/2 cup) Spanish onions, coarsely chopped (I used a red onion)
- 3 garlic cloves
- 2 tsp. fresh ginger, finely chopped
- 1 Tbsp. hot red peppers
- 10 cardamom seeds
- 10 coriander seeds
- 4 whole cloves
- 1 ½ tsp. cumin seed
- 1 bay leaf
- Salt and pepper
- 125 g (1/2 cup) plain goat yogurt (8% m.f. or more)
- 1 tsp. paprika (optional)
- Heat the coconut oil in a heavy saucepan and sear the meat on all sides. Add the onions and mix well. Sauté for 3-4 minutes.
- Using a food processor or mortar, puree the garlic, ginger, peppers, cardamom, coriander, cloves, cumin and bay leaf. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Mix with the meat and cook for several minutes.
- Slowly add the yogurt to the saucepan, mixing with the other heated ingredients, thus forming the braising liquid. Verify the seasoning and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat, and simmer over low heat for approximately 1 hour 15 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Sprinkle the paprika and serve.
- Makes 4 servings.
Rice pilaf with green peas and almonds
- 200 g (1 cup) Basmati rice
- 2 Tbsp. coconut oil
- 80 g (1/2 cup) Spanish onions, coarsely chopped (I used red onions)
- 15 cardamom seeds
- ½ tsp. black peppercorns
- 3 whole cloves
- ¾ tsp. ground cumin
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- ¾ tsp. ground turmeric
- 500 ml(2 cups) chicken stock hot and low sodium
- 50 g (1/4 cup) sultana raisins
- 50 g (1/3 cup) frozen green peas
- 2 Tbsp. sliced almonds, toasted)
- Rinse the rice under cold running water until the water runs clear, and let stand to drain.
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Cook the onions and spices approximately 1 minute over medium-high heat. Add the rice and stir to coat the grains with the oil.
- Pour in the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes covered.
- Remove from the heat. Add the dried raisins, frozen green peas, and the almonds, and let stand for 15 minutes covered before serving.
- Makes 4 servings.
The almond flour raspberry ginger cake was moist and fruity. All it needed was a light sprinkling of icing sugar and it was good to serve.
We finished off the evening with a card game called Aces to Kings. If you haven’t played it I recommend giving it a try. We had a wonderful evening with two dear friends. Here’s to many more in the future.
This week’s episode on Empowered Health was sweet and sour barbecued prawns. For your viewing pleasure please visit the Oh Boy’s website.
I’ll be back for another edition of Sunday Night Dinner at Julia’s Place next week. Come back and visit us won’t you.