Nature knows no virus. Spring is definitely sprung in Regent’s Park. I am so grateful I can still walk there with my partner. We are allowed out once each day to exercise.
Welcome, I’m not really sure how to begin this weekly update – and those of you who know me will know that I am rarely stumped for words. But what can we say? Cornoavirus dominates the airways, the internet, the newspapers, social media and our conversations. Some of us are in isolation, worse still some of us, or those dear to us, may have it, others are losing their jobs or struggling to save their businesses. I am waiting in London to fly home but am lucky that my partner and I can still go out once a day to walk in nearby Regent’s Park, staying away from others, or to buy food.
My heart goes out to the hospitality industry which has taken a massive hit with restaurants and bars having to close everywhere. If you know ones doing take-away please support them. they are trying to make it work – along with online delivery for wine and spirits. See more below.
I am, however, uplifted by the humour which abounds and every hour brings some funny video, email or memes to make me laugh. Long may it last. We need to keep our spirits up. In that vein, a friend of mine and I have started having a cocktail every evening. We began with the letter A. I have just done E – East India Gimlet, reputedly good for scurvy, so I hope for coronavirus too. Yesterday was Deliverance Mojito, today Flamingo Fling with fresh pomegranate seeds and gin. You can follow it all on Facebook.
My East India Gimlet, just before sunset, overlooking the rooftops to Regent’s Park
We are due to leave London on Friday night and I am very grateful we have got a flight. Evidently the airport is very quiet with lounges and shops closed. I received this email earlier in the week: At British Airways we take our commitment to your safety, comfort and well-being very seriously, which is why we wanted to tell you about some of the changes we have made to our onboard service to ensure we deliver on that promise.
We have been working closely with food and health experts to agree a temporary service for your flight which will include a selection of hot and soft drinks as well as some light refreshments. We will be carefully and hygienically preparing and packaging each meal before your flight.
If you have any special dietary requirements or allergies, unfortunately these will not be provided for. For another bit of fun I asked for suggestions as to what I should take with me on Facebook. There were some wonderful suggestions and lots of humour. Worth reading. Anyway, below is what I came up with – not quite all gluten-free but almost all is and my partner doesn’t have to worry.
My aeroplane food plus bananas, dried fruit and herbal tea bags. Note the face masks, gloves and hand sanitiser
Remember- scroll down as this newsletter is full of info wherever you are in the world!
Most of us have been a pretty lucky generation, though certainly I had friends who suffered and continue to suffer from the Vietnam War and my parents lived through the Great Depression and the Second World War. On the up side this meant my mother taught me to use all of everything, re-invent with left-overs and not waste food. There have been stock market crashes which have adversely affected self-funded retirees, but what we are faced with now knows no national or economic boundaries. Here in the UK Prince Charles has corona virus, along with Tom Hanks and all manner of famous and ordinary people. We just need to do our bit by staying home and following the rules of our various governments. Heeding the impassioned plea of a tired, despondent and committed NHS Dr who has worked in ICU for 25 years on Radio 4 this week: “Your grandparents put their ages up and lied about their health to go and fight in world wars, we are not asking you to fight, we are just asking you to stay home and sit on your couch”.
Watch science guru Dr Karl debunk some myths around COVID-19 and explains how we can all do out part to help flatten the curve. Here’s the video.
A MESSAGE WORTH READING FROM WONDERFUL SYDNEY MARKETS
Australians have just gone through the worst drought and bush fire season in history and many growing regions are still recovering, some were even impacted by recent floods. Disruption to some growing cycles has created a short gap in supply for a few lines.
Panic buying is another pressure that adds to fluctuating prices.
Come on Australia remember the good old Aussie spirit we saw during the bushfire, lets stand side by side (1.5 meters apart of course), buy only what you need and prices will ease.
Apples, Pomegranates and Persimmon
Generally, all seasonal fruits are available.
New-season Royal Gala, Jonathon, Granny Smith, Delicious and Golden Delicious apples are all available. Fresh off the trees they are sweet and crunchy.
Put grapes on your shopping list as the range and quality are superb. With over a dozen different varieties to select from including seeded and seedless varieties, juicy grapes are at their best eating in autumn. Prices will vary depending on variety, size and colour.
With their sweet, tender and juicy flesh, pears are an autumn delight! To ripen pears, leave at room temperature for 3-5 days. Select from Williams, Packham and Corella pears. Serve pears poached, add wedges to salads or enjoy sliced pears with low-fat cheese. You will love these Pear & muesli muffins. Pear prices are the same for this time last year.
Smooth, creamy with a nutty-flavoured Shepard avocados are a top buy. A good source of vitamin B6, this vitamin has many functions and is especially important during exercise when it plays a role in changing amino acids into glucose to provide energy to the muscles.
Sweet persimmon also known as fuji fruit is a non-astringent persimmon the most popular variety being the Fuyu. Select smooth, glossy, bright-coloured orange fruit. Like an apple, sweet persimmon can be eaten firm and crisp, however, you can also leave at room temperature to soften. Prices vary, depending on size and quality.
There is still plenty of good eating stonefruit available. Peaches, nectarines and plums, some that were destined to be exported are now available at your local greengrocer and seasonal prices.
Banana prices have been up for a few weeks now, due to exceedingly hot days back on February that cooked the fruit on the trees. Supplies are bouncing back and prices are expected to easy and supply increases. TIP: Remember that overripe bananas can be frozen, then added to a smoothie or defrost and add to cakes, muffins and pancakes.
Vitamin C rich pomegranates are a beautiful, delicious and antioxidant-rich. Add colour and sweetness to an autumn salad with a generous sprinkle of pomegranates arils; they team delicious with oranges, rocket, feta, rice, lentils, beetroot, quinoa, rhubarb, pears and lamb. Serve pomegranates with panna cotta, yoghurt or spatter arils over a Pavlova. Try this Pumpkin, pomegranate & chickpea tabouli salad.
Broccolini, fresh Chestnuts and Eggplant
Lively, leafy Asian greens add flavour, colour and crunch to stir-fries. Make the most of the quality selection on offer steam or add leaves to a stir-fry. Most are locally grown so stored in the refrigerator on a plastic bag will keep fresh for several days.
Kale is a super nutritious leafy green that is delicious and easy to prepare. Crisp and crunchy the leaves are loaded with antioxidants, vitamins and iron. Toss trimmed leaves into stir-fries, soups, delicious roasted or sautéed kale is a thrifty buy.
Vibrant eggplant comes in many shapes and sizes, so versatile, this mild-tasting veggie is the perfect addition to a variety of cold and cold autumn dishes because it readily absorbs flavour and becomes very tender once cooked. Eggplant is delicious any way you try it barbecued, roasted, grilled or fried.
Red capsicum and salad tomatoes are a bit short supplied. This is a result of delayed planting, earlier in the year, due to extreme weather. Supplies will be more abundant in coming weeks.
Chestnut season has started and you would be nuts not to try them. Cooked chestnuts have a sweet, taste and a texture similar to roast sweet potato. Chestnuts are delicious eaten once boiled, baked, grilled or roasted.
Medium to large-sized zucchinis are so versatile and their mild flavour makes them perfect for grating and adding to risotto, rissoles, meatloaf, pasta dishes and tasty zucchini, parmesan and basil frittatas or use them in a delicious cake like our ‘zucchini and date cake’.
Fennel’s mild aniseed flavour is scrumptious teamed with tomatoes, oranges, lemon or yoghurt in salads, roasted fennel is a superb partner for lamb, chicken or seafood. Bulbs can be cooked whole, cut into wedges or finely shred for salads.
Broccolini is a versatile quick to cook vegetables similar to broccoli in flavour but this week a more thrifty option as broccoli prices are seasonally up at this time of year.
1 red capsicum
1 green or yellow capsicum
1 small eggplant
1 medium zucchini
2 eschallots, peeled
1 small head garlic, separated into cloves, peeled
¼ cup (60ml) extra virgin olive oil
120g goat’s cheese
Olive oil pie crust
2 cups (320g) wholemeal plain flour
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup (125ml) cold water
1/3 cup (80ml) extra virgin olive oil
1 cup (150g) pitted black olives
¼ cup (35g) semi-dried tomatoes in oil, drained
2 tablespoons (40ml) extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons (40ml) red wine vinegar
¼ cup thyme or oregano leaves
Preheat oven to 200°C and line two large baking trays with baking paper.
For the vegetables: chop capsicums, eggplant, zucchini and eschallots into 2cm dice. Tumble onto one of the prepared tray with garlic cloves, drizzle with olive oil and toss with your hands to ensure all are coated. Season well salt and pepper and roast for 20 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked through, tossing the vegetables after 10 minutes to ensure even cooking.
For the olive oil pie crust: combine flour and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre and add cold water and olive oil. Using one hand, quickly mix the ingredients together just until they form a ball. Place the ball on the remaining prepared tray and, using your fingers, push the dough into rectangle shape measuring 30cm x 23cm. It should be 0.5cm thick. Using your thumb and pointer finger press the pastry edges to form an edge of around 1cm, then , pinch pleat this edge using your fingers. Bake the pie crust for 10 minutes.
For the herbed tapenade: process all ingredients until smooth.
Remove the pie crust from the oven, spread the base with herbed tapenade, top with roasted vegetables and crumble over goats cheese. Bake for 30 – 40 minutes or until the pie is golden and cooked through. If the vegetables and cheese are browning too much, cover with a sheet of aluminium foil. Slice and serve immediately.
Cure Cancer is committed to finding a cure for cancer in our lifetime
Charities are doing it very tough right now. Organisations like Foodbank in every country are really busy assisting with feeding those in need and well done to all of them doing such important work. One can only imagine how things might change if the situation worsens. Pressure is mounting on them daily as the BBC reports. Other charities like Cure Cancer , for which I am an Ambassador, find that the ability to fund raise has ground to a halt. In Australia especially where there have been other demands like supporting bush fire and drought appeals, now the impact of COVID-19 is proving to be the biggest challenge of all. Resources are thinly stretched to fund brilliant young researchers who think outside the square at the beginning of their careers.Read their latest newsletterwhich explains all and is full of innovative ways to support. You can also read my co-ambassador nutritionist Zoe Bingley Pullen’s Immune Cheat Sheet