Tim’s Quick-fire Chicken Garam Masala Curry

Lord, I have a curry craving and there is no stopping me now!

Ever had one of those? I occasionally do. Apparently even Justin Beiber does! So the craving grows and I know I have to give in. Soon…

A korma? Tikka Masala? Kashmir or Malaya? Passanda? Dopiaza? Rogan Josh? Buna or Balti? A Karahi Gosht or a Saag? I will have all of those and more, thanks.

However, it’s late in the evening, I am reluctant to go out, neither am I inclined to phone the take away for a min amount of £15 and apart from odd left overs, some frozen chicken thighs (and the craving) I have little to fall back on. Yes my spices stock looks rather flaccid, but I do have the magic of Garam Masala and plenty of it.

Now, why I say magic is because it contains pretty much most of what would deliver a decent curry pretty quick. A combination of different spices, it probably has as many recipes as there are families in India! Name it and it has got it: coriander, cumin, black peppercorns, black cumins, dry ginger, black cardamoms, cloves, cinnamon and crushed bay leaves. It is packed with everything one needs to deliver a flavour-some curry pronto!

Here’s a quick-fire curry recipe. Note that the winning thing behind a quick-fire one is the confidence to add what you have in hand or not to what is unavailable.

Tim’s Quick-fire Chicken Garam Masala Curry (15 mins if you are nippy)

Ingredients

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, mix together 1/4 cup oil, garam masala, ginger, garlic, and salt to taste.
  2. Precook chicken in the Microwave (full heat) for 10 mins, remove and place in a  dish and, using your hands, spread  the mixture thoroughly.
  3. Heat oil in a pan and fry the onions till brown and add the diced potatoes, fry for 3-4 minutes.
  4. Add the chicken and the left over veggies.
  5. Add the tomatoes, stir for a minute or two and add 1/2 a pint of water. Stir. Reduce water content and add yogurt.

Serve with a portion of  Organic Basmati Rice!

Coeliacs, don’t focus on what you can’t eat, but on wellbeing

Newly diagnosed as coeliac? Are you intolerant to certain foods or have you been diagnosed as having a food allergy? If so this can be the beginning of a looking inwards, focusing on what you can’t eat and letting all the restrictions hang over you like a gloomy cloud. That need not be the case though. I’ve found that if I just take a little time to understand my restrictions and come to terms with them I can then adjust and introduce new, different and varied foods to my diet. My restrictions will not master me, but rather will be the cause of me adventuring further. Maybe we should begin by talking a little about coeliac disease or gluten allergy and intolerance.

Coeliac Disease

Coeliac disease is an auto-immune disease that usually affects our guts. Coeliac disease is not a food allergy but caused by intolerance to gluten, (a protein found in wheat, rye and barley and also in oats by contamination in the field or mill) Damage to the gut lining occurs when gluten is eaten.  In addition to gut problems, some sufferers experience skin and neurological problems too.

Diagnosis of coeliac disease

To diagnose coeliac disease you can try , to begin with, the elimination method. That is as it says, eliminating gluten from your diet. Gluten is found in wheat, rye, barley and oats, so eliminate foods with these ingredients.  If you find there is significant improvement in your symptoms when you exclude these, then ask your doctor for a blood test to confirm this is the cause. The blood test will detect any antibodies and can be followed up with an endoscopy and biopsy to make absolutely sure that is what we are dealing with. There is a little complication to mention here: If you have eliminated gluten from your diet for a while before your blood test then the test will be inaccurate as there will be less antibodies. You will need to have been eating gluten before your blood test for the results to be meaningful but your doctor will advise. It can be common to misread coeliac disease as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, but the blood tests and biopsy should clarify this.

For newly diagnosed coeliacs

Once diagnosed, you need to keep an eye out for gluten hiding in your foods. Some products are obvious: bread, cakes, puddings and pies. But make sure you familiarise yourself with gluten free brands of gravy mix, custard powder, ice creams, chocolates, breakfast cereals, beer and larger etc. Anything which may have wheat, rye, oats and barley included in the processing or preparation. Even things like soya sauce or chips may be off the menu for you as some soy sauces contain fermented barley or wheat while the local chippie may have fried breaded fish in that fat and your chips will be contaminated. Newly diagnosed coeliacs don’t worry, you will find gluten free brands of most of these products from specialist shops and health foods shops as well as the Free-From shelves of your local supermarket. GoodnessDirect of course, specialises in a comprehensive range of gluten free foods as well as other special diet foods.

There is no cure for coeliac disease

There is no cure for coeliac disease or gluten intolerance, but it really isn’t as bad as it sounds – a change of lifestyle means that you can live with your disease without it affecting your quality of life at all. Newly diagnosed coeliacs, you are not alone At least 1 in 100 people are estimated to suffer from coeliac disease in the UK and also 1 in 100 in Europe, with some evidence to support that only 10-15% cases are diagnosed. If coeliacs follow a a gluten-free diet they should find their health can be very stable and the dire consequences of non diagnosis avoided. The extreme symptoms of coeliac disease can lead to conditions such as malnutrition, osteoporosis, bowel cancer and also cause infertility problems.

Gluten Intolerance

Gluten intolerance is not the same as coeliac disease in that it is not an allergic reaction but more an irritation. It is not as extreme but is treated in exactly the same way – gluten avoidance. For more information on gluten intolerance visit the gluten free special diet section at GoodnessDirect.

The UK’s biggest allergy show is coming soon – bigger and better – and GoodnessDirect will be there

We’re getting excited about the upcoming Allergy & Gluten Free Show this May. It’s the best chance for everyone affected by an allergy to get the latest information and up-to-date support. And tickets are free.

Here’s a behind the scenes peek at everything that’s going on…

News from the show floor…
The Allergy & Gluten Free Show 2011
Tom Treverton, Event Director

Come and see us...<br> 6-8 May, 2011
Come and see us... 6-8 May, 2011

Working on live events presents certain challenges. Like a number of other professions, months and months of hard work boil down to a brief moment in time, where all elements must seamlessly converge to deliver fantastic experiences for visitors.

Consequently, your working life becomes markedly improved when an event concept falls onto your desk that both energises and inspires. A concept craved for by the sector it represents, one that delivers genuine answers to questions as yet unanswered, and one that resultantly fulfils a ‘need’ sought after by a sizeable chunk of the UK population. The Allergy & Gluten Free Show is one such event.

This year’s show…
It’s taking place at London’s Olympia from 6 – 8 May 2011. This is the UK’s most comprehensive live forum on allergies, intolerances and autoimmune diseases (like coeliac disease), delivering the largest annual gathering of people with these conditions, as well as the leading health professionals that treat them.

We became involved in the show because we recognise the scale of its potential importance. In the UK, approximately one third of the population will develop an allergy at some point in their lives, with around 30 million estimated to have a food intolerance.

However, this major UK health issue is serviced by an alarmingly small number of experts. Poor NHS provision of skilled professionals means that supply does not meet demand, particularly at a primary care level (where insufficient training ensures sub standard advice).

The Allergy & Gluten Free Show 2011 is the only major exhibition designed to plug the knowledge gap, allowing members of the public to discover treatment and product solutions (thus taking control of their conditions) and health care professionals to access a high level of training to improve their service.

What you’ll find there…
First and foremost, this is a show for the public, and we are thrilled with the way the 2011 event is shaping up. Our objective is to make the show something that will both educate and entertain in equal measure; providing the best advice from prominent Consultants, charities, associations and brands, accessible via a diverse range of interactive content platforms.

Food is a massive part of the show. In addition to over 50% of the show floor being packed with ‘free from’ food producers, we are planning three days of…

  • Public seminars from healthcare specialists, including Consultants and Dieticians.
  • ‘Free from’ cooking demonstrations from top chefs.
  • Parent workshops (with strong dietary focuses).
  • Food related product and treatment demonstrations.

We are just weeks away now and the excitement is building amongst the organising team. Thousands more people are signed up to attend than at this stage last year, content programmes are almost complete and we already have more exhibitors than the show has ever attracted.

We are delighted that GoodnessDirect is one of the show’s partners, and will be exhibiting at the event (stand 42).

Indeed, via our partnership visitors to GoodnessDirect.co.uk can attend the show free of charge. To generate unlimited free tickets, visit www.allergyshow.co.uk/go/goodnessdirect. Simply enter a few details, click ‘submit’ and print out a personalised show ticket (worth £10!). his process can be repeated infinitely to produce additional tickets for friends and family.

See you on the show floor!

Tom Treverton, Event Director

Key details
Event: The Allergy & Gluten Free Show 2011
Date: 6 – 8 May 2011
Location: Olympia 2, London, W14 8UX
Tickets: Free, courtesy of GoodnessDirect at www.allergyshow.co.uk/go/goodnessdirect

Breast protection for babies at risk of eczema or allergies

The fatty acids from breast milk are key to healthy baby development. DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) is well known for promoting a healthy brain, eye, and nervous system for example. But other fatty acids in breast milk may also help protect from allergies.

The fatty acids in breast milk may protect children from allergies
The fatty acids in breast milk may protect children from allergies

Could the sharp rise in allergic diseases like asthma, eczema, food allergies and hayfever be explained by a shift in the fatty acid balance in our diets? It’s possible that the widespread use of vegetable oils and the a low intake of omega-3 fatty acids (mostly from fish) are contributing to inflammation in the body.

Does breast milk affect eczema?
310 mothers and babies were examined according to their various lifestyles, (particularly noting the eating of organic diets and extended breast feeding) to see how the fatty acid composition of their breast milk compared with mums who ate a more conventional diet.

Mums with an ‘alternative’ lifestyles had somewhat higher concentrations of the omega-3 fatty acids in their breast milk (EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), DPA (docosapentaenoic acid), and DHA). They were also higher in ruminant fatty acids (derived primarily from dairy fat), including the all-important immune-enhancing fatty acid, CLA (conjugated linoleic acid).

By the time they were aged two, 31% of the babies had experienced eczema (almost half of these also had allergies). But (at one year) the risk of eczema and allergies was lowest among babies whose mothers’ milk was highest in omega-3. That risk was also seen to decrease as concentrations of ruminant fatty acids increased (regardless of the effect of the omega-3 fatty acids).

This suggests that ruminant fatty acids from dairy fat and organic dairy and, possibly, unpasteurized milk might have an effect on how much a baby can develop a strong immunity in early life.

How to protect your baby from eczema…

  • Breast-feed, if you can. For some women breast-feeding isn’t feasible, but it’s worth it for your baby’s health if you’re able to.
  • Eat more fatty fish. This is important during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. Avoid high-mercury fish including albacore tuna and king mackerel.
  • Make it creamy. The latest study adds to a growing body of evidence of the inflammation-fighting potential of full-fat dairy products.

GoodnessDirect have a number of natural products for the treatment of eczema in babies including:
Green People Baby Salve Lavender

and Beaming Baby Organic Bubble Bath.

For children and adults try:
Comvita Medihoney Moisturising Cream,
Natraderm Shower Gel with Shea Butter,
Optima Allergenics Steroid Free Intensive Care Ointment

or HRI Clear Complexion.

Gluten Free Pizza Base

GLUTEN FREE PIZZA CRUST RECIPE

Makes 1  x 12-13 inch pizza crust.Gluten Free Pizza

This is a great recipe for Pizza base and is inspired by my friends over the pond at http://www.facebook.com/celiacguide.  I’ve converted it for those of us who use Gas Mark X and substituted UK ingredients and have found it works a treat (though I got in an oily mess the first time I made it)  but soon mastered.

1/4 cup millet flour

1  cup  rice flour

1/4 cup arrowroot powder or  starch (they are the same thing by the way) (if you don’t have this use cornstarch or more tapioca starch)

1/2 cup tapioca flour

2 teaspoons xanthan gum

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 Tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon sugar for proofing yeast

2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast

3/4 cup warm water, (heated to 115 -120 degrees)

2 Tablespoons ricotta cheese (for casein free try almond meal)

2 eggs

2 1/2 Tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar

1 Tablespoon Honey

Season to taste with a little  Italian seasoning or paprika for  a little warm peppery taste. Some may like to leave it as it is and let the topping carry the seasoning.

DIRECTIONS:

Place your pizza  pan in the oven and heat the oven to 100 degrees C (Gas Mark 1/4)  to get  warm.

Prepare your liquid ingredients. Mix the olive oil, ricotta cheese (if using almond meal, save and add to the dry ingredients), honey, and vinegar in  bowl and set aside so the mixture comes to room temperature. This mixture should not be cold when mixed with the dry ingredients.

Next, combine all the dry ingredients and sift together in the bowl of your Kenwood or food processor  mixer. Heat 3/4 cup of water until it reaches 46- ish degrees C (No thermometer? No worries, its half way to boiling – a little more than luke warm. In a separate small bowl, place your yeast and the teaspoon of sugar. Mix with about 1/4 cup of the heated water, stir, and let it sit for a few minutes. Once you know the yeast is active, proceed with the recipe.

At this point, you want to double check and make sure all your ingredients have come to room temperature. Turn the  mixer (fitted with paddle) on and give the dry ingredients a few twirls. Add the egg, ricotta mixture to the dry ingredients and give it another few twirls. Add the yeast mixture. At this point, gauge the liquid level. You want the dough to look like stiff cake batter. The dough should still hold the swirls of the mixer, but it should be shiny and not dull.

Add the rest of the water slowly until the right consistency is achieved. You may need another 1/2 cup – making 3/4 cup of warm water total. Since different brands of flour and measuring techniques vary, it is best to keep an eye on  this and add the water slowly to get the texture you want. You will get good at knowing what gluten free pizza dough is supposed to look like.

Once you have the pizza dough made, take the pizza tray out of the oven. . Line the pan with parchment or greaseproof paper and lightly brush with olive oil. With a spatula, slowly spread the pizza dough batter in a 12-13 inch circle. You want the batter to be evenly distributed. At this point, you want to create a beautiful crust edge to your pizza. This can be tricky with such sticky dough. Cover your hands in olive oil and shape the edges like you want them. If you find your hands getting too sticky get a little more olive oil on your hands. You don’t want your dough to be too wet, so be careful.

At this point, I put the tray back in the oven for a 40 minute rise. Once it has risen for 40 minutes, turn the oven to 200 degrees C (Gas mark 6) for 10 minutes to prebake the crust.

Then go crazy adding your favourite toppings! Put back in the oven  for about 7 minutes maybe more. If you want your cheese to brown you could give it an additional 2 minutes under the grill.

Note:You can make this pizza without letting it rise with excellent results!

Prebiotics and Probiotics could help tackle childrens’ asthma

By Kimberly Beauchamp, ND

A nutritional supplement combining pre- and probiotics may help prevent asthma in children with atopic dermatitis, a type of eczema.

In the first study of its kind, scientists have uncovered clues about how the health of the gut might affect immune system health to halt the progression of allergic conditions.

Itchy, wheezy, sneezy
Atopic dermatitis is a chronic, inflammatory, itching skin disorder that often starts during infancy. Up to 40% of children affected by atopic dermatitis will go on to develop asthma later in childhood.

The prevalence of allergic diseases (including atopic dermatitis, asthma, and allergic rhinitis) has increased over the past several decades. It’s been suggested that changes in the intestinal flora—that is, the “good” bugs that reside on your insides—could be responsible for the observed jump in these conditions.

It starts in the gut
Probiotics like acidophilus are living microorganisms with beneficial effects in the gut and throughout the body. They can help

  • boost immune function,
  • increase resistance to infection,
  • inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria,
  • and promote healthy digestion.

Prebiotics are non-digestible food ingredients, such as fructooligosaccharides, that provide fuel for probiotics to thrive on. Since pre- and probiotics work synergistically, together they are referred to as synbiotics.

Researchers from the Netherlands investigated the effect of a formula supplemented with synbiotics on 90 infants with atopic dermatitis. The aim of the study was to see if synbiotics could help prevent children with atopic dermatitis from developing asthma-like symptoms and the need for asthma medications.

  • For 12 weeks, the babies were either given a hydrolyzed whey formula with the probiotic Bifidobacterium brevis and the prebiotics GOS (galactooligosaccharides) and FOS (fructooligosaccharides), or a placebo formula without the synbiotics.
  • They underwent blood test for allergies, including those to cats, dogs, and dust mites at the beginning of the study and after one year.
  • Parents kept tabs on their children’s respiratory symptoms and reported them to the investigators.

Of the 75 children who completed the study, children in the synbiotic group were 20% less likely to have frequent wheezing and 28% less likely to have wheezing and/or noisy breathing during the follow up period than were children in the placebo group. Babies who received the synbiotic-enriched formula were also much less likely to have to start taking asthma medications. Over the course of the study, 15% of children in the placebo group developed an allergy to cats, whereas none of the children in the synbiotic group did.

“These results suggest that this synbiotic mixture prevents asthma-like symptoms,” said lead author of the study, Leontien B. van der Aa of Emma Children’s Hospital in Amsterdam. “The infants that were included in our study will be followed up to age five to six, when they are old enough to determine whether this synbiotic mixture also prevents the development of asthma.”

7 Things You Didn’t Know About Easter Eggs

  • 80 million chocolate Easter Eggs are sold each year – that’s 10% of Britain’s annual spending on chocolate.
  • After fasting 40 days for Lent there was always a surplus of eggs which families used to celebrate Easter – stored properly, eggs can last over 6 months! (see ref)
  • Eating five Easter Eggs (the average given to most children) plus the bars included with them, could see youngsters double their recommended calorie intake for a week.
  • Medieval Easter Eggs were boiled with onions to give them a gold sheen. Edward I, didn’t need to use onions; in 1290 he ordered that 450 eggs be gold leafed and coloured for Easter gifts.
  • The first chocolate Easter Eggs were made in Victorian times soon after the creation of edible chocolate. Before this, friends would give hollow cardboard eggs, filled with gifts.
  • This annual celebration of new life is one of the most ancient celebrations worldwide. Early civilisations often used eggs as part of their symbolism and, from its beginning, Christianity was rich in symbolism too – the egg became a picture of a new creation breaking out of the tomb. Indeed, recently, under the Vatican in Rome, a graveyard was found dating back to the birth of Christianity, in one tomb lay the skeleton of an infant clutching an egg (see ref) – a pre-Christian symbol of resurrection and a sign that this hope is nothing new.
  • In England crowds still gather in places to watch Egg Rolling on Easter Sunday – the origins of which are unknown, but it is commonly said to represent the rolling away of the tombstone by angels when Christ overcame death.

7 fantastic features in Easter Eggs from GoodnessDirect

~ Don’t miss out ~
Dairy-free ‘milk chocolate’ is possible. ‘Moo Free‘ have broken the taste barrier by producing, excellent, moreish alternative to milk-chocolate eggs. We believe it’s the only dairy-free, organic ‘milk-chocolate’ tasting Easter Egg in the world! And it really does taste good.

~ Taste the difference ~
Divine, the leaders in Fairtrade chocolate continue to innovate with Divine Salted Fudge covered with dark chocolate. Or you can opt for their Chocolate Covered Mangos and Brazil Nuts. They’ve hatched out some lovely chocolate eggs too. If your taste reflects your ethics, Divine won’t disappoint.

~ Become an Easter Chocolatier ~
Throw your own party! If you’re looking for Easter Sunday ideas you can use a Choc Chic Kit to make your own Easter treats, but make sure you invite your friends to your chocolatier party…

~ Be refined ~
Booja-Booja still use beautifully decorated Kashmiri hand-painted eggs to give as gifts. Open up an egg for a Luxury vegan Champagne Truffle experience within.

~ Go crazy ~
Long may the Montezuma madness reign with their exciting, cheeky ideas for Easter. Sample their Mini Egg Cubes or steal a clutch from an Egg Nest. Still ethical, still crazy.

~ Give your best ~
The premium Easter Eggshell range comes from Green & Blacks. Their chocolate eggs are thick, luxurious and now Fairtrade. This organic chocolate company are completely serious about indulgence.

~ Make someone’s day ~
Any food you want to send to friends from GoodnessDirect can be gift wrapped or sent in a hamper. All you have to do is visit our Easter pages at GoodnessDirect.co.uk

7 Things You Didn’t Know About Easter Eggs
16 Mar 11– 80 million chocolate Easter Eggs are sold each year – that’s 10% of Britain’s annual spending on chocolate.

– After fasting 40 days for Lent there was always a surplus of eggs which families used to celebrate Easter – stored properly, eggs can last over 6 months! (1)

– Eating five Easter Eggs (the average given to most children) plus the bars included with them, could see youngsters double their recommended calorie intake for a week.

– Medieval Easter Eggs were boiled with onions to give them a gold sheen. Edward I, didn’t need to use onions; in 1290 he ordered that 450 eggs be gold leafed and coloured for Easter gifts.

– The first chocolate Easter Eggs were made in Victorian times soon after the creation of edible chocolate. Before this, friends would give hollow cardboard eggs, filled with gifts.

– This annual celebration of new life is one of the most ancient celebrations worldwide. Early civilisations often used eggs as part of their symbolism and, from its beginning, Christianity was rich in symbolism too – the egg became a picture of a new creation breaking out of the tomb. Indeed, recently, under the Vatican in Rome, a graveyard was found dating back to the birth of Christianity, in one tomb lay the skeleton of an infant clutching an egg (2) – a pre-Christian symbol of resurrection and a sign that this hope is nothing new.

– In England crowds still gather in places to watch Egg Rolling on Easter Sunday – the origins of which are unknown, but it is commonly said to represent the rolling away of the tombstone by angels when Christ overcame death.

7 fantastic features in Easter Eggs from GoodnessDirect

~ Don’t miss out ~
Dairy-free ‘milk chocolate’ is possible. ‘Moo Free’ have broken the taste barrier by producing, excellent, moreish alternative to milk-chocolate eggs. We believe it’s the only dairy-free, organic ‘milk-chocolate’ tasting Easter Egg in the world! And it really does taste good.

~ Taste the difference ~
Divine, the leaders in Fairtrade chocolate continue to innovate with Divine Salted Fudge covered with dark chocolate. Or you can opt for their Chocolate Covered Mangos and Brazil Nuts. They’ve hatched out some lovely chocolate eggs too. If your taste reflects your ethics, Divine won’t disappoint.

~ Become an Easter Chocolatier ~
Throw your own party! If you’re looking for Easter Sunday ideas you can use a Choc Chic Kit to make your own Easter treats, but make sure you invite your friends to your chocolatier party…

~ Be refined ~
Booja-Booja still use beautifully decorated Kashmiri hand-painted eggs to give as gifts. Open up an egg for a Luxury vegan Champagne Truffle experience within.

~ Go crazy ~
Long may the Montezuma madness reign with their exciting, cheeky ideas for Easter. Sample their Mini Egg Cubes or steal a clutch from an Egg Nest. Still ethical, still crazy.

~ Give your best ~
The premium Easter Eggshell range comes from Green & Blacks. Their chocolate eggs are thick, luxurious and now Fairtrade. This organic chocolate company are completely serious about indulgence.

~ Make someone’s day ~
Any food you want to send to friends from GoodnessDirect can be gift wrapped or sent in a hamper. All you have to do is visit our Easter pages at GoodnessDirect.co.uk