Tuesday


Thai Street Food comes to Edinburgh and Glasgow.

If you’ve opted for a staycation this summer, but enjoy Thai food, you might like to try the new menus Six by Nico will be introducing this summer.
From Tuesday 9 July to Sunday 18 August, guests dining at Six by Nico restaurants in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Belfast are invited to feast on a six course tasting menu inspired by the roadside hot spots of Thailand.



Wednesday

National Restaurant Awards


Congratulations to the five Scottish restaurants included in the top 100 winners of the Estrella Damm National Restaurant Awards – Ondine, The Kitchin, Timberyrad, The Little Chartroom, and Restaurant Andrew Fairlie.


Saturday


Glasgow Food Strategy
Yesterday I was invited to attend the Glasgow Food summit – a bringing together of individuals from the council, charities, businesses, the NHS, other relevant organisations within Glasgow. It was an interesting day, with the opportunity to listen to presentations from a number of organisations and individuals, with speed networking in the afternoon.
I look forward to seeing a workable food strategy for the city which  promotes a circular economy and brings people and organisations together.

Friday


Cholesterol levels and heart health

 Many of us are worried about this and want to achieve safe levels. Nutrition has a big impact so here are some explanations, foods that aect levels and recipes to try.
Since all animal cells manufacture cholesterol, all animal-based foods contain cholesterol in varying amounts. Dietary sources of cholesterol include cheese, egg yolks, beef, pork, poultry, fish, and prawns. However dietary cholesterol intake does not correlate well with blood plasma cholesterol levels. There is a correlation between saturated fat intake and cholesterol levels but most of the circulating plasma level of cholesterol is made by our own liver.  
Cholesterol is essential for our bodies. It is in every cell membrane, is needed to make hormones, bile acids for digestion and for synthesising vitamin D. It is transported by lipoproteins we know as HDL and LDL . Most of the cholesterol in our bodies is produced in the liver with dietary cholesterol adding to this. The amount absorbed by the body depends on how much is available from the diet. The biosynthesis of cholesterol is directly regulated by the cholesterol levels present. A
higher intake from food leads to a decrease in production, whereas a lower intake from food has the opposite eect. Most
evidence shows that low HDL cholesterol is a risk factor for cardiovascular events. Some people are genetically predisposed
to high cholesterol levels.

Low density lipoprotein (LDL) carries cholesterol to the cells that need it, but if theres too much cholesterol for the cells to
use it, it can build up in artery walls contributing to disease of the arteries; for this reason, LDL is known as “bad cholesterol”. Recent evidence is pointing to links between Alzheimers and cholesterol. Lack of certain nutrients can aggravate this process.

High Density Lipoprotein (HDL) particles transport cholesterol back to the liver, either for excretion or for other tissues that synthesise hormones. Large numbers of HDL particles correlates with better health outcomes. HDL can remove cholesterol from the macrophages of the arterial wall. Thus increased concentrations of HDL correlate with lower rates of atheroma and HDL is sometimes referred to as “good cholesterol”. Better levels of HDL are associated with lower levels of inflammatory markers.  

The Lipid Hypothesis- new insights.
The work of Ancel Keys, an American physiologist, led to ‘the lipid hypothesis’ which links raised blood cholesterol levels to the occurrence of heart disease. An accumulation of evidence resulted in the acceptance of the lipid hypothesis by most of the medical community; however, a growing minority argues that the evidence does not support it, and that mechanisms independent of blood cholesterol levels are responsible. This debate is referred to as the “cholesterol controversy”. It is closely related to the saturated fat and cardiovascular disease controversy. More evidence is pointing towards the danger of excess sugar and carbohydrate consumption as many high fat consuming communities do not have cardiovascular problems. Importantly they do not consume sugar or refined carbs. Norway and Innuit peoples are amongst them. Many more studies are ongoing.   




 As a general guide, total cholesterol levels should be:
5mmol/L or less for healthy adults
4mmol/L or less for those at high risk
As a general guide, LDL levels should be:
3mmol/L or less for healthy adults
2mmol/L or less for those at high risk



NHS Guidelines



An ideal level of HDL is above 1mmol/L. A lower level of HDL can increase your risk of heart disease.
Your ratio of total cholesterol to HDL may also be calculated. This is your total cholesterol level divided by your HDL level. Generally, this ratio should be below 4, as a higher ratio increases your risk of heart disease.




To summarise recent studies , Protective foods
Oily fish
Raw nuts and seeds
Plant polyphenols and plant based foods
Anti inflammatory foods
Anti oxidants
Fibre
Olive oil



Damaging foods /diets

Oils -Excess Omega 6 : Omega 3 ratio. Vegetable oils Trans fats- these are processed hydrogenated margarines etc
Red meat
Processed meats
High carb and sugar foods
Typical western diet



Tuesday



Happy Shrove Tuesday!

Whatever you’re having your pancakes with today, we wish you a very happy Shrove Tuesday!
Shrove or Pancake Tuesday is the day before Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, when many societies traditionally ate foods made from butter, eggs and fat that would be given up for Lent.
This tradition dates back to the 16th century.
It’s also known as Mardi Gras celebrated as a carnival day.
Shrove means absolve, and it is a day when Christians make a special point of self-examination and repentance.
The most popular accompaniments to pancakes include simply lemon juice sprinkled with sugar, chocolate sauce with whipped cream, blueberries and cream, maple syrup, bananas and ice cream, and Crepe Suzette.
Whatever way you decide to enjoy them, make sure you eat them when they have just been cooked!


Friday

An apple a day .......


An apple a day…

Scotland’s orchards are currently full of apples, with the south facing fruits ready for picking earlier than the north side. Harvesting usually takes place from September through to October.

Norwegian mythology believed apples kept people young forever

They have vitamin C, potassium, soluble fibre and phytochemicals such as ellagic acid and flavinoids especially quercetin. Quercitin has the same action as non steroidal anti -inflamatories and can help conditions such as eczema, arthritis, gout and much more!
Raw, whole apples including skin have highest levels of nutrients as nearly all are lost on cooking.
Studies have shown apple consumption to lower heart disease, cancer, asthma, type 2 diabetes, improve colon health and  ower cholesterol. In studies 2 a day can lower by up to 16%. They also raise the beneficial HDL cholesterol and lower the unhealthy LDL cholesterol ( by 25% in one study)
So tuck in! Keep them by your desk or in the car instead of sweets. Try grated in muesli or chopped in salads such as coleslaw or celeriac salad. They are great blended in a smoothie too!



Wednesday

Healthy recipes to get you into the summer mood!
The weather recently has been much improved, and we’re all thinking of summer holidays and relaxing in the sunshine. Here are three recipes to help you feel full of energy and ready for the holidays!
Breakfast in a bowl…
Active Time: 5 minutes Total Time: 5 minutes (but must sit overnight)
Serves: 1
Ingredients:
1/3 cup oats
½ cup almond milk
1 teaspoon chia seeds
½ tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons slivered almonds
½ medium banana, sliced
1/3 cup blueberries
Directions:
In an airtight container, mix oats, almond milk, chia seeds, maple syrup, and vanilla. Seal the container and place in the fridge overnight. In the morning, stir oats and top with slivered almonds(you can toast thesetoo!) sliced banana, and blueberries. Enjoy…







Three ingredient health bar…
Ingredients
1 cup almonds
1 cup dried cranberries (other fruit can be used)
1 cup dried pitted dates
Method
Blend in food processor until the consistency resembles breadcrumbs.
Press firmly into tray lined with cling film and chill (preferably overnight)
Cut into squares or bars and take with you to work, the gymn, or for a healthy snack any time.






Harissa Spiced Chicken, Tomato, Tabbouleh & Minted Yoghurt x 10
Ingredients
10 (1each) Chicken breast
300gm Bulgar wheat (you could replace with Cous Cous if Bulgar Wheat is difficult/expensive to purchase)
1ltr Water (hot)
500gm Tomatoes, diced
500gm Red onion, diced
25gm Parsley chopped
25gm Coriander chopped
25gm Mint chopped
20gm Vegetable bouillon
200gm Harissa spice
200ml Lemon juice
100ml Sunflower oil
340ml Low fat yoghurt
5 (1/2 each) Flat breads, cut in half lengthways

Method
1. Marinade the chicken in the Harissa spice and set aside
2. Make the tabbouleh by adding the bouillon to the hot water and then adding the bulgar wheat simmer gently until the stock is absorbed into the wheat. Add more water if the wheat is still too grainy
3. When the cooked bulgar wheat has cooled, add the tomatoes, red onion, parsley & coriander. Add the olive oil & lemon juice and mix well
4. Mix the chopped mint with the yoghurt.
5. Cook the chicken by chargrilling to colour then place on a flat gastronome tray and cook in the oven at 180°C for 10-12 minutes or until a core temperature of +75°C is reached
6. Place a spoon of the tabbouleh on the flat bread, slice the chicken and arrange on each bread
7. Drizzle with the yoghurt and serve



Thursday



Global travel expands our menu choices in the UK…As far flung countries become more and more popular with travelers from the UK, so too do the expectations of our customers.
Not only are our workforces becoming more cosmopolitan, British people are becoming more adventurous with their eating habits, and expect to be able to choose from a range of Streetfood choices as well s the more traditional dishes we offer within our workplace dining facilities.
Here are some of the favourites for 2018…
Jamaican Jerk Chicken:
Spicy, fiery chicken, marinaded overnight, and cooked over wood. Serve with coconut rice and mango salsa.
Pulled Pork from America:
The meat is cooked slowly at low temperatures allowing it to become tender enough to be pulled, or easily broken into individual pieces. It is popular served in a bun with coleslaw.
Bel Puri from India:
This is a savoury snack originating from the Indian subcontinent, and is also a type of chaat. It is made of puffed rice, vegetables and a tangy tamarind sauce.
Halo halo from the Philippines:
This is a dessert in layers, made with shaved ice, evaporated milk, ice cream, and a variety of different ingredients including sweetened red and white beans, lychee, gelatins, coconut strings, jackfruit, plantains and a serving of crème caramel.
Chilli crab from Singapore has a sweet, savoury and spicy tomato sauce on its’ outer shell.
Ta’amiya is an Egyptian falafel made from fava beans and believed to be good for reducing cholesterol, due to it’s high fibre content. They are served with a mint yoghurt sauce, aubergine dip and flatbread.
Arepas are a snack served in Colombia in a variety of ways, for breakfast, appetizer, or side dish. It’s made of corn and grilled before filling with cheese, and recommended to be tried in the capital city of Bogota.
Bubble tea from Taiwan:
These are tea recipes made from a base mixed with fruit or milk. Tapioca balls (or bubbles) are added) with jellies made from tropical fruits, and ice blended versions have a slushy consistency when mixed with syrup or fruit.
Polish Pierogi are hollow pastries, made from thinly rolled dough with various fillings  such as forcemeat, sauerkraut and mushrooms. They have a large number of variations making it suitable for a snack, starter or dessert.

We enjoy experimenting with recipes from around the world, and look to our customers from other countries as well as the adventurous travellers for new ideas to offer our customers.



Friday

Have you forgotten your New Year Resolutions already, and do the summer holidays seem like years away?

Sugar is receiving a lot of press at the moment.

(If you have access to, or , look for a fascinating talk By Dr Robert Lustig  a leading endocrinologist and author of “Fat Chance”.  Also see Jeremy Paxman on the BBC news talking to a Coca Cola representative.)
Sugar causes all sorts of damage not least pushing up cholesterol levels, cardiovascular damage and diabetes. The glycaemic index or load is a measure of how fast carbohydrates and foods breakdown into sugar in the bloodstream. Insulin moves the sugar to the liver and then turns it into fat to be stored round all the places we don’t want it!
Becoming familiar with the glycaemic index of foods will help your choices.
  • White baguettes are almost the same as pure glucose!
  • Protein foods such as beans, chicken and fish are low in carbohydrate so can slow down the sugar effect of a meal when included. 
  • Leaving the skins on potatoes and choosing wholemeal versions of foods lowers the score.
  • Freshly made natural foods are always best as ready meals and processed snacks are full of hidden salt, fat and sugar.
  • Fructose is a form of sugar to be especially wary of. When found naturally in whole fruit the fibre slows down the release of fructose , but in the form of added fructose or fruit juice it can be very damaging.  Some cardiologists want fructose regulated in the same way as alcohol! Both need to be processed by your liver.
See our GI Index below which will help you make informed choices when choosing what foods to eat.


The GI (Glycaemic Index) of common foods
Many factors can alter the G.I of foods. Overcooking will increase the score as the carbohydrates are more refined, and therefore absorbed more quickly. Watermelon appears high but as there is very little available carbohydrates in a portion its overall Glycemic Load is low.

Sugars
GI
Breads & biscuits
GI
Grains & grain products
GI
Vegetables
GI
Snacks & drinks
GI
Glucose
100
Baguette white
95
Brown rice pasta
92
Parsnips - cooked
97
Lucozade
95
Maltose
100
Rice cake
82
Apple muffin
85
Potato – baked
85
Pretzels
83
Honey
87
Crispbread
81
Bran muffin
84
Potato - instant
80
Jelly beans
80
Sucrose
59
Water biscuit
76
Pastry
84
Pumpkin - boiled
75
Corn chips
72
Fructose
20
Waffle
76
White rice
72
Fries
75
Fanta
68


Wholegrain wheat bread
70
Taco shells
68
Potato, new, boiled
70
Mars Bar
68
Fruits
GI
Bagel
72
Brown rice
66
Beetroot – cooked
64
Squash – diluted
66
Dates
102
White bread
69
Cous cous
65
Sweetcorn
59
Muesli bar (with fruit)
65
Watermelon *
72
Ryvita
69
Basmati rice
58
Sweet potato
54
Muesli bar
61
Pineapple
66
Crumpet
69
Brown basmati
55
Peas
51
Popcorn –low fat
55
Melon
65
Digestive biscuit
59
Buckwheat
54
Carrots
49
Potato crisps
54
Raisins
64
Pitta bread
57
Quinoa
53
Broad beans
27
Orange juice
46
Banana
62
Sourdough rye bread
57
Instant noodles
42


Apple juice
40
Apricots (fresh)
57
Rich tea biscuit
55
Wholemeal spaghetti
42
Cereals

Peanuts
14
Kiwi
52
Oatcake
54
Barley
26
Puffed rice
90


Grapes
52
Wholegrain rye bread
41
Protein foods

Cornflakes
80
Pulses

Orange
46


Chicken- less than
15
Weetabix
75
Baked beans
48
Strawberries
40
Dairy

Fish- less than
15
Shredded wheat
67
Baked beans no sugar
40
Raspberries
40
Tofu ice cream
73
Meats- less than
15
Muesli
66
Butter beans
36
Apple
39
Ice cream –low fat
50
Eggs-less than
15
Kellogg’s Special K
54
Chickpeas
36
Plum
39
Yoghurt
36
Almonds
15
Kellogg’s All Bran
52
Back eye beans
33
Pear
38
Whole milk
35
Walnuts
12
Porridge Oats
49
Haricot beans
31
Apricots (dried)
30
Skimmed milk
32
Macadamia nuts
10
Rice bran
19
Kidney beans
29
Grapefruit
25






Lentils
29
Cherries
25






Soya beans
15