What’s for Dinner?

Home-cooked Japanese Three Dishes Dinner

The Menu

Pan-Fried Mackerel with Nanban Sauce

Simmered Potato and Konnyaku in Spicy Sauce

Okra, Seaweed and Nameko (a fungus) Salad

An Unusual Appetizer

Seared Foie Gras Served with Molecular Ice Cream Made with Chinese Pickled Mustard Green

Two Apples A Day Keeps Heart Doctor Away

‘Just two apples a day could cut risk of heart disease by cutting cholesterol levels’, the Daily Mail tells us.

The news follows a trial in which post-menopausal women who ate either dried apples or prunes (dried plums) every day for a year had their blood cholesterol measured regularly. Researchers found that cholesterol levels were significantly lower in the women who ate dried apples than those who ate dried plums, but only at six months, not at any other time they were measured.

Before Granny Smith rushes out to buy a pound of pippins, it is important to remember that though women who ate dried apples had a reduction in their cholesterol levels, the study only found significant differences between their cholesterol levels and those in the prune group at six months.

This relatively small trial also suffered from high drop-out rates, which limits the reliability of results as the women who dropped out may have had different results to those who stayed in the trial. The high drop-out may also suggest that eating a daily dose of dried fruit for a year may not be to everyone’s taste.

While high cholesterol is a known risk factor for heart disease, the media have assumed that this difference in cholesterol will cut risk of heart disease, and we cannot be certain that this would be the case.

Nevertheless, the study supports the general health message that fruit is an important part of a healthy, balanced diet. Together with a healthy lifestyle and regular physical activity, this is the best way to stay healthy and reduce the risk of heart disease.

The study was published in the peer-reviewed Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.


A Dessert of Pudding with Cherries and Rum


115 g dried cherries
5 tbsp dark rum
175 g unsalted butter
3 eggs, beaten
175 g caster sugar
140 g self-raising flour
55 g ground almonds
60 g fresh white breadcrumbs


  1. Grease six 180 ml moulds.
  2. Preheat oven to 180ºC.
  3. Heat rum in a small saucepan. Add cherries. Turn off heat and set aside for 30 minutes.
  4. Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Slowly mix in the egg. Fold in flour, breadcrumbs and almond. Stir in soaked cherries.
  5. Spoon the mixture into the moulds and level off the surface. Cover each mould with foil allowing space for pudding to rise.
  6. Place moulds in a roasting pan half full of hot water. Bake for about 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Remove from moulds and serve.

Makes 6 servings.

Source: Wine & Food

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