Cute Food: Japanese Character Sweets

Rilakkuma (リラックマ) and Kiroyori (キイロイトリ) 和菓子


What’s for Dinner?

European Bistro-style 3-course Dinner at Restaurant Heimat in Frankfurt, Germany

The Menu

Amuse bouche – Fillet with green sauce

Starter – Quail, beluga lentils, radiccio, yoghurt, curry and wild herbs

Main course – Turbot, peas, mint and Iberico ham

Dessert – Nougat mousse, white peach and yogurt

The Restaurant Heimat

Italian-style Boneless Pork Roast with Pork Belly and Pork Loin


1 bunch fresh sage, leaves removed and finely chopped
1 bunch fresh rosemary, leaves removed and finely chopped
1 bunch fresh oregano, leaves removed and finely chopped
12 cloves garlic, finely chopped
6 tablespoons fennel pollen
coarse salt and pepper
3 tablespoons freshly grated lemon zest
1 (5- to 8-pound) pork belly, skin-on
coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 (3- to 4-pound) pork loin


  1. In a medium bowl, mix together sage, rosemary, oregano, garlic, fennel pollen, salt, pepper, and lemon zest; set aside.
  2. Place pork belly skin side up on a clean work surface. Using a very sharp knife, score skin in a diamond-shape fashion. Turn pork belly over so that it is skin-side down. Season flesh side of belly with salt and pepper and half of the herb mixture.
  3. Place pork loin on a cutting board. Holding the blade of the knife parallel to board, cut along the length of the pork loin, but not all the way through. Unfold so that it opens like a book. Place butterflied loin on top of pork belly. Season with salt and pepper and spread with remaining herb mixture.
  4. Roll pork away from you into a cylindrical shape; tie with kitchen twine at 1-inch intervals to make snug.
  5. Season skin with salt and pepper. Transfer to refrigerator, uncovered, so that it air-dries for 3 days.
  6. Fit a rimmed baking sheet with a rack and transfer pork to rack.
  7. Preheat oven to 500ºF with a rack set in the lower third of the oven.
  8. Transfer pork, skin side up, to oven and cook until skin begins to crackle, 20 to 25 minutes. Reduce temperature to 325ºF and continue roasting until an instant-read thermometer inserted into center of roast reaches 135ºF, about 2-1/2 hours, tenting with foil if necessary. Let stand 30 minutes before slicing.

Makes porchetta for 20 sandwiches.

Source: Martha Stewart

The Brain Can Produce Its Own Sugar: Report

Scientists are reporting that the brain naturally produces fructose, a type of sugar associated with obesity and type 2 diabetes.

The Yale University researchers said follow-up studies will investigate how fructose affects the brain and eating behavior.

Fructose is found in fruits, vegetables, table sugar and many processed foods.

In experiments with eight healthy volunteers, the researchers said they found that fructose is converted in the brain from another simple sugar — glucose.

“In this study, we show for the first time that fructose can be produced in the human brain,” said study first author Dr. Janice Hwang, an assistant professor of medicine.

“By showing that fructose in the brain is not simply due to dietary consumption of fructose, we’ve shown fructose can be generated from any sugar you eat. It adds another dimension into understanding fructose’s effects on the brain,” Hwang said in a university news release.

In the brain, glucose sends signals of being full, but that’s not the case with fructose. The conversion of glucose to fructose also occurs in other parts of the body, the researchers said.

“This pathway may be one other mechanism by which high blood sugar can exert its adverse effects,” Hwang said.

The findings were published in the journal JCI Insight.

Source: HealthDay

Belly Fat More Dangerous in Older Women Than Being Overweight

In older women, it’s not excess weight that’s deadly, but where those extra pounds collect that can shorten life, a new study reports.

Among women 70 to 79, being overweight or obese didn’t appear to cut years off life — unless the weight was centered around the waist. But being underweight also appeared to shorten life span, researchers found.

“Abdominal fat is more deadly than carrying excess weight,” said lead researcher Zhao Chen. She’s chair of the University of Arizona’s department of epidemiology and biostatistics in the College of Public Health.

While the study found that a large waist circumference is detrimental, Hispanic women were somewhat protected — they had lower mortality rates at any waist measurement or BMI level than white or black women.

Chen added, “An older woman should be concerned when her body weight is below normal for her height, and less concerned when she is slightly heavier than normal.”

The researchers found that the risk of mortality increased when waist circumference measured more than 31.5 inches (80 centimeters), and they classified anything above nearly 35 inches (88 centimeters) as an “extreme risk.”

The study looked at weight by using body mass index (BMI) measurements. BMI is a rough estimate of a person’s body fat based on height and weight measurements. A BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 is considered normal weight. Below 18.5 is underweight, while 25 to 29.9 is considered overweight.

Obesity is a BMI of 30 or more. But obesity can also be broken into three classes, as was done in this study. Class I or “slight” obesity is a BMI of 30 to 34.9. Class II is 35 to 39.9, and class III is a BMI of 40 or above.

Although being overweight is often considered generally bad for your health, how bad may depend on your age, race and ethnic background, Chen said.

“Some of these differences may be related to the fact that body weight does not capture mortality risk, as do measures such as waist circumference, which we find is consistently associated with higher mortality,” Chen said.

In general, these findings suggest that being underweight is more detrimental in older women, and being slightly heavier in later life could be beneficial, she said.

Body weight can reflect several different aspects of body composition, each reflecting health and disease in its own way, Chen said.

“One’s weight should be interpreted with caution with respect to age, ethnicity, race and other measures of health, such as waist circumference,” she said.

For the study, Chen and her colleagues reviewed data on nearly 162,000 women aged 50 to 79 who took part in the Woman’s Health Initiative, a major study on postmenopausal women by the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

At the start of the study, the researchers measured the height, weight and waist size of all the participants and recorded other lifestyle data.

During 11 years of follow-up, more than 18,000 women died.

The researchers found that being overweight or slightly obese didn’t affect life span. Class II or class III obesity increased the odds of early death by around 10 percent.

Higher waist circumference was consistently tied to higher death rates during the study.

Dr. Jill Rabin is co-chief of the division of ambulatory care in Women’s Health Programs-PCAP Services at Northwell Health in New Hyde Park, N.Y. She believes that these findings can be helpful to older women.

“It’s reassuring, in that older women don’t have to be skinny or try to maintain the same weight as when they were young,” Rabin said. “It might be healthier to be a little bit heavier, except if the fat is around the waist.

“Women whose weight is centered in their waist should try through diet and exercise to lose that weight,” Rabin said.

Another specialist agreed that fat at the waist is the most dangerous kind.

“Central adiposity will increase anyone’s risk of death, said Sharon Zarabi, director of the bariatric program at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.

“As health practitioners, we are moving away from body mass index as an indicator to health risk and looking more at body composition, using waist circumference and body fat percentage,” Zarabi said.

The study findings were published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Source: HealthDay

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