In Pictures: Artistic Veggie Sushi

Sushi of Hoxai Kitchen – Sushi Art Lab in Paris


10 Things You Probably Didn’t Know about the Humble Chicken Kiev

Lucy Rahim wrote . . . . . .

With all eyes will be on the Ukranian capital of Kiev for the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest, what better way to celebrate than with the city’s most iconic dish?

The chicken Kiev – chicken breast stuffed with an oozing core of garlicky butter – was one of the defining foods of the 1970s, a staple on dinner-party menus. Over time, its popularity eroded and it was disregarded as a culinary embarrassment, left to gather dust along with the prawn cocktail and Black Forest gâteau.

The recipe has experienced something of a renaissance in recent years, and has crept timidly back onto restaurant menus, with chefs at Coin Laundry, Straight And Narrow and Parlour all offering a take on the traditional dish.

1. No one really knows where it came from

The history of the dish is convoluted and littered with contradicting theories, with its invention attributed to French, Russian and Ukrainian chefs. Some argue that the dish was created in early 19th century Paris, when French cuisine and culture were extremely fashionable in Russia, and Russian chefs were sent there to train.

2. No one knows how it got its name, either

Whether the dish was invented by a French or Russian chef remains disputed, but by the early 20th century it seems to have attributed both the name côtelettes de volaille (literally ‘poultry cutlets’) and poulet à la Maréchale (meaning something wrapped in breadcrumbs and fried). The loss of the French name has been attributed to anti-bourgeousie feeling in the Soviet Union and a need for simpler, proletarian terms. Ukrainian chef Viacheslav Gribov argues that the reason for the name change is because chefs in Kiev changed the recipe, while others insist the name was coined solely as a way of attracting Eastern European immigrants to American restaurants.

3. It used to come with a health and safety warning

The dish was so popular in Soviet hotels that visitors were warned of the risks of splattering themselves with hot butter in tourist brochures.

4. Everyone makes it differently

Most modern British recipes suggest making a pocket in a chicken breast and stuffing it with garlic butter, but a book of Russian cooking suggests it should be made with “boned, flattened chicken breasts with ends neatly tucked in”. In Kiev, it is always served on the bone.

5. Garlic is not always necessary

The heady hit of garlic associated with chicken Kiev may be a prime reason not to serve it on a first date, but Ukrainian chef Viacheslav Gribov (who has served the dish to Fidel Castro and Bill Clinton) insists that the authentic recipe eschews it altogether. “This began as a dish for dignitaries meeting one another. You would never serve them garlic.”

6. It made UK food history

It was the UK’s first chilled ready meal, sold by Marks and Spencer’s in 1979 for £1.99. It was intended as a sophisticated alternative to the TV dinner, the kind of meal that a working middle class woman could serve to friends.

7. It was once used to study the British economy…

The dish was considered so essential to the British consumer that it was included Office for National Statistics basket of consumer goods used to measure inflation.

8. …but became very unpopular very quickly

Chicken Kiev was one of the most iconic foods of the 1970s, but fell out of fashion by the late 1980s with the rise of glamorous nouvelle cuisine.

9. It has been the subject of recent political controversy

In February this year, a New York Times reporter noted on Twitter that a dish identical to chicken Kiev was being served in the canteen of the Russian Foreign Ministry called Chicken Crimea – interpreted by some as a statement of Russia’s claim over the Ukrainian peninsula. The Russian Ministry were quick to point out that the dish was different because it was made with chicken thigh, not breast.

10. We turn to it when times are tough

Despite its negative association, chicken Kievs have seen asurge in popularity in recent years. In 2011, M&S and Tesco reported increased sales of over 20%, attributing the interest to consumers’ desire for the comfort and familiarity of childhood foods during the recession.

Source: The Telegraph

Chinese Shanghi-style Red Braised Pork Belly


3 /4 lb lean pork belly (cut into 3/4-inch thick pieces)
2 tablespoons oil
1 tablespoon rock sugar
3 tablespoons shaoxing wine
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1/2 tablespoon dark soy sauce
2 cups water


  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Blanch the pork for a couple minutes. Remove and set aside.
  2. Add oil and sugar to a wok. Cook over low heat until the sugar melts slightly.
  3. Add the pork and increase the heat to medium. Cook until the pork is lightly browned.
  4. Turn down the heat to low. Add cooking wine, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, and water. Cover and simmer for about 45 minutes to 1 hour until pork is fork tender. Stir every 5 to 10 minutes to prevent burning and add more water if necessary.
  5. Once the pork is fork tender, remove the lid and turn up the heat. Stir continuously to reduce the sauce to a thick glistening coating. Serve hot.

Source: Hong Kong magazine

Natural Remedies for Kidney Stones

Nearly one in 11 Americans will develop a kidney stone during their lifetime, according to the American Urological Association, and for at least half of those afflicted, it isn’t just a one-time occurrence. Since the experience can be very painful, it’s important to know that there are steps you can take to prevent another attack.

Kidney stones form when the levels of minerals and salts normally present in urine—such as calcium and phosphate—are high and tiny particles of them stick together. The stones can then pass from the kidneys into the urinary tract. Symptoms include: sharp pain in your lower abdomen, back, side or groin; pain when you urinate; nausea and vomiting; and fever and chills.

If you have had a kidney stone, a lab analysis of the stone’s composition or of your urine can help provide information on the specific stone risk factor. About 80 percent of people with kidney stones have calcium stones. The good news is that there are some natural remedies for kidney stones.

What to Drink

Drinking 4 ounces of lemon juice daily (diluted in a half-gallon of water) over the course of each day may help prevent recurrence of two types of kidney stones—calcium oxalate and calcium phosphate. The lemon juice boosts levels of citrate in your urine, which discourages the formation of these stones.

This “lemonade therapy” may be a possible alternative to traditional citrate treatments, which are often recommended to prevent kidney stones, but can cause gastrointestinal symptoms. Don’t add sugar, though; sugar-sweetened beverages can boost stone risk by around 20 percent, according to Ramy Youssef Yaacoub, M.D., an assistant clinical professor of urology at the University of California, Irvine, School of Medicine.

If drinking lemon water daily doesn’t appeal to you, another natural remedy for kidney stones is drinking plenty of fluids in general. Drinking enough to essentially double your daily urine output is the cornerstone of any action plan to prevent kidney stones, says Yaacoub. This step can dilute your urine, which helps keep calcium and other compounds from clumping together. Plain water is a good choice, and coffee can also help, Yaacoub says. While there is research suggesting that sipping tea may also cut risk, Yaacoub advises against it; high oxalate levels in tea could increase stone risk for some people.

What to Eat

Natural remedies for kidney stones also include some dietary changes. If you’ve had a calcium stone, cutting back on sodium-heavy processed and fast foods can reduce your risk because a high-sodium diet increases calcium levels in your urine.

Don’t skimp on calcium-rich foods, though. Too little calcium in your diet can increase urine levels of oxalate, another factor in the formation of kidney stones. “Two to three servings of milk, yogurt, or other healthy calcium-rich dairy foods are recommended for people who’ve had calcium stones,” Yaacoub says. “Have it with a meal; that way the calcium will bind in your digestive system with oxalates from the other food you eat.”

Your doctor may also recommend cutting back on high-oxalate vegetables, such as beets, navy beans, rhubarb, and spinach. Be sure to eat plenty of other types of fruit and vegetables, though, and to rein in serving sizes of animal proteins (red meat, chicken, fish, pork)—a dietary one-two punch that helps keep citrate levels in urine high.

Check Your Medicines

Your doctor can also evaluate whether medications you take for other health conditions are causing stones to form, and may be able to adjust your dosage or switch you to another drug. These include laxatives, some antibiotics, potassium-sparing diuretics (used for high blood pressure), potassium channel blockers (used to control heart rhythm and for multiple sclerosis), and sulfonylureas (used to treat type 2 diabetes).

Source: Consumer Reports

High Levels of Exercise Linked to Years of Less Aging at the Cellular Level

Despite their best efforts, no scientist has ever come close to stopping humans from aging. Anti-aging creams, lotions, potions, crystals and wizard spells can’t stop Old Father Time.

But new research from Brigham Young University reveals you may be able to slow one type of aging—the kind that happens inside your cells. As long as you’re willing to sweat.

“Just because you’re 40, doesn’t mean you’re 40 years old biologically,” Tucker said. “We all know people that seem younger than their actual age. The more physically active we are, the less biological aging takes place in our bodies.”

The study, published in the medical journal Preventative Medicine, finds that people who have consistently high levels of physical activity have significantly longer telomeres than those who have sedentary lifestyles, as well as those who are moderately active.

Telomeres are the nucleotide endcaps of our chromosomes. They’re like our biological clock and they’re extremely correlated with age; each time a cell replicates, we lose a tiny bit of the endcaps. Therefore, the older we get, the shorter our telomeres.

Exercise science professor Larry Tucker found adults with high physical activity levels have telomeres with a biological aging advantage of nine years over those who are sedentary, and a seven-year advantage compared to those who are moderately active. To be highly active, women had to engage in 30 minutes of jogging per day (40 minutes for men), five days a week.

“If you want to see a real difference in slowing your biological aging, it appears that a little exercise won’t cut it,” Tucker said. “You have to work out regularly at high levels.”

Tucker analyzed data from 5,823 adults who participated in the CDC’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, one of the few indexes that includes telomere length values for study subjects. The index also includes data for 62 activities participants might have engaged in over a 30-day window, which Tucker analyzed to calculate levels of physical activity.

His study found the shortest telomeres came from sedentary people—they had 140 base pairs of DNA less at the end of their telomeres than highly active folks. Surprisingly, he also found there was no significant difference in telomere length between those with low or moderate physical activity and the sedentary people.

Although the exact mechanism for how exercise preserves telomeres is unknown, Tucker said it may be tied to inflammation and oxidative stress. Previous studies have shown telomere length is closely related to those two factors and it is known that exercise can suppress inflammation and oxidative stress over time.

“We know that regular physical activity helps to reduce mortality and prolong life, and now we know part of that advantage may be due to the preservation of telomeres,” Tucker said.

Source: Brigham Young University

Today’s Comic