Cute Cakes

Colourful Pencil-shaped Roll Cakes

The pointed part of the cake is Marshmallow. The diameter of the cake is about 5 cm. The price is 500 yen each in Japan.

Advertisements

The Best Restaurants in Singapore Just Got Their Michelin Stars

Melissa Cheok wrote . . . . . .

Celebrity chef Joel Robuchon’s restaurant held on to its three Michelin stars this year, once again making it the only establishment in Singapore to grab the top-tier honors.

Seven restaurants were awarded two stars on Thursday, and more than two dozen received one star. Michelin first produced a Singapore guide last year.

The guide, long known for its devotion to French food, has been expanding in Asia, sending its anonymous reviewers out to restaurants in Japan, Shanghai, and Seoul in the past decade. Thailand will be the latest to join the Michelin fold with its first guide later this year.

The judges, or “inspectors,” came from across Europe, the U.S., and Asia, and visited each restaurant several times, said Michael Ellis, Michelin Guide’s international director.

Singapore’s dining scene has long been touted as one of the world’s most vibrant. Its geographical location in the Straits of Malacca and racially diverse population have allowed for a fusion of flavors from across Southeast Asia and the greater region. From upscale establishments to cheap, high-quality street food, the city has a variety of options for every budget. Ellis said he expects Singapore to keep improving.

“The talent is clearly here, the ambition is here, and certainly in Singapore—no one can deny it—the means and resources are there,” he said. “The best days for Singapore fine dining are still ahead.”

He had this surprising advice for chefs who want to make the list.

“Your number one objective has to be to fill your restaurant with happy customers who want to come back,” he said. “Make sure your restaurant is economically viable and you’re making money, you have employees, you have suppliers, you have a family! Make sure you’re making money. That’s gotta be priority number one. If you do that well, we will find you.”

Last week, Michelin released its Bib Gourmand list for Singapore, which recognizes places that serve high-quality food at an affordable price—no more than S$45 ($32.60) per person. Twenty of the 38 names on the list are hawker stalls.

Robuchon’s French restaurant at Resorts World Sentosa last year was Singapore’s first to receive three Michelin stars. The menu includes imperial caviar, Alaskan crab and French beans. Restaurant Andre has amassed a string of awards since opening in 2010.

Here’s the full list:

Three stars

Joel Robuchon

Two stars

Restaurant Andre
L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon
Les Amis
Odette
Shisen Hanten
Shoukouwa
Waku Ghin

One star

Alma
Beni
Braci
Candlenut
Cheek by Jowl
Chef Kang’s
Corner House
Crystal Jade Golden Palace
Cut
Garibaldi
Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle
Iggy’s
Imperial Treasure Fine Teochew Cuisine
Jaan
Labyrinth
Lei Garden
Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle (335 Smith Street)
Meta
Osia
Putien (Kitchener Road)
Rhubarb
Saint Pierre
Shinji (Bras Basah Road)
Shinji (Tanglin Road)
Summer Palace
Summer Pavilion
Sushi Ichi
The Kitchen of Bacchanalia
The Song of India
Whitegrass

Source: Bloomberg

Japanese-style Grilled Fish Glazed with A Miso-mirin Mixture

Ingredients

1-1/3 cups white rice, such as jasmine or short-grain sushi rice
1/4 cup white miso
2 Tbsp mirin
1/2 tsp unseasoned rice vinegar
4 (5-oz each) skin-on salmon fillets, preferably about 3/4 inch thick
1/2 cup loose-leaf green tea
Kosher salt
3 medium green onion, thinly sliced (about 1/2 cup)
1 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds; more for garnish

Method

  1. Cook rice and keep warm.
  2. Position a rack 4 inches from the broiler and heat the broiler on high.
  3. In a small bowl, stir the miso, mirin, and rice vinegar with a fork to blend. Put the salmon fillets skin side down on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet, leaving space between them. Pat the salmon dry and broil for 2 minutes.
  4. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and, with a spoon, carefully spread the miso mixture over the top of the fillets. Broil until the salmon is just barely opaque in the center (use a paring knife to check), 2 to 3 minutes more.
  5. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, bring 2-1/4 cups of water to a simmer. Put the tea leaves and 3/4 tsp salt in a 4-cup heatproof liquid measuring cup. Pour the hot water over the leaves and let steep for 1 minute.
  6. Gently mix the green onion and sesame seeds into the rice and divide among four large shallow bowls, mounding it in the center. Pour the tea through a strainer around each mound. With a spatula, lift the salmon from the baking sheet, leaving the skin behind, and place on top of the rice. Sprinkle with more sesame seeds and serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Fine Cooking magazine

What You Need to Know about Lectins

Ryan Andrews wrote . . . . . . .

What are lectins?

Lectins are a type of protein that can bind to cell membranes. They are sugar-binding and become the “glyco” portion of glycoconjugates on the membranes. Lectins offer a way for molecules to stick together without getting the immune system involved, which can influence cell-cell interaction.

Lectins are abundant in raw legumes and grains, and most commonly found in the part of the seed that becomes the leaves when the plant sprouts, aka the cotyledon, but also on the seed coat. They’re also found in dairy products and certain vegetables. While lectin content in food is fairly constant, the genetic altering of plants has created some fluctuations.

Lectins in plants are a defense against microorganisms, pests, and insects. They may also have evolved as a way for seeds to remain intact as they passed through animals’ digestive systems, for later dispersal. Lectins are resistant to human digestion and they enter the blood unchanged.

Why are lectins so important?

Lectins are thought to play a role in immune function, cell growth, cell death, and body fat regulation.

Immune response and toxicity

Because we don’t digest lectins, we often produce antibodies to them. Almost everyone has antibodies to some dietary lectins in their body. This means our responses vary. Certain foods can even become intolerable to someone after an immune system change or the gut is injured from another source. The presence of particular lectins can stimulate an immune system response.

There are some lectins that no one should consume. Ever wonder why you don’t see sprouted red kidney beans?

It’s due to phytohaemagglutinin – a lectin that can cause red kidney bean poisoning. The poisoning is usually caused by the ingestion of raw, soaked kidney beans. As few as four or five raw beans can trigger symptoms.

Raw kidney beans contain from 20,000 to 70,000 lectin units, while fully cooked beans usually contain between 200 and 400 units.

Beneficial lectins

While many types of lectins cause negative reactions in the body, there are also health promoting lectins that can decrease incidence of certain diseases. Furthermore, the body uses lectins to achieve many basic functions, including cell to cell adherence, inflammatory modulation and programmed cell death.

What you should know about lectins

Ingesting lectins can cause flatulence. Consuming legumes and grains in their raw form can even result in nausea, diarrhea and vomiting. Indeed, researchers speculate that many apparent causes of bacterial food poisoning may actually be lectin poisoning.

Lectins and the intestinal wall

This GI distress happens because lectins can damage the intestinal lining.

As food passes through the gut, it causes very minor damage to the lining of the GI tract. Normally the cells repair this damage rapidly. Since the purpose of the gut lining is to let the good stuff past and keep the bad stuff contained, it’s important for the cellular repair system to be running at full efficiency.

But lectins can blunt this speedy reconstruction. Our cells can’t regenerate as fast as they need to in order to keep the intestinal lining secure. Thus, our natural gut defenses are compromised after the damage occurs and the gut can become “leaky,” allowing various molecules (including stuff we don’t want) to pass back and forth amid the gut wall. We may also not absorb other important things, such as vitamins and minerals, properly.

When enough lectins are consumed, it can signal our body to evacuate GI contents. This means vomiting, cramping and diarrhea. It’s similar to consuming large amounts of alcohol, which can damage the GI lining and cause GI evacuation.

Lectins and immune response

When lectins affect the gut wall, it may also cause a broader immune system response as the body’s defenses move in to attack the invaders.

Symptoms can include skin rashes, joint pain, and general inflammation. Other chronic disorders may be correlated with leaky gut — for example, researchers have even noted that children with autism have very high rates of leaky gut and similar inflammatory GI tract diseases.

When someone suffers from Crohn’s disease or irritable bowel syndrome, the gut lining seems to be more sensitive to food lectins. This might be due to the high turnover of cells and greater population of the immature variety. These immature cells have plenty of spots for lectins to attach.

The effects of dietary lectins only extend for as long as they are in the body, and the effects can be reduced by eating a variety of fruits, vegetables (rather than high amounts of one type) and foods with beneficial bacteria (e.g., fermented foods).

Lectins and grains

Unrefined grains are more nutritious than refined versions because they contain more nutrients. However, they also provide more lectins (and other anti-nutrients).

While this was likely never a problem when we grew and harvested our own grains, we now have access to MANY whole grain products. Before the invention of modern agriculture, grains were a minor and seasonal crop. Now we can go to the market for 15 minutes and have a cart full of whole grain pasta, bread, rice, quinoa, kamut, amaranth, oats, barley and chips.

The average North American diet is highly grain-based: bread, pasta, rice, cereals, etc. are everywhere, especially in processed foods.

Was the body ever equipped to deal with that type of grain onslaught?

Our ancestors grasped the concept of “survival of the fittest,” and found a solution to the problem of lectins. Soaking, fermenting, sprouting and cooking will decrease lectins and free up the good nutrients. The content of lectins in foods differs year to year and crop to crop.

Grain, cereal, dairy, and legume (especially peanut and soybean) lectins are most commonly associated with reports of digestive complaints. Legumes and seafood are the most abundant sources of lectins in most diets.

How can we reduce or neutralize lectins?

Sprouting

Sprouting seeds, grains or beans decreases the lectin content.

Generally, the longer the duration of sprouting, the more lectins are deactivated. In some cases the lectin activity is enhanced by sprouting (like alfalfa sprouts). The lectins in some grains and beans are in the seed coat. As it germinates, the coat is metabolized – eliminating lectins.

Soaking and cooking

Even wonder why grandma bothered with the long soak, rinse and boil session when preparing beans and grains? Lectin reduction. This is probably the most classic method of preparing beans and grains.

Soak beans and legumes overnight, and change the water often. Drain and rinse again before cooking. Adding sodium bicarbonate (aka baking soda) to the soaking water may help neutralize the lectins further.

Fermenting

Fermentation allows beneficial bacteria to digest and convert many of the harmful substances.

This might be why the healthiest populations stick with fermented soy products like tofu, miso, tempeh, tamari and natto. Even some vegetables, such as cabbage, may have fewer antinutrients when fermented. Cultures with a history of grain eating traditionally have used some form of fermentation to treat grains. If you’ve had sourdough bread or beer, you’ve had fermented grains.

Not all lectins are completely destroyed by these methods, and some particularly stubborn lectins in beans remain no matter how lengthy the treatment. Thus, these techniques don’t totally reduce the negative effects for everyone.

Some have argued that since agriculture is a relatively recent invention, humans did not evolve to tolerate grains nor beans well in any case. For some susceptible people, consuming a “Paleo-style” diet, where carbohydrates come from fruits and vegetables, rather than grains and beans, may be beneficial.

Summary and recommendations

Since lectins are so widely distributed in food items commonly consumed by humans, and have been for many centuries, most nutrition experts assume they don’t pose a significant risk to human health.

Still, it does appear that chronic ingestion of untreated high-lectin foods may warrant further consideration. If you consume a diet with plenty of lectin-rich foods, try to reduce the amount by soaking, fermenting, sprouting and/or cooking.

Extra credit

Certain seaweeds and mucilaginous vegetables have the ability to bind lectins in a way that makes them unavailable to the cells of the gut.

Lectins are resistant to dry heat, so using raw legume flours in baked goods should be done with caution.

The “Blood Type Diet” is based on how our blood cells react with lectins in foods.

Some experts hypothesize that it’s no coincidence the top 8 allergens also contain some of the highest amounts of lectins (including: dairy, egg, wheat, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish).

Some experts theorize that lectins cause urinary tract infections.

Some experts theorize that the reason anemia is higher in developing countries is due to excessive levels of lectin consumption.

Source: Precision Nutrition


Read also:

These 50 Foods Are High In Lectins: Avoidance or Not? . . . . .

Role of Lectins in Inflammation . . . . .

Better Diet, Longer Life?

Amy Norton wrote . . . . . . .

Middle-aged and older adults who start eating better also tend to live longer, a large new study shows.

The findings, reported in the July 13 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, might not sound surprising. Health experts said they basically reinforce messages people have been hearing for years.

But the study is the first to show that sustained diet changes — even later in life — might extend people’s lives, the researchers said.

“A main take-home message is that it’s never too late to improve diet quality,” said lead researcher Mercedes Sotos-Prieto, a visiting scientist at the Harvard School of Public Health, in Boston.

“Most participants in our study were 60 years or older,” she noted.

The findings are based on nearly 74,000 U.S. health professionals who were part of two long-running studies that began in the 1970s and 1980s.

Between 1998 and 2010, almost 10,000 of those study participants died. Sotos-Prieto and her team looked at how people’s risk of early death related to any diet changes they’d made in the previous 12 years (1986 to 1998).

It turned out that people who had changed for the better — adding more fruits and vegetables and whole grains, for example — had a lower risk of premature death than those whose diets stayed the same.

In contrast, people who let their eating habits slide faced a higher risk of dying during the study period — 6 percent to 12 percent higher — compared to stable eaters, the findings showed.

How much of a difference did diet improvements make?

It varied a bit based on the measure of diet quality. The researchers used three scoring systems: the Alternate Healthy Eating Index; the Alternate Mediterranean Diet score; and the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet score.

The scoring systems differ somewhat, but all give more points to foods such as vegetables, fruit, whole grains, fish, low-fat dairy and sources of “good” fats, such as olive oil and nuts. Processed foods, sweets, red meat and butter, meanwhile, get lower ratings.

Overall, the study found, a 20-percentile improvement in diet quality was linked to an 8 percent to 17 percent decrease in the risk of early death from any cause. There was a similar dip in the risk of dying from heart disease or stroke, specifically.

That 20-percentile shift is a fairly minor change, according to Sotos-Prieto.

Swapping out one daily serving of red meat for one serving of legumes or nuts, for example, would do the trick, she said.

“Our results underscore the concept that modest improvements in diet quality over time could meaningfully influence mortality risk,” Sotos-Prieto said.

Alice Lichtenstein is a spokeswoman for the American Heart Association and a professor of nutrition science at Tufts University, in Boston.

“This study reinforces what we’ve been saying for a long time,” she said.

Ideally, healthy eating is a lifelong habit. But you’re never “too old” to make changes for the better, Lichtenstein noted.

“The key is to make changes that you can stick with for the rest of your life,” she stressed.

There are no magic-bullet foods or nutrients, Lichtenstein added. Instead, the new study “validates” the concept that it’s overall diet that matters, she explained.

Connie Diekman, a registered dietitian, agreed. A general guide, she said, is to start eating more plant foods.

When people do eat meat, Diekman suggested choosing leaner cuts.

“Shifting one meal from meat and potatoes to sauteed veggies, quinoa and a topping of grilled chicken or lean flank steak would be one way to move to a healthier eating pattern,” said Diekman, head of university nutrition at Washington University in St. Louis.

The good news, according to Lichtenstein, is that it is getting easier to eat healthfully. She said Americans generally have more access to a variety of whole grains and fruits and vegetables — fresh or frozen, which can be more economical.

Source : HealthDay


Today’s Comic