Seasonal Damon’s Cake of Fujiya Cake Shop in Japan

Sold for 3 days only from February 1 to 3

A cake with chocolate cream and strawberry cream squeezed to a chocolate sponge with raspberry sauce.

The price is 400 Yen.

Advertisements

Gnocchi with Tomato Sauce

Ingredients

1 lb potato, mashed
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1-1/4 cups all-purpose (plain) flour
1/4 level teaspoon grated or ground nutmeg
1 egg, beaten

Sauce

1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
1 to 2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 large onion, peeled and thinly sliced or finely chopped
1 (15 oz) can tomatoes, chopped
1 level tablespoon freshly chopped basil or oregano
1 level tablespoon tomato puree
4 tablespoons water good pinch of sugar
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
freshly chopped parsley to garnish

Method

  1. Mash potato to creamy. Gradually work in flour followed by plenty of salt and pepper, nutmeg and egg.
  2. On a floured surface, knead dough until smooth, adding flour if sticky.
  3. Divide dough into 3 pieces and shape each piece into a sausage about 1 inch in diameter. Cut into slices, about 3/4 inch thick, and mark each with the prongs of a fork. Place gnocchi on a lightly floured paper towel. Leave covered while making sauce.
  4. Heat oil in a saucepan and fry garlic and onion very gently until soft and just lightly browned. Add tomatoes, basil, tomato puree, water and sugar and bring to a boil. Simmer gently for about 10 minutes until thickened. Season to taste and keep warm.
  5. Heat a large saucepan of salted water to boiling, then add gnocchi, about 10 at a time, and simmer gently, uncovered, for about 5 minutes or until they float to the surface. Remove with a slotted spoon; drain well. Place in a lightly oiled serving dish and keep warm. Repeat with the remaining gnocchi.
  6. Pour hot tomato sauce over gnocchi and sprinkle liberally with grated Parmesan cheese and parsley.
  7. Serve hot with extra Parmesan cheese and plenty of freshly ground black pepper.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: 50 Ways with Potatoes

Report: The Current Industrial Food System is No Longer Fit for the 21st Century

By making great strides in productivity, the industrial food system has managed largely to meet the demands of a growing global population. However, this approach to food production, and the management of food by-products, is endangering biodiversity and human health. It has become clear that this food system is no longer fit for the 21st century and that a new model is required.

Launched by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2019 in Davos, this report explores the benefits of the transition to a regenerative food system. With analytical support from SYSTEMIQ, the research outlines a vision underpinned by circular economy principles, where food production improves rather than degrades the environment and where people have access to healthy and nutritious food. Given that 80% of all food will be consumed in cities by 2050, the report highlights their critical importance in triggering the shift towards a regenerative system fit for the long term. Three main ambitions emerge: source food grown regeneratively, and locally where appropriate; make the most of food (use by-products more effectively, prevent waste); design and market healthier food.

These three ambitions will have greater impact if pursued simultaneously and by 2050 could unlock overall benefits worth USD 2.7 trillion a year. These take the form of environmental improvements including a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of 4.3 billion tonnes CO2e, a reduction in health costs associated with pesticide use of USD 550 billion, along with other health benefits, and an economic opportunity for cities to reduce edible food waste and make better use of food by-products, worth USD 700 billion. Realising this vision will require an unprecedented level of collaboration across the entire value-chain and the connection of flagship city demonstration projects with the scaling potential of global businesses and collaboration platforms. The report sets out a pathway to a much-needed new approach to our food system.

Read the whole 66-page report . . . . .

Thank Your Genes if You Eat What You Want and Still Stay Slim

While some people fight the “battle of the bulge” for a lifetime, others seem to effortlessly stay slim. And now scientists say it all boils down to genetics.

Certain DNA helps decide whether weight gain is a torment or not for people, British researchers report.

“It’s easy to rush to judgment and criticize people for their weight, but the science shows that things are far more complex,” said study leader Sadaf Farooqi.

Instead, “we have far less control over our weight than we might wish to think,” said Farooqi. She’s a professor at the Wellcome-MRC Institute of Metabolic Science at the University of Cambridge.

One U.S. expert agreed.

“We stigmatize people based on weight and subconsciously blame them for not taking care of themselves,” said Dr. Mitchell Roslin, chief of obesity surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. “We state they lack willpower, but instead, this study shows that the most thin and the heaviest have genetic dispositions that control their body weight.”

Of course, any number of factors affect weight, including eating habits and exercise levels. But some people stay thin despite unhealthy lifestyles, while others struggle with overweight and obesity despite their best efforts, the British team noted.

Prior studies on “obesity” genes have focused on people who were already overweight or obese.

But the new study also focused on thin people (those with a body mass index of 18 or below), trying to discover why they often have an easier time staying slim.

To do so, the Cambridge group analyzed the DNA of more than 1,600 thin, healthy Brits. They then compared that data with the genetics of nearly 2,000 severely obese people and more than 10,000 normal-weight people.

The investigators spotted several common gene variants already linked with obesity. They also found new genetic regions tied to severe obesity, and some others linked to “healthy thinness.”

The researchers then added up the contribution of the different genetic variants to calculate each person’s “genetic risk score.”

“As anticipated, we found that obese people had a higher genetic risk score than normal-weight people, which contributes to their risk of being overweight,” study co-author Ines Barroso, of the Wellcome Sanger Institute, said in a university news release.

“The genetic dice are loaded against them,” Barroso said.

Thin people also had fewer genetic variants known to raise the odds of being overweight, according to the study published Jan. 24 in the journal PLoS Genetics.

Farooqi’s conclusion: “Healthy thin people are generally thin because they have a lower burden of genes that increase a person’s chances of being overweight and not because they are morally superior, as some people like to suggest.”

These “thin genes” appear to be passed along through generations, the study authors added. About 74 percent of the thin people in the study had a family history of people being thin and healthy.

Does all of this mean that less genetically gifted people should just shrug and give in to becoming obese? Not so, said nutritionist and weight-management expert Michelle Milgrim.

“While genetics may play a leading role in determining our ‘weight destiny,’ there is a growing body of research to suggest that how we live our lives is as important as our genetic predispositions,” said Milgrim, who manages employee wellness at Northwell Health in New Hyde Park, N.Y.

“Staying active, sitting less, cutting out processed and fast foods, and focusing on eating a balanced diet of whole foods are general healthy recommendations for everyone, despite your genes,” she said.

In the meantime, the Cambridge researchers said their research might someday end up helping everyone stay thin, regardless of their personal DNA.

“We already know that people can be thin for different reasons” Farooqi said. “Some people are just not that interested in food whereas others can eat what they like, but never put on weight. If we can find the genes that prevent them from putting on weight, we may be able to target those genes to find new weight-loss strategies and help people who do not have this advantage.”

Source: HealthDay

Eating Too Much Fried Food May Shorten Your Life

Dennis Thompson wrote . . . . . . . . .

Fried chicken, french fries and chicken-fried steak might be delicious, but treating yourself to such fare regularly could be deadly, a new study warns.

Women who eat more than one serving a week of fried chicken or fried fish have an increased risk of heart disease and death, researchers report.

“Overall, we found that total fried food consumption is related to higher risk of all-cause death, and also death from cardiovascular disease,” said senior researcher Dr. Wei Bao. He’s an assistant professor of epidemiology with the University of Iowa’s College of Public Health.

The results are not surprising “given the association of fried food to weight gain and obesity, as well as elevation of cholesterol and triglycerides,” said Dr. Guy Mintz, who was not part of the study. He directs cardiovascular health and lipidology at Northwell Health’s Sandra Atlas Bass Heart Hospital in Manhasset, N.Y.

“Poor decisions lead to poor outcomes. We have the opportunity to help ourselves live healthier and longer with lifestyle changes,” Mintz said. “It is time we own what we eat and realize our dietary choices have consequences.”

For the study, Bao and his colleagues relied on data from the Women’s Health Initiative, a long-running federally funded study focused on heart disease, cancer and other health problems in postmenopausal women.

Nearly 107,000 women between ages 50 and 79 were quizzed on their diets and other health problems. These women enrolled in the study between 1993 and 1998, and researchers followed them up to February 2017.

During those two decades, 31,588 women died, including 9,320 heart-related deaths, 8,358 cancer deaths and 13,880 deaths from other causes.

The researchers found that women who ate a lot of fried foods also had other problems that could affect their heart health, Mintz said.

One-third of participants who ate one or more fried meals per week were obese, as were 44 percent of the patients who consumed more than one fried food meal per day, Mintz noted.

“More than half of these patients achieved less than the recommended 150 minutes of exercise per week,” Mintz continued. About 40 percent of the patients were former smokers.

But even after researchers controlled for these risk factors, fried foods were independently associated with an increased risk of death:

  • Women who ate one or more servings a day had an 8 percent higher risk of death compared with those who didn’t eat fried food.
  • One or more servings of fried chicken a day was linked to a 13 percent higher risk of death from any cause and a 12 percent higher risk of heart-related death.
  • One or more servings of fried fish or shellfish a day was linked to a 7 percent higher risk of death from any cause and a 13 percent higher risk of heart-related death.

The researchers found no evidence linking fried food to an increased risk of cancer death, and the study did not prove a cause-and-effect link between fried foods and early death.

The findings were published in the BMJ.

Even though the study focused on women, Bao said it’s very likely that men would be similarly affected by a diet heavy in fried foods.

Obesity probably plays a part in the increased risk of death, he said. Women who ate fried food regularly had a much larger daily calorie intake than those who didn’t eat fried food.

But other factors could play a role as well, Bao said.

People in Spain often eat fried foods, but a previous study found that fried foods were not associated with an increased risk of death in that country, he noted.

Spanish fried food lovers regularly use olive oil for their frying, and more often they cook their fried foods in their own kitchens, Bao explained. By comparison, people in the United States tend to eat fried foods from restaurants, where they are often cooked in deep fryers using peanut or canola oils.

“The frying process at home could be different from the frying process away from home,” Bao said. “A notable thing is when we fry at home, we don’t reuse the oil many times.”

In the meantime, people shouldn’t downplay the affect high fat intake has on heart health, said Dr. Satjit Bhusri, a cardiologist with Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. He was not part of the study.

“Heart attacks occur from cholesterol plaques building up in the coronary arteries,” Bhusri said. “Consuming fats from fried food directly impacts the burden of this disease. A cholesterol plaque rupture in the artery will cause a heart attack.

“This study emphasizes that there is no ‘maybe’ – fried food and fat have a direct relation to heart disease,” he said.

Source: HealthDay


Today’s Comic