New Sweets from Lawson Stores in Japan

Steamed Slime Musipan Bread

The bread comes with 3 different fillings, mango cream, lemon jelly and black sesame paste. The price is 108 yen (tax included) each.

Vegetable Makloubeh


200 ml vegetable oil, for frying
1 large aubergine, cut lengthwise into 0.5 cm thick slices
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 0.5 cm slices
1 small cauliflower, cut into large florets
2 medium carrots, cut lengthwise into 0.5c m thick slices
2 large tomatoes, cut into 1 cm thick slices
4 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
200 g short-grain rice (risotto or paella rice), washed and drained

For the liquid

400-500 ml vegetable stock or water
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp
ground cardamom
1 tsp black pepper
2 tsp salt

Tahini salad

80 ml tahini paste
80 ml water
40 ml lemon juice
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tbsp dried mint
15 g flat-leaf parsley, chopped
salt, to taste
4 medium ripe tomatoes, cut roughly into 2cm cubes
4 mini-cucumbers (or 1 large one, seeded), skin on, cut roughly into 2 cm cubes
olive oil
10 g mint leaves, roughly chopped


  1. Pour the oil into a wide frying pan – it should come about 0.5cm up the sides – and place over a high heat. When hot, fry the aubergine in batches for a minute a side, until nicely tanned. Transfer to paper towel. Repeat with the potato and then the cauliflower and carrot, but for only about 30 seconds a side – these vegetables need to take on some colour but stay crunchy.
  2. Cut out a circle of grease-proof paper large enough to cover the base and some of the pan’s edge, and line the pan with it. Cover the paper with aubergine slices, then layer up, in order, with the carrots, potatoes, tomatoes and cauliflower. Sprinkle the garlic on top and cover with rice.
  3. Mix the boiling water or stock with the spices and seasoning. Gently pour the mix over the rice, making sure all the rice is immersed. Put the pot on the stove top and bring gently to a boil (you don’t want a vigorous simmer because that will ruin the layers). Once simmering, reduce the heat to a bare minimum, cover the pot and cook for 30 minutes. Remove from the heat, lift off the lid, place a clean tea towel over the pan, pop the lid back on and leave to rest for 10-15 minutes.
  4. While you wait for the rice to cook, make the salad. In a bowl, whisk the tahini paste, water, lemon juice, garlic, dried mint and parsley. The mix should be creamy but still runny enough to pour. If it is too thick, add more water. Add salt to taste – be generous. Put the tomato and cucumber chunks in a bowl, pour the dressing on top, mix gently, drizzle with oil and sprinkle with fresh mint. Set aside.
  5. When ready to serve, remove the lid and towel, and place your large serving plate over the pan. Carefully turn over, so the plate is now on the bottom and the pan on top, place on a stable surface and gently lift off the upturned pan. Carefully lift off the grease-proof paper – ideally, you want the rice to keep the pan’s shape, though it’s not the end of the world if it falls apart. Serve hot or warm with the salad on the side.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Ottolenghi

What’s for Lunch?

Home-cooked Italian Lunch

The Menu

  • Lettuce, mini-tomato and purple onion salad
  • Penne with arrabbiata sauce

Study: Fluctuating Blood Pressure Could Be Bad for Those With Alzheimer’s

The study published in the American Heart Association journal Hypertension sought to add a new understanding about the links between Alzheimer’s, the heart and blood vessels. Past research shows blood pressure variability could be connected to stroke, and researchers of the new study wanted to see if there was a similar link between yo-yoing blood pressure and Alzheimer’s.

Researchers looked at data from a randomized trial of 460 people who were 72 on average and had “mild-to-moderate” Alzheimer’s. After 1 1/2 years, people who scored the highest in blood pressure variability had deteriorated more on a cognitive scale than those with the least amount of variability.

Data on day-to-day blood pressure fluctuations was only available for 46 patients, and in that smaller group, researchers also found “significant associations” between variable blood pressure and dementia after one year, but not after 1 1/2 years.

“Everybody already knows that it’s important to control blood pressure in midlife to reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s later, but this tells us it’s still important to regulate blood pressure when you already have dementia,” said the study’s senior author, Dr. Jurgen Claassen. “More fluctuations might affect whether cognitive function declines more slowly or rapidly.”

Future research is needed to find out if blood pressure variability is truly causing the dementia to worsen, said Claassen, associate professor at Radboud University Medical Center in Nijmegen, Netherlands.

“If that’s true, medication or lifestyle (changes) might help slow down disease progression,” he said. “But it could also be the other way around … that the dementia itself might lead to blood pressure variability, which could be a signal that helps you identify people with Alzheimer’s.”

He also called for studies on how sleep, diet and exercise might help stabilize blood pressure.

“Alzheimer’s treatments are limited at this point, and even a small difference in slowing down the disease’s progression can mean a lot,” Claassen said. “It could be the difference between whether or not a patient is still able to drive a car and live independently.”

Nearly 6 million Americans have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, including 200,000 people under the age of 65. It’s the most common cause of dementia and is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States.

Research on the link between blood pressure and Alzheimer’s is relatively new, but a 2018 study in the journal Neurology found the brains of older people with higher blood pressure were more likely to have “tangles,” or twisted strands of protein that are common markers of Alzheimer’s.

Jeffrey Keller, director of the Institute for Dementia Research and Prevention at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, called the new research “an important study that continues to fine-tune our understanding of Alzheimer’s and dementia.”

“There is a lot of evidence that fluctuations in blood pressure of people who do not have hypertension are related to adverse cardiac events, so it is not surprising that variability in blood pressure is also linked to negative cognitive function,” said Keller, who was not involved in the new study.

He said the research was limited by its small sample size and by being observational. But he noted the study paves the way for future research, including large studies that use wearable devices to track people’s day-to-day blood pressure variability.

“We’re finding more and more that there is a direct link between blood pressure in the periphery of an individual and the ability of their brain to stay healthy. It’s important for people to stay on top of their blood pressure – not just for their general health, but specifically for their brain.”

Source: HealthDay

People 65+ Should be Screened Yearly for Memory Problems

People with mild cognitive impairment have thinking and memory problems but usually do not know it because such problems are not severe enough to affect their daily activities. Yet mild cognitive impairment can be an early sign of Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia. It can also be a symptom of sleep problems, medical illness, depression, or a side effect of medications.

To help physicians provide the highest quality patient-centered neurologic care, American Academy of Neurology (AAN) is recommending physicians measure how frequently they complete annual assessments of people age 65 and older for thinking and memory problems. This metric for yearly cognitive screening tests is part of an AAN quality measurement set published in the September 18, 2019, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

A quality measure is a mathematical tool to help physicians and practices understand how often health care services are consistent with current best practices and are based on existing AAN guideline recommendations. Quality measures are intended to drive quality improvement in practice. Physicians are encouraged to start small using one or two quality measures in practice that are meaningful for their patient population, and measure use is voluntary.

“Since thinking skills are the most sensitive indicator of brain function and they can be tested cost-effectively, this creates an enormous opportunity to improve neurologic care,” said author Norman L. Foster, MD, of the University of Utah in Salt Lake City and a Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology. “The American Academy of Neurology is recommending the measurement of annual cognitive screenings for everyone age 65 and older because age itself is a significant risk factor for cognitive decline and mild cognitive impairment is increasingly prevalent with older age. The measure complements past American Academy of Neurology quality measures released for Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis and stroke, and allows for a doctor to meet the measure with a recommended periodic three-minute cognitive test.”

According to the 2018 AAN guideline on mild cognitive impairment, nearly 7 percent of people in their early 60s worldwide have mild cognitive impairment, while 38 percent of people age 85 and older have it.

The new AAN quality measurement set recommends doctors measure how often they conduct annual screenings to improve the recognition of mild cognitive impairment and allow for earlier intervention.

“We cannot expect people to report their own memory and thinking problems because they may not recognize that they are having problems or they may not share them with their doctors,” said Foster. “Annual assessments will not only help identify mild cognitive impairment early, it will also help physicians more closely monitor possible worsening of the condition.”

The new measurement set states that documenting mild cognitive impairment in a person’s medical record can be invaluable in alerting other physicians and medical staff so that the best care is provided to that patient.

Early diagnosis can help identify forms of mild cognitive impairment that may be reversible, including those caused by sleep problems, depression or medications, and lead to treatments that can improve a person’s quality of life such as correcting hearing loss and avoiding social isolation.

When mild cognitive impairment is not reversible and could develop into more severe forms of dementia like Alzheimer’s disease, the quality measurement set recommends measuring how frequently people are given information about their condition as early as possible, so they can take steps to avoid exploitation, plan for their care and monitor their condition.

It is also important not to forget about family and caregivers. The measurement set also asks doctors to identify care partners to help describe symptoms. Doctors should quantify involvement with family and caregivers and provide them with information so that they too receive support and get access to services to help them cope if person’s illness progresses and to improve their well-being.

Source: American Academy of Neurology

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