What’s for Dinner?

Home-cooked Japanese-style Dinner

The Menu

Chawanmushi (Shiitake, Asparagus and Squid) and Salad (Wakame and Cucumber)

Tempura of Eggplant, Burdock, Shiitake, Asparagus and Squid

Pear (ラ・フランス)

Fish Tagine with Tomatoes


8 plum tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
2 teaspoons caster sugar
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 bream weighing about 3 lb, cleaned
1 quantity chermoula (see recipe below)
1 carrot, cut into matchsticks
2 sticks celery, cut into matchsticks
peel of 1/2 preserved lemon, cut into strips
fresh parsley, to garnish


  1. Preheat the oven to 250ºC (475ºF). Place the tomatoes in an ovenproof dish, cut side LIP. Sprinkle with sugar, salt and pepper.
  2. Drizzle the tomatoes with the olive oil and roast in the oven for 30-40 minutes until soft and slightly charred. Rub the fish, inside and out, with the chermoula. Place in a dish and leave in a cool place for 30 minutes.
  3. Arrange the carrot and celery in the bottom of a tagine or ovenproof dish. Place the fish on top of the carrot and celery. Add any remaining chermoula and arrange the tomatoes and lemon peel round the sides.
  4. Reduce the oven temperature to 200ºC (400ºF). Cover the dish with a lid or foil and bake in the oven for 30 minutes.
  5. Remove the foil and spoon any juices over the fish. Return to the oven, uncovered, and cook for a further 10 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily when tested with a knife, and most of the liquid has evaporated. Serve, garnished with parsley.

Makes 4 servings.



4 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon salt
juice of 2 lemons
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons paprika
1 fresh red chili, cored, seeded and roughly chopped
1/2 oz fresh coriander
1/2 oz fresh parsley
1/4 cup olive oil


  1. In a mortar and pestle, crush the garlic with the salt. Place in a blender or food processor.
  2. Add the lemon juice Luce to the food processor with the cumin, paprika, red chili, coriander and parsley. Process briefly then gradually add the olive oil and reduce to a coarse puree. Transfer to a bowl.

Source: North African Cooking

At Museums Around the World, a Focus on Food

Vivian Song wrote . . . . . . . . .

The city of Lyon, France, is hoping to cement its reputation as the cradle of French gastronomy with the opening of a new cultural gastronomy center that is being described as the first of its kind in France, and the largest of its kind in the world.

Six years in the making, the Cité Internationale de la Gastronomie de Lyon (International City of Gastronomy) opened its doors last month inside the Grand Hôtel-Dieu, a former hospital that dates back to the 12th century.

Spanning four floors and 43,055 square feet, the center, which cost €20 million (around $22 million), is designed to be an interactive and sensorial experience for visitors: The smell of chicken bubbling away in a casserole pot wafts through the space dedicated to traditional Lyonnaise cuisine, while a virtual exhibit recreates the sights and sounds of an open-air farmer’s market.

The center’s opening adds to an already rich gastronomic landscape in Lyon: The city is home to Bocuse d’Or, the real-life “Iron Chef” international cooking competition; bouchons, traditional Lyonnaise restaurants; and the celebrated chef Paul Bocuse, who died last year.

Florent Bonnetain, project director and general manager, said that the culinary center aims to draw on the building’s heritage as a former hospital by exploring the connections between food and nutrition, along with sustainability, economics and international food culture.

“We’re looking at the subject of gastronomy as a whole,” Mr. Bonnetain said. “There are thematic food museums around the world, but here we wanted to take gastronomy and approach it from a cultural and educational point of view.”

Indeed, thematic museums centered around a single food item have been around for decades, be it chocolate, ice cream, French fries or ramen. Then there are the branded food museums from SPAM, Guinness, Coca-Cola or Jell-O. They can tend to be cartoonish or self-promotional, and verge on kitsch.

But in recent years, conversations around food security, climate change and public health have led to more ambitious and thoughtfully curated exhibitions around the world.

After first launching as a mobile exhibition in 2013, the Museum of Food and Drink found a permanent space in a 5,000-square-foot studio in New York City in 2015. It has explored natural and artificial flavors in the food industry, the evolution of Chinese-American restaurants and, next February, will open an exhibition on the contributions of African-American chefs, farmers and producers to food culture.

The executive director, Peter Kim, began pitching the idea in 2012, and said he was met primarily with skepticism and “bewilderment.” But since then, he’s noticed a sea change in the museum’s reception, and the way people think about food, thanks to a confluence of factors: food-related public policies, immigration, media attention, climate change and growing interest inside academia.

“All these things feed into each other and reinforce an understanding of food as being much more than just gustatory experience. Instead, there’s an understanding that when you take a bite of something, you plug into the world every time,” he said.

International media interest also helped the Disgusting Food Museum — which opened last fall as a temporary exhibition in Malmӧ, Sweden — become permanent this January and organize pop-up versions globally. Despite its name, the exhibition is meant less to provoke revulsion, but to challenge people’s notions of what’s edible and what’s not, as one person’s trash, be it maggot-infested cheese or bull testicles, could be another person’s delicacy. Moreover, curators point out that changing our ideas of disgust could help us embrace more environmentally sustainable foods — notably bugs and insects — in the future.

In Europe in recent months, the Museum of Mankind in Paris opened the exhibition “I Eat, Therefore I Am,” exploring the evolutionary, ecological and cultural role of food in civilization, and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London just wrapped up “Food: Bigger than the Plate,” which looked at urban farming, gastronomy, politics and sustainability.

At the Cité, working kitchens, experimental laboratories and spaces for conferences and debates are designed to enrich the visitor experience. The overall concept mirrors Bordeaux’s Cité du Vin, a wine museum which opened in 2016 and explores winemaking throughout civilization and also hosts industry conferences.

“We know that gastronomy is a big tourist attraction for Lyon,” Mr. Bonnetain said. “With the museum, our hope is that visitors will be able to experience gastronomy differently here. We want to be a complementary experience to restaurants in Lyon.”

Source: The New York Times

New Research Reveals Protein Bars Not as Healthy as People Think

A new research report launched today by safefood has revealed that chocolate is the main ingredient in almost 40% of protein bars surveyed, with many also being high in saturated fat and containing added sugar and salt. The research also found that over 1 in 3 people (37%) surveyed think protein bars are “healthy”. When comparing current protein intakes among adults with what’s recommended, both men and women are already consuming more protein than they need from their diet.

The safefood research looked at the nutritional content of 83 high-protein snack foods and drinks available for sale in supermarkets on the island of Ireland. These foods included protein bars, yoghurts, yoghurt-style products and milk drinks. According to industry sources², there was a 498% increase in products launched between 2010 and 2016 with a high-protein claim.

Introducing the research, Dr Catherine Conlon, Director of Human Health & Nutrition, safefood said, “We’ve witnessed a significant and consistent upsurge in the number and variety of foods and drinks for sale which claim to be ‘high-protein’. From bars to milks and yoghurts, high-protein foods have now become mainstream in our supermarkets. When we asked people about protein bars, a third of them thought they were healthy. However, many of these bars are, in reality, highly processed foods with a calorie content similar to that of a bar of chocolate”.

“What’s also evident from dietary data is that men and women are already consuming more than enough protein in their diets and simply don’t need this extra, highly processed protein,” stated Dr Conlon.

Of the 39 protein bars surveyed, 38% listed chocolate as their main ingredient. 77% were high in saturated fat with 79% being a source of salt. The average bar size was 55g with an average price of €2.27 / 1.78 though some bars cost as much as €3.00 / £2.49 each.

“Processed snack foods high in protein need to be combined with fat, sugar or salt in order to make them tasty,” continued Dr Conlon. “People would be better sticking to natural sources of protein in their diet, which tend to be much healthier. And if you need a source of protein as a snack, alternatives like some nuts, a small glass of milk or a yoghurt is the way to go instead of these foods with added chocolate.”

Source: Safefood

Read the full report . . . . .

Fish Oil Is Good Medicine for Heart Failure

Amy Norton wrote . . . . . . . . .

Fish oil might help people with heart failure avoid repeat trips to the hospital, a new study suggests.

The findings come from an analysis of a clinical trial first published last year, where researchers tested the effects of fish oil and vitamin D on people’s risk of heart disease and cancer.

That main trial — called the Vitamin D and Omega-3 Trial (VITAL) — had some encouraging results. Healthy older adults given a fish oil supplement were less likely to suffer a heart attack over the next several years, especially if they had never been big fish eaters.

The current analysis looked at whether supplements had any effect on participants’ risk of being hospitalized for heart failure.

Heart failure is a chronic condition in which the heart gradually loses its ability to efficiently pump blood to the body. Often, it stems from heart-muscle damage caused by a heart attack — which raised the question of whether the benefits seen in the trial might extend to heart failure, explained Dr. Luc Djousse.

Djousse, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, led the current study.

Overall, his team found, neither vitamin D nor fish oil curbed the risk of first-time hospitalization for heart failure over five years. But people using fish oil were somewhat less likely to need repeat hospital stays.

The finding offers a “signal” that the supplements might help prevent heart failure hospitalizations, Djousse said.

But, he stressed, that still needs to be backed up by further study.

Fish oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to help lower triglycerides, lessen inflammation and blood clotting, and help stabilize heart rhythm.

The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that people eat fish twice a week — preferably fatty varieties higher in omega-3, such as salmon, mackerel, sardines and albacore tuna.

Djousse advised following that recommendation. “But don’t fry your fish,” he added. “Have it broiled or baked.”

The findings, published Nov. 11 in Circulation, come from a trial involving nearly 26,000 adults aged 50 and older who were initially free of heart problems. They were randomly assigned to take either 1 gram of prescription-grade fish oil (Omacor), 2,000 IU of vitamin D, or a placebo every day.

Over five years, the fish oil group was 28% less likely to suffer a heart attack compared to the placebo group. The effect was more pronounced among people whose diets had been low in fish: They were 40% less likely to have a heart attack than placebo users.

When Djousse’s team looked at heart failure hospitalizations, there was no clear effect of either fish oil or vitamin D on first-time admissions. But fish oil users were 14% less likely to have repeat hospitalizations: There were 326 recurrent hospital stays in that group and 379 in the placebo group.

Why wouldn’t fish oil prevent a first hospitalization? It’s not clear. But Djousse said there were fewer first-time hospital stays, so the numbers might have been too small to detect an effect.

That is a possibility, agreed Dr. David Siscovick, a senior research scientist with the New York Academy of Medicine who was not involved in the study.

More research is needed, Siscovick said. But, he added, at this point, there is no evidence that fish oil can prevent heart failure from developing.

There is, however, evidence that patients with existing heart failure may benefit.

Siscovick chaired an AHA committee that, in 2017, issued an advisory on omega-3 supplements and heart disease.

The advisory said it was “reasonable” for doctors to prescribe omega-3 to heart failure patients, based on an Italian clinical trial called GISSI. In that trial, researchers randomly assigned heart failure patients to either take an omega-3 supplement or a placebo (olive oil). Over four years, patients on omega-3 had a 9% lower risk of being hospitalized or dying.

The current study, Siscovick said, is “very consistent” with that evidence.

He also stressed, though, that heart failure is a complex condition, with different forms and different underlying causes. So if people with heart failure are curious about fish oil, he said, they should talk to their doctor about whether a prescription is right for them.


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