New Year Dessert from FamilyMart in Japan

Strawberry Cream Zenzai (いちごの白玉クリームぜんざい)

The dessert is a combination of red bean paste from Hokkaido and toppings of whipped cream, sticky white balls and fresh strawberries.

It will be available in the stores of FamilyMart from January 8, 2021.


New Burger at Gordon Ramsay Burger in Harrods of London Costs £80

The 1849 burger (that’s the year Harrods was founded) consists of a Wagyu beef patty, with extra slices of Japanese A5 Waygu on top, truffle pecorino cheese, shaved black truffle mushroom ragu and porcini aioli.

It’s a carnivore’s dream, and a gastroenterologist’s nightmare.

The restaurant expects to serve only around 12 per day.

Precautions Even More Important With New Coronavirus Variant

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

A new and more infectious variant of the COVID-19 virus has shown up in separate cases in Colorado and California, weeks after it first emerged in the United Kingdom.

Doctors on the pandemic’s front line say people shouldn’t panic, but should definitely adhere even more closely to proven infection control measures, like mask wearing and social distancing.

“While the new strain is more transmissible — up to 70% by a recent analysis — the mutation itself has not previously been thought to be more virulent [able to cause harm] than the current strains that have been circulating in the U.S. and abroad,” said Dr. Robert Glatter. He’s an emergency medicine physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.

There is no evidence that the new variant makes people any sicker or increases the overall risk of death from COVID-19, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It also appears that COVID-19 vaccines should protect against it.

U.K. researchers first detected the new variant in September, and it now is highly prevalent in London and southeast England, the CDC says.

About 15% of people exposed to someone carrying the variant wind up infected, compared with a 10% infection rate associated with the standard COVID-19 coronavirus, according to a report by British public health officials.

But data from the United Kingdom has shown that the new variant doesn’t appear to have any resistance against the COVID-19 vaccines being distributed across America, Glatter said.

“The new strain has not yet been shown to be more resistant to the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines that have recently been rolled out, along with other vaccine candidates in Phase 3 trials and yet to be granted emergency use authorization,” Glatter said.

These mRNA vaccines are engineered to induce the immune system to produce antibodies to multiple areas of the spike protein, he said. The spike protein, found on the outer surface of the virus, is the primary way the virus attaches to cells in the body, he explained.

Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health in Providence, R.I., agreed with Glatter.

“There’s no evidence so far — and we’re still studying it — that it’s any deadlier,” Jha told ABC News. “And I’m not at all worried it’s going to escape the vaccine.”

However, the fact that a new variant has reared its head shows that researchers will need to maintain a constant watch, to make sure the coronavirus doesn’t eventually mutate away from the protection afforded by these vaccines, Glatter added.

“We can’t be complacent and must focus our attention on critical mutations by engaging in active genomic surveillance as the pandemic continues to rage throughout the U.S. and globally,” Glatter said. “This may ultimately require us to adjust the makeup of current vaccines over the next several years.”

The presence of this new variant provides additional impetus to protect yourself and those around you against the spread of the coronavirus, Glatter said.

“With the reality of a variant strain now circulating globally, the importance of adherence to tried-and-true measures of mitigation — physical distancing, wearing a mask and hand hygiene — are now more important than ever to reduce transmission,” he said.

Source: HealthDay

Ring in the New Year with a ‘Mocktail’

Thor Christensen wrote . . . . . . . . .

At a time when many people are stress-drinking, a New Year’s Eve sangria that’s alcohol-free is a healthy way to say farewell to 2020.

Filled with vitamins and fiber, this fresh fruit “mocktail” recipe is a nutritious alternative to what people usually drink before and after singing “Auld Lang Syne.”

“It’s got benefits that make it a better choice than a glass of wine or beer or a mixed drink,” said Catherine Champagne, a professor of nutritional epidemiology at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Sipping an alcoholic drink or two is a time-honored holiday tradition. But excessive drinking can weaken the immune system and increase the risk of liver disease, certain cancers and heart damage, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. It also affects brain functions like rational thinking, an important factor in following safety guidance to stop the spread of COVID-19.

A glass of alcohol-free sangria, on the other hand, offers a wide range of vitamins, including C and K, and antioxidants like beta carotene.

“It also has a ton of potassium, which is one of the hallmarks of the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet, which is good for lowering blood pressure,” Champagne said. “Potassium is not something you would necessarily find in an alcoholic drink or even a soda.”

The fresh fruit sangria calls for either 3 cups of unsweetened cranberry and apple juice blend or 2 cups of 100% cranberry juice and 1 cup unsweetened apple juice.

Just make sure to choose 100% cranberry juice with no added sugar, Champagne said. “You don’t want any added cane sugar, high fructose corn syrup or any other sugar that isn’t associated with the fruit itself.” Added sugars lack nutrients and add calories that can lead to weight gain, obesity and other health problems.

Thanks to the berries and chopped apples in the recipe, each glass of sangria has more than 2 grams of fiber – a small but significant step in reaching the recommended amount of daily fiber, which varies by age and sex. For example, federal dietary guidelines advise women in their 30s and 40s to get about 25 grams a day, while men in the same age group should get about 31 grams a day.

So, grab a spoon and eat every last bite of fruit after you’ve finished the juice, Champagne said.

“Fiber is important for good colon and cardiovascular health, and the average American diet does not contain enough of it.”

Source: American Heart Association

Chiffon Pie


Shortcrust Pastry

2 cups regular flour
2 tbsp fine sugar
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup ground almonds
10 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 egg yolk


1 cup milk
9 tbsp fine sugar
7 oz unsweetened chocolate, broken into pieces
2 eggs, separated
1-1/4 tbsp powdered gelatin
4 tbsp strong black coffee
1-1/2 cups heavy cream, whipped


1 cup heavy cream, whipped
grated chocolate


  1. Make the pastry. Sieve the flour, sugar and salt and add the almonds. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the butter and egg yolk. Working quickly, use the fingertips to mix all the ingredients together. Shape the dough into a ball and wrap in foil or plastic wrap. Leave to chill for 1 hour.
  2. Roll out the pastry on a floured work surface to a thickness of 1/8-1/4 inch and use to line a 9-inch fluted deep pie pan. Cover the pastry with a sheet of wax paper and weight it down with rice or beans. Bake blind in a pre-heated oven for 15 minutes, or until the edges begin to color.
  3. Remove the paper and beans and bake for a further 15 minutes. Leave to cool on a wire rack before removing from the pan.
  4. Make the filling. Mix the milk, 6 tbsp of the sugar and the chocolate pieces in a saucepan. Cook over a moderate heat. Stir constantly until the chocolate melts. The chocolate mixture should be thick and smooth when removed from the heat. Leave to cool.
  5. Beat the egg yolks into the chocolate mixture.
  6. Dissolve the gelatin in the coffee, over a low heat, and stir into the warm chocolate mixture. Chill until it begins to set.
  7. Beat the egg whites until stiff but not dry. Beat the remaining, sugar into the beaten egg whites until stiff and glossy.
  8. Gently fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture, followed by the whipped cream.
  9. Pour the mixture into the pie shell. Decorate with whipped cream and grated chocolate.

Makes 1 pie.

Source: Chocolate Cooking

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