Monday, 31 October 2016

Lentil, potato and Cauliflower stew

Lentil, potato and Cauliflower stew in lemon - North African style with a yoghurt and cumin mix
1/2 cup of green lentils
250g small potatoes 
350g cauliflower florets
Juice of 1 whole lemon
250ml of vegetable stock
1tsp of cayenne pepper
2tsp sumac
2 cloves of garlic
1 tsp rose water
1 top pomegranate molasses
Salt and pepper to taste
2 top of extra virgin olive oil
2 tblesp plain yoghurt
3/4 top cumin
3 large mint leaves
Boil the lentils for 20 minutes while steaming the potatoes and cauliflower over them. Meanwhile make your stock by adding the spices, lemon juice and garlic together with the stock.
Add together in an oven dish and cook at 200c for 30mins keep an eye on the dish as you want the stock to be absorbed but not for the dish to dry out. Serve in a bowl with some torn fresh mint leaves and a raita of yoghurt and ground cumin
A high fibre, big tasting dish. Add black olives for a stronger flavour

These Tales Aren't as Innocent as You Think

Definitely not for children

These Tales Aren't as Innocent as You Think

Halloween Provides A Look Into Human Psychology

Halloween can reveal a lot about human psychology.
Ariel Skelley/Getty Images
Halloween plays on our fears and our fantasies.
We craft haunted houses and scary decorations to evoke particular emotions. We choose our costumes to reflect something about the kinds of people we are or want to be — edgy, sexy, funny, clever. For children, Halloween is an experiment in delayed gratification and negotiation — which candies to eat now, which to trade, which to save. It's no surprise, then, that Halloween might reveal interesting features of human psychology.
But you might be surprised by just what we can learn.
In fact, there's a long tradition of using Halloween to shed light on the human mind and behavior. Consider three examples of clever studies that use this yearly event to uncover features of human morality, belief and allegiance.
In a study published in 1976, researchers observed over 1,000 trick-or-treating children as they visited houses in Seattle on the evening of Halloween. The researchers were interested in understanding the conditions that lead to "uninhibited" behavior: in this case, stealing Halloween candy or money. One of the variables they manipulated was whether the adult who greeted the children at the entrance to a house asked for each child's name and address, thereby treating each child as an identifiable individual, or instead let each child remain anonymous. Either way, the adult then instructed each child to take one candy from the table while the adult went away to "work in another room."
Unbeknownst to the children, their behavior was recorded by an observer behind a peephole. For each child, the observer recorded how many candies were taken, as well as whether the child took any money from a bowl of coins next to the candy. And take candy and money they did: About 30 percent of children took extra candy, money or both.
The researchers identified several factors that influenced the probability that a child would steal candy or money. Thefts were more likely for children who remained anonymous, who were in groups rather than alone, and who were not accompanied by an adult. There was also an important influence of peer behavior: Kids in groups were more likely to steal if the first child in their group did so.
And so it is that the simple pleasures of trick-or-treating can reveal something about the conditions that support bad behavior.
Almost three decades later, in a study published in 2004, three psychologists used Halloween to better understand how children differentiate fantasy from reality. In the study, 44 children heard about the Candy Witch at their child care center just before Halloween. The children were told that when invited to do so, the Candy Witch visits a house after Halloween to swap candy for a toy.
Half the children also received "evidence" for the existence of the Candy Witch. They "overheard" their parents call the Candy Witch to arrange a toy swap — and the next morning they found that some of their candy had been replaced with a toy.
Overall, 66 percent of the children claimed that the Candy Witch was real just after Halloween, with younger children (mostly 3-year-olds) no more likely to do so than older children (mostly 4- and 5-year-olds). However, the older children were more sensitive to the presence or absence of evidence: Those who received evidence were often fooled; those who did not were more skeptical.
These findings challenge the idea that children are indiscriminately gullible. Levels of belief were quite high, but many children were never fooled, and the older children were appropriately influenced by the presence or absence additional evidence.
As a final example, consider a paper published earlier this year in which two economists reported the results of Halloween experiments used to assess children's political preferences before the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections. To do so, they set up two candy tables at a house in a liberal neighborhood of New Haven that attracts many trick-or-treaters. One table was decorated with Obama campaign props; the other with campaign props for either McCain (in 2008) or Romney (in 2012).
When children arrived to trick-or-treat, they were given one of two choices. Half the children were told that they could go to the Obama table or to the McCain/Romney table and that they would receive the same amount of candy at each table. The other half were told that they would receive twice as much candy at the McCain/Romney table. The researchers were interested in how children would choose in the first case, but also whether extra candy would be enough to sway their choice.
In both years and in both cases, a majority of the 479 participants chose the Obama table. In 2008, 78 percent of children chose the Obama table when the candy payouts were equivalent, and 71 percent did so even when the McCain table offered more candy. In 2012, 82 percent chose the Obama table when the payouts were equivalent, and 78 percent did so even when the Romney table offered more candy.
These results suggest a pretty robust political preference, even among young children (some as young as 4). They also suggest that a candy incentive wasn't enough for most children to switch their preference. Interestingly, though, the older children (9 and older) were more willing to shift their choice for greater candy. It's unclear whether this reflected a weaker political preference or a better appreciation for the extra value of the candy, and the otherwise relatively inconsequential nature of the table choice.
Fast-forwarding to this election cycle, the findings suggest that even young children are likely to be feeling the power of political allegiances in their homes and communities, and that even a symbolic gesture (which table to choose) has personal value — at least the value of one or two pieces of Halloween candy.
These three examples of Halloween research — and they aren't the only ones out there — suggest some clever ways in which we can learn about human psychology from this yearly tradition. They also put a new spin on the "trick" in trick-or-treat — you might just think twice about what's governing your choices and beliefs this Halloween, just in case the trick's on you.

Tania Lombrozo is a psychology professor at the University of California, Berkeley. She writes about psychology, cognitive science and philosophy, with occasional forays into parenting and veganism. You can keep up with more of what she is thinking on Twitter: @TaniaLombrozo

Baked dakos with spiced chickpeas, tomato and feta


200g chickpeas, soaked overnight with 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
150ml olive oil
¾ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground turmeric
¾ tsp sweet paprika
2 tsp ground cumin
¾ tsp ground coriander
12 medium tomatoes (1.5kg net)
1 large red onion, finely diced (130g net)
4 garlic cloves, crushed
400g dakos, Swedish krisprolls or Italian friselle, broken into 4 centimetre chunks
300g feta, broken into 3cm chunks
15g basil leaves

200ml olive oil
100ml red wine vinegar
Salt and black pepper
Serves six to eight


Preheat the oven to 200C.
Drain and rinse the chickpeas and place in a large pan with plenty of water, on a high heat. Bring to the boil, reduce to a gentle simmer and cook for about an hour, skimming the surface once or twice, until the chickpeas are completely soft. Drain and set aside to cool.
Add 4 tablespoons of oil to a medium sauté pan and place on a medium-low heat. Add the chickpeas, spices and 1 teaspoon of salt. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring and lightly crushing the chickpeas as you go, until they are soft and nicely coated in the spices and oil. Set aside.
Grate a third of the tomatoes and discard the skin. Chop the remaining tomatoes into 1 centimetre dice. Place both in a bowl along with the onion, garlic, 3 tablespoons of oil, ¾ teaspoon of salt and a good grind of black pepper. Set aside.
To make the marinade, mix together the olive oil and vinegar with ¼ teaspoon of salt. Spread the dakos out onto a baking tray large enough to hold them in a single layer but so that they are sitting snugly, 30 by 40 centimetres. Drizzle the marinade all over and spoon the tomato mix on top, followed by the spiced chickpeas. Dot on the chunks of feta, slightly pressing them between the bread. Scatter over the basil and drizzle with the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil. Place in the oven and bake for 25, until the feta is starting to brown, and serve.

What Are Pumpkins Good For?

By Dr. Mercola
Only the ghosts of our forebears know all the uses there have been for the humble pumpkin in the New World, or even worldwide.
At Halloween, of course, they promise a fun and inexpensive activity for kids (and adults) with a knife for carving, a spoon for scooping and a candle for illuminating the jack-o-lanterns that are such an iconic part of late October festivities.
But the most important use for this big orange veggie is for food. Native Americans cultivated it for millennia before they introduced it to the pilgrims, showing them how to harvest, prepare and store pumpkins.
They’ve been a useful, staple food with double value because they can last for weeks and even months of autumn and winter.
A tribe called the Catawbas ate pumpkin seeds for kidney health. The Yumas made a mixture from pumpkin and watermelon seeds for wound healing, and the Menominees drank a powdered squash and pumpkin seed concoction to encourage urination.
Other traditional preparations were said to release parasites and treat “female ills.” MDidea supports several of these folk remedies made from pumpkin pulp:
“Pumpkin was used in folk medicine to treat kidney inflammation and intestinal parasites and was once listed as one of the Four Greater Cold Seeds in an 18th century list of medicines.
Today pumpkin is employed to treat irritable bladder and prostate complaints, namely benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). The fatty oil in pumpkin seeds is mildly diuretic, and the seeds' principal constituent, cucurbitacins, appears to inhibit the conversion of testosterone into dihydrotesterone.”1
Fast forwarding a handful of centuries, we now know that adding pumpkin to foods provides a warm, satisfying “foodiness” that your body knows — and science proves — is more than just tasty but also health beneficial.

How Your Body Uses Pumpkins

You may be surprised to learn that nearly every part of the pumpkin plant is edible, including the leaves and flowers. Squash blossoms, for instance, are large, edible blooms that lend interesting flavor and elegance to many dishes.
While you’re enjoying your soup made from pumpkin puree with sweet potatoes, celery, carrots, onions, a garlic clove and a few teaspoons of herbs, keep in mind that the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients are at work in your system.
In fact, the ingredients in pumpkins make this hearty, fall-time food one of the staples for health. According to Research Gate:
“Pumpkin is one of the well-known edible plants and has substantial medicinal properties due to the presence of unique natural edible substances. It contains several phyto-constituents belonging to the categories of alkaloids, flavonoids, and palmitic, oleic and linoleic acids.
Various important medicinal properties including anti-diabetic, antioxidant, anti-carcinogenic, anti-inflammatory and others have been well documented.”2
So there’s a reason why pumpkins earn such high marks on the Aggregate Nutrient Density Index (ANDI).3 Pumpkins provide, in a 1-cup serving, 11 percent of the fiberyou need on a daily basis to keep your system running smoothly.
Besides being incredibly rich in vitamin A, with 245 percent of the recommended dietary allowance (RDA), that same amount of pumpkin, cooked, contains 19 percent of the RDA in vitamin C and 16 percent of the RDA in potassium, as well as riboflavin, copper and manganese.
According to Self Nutrition Data,4 pumpkins also provide smaller but still significant amounts of:
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol)
Vitamin B6
Beta-carotenes are arguably one of the ingredients in this large veggie to deliver the most punch in the way of antioxidants. They provide the bright orange color, too. The most prominent beta-carotenes and their functions are:
  • Carotenoids, which help keep your tissues shielded against oxidative damage, making you more impervious to disease. They improve your immune system and stave off signs of premature aging.
  • Lutein and zeaxanthin can be found in your retina. They help protect your eyes from damage and improve your vision in several ways.

How Your Body Uses the Nutrients in Pumpkins

All combined, these vitamins, minerals and other nourishing qualities in pumpkins have a dramatic effect on your health. Huffington Post5 listed several, including:
Heart health — Pumpkin seeds, like nuts, contain impressive amounts of heart-healthy phytosterols,About the seeds, Research Gate noted:
"From a nutritional standpoint, the high lipid content in the ready-to-eat snack is a potential source of polyunsaturated fatty acids such as oleic and linoleic acid, which have been shown to prevent cardiovascular disease.”6
Re-energizes after a workout — One cup of cooked pumpkin contains more potassium, a “refueling” mineral, than a banana, usually touted to have an impressive amount. In comparison, pumpkin contains 564 milligrams of potassium to a banana’s 422.
Skin protection — says carotenoids in pumpkins contain wrinkle-fighting pigments, which help hydrate and zap free radicals in your skin and help prevent them from causing damage. The vitamins as well as powerful enzymes help clean your skin.7
Better eyesight — All that vitamin A mentioned earlier may help improve your night vision and sight in dim light, the National Institute of Health says.8
Potentially lower cancer risk — The beta-carotenes help fight cancer, because they contain an immunostimulant to activate better immune system function. Antioxidant activity in pumpkins has been shown to inhibit breast cancer, one study reported.9
Further, Food For Breast Cancer noted:
“Pumpkins are good sources of micronutrients with suspected or demonstrated cancer fighting properties, including alpha-caroten, beta-carotene, various cucurbitacins, and the lignin enterolactone. Pumpkin polysaccharide has been shown to possess significant cytoprotective effect and antioxidative activity.”10

Pumpkin Selection, Storage and Preparation

Pumpkins are a Cucurbitaceae veggie, along with squash, cucumbers and cantaloupes. They’re grown on a large scale and are removed from trailing vines to create autumn displays with Indian corn and hay bales. Afterward they can be transported to the kitchen.
When buying pumpkins, they should be fully ripe; tapping on the outside should produce a dense, hollow “thump.” Pass on the pumpkins that have cuts, blemishes or wrinkled surface skin.
Store your pumpkins in a cool, dry place, even if it’s outdoors before a hard frost, and they should be good for weeks to come.
Make sure you wash the outside of pumpkins before cutting into them, because many growers and even mom-and-pop operations use pesticides and herbicidesrather than growing them naturally.
To cut, place the pumpkin on a hard surface and use a sharp knife to cut around the stem for removal. Then cut the pumpkin in half, following the deep grooves and scrape out the pith to discard, setting aside the seeds, if desired. Once they’re cut, portions should be covered and placed in the refrigerator.

Pumpkin Seeds: A Healthy Snack

Pumpkin seeds are a crunchy, delicious addition to salads or as a snack all by themselves. They also bring a separate set of nutrients: omega-3 fats and zinc, both of which may help support your skeletal health; calcium, iron and an array of beneficial phytochemicals help put them in the superfood category.
Tryptophan is the amino acid noted for encouraging afternoon naps after eating Thanksgiving turkey, but it’s also present in pumpkin seeds. While it may make your body feel languid and relaxed due to the serotonin content, the same ingredient plays a big role in lifting your outlook and mood.11
One study revealed that pumpkin seeds, along with flax, poppy, sesame and sunflower seeds, several nuts, including cashews, pine nuts, pecans, Brazil nuts, walnuts, almonds and pistachios, plus chocolate and wheat germ, are foods that may play a part in stopping the trigger that causes cancer in men’s prostate cells.12
To roast pumpkin seeds, wash them thoroughly in cold water after extracting them from the pithy core of the pumpkin. Spread them out on a baking sheet in a single layer and bake at 225 degrees F for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Adding a sprinkle or two of natural salt helps bring out their nutty flavor.

A Pumpkin Recipe: Pumpkin Smoothie

The Epoch Times suggests this recipe for pumpkin smoothie:
“Pumpkin puree can be stirred into soups, stews or chilis. You can whip up a pumpkin smoothie by blending pumpkin puree with a banana, spinach or romaine lettuce, a few dates, some non-diary milk and cinnamon and nutmeg.”13