Flu Time: Fighting nasty bugs…

Some nasty flu bug might catch you unawares. Have you thought about building up your immune system by increasing your vitamin intake? The summer with the wonderful berries, the fall with all the fresh and ripe fruit, both are gone, at least in our part of the world. Imported fruit and veggies do not contain enough natural vitamins and minerals to protect your health since they have to be picked when not ripe or ready. They are ‘gassed’ or prepared with chemicals to last and not go ‘bad’ during shipping until on the shopping counters for you to buy.

I would like to introduce you to a not so well liked vegetable, especially not in its raw form. I am talking about red beets. Most people say ‘oh, they have this earthy smell, I don’t like it and I can’t even imagine eating them raw.” On the other hand they are one of the healthiest things you could eat. They are loaded with enzymes, vitamins and minerals. The high iron content would not be advisable unless one is iron deficient. Let’s get practical and talk about the way you can ingest and enjoy red beets:

  1. One medium sized red beet, a bigger juicy apple, lemon to taste and a table spoon of extra virgin olive oil. Juice the beet and the apple. Add the lemon and the oil, stir and drink, swallowing sip by sip. The oil is important to convert the forerunners of the fat-soluble vitamins and make them available for your body. If, for instance, you juice carrots (add apple for taste and enzymes!) you need to add oil as well. You should never have more than one eight ounce glass of beet juice each day. It is especially helpful when fighting the flu. If you drink more than a glass of carrot juice daily you will start turning orange. These drinks are also very good for your eyes.
  2. DSC07608Red Beet salad: Again, one medium sized red beet, a much bigger juicy apple, ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, ½ lemon freshly pressed, 1 large heaped tablespoon of brown sugar or maple syrup, caraway seed if you like it. Mix oil, lemon and sugar/maple syrup/caraway. Grate the apple, stir into the mixture. Grate the beet and mix everything together. It can be eaten right away but I like to let it soak, stir again and then enjoy it. This beet salad is loaded with fiber as well and therefore also aids digestion.
    Enjoy! Red Beet Salad

    Enjoy! Red Beet Salad

    It is considered a “beauty salad” since it has a lot of vitamins good for the skin and sparkling healthy eyes.

  3. Naturally you know how to prepare cooked beets. These are good for you as well but don’t have quite the “health boosting power” of the raw beet salad. When store- bought they usually contain way too much vinegar. When I do them myself I avoid vinegar and use lemon.
  4. The recipe I listed for beet salad can also be used with carrots.

Try the beet recipes, you may be surprised how good and refreshing they taste when prepared the way as above. The work with the preparation is worth the benefits. No side effects!

Remember: “He who has no time to care for his health daily will have to have time to be sick for weeks, months or years.”

A Tasty Treat: Rhubarb, Apple or Plum Cake

In my book “Healing with Water” I added a section ‘Simple Healthy Recipes’ (pages 45-62) but I did not give the readers any taste of ‘simple healthy deserts’! We need to change that because everybody has a somewhat sweet tooth.

Let’s bake a cake that will simply disappear from the plates and everybody is looking for more! There is no other cake as refreshing as one decked with rhubarb. And if you ask me there is not a more delicious one as with fresh prune plums when they are ripe and available. If you are short of either you can always trust some apples to help you out. It’s simple and is a low calorie treat. I learned that one should eat rhubarb only during the months without an “r” in it, best in June and July. Try the recipe and you’ll be ‘hooked’.

Here is what you need:
500 gram/2 cups of flour, optional 3-4 tablespoons of wheat bran to give it fibre
1 tablespoon baking powder
125 gram/1/3 cup of sugar, optional a tablespoon of vanilla sugar or vanilla concentrate
125 gram/1/4 pound of butter
2 eggs
¼ liter of milk (I use 2%) or more if needed to get a good dough consistency

Now let’s start:

before it's baked

Ready for baking

Wash, dry and cut up the rhubarb into one-inch pieces. Or, if it’s plum time, cut those into half removing the pit. If you use apples, use a juicy type and cut into 1/8 or ¼ slices depending on size (see photos).

Cut butter into pieces and place in a mixing bowl. Add the 2 eggs and the sugar and vanilla if you use it. Using a hand mixer, mix together until smooth.

Either mix or sieved flour, baking powder and bran together in a second bowl. Using a hand mixer add a heaped spoon full at a time to the liquid mix until it gets too thick, then start adding milk to keep it smooth. Should it be too stiff when you have used all the milk just add a bit more until you can lift the mixer and the dough falls off easily. It should not be runny.

Prepare a cookie sheet (about 13 x 18”) with raised sides by brushing it with either liquid butter or oil and sprinkle generously with bread crumbs. Add the dough, use a spatula repeatedly dipped into hot water to spread it out evenly.

Now place the rhubarb side by side in rows across the dough. If you have green and red pieces, you may want to use your creativity to place the red ones to make some kind of design. But this is not necessary for the cake to taste good, simply a matter of ‘beauty’!

My specialty: Plum Cake

My specialty: Plum Cake

If you are using plums, stand them up against each other at a slight angle. If you use apple slices, lay them kind of half onto each other. In any case, the dough should be covered with fruit, no matter what kind you use.

Preheat your oven to 350 F; when ready, place the cookie sheet into the oven and bake for 55 minutes. Now open the door and sprinkle sugar generously over the cake and broil for maybe 5 minutes but be careful that you don’t burn your cake, just caramelise the sugar. When it looks good and you are happy, switch off the oven and open the door just for the few inches it needs to stay open (not fully) to allow the cake to slowly cool.

I usually leave it for about 20 minutes in the quarter or half open oven before taking it out. Let it cool down some more on your counter and then cover it with clear plastic wrap. Be careful that it does not touch the cake. If your cookie sheet is very flat use tooth picks. This way the cake will retain all its moisture and will not dry out before you serve it.

I love it warm and swear it is never better than “right now”! I claim I have to “test” it and cut myself a small piece…or two…and am tempted to have a third…and I don’t mind skipping dinner as a consequence.

Rhubarb - Plum Cake

Rhubarb – Plum Cake

You can serve it with whipping cream or with vanilla ice cream. Either way, hot or cold it is delicious!

Did I hear you say “Yaah, a moment on your tongue, a lifetime on your hips.” What? This cake has no calories (just kidding) it’s that good. And think about it: Those ingredients spread over such a large cookie sheet, how many calories could a small normal piece have? No, I eat it ‘guilt-free’!

Bon appetite!