All bow to broccoli
Food and Wine
It can be very confusing to figure out what is good food and what’s not. All the adverts, product promotions, and posters that literally jump out at us all around us in daily life will all sing a different tune. Each one boasts ‘the best quality ever’, ‘the best value ever’, ‘the best choice ever’. It’s easy to feel swamped by too much information.
Ironically, amidst this cynical scramble for our attention (and euros), often the most important quality of our foods – its nutritional value – gets lost.
The reason we eat food is to supply our bodies with the fuel, nutrients, minerals and trace elements we need to run our bodies and minds. Like with cars, your performance can be affected by what you put in the engine.
Get a broccoli boost
There are only 30 calories in a cup of broccoli. It is one of the most powerful weapons in our dietary fight against cancer, as well as a powerful antioxidant. It boosts the immune system, lowers incidence of cataracts, supports cardiovascular health, builds bones and fights birth defects. It’s also one of most nutrient-dense foods available, containing sulforaphane, indoles, folate, fibre, calcium and ascorbic acid. No surprise broccoli is classed as a superfood.
Great news arrived this week: Local producers Lilly and Liam Ryder have masses of broccoli and baby turnips coming up at their farm. For the next two weeks or so, this combination will be served in Cabots Source as a complement to our favourite roasty potatoes and locally grown salad leaves with herbs. After that we will serve whatever is next up in the growing calendar. That is the nature of keeping things seasonal – going with the flow, changing accordingly, and enjoying it.
At its heart, food is much more than the product before you. Time, space, location, and people’s blood, sweat and tears all contribute each time you lift your plate to the table. One of the great tragedies of modern mass produced food is to break that link of connection from the table to the source. Field to fork, so to speak. If we want to know where we are, then we need to know where we come from. Food is no exception.
I guess what I am trying to say is that food should be sourced as locally as possible, it should be cooked with the minimum of fuss, and it should be enjoyed with family or friends, giving thanks for what we have. There, I said it! That wasn’t too difficult after all…
Try cooking penne pasta with broccoli – fry some red peppers with garlic and olive oil, toss in broccoli divided into small stalks, toss in wet pasta, stir in crème fraicheh or Greek-style yogurt, and season – yum!
You could also try potato and broccoli mash, broccoli and blue cheese soup or a broccoli stir fry with soy sauce over rice… The possibilities are endless.
Some wine with that?
WHAT a week. After saying last week that I found it nigh impossible to pick my favourite wine, I have had all sorts of people coming up to me and telling me about their favourite wines! Great food for thought.
Wine is very like food because it is not just the taste you experience in your mouth that relates to the whole experience.
After orally ingesting the wine into your gut, it must pass through your
body and eventually pass out, hopefully leaving you better off than before it entered your body. I mean that’s the plan isn’t it?
If a person gorges on food full of salt and sugar to satisfy their immediate oral taste, they may feel sick as the food passes through their body. Same goes for wine.
Therefore, the next time you taste a big-hitting heavily oaked red or white
wine, perhaps count to five before you go ‘wow, this is awesome’ and put half a bottle of it into your body. There’s no point in ‘wowing’ your head off with a wine if it will leave you feeling bulldozed the next day.
As I progress on down the boreen of drinking experience, I find myself seeking to avoid the high-alcohol-content wines. With the lower-alcohol wines, I can drink more and remain aware of my faculties. A definite plus.
Here in the wild west, we have always admired the big hitters, whether they be in sports or in politics. We love the big man. But sometimes it’s the guy in the background - the quiet ‘man of few words’ - who has more wisdom to impart.
Perhaps next time you try a wine that tastes immediately ‘weak’ or ‘light’ you might just desist and say ‘Yes … I actually like that’ – and maybe you will also be able to remember saying it the next morning!
In wine, like life, maybe the big hitters are not automatically the head supremos. What was the story about the little boy with that little sling shot…?