Evil Baby-Murdering Bastards

Just got involved in a mini-flame-war on a foodie community on LJ. Some of the members were propagating a Nestle viral marketing thing, and I just wasn't going to let that go.

We don't do Nestle. 4000 babies die every day because of unsafe bottle feeding, and Nestle's marketing practices, in contravention of the World Health Assembly's 1981 International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes, contribute to that.

Which is why they're among the top most boycotted brands in the world, and definitely the top one in the UK. Every so often people say to me, Surely that's over now? and I point them here: http://www.babymilkaction.org/pages/campaign.html and tell them about current marketing activities in China, and Slovakia.

If you already boycott Nestle by not buying Nescafe and some of their cereals, please also bear in mind that they are part-owners and/or profit from a range of cosmetic companies including

Helena Rubenstein
La Roche-Posay
L'Oreal (which of course now owns Body Shop)

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Fig and Custard Tarts

What a nice little idea! from Vegetarian Good Food Christmas 2002, but just right for now when late-season figs are coming in.

Makes 4, at 366 cals each.

  • 2 medium egg-whites
  • 125gms caster sugar
  • 4 ready-made deep custard tarts
  • 4 ripe figs

Just whick the egg whites to the stiff peak stage, add half the sugar and whisk well until dissolved, then the rest and whisk until thick and glossy.

Heat grill to hot. Put the tarts on a baking sheet and put a whole fig in the middle of each one, standing upright.

Cover completely with meringue, sweeping into peaks.

Grill for 2 minutes until meringue is golden.

They suggest using any seasonal fresh fruit or even mincemeat under the meringue. I think fruit preserved in alcohol would be good – or a sharp raspberry sorbet that would contrast the nutmeggy custard.

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Korma-Style Dhal with Sweet Potatoes and Cauliflower

It seems to be a night for wintry meals. The heating came on full, and we ate drgourmet's Braised Tuna with Ginger and Plum Sauce. Following on from the previous post, I also came across this in my recipe cards – similar but with more veggies. Waitrose again, November 2005.

Recipe for 4, 407 cals per portion

  • 1 large onion, thickly sliced
  • 3 tbsp Patak's Mild Korma Curry Paste
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • Seeds from 8 cardamom pods
  • 250g Waitrose Cooks' Ingredients Le Puy Green Lentils
  • 750ml Waitrose Cooks' Ingredients Vegetable Stock
  • 1 large cauliflower, separated into small florets
  • 20g pack fresh coriander, stalks and leaves roughly torn

Put the onion and curry paste into a large flameproof casserole with a lid. Cook over a low heat, stirring continuously, for 3-4 minutes. Add the sweet potato and cardamom seeds and continue to cook for a further 3-4 minutes.

Add the lentils and stock to the casserole and bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

Remove the lid and add the cauliflower. Bring back to the boil and simmer for a further 8-10 minutes or until the sweet potato and lentils are both tender and the stock has been absorbed.

Stir in the coriander and season to taste.

Suggests serving with a dollop of natural yogurt, which would be good – I often add some fat-free yoghourt to Indian food, sometimes with a spoonful of lime pickle resting on top – and an Indian bread such as Peshwari Naan, but that would be very sweet and fatty – not necessary. Some plain boiled rice would be fine, or a lower fat bread like a chappati. And I think you probably don't need Puy Lentils which are spensive. Brown ones, or even split yellow peas, would be OK. It'd be a good duvet-lifter, tho …

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Spiced Dahl Soup

It's getting cold round here. From Vegetarian Good Food, Christmas 2002. 477 cals, probably without the mini-poppadom garnish. Serves 4, so that's 2 mains and 2 lunches.

Spice Paste

  • 2 medium onions, roughly chopped
  • 3 large garlic cloves
  • 2 inch piece fresh ginger
  • 2 red chillies
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp hot water


  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 6 oz red split lentils
  • 6 oz yellow split peas
  • 2.5 pints vegetable stock
  • 1 x 400gm can chopped tomatoes


  • 6 tbsps low-fat creme fraiche
  • 6 tbsps chopped fresh coriander
  • 4 sprigs fresh coriander

Whizz all the paste ingredients in the processor, to a rough paste.

Heat the oil and fry the paste for 5 minutes, stirring so it doesn't catch and burn. And soup ingredients, boil, and simmer for 45 minutes. Stir frequently, adding water if it gets too thick. After 45 minutes, lentils should be tender but still whole (or at least, the split peas should be, I think red lentils would probably be nicely mushy by now). Season to taste.

Mix creme fraiche, coriander and any seasoning (I assume they mean salt and pepper, I wouldn't bother).

Serve soup and add a spoonful of cream, a sprig of coriander, and mini-poppadoms if you like.

Damn, I have to go back and put vegetarian tags on things now.


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Healthier Breakfast Mushrooms

Made these last night to go with a fillet steak in merlot-blackberry sauce , they probably weren't the healthiest side dish in the world, but better than the normal breakfast ones.

Roast a head of garlic in a low oven for an hour or so until squidgy.

Squeeze the innards out into a small heavy pan and add a medium box of white mushrooms, torn into quarters.

Cover with beef stock and 2 tsps butter.

Simmer until stock is evaporated, and mushrooms are cooked. (If not cooked to liking, add more hot water and keep going) then stir about while they brown. Crush any remaining large chunks of garlic.

Keep warm if you haven't done the rest of dinner yet. …

Just before serving, reheat on a low heat and stir in 1/4 cup 4% (or lower if you can get it) creme fraiche, and lots of fresh ground black pepper. Simmer and stir to get the cream slightly thickened and a glorious autumnal brown.

John said he'd have liked more garlic, but the kitchen REEKED this morning – and the mushrooms a bit more done, they were chewy for him.

Made two veg portions, would have made 4 – 6 garnish portions.

If I hadn't been doing the merlot sauce for the steak, I'd probably have added some sherry with the beef stock, or at the cream stage to thin it a bit and used it as a sauce. Green peppercorns would be good, too.

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Blackberry Porridge

Based on an idea by Phil Vickery in Delicious magazine, September 2004. This turned out to be 4 portions, which are currently chilling in the fridge. 2 breakfasts each for the next 2 days. If it's any good … He reckoned 377 cals for his original recipe, this is probably less – he had 85gms caster sugar, 400gms yoghourt, 350gms fruit, 100gms Jordan's Original instead of the muesli, mixed with 140gms porridge. But it wasn't clear if that was weight in cooked porridge.

I made porridge with oats, in the microwave, using 80 gms of oats and the equivalent volume in semi-skimmed milk, and water, no salt or sugar. Let it cool slightly and stirred in enough sugar/salt free muesli to cover the top well, plus 200gms fat free yoghourt. Mixed well, added about 3 tbslps Greek Mountain honey and stirred in not so well, to ripple through.

Spooned about 2/3rds of this into 4 half-pint glasses.

Mashed 225gms fresh blackberries with about 1 tbsp lime juice and 2 tbsps Splenda, and let sit while the porridge was cooling.

Top the porridge mix in the glasses with the blackberries, juice and all.

Add the rest of the porridge.

Swirl with a knife to ripple the fruit through – it won't reach through to the bottom.

Chill overnight and see what happens …

Note: talk to NM about whether this could be gluten-free, or at least tolerable? might have to do something about the muesli. Could use blueberries when blackberries are out of season, or frozen would be mushy already.

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Five-Spice Duck and Ginger Noodle Soup

from Delicious magazine, date unknown

Edited to serve 2. Cal count 464 per serving – which is quite a lot for what's basically enhanced ramen, but, hey, DUCK.

  • Pinch crushed dried chillies
  • 1/8 tsp five-spice powder
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • 1 large duck breast, skin removed
  • 1 litre fresh hot chicken stock
  • 2.5 cms fresh ginger, in thin strips
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 100 gms wholewheat noodles
  • 1/2 fresh chilli, deseeded and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 bunch spring onions, trimmed and thinly sliced on the diagonal
  • 100 gms beansprouts
  • 2 heads pak choi, chopped
  • Fresh coriander
  • Dark soy sauce

Grind the crushed chillies and mix with five-spice, sugar, some sea-salt and black pepper. Put the duck breast skinned side down into the spices, cover with a plate and weight down, leave for 10 minutes.

Put ginger in stock and boil. Taste for seasoning and keep hot.

Heat oil in a heavy pan, add the duck breasts spice-side down, cook for 3 minutes each side and rest for 5 minutes.

Cook the noodles, drain and divide between 2 heated serving bowls. Sprinkle with fresh chilli, half the spring onions.

Add pak choi and beansprouts to stock, cook 1 minute, and ladle over noodles.

Thinly slice duck on diagonal and put on top of soup. Scatter with the rest of the onions, coriander and serve with soy sauce on the side.

(I'd sprinkle some dark sesame oil in there somewhere?)

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