Saturday, May 21, 2011

French fries, azuki bean and chestnut dumpling and Chinese cheese

Lentil and bacon pilaf
Food Diary (May 20, 2011)
Breakfast: Rolled oats with raisins, toasted coconut, sunflower seeds and flaxseeds
Lunch: Lentil and bacon pilaf
Dinner: Sautéed spinach with rye sourdough

In my blog yesterday I discussed an interesting documentary titled “What's Really In Our Food”. It answered questions such as “is ice cream good for us”, “how much should we eat and “which type”. Today I saw the potato version. Few interest facts I discovered. Potatoes are much more nutritious than I thought. Potatoes have more vitamin C than an orange, and more fiber than an apple. Compared with pasta and rice, potatoes have less calories and fat, and more vitamin C, vitamin B1, vitamin B6, folate, potassium and iron.

The documentary mentioned that Asians eat more rice and noodles while Europeans eat more potatoes. Obesity is lower in Asian countries and potatoes were mentioned as a reason. Potatoes have no fat but potatoes are cooked with fat. Think about French fries and mashed potatoes. My mind immediately races to Joël Robuchon’s famous mash which I intend to try one day. Its quite simple – 2 parts potatoes to 1 part butter with milk and salt to taste. Its almost potato flavoured butter!

Back to the documentary. When it comes to fries or chips, wedges have lower fat because they are chunkier. If you like chips and are concerned about the fat content go for wedges. I like chips and I like the shoe string version and therefore I will ignore the fat content and choose what I prefer! Some of the oven baked fries have quite low fat content. You can eat them virtually guilt free. 

In a blind taste test consumers were asked to choose between chips fried in vegetable oil and beef tallow. Surprisingly the majority chose vegetable oil. I’ve tried chips fried in goose fat and that is awesome.

Yesterdays conclusion was that ice cream is not that bad. Sure there is fat and sugar but also good things like calcium. In moderation its not bad, its even acceptable to the NZ health regulatory authority. Same conclusion with chips. Some versions have low fat and potatoes are good for you. The ice cream and potato documentary were both produced in New Zealand. They seem to be arriving at favourable conclusions.

Today's Favourite Photo
Source: Sparklette
Azuki bean and chestnut dumpling

Today’s Favourite Blog
A really enlightening article titled “Cheese-makers chase huge new market in China”. What I didn’t know was that an estimated 90% of the population is lactose intolerant. That’s quite a high percentage. However China is a large country and the remaining 10% of the population is the same as around 133 million people. So there are still many people who are not lactose intolerant.

The focus of the article was on the growing domestic market for cheese, creating opportunities for local production as well as imports. Except for a small number of ethnic Mongolians and Tibetans, China has no tradition of cheese making. In addition to lactose intolerance, the population is not used to the taste but are slowly acquiring it. Great news for cheese makers. If demand takes off and global production cannot keep up, maybe more expensive pizzas for us.


  1. Being Filipino, I grew up eating rice with every meal. Great links!

  2. Your lentil and bacon pilaf looks so good! I am so happy to read that ice cream and chips are not all that bad for you. :)

  3. Lentil and bacon pilaf looks yummy!
    I have recently read and article about the quickly developing milk industry in China and milk promotion as a very healthy drink for children. Since most Chinese don't tolerate lactose, I thought it was criminal. Some parents thinking they give calcium to their children probably deprive them of other sources of calcium they can profit from... Even in Europe many adults don't tolerate lactose (I don't for example), because in order to tolerate it and profit from it we have to have the enzyme called lactase, disappearing in many people's organisms around the age of six. I saw a world map and as you say, China has the highest rate of adult lactose intolerance. Milk advertising as a healthy drink is simply awful. (The lowest adult lactose intolerance was in Scandinavian countries, it was the opposite of China: about 10% adults don't tolerate lactose).
    On the other hand, cheese is not dangerous. The more a cheese matures, the less lactose it has. A maturing cheese can be eaten by people who don't tolerate lactose. Yogurt usually doesn't have lactose either (also depends on the production, if it's traditional or not). Lactose starts apparently to go away with the whey, which is separated in the first stage of any cheese production. It shouldn't then affect those who are lactose intolerant. Then, there is also dairy intolerance... I once talked to a Chinese friend of mine and she said her mother had dairy intolerance (like most of her family), but after she tasted traditionally made cheese and yogurt first time in her life, she felt great and discovered it was only lactose intolerance probably... People mix up both very often.

  4. The poor vilified's all in how you prepare it I think. Though it is hard to resist slathering on the butter, sour cream, cheese, ect.

    That pilaf looks quite tasty. Wonderful lunch choice.

  5. The chestnut and Adzuki bean dumpling looks amazing - it's inspired me to come up with something similar. Pilaf also looks yum!

  6. Sissi: thanks for the very interesting information, and interesting perspective on advising children to drink milk. I guess some kids may be forced to drink milk and if they complain of uncomfort it will fall on deaf years. The parents will think the child is simply making excuses. The health authorities should instead recommend cheesecake (and ice cream???)

  7. Ice-cream and cheesecake would certainly be much more welcome by children ;-)