Friday, June 24, 2011

Surströmming, Nagomi Lunch Bento and Diabetes Reversed

Pickled herring and pasta salad

Food Diary (June 24, 2011)
Breakfast: Boiled egg with oat sourdough toast
Lunch: Pickled herring and pasta salad
Dinner: Curried peas and potatoes with oat sourdough toast
Baking/sweets: Vanilla custard gelato

I love the taste and texture of pickled herring. And as an added bonus it is nutritious. Pickled herrings are sold in cans or jars and it is perfect as an addition to salads, sandwiches or even on its own with potatoes.  No cooking is required.

Before moving to Scandinavia I don’t think I ever heard of nor tried pickled herring. And maybe it would not have sounded particularly appealing. But after you try it once, or perhaps a few times, you start to appreciate it. Pickled herring has a rotten cousin called surströmming, rotten literally. Herring is fermented in barrels for months, then canned. The cans bulge from pressure and when you open a can, the ‘aroma’ is pretty special to put it politely. According to Wikipedia, a Japanese study has shown that the smell of a newly opened can of surströmming is the most putrid smell of food in the world. I bet you are curious now and perhaps starting to salivate!

If you ever see a can of surströmming, give it a try and have a video camera handy to capture the moment. The experience will be remembered forever. And don’t forget to open the can outdoors, preferably far away from inhabitants!

Today's Favourite Photo
Nagomi Lunch Bento

Today’s Favourite Blog
Source: BBC
The majority of the items on Foodbuzz’s daily top 9 are sweet dishes. Most of the recipes on my recipe site are sweet dishes. Sweet dishes are great but I suppose in the back of our head we occasionally think about the downsides – calories, diabetes and so on. The good news, according to a recent study, is that type 2 diabetes in people newly diagnosed 'can be reversed'.

Newcastle University researchers found an extreme low-calorie diet of 600 calories a day diet reduced fat levels in the pancreas and liver, which helped insulin production return to normal. Eleven participants who were all diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes within the previous four years cut their food intake drastically for two months, consuming only liquid diet drinks and non-starchy vegetables. Seven out of 11 people studied were free of diabetes three months later. More research is needed to see whether the reversal is permanent, say experts.


  1. 660 calories? I can't get three cookies for that, can I? argh !

    Love the bento box!

  2. From what my husband described (I'm not sure which cousin he tried), I doubt I'll have the courage to attempt it. But then a lot of our asian pickled and fermented stuff can be quite, umm, "interesting" as well.

  3. I have never tried pickled herring (or any canned fish for that matter). For some reason it intimidates me. I need to just get brave and give it a go. 600 calories? That sounds a bit like torture to me.

  4. Interesting facts about diabetes.Haven't tried pickled herring atho my mom said she use to eat it as a kid every Sunday

  5. Check out that bento! And I guess I need to start making sweets if I want to land in the Top 9 :)

  6. You know what? You should write a book entitled "Cooking with pickled herring". Seriously. I didn't know it is possible to make so many dishes with pickled herring. And pickled herring is something I have been eating since I was small, but only with raw onions (as a kind of salad) and in different salads (usually with potatoes). There is actually a herring salad I will soon make and post because every time I see you herring posts I think about it...
    I think pickled herring is a bit like Marmite for many people not from the countries where it's widely eaten, but I know many foreigners, who, like you, took to it straight away! My cousin has told me lately her 3 year old son is crazy for pickled herring! I think he'll become a real gourmet in the future :-)
    By pickled herring you mean the salted herring? Not the one in vinegar? The English word "pickled" applies to both (for example pickled cucumbers can be made in vinegar or in brine...).
    I have also noticed people prefer to look and read about cakes and other desserts. It would be interesting to go deeper into the question... I'm sure it's not only because they crave sweets all the time.

  7. Oh, and I have been dreaming of tasting this smelly herring for years!!!

  8. yummychunklet: it is picture perfect!

    Maureen: maybe 3 small cookies:)

    ping: you should try it once, never know you may get hooked!

    Angela: you should try canned fish, some of it is pretty good

    Maris: eating picked fish every Sunday - thats a nice tradition!

    Parsley Sage: maybe, even if you don't make it to top 9 at least you will end up with a bunch of sweets!

    Sissi: wow, a 3 year old with a fine palate:) Yes its not vinegar picked fish. There are different varieties, plain salted, salt/sweet, mustard, with onions etc etc. I like picked herring with raw onions, thanks for the reminder! Your last issue really got me thinking and I don't know why sweets are more popular. Maybe because sweets look more interesting to our eyes? Maybe because making sweets requires more precision and therefore greater motivation to write recipes? I cook meals without measuring so I cannot write accurate recipes. Very good question and I still don't know the answer

  9. LOL!!! Your story about a can of surströmming was too funny. And Nagomi bento... looks like $20 lunch there! Delicious!

  10. That why I love Japanese food just look at that bento, all the flavours and variant on that dish!