Thursday, 3 October 2013

NUTMEG

Hi peeps!

We find ourselves closer and closer to Halloween and to Thanksgiving (for the American peeps) and Christmas where nutmeg is used in abundance. It is nutmeg's time to step up to bat and here is some interesting info regarding this little gem of a spice (excerpt taken from fitday.com)

Known as a popular spice around the world, nutmeg is also popular for its many health benefits. In fact, since ancient times, nutmeg has been used as a remedy for various ailments or to improve health in general. Here are some of the health benefits that nutmeg provides.

1. Brain Tonic
During ancient times, Roman and Greek civilizations used nutmeg as a type of brain tonic. This is because nutmeg can effectively stimulate your brain. As a result, it can help eliminate fatigue and stress. If you are suffering from anxiety or depression, nutmeg may also be a good remedy. Nutmeg can also improve your concentration so you can become more efficient and focused at work or at school.

2. Pain Relief
Nutmeg is also an effective sedative. In fact, nutmeg is a staple in ancient Chinese medicine. The Chinese used the spice to treat inflammation and abdominal pain. Use nutmeg if you are suffering from aching joints, muscle pain, arthritis, sores and other ailments. To relieve the pain, apply nutmeg oil to the affected areas.

3. Indigestion Relief
If you suffer from digestion-related problems like diarrhea, constipation, bloating, flatulence and so on, nutmeg can effectively offer you relief. Nutmeg oil relieves stomachaches by removing the excess gas from your intestines. Nutmeg can also boost your appetite.

4. Bad Breath Treatment
Because of its antibacterial properties, nutmeg can also effectively treat halitosis or bad breath. As you probably know, bad breath is usually caused by a build-up of bacteria in your mouth. Nutmeg can rid your mouth of these bacteria. This is the reason why nutmeg is a common ingredient in many brands of toothpastes. Nutmeg can also be used to treat gum problems and toothaches.

5. Liver and Kidney Detox
Detoxification is an important factor of good health. Diet, pollution, stress, tobacco, medication and other external substances can lead to the build-up of toxins in your organs. The liver and kidney are two of the organs where this toxic build-up usually develops. As a tonic, nutmeg can clean your liver and kidney and remove these toxins. If you are suffering from a liver disease then nutmeg can also be beneficial. Nutmeg is also effective in preventing and dissolving kidney stones. When your liver and kidney are successfully detoxified, they can perform their function better.

6. Skin Care
If skin care is one of your priorities then you might want to incorporate nutmeg into your regimen. Nutmeg can actually help you achieve smoother and healthier skin by helping you treat several skin problems. A scrub made from nutmeg powder and orange lentil powder can help you remove blackheads, a type of acne characterized by pores clogged with excess oil and dead skin cells. If you suffer from acne marks, nutmeg can also help make your scars less noticeable. What you need to do is mix some nutmeg powder with some honey to make a paste, which you will then apply to the acne marks.

7. Sleep Aid
If you have difficulty sleeping at night, drink a cup of milk with some nutmeg powder. This will help you achieve relaxation and will induce sleep.

BLUE CHEESE IRISH POTATO CAKES WITH NUTMEG - About.com
Ingredients:
1-1/2 to 1-3/4 pounds baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
2 Tablespoons minced fresh chives
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 Tablespoons minced fresh dill
2 Tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 cup Cashel Blue cheese, or other blue cheese, crumbled
1 egg yolk
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs beaten with 1/2 cup 2-percent milk
1 to 1-1/2 cups seasoned bread crumbs
1 to 1-1/2 cups canola oil
Sour cream or creme fraiche for topping, optional

Preparation:

Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water for 12 to 15 minutes or until they are tender. Drain and mash the potatoes.

In a small skillet, melt the butter over low heat. Saute the chives and garlic for 1 to 2 minutes or until soft. Stir into the mashed potatoes.

Stir in the nutmeg, salt, pepper, dill, and parsley. Remove from the heat and cool completely.

Stir in the blue cheese and egg yolk. The cheese should remain in lumps scattered through the potatoes.

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F. Shape the potato mixture into 12 cakes and refrigerate for 20 minutes to firm it.

Lightly dredge each cake in the flour, then coat it with the egg-milk mixture and dredge it in the bread crumbs.

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add the potato cakes to the hot oil and cook for 3 to 5 minutes on each side, or until browned. The cakes can be prepared ahead up to this point.

To serve, place the cakes on a baking sheet and reheat them in the oven for about 5 minutes. Serve with a dollop of sour cream or creme fraiche.

Yield: 12 servings

See ya'll tomorrow for our Friday blog!! Much love and
*nutmeggy hugs*
Chef Shants xxxxx

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