Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Chick Pea Casserole

I wrote the following a while back (scarily, almost a year ago in fact!) but never got round to posting it. While the programme How To Stay Young may no longer be available on iPlayer, everything else is as relevant as ever:-


Last night I came into the kitchen to shut up shop and get to bed and instead found myself drawn into a programme called How To Stay Young. It's currently available on BBC iPlayer and is well worth a watch but, to save you time, this is what it said, in a nutshell:-

The three keys to staying younger are:-

Reduce stress
Become a vegan

Two of those are obvious enough (though it was encouraging to learn that 3 hours a week dancing is actually better for you than the equivalent time spent in the gym!). Becoming a vegan is more interesting. When you are young, it is important to eat meat because meat contains a growth hormone. However, as an adult, that growth hormone is no longer required and instead becomes an ageing factor. Do the math.

Another very interesting fact thrown up by this late night viewing was that women have a tendancy to lay down internal fat as they age. Thus Angela Rippon (one of the presenters), known for her great legs and looking a very youthful 72 and still dancing and playing tennis, underwent a full body MRI scan. All was looking good until they found the fat that she'd laid down around her heart (otherwise very healthy) and her liver. The presence of this fat is a very severe threat to the health of both these vital organs. The solution? Eat lentils and chick peas. When you digest these, they release an acid which helps break down this internal fat. True, you have to eat a helluva lot of them - but there is a supplement called Inulin which can be sprinkled on meals which does the same thing and avoids the need to consume industrial quantities of pulses.

So....tonight, when I had singularly failed to go to the supermarket (this has been going on for days), I had a look in my store cupboard to see what I had that could make a vegan and/or healthy heart meal. I had tinned chick peas. I had tinned ratatouille. I had fresh red peppers, onions, garlic, ginger, olive oil. With just a little thought, this could certainly make a meal...

Here is the full list of ingredients:-

1 small onion, peeled and sliced
Approx tablespoon of dark soft brown sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil
Teaspoon soy/chilli/garlic spray sauce (or just add the ingredients separately)
3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
Thumb of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
400g tin chick peas
3 pointed red peppers
Tablespoon tomato purée

De-seed and slice the peppers and spread them on a roasting tray with salt and olive oil and roast them in the oven until they have fully softened.

Meanwhile pour the olive oil into a heavy-based saucepan or casserole dish over a medium heat. Add the onion, sugar and soy (or chilli soy spray if you have some). When the onions have softened add the chick peas, ratatouille, ginger, tomato and mascarpone soup, tomato puree and crushed garlic.

Once the peppers are cooked and softened, chop them into chunks and add to the casserole. Allow the flavours to meld, and then add a little parsley just before serving.

So there you have it: healthy and tasty.

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