There’s lots of literature available extolling the health benefits of particular herbs and spices, but a new book by Bharat B. Aggarwal with Debora Yost puts it all together in one volume, called Healing Spices, complete with recipes using each.
I have no way of judging the veracity of the claims made in this book, but some of it is ancient and traditional, proven over and over again; and there has been scientific research into the link between certain spices and the prevention and treatment of some health problems.
Published by Sterling Publishing of New York, there is a certain amount of common sense in this book, as well as some intriguing suggestions.
Quite apart from the healthful or mystical qualities of some spices, they can unquestionably elevate the humblest of ingredients to heavenly nourishment, so I will continue to use and experiment with spices and herbs as long as there is breath in my body.
And, according to Healing Spices, the more of these I eat, the longer that might be—which is encouraging to me.
Subtitled ‘how to use 50 everyday and exotic spices to boost health and beat disease,’ Healing Spices could be very useful and it’s also well-organized and interesting.
Certainly, I will enjoy trying out the advice that cocoa helps prevent dementia and fatigue, heart disease and memory loss, stroke and wrinkles, not to mention a host of other problems, because I’m a keen fan of dark chocolate.
I’ll let you know how that goes.
In the meantime, you may wish to reserve your copy of my upcoming book called Jude’s Kitchen, which is being published this spring by the Okanagan Institute. Go to: www.judiesteeves.com
Spiced Mixed Nuts
Haven’t tried these, but they look like they would be really tasty, and nuts are good for you.
1/2 c. (125 ml) sugar
1 tsp. (5 ml) cinnamon
1/2 tsp. (2 ml) cloves
1/4 tsp. (1 ml) allspice
1/4 tsp. (1 ml) nutmeg
1/4 tsp. (1 ml) ginger
1/2 tsp. (2 ml) salt
1 egg white
2 tbsp. (30 ml) water
2 lb. (1 kg) whole mixed nuts
Use nuts such as almonds, cashews, pecans and walnuts.
Spray two cookie sheets with an oil spray and pre-heat the oven to 275 F.
Combine the sugar, spices and salt, if using, in a large bowl. Stir in the egg white and water and mix.
The mixture should resemble a smooth paste. Add the nuts and gently stir so each nut is thoroughly coated with the spice mixture.
Spread out the nuts on the sheets, separating them so they don’t touch and stick together.
Bake for 40 minutes or until the coating is crisp and golden brown. Cool and transfer to an airtight jar.
Makes about 5 cups.
Ginger Carrot & Squash Soup
Whether you serve this as a first course or the whole meal, it’s a satisfying way to use the last of those hearty winter vegetables.
1 1/2 tsp. (8 ml) coriander seeds
1/2 tsp. (2 ml) yellow mustard seeds
2 tbsp. (30 ml) oil
2 c. (500 ml) diced onions
1 tbsp. (15 ml) diced fresh ginger
1/2 tsp. (2 ml) turmeric
1/2 tsp. (1 ml) curry powder
1 lb. (500 g) carrots
1 acorn squash
1 tsp. (5 ml) lime zest
6 c. (1.5 l) chicken stock
1/2 c. (125 ml) light cream
1 tbsp. (15 ml) fresh lime juice
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 c. (125 ml) fresh parsley
Dry roast the coriander and mustard seeds separately and cool. Place both in a spice mill and grind to a fine powder.
Halve and seed the squash. Peel and coarsely chop the carrots and the squash.
Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed large Dutch oven and brown-fry the onions for 10 minutes until they are golden brown. Add the ginger, turmeric and toasted seeds and the curry powder and stir for one minute. Add the carrots, squash and lime zest. Cover and cook for five minutes, stirring frequently.
Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until the vegetables are soft. Cool slightly.
Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender or food processor until smooth. Return the soup to the pot. Stir in the cream and lime juice and season with salt and pepper.
Sprinkle with parsley.
Makes 6 servings.