Tag Archives: vegetarian

Celebrating National Garlic Day

It’s national garlic day in the US, but I think it’s worth all of us celebrating the culinary, nutritional and medicinal uses of this pungent bulb!

Adding flavour to so many recipes, many of which I think would just not be the same without a little garlic. My hot broccoli dip recipe,  lemon & garlic chicken, hummus, and curries are a good examples.

If you want a vegetarian recipe, you can watch a film of me preparing one, and download my sweet potato curry recipe

When folk I am coaching say they don’t like the taste of garlic, I often suggest they try cooking with just one clove, and see what they think. Often it is the very strong garlic taste they find offensive and they will often like foods I demonstrate.
Sometimes folk report misinterpreting a recipe and using the whole bulb, or head of garlic rather than just one clove, or segment, taken from the split bulb!

The good: nutritional benefits of garlic

Garlic is low in calories and very rich in Vitamin C, Selinium, Vitamin B6, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid and vitamin E. It also contains trace amounts of other nutrients.

It has also been reported to reduce fat stores. Garlic stimulates the satiety hormone which reduces binge eating and sugar cravings and it releases the norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter which boosts metabolism.


The good: health benefits of garlic

Garlic contains antioxidants, notably allicin, helps to prevent and reduce the severity of common illnesses like the flu and common cold. An ingredient in Dale Pinnock’s flu fighter soup, which also containts lot of other health giving ingredients and is also a great base for curries.

Garlic is claimed to help prevent heart disease. High doses of garlic appear to improve blood pressure of those with known high blood pressure (hypertension). Garlic supplementation also seems to reduce total and LDL cholesterol, particularly in those who have high cholesterol.

Antioxidants  protect against cell damage and ageing. It may reduce the risk of cancer and dementia.

It is most therapeutic when crushed and then diced. You should not heat it for too long or important nutrients are damaged. Consider how you can addapt your cooking, adding garlic towards the end . It’s most potent when eaten raw, such as in guacamole, hummus or salad dressings. Some recommend chewing garlic raw!

If you don’t like the taste or the after whif, then it is worth taking odorless garlic supplements. However, do not take garlic supplements if you take blood-thinning medication,  have stomach ulcers or a thyroid condition. It may interact with some prescription medicines, including insulin, anti-viral drugs, anti-inflammatory medicines and certain contraceptives so discuss garlic supplementations with your doctor.

The good: beauty benefits of garlic

Rub a sliced clove of garlic on acne and cold sores for an effective topical treatment.

Infuse oil with garlic and massage it into your scalp to help combat hair loss, or onto skin to help with psoriasis.

Soak feet in a bowl of warm water and crushed garlic to relieve athlete’s foot.

Place a slice of garlic over a splinter of wood in your skin and covering it with a dressing.

Mosquitoes can be kept at bay by garlic

I have found garlic to be an easy garden crop. Several of the photos are from a visit to the garlic farm who supply smoked, black and even Elephant garlic for cooking as well as garlic to sow.

The bad: garlicky smell

Garlic is known for causing bad breath (halitosis), and causing sweat to have a pungent “garlicky” smell. The sulfurous compounds are absorbed into the bloodstream, and exit the body through the lungs and skin.

So, if like me you like what garlic brings to food as well as the likely health benefits, what can we do to cut down on the garlic breath phenomena?

If you want to be intimate with someone, then make sure they consume garlic too. The only time garlic breath bothers my husband or I is if one of us has consumed garlic and the other one hasn’t!

There is the mechanical removal of the garlic particles from our mouth by brushing and flossing teeth, as well as tongue scraping. Here are numerous suggestions to cover up or neutralize the garlic compounds.

  • My favourite is Parsley – using recipes that also use parsley and chew on parsley after eating garlic, if I am concerned about my breath.
  • Cardamom, mint, fennel, cloves, anise seeds
  • Studies conducted at Ohio State University have shown that drinking milk, especially higher fat milk can reduce garlic breath.
  • Lemon – Lemon is very effective in neutralizing the garlic odor. Some suggest sucking on a lemon wedge after eating garlic, but I prefer a slice of lemon in hot water to drink! Also washing your hands with lemon juice helps to remove the odor from your hands.
  •  Tea, especially green and peppermint, contain polyphenols that reduce the volatile sulfur compounds that the garlic produces.


The bad: possible bloating

Garlic contains fructo-oligosaccharides, short chain carbohydrates, commonly referred to as fructans. Humans do not have enzymes to break down oligosaccharides which mean gut bacteria ferment them, possibly leading to irritable bowel syndrome symptoms.

Are you on a FODMAP diet and avoid garlic? Since fructans are not oil soluble,  you can buy garlic infused oil, or make your own at the start of cooking. Using whole garlic cloves, sautee the garlic with coconut oil in a pan for 20 minutes at medium  temperature. Remove the garlic and then cook the rest of your meal with the infused oil. The oil  infused with garlic should be use immediately. Throw away any leftovers – something you rarely hear me say – to avoid the slight risk of a bacterium called Clostridium Botulinum.

Not all IBS sufferers, or indeed fructan sensitive people, are sensitive to garlic, so test  in the  reintroduction phase of the FODMAP diet to see if you can add small amounts back in.


I would love to hear about how you celebrate national garlic day – please leave a comment below


Veggie Feasting

national vegetarian week 16

This week we are encouraged to think about the benefits of a vegetarian diet. There is lots of info at the vegetarian society website

There has also been lots in the press about countless vegetarian celebs

Whether meatless meals are a total lifestyle choice for you, or you are part of the growing trend of meatless Monday, here are some of my favourite vegetarian recipes.


Meatless-MondayHere’s a great recipe that can be made ahead. The oven tray of made burgers can be kept in the fridge to whip into the oven twenty minutes before you want to eat.

Vege Burgers

1-2 red onion(s) chopped

2 carrots, grated

2 small leeks, finely chopped

100 g mushrooms, finely sliced

1 clove garlic, crushed

150g finely chopped peanuts/mixed nuts

150g wholemeal breadcrumbs

50g rolled oats

1 teasp. dried sage or 1 tbsp. fresh chopped sage


3 teasp. Yeast extract

250ml milk

2 eggs

100g grated cheese

vege burger

  • Dry roast the nuts, in the oven, keeping a keen eye that they lightly brown and don’t overcook.
  • Gently fry the onions, leek, mushrooms and garlic in a little oil until softened.
  • Mix dry ingredients in a bowl
  • Dissolve yeast extract in 3 teaspoons or hot water and add with milk and egg to mixture
  • Mix well and shape into burgers, with floured hands. Place on a baking tray
  • Rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes
  • Bake at 190 deg. Centigrade/ gas mark 5 for 15 minutes, or until golden
  • Serve with salad


If you want to boost the meal with more sides, then potato wedges and a tomato and avocado salsa are great with these vege burgers. Cut potatoes into wedges and coat in a spoon of olive oil and some black pepper, bake in the oven with the burgers.

Whilst these are baking, mix some chopped tomatoes and avocado with some lemon juice,  chopped fresh parsley and either spring or red onions.. Season to taste, adding chilli if you wish.

Veggie Sides

Last year I was asked to create some recipes for the Derbyshire County Council Portion Size campaign and spend a day filming with them in my kitchen.

This Frittata recipe is one of the favourites at my cookery workshops so I had to include this.


Please let me know what you make of these vege recipes and share your own favourites.