Mbekweni Sports Nutrition Talk

2018-07-20 09:46:47

Sports nutrition talk

Coaches and players attended a talk at the Mbekweni Youth Centre in Paarl to learn about the various aspects of eating well around training 

 

 

Onion

2018-07-08 13:38:17

Onion

Depending on how it is used in food, onion may be considered a vegetable or a spice. As a spice, onions flavor more dishes around the world than any other spice. The flavour they offer depends on preparation details and can include a whole gamut of aroma and pungency from mild and bitter to sweet and mellow. Also consider all the different varieties of onions regarding shapes, colours, and sizes, and things get even more interesting. 

From the health perspective, onions have appeared in the pharmacopeias of many traditional medical systems with uses ranging from antiseptics and treatments for colds and flu to treating allergies and scars. Closely related to garlic, they too have many important phytochemicals (e.g. quercetin and allicin) that assist in the prevention of several chronic diseases including some cancers, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and even osteoporosis.

Let’s get back to how to use onions for flavour. I have decided to include a recipe for caramelized onions as they offer incredible depth to a variety of dishes. Here are some examples: 

  • Pasta: spaghetti with green olives, gnocchi and sage; 
  • Eggs: frittatas, scrambled eggs, omlettes, asparagus tarts, quiche
  • Soup: French onion, chicken noodle, tomato and bean soup, mushroom soup 
  • Meats: brisket and other beef, chicken, fishk dishes like stews, curries, stir fries; pork tenderloin,  
  • Dips (e.g. hummus, cream cheese, yoghurt & chives)
  • Sandwiches, burgers and pizzas 

Since onions have a high concentration of water and sugar, the key to caramelizing them is to see that this released at a slow and steady rate. There are several ways to do this, and you will find recipes with all sorts of ingredients (like balsamic vinegar, salt, stock, sugar etc.). I am all for fewer ingredients and keeping things simple and allowing the food to offer its inherent flavours. 

Warning: this recipe requires patience as it takes about 30min for the onions sugar to caramelize. If heat is too high, they will burn.

Caramelized Onion

Ingredients

2 onions – sliced about 0.3 cm (sliced too thinly they burn) (about 2 cups) 

30 cm pan (does not have to be non-stick)

1 tbsp olive oil or  1 tbsp butter/mixed with oil 

1-2 tbsp water

Method

  • Heat pan over medium-low. Keep it to that temperature for the whole process.  
  • When the oil/butter has melted, add onions, stir to coat, cook for 5 minutes. 
  • Stir and repeat until about 30-40 minutes, or until onions are sweet, tender and reduced
  • The onions will be ready when they have turned a deep brown colour and are much reduced from when started. Very soft but not quite mushy. 
  • At the very end of the cooking process (when the pan is dry) add a tablespoon or 2 of water as this releases all the flavour. Cook, stirring until the water has evaporated, onions are coated, and the pan is clean.

TIPS 

  • Don't overcrowd the pan as the onions will steam and produce water.
  • Using a combination of oil and butter you get a higher smoking point plus the richer flavor. Note that the more fat you add, the more onions will fry rather than soften.
  • When buying onions: look for bulbs that are firm and uniform in colour and that have a lot of layers of thick papery skin that is tight over the surface of the bulb. Crisp and dry. 
  • When storing onions: room temperature is best, in an open container e.g. wire mesh basket with good ventilation, away from potatoes (otherwise absorb the moisture and gases and will spoil)
  • When preparing onions: To minimize watery eyes when you cut them, refrigerate for at least half an hour before cutting them (or you can put them in the freezer for 10 minutes). This is better than cutting them under cool running water which washes away the allicin. 

Note that the spice “onion seeds” is also known as Nigella seeds but is from a different plant and is unrelated to onion. 

 

ISBNPA 2018 | Hong Kong

2018-07-05 05:55:32

ISBNPA 2018

Shelly and Karlien attended the ISBNPA conference in Hong Kong in June 2018. A great opportunity to learn and engage with leaders in behavior science.