Curiosity killed the cat and hail the black rice

20131124-212048.jpgGood thing I’m not a cat, cause I’m very curious….about what is wrong with me. I got my test results back and good news is they were all good. Bad news is they were all good. Apart from some insignificantly (according to my GP) enlarged blood platelets. Don’t get me wrong I’m delighted all is well but because I can tell something is not quite right with my health it would have been good to know what that “not quite right” thing is. Anyhow since I have many, many of the symptoms of B12 deficiency I need to check it out. My B12 levels were tested using a test called serum B12 which isn’t really reliable. You see, the serum B12 test measures both active and inactive B12 together. The active B12 is what the body can utilise. So the normal B12 result might just be mainly inactive B12. I will write more about all of this later. My symptoms are are also typical of MS (multiple sclerosis) so I will need to investigate whether it can be an MS relapse. (I don’t think so because it just feels different this time around)

So my plan is contacting some MS people. My MS nurse that I haven’t needed for the last 6 years just now went on maternity leave. Seriously woman….now? So need to find someone else to talk to. Then if they say maybe not or definitely it was not an MS relapse I will rock up to my GP armed with bucket loads of underlined documents, my determined husband and two restless kids and try to convince him in 7 minutes that I need the other B12 tests done. After having succeeded in convincing him and if the new tests would show that there is definitely nothing wrong with my B12 then I just have to realise that perhaps it’s just exhaustion. I might not be a cat so curiosity won’t kill me but one has to know when enough testing has been done……I am not quite there yet though.
20131124-212148.jpgIn the meantime tonight I had a wicked black rice stir fry. I recently discovered black rice and the health benefits of it, then I came across this recipe from a great blog called Butter Beans where they write about great food for families. Here’s the original recipe. I mixed this recipe with another favourite stir fry
recipe and this is what I ate ;

Black rice stir fry with tofu and vegetables

Serves 6

4 eggs, beaten with 4 teaspoons of toasted sesame oil
1 cup of black rice
5 oz of frozen peas
Ginger, 1 inch piece, peeled
Tofu, 1 package, drained, and marinated for at least 30 minutes
Carrots, 2 medium, chopped in small cubes
Broccoli, 4 florets, chopped
Cauliflower, 4 florets, chopped
Celery, 2 stems, chopped
Sesame seeds, garnish
3 tablespoons of reduced salt soy sauce
6 spring onions, sliced

Place tofu on a flat plate and place another flat plate on top, then weigh it down with a heavy book or pan. Every 5 min or so remove liquid that has been squeezed out until most liquid is gone. Then marinate with 2 tablespoons of soya sauce and leave for at least 30 min. In the meantime cook rice according to instructions. (about 30 min)

Prepare all the vegetables. Steam the carrots, broccoli and cauliflower for 4 min

Beat the eggs with the sesame oil and scramble in a wok (or pan) until almost done. Put aside. Grate the ginger and cook for a minute, then add the rest of the vegetables apart from the peas and spring onions and cook for another couple of minutes. Add 2 tablespoons of soya sauce.

Add tofu, peas and spring onions and cook for another 2 minutes. Add rice and egg and heat up thoroughly. Serve in a bowl with some sesame seeds on top.
20131124-212134.jpgBlack rice became known as the “forbidden rice” in ancient china since it was reserved for emperors and nobility to ensure their good health. It contains the same amount (or more) of health promoting anthocyanin antioxidants as in blueberries. And although black rice is a bit more pricey than white rice it’s still cheaper than blueberries. It is high in nutritional value and contains 18 amino acids, iron, zinc, copper, carotene and has a similar amount of fibre as brown rice. Black rice can substitute white rice in most dishes, I ate it with a Thai curry the other day and it was yummy. Who would have thought that rice could be sooo good for you!

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Wisdom tooth removal, pea and rocket soup and pomegranate smoothie

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Had my wisdom tooth removed today. Getting there was definitely more painful than the removal itself. Husband cycles to work but got a flat tire on the way there this morning so he had to take the train back to look after Z1 & Z2 but due to a derailed freight train he had to take the tube and then got stranded so had to take a taxi….which I then had to take to the hospital. Phew! Phoned the hospital and they said that if I was going to be more than 10 minutes late they couldn’t perform the surgery today. Got there with 2 minutes to spare due to the excellent knowledge and skills of the cabbie. London cabbies really are the best in the world (he told me these days it takes 5 years of studying to become a London cab driver…..wow)

So after the really easy and pain free wisdom tooth removal (anaesthetics hasn’t worn off yet) I can only eat liquid cold food….hmmm what to eat? Poor hubby, day from hell and he has to eat liquid cold food for dinner ( he doesn’t have to but I don’t think either of us feel like cooking 2 separate meals)

In the end I decided to go for another one of Sybil Kaphoor amazing soup recipes from the Taste cook book ( slightly adapted) and this is a really yummy soup so no poor hubby!

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Serves 4

2 bunches of spring onions, trimmed and roughly sliced
3 cloves of garlic, roughly diced
2 tablespoons of sunflower oil
850 ml chicken or vegetable stock
800 g shelled peas or frozen peas
225 gr rocket
100 ml single cream
Salt and freshly ground pepper
50 ml single cream to serve
A handful of attractive rocket leaves to serve

In a large saucepan gently fry the spring onions and garlic in the oil until soft. Add the stock, bring to the boil, then add the peas.

Return to the boil then cover and simmer gently for 20 minutes, or until the peas are very soft. Stir in the rocket and cook for a further 2-3 minutes, then immediately liquidize.

Add the cream and season to taste. Chill or reheat depending on if you wish to serve the soup cold or hot with a swirl of cream and a few rocket leaves in the centre.

To get some protein into myself I had for dessert ( you’re never as hungry as when you’re not allowed to eat! ) this smoothie. Apart from tasting amazing and being a cold liquid it is also packed with antioxidants which is great when your body is working on healing. Recipe is adapted from eatmedelicious.com but apparently it’s originally comes from Martha Stewart.

Pomegranate, berries and pineapple smoothie

1/3 cup silken tofu
1/2 cup frozen mixed berries
1/2 cup fresh pineapple
1/2 cup pomegranate juice
1 teaspoon honey

Pop in blender and press start button. Serve over ice if you like it extra cold. In hindsight if I had to drink it again straight after having removed a tooth I would have substituted the berries with a banana to get it super smooth