Monthly Archives: December 2011

Book Review ‘Medicinal Cookery’ by Dale Pinnock

I was sent a free review copy of this book but the review below is entirely my own opinion, I do use a few phrases from the press release I received with the book to start (these are in quotation marks ” “)

The book was published on 21st April by Right Way (an imprint of Constable and Robinson), retailing at £7.99 but it is currently £4.49 on Amazon.

Sponsored Link

“Dale Pinnock B.Sc (Hons), top health expert, nutritionist and the UK’s First Medicinal Chef is proud to announce the launch of his first book, ‘Medicinal Cookery: How You Can Benefit From Nature’s Edible Pharmacy’.”

“In this new, accessible book, Dale helps readers to literally ‘eat themselves better’, through fun and delicious recipes that target our healing needs for many common chronic disorders. Readers will also gain an understanding of the healing powers of Phytochemicals in food.”

“Readers learn how many of these compounds, when delivered in the right way, can work in a very similar way to medicinal plants, and even pharmaceutical drugs (minus the side effects). These concepts are not bizarre pseudo-scientific ideas, but actual solid concepts based upon biochemistry and human Metabolic Physiology. ”

“Dale Pinnock is the First in the UK to bring together three distinct strands: Herbal Medicine, nutrition and cookery, to create a radically new way to help combat a wide range of common health problems. The focus of Dale’s Medicinal cookery is not nutrition. It is in fact the phytochemicals that are in the ingredients. Phytochemicals are non nutritional, but biologically and pharmacologically active compounds that are found in plants. These chemicals can be anything from the colour pigments, to substances that plants use like hormones, right through to unique chemicals that would provide a plant with food and fuel. The individual study of these compounds is a rapidly emerging science. ”

The first thing to say about this is that the front cover is very eye-catching and inviting and that the book itself is more portable than your average cookbook (it has 186 pages and is potentially handbag size (depending on the size of your handbag that is!). The internal pages are full of colourful pictures of the raw ingredients.

This isn’t a traditional cookery book, it is a book teaching you to understand the healing properties of the food we eat, there are some recipes in the book (not as many as I was expecting) but it’s more about you understanding what foods to eat, when and why and maybe making your own recipes based on your own personal health needs.

Dale starts by introducing food as medicine and a chapter on phytochemicals (Phyto =plant)
Next he presents recipes designed to help address the health of the following body systems:
Skin, Digestion, Heart and Circulatory, Immune, Joints, Nervous.
Finally an A-Z guide of medicinal fruit, grains, nuts and seeds, culinary herbs and spices, vegetables – this includes tips on the best way to cook or utilise them in recipes.

As a vegetarian the fact that all of the listed foods are things I can eat is very appealing and looking through there are a number of recipes I would like to try (in fact this review is later than it should be is because I wanted to at least try one recipe before I posted the review). Most look pretty easy to make – my main criticism is that there are no pictures of the final product. This is just a personal preference though so that I can check how bad my versions look!

I found it interesting that Dale suggests that it was only when moving to a ‘diet focused around fresh plant foods’ compared to a diet with supplements that he noticed a shift in his health. I take a number of supplements and don’t particularly feel that great, I’m getting all the nutrients I’m meant to need but what Dale suggests is that certain plants actually work as medicines on top of this through how their biochemistry works with our systems. Each recipe talks you through the medicinal properties of its raw ingredients.

So I decided to pick the Anti-Parasite Pesto to make, not I hasten to add that I have parasites that I know of, but because:

a) I like pesto (though clearly not as much as Dale who suggests he can sit and eat spoonfuls of the stuff)

b) It looked relatively easy and something I hopefully could make and eat quickly (pumpkin seeds, basil, garlic, extra virgin olive oil and crystal salt blended – Dale gives you quantities)

c) I bought a basil plant especially (that I managed to keep alive for a very long time – which is not like me at all).

And here is the finished product served with triple colour pasta. The pesto was quite thick (hence Dale eating it with a spoon ;o)) so if there are few of you eating you may need to play around with quantities to get good coverage on the pasta. And, despite me making it, it tasted pretty darn good and is something I would definitely make again.

Anti-parasite pesto

Other recipes that are calling out to be made are: Omega Butter Crostinis, Apple Jacks, Chocolate Orange Truffle Torte, (I own agave nectar now too – which I use instead of sweetener or sugar in my tea, both which are too sweet now so I’ve occasionally been having it without anything), Garlic Honey (for use during colds, not everyday if you would like to keep friends – I have been totally won over by the very expensive but very delectable manuka honey recommended by Dale).

A number of the soup, risotto and other recipes calls for celery as an ingredient but I would have to substitute or leave this out because, I’m sorry Dale but no amount of telling me how detoxifying and cleansing celery will make me eat it (it’s the devil’s food – bleurgh – I was so mortified to spot it in my Winter Stew at my works Christmas Do, where it was promptly ejected into a water glass – luckily the flavour didn’t hang around so I managed to eat the rest).

If you are interested in starting a healthier diet in the new year and knowing more about what you are putting into your bodies I would definitely recommend this book which I would give 4/5 stars (because of the lack of pictures of finished products).

Penn State Pretzels

Ages ago I was sent some packets of the re-launched Penn State Worcester sauce pretzels to try, one large sharing one (175g – £1.29p) and 3 snack size (30g – 60p) (Prices as of May 2011).


Photo taken from printed press release

This review is my own honest opinion of this food stuff.

Ages ago I sh sh shared them with other people and the result was a bit hit and miss. I guess a bit like Marmite/Twiglets Worcester sauce is an acquired taste. Lucky for me I acquired it pretty quickly and found the pretzels quite moreish but also very filling (so I didn’t even need to eat a whole snack bag in a sitting). Pretzels aren’t really something I’d ever really been into but I have to say they were tasty.
The snack packs were perfect to take with me on my recent trip (read August 2011!) to the COT conference for an in room snack if I needed it.

I took note of the little box on the packet that gives nutritional information and for a 25g serving (I obviously got this from the large bag as the small bags are 30g according to the press release) this were the indications against an adult’s guideline daily amount. Not too bad (maybe because as I was informed they are baked not fried), maybe a touch higher in salt than you’d like but then you do expect that with pretzels more generally.

Calories   /   Sugar         /   Fat         /    Saturates  /   Salt

110/6%    /     1.0g/1%   / 3.0g/4%  /    0.3g/2%   /  0.3g/5%
My main criticism was that the packs I received were very broken and I much preferred the flavour of a whole pretzel to bits (not sure why this is, but it was). I’m sure the bags in the shops will be better protected but I’d advise not storing in the bottom of your bag or chucking across the floor.

I hear Penn State have some half-coated chocolate covered pretzels and air-popped (and therefore healthier) popcorn (a new favourite snack) so I will keep an eye out for my nearest stockists (ASDA according to the press release for the Worcester sauce and Morrisons for the chocolate – not sure where my nearest Morrisons is to be honest though as this review is so late it may be that other stores have snapped them up to) as an occasional treat whilst attempting to be healthier come the new year.

Penn State are on Facebook here.

Feel free to share your reviews of Penn State products or tell me the points for these products on Slimming World as it’s likely that’s the plan I’ll go back to in January ;o)

Listography – Top 5 Things That Make Christmas Christmas

Now I think my laminated list may have been the first listography that I took part in but I’m hoping to take part in more from now on (I may try and back track and do some of the old ones at some point).

For more details about Kate Takes 5 Listography please visit her website here.

This list is about what makes Christmas, Christmas.

1. Cadbury’s Chocolate advent calendars 

Yum – countdown by chocolate (and guaranteed daily chocolate – even I don’t eat more than the one window a day). Mum did a blinder with her pick this year – not only did the calendar have a picture and message behind each door but the chocolates got bigger the closer you got to Christmas culminating in this beauty of a cracker (obv the earlier snowman and cracker are not in scale!) and a snowman with a punched face!

2. Christmas Decorations (including the Tree)

Getting them out of the box, putting them up as soon as December hits and leaving them there until Jan 6th. I had to do them all by myself this year. Will be sad to buy new coloured (yes, coloured) lights next year as I’ve been using ones that my parents bought in Woolworths years and years ago – but they are breaking and hurt when you take them out of the box (I’m going to take a leaf out of my crafty friend Catherine’s book though and recycle bits of them to make Christmas cards next year (a post on making cards is to come but for really good examples check out Catherine’s advent of Christmas cards). My parents have this weird Peacock thing that you know it’s Christmas when you see (my sister hates Peacocks and even she wants to see it).

The tree, Candy Canes and Paper Snowflakes (new this year but I can see them becoming a tradition)

3. Family

This should really be number one but hopefully for lots of us our family is there the whole year round. For me this was the second year that my sister wasn’t with us for the whole day (having to do the spend time with us and the boyfriend’s family too) so I think family will become even more important. Now I’m not sure what affect me getting a fella will have on my Christmas but I think it will be a little odd. And then when you have kids Christmas will become about them and I can’t wait to sprinkle some Santa magic around. And boxing day really wouldn’t be right without by mum Sherryl’s Sherry trifle, especially when her hand slips ;o)

See how the trifle and not the family took the picture focus ;o)

4.The Christmas Radio Times and Christmas TV/Films

This is currently the only time of year that I buy the Radio Times and I sit there with a marker pen circling all of the programmes I plan to watch. Our family Christmas does involve some relaxing sitting down and watching Christmas TV and even if they are not scheduled watching certain Christmas films – for us the main one is Muppet’s Christmas Carol but also Santa Claus: The Movie and now Elf (Sssssaaaaaannnnnnta).

5. Presents

Now these really shouldn’t be here should they but they are. Christmas just isn’t the same without new PJs, pants, slippers socks and buying things for other people. My Nainy also started a tradition that I think my sister and I will take forward to our own families of table presents (just one more when you are eating Christmas Dinner).

Here’s one of my new pairs of socks.                                          And we bought my parents tickets to this as one present.

And my table present was a cuddly Om Nom from the Cut the Rope app (in other news I have 3 stars in all levels – get me)

As a P.S. or ‘off list’ I’m hesitant to say snow has to be part of Christmas; because we barely get any, but this year I did make my own!

Only 363 sleeps until next Christmas (damn leap year has snuck in another day’s wait)!


%d bloggers like this: