Archive for May, 2010

Alex *Hearts* Bank Holidays

Morning Marinade

Ahh, another May bank holiday weekend.  The weather – average at best.  Chance of a barbecue? Slim to none – far too risky.

The antidote to all of this, is in our opinion: hearts.  Lamb hearts, ox hearts, or whatever kind of meat you like.  We love offal though, as its lean and nutritious nose to tail eating.  And a great salute to the animal – to eat its heart.   (But if you haven’t crossed the offaly bridge, this is a superb all-day meat marinade.)

Alex is pottering away in the kitchen now.  He was in there for hours this morning – making organic chicken freezer cube thingys for Tresillian, reducing some chicken stock to a heady and honey-like consistency.

I’ve been playing games with Tresillian since 5:30 am, so enough of my ramblings and on with the recipe so I can go on and take a bloody nap.

Morning Marinade

Finely mince 3-4 cloves of garlic
Zest 1-2 unwaxed lemons
Chop a few needles of fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon lightly toasted ground fennel seeds
2 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
Glug of olive oil
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper.
NO SALT (salt only seconds before cooking or the meat will sweat)

Mix in your sliced hearts or other meat (if you must.)

Use this marinade with any steak meat, lamb, venison, chicken, even a robust fish such as monkfish.

ALWAYS buy organic meats and wild organic fish.

Love to you all!!
La Libertini

Categories: Amazing Recipes

Food Eater? Read These Very Important Notes on Eating

Do you eat food?  There are some really basic things you need to consider whenever you eat.

Please drink 4-6 oz of quality tap water one half hour before every meal or snack. Any temperature, preferably lukewarm, with our without lemon.   Green or Rooibos (redbush) tea is also nice, whenever you want during the day.

Do not guzzle water while you are eating or to wash your food down.  You can certainly sip a little water while eating, but really try to avoid doing this. Rather, drink before or an hour or so after eating.  Your digestive juices therefore do not get diluted and work better.  If you drink coffee or tea, the same applies as to water. Avoid while eating or lightly sip only.  Ditto wine.

Please try to give yourself time, and also sit while you are eating.  Chew slowly – never swallow whole pieces of un-chewed food!  Digestion begins in the mouth, with saliva and chewing is perhaps the most important part of the process.

Slow down.   Eating quickly doesn’t allow your body to get the signal that it is full. Always stop eating when you feel about 80% full.  There is NEVER any point of eating until you are uncomfortable.

Never have an argument or debate too vigorously while you are eating.  It is better to postpone your meal (or postpone your heated discussion).

Eat regularly, space your meals 4-5 hours apart, with healthy snacks in between. “Snacks” should be considered “refreshing” in that you should be “refreshing” your body with light, nutritious foods and drinks that bridge between meals and keep you from getting too hungry.

Don’t eat immediately upon getting out of bed, wait until your body is awake, perhaps a half an hour or hour. Don’t skip meals or refreshes, and never ever skip breakfast!

Never eat before going to bed, leave AT LEAST 3 HOURS between your last meal and bedtime.

Try not to let hunger creep up, so that you are ravenous – use your head and plan ahead.

Re-think portion sizes – try eating half of what you intend at first.  Eat slowly and see how you feel.

Any chance you get to eat on your own should be used as a time for reflection and planning.

If you exercise, the optimum time between eating and exercise is approximately 2 hours. Don’t exercise right after eating, you could do some light walking but power walking may induce cramping. Also, please don’t exercise when you are hungry or very tired.

Even if it is 100 degrees outside, avoid eating really cold foods – it shocks the digestive system.  Foods served at room temperature, warm or comfortably hot are always better.  They generally taste better also.  The same for beverages.

If its very cold or very hot outside, your body will be attracted to certain foods – hot cereals, grains, soups, roasted vegetables and stews when its cold, cool salads and fruits when its hot.

PLEASE inject variety into your eating  – maximizing your intake of nutrients, eating high quality ORGANIC vegetables, fruits, seeds, gourds, lentils, whole grains, grain milks, lean meats or offal, fish, and seaweed if you like it.

Don’t get caught “rut eating”.  Eat and cook with imagination.  Don’t be afraid to try new things.

And NEVER eat processed foods, and avoid all the foods on my Worst List. There are much better choices and soooooo many recipes in the world, that there is never a need to eat any of them, really.

Love to you all!
La Libertini

Is Red Meat Good While Dieting?

I have coached loads of people on this.

Red meat is good in very strict moderation when you are trying to lose weight.  It is great if you can skip it for a few weeks at a time.  Chicken, I might add, is also not great when you’re trying to lose weight.  Nor is pork.

If you must eat meat, please, ALWAYS eat organic meat.  If you’re eating less meat, you can afford it. And if you are varying your intake of traditional meats with offal, it becomes even more affordable.

The key with meat is to keep it clean, lean, and ensure you are not eating it at night, or with carbohydrates like potatoes or rice.  The best accompaniment to meat is a green vegetable or salad.

If you’re a meat addict, you’ll need to cut out a lot of other foods to lose weight.  This I do not condone.

You may be able to get away with a high carb, high fiber breakfast, like organic bran cereal or porridge, a small portion of lean grilled meat and a clean and lean vegetable for lunch, and a superfood salad for dinner.

However, I find people have MUCH better results eating fish and removing red meat, poultry and pork from their diet for awhile. Then when they eventually have it again, they actually feel how heavy it is in their bodies, and usually stick to eating it once or twice a month.

Again, if you’re eating meat make sure it clean, lean, and organic. If you can, try offal – liver, hearts, kidneys, etc.  as these are lean, inexpensive and packed with vitamins.

There are some superb cookbooks on offal, that can really have you diversifying your intake of red meats, and doing so healthily. You’ll need to vet your recipes to ensure you’re cooking with other lean ingredients and not carbohydrates or added animal fats.

I recommend Anissa Helou’s The Fifth Quarter, or Nose to Tail Eating by Fergus Henderson.

Love to you all!
La Libertini

The Best Mustard Vinaigrette

A good vinaigrette can bring life to so many dishes.   This recipe is a low fat taste sensation.  If you don’t need to watch your fat intake, use just a dash more of olive oil, but you really don’t need to – I promise.

This vinaigrette is great with fresh steamed kale, spring greens, purple sprouting broccoli, or with watercress or other cold greens.  On beetroot/red beets it is sensational.  If you desire, an anchovy or two adds a depth of flavor.

This vinaigrette works as a delicious dressing to a grilled chicken breast or a robust fish such as cod, haddock, or monkfish.  It is great with bean salads too! 

  • 2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • Grind of black pepper
  • 2 fluid oz GOOD white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil (optional or less; never more than 1 small teaspoon)

Put into a screw top jar and shake shake shake! – until very well emulsified.

Top Tips for Surviving Traditional Barbecues

A fire, the outdoors – these could conjure up images of health and well-being, but they don’t.  More likely your barbecue experiences are conjuring up images of bowls of potato chips, hot dogs, beer, cheap wine, mayonnaise, white buns and processed cheese slices!

If you are attending a barbecue or day-party, and you suspect it will be a typical one, it may well be worth asking if you can bring a salad or other food to help out.  You could even bring marinated fish, or organic meat.  Perhaps a healthy fruit salad too.  Bring a few dishes and your preferred beverage – your host will not mind.

Trust me, there will be other people there who will appreciate something decent to eat, and will love going home feeling healthier and less bloated.  Providing good food for others is part of bridging – the important tactic whereby you become an advocate of good eating and great food.

If you are holding your own barbecue, why not celebrate goodness?  Having your own party is a great way to introduce others to good eating!

Ban all the horrendous typical barbecue or party foods and celebrate health by having a clean, lean menu of green salads, vegetables, fruits and fruit salads, pasta or grain salads, and lean organic meats.  Men love to barbecue and if you give them a decent cut of meat, they’ll love it.

You may still need to accommodate some of the old eating habits of others, and provide burgers (lean and organic) and maybe hot wings, potato salad, etc., but showcase the healthy foods and ensure they are in the majority, and control the ratio of good foods, to the not so good.

Great barbecue foods and dishes:

  • Crudite
  • Fresh fruit salad
  • Watermelon
  • Multi-Bean Salad
  • Pasta pesto
  • Fennel salad
  • Tomato and onion salad
  • Superfood Salad
  • Corn on the cob
  • Roasted garlic
  • Roasted tomatoes
  • Grilled fish, lean meat, or chicken – organic or wild please!

Want to Lose Weight? Here are the 10 Foods You Have to Stop Eating and Why

Here is an extract from my book 54321, that will be useful to you if you are trying to lose weight for the summer. 

Also this text links to my shopping list so you can go and buy the foods that you SHOULD be eating to lose weight and stay healthy.  Even deliver your body from the shackles of a preventable disease like Diabetes II. 

“Many people comment that they cannot survive without these foods, or that there is nothing else to eat.  I can assure you there is plenty more to eat.  Subsisting on any of these foods for a long period of time, particularly in combination with each other, is the 100% likely reason why people find themselves overweight and / or in ill health.

WHITE SUGAR – White sugar is one of the worst foods on Earth.  Some say everything in moderation and a little white processed sugar can be OK.  I say it is not OK.  Not only is white sugar empty calories with no nutritive value whatsoever, but quite simply it creates a negative chemical reaction in your body.  Sugar substitutes are just as bad, and also serve to give root to a sweet tooth.  Ban them too.

You can have sweet things in your diet, through fruit and even natural syrups.  Pure cane sugar can make an occasional appearance in a healthy diet, once you are at your goal weight and firmly in control of your dietary habits and eating patterns.  Giving white processed sugar to children is irresponsible.

WHITE FLOUR – Leave white processed flour alone.  Stripped of all its nutritional value, this horrible ingredient usually makes an appearance in and with lots of other bad foods and ingredients.  Cakes, pizza, white bread, pancakes, muffins, croissants, etc.  Bloat, bloat, bloat!

Once you start eating properly, you won’t miss white flour or any of its usual partners in crime – sugar, butter, cheese and hydrogenated fats.  When white flour is omitted from the diet, curiously this is when people start getting real results, whatever diet they are on.  That tells you something.

WHITE POTATOES – jacket, baked, new, roast, potato chips, French fries, crisps, chips – Every time a white potato is eaten, a chance has been missed to have a much better vegetable or grain.  The so-called humble potato has every right to be humble – its not that great.  I believe it is sub-standard because in this day and age, there is so much variety and so many other choices, that we have come to rely on potatoes in an unhealthy way – they are a crutch food that serves to limit our imagination.

Once you incorporate the huge spectrum of rice, grains, pulses, beans and more vegetables in your diet, you will not miss potatoes.  Or their hideously fried step-children.

And, there are few “meat and potato men” who have lean waistlines.  I challenge you to find more than one healthy, slim “meat and potato man”.

DAIRY FAT – butter, cheese, ice cream, any dairy except 0% yogurt or milk – Ew.  Not moo.  EW!  Now while I am not a fan of cow’s milk, I don’t completely discount it in moderation, in its fat-free form, as an excellent source of protein and calcium.  I am surprised, however, at just how much dairy product people think is OK.

This is one food where moderation and vigilance will help you to be slimmer and healthier.  The diary industry will want to pelt me with rocks and garbage, but I say to everyone – why would you want to constantly ingest the mammary secretions of another mammal?  Curdled?  Aged?  Moldy?  It is odd, but decades of browbeating about calcium have many people ingesting far too much of this food.  There are other superb forms of both calcium and protein for you to choose from.

For ages, many Eastern cultures did not consume dairy products at all.  Many people are lactose intolerant but somehow they manage to survive.  If you are still skeptical about releasing yourself from the shackles of dairy fat, bear with me on this point while you are losing all the extra weight that it may well be responsible for.  You won’t miss it – I promise.

TRANS OR HYDROGENATED FAT OR OILS – Andrew Weil was writing about trans-fats in the 80’s.  Now, we are just getting them removed from foods, and many food labels boast their trans-fat free status.  Super.  How many people are now obese due to the over-ingestion of trans-fats and hydrogenated fats used by many food manufacturers, and of course home cooks in the form of ingredients like Crisco?

It is not known how these fats are broken down… but take a global map of cancer indication and obesity, and incidence of dietary trans-fats and you might draw your own conclusions.  I sense that these are dirty fats, in every sense of the word.

** A note on healthy oils:  Good oils and fats, such as olive oil should be used sparsely.  Yes certain fats are good, and yes, you will have these back in your diet, in moderation, soon enough.  All this glugging of the olive oil, adding lots of good oils to the pan before grilling or frying, smothering salads in oil-rich dressings and vinaigrettes, is mostly unnecessary.  Oil is laden with 100 calories per tablespoon, so a little bit of it should go a long way.  Most cooking can be done completely oil free.  You may be surprised at how you will not miss it.

Many good fats and oils can be obtained through food sources, like seeds and fish.

NUTS – Certain people can eat lots of nuts.  People climbing Mount Everest.  Bodybuilders and people who work out 4 hours a day.  People who are starving and need highly concentrated sources of fat and protein.  If you are not one of these people, give them a miss for now.  Seeds, however, are different.

RED MEAT – Red meat is a food that should only EVER be eaten in its highest quality form – organic, lean and clean, and also not every day.  I love a little red meat and the proteins in it are excellent, but to lose weight you will need to really limit or avoid consuming it.  You must be at a certain stage and meet certain criteria for you to resume eating red meat, and you’ll be eating it in its lean, organic form only.

You know, the negative statistics that surround the over-consumption of beef by humans are very daunting.  The food that is grown globally to sustain herd animals, and the methane that these animals produce… all these frightening statistics point to the fact that we should be looking to radically cut down the amount of meat that we ingest.  Not only for our own health, but for the health and sustainability of the planet and growing spaces for plants.

Later, I will discuss several sources of high value protein, including lamb, game meats, and offal, that are leaner, often less expensive, and packed with nutrients.  You may find that these will feature on your diet once you are at goal weight and maintaining.  So don’t worry, you’ll be eating red meats again.

POULTRY – Poultry is high in saturated fat.  Again, you must be near to your goal weight to resume eating poultry, and I must stress that you will be eating it in its lean, organic form ONLY.

If you do not understand why you should eat only organic meats and chicken, I encourage you to do research online about this topic.  I can assure you, you will only ever eat organic, ever again. 

PORK – As above.  You can plan to cut pork out of your diet entirely, forever, if you choose.  I am just not that keen on pork, and convinced that people could go without this type of meat altogether.  And unless your pork is 100% organic, why bother at all?

“Bacon?  I can’t live without bacon on the weekend!”  Yes you can, and you will.  There’s nothing of real value in bacon.  “My Iberico Chorizo – its made using pigs who have roamed wild and eaten nothing but grain!  The fat is good for you!”  No its not.  It may not kill you today, but eating animal fats on a consistent basis add nothing to your overall health profile.

Additionally, the statistics around the over-ingestion of pork and pork products are as daunting as those associated to red meat.  The waste slurry from pigs is also highly toxic, so again, another double negative against this animal as a source of regular protein.

ALCOHOL – Alcohol is calories, empty calories – a low value carbohydrate as is white sugar or white flour.  But many people allegedly cannot live without alcohol.  They say, “I have to have my drink(s) in the evening, what will I do?”  If you cannot part with your booze for at least a month, you may need to examine your dependence on alcohol.  However, it is possible to drink VERY moderately while dieting.  You will just need to sacrifice something else in your day in order to be successful in meeting your goals.

If you find that you want to drink the same amount, or that you CAN actually drink the same amount while dieting, you should approach your doctor about your drinking problem.

CHOCOLATE – The latest I’ve been hearing is that dark chocolate is good for you.  It has “healing properties.”  Don’t believe it – you’ll have eaten a half a bar of 70% Green and Blacks and felt good about it.  It is full of white sugar and saturated fats, and it is very addictive.

On my list of one of the worst foods, is the children’s chocolate breakfast cereal, with the “hard rocks of chocolate” on the inside and the “soft chewy chocolate” on the outside.  This turns the lovely full-fat diary cow’s milk that it floats in, a nice shade of brown.  When your kid is constipated and hitting highs and lows all day, think about what you fed him or her for breakfast.  Was it some lovely delectable choco-pop cereal like this, or perhaps something similar?  Be ashamed.  You should be.

If you heard that women in some faraway “third world” place were feeding their children mountains of sugar, chemicals and fat for breakfast, you would shudder and say what a shame it is.  Fact is… that might be you.

So you might be thinking – what CAN I eat?  The answer is – a lot more than you think.

If you are eating a lot of these foods, when you stop eating them, and start eating the alternatives, you will wonder just how you ever ate them in the first place.

Fresh fruits, whole grains, fresh vegetables, squashes and gourds, legumes, beautiful fish and lean proteins – these are the no-brainers that we all know are good for us.

But its how they are combined, at what part of the day they are eaten, and in what proportions that makes 54321 not only work to lose excess weight, but to change your eating habits forever.”

If you would like some sample meal plans, contact me directly at, or comment below:

La Libertini

What on Earth is Jurassic Salt?

If you’ve not got any Jurassic salt in your arsenal, you should. 

Mine is coarse Himalayan Rose Pink Crystal Salt, and the label tells me it is “mineral rich crystal salt from the foothills of the Himalayas – formed over 250 million years ago from ancient unpolluted seas

There’s a lot of brands on the market, but I though £2.59 was OK for a 500g bag of coarse salt from the Organic on Clifton Road.  Alex grinds a little bit in a mortar and we use it over a couple of days.

The best is taste – it tastes lighter, less salty and more effervescent.  It tastes fresh, clean, you can almost taste the ancient sea.  Seriously.

La Libertini

Categories: Your Kitchen Arsenal