sabato 19 novembre 2011

Succulent fare for diabetics

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SAUCY AND SUBTLE: Meatballs in tomato sauce.
ASIAN FLAVOURS: Pork and shiitake dumplings in chilli oil.

To have diabetes is to have more glucose (sugar) in your system than your body can use. The hormone insulin helps glucose enter body cells where it is used as a fuel. If there is not enough insulin, or if it (insulin) is not working correctly, glucose levels will build up in the blood.

When there is a severe lack of insulin in the body, insulin must be injected: This is type-1 diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes. Type-2 diabetes is when the body creates some insulin but not enough. It is treated by tablets and sometimes insulin injections. A high percentage of those who have type-2 diabetes are overweight.

Treatment for both types is designed to maintain good blood glucose levels. With medication comes the need for a healthy diet - not a restricted diet but a healthy one. It won't cure the diabetes but it can improve well-being.

Pre-diabetes is also known as impaired glucose tolerance. This occurs when the glucose in your blood is higher than normal, but not high enough to be called diabetes. Pre- diabetes means your insulin is not working properly. Excess body fat contributes to this problem by causing resistance to insulin.

Pre-diabetes can often lead to diabetes although changing the amount and type of food that you eat and increasing your physical activity may prevent this.

Diabetes Week is for creating awareness, not alarm, but for those newly diagnosed one of the first concerns is often: "What can I eat?"

The advice from those who have diabetes is, select a variety of healthy foods you enjoy. If swapping a diet of too much fat, salt and alcohol for one that sounds all porridge and not enough protein causes concern, maybe it is time some new recipes entered the repertoire.

We've selected three that are big on taste, easy on salt and fat, and simplicity itself. Add vegetables, salads, and starches of choice. Portion sizes are up to the individual, but as with most foods that are good to eat, let alone good for you, less is better than more.


The greens give it an appealing succulence, and the golden raisins add a subtle, sweet note. Makes 18 to 24 meatballs.

1 cup fresh breadcrumbs

2 Tbsp nonfat milk

360g minced pork

360g minced topside beef

2 Tbsp Parmesan cheese

1 clove garlic,finely chopped

1 Tbsp parsley, finely chopped

1 Tbsp dry white wine

1/4 tsp salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 large egg, lightly beaten

For the sauce

1-2 Tbsp olive oil

2 medium cloves garlic, very thinly sliced

450g silverbeet, stems chopped, leaves shredded crosswise

1/2 tsp salt, or to taste

Pinch crushed chilli flakes

1/4 cup golden raisins

1/2 cup water

3 cups low-salt tomato sauce (preferably homemade, but a low-salt, ready-made pasta sauce is fine)

Preheat the oven to 200C.

Have a rimmed oven tray or shallow baking dish (ungreased) at hand. Combine the bread crumbs and milk in a bowl; let stand for 5 minutes.

Combine the pork and beef, soaked breadcrumbs, cheese, garlic, parsley, wine, salt and the pepper to taste in a large mixing bowl. Add the egg and mix to incorporate thoroughly. Form into 18 medium or 24 small meatballs and place on tray/oven dish. Bake for about 30 minutes, turning as needed, until browned all over.

Heat oil and garlic over medium-low heat for about 3 minutes, stirring often. Add silverbeet stems cook for about 5 minutes until softened. Add the leaves and any water still clinging to them; cover and cook for about 5 minutes until wilted.

Add the salt and chilli flakes and cook, uncovered, or until the silverbeet is tender.

Stir in the raisins and water. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes until the raisins are softened, then add the tomato sauce; once the mixture starts bubbling at the edges, reduce the heat to medium-low, then add the cooked meatballs, cover and cook gently for about 10 minutes so the meatballs can absorb some of the sauce. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

Scoop the meatballs into a serving bowl; divide among individual bowls. Top with the sauce and serve - with or without pasta.


Makes 16, serves 4. Black-rice vinegar and chilli oil are sold at Asian food stores and in some supermarkets.

3 shiitake mushrooms

250g minced pork

2 spring onions, one finely chopped and one julienned

1 Tbsp finely grated ginger

1/2 a beaten egg

4 Tbsp soy sauce

1/2 tsp sesame oil

Sea salt and pepper to taste

16 round wonton wrappers

1 Tbsp chilli oil

1 garlic clove, finely grated

1 Tbsp black-rice vinegar

2 tsp castor sugar

1 mild red chilli, deseeded and julienned

Soak mushrooms in hot water for 30 minutes. Drain, discard stalks and finely dice mushrooms. Combine pork, mushrooms, the chopped spring onion, ginger, egg portion, 1 Tbsp soy sauce, sesame oil, salt and pepper in a bowl and mix well with your hands until smooth. Have a large pot of simmering water ready. Place four wonton wrappers on a clean cloth. Place a teaspoon of filling in the centre of each wrapper and brush edges with a finger dipped in cold water.

Bring three sides of each wrapper up to meet in the centre, then press together to seal the edges to form a tricorne (think of a mayoral hat). Press again at the ends of each point and in the centre. Continue until you have 16 dumplings.

To make dressing, whisk chilli oil, garlic, remaining soy sauce, black-rice vinegar and sugar in a small bowl.

Cook dumplings four at a time for 2 to 3 minutes in simmering water until they float to the surface. Drain and arrange three or four on each warm plate. Spoon the dressing generously on top, scatter with julienned chilli and spring onion and serve.

Diabetes Week runs from November 15-21.

- The Press

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