Despite it’s name, the Jerusalem artichoke has nothing to do with Jerusalem or artichokes. It is actually the root of a variety of sunflower, which is lumpy and brown skinned looking similar to root ginger. The white flesh inside is crunchy, with a sweet and nutty flavour and is an excellent source of iron.
Jerusalem artichokes were first cultivated by native Americans about 8,000 years ago, and is still widely grown in eastern North America. It is very versatile and can be baked, steamed, fried and boiled. It is an ideal substitute for potatoes and when made into flour, can be eaten by celiacs. If you are growing it at home, after a couple of years you will be giving it away as it is a prolific grower.
Jasmine rice is a fragrant rice native to Thailand, and is named after the sweet-smelling jasmine flower. It is grown mainly in Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Southern Vietnam. When cooked it is soft and has a slightly sticky texture. You can get both white and brown jasmine rice, and like other brown rice, brown jasmine rice is more nutritious for us as it still contains the outer bran layer. Cook Jasmine rice like any other type of rice, with about 1 1/2 – 2 times the amount of water to rice. Whether you rinse rice before you cook it is entirely up to you, I think the jury is divided on that.
Rice is a staple food for Asia and is eaten at virtually every meal. While the majority of us eat rice as part of a savoury dish, short grain rice is ideal for making rice pudding. The grains of rice absorb the milk as it cooks, they still hold their shape but only just. My Baked Rice Pudding recipe takes me back to my childhood with all of us sharing the brown skin that forms while cooking.
- the popularity of strawberry jam is huge, we buy more strawberry jam than the next three popular flavours of apricot, raspberry and black currant put together.
- the aroma of strawberry jam reminds us of summer, which is maybe one of the reasons we buy so much of it.
- in the 18 Century lots of different flavours of jam were made but there is no record of strawberry jam being made (www.telegraph.co.uk).
- there are 200 different varieties of Jerusalem artochoke.
- they aid digestion, can help to improve cholesterol levels and are great for our liver and gallbladder.
- Asia alone produces and consumes 90% of the World’s rice.
- rice is the oldest known food that is still widely consumed today. It can be dated back to 5,000BC (www.finedininglovers.com).