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Cheesy polenta with tomato sauce for simple sides

Feasts, if youve managed to plan one for this weekend, can all too easily be dominated by The One Bi..

Feasts, if youve managed to plan one for this weekend, can all too easily be dominated by The One Big Thing: for example, a whole leg of lamb as tradition dictates at Easter. Here is an offer of side dish: it is good to go for this weekends big meal or to file away until spring is fully sprung and we can all, hopefully, venture out into the sun.

Cheesy polenta with tomato sauce

This understated side dish is dressed up enough to keep everyone at the table happy, but simple enough not to steal the show from the main course. It would pair really well with roast chicken or grilled seafood. You can make the sauce well in advance – just warm it through while youre cooking the polenta – but dont make the polenta until just before youre about to serve, otherwise its likely to set.

Prep 20 min
Cook 45 min
Serves 4 as a side

For the sauce
1 onion, peeled and cut into 8 wedges (150g net weight)
150g datterini tomatoes, or regular cherry tomatoes
4 tbsp olive oil
6 garlic cloves
, peeled and crushed
750g vine tomatoes, core removed and finely chopped into 1cm dice (seeds and all)
1 tsp caster sugar
5g oregano sprigs
(leaves and stalks), plus 1½ tbsp leaves extra to serve (or use basil or parsley instead)
Salt and black pepper

For the polenta
500ml chicken stock
350ml whole milk
60g unsalted butter
200g quick-cook polenta
150g gruyère
, roughly grated

Put a large saute pan on a high heat and, once very hot, add the onion wedges and cook, turning regularly, for about six minutes, until very well charred on the outside. Transfer to a plate, then put the tomatoes in the same pan and char for another four minutes, or until nicely blistered in places. Transfer to the onion plate, but keep the two separate, and put the pan aside to cool slightly.

Return the pan to a medium-high heat and add the oil and charred onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about two minutes, until slightly softened, then add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds. Add the chopped vine tomatoes, sugar, oregano sprigs, 150ml water, a teaspoon of salt and plenty of pepper. Bring up to a simmer, then turn down the the heat to medium and leave to cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes have started to break down. Add the charred tomatoes and cook for seven minutes more, until theyve started to soften and the sauce has thickened. Keep warm until ready to serve.

Put the stock, milk, 100ml water, half the butter, a teaspoon and a quarter of salt and a good grind of pepper in a medium saucepan on a medium-high heat. Bring to a gentle simmer, turn the heat to medium-low and pour in the polenta in a slow, steady stream, whisking continuously, until completely incorporated. Carry on whisking for two to three minutes more, or until the polenta is cooked and the mixture is still quite wet and loose.

Stir in the cheese and remaining butter, then spread out the polenta on a large platter. Spoon the tomato sauce on to the polenta, gently swirling some of it in, top with the extra oregano leaves and serve warm.


The post Cheesy polenta with tomato sauce for simple sides appeared first on News Wire Now.

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How artificial sweeteners affect your health?

Sugar and sweeteners are ubiquitous in our diets and are often used to enhance the taste of food and drinks. However, their impact on human health has been a topic of much debate and research. While sugar and some sweeteners provide energy in the form of carbohydrates, consuming too much can have negative effects on our health.

Sugar is a type of carbohydrate that is naturally present in many foods and drinks, including fruits, vegetables, and milk. However, it is also added to processed foods and drinks, such as soda, candy, and baked goods. The World Health Organization recommends that sugar should make up less than 10% of a person’s daily calorie intake. However, in many countries, the average sugar intake is much higher than this, leading to health concerns.

Excessive sugar consumption has been linked to several health problems, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and tooth decay. When we consume too much sugar, it can cause our blood sugar levels to spike, which can lead to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Additionally, high sugar intake can contribute to weight gain, which is a risk factor for many health problems, including heart disease.

Another issue with sugar is its contribution to tooth decay. Sugar provides a source of energy for bacteria in the mouth, which can lead to the production of acid that erodes tooth enamel. This can result in cavities, gum disease, and tooth loss.

In recent years, sweeteners have become popular as an alternative to sugar, with some people using them to reduce their calorie and sugar intake. However, the impact of sweeteners on health is also a topic of much debate and research.

Artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame, saccharin, and sucralose, are commonly used as a sugar substitute. They are many times sweeter than sugar, so only small amounts are needed to provide the same level of sweetness. However, the safety of artificial sweeteners has been a subject of concern, with some studies suggesting that they may be linked to health problems such as cancer and weight gain. However, the evidence for these claims is not strong, and the majority of research suggests that artificial sweeteners are safe for most people when consumed in moderation.

On the other hand, natural sweeteners, such as stevia and erythritol, are also becoming increasingly popular. These sweeteners are derived from plants and have a lower glycemic index than sugar, which means they have a less dramatic effect on blood sugar levels. Some studies have also suggested that natural sweeteners may have additional health benefits, such as reducing the risk of certain chronic diseases.

In conclusion, the impact of sugar and sweeteners on human health is a complex issue and is influenced by several factors, including the type of sweetener, the amount consumed, and the individual’s overall diet and lifestyle. While both sugar and sweeteners provide energy in the form of carbohydrates, consuming too much can have negative effects on our health. It is important to consume all types of sweeteners in moderation, and to focus on a balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein. Additionally, limiting the consumption of processed foods and drinks that contain added sugars can help reduce the risk of health problems associated with excessive sugar consumption.

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Does lack of milk cause calcium deficiency?

Calcium is an essential mineral that plays a vital role in the human body, including the development and maintenance of strong bones and teeth, blood clotting, nerve and muscle function, and the regulation of the heart’s rhythm. While milk is often associated with high levels of calcium, there is a common misconception that a lack of milk consumption automatically leads to calcium deficiency.

While milk is a good source of calcium, it is not the only source. There are other foods that are rich in calcium, including dairy products such as cheese and yogurt, leafy greens, almonds, and fortified foods like tofu and orange juice. Therefore, it is possible to get enough calcium in the diet without consuming milk.

However, it is important to note that a lack of calcium in the diet can lead to a deficiency, regardless of the source of calcium. If a person does not consume enough calcium from any food source, their body will take calcium from their bones, which can lead to weak bones and an increased risk of osteoporosis.

Additionally, certain groups of people may be more at risk of calcium deficiency, including those who have a limited diet or dietary restrictions, elderly individuals, and those with conditions that affect the absorption of calcium, such as celiac disease or Crohn’s disease.

Lifestyle factors can also impact calcium levels in the body. For example, excessive alcohol consumption, smoking, and a lack of physical activity can all contribute to lower calcium levels and a higher risk of deficiency.

It is recommended that adults consume between 1000-1300 milligrams of calcium per day, and this can be achieved through a balanced diet that includes a variety of calcium-rich foods. Supplements may also be used to meet calcium needs, but it is best to speak to a healthcare provider before starting any supplementation.

In conclusion, a lack of milk consumption does not necessarily cause calcium deficiency. However, a lack of calcium in the diet, from any source, can lead to a deficiency. It is important to consume a balanced diet that includes calcium-rich foods and to maintain a healthy lifestyle to ensure that adequate levels of calcium are maintained in the body. If you are concerned about your calcium levels or have a medical condition that affects calcium absorption, it is best to speak to a healthcare provider for personalized recommendations.

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The Importance of Vitamin D on Young Children


During childhood, vitamin D plays a vital role in skeletal development and bone health. It is produced by the body through sunlight exposure. However, most children aren’t getting enough of this vitamin from their food alone.

Vitamin D deficiency is known to cause rickets. Rickets can lead to fractures and delayed motor development. Fortunately, it can be prevented. In addition, vitamin D deficiency in adults has been associated with osteoporosis and heart disease. Nevertheless, there is little scientific evidence about how vitamin D deficiency affects younger children.

One of the best ways to know whether your child is getting enough vitamin D is to ask your doctor. He or she can order a blood test to determine your child’s vitamin D levels.

Vitamin D is also important for maintaining strong bones in older children and adults. Some studies have suggested that increased physical activity may be linked to an increased level of vitamin D. Children who are overweight, have celiac disease or are taking anti-epileptic drugs are at increased risk for vitamin D deficiency.

Most pediatric bone specialists believe that a vitamin D level of greater than 20 ng/mL of 25(OH)D is appropriate for most children. The European Food Safety Authority has endorsed an upper limit of recommended intake for children.

If your child isn’t getting enough vitamin D, there are many ways you can help them get it. For example, some milk products, cereals and orange juice are fortified with it. You can also add foods that are naturally rich in vitamin D, such as egg yolks, fatty fish and mushrooms.

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