Susan Jane Murray: Heart helpers
Banish a little bile, says Susan Jane Murray, with tasty, natural foods such as macadamia oil and wasabi mayo
Cholesterol is a touchy subject. It ring-fences nachos, steak 'n' chips, cream doughnuts and sends that beloved frying pan into solitary confinement. But did you know there are supertasty foods that can help your cholesterol levels too? Nature provides plenty of help without the interference of chemistry labs, manufacturing plants and marketing campaigns.
Extra virgin olive oil, for example, raises the 'good' HDL cholesterol in our body, resulting in a better total cholesterol score. Don't fry with it though, and make sure it's of the cold-pressed supertastic variety. Chilli improves circulation, as does lots of sexercise. Garlic and oily fish help thin the blood, while oats, wheatgerm and stewed apple escort bile out of the body.
More recently, macadamia-nut oil has been shown to cheer up cholesterol scores and is now the oil of choice for swanky yanks such as Dr Fred Pescatore and Lance Armstrong. Find it in select Oxfam outlets as well as the usual clued-in delicatessens and health-food stores. Rich in heart-healthy oleic acid, macadamia oil works on lowering triglyceride levels and improving HDL, which is what you want to do. This light, nutty oil boasts up to 30 per cent more monounsaturated fat than olive oil. Monounsaturated fats are associated with lower rates of heart disease and so need to be more prolific in our diets. Let me help you with that.
This home-made mayo is sensational with omega-3 fish such as mackerel, salmon and herring. Expect a delicious nasal hit, and some tonsil tickling. Notice how different wasabi is from the heat of a chilli, which sizzles the lips and stings the tongue.
Wasabi pastes from dodgy toothpaste-tubes are usually full of neon chemicals, and hidden salt and sugar. Real wasabi is nothing like this fake food, and should only come from freshly prepared Japanese horseradish.
If work took the wind out of you, wasabi mayo will get it back. It keeps in the fridge for up to three weeks, making this the ideal recipe for lazy evenings. Introduce it to your favourite tin of fish and a handful of salad leaves -- the best 30-second meal you'll ever meet. And, because you made it, you know exactly what went into it. No nasty preservatives, sneaky chemicals or cheap ingredients. Makes eight portions.
You will need:
2 egg yolks
2 small garlic cloves, crushed
5 anchovies, chopped
2 tablespoons good wasabi powder
1/2 cup extra virgin macadamia oil
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Run the motor of your food processor and add the egg yolks, the crushed garlic, the chopped anchovies and the wasabi powder, blending everything until it becomes creamy. Meanwhile, keeping the motor on low, gradually add a steady stream of macadamia oil and watch your mayo thicken slowly. This can take up to four minutes. Start drop by drop; don't rush it or you will end up curdling it, as I have done many a time through impatience.
Splash in some cider vinegar. This helps thin the mayo out a little. When you've finished adding all the olive oil in a steady, slow flow, taste and adjust the wasabi powder to your preference. You will feel a warm glow envelop your taste buds and dimples.
Scoop into a screw-top jar and refrigerate.