This weekend feels like the start of the long march to Christmas – with all the presents, all the parties, all the food and all the mayhem that entails. For anyone who takes care of anyone (which is most adults, to be honest) it means even more juggling than usual, fitting in the children’s activities and the visits to elderly relatives, along with the odd canapé and glass of fizz for ourselves.
So it’s probably no coincidence that today is Carer’s Rights Day. http://www.carersuk.org/news-and-campaigns/campaigns/carers-rights-day Carers UK estimates that over 10milion people will become carers in the next five years, and as the population ages and resources dwindle that’s no surprise.
I had dinner with a friend this week who wasn’t quite her usual glowing self: she explained that she had spent every day for the last six weeks helping her parents-in-law – cooking, cleaning and getting paperwork in order as they find it increasingly hard to cope. She’s already stressing about how she will manage to cook their meals and deliver them during the school holidays.
Caring for my own mum for over a dozen years (and counting) I know there are few quick fixes. It’s hard to force outside help on someone who doesn’t want it, and even harder to keep all the plates spinning when you suddenly find yourself sandwiched between elderly relatives and dependent children.
So this week’s recipe is for all the plate-spinners. It’s very healthy, very easy and all cooks in one pot. It’s loaded with turmeric – aka the world’s healthiest spice. It helps pretty much any degenerative disease or condition – the active ingredient, curcumin, is a powerful anti-inflammatory. Chronic inflammation in the body is linked to pretty much everything you don’t want: heart disease, cancer, Alzheimers. (A turmeric extract formulation, BCM 95, developed in India, yesterday received a US patent for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.)It helps the body mop up free-radicals, improves endothelial function (endothelium is the lining of the blood vessels that helps regulate blood pressure and clotting); in lab tests it reduces the amyloid plaque tangles linked to Alzheimers and the growth of pre-cancerous lesions in the bowel. And I haven’t even mentioned the benefits of curcumin when treating arthritis and depression…. So stock up on this wonder spice and feed it to everyone! (And have a look at our turmeric tea in our immunity post here)
One quick point – curcumin isn’t absorbed well by the body unless it is accompanied by piperine, which luckily is found in black pepper, so don’t skip that. Curcumin is also fat soluble, so the coconut milk will also help the body to absorb it.
RECIPE: SALMON PILAFF serves 4
2 tbs coconut oil
1 onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 tbs ginger pulp
2 tsp turmeric
250g brown basmati rice
2 tbs fish sauce
1 lime, juiced
400ml coconut milk
400ml stock or water
600g salmon fillet, skinned and cubed
1 tsp salt (less if you are using stock cubes)
½ tsp black pepper – or to taste
lime wedges, fresh coriander, coconut flakes to serve
Heat the oil in a wide saucepan and cook the onion and garlic until soft but not browned. Add the ginger, turmeric, rice, fish sauce, lime juice, coconut milk and stock/water. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 15mins.
Stir in the salmon cubes and continue to cook gently for another 10 mins ,until the rice and fish are cooked. Top with coriander and coconut. Serve with steamed greens or broccoli.