Thursday, December 15, 2011


"Having been held sacred by the Egyptians (and beloved of Spanish beauties as a matchless aid to fine complexion), the ONION seems to have a great start in the great vegetable race to command royal billing. And it does, too, have staunch advocates who would make it king of everything. I would gladly debate that finding on behalf of the potato..but isn't it an interesting event that two of the most common and most economical of vegetables should be the front-runners in that race?
The onion was believed to have originated in Central Asia and its spread was rapid...
The red onion... has a milder flavour for salads and sandwiches or chopped into mashed potato. Much of the onion's pungency is due to its volatile oil, which contains much sulphur. The pungency may be eased in the preparation by keeping the onion under water for a few minutes and, for those who weep uncontrollably out of love for the onion, it may be peeled under running water. 
There is an exciting new potential for the common onion as scientists research its content for an ingredient to fight coronary thrombosis. A team of doctors at Newcastle University discovered that boiled and fried onions raise the blood's capacity to dissolve internal clotting...Tests on people produced what appeared to be a previously unsuspected medical property in the onion and work is proceeding to isolate it."
For years we have used onions to help our children when they have earache. This is what we did ~ 
Cut an un-peeled onion in half and heat in an microwave or oven - the onion must be HOT. Remove from the oven and hold in a small towel or face cloth. Hold the cut onion edge about 2 cm away from the achy ear and hold in this position till the onion cools down - 5 minutes or so. The heated onion oil vapor, travels into the ear canal soothing and giving immediate relief. Our experience has been that often the one 'dose' solved the problem, but in more severe cases we would be up a few times through the night repeating the onion treatment.
Onions are a natural health food, great vitamin C and fibre properties, free of salt, fat, cholesterol and low in calories.
This is an absolutely fantastic dish (we have just eaten it tonight). Even if you don't eat onions, you will love it! This recipe is a version of Jamie Oliver's 'The Best Onion Gratin'.
4 Red Onions peeled
Olive oil
Black Pepper
8 Sprigs of Thyme or Marjoram 
2 Garlic Cloves peeled and sliced/crushed
100 mls white vinegar
50g Edam or Gruyere cheese grated
50g Parmesan cheese grated
Preheat oven 200*C cut onion into fourths then pull segments a part into 'petals'. Lightly oil an baking dish and scatter onion petals in. Drizzle oil over the top, salt and pepper, thyme and garlic. Stir and mix. 
Add vinegar then cover with foil tightly. Bake in oven 45mins. Remove foil and bake 15mins so it begins to caramelizing. Once onion is golden top with Edam and Parmesan cheeses. Return to oven reducing temperature to 180* for 15mins till gorgeous. It can be eaten hot or chilled. Great with a BBQ.
In New Zealand we privileged to have a variety of spinach which is not found in other parts of the world. It grows all year round here, is highly nutrious with good sources of Vitamin A, B, C, E and K, good fibre, potassium, calcium and iron. Meanwhile it is low in fat, calories and is cholesterol free. 
1 Bunch New Zealand fresh Spinach - can use fresh young  Silverbeet
1 Red Onion, if you wish, peeled chunky diced
100g cream cheese/or feta cheese cut into small cubes
3 Hard Boiled or Poached Eggs, shelled and chopped
Wash spinach and tear into pieces, use the stems as well as they are tender. Put into a salad bowl along with onion, cheese and eggs.
Combine ~
1/2 cup mayonaise
2 Tablespoon Vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 X pinches of cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon mustard
Pour the dressing over the salad just before serving and toss through the salad. We ate this tonight too and I should have made a larger quantity of the dressing to have in a jug for people to pour on more. The verdict on the salad was AMAZZZZING!!

THISWEEKWITHTHEKIDS~ Both of these dishes may not be Christmas Day 'material' but they certainly are appropriate dishes for the Christmas season, being red and green in colour. Possibly too our common fare regard which we have for onions and spinach, connects with what we ARE celebrating at Christmas time - a baby called Jesus, being born and laid in a manger or straw filled animal feeding box, a plain ordinary place for the one who would bring total change to the history of all people.

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