HERALD WEEKLY ISSUE 600: 25 January 2012

Taste of Cooks: Health wise
In Monday’s episode of a Taste of Cooks on CITV, presenter, Shona Pitt, paid the Ministry of Health a visit and learnt from Karen Tairea, a nutritionist with Public Health some frightening facts that threaten the well-being of our people.
A promotion for the 5+ a Day eating scheme is all a part of a step by step plan by Public Health to encourage our people to eat more local fruits and vegetables and to make the most of what Mother Nature has to offer.
According to a survey conducted in2003, statistics revealed that the consumption of fruits and vegetables was at a very low level, which gave the Ministry of Health a scare. The Ministry aims to promote fruits and vegetables by making the public more aware of the risks of unhealthy eating habits. Karen said our seasons affect the production rate of our fruits and vegetables. In colder months, planters see an increase in the growth of vegetables and a low amount of fruits, while during the warmer months, there is a huge increase of fruits. “So there shouldn’t be any shortages of anything healthy,” Karen says.
Karen states that Rarotonga has a wide variety of fruits that offer a different range of vitamins and minerals, such as the citrus fruits, which are a good supply of vitamin C. Fruits that are orange in colour, contain a lot of vitamin A, which is essential for good eyesight. The vitamins in fruits also strengthen your body’s immune system, so that your body is protected from viruses, infections and other illnesses that pose a problem.
Karen displayed props to illustrate how the body will get affected if you eat the wrong foods. Shona held up two 1 kilo “blobs” of fat and explained that if you are carrying excess “blobs” of fat, you could be in danger of obesity, which then leads to other ailments, such as diabetes and heart problems. Karen also used a prop to illustrate the clogging of the arteries. Cholesterol is the main suspect of this issue. A build up of cholesterol will decrease the blood flow to the heart, which leads to the heart getting an insufficient supply of oxygen. Smokers are also as risk, as the chemicals in a cigarette will make the lining of the arteries sticky resulting in a hardening of the arteries, making it difficult for the heart to pump blood around the body.
Another prop which was interesting to see was how much fat there was in each of our foods. Mayonnaise was the most frightening, as one tablespoon contains a large amount of fat. “It’s kind of like a fat bomb,” Karen says.
Karen states that there is a need for change in our traditional eating habits. “We have adopted other traits and have called it tradition,” she says. “If we try to give up one that is harmful, they say that it is tradition.” Although we can still eat our favourite foods, we must be careful to eat them in moderation.
Shona then visited Rangi Johnson, a chef from Manihiki. The theme for the cooking session was based on salads that are made from local ingredients. An array of vegetables, ranging from local tomatoes, radishes, lettuces, carrots and also a variety of herbs were placed on the table. “What makes a good salad is a good dressing,” Rangi says. “If you get the dressing right, you can never go wrong.” Rangi used a combination of the local vegetables and whipped up a tossed salad. Texture and colour are also things to consider when making a salad.
Rangi made a vinaigrette as a dressing for the salad. She used a variety of ingredients, such as virgin olive oil, Best Food mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar (any kind will do), brown sugar (Note: If you don’t have brown sugar, white sugar can be used as a substitute), lemon juice, peppercorns, salt and the local Coconut Palm Honey. Rangi then added a generous amount of each ingredient to a jar and blended them with an electric mixer. She made a few adjustments to the dressing then poured it over her tossed salad. Bon appétit.
Rangi’s next dish was a salad that consisted of roasted vegetables. Local pumpkin, eggplant, capsicum, potatoes and red onions were used to make this dish. She popped it in the oven and let it roast until the veggies were golden in color. She then removed it from the oven and sprinkled a sprout mixture over the vegetables. The sprouts added texture, colour as well as a spicy tang to the salad.
As an accompaniment for this dish, Rangi had made an aioli. Mayonnaise was used as the base for the aioli, while roasted garlic, mustard, lemon juice and honey were also added to give the aioli its flavour and colour. The aioli had turned a golden yellow, due to the use of the locally made Coconut Palm honey. You can add any other ingredients and season to your liking.
Shona and Rangi tasted the dishes. Shona’s opinion? She commented that she could “eat the dressing by itself.” The ingredients were all local, proving the fact that even local produce is of high quality and suitable for restaurant menus . While Shona says you could purchase your own dressing from the supermarket, Rangi disagreed saying it’s not the same. “If you make it yourself, it would taste a whole lot better because of all the effort you put in trying to make it,” she said. Shona readily agreed and said she would try and change her eating habits to a more healthier routine. -Norma Ngatamariki

Herald Issue 554 09 March
- Norm exposes Trio of Doom
- Briefs from PM’s media conference Tuesday
- Tourism Industry ponders $5 million draft strategy
- Norman George resigns from Cook Islands Party
- Letter of Resignation from CIP
- Norman selfish says Prime Minister

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