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The Good Garlic

Garlic is one of the oldest known flavouring and seasoning. This delicious herb has infused itself into the culinary traditions of many civilisations across the world, old and new. Originally native to the Middle Asia, the Sumerians were utilising the healing qualities of garlic as early as 2600-2100 BC. In ancient China, garlic was one of the most commonly used remedies owing to its heating and stimulating effects. Ancient Indian’s medicinal uses of garlic were to remedy lack of appetite, common weakness, coughs, skin diseases, rheumatism and haemorrhoids. Egyptians fed garlic to their slaves as a nutritional supplement to make them strong and capable of working long hours. The Ancient Israelis used garlic to enhance blood pressure, heat the body and kill parasites.

With its nutritional value and vast medicinal benefits, garlic is a plant in the Allium (onion) family. It is closely related to onions, shallots and leeks. Each segment of a garlic bulb is called a clove. Garlic grows in many parts of the world and is a popular ingredient in cooking due to its strong smell and delicious taste. Garlic contains Manganese, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6 Selenium, Calcium, Copper, Potassium, Iron and trace elements of other various nutrients.

Garlic is still widely used today for its health benefits to the immune system, assisting to combat the common colds and flu.  Its active compounds can also help to reduce inflammation and blood pressure. Garlic contains antioxidants that may contribute to preventing ageing diseases due to oxidative damage. Garlic oil is great home remedy for ear aches and ear infections,  treat intestinal issues, cure wounds, prevent cancer, and relieve excess gas, tooth ache relief, Its natural anti-fungal properties are good for relieving athletes foot. It can also be used as a mosquito repellent.

Garlic adds amazing flavour to any recipe, why not try one of these delicious dishes:

White Bean, Roasted Garlic and Rosemary Soup

  • Drizzle of Olive Oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 4 cups chicken stock or Golden Vegetable Savoury Drink
  • 2 cans white beans, drained & rinsed
  • 5-7 cloves of roaster garlic

In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, carrots and celery and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Add broth and garlic and bring to a boil; reduce heat and cook 20 minutes, until carrots are very tender. Add drained beans and rosemary; cook 10 more minutes. In a blender, puree half the soup until smooth. Stir to combine.

Garlic Beef, Broccoli and Cauliflower Stir Fry

  • 3 Cloves of chopped garlic
  • Beef strips
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Spring Onion (chopped)

This veggie-loaded version of beef and broccoli is much healthier than the takeaway. To make the Chinese-food classic at home, cook meat and vegetables stir-fry style with plenty of garlic, sesame oil, and spring onions.

Foil-Baked Lemon-Garlic Fish and Asparagus

serves 4

  • 4 pieces of skinless white fish filets, about 1-inch thick
  • zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 tsp dried mix herbs
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 bunches of asparagus, woody ends snapped off
  • 4 lemon slices, plus more for serving.

Divide the asparagus evenly between the foil sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper, top with a lemon slice, and set aside.  Pat the fish dry with paper towels, and season.

Using a fork, combine a small amount of butter, lemon zest and juice, herbs, garlic, pepper flakes, and salt and pepper to taste.  Spread 1 tablespoon of the mixture on each piece of fish.  Carefully transfer each piece of fish to the foil.

Bake until the fish is just cooked through and the asparagus is crisp-tender, 15-20 minutes.  Serve whilst hot.

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