I AM regularly asked to donate raffle prizes to local charities for dinner at the restaurant. (There is an annual ceiling on this, as I need to keep some space for other bookings.)
This is usually a straightforward affair, I look at the request, take confirmation of the status and send the voucher.
However, occasionally, the request is not quite so simple.
This week I was asked for a voucher for a low glycemic meal.
We are used to customers enquiring about gluten or wheat-free dishes, and other dietary requirements.
But glycemia, what does it mean?
Well, I do like a challenge (don't I?), and always subscribe to the 'can-do' theory, so I agreed.
I was offered a very complex book on the subject, which may have had some benefit if I understood some of the language.
Flicking through it, avoiding the more scientific sounding chapters, I discovered the definition of glycemia.
It is 'the presence of glucose in the bloodstream'.
There appears to be a link to degenerative disease such as diabetes, with our high glycemic eating habits.
I concluded that, as I already thought, that a balanced diet, with not too much of any one particular item, would be best for us all.
The old adage all things in moderation seems very appropriate.
I came up with this menu, which would make an appealing meal for this time of year. **To start: Grilled aubergine and courgette, with spiced chickpeas. **To follow: Poached chicken with star anise, lemon grass, asparagus and leeks. **To finish: Macerated strawberries with balsamic and low-fat yoghurt.
Ingredients, serves four
* 4 breasts of free range chicken, without skin or bone
* 100g each of, baby leeks, baby carrots and baby turnips, peeled and trimmed
* 8 spears of asparagus, trimmed
* 100g button onions, peeled
* 2 stalks of lemon grass, crushed lightly
* 1 sprig of thyme
* 3 pieces of star anise
* 2 tbsp freshly chopped parsley
Place the chicken breasts in a shallow pan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil, skimming any fat from the top.
Add the star anise, thyme and lemongrass.
Simmer for 10 minutes, then add the prepared leeks, turnips and carrots.
Simmer gently for five minutes, then add the button onions and asparagus, and cook for a further five to eight minutes until the vegetables are all cooked.
Stir in the parsley, and serve with a little of the cooking liquor.