On Saturday night we had some friends over for dinner. The conversation inevitably turned to food. In particular, the old question of ‘what to choose for your last meal on earth’ came up.
My Irishman made the bold statement that for his ‘last supper’ all he wants is a big bowl of romesco sauce. Although that was quickly amended to ‘romesco sauce with a generous side of potatoes roasted in duck fat with garlic and rosemary’.
I made my usual attempt to avoid such difficult questions. But when forced to answer on the spot, I came up with ‘multiple varieties of cheese and roast beets’.
Since then I’ve been thinking more about what I really would choose for my last meal. To be honest I don’t think I’ll ever be able to settle on a definite answer. But there is something I’d like to add to my current, rather odd sounding list of cheese and beets.
And that, my friends, is good old-fashioned butter.
I still remember the first time I consciously appreciated the beauty of butter. My great-aunt Madge had come to stay. I noticed that she was being quite heavy-handed with the butter on her toast. So I asked her about her butter to bread ratio, not in those words, of course.
She said she just adored the taste of butter. When she was in England during the war, it was almost impossible to get butter. So she promised herself that after the war and the rationing were over, she would never limit her butter intake again.
Aunt Madge was a very wise woman.
I’m assuming that, like Aunt Madge and Julia Child, you don’t need convincing of the deliciousness credentials of my favourite fat.
But I’m also pretty sure there are quite a few of you out there who are still living in the ‘low-fat-is-healthy-dark-ages’.
So here are 6 reasons to eat more butter, just to get you thinking that maybe fat isn’t as evil as we’ve been led to believe. There’s also the recipe for one of my all-time favourite butter-based sauces that I like to think of as my ‘rolls royce mayonnaise’.
6 reasons butter can be healthy
1. fat soluble vitamins
Butter is a source of vitamins A, D, K and E. It’s an especially rich source of Vitamin A in the form that is easiest for our bodies to use.
2. helps absorption of vitamins and minerals from vegetables
When butter is used in cooking with vegetables, it helps our bodies process and use the water soluble vitamins and minerals found in the veg.
3. can be a source of ‘omega-3 fatty acids’
This is a great tip for those of you, like me who don’t eat as much fish as you’d like. When cows are fed on grass, their butter contains more omega-3s. When cows are fed grains, however the omega-3 levels are greatly reduced. So it’s important to buy good quality butter from grass-fed or ‘pastured’ cows.
4. helps protect against gastrointestinal infections
This protective function comes from a type of fat in butter called ‘glycophingolipids’. It’s been attributed to the reason that children who drink whole milk have lower rates of diarrhoea than skim milk drinkers.
5. can help protect against cancer
CLA, another type of fat that is only found in butter from grass-fed cows is attributed to having anti-cancer properties as well as preventing weight gain.
6. trace minerals
Butter is also a source of minerals that are required only in tiny quantities by our bodies. These include manganese, zinc, chromium & iodine.
source: ‘Nourishing Traditions’ by Sally Fallon & Mary Enig
Keen to discover more delicious foods that have been unfairly tarred with the ‘unhealthy’ label?
Then you’ll enjoy my latest eCookbook ‘How to Love Your Waistline and Your Food’.
To find out how it can help you eat healthier:
rolls royce mayo
makes about 2 1/2 cups
I just love this cross between mayo and hollandaise sauce. It’s super versatile and works pretty much anywhere you’d use either sauce. Feel free to play around with the ratio of butter to oil, remembering that the more butter the more ‘solid’ your mayo will be after it’s been refrigerated.
I usually just use straight from the fridge. But if you feel the need for a warm sauce, best to warm gently over a double boiler as it will split if it gets too hot.
If you’re a bit nervous about making mayo, here are my secrets to making mayo.
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons rice vinegar or lemon juice
1 tablespoon dijon mustard, optional
250g (9oz) butter, preferably from grass-fed cows
1 1/2 cups neutral flavoured oil, such as rice bran
1. Melt the butter.
2. Whizz yolks, vinegar or lemon juice, mustard and 2 tablespoons water in your food processor.
3. Add melted butter in a super slow trickle with the motor still running. Gradually increase the flow until all the butter is added.
4. Add the oil in the same manner. Taste season. Add more oil if too thin and more water if too thick.
lactose-free / casein-free – only use the melted butter oil and discard the white solids at the bottom. I like to leave them in for a more buttery flavour.
dairy-free - replace butter with an extra
vegan – I’m afraid I haven’t figured out how to make mayo with egg yolks like the commercial ‘vegan’ mayos. Sorry!
garlicky mayo – add 1-2 cloves (or more) of finely chopped garlic with the eggs.
video version of the recipe
rolls royce ‘slaw
serves 2-3 as a side
Feel free to use your favourite commercial mayo if you can’t be bothered making the ‘rolls royce mayo, you’ll just have to remember to remove the ‘rolls royce’ from the name ;)
I prefer my ‘slaw more fresh and crisp than gloopy and dripping in dressing. If you prefer a creamier ‘slaw, feel free to add more mayo.
3-4 tablespoons rolls royce mayo
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 white cabbage, preferably savoy
small handful flat leaf parsley leaves, chopped, optional
1. Combine mayo and lemon juice in a bowl. Taste & season.
2. Finely slice cabbage using a mandoline or sharp knife and a steady hand.
3. Toss shredded cabbage in the dressing. Serve with parsley sprinkled over, if using.
vegan – use olive oil instead of the mayo and change the name to shaved cabbage salad.
egg-free – replace the mayo with a good creamy natural yoghurt.
more substantial – serve with roast or BBQ chicken or pork or toss in a handful of roasted nuts.
colourful – add in some grated carrot and/or use red cabbage instead.
video version of the recipe
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