~*It’s the Loquat season

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Loquat is a fruit that originates from China and was introduced to Japan during the Tang Dynasty while many Chinese scholars were visiting or studying and brought with them to Japan the fruits and seeds… In 1712, it was widely distributed in Europe and in 1800 it landed in the USA. Today, loquat is known as “the Japanese plum” in the south of the USA and as “the Chinese plum” in Texas. And in our homeland, Lebanon, it is known as “Akkedineh” and are currently in season available everywhere!

Nutrition and Benefits

You often wonder how many can you eat or how many equal one portion of fruits; the answer is 10 to 12 medium sized ones! Knowing that everyday your intake of fruits should be in between 2 to 3 portions, if you focus only on the consumption of loquat that would give you a total amount of 30 to 36 per day!

They are rich in fiber (specifically pectin), vitamin A, vitamin C, B-complex Vitamins, Iron, Calcium, Manganese, Potassium, Phosphorus, Zinc, Copper, Selenium.

Facts You perhaps didn’t know 

The leaves are precious and must be infused in hot water and consumed on a regular basis as they could reduce diabetes, help dissolve thick mucus (highly recommended for smokers), fight skin inflammations (reduce psoriasis and eczema), lower blood pressure and help combat liver disorders.

In Japan, the leaves are dried to make a mild beverage known as: Biwa Cha that heals bronchitis, coughs, skin inflammations and promotes a beautiful skin.

If you ever go to Italy try the liqueur Nespolino as it is made from loquat seeds just like Amaretto is made from Apricot or peach seeds… Although loquat seeds are highly toxic in this particular liquor they do not harm.

In some countries, loquats are fermented with sugar to produce a light fruity wine.

Loquats are made into jam and when underripe they contain enough amounts of pectin to make jelly!

The Recipes as seen on OTV during my live segment 

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Oatmeal Porridge with loquats 

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This breakfast recipe is a great alternative to cereals that are readily packed and may be loaded with hidden amounts of sugar and salt. Oats are rich in fiber that will help you feel full for a longer period of time and is loaded with vitamins and minerals.

Ingredients:

50g oats

350ml low fat milk

1/2 tsp cinnamon

12 peeled and diced loquats

6 halved walnuts

1 tbsp raisins

Method of Preparation:

1.In a saucepan place the oats and the milk; bring to the boil and simmer for 4 minutes stirring continuously to avoid the mixture to stick to the bottom of the pan.2.Add 1/4 tsp of cinnamon and pour into a bowl.3.Top with the diced loquat mixed with the remaining 1/4 tsp of cinnamon, walnuts and raisins.

Preparation time: 10 minutes Makes: 1 serving

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Loquat Nammoura 

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Nammoura is a Lebanese semolina cake.When compared to white flour, semolina is digested and absorbed at a slower rate thus prevents rapid fluctuations in the blood glucose levels!

Ingredients:

2 cups semolina
1 cup fat free yogurt                                                                                                                             1 cup loquats peeled
1 cup brown sugar
3 tbsp rose water                                                                                                                           3tbsp orange blossom water
2 tsp baking powder
Cooking spray
5 tbsp of a mixture of crushed walnuts and almonds mixed with rose water and orange blossom water                                                                                                                                      12 loquats for decoration

Method of preparation:
1. In a large bowl place the semolina add the yogurt, loquats, sugar, rose water, orange blossom water, nuts blend and mix until you get an homogenous mixture.Add the baking powder.
2. Spread the batter into the pan sprayed with cooking spray
3. Decorate with halved loquats
3. Bake in a 350ºF oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near centers comes out clean.

Preparation time: 10 minutes Makes: 16 to 20 servings

You may snack-on a piece of Nammoura with a cup of loquat infused leaves!

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Loquat Pizza with brie, caramelized onions, fennels and zaatar 

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Cauliflower dough can be easily prepared at home and would be richer in fiber and lower in carbohydrates when compared to a regular pizza dough made from flour! And thus would help one eat less and feel full for a longer period of time.

Ingredients

500g cauliflower florets
1 cup Corn flour                                                                                                                                      1 large egg
1 tsp Maldon salt
1/2 tsp Black Pepper                                                                                                                              2 Tbsp Italian Herbs
100g Manchego
1 Fennel bulb
1 large red onion                                                                                                                                    1 tbsp brown sugar                                                                                                                             30g butter                                                                                                                                                  2 tbsp glazed balsamic vinegar                                                                                                         120 g Brie                                                                                                                                                3 tbsp zaatar                                                                                                                                          12 loquats

Method of preparation:
1. In a food processor place the cauliflower florets and proceed until you get a very fine texture.Place the “cauliflower rice” on a baking tray and place in the oven for 15 minutes (180ºC).
2. Transfer the cauliflower rice to a towel and squeeze out all the water then place in a large mixing bowl and add the corn flour, egg, salt, pepper, herbs and cheese and mix well until you get an homogenous dough.Refrigerate for an hour.
3. Shape a circular disk using half of the dough and bake in the oven for 10 minutes (350ºC).
4. Remove the dough from the oven and top it with the caramelized onions and fennels* followed by the brie cheese slices and the loquats without their seeds.Sprinkle the zaatar and bake for another 10 minutes (350ºC).

Preparation time: 70 minutes Makes: 6 servings

To caramelize the onions and fennels you need to slice them using a mandoline then in a large pan place the butter and let them cook for 10 min until you see a golden color.Add the sugar and balsamic vinegar until they are completely well cooked and caramelized.

Was Camembert born before Brie ? 
Brie originates from the Ile de France while Camembert comes from Normandy.
Although Camembert is probably the most famous and the most popular French cheese in the world it was born after the Brie cheese.
In the middle of the French Revolution, a priest (Abbey Bonvoust) was being prosecuted by Republicans.He ran away  from his hometown and found refuge in the town of Camembert where a French Farmer: Marie Harel helped him and let him hide in her place. As a Thank You gesture he revealed the secret of making Brie cheese… Using a different type of bacteria and shaping the cheese into smaller rounded Moulds gave birth to Camembert!
Napoleon 3rd tasted Camembert and loved it! He asked for it to be delivered from Normandy to Paris and that was made possible with the railways and steamboat that spread all over Europe… And as a solution to carry efficiently the Camembert cheese, the French engineer Ridel created the first wood box to make cheese carriage easier !
What is Brie de Meaux ?
“French cheeses often hold the name of the town where they are being produced; named after the town of Meaux, this cheese produced in the region of Brie, located 50 kilometers to the east of Paris… In 1814, the European Tournament at Congress of Vienna, awarded Brie de Meaux the “Le Roi des Fromages” (The King of Cheeses) for its unarguable flavour and texture.”
How do You cut Brie ? 
Never cut the nose of cheese! Specially if you have guests around you! In the town of Meaux this is considered very rude and would directly imply that you are not enjoying your guest’s company and want them to leave the soonest! And in case your father does that in front of your girlfriend that means that he didn’t like her at all and she is not welcome to the family!
Enjoy the recipes’
Bon App x
Dietitian Nicole Maftoum

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