HEALTHY OPTION Smoked mackerel is an excellent source of vitamin D, and it tastes delicious with eggs.
Food is the original source of most nutrients, vitamins, fats, and other essential building blocks for a healthy body and mind. Let us not forget that. Route one, so to speak. Yes one can take supplements and vitamins outside of the food chain, and this may be a necessary course of action, but never forget route one.
There is a relationship between iron and vitamin D that influences absorption of these trace elements, but that exact knowledge and detail is above my pay grade! Following Granny Winifred’s advice, a little bit of everything in a varied diet should do the trick. I rail against the all-or-nothing diets that have become trendy in the past 30 years. A little of everything in moderation and you will cover most of your nutritional needs. The older people always had good knowledge.
Foods that help your body maintain levels of Vitamin D, include eggs (yolks), oily fish and liver (which made me retch as a youngster but I appreciate now). Exposure to sunshine is perhaps the most significant route to increasing your vitamin D – again the old advice of getting ‘out in the fresh air’ rings true. It is important to walk and move about our natural landscape every day – it’s a different world from inside the house, and a break from zoom calls if you have to do them!
Here are two recipes using foods that are good for your Vitamin D uptake.
Smoked mackerel with eggs and kale
Served with soda bread, this is makes an excellent for a lunch, light supper or weekend brunch.
We are lucky in Westport to be able to buy Jerry Hasset’s smoked mackerel from Achill Island in our local SuperValu. Try it if you can. Small producers always have a better product than mass producers.
What you need
- 2 fillets smoked mackerel
- 4 free-range eggs, boiled
- Bunch of kale (or spinach) leaves, washed
- Soda bread, butter
What you do
Take out the mackerel fillets and remove skin of you prefer. Check with your finger that all rib bones have been removed from the fillet, if not pull them off. I like to also pull out any bones from the fin positions.
Boil your eggs. (I won’t even go there, the length of the Bible would not do it justice!) You know your own cooker and pots and pans, so cook them until just hard enough. I would say run the cooked egg under cold water tap for ten seconds if peeling whole – I find this allows the cracked shell come off easier.
Blanch the kale or spinach for 20 seconds in hot water and squeeze dry. From here on it’s a question of assemblage on the plate to make your dish look tasty; smoked mackerel to one side, some dressed lettuce leave down the middle, two peeled whole eggs sitting on the lettuce, buttered bread on the other side or on a side plate. A good dash of Cabots Roasted Beetroot and Sage Dip goes down a wonder here, if you can find it.
Granny Gibbon’s fried liver
What you need
- Enough fresh liver for two
- White flour
- Half a lemon to squeeze
- Cooked potatoes, halved
- Tomatoes to fry
- Olive oil
- Knob of butter
What you do
On a flat plate, sprinkle out two tablespoons of white flour, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and mix with the back of a fork. Using your fingers, coat the liver pieces in flour, and drop into a medium hot pan with oil and melted butter.
Now begins the dance of getting the cooking right! Most people will overcook liver.
About one minute either side will do me, spooning the oil and butter mix over the liver when you turn it first. Before removing from the pan, squeeze the lemon quarter over the liver, and place on warmed plate to rest. Serve with toast, fried potatoes and halved fried tomatoes. Tinned beans may be added, but do not overpower the subtle taste of liver.
The Cabot family live and work in Lanmore, outside Westport. Fresh, seasonal foods are their passion, from country markets to growing, making and selling. They love cooking and eating at the kitchen table, while Redmond and Sandra are kept on their toes with children Penny and Louis. Here they share their favourite recipes.