Monday, 30 March 2015

The Power of Food Additives (Part 2) - The Types of Food Additives (ACIDITY REGULATORS)

Acidity regulators are also known as pH control agents.

These are food additives which are added to change or maintain the pH of the food.

They are either labelled by their E number or as 'food acid'.

Click on LINK to read more about acidity regulators.

Also click on ACIDITY REGULATOR for more information.

Saturday, 28 March 2015

The Power of Food Additives (Part 2) - The Types of Food Additives (FOOD ACIDS)

1. Food Acids

Food acids are added in order to make the flavours of the food to be 'sharper' or to have a 'stronger taste'. Food acids also act as preservatives and antioxidants.

Food acids do occur naturally. These acids in natural food products give them a distinct flavour or tinge. Some examples of naturally occurring acids in foods are citric acid, malic acid and tartaric acid.

*Naturally Occurring Food Acids

a. Citric Acid - Citrus Fruits (Lime, Lemon, Orange)
b. Malic Acid - Apple
c. Tartric Acid - Grapes, Pineapples, Potatoes, Carrots
d. Acetic Acid - Vinegar
e. Oxalic Acid - Tea, Cocoa, Pepper
f. Tannic Acid - Tea
g. Caffeotannic Acid - Coffee
h. Benzoic Acid - Cranberries, Prunes, Plums
i. Butyric Acid - Decomposition of Butter
j. Lactic Acid - Milk Digestion

(*taken from HERE)

The Production of Citric Acid as Food Additive

Naturally, citric acid is found in citrus fruits especially lemons, limes and oranges. It is interesting to note that citric acid is produced by going through the citric acid cycle. Mold and bacteria also produce citric acid!

Citric acid is used for its sour flavour, the ability to preserve foods and acts as a pH buffer. Thus, citric acid is added to many manufactured food products.

In 1917, an American food chemist by the name of James Currie, discovered that the mold, Aspergillus niger was able to produce citric acid by metabolizing sucrose or glucose. And this method was efficient and cheap! Thus it became a profitable business.

Citric acid is used as a flavour enhancer in beverages. It is used in soft drinks, teas, and juices to create a slightly tart flavour.

The pH which is acidic also functions as a preservative as many bacteria are unable to thrive in an acidic environment. Thus it is suitable to be used in jams, jellies, candy, canned foods and meat products.

Citric acid can be used in dry foods too as it can be produced in powder form.

The E number of citric acid is E330.

The Production of Malic Acid as Food Additive

Malic acid contributes to the sourness of green apples. It is also present in grapes and in most wines. In rhubarb, the taste of malice acid is very sharp and clear.

It is used as an artificial vinegar flavour in 'Salt & Vinegar' flavoured potato chips.

The E number for malic acid is E296.

To read more about malic acid, click on LINK.

The Production of Tartric Acid as Food Additive

Naturally, tartaric acid occurs in grapes, bananas and tamarinds.

In baking, tartaric acid is combined with baking soda to form baking powder, which is a leavening agent.

Tartaric acid is used as a food additive in sour-tasting sweets.

In the pharmaceutical industry, tartaric acid combined with citric acid is used to improve the taste of oral medication.

*It is very interesting to note that tartaric acid is a muscle toxin which inhibits the production of malic acid and when used in high doses causes paralysis and death! (*taken from HERE)

The E number for tartaric acid is E334.

The Production of Acetic Acid as Food Additive

This acid has a very pungent smell and a distinctive sour taste.

In the food industry, acetic acid is labelled as E260. It is used as an acidity regulator and as a condiment. It is also used in pickled food.

To read more on acetic acid, click on LINK.

The Production of Tannic Acid as Food Additive

*Tannic acid is the commercial form of tannin which is the basic ingredient in the chemical staining of wood. This occurs naturally in oak, walnut and mahogany.

In food, tannic acid is used in processing beer. It is also used as an aroma compound in soft drinks and juices. In the wine industry, it is used as a colour stabiliser and taste enhancer.

Interestingly, it currently does not hold an Enumber as it is not considered as a food additive but as a food ingredient.

In the pharmaceutical industry, tannic acid is used to produce albumin tannate which is used as an anti-diarrhoea agent. It is also used in some anti-histamines to either act as a stabiliser or as a slow-release.

(*take from HERE)

The Production of Benzoic Acid as Food Additive

Benzoic acid is found naturally in berries. It is even produced by certain species of animals!

This acid is used in dried and pickled food products.

*In the pharmaceutical industry, benzoic acid is combined together with salicylic acid to treat skin irritation and inflammation caused by burns, insect bites, fungal infarctions and eczema.
(*taken from HERE)

The E number of benzoic acid is E210.

To read more about citric acids in food production, click on LINK and LINK.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Did You Know....

... That laughing lowers levels of stress and strengthens your immune system?

*Laughter decreases the stress hormones and increases the immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies. Laughter also triggers the release of endorphins, which is the body's natural feel-good chemicals.

(*taken from Laughter, The Best Medicine)

Six year olds laugh an average of 300 times a day.

Adults only laugh 15 to 100 times a day.

Click on Laughter to read more.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Just For Laughs (2)

This really cracked me up! Ah the 'joys' of endoscopy...

(*Picture taken from HERE)

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Chicken BeeHoon Soup with Salmon


1. 1 whole free-range antibiotic-free chicken (cut into 4 parts and skin removed)
2. Washed and cut choy sum vegetable (1 packet)
3. 5 cups of filtered water
4. Sea-salt
5. Poached Egg(s)
6. 1 slice of salmon (baked)
7. 500gm of brown rice beehoon


1. Put the chicken into a large pot and fill it with the 5 cups of water.

2. Add approximately 1 teaspoon of sea-salt.

3. Bring it to a boil on high-heat and then allow to simmer on low-heat for 2 hours.

4. In the meantime while waiting for the soup to be done, soak the beehoon until it is soft. Drain the water away and set aside.

5. Debone the salmon and break into small pieces.

6. As the soup is almost done, take the choy sum and blanched it in the soup for a few minutes until soft.

7. Take a medium sized serving bowl and place some beehoon in it. Add the choy sum and a poached egg and fill the bowl with the piping hot soup. Add some salmon pieces on top. You can also garnish with some fried garlic.

8. Allow to soak for about 5 minutes before eating.

Bon appétit!

Friday, 20 March 2015


I think a few of our Fire Red shrimps are genetically related to the Mutant-X creatures. Maybe one of these mornings, we will find them trapeze-ing in the air or even walking across the kitchen to use the bathroom and then hop back into the tank! Haha!!!

It can live out of the water!!!!!! 

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

The ABCs - L is For Liver


Just by typing the word liver, my saliva glands started working a little bit more than usual.

Suddenly, I could taste it!


Organ meats are dense with nutrition.

The thing about eating organ meats is that they must come from grass-fed animals. Animals who live in confined spaces with restricted space and fed on diets that consists of hormones and antibiotics to accelerate their growth is a big NO!

Organ meats are naturally high in vitamin A. They are also high in amino acids, healthy fats, vitamin B and B12, cell growth and CoQ10 (which helps with maintenance and is an anti-oxidant), and fat soluble activators which are important for mineral absorption (vitamin A, D and K).

Liver has very concentrated levels of vitamin A. It is also high in iron, choline, copper, folic acid, vitamin B, purines and natural cholesterol.

Click on LINK to find out more on consuming organ meats (especially liver!).

Click on BENEFITS OF LIVER to read more.

Click on LIVER RECIPES to have a variety of styles on how to cook liver.

Monday, 16 March 2015

Did You Know....

... That the wasabi you eat in sushi restaurants isn't the real thing.

Authentic traditional wasabi is freshly grated and eaten on the spot as it looses its heat within a few minutes after being served. The real thing tastes more herbal and also does not have a searing, bitter taste.

So what are you actually consuming?

The wasabi consists of mustard, horseradish, starch and green food colouring!


Don't believe me?


Oh by the way, wasabi is a plant!

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Braised Tofu & Eggs


1. 2 packets of soft tofu/beancurd
2. 4 eggs (beaten)
3. 1/2 garlic bulb (chopped into very fine pieces)
4. Sea-salt
5. Tamari sauce
6. Sunflower oil


1. Heat a clay pot on medium high heat.

2. Drizzle some sunflower oil.

3. Once the oil is heated, add the finely chopped garlic.

4. Stir-fry until slightly browned and the fragrant aroma fills the kitchen. Turn the fire to low heat.

5. Add the two packet of tofu and pour the beaten eggs over it.

6. Break up the tofu and stir the mixture making sure the eggs and tofu are well blended.

7.  Allow to simmer for about 1/2 hour. (As tofu is packed with water, you do not need to add water.)

8. Scoop up onto serving dish and serve hot with rice.

Bon appétit!

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Sunday, 8 March 2015

What's Wheat Gotta Do With It? (Part 2)

A Brief History of Wheat

Wheat existed back even in 10,000 BC. Farmers planted on land that is now known as the 'Fertile Crescent'. This place is an area situated on a crescent-shape strip of land located to the east of the Mediterranean Sea. It is stretched across the Levant region (Israel, Lebanon and Syria) and around the edges of the Tarus and Zagros mountains. Archeologists have found wheat in pits which date back to 8,000 years ago.

The 'Fertile Crescent' had regular rainfall. This made it suitable for planting grains. Emmer and einkorn were two of the ancient grains which were planted.

(click on LINK for a detailed history of wheat)

Einkorn & Emmer

Einkorn (Triticum monococcum) is knows as 'Mother Wheat'.

This ancient grain has higher concentration of beta carotene and lutein in comparison with modern wheat.

Einkorn is a diploid (a species which has two complete sets of chromosomes, one from each parent) which has 14 (2x7) chromosomes.

*Compared to modern wheat, ancient grains had lower amounts of gluten. And they had higher amounts of protein. They also had higher amounts of fibre than modern wheat. (*click on LINK)

Einkorn somehow mated with some other types of grass and the result was emmer, which has 28 (4x7) chromosomes. Emmer (Triticum dicoccum) is a tetraploid (a species which has four homologous (four times the basic set) sets of chromosomes).

*Emmer has 40% more protein than today's modern wheat (click on LINK). Emmer is the wheat which was referred in the Bible.

Today's modern wheat (Triticum durum) is a hexaploid (a species which has six homologous sets of chromosomes) which has 42 (6x7) chromosomes.

Click on LINK to read more on Einkorn wheat.
Click on LINK-Emmer to read more on Emmer wheat.

The Introduction of Modern Wheat - The Green Revolution

In the 1960s, modern wheat was introduced to the world and that changed the biology of wheat. An agronomist by the name of Norman Borlaug, pioneered the development of the dwarf wheat. Millions of people were dying from starvation. Borlaug crossed bred all sorts of grass with wheat and came up with the modern wheat which saved a billion people. He won the Nobel Peace Prize for his work and was lauded for saving humankind.

The modern wheat is known as the dwarf wheat which is a high-yield type. It has very large seed heads and strong, short stalks which could bear the extra weight. One stalk could yield so much more grain than the ancient einkorn or emmer. *Also the short stalks are imperative for the high levels of chemical fertilisers. If not the stalks would grow too high and collapse on the fields and this would hinder the modern techniques of harvesting. (*taken from HERE)

To read more, click on GREEN REVOLUTION.

The Preparation of the Modern Wheat Flour

High extraction flour is traditionally milled flour which does not remove all the bran and the germ. The bran and the germ are where the good stuff are.

High extraction flour is done by first soaking the grains (some for 24 hours), then dried and then finally grinding them. 

*Modern mass-produced wheat have their bran and germ removed for stability and longer-lasting effect so that it does not go rancid fast. The fatty acids which are in the bran and germ are the ones that go rancid fast. (*taken from HERE) Thus, for the flours to have a long-shelf-lifespan and stability, the nutritional parts are stripped from the grains.

Click on WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT WHEAT to read more about how the modern wheat is planted, extracted and prepared.

Wheat Trivia

1. Gluten, which is derived from wheat is used in the pharmaceutical industry. It is used in the manufacturing of capsules.

2. *At least 80% of wheat is carbohydrate. (taken from HERE)

3. ***The Egyptians were the first people to bake whole loaves of bread (they used yeast too!) 5000 years ago!

4. ***At about 200 BC, the Romans used animal power to grind wheat.

5. ***At 85 BC, watermills were introduced to Asia Minor. This enabled mass wheat growing and production.

6. ***The Great Fire of London (2nd September 1666), originated in the King's Baker shop on Pudding Lane.

(***taken from HERE)

Click on LINK to read more about early farming.

For a more detailed history of wheat, click on LINK.

Friday, 6 March 2015

The Happening Placebo Glossary

1. Bowel Anaphylaxis

Diarrhoea to the point you feel that your entrails will be expunged at any minute. It's like an exorcism going on, but it is in the bowels. It's like the devil is having a party and is going to rip out everything from inside you.

2.  Multiple Chemical Survivor

You basically cannot tolerate the scent of anything remotely human as they drown themselves in everything chemical. You're a survivor as you survived the catastrophe of humans-all-chemical.

3. Anal-phylaxis

A disease which chooses to be anal at every wrong point of time. It enjoys being a pain-in-the-ass just like how fleas are to dogs and flies are to cows. It just irritates you to no end and causes you to suffer immensely. It wants to kill you. And transform the angel in you to curse and swear like a sailor.

4. The Walking Dead

Everybody (well, almost everybody) in the the world is awesome as they are like the 'Walking Dead'. Shuffling about sniffing for scents of chemicals. Drooling and warbling like gargling infantiles, the 'Walking Dead' shuffles to the next unsuspecting victim and passes on to them the disease of 'Love Thy Neighbour the Chemical.

5. Allergy

A condition that is basically you reacting adversely to stupid people.

An example of a conversation between Miss A and Miss B.

Miss A: There is no such thing as chemical sensitivity.
Miss B: (Starts to suffocate.) Get away from me!!! I'm severely allergic to you!!!!!!

6. Sensitive

A person who is believed to respond to paranormal influences.

'Paranormal' = Relating to the claimed occurrence of an event or perception without scientific explanation.

Example: You becoming ill upon smelling someone's so-very-faint-fragrance-that-it's-like-not-even-there!
YOU are sensitive. It has never been proven that one can become ill from such non-existent smells!!!


You becoming ill upon smelling something which is not even there at all.


You: (Starts to feel the throat tightening.)
Your friend: Stop being so hypersensitive. I didn't use any perfume today. I only used it last night. Don't tell me you can even smell that from last night. You're being overly-hypersensitive.

8. Hives

Miss X: OMG! I'm breaking out in hives!
Miss Z: Don't be stupid. You can't be breaking out in hives. Hives are the bees' nest.

9. Placebo

You're under the effects of Placebo, an English alternative band. Don't believe me? Click on the link

10. Doctors

People who are supposed to work from 9am to 5pm but in reality work from 10-ish or even 11-ish to 2 or 3, make you exercise your bum on those uncomfortable hospital seats for hours and charge you a leg or an arm for poking and prodding your leg and your arm, and then proceed to hem and haw and then send you for unnecessary tests and then give you sweets medicines which you have never heard about and then send you home once you pay them with your arm and leg!

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Stir-Fried Chicken, Potato & Liver


1. 1 piece of chicken breast (cut into small pieces and seasoned with sea-salt)
2. 6 pieces of chicken liver (seasoned with Tamari sauce [white sauce which is wheat-free])
3. 8 medium sized old potatoes (peeled and sliced into thin pieces)
4. Sea-salt
5. Sunflower oil
6. *Big onions (optional)
7. 1/2 cup of filtered water


1. Heat a wok on medium high.

2. Once it is hot, drizzle some sunflower oil.

3. Add the sliced potatoes and (*big onions - optional).

4. Cook until potatoes are softened.

5. Add the chicken pieces, liver and 1/2 cup of water.

6. Season with sea-salt.

7. Stir fry until the chicken pieces and liver are thoroughly cooked.

8. Scoop up onto serving dish.

9. Serve hot with rice.

Bon appétit!

Monday, 2 March 2015

6 Years - How Living With IA Taught Me How to Cook & Live

So today is 6 years.

6 adventurous years.

6 years of sky-diving adventures and falling-in-the-mud episodes.

6 years of (sometimes constant and persistent) food-cravings that sometimes drive me up wall thinking I am some cousin of Spiderman.

6 years of wondering when will all this come to an end. Will I only be free from all this when I grow old and die?

The good thing is I learned how to cook. And I learned how to live.

I guess that is enough to keep me going on till I hit 7 years.