Making Carbs Count black Peppe

KITLIVINGLIVING

Diried ground pepper

has been used since

antiquity for both

its flavour and as

medicine and is the

world's most traded spice. It is one of the

most common spices added to cuisines

around the world. Black pepper is often

paired with salt. Black peppercorns were

found stuffed in the nostrils of Ramesses II,

placed there as part of the mummification

process after his death in 1213 BC.

A flowering vine, black pepper is

cultivated for its fruit, known when dried

as peppercorns, and used as a spice and

seasoning. Often called the king of spices,

it has a long history, being used as a

seasoning, a preservative, and even as a

currency. By far the most frequently used

of all the spices, pepper adds a depth of

flavour to savory dishes, and can perhaps

surpisingly be added so some sweet

dishes with success.

Valerie Aikman-Smith's new

cookbook, simply called Pepper, makes

use of exciting varieties and styles of black

peppercorns, including single-estate and

gourmet varieties such as Malabar from

India, Lampong from Indonesia and

Tellicherry from Goa. Chinese szechuan

and Japanese sansho also feature in the

recipes which are aimed at the home

chef. These are diverse and interesting

ideas from simple pickles, mustards and

infused oils which can be used to season

when cooking, or at the table. There are

attractive recipes such as Peppered Fish

Ceviche, or Handmade Lemon Pepper

Gnocchi and Summer Berry Salad with

Peppered Blackberry Syrup.

MAKING CARBS COUNT

We have one copy of Valerie Aikman-Smith's Pepper cookbook

(Ryland Peters & Small, rrp £9.99) to giveaway. It contains more

than 45 recipes that showcase pepper as a seasoning and ingredient.

To bein with a chance to win it send an email with the subject line

'Pepper' to info@desang.netttp://desang.net" target="_blank" title="Visit desang.net">desang.net

continued over

Pep talk

Once used as currency and presented

to the gods as a sacred offering, it is

fortunate that this most popular of spices

is available throughout the year.

It has given us the word 'pep', as in

to imbue spirit or energy and according

to the World Health Foods website,

black pepper stimulates the taste buds

while having demonstrated impressive

antioxidant and antibacterial effects. Black

pepper helps you derive the most benefit

from your food as the outer layer of the

peppercorn stimulates the breakdown of

fat cells, so it could be helping to keep

you slim too!

Black pepper, green pepper and white

peppercorns are the same fruit, Piper

nigrum. The difference in their colour is

due to the stages of development and

processing methods. Black peppercorns

are made by picking the pepper berries

when they are half ripe and about to turn

red. They are left to dry which causes

them to shrivel and become dark in colour.

Green peppercorns are picked while still

unrip, while white peppercorns are picked

when very ripe and subsequently soaked

in brine to remove their dark outer shell

leaving just the white pepper seed. Only

pink peppercorns are from a completely

different plant species, Schinus molle.

Whole peppercorns will keep almost

indefinitely, while ground pepper will

stay fresh for about three months. If you

freeze pepper it will make its flavor more

pronounced. It's best to add pepper that

you have freshly ground in a mill at the

end of the cooking process as it loses its

flavour and aroma if cooked for too long.

Nutritional content of

black pepper per 100g

251 calories, 3.3g fat, a fair hit of

potassium, and quite carb-y at 64g

per 100g of pepper. It's also got a

dash of magnesium, calcium and

iron. But in all fairness in the amounts

usually used, you're not going

to absorb any fat or carbs worth

worrying about. One tablespoon

(or two teaspoons) is about a 6g,

whereas all you are likely to need for

normal family cooking is a good grind

or two which won't be much at all.

COOKBOOK GIVEAWAY

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