You make me weep, but I still love you

You make me weep, but I still love you
Jenny Morris

Fooding Around with Jenny Morris

Food folklore has it that onions “attract” or “collect” infectious bacteria; they are said to be a “bacteria magnet”, but I’m told that this is just an old wives’ tale.
As far back as the 1500s it was believed that distributing raw onions around a residence guarded the family against the bubonic plague and other diseases by “absorbing the elements of infection.” I think people still believe that.

Joe Schwarcz the science writer says that it is not the cut onion that is the magnet for bacteria, but what happens to it after it has been cut. He elaborates that onions have enzymes that produce sulphuric acid, which actually inhibits the growth of germs. Joe, I think I will go with that theory. The way we handle and store food can harm or kill us, so work on clean chopping boards and make sure your hands are clean before you start working with food and I think you’ll be alright.

Ok; maybe I believe the folklore, so I buy small onions to use in salads (that way the whole onion is used) and really large ones for soups stews and curries – I don’t want to be standing about all day peeling onions.
I can’t imagine why some people don’t like onion in their food; it adds wonderful layers of flavour to a dish. I love nothing more than the smell of a large pile of onion rings cooking down slowly in a pool of golden salted butter till they are sticky and sweet. The aroma drives me absolutely crazy. I like to spread them on toast and top with a thick slice of gruyere cheese and melt it under the grill – mouth heaven! Yummy!

Those of you that choose to leave onion out of your food are missing out not only on its delicious flavour, but also all of the wonderful nutrition that it provides like vitamin C, dietary fibre, folic acid, calcium and iron. They are also great because they are low in sodium and contain no fat.
I like to find ways to prepare them and serve them as a side dish. They are wonderful poached and served with a white cheesy sauce, for instance, but there are literally hundreds of ways to serve them.

Let’s Cook!

Red Onion Apple-braised red cabbage
Serves 4 – 6

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Star anise
  • ½ teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 2 red onions, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 green apples, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon chopped ginger
  • 3 tablespoons apple juice
  • ½ cup sultanas
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • Brown sugar (to taste)
  • 3 cups shredded red cabbage

Method:
Heat the olive oil, and add the star anise and the caraway seeds, frying for 30 seconds. Then add the onions, apples and ginger, and cook for 6 minutes.
Add the apple juice, sultanas, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar and cabbage, and cook till the cabbage is tender.
Delicious served with roast pork, pork chops, pork schnitzel and lamb chops.

© Jenny Morris 2013

Honey baked red onions
Serves 4 – 6
A sweet and juicy taste sensation.

Ingredients:

  • 4 large red onions
  • ½ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Honey for drizzling
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Method:
Pre-heat the oven the oven to 200 °C.
Leaving the skins on and roots intact, cut the onions into quarters and place them in a baking dish. Shake together the balsamic vinegar and olive oil and spoon onto the onions. Now drizzle with honey and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Roast on the middle shelf of the oven for 20-25 minutes; remove from the oven and gently toss the onions in the pan juices. Serve hot or cold with roasted meats.

Did you know?
Red onions are rich in flavonoid quercetin, which is thought to be one of the most powerful cardio-protective substances yet discovered. I will be eating my fair share of red onions for the rest of my natural life!
© Jenny Morris 2013