Tuscan White Bean Stew

This delicious and easy recipe is also very cheap.  It serves 6.

A hearty, nutritious meal as temperatures drop!

For the croutons
• 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
• 2 cloves garlic, quartered
• 1 slice whole-grain bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

The stew
• 2 cups dried cannellini or other white beans, picked over and rinsed, soaked overnight, and drained
• 6 cups water
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 bay leaf
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 yellow onion, coarsely chopped
• 3 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
• 6 cloves garlic, chopped
• 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary, plus 6 sprigs
• 1 1/2 cups vegetable stock or broth

To make the croutons, heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large frying pan. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and let stand for 10 minutes to infuse the garlic flavor into the oil. Remove the garlic pieces and discard. Return the pan to medium heat. Add the bread cubes and saute, stirring frequently, until lightly browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.
In a soup pot over high heat, combine the white beans, water, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and the bay leaf. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover partially and simmer until the beans are tender, 60 to 75 minutes. Drain the beans, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid. Discard the bay leaf. Place the cooked beans into a large bowl and save the cooking pot for later use.
In a small bowl, combine the reserved cooking liquid and 1/2 cup of the cooked beans. Mash with a fork to form a paste. Stir the bean paste into the cooked beans.
Return the cooking pot to the stove top and add the olive oil. Heat over medium-high heat. Stir in the onion and carrots and saute until the carrots are tender-crisp, 6 to 7 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until softened, about 1 minute. Stir in the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, the pepper, chopped rosemary, bean mixture and stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer until the stew is heated through, about 5 minutes.
Ladle the stew into warmed bowls and sprinkle with the croutons. Garnish each bowl with a rosemary sprig and serve immediately.

Win a jar of NescafĂ©’s new Green Blend coffee – rich in polyphenol antioxidants


A new type of coffee which contains high levels of naturally occurring polyphenol antioxidants has been launched in the UK by NESCAFÉ®, the UK’s most popular coffee brand.

Made from a blend of unroasted green coffee beans and roasted beans, NESCAFÉ® Green Blend has been specially created by coffee experts to deliver great tasting coffee, rich in flavour and aroma, with health benefits.

Often considered a super food, coffee is naturally rich in polyphenol antioxidants which can help maintain the body’s defenses against ageing processes such as free radical damage.

To celebrate the launch of NESCAFÉ® Green Blend, we are offering ten lucky Elixir readers each a complimentary jar of Green Blend (RRP £2.98) so they can enjoy the goodness of the unroasted coffee beans for themselves.

For your chance to win a jar, simply answer the following question:

As well as roasted coffee beans what else is in NESCAFÉ® Green Blend?

a) Green coffee beans
b) Red coffee beans
c) Blue coffee beans

Email your answer with your name and address to readeroffer@elixirnews.com. Please note that this competition ends on 31 October 2009. No cash equivalent is offered and the EditorÂ’s decision is final.

To find out more about Nescafé Green Blend go to www.nescafe.co.uk

Terms and Conditions

1.This competition is open to residents of the UK and ROI only, aged 18 and over, with the exception of employees of Nestle UK Ltd and www.elixirnews.com, their immediate families, agents or anyone else associated with the administration of this promotion.
2. Access to this competition is online and entry is available between 8 and 31 October 2009.
3. Closing date for receipt of entries is 31 October 2009
4. There is one prize per person of NESCAFÉ® Green Blend to be awarded.
5. Entries limited to one per person.
6. The winning entries will be selected at random from all correct entries received by the due closing date, and in the presence of an independent person.
7. The winner will be notified in writing within 28 days of the closing date, and will be asked to confirm acceptance of their prize within 21 days of being notified.
8. In the case that the winner fails to confirm acceptance of their prize within the stated 21 day period, the Promoter reserves the right to re-allocate the prize to a reserve entry drawn at the same time as the original winner.
9. Entrants are deemed to have accepted and be bound by these Terms and Conditions. The PromoterÂ’s decision is final and binding in all matters and no correspondence will be entered into.
10. The Promoter reserves the right to substitute the stated prize with an alternative of equal or greater value in the unlikely event that the prize stated were to become unavailable for any reason.
11. No cash will be offered in lieu of the stated prize.
12. The winner agrees to participate in any reasonable publicity required by the Promoter.
13. The Promoter accepts no responsibility for entries that are incomplete, lost, damaged or delayed in the post or arrive after the closing date. Proof of sending docs does not constitute proof of delivery.
14. EntrantsÂ’ personal details will be stored securely, retained only as long as is necessary to complete the administration of this promotion and promptly secured thereafter.

Promoter: Nestle UK Ltd, St. GeorgeÂ’s House, Croydon, Surrey CR9 1NR.


Coffee is good for women’s hearts


Coffee may protect women against heart disease, a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine has revealed.

Researched studied 84,000 women from 1980 until 2004 and 42,000 men between 1986 and 2004 and questioned their coffee consumption every four years.

It found that women who drank two or three cups of full-strength coffee a day were 25 per cent less likely to die of heart disease than those who drank none. Those who drank decaffeinated coffe also had lower death rates.

The scientists were unsure why coffee did not confer any benefits on men. The study was also inconclusive on whether it was coffee or some other factor in the women’s lifestyle that was responsible for the positive effect on their health.

Coffee contains antioxidants and tannins which are good for the heart and arteries. It has also been shown to be good for liver and reduce asthma attacks.

Beans and nuts inhibit cancer, reveals new research

London: A new study suggests that eating a diet rich in beans, nuts and cereals may help prevent cancer because these foods contain an natural compound that inhibits the growth of cancerous tumors.

Scientists at University College London (UCL) said that the substance called inositol pentakisphosphate, which is also found in lentils and peas, could also help researchers develop new therapies against the disease.

Foods particularly rich in the compound include cashews and peanuts and beans such as kidney, pinto and navy beans, the pulse commonly used in baked beans. Beans and nuts that have been cooked are a better source because the heating process generates more InsP5 as it breaks down other compounds.

Marco Falasca, of the UCL Sackler Institute, said the discovery was particularly exciting because InsP5 was a natural compound that, unlike most anti-cancer agents, was not toxic even if used in large quantities.

“This compound is potentially very interesting as a prevention against cancer,” Dr Falasco said. “Our study suggests the importance of a diet enriched in food such as beans, nuts and cereals which could help prevent cancer.”

In the current study, the scientists proved the anti-cancer properties of inositol pentakisphosphate in mice and cancer cells in the laboratory.

It was found that this compound killed tumor cells and boosted the effect of drugs used against cancer cells such as ovarian and lung cancer cells.