"Melomakarona" Greek Christmas biscuits with honey

 

This is the most amazing Greek sweet for Christmas! Their taste is soft but crunchy also and their smell is simply delicious! Every Greek house smells that smell these days! Try out this traditional sweet delight and let the smell of freshly baked cookies, orange and cinnamon remind you it’s Christmas! Enjoy!

 

Ingredients

Serves: 40

  • 150g thin semolina (5.3 ounces)
  • 500g flour (soft) (17.6 ounces)
  • 1/2 tbsp baking powder
  • 100g orange juice (3.5 ounces)
  • 3 tbsps cognac
  • 100g sugar (3.5 ounces)
  • 1 flat tbsp powdered cinnamon
  • 1/3 tsp nutmeg (powder)
  • 1/3 tsp clove (powder)
  • 1/2 tbsp baking soda
  • 125g olive oil (4.4 ounces)
  • 125g vegetable oil (4.4 ounces)
  • 50g honey (1.8 ounces)
  • zest of 2 oranges

      For the syrup

  • 500g water (2 cups)
  • 1 kg sugar (35.27 ounces)
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 5 whole cloves
  • one orange
  • 500g honey (17.64 ounces)

      To garnish

  • 200g chopped walnuts (7 ounces)

1. First of all we make our syrup in a pot, by adding the sugar, honey and water in a pot. Add a cinnamon stick in the syrup and also one orange cut in 2 and 5-6 whole cloves.

2. We stir and wait for it to boil. When it starts boiling we stir, lower the temperature and extract any foam. We stir for 1 minute. Then leave it to be cold.

3. Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F /Gas 4)

4. Beat the oil, sugar, orange juice, cognac, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, orange peel.

5. Siff your flour with the soda and baking powder in a large bowl. Make a hole in the middle and add the liquids. Softly mix the ingredients and then mold in your hands by taking a small amount of dough and pressing it in your palm. You then fold the two sides in the middle and put them on a baking tray.

6. Bake for 25-30 min at 170-180 degrees until they are a golden brown colour.

7. When our biscuits are ready and ΗΟΤ we dip in every biscuit separately in the COLD syrup in a large pot and then place on a serving plate. 

8. Add walnuts on top after we have added the syrup.

 

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Phenols in Extra Virgin Olive Oil inhibit cancer

Research shows that estrogen receptor β has a protective effect on colon cancer and may inhibit proliferation of colon cancer cells. Estrogen receptor β is the main estrogen receptor expressed at a high level by normal human colon mucosa. In a cancerous colon, however, expression of estrogen receptor β decreases and is associated with progression of colorectal cancer.

Interest in phenols present in extra virgin olive oil as possible anti-carcinogenic agents for colon cancer stems from the fact that most phenols have a chemical structure similar to 17 β-estradiol (main form of estrogen in humans) and may be protective against colon cancer by acting as selective estrogen receptor modulators.

In a recent study carried out in the University of Florence and published in the Journal Nutrition and Cancer, researchers evaluated the effects of phenolic extracts from two different Italian varieties of extra virgin olive oil on human colon cancer cell lines in vitro. They reported that the total polyphenol content of the EVOOs, supplied by companies from Tuscany and Liguria, was 12.69 and 8.43 milligrams per milliliter, respectively. Hydroxytyrosol, secoiridoids and lignans were the main phenolic extracts identified in these EVOOs.

The phenol extracts were tested on human colon cancer cell lines that were designed to overexpress estrogen receptor β. The authors reported that the EVOO extracts interacted with signals dependent on estrogen for growth of colorectal cancerous cells, thus providing an anti-proliferative effect on them. EVOO extracts also down regulated the expression of several genes, including BAG-1 that resulted in inhibition of cellular growth.

The researchers plan on conducting more studies to investigate the role of EVOO extracts in stopping colorectal cancer growth through the estrogen receptor β metabolic pathway.

Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer and the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

These latest findings add to the health benefits of consuming a Mediterranean diet, which provides many cancer-protective components because it is a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, olive oil, seafood, whole grains, and wine.

 

Sources: Olive Oil Times

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Olive Oil Treatment for Heart Failure

 

While diet and nutrition are often discussed in relation to prevention of chronic disease, occasionally certain foods are seen as a treatment as well. A new study by researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago College of  Medicine are finding that a certain fat found in olive oil may be beneficial in individuals with heart failure. 

 

Heart failure is a condition that develops over time where the heart becomes weaker and cannot pump enough blood, or with enough force, to the rest of the body. Treatment usually means controlling and stopping the condition from getting worse.

 

According to this study, a weakened heart is unable to store and process fats to use for fuel, leaving it with less energy. This may result in production of toxic intermediary byproducts that further contribute to heart disease. E. Douglas Lewandowski, director of the UIC Center for Cardiovascular Research, and his team wanted to examine how healthy and diseased hearts reacted to oleate (a fat in olive oil ) and palmitate (a fat found in palm oil used in many processed foods as well as cheeses and meats). The researchers looked at how the hearts of rats were beating when they were given the two different types of fat and found that with oleate there was an immediate improvement in how the hearts contracted and pumped blood, as opposed to palmitate where fat metabolism was imbalanced, cells struggled to access fuel and there was also a rise in toxic fatty by products.

 

In addition, it was observed that oleate also increased the activation of several genes for enzymes that metabolize fat. Lewandowski said it was an exciting finding that beneficial gene expression can be restored, with a more balanced fat metabolism and a reduction of toxic fat metabolites, just by supplying hearts with oleate.

 

It is well established that olive oil has a protective effect. The discovery that it may be able to influence the heart positively, even after the appearance of disease, makes it important not only to prevention but a promising contributor to a treatment regimen too.

 

Published in Olive Oil Times, on September 30, 2014

 

 
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