As it's Brain Awareness week, we thought we'd do our bit by sharing with you a hearty and healthy soup recipe from our book the Nourish Your Brain Cookbook as well as our top 8 basic brain facts...the more you know!!
Top Eight Basic Brain Facts
1 The complex brain is comprised of three sections, of which the largest is the cerebrum. It controls functions such as vision, hearing, touch interpretation, and learning.
2 Underneath the cerebrum is the cerebellum, which controls functions such as movement, posture, and balance.
3 Lastly, the brainstem functions as a conductor between the other parts of the brain and the spinal cord, which runs down inside the spine. Automatic functions that we are not aware of are governed by this area, including breathing, digestion, body-temperature regulation, and sleep cycles.
4 The brain is divided into right and left hemispheres, which are interconnected in their function. The left is in charge of writing, speech, logical thinking, and understanding, while the right is in charge of creativity, artistic skill, musical inclination, and spatial ability.
5 Many nerves are also involved with the brain. Our central nervous system (CNS) consists of the brain and the spinal cord, and the peripheral nervous system (PNS) branches out from the CNS.
6 Glands include the hypothalamus, pituitary, pineal, and thalamus glands, and affect hormonal balance, immune function, cognition, and fertility.
7 The brain has an intricate blood supply. Weakness in the blood vessels are associated with bleeding in the brain (aneurism).
8 Our emotional consciousness is contained in the limbic center of the brain.
Healthy and Hearty Soup to Warm the Soul, Heart, and Brain
This homemade soup can be your go-to during colder months— you can freeze it to enjoy whenever the family needs a warming, hearty meal. The options are endless. Substitute veggies for whatever lingers in your refrigerator, and, instead of ground (minced) beef, consider ground lamb.
2–3 tablespoons vegetable oil
9 oz. (250 g) ground (minced) beef
1 small onion, diced
2 large garlic cloves, crushed
1⁄2 rutabaga (swede), peeled and diced
1 small carrot, peeled and diced
½ celery root (celeriac), peeled and diced
2 celery ribs (stalks), sliced
1 small leek, white only, sliced
1 small potato, peeled and diced
14-oz. (400-g) can chopped tomatoes
31⁄2 cups (800 ml) beef broth (stock)
4 generous tablespoons (60 g) tomato paste (puree)
13⁄4 cups (250 g) peas, fresh or frozen
a small bunch of fresh parsley, chopped, plus extra to garnish
a few sprigs of fresh thyme
a splash of Worcestershire sauce (optional)
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Melt the oil in a large, heavy pan. Add the beef and fry until browned, stirring all the time to brown the meat evenly. Add the onion and garlic and continue to cook until the onion is translucent and softened.
Add all the vegetables and stir them into the meat and onions, making sure there is no clumping of any one ingredient—you want them all evenly dispersed. Add the chopped tomatoes, beef broth (stock), and tomato paste (puree), and cover with a lid. Simmer gently for about 12 minutes, or until the vegetables are almost soft but still a little al dente. Now add the peas and herbs and season with salt and black pepper. If you want a little extra flavor, add a splash of Worcestershire sauce and simmer for a few more minutes to let all the flavors marry, before spooning into warmed bowls, to serve.
TIP: If you are not eating the soup immediately, the peas are better added just before the soup is required, so that they retain their lovely green color. This soup is perfect served with delicious multigrain bread and unsalted butter.