It’s not something we like to talk about – heart disease

It’s not something we like to talk about – heart disease

Breast examination is not a taboo subject. We chat about it with our girlfriends and remind people to have regular checkups.

Even pap smears are not off-limits. I remind my girlfriends that they need to keep these uncomfortable exams up to date.

Why? Because our health is at risk. Breast and cervical cancers are all too prevalent and we hear of people being newly diagnosed too often.

What about your heart? I know I’ve NEVER had a heart health check. It’s not even a blip on the radar. I’ve NEVER discussed it with friends let alone my doctor.

It shocked me to hear that 3 times as many women die of heart disease in Australia than they do of Breast Cancer.

Even more alarming was the figure of 27 women dying every day from heart disease in Australia. That is a staggering amount and not a statistic we hear on the current affair programs or read in our favourite magazines.

I went to a PR event recently sponsored by the Heart Foundation and one of the topics of discussion was how we can make Heart Health more widely discussed. I don’t pretend to have the answer. It’s been playing on my mind ever since, and I can’t come up with a solution. What can we do to make women think about their hearts as often as they think about their ‘bikini health’.

Bikini health you ask? That refers to the two cancers effecting women we hear about most: breast and cervical cancer. The areas of our body covered by the bikini. They’re widely discussed and publicised (rightly so) and we need to make our hearts just as important.

My mind was blown by the statistics and figures of heart disease in Australia (especially amongst women), and I can’t pretend to know the answers for full heart health. What I DO know is that the Heart Foundation are telling us about simple ways we can make our hearts healthier. One is through nutrition.

I’m lucky to be invited to some great PR events, but sometimes they can be less than exciting. This one was really relevant and most of all useful! We made some recipes that are all ‘heart healthy’ and achievable. I could make them at home and know that my family would devour them. USEFUL!

Over the next few weeks I’ll share them with you, and today I’m going to start with the poached pears that I made. This may not be one for the kids, but it is a great idea for a dinner party.

Pears poached in red wine with orange scented yoghurt

Ingredients:

  • 6 firm pears
  • 1 bottle of red wine
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 orange
  • 1 small tub of natural yoghurt

Peel and core the pears trimming the stem. This can be a bit fiddly but if you’re patient and take your time, it’s worth it. They present beautifully on the plate.

Bring the wine, honey, cinnamon stick and cloves to the boil in a medium-sized, heavy-based saucepan (it needs to fit 6 pears).

Put the pears in, allow it to come back to the boil then turn it down to a gentle simmer. The recipe called for this stage of cooking to be 20-30 minutes, but the pears were so firm that we poached them for about 55 minutes.

Turn off the heat, and allow the pears to cool in the liquid.

Depending on your occasion for making these, you can serve a whole pear per guest, but we served 1/2 and it was enough.

Turn the heat back on, and allow the red wine sauce to boil down to a syrup (5-10 minutes).

Zest the orange, then juice it. Add a teaspoon of the zest to the yoghurt plus all of the juice and mix with a spoon. Taste it for tartness, and add a little more zest if you like the flavour.

Plate up the pears with some of the red wine syrup and a generous tablespoon of the yoghurt. Enjoy!

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