Ebola Virus – Beware!

For those of you who have been reading the news, I’m sure Ebola Virus Disease rings a bell. The recent outbreak of this filovirus, formerly known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever, in West Africa has already caused 729 deaths in Guinea, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Liberia.  Four of the five Ebola viral species can infect humans, with 90% of cases being fatal. The natural hosts are fruit bats, however infections have also been documented in chimpanzees, gorillas, monkeys, forest antelope and porcupines. Transmission from animal-to-human or human-to-human results through direct contact with blood, secretions and bodily fluids. Apparently semen is still infectious up to 7 weeks after recovery. After an incubation period of 2-21 days, the virus presents with a sudden fever, weakness, muscle pain, headache and a sore throat. Vomiting, diarrhoea, rash, impaired kidney and liver functions follow. There is also potential for internal and external bleeding. Amongst other blood results, one expects to find elevated liver enzymes and low white blood cell and platelet counts.  Sadly there is no treatment or vaccine available, leaving patients with supportive care.
According to Médecins sans Frontieres, the epidemic is now out of control. There is a high chance of the virus spreading via international air travel and aid workers. The WHO suggests the following for reducing the risk of infection in people:

  • “Reducing the risk of wildlife-to-human transmission from contact with infected fruit bats or monkeys/apes and the consumption of their raw meat. Animals should be handled with gloves and other appropriate protective clothing. Animal products (blood and meat) should be thoroughly cooked before consumption.
  • Reducing the risk of human-to-human transmission in the community arising from direct or close contact with infected patients, particularly with their bodily fluids. Close physical contact with Ebola patients should be avoided. Gloves and appropriate personal protective equipment should be worn when taking care of ill patients at home. Regular hand washing is required after visiting patients in hospital, as well as after taking care of patients at home.
  • Communities affected by Ebola should inform the population about the nature of the disease and about outbreak containment measures, including burial of the dead. People who have died from Ebola should be promptly and safely buried.”

As the risk of the epidemic spreading to Europe is present, I thought it was important to bring this virus to your attention. It is spreading like wildfire.

On a different note, today’s recipe is great for a Summer picnic in the park. I was initially sceptical about roasting grapes but WOW it makes such a difference in flavour. The caramelised pecans are an addition of my own, recently I have come to realise that caramelised nuts are perfect with almost any dish, especially salads and asian cuisine. Enjoy!

Roasted Carrot and Grape Rice Salad with Green Beans, Rocket and Caramelised PecansIMG_3015

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Pancakes Galore

So, I thought I would celebrate the start of this new blog with a break from all the cake recipes previously posted on 1234cook! (although 2 birthday cakes are still in the pipeline) and decided to go for the all time breakfast/brunch favourite: Pancakes. What better way to start or end a weekend with fluffy american pancakes drizzled with maple syrup, cinnamon sugar and berries? A simple but extremely satisfying treat. Being me, I thought making pancakes for a group of friends wouldn’t be too much trouble….. however, 50 pancakes later, I decided maybe these fluffy treats should be reserved for smaller gatherings :-P. Nonetheless, the breakfast was a delicious success. Definitely a crowd pleaser!

Fluffy Pancakes

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Duck & Waffle

I am sure most people have heard of the 24-hour restaurant close to Liverpool Street Station, running under this name. The view of this city by night from the 40th floor is breathtaking. If you add some good wine and excellent food, such as crispy pigs ears, to the equation, the experience becomes unique. There are some quite innovative dishes on the menu, but whilst quickly glancing over it, one dish in particular caught my eye. I had to try it. It was amazing.

An interesting combination of ingredients for the most random dish I have ever come across whilst dining out…..
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