All of the pleasure, none of the pain

It’s properly cold now. I mean it’s only getting up to 16°C during the day. Well, OK, but it has been 1°C overnight. And the Aussies have NO IDEA about insulation, double glazing, or appropriate heating for their houses. I fear I may lose some fingers.

Now can I get some sympathy?

For me, as well as for my poor cats, the only answer is to stuff in the calories like they’re going out of fashion. It’s a dangerous game and is the reason Bertie has turned into a little dumpling in a few short weeks.

theboys

But I still need to eat, so I thought I’d roll out the fun-free cake again, this time in a different incarnation.

apple and date cake

Apple and date cake

This time I replaced a third of the dried fruit with diced apple and sliced the remaining apple to line in the bottom of the tin, along with a little spray oil, before baking. I also added 1 tsp cinnamon. Goddamn, it was delicious!

For interest’s sake, I thought I’d do a little calorie counting. Each 70g slice (1/12th) contains:*

  • 15g dried fruit, 30g fresh fruit and 20ml fruit juice
  • 8g of almonds
  • 3g protein
  • 2g fibre
  • 140 kcals (600kJ) (vs 275kcals (1170kJ) for shop-bought lemon drizzle)

But … that’s nearly half the calories.

So I had two pieces. With some Baileys ice cream.

I am my own worst enemy.

 

*I am not a nutritionist and all the maths is my own. You’ve been warned.

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Sugar-free, fat-free, fun-free cake?

Oh, goddamit, I’ve got to stop baking – I’m going to develop diabetes at this rate.

But on the other hand, if there was a cake that was low fat and low sugar, that would be ok, wouldn’t it? To be honest, I’m not really asking your permission 🙂

I was doing a little research for my writing (alright, alright, I was procrastinating and surfing the internet, dreaming up things to eat) and bumped into this Maltese recipe from SBS which contains NO ADDED SUGAR OR FAT OR EGGS!

No sugar, fat or eggs? Blergh, I hear you say, but you’d be wrong.

sugarless apricot and date cake

You can find the recipe here:

SBS: Sugarless apricot and date cake

The texture was surprisingly good – I expected it to be crumbly but it wasn’t. It was soft and moist and sweet, and everything a cake should be. As a bonus it is completely dairy free and vegan, and could easily be adapted for gluten free.

Tips from TheO
  • Soak the fruit in a little apple juice for an hour before you bake to keep it moist
  • Switch out the wheat flour for a wheat/gluten free option – I used wholemeal spelt, but perhaps this is taking the concept of healthy cake a step too far
  • If you’re not using SRF, add 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • Although the recipe didn’t say so, I assumed the oven temperature should be 180°C
  • Adapt the cooking time for your tin – I didn’t have a ring tin so used a loaf tin which took 50 minutes to cook
  • Mr Eleanor found the apricot flavour a little too strong so I might try using dried mixed fruit next time, and a bit of cinnamon.

Try it, you might like it.

Friday night pizza gets a Turkish makeover

Mr Eleanor is, I would go as far to say, a pizza fanatic. I’m going to the UK for 5 weeks soon. I’m a little worried that he’s only going to eat pizza while I’m away and I will return to find that he’s invented an as-yet-unknown nutritional disease. Or he’ll be 3 stone the heavier.

Pizza is the most infamous topped flatbread, but there are others out there. Lahmacun is the Turkish variant and, I hope, a much lower fat and lower calorie version.

My inspiration was again from Istanbul by Rebecca Seal. I couldn’t help but fiddle with what I’m sure is a great recipe, but I thought the savoury, fatty flavours of the meat needed balancing with some fresh veggies and tartness so I added spinach and rocket leaves, along with some strips of roasted red pepper. It was absolutely DELICIOUS! One of the best things I’ve cooked in a while.

Turkish pizza
True to my word, I have been using kangaroo and this recipe works incredibly well with it, keeping the fat down even further. As always, I also had my eye on how to make it vegetarian or vegan. Following consultation with the Grand Vegetarian Matriarch (my Mama) I reckon you could switch out the mince for VERY finely chopped, cooked mushroom (like duxelles), or even a tin of refried beans as they are already laced with cumin and coriander.

Either way, this is a great option for a Friday night treat – enjoy!

Is Skippy the ethical choice?

roo

Oh, I hope my sister-in-law doesn’t see this. She’s a devout vegetarian and animal lover and I will be in big trouble.

Nevertheless, there’s no getting away from the fact that we human are omnivores by nature … that’s what our fangs are for! Some of us can get away with very little, or no animal products at all. But some of us need to eat meat to maintain our health. So if we’re going to eat meat then we should make the best choice we can.

When I’m buying meat, the factors that influence me, in no particular order, are something along the lines of:
• Taste, texture
• Animal rearing and slaughter
• Cost
• Nutrition
• Availability
• Environmental impact
• Habit

Yes, you can “go organic”, do Meatless Mondays, follow sustainable seafood recommendations but perhaps if there was a meat product that was:

• Lower cost
• Living wild and free, with no drugs
• Humanely despatched in situ
• High in iron, low in fat
• Sustainable
• Being culled in the name of conservation

Should we seriously be considering eating it?

I will be cooking kangaroo this week. Will you?