Monday, December 6, 2010

Fructose Free Happy Birthday to me

Recently had a wonderful Birthday celebration and I am happy to tell you all that this year I felt about 10 years younger than the same time last year. 

In fact last year I felt so bad that my GP (unable to diagnose any illness) apart from mild depression had sent me off to a specialist armed with my blood tests (which were mostly within the normal range) and after a thorough assessment I was given a clean bill of health despite being very overweight. 

This exercise left me even more depressed. Technically, I was not ill but my body was aching, my mind was foggy and I was just going through the motions and not really embracing life at all.

Since I have stopped scoffing down sugar I am delighted to tell you that apart from losing 9kgs so far, I have also noticed a marked improvement in the health of my body and mind.

Enough about me. 
Lets talk about food!

My beautiful daughter Suzanne made me  the most magnificent birthday cake. 

A  Strawberry Crepe Layer Cake

The good news is that she cleverly managed to convert the recipe into a Fructose Free one (apart from whats in the strawberries) and is happy to share the recipe with you.

2 cups (300g) plain flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 2 tbs dextrose powder,
 4 eggs, 450ml milk, 250 ml thickened cream, 1/2 tsp vanilla essence

600ml thickened cream, 1 cup dextrose powder, 2 tsp grated orange zest,
1tsp vanilla essence,1 punnet of strawberries (thinly sliced)

Process all ingredients in a food processor until smooth, pour into a jug and stand for 30 minutes at room temperature. Heat a 20cm crepe pan over medium heat and spray with oil. Add 1/4 cup of the crepe batter and swirl to coat the pan. Cook for 2 minutes on each side until just golden. Repeat with remaining batter spraying the pan with a little oil each time. Crepes can be frozen for up to 3 months.

Place the cream, dextrose powder, orange zest and vanilla in a bowl. Beat with electric beaters until stiff peaks form.

Cut each of the crepes using a circle template as a guide (eg. saucepan lid). Layer the crepes spreading each with a thin layer of cream. Select a couple of layers to place some strawberries inside. Once assembled, spread the remaining cream over the entire cake and cover with sliced strawberries. Cover and chill for at least 4 hours. Serve dusted with a little dextrose powder.

The finished product was delicious but Suzanne mentioned that next time she makes it she would use more layers of strawberries (so that would mean you need to buy 2 punnets of strawberries) and that she would be a little more generous with the amount of cream in the layers. As it was assembled in the photos above she had cream leftover.

My creative Sister in law Geyle and her daughter Essie also made me (and my 18 year old nephew James who is (un)lucky enough to share my birthdate) a magnificent chocolate cake for the second and bigger Birthday celebration I had. Sadly for me, it was made with sugar and though it looked scrumptious I was not tempted to have a piece. I have a large extended family so that cake was enjoyed and appreciated by many.

I took along a version of "Franks Strawberry Ricotta Cake"
 for those of us on The Plan

I was inspired by the silicone muffin trays that I was given as a present to make Muffin sized cakes. I had too much mixture for the 12 standard size muffin tray so I used the rest in a smaller bite sized version.

These were a real hit. I was told that one of Donna Hays' tips is to present things in individual serves because it looks better and is more practical when it comes to serving. Donna was right on the money!

I would not make these in regular muffin trays because they might be very difficult to remove from the tray but they were easy to manage in the silicone version. I adjusted the cooking time according to size and the small ones took about 20 minutes and the larger ones 30 minutes. They are moist and moorish and would make an ideal Christmas sweet.

I have also been busy making icecream and gelato using recipes from
The Sweet Poison Quit Plan.

 Pistachio Icecream!
I used the egg yolk only Vanilla Ice cream recipe and added (at the custard making stage) 3/4 cup of pistachios that I had soaked in water and removed the skins then pulverised with a stick mixer. Then added 1/2 cup chopped pistachios at the end of the churning stage.
I am thinking of serving this icecream in brandy baskets (see previous post for recipe) topped with a fresh raspberry sauce for my family on Christmas day.
 (All 30 or so of them!)
I better get churning fast!

Chocolate Gelato
A simple and inexpensive way to have a chocolate hit!

A word of caution for those of you who are trying to lose weight or have just started the plan. Remember not to eat these goodies until you have beaten your sugar addiction.

Once you are no longer addicted to sugar you will not crave sweet things as much and these treats should be eaten occasionally and not all the time. I cook a lot of things but I don't eat them all because my skinny husband Ed is a big help in the eating department.

Thanks Ed for your love and support.