Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Violet chocolate fudge

“Every day has been so short, every hour so fleeting, every minute so filled with the life I love that time for me has fled on too swift a wing.” 
― Aga Khan

"They grow up so quickly".

Words I have heard countless times since the birth of my daughter, from knowing smiles of parents with children grown. And today, I thought those same words myself as I watched my little girl walking wherever she pleased, opening every cupboard, box or container as she babbled excitedly to me about whatever it is that babies ponder. I still remember as though it were yesterday, when she would fall asleep at my breast, her tiny hand wrapped around one of my fingers, her face basking in the sweet sleep of babes; such a tiny, sweet soul. I once worried that the world was too rough for such a delicate being, but now it's the world I am worried for. That little rosebud has blossomed into such a robust, rambunctious human who never tires of exploring and bustling her way around. She is a 'take charge and get outta my way' kinda gal and I adore being able to watch her 'become'.

My days have been so filled with her continual evolution that activities of my pre-child days, such as blogging, going out, personal maintenance etc seem to have fallen to the wayside. Whilst I might look a little bedraggled and quite sleep deprived I can say, that although quite challenging, I am enjoying this moment in my life, because like everything that's precious, it's finite.

On some days though, a little extra time to myself to catch up on things long abandoned is welcomed. And today, thanks to my mother-in-law who lovingly occupied my tenacious daughter, I used that glorious sixty minutes to return some sparkle to my house, eat a relaxed meal, blog and I even had some time spare to tidy my eyebrows.

And now, when she sleeps for the second time today, I can spend that respite completely on myself, needless to say there are more than a few books that need a good dusting and page turning.

ease: 5/5.
prep time: 15mins (I skipped the sieve part).
chilling time: 2hours.
total: 2hours and 15mins.

taste: 3.5/5.

Violet and chocolate is a stellar combination. I have a feeling this killer duo will be making more appearances in my cooking future, just not in this particular recipe.

Whilst I loved the texture, the flavour of the marshmallows completely dominated, if you like marshmallows that may be a good thing, but I personally wanted to savour the chocolate and violets only.

would I make it again: No. Would use the violets with a fudge recipe that didn't contain marshmallows.


Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Healthy Apple Cake

“I can resist anything except temptation.”
― Oscar Wilde, Lady Windermere's Fan

It's no secret that I have a gigantic, collosal sweet tooth. I don't think a single day has gone by in which I have not consumed refined sugar in addition to fruits and the like. 

This year it began to escalate to a point where I was verbally lamenting my addiction and hoping to at least 'cut back'. Fast forward to the evening, after avoiding sugar during the daylight hours, you would find me with an empty box of chocolates and a rather defeated, yet also satisfied, look on my face. It seemed sugar was a foe I couldn't shake; between the baby, husband and home I just didn't have enough energy left in me to draw up the willpower needed to kick this habit to the curb.
And then lo and behold, the universe manifested the only way I would do it; my little one got oral thrush. I may not have been able to change my diet for myself, but there is NOTHING I wouldn't do for my bubba. So to help her heal faster and to make sure she didn't pass it onto me, I went cold-turkey. And I don't just mean refined sugar. I did the whole shebang - no fruit or natural sweeteners. After some googling I stumbled upon the Anti-Candida diet and figured that whatever would help my girl I was willing to do, and heck, if I could cut the sugar than surely quitting dairy and gluten wouldn't be so bad.

Well, let's just say it took some getting used to. Besides being a vegetarian, eating organic and mostly unprocessed foods, my diet has never really been super healthy (apart from when I was pregnant). A large percentage consisted of baked sweets, chocolate bars, cheese, pasta, bread etc with fruit, veg and legumes getting the occasional guest appearance. Thanks to the fast metabolism I inherited from my mumma this poor quality, high calorie diet didn't result in weight gain so I was pretty content to keep to it (my brother's diet is even worse, yet he is in awesome shape, but eventually, if we don't change, we will both be paying the piper I am sure). In all fairness though we were never really shown how to eat healthy as kids. Apart from dinner, our other meals were horrid - sugary kids cereal for breakfast, and school lunches of nutella sandwiches, chips, fruit roll ups, dunkaroos and a piece of fruit (which was rarely eaten).

I am determined to help my daughter have good eating habits from the start, and this event has helped me turn a corner in my own nutrition. I really doubt that I will go back to my sugar-laden ways of the past, I just don't feel the need for that much refined sugar anymore, and when you know better, you do better. Ten days in and I have already lost those intense cravings. Now that I  can eat some fruits (apples and berries), I find that is all I need to satisfy my sweet-needs. I did try stevia in the first week but that just wasn't my cup of tea. I have yet another 6 weeks to go before I will allow refined sugar back in, but in the meantime I have amassed a rather wonderful looking set of refined-sugar free recipes to try.

Although it has been 10days I haven't really felt any different (apart from two days of withdrawal headaches and grumpiness) or noticed any physical differences (well, some slight weight gain, possibly due to all of the nuts and seeds I am devouring), but then again it has only been a short amount of time and I am sure this new healthier diet will benefit me greatly in the long run.

What diets have you tried recently?

ease: 5/5.
prep time: 6mins.
cooking time: 30mins.
total: 36mins.

taste: 4/5. Stealthily delicious.

I won't lie, I kept my expectations low, more so in terms of texture than taste, but I am glad to say, I was more than happy with this healthy cake.

Let's start with the texture; this was perhaps one of the softest, most luscious loaves I have ever had. It was incredibly moist but still held together well with a yummy sticky crust.

Taste wise it was mm mm good. I didn't include the walnuts as one of my friends is allergic so I added a few more dates. The honey and dates made this plenty sweet enough. The coconut was just a mere glimmer of a suggestion whilst the apple was noticeable but not dominant - all of the flavours melded together without any of them taking the spotlight. I can imagine that the nuts would add a lovely crunch to an already tasty treat.

Why wouldn't you go grain and refined sugar free if it tastes so yum!

would I make it again: Yes.