We’ve not done much dining, as a family, over the past few weeks, save the odd two-for-£10 pizza in the Lauriston, and cheeky Burger King when we’re all out of options for anything more nutritious (and it’s okay once in a while, right?).
And with a freezer full of Devonshire pork, couriered up from my friend Nicola’s smallholding, Jubilee Park Farm, it’s been good to offload the contents of our fridge and have a little clear out, especially when that means eating a lot of bacon.
With all this eating comes that all too familiar feeling of my waistband starting to cut in. It’s around this time of year, round about the hungry gap* that I tend to find myself wanting to do a bit of a detox, what with the looming prospect of wearing shorts, or even a bikini in the months ahead.
And because I suffer from problems resulting from years of taking antibiotics, this normally takes the form of a sugar break for at least a month or two. Once, it has even ended up as an experiment in full blown GAPS. But this is hard to stick to as the sun comes out, and a bottle of cider sat in the park seems a tempting prospect after a week of self-denial. The danger with any low sugar, low carb, no booze diet is that, as soon as you fall off the wagon, you end up having a binge, which basically undoes all your good work, and adds half an inch for good measure.
For me, this means giving up bread – which is no mean feat now Tom has perfected his sourdough technique thanks to his new Lekue silicone bread mould (from Lakeland) – and turns out perfect, rugby ball-shaped seeded loaves with waist-thickening regularity.
It also means cutting out wine – which I’ve probably been enjoying too much of lately – as well as refined sugars and wheat, sticking to a mainly low fruit, high protein, high veggie diet, without too much dairy or, indeed, fun. But without any indulgences, life very swiftly gets unbearable, and me along with it, and so I’ve been surfing the net for (so-called) paleo hacks I can use to make grain-free treats to make it all a bit more palatable.
And so, with a packet of ground almonds, some raw cacao and agave powder at the back of my cupboard just begging to be used, I decided to make this healthier cocoa and almond cake to snack on when I feel a sugar-deprived sulk coming on.
I added a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to the egg white mix, along with some almond and vanilla essence for extra flavour. I realised afterwards I should have also added half a teaspoon of baking soda too, but it raised well enough. I may have left it in the oven a minute or two too long, so watch it towards the end of its half hour baking time.
But, with a cup of decaf Earl Grey, feels a good enough substitute for a glass of vino, even if it’s not strictly kosher on an anti-candida diet -in which Stevia is allowed, but not, sadly agave, for all, in powder form, it makes a good, though pricey, sugar substitute for baking.
And needless to say, the kids don’t mind a slice either. Hence there’s only one left for me. Never mind, for tomorrow I make fluffy coconut flour pancakes (minus the maple syrup). And I’ve already lost ten pounds.
* A horticultural term for the bit of the year where last season’s produce has all but run out , but the new season’s isn’t quite ready to harvest – I know this from the veggie boxes I used to get before I realised I had better things to do than pick up a random selection of kale and turnips from my local churchyard once a fortnight.