September 30, 2017

Paleo Bread

texans always seem to know best when it comes to food and I'm not just talking about that fried chicken and waffle or meat stack they've slapped on the grill. Oh no. I'm talking the Texans that know that good food doesn't always have to be naughty. I sneakily stole this recipe from a good friend who is one of the best Southern Chicken cookers I know, but equally a 100kg+ squatter who's serious about his gym-time. 

I was recently whisked into A&E with appendicitis, undergoing emergency surgery for the blighter which kept me bed-bound for the best of two weeks, until I gently started walking again unaided. My PB for my step-counter on day one post-bed rest was nine steps. NINE. With a flourish of flowers, chocolates (plus luxury hot chocolate) and cards sent to my address and my parents kindly buying me blocks of Dairy Milk Whole Nut for which my hand-to-mouth action got exceptionally good, it dawned on me that the lack of regular spin, weight and run sessions were not balancing out the comfort food I was so badly craving. 

Something needed to drastically change if I wasn't going to be gymming any time soon. I have a vague recollection of the GX Crew coming to visit me on day three post-op with my favourite brunch from The Food Room in Highgate in a brown cardboard box. Poached eggs, avocado, sweet potato hash, halloumi, mushroom, red pepper hummus on toast and spinach. Trust me, it's the bomb! Whilst knocked out on morphine, codeine and the aftermath of anaesthetic, and with my appetite next to nothing, I savoured what I could and saved the rest for my evening meal. But more so, I missed their company and our regular Saturday morning catch-ups after smashing legs in the gym. I was itching to get back on track, but unfortunately it will be a little while until I'm back on form again. 

I remembered said Texan bringing me a sample of this delicious paleo bread one Saturday after our session a while back and eating it toasted with a helping of crunchy almond butter. It's the ultimate alternative to regular bread and is low-carb and protein-fuelled making it the ideal guilt-free snack. The almonds give it moisture and some flavour but it's bland enough to top it with your choice of savoury or sweet toppings. In my current condition, I'm hoping it'll get me back on track sooner rather than later so I can join the crew and own leg day! 


September 11, 2017

London Cheesecake

Wallace: “Gromit, that's it! Cheese! We'll go somewhere where there's cheese!”
[Looks at Cheese Holidays magazine, then out window] 
“Everybody knows the moon is made of cheese…”

As a small child, I would upturn the breakfast table stools and climb into them with a colander on my head, rocketing off into outer space – a dark and velvety night sky surrounding me, speckled with dazzling freckles of glowing light, on a mission to the moon. If I was lucky, I’d have my younger co-pilots joining me with our spaceships pushed up against the window, our warm breathe fogging the glass, peering out at the vast expanding world beyond.

It’s quite possible that my love of cheese stemmed from the moment, snuggled under blankets on the sofa, we watched Wallace & Gromit’s A Grand Day Out. Those crackers and the plasticine cheese they cut from the moon’s potholed surface looked entirely delectable from a TV screen. After all, it was “like no cheese [Wallace had] ever tasted...” T-10 seconds until lift off…

At dinner parties, I’d excitedly ask to try the cheeses laid out on the cheese board at the end of the night. A wrinkle across my 10-year old nose as I took my first taste of Stinking Bishop and a tongue stuck out in disgust after Cornish Yarg. And so for a number of years, until my taste buds ripened, I would spread good ol’ Philadelphia over bagels or slather on cucumber sandwiches cut into triangles (because they tasted better cut that way). 

I discovered Nigella’s How To Be A Domestic Goddess in the early noughties and never looked back. Her London Cheesecake recipe plied with dollops of Philadelphia and touched with vanilla and a hint of lemon is the simplest but most tasty of recipes in her almanac. The method of baking it in a bain-marie regulates the baking temperature of the cheesecake for an even, slow bake and prevents overcooking, making it thus by far my favourite cooking method. The steam in the oven also keeps it moist and lessens cracking for that perfect finish. 

So, even if I may now officially call myself an adult, I still take myself back to those days of sky-rocketing to the moon and back, stealing nibbles of cheese at dinner parties and discovering new bakes as the years pass by...