Tuesday, June 17, 2008

pink spice cake

I made this pink fruit and nut cake last night. It was a delicious spice cake that I made with the help of my new cookbook.

The cake has raisins and walnuts with spices. This cake also has a secret ingredient. Let me show you the process in reverse and you see if you can guess what is in it.

The batter was really pink and thick. Next time I will add more milk because it was also not as moist as I would hope.

I pretty much bought the cookbook because of this one recipe. Otherwise I would never have the patience to do so much mixing. Here I am trying to fold the stiff egg whites into the mixture. I ended up using three bowls (!): one for the dry ingredients, one for the wet ingredients, and a third to whip the egg whites.

Here are the wet and dry bowls. I like that the recipe calls for wholemeal flour and not very much sugar. (These two items are clearly factors in making this a low GI recipe, and hence more healthy.) The wet ingredients are very pink, eh?

Have you guessed? What is the mystery ingredient that makes this cake so pink? Well, you've heard of carrot cake; this one was beetroot cake. The books says the practice of sweetening cakes with root vegetables is actually centuries old. I was so inspired by the idea of a beetroot cake that I had to buy the book when I read it. Here's the recipe in case you are similarly inspired.

Pink Fruit and Nut Cake
adapted from GI Meals Made Easy: 150 Quick and Delicious Meals for All the Family

2 cups (250 g) wholemeal flour
2 heaped teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon each cinnamon, allspice, and ground ginger
1/3 cup (75 g) sugar
2 medium (200 g) beetroot, peeled and grated
1/2 cup (50 g) sultanas
3/4 cup (50 g) walnuts, chopped
100 ml vegetable oil
1 ripe banana, mashed
3 eggs, separated
50-75 ml milk (but next time I am going to use double this)
Greek yoghurt or reduced fat creme fraiche, to serve

Preheat the oven to 180 C (350 F) and line a 20 cm (8 in) round pan.

Stir together the flour, baking powder, spices, and sugar in a large bowl.

In a second bowl, mix the beetroot, sultanas, walnuts, oil, mashed banana, and egg yolks.

In a third bowl, whisk the egg whites to the stiff peaks stage.

Add the beetroot mixture to the dry ingredients. Add enough milk to make a dorpping consistency (what does this even mean??). Gently fold in a tablespoonful of egg white before folding in the rest.

Pour the batter into the lined tin. Bake for about 1 hour, or until an inserted knife comes out clean. Cool on a rack and serve with Greek yoghurt or creme fraiche.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

eating while sick

I have been off sick today and really needed the extra rest. (Amazing--I have just had a week's holiday!) I have spent most of the day sleeping; I also ate some roasted vegetables with polenta, my first recipe from my new cookbook, GI Meals Made Easy.

Monday, June 2, 2008

books for cooks

Yesterday I made it over to Notting Hill to visit Books for Cooks. It is just off Portobello Road; I read about it online at The Kitchn, a website that regularly inspires me. I had a seat on the red squishy sofa, browsing through their floor-to-ceiling shelves of cookbooks. It was a lovely, relaxing afternoon destination.

I am becoming more and more convinced about the health of eating low GI meals. I already have the original GI Diet book by Rick Gallop (formerly president and CEO of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario). I am starting to cook and eat according to his suggestions and so the cookbook I bought was GI Meals Made Easy: 150 Quick and Delicious Meals for All the Family.

Low glycaemic index meals don't spike blood sugar or insulin production and so they help you feel full for longer and give you a more stable energy level. They are also high in fibre and nutrients--really the GI diet is less a temporary diet and more a healthy way of eating forever.


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