Thursday, 22 August 2013

Food play... what's coming up.

Well there is so much to learn! I've been poking around the internet and the supermarket, discovering all kinds of new food to try. Here's a round up of what's on the boil in my kitchen at the moment, and what you can expect to hear about from me in the near future. If you're excited about any of these, grab some for yourself and let's get in to it...

First up, my favourite topic, sugar alternatives:

Glucose Syrup: You will have read about this when I used it in my muesli bars. Very sticky and a great option in baking instead of golden syrup or condensed milk. Quite tasteless and not very sweet. Don't use glucose regularly unless you have seriously little fructose in your diet.

Rice Syrup: An exciting new discovery! With no fructose and just 3% glucose, it's looking like a good option. The other 97% is made up of complex carbohydrates, which means it's absorbed much more slowly in to the bloodstream, so doesn't raise the blood sugar levels in the same way as pure glucose. Again, a great substitute for condensed milk, golden syrup, and maple syrup. Tastier and sweeter than glucose syrup, it will be great on your pancakes and cereal, and even your toast if you like. I've used it successfully in muesli bars, and will blog more about further experiments. It's pretty expensive, so I'll be going half rice syrup, half honey in my muesli bars in the future, and being careful with my use.

(There has been some concern in the USA regarding the presence of arsenic in rice syrup. However New Zealand and Australian standards regarding arsenic in foods are much stricter than in the US, and levels are well below the accepted amount.)

Stevia: The king of all sugar alternatives, it would seem. Very popular in all my reading, natural, and safe. Really, really sweet, so difficult to just swap in a recipe for ordinary sugar. Check out the size of that teeny tiny scoop it comes with - just to give you an idea of how little you need. I've been reading about how to swap it for sugar and what else to use in your recipe to make up for the bulk you remove when taking out sugar. I'll let you know how it goes. Leaves you with a slight aftertaste that reminds me of artificial sweeteners, but pleasant enough when actually eating, and at least you know it's healthy, natural and safe.

Chocolate: Check out what I found by the checkout counter at New World Chaffers yesterday!! Sugar-free chocolate. Made with stevia. Not bad at all. Ditto my last sentence in the paragraph above regarding the stevia. Not the best, best chocolate I've ever had, but a pretty good option, and if you're serious about looking after your health, and serious about eating chocolate, this is something to consider. I'm excited that people are providing all kinds of options like this. For those of you who are all yeah-this-sugar-free-thing-is-all-very-well-Angela-but-I-refuse-to-give-up-my-chocolate, take that! Hoorah. Expensive.

Quinoa: I've been wanting to get in to grains a little more and have finally picked up some quinoa. I'll be reporting on how it goes.

Chia Seeds: Really good for you. Add to homemade bread, cereals and porridge, muesli bars, smoothies. They're so tiny you could add them to almost anything. Easy.

There is lots of discussion on the internet about how great they are, though Wikipedia tells us not enough research has been done to be certain of their benefits. Have a read if you like:
The Wellness Warrior / Nutrition Revival / Wikipedia

Israeli Couscous: Reuben and I are not keen on ordinary couscous, but I like the concept, so thought we'd try this instead.. If we come up with any amazing uses, I'll let you know, though you're probably on to it already. What do you do with your couscous?

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  1. Love the research, love the footer and love the reactions buttons!

  2. Israeli couscous is so lovely. Basic recipe is to mix small pieces of roast veges through with lightly toasted walnuts and chopped Italian parsley. Or replace the couscous with quinoa, just as delicious. Sprinkle your chia seeds over the top :D

  3. Looking forward to hearing more about quinoa and couscous - I never know what to do with them!

    Have you come across I think you might enjoy some of the recipes on there and the idea is that they're designed to get kids involved in the cooking too.

    1. Thank you! I've opened up the link and will have a look around. Thanks for the encouragement to persevere with couscous/quinoa ideas.

  4. Never come across Israeli couscous before, will be interested to find out more about how it differs from the normal one.

    My favourite couscous recipe is for a salad that has roasted veg at the bottom (anything you fancy, really; I usually use baby potatoes, onions, courgettes, peppers, tomatoes), then a layer of couscous with lemon juice and herbs, and some feta cubes mixed in, then a scattering of rocket and walnuts at the top and some oil and vinegar salad dressing poured through. It's a bit of a faff, and the kids don't really eat much of it, but I really like it so periodically decide it's worth the effort... at least the leftovers taste just as nice the next day!

    1. Oh yum that does sound good. I do think my kids' likely lack of enthusiasm is what it slowing me down. But this sounds like a great place to start - roast veges and feta, it couldn't possibly go wrong.