I’ve decided to embark upon a mission to think more about what I eat, to feed my family healthier foods and to find amazing recipes that are both delicious and healthy. This is no small task. Even though I make most of the food my family eats (they do not get much processed and hardly any fast food at all), I don’t always look for the best investment calorie-wise, as I have always been more concerned with flavor. Also, I have a child who is very picky about what he eats: mainly bland colored foods with a tendency to favor sweets.
For the last two weeks I have been testing recipes and eating smaller portions of delicious but not-so-good-for-you foods, and guess what? I feel better for it. I have been bowled over by the flavor-packed recipes I have tried that are low in fat. You can have your cake and eat it too…as long as it’s Beetroot and Chocolate Cake or Gordon Ramsey’s Low-fat Blueberry Muffins! And best of all, my kids are getting some healthy wholegrains, fruit and veg hidden away in a yummy treat!
I thought I would share some of my best recipe finds with you. I hope you enjoy them!
Next installment….What’s for Breakfast?
Beetroot and Chocolate Cake – lovely and moist with hidden veg
250g plain cooked (vacuum packed) beetroot, drained & pureed
200g quality dark chocolate (70% cocoa)
200g plain flour
200g unsalted butter, melted
100g dark brown sugar
100g caster sugar
3 large eggs
2tbsp cocoa powder
2tsp baking powder
1tsp vanilla extract
Icing sugar for dusting
- Pre heat the oven to 350F/ 180˚C/Gas Mark 4. Grease and line a 9in/23cm loose bottomed cake tin.
- Break the chocolate into pieces and put in a food processor. Blitz until crumbed but not totally powdered – some larger pieces will give the cake a great texture.
- Add the beetroot and blend together. Then add the remaining ingredients to the processor and whizz until well mixed. Pour into the prepared cake tin and lightly level out the surface.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 45-50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. The surface of the cake may have cracked a little. Allow the cake to cool for a few minutes in the tin before removing to a cooling rack.
- Dust lightly with icing sugar and serve in wedges.
Gordon Ramsey’s Low-fat Blueberry Muffins – hearty and wholesome
- 2 very ripe large bananas
- 300g wholemeal flour
- 1½ tsp baking powder
- 1tsp bicarbonate of soda
- Pinch of fine salt
- 100g light muscovado or brown sugar
- 284ml carton buttermilk
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 75g light olive oil (or melted butter)
- 200g blueberries, rinsed and drained
- 1tbsp demerara sugar
- Heat the oven to 350F/ 180°C (gas mark 4). Line a 12-hole muffin tin with muffin cases.
- Peel the bananas and mash in a bowl, using a fork.
- Mix the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt and brown sugar together in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre and add the buttermilk, egg, olive oil and bananas. Quickly fold the ingredients together until just incorporated, taking care not to overmix. Tip in the blueberries and give the batter one or two stirs.
- Spoon the batter into the muffin cases and sprinkle with the demerara sugar. These cases will be quite full.
- Bake in the oven for about 20-25 mins until well risen and golden brown on top; a skewer inserted into the centre of the muffin should emerge clean.
- Leave to cool in the tin for a couple of minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
This recipe is taken from Gordon Ramsay’s Healthy Appetite, available from Amazon for £10.
Chocolate and Sultana Brownies- rich and decadent, I made them into cupcakes
- 3 egg whites
- 300g (6oz) low-fat cream cheese
- 25g (1oz) low-cal sweetner
- 40g (1 3/4oz) cocoa powder, sifted
- 2tsp vanilla extract
- 3tbsp full fat milk
- 75g (3oz) plain flour
- 1tsp baking powder
- 75g (3oz) sultanas
- 50g (2oz) dark chocolate, roughly broken small pieces
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4. Line a 15cm (6in) square baking tin with parchment paper.
- Place the egg whites in a large bowl and whisk until they form soft peaks.
- In another bowl, combine the cream cheese with the sweetner.
- Add the cocoa powder, vanilla extract and milk to the cream cheese mix. Beat well until the mixture is smooth then fold in the whisked egg whites until evenly incorporated.
- Sift the flour and baking powder together over the mixture then fold in lightly, together with the sultanas and chocolate pieces.
- Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 20-25 mins until springy to the touch. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly in the tin. Cut into squares and serve warm.