Popular chef and Book People favourite Lorraine Pascale discusses her latest book, A Lighter Way to Bake, in this guest blog:
“Having your cake and eating it” – how to balance your life to be able to eat some treats and the benefits of baking at home and knowing what ingredients are used rather than buying from a store.
‘Wandering the aisle of the supermarket, strategically placed at the end of your supermarket shop are often rows and rows of shiny, glittery, pretty, tasty looking cakes. As you pick up a rather tasty looking cupcake, replete with sprinkles and sparkles and pastel-coloured paper wrapping – the temptation is to throw caution to the wind and not consider what is exactly in your icing-topped sponge beauty. Please understand, I am one of those doing this and I believe in moderation, but what if you could have a baked fancy, full of all the flavour and with a lot less of the naughty stuff?
The challenge with what we buy today ready-made is that often it is difficult to know what on earth it has taken to make it, beyond the usual suspects of butter, sugar, flour and eggs. I sometimes look at the label and run my finger down the never-ending list of ingredients, some quite familiar and some extremely unknown. Of course, you knew there was a plug coming, did you not?! In my newest book “A Lighter Way To Bake”, I have taken lots of our favourite recipes and made a, what I would like to call, gallant effort to make the food a little lighter on the naughty stuff. Some recipes I tried and after many attempts, although the salt and perhaps the sugar were less, the fat was the same and the calories had not budged either. But for the most part the baked goods, both sweet and savoury, show a considerable reduction in the amount of fat and or sugar. The added beauty of making and baking from scratch is that you know exactly what is going in to the food you are making which can often give great peace of mind for those of us who want to try and eat just that little bit healthier.
I sometimes read articles on what I should do to make things better for myself and then, usually because I am not doing precisely what the article says, I leave the article on the kitchen table and proceed to beat myself up about not getting ‘it’ (whatever the subject matter is saying I should do) right.
So I am sure you, like me, are a busy bee, juggling so many things and trying so hard to do the right thing as often as possible. So when you are next in the supermarket, with your two screaming kiddies having a bit of a tantrum in the pasta and rice aisle knowing that the only way to a bit of peace and quiet is to drag them over to the baking aisle and shove an iced bun in each of their mouths and one in yours (you tried an apple and it just would not cut it), that it is really important to be kind on yourself and not do what I do which is to not talk kindly to myself about it.
Instead as you sail quietly around the aisles with your two children sitting in the trolley with a now glowing and ever-increasing-in-size halo above their heads, that you have done what we all do.
Baking from scratch for me is something that I do when I have a bit of time on my hands, like when everyone at home is happy and doing their own thing, or at the weekends, or on a weekday when I have a spare hour at dinner time to cook something savoury for a family meal. I try to balance a not-so-good day eating with a better day of eating and repeat the mantra, everything in moderation, including moderation. ’