Monday, November 27, 2006

Belgian waffles - yum!

Just a quick post, so I can brag about all the wonderful treats I've got while basking in smug chocolatey-loveliness. A friend just came back from visiting another friend in Belgium with a bag full of treats pour moi!

I've already devoured the dairy-free, sugar-free (sweetened with maltitol) slab of plain Belgian chocolate - those Belgians know how to make chocolate, and GOD! Do they know how to make diabetic chocolate?!!! Better than that Boots cr*p I was writing about the other day!

I've just eaten a mini chocolate waffle. Well, what can I say? Just sweet enough without cloying, no bitter aftertaste. Really...very special indeed. So, what's in it? I hear you cry. Well, drawing on my rudimentary French language skills (with a little bit of help from Babel Fish), I reckon the ingredients are as follows:

Pure chocolate (23%), sweetened with maltitol
Vegetable oil
Fructose from chicory (which is a new one on me)
Fresh egg
Inulin fibre (another type of fructose)
Soya flour
Maize starch
Raising agents: mono-calcium phosphate and sodium bicarbonate
Emulsifier: soya lecithin
Sea salt
Natural flavourings

Plus, it also contains bifidogenic fibres (i.e. 'friendly' bacteria). They're also lactose-free and GMO-free.

They're made by a company called Damhert Natural Products. From their website, it looks like they offer a massive range of 'free from' products. Wouldn't it be fabulous if they were available here?

I also got a pack of Canderel brand plain chocolate with hazelnut bars and strawberry flavoured 'laces' from the Hema supermarket. Now, both of these contain illicit substances, like aspartame and glucose, so I'm saving them for Christmas Day, when I'm planning one almighty PIG OUT! :)

Saturday, November 18, 2006


Maltitol is a sugar alcohol (polyol) derived from corn, which is often used as a sweetener in diabetic food products because it is metabolised by the body less quickly than sucrose, and does not, therefore affect blood sugars to the same degree. And, depending on who you believe, it doesn't feed and promote yeast overgrowth either. Neither does it have much of an unpleasant chemical after-taste like many artificial sweeteners.

The nasty side-effects of aspartame are well known, so when I'm looking for an occasional treat (let's face it, we all need a bit of comfort food from time to time), I tend to avoid anything containing it. Much of Boots' (the Chemists) range of diabetic sweets, chocolate and biscuits contain both sweeteners, but their dark chocolate mint discs and shortbread fingers, just use maltitol, and the chocolate discs are dairy-free to boot! So I've availed myself of a couple of packets to get me through that 'time of the month'. And they're really not bad. Diabetic chocolate is never going to be the same as normal chocolate (and I still crave a bar of Dairy Milk from time to time), but it's not far off and the shortbread fingers are a revelation: buttery and delicious, with no perceptible difference from 'normal' shortbread. Great!

My nutritional therapist assures me that products containing maltitol are fine occasionally - possibly not for someone just starting out on the diet (it's a really good idea to deal with that initial sugar craving and in time lose your sweet tooth), but for me - maintaining - it's okay. Of course, excessive consumption is not recommended; for a start large amounts of maltitol can laxative affect!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

More good news

Marks & Spencers' Deli Greek Salad is anti-candida diet friendly. Hurrah!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Ready-meal: Sainsbury's

More good news! As part of Sainsbury's new 'Designed not just for Vegetarians' range, they have launched a new ready-meal, 'Bean and vegetable casserole' suitable for those following the anti-Candida diet. And it's not bad. A generous portion of kidney beans, chickpeas, red and yellow peppers, courgettes and BROWN (!!!) rice 'steeped' (I'm quoting from the packaging here) rich tomato sauce. You'll find it in the chilled food section.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Anti-candida friendly products at Sainsburys

I've made a couple of really useful discoveries at Sainsburys recently. The first is an organic seed bar, manufactured by 'The Village Bakery' and sold in packs of four. It's similar to the Wallaby Bar I've already written about, but less sticky and more crunchy, a bit like a Jordan's Crunch Bar (or at least, how they used to be - haven't tried one for years!). The ingredients are:

Rice-syrup 38%
Oats 14%
Puffed Rice 12%
Concentrated Apple Juice
Pumpkin Seeds 4.8%
Sunflower Seeds 4.6%
Linseeds 4.4%
Sesame Seeds 4.4%
Low sodium sea salt

Okay, to be fair, there are a couple of things in there to regard with some caution, the puffed rice is probably not brown and the concentrated apple juice is a no-no if you're just starting out on the diet (though the bars really aren't very sweet), and I'm still not certain about the status of rice syrup, but as an occasional treat I can't see how they could do too much harm. The manufactuers also make a nut bar which looks okay; will try them next! As an added bonus (especially to me as I currently attempting to single-handedly save the planet!), they are - according to the label - baked using renewable energy sources.

The other new find is a liquid vegetable stock produced by Knorr. Unlike so many other ready-made stocks it doesn't contain yeast extract, or monosodium glutamate (assuming you can trust the ingredients list!):

Vegetables (Leek, Mushroom, Celeriac, Carrot)
Garlic Puree

Damn those mushrooms though! If it wasn't for them it would be perfect. But as mushrooms are hotly contested (with regards to whether or not they are allowed on the anti-Candida diet), I think their inclusion here can be excused. The only real disadvantage I can see with this stock over the cubes produced by Kallo, is that the whole packet has to be consumed within three days (450 ml). That's a lot of soup, especially if - like me - you only cook for one. Still, it's a useful store cupboard standby.

By the way, I've started to get my food delivered by Sainsburys. One big advantage they have over Tescos is that the complete ingredients lists for many products, including home brand ready meals, can be consulted online.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

New recipes

I had a fairly successful day of culinary experiments yesterday. I'd been invited to a party where everyone was asked to bring a national dish (I belong to an international community of research students). So, I decided to make my own 'national' dish, Suffolk Rusks and a vegetarian Shepherds' Pie, just in case the rusks were revolting, which they weren't. :)

Suffolk Rusks

Traditionally these are eaten with lashings of butter, but they're equally good with a soft goat's cheese.

225g self-raising flour
85g butter
1 egg, beaten
pinch of salt
goats milk or water

Pre-heat the oven to 230 degrees. Place flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Rub the butter into the flour, until it resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the beaten egg and enough liquid (milk or water) to produce a smooth dough. Roll out onto a lightly floured surface to a thickness of 1 inch, and cut into 2 1/2 inch rounds (I used a tall glass, in place of a cutter). Place on a greased baking sheet and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cut in half (width-ways). Reduce the temperature of the oven to 190 degrees. Return the rusks to the baking sheet, cut side up, and cook for a further 10 to 15 mins, or until the rusks are crisp and golden-brown. Cool on a wire rack.

Vegetarian Shepherds' Pie

Rather than finely dice the vegetables, I left them quite large which stopped them turning to an unidentifiable mush!

1 tin of mixed pulses
tomato puree
1 onion, finely sliced
1 clove of garlic
1 large carrot, sliced and chopped
About 5 mushrooms (okay, not strictly anti-candida friendly, but a few won't hurt!)
Couple of large potatoes
1/2 yeast-free stock cube
sunflower/vegetable oil
boiling water
salt and pepper

Peel and chop the potatoes. Place in a saucepan of water and bring to the boil. Simmer until cooked. Meanwhile, slice the garlic and lightly fry in the oil. Add the onion and carrot and cook until the onions start to soften. Chop about three of the mushrooms into fairly small pieces. Add to the pan and cook for a further couple of minutes. Then slice the remaining mushrooms and add to the pan with the tin of pulses. Cook for a couple of minutes and then add the the stock cube and a good quirt of tomato puree (about a dessertspoon full). Season to taste.

Mash the potatoes, season with salt and pepper to taste. Place the vegetable mixture in a deep dish and top with the mashed potato. Cook in the oven (at about 200 degrees) for about 15 mins, or until the potato starts to brown.