Good for you VS Not bad for you

I’ve got a new obsession (haven’t I always?) At the moment it’s these things – Sakata Rice Crackers:


My flatmate tried one the other day and also fell hopelessly in love, her infatuation growing even deeper when I told her they were good for her too. She then made the excellent distinction between, “Are they actually good for me, or are they just not bad for me?” In this case, they’re just not bad for you. But they are good for you in so much as they stop you having things that are bad for you. My flatmates question was apt though, and it’s true that they themselves are not adding any nutritional value to my life. They are not like my Lucy Salads, or my Cauliflower Egg-fried Rice, or my other obsession (Nakd bars and Bounce balls).

However, these “not bad for you” snacks should still be considered really great snacks for the “modern-foodie-trying-to-lose-weight”. They often feel indulgent (this specific example feels to me like eating crisps) but they’re not doing you any harm. They are sort of neutral. Enjoy them and be happy.

P.S. I also count my healthy beetroot cake as “Not bad for you”. I made it for my family this week and it turned out particularly well. Please still try it even you are a beetroot hater – there is no beetroot taste once the cake has been cooked. It is just pure goopy-indulgent-feeling, a-little-bit-good-for-you-because-beetroot-is-amazing and not-really-bad-for-you-because-there’s-no-refined-sugar-or-flour happiness in a cake. I leave you with this image:



Another “healthy cake”


This one is half beetroot.

Literally half of the mix is shredded beetroot.

After successfully baking my chocolate zucchini cake last weekend, and seeing how beautifully moist vegetables make cake, I was eager to try a different veggie-bake. I read a few blogs and heard beetroot-and-chocolate as a combination crop up a lot, so I settled for making that. What I didn’t really compute until I was halfway through making this particular recipe is that it avoids all the typically “nasty” ingredients. As well as being half vegetable, there is no sugar, no butter and no flour. Hard to believe. Honey is used to sweeten, cocoa powder provides the dry substance and coconut oil (my favourite!) acts as fat. And yet the end product is gorgeously rich, goopy and sinful-seeming. My flatmate and her boyfriend returned home just in time to sample some straight from the oven and on tasting it they emitted sounds I only thought I’d ever hear coming through the bedroom wall…

In short, it was a marvellous success and very easy to make. Click on the above picture to be taken to the original recipe page.  I promise to stop talking about cakes for a few weeks now.

P.S. Forgive me father for I have sinned. I created a “healthy” cake, and then made it part of a very unhealthy cake. A good friend of mine, Eric, moved home to America today and he had a leaving dinner last night. I promised to take something sweet to eat. I wanted to send Eric home in style (and I’ve been watching a lot of The Great British Bake-off) so I was inspired to do something crazy. What I made was a double layered cake – carrot cake on the bottom, chocolate-beet cake on the top, enough buttercream frosting to drown a small village in the middle, and enough rich dark chocolate icing to smother a sumo wrestler above. I put 5 small carrot sticks right on the top though, so that rectifies the situation right…? Here is my creation:


The “Healthy Cake”


Even very well behaved healthy types like me have cakey days. This weekend I had to bake for a friend’s dinner party. Firstly, I made old school cookie dough, which I took raw to the dinner party (delighting most of the guests). But I also took this incredible discovery – A Chocolate Zucchini cake with glazed Pistachio Nuts. The response to it was brilliant. Everyone enjoyed it thoroughly and most commented on the fact that they thought it was a chocolate fudge cake, so gooey and gorgeously thick was the texture. However, I can verify, having made it myself, that half of the mixture was grated courgette. If that isn’t a way to make cake healthy I don’t know what is! It also uses yogurt to minimise on the butter, and whole-wheat flour. Glorious.

Click on the picture to go to the recipe website (and see much more glamorous pictures of the cake!)