October 27, 2017
I find going on holiday incredibly stressful, not because of the holiday itself but due to being self employed and fearing that at any moment the holiday peace will be shattered by a client with a planning deficit and an empathy malfunction. Last year was a little worse than normal due to an impending doctors checkup (post-holiday) to find out if there’s a problem with my eyes as a side effect of diabetes, something I have to look forward to again in a few days time. To try and decompress a little before the holiday I went for a hike in The Chiltern Hills up near Christmas Common as a mini photographic trip. Annoyingly due to lack of reception causing Google Timeline to lose me and my forgetting to take my GPS tracker with me I can’t pinpoint exactly where it was. Either way I know it was somewhere between Christmas Common and Turville Heath. I will openly admit that my love of Christmas Common is as much down to the name as to the location itself (although it is lovely), there’s no clarity on how it was named as such, Wikipedia stating that it could be down to a truce on Christmas day in 1643 during the Civil War, the Christmas family who lived locally or the coppices of Holly Trees (Wikipedia entry on Christmas Common).
In the end I didn’t manage to take too many photographs, I was having trouble with my vision, which as it turns out was down to stress and headaches rather than diabetic side effects so putting the camera up to my face was just a distressing process. I did find a fantastic circular walk through some beautiful woodland full of fungus and less full of people which I’ll try and rediscover some day. Here are the shots I kept…
July 4, 2014
Before I was diagnosed diabetic I enjoyed cooking, I wasn’t brilliant but had fun and was willing to experiment with my own recipes and new ingredients. I specially enjoyed baking and on rainy sundays would often spend the whole day making assorted breads and muffins for the family, I was also very fond of making cheesecakes.
The diagnosis hit us like a particularly annoying bus, crushing the hunger for cookery under the tedious tyres of necessary change. It’s taken a while to extricate myself from the cobbles and start again, bakery is pretty much defenestrated, yes there are ways round it but they are generally pretty heavy, lacklustre and frankly not much fun. Desserts are not actually too bad on condition you extend your definition of what a dessert is. I’ve learned to do a lot of things with lentils. So that’s nice.
We’ve already had a brilliant crop of both loganberries and raspberries in the garden this year and I wanted to do something nice with them other than just stuff them into my face so I looked at making cheesecake. I’ve actually made a couple of cheesecakes since diagnosis but was never quite happy with the results. The cheese bit is fine, just don’t add sugar, cheesecake does not need sugar it should be light and fruity, not akin having Bertie Basset sit on your face. I’m consistently annoyed (moreso now) by the massive amount of unnecessary sugar in shop-bought cheesecake, and restaurants should just know better. The base is always the challenge, I used to make this from crushed digestive biscuits as many recipes will recommend but digestives are full of sugar and even without the sugar are pretty high carb. You can get sugar free digestives but they are hard to find and (in my experience) not very nice. The main issue for me is to be able to put a simple dessert together without having to ship specialty ingredients in.
Anyway, entirely by accident I’ve worked out how to make a relatively diabetic friendly cheesecake with cheap, easy to access ingredients – OATCAKES. I had originally decided to just use normal digestives with some added oats for fibre and just avoid the base myself (it’s fine for Karen), but when mixing stuff in the kitchen I noticed a box of Alexander’s oatcakes, I crushed a handful up with just a couple of the digestives and some other ingredients and they made a really nice, crispy base. It was not as crumbly as a traditional cheesecake base but it tasted great and was far healthier. I’m going to try again this weekend dropping the digestives entirely.
So here’s a very rough recipe. This is not exact, you’ll have to experiment and work out the measurements as to your personal preference.
Crush up the oatcakes (a rolling pin and a freezer bag makes this less messy but less entertaining). Mix in a couple of generous spoonfuls of the ground flax seed, some ground cinnamon to taste and a sensible amount of oats.
Melt the butter. Mix it in with the oatcake mixture until it’s nice and clumpy. Press the resulting mixture into the bottom of a 8″ spring form baking tin. Use the back of a spoon to flatten it out as best you can. Stick this in the fridge.
Pour the cheese, lemon juice and fruit into a bowl. Mix it. Put it in the fridge.
NOTE. If you really feel so inclined you can add sweetener to the base, the cheese mix or both. I don’t and it’s lovely. If you really need to add sweetener to something made of cheese and fruit you should probably take a good long look at yourself (or just use less lemon juice).
Give it an hour or so. Spoon the cheese mixture into the baking tin on top of the base. Put it back in the fridge. Leave it for as long as you can face (good couple of hours minimum).
Eat it. Not all at once.
This is suitable for me, you are not me. If you are actually diabetic rather than just seeking a more healthy cheesecake recipe do check your blood sugar and don’t assume you can just inhale this. It still contains carbs in the base and depending on the amount of fruit you add possibly a large dose of fructose. It does also include a bucketload of fat in the cheese. I am neither a doctor nor a nutritionist.
May 12, 2013
After a near heart attack following working out how much I spend on lunch at work I’ve decided I need to find a better solution.
Work lunchtimes are becoming a bit of a challenge, although Maidenhead has a reasonable selection of places to buy instant edible food from once you factor in cost, general health and then diabetes the selection drops dramatically. I appreciate as a grown up I should be capable of preparing a decent meal to bring in with me but mornings tend to be incredibly hectic with a toddler yelling for his breakfast and a general sense of panic to get to work before the world implodes whereas evenings are work filled until late or I’m just too tired to care.
Buying food in the town centre was fine pre-diagnosis (cost issue aside) but since has been a bit more of a problem. I can eat relatively easily if I go to a restaurant but that’s right out on a regular basis for both time and budgetary reasons. So, I’m stuck with supermarket food or takeaways, both of these suffer from the same problem – they tend to be stacked full of the stuff diabetics should avoid: bread, pasta, potato & rice. A large amount of what’s left is either salad or high in fat. The high in fat has to be avoided both because of general health considerations and because diabetics are prone to heart problems. There’s only so much salad I can face and have you looked at the price of a decent salad recently?
The main frustration is with myself, I’m a competent cook, the majority of what we eat at home is cooked from scratch and we have a varied diet I just have trouble transferring this into food I can take away from the house.
So, I need to find a way to eat at work without spending half our profits and without killing myself, my requirements are:
– Must be easy to prepare in advance, preferably in large batches to be frozen.
– Preparation time on the day of eating (or the night before) should be an absolute minimum. Sticking something in the oven for half an hour is fine, anything more is out.
– It must be financially sensible, ingredients should be those we use anyway or things we can make use of elsewhere. If it’s going to cost the same over time as buying lunch in town there’s no point.
– It must be healthy.
– I need to allow for variety, I can’t face eating the same thing all the time. So ideally things I can cook in large batches which can be frozen for a decent length of time.
– I must want to actually eat it. This sounds obvious but since I was diagnosed I’ve picked up some real food issues. There are some meals now which I cannot face and will make me nauseous to try and eat, it’s entirely psychosomatic but I don’t seem to be able to get past it at the moment.
The first solution – pasties! Obviously. Bear with me on this. Normal pasties are clearly right out what with the white flour and fat and all but the general concept is a strong one, a fully contained meal which requires no additional preparation and nothing extra to go with it but contains a decent combination of foodstuffs (carbs, protein, fibre, etc). I make quite a lot of diabetic friendly flatbreads/pancakes at home using a mixture of spelt flour, wholegrain flour, oat bran and flax (it is nicer than it sounds) so I’ve modified the recipe to make a basic pastry/bread type case which I can fill with STUFF, more importantly different stuff each time I make them.
I’ve just finished making the first batch with a samosa type filling (less of the potato and the addition of some mixed seeds/green veg to balance up the carbs/fibre). They look edible, which is a start. Will find out tomorrow and hopefully get away from wasting a hell of a lot of cash.
Any suggestions on recipes will be gratefully received.
I am Bob. This is my blog. It is an outlet and a substitute for real life. It contains my art, photography, illustration and thoughts on mental health (I deal with anxiety on a pretty much constant basis).
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