Starting from where I left off in my last blog of Chef with a Sweet Tooth, In this blog I’ll tell you a bit more about how I developed my sweet tooth before we talk about this great alternative to sugar; STEVIA.
I can’t speak for all areas in London but growing up within and around the square mile, being a city child had its advantages to some degree and like any inner city kid when the fair came to town it brought a bit of nostalgia. At certain times throughout the year the fun fair would come to visit us and set up in Shoreditch Park aka the green aka the Sindas football pitch. You could say it was part of life back then, to be able to visit the fair, and with most families it was tradition. Your trip to the fun fair was something to talk about for weeks after, with the friends you’d seen there. As a child you’ll usually get accompanied by a parent when you want to go to the fair, but when you’re a teenager you want to go on your own. And to be seen near the waltzers gave you street cred, or so you thought anyway!
Arriving at the fairground in Shoreditch Park and amidst the smells of diesel, fried onions, hot dogs & burgers you get that sweet smell of the freshly dipped toffee apple and that ever famous candy floss being spun from the barrel. If I close my eyes I can still see my friends’ parents standing in the queue, come rain or shine and waiting for their turn of getting that sticky sweet sugar fix on their chin and around their lips; nudge nudge, wink wink those were the days eh?
Another place of fun where you can also find these lovely sweet smells, and I hope that you can relate to, was the seaside. Now my dad was lucky enough to own a car back in the 70’s and we travelled to many South Coast seaside resorts, Margate, Ramsgate, South-end & Leigh- on-Sea, Broadstairs, Dungeness, Brighton to name but a few. The journeys to these wonderful places were always colourful especially if it was with other families and friends. On occasions it became agonising and with maybe only one roadside stop you always made sure you spent a penny before you left home and also, It is a known fact that children always ask “ARE WE NEARLY THERE YET?” But when you finally get there, you go and get that all-important famous stick of rock and chump on it like you had just won the top prize at the raffle tombola.
Growing through the adolescent years I was lucky enough to experience chewing on sugar cane and eating it raw by stripping back the bark and chomping on the delicious sweet centre. Over and over again you chewed it until all you were left with was strands, which resembled straw. As I recall I even kept it sticking out of my back pocket and it lasted me for a good part of the day and quite possibly in to the next day too.
So as my journey through the years continues, let me take you back a little further in time and a time when my mum was around. Bless you mum it will be fifteen years since you passed this year xXx.
My mum was a great cook and baker of cakes. She originally came from the Caribbean and was born on the Island of St. Lucia and like any young person in life you have to learn how to cook and in my eyes my mum was a super human in many ways. Now, both my parents were great cooks and always serving delicious tasting meals but when my mum baked, it was something else and you always knew that there was a special occasion coming up just around the corner. Maybe a birthday or a christening or something similar, because mum used to bake and ice cakes as a side venture for friends and family, and with having so many orders I suppose she must had been really good at it as this became a regular occurrence. I am talking about 40 years ago and way before the high street cake shops had cakes in the window display.
During the cake making process my role was to be her little helper and to put the ingredients into the mixing bowl as she weighed them on the scales. I think I was five at the time, so I suppose you could say that it is in my DNA and this was probably my first insight into cake making and cake icing, and through the years and by helping her out with these lovely cakes, I inherited a sweet tooth and a real love for baking. And she made all sorts; honey cake, West Indies spiced rum fruit cake, Victoria sponge cake, Pink sponge, Lemon cake, Ginger cake, Cinnamon cake and Bakewell Tart. They were mostly covered with flavoured and coloured Royal Icing and decorated in different ways.
Okay reader, I got a bit carried away with the history, so in my next blog I will tell you more about Stevia. But in the meantime here is a recipe for chocolate and without the sugar!!! Happy cooking.
Chocolate without sugar
• 120 g chocolate without sugar
• 2 tablespoons milk
• 30 g margarine
• 2 eggs
• Replace 25 grams of sugar for a Stevia product from the scheme
Beat the egg whites of 2 eggs until stiff. Add the 120 g chocolate (without sugar!), 2 tablespoons of milk, 30 g margarine and Stevia. Heat for 2 minutes in the microwave oven (maximum heat) or a bain-marie. When the chocolate has melted, add the 2 egg yolks, stirring well. The egg white is then added with a good stir. Let the chocolate harden in the fridge and ready to eat.