I (kind of) Quit Sugar, and I liked it – Part III

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Click to read Part I and Part II.

Week 6

The Week 6 menu looks amazing, AND we get to reintroduce a little fruit back into our diet, hurrah! Frustratingly, I am unable to cook a lot of the recipes with the very basic cooking instruments that I have available with all my kitchen gear on its way to Sydney, so this week is also going to be a write-off for me in terms of sticking to the meal plan. While I am still avoiding sugar, I am not eating nearly as many vegetables as I was earlier in the program, I’m not getting as much variety in my diet as I was just a couple of weeks ago, and I have been skipping meals because it’s just easier. Consequently, combined with the extreme stress that I am currently experiencing thanks to this bloody move, I am feeling sluggish, rather emotional and completely exhausted.

My dad lives and works quite remotely out in the bush (about a five hour drive from PosyTown, and a fairly hectic drive at that), but he drove in to town to see me one last time before we fly down to Sydney – he called to take me out for a milkshake. Not a coffee, a milkshake. I had to laugh, it would seem I will always be five years old to my dad. I enjoyed every sip of my shake, though I did feel pretty sick after finishing it! I’m not sure if it was just a coincidence, but about half hour later, I came down with a cracking headache…

It is an emotional week for me, but it was always going to be, sugar or no sugar – it is the week we move to Sydney! It is also the week that my beloved Sydney Roosters WIN THE GRAND FINAL – and Mr Posy and I are actually there to see it!

Week 7

Our first week living in Sydney! We are surrounded by boxes, but surprisingly unpacking is a lot easier than packing, even with less storage space than in PosyTown. We don’t completely stick to the prescribed meal plan, but we are still on the IQS-wagon. I am feeling completely amazing, but this is can probably be largely attributed to the high that I am experiencing now that WE LIVE IN SYDNEY.

PosyDog is loving all the extra walks as we explore our new area, and I am loving the extra energy that I have. My clothes are looser, my eyes brighter and skin clearer, and I am feeling generally amazing.

Week 8

It would seem that finishing up at work, moving, and wedding planning finally catches up with me – I have come down with a chest infection… Just in time to start my new job – perfect! I have no appetite, so  stick to a fairly bland diet of grilled fish and steamed vegetables instead of this week’s meal plan. I have a disgusting cough (let’s not mention the stuff I’m bringing up…), my chest and back hurt, I’m completely exhausted, and I am getting very little sleep thanks to the aforementioned cough. A GP puts me on a course of antibiotics and gives me something that is supposed to help the cough, but all it does is make me feel hungover the next morning.

Mr Posy and I attend a friend’s birthday dinner on the Saturday night of Week 8 (which I cough and wheeze my way through) – I throw caution to the wind and indulge in a little dessert AND a little birthday cake. Life is for living!

I realise that my cravings for sugar have for the most part disappeared, and that I no longer crave chocolate and icecream, but instead fruits like raspberries, kiwi fruit and plums. I have far more variety in my diet than I have ever had – and I am no longer getting a large portion of my daily calories from sweets. I have created good new habits – I’m consuming more vegetables (with a focus on veggies that are in-season), and I’m back on the breakfast wagon (which I had taken to skipping), and kicked bad old habits – dessert every single night (often ‘just because’), chocolate/various other sweets every day, and mindless snacking. I feel like this is what IQS is all about – or at least what it was all about for me – regaining balance in your life.

Life after IQS

So, nearly two years on since I did the IQS8WP – do I eat sugar? Of course I do. Life is for living! I like chocolate. And ice cream. And cake. And Black Forest Trifle from Rockpool Bar & Grill. But I can’t eat sweets in the same quantity that I once could – neither my tastebuds nor my stomach can take it. I actually prefer dark chocolate over milk chocolate these days! I no longer use chocolate as my emotional crutch, nor do I feel the need to eat sweets just because.

The picture I’ve painted of my diet pre-IQS8WP possibly sounds a lot worse than it was, but I did feel very unbalanced, and I am a lot happier with my nutrition now. I enjoy meal planning each week, I love the variety that I have in my diet, and I am a lot better at ‘listening’ to my body these days. I have more balance in my life – not just with what I eat, but overall – and I feel a lot better for it.

I (kind of) Quit Sugar, and I liked it – Part II

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Click to read Part I.

Week 2

Spend much of the week tired, teary, cranky and anxious – but we’re just over four weeks out from an interstate move and there is still a lot to be done, so this is probably ‘normal’. The scales show a loss, which I suspect is a combination of stress and cutting out sugar. The headaches seem to have disappeared, but I’m completely exhausted.

Had a Friday lunch with work colleagues at a Thai-Indian-Nonya restaurant. Knew that my dish would include sugar, but threw caution to the wind and just ate it. Honestly, I will not be the person that sits at a restaurant and asks the waiter to ask the chef to omit sugar from my dish. I am really into giving this giving-up-sugar-thing a go, but I’m not going to let it rule my life.

Mr Posy calls me late Saturday afternoon telling me that his SIL wants us to go out for ice cream down by the wharf after we’ve had our dinner. I have a minor breakdown, before deciding I’ll just have water and fake a stomachache. We get down to the wharf and I discover that the ice cream place has a ‘natural yoghurt’ ice cream, which I decide is a good alternative. There’s no denying it has sugar added, but it is definitely a better choice than the triple chocolate, and, I feel, a good compromise. I am very conscious of how my attitude to and decisions I make about food might impact Niece Posy, and I decide that I am not going to be the person sipping water while the rest of the family is enjoying ice cream on such a beautiful evening. I am just going to have to make the best choice that I can in these situations – we only have a few weeks left with family before we move, and I intend to enjoy this time.

I feel incredibly anxious on the Sunday, but thankfully I have a coffee-date with a friend, and I feel a lot better after talking through some of my moving-anxiety with her. I stop by our local on the way home to do the grocery shop for the week – $80, seriously, eighty bucks, for the two of us for the week, again including all breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks. This includes meat/fish for five out of seven dinners… Amazing!

Week 3 

Despite sleeping terribly Sunday night (I think thanks to the second coffee), I wake feeling fairly refreshed Monday morning. Waking early is definitely getting easier. Despite the late timeslot, I have a really good touch football game – I feel lighter, faster, stronger and more focused.

I realise that I am going to be without our fridge in about a week once the removalists have been in, and start to panic. What am I going to do without a fridge for two weeks?! This program relies pretty heavily on both the fridge and freezer – I am going to have to work something out.

I am feeling a lot better within myself, and while I’d definitely like to indulge in some chocolate or ice cream, I’m no longer having mad cravings for sugar. I’ve noticed I’m snacking a lot less now too – I eat when I’m actually hungry, not just because it’s a habit or because I’m bored… I don’t see a loss on the scale this week, but no gain either – my weight has remained stable, hurrah!

I argued with myself repeatedly all weekend – I wanted some ice cream or some chocolate, and I had one part of my brain saying “No! Don’t do it! Keep going with IQS!”, and the other part of my brain saying “Shut up! You’re an adult! If you want to have a scoop of ice cream, you totally can!”. Make a compromise with myself – I will keep going with the IQS program, but if I still want a treat when I’m in Sydney at the end of Week 4, it’s mine…

Week 4

I get through Monday – Wednesday on the IQS program (and when I jump on the scales on the Wednesday, I’ve again remained stable!), but come off the rails a little Thursday – Sunday while we are in Sydney. Breakfasts are easy – eggs on toast, some days with a side of spinach, bacon and avocado. We generally skip lunch, instead opting for an extra coffee (bad!), but dinners are tricky, mostly because I refuse to ask if sugar has been added to a dish, so I just make the best choice that I can with the information that is in front of me. Where I really come unstuck though, is at Yogurt World. The first visit on the Thursday, I can rationalise that it is the treat that I said I would have at the end of Week 4 in Sydney. It’s just a bit of frozen yogurt, a little fruit, a little chocolate (that I actually find too sweet). The second visit on the Friday I rationalise as a celebration – we were accepted on a place that we applied to rent, hurrah! The third and final visit on the Saturday is just because, and still I don’t feel guilty, and I probably should…

Week 5

It is supposed to be detox week (no meat, no wheat, no caffeine (WHAT?!) and no alcohol on top of the no sugar) – I thought we were already bloody detoxing? – but I have a little problem… The removalists came first thing on the Monday morning, packed up my house, and drove away with all my belongings – so that makes things a little difficult. We only have very basic kitchen utensils, plus a cooktop and oven, and I’ve borrowed a bar fridge from my brother – no freezer, no food processor or blender, no sharp knives etc etc etc. I decide that I will move detox week to Week 7 or 8 once we are in Sydney and in our new place (!!), and that I will just rely on regular IQS recipes this week. With under two weeks to go in PosyTown before we move to a city in a whole different state more than 4,000 kilometres away, it’s probably not a good week for me to be ‘detoxing’ anyway. Me without coffee? Not pretty. Not happening. Not this week or next, anyway…

Still to come: Weeks 6-8 and life after the IQS8WP in Part III.

I (kind of) Quit Sugar, and I liked it – Part I

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I was going through my drafts, and realised that with all the craziness of moving to Sydney and then getting married that I never published this post! So here it is – from back in 2013…

Back in August (2013), a good friend mentioned to me that she was interested in giving the whole ‘I Quit Sugar’ thing a go. I had seen the IQS social media frenzy and read a little about it, and was intrigued, but reasoned that I didn’t believe in cutting out entire food groups for the sake of it. I know, I know – would we call sugar a food group? Well, if you’d looked at my diet pre-IQS, then you could be mistaken for thinking so… And don’t you cut out fruit as part of IQS? That’s ludicrous! I realised that I just didn’t want to give up all things chocolate, and once I understood that cutting out fruit was only temporary I decided to jump on the (band)wagon to go along for the ride with my mate. Here is my experience of the IQS 8-week program.

One last hurrah

The incredibly mature thing to do when you’re about to embark on eight weeks of no sugar is to of course eat as much of it as possible while you still can. I know we’re only cutting out fruit temporarily, but I eat it like it’s my last supper. Along with caramel in my coffee (I don’t even normally add sugar to my daily latte!), copious amounts of chocolate ice-cream, and a bag of red frogs. Know that the initial detox is going to hurt. A LOT.

The initial preparation

Lying  on couch feeling sorry for self – suffering from terrible indigestion, a smashing headache, and fatigue from said sugar binge. Realise that I’m being ridiculous and it’s time to make the change. Remove self from couch and head off to forage for vegetables at local supermarket. Buying regular milk (i.e. not skim/low-fat) is so foreign, that I stand in the dairy aisle staring at all the cartons of milk for so long an employee asks if I need help finding something.

Weekly shop for two people (for breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks) comes in at about $200 in total. Given we normally shop for dinner each evening after work (and usually buy lunch during the day), this is an incredible saving, and if nothing else comes from this plan, we’ll be saving on the cost of groceries, AND we’ll have less waste each week.

The weekly cook-up involves roasting beetroot, sweet potato and pumpkin, and steaming broccoli and cauliflower. My whole house smells like farts.

Week 1, Day 1

Feeling rather virtuous after my glass of lemon water at 6.00 am, followed by my 7.00 am breakfast of porridge (made using real oats, not instant), with toasted pepitas and coconut flakes. Manage to get out the door and on my way to work earlier than I have in months, and having eaten breakfast. Feel that it would be counter-productive to consume my morning coffee, but I love my daily ritual and I purchase my latte  from my local cafe (on full fat milk!) anyway. Not ready to give up this indulgence, especially not in the first week that I give up all things sugar.

Slammed with a throbbing headache about 2.00 pm. Would normally have had chocolate/fruit/low-fat fruit yoghurt by this time, but this is just a headache, and not a detox symptom. Right? Feels a little early in the program to be having withdrawal headaches, surely. Email my friend who is doing the program, and we conclude that it’s just a headache.

Dinner is delicious – Sausage, Walnut & Beetroot Hash. With yoghurt. Yes, sausages and yoghurt – I had no idea it could taste so good.

Replace my ritual of dessert on the couch while watching TV with a cup of peppermint tea. Miss you, chocolate ice cream.

Week 1, Day 2

For the first time in months, I actually feel like eating breakfast shortly after waking. Headache from yesterday returns with a vengeance (again around 2.00 pm) – try to fight it off with carrot sticks.

Sister-in-law texts “Dinner at our place! My cousin is making Spanish hot dogs!” – I just want to go home and eat the salmon that is on the meal plan for tonight, but we have less than six weeks left in PosyTown, and we’re trying to spend as much time with both our families as possible. I nearly fall asleep at their dinner table, I’m just. so. tired.

Week 1, Day 3

Another day, another headache – this time it hits me shortly after waking. Am on the verge of tears all day, but that is pretty unsurprising given how stressed and overwhelmed I am with planning our interstate move and wedding (less than six weeks and eleven weeks out). Want to devour an entire bag of Caramello Koalas to numb the anxiety. Eat a carrot. May turn into a carrot by the time this program is over.

Get home from work and want to eat bags and bags of red frogs, bars of chocolate and bowls of ice cream. Go for a run instead.

Week 1, Day 4

Hit snooze twice before dragging myself out of bed. Went to bed late, didn’t sleep well, and am completely exhausted as a result. Vow to make an effort to go to bed earlier. Headache hits about 1.30 pm. Dawns on me that perhaps I need to up my intake? I’ve been skipping my mid-morning snack as I’m still full from breakfast, but perhaps this is a hunger headache and not a withdrawal headache at all? Will test theory tomorrow.

Week 1, Day 5

So much for going to bed earlier. Absolutely exhausted after a late night (though I did sleep soundly for a change). Really struggle to open my eyes and take an exceptionally long time to drink hot water with lemon. Manage to make it to work on time, but all I can think about is how tired I am, and how much I want to go back to bed.

No headache today, hurrah! I don’t know if it’s the quitting sugar/generally eating much better, or if it’s other life changes that are all falling into place, but am feeling much happier, more settled, and just generally content.

Week 1, Day 6

Saturdays are usually big snacking days for me, so was a little nervous with how I would cope. I spend most of the day on the couch watching chick flicks, and thankfully feeling uncharacteristically not-hungry.

Week 1, Day 7

Father’s Day – up early to go out for breakfast with Dad, as he’s in town for the weekend. Breakfast out is pretty easy – poached eggs with bacon and spinach + a latte.

Get our weekly shop out of the way – about $120 for both of us, again including all breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks. Can’t remember the last time we spent so little on groceries.

Go for a really long walk in the late afternoon, and end up in tears. As you do. It’s really hard to separate moving/wedding/family stress from detox symptoms. Really want to comfort eat chocolate ice cream right now.

I still have seven more weeks of this?!

Stay tuned for Weeks 2-8 and life after the IQS8WP in Part II and III. 

30 by 30 – Cooking up a storm

Back when we first moved to Sydney, I found myself checking out West Elm/Pottery Barn/Williams-Sonoma on a Thursday night for new homewares, when I noticed that Williams-Sonoma offered cooking classes. I mentioned it to Mr Posy (who has come a very long way since he was first learning to cook, and now regularly puts me to shame), and he also thought it sounded like a fun idea (and it meant that I could cross off an item from my 30 by 30 list), so I made a mental note to book us in for a class. As it so often does, time got away from me, but in August I finally had a look at the calendar and booked us in for a class – which we went to last week!

We were originally booked in for a ‘Date Night: Marrakech’ cooking class (which I mostly chose based on the date of the class), but they contacted me in September to say that unfortunately they had to cancel the Marrakech cooking class and that it was now a ‘Date Night: Tapas and Sangria’ class. They gave us the option of going ahead with this class, choosing a different class on another date, or obtaining a refund – we chose to stick with the class on the same date (they had me at Sangria!).

I’d had a bit of a rough fortnight at work, so I was fairly exhausted and almost considering piking on the class, but I quickly changed my outfit (Mr Posy and I both wore white shirts. To a cooking class. Who does that? Total amateurs!) before I could change my mind – and I’m so glad we went.

Williams Sonoma

I wasn’t really sure what to expect – would we be cooking or just watching? As I sipped sangria, completely oblivious to the cooking stations around the kitchen, I decided we must just be watching. The chef, Hulya, explained that she would be cooking three dishes, and then we’d also get to have a crack at making the third dish. Oh…

The first dish put in front of us was the Gambas al ajillo. Oh my word, amazing. What’s more amazing, was that I managed to get through the shrimp without spilling sauce all down my top…

Gambas al ajillo

As we all devoured the shrimp, bread and sauce, Hulya started putting together the flan (so it would have time to set), explaining that it always helped if she fed the participants while she was preparing the other two dishes. I think the term ‘hangry’ was even thrown about. As she had with the shrimp, she explained each step as she went, showing us the consistency that we were looking for (with the custard), and passing around ingredients for us to look at and smell.

Once the custard was ready, it was poured into loaf pans and put away to set – and on to the meatballs. Hulya went through each step of the recipe, explaining what to look for, what consistency the sauce should be, how long to reduce everything down – and after a quick taste, it was our turn!

Seeing as Mr Posy is such a whiz in the kitchen these days, I left him to chopping up the onions (though Hulya did show us a new technique which meant no tears!). And also mixing up the meat and squishing the meatballs. I chopped the parsley. And the almonds. And mixed them up with olive oil, saffron and paprika. For those playing along at home, I made the sauce.

Cooking

Token shots cooking the meatballs.

Meatballs

The end result looked and tasted a little bit amazing. Albóndigas en Salsa de Almendra. Meatballs in almond sauce. I will definitely be making these at home, but maybe with a little less garlic.

In the interest of leaving room for chocolate flan (and more sangria), we packaged up most of the meatballs to take home for later.

Flan

This flan was delicious. The mix of dark chocolate and chilli confused my tastebuds a little initially, but was incredible. The caramel/toffee was a little sweet, so I couldn’t get through it all; the flan would have been off the charts with some strawberries and/or a little cream – something I can’t wait to try again at home!

All in all, we had a really fabulous night – the class was fantastic, really well organised, and a lot of fun. I will definitely be booking in future classes with Williams-Sonoma. It was fun to learn new dishes with Mr Posy, and the classes would also make a fun girl’s night out. Importantly, we asked for the sangria recipe before we left – with the weather starting to heat up, it will be the perfect accompaniment to a summer barbeque.

Under my skin

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Nails on a chalkboard. Crunching. Slurping. Belching. Singing out of tune. Scraping against ice in the freezer, or a chair scraping across the floor. Cutlery screeching across crockery. Throat clearing. Nails being filed. Chewing gum. Teeth being drilled at the dentist.

What noises make your skin crawl?

As is often evidenced by my ranting on Twitter, for me, it is noisy eating. Though the guy sitting in front of me on the bus last week hocking back logies (snorting back his boogers) was definitely a close second.

Somehow, I always seem to end up surrounded by these people. Perhaps it’s just because it drives me so crazy, that I notice it more – like only really noticing that the supermarket has a baby aisle once you’re having a baby (or a friend has a baby), or seeing a certain car brand or type everywhere you go only once you are in the market for that car?

Noisy, crunchy food is one thing, but it surprises me just how common people chewing with their mouth open seems to be. People who are often around my age – certainly old enough to know better. Has a family member or very close friend never told them that it’s extremely poor manners to chew with their mouth open and/or speak with their mouth full? Don’t even get me started on those who look and sound like a cow chewing the cud when they’re chomping down on gum…

On public transport, it is easy enough to move carriages when somebody is chewing in my ear, or I try to ignore it if I know my stop isn’t far away, but there always seems to be at least one in my workplace (no matter where I work) – and as much as the sounds are enough to drive me right out of the room, I really can’t just get up and move away. Especially when they eat all. day. long. Currently, I have two people in the general vicinity of my desk who like to munch on noisy food (what are they eating – gravel?), rustle in paper bags before chewing loudly (one with his mouth open), noisily slurp soup/hot drinks/from straws when they reach the bottom, make out with their strawberries, proclaim “aaaaaahhhh” after each sip of their tea, and the best bit – belch loudly after they’ve finished eating.

I am in Hell.

It would be okay if I could time my lunch break to be out of the office while they eat, but these two snack right throughout the day. I can’t very well ask my boss if I can move desks – “Why do you want to move?” “Oh because I am going to scratch my eyeballs out if I have to listen to the people around me masticating in surround sound every single day for one minute longer.” I have taken to wearing headphones, but I have to say, the level that I need the music to drown out the munching and slurping is going to seriously impair my hearing.

It’s really only a matter of time before I’m reduced to a rocking, crying mess underneath my desk, or I completely lose my sh’t with them and tell them to chew with their f’cking mouth closed.

I can’t really see my workplace implementing a No Eating at Your Desk Policy any time soon, and while I like the thought of anonymous passive aggressive notes in theory, they’re really not my style (instead I just publish ranty posts on my blog…), so perhaps it is time to invest in ear plugs. I just have to work out how to explain them to my boss.

Minnie Mouse cake pops

Speaking of baking and cake pops, Niece Posy recently turned three, and I thought it was as good a time as any to try my hand at Minnie Mouse cake pops (actually, making cake pops in general) for the themed birthday party that my SIL organised. As well as arranging an amazing cake, she also managed to track down Mickey and Minnie suits!

Minnie Mouse party

All the articles and blog posts that I read online suggested making the process as easy as possible, so I totally cheated and used cake packet mix and store-bought icing. The cake pops were quite time-consuming as it was, so I was all about shaving off a few minutes where I could. I made the cake on the Friday night, so that I’d have all of Saturday to get through the remaining steps of this Bakerella recipe, for the party on the Sunday. I was still up fairly late on the Saturday night finishing the cake pops off!

I managed to find this cute site with free Minnie Mouse printables, so while the cake was baking, I got busy with my printer, some scissors and sticky tape.

Cake mix

Crumble the cooled baked caked into a bowl and mix in a little icing at a time – you don’t want the mixture to be too squishy.

Cake pop balls

Roll a tablespoon of your mixture into cake balls, and place in the freezer to firm up (but don’t allow to freeze). You don’t want to roll these too tightly, or they’ll expand and crack once they’re out of the fridge.

Styrofoam

Melt Candy Melts in the microwave (as per packet instructions – don’t overheat, they do burn!); dip your cake pop stick into the candy melts (I didn’t bother adding any candy colouring) and insert into the cake ball (about 2/3 through). I then placed these back into the freezer for about fifteen minutes to firm up some more.

Place the cake pops in a block of styrofoam – then stick two ‘ears’ (I used Nestle Melts) to the cake balls using more of the melted candy. Stick these back into the freezer for about fifteen minutes, before moving to the fridge so they don’t freeze, because a certain little person wants to get stuck into the arts and crafts.

Melt more of the Candy Melts in the microwave, and very carefully dip (no twirling or the ears will come off!) or, using a spoon, pour the melted candy over the cake pop. Fashion a bow using pink hearts, and stick back into the freezer to firm up, before wrapping in a cellophane cake pop bag and tying with ribbon.

Ta-da!

Ready

I had more than enough Minnie Mouse cake pops, so also made some plain cake pops with sprinkles – these were much easier and far less time-consuming to assemble.

Cake pops

While the cake pops were fairly labour-intensive, the look on Niece Posy’s face when she saw the finished product made it all worth it. “AUNTY POSY! YOU MADE KICKEY MOUSE CAKES! FOR MEEEE!” 

Yes, my little bug. I made Kickey Mouse cakes, just for you.

Happy Birthday

30 by 30 – We all scream for ice cream

30 by 30 - Make my own ice cream (#20) For Christmas 2010, Mr Posy surprised me with a shiny red KitchenAid. I had been coveting these beautiful mixers for a few years, and couldn’t believe that I now had one of my very own to take pride of place in my kitchen. She really is a beauty. Baking with Niece Posy For Christmas just gone, he bought me the KitchenAid Ice Cream Bowl Attachment. The perfect accessory! Just what I needed to mark #20 off my 30 by 30 listmaking my own ice cream. I’ve ordered The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz (for under thirty bucks for the hardback copy with free shipping from Fishpond), but while waiting for that to arrive, I thought I’d try a recipe from my Serendipity Sundaes book. I bought recipe books from Serendipity3 (where we went for dinner) the day Mr Posy proposed when we were in New York City for Christmas five years ago, and they sat on a shelf ever since. It was definitely time to take one of the recipes for a spin! I had planned to make a basic vanilla ice cream, but the first recipe in the book was for chocolate ice cream, and given how much I love chocolate, I took it as a sign…

Chocolate Ice Cream (Serendipity Sundaes)

Chocolate Ice Cream Ingredients

  • 3 large egg yolks (I used 4)
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups lite cream
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Approx. 250g chocolate (the recipe called for good quality dark, I used milk…)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Method

  • Heat milk over a low heat – when warm, add the chopped chocolate, and stir through.
  • While milk is heating, beat egg yolks and sugar in a bowl until pale and thick.
  • Add a ladle (or two) of the warm milk/chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and whisk until combined (tempering the eggs will stop the eggs from curdling… I learnt something new!).
  • Add the tempered egg mixture to the warm milk/chocolate mixture and continue to stir over a low heat, until the liquid coats the back of a spoon (about 10 minutes) – do not overheat.
  • Pour into a heatproof bowl, and allow to cool to room temperature. Stir through vanilla extract, cover, and place in the fridge to chill for at least 8 hours.

Method

  • Churn as per instructions for ice cream maker (mine churned for 30 minutes; I added grated chocolate in the last few minutes of the churning process).
  • Freeze in an airtight container.

I’m happy with the end result, but there are a few things I’d like to do differently next time I use this recipe – use a vanilla bean pod in the custard instead of extract, use a good quality dark chocolate as instructed instead of just a regular block of milk chocolate, use full fat milk instead of the trim milk that we had in the fridge, turn the air-conditioning on during the churning process… I’m in love with the KitchenAid Ice Cream Bowl Attachment – I was a little nervous that it wouldn’t work as well as an actual ice cream machine, but the mixture thickened/aerated well, and resulted in a deliciously creamy ice cream. The ice cream is so good that I want to eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I don’t know how I will ever eat store-bought ice cream again. 30 by 30 Make my own ice cream

“Without ice cream, there would be darkness and chaos.” – Don Kardong

Would you like fries with that?

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When I finally moved in with Mr Posy, and his family moved in to a house across the road, my mother-in-law cried when we told her that we didn’t want her to clean our house, do our laundry, or cook for us every night. After much negotiation, Mr Posy finally got her to agree to bringing meals over only twice per week. I suspect she was concerned that he would starve, and any less was not going to fly with my MIL.

Most people that hear this tale lament over how nice it must be to have meals cooked for us a couple of times a week, and are usually quite taken aback that I am not equally as enthusiastic about it.

Let me take a guess at the amazing Greek dishes you’re envisioning Mr Posy’s mother cooks up for us… Delicious fresh salads, trays of Moussaka, Spanakopita, Dolmades, Stuffed Zucchini Flowers, Skordalia, hearty soups, grilled octopus/squid/calamari, Prassorizo, oven-baked lamb with potatoes?

I still remember that look of shock on Little Miss Moi’s face when I told her that this was not the cuisine that my MIL cooks up at all. My mother-in-law has a deep fryer, and as such, meals are usually of the battered-and-fried variety. Only, she cooks the meals up long before we arrive home from work, so one could imagine the mushy-plate-of-grease that greets us. I’m not a big lover of fried food at the best of times, let alone when it has been left sitting around for hours to go cold and soggy.

It took two years of my MIL sending over semi-weekly meals, but I finally gave in and ate a dinner that she cooked up.

Beef, I think of the roast variety, with fried rice.

It had been a long week at work, I was hungry and completely exhausted, and Mr Posy microwaved it for me. I don’t think I’ve ever put away a meal so fast in my life.

The dinner was tastier than your regular microwave-meal, and just what I needed at the time. A bit like a late-night-dirty-cheeseburger-run after a few too many wines, really.

Mr Posy learns to cook

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Mr Posy is learning to cook. Up until a couple of months ago he’d never so much as cracked an egg in his life, and he thought that raw cookie dough went on a tray into the fridge (until I explained they went in the oven to bake). Now you’d think he was cooking for his life. Or for a Top 12 spot on Junior Masterchef.

Not one to start off with something simple, like scrambled eggs, or toast, Mr Posy’s first dish was an omelette. An egg white omelette. I came out of the bedroom one morning to find him in the kitchen picking shells and egg yolk out of his egg white mix, and trying to work out whether the frying pan was hot enough. PosyDog and I settled into our front-row seats to watch history in the making.

Unfortunately, the pan had a little too much heat, and Mr Posy wasn’t quite quick enough in getting his ingredients into the pan (and was a little too generous with his vegetables), which resulted in… a bit of a mess, quite frankly. Mr Posy assures me that his dish was delicious, regardless of appearance. I skipped breakfast.

Mr Posy next decided to tackle crepes. Gluten-free crepes. Anybody who has ever cooked with gluten-free flour before will know that it can be a biotch painful to cook with, requiring a little extra liquid, and a lot of TLC. Thankfully, I recently found that White Wings make fantastic gluten-free flour – so fantastic that you’d never know you were eating a dish free from gluten – so I knew Mr Posy was in safe hands, but I was still scared nervous. He was a little heavy-handed with the Nutella, but otherwise they were pretty damn amazing. Even if his pan did have too much heat at first (recurring theme here?), which resulted in charred crepes. That promptly went in the bin.

After two dishes, Mr Posy had worked up some confidence, and decided that his next mission would be Bill Granger’s Ricotta Hotcakes with Honeycomb Butter. Gluten-free. I was dubious, given his track record.

His “secret” ingredient for the honeycomb butter was a Crunchie, with the chocolate scraped off.

“I have a good honeycomb recipe, if you want it?” I offered.

“No, it’s okay – this Crunchie is perfect!”

“I’m pretty sure Bill Granger doesn’t use butchered Crunchies in his honeycomb butter,” I teased.

I had to eat my words the following morning when Mr Posy served up the most delicious hotcakes I have ever tasted. Better than Bill Granger’s. The hotcakes were thinner than what Mr Posy had eaten at Bill’s, but they tasted less flour-y/dough-y. The honeycomb butter was to die for.

A few mornings of Ricotta Hotcakes for breakfast and I worried that I was going to start piling on the pounds. PosyDog came to my rescue and scoffed my breakfast one morning when I went left the room for a brief moment to get something. She was alone for less than two minutes, and she managed to demolish my hotcakes, banana and honeycomb butter. I came back to find her licking the plate clean.

Mr Posy later announced that he had “conquered breakfasts, and was moving on to dinners”. I bought him Jamie Oliver’s Ministry of Food (Anyone can learn to cook in 24 hours). He whipped up Jamie’s Lasagne that night. It took him 3 hours. I had avocado on toast for dinner.