Carb-free 2015? Help!

Fear of Carbs.

Wow that time of year has finally arrived – what will we resolve for the New Year? And thankfully 2014 is over! Would take too many resolutions to sort out the chaos of my life so I imagine it’s best to make small steps.

I’d like to eat better in 2015. Meaning? I’d like to better control my type 2 diabetes. The key seems to be to limit carbs – I think I finally get that it’s carbs that spike my blood sugar levels, not just sugar. But how to go low carb? And how low do I go?

Besides, it’s unnatural! What is curry without rice/chappati/naan? What is Bolognese without the spaghetti? (please keep your “zucchini spaghetti” recipes for someone else). What else but whatever you call bread, can mop up a bowl of soup? My forebears lived on rye bread and pickles.


We break bread – I could go on and on. Smoked salmon and bagels.


I’m genetically engineered to eat bread.

Certainly cutting back on carbs is doable and desirable. I seem to have got that, but am often unsure what on earth I can eat, that I actually want to eat. We all have trouble breaking away from our learned behaviours. (In my case think, “eat bobbele, eat”), but we can relearn.

What I had to get past was that typical marg not butter, lo-cal 60s mentality. My Dad has his first coronary at 40 – back in 1964. You can just imagine. Our house was stripped of butter; we’d hardly ever seen cream. However meat was eaten in gargantuan proportions.

Then I became a pudgy pre-teen and the game was on. I developed extreme fear of fat. Over the years I learnt to cook, I’ve also learnt to eat and by and large I cook from scratch and eat well. I have not succeeded in managing my type 2 diabetes through diet. Apparently I shouldn’t load up on fruit after dinner. That makes me sad – a bunch of grapes is not a family block of chocolate

I think I’m in danger of increasing my fat intake, only reducing my carbs a little and ending up just eating everything and putting on weight.

I seem to be getting better but my big problem is my carb-laden evening meal. I’ve bought the smaller plates, I’m eating half the carbs I was, I’m taking olive leaf oil but I’m still waiting for my Chanukah miracle.


Oh yes, forgot about the donuts and latkes, ….surely God wouldn’t have made carbs if we weren’t meant to eat them?

Any helpful hints greatly appreciated – Have a healthy New Year!


A very Jewish Christmas

So the big question this week is clearly, what will you eat at Christmas? Apparently it’s unfashionable to cook turkey at Christmas, we should be all Neil Perry with poached salmon and prawns, sorry that’s salmon sous vide, with avocado and mango salsa.

And it’s too late to start looking for a goose – the highlight of a Christmas when my stepson Illya showed us what the Brits can do in the kitchen.

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Here he is doing a bomb alaska.

But I love turkey and each year I wonder why we don’t have it more often. It can be cooked and served cold after all and the seafood, well that’s nice for an entree.

Here’s what I’m expecting my bath will look like on Wednesday.DSC02842

So while Chanukah is still going strong I’m busy planning Christmas lunch, I’m really not a great Jew. Apparently good Jews ignore Christmas – see http://http://www.jewfaq.org/Christmas.htm for details.

I grew up in a family that always celebrated Christmas, though never with pork or ham. Mum always cooked a turkey and she usually bought extra legs, which helped to avoid conflict but may have confused the kiddies.

I was the youngest of 4 children and when I turned 13 Mum declared that the Christmas lark was over. I was old enough to accept we were Jewish. So I asked if I would get Chanukah presents, but since clearly we weren’t observant Jews, mum pointed out that Chanukah is a minor holiday and I could forget that angle too. I protested loudly, but Mum insisted. We would do lunch and we would get small gifts only. This was really depressing given that we hadn’t ever got lavish gifts.

Then I grew up and fate directed me to the kitchen for a living. Eventually I became a caterer and my first gig was doing a wedding buffet. Amongst the dishes I served was mango-glazed breast of turkey. I wasn’t sure what glazed really meant but I liked the sound of it. It was a resounding success and rather cutting edge for 1983. Stop laughing!!IMG_0174 2

I don’t get to spend many Christmas’s with my Sydney family these days but my niece Sammy has taken up the mantle and my brother likes to tell me hers is better. He thinks I’ll be put be out! But I am a foodista and now a senior female. It’s all about passing the baton and recipes are only a starting point, you can take them where you like so I’m very proud.

Nobody misses out on ChristmasIMG_0190 2

Here’s my recipe for the mango sauce – cook your turkey (goose, duck or chicken) as you will – you can baste the turkey with or without the sauce and then serve remaining sauce on the side. This would go well with any fruit you like, but mangos are in season and are the perfect complement for poultry.

You will need a small bunch of fresh coriander – chop the stalks for sauce and keep leaves for garnish



1 Tbs chopped ginger

3 cloves garlic

1small finely diced salad onion

then add 2 tsp ground coriander

2 tsp paprika

then add

finely chopped coriander stalks

when its all bubbling nicely add

2 tsp honey and a slurp of wine

the chopped flesh of a very ripe large mango

No I can’t suggest the wine – I use what ever is available – sweet kosher wine is ideal. When you’re satisfied it’s well-cooked blend and serve with your turkey – coriander leaves to garnish.

I will serve latkes on the side and a crisp salad. http://www.smartfoodmama.com/festive-frying/

I’m thinking pavlova for dessert since I’ve never made one. My mother used to make a cheat’s cassata for Christmas – you’ve probably seen some recipes – let the icecream soften and then stir through mixed fruits and nuts – refreeze. But my Mum soaked the fruit in rum for about a month so this was not a dessert for the children, but a fab and boozy Antipodean way to avoid steamed pudding overload.

Whatever you do for Christmas I hope it’s delicious, even if it’s a sous-vide salmon.

Another Xmas – with Christine Bond!



Always ready to give thanks

I was very excited to be invited to my first ever Thanksgiving lunch, even though traditional Thanksgiving foods were eschewed. I thought I’d better contribute so I baked a peach küchen. What is a küchen? Küchen is German and also Yiddish for cake. Why would I bake a traditional Jewish cake for Thanksgiving, well why not? Or maybe because it’s quick easy and delicious.10846435_883206265037099_2910108964616618607_n

And it was, yes those are little bits of mango as well.

I got this recipe from Judy Jackson’s The Jewish Cookbook. I’ve only used a couple of recipes from this book but they’ve been great.


This recipe is a one mix-bowl number – then you top with fruit and brown sugar. I used 2 large duck eggs, from my mate Emma. They were huge so I tinkered with quantities. This isn’t usually recommended but I’ve messed with this recipe before as the first time I made it seemed not to be as runny as the illustration so I added more milk, I also tend to reduce the sugar. Judy Jackson tells us to peel the peaches, but in this day and age I leave the skin on and it makes it more colourful. You could do this with any fruit you like, and this will make pretty muffins too.

Beat till smooth:

¾ softened butter (unsalted)

2 eggs

3 cups SR flour

½ cup milk (I probably used 1 cup)

Pour into baking tin (20cmx20cm) lined with baking paper

Top with peach slices then sprinkle over ½ cup soft brown sugar mixed with ½ tsp ground cinnamon

Bake for 40 mins @ 180 °. Baking times are always dicey I find. Ovens have a mind (or at least a temperature of their own) so do the skewer test – I find it takes closer to an hour in my oven.

This cake really deserves whipped cream and so do you.