If you’re considering low calorie baking, it’s worth remembering xylitol

Just a reminder about xylitol, in case you didn’t know.

It’s a natural sweetener, taken from birch trees, found in fruits and even our own bodies. And it’s almost ½ the calories of sugar.

xylitol
40% less calories than sugar

New sweeteners are coming on to the market constantly, but xylitol has been around for some time and has nothing artificial about it – in fact it can be used in cooking in the same way as sugar and is suitable for diabetics.

As a brand of xylitol, Total Sweet is a sugar alternative, that looks, feels and tastes just like sugarand has a GI value of just 7.

For an example of the kind of recipes you can use xylitol with, jams, mirangues and pastries for example, check the Total Sweet website.

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You won’t believe how good St Dalfour’s dessert sauces are

I don’t how to say this, but I think St Dalfour have totally hit my sweet spot.

St Dalfour deserve to be well known for the excellence they pour into all of the foods they make, taking the best in natural ingredients and making something special.

St Dalfour Strawberry Sauce
An amazing sauce made of real strawberries

This time they’ve conjured up some amazing organic dessert sauces. Because all those ingredients are the best, when they say Strawberry Sauce they mean it’s full of real strawberries (at least 50%) and the rest is simply grape juice – that’s it!

St Dalfour rightfully call these Gourmet Sauces. And the best news is there is an incredible tasting Chocolate Sauce and a tantalising Blueberry Sauce too. All the sauces are Low GI, there’s virtually no fat in there at all, meaning they’re good for the waist line and all are also gluten free.

You have got to taste these, they truly deserve an award.

Healthy pizza – is it possible?

Healthy pizza is finally here
Healthy pizza is finally here!

If you are living, breathing member of the human race…

You are also likely to love pizza.

But, if you are a conscientious type of person, you may also be concerned all that white flour dough, oil and cheese  which can’t be so good for you.

So Whole Creations have gone and made the whole thing healthy for you.

If you want a full, delicious tasting pizza here it is. It comes with a nutritious thin wholemeal base made from 100% wholegrain and lots of vegetables on top to count towards your five a day – at least 2 or 3 on every pizza.

It’s low GI (the best way of losing weight) and makes a good source of protein with just the right amount of cheese. Best of all, it’s vegetarian and the taste is unique.

Choose from Roasted Vegetable, Cherry Tomato and Mozzarella, Mixed Pepper and Goats Cheese or Spinach, Ricotta and Tomato.

Try this Sweet Freedom Christmas Cake recipe (and win your own bottle…)

Sweet Freedom is a great way of reducing the amount of calories you consume, because it has 25% less calories than sugar and you only need to use half as much. As it also has a low GL (Glycemic Load) it’s a good choice for diabetics and the weight conscious. Plus with a following including the likes of Raymond Blanc you can rest assured that it tastes great!

Email me with your name and address if you’d like a chance to win 1 of 20 bottles of Sweet Freedom (UK only, offer closes Thursday 2nd December 2010)

Christmas Cake with Sweet Freedom
Christmas Cake with Sweet Freedom

Try out both the Sweet Freedom Syrup and Sweetener in this recipe for a traditional fruity rich Christmas Cake.

Makes a 18cm (7”) round cake

300g Sultanas
300g Raisins
100g Currants
85ml Rich Cream Sherry
125g Butter, softened
125g Sweet Freedom Natural Syrup
125g Plain Flour (or 75g of rice flour and 50g of ground almonds for a Gluten Free version)
¼ Tsp Ground Mixed Spice
¼ Tsp Ground Nutmeg
3 Medium Eggs, beaten

To Decorate
15ml Brandy
200g Ground Almonds
100g Sweet Freedom Natural Sweetener
½ Tsp Almond Extract
5ml Lemon Juice
Red & Green Food Colouring Pastes

You will need a deep round cake tin measuring 18cm (7”) in diameter.

1) Place the dried fruit in a bowl and pour over the sherry, stir to coat all of the fruit and then cover and leave overnight.
2) The following day, preheat the oven to 160C/Fan 140C and line the base and sides of the cake tin with non stick baking parchment. Also, make a collar out of several layers of brown paper and fasten around the outside of the tin with string or a paperclip.
3) Cream the butter and Sweet Freedom until pale and fluffy. Mix together the spices and flour and mix a spoonful into the mixture, followed by a little of the beaten egg. Continue adding flour and egg little by little until they have all been mixed in. Finally mix in the soaked fruit and then spoon into the prepared cake tin. Flatten the top with a knife or spoon and bake in the preheated oven for 2 hours or until a skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean.
4) Leave to cool in the tin for about an hour then transfer to a cooling rack. When the cake is cold wrap in baking parchment and tin foil and leave in a cool place.
5) The cake is best made several weeks in advance to allow it to mature.

To decorate
1) Remove all the wrappings from the cake and brush the top with the brandy. Leave to soak in for a few minutes.
2) Mix together the ground almonds, Sweet Freedom, almond extract and lemon juice until it forms a soft dough. Knead into a ball. As you knead the almond paste the oil is released from the almonds which makes it easier to handle.
3) Take 225g of the almond paste, place it between two sheets of baking parchment and roll out into a circle the same size as the top of the cake. Remove the top layer of parchment, slide your hand underneath the bottom layer and flip the almond paste over onto the top of the cake. Gently press it onto the top and tidy up the edges.
4) Colour two thirds of the remaining almond paste with green colouring and the rest with red colouring. Roll the green in between two layers of baking parchment and cut out holly leaves. Roll small amounts of red almond paste into balls for the berries. Decorate the top of the cake with the holly leaves and berries. They should easy stick to the almond paste topping but if not, just lightly brush the top of the cake with a little water.