I like health food. I love it even. I know a lot about the wellness benefits to a sugar-free lifestyle. I know that Maca will boost my energy like caffeine but without the sharp comedown. I know if I put Chia Seeds in my Granola, I will get an Omega 3 and fibre boost in one breakfasty hit.
My wages are spent equally between buying healthy cookbooks, health and fitness magazines, the newest superfood and a frightening amount of fresh ingredients.
I juice, I put beetroot in my stevia sweetened protein shakes. I don’t have sugar in my drinks and I make sure my carbs are as complex as a Blackilious rap.
I know that I need fats with my greens to absorb the benefits and I carry almonds in my handbag.
I know what Matcha and Lumicaca are and I understand supplements do not give you what their foodie counterparts do.
I know these things. I understand and I thrive from them.
So you would think that since the ‘Health is Wealth’ trend landed with a bang in Britain, I would be over the moon. But to be honest… I’m a bit fed up of it. I’m fed up of everyone cutting out meat, gluten, wheat, sugar, diary and joy. I’m sick of hearing that you shouldn’t be eating anything that doesn’t grow, walk or fly. I am over, hearing about the benefits of eating only raw food.
If you get caught up in this extremeness you loose sight of what food does, and the enjoyment it can bring. Healthy, pure and clean food is delicious but calling something clean or good – means other food is bad. This immediately leads to a cycle of guilt because you’ve eaten something someone fashionable told you wasn’t ok. It takes all the enjoyment away – leaving you feeling like you’ve done something wrong, which is a waste of time and energy and leads to binging.
I truly believe in looking after yourself. I believe you look good outside by doing good on the inside. What I don’t believe in, are desserts that are taken to pieces and made clean.
I buy the books, I cook the delicious healthy recipes – usually omitting the spiralled raw veg for something more substantial, but the desserts… the dessert sections are just too much.
Desserts are a treat, they aren’t meant to be eaten after every meal. They’re not supposed to make up your daily balance – but omitting them and replacing them with raw cocoa and pureed veg is not ok with me. I want my cake to taste like butter, I want my brownies to taste like chocolate and I want them to contain caramel.
Burgers are meant to have a bun and cheese, and they are meant to come with chips and onion rings. These things should be eaten with joy and abandonment. You should be smiling and covered in meaty juices and have you fingers dusted with salt. These things are to be kept special. If you eat with an awareness daily – you can factor these things in without worry or concern.
Health may well be wealth, but happiness if a far rarer fortune.
Now, its Easter – spend it with a smile on your face – ideally eating one of these lemon bars.
They are gooey, sweet and sharp. They have a crisp butter base in stark contrast to the lemony, soft top. They are unashamedly made with butter, sugar and white flour. They were boxed up and shared with family. With good times and laughter – every bite was enjoyed and not a single crumb caused any guilt.
- 125g Plain Flour
- 65g Caster Sugar
- 115g cold unsalted butter – cut into chunks
- Pinch Salt
- 2 Lemons
- 265g Sugar
- 115g Room temperature Unsalted Butter – cut into chunks.
- 4 Large Eggs – room temperature
- 2 Tbsp cornflour
- Pinch salt.
- Icing Sugar – optional
- Preheat your oven to 180oC/Gas 4/350oF.
- Line an 8x8 inch square baking tin with greaseproof paper.
- In a food processor, pulse butter, flour, sugar and salt until butter resembles small peas.
- Empty into the lined baking tin, pressing down to make an even surface.
- Bake in the centre of the oven for 20 minutes until lightly browned.
- Remove from the oven, leaving the oven on.
- In the processor again add the sugar.
- Zest both lemons and add to the processor.
- You only need the flesh from one lemon. You zest both, but only use one, so you can use the second lemon for something else -maybe in vodka....
- Remove and discard the white pith from your remaining lemon. Slice and remove the seeds. Add the pithless, seedless flesh from the one lemon to the sugar in the processor. Blend for two minutes until smooth.
- Add in butter and blend until smooth again.
- Add eggs, salt and cornflour and blend until completely combined.
- Pour over the shortbread base and bake in the centre of the oven for 30 minutes, turning once half way through – depending on your oven, you may need 5 minutes less or 10 minutes more – keep a close eye on it. They can catch quickly. Remove from the oven when the sides appear set and the centre has a very slight wobble.
- Remove from the oven to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely.
- Dust with icing sugar and slice into 16 squares.
- These bars keep well in the fridge. They lasted 3 days. Because we ate them. I have no idea if they'll last longer.
- Best eaten cold.