It’s Autumn. It has to be – it’s Sunday and we lit the fire mid morning and just hung around and read the papers.
The Sunday Times is our paper of choice; well it’s his paper of choice and I really don’t mind. I love AA Gill‘s writing and generally read most of the main paper, the news review section and one or two of the features in the magazine.
So far today all I’ve managed is the main paper, until I got too cross about the article on obesity – GPs are offering people gastric band surgery, and the mayor of somewhere or other says that poor people can only afford junk food. A gastric band should not and must not be seen as an easy solution to obesity – sensible eating and taking more exercise have to come first. And anyone who believes that junk food is cheaper than fresh food should actually look at what they are eating, and what they could eat if they cooked from scratch. Fresh veg is not an expensive option, and I don’t believe that junk food is cheaper than a pot of homemade soup.
I’ve been overweight all my life, despite eating relatively healthily (if you believe that relatively low fat, fresh food is healthy). I live a pretty sedentary life and haven’t exercised for years, literally years. I’m not proud of this.
I have never thought that a gastric band could be the answer, but have tried weight watchers and other calorie based diets in the past. Nothing has felt easy for me and the weight has always crept back on. It’s hard to keep it off when cooking and baking are such enjoyable and key activities in my life.
In July this year I saw a nutritionist. She asked me thousands of questions, and ‘prescribed’ a low carb diet for me. No carbs for breakfast, and low carbs for the rest of the day – concentrate on proteins and green veg; avoid white processed carbs, and avoid fruit juice. In fact avoid most fruit, especially bananas. I’ve not had a glass of fruit juice or a banana since. And so far I’ve lost 11lbs and feel healthier than I have in years. And I’ve never felt hungry, or struggled to know what to eat.
Now, I’m not suggesting that all obese people try this – but it works for me. I have a metabolism that copes well with this regime. From day one I haven’t craved a carb, and the best thing about this eating regime is that there are just whole aisles in the supermarket that I just walk past. Why walk down the bread aisle if I’m not going to eat processed carbs? In fact, apart from household stuff, I pretty much just go to the meat/fish/dairy and veg aisles and leave all the others. I’m discovering some interesting new flavour combinations, and now know that I don’t need pasta or rice or potatoes or bread to bulk out a meal for me to feel satisfied.
One disadvantage is that it is not a cheap way of eating as protein rich meals tend to be more expensive than carb rich meals. Swapping my porridge for scrambled eggs for breakfast may help my weight-loss, but does not help the bank balance.
However, I’m buying more sensibly and not throwing out as much food as I used to, so perhaps it’s balancing out.
Anyway, you might be wondering why this is called lemon kisses if it’s all just about obesity. I warn you, lemon kisses are not going to help in any diet, whether you are low fat, low carb, low calorie. It’s got them all. But oh, they are so light and buttery. And lemony.
Autumn Sundays aren’t just for getting cross at the papers. They also need to involve lots of good kitchen time – yesterday I made some sweet gherkin pickle (so easy and so delicious) and today is all about the baking. And knitting. More on the knitting soon.
But back to the lemon kisses.
I first made them back at the beginning of the year, and then promptly forgot where I’d put the recipe. So, I googled today, and here they are, courtesy of the BBC Good Food website. A batch is in the oven right now.
200g butter, at room temperature (or warmer if your kitchen is as cold as mine)
140g caster sugar
1 egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla extract
zest of 1 lemon
280g plain flour
And for the filling and icing:
1/2 jar lemon curd (preferably home made – go on, it really is deliciously simple to make and who hasn’t got 30 minutes to make a jar of lemony loveliness?)
zest of 1 lemon
juice of 1 lemon
140g icing sugar
Oven 180C, GM6
- Mix the butter, sugar, vanilla extract, egg yolk and lemon zest with a wooden spoon in a large bowl
- Add the flour and mix together – you may struggle to get it all to bind with the spoon, so tip it out and lightly knead it together with your hands
- Roll out (I do it in two batches) on a lightly floured surface and cut into cute little biscuit shapes
- Place on baking trays and pop in the fridge for about 30 mins
- Bake for 8-12 minutes till golden. Cool on a wire rack
- When cool, spread half the biscuits with a little lemon curd, and sandwich each with a second biscuit
- Mix the lemon juice and icing sugar, and drizzle over the biscuits; sprinkle with lemon zest. Leave to set on a wire rack
- Eat. In moderation.
One of my favourite easy puddings is a pretendie lemon ripple ice cream, made with a couple of scoops of nice vanilla ice cream (not too sweet a brand) and some lemon curd swirled through it as it’s served. Serve with lemon kisses. I guess you could go mad and do a lemony knickerbocker glory with ice cream, fresh cream, lemon curd and lemon kisses. Perhaps even some crumbled lemon kisses over the top of the glory as decoration? Over to you – just remember that eating a knickerbocker glory every day is probably not the best way to get a portion of your five a day. You heard it here first.