The real devil's food cake

Judith Wills / 21 February 2014

Despite a healthy start to the day, a particularly delicious-looking cake catches diet and wellbeing blogger Judith’s eye.

So my lovely friend Pam called me on Monday and said why didn't we meet up at the new coffee shop and gallery in our local town of Kington, and have a catch up. Sounded good to me, so on the morning I had a good breakfast of yogurt, nuts, seeds, chopped apple and a small sprinkling of oat muesli, knowing this would ensure I didn't feel at all hungry, and thus wouldn't be tempted by such things as cakes or scones. It would just be a small coffee for me.

However, it wasn't the coffee aroma that hit me as we walked in, but the glorious waft of recently baked coffee and walnut cake.

“No. NO!” I screamed. “Whatever you do, Pam, don't let me near that cake,” I begged. There's just something about it I find irresistible, even when I'm not in recovery from Sudden Inexplicable Prolonged Sweet Tooth Syndrome, which I am at the moment - and have been doing well.

I couldn't turn around and walk out – and miss out on all the latest gossip and laughs that Pam and I always enjoy, no way.

“But the slices are quite small,” said Pam. “I'm going to have one. Are you sure?” And in less than a nanosecond, there I was, agreeing to a small (otherwise known as large) slice of the real devil's food cake. To protest or stand up for myself in any way against it was, as usual, futile.

Yes it was lovely. And afterwards I refused to feel guilty as that would have rendered my slip from grace completely pointless. If you're going to go down, go down with a smile, a little yelp of joy as you eat, and a grin of satisfaction for the rest of the day.

And the good news is that it didn't mean a return of the SIPSTS; I haven't had a sweet craving since.

The other good news is that I've been treadmill walking and (my fingers are tightly crossed here) my back is more or less okay apart from some residual stiffness. I'm cautiously using the hoola hoop again and doing some rowing. I decided against spending £168 on a new monitor for the rower and just use a kitchen timer to increase the minutes I row every day. The money I save is going towards some extra help in the garden with back/hip-wrecking hand weeding and digging, so I can concentrate on exercise that will burn calories and ease my problems, not make them worse.

Here in the Marches, the sun was almost warm through the open kitchen window today – and there was plenty of birdsong. Maybe that long, foul winter is almost over, the field and mountain footpaths will dry up a bit and I can once again enjoy walking - rather than wading or bog-snorkelling - outdoors. A perfect recipe to beat anxiety, which apparently is more common in 60-plus females than in any other demographic. Nice to know I'm not alone!

Ate last night:

Hake with gigantes beans and chorizo

Hake is a meaty and magnificent fish which marries well with Mediterranean flavours. It's not easy to find in the supermarkets but Martin, our local fishmonger, usually has it. I served the hake – pan fried in a very little olive oil - with two-thirds of a 355g jar of giant butter-type beans in a herby tomato sauce (the brand I found at Sainsburys was Odysea Baked Gigantes Beans), cooked up in a pan with some crushed garlic, chopped spring onions and a small amount of diced chorizo (not too much as it's quite salty) for a few minutes. The beans contain some carbohydrate but are also protein-rich, unlike potatoes, so this is a very easy reduced-carb supper. The leftover beans will keep in the jar for a week in the fridge, or try them as a lunch as they are, with salad leaves.

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