I was going to call this post ‘Fat Free Britain’ as one of the major things that I have noticed since moving back to the UK is the total lack of Full fat products (and lack of choice) It is almost impossible to find full fat yogurt, cream, crème fraiche etc in my local supermarkets, and I am faced with a vast array of insipid low fat (often higher in sugar!) alternatives.
Even tasteless and impossible to cook with low fat cheese is on sale, and you have to be careful not to put this into your shopping trolley by mistake (as I did at the weekend while shopping in Marks and Spencer, and ended up with something that more resembled rubber than Cheddar!) And do not get me started on low fat ‘butter’ that is a toxic conglomeration of hydrogenated fats and chemicals.
Given all this low fat lifestyle, in comparison with France’s very full fat one, then why is the UK now oficiallythe fattest nation in Europe and France one of the thinnest – someone somewhere has got it horribly wrong…….
I have never succumbed to the low fat, sugar free diet myth – after all if it worked then it would be the victim of its own success, and I am still in size 8 (UK) tops and size 10 skirts (though maybe sizes are more generous these days to make people feel better about themselves and boost sales?)
All of you who follow me regularly know that I make almost everything from scratch, avoiding additives and preservatives (agent de conservation in French – this is a HUGE ‘faux ami’ and a preservatif in France is actually a condom – so take care !!!)
And you will also have learnt that there are very few ready meals in France compared to the UK (see my post on tuna pasta bake for a more in depth look at this)
Britain is not only ‘low fat’ it is ‘sugar free’, gluten free’ and jumping on any food industry bandwagon that rolls along.
Unless you have coeliac disease and are allergic to gluten, there is no benefit in eating gluten free – most gluten free products add ‘gum’ in place of gluten which causes bloating, the very thing that gluten is thought to cause………….
There is a current t.v. programme being aired at the moment called ‘Sugar free Farm’ where a group of minor ‘celebrities’ ’survive’ on a sugar free (and sugar substitute free) diet for four weeks.
I am confused and can’t see the point in this program, let alone their whinging, as this is more or less just my usual day to day diet, no stress, no hassle, no problem.
But I am conscious of eating too much fat, so I do make some concessions – as this dish, which replaces half of the normal quantity of minced beef with Puy lentils, making it lower in fat, higher in fibre and high in protein and vitamins – and VERY tasty, in fact many of my friends prefer this version to regular lasagne.
I have also replaced the pasta sheets with very finely sliced sweet potatoes to cut down on carbs. This also works very well. For a veggie version, just use all lentils and add a finely chopped red and green pepper to give a little more substance.
Watch this space for a delicious veggie moussaka coming up in a few weeks……….
250g Minced beef
250g Puy (green) lentils
A can of chopped tomatoes
1 small red onion finely chopped
1 clove garlic crushed
½ a green chilli finely chopped
½ teaspoon of Nutmeg
½ teaspoon of Cinnamon
1 good teaspoon of Oregano
1 dessertspoon of tomato puree
A splash of red wine vinegar (or red wine)
Freshly ground sea salt and black pepper
2 large Sweet potatoes finely sliced (in the widest sense)
30gm salted butter
1 tablespoon of corn flour
½ pint of whole milk
30 gm Cheddar cheese, grated
1 tablespoon of freshly grated parmesan cheese
‘Dry’ fry the mince for 5 minutes
Add the onion and continue to gently fry for a further 5 minutes
Add the chill, garlic, oregano, nutmeg, cinnamon, tomato puree and mix well
Add the red wine vinegar (red wine)
Add the tomatoes and ½ can of water then add the lentils and season with salt and pepper to taste
Cover and simmer gently for around 40 minutes
Melt the butter in a non-stick pan
Add the cornflour and mix to a smooth paste
Remove from the heat and stir in the milk, returning to a gentle heat to thicken, stirring continually to avoid the formation of lumps
Add the Cheddar and stir until melted
Putting it all together
Put half of the sauce in a lasagne dish
Cover with a layer of sweet potato
Repeat and cover with the béchamel sauce
Sprinkle with the parmesan and cover with foil
Bake in a moderate pre-heated oven for around 1 – 1 and a half hours until the potatoes are soft and top golden.
Please DO try this, I guarantee that you will not be disappointed – serve with a mixed salad (and maybe, as me, some garlic bread hmmmmm delicious)
Enjoy – Lindy