Monday, 24 May 2010

It's mostly about cheesecake

Getting back on rations is actually proving difficult.

It's not the actual rationing. As far as I can tell, I'm fully ration-compliant. It's just that I've not got round to doing the usual trappings yet: printing off coupons, making lists, keeping up with the admin that makes sure that I know I'm on track.

The problem is, I know I'm on track. It's become a reflex to me. Run out of butter? That's okay, I can buy some more in X days. CJBS wants bacon for breakfast? That's okay, he can have 3oz now, and 7oz if he waits two days. Team meeting at work with lunch provided? That's okay, I'll just not have any cheese for 3 weeks and then I can grab a sandwich.

This is actually all one big #fail because I'm putting weight on again. I've just got this down to a fine art and seem to be making a glorious pig of myself all the time, yet still have slack. I've said before, and Michelle also noticed, there's a knack to rationing. Once you've got it, it's actually easy (although when people ask me about it and I tell them, they cringe and look appalled and start talking about exceptions and food parcels and ways I could use a modern version of the black market to get round the restrictions, so it's clear only I think it's easy).

Yesterday was my birthday (it turns out I'm 35. I'd miscounted somewhere and thus had my second 35th in a row. This is a Good Thing). I made a glorious birthday tea. Lashings of domestically-grown salad, a cheesecake with strawberry toffee topping and some champagne. And I did it within rations and without noticing that I was doing it. This keeps happening. I suppose if I did the admin, I'd find I was going wrong somewhere, but I don't think so: CJBS complains enough about the shortages to make it clear that I'm not being lavish or anything near it (he's actually taken to begging for extra cheese, despite having left untouched the last 6oz of his ration over 3 weeks without complaining about not having it whilst it was waiting for him) and I'm just not buying enough of the restricted groceries to make it likely.

Of course, the hot weather we're now getting makes this easier: salad requires no points and is easily available locally, albeit still with no celery, and hot weather and salad go perfectly together. In fact, I just had to ditch an unused stockpot that had gone whiffy, although I started a new one immediately, even knowing I was just as unlikely to use that either.

I'm probably going to have to make this project harder if I plan to keep blogging about it - it's dullsville of late, I know. Making it harder would also do something for my body's amazing ability to put weight on even when I'm not having any fat, although it would make a tad more joyless.

In the meantime, here's the cheesecake recipe. Soften an ounce of butter and two ounces of margarine. Smash a dozen biscuits (Belgian Speculoos are good for this, but ginger biscuits in general are okay and digestives will do it). Mix the fat into the biscuit crumbs and push together until it's like dough, then push it into the bottom of a cake tin. Put the tin into the freezer for an hour.

Take a good blob of mascarpone cheese and slightly less thick double cream and mix together. You can add some jam or marmalade if you like it sweet, or the zest of a lemon if you like it tart. Slop that into the tin on top of the biscuit base. Put it in the fridge.

Put a cupful of water into a heavy saucepan with about 8oz/250g of sugar and turn on the heat. You want the water to slowly boil and you want to swirl it rather than stir it. When it starts to boil, reduce the heat. Now take a punnet of strawberries (washed and halved, don't huile them, it's just waste) and drop them in. Add a quarter of a teaspoon of baking powder. Continue on a low heat, swirling occasionally. Don't leave the pan: if it burns, you'll be sorry. Let it reduce down to a thick tar-like liquid.

Take it off the heat, let it cool a bit, then pour the pan contents on to the cheesecake and put it back in the fridge. You now can't lose: if it stays liquid, it's cheesecake with strawberry coulis. If it gets very thick, it's cheesecake with sticky strawberry sauce. And if it sets, it's cheesecake with strawberry toffee. All of these are delicious. And if I have no sugar for cups of tea for the next two weeks, it was worth it.

1 comment:

Michelle said...

Happy birthday! We are the same age but I didn't celebrate my birthday in January with a cheesecake...clearly I must amend my ways!