3 Oct 2012

on cutting sugar, and a savoury recipe

This month we're kicking the sugar in our home - which means not consuming *reducing as much as we can of* any refined sugars, honey, fruit, dried fruit, tomato sauce, jam, chutney, sushi rice seasoning and balsamic vinegar...

While I'm not really a "sweet-tooth" or addicted to the stuff per say, with the waves of fatigue and lulls in energy I find myself relying more and more on that piece of dark chocolate, or spoon of honey in my tea, fourth piece of fruit, or extra slice (or two) of homemade cake to get through long mornings and slow afternoons.

I was once asked by someone what my thoughts on good nutrition were - and I am definitely no expert - but I do feel it comes down to a healthy balance of everything in our diet - of flavours and colours, seasonally eating, cooked and raw, - and to try, if possible, not to obsess to much about the "healthiness" or "calories" of what we eat - but rather focus on how food can fuel our bodies (and our brains), promote community, family togetherness, bring comfort and nourishment - and be intentional about knowing where our food comes from and how we can prepare it simply and well. Now this is what I feel for myself and my family, and we're in no way perfect, but its something I strive for a little more every day.

So this cutting sugar month is not about being puritan for the sake of it - its an exercise really - in living without excess sugars (since our body extracts plenty from starches and vegetables as it is), in experimenting in savoury baking and cooking - and seeing whether my energy levels rise as a consequence. This month I've also set myself some other body-nourishing everyday goals of going out for a longish walk at least once with baby in the sling, soaking in some vitimin D outside (by way of sunshine, if we're graced with it), share at least one nap with Reu... and try my very best to take twenty minutes or so to stretch my back and shoulders, and strengthen my core.

And with the farewell to sugar comes the welcoming of all vegetables, proteins, iron and healthy fats - which means plenty of fresh wholegrains, cold-pressed oils, full-cream butter, milk, and unsweetened yoghurt, cheese and nuts, local meat and free-range eggs too.

Admittedly, breakfast feels strange without that grated apple or sliced pear in the mix. Today we had warm porridge with a sprinkle of cinnamon and just-toasted almonds and pistachios. It tasted nutty and spicy and deliciously filling. For morning-tea I made these wholegrain sourdough cheesy-mite scrolls - a spin on the Australian classic bread scroll filled with vegemite and cheese. For those of you who do not delight in this wonderfully vitimin-b and folate-rich yeasty, savoury (sugar-free) spread  (you must be crazy!) You can substitute black olive tapenade or chopped fresh rosemary along with the cheese.

Here's how:

~ wholegrain, sourdough, cheesy-mite scrolls ~

1 cup warm water
1/2 cup sourdough starter, room temperature
2 cups plain flour
2 cups multigrain flour (mix of wholemeal flour with linseed, sesame, poppy, sunflower seeds)
1 cup rye flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tablespoon butter melted & mixed with 1 tablespoon (or more) Vegemite
1 cup grated cheese

Night before: in a large bowl combine water, starter and 2 cups of plain flour. Cover with clear plastic wrap or a damp towel and let stand in a warmish place for 8-12 hours - so overnight is easiest!

Day of baking: Stir in remaining multigrain and rye flours, soda, salt to form a very stiff dough - add more plain flour if you need. Then on a floured surface knead bread until smooth. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size - around 2 - 3 hours. Then punch down your bread and knead until smooth. Shape into a ball, then roll out into an rectangular piece about 1/2" thick. Spread butter/vegemite mixture liberally over the dough then sprinkle with cheese. Using one of the longer-length sides roll into a log. Using a sharp knife cut log into 10 or so pieces (depending on how thick you like them). Place scrolls close together on a lightly floured tray and let proof for a further 30 minutes while the oven heats up to 220'c. Bake in a hot oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Oh, I do feel the urge to break into savoury-muffin territory coming soon... 


  1. You're braver than I am! :)

  2. Though I'm not trying to cut out added sugar entirely, I am trying to reduce it in my everyday diet--especially at breakfast. For someone who is used to eating toast and jam or cereal with raisins every morning, this is a bit of a stretch, but I am discovering some delicious savory food. And I want to try this recipe. What the hell, I may even buy some Vegemite.

  3. Thinking back on this post, there aren't too many instances when wonderful and yeasty go in the same sentence! So Australian!


Thank you for reading! I do so love and appreciate every one of your comments even if I don't get a chance to reply.