Hello, my name is Sandy.

No-'sugar' no-flour brownies

slices of fruit brownie

Going on a caveman diet was more life-changing than expected. I've been asked a few times about it, so will write more later. We're not Primal any more, but learned heaps about food. Most pertinent here - ingredient substitution.

Purely Fruit Sweetened Brownies is the second recipe I've tried from Elana Amsterdam (the first being her cake-like gluten-free bread). We couldn't find unsweetened cooking chocolate, so this is kind of cheating - but the idea here is to combine the flavour of chocolate with the sweet stickiness of dates to get a choc-fudge kind of thing.

I don't know if I'd go as far as to call these healthy. There are a lot of dates, and sugar is still sugar - but if we're gonna gorge on brownie, we may as well do it this way.

They turned out tasting and texturing like proper brownies. :) In addition to the listed ingredients, I tossed in a handful of dried cranberries and topped with desiccated coconut.

desiccated coconut on chocolate brownie

This is an easy and straightforward recipe, but I have the cooking equivalent of not-a-green-thumb. It ended up taking me 2 hours to prep this cos I fucked up so much.

So, in the spirit of learning from mistakes:

  • If you smell burning while blending, it means sticky bits are getting lodged around the blades, causing the motor to work extra hard.
  • Use a sturdy chopstick for dislodging sticky bits from blender crevices.
  • Chop everything before blending. Chocolate and dates are worse than stodgy when they get together.
  • If you didn't chop before blending, keep a damp wiping cloth and a dry hand towel nearby, as chopping mid-blend makes a huge mess.

Finally, when you use a cake tin, you get something cake-shaped. Next time, I will use a proper brownie tray.

slices of brownie cake

#baketober has been great incentive to think about oven things. As soon as the house stops smelling of chocolate, I'll figure out what savoury snack we might try next.

I'm not coeliac! Yes!

I'm not coeliac! So I celebrated with a char siu bao.

I am, however, happy to be back on a mostly gluten-free diet. I feel better with less bread and pasta, cakes and cookies. I prefer my relationship with food when those things aren't around so much.

Even without being allergic to gluten, I suspect I'm a bit gluten sensitive. But I can cut out some of the worry. 80/20 rule. One bao every now and then won't hurt. Neither will the occasional meat pie or ramen. Yay!

The results also showed that I'm negative for both Thalassemia and being a carrier. However, my neutrophils are just below acceptable range. Neutrophils are the infantry of your body's defense system, and today I learned sugar can affect neutrophil count. I wonder if increasing my sugar intake in that week of gluten (there's sugar in bread, cakes and cookies) had anything to do with it. But neutrophils can temporarily show up low if you have a cut or an injury too. You know, just to make things less clear.

So, next step will be the skin patch test to learn for sure what foods disagree. This is expensive, so it won't be until I've saved up.