Okay, I want to do something a bit different today. May 6th is International No Diet Day. Every day of the year we are faced with unrealistic body images and pushed to obsess about our appearance. Everywhere we look, the media is bombarding us with images of photo shopped models, to the point where it’s easy to forget what a real human being looks like. In a society where body diversity is rarely celebrated, it’s good to be able to focus on the idea that there is no correct body shape; and to remember that dieting isn’t always the way to a healthy and happy life. International No Diet Day aims to raise awareness of the dangers of dieting and the unlikelihood of it leading to permanent weight loss; to help end weight discrimination and to remember the victims of eating disorders and extreme weight loss procedures. While no one would dispute that poor diet can lead to health problems, no one ever has ever been helped by being shamed. No Diet Day was begun in 1992 in the UK by a woman named Mary Evans Young, who had suffered from anorexia nervosa. It’s also her birthday today, so happy birthday and good health to her.
So, in the spirit of No Diet Day and, as baking is a thing that I enjoy, I thought I’d share a couple of definitely non-diet recipes with you today. The first is my mum’s recipe for cheese biscuits. She used to make them on Sundays and take them to church (there was always tea and biscuits afterwards). I inherited the recipe, along with the heart-shaped cutter that she always made them with. The second is for brownies. It is my favourite from a book of chocolate recipes that I’ve had for years. If I’m feeling fancy, I sprinkle a bit of edible gold powder on the top after they’re cooked.
3oz (75g) plain flour
3oz (75g) butter
3oz (75g) grated cheese
a little back pepper and paprika to taste
Cut the butter into little cubes and rub it into the flour (like making pastry) then add the cheese and seasoning. Work it into a dough then if it seems too sticky to roll out you can wrap it up and put it in the fridge for a while.
Roll it out pretty thin on a floured board and cut it into any shape you like. Put the biscuits on a greased tray, brush with beaten egg and bake at 190°C (375°F), gas mark 5 for ten minutes or until golden.
8oz (225g) margarine
13oz (375g) caster sugar
1½ teaspoons vanilla essence
4 size three eggs
40z (100g) self raising flour
3oz (75g) cocoa powder
½ teaspoon salt
4oz (100g) chopped nuts if you like
Grease and line a tin, which is about 11 x 7 (28 x 18 cm) and at least 1 inch (2.5 cm) high.
Melt the margarine and put it in a big bowl. Stir in the sugar and vanilla essence.
Add the eggs one at a time and beat each one in well.
Sift in the flour and cocoa, add the salt and mix it all up. Add the nuts at this point or anything else you might decide you want in it.
Pour it all into the tin and bake at 180°C (350°F) or gas mark 4 for around 40 minutes. Leave to cool in the tin and cut it up when it’s cold.
Happy No Diet Day x