Comfort cravings and custard squares

15 Jul

Comfort food. Often when we’re sick or tired, we seek comfort in food. I don’t think that that’s necessarily always a bad thing. It’s when it becomes a habit that things can go wrong and addiction can set in. Part of the reason I am writing this blog is to learn more about sugar and what it does to us when consumed in excess, but I don’t want to be a party pooper, a preacher or a complete pessimist. After no-sugar-July, will I cut out all added sugars? No. Will I try to include sugar as part of a balanced diet? Absolutely. For me, food, like so many things in life, should be all about balance. There’s a link to the Mindful Foodie blog below and, if she hadn’t already created that blog, that’s possibly what I would have called this one. I want to enjoy food, but be mindful of what I’m putting in my mouth and what the effects of that action could be. Sugar is a necessary part of our diet, but I am increasingly aware of how it’s become too easy to let it take over. For those who are interested, here are some reasons why we crave sugar in our diet.

The only time I have had cravings for sugary treats this month (so far) is while I’ve been sick, but I haven’t indulged in any comfort food except for white bread (we don’t usually buy anything but wholegrain bread).  Really, due to an almost complete lack of appetite, all I’ve been eating is soup, bread and very small helpings of whatever the wonderful BFG cooks for me. Today, in fact, marks the first time in a week that I attempted to eat fruit. And no, despite the fact that I’ve had tonsillitis, I did not indulge in ice cream! More’s the pity :).

One thing I have craved, though only momentarily, is a good old kiwi custard square. And for my UK friends, a custard square is NOT the same as a vanilla slice, but it is quite similar.  However, these days I am finding them quite tricky to locate. It seems this good, old-fashioned kiwi treat is no longer en vogue. Personally, I prefer the traditional, wobbly, yellow square with white icing and a little bit of coconut, rather than the newer, more fashionable Denheath version.

I find the Denheath beasties to be fluffy and less flavoursome, with over-rich, cream-cheesey icing, so they don’t really do it for me. However, my friend, Mrs Cake, gives them a very favourable review in her Ultimate Custard Square Hunt, so perhaps it’s time to try them again and re-evaluate my opinion on this one… though not till August, of course.

Also, I do absolutely love the French version (arguably the ancestor of our common custard square): mille feuille; pronounced meal fu(r)-ee (like “furry”, but without the “r” sound) and literally meaning a thousand leaves, presumably due to the many leaves of pastry layered into the treat. This is a multi-layered custard square, usually with some chocolate squiggles across the top of the white icing. Just gorgeous.

The other thing I’d like to do with this blog is to include recipes for healthier versions of the foods I crave, though this won’t always be the case. Sometimes only the full fat, full sugar version will do! (Can you tell I’m a Nigella fan?). But, it’s always good to be aware of the alternatives.

So, today, in honour of getting halfway through the no-sugar month, I made some banana bran muffins for myself and BFG. I didn’t use any sugar, though the recipe was, ironically, from the Chelsea sugar web site – he he. Instead of adding sugar, I used some honey (about 2 tbsp, though I’m not sure if this was enough…) and some sultanas. So, natural fruit and honey sweeteners were used instead of white sugar. The result? Not too bad, actually. Not very sweet (you could use more honey if you wanted), but still quite satisfying.

The original recipe is here.

I’ll leave you with some links on ways to beat sugar cravings.

Paleo-diet based thinking – note that I’m doing number 21! 🙂

Being a mindful foodie

Bacteria taking over!


One Response to “Comfort cravings and custard squares”


  1. New year, New house, New job, New food! | Ambrosia Baby - March 5, 2014

    […] a bad head cold and I’m not all that hungry, but I have, nevertheless, been craving comfort food. Speaking of which, I made my famous Banoffee cupcakes earlier this week for my new colleagues. […]

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