I use aspartame.
Yes, I'm aware of the many controversial claims about its side effects (one being memory loss, how would I ever tell? ;) But if I stopped ingesting every food and drink stuff about which I'd heard a scare story, my diet would consist of nothing but potatoes. And wait, aren't potatoes linked to…
So I use aspartame. (And sucralose too, for that matter). In my cheap instant coffee. :)
Pete can't stand the aftertaste but it's never bothered me.
When I was invited to a PR event for Canderel recently, I was genuinely interested to learn whether Canderel could be used in cooking, having read that aspartame breaks down at high temperatures, losing its sweetness.
The event was held in the lovely home of an interior designer who runs cookery classes in her kitchen, which she also rents out for filming, photo shoots and events such as this.
We were welcomed with cocktails and nibbles as we waited for everyone to arrive.
Canderel had recruited Emma Lewis, chef and former editor of BBC Good Food Magazine, to develop a range of recipes using their product.
Ingredients already weighed and measured out for us and equipment at the ready, we paired up and worked our way through the recipes provided, under Emma's friendly guidance.
We started off making a simple walnut bread (recipe provided below), followed by beetroot chocolate brownies and mini strawberry trifles before gathering around the hob as Emma made a quick chicken tagine with couscous.
Some of the recipes worked better than others – I really liked the walnut bread and chicken tagine. The brownies were OK, but a little bland in flavour, unlike a beetroot chocolate cake I'd sampled previously. The trifles didn't really work for me though they looked very pretty!
Best of all, after our labours, we all adjourned to the pretty courtyard garden outside and had a lovely meal together.
8 tablespoons granulated Canderel
225 grams plain flour
1.5 teaspoons baking powder
0.5 teaspoons bicarbonate soda
50 grams half fat sunflower margarine (I'd substitute this for butter, personally)
1 large egg
grated zest from a medium orange
150 ml fresh orange juice
100 grams roughly chopped walnuts
4 tablespoons skimmed milk
- Grease a 2 lb loaf tin and line with non-stick parchment paper or a pre-formed liner.
- Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees, gas mark 4.
- Put the Canderel, flour, baking powder, bicarbonate soda and salt into a bowl and stir together.
- Beat the butter and egg with the orange zest until creamy (the mixture will look curdled, this is OK).
- Add the orange juice and stir well.
- Add the dry ingredients and walnuts then mix until just combined.
- Add the milk to give a soft consistency.
- Spoon into the tin and bake in the pre-heated oven for 40-45 minutes until a skewer comes out clean.
- Allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out onto a rack.
The bread was a success, with a lovely texture, a pleasant citrus tang from the orange juice, the crunch of the walnuts and just the right hint of sweetness from the Canderel. I really liked it!
Many thanks to Canderel, Emma Lewis and JCPR for a lovely evening.