Some foods should not be tampered with. Fresh, juicy tomatoes; a little salt, maybe some olive oil, but nothing more should detract from them. Freshly made sweet pancakes; fresh lemon juice and a sprinkling of sugar to make them perfect. Freshly baked bread; some good butter is all you need.
My problem, is that I mess things up by over-complicating them. I look for new ways to enliven familiar dishes. Putting twists on classic meals gives me a secret buzz, but inevitably ruins the meals I’m trying to bring to life. There’s a reason that some things become “classic”. They were good in the first place and they don’t require a tune up. Why can’t I just leave things alone?
You know what I’m talking about, right? That unnecessary topping on an otherwise perfect pizza. One ingredient too many in the smoothie that would have been fine. It’s sad to say, but I’m so guilty of messing up perfectly good combinations that it’s a wonder anybody in my family is still willing to try my creations.
There is, however, one bit of tampering that I don’t feel guilty about and one that yields good results every time. It’s what I could refer to as “The Excess Sugar Technique”. Spotting a legitimate opportunity for sugar, I simply crank up the amount until it is sweet enough to qualify as a dessert and therefore sweet enough for me. Exhibit A; my raspberry and almond smoothie.
I realised that smoothies could be enjoyed in a way that is not really intended or endorsed by those with an interest in health. It wasn’t long before I was having a ‘treat smoothie’ every now and again, instead of the usual healthy glass of fruit and yoghurt. Far be it from me to recommend this as a regular alternative to your protein-packed blended wonders. Instead, the next time you are feeling subversive, reach for the caster sugar and load up.
Raspberry & almond smoothie
300ml semi-skimmed milk
2 scoops raspberry ripple ice-cream
150g frozen raspberries
4 tblspoons caster sugar
2 tblspoons Greek yoghurt
1 tspoon almond extract
Blend everything together until smooth. I sometimes add a couple of soft Amaretti biscuits before blending, but this is optional.