Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Crème Caramel and Healthier Microwave Meals

Crème Caramel

This is a lighter version that uses milk instead of cream. Many of the recipes I saw online used milk instead of cream. I don’t know the history of crème caramel but I presume it was initially made with cream but now the milk based versions are becoming more popular. I have never tried crème caramel made with cream but I think I would prefer the milk based version because of lightness. The recipe is available here.

Today's Favourite Photo
Gingerbread Hobbit Hole

Today’s Favourite Blog
Source: The Guardian
We are going round in circles it seems. Researchers say recipes from Jamie Oliver and Nigella Lawson contain more calories and fat and less fibre than microwave meals from supermarkets. The research, published in the British Medical Journal, in a way suggests that the healthier option is microwave meals.

The researchers state that the nutritional implications of the recipes in some of the bestselling cookbooks were taken for granted. It is assumed that home-cooked food is better for us than ready to eat meals. They looked at 100 recipes in some of the nation's favourite cookery books – 30 Minute Meals and Ministry of Food by Jamie Oliver, Kitchen by Nigella Lawson, River Cottage Everyday by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Baking Made Easy by Lorraine Pascale. They compared the nutritional value with those of 100 randomly selected brand name ready meals from Asda, Sainsbury's and Tesco. Ready meals came out winners. Some examples:

1. Oliver's 30 Minute Meals recipe for meatball sandwich, pickled cabbage and chopped salad, for four people, is just under 1,000 calories per serving. His mini shell pasta with a creamy smoked bacon and pea sauce from Ministry of Food has 125g of fat and 63g of saturated fat. 
2. Lawson's beer braised pork knuckles with caraway, garlic, apples and potatoes has 1,340 calories per person and 102g of saturated fat
3. Fearnley-Whittingstall's Gill's poached leek and Dorset Blue Vinny tart contains 217g of saturated fat while his mixed mushroom tart (for two) has just 3.2g of fibre. 
4. Pascale's pork with calvados, caramelised apples and mustard mash has 1,161 calories per serving and a total of 147g of sugar.


  1. Your crème caramel looks lovely! Actually in my case it's not the milk vs cream that preoccupies me, but the caramel part... When the custard is sweet, the caramel topping makes it impossible for me to enjoy. Although maybe it's possible to make it less sweet? I always prefer crème brûlée! (and of course you know I make it half cream half milk and it's not my invention, but the famous French chef's who even doesn't mention it's because of fat or calories. It simply tastes lighter and more elegant.
    As for the Guardian's article... Luckily the famous cooks they mention do not count calories, fat, saturated fat etc! People apparently still don't understand why home-cooked meals are better... It's not all about saturated fat etc.. (Big big sigh!!!).

    1. Thank you. The custard was not sweet - I used bit less sugar than suggested. I think I also prefer crème brûlée - esp the crunchy bit.
      I forgot to mention - the article talks about unhealthy, calorie and fat, implying that high calorie and fat is unhealthy!

  2. A beautiful crême caramel but you can have mine, not a fan. The hobbit hol pic is awesome. OK I love that article! I feel less guilty when I get a frozen meal after a long day at work lol.

  3. They might look ok in calories but the salt content on those meals is frightening! :(

    1. True, it seems the research was not thorough enough

  4. Creme caramel is always present in Filipino Christmas dinners we call it leche flan, I love them.