The word diet to me is foreign. So many people are going on diets in January and of course, eating less can only be a good thing after the never ending eating sessions at Christmas time. Often it can be quite challenging though: dieting successfully isn't that straightforward as too many things can get in the way and by February most people have already given up.
In my early twenties, when I was young and impressionable, I used to follow diets which always ended after a couple of months at the most.
Over the years I have learned that diet really is a lifestyle and you should have the odd treat too. That is the only way to succeed and keep in shape. Clearly if you eat doughnuts every day you will never lose any weight but a doughnut once a week is fine. You can start to change you lifestyle by eating more wholemeal foods, less sugar (to do that you need to wean yourself off sugar by cutting it down slowly over several months), no fizzy drinks or processed foods.
What will happen over time is that you will actually start to enjoy your new diet. Your taste buds will adjust and appreciate simple wholesome foods and you will feel full for longer as wholesome healthy food has more nutrients in it. My favourite way to keep in shape is to eat brown rice and lots of soups and pulses with olive oil of course. Olive oil goes everywhere in the Mediterranean cuisine.
So no strict punishing regimes but healthy nourishing foods to start the new year and with the odd treat too! Usually once a week.
So here it comes: a yogurt and pineapple cake with olive oil perfumed with lemon zest and a touch of vanilla. Perfect to lift the mood at this time of year when you hardly see the sun (in the UK), it is cold and we are all tired. I have added a few bits of pineapple inside the cake as well which helps keeping it moist. This is like an upside down pineapple cake, moist and perfumed but with yogurt.
- Prep Time : 20 minutes
- Cook Time : 35 minutes
- Yield : 8
- plain flour sieved (spelt or wheat) - 280 g - 2 +⅓ cup
- baking powder - 2 tsp
- eggs - 3
- natural yogurt - 250 g - 1 cup
- olive oil - 60 ml - 2 fl oz
- sugar - 100 g - ½ cup
- lemon unwaxed - 1
- vanilla essence - 1 tsp
- pineapple slices - 2
- For the topping:
- pineapple slices - 6 or 7
- brown sugar - 100 g - 1/2 cup
- pineapple juice - 50 ml - 1.7 fl oz
- butter - knob
- cherries - to decorate
In a bowl whip the eggs with the olive oil. This will help giving the cake a nice soft consistency. Add the sugar and keep whipping to get a fluffy consistency.
Add the lemon zest, the vanilla, the yogurt, the sifted flour and baking powder. Mix well.
Chop 2 pineapple slices into small pieces and add them to the mixture. Stir well.
In a pan, over a gentle heat, melt the brown sugar with the pineapple juice and the butter. Let it bubble up until it will look like a runny caramel.
Pour the hot caramel onto a greased round springform baking tin measuring approx 23 cm or 9 inch and spread it around the tin; place on top 6 or 7 pineapple slices with one in the middle and the cherries.
Pour the cake mixture onto the pineapple and level it well with a spoon.
Bake at 180C or 350F for 30 to 35 minutes. Test it with a toothpick and if it is still too moist inside leave the cake in the oven for a few more minutes.
Remove from the oven, let it cool down a little and then remove the tin. Turn it upside down and gently remove the base of the tin too. Do not wait until the cake has completely cooled down otherwise the caramel will stick to the tin.