New Year, sucralose and an Apple Watch

CakeSo, now we have started 2016. I distinctly remember thinking that in the year 2000, I would be really old.


I’ve had a lazy summer and autumn (at least as regards physical exercise), and now it’s time to reverse the trend of gradually putting on weight. I’ve also caved in and bought myself an Apple Watch (second hand). I got it a couple of days ago, and so far, it’s pretty good fun. It’s also nice not to have to dig my phone out of my pocket every time I want to stop or start music, knock things off my to-do list, or set a timer. It’s also going to be a better activity tracker than the iPhone – especially since my work clothes have no pockets so I end up leaving my phone on my desk at work whenever I go to the loo.  I have to admit, the challenge of getting the little coloured activity circles to close is a spur to keep moving – which is, of course, pretty much the point.

Another development this month is that I’ve started to use Splenda (sucralose) for cooking, after coming across it at work (see Rubinstein E. et al, Comparison of 2 delivery vehicles for viscous budesonide to treat eosinophilic esophagitis in children. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2014 Sep;59(3):317-20). My husband and I tend to have chocolate-chip muffins for lunch, made with a Madeira cake recipe. Obviously, that’s pretty calorie-intense, and since one really good way of burning off calories is running up and down the Hill That Shall Not Be Described in the local park, I’m quite motivated to not consume the calories in the first place.

My first idea was to swap the chocolate chips for currants. After all, they look the same…

The second idea was to reduce the amount of sugar by a third – which, surprisingly, doesn’t seem to affect the taste much as long as you put in a good slug of vanilla essence.

Idea number 3 was to use Splenda to replace some more of the sugar, and the change wasn’t noticeable.

So the recipe for Madeira cake muffins is now:

  • 175g margarine
  • 60g golden caster sugar
  • 5g Splenda (sucralose)
  • 3 eggs
  • A slug of vanilla essence
  • 200g self-raising flour
  • 50g ground almonds
  • 100g currants

Mix it all up in the usual way for cake mix, put into muffin cases and bake at Gas Mark 3 (150 degrees C) for about an hour.

Next week’s bake, I’ll see if I can reduce the sugar content even further…


First legal job…

The next stage of my legal career begins on Monday. Having survived my GDL exams (seven 3-hour exams in 11 days, oh what fun we had), I start my job as a paralegal in a small high-street solicitor’s firm.

Several concerns spring to mind:

  1. How does one acquire clients? At least I’m doing Wills and probate, and a Will is something every adult should have. You can’t say the same about divorces, or personal injury.
  2. Am I going to gain weight or lose weight? In my current job, people bring in cake nearly every day. And cake is there to be eaten. I’ve gone from a size 8 to a size 10. I really don’t want to get any bigger… (Like Oscar Wilde, I can resist everything except temptation.)
  3. How much of an advantage would be a knowledge of Islamic law be? And how long would it take to acquire one?
  4. Am I going to break my neck before the end of my first week? Unfashionable flat shoes notwithstanding, I know where my desk is going to be, and it’s right at the top of the building up an extremely steep staircase.
  5. Why is it that it’s nearly impossible to find a smart blouse suitable for work nowadays? That is, one that doesn’t look as if it is more appropriately worn on a beach somewhere. I nearly ended up in the school uniform department.

We shall see…