It wouldn’t be January without some sort of purge going on, would it? To be fair, I haven’t made any resolutions or joined any gyms (as if), but in my ongoing pursuit of a waist, and with a little encouragement from my friend and fellow cake maker and eater Emily over at The Nest, I am kicking the sugar – or at least cutting back.
And, as everyone knows, misery loves company and, as this house isn’t actually a democracy, whatever goes for mama goes for everyone else. So, the good news for anyone who is equally inclined to cut their family’s sugar intake, is that what follows should (if all goes according to plan) be a batch of tasty and reliable sugar-free or low-sugar recipes.
Our Saturday mornings now spent on the GAA sidelines, meaning Sundays are our only pyjama breakfasts. Pancakes are still a favourite and we still rely on the most successful – and happily sugar-free, recipe pancake batter ever – a simple mix of eggs, flour, salt and milks. You can find the recipe here with the only change I’ve made over the years is frying them with a mix of clarified butter (or Ghee) and coconut oil – both or which are brilliant for avoiding a smoky kitchen.
As the kids have gotten bigger, it now takes a double batch of batter to feed the troops, so sometimes I use the same recipe on a non-stick waffle iron I picked up in Aldi for 20 euro a few years back. There’s similar one on offer in Lidl at the moment – or you can pick up a non-branded one in Argos fairly handy. They are frequently on offer so keep an eye out and you could swap standing over the pan for an even simpler flip of the machine.
For all the sugar-free goodness of our pancakes though, my kids drown their pancakes in lakes of maple syrup; lather them in lemon and sugar; and cover them in finger-licking Nutella. So to low-sugar our pancake breakfasts I needed to find a realistic alternative that the kids would go for – enter this sugar-free jam.
This honestly takes two minutes, a pot and a stick blender to make. You use frozen berries – handy because with a long-standing boil notice on (imported) frozen berries I’m alway a bit dodgy about flinging them into smoothies. The flip side of it being speedy is that, with no sugar to preserve it, even when stored in the fridge the jam only lasts about a week. But honestly, make a batch and see how easy it is and you won’t mind knocking up a jar that often.
A few notes on the ingredients:
- So far I’ve tried this with strawberries, raspberries and blueberries and all have worked well. I’ve used frozen fruit straight from the freezer.
- Being bigger the strawberries needed a little extra time at a low heat to melt. I’ve also left strawberries in the pot to thaw overnight and then just heated up using the juicy water in the pot to keep the extra flavour. If you do that you can skip adding the water.
- Any sugar puritans will point out the vanilla paste has sugar in it. It does – but I’d argue that’s a hell of a lot less than jam, so I’m fine with that. If you’re very worried – or looking for a sugar-free version suitable for diabetics you could use vanilla scraped straight from the pod or vanilla bean powder (best ordered on the web). Both add a nice sweetness to the jam.
- I’m reducing the amount of agave nectar in each batch I make. Again for any puritans agave can be omitted straight off- but again I’m happy to use it to win my sweet-toothed kids over.