In this modern age, Lent is not so much a time just for those with a deep belief in its Biblical origins, but rather a time of reflection and a chance to try to improve ourselves with a somewhat healthier lifestyle.
Many of us jump on the sacrificial bandwagon, safe in the knowledge that we are facing this together. Safety in numbers: we will face the sugar withdrawals, the mood swings and the newfound lethargic outlook on life together.
I'm on day three of a life without chocolate, whilst a course friend attempts to navigate through each day without the taste of take-away food. In our Facebook poll, you told us that Coca-Cola and chocolate were your top two vices, whilst crisps and alcohol followed closely behind. To help you complete the challenge over the next forty days, we've decided upon some recipes so that you can cheat – without cheating.
Beetroot chocolate cake is a really good way to get the buzz of chocolate without caving in.
For this, you will need:
1 large cooked beetroot
200g plain flour
100g cocoa powder
1tbsp baking powder
250g golden caster sugar
2tsp vanilla extract
200ml sunflower oil
Preheat the oven to 190C/gas mark 5. Blitz the beetroot in the food processor and add the rest of the ingredients except for the oil. Add the oil separately at a steady stream. When all of the oil has been added, tip the mixture into a lined loaf tin. Cook for an hour.
Sweet potato wedges are packed with vitamins and dietary fibre. These are a healthy and tasty alternative to regular chips and a way of avoiding those unwanted snacks.
Preheat the oven to 200C/gas mark 6 and lightly grease a baking tray. Mix olive oil and paprika in a large bowl then add the sweet potatoes, sliced lengthwise into quarters. Bake for 40 minutes and enjoy.
Why settle for water during these 40 days ahead? Instead you can enjoy a juicy mango fizz or refreshing mint lemonade.
Large handful of fresh mint leaves, picked
Juice of 6 lemons, and zest of 3
3 tbsp sugar cane syrup
Sparkling mineral water, to top up.
Place the mint leaves in a tea towel and bruise with a rolling pin. Mix with the lemon juice, zest and sugar cane syrup in a pitcher. Top up with sparkling water and add more sugar to taste. Serve over ice in a Highball glass.
2 scoops of mango sorbet
1 tbsp ready-made fruit salad
2 tsp passion fruit syrup
2 tsp grenadine
Ginger ale, to top up
Place the scoops of mango sorbet and the fruit salad into a glass. Pour over the passion fruit syrup and grenadine. Top up with ginger ale. Serve with a spoon.
Written by Sophie Attwood