WE GET lots of unusual requests from customers in the restaurant, but at the top of the list are dietary requirements.
Perhaps the most common these days is people with gluten allergies. The vast majority mention this when reserving their tables, which helps us and reassures them.
Diabetes, which must be more common, is a different matter. We often only discover if a guest is diabetic when handing out the dessert menus.
Recently I was very happy to be asked to provide a dessert suitable for a diabetic, whose birthday celebration was being booked.
I had been waiting for the opportunity to create such a dish, so I decided to visit my friend, Sunil, the proprietor of Body Wise, the shop which provides our health supplements locally.
Only too pleased to oblige, he presented me with something called Zylosweet, a natural sugar substitute made with Xylitol crystals.
Not happy with just handing them over, he summoned me to his office to look on the Zylosweet web-site, to be doubly sure. There it was, 'suitable for diabetics'.
I duly returned to my kitchen, with the crystals, and some different flavours of Stute jam, which clearly states on the label 'diabetic jam'.
I made some sweet pastry using my usual recipe apart from replacing the caster sugar with the Zylosweet crystals, and subsequently produced a couple of fruit tarts, peach and pear, having cooked the fruit in unsweetened water, which I glazed with the different jams.
I then produced another dish, which the guest actually chose, using strawberries.
The result was very effective, although relatively simple.
Here it is:
Makes 4 (Suitable for diabetics)
* 150g strawberries
750ml double cream, whipped to a soft peak.
2 tbsp Stute strawberry jam
Method 1) Chop the strawberries into small dice, retaining four small, or four halves to decorate. 2) Soften the jam and mix together with one third of the cream, and the chopped strawberries. 3) Layer the cream and the strawberry mixture into glasses in alternate layers. Place a strawberry on top of each one, and refrigerate until required.
There, I told you it was easy!