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Carina in print – January Scotsman Column

Carina in print - January Scotsman Column | Contini

Grainsof truth

Cutting down on sugars and carbs is easierthan cutting out -and more realistic in thelong-term, says Carina Contini of The ScottishCafe & Restaurant

I recently managed a few monthswithout eating grains. My findings,as a self-diagnosed carbohydrateaddict, was that without thegrains I felt great. I’ve never beengood at dieting. Discipline is my bestdiet, though anyone who knows mewill see that I struggle hugely withany type of moderation. However,my grain free period was based ondoctor’s orders and I really benefited
from the change in habit. The resultswere tangible; more energy, calmer,and general all round health and wellbeing. The bigger benefit has beena happier family and our team atwork are happier too as I’ve been lessstressed. Win, win.

My issue with other sorts of diets isthey don’t set the tone of how they willmake you feel – the emotional andfunctional element of healthy eating.The promise is always a thinnerwaistline, smaller posterior andthose jeans will look fantastic, butthat shouldn’t be the point. Yes you’llfeel better if you look better but foodthat makes you feel mentally good isthe secret to any recipe for a happylife. Cutting down (I can’t cut out) thesugars, eliminating processed foodssuch as ready meals, biscuits andsnack bars, and supplementing withfresh food is the only way to go. At
home, this is a given if you cook fromscratch. Eating out unfortunately canbe confusing as many restaurantsare very clever at marketing freshfood but don’t actually deliver it. I canpromise you that your independentrestaurants do.

Melanzane in carrozza
Serves two

This can be cooked without thebreadcrumbs but for a deliciouscrunch the crumb adds an extracrispy texture. Perfect to go with thebelow sunshine salad for a reallyfresh, healthy supper.

8 slices violet aubergine, about 8mmthick
1 whole mozzarella di bufala, slicedto about 10mm thick and left todrain in a colander to remove anyexcess water
4 sundried tomatoes in oil, sliced
panko breadcrumbs
1 egg, beaten and seasoned with saltand pepper
extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp pesto
a handful of olives, to serve
peashoots, to decorate

1. Brush the aubergines with a littleoil and bake in the oven at 200C/GasMark 6 until soft. This should takearound 10 minutes. Remove andallow to cool.
2. Make a sandwich using theaubergine filled with the mozzarellaand a few slices of the sundriedtomatoes, then season with a littlesalt. You can pop this into the fridge
to chill which will make them easierto handle.
3. Dip the sandwich into the egg andthen the breadcrumbs. Lightly fry inthe olive oil until golden and crisp.
4. Serve with a little homemade pestofor extra flavour and a handful ofolives. Garnish with peashoots.

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