First of all, let me introduce you to Annette!
Annette was a Lebanese “teta” (meaning grandmother) like mine and yours. She loved life and she loved food of course. Who can remember his “teta” anyway without food crossing his mind?
Lebanese “tetas” always prepare the best sweets in the world, they are ready to spend hours to prepare a dish that your mother would rather skip, and most importantly, they always think that you’re starving, which means they will feed you for at least 2 days before you get the chance to say goodbye!
Note: For those who don’t know, we, Lebanese, are known for being generous, and we express this through offering food to our visitors.
Annette, as well as my grandma, and a lot of others – I am sure many of you can relate – were diagnosed with diabetes, and their lives were supposed to turn upside down, with the new precautions they should be taking. Unfortunately, their love for food was always winning, and they could never follow a healthy and strict diet.
After long years of struggle with diabetes, they finally rested in peace.
My grandma’s death was not that easy, she suffered a lot. That’s what I hate most about diabetes. I’ve seen a lot of diabetic people suffering – a lot, before passing away.
Seeing Annette’s struggle inspired Anthony Torbay, her grandson, to work alongside an international team of endocrinologists, nutritionists, dieticians and food technologists to develop a type of flour, low in starch, and that would help in creating bread and other products suitable for diabetics (type 2) and pre-diabetics. That’s how Annette’s low-carb flour saw the light, followed by all the products’ range that includes today white and brown bread, pain de mie, toasted bread, flavored crackers and pasta!
Let the cooking start!
When invited to a session to cook and try “Annette’s products”, and after I did some research, I was excited. Having a stepmom that is currently suffering from diabetes makes me more interested in the products.
Chef Rima el Khodr was already waiting for us at the KitchenLab where we started the cooking. We only had one task: to prepare a “zaatar man’oushi” with Annette’s flour. Kneading the dough was not that easy for the beginners, but it was fun, and all managed to have it ready, covered and left to rise.
I will be posting the recipes and more info about diabetes in future posts this week.
Meanwhile, the chef prepared some tart dough – pâte sablée. Once in the oven, the crème pâtissière was also ready, before finally preparing a healthy yet tasty simple tomato sauce to pour on the cooked pastas. The ingredients? Garlic, strained tomato sauce (Pomi), oregano and tapenade.
The tasting was – of course, the most interesting part. The pastas are good. I wouldn’t mind having them regularly instead of the common pastas. With a good sauce like the tomato-tapenade the chef prepared, or the creamy dressing with the salmon that we had as a salad, you can’t tell the difference.
In addition to the above mentioned foods, we tried many other items all prepared with Annette’s products: the Roquefort salad with the crackers was just delicious, the crackers themselves being excellent to serve as a snack with any dip you like, from hummus to guacamole or Labne.
The mini-pizzas, cheese pies and kechek fatayer were also yummy.
For the pain de mie topped with bresaola or salmon and cream cheese, you couldn’t even tell the difference.
Even the tart tasted excellent. Many won’t even notice that it is made with special flour.
The only challenge is the bread. The compromise here is big. I am not saying it is not good, but it is very different from the bread we are used to, making it therefore harder for people to adapt quickly. My stepmom thought it was dense, and my answer was “good, you’ll eat less”. It’s more here about realizing that regular bread is not an option anymore. This bread is not alternative bread; it is the best available option for diabetic people!