Traveling diabetic #23



Jan here.

Merry Christmas to all.

Christmas season. Bombarded with delicacies that are no longer special, or optional. Christmas mince pies, out of the question. Chocolate roulade a disaster and even the traditional cherry trifle a stretch. But not impossible!

Of course, there is always the super-size insulin option, if you don’t mind feeling as if you have been kicked in the stomach by a mule.

Two diabetic sensitive, flour and sugar free, sponge cakes made (one more simple than the other), to use as the base for the trifle.

Creme Anglaise, as all the custard options were loaded with sugar.

Didn’t manage the egg-yolk separation thing very well, with a fair degree of mess. At least it didn’t turn into scrambled egg!

After looking at various options to serve the trifle in, settled on small French desert bowls.

Diabetic sensitive, although I’m sure the calorie count is through the roof!

Blood sugars

High 6.7 mmol/L (2 hours after meal target, less than 7.8 mmol/L)

Low 6.0 mmol/L (Fasting target 4 – 6mmol/L)

Weight 85Kg

Banting, Diabetic Sensitive, Fresh Blueberry and Strawberry Trifle

This is best if left to stand overnight, so make the entire recipe and refrigerate.

Prep Time 20 minutes

Cook Time 120 minutes

Total Time 150 minutes


• Sponge cake – Recipe below

• Creme Anglaise – Recipe below

• Fresh strawberries, rinsed and quartered

• small punnet blueberries

• 250ml cream, whipped to the soft peak stage

• 90ml dry sherry

• fresh mint, to garnish

• roasted almond flakes, to garnish

Cube and arrange the sponge cake at the bottom of your individual serving glasses, and pour the sherry equally over the 4 portions. Top with creme anglaise and a layer of cream. Top with strawberries and blueberries, then another layer of cream, and berries and fresh mint to garnish. It’s a good touch to roast almonds flakes and scatter them on the top.

This is best if left to stand overnight, so make the entire recipe and refrigerate.

Simple banting almond and lemon sponge cake


• 6 eggs

• 250 g almond meal/flour

• 1 tsp baking powder

• 1 lemon

• 4 tbsp granulated sweetener of choice or more, to your taste

• 1 tsp vanilla

• 1/4 tsp Salt

1. Add all the ingredients, and the juice from the lemon in a mixing bowl and mix until smooth.

2. Pour into greased sponge tins.

3. Bake at 180C/350F for 20-25 minutes. Test the centre with a clean fork or skewer to ensure it is cooked thoroughly.

Simple banting creme anglaise


• 15 grams zylatol

• 3 egg yolks

• 1 teaspoon vanilla

• 250ml milk

1. In a bowl, whisk together sugar, egg yolk and vanilla.

2. In a small saucepan, heat the milk over medium heat until it is steaming. Gradually add a bit to the egg mixture, stir to combine, then add to the saucepan. (By adding a bit to the egg mixture first, it will help prevent getting scrambled eggs).

3. Stir over low heat, stirrig constantly, for 5 – 8 minutes or until slightly thickened. Do not boil.

4. Pour the sauce into a bowl. Place a piece of plastic wrap on the surface of the sauce. Chill.

Traveling diabetic #22



Jan here.

The beauty of being on the road at first light. The air, fresh and the road, despite being at the start of the holiday season, almost clear of traffic.

Five hours a tad long not to have food, however being early most of the farm-stalls are closed, and even the garages have nothing suitable for a diabetic. The cappuccino that was available turned out to be of the packet variety, which wasn’t worth drinking. Even if that was an option.

A small cheese with water, somehow resulting in higher than normal blood sugars. Emphasizing the unpredictability of managing this disease.

The joys of the farm, for a Border Collie. Rabbits. Horses. Guinea fowl. Tortoise dung. Acres of grass to charge across. Chasing shadows. Children, dogs and swimming pools. Sticks, balls and feathers.

Scary sprinklers, trees and buzzing things. Doors bashing and strange smells.


Blood sugars

High 7.0 mmol/L (2 hours after meal target, less than 7.8 mmol/L)

Low 5.0 mmol/L (Fasting target 4 – 6mmol/L)

Weight 86Kg

Traveling diabetic #17


Jan here.


Vietnamese Hot Pot, found on most menu’s as winter comes around. A unique Vietnamese cooking style transferred from China a thousand years ago or so. It’s basically, a pot of simmering hot broth in the middle of the table (over a burner) and prepped ingredient dishes on the side. The broth can be made from chicken, beef, pork bones or from sea food. We tried both the chicken and a prawn option, with banana flower and some kind of green stuff. 

Chopstick contortions to manage the chunks of chicken, which still had bits of bone in them. I slaughtered my couple of prawns in trying to remove the shell, before Terry took over for the last one. The broth spicy, and sweet. 

Not being able to eat the broth or the noodles, meant I didn’t do any sort of justice to the meal. 

Blood sugars 

High 6.8 mmol/L 

Low 4.5 mmol/L

Traveling diabetic #11


Jan here.


Tea. The search to widen my knowledge beyond the rooibos in my suitcase. There are seemingly a wide variety here, other than the traditional Twinnings infused teas. Jasmine, my current default option. Iced, without sugar, a possibility. Although I’m not sure why it’s twenty times the price of a beer.

In the market, loose teas in an endless variety of packages, the contents of which is anything they think you want it to be.

Ginger, lemongrass and lime, the Cocobox special. Actually with honey for the non-diabetic. 

Subtle herbal green tea at the wonderful Reaching Out Tea House. Presentation its own art form, delicate cups probably not suited to the clumsy, and I did have to do the ‘how much to pour in the strainer versus the space left in the cup balance’. Silence under whispering fans.

Blood sugars

High 8.7 mmol/L

Low 4.4 mmol/L

Traveling diabetic #10


Jan here.

Highway 4 – Hanoi

One of those frustrating travel days when I pushed and prodded the food to find anything that wasn’t smeared with three table spoons of sugar, or wasn’t bread, rice, noodles (the awful instant packet type). The Pho, a distant cousin of the excellent pho we had been spoilt with in Hanoi. Low blood sugar grumpiness?

Back in Hanoi, ‘Highway 4’ recommended for Vietnamese Cuisine, with a speciality in foods from the North.

Excellent food in a relaxed atmosphere, with a great music playlist from what are now vintage Bose speakers, and eager, if ditsy service.

Duck and bamboo salad. ‘Rau Thom’ (fragrant leaves). Ngo (cilantro), hung que (anise basil), xa (lemon grass) chili, made for a delicious dish. The licorice of the basil a tad strong for my taste and we had to remove the more obvious chili slices. The sauce, while delicious was loaded with sugar and had to be ignored.

Black Vietnamese pork ribs, cooked in the speciality Son Tinh liqueur, had a strong gamey flavour. Tender and tasty. The sauce meant that I could only sample the ribs and settled for the stir fried crispy pork belly. In typical Vietnamese style, the rau thom on the side of the pork belly meant I could add as much, or as little, as I wanted, for me to flavour the food to my palette.

Blood sugars

High 7.4 mmol/L

Low 4.7 mmol/L

Weight unchanged 

Traveling diabetic #8


Jan here.


First real encounter with Pho for breakfast at the upmarket Huyen on Cau Long Street. Chicken amongst the noodles, which I kept to a minimum, and broth. No discernible impact on my sugar levels.

Tastes of lemon-grass, garlic, ginger and lime hidden within the depths of crystal clear broth, delicate enough to make a French Chef envious. Translucent onion moving between the noodle strands like exotic sea creatures.

The noise of the city driving me a tad crazy, and I was happy to escape to the apartment with a stop at the market. Excellent pork spring rolls, with tomato and their small patties.

Bamboo shoots, lettuce and pate in rice paper rolls our dinner, with the French doors open to make the most of the cool air. LM radio, that touch of unreality.

Blood sugars
High 8.8 mmol/L

Low 4.6 mmol/L

Traveling diabetic #7


Jan here.


Weigh in time. The pharmacy on the corner from the apartment seemed the best place to find a scale. Google translate helping the young assistant to understand what I was asking. ‘Kg!’ Slight decrease in weight, which was expected. Still within the range prescribed by the nutritionalist. 

Too early for the market to be functioning, which was my planned breakfast stop as Terry was heading out for her Street Food tour, while I messed about with paint. That my stomach has decided at this point to rebel, a coincidence.

Frustration of not being able to fall-back to a bougette or easy sandwich meal and having to pass over 90% of any menu. Thank goodness wine here is astronomically expensive so that’s not an option!

Weight 87Kg
Blood sugars
High 6.7 mmol/L

Low 4.7 mmol/L