The Amazing New Cake Diet

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Lychee, rose and raspberry meringue nests

I’m amazed that Jamie Oliver and Co. still sell as many cookbooks as they do. Now I’ve nothing against Jamie, who’s likeable, down to earth and does what he can to tackle obesity, but why buy a cookbook when everything you need is online? Enter the name of any recipe or ingredient and up come a million responses. And when it comes to cakes, cookbooks are even more irrelevant because there’s Lili.

There are two reasons why I haven’t yet made any of her cakes. One, we’re in Mayotte, where not only are ingredients hard to come by but our oven’s an absolute nightmare. But that’s temporary. Back in the Metropole, I’ll have no excuse (I’ve been drooling over the strawberry tres leches cake for the past week). Except, of course, my BMI, because how can you add such delights to your diet without it going off the scale?

Well, I’ve thought about this and it so happens there’s a very simple answer. I remember reading once that the great eccentric (and even greater novelist) Evelyn Waugh lived his days backwards for a while – brandy and cigar first thing in the morning, Corn Flakes before bed. Without going that far, I suggest that instead of having Ginger and Mint American Lime Pie at the end of the meal, you put it at the beginning. Because obviously, you’ll still guzzle something like that when you’re already full to bursting, but you wouldn’t feel the same about minestrone, would you? Result? Basically you eat nothing but Lili’s cakes. Sounds like a great diet to me (no kidding – many of Lili’s recipes are healthy).

I offer this dietary advice entirely free, but if anyone wants to turn it into a book, they have my blessing. If you do, you’ll be even richer, I’m sure, than the woman who made a fortune with the book based on her revolutionary diet, Get Thin – Eat Less.

Jackfruit Calamity

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My devotion to the jackfruit, which reached almost mystical proportions, has diminished somewhat of late. There I was munching a seed when something gritty crunched between my teeth. I’m sure you know the sensation. Very unpleasant. Like eating a mouthful of garden in salad that hasn’t been washed.

I found it strange that this should happen in a jackfruit seed, which hadn’t been anywhere except inside the jackfruit. And indeed, when I eventually worked the grit to the front of my mouth, I found that what I’d crunched between my teeth was my tooth.

All that was left was a gaping hole and a jagged bit, like a fragment of ancient pottery in a museum (I’ve spared you the full technicolour dentist’s eye view). At first, I was pleased to get an appointment only three weeks away. Back in the Metropole, unless your jaw is infected with gangrene, Dr. Moquet won’t have a slot for three months. But then I thought, perhaps it’s too good to be true. It means the dentist can’t tell the difference between a molar and a rawlplug. And he’ll strap me in the chair and set to work with a monkey wrench and a chisel.

But of course, just because I’m in Mayotte doesn’t mean the dentist isn’t good. It’s simply that I’m used to Moquet, who happens to be the best in the world. Not only that, but the fastest. Like one of those farmers in sheep-shearing competitions. He’s beaten his own record, folks – three fillings and a bridge in sixteen minutes!

Not that I’m too fussy, to be honest. Anything to stop that jagged bit of remaining tooth from tearing my tongue to shreds. In the meantime I’ll do my best to recover my respect for the miraculous jackfruit (no, honestly!) After all, it was my tooth’s fault really.

The BTTS Committee

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– OK, you guys have designed a fruit, have you? Let’s hear your pitch.

– It’s a jackfruit. Scrumptious and wholesome and –

– Hold it! Save that for the Yummy Yummy Committee. We’re BTTS.

– Sorry?

– Blood, toil, tears and sweat, as someone will say one day. Because paradise is over. Finito. You know, that whole no-need-to-work-there’s-food-in-abundance thing. They screwed up. Boss is angry. Really angry. I didn’t get the details – something about a snake and an apple – but the upshot is, He’s throwing them out.

– But how will they fend for themselves? They’ll die!

– No, no, He won’t allow that. He created them in His image, after all. Maybe He’ll send the occasional disaster – Fire and Brimstone Committee’s working on that – but they’ll survive. It’s just from now on, it’s a struggle. Nothing without a cost, you know? So that’s what we’re checking on, the BTTS level. Right, let’s have a look. Wow! That’s a whopper!

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– Yeah, we decided to go for size. They can reach 80 pounds.

– Hang on – they grow on the trunk like that? All they’ll need do is reach out and grab it? No, that’s no use. Where’s the toil? The blood? Add a few thorns and we’ll consider it. You know, like blackberries – great concept there! Scratched all over for a handful of berries – brilliant! We even accepted cherries the other day, after a big debate, mind. Far too easy. It’s just like… well, picking cherries from a tree. Designers said the branches weren’t strong and they’d fall out of the tree. But hey, these guys are sapiens, you know, one of these days they’re gonna invent the ladder. Anyway, the cherry’s the lowest BTTS we could go. This jackfruit thing, no chance.

– Wait a minute, hear us out. It’s not the picking, it’s the preparation. Because once you cut it open, it’s full of this really sticky gluey stuff. And you have to get each bit of fruit out individually and you end up with this incredibly gooey mess. And inside each fruit is a seed, which is edible too, but it’s got this husk which you have to peel off and it’s a nightmare! You know when the eggshell doesn’t come away in one piece and you spend ages picking at little bits? Like that, only worse. And the seeds – get this – are OK when they’re cooked, but if they’re undercooked, they’re toxic. Ho! Ho! By the time they figure that one out…

– I like it! I like it! OK, you’re in. Very original design. Now let’s see, what’s up next? A coconut? Looks pretty easy – where’s the catch?