Valentine chocolate cake – By Andy Denton



This recipe was kindly sent in by Andy Denton
Recipe makes 3 rich cakes

Bowl, spatula, ¼ cup measure, teaspoon, tablespoon, greaseproof paper, oven tray, egg poacher ring, pan

Ingredients – Base
¼ cup of coconut flour
¼ cup of unsweetened cocoa powder (e.g. Bournville/ green & blacks)
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 heaped tablespoons of honey
2 eggs
½ teaspoon melted coconut oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Berry Compote
Handful of Blueberries
Handful of Raspberries

Ingredients – Mousse
120g 70% + chocolate (I used 80g x 70%, 25g x 90% & 15g x 100% but you can use whatever you like)
150ml double cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Handful of Hazelnuts

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
– Mix coconut flour, cocoa & baking powder in a bowl add salt.
– Add honey, eggs, vanilla extract & runny coconut oil mix & leave for 2 mins then mix again
– Put greaseproof paper on a oven tray, oil inside of egg poacher rings and position on tray so you can get 3 in a row. Fill egg poaching rings with choc mixture and firm down. Remove egg poacher rings
– Bake for 15 minutes then leave to cool.
– Squash Blueberries & Raspberries in a microwaveable dish then put in microwave for 1min 30 stirring every 30 seconds until reduced.
– Spread berry mix over cooled choc discs
– Break the chocolate into small pieces ( i used the end of a rolling pin to smash up)
– Gently heat the cream over a low heat DO NOT BOIL
– When cream simmers take off heat and add chocolate & vanilla essence and stir until choc has melted.
– Put egg poacher rings back over choc discs and fill with mousse, smash hazelnuts with end of rolling pin & sprinkle on top
– Put in fridge to set
– Remove egg poacher rings when choc mousse set (run a knife around inside to free)
– Spread leftover compote on a plate place cake on & add 1 whole raspberry in the middle – may need to make more compote to your taste.

Eat slowly with a small spoon.


There are many more great recipes like this in The Harcombe Diet recipe Book and in the Members’ Area of The Harcombe Diet Club

Posted in Recipe

A few book bargains

We all like a bargain at any time of the year so we thought you might like to hear about these three eBooks, all by Zoë, currently available on Kindle with massive savings

Olive oil can tap dance.FREE on
Why Do You Overeat? When all you want is to be slim.£0.77 on
  20 Diet Myths Busted.FREE on

Prices are correct at time of issue of this email and they may vary on other Amazon stores.

Go and grab yourself some bargains while they last.

Posted in Club News

Our Little Black Dress Diet Plan

Little Black Dress Diet Plan

Probably one for the ladies, but men may want to get involved too…

We’ve pulled together a ‘Little Black Dress Diet Plan’ to help drop a dress (or waist) size by Christmas.

For the plan, we’ve teamed up with RedDog bags, the creator of the BagPod, who are helping out with supplying a stock of BagPods. There’s one free with every double pack purchased (choice of colours while stock lasts)

You can download the little black dress diet plan here.

Update: 20 Dec 2013. Bagpod offer now closed.

Posted in Club News

Cooking carbs – Carrots and onions

Hi Zoe,
When we cook carrots and onions they become sweet-tasting so does this mean there are more carbs in the cooked version? Or more bio-available carbs/sugars?

Just wondering if eating them raw would impact blood sugar less…?

Hi there
It’s not a dumb question – yours never are!

There’s two things of interest here – 1) the carb/sugar content and 2) the Glycaemic Index.

For 1) we can use the USDA database and the numbers are different but negligibly so, but very interesting!…

100g cooked carrots has 8g carb, (3g of which is sugar), 90g water and a gram of protein (ash and minerals will make up any difference).

100g of raw carrots has 10g carb (5g of which is sugar), 88g water and a gram of protein.

SO the cooked carrots have slightly LOWER carb and LOWER sugar than the raw carrots. Two things have happened i) the carrots have gained water in cooking and therefore the 100g contains more of a substance that has no macronutrients (water) and ii) cooked carrots lose some starch into the water – it turns orange – yes?

2) Here’s an extract from my obesity book on the GI…the GI index calculates the opposite and then the variations for GI between different lists of raw and cooked foods are wildly huge.

The glycaemic index was developed by Dr. P. A. Crapo in 1976 and was defined as the area under the blood glucose curve induced by the food tested. I.e. a food would be consumed and the rise in blood glucose would be measured by calculating the total area below the raised blood glucose line. This would include the peak in blood glucose and the time period over which the blood glucose was raised. Glucose was assigned a glycaemic index (GI) of 100 and then all foods were measured relative to this. This index renders the notion of fast and slow release carbohydrates redundant with simple examples such as:

– Fructose has a GI score of 20 and yet is a ‘simple sugar’ (a monosaccharide) as is glucose, which has the defining GI of 100;

– Sucrose has a GI score of 75 as a disaccharide. Disaccharides are supposed to be simple/fast release carbohydrates, like monosaccharides – but the latter have such different GI scores;

– White bread and potatoes have a GI score of 95 and some pulses have a GI of approximately 30 – all examples of polysaccharides.

We also know from glycaemic index studies that cooking foods and processing foods increases their glycaemic index, so cooked carrots have a higher glycaemic index (33 to 85) than raw carrots (16 to 30). One of the problems with the glycaemic index as a tool in weight loss is the huge variation in scores that can be found. In the cooked carrots example just above, the score of 85 for cooked carrots comes from Montignac and the score of 33 was found for peeled and boiled carrots in “the home of the glycaemic index” ( Had the carrots been peeled, diced and boiled, their GI would have been 49, according to the same source. This source also lists raw carrots as having a GI of 16 compared to the 30 listed for raw carrots on the Montignac web site. Counting calories is daft enough. If I were going to count anything, I would want it to be substantially more accurate and consistent than the glycaemic index.

So the USDA ‘bible’ says that cooked carrots are lower in carb and sugar and the GI index says cooked carrots will result in a higher area under the blood glucose curve. A good reason to not count anything me thinks!

Nice one
Bye for now – Zoe

Posted in Ask Zoe

Three little questions (Sept 13)

We get many questions sent to us and although, due to the volume, we can’t reply to every one in person, we do read them all and try to answer the more common and unusual ones in blogs, newsletters, podcasts etc.

Q1:I had a blood test today, courtesy of my Employer and my blood sugar has dived since January, when I started on the Harcombe Diet. My cholestrol is slightly raised in that time, but apparently sugar is more worrying than cholesterol?
A1:I wouldn’t worry about cholesterol for many, many reasons – not least because the test is so unreliable. It is estimated to be inaccurate by about 15% at all times so I can guarantee if you took another test tomorrow it would be different again! Your body makes cholesterol. I trust my body to make the cholesterol it needs. Funny how doctors don’t! If you are stressed, injured (however small) or recovering from anything, the body makes more cholesterol because cholesterol is the main repair substance that the body has.

Or – put “cholesterol” in the search box on my blog: and I’ve written lots about it.
Fantastic news on your blood sugar levels – that’s reduced your risk of diabetes already. Keep up the great work.


Q2:Good Afternoon Zoe (or evening in the UK),
I had a quick question as it pertains to Phase 1. I know that sugar is not allowed. After going to the store to check out brands of Natural Live Yoghurt, I found that all brands of plain greek yogurt had a minimum of 4g of sugar per serving. Is it safe to assume this is not good for Phase 1 or this is the exception to the rule?
A2:All dairy has a carb content, and milk has a ‘natural’ sugar content. If you stick to ‘just yoghurt’ and none of the branded and processed varieties that have fruit and sugar added, you’ll should be fine.

Here’s the ‘ultimate yoghurt question’ extract from Stop Counting Calories:

The only ingredients needed in Natural Live Yoghurt are Natural Live Yoghurt! Sometimes “live” will be called “bio” – that’s the same. Sometimes the yoghurt will say “with active cultures” or ” with live cultures” – that’s also the same. Sometimes the tub will say “yoghurt”, sometimes it will say “milk cultures” – but that’s all it needs to say. If it says anything else – keep looking for NLY!

If a yoghurt has any sweetener, sugar, anything with an ‘ose’ (fructose, dextrose, sucrose etc) , anything other than natural lactose in natural yoghurt, any ingredient that you don’t recognise – it is not OK. Every supermarket, let alone health food shop, I have gone in to has a Natural Yoghurt. Nine times out of ten, it is also “live”, so it is perfect. If you can’t find a “live/bio” version then you can have just natural yoghurt in Phase 2, but don’t have non-live natural yoghurt in Phase 1, as we only have NLY in Phase 1 to attack Candida.

To check the ingredients yourself – in a shop, follow the guidelines above and only buy the tub that has Natural Live Yoghurt and nothing else. You can check ingredients on line. I have never bought TOTAL, Activia or Actimel. I just put “Actimel ingredients” or “Actimel nutritional information” into Google and you get the manufacturers own web site with the full product ingredients listed and nutritional information. It may take a bit of searching, but that’s what research is! You will be amazed at how much you can get in a couple of minutes on line. If you see an ingredient you don’t recognise and you don’t want to discard the option straight away, open up another window and search on that ingredient. In a few seconds you will know what it is, where it comes from etc. As a golden rule – if it doesn’t sound like a real food (vegetable oil, milk, salt etc) then don’t have it.

Q3:I have been following the Harcombe diet for 9 months, I’ve lost a stone and a half but would like to drop a further half a stone. A couple of friends are trying out the feasting/fasting diet where you eat normally for 5 days of the week and consume around 500 calories on the other two days. I was wondering what your thoughts were on this way of eating, even if the Harcombe principles were followed? Many thanks, Kind regards, Emma Le Page
A3:well done on your weight-loss so far, you must be very happy with that.

Zoe’s written a special report on Intermittent fasting and the various spin-offs, which you can download for free from…

Hopefully it will answer any questions that you may have.

Posted in Ask Zoe

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