Potted Raspberry Cheesecakes – Fructose Friendly & Gluten Free

IMG_4761

About a month ago I posted a recipe for a delicious baked ricotta cheesecake. When I made the batter to fill the cheesecake, I slightly really overestimated how much I would need and made way too much. Whoops! But instead of making an extra crust, I decided to bake these in ramekins, instead.

If you’re looking for an easy dessert for a dinner party that can be made ahead of time, then look no further. These cheesecakes are the perfect blend of fluffy and creamy; the zing from the lemon plays well with the berries and they are not overly sweet. They will keep well in the fridge for 3-4 days in an airtight container (which prevents the top from drying out and forming a skin – yuck). As long as you keep your serving to one ramekin, you won’t walk away from this dessert feeling terribly guilty – just pleasantly satisfied… but this of course depends on everything else you’ve eaten that night.

Notes:

  1. Ricotta and cream cheese are not low in lactose, so this recipe isn’t suitable for those who malabsorb lactose.
  2. The eggs I used were 50 g each.
  3. Pure maple syrup does not have additives in it that may increase the level of FODMAPs present, thus should be safe.
  4. Fresh lemon juice is generally better tolerated than lemon juice concentrate. If you use the concentrate, only use 20 ml.
  5. Pure vanilla extract is low FODMAP.

Potted Raspberry and Ricotta Cheesecakes

Makes enough to fill 8 x 4 oz. ramekins

  • 275 g ricotta cheese
  • 115 g cream cheese, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup dextrose or castor sugar
  • 1 tbsp. lemon zest
  • 30 ml fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. potato starch
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • Raspberries to scatter over base of ramekins

Pre-heat your oven to 150 C/300 F and boil a kettle full of water.

By hand or in a stand mixer using the whisk attachment, blend the ricotta cheese, cream cheese, eggs, maple syrup, dextrose, lemon zest and vanilla extract together. A stand mixer will give a smoother end product and makes life a lot easier.

Meanwhile, mix the potato starch and lemon juice together to create a smooth paste. This step is important, because if you mix the potato starch into the mixture as a powder it may cause your baked cheesecakes to become gritty, which is not a texture we want to associate with this dessert.

IMG_4741

Scatter the bases of the ramekins with the raspberries and cover with the cheesecake batter. Lightly tap each ramekin on the bench top to eliminate air bubbles.

Place the ramekins in a large baking dish and place that dish in the oven. Pour the boiling water into the baking dish so that it surrounds the ramekins up to 3/4 height – this water bath technique allows the cheesecakes to bake slowly and evenly while providing steam to prevent them from drying out, thus eliminating those unsightly cracks from the surfaces that can form as they cool.

IMG_4746

Bake for 20 minutes at 150 C/300 F and then turn the oven off. Open the oven door for 60 seconds before closing it again and set the timer for 15 minutes more. Remove the baking tray with ramekins from the oven and then take each ramekin out of the water bath.

Let the potted cheesecakes cool for 30 minutes before refrigerating in an airtight container for 2-3 hours to finish the setting process. Store in the fridge for 3-4 days, max. If you do not store them in an airtight container, your fridge may dry out the surface and a skin will develop. You can also freeze these cheesecakes, if your ramekins/pots are freezer safe – again, in an airtight container is best to prevent frost damage.

Serve with vanilla bean ice cream or whipped cream to cut the richness if necessary… and enjoy!

IMG_4760

Baked Ricotta Cheesecake, with Variations – Fructose Friendly & Gluten Free

Baked Ricotta Cheesecake - Fructose Friendly & Gluten Free

Does everyone from Australia remember the Cheesecake Shop? Apparently it’s still around. My parents always used to buy cakes from them – they made way more than just cheesecakes and everything was delicious. As you can see, my sweet tooth developed early and it’s tough to keep it in check!

My favourite cheesecake was easily their ricotta cheesecake stuffed with sultanas. I’m not sure whether it was the ricotta or the sultanas that drew me to this cake – or the combination of both. Sadly, the Mordialloc shop stopped making ricotta cheesecake at some point in my early teens and I was devastated… but I eventually put aside my grief and moved on to my custard tart obsession.

A couple of months ago, my friend Chath made a batch of miniature cheesecakes and they got me thinking about the ricotta cheesecakes I’d loved so much growing up. Of course, since I would be hard put to find a gluten free/fructose friendly ricotta cheesecake in the supermarket – not to mention the fact that I like baking – I decided I would make my own.

I got my inspiration from a few sources; Chath’s cheesecakes linked above (they are delicious), this classic baked cheesecake from Donna Hay and Alton Brown’s method of water-bath baking cheesecakes from his show, Good Eats. A couple of trials and errors later, I give you my ricotta cheesecake with variations. It is lightly sweetened and combines the best of both the ricotta and cream cheeses for a rich cheesecake that is the perfect balance of fluffy and creamy.

Notes:

  1. Ricotta and cream cheese are not low in lactose, so this recipe isn’t suitable for those who malabsorb lactose.
  2. The eggs I used were 50 g each.
  3. Pure maple syrup does not have additives in it that may increase the level of FODMAPs present, thus should be safe.
  4. Fresh lemon juice is generally better tolerated than lemon juice concentrate. If you use the concentrate, only use 20 ml.
  5. Pure vanilla extract is low FODMAP.

Ricotta Cheesecake

Makes 1 x 9″ cake or 2 x 6″ cakes. You may not need all the base mixture for the single 9″ cake.

Crust

  • 110 g almond flour/meal (or nut of choice)
  • 135 g gluten free plain flour
  • 30 g brown sugar
  • 20 g dextrose or castor sugar
  • 120 g butter, chilled and chopped
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 tsp. cold water

Filling

  • 275 g ricotta cheese
  • 115 g cream cheese
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup dextrose or castor sugar
  • 1 tbsp. lemon zest
  • 30 ml fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. potato starch
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Variations

  • Layer the blind baked crust with stewed fruits and dust the top with icing sugar after it has baked.
  • Sprinkle fresh or frozen berries on the blind baked crust and dust the top with icing sugar after it has baked.
  • Stir a tolerable amount of dried fruit through the filling before pouring it into the crust then bake it and dust the top with icing sugar afterward.
  • Bake the mixture plain and pour passion fruit pulp or a mixed berry sauce over the top.
  • Bake the mixture plain and dust the top with icing sugar after it has baked.

Pre-heat your oven to 150 C/300 F.

Grease and line either one 9″ cake tin (normal or spring form) or two 6″ tins completely. Using baking paper, line the sides first and then press the circle for the base in gently, sealing up the gaps.

IMG_4730

In a food processor or by hand, thoroughly combine the ingredients for the crust. It should be a smooth, malleable mixture and not dry and crumbly. Press it evenly over the lined cake tin base and up the sides as high as possible, as it will slide down a little when baking. Cover the crust mix with baking paper and pie weights (to help even and quick cooking) and blind bake for 15 minutes or until it becomes lightly golden. Let the crust come back to room temperature.

Pre blind baking

Pre blind baking

Post blind baking

Post blind baking – the cracks are my fault, I forgot to set the oven timer and it cooked for 5 minutes too long

By hand or in a stand mixer using the whisk attachment, blend the ricotta cheese, cream cheese, eggs, maple syrup, dextrose, lemon zest and vanilla extract together. A stand mixer will give a smoother end product and makes life a lot easier.

Meanwhile, mix the potato starch and lemon juice together to create a smooth paste. This step is important, because if you mix the potato starch into the mixture as a powder it may cause your baked cheesecakes to become gritty, which is not a texture we want to associate with this dessert.

IMG_4741

This is where the variations come in – choose your variation and then fill the cooled crust to about 5 mm shy of the top with the cheese batter, covering any fruits you decided to add in. In the photos below, I filled the crusts to 5 mm below the cracks caused by me overcooking them.

Variation - baked plain

Variation – baked plain

Variation - baked with fruit on the crust

Variation – baked with fruit on the crust

Place the cake tin in a large baking dish and place that dish in the oven. Pour the boiling water into the baking dish so that it surrounds the cake tin up to 3/4 height – this water bath technique allows the cheesecakes to bake slowly and evenly while providing steam to prevent them from drying out, thus eliminating those unsightly cracks from the surfaces that can form as they cool. If you have used a spring form tin, this will not work as the water will leak in. Instead of a water bath, place an oven safe bowl full of boiling water on the shelf under the baking cheesecake to help steam it. 

Baking:

  • 6″ cake – 45 minutes at 150 C/300 F and then turn the oven off. Open the oven door for 60 seconds before closing it again and set the timer for 45 minutes more, after which you can remove the baking tray with cake tins from the oven and then take the tins out of the water bath.
  • 9″ cake – 60 minutes at 150 C/300 F and then turn the oven off. Open the oven door for 60 seconds before closing it again and set the timer for 60 minutes more, after which you can remove the baking tray with cake tins from the oven and then take the tins out of the water bath.

Let the baked cheesecake cool completely before refrigerating it in an airtight container for at least 4 hours to finish the setting process. Do NOT remove it from the tin before it has cooled completely, or this will happen:

Cheesecake. Nailed it.

Store in the fridge for 3-4 days, max. If you do not store it in an airtight container, your fridge may dry out the surface and a skin will develop.

Serve your variation of choice with extra fresh fruit, vanilla bean ice cream or whipped cream to cut the richness if necessary.

IMG_4773

Cranberry, Orange and Chia Seed Muffins – FODMAP/Fructose Friendly, Dairy Free, Gluten Free & Grain Free

Cranberry, Orange & Chia Seed Muffins

Maybe two years ago Evgeny and I went on a low carb/grain free diet for 6 months and we felt good. We had extra energy, my skin cleared up and we even lost some weight but then slipped back into our old habits – I of course remained fructose friendly. A little while ago we were talking about how good we felt back then and we decided to give it another shot; this time, however, we can eat rice occasionally.

The main reason we reverted to old habits was not because we didn’t feel good – quite the opposite – but because the diet was too restrictive for us to maintain all the time and as soon as we had one treat, another one crept in and before we knew it we were eating carbs/grains full time again. Whoops! This time our emphasis is on unprocessed, rather than grains. We’re buying ingredients, rather than foods, as the saying goes. It’s much easier to stay on track and eat meals that don’t get boring and they’re probably definitely much better for us than the pre-packaged low carb desserts that we bought last time.

Aside from that, I don’t really like diets that encourage extremes – either all low/non fat, or super low carb etc. Balance is the key to health and while I do agree we rely too much on grains for today’s diet – I used to have porridge for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch and pasta for dinner until I was diagnosed with FM – I’m sure that having a bowl of rice or a slice of FODMAP friendly bread on the weekend isn’t going to ruin all my good work. Besides, I enjoy baking and sharing the goodies that come out of the oven. It’s relaxing!

After a month of this diet – and feeling great, I might add – I think we will be able to maintain this long term. The one thing we miss, though, is a sweet treat during the week. Now I know it’s not good to have dessert every night but occasionally we need more than a banana or orange after dinner and these grain free muffins really hit the spot. As added insurance against splurging, I recommend freezing these so you can’t just guts them all at once.

I adapted this recipe from Delicious As It Looks, a fantastic website with FODMAP friendly recipes that I highly recommend visiting. The muffins are light, fluffy and delicately sweetened and inspired by the orange and poppy seed muffins I fell in love with at Melbourne Uni.

Notes:

  1. Cranberries are low FODMAP. Dried cranberries are tolerated by some fructose malabsorbers in small amounts – there should only be 5-6 dried cranberries per muffin and the dextrose (if you use it) will reduce the fructose load further. Also ensure your cranberries weren’t dried or mixed with any fruit juices or sugars that are not low FODMAP.
  2. Orange is low FODMAP, as is a little fresh squeezed juice. Bottled juice, however, is highly concentrated and very sugary, so has a higher fructose load.
  3. Almonds are low FODMAP in servings of 10 nuts. If you are concerned about the FOS/GOS of almonds in this recipe then you can sub in some buckwheat flour or my gluten free plain flour – just remember it will no longer be grain free.

Cranberry, Orange and Chia Seed Muffins

Makes 10 x 1/4 cup muffins.

  • 1/3 cup virgin coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup dextrose or 1/4 cup castor sugar – or more to your taste
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tbsp. fresh squeezed orange juice
  • Zest of 1 orange (washed!)
  • 2 cups almond meal
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup dried cranberries – depending on tolerance. If you’re unsure, stick to the 1/4 cup initially.
  • 1/8 cup chia seeds
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tsp. white wine vinegar
  • 1 pinch salt

Preheat the oven to 350 F/180 C. Note that you will reduce the heat to 300 F/150 C just before baking.

In a large bowl, cream the coconut oil and sugar together for 2-3 minutes, until they become smooth. Add in the eggs and OJ and continue mixing until combined.

Meanwhile, add the almond meal, chia seeds, orange zest, dried cranberries and salt together in a separate bowl and mix together roughly. When the wet ingredients are thoroughly combined, add in the dry ingredients little by little until you have a smooth mixture. Now combine the baking powder and white wine vinegar in a ramekin and mix quickly – it will foam. Pour it into the batter and keep mixing til combined.

WP_20140131_15_30_58_Pro

Spoon the mixture out between greased or lined muffin pans, reduce the oven’s heat to 300 F/150 C and bake for 15-20 minutes or until a centre muffin tests clean (with a skewer).

They won’t brown like a normal wheat – or even gluten free – muffin will, they stay a lighter white-ish yellow colour. This is normal, don’t leave them in the oven to brown, as they will just go dry and hard due to over-cooking.

WP_20140131_15_40_52_Pro WP_20140131_16_09_05_Pro

Let them sit for 10-15 minutes before turning them out onto a cooling rack to come to room temperature. Most importantly, enjoy!

These freeze well or keep in the pantry in an airtight container for a week.

IMG_4478 IMG_4491

Double Chocolate Muffins – Fructose Friendly & Gluten Free

Double Chocolate Muffins - Fructose Friendly & Gluten Free

These chocolate chip muffins were an experiment for Evgeny – one which thankfully proved successful! After I made a batch of banana nut muffins, he was eating them and adding in chocolate chips separately; two per mouthful. I asked him what he was doing and I was told that all muffins should have chocolate chips, no exceptions.

You know the saying, “Happy wife, happy life?” The same holds true for husbands (or any partner), minus the catchphrase. Well, this is my answer to that. He won’t need to add any extra chocolate to these! And keeping with that theme, these would go down a treat on Valentine’s Day and earn you some serious brownie points… chocolate brownie points… Mmmmm, brownies.

Notes:

  1. Monash released an update a few months ago that states that 3 tsp. (1 tbsp.) of cocoa powder are low FODMAP. If you put in the full 6 tbsp. of cocoa powder, then you only get 1/4 tbsp. of cocoa powder per muffin. You’re sweet!
  2. Buttermilk isn’t lactose free but you can replace it with LF milk with a dash of lemon juice added – alternatively, just use a dairy free milk of your choice.
  3. I used dark chocolate chips in these muffins but you can use any type you like that you can tolerate.
  4. Almonds are listed as low FODMAP in servings of 10 nuts or less – the 1/2 cup spread over 24 muffins is well within this.
  5. I am loving how well virgin coconut oil creams with sugar – so much better than normal butter – but of course, either works well in this recipe.

Double Chocolate Muffins

Makes 24 muffins.

  • 3 cups GF plain flour
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 3-6 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. xanthan gum
  • 1 cup virgin coconut oil/softened unsalted butter
  • 1 cup castor sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 tsp. white wine vinegar
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips (white, milk, dark or a mixture – whatever you tolerate)

Preheat the oven to 180 C/350 F and line two 12 hole muffin trays with patty pans.

In a large bowl, sift the plain flour, almond meal, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder and xanthan gum and set it aside.

In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream the coconut oil (or butter) and sugar for 2-3 minutes on a medium speed. Add in the eggs and continue to beat on medium for another 203 minutes, until the mixture is completely smooth. Next, add in the vanilla and beat until combined.

WP_20140113_21_21_03_Pro WP_20140113_21_26_57_Pro

Now add the white wine vinegar to the buttermilk and add the buttermilk mixture in while continuing to beat on low, alternating with the dry ingredients – 1/4 of each at a time. When all the ingredients are in the stand mixer’s bowl, beat on medium until they are thoroughly combined and then switch to a low speed before adding in the chocolate chips and beating for another minute.

WP_20140113_21_35_01_Pro

Place a lightly heaped 1/4 cup of the batter in each and bake for 20 minutes – rotating the trays from top to bottom halfway through to ensure even cooking – if you have a fan forced oven you will not need to do this… lucky you!

Let them sit for 15 minutes before placing the muffins on a cooling rack to come to room temperature.

IMG_4449

To serve, either dust them with icing sugar or make a chocolate ganache icing for an extra rich chocolate hit.

IMG_4455

IMG_4457

Carrot Cake – Fructose Friendly & Gluten Free

IMG_2029

Carrot cake was the very first gluten free cake that I made, back in 2006 when I was incorrectly diagnosed with coeliacs disease – before I went to a second gastroenterologist who agreed to do a colonoscopy/gastroscopy and then the breath tests for fructose and lactose.

I love carrots, which are a naturally sweet vegetable, and combining carrots and cake is a dream come true to my palate. Throw in some cream cheese icing and you have yourselves a winner, in my books. I adapted this recipe from Stephanie Alexander’s ‘Simple Carrot Cake’ recipe, found on p. 224 of her book, The Cook’s Companion. It is moist, sweet but not too sweet and delicious – everything a good carrot cake should be.

Notes:

  1. Carrots are low FODMAP in “9 slice” servings – not entirely sure how big a slice is but I imagine that a slice of this cake would be safe.
  2. Cream cheese contains lactose, so the icing would not be suitable for those following a lactose free diet.
  3. Adding almond meal to a cake batter can help with moisture, something which some gluten free cakes lack in. If you cannot tolerate almonds, even in the small amount per serving of this cake, sub in your regular gluten free plain flour.
  4. The cake featured in the photos used twice the recipe to make a double layered cake.

Carrot Cake

  • 100 g gluten free plain flour
  • 25 g almond meal
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. xanthan gum
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 2/3 cup coconut oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups grated carrot
  • Optional – 50 g roughly chopped walnuts

Preheat your oven to 180 C/350 F and grease and line a 9″ cake pan.

Cream the oil and sugar together for 2-3 minutes on a low speed before adding in the eggs and combining well. In a separate bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, xanthan gum and spices.

When the eggs have been thoroughly mixed into the oil/sugar mixture, add in the dry ingredients bit by bit, allowing each portion to combine well before adding in the next. Once the wet and dry ingredients are mixed together, gently stir in the grated carrot and walnuts.

Pour into the prepared cake tin and bake for –

  • A large cake: 45-60 minutes at 180 C, or until the cake tests clean. Remove it from the oven and let it sit for 15 minutes before upending it onto a cooling rack and allowing it to reach room temperature before icing it.
  • Muffins: 15 minutes at 180 C, or until a muffin in the centre of the tray tests clean. Let them sit before removing from the muffin tin and then allow them to cool completely before icing.

Icing

There are a couple of options to ice this cake:

  • Dust with cinnamon and icing sugar
  • Serve with whipped cream or coconut cream
  • Cream cheese icing – 100 g full fat cream cheese (low fat wont whip properly), 2 tbsp. butter, 1/2 cup icing sugar (alternatively 1/4 cup glucose and 1/4 cup icing sugar) and 1/2 tspn. vanilla essence. Cream the cheese and butter, then continue to beat while adding sugar and vanilla essence. Spread it onto the cake and sprinkle with desiccated coconut shreds.

IMG_2020 IMG_2026

Banana Nut Muffins – FODMAP/Fructose Friendly & Gluten Free

IMG_4322

I am SO excited to share this recipe with you guys, not just because these muffins are so moist and delicious without being overly sweet but because it was the first successful use of my own gluten free plain flour blend!

When trialling this flour, I had to use a recipe that I had down pat, and what better recipe than an old favourite? That way I’d know, if something went wrong, I could blame the flour blend.

Banana bread/muffins/cake is a comfort food for me – good thing that bananas are low FODMAP – and I like baking them in individual servings so that I can freeze them and let one thaw each day that I want one. It also means that they last longer, seeing as they’re frozen and I can’t just grab one out and scoff it – I need to wait and be patient. SO not my strong suit.

These muffins work well for breakfast on the go, a morning tea or a dessert – maybe give them a dose of cream cheese icing if you want to serve them for dessert and have them looking the part.

Notes:

  1. Bananas are low FODMAP, except for overripe sugar bananas. But your average supermarket banana is safe as long as it’s a small to medium size.
  2. Almonds are low FODMAP in servings of 10 nuts. There is only 1/4 cup of almond meal in this entire recipe, spread over 12 muffins, so FODMAP-wise they’re safe.
  3. For a lactose free muffin – use unrefined virgin coconut oil instead of butter and a LF milk with a dash of lemon juice.
  4. For a vegan option, use the LF options as well as 1/3 cup silken tofu instead of the eggs, the instructions remain the same. Alternatively, use your favourite egg replacement method.

Banana Nut Muffins

Wet ingredients

  • 115 g (approx 1/2 cup) butter or virgin coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup dextrose
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 eggs or 1/3 cup silken tofu
  • 1 1/2 medium bananas, mashed
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk – or lactose free/non-dairy milk with a dash of lemon juice

Dry ingredients

  • 250 g GF plain flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. xanthan gum
  • 1/4 cup almond meal
  • 1/4 cup desiccated coconut shreds
  • 2 tbsp. chia seeds
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Preheat the oven to 180 C/350 F and line a 12 pan muffin tray with patty pans.

Cream the butter, sugar and maple syrup on a medium speed for 2-3 minutes, then add in the eggs, mashed banana, vanilla extract and buttermilk and mix until combined.

Meanwhile, sift all the dry ingredients into a separate bowl and stir through. When the wet ingredients are thoroughly mixed, gradually add in the dry ingredients and keep beating on a medium speed for 2-3 minutes, scraping down the edges as necessary.

IMG_4306

Scoop a heaped 1/4 cup measure into each pan and sprinkle with extra desiccated coconut. Bake for 15-20 minutes at 180 C, or until a centre muffin tests clean. Let them sit in the pan for 15 minutes before removing them to a cooling rack and allowing them to reach  room temperature before you box or freeze them.

IMG_4307

IMG_4310 IMG_4311

Cast Iron Cornbread – Low FODMAP & Gluten Free

Cast Iron Cornbread - Lower FODMAP

I had never eaten corn bread before moving to the USA, which isn’t really that surprising. I suppose back home our cheat’s bread is damper and many Americans wouldn’t have tried that, either.

The first corn bread I tried was a sweet version that I’m pretty sure had corn grits in it as well, judging by the texture. It was moist and chewy and sweet and delicious but really only a one trick pony. The savoury version you can use as sandwich bread, as the base to a stuffing, serve it with soup etc. Much more versatile.

The following recipe I based from reading about corn bread in general – to get an idea of ingredients, as well as the method. The website I found most useful was The Paupered Chef, as I particularly liked the idea of soaking the corn meal in the buttermilk (they used milk) beforehand. Some say that true Southern corn bread is 100% corn meal, others say that that’s untrue. Not being from the South, let alone the country, I have absolutely no opinion on what is or isn’t traditional, I’m just making what I find tasty.

FODMAP Notes:

  1. Corn is a tricky one. The FODMAP content depends on the variety; sweet corn can be troublesome for some with FM due to the high sugar content and some people are sensitive to GMO crops, of which corn is the poster child (I’m not going to enter the GMO debate here, though). However, the sweet corn that is grown for eating on the cob isn’t the same corn that is used for corn meals, flours or starches and it’s different again to corn that is grown for use in plastics and bio-fuels. Corn meal is not made from sweet corn, thus is much better tolerated. There are specific corn allergies, though, so watch out for those.
  2. Rye can be substituted in for the GF plain flour, if you can tolerate it. As I have mentioned beforestudies show that rye flour contains more fructans than wheat but evidence suggests that the chains are longer, thus taking longer to ferment. It is generally less of an irritant than wheat to those with FM, although many still have problems.
  3. If you have a gluten issue or are very sensitive to fructans, replace the rye flour with your favourite gluten free blend and 1/2 tsp. of xanthan gum (or 1 tbsp. chia seed meal).
  4. Buttermilk contains lactose, which is water soluble. If you malabsorb lactose then replace it with the same volume of LF milk with a dash of lemon juice.

Cast Iron Corn Bread

This quantity cooks well in a 12 ” cast iron skillet.

  • 2 1/4 cups corn meal
  • 2 cups buttermilk or lactose free milk
  • 1 1/2 cups rye flour OR a gluten free plain flour blend with 1/2 tsp. xanthan gum or 1 tbsp. chia meal
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 3/4 cups unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 large or 3 small eggs
  • Optional – 1/4 cup roughly cut fresh herbs, such as rosemary

Combine the corn meal and buttermilk in a large mixing bowl – everything will end up in here eventually – and let it sit for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 230 C/450 F. Place your cast iron skillet (or any skillet with an oven safe handle, the heavier its base the better) in the oven to heat up. Please remember to now use gloves whenever you handle the skillet!

IMG_4147

While the corn meal is soaking, sift the flour (with any necessary xanthan gum or chia meal), baking powder, salt and the optional herbs into a separate bowl, and combine the eggs and softened butter (the softer, the better) in another.

When the corn meal and buttermilk have been sitting for the ten minutes, add in first the wet ingredients and then gradually add and mix in the dry ingredients – depending on your particular flours of choice, etc, you may or may not need all of it. The mixture should resemble a thick cake batter.

IMG_4150

Now, take the skillet out of the oven and grease it up with either a dollop of butter or olive oil, or even lard – I used butter. Spread your lipid of choice all around the base and at least half way up the sides of the pan and tip out any excess. Plonk the batter (it is too thick to pour) into the waiting skillet, make sure it is evenly spread out and pop it in the oven.

Baking instructions:

  • 12″ cast iron skillet – 25 minutes at 230 C/450 F.
  • Loaf tin – 50 minutes at 180 C/350 F (until a skewer tests clean).

IMG_6682 IMG_6692

Let it sit in the skillet for 10 minutes to cool slightly and then turn it out onto a wire rack. Let it sit for half an hour before cutting, or it may crumble. This corn bread works well as sandwich bread (in a loaf pan), served with soup etc, it goes very well with my cranberry sauce/jam and can be used in a corn bread stuffing, the recipe for which I will be posting next. Stay tuned!

IMG_4163 IMG_4169 IMG_4167

Flourless Banana Pancakes – FODMAP/Fructose Friendly, Low Carbohydrate & Gluten Free

WP_20131206_012

Firstly, I apologise for not posting this last week as I said I would – one thing led to another and even though I had the recipe typed out, the photos weren’t edited and being my OCD-self there was no way I was posting photos without cropping them to the same dimensions and making a title image so the post would be the same as the others on here.

Flourless banana pancakes have been floating around Pinterest and all the low carb websites lately and this is my take on them. Many recipes I found said that, due to the lack of a binding agent, the pancakes had to be made no more than 5 cm (2 in) across or they wouldn’t flip and would turn into scrambled bananas – so I decided to add in some almond meal… still technically “flourless” (and lower in carbohydrates) but not purely egg and banana, especially considering I added some plain Greek yoghurt in there for good measure. The texture isn’t the same as normal pancakes – they aren’t as fluffy and are much softer than wheat or GF pancakes – so they might not be your cup of tea but I like them. There is a subtle banana and almond flavour with a hint of the vanilla extract and the yoghurt gives them a soft creaminess.

Notes:

  1. Almonds are considered low FODMAP in servings of 10, somewhere between 10 and 20 almonds they become high FODMAP – 1/4 cup of almond meal shouldn’t be more than 10 almonds, considering all the air that’s introduced to volume when it’s milled, but if you are worried then buckwheat flour is a suitable substitute for some or all of the almond meal.
  2. If you malabsorb lactose, make sure you use lactose free yoghurt.
  3. One banana to one egg might seem like a lot but the protein in egg whites is both good for us and helps to bind the mixture. I am also of the school that egg yolks are not evil.
  4. I am beginning to experiment with gum-free baking, which is why I have used ground chia seeds in this recipe instead. I am not sensitive to gums myself but there are many out there who are and I aim to please 🙂
  5. Yes, I know, they are only about 10-15 cm across so I technically I should have called them “pikelets” but I have already made the title image and I am not doing it again.

Flourless Banana Pancakes

Per person, you will require:

  • 1 banana
  • 1 tbsp. greek yoghurt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup almond meal
  • 1 tsp chia seeds, ground
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Place the wet ingredients in your blender or food processor – I like a blender because it makes pouring the batter a breeze – and whiz until smooth and combined. Then add in the dry ingredients and blend on a medium speed until they are fully incorporated. The batter is done. If you feel it needs to thicken up a little, let it sit for 5 minutes and the chia seeds will go to work.

WP_20131206_002

Seal your pan and reduce it to no more than a medium heat, as these brown very easily. Pour the batter into little blobs (approximately 1/2 cup in each but I don’t measure) and set the timer for 3 minutes. Bubbles should start to appear by this stage, and if the pancake slides around freely on the sealed pan surface then it is ready to flip. Don’t fiddle with the pancake, trying to loosen or move it, until it has formed a skin and is sturdy enough to move or you will just damage it. Once flipped, cook for another 3 minutes on the other side and place on a plate in the oven (on the warming setting) to keep them hot until they are ready to be eaten. The “3 minutes a side” rule is also just a guideline, depending on how hot your stove is, how well your pan transfers heat etc.

WP_20131206_004 WP_20131206_009 WP_20131206_011

Serve with a yoghurt of your choice and a fruit compote – I made a blueberry compote that I had preserved but any of my jam recipes would work as well, or your favourite store bought jam – or pure maple syrup.

WP_20131206_013

Peach and Walnut Upside Down Cake – Low Fructose & Gluten Free

IMG_3602

Peaches are cheap at the moment, yes! This makes me happy. I was planning on doing something else with the last two peaches we had, sort of like a peach wellington if that makes sense but they were called into action a little earlier when a cake was needed for dessert at a friend’s house.

This cake is peach cobbler/crumble inspired. I wanted to make something that tasted like a crumble but was a little more presentable, like a cake.

Note: After my Dad told me that I was “sugar bashing” and I was becoming a “sweetist,” I will refrain from expanding on the sugar content of this cake other than to say that peaches, while they have 0.4 g/100 g more glucose than fructose, do contain polyols. If you are sensitive to polyols – the P in FODMAPs – this might not be suitable for you. You could, however, change out the peaches for a berry of your choice and the cake would still taste just as good. Also, while brown sugar has slightly more fructose than glucose, the addition of dextrose should negate that and the f/g ratio of this cake should be in glucose’ favour. I don’t think I am at risk of cutting sugar out of my diet entirely – I only aim to minimise and treat myself on the weekend – so Dad and his sweet tooth can relax.

Peach and Walnut Upside Down Cake

  • 125 g/1/2 cup unsalted butter/coconut butter at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup dextrose/castor sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1/4 cup GF plain flour
  • 1 tbsp. cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. all spice
  • 1/2 tsp. xanthan gum
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 2 medium peaches – about 7 cm or so in diameter
  • 1 cup walnuts, roughly chopped

Preheat oven to 180 C/350 F. Grease and line a 9″ cake tin.

Slice one of the peaches into wedges just under 1 cm thick. About 1/4″. Arrange them as you’d like them to appear on the top of your cake on the base of your cake tin. Next time I make this cake, I plan on making a small amount of walnut crumble topping to sit in the middle and make it resemble a cobbler/crumble even more.

IMG_3592

Finely dice any left over wedges and the second peach and set aside. Roughly chop the walnuts, if they aren’t already, and put them in the oven to toast for 5 minutes. Remove, set aside and let them cool.

Cream the butter and sugars for 5 minutes at a medium speed, using the paddle attachment of your stand mixer. Add the eggs and vanilla extract, scrape the sides of the bowl down and continue to mix for another 2-3 minutes. Add the buttermilk and keep beating until the mixture is well combined.

Meanwhile, combine all the dry ingredients, except the fruit and nuts, and sieve them gradually into the butter/egg/milk mixture until the stand mixer has thoroughly mixed them through. Pour in the diced peaches and walnuts and fold them through the cake batter until they are evenly distributed.

IMG_3593 IMG_3594

Carefully pour the batter into the prepared cake tin, ensuring your don’t disrupt the arranged peach wedges. Bake at 180 C for 50-55 minutes, or until the cake tests clean with a skewer, then turn the heat off and let it sit in the oven fur a further 5 minutes.

IMG_3595 IMG_3596

Let it sit for 10 minutes in the tin before turning out onto a cooling rack. Wait until the cake has cooled for at least an hour before removing the baking paper sheet from the “top” of the cake, otherwise it might pull away some of the peach slices with it. To give the top of the cake a nice shine, you could lightly glaze it with some maple syrup.

IMG_3597

Serve with vanilla bean custard, ice cream, whipped cream, plain/Greek yoghurt or fresh berries. I took this to a dinner to which my friend, Chath, had also brought homemade ice cream. Yum. If I ever buy an ice cream maker, it’s going to be my one way ticket to obesity, I swear; proper ice cream is so much better than store bought.

IMG_3600

What I learnt from this cake: the GF flour you use makes all the difference. This is my usual plain cake mixture with diced peaches and walnuts added and when I made it with King Arthur GF Flour it was fluffy, when I used Namaste GF Flour it was so pudding-like to almost be rubber. I hate that King Arthur GF Flour is so expensive (around $7/lb, so about $14/kg) but every time I trial a new, cheaper flour mix it just doesn’t perform as well. I keep going back to the King Arthur Flour. It does have whole meal brown rice flour, towards the end of the ingredients list, so if you are sensitive to brown rice it may not be suitable but from what I’ve read there is contention about brown rice being high in fructose anyway. I have ordered Sue Shepherd’s latest FODMAP book so hopefully I will have some solid information soon! At any rate, it doesn’t affect me.

With all that said, enjoy! Just make sure you’re using a decent GF/FF flour mix. Now I had better go and feed the dogs before the bark the house down…

A Birthday Cake Fit For Bailey – Low Fructose & Gluten Free, if that matters…

So this post is a little belated an really just an excuse for some fun. I have a couple of drafts ready to go up soon; I’m sorry for the long break!

Pork and beef mince cake with bacon weave topping

Our eldest dog turned 6 in July – he’s officially a 42 year old man – and we decided to celebrate. Yes, there are only 5 candles, these photos are from last year. The cake looked better and we didn’t have any candles this year.

To make this extravagant birthday cake for one (or more) spoilt doggies, you will need:

  • 1.5 lb mince beef/pork etc
  • 1 packet bacon strips
  • 1 cup chopped veggies if you’d like to make it a little more nutritious

Line a rectangular baking dish with baking paper and put aside. Mix the veggies and mince meat together and press down into the lined baking dish.

Bake at 180 C/350 F for 40 minutes or so, until cooked through.

Meanwhile, create a bacon weave – this will be your “icing” – from the bacon strips (one over, one under – just like a basket) and bake in the oven, along with the “cake.” Turn once after 15 minutes and continue to cook for another 15; after this, monitor it until it looks fully cooked and slightly crispy.

Once they are both completely cooked, up-end the “cake” onto a serving dish and cover it with the bacon weave “icing.” Stick in the right number of candles and garnish with some colourful cooked veggies or some dog treats.

Tasty rawhide

Nellie enjoying a treat

The birthday boy!

The birthday boy

Simon has the monopoly on rawhide, and he’s happy about it!

Pretty Sugar