FODMAP Friendly Christmas Recipe – Fruit Mince Pies

Fruit Mince Pies for Christmas - Low FODMAP & Gluten Free - by Not From A Packet Mix

I’m so excited to share these pies with all of you, they have been a long time coming.

Mince pies (or mince tarts, whatever name you know then by) are a Christmas staple in many Aussie households – as well as many other places that were colonised by the British, I suppose. Every year, Mum would stock up with Bakers’ Delight mince pies as soon as they were available and we’d freeze a bunch so that we’d have them well past Christmas, we loved them so much. Unfortunately, though, I had to cut them out long ago due to the extreme amounts of dried fruits, and often apple, that were lurking inside their delicious pastry shells.

Well, not any more! These fruit mince pies are low FODMAP (according to Monash University ratings) in servings of two pies – you can read the FODMAP information for each ingredient in the FODMAP Notes section below. They are moist, sweet enough, with buttery pastry and just the right amount of spice to finish off your Christmas meal. Enjoy them with a cup of tea, some freshly made custard or FODMAP friendly vanilla ice cream.

Don’t be scared that there are vegetables in here (yes, I know, choko is actually a fruit); the carrot is a naturally sweet vegetable, especially when small and young and the chokos, while typically used as a vegetable and not very sweet themselves, are the perfect apple substitute in a lot of recipes. Combine them with low FODMAP amounts of nut meals, dried fruit (optional) and traditional spices and we have a Christmas classic made low FODMAP.

Merry Christmas guys! Enjoy your time with family and friends, whatever you celebrate and I’ll see you in the new year for more delicious low FODMAP cooking. Don’t forget to sign up to receive each new post by email.

Natty xoxo

FODMAP Notes

  1. Choko, aka chayote squash, is low FODMAP in 1/2 cup (84 g) serves and a perfect replacement for apples in cooking. When young, they are juicy and crisp. The amount per serving of these mince tarts is well below the top recommended safe serve.
  2. A note about the fruit content: if you look online, many blogs and websites warn you to stay completely away from dried fruits. However, if you check Monash University’s Low FODMAP App, this depends on the fruit. Also, if you find that you cannot have any dried fruit (even low FODMAP serves) in the beginning, you may find that, as you progress and your gut settles, you might be able to introduce them back into your diet in small quantities. The amount of dried fruit in this recipe, spread over many small mince pies, should be well tolerated according to Monash. If you can’t handle dried fruit yet, obviously either substitute in raspberries as instructed, or don’t eat them.
    • Dried cranberries are low FODMAP in 13 g/1 tbsp. serves – much less than this is in each serving of mince pie.
    • Sultanas are listed as containing high levels of excess fructose and fructans in 13 g/1 tbsp. serves. Monash University informed me, however, that 1 tsp. of sultanas should be tolerated by most, which means that the 1.3 g of sultanas in each pie (so 2.6 g/ approx. 1/2 tsp. per two pie serve) should be tolerated as well.
    • Raspberries are low FODMAP in 45 g serves, so will be okay in the amount per serve of pie.
    • Common bananas are still low FODMAP when ripe in servings of 100 g (approx. one medium fruit). Only 50 g is required for the entire recipe, so a serving of these pies will stay well under the maximum low FODMAP serving. Make sure you get the common variety, rather than sugar/lady finger bananas, which become high in excess fructose when ripe.
    • If you are on elimination, please discuss these options with your dietitian, as they might wish you to use the extra low FODMAP method, which is to substitute in raspberries, instead of sultanas. 
    • If you are more sensitive to dried fruit than Monash University recommendations, please substitute in raspberries (fresh or frozen) for the dried cranberries and banana for the sultanas/raisins.
  3. Carrots are low FODMAP in 61 g serves, which is about one medium carrot. Much less than this is in each serving.
  4. Almond meal is low FODMAP in 24 g serves – the 50 g called for in this recipe is divided between 18 serves (36 pies), so is well within safe limits.
  5. Desiccated coconut is low FODMAP in 18 g serves – much less than this is used per pie.
  6. Maple and golden syrup are sucrose based, thus have a fructose ratio of 1.0 and are safe low FODMAP sugars in the amounts called for per serving.
  7. Whisky and vodka are each low FODMAP in 30 ml serves. Traditionally, rum would be used but, as it contains excess fructose, these are both safer options. If you know you can tolerate tiny amounts of rum, feel free to sub it back in. This is not advised while you are on elimination.
  8. Lemon/orange juice and zest are low FODMAP in the amounts consumed per serve.
  9. The spices and vanilla extract included are all low FODMAP in the amount consumed per serve.
  10. Butter is very low in lactose and Monash University has listed the typical serve (19 g/1 tbsp.) to be low FODMAP. If you include both the pastry and filling in each two-pie serve, you will have approx. 1.5 tbsp. of butter. If you are very sensitive to lactose, simply substitute the butter in the pastry and/or filling for your favourite lactose free option, such as refrigerated coconut oil or a dairy free “butter” spread.
  11. Dextrose is a form of glucose and is the most fructose/FODMAP friendly sugar out there, with a fructose ratio of 0.0. By using it in this recipe, it will help to balance out any fructose present in the rest of the pies as well as in whatever meal you ate just beforehand (as long as they go through the stomach and small intestine together).

Fruit Mince Pies

Makes approx. 36 small pies | 18 low FODMAP serves

Pastry

Fruit Mince Filling

  • 160 g choko (approx. 1, aka chayote squash) or zucchini, peeled and finely grated
  • 1 small carrot, peeled and finely grated
  • 50 g (1/3 cup) sultanas or very ripe mashed banana
  • 50 g (1/3 cup) dried cranberries or fresh/frozen raspberries
  • 50 g (1/2 cup) almond meal
  • 50 g (1/2 cup) unsweetened desiccated coconut shreds
  • 80 ml (1/3 cup) pure maple syrup
  • 75 g (1/3 cup) dextrose powder
  • 1 tbsp. whisky or vodka
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • Zest of 1/2 a lemon or 1 tsp. dried peel
  • Zest of 1/2 an orange or 1 tsp. dried peel
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 30 g melted unsalted butter
  • 1 pinch salt

To Serve

The day before baking, make the fruit mince filling by mixing all the ingredients together in a container, then put the lid on and store it in the fridge overnight. This allows the dried fruit to soak up the juices from the carrots and choko and lets the flavours meld together. It makes a huge difference in terms of flavour, so don’t skimp.

The pastry can also be made one day ahead, if you wish. If you are using my pie crust pastry, don’t store it in the fridge – instead, keep it wrapped in plastic wrap in an airtight container in a cool, dark place. If you put it in the fridge for more than 30 minutes, it will turn into a solid brick, as most gluten free pastries do, and will need to be re-hydrated once more with a little ice water and your stand mixer.

Pre-heat your oven to 180 C/350 F and grease two small (24 hole) muffin pans.

On a pastry mat or a lightly floured bench, roll out your pastry until it is approx. 2-3 mm thick, then slice it into rectangles measuring 5 x 10 cm. Gently pick up each rectangle and line the muffin holes, trimming off the excess pastry as you go. Once all the muffin holes are lined and the pastry trimmed, re-roll the excess pastry and cut out little stars or leaves to top the pies.

Place the completed muffin trays into the freezer for 10-15 minutes, in the meantime clean your work space and get the fruit mincemeat filling out of the fridge.

Place approx. 1 1/2 tsp. of the fruit mince filling in each pie crust – they should be only slightly heaped, not overly full. Next, place a star or leaves on each pie and brush with your milk of choice.

Bake at 180 C for 15 minutes, until the stars toppers are slightly golden brown. Do not wait for them to turn a true golden brown as this often doesn’t happen with gluten free pastry and you’ll just end up over-cooking your pies.

Remove them from the oven and let them cool completely before you remove them from the muffin pans. If you are storing them, place them in an airtight container in the pantry for up to a week but they taste best if eaten in the first couple of days.

Lightly dust the pies with icing sugar or icing dextrose just before you serve them, then enjoy with your favourite vanilla bean custard or ice cream and a cup of tea or coffee.

IMG_9730IMG_9773

FODMAP Friendly Christmas Recipe – Spiced Gingerbread Cake (also Gluten Free & Dairy Free)

Spiced Gingerbread Cake - FODMAP friendly, gluten free and dairy free - Copy (2)

Christmas is fast approaching – the last time I checked, it was the start of November and I was still comfortably in my mid-twenties. I’m now what most people would call “mid to late” twenties and it’s scaring the hell out of me! Where does the time go – and can I rewind it please? While I sit here and panic not-so-silently, I’ll take the opportunity to share a new recipe for a cake that is a combination of my two favourite Christmas desserts: gingerbread and plum pudding. I don’t think you could get a more Christmas appropriate low FODMAP recipe, if you tried.

But first of all, merry Christmas! Or rather the all encompassing term I heard a couple of years ago: Happy Chrismakwanzakah!

Secondly, I am a HUGE fan of fruit cakes and puddings – I absolutely love them. If there were Beliebers for fruit cakes, I’d be right at the front, wearing a t-shirt and screaming my heart out… but, by some cruel twist of fate (damn you, GLUT-5 fructose transporters), if I was to have a slice now, I’d probably have to down a glass of glucose syrup afterwards to ward off any reactions – which is not a healthy thing to do.

As for gingerbread, it’s quite easily made gluten free and low FODMAP, the instructions for which can be found here.

For me, Christmas is all about food and family. It’s just a pity that so many traditional Christmas desserts aren’t easily adaptable to a low FODMAP diet, as they rely so heavily on fruits higher in fermentable carbohydrates. It’s also especially hard being literally half way around the world from the rest of my family at this time of year but it’s alright… I never cook alone. Or eat alone. Or unwrap my presents without an audience, because every dog knows that the rustling of paper and plastic equals treats.

IMG_6764

Obviously, a proper plum pudding/Christmas pudding/cake would not be FODMAP friendly. In fact, I don’t know if even the best chef in the world could turn a recipe that asked for ONE KILOGRAM of dried fruit per cake into a low FODMAP recipe. Seriously – challenge issued to anyone out there. Jamie Oliver? Stephanie Alexander? Helloooooooooo?

I made this spiced gingerbread cake for Christmas 2014 at a friend’s house. After the flop that was the gingerbread house I had made the year earlier (apparently nobody else liked gingerbread), I decided to tone down the ginger and amp up the other spices, to give it a more well-rounded Christmas taste. In all seriousness, I also wanted to challenge myself a little last year, knowing that my Friendsmas hosts were going all out to make the meal Nat-friendly (thanks Kendal and Raymond, much appreciated), so I decided to add in just a little dried fruit to this cake, in the spirit of festiveness and, really, because whiskey and sultanas need no explanation.

FODMAP Notes

  1. Whiskey is low FODMAP in 30 ml servings.
  2. Sultanas (aka raisins for those in the USA) are tricky. Grapes are low FODMAP in quite generous servings but the drying process means that the amount of sugar per volume of the grape (now sultana) increases. Monash University lists sultanas (very similar to raisins) as high FODMAP even in 1 tbsp. serves. The 1/4 cup of sultanas called for in this recipe, when divided by 12 (the number of servings it makes), means you will get 1 tsp. of sultanas per slice. As a safety measure, the added dextrose should help to balance out the concentrated sucrose but you can always leave them out if you are on elimination or know you react/for peace of mind.
  3. Dried cranberries are a low FODMAP alternative to sultanas, they are safe in 1 tbsp. serves and contain moderate amounts of fructans in 2 tbsp. serves.
  4. Coconut oil contains no carbohydrates, so is low FODMAP.
  5. All the sweeteners used are FODMAP friendly, the dextrose should balance out the extra fructose from the brown sugar (minute amounts) and the extra sucrose from the sultanas.
  6. Make sure your vanilla extract contains no high FODMAP additives.
  7. Use your favourite gluten free plain flour blend, or a self raising blend and omit the baking powder. Spelt flour is low FODMAP enough for some fructose malabsorbers but not for all – it is also NOT gluten free, as it is an ancient variety of wheat. Use what you feel comfortable with, as this cake batter performs equally well with either flour.
  8. Chia seeds are low FODMAP but still a great source of fibre and other nutrients. They work well as a xanthan gum replacement, for those sensitive to gums. If you only have xanthan gum, feel free to use that.
  9. The spices are all low FODMAP.
  10. Coconut milk (watered down coconut cream) is low FODMAP in 1/4 cup servings, which would be adhered to unless you ate 1/5 of this cake in a sitting.
  11. If you are still in the elimination phase of the low FODMAP diet, don’t include the optional sultanas/raisins or whiskey.

Spiced Gingerbread Cake

Serves 12-14.

Cake

  • 3/4 cup coconut oil, softened
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup or rice malt syrup
  • 1/4 cup castor sugar
  • 2 tbsp. dextrose
  • 1 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 500 g gluten free plain flour or spelt flour (not gluten free, omit chia or xanthan gum)
  • 1 tbsp. chia meal or 3/4 tsp. xanthan gum
  • 3 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • Zest of 1/2 an orange
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/4 cups coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 tsp. white wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • Optional: 1/4 cup sultanas or up to 1/2 cup of dried cranberries soaked in 1/8 cup whiskey for 4 hours

Royal Icing

  • 1 egg white
  • 1-1 1/2 cups icing sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Decorations

  • Nonpareils (the edible silver balls)
  • Strawberries or fruit of choice

At least four hours before you plan to make the cake, start soaking the sultanas or dried cranberries in whiskey. This is an optional step, you can omit the sultanas if they trigger your IBS, or swap in the dried cranberries.

Preheat your oven to 180 C/350 F and grease your bundt pan, grease and line your 20 cm/9 in cake tin, or line your 12-hole muffin tin with patty pans.

In the bowl of your stand mixer, add in the coconut oil, maple syrup, castor sugar, dextrose and brown sugar and beat for 1 minute at a low speed, followed by 2 minutes on high. Stop, add in the eggs and vanilla extract, then continue to mix for another minute at a medium speed. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, sieve the flour of your choice, chia meal (if using gluten free flour), ground spices and salt and roughly mix them together.

Get the coconut milk ready and then alternate adding thirds of the dry mix and the milk and mixing, until everything is used. If you feel the batter is too runny, don’t use all the milk – coconut milks don’t have a uniform consistency, unfortunately, so yours may be different than mine.

Mix the freshly squeezed orange juice, white wine vinegar and baking powder together and quickly pour it into the cake batter, then mix on high for 30 seconds. Next, add in orange zest and the optional sultanas/dried cranberries and whiskey and mix through until combined. Pour the mixture into your prepared cake tin and bake according to the instructions below.

Baking instructions:

  • Bundt pan – bake at 180 C/350 F for 45-50 minutes, or until cake tests clean with a skewer. Remove from the oven and let come to room temperature.
  • Round tin – bake at 180 C/350 F for 50-60 minutes, or until cake tests clean with a skewer. Remove from the oven and let come to room temperature.
  • Muffin tin – makes 12, bake at 180 C/350 F for 15-18 minutes, or until a centre muffin tests clean with a skewer. Remove from the oven and let come to room temperature.

IMG_6720 IMG_6722

Once the cake has cooled, flip it out onto your serving dish of choice and make the royal icing.

Beat the egg white until it forms a soft peak (it will look like sea-foam), then slowly add in the sieved icing sugar, until the batter just begins to form stiff peaks. If you add in too much, the icing will be quite stiff and harder to spread – this quality is great when you want to pipe fine details, like on gingerbread biscuits but not when you want to spread the icing easily over an entire cake.

When your icing is ready, immediately ice your cake and sprinkle with the nonpareils, or decorations of your choice. Royal icing dries very quickly when exposed to air, so it becomes rough, harder to spread and less sticky for your decorations. It will keep well for up to one week in an airtight container in the fridge.

This cake can be made a day or two in advance, just ice it no earlier than the night before you want to serve it. Enjoy this cake with freshly made warm vanilla bean custard, vanilla ice cream, lactose free yoghurt or fresh FODMAP friendly fruit. Merry Christmas!

IMG_6728 IMG_6733 IMG_6735

Instant Noodle Cups – Low FODMAP, Gluten Free & Vegan

Homemade instant noodle cups - low fodmap, gluten free, vegan

This post was brought to you because Autumn.

During the winter months back at school, I happily handed over my $1.20 for an instant noodle cup in whatever flavour they had left. If you’ve ever had to wear a school uniform, they’re not that warm in winter. Tights only do so much, and the wool is itchy. Combine that with the renovations to the senior school centre that went on throughout the entirety of my senior school career – meaning we lost our common room, so had nowhere to hide from the cold – and instant noodles warmed me from the inside and out.

Nowadays I don’t have to sit outside while I eat in all seasons – thank goodness! – but that doesn’t mean that I want to say goodbye to noodle cups. Problem is, I think I can say with confidence that every instant noodle cup out there is very high in FODMAPs, even the gluten free versions.

Enter these little beauties. I got the inspiration from a post by Gluten Free on a Shoestring (love her blog) after watching Ev devour yet another pack of 2 minute noodles and decided to FODMAPify it/give it a bit of an Asian twist. I plan to try a different version soon, using a homemade stock paste… I just need to make the paste.

Don’t forget to subscribe to the email list, so you’ll get brand new recipes and research-based posts right in your inbox (top of the right hand bar).

FODMAP Notes

  1. Nutritional yeast and all the other herbs and spices used in the bouillon powder are well and truly low FODMAP in a 1 tsp. combined serving size, as most either have no designated upper limit or are allowable in 1-2 tsp. servings individually.
  2. Rice vermicelli noodles are low FODMAP and gluten free. I chose vermicelli as they are truly “instant.” If you would prefer to use normal rice noodles, or gluten free ramen (they do exist!) then they should be precooked before going into the jar, as the boiling water won’t stay hot for long enough to cook them.
  3. Bok choy is low FODMAP in 1 cup serves, half of which is used here.
  4. Firm tofu and tempeh are FODMAP friendly in 1 cup and 150 g serves respectively.
  5. Carrot is low FODMAP up to eating one medium vegetable – about a quarter is used here, if that.
  6. Sweet corn is low FODMAP in 1/2 cup serves, much less is used in this recipe.
  7. Miso paste is made from fermented soy beans and water. The fermentation breaks down the oligos within, so it’s considered low FODMAP.
  8. Oils infused with garlic and onion are FODMAP friendly, as FODMAPs are water soluble, thus do not leech into the oil during production, whereas the flavour components do.
  9. Sambal oelek (chili sauce) can be found in onion and garlic free varieties – of course use one of those, unless you’re okay with onion and garlic (fructans).
  10. Coriander leaves are low FODMAP.
  11. The green parts of chives are FODMAP friendly, avoid the white bulb as it contains high levels of fructans.
  12. Lime is low FODMAP in general, especially in the small wedge you’ll be using.
  13. Please make sure any meat you use is cooked completely before going into the jar – the hot water will not cook it, just reheat it. If you choose to add meat, this will obviously no longer be vegan.

Vegan Bouillon Powder

Serving size: 1 tsp makes 1 cup of stock.

  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 tbsp. kosher salt
  • 2 tsp. dextrose or castor sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. green leek powder
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 tsp. dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp. dried parsley
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 3/4 tsp. dried sage
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika (smoked is best but normal is fine)
  • 1/2 tsp. ground coriander seed
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. ground turmeric

Measure all the ingredients into the bowl of your food processor and then blitz for 30 seconds to turn the chunky ingredients (sage, nutritional yeast, pepper flakes) into a fine powder.

Put into an airtight jar and store in a cool dark place for up to 6 months. When you wish to use it, dissolve 1 tsp. of bouillon powder in 1 cup of boiling water.

vegan bouillon powder

Instant Noodle Cups

Serves 1 (multiply for more servings).

  • 1 bundle vermicelli noodles (or equivalent gluten free noodle, precooked if necessary)
  • 1/2 cup sliced bok choy
  • 1/2 cup protein (cooked chicken, tempeh, tofu puffs etc)
  • 1/4 cup finely grated carrot
  • 2 tbsp. rinsed tinned sweet corn
  • 1 tsp. vegan bouillon powder
  • 1/2 tsp. chili sauce (sambal oelek)
  • 1/2 tsp. miso paste
  • 1/4 tsp. onion infused olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic infused olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. fresh coriander leaves
  • 1 tbsp. fresh minced green chive tips
  • 1 wedge lime

You will need one heat proof, seal-able container capable of holding 2 cups (500 ml) of fluid.

In a small bowl, mix the miso paste, chili sauce and infused oils together, then spread them along the bottom of your jar.

Layer the rest of the ingredients as follows: bok choy, carrots, sweet corn, vermicelli (or other) noodles, bouillon powder, your choice of protein, coriander leaves, green chive tips and finally the wedge of lime. You might need to press them into the jar to fit properly but don’t worry, the hot water will shrink them down later.

Put the lid on and store in the fridge until required. For work/school lunches, make enough for the week and they’ll last in the fridge just fine.

When you’re ready to enjoy them, simply boil your kettle and pour 1 1/2 – 2 cups of piping hot water into the jar (depending on how soupy you like it), place the lid on and wait for a couple of minutes. It’s that simple. Enjoy – and make all your coworkers jealous.

IMG_9434IMG_9509IMG_9445

Green Leek Powder – A Low FODMAP Substitute for Onion Powder

WP_20150917_009

A few days ago I had a brain wave. It started off with me getting really annoyed, as I couldn’t find a decent looking dry bouillon recipe that didn’t contain onion or garlic powder. Green leek tips are my go-to onion replacement method in most meals… why couldn’t there be a green leek tip powder?

Why couldn’t there, indeed? I just had to make it myself.

It worked beautifully in the bouillon powder and I am sure it will work just as well in any dry rubs and spice blends in the future. This method would also work for the green parts of chives/spring onions, just beware that it will probably take a lot less time and the temperature might need to be lowered – I have not done it myself, so I can’t give exact numbers.

FODMAP Notes

  1. Green leek tips are low FODMAP in 1/2 cup serves, any more and fructans might be an issue. Make sure you measure your green leek tips before you desiccate them, so you know by how much they have reduced. The leek tips I used reduced by half, so 1/4 cup is the new low FODMAP serving size. You get the picture.
  2. Do not use white leek (the bulb) while on elimination, as these are given a high FODMAP rating. If you are off elimination and have tested them successfully, use your discretion as to whether you try them out here or not.
  3. Try asking your supermarket/local green grocers if they have any leeks that have not had their tips trimmed, or if they could perhaps occasionally order them in for you. You’d be surprised what they’d agree to, though a local grocery store is more likely to agree to strange requests.
  4. If you decide to grow your own leeks, you can:
    1. Grow from seeds, or the 2 inch base of the bulb planted in fertile soil.
    2. Grow in full sunlight (not planted down in little valleys as leeks typically are), so the extra sun stimulates more chlorophyll production. This means that more of the leek will be green leaf and less white bulb.
    3. Pick leaves off as required, leaving the plant to grow for the season.

Green Leek Powder

Serving size depends on the difference between the initial amount and final amount (see notes).

  • 1 bunch green leek tips, weight measured.

Preheat your oven to 90 C/200 F.

Slice your leek where the green becomes white. The more sensitive you are to fructans, the less white you should allow to bleed into the greens you keep. Give the white bits to a neighbour, or anyone else who can use them.

Separate the leaves and wash them thoroughly. Pat dry.

Arrange them in a single layer on lined baking trays, then put into the oven. Shut the oven door – we are not truly dehydrating them here but also roasting them a little. The intensifies and adds to the flavour, both good things.

Set the timer for two hours, then check them every 15 minutes thereafter. They are ready when they are crispy and snap easily when bent.

Let them cool to room temp, then smoosh (for lack of a better term) them into your food processor and blitz until a fine powder forms. I needed to use my coffee grinder to get the fine powder you see above, as my small food processor is on its last legs.

Use as required as a substitute for onion powder, like in a low FODMAP bouillon powder or instant noodle cup. Enjoy!

Don’t forget to sign up via email to receive new posts (recipes or research-based) in your inbox as they are published. No spam ever, I promise.

WP_20150917_004 InstagramCapture_b1919baa-dddc-4c3c-85bc-85ecfd52a793

Pork Loin Pot Roast with a Red Wine Reduction – Low FODMAP and Gluten Free

Pork Loin Pot Roast - Low FODMAP and Gluten Free

This recipe has been moved to The Friendly Gourmand (my new blog). Sorry for any inconvenience.

Mashed Potato Buns – Low FODMAP & Gluten Free // A guest post from Life and Thymez

Mashed-Potato-Buns--low-fodmap-gluten-free

Hi guys! This week’s post is a guest post from Zlata over at Life and Thymez, a fun-filled low FODMAP food and lifestyle blog.

When Zlata and I were discussing doing guest posts on each other’s blogs, I couldn’t go past these mashed potato buns. I used to do something very similar with left over mash and I can’t believe I haven’t done it in years. Probably because left over mashed potatoes really isn’t a thing with Ev and the dogs in the house. But anyway. I’ll just have to start making extra.

These buns are great to snack on, work well as a side to soup (gluten free toast is so yesterday) or even just use them as dinner rolls.

A little about Zlata…

Full-time publicist, part-time writer, and round-the-clock ambassador to wit and humor, Zlata is a Jersey Girl making her way through life in South Florida with her husband, Alex, and their sweet pup, LexZ. Zlata’s a self-taught home cook who relies on taste bud science for her mostly simple, sometimes healthy/sometimes not, always delicious recipes. When she’s not crafting kitchen concoctions, Zlata can be found reading an awesome book (translation: trashy magazine), crossing the line between ‘funny’ and ‘inappropriate,’ and fantasizing about being a Real Housewife of Palm Beach.

Find her on:

FODMAP Notes

  1. Potatoes are low FODMAP in 1 cup serves.
  2. Butter is low enough in lactose that most should be fine with it but, if not, use your favourite butter replacement.
  3. Eggs, salt and pepper are all low FODMAP.

Mashed Potato Buns

  • 5 pounds organic russet potatoes
  • 1 stick butter (my preference is salted)
  • 6 eggs (3 whole and 3 yolk)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

For instructions with step by step pictures, see the recipe at Life and Thymez.

Get a pot of water boiling and sprinkle heavily with salt. Meanwhile, peel the potatoes then cut them into halves or quarters and add to the boiling water.

Boil potatoes until cooked. You should be able to easily poke them through with a fork. Once ready, drain water and move them to a large round bowl and mash with butter. Add salt and pepper to taste, then let the potato mix cool slightly.

In the meantime, get a large baking pan ready with parchment paper and preheat oven to 350 F/180 C.

Mix 3 eggs into potatoes using hands. (It will be messy and potatoes will stick to your hands). Form bun shapes out of the mixture and add them to the baking sheet. Wash hands and crack three egg yolk in a small bowl. Brush egg yolk on each bun, making sure the tops are well covered.

Bake in oven until browned, about 45-60 minutes.

IMG_3347-e1428198695528

Leek Chimichurri – Low FODMAP, Gluten Free & Vegan

Leek Chimichurri - Low FODMAP, Gluten Free and Vegan, fructose malabsorption, irritable bowel syndrome, healthy, low carb

When we moved into our new house in February just been, there was a run-down little veggie patch by the front door. I looked at it in dismay – I had just left behind the gorgeous wooden planter box that Ev built for me the year before at our last rental – and then proceeded to ignore it every time I walked by it. The box was cheap plastic, the soil full of weeds and the dried out remnants of what was once a zucchini plant were splayed out on a trellis.

After a couple of weeks, I looked at the “garden” tab of the house folder the previous owners had left us and got a little shock. Apparently, the veggie patch was full of leeks, chives and kale. Yum. I checked the garden again and there were the leeks and chives, hidden among the weeds; no kale, though, it obviously hadn’t made it through the winter. There was one problem, though. There was grass growing up throughout the chives and the leeks were apparently planted next to some small agapanthus, whose leaves look a lot like a leek but are not edible. Why on earth? Anyway, it was still February, so these hardy little plants hadn’t begun to flower yet. I was reasonably confident that I could tell them apart from the bulb/lack of bulb (agapanthus vs leek) but, to be sure, I wanted to see the flowers.

Finally, the leeks and agapanthus flowered a week ago and last weekend we decided it was time to get rid of the sad little veggie patch and replace it with a lawn, instead. Unfortunately, our backyard is surrounded by pine trees and gets very little sunlight, so I understand why they chose the front yard for the veggie garden – I just wouldn’t have done it in quite the same way. Also, because our backyard gets basically no sunlight, the “lawn” is about 95% weeds, so we’re going for a forest/path/hidden surprise backyard with shade loving plants and we want to get as much lawn out of the front yard as possible. But I digress. Even after ditching the leeks that were growing so close to the agapanthus that they were intertwined (and all the chives, because they were thoroughly knotted together with grass and nobody had time to sort that mess out), we had a sink-full of leeks. I’m not even kidding, our extra deep, double-sized kitchen sink was overflowing.

This wasn’t even half of what we kept, which was half of what was there. Please excuse the weeds, the garden is a work in progress.

WP_20150503_013

What on earth could we do with so many leeks? It’s warming up, so it’s no longer really soup weather and simply processing the leeks and freezing them seemed like a cop out. A few weeks ago we had watched an episode of No Reservations (Anthony Bourdain’s show) and they had dipped leeks into chimichurri. Why not make leeks into chimichurri, instead?

Chimichurri is a very versatile sauce. It’s primary use is for grilling meats but you can use it as a dipping sauce, a condiment, a sandwich spread (mixed with mayo – yum!), a pasta sauce, a salad dressing, to spice up omelettes and add flavour to mashed potatoes. You can also use it as a base from which to build an entirely new sauce. It’s definitely handy to have around, as it allows you to cut some corners during dinner prep – I won’t say no to that!

FODMAP Notes

  1. Green leek tips are considered FODMAP friendly in 1 cup servings.
  2. Garlic olive oil must be made ahead of time and cooled, or it can be pre-bought. If you are buying garlic olive oil, make sure you choose an oil quality that is more suited to how you plan to use your chimichurri. For example, we grilled the chimichurri marinated beef kebabs we made, so a refined olive oil was more suited to this particular dish than if we had used the chimichurri as a dipping sauce, in which case extra virgin olive oil would have been fine (due to the heat resistance/smoke points of different oils).
  3. As all FODMAPpers are different, if you can tolerate a bit of actual garlic, feel free to replace the garlic olive oil with the same amount of olive oil plus 1-2 cloves of garlic, to taste.

Leek Chimichurri

Makes about 600 ml of sauce, depending on how firmly packed the leeks are.

  • 4 cups green leek tips
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup pre-made garlic olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional – 1 tbsp. red pepper flakes or fresh oregano

Place the garlic oil (or actual garlic if you can tolerate it), roughly chopped leek tips and red wine vinegar into the bowl of your food processor and blitz until combined. Add some salt and pepper (and the optional herbs if you like) and keep blitzing until smooth. Taste the chimichurri, then add in more salt and pepper (or garlic oil or red wine vinegar) to get the exact taste and consistency that you like. We like ours a little thicker, so feel free to add more oil if you see fit.

That’s it. It’s very simple. Store in the fridge for up to two weeks, or freeze for up to two months. It’s especially important to practise safe food handling if you’ve used an homemade infused oil, due to the risks of botulism that rise when infused oils are stored incorrectly/for too long. Store bought infused oils have been prepared in such a way that they have a much longer shelf life.

But please don’t let that put you off making chimichurri! The simple measure of freezing extra jars right away will keep the sauce safe for a couple of months. I know our batch won’t last longer than that, and it made 10 jars. It’s that good.

Here is our leek chimichurri, served with a yolk porn-worthy poached egg on top of polenta and wilted spinach. Simple, delicious and nourishing. The perfect meal.

IMG_6904 IMG_6906

Meet Nicer Food’s Infused Olive Oils – Low FODMAP Flavour for your Dishes

low fodmap, nicer foods, garlic infused oil, fructose malabsorption, irritable bowel syndrome, IBS, gluten free, organic

About a month ago, Jesse and Kate Watson of Nicer Foods contacted me and asked me if I’d like to test drive their newest product. Given how much I liked their last effort (chocolate peanut butter flavoured protein bars, mmmmmmmm…….) I of course said yes. Please realise, though, that the opinions here are my own; even though they very generously sent me a full-sized version of each of the four flavours, I was not bound to give them a good review.

Firstly, 10 points to Gryffindor – I mean Nicer Foods – for great customer service; they have always replied promptly to my enquiries and these little beauties reached me just two days after I agreed to review them, in a well padded parcel.

For the uninitiated, the low FODMAP diet restricts garlic and onion, among other foods, based on their high quantities of fermentable carbohydrates, known as fructans (or fructooligosaccharides/FOS, part of the O group), which aren’t absorbed in the small intestine, so travel on into the colon, where your resident gut flora digest them, leading to gas production, bloating, cramps and altered bowel movements. You know, exactly what you want to read about in the review of a gourmet food product. Sorry.

For the less than savoury reasons mentioned above, those following the low FODMAP diet for relief of digestive complaints will eliminate garlic and onion varieties, which for some might seem like the end of the world for their taste buds. However, luckily for us, FODMAPs are water soluble, so foods like garlic and onion can be sauteed in oil until their flavours have seeped in, leaving the fructans behind. This means that oils infused with the essences of higher FODMAP foods can impart the flavour into your meals, without the FODMAPs. Sounds great and easy enough, right? Well, the down side to this is that you really shouldn’t store your homemade infused oils; you can make them but only if you plan to use them right there and then. Botulism, a potentially fatal bacterial infection, is caused by the food-borne bacterium Clostridium botulinum, which thrives in low oxygen, alkaline, warm environments – just like infused oils.

Personally, I’m not happy to risk a case of Botulism to have the convenience of homemade infused oils lying around and, while I’m happy to throw a couple of garlic cloves into simmering oil when I’m cooking, I most likely won’t be bothered when I am making a heat-free-prep meal, like dips or salad dressings.

So, what to do? Supermarkets and websites sell varieties of infused olive oils that we can take advantage of. But what makes Nicer Foods’ infused oils stand out from the crowd? Firstly (and most importantly), they are made with the intention of being completely FODMAP friendly, so you don’t have to worry about garlic or onion “juice” getting into the oils, like you do with others. Have you ever seen the garlic infused oils on the supermarket shelves that have bits of garlic sitting at the bottom? Chances are you may react to that particular oil – depending on how sensitive your gut is. Secondly, they taste great – more on that later – and thirdly, I’d happily support a family owned start up company over a chain-brand that probably doesn’t care as much about quality control and its customers.

So, to the oils!… Which are available online for purchase at Nicer Foods’ website for a reasonable price.

Shallot Infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Great taste, a little strong but pleasant. It works wonders as a simple salad dressing with a pinch of sea salt or as part of a cooked meal. Just beware, though, that as it’s an “extra virgin olive oil,” (EVOO) I’d keep your heat low, so don’t use it while stir frying, or simply add it in at the end of the cooking process.

Meal ideas:

  • Salad dressing, with a pinch of sea salt and perhaps a dash of white wine vinegar.
  • Drizzle over your pasta of choice and throw on a few cherry tomatoes, some shredded basil and Parmesan cheese.
  • Onion replacement in hot meals, if used carefully – would work in combination with the garlic oil in any Italian or Mexican dishes that you wanted to try, such as this Bolognese sauce.
  • Jazz up your favourite low FODMAP dip recipes – this would go well in a roasted capsicum dip.

I like the shallot oil so much that it has earnt it’s own pouring spout. If I had to pick, it’d be my favourite.

IMG_6926

Garlic Infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil

A pleasant and mild garlic flavour. I’ve tried store bought garlic oils before and some have had an obnoxious garlic taste but this one, thankfully, does not.

Meal Ideas:

  • Salad dressing (as above).
  • Use carefully in cooking, such as garlic free carnitas or Napoli sauce (after sauce has been reduced from the boiling point).
  • Whip up a delicious garlic infused guacamole.
  • Bake some spinach and Feta muffins, or mini quiches, using the garlic oil as part of the fat content, to spice up the flavour.

Pictured here in a green leek chimichurri sauce.

IMG_6904

Lemon Infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Refreshingly zingy. I like the other oils a lot, too, as the steadily emptying bottles can attest – but this one speaks to my inner baker and dessert-aholic. The flavour reminds me of a lemon biscuit (cookie) that my Gran used to buy and that I now want to replicate. I wish it came in a bigger bottle!

Meal Ideas:

  • Drizzle over seafood as it’s removed from the heat.
  • Use it as part of a zesty summer salad dressing.
  • Use it as part of the fat component in a lemon-infused baked goods – I’m planning a recipe right now.

Basil Infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Herby! I love the versatility of this oil. Good quality oil – as are all the others – that can be used in a variety of ways.

Meal Ideas:

  • Make an extreme basil pesto, or add it with a bit of the garlic oil to a spinach or kale pesto for some basil flavour when basil is out of season.
  • Drizzle it into a bowl of plain EVOO and Balsamic vinegar (which is low FODMAP in 1-2 tbsp. servings) and use it as a dip for your gluten free or FODMAP friendly bread for a simple appetiser.
  • For a super simple lunch or dinner, drizzle some over freshly cooked gluten free pasta, add in some chopped cherry toms and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and you’re done.

All in all I can safely say that I recommend these oils. The team at Nicer Foods has done a great job. The fresh flavours, combined with no ill reactions on my behalf, and a friend’s rave review of my shallot oil/sea salt salad dressing (“That’s all that was in the dressing?!”) makes this a win-win product in my books.

Low FODMAP & Gluten Free Treats to Spoil your Mum this Mothers’ Day

Mother's Day, low fodmap, fructose malabsorption, gluten free, ibs, irritable bowel syndrome, love, family

As much as I love Seattle, it does suck a little bit (at least), living literally half a world away from your family. Even more-so around holidays; Skype is great but it’s not the same as being there in person. It might be just another Hallmark Holiday to some but I do like having a chance to show my mum (and my dad, when it’s his turn) how much I am grateful for the time they spent caring for and raising me as a kid.

Given that I’m not going to make it to Melbourne by Sunday, even if I could, a phone call will have to do until we’re next together and I can make Mum her chocolate cake and Dad his pecan pie. But for those of you lucky enough to live in the same city as your family, here’s a collection of low FODMAP and gluten free recipes with which you can spoil your mum, whether you chose morning tea, brunch (my favourite) or just fitting it in whenever you can. Hopefully there’s a variety to suit everyone’s needs, including vegan/dairy free, some healthy and others not so much.

There are twenty-seven recipes, one for each year that my beautiful Mum has put up with been graced by my presence.

155792_10150335249730341_328932_n

We scrub up alright

Sweets

I have my priorities sorted, thank you.

Breakfasts

Salads

Main Meals

Drinks

  • Sangria – Not From A Packet Mix
  • Freshly squeezed mimosas – Inspired Taste (It’s basically the same recipe that I make but have never published… I’ve never measured in the triple sec, though. Use freshly squeezed OJ and limit to one serving)
  • Purple basil lemonade – Fructopia

A FODMAP Friendly Veggie Garden for Summer

Fructose Friendly Veggie Garden, low fodmap, fructose malabsorption, ibs, irritable bowel syndrome, gluten free, healthy, organic, pesticide free, spoodle, cockapoo, homegrown

I apologise for the delay in today’s Fructose Friendly Friday post. I intended to share a low FODMAP/gluten free crumpet recipe but – unfortunately – it wasn’t quite ready to share. Hopefully next week! Anyway, I had to whip up something quickly and spring seemed the perfect time to talk about gardening.

Last year I was able to do something that I’ve been wanting to do for a long time – grow my own veggies. For the previous three years, I have been growing my own herbs in pots on our balcony, which was thankfully south facing (equivalent to north facing in Australia), so it got a lot of sun. It was great to be able to grow our own herbs but this year, we have a garden! Well, more like a patch than a full-on yard but it’s a start.

I wanted to grow my own veggies for a few reasons:

  • Price: organic veggies are expensive, as are some non-organic versions, such as zucchini and cherry tomatoes.
  • Quality: *fingers crossed* our home grown veggies will be better than store bought.
  • Control: even organic vegetables use pesticides, some of which have not been thoroughly tested (they just need to be deemed “natural”) and many are reported to be less effective than normal pesticides, so more has to be used; if we grow our own, we can be completely pesticide free. Please note, I am not anti-organic, I just wish that the organic industry was held to the same standards as the regular industry that uses synthetic pesticides. You’ll never experience judgement here for what sort of produce you choose to consume.
  • The experience: hopefully one day we will have a backyard big enough to grow most to all of our fruit and vegetable needs, as we plan to have a completely edible garden.

So, now we have a little yard. What next?

Firstly, we had to move in! We didn’t get started on our garden for two whole months, as we had to fix up inside the place – previous residents had left holes in the dry wall that needed spackling/painting and clearly had little darlings that were fond of wall art. Then we drove down to San Francisco to meet my parents for a road trip back up the west coast, which had some spectacular views.

My mum loves to garden (so much that we drove up to the Butchart Gardens – pictured below – in Victoria, B.C.) and had been telling me for months that she would be giving us a Backyard Blitz while she was staying with us. Awesome.

WP_20140426_12_24_56_Panorama

WP_20140426_12_43_01_Pro

Prepare your garden beds

It really was a huge do-over; I didn’t take a before photo – in retrospect, I should have – but the place was essentially a grass patch with three garden beds full of rubble, a hose with holes in it, decomposing flower pots and a random butcher’s knife that had belonged to previous tenants. It made me angry just looking at it – and a little concerned about the knife, though the scariest thing to happen was the lawn-mowers leaving the gate open, which meant the dogs almost got out.

We spent an entire day with the shovel and rake pulling out the weeds and the weed mat (awful things) and discovering that we only had about 40 cm of soil depth and the rest was building rubble that had been thrown in to raise the gardens to the second story, which was our lower living area, as the garage is at ground level, underneath it all. Your to-do list may differ but ours included:

  • Pull out as many of the rocks in the soil as possible, so we could use them in flower pots for drainage and for decoration. I’m not going to turn my nose up at free river rocks!
  • Get rid of the weed mat – not only do they mess with drainage but they stop the plants’ roots from getting deep enough to really stabilise and get at nutrients.
  • Weed like crazy and get rid of the chunks of cement that were close enough to the surface to get in our way.
  • Build the garden beds up with a decent soil and compost/fertiliser, so the plants have a chance at surviving.

We did all of the above for the two side garden beds, which were empty. The rear garden bed we just pulled out the surface rocks and weeded, as there were already some box hedges planted and, considering that we’re still renting, we couldn’t pull out the plants that belonged to the owners.

Plan your garden

What will you grow?

What do you want to get out of your garden, aside from pesticide free produce?

To narrow down which fruit and veg that we would actually grow, I did some research about the climate in and around Seattle, as well as the soil type. Seattle doesn’t have a huge growing season for summer crops, so I had to be on top of this in April. We used the following criteria to decide on what we’d grow:

  • Expensive at the supermarket.
  • Doesn’t last long in the fridge.
  • Suited to Seattle’s climate.
    • Fast growing, so they’ll be ready in Seattle’s short growing season.
    • Hardy enough to survive the Pacific Northwest’s climate.
  • Dog-friendly – so sadly rhubarb was out.
  • We need to eat a lot of them.
  • FODMAP (or Nat) friendly, see list here.

If you choose to grow your own fruit and veg, you’ll need to do some research for your own area.

Where will you grow it?

Unfortunately, our back yard is north facing, so it doesn’t get full sun. If we could pick the perfect spot, it would have:

  • Adequate sunlight.
  • Well-drained, nutrient rich soil.
  • Sheltered from the wind.
  • Close to a water source.
  • In a built up planter box, rather than rows – saves both space and your back.

But, that wasn’t the case, so we had to be realistic. Considering that flowering plants require lots of sunlight, we chose:

  • Green leaf lettuce
  • Carrots
  • Chard
  • Basil
  • Rosemary
  • Oregano
  • Coriander (cilantro)
  • Sage
  • Oat grass (for the dogs to nibble on)

And because why the hell not…

  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Zucchinis
  • Strawberries

Start your garden

To combat our short growing season in Seattle, I sprouted the seeds indoors, in front of a warm, sunny window in our kitchen.

WP_20140831_16_04_35_Pro

WP_20140607_19_05_30_Pro

When the weather was warm enough to transplant the seedlings, I put them in the planter box that Ev built for me. Side note – we’ve since moved house, so the lucky people that buy our old rental will inherit it. It was sad to leave it but there was no way we were going to get it into the U-haul.

  • Feed and water your garden as required. Be careful not to over-water it, as excess moisture can lead to rotting stems and dead plants.
  • Do NOT over-plant an area of garden bed. I got a little greedy and then we had to transplant our cherry tomato plants halfway through the growing season. Though, to be fair, my last two attempts at growing cherry toms hasn’t been half as successful and the rate of growth of these two plants shocked both of us.
  • Get any support systems (stakes and cages) in place BEFORE you need them. See above.
  • Prune/maintain as required.

WP_20140621_20_47_28_Pro IMG_5470 IMG_5465

The results

  • Cherry tomatoes – very successful. We didn’t buy tomatoes for 5 months.
  • Lettuce – also did really well. Best lightly sprayed with water and refrigerated for a day before use, to help it crisp up after the summer sun.
  • Chard – didn’t survive the seedling stage. There might have been a problem with the seeds, as everything else was fine.
  • Carrots – showers, not growers. They tasted alright but were small underneath.
  • Zucchinis – the plants were prolific flower-ers but they didn’t grow any successful fruit. They zucchinis would reach about 10 cm long and then begin to decompose. I was really disappointed.
  • Strawberries – the squirrels really enjoyed these. We didn’t get to taste any, as the little buggers would eat them before they were ripe enough to pick. At least it provided the dogs with some entertainment.
  • Herbs – all did pretty well in the pots/garden bed.
WP_20140816_20_08_27_Pro

This wasn’t even the biggest that the cherry toms got. They ended up three times this size – insane!

IMG_6019

WP_20140831_14_38_56_Pro

Yup – showers, not growers.

IMG_5453

IMG_5466

This year we probably won’t have much more than herbs, as we are heavily DIY renovating the inside of our new house, as well as turning the (very poorly sunlit) back yard into something nicer than a weed pit. The front yard gets a lot of sun, so potentially could be the site of  a future veggie patch, if we get the front fence up. We already know that the neighbourhood has resident bunnies, though, so it might end up being a feeding ground for them instead of us.

So give it a go. Get gardening and let me know what you’re growing!