This recipe was adapted from Gerard Baker’s ‘How to make soft Cheese’ recipe for Halloumi.
Unfortunately I would not describe it as halloumi it is more like a standard soft cheese – but lactose free. It is very easy to make as long as you follow a few steps to avoid contamination.
1 pint of lactose free full fat milk
30ml of white wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon of salt.
Wash your hands.
Make sure all the equipment is sterile, scald a muslin square and pour boiling water over a stainless steel colander and pan, chopsticks and large bowl. You will also need a soft cheese mould and baking tray.
Makes approximately 100-150g of cheese.
Place the milk in a pan and heat slowly until it reaches 95 degrees C using a thermometer.
Add the vinegar and turn off the heat till the curds have formed (leave for five minutes.)
Skim off the solids and add to the muslin laid over the colander. Squeeze out as much liquid as you can at this stage.
Transfer to the cheese mould and turn upside down on the chopsticks over a plate or the baking tray, to drain.
Place the cheese in an airtight container and store in the fridge for 3 days.
It was national pizza day last week and I decided to focus on the three colours of the Italian flag and make three colours of pesto and use small gluten free pizza bases – one is just enough for a nice lunch served with a fresh green salad.
I bag of basil leaves
40g of oil
20g of pine nuts
salt + pepper to taste
30g pine nuts
30g clear oil
1 slice of gluten free bread
salt + pepper to taste
2 roasted red peppers
10 basil leaves
30g pine nuts
Salt + Pepper to taste
Method for all the pesto’s
Weigh out all the ingredients and blend into a paste. For the bianca pesto add a little water if this is too thick during blending. Simple! Do taste it before you add any salt because the parmesan may produce enough saltiness for your taste. These pesto recipes produce enough for a 7 inch pizza but can also be added to pasta for a lovely flavoured dish. Remember if you have problems with foods containing fats affecting your bowel do use the pesto sparingly.
Spread the pesto on the base and add a small amount of mozzarella (one or two strips), basil leaves and one sliced olive. Sprinkle with Parmesan and cook in a hot oven for 10-15 minutes.
Spread the pesto on the base and add a small amount of mozzarella (one or two strips), pine nuts and sliced Parma ham (do be careful about what meats you choose for pizza – check for wheat, onion and garlic in preserved meats and sausages.) Sprinkle with Parmesan and cook in a hot oven for 10-15 minutes.
Spread the pesto on the base and add a small amount of mozzarella (one or two strips), pine nuts and sliced roasted red pepper and slices of Parma ham. Sprinkle with Parmesan and cook in a hot oven for 10-15 minutes.
These little pizzas can also be sliced into 4-6 pieces and used as a small appetizer with drinks at parties too. Enjoy Pizza day!
It’s time to get back to fresh ingredients, I always crave fresh salad after the Christmas excess. This salad is a tasty low Fodmap salad that will fill you up for lunch, it also contains one of your fruit portions. Remember to separate your fruit portions through the day if you have fructose malabsorption.
1 navel orange.
100g of feta cheese.
1 slice of red cabbage.
1 tablespoon of pine nuts.
A small handful of rocket.
8 little gem lettuce leaves.
A Sprinkling of poppy seeds.
Simple really, lay the little gem lettuce on the plate, peel and slice the orange and add the other ingredients to this. Serve – or add to your lunch box for the next day!
What are navel oranges? They are oranges with a belly button! Navel oranges are always sweet and delicious I always look out for them at this time of year.
Seville oranges are oranges that are in season around January and are a taste experience that has both sweet and bitter overtones. They are not oranges for eating but do make an excellent marmalade and this is what most people in the UK use them for. They are suitable for a low FODMAP diet. I purchased mine from a local farmers market, which meant that they were reasonably good value. I have made this marmalade a couple of times now and for both I have used jam sugar developed for high pectin containing fruits. The high pectin in these oranges comes from using the pith, pips and skin of the oranges during the marmalade production. Be aware that some sources of pectin can be apple based. Whether you tolerate apple pectin depends on how much was used to make the jam and how much you eat at the time. Remember the low FODMAP diet is just that – low – not fodmap free – fodmap free would be impossible to follow! I don’t like too much of the shredded peel in my marmalade but you could use more in yours if you wish. I needed two bags of jam sugar and twelve oranges, plus 50ml of lemon juice to make the marmalade and the result was four 500g jars. I was a little disappointed that I didn’t get more but I suspected that I could have added more sugar and peel to make more jam. But less sugar and more fruit has to be better – right?
Using a jam pan, the first thing to do is to wash the fruit then boil them in a little water, just to cover the fruit, till they are soft. Remove the oranges and keep the water in the pan. Once cool, cut each orange in half and juice each one then save the pith and seeds. Boiling the fruit whole has the advantage of getting more juice from the fruit and allowing you to scrape some of the pith from the peel before you chop it and add it to the marmalade. Scrape the pith off the skin and slice and chop it to your desired shred size. Add an additional 500mls of water to the pan, the orange juice, shredded peel, jam sugar and lemon juice. Using a muslin bag add the remaining pith and pips to the bag and tie the top. Add the bag to the pan. Bring the marmalade to a boil and keep a rolling boil till the marmalade reaches it’s setting point. This is likely to be more than one hour but keep a check on it. Check it’s setting point by adding a small amount of marmalade to a cold plate and it should wrinkle when pushed with a spoon. Sterilize four to five jam jars, add the marmalade and seal the lids. If they are sealed correctly the marmalade will last sealed in the jar for at least a year. Serve a small amount on gluten free or sourdough spelt bread for a low fodmap breakfast treat.
When baking with gluten free flour the recipes are improved by a ‘drizzle’- to add moisture to the cake. Plus, for this special time of year, I have used best butter! Yes – B…U…T…T…E…R you heard that right . Consumed once a year in the Thompson household but it is really worth it for Christmas as butter does make a difference to the flavour of these cakes. These are special cakes for Christmas eve supper.
130g caster sugar
45g brown sugar
2 heaped teaspoons powdered ginger
1/2 teaspoon mixed spice
175g of best butter
220g gluten free self raising flour
3 tablespoons table sugar
2 tablespoons of lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of water
Cream together the butter and sugar till the mix is pale. Add each egg and beat the mixture well in between adding the eggs. If the mix appears to separate add a tablespoon of flour. When all the ‘wet’ ingredients have been added slowly fold in the flour and spices. Using a greased bundt tin add the mixture and cook in a moderate oven for approximately 30 minutes.
Add the lemon juice, water and sugar to a pan and dissolve. Remove the cakes and whilst still warm drizzle the cake well. Serve.
Serves 6 depending on the size of baking tin. You can make a ring of the houses like a traditional bundt and fill the centre with treats, if you wish.
Finally it’s snowing heavily at the bundt village – but not too much to spoil the fun!
The holiday season means many different things to different people, it is supposed to be a period of joy but often it really doesn’t live up to all those expectations that we often have. The media portray images of idealistic families around the Christmas tree having all their dreams come true. For some people the reality is somewhat different, Christmas can be a traumatic time and managing with all the family can be challenging, but it can also be a time when some people are alone too. Here are some tips to help you navigate your way through the period and avoid your gut spoiling the fun.
1. Tis the season to be jolly – really? You have my permission to be a Grinch too if you wish. You should not be expected to see people and be jolly, especially people who you never get along with during the rest of the year. If you don’t get on with someone then Christmas is not a time that somehow the ‘magic’ will make a difference, and likely if your inhibitions are lowered with the odd glass of Advocaat (add your choice of tipple here!) it will not end well! Suggest that you have other plans this year, make your apologies for not seeing them if you wish.
2. Scenes on TV cookery shows promote the domestic goddess, but don’t forget all those well choreographed scenes take time and lots of other people to help, likely months of planning too. Not so much of a goddess then! So don’t try to live up to this myth of being able to manage it all, you will only end up frazzled and this will likely make symptoms worse. You could have a Jacobs join – were everyone brings a different part of the dish. Or you could ask people to bring dishes from around the world, and think of others or you could go out to eat on Christmas day. Consider inviting someone who might be on their own on Christmas day. It really doesn’t have to be a traditional day – make new traditions!
3. Ensure you eat regularly on Christmas day – leaving hours between meals will not help, plan to have a light breakfast before your Christmas lunch – this doesn’t mean grazing all day either. Manage your portion sizes – use a smaller plate if you like your plate full and you will be just as satisfied and not over full and unable to move!
4. Don’t slouch on the sofa eating snacks whilst watching those Christmas movies, let gravity help you gut and try to sit up when eating – or don’t snack, you will eat more than you realise if you are not being mindful about what you are eating. Alternatively plan how much you are going to eat and put it in a bowl so you know when you have had enough. Your body will thank you for it.
5. Include some light activity mid afternoon if you are able – a gentle walk in the park perhaps or some games to get you moving around.
6. Family dynamics can be a rich source of conflict during the season, this can lead to arguments in the period leading up to Christmas and especially on the day itself. Arguments at mealtimes are really not advisable, this will do nothing to help your digestion. Stress causes your body to produce adrenaline, the fight or flight hormone, this is a response to conflict or dangerous situations, originally utilised so you can escape from predators. Your body is therefore NOT concentrating on digesting lunch. In the distant past a dose of indigestion was a very small price to pay to avoiding being eaten. So you might need to be assertive and lay down some ground rules for everyone to follow so that the meal can be as calm as possible.
7. Budget as much as you can. Planning is the key here and Christmas is for thinking of others, but not at the expense of experiencing anxiety at not being able to live up to their expectations. Again tell people in advance what you are planning, say that you are only going to be able to afford to do certain things – you may find that people are relieved that they don’t have to meet these expectations either.
8. Stick rigidly to your Low Fodmap foods (or other tolerated foods) before the day, so if you eat something that you react to, you possibly won’t have as severe symptoms as you would have with eating as you please for the full season.
9. Drink plenty of fluids through the day – a least six to eight cups of non carbonated drinks and if you do drink alcohol, match every alcoholic drink with a non alcoholic one – this will mean you drink less and stay hydrated at the same time. Drinking whilst eating slows the absorption of alcohol into the body. Stay within the healthy drinking guidelines (no more than 2-3 units per day) and watch mixers for fodmaps and fizz. Make a glass of water the final drink before going to bed to counteract the dehydrating effects of alcohol. Remember alcohol is a gut stimulant and hangovers won’t help your IBS symptoms although some people can tolerate small amounts. Try not to over indulge – intoxication can remove your resolve and you might be tempted to have more than you planned. Check out Drink Aware for details of how much alcohol is in your favourite tipple. https://www.drinkaware.co.uk/understand-your-drinking/unit-calculator
10. The best tip is – remember to enjoy yourself – it is not money that makes the difference but being in the presence of friends, family and company on the day – spending time with others.
Sage and onion stuffing is a classic accompaniment to Christmas dinner, however for people following a low fodmap diet this is not an option because it does contain lots of onion. Perhaps this recipe might be a good alternative and uses up some of the parts of meat that often go to waste, such as liver. I do save gluten free bread to freeze when I have the odd slice, or perhaps the bread crumbles because it is a little stale. Although freezing and reheating can increase the resistant starch content. Most people who get improvements on the low fodmap diet don’t seem to have problems with resistant starches – but if resistant starch does affect you, it might be better to use fresh breadcrumbs and only have a small piece, perhaps.
1 pack of chicken livers
1 tablespoon of garlic infused oil
1 teaspoon of asafoetida
100g of celeriac (gives a flavour of celery)
100g of chopped white cabbage
200g of gluten free breadcrumbs
4 sprigs of fresh rosemary.
Salt to flavour
Trim the chicken livers (remove the tougher membrane that runs between the livers lobes). Add oil to the pan and fry the asafoetida and livers till cooked. Process the cabbage, rosemary and celeriac till a fine texture is achieved and then add the cooked liver and gluten free breadcrumbs. Process till smooth. Add to a loaf tin and cook for 1 hour at gas mark 5 or you could make stuffing balls or sausages depending on your preference but his will affect the cooking time. This stuffing tastes between a stuffing and pate and goes particularly well with Turkey.
I do not put my stuffing mix in the turkey body as this will not reach the temperature needed to cook either the stuffing or the turkey. Do take care when cooking Christmas lunch – do not wash the turkey and ensure any juices from the turkey run clear. Prevention of food poisoning during the festive season is really important!