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!
Yes it’s still November and thoughts are turning to Christmas🎄. I apologize now 😃 for posting this recipe but you do need to be planning and perhaps trialing recipes before the big day so here is one for consideration. Bread and butter pudding is not one of my favourite dishes as I have nightmarish visions of being offered this at school and school lunches were not to my liking. However it is a great option for a lighter pudding on Christmas day when spiced or perhaps thanksgiving if you are in the USA. If you can’t get Schar brioche rolls in the USA gluten free croissants will also be suitable. It is very easy to make and contains low fodmap ingredients, so should be a safe option for those of you following a low fodmap diet.
1 pack of Schar* brioche rolls (gluten & wheat free)
500mls of lactose free milk
3 eggs and one egg yolk
50g pecan nuts
1/4 teaspoon of allspice and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
2 tablespoons of 100% maple syrup
1 tablespoon of raisins
butter or spread
Dark brown sugar for sprinkling on the top
Slice the brioche rolls length-ways
Chop the pecan nuts reasonably finely
Measure the lactose free milk and add the eggs, maple syrup and spices – mix well
Line the dish with butter and spread butter thinly on both sides of the bread.
Dip each slice into the chopped nuts to coat them.
Line the bread into the dish.
Pour in the milk mixture, then scatter the raisins and sugar on the top and grate over nutmeg.
Cook in the centre of an oven at gas mark 5 temperature 190 deg.C after 30 minutes check and if the edges of the bread or sultanas look a little over done cover with foil for the last 10 minutes. Enjoy!!
*Schar brioche rolls were purchased for this recipe.
This vegetable tart was made using frozen gluten free pastry bought at the Allergy & Free From Show over the weekend. It is a quick and tasty recipe for a weekday evening. Serve with some green salad.I used coloured carrots for effect but orange ones will do just fine.
4 pieces of frozen spinach
60g of hard cheese sliced thinly
One pack of frozen gluten free pastry*
Slice the carrots length ways so they will lie flat, spray with oil and roast.
Roll out the pastry between cling film and when shaped line a flan tin or suitable oven resistant tin. The pastry should then be pricked with a fork and baked blind for 10 minutes at gas mark six.
Defrost the spinach and squeeze to remove as much moisture as possible. This is important to avoid a soggy base to the flan.
Break the eggs and mix with a fork, then brush the pastry with the egg wash to seal it from moisture. Place back in the oven to seal the flan for 2 minutes. Remove from oven and add ingredients.
Lay the spinach on the base of the flan, add thin slices of cheese over the top and then the roasted carrot.
Pour over the rest of the egg wash and bake for twenty minutes at gas mark 5, 190 deg. C.
Serves four for lunch. It should be suitable for people with #IBS following a low fodmap diet and people with coeliac disease.
I adore roasted vegetables – I have said this before but I can’t get enough of them at the moment. These choices are low fodmap and packed with fibre, really filling and comforting. The spice mix I chose to use was a Japanese mix called Togarashi- a seven spice mix. It is really fiery so if you have IBS and are sensitive to chilli, I would probably give this recipe a miss. Although the mix is suitable for a low fodmap diet. The spices are mixed chilli powder, black & white sesame seed, orange zest, ginger, sichuan pepper and seaweed. Sichuan pepper is contained in Chinese five spice mix which Monash have stated is suitable for the low fodmap diet. Monash is based on the Australian diet and in the UK if you wish to try Chinese five spice check the ingredients – some manufacturers add onion and garlic to their mixes. The manufacturer of this mix is Taste Gourmet Spice Company some of their mixes are gluten free. The website mentions Paleo and ‘clean’, which I don’t endorse for IBS – but I will forgive them that indiscretion for the fact that some of these mixes are onion and garlic free (I have not had time to check them all so it is worth a further look.) I purchased this mix and I might be tempted to buy more to test for you. I used a flat teaspoon of the mix and it was as hot as I could take – so you could use less if you wish.
Half a small pumpkin
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 tablespoon of pinenuts
1 tablespoon of oil
1 flat teaspoon of Togarashi
Peel and chop the vegetables
Add the spice to the oil and mix then rub on to all the surfaces of the vegetables.
Roast in a hot oven for 20 minutes or until the vegetables are soft.
Roast the sesame seeds and pinenuts for a one to two minutes till golden – watch them closely as they can burn easily.
Add the vegetables to a plate and sprinkle with sesame seeds and pinenuts.
A great Halloween treat and posted just in time for you to make for meatless Monday!
It’s now October – time for the nights to draw in and Halloween is just around the corner. Have you time to cook some dark dishes for All Hallows’ Eve? Would you like a story before we begin out tasty treat? You would? Now I am not in the habit of believing in ghosts being a pragmatic scientist at heart, but I do love a good story and a recent visit to Wycoller Hall certainly stirred the senses and not in a good way. The Lancashire area is steeped in legend and tales of witchcraft and haunting and the ancient hamlet of Wycoller is no exception. The old dilapidated ruin of Wycoller Hall holds a story within it’s architecture to chill you to the core. This the tale of Wycoller Hall and the headless horseman that haunts it’s grounds.
Locals watch the weather forecast with trepidation – it is said that the horseman rides when the weather is stormy and wild, a night reportedly not to wander out, perchance you encounter the headless spectre and his steed.
Simon Cunliffe, Lord of Wycoller was said to have been short to temper and hearing of his wife’s reported indiscretions with another man, lost all sense of reason and drove his horse ferociously down the lane and over the cobbles back to the hall. On arrival he leaped from his mount and ran through the hall and up the stairs to his wife’s bedchamber. Before death his wife allegedly cursed the family with downfall, a fate which later came to pass. Showing no mercy he murdered her and left, racing back up the lane on his horse, never to be seen again. The spectres dark fate on tempestuous nights is to repeat this event ad infinitum.
The story goes that when the weather is wild a rider is heard galloping down the lane, over the ancient pack-horse bridge. The dark horses hooves sparking cobbles, the whites of the steeds eyes blazing, nostrils flared and flaming, flanks sudoriferous. His mount, headless above Stuart ruff – literally losing his head to his outrage – is certainly a sight to behold leaping from his horse. Entering the ruin he is heard striding up long vanished stairs to the lady Cunliffes bedroom. A crack of a whip is heard then bloodcurdling screams echo around the remaining walls of the hall. He then returns to his mount and is heard dashing up the lane into the underworld – till the next time the weather is as stormy as his temperament.
Now looking at the image below tell me you can appreciate the atmosphere at this little hamlet? Even in the height of summer it can be very chilling. What is the story telling us? Well perhaps anger only ultimately hurts the angry person? I wonder?
The recipe above uses the second Fodify spice mix – Thai green curry
2 cooked chicken thighs
1 teaspoon of Fodify spice mix Thai green curry
1 Kaffir Lime leaf
400 ml of chicken stock
1 teaspoon of fish sauce
1.5 teaspoons of tamarind
200ml of light coconut milk
2 teaspoons of cornflour
Small amount of oil to fry herbs and aubergine
Add oil to the pan and fry the herbs for 2-3 minutes to release the flavour. Add the aubergine, finely chopped kaffir lime leaf and cook. Add the tamarind, stock (home made or perhaps Atkins & Potts classic chicken stock or Borough Broth Chicken Bone Broth – although this choice is very expensive.) and the rest of the ingredients and serve with rice noodles.