The Aubergine

Aubergines have to be my favourite vegetable. I love that they marry well with other vegetables such as tomato and potato. They have a velvety texture and a creamy taste and more than earn their title as the vegetarian steak.

Although in some quarters they are suggested to produce intolerance, as along with potato, peppers and tomato, the aubergine is a member of ‘the nightshade family’ or Solanaceae, a deadly associated name for a wonderful group of vegetables (and fruit, if you count the tomato, which is technically a fruit). We have little evidence for the problems of the ‘nightshade family’, concerning the above group of four as a whole, and why would you want to exclude these versatile vegetables from your diet? Some are however known as histamine producing – the aubergine and tomato – but histamine intolerance is a rare occurrence and can be identified by knowledgeable practitioners, plus aubergine is only classed as a moderate inducer. Another possible consideration for reactions to the Solanaceae group is the alkaloid solanine, which is found in green potatoes, so store your potatoes well, covered in the dark to avoid sprouting and this should not be a problem.

I have not had experience of the bitter flavour with aubergine so wouldn’t usually resort to salting them, but the above infographic is useful as once salted they will not absorb as much oil, so it might be worth taking the time to do it. Segnit’s flavour thesaurus matches the aubergine with walnut and tomato and a sprinkling of nutmeg. So, here is my recipe for you – please tell me how you like it!

Ingredients

1 aubergine

1 tablespoon of olive oil

100g carrots

1 tin of tomato

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

1 teaspoon of paprika

1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg

150g walnuts

150g of sharply flavoured cheese (if vegan you can use alternative vegan cheese here) but I used Manchego.

Method

Chop the vegetables and walnuts

Fry the spices in the oil to release their flavour.

Add the vegetables to a casserole dish with the tomatoes and mix in the spices and salt to taste

Cook for 1 hour at gas mark 6, 200 degrees C

Crumble the cheese, sprinkle on the top of the casserole and grill to melt

Serve with crusty bread (gluten free or otherwise for those following a low fodmap or gluten free diet.)

Chicken goujons – low fodmap

What are goujons? They are small chicken fillets that are coated in breadcrumbs. They are fairly easy to make using gluten free breadcrumbs but it is important to use the correct ones for the low fodmap diet. Clearspring rice crumbs are probably the best option. Some gluten free breadcrumbs use a blend including gram flour – this is chickpea flour and is a source of GOS, it might be OK for some people with IBS because of the small portions of crumbs used to coat ingredients – but pure rice crumbs are better and they are wholegrain too – bonus for those with constipation! Hale and Hearty breadcrumbs contain inulin so this should not be used for a low fodmap diet. You can make your own breadcrumbs with gluten free bread if you wish, again choosing wholegrain bread to give the dish added fibre – a way of using up stale gluten free bread and fibre is great for gut health! For health this is a recipe to have occasionally as it is a fried dish – but suitable for those who are underweight as frying adds additional calories to the dish. Mayonnaise is another addition but take care with ones that say low fat mayo as these can have increased amount of skimmed milk powder – a source of lactose. So it has to be full fat and a small portion! The dish includes making your own garlic infused oil at the start of the process – follow this part of the recipe closely, slicing the garlic makes it easier to remove it all before frying the goujons, so you remove all the fructans included in the clove. Don’t be tempted to use a garlic crusher as you cannot then remove all the pieces. I have added the goujons to a gluten free pitta bread with salad leaves.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Ingredients

Gluten free four (100g)

1 egg

Gluten Free Breadcrumbs (1/2 pack)

seasoning

1 pack of chicken mini breast fillets

Rapeseed oil – enough for frying

1 pack of gluten free pitta breads

Salad leaves of your choice (I used chard and radicchio but lettuce leaves are another option.)

1 clove of garlic.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Method

Wash Hands.

Wash and chop the salad leaves and prepare the pitta bread and put these on a plate away from the work surface you are using to prepare the goujons. If you have work surfaces on either side of the oven this is good, you can use one side for raw chicken preparation and one for cooked. Do this before handling the raw chicken fillets.

Open the packet of chicken fillets and use immediately – please do not wash them, they don’t need it, plus washing raw chicken is a food poisoning hazard – it can easily spread bacteria around the kitchen.

Place the flour and seasoning on a plate, crack the egg and mix well with a fork on a plate and breadcrumbs on separate plates. Dip the chicken fillets into the flour first, then egg and then the breadcrumbs – coat each fillet well and don’t forget the edges.

When coated, pile them on a dish for frying later.

Clean work surfaces down and wash your hands again after handling raw chicken.

Slice the garlic clove (this is better than crushing as it makes it easier to remove the pieces before frying the chicken.)

Add oil to the pan and fry the clove quickly then remove all the pieces of garlic from the pan.

Add the chicken goujons and fry till golden. Don’t overload the pan as this will lead to steaming instead of frying and soggy breadcrumbs.

Add 2 slices of goujons to each pitta – makes 5.

Serve with green salad.

Mini chocolate orange panettone – low fodmap

This is an ideal Christmas recipe for low fodmappers who want to have a festive bread without marzipan and probably one of the only bread recipes that I have managed to produce that has risen well! It is based on an enriched bead dough mix produced using a standard purchased bread flour.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Recipe

250g gluten free bread flour

150g dark chocolate chips

2 teaspoons of orange oil

2 eggs

1 tablespoon of oil

1 teaspoon of vanilla

1 pack of fast acting yeast

1 pinch of salt

1 small pinch of cream of tartar

50g of castor sugar

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon of cloves

1 teaspoon of ginger

1 teaspoon of mixed spice

400ml of warm water

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Method

Add the flour, spices salt and dark chocolate chips to a bowl, mix.

Separate the yolk from the white of the eggs.

To the white add a pinch of cream of tartar and whisk till peaks are formed, adding 25g of sugar half way through, then add the rest when soft peaks are formed.

To the yolks add the oil, vanilla and orange oil

Start adding the water to the dry ingredients and mix with a hand mixer. Then add the yolks.

Fold into the mix half the beaten egg whites quickly to slacken the mix. The gently fold in the rest of the egg white.

Add to bread tins and leave in a warm place for 30 minutes to rise. Cook in a warm oven (200˚C, Fan 180˚C, 400˚F, Gas 6) for 30 minutes until cooked.

Spaghetti Cabonara -low fodmap

Whilst reading the Guardian newspaper recipe booklet this weekend I decided to have a go at one of the recipes in the pasta special and reduce the parmesan and low fodmap modify it. OK – this recipe scared me, adding egg to freshly cooked pasta – surely a recipe for scrambled egg, right? This is a classic Italian dish and no cream in sight and is a rich dish that is suitable for a low fodmap diet. It is easier to make than I first anticipated and much to my surprise, no scrambled egg in sight. This is a really creamy dish without adding cream and a tasty supper for chilli winter evenings.

I used bacon rather than pancetta as it is slightly leaner and 2/3 of the parmesan. Sometimes pecorino cheese is used instead – it really doesn’t matter. Having bacon occasionally is fine – I can’t actually remember the last time I did eat bacon, but obviously not a choice that should be included in your diet regularly and certainly not every day. This recipe was so easy but it could be included in an Italian themed dinner party or a relaxed meal with friends – it doesn’t take much effort at all – so give it a try.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Ingredients

4 egg yolks

6 rashers of lean bacon

60g parmesan

400g of gluten free spaghetti

2 tablespoons of olive oil

Freshly ground black pepper

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Method

Bring a pan of water to the boil and cook the spaghetti according to the instructions on the packet – make sure that you follow the instructions carefully as this is the key to cooking the perfect gluten free pasta.

Whilst the water is boiling separate 4 egg yolks from the white (you can use the egg white to make meringue later) and beat.

Grate the parmesan

Add the olive oil to a pan and fry the bacon.

Drain the water from the pasta sauce saving a cup full.

Add the pasta to the bacon, off the heat and ensure the pasta is coated with the oil.

Add the eggs and cheese to the pasta with some of the pasta water and stir well till combined. The heat of the pasta will cook the sauce.

Add some freshly ground black pepper before serving and serve on warmed plates.

That’s it – serves 4.

Remember, remember the fifth of November – Low fodmap parkin.

Parkin is a rich spiced cake from Yorkshire or Lancashire that is consumed during bonfire night. Are you unsure of what Bonfire night is? It is a festival in the UK marking the failure of a plot to blow up parliament by Guy Fawkes. This is celebrated by lighting bonfires and fireworks and making a Guy to collect pennies. If you want to know more then this short version of a video by the excellent Horrible Histories series is a great way to find out – tongue in cheek of course!

Ingredients

2 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 tsp mixed spice

100g dark muscovado sugar

175g golden syrup

175g black treacle

125g Margarine

100ml Lactose free milk

225g Doves Farm Gluten Free self-raising flour

200g Oats (contamination free if you have coeliac disease)

Method

Sieve all the dry ingredients into a bowl and mix well.

Add the egg to the milk and mix

Melt the butter and sugars in a pan until dissolved – cool a little

Mix the ingredients together

You are looking for quite a wet mix, add more lactose free milk if required

Place some baking parchment into a round tin 9 inch baking tin and grease the tin if needed. Or if you wish this can be used as a tray bake. Cook at gas mark 4.5 until a skewer placed in the cake centre comes out clean. Top with icing sugar and star shaped sprinkles to represent fireworks.

 

How to make an authentic low fodmap curry – vegetarian

OK – so, how on earth do you make an authentic curry without an onion base? Masala is a mix of spices that are first fried in oil to release the flavour and then finely chopped onion and garlic is added – lot’s and lot’s of onion and this is cooked before adding the other ingredients to the onion and spices. No wonder then many people with digestive problems have an issue with curry! So is curry off limits when following the low fodmap diet? Certainly not – the following recipe replaces the onion with finely chopped white cabbage. I know this does sound a little strange but trust me, give it a go and see. Now this recipe does have a large amount of oil so it is not for every day and if you have problems with food higher in oil perhaps give this recipe a miss.

Ingredients

1 teaspoon of turmeric

1 teaspoon of coriander

1 teaspoon of cumin

1 teaspoon of asafoetida

1 Jar of roasted peppers

130g of white cabbage

1 aubergine

200g of small salad potatoes (skin on)

500ml water

250 ml of oil

Fresh coriander leaves and pomegranate to decorate

Method

Add the oil to a pan and fry the spices

Chop the cabbage very finely and add to the spices and oil and fry for 5 minutes (this cooks into the dish in a similar way to onion.)

Chop the aubergine, potato and red pepper and add to the mix and cook in an oven proof dish for 3o minutes.

Add some chopped coriander leaves and serve with boiled rice or gluten free plain chapati.

The chilli is for decoration although chilli is tolerated by some people with IBS (it is low fodmap) add a small amount to the dish if you wish.

Serves 4