Autumn jacket potatoes

It’s Autumn, I love this time of year but as the dark nights role in thoughts of wholesome, warm filling meals arrive. What could be more sustaining than a jacket potato for people following the low fodmap diet? This is also married with carrot and celeriac, oregano and thyme and of course mixed with cheese – not so much – but enough to provide ample calcium.

However food means more than sustenance – it is family, experience, love – in fact food ripples throughout life and our lived experiences. Many of us have stories to tell about food – both negative and positive. There are two considerations for people who wish to follow a low fodmap diet, what benefits might there be? Much longed for reduction in symptoms? The benefits are often the driving consideration. But what about negatives – how is changing the way that I eat going to affect my quality of life? You might be somewhat surprised at this suggestion – negatives in quality of life? But this diet is supposed to improve my situation, surely?

Consider cooking for the family, going out for a meal with a treasured friend, traveling on holiday and having a suitable option for lunch at work. How much additional planning and work is it going to take to follow this diet – can I afford to have additional work when I already have a very busy schedule to follow? These are all considerations that should be taken into account when deciding to follow an elimination diet – these are considerations that the dietitian can help you with and are what your dietitian will be contemplating as part of the assessment process. This is also another reason that the reduction phase of the diet should be as short as possible. The re-introduction phase will provide some freedom and release from some of the restrictions the low fodmap diet instills.

There are options for people who may not wish to follow a complete exclusion and would find that following the low fodmap diet too much to plan – because planning is what you will need to do, to be successful. There is a shorter low FODMAP version that the dietitian may consider if the full diet is too challenging and a wheat free or lactose free diet if these food types are considered to be the main issue from a diet history.

It hasn’t gone unnoticed by me how people with IBS try hard with regards to treatments – sometimes unfortunately too hard and continue far too long when diet treatments are not working. People then should explore other treatments and often need help or a nudge to move onto other options. To some extent this hard effort is why I work in the area of digestive illness, because I know my patients will often try their upmost to make changes, more than in other areas of dietetics and when this works, it is satisfying – although, truly, it is their hard work that has produced dividends. Symptoms of IBS really are the great motivator, I would suggest that their may be no greater drive towards change than these symptoms provide – imagine what could be achieved with such an instigator, if it was a positive driver rather than a negative one?

But, enough of the musings and lets get back to the recipe…

Ingredients

  • 3 jacket potatoes
  • 3 carrots
  • 2cm of celeriac (tip here: keep some blanched celeriac ready cut in your freezer for any recipes that ask for celery)
  • 150g grated cheese
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon of chopped fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon of dried
  • 3 sprigs if thyme or 1 teaspoon of dried
  • Seasoning

Method

  • Warm the oven to 200 degrees C and then wash and prick the three jacket potatoes, place them on a baking tray and add to the oven. Depending on the size cook for 1 hour to 1 hour 20 minutes.
  • Whilst the potatoes are cooking add the oil to a pan and add the herbs and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  • Slice the carrots and celeriac and boil in a pan of hot water till soft. Mash and add the herbs and seasoning.
  • Grate the cheese.
  • When the potatoes are cooked scrape out the potato leaving the skins intact. Mash the filling with the carrot mix and add 100g of the grated cheese and mix. Add back to the potato skin shells and top with the remaining cheese.
  • Grill till the cheese has melted and then serve (serves 3)

Oyster mushrooms – a umami low fodmap option for IBS

It is autumn and the evenings are becoming darker. It is the season for mushrooms and many people really miss mushrooms when following the low fodmap diet. But if you are following the Kings College Low FODMAP diet oyster mushrooms are suitable. They are not as available as a few years ago and are now usually found in the section labelled up as wild mushrooms – so perhaps suitable for a treat only.

Mushrooms have an umami flavour – an earthy, complex meaty flavour that is very important particularly if you are vegan and missing the deep, rich flavour that meat offers. Mushroom also offers a texture that is robust, filling and satisfying. This is the flavour provided by glutamate (the natural variant of mono-sodium glutamate – MSG, a food additive) a chemical that in the past has been implicated in Chinese or Asian food intolerance or ‘Chinese restaurant syndrome’. It might be the FODMAP content rather than the glutamate that lead to perhaps some gastrointestinal upset in some people and not specifically the glutamate content – we have no evidence that ‘Chinese restaurant syndrome’ exists from eating food where MSG has been added (see the Compound Interest info-graphic above.) Some foods containing glutamate listed above also contain histamine, which also is implicated in developing symptoms such as palpitations, chest pain, headaches, asthma, flushing and gastrointestinal upset. They are cheese, fermented foods such as miso and tomato. These foods are possibly the foods which might have lead to Chinese Restaurant syndrome, although this reaction is likely to occur infrequently. If you do suspect a histamine intolerance and have the symptoms above see a dietitian who will provide help for you to check if you have. Please avoid information from the internet on histamine intolerance, as it is usually far too restrictive and might lead to nutritional deficiencies. Although actually we have no evidence that most people with IBS have histamine intolerance – in my opinion we need much more research in histamine reactions.

Who wouldn’t want to have this fantastic flavouring naturally found in mushroom, parmesan and soy sauce? I have developed a recipe for you. You can replace the parmesan with a vegan alternative, if you wish, and it really doesn’t change the flavour. Risotto is such a tasty filling meal for autumn evenings this recipe contains lots of umami from white miso, oyster mushrooms and parmesan cheese. Do enjoy it!

Ingredients

  • 160g Oyster mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 250g arborio (risotto) rice
  • 15g white miso diluted with 700ml boiling water
  • 20g vegan or standard parmesan
  • 50g toasted pine nuts
  • 3-4 sprigs of thyme
  • additional grated parmesan

Method

  • Now the only rule really in making risotto is that you shouldn’t leave it alone for a second! It takes time to prepare but it is worthwhile putting that additional work in – you get out what you put in.
  • Grate the parmesan and set aside.
  • Toast the pine nuts in a drizzle of oil until they are brown -watch them closely as they can easily burn. Set aside to cool and then add the thyme (chopped) and mix well.
  • Add the oil to the pan and gently fry the mushrooms for 5 minutes. Then add rice to the pan and cook to 2 minutes.
  • Start to incorporate the miso based stock slowly to the pan over 10-15 minutes and keep stirring – this will prevent the rice from sticking to the pan.
  • The rice is ready when it is al dente (slightly firm to bite)
  • You may need additional liquid – water is suitable – depending on the rice you use.
  • At this point stir in the grated parmesan and serve topped with toasted pine nuts and extra grated parmesan to taste (you shouldn’t need any seasoning as the flavours are deep but add some at this point after tasting the dish if you wish.)
  • Enjoy!

Puff pastry topped with creamy courgette and walnut salad – Low Fodmap

Autumn days are really setting in now and we are entering my favourite time of year with lots of squashes and root vegetables to roast – great for sensitive digestive tracts. As we are entering the cooler days of the year I have decided to try a different approach to a salad – this might be a little unconventional but it was filling, tasty and a little more substantial than the usual salad fare. I have used very pretty fennel flowers as decoration, which strictly speaking are not fodmap tested – but you can get away with a small amount of fennel bulb (49g) a few flowers sprinkled on a salad shouldn’t be too much of a problem. We are lucky in Todmorden, we have incredible edible and lot’s of fennel in flower beds for anyone to harvest.

You can used bought gluten free pastry – but do be aware that some are based on chickpea or pulse flour, which is not suitable for a low fodmap diet. Tips for using gluten free pastry is to roll it between cling film to prevent sticking.

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Ingredients

1 packet of gluten free pastry mix

2 courgettes

4 tablespoons of lactose free mascarpone cheese

100g red cabbage

2 handfuls of walnuts

1 egg

seasoning

Fennel fronds (2-3 should be adequate.)

1-2 fennel flower heads (not an essential ingredient)

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Method

Roll out the pastry

Beat the egg with a fork and brush the pastry with beaten egg – this will improve the colour.

Cook in the oven using the manufacturers directions – mine is a little dark at one end! It might be useful to turn it whilst cooking to get an even bake.

Cool.

Wash and spiralize the courgettes – (you can also buy them pre-prepared at many supermarket outlets to save a additional step in the method.) Mix in the lactose free mascarpone and season.

Finely chop the red cabbage, fennel fronds and roughly chop the walnuts and add all the ingredients to the pastry base – serve with mixed green salad leaves.

Decorate with fennel flowers (not an essential item)

Serves 4-6

Lactose free mascarpone was purchased from Tesco and the ready roll puff pastry was made by Genius (gluten free and dairy free.)

Hot roasted vegetables

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.

Ingredients

Half a small pumpkin

1 carrot

1 Parsnip

200g swede

1 Aubergine

1 tablespoon sesame seeds

1 tablespoon of pinenuts

1 tablespoon of oil

1 flat teaspoon of Togarashi

Method

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!

Serves 2-3

halloweenroasted-vege3

 

Spooky Spaghetti – Halloween recipes for your scaredy guts!

It’s getting close to Halloween now, what are your plans? The following is a recipe for halloween night – not to upset your digestion! Although I can’t guarantee a scare free evening!

Ingredients

2 Salmon fillets

1 tablespoon of soy sauce*

*gluten free

salt

poaching water

150g Black rice noodles

Spray oil

2 carrots

2 tsps Garlic infused oil

1 Green Pepper

Radishes to garnish

Serves 2

Method

Place salmon fillets in an oven proof dish and cover in water and soy sauce, poach till cooked through.

Boil a large pan of water and add the noodles to the pan and heat till softened.

Peel carrots lengthways to produce carrot strips, chop up the green pepper and peel the radishes (to look like eyeballs, scary!!!)

Add oil to a wok and add the salmon (flaked) chopped vegetables and a little more soy sauce, if desired. Add a little of the poaching liquid. Cook on a high heat till cooked through.

If you are following a gluten free diet ensure your soy sauce is a gluten free variety. Suitable for Low FODMAP, gluten free, lactose free, egg free, wheat free.

Breakfast bars

It’s really well into Autumn now and there was a very pretty spiders web on our Acer tree – unfortunately my photography skills really doesn’t do it justice, you can only see the twinkling colours of the water droplets in the web at the bottom of the picture. Made these breakfast bars this morning, I’m getting a little bored with my usual breakfast so I thought I would try this instead:

110g of oatmeal bran

20g of milled flaxseed

80g of oatmeal

1 heaped tsp of cinnamon

1 heaped teaspoon of mixed spice

3 teaspoons of artificial sweetner powder

1 tin of gooseberries in light syrup

50 mls of ginger cordial

50 mls olive oil

Sieve out the gooseberries and retain the fluid (should be around 150ml), to this add olive oil, ginger cordial and mix well.

Place all dry ingredients into a mixing bowl (typed bowel initially – ha ha ha,  lol 🙂 just shows my job is in my unconsciousness.)

Mash the gooseberries, make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and add liquid and gooseberries, mix well till amalgomated.

Spread out the mixture on an oiled baking tray and place in a preheated oven at gas mark 6, or 200 degrees C for about 20 minutes, check after 15!

Cut into 8 or 12 bars, cool on a baking tray and sprinkle with icing sugar.

These bars do have fibre therefore please ensure you have a drink if liquid when you have these, a cup of tea, coffee, or glass of water would suffice. Take care if you are not used to eating foods containing fibre – don’t scoff too many at one go! These should also fill you up as they are based on oats – a low glycaemic food choice, they are also nice with yoghurt.