Toasted quinoa and buckwheat salad – gluten free, dairy free, vegan


It is a little more of a challenge to follow a free from diet if you are vegan and rely on pulses in your diet – I am going to attempt to produce more recipes to facilitate a good variety of foods for you to choose, during the exclusion phase, here is one recipe – but check out the links below for others.


25 g Mixed sunflower and pumpkin seeds

25 g Walnuts

25 g Pine nuts

1/2 Teaspoon of smoked paprika

1/2 Teaspoon of cinnamon

1/4 Teaspoon of ginger

1  dessert spoon of garlic infused oil

1/2 Lemon

2 Carrots

1 Red pepper

150 g Red quinoa

80 g Buckwheat

Spray oil


Add the spices to the garlic infused oil and mix into the chopped nuts and mixed seeds.

Toast for 5-10 minutes in an oven – watch this closely as it can easily burn.

Remove from the oven and cool.

Add the buckwheat and quinoa to a pan and add some water to cover and simmer till soft.


Chop the pepper and carrot into medium pieces and spay with oil and roast in the oven.

Mix ingredients together and add lemon juice.

Check the labels of the spices to ensure they are free of contamination with gluten if you have coeliac disease

Serves 4-6

 updated 22.11.14

Got Leftovers? A Christmas rice salad Low FODMAP and Gluten Free

DSCF1100modI have a hobby – I collect vintage Christmas decorations. The one in the picture, the watering can, was part of my granddad’s Christmas decorations and I remember it when we used to visit his house. It does look a little the worse for wear now, and granddad passed away a number of years ago, but I have happy memories when I use it so I would not throw it away. I have a number of other family decorations that come out every year and I have also bought some more – second-hand, this year. A number of the shops are selling vintage look baubles – but in my view you can’t beat the real thing! Using second-hand or ‘left overs’ is a really good idea – too much in life is disposable these days and this is a really environmentally friendly and economical way of living.

I have made this recipe using chicken as we had some chicken to use up, but it can also be used with turkey leftovers, I am sure you will have some to spare!


150 g Brown basmati rice

30 g Wild rice

20 g Camargue red rice

1 Tablespoon of garlic Infused oil

15 g Fresh Tarragon

2 Chicken breasts

1 Tablespoon of grained mustard gluten-free

1 Tablespoon of light mayonnaise (gluten-free or egg free mayonnaise if needed)

40 g pine nuts

5 Radishes

5cm Slice of cucumber

Salt + pepper to taste.

Fresh salad leaves to decorate

Serves 3-4


If using fresh turkey or chicken coat the meat in oil and chop the tarragon and add it to the chicken – roast in an oven till cooked. Cool quickly. If using cooked meat then add the oil and tarragon to the rice and use the meat cold.

Add the rice to a pan with water and simmer till cooked and soft, cool quickly.

Mix the mayo and grained mustard together and add to the rice with the chicken, pine nuts, sliced radishes and chopped cucumber add salt + pepper to taste and serve.

If you are sensitive to resistant starches this dish can be served freshly cooked and hot – just serve the radish and cucumber on the side of the plate.

I wish all my readers a happy calm gut holiday!

The first noel – carol singing with warm Low FODMAP sweet pies

It’s the first of December today – and so the countdown begins. I hope you have had a nice surprise this morning when opening your advent calendar for the first time. The evenings are dark early and it is a really frenetic time of year. I wonder how many of you will have carol singers arriving at the door in two or three weeks time? Have you ever wondered if any of your visitors have food intolerances when handing them a warm mince-pie after their efforts? Is offering mince-pies too old-fashioned do you think? Would they rather have money? That would be a little sad and not really in keeping with the spirit of the season. I have decided to rewrite the Christmas favourite – mince-pie, to provide a different alternative for those people who want to avoid a bout of symptoms after their festive singing. The recipe is based on rice flour – the pies are baked blind so the filling really is up to you, if you want to avoid nuts or other ingredients, you can base the filling on something else. The pastry is a great base for jam, lemon curd tarts or custard tarts you can add any other filling you can imagine!


1) pastry recipe

240g Rice Flour

50g Dairy free margarine

50g Light muscovado sugar

2 Eggs

1/2 Teaspoon of xantham gum

pinch of salt

2) Filling

60g Light muscovado sugar

20g Treacle

45g Golden syrup

1/2 Cap of vanilla essence

50g Dairy free margarine

1/4 Teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 Teaspoon of mixed spice

1 1/2 eggs (use the other half for brushing the pastry)

50g Pecan nuts

50g Banana chips


Add the rice flour, salt and xantham gum to a bowl and mix. Melt the margarine and sugar in a small pan and allow to cool a little. Add the eggs and sugar mix to the rice flour and knead thoroughly. Pastry without gluten needs working to give a good texture, if you need to add a little more egg then do. It really is different to cooking with standard pastry – you should not need to allow it to rest either. You can roll this out between cling film but I used a little rice flour and had no problem in rolling and cutting the pastry. Cut the pastry and add to a well greased pie baking sheet. Add baking beans to each tart case and cook for 10 minutes gas mark 5 or 190°C. Allow to cool, makes about 20-25 tarts depending on how thin you roll the pastry.

Melt the sugar, golden syrup, treacle, margarine, vanilla essence and spices in a pan under a low heat – allow to cool a little to ensure it doesn’t scramble the eggs. Add this mix to the eggs whilst beating. Save a pecan nut or banana chip as decoration for each tart and chop the rest separately. Split the sugar and egg mix into two – add chopped pecan to one and chopped banana chips to the other. Mix well then add a small amount to each tart and top with the decoration. Cook at the top of an oven at gas mark 5, 190°C for 15 minutes (do keep checking them to ensure they don’t burn.)

Be aware that these pies do contain fibre – so only eat a small amount! They are small pies just a morsel to tempt!

Updated 22.11.14

Easter meal – roast spring lamb

IMG_1673The first thing to do in the preparation for this Easter meal is to marinade lamb steaks for 1-2 hours.


1 freshly squeezed lemon

1 tablespoon of garlic infused oil

Sprinkle of salt

3 sprigs of rosemary

chop the rosemary and add to a bowl with 2 lamb steaks, oil, lemon juice and a small amount of salt to taste.

Leave to refrigerate for 1-2 hours before adding the lamb to a roasting tin with vegetables (I chose parsnips, these were what I had in the fridge, but you could choose carrots if you wish.)

Place in the oven at gas mark 4 and cook for 2-3 hours or until the lamb is very soft and falls apart. Keep checking it as you don’t want it to become too dry. Cooking the lamb long and slow will ensure that some of the marbling of fat it contains will liquefy and can be skimmed off the meat juices once cooked.


The next dish to make is a greek salad – we had this as a starter to our easter meal.


1 large tomato

1/2 cucumber

10-12 black olives

1 teaspoon of dried oregano

100g of feta cheese.

Chop the tomato, feta and cucumber and add to a bowl with olives. Mix well, as the feta and olives are quite salty there should be no need to add salt to season this dish. Serve before the main meal or have it as a side dish – whatever you prefer to do is fine.


The next thing to make is the mint dressing for the potatoes.

Minted Charlotte Potatoes

2-3 potatoes per person.

2-3 sprigs of mint

1 tablespoon of garlic infused oil

1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar

Salt to taste

Chop the mint and add it to a bowl with the olive oil and white wine vinegar, salt and mix well.IMG_1680

Chop the potatoes into 2-3 cm wide slices. Boil the potatoes for 10-15 minutes, drain the pan of water, add the dressing and shake the pan well.

Keep potatoes warm.

Prepare the lamb

Trim the fat from around the lamb and place on a serving dish with the roasted vegetables.

Drain off the cooking juices and strain off the fat which floats on the surface, drizzle this liquid over the meat and allow it to rest (if you wish to make a gravy add a heaped teaspoon of cornflour and heat in a pan until thickened.)

Serve up and enjoy! This meal is gluten-free and Low FODMAP (a small amount of tomato is included in the salad, which shouldn’t be too much for those excluding fructose from their diet) however the salad does contain milk protein. The meal is a celebration and has been prepared with some effort to reduce the fat levels in the roast lamb, however lamb is still quite a fatty meat therefore it is probably better to eat it occasionally. It serves 2-3 people (ensure a lamb steak per person.)


Inviting Salmonella to your festive dinner this year? A dietetic holiday lecture (you were warned!)

This post is about how to keep your gut healthy this christmas and avoid an infection of your digestive tract. What do I mean by this? Well, you might be at risk of an infection resulting in severe diarrhoea, abdominal pain and sickness during the holiday if you are not observing some food hygiene tips when preparing or eating food. No one would want this and we do have evidence that some people have a legacy of functional gut symptoms (irritable bowel syndrome) after such infections – worth a little bit of care then, to avoid.

Here is what the Food Standards Agency and NHS choices advises: (mercilessly ripped from their websites – but they are the experts!! Thank you to both organisations, see below for links)

Understanding ‘use by’ and ‘best before’ dates
‘Use by’ dates appear on foods that go off quickly. It can be dangerous to eat food past this
date, even though it might look and smell fine.
Check the ‘use by’ dates on the food in your fridge on a regular basis and be sure to use (eat, cook or freeze) food before its ‘use by’ to help you avoid throwing food away unnecessarily.

You can freeze food anytime up until the ‘use by’ date. Check the packaging to make sure
it’s suitable for freezing.
Once food with a ‘use by’ date has been opened, follow any storage instructions such as ‘eat
within 3 days of opening’, but not if the ‘use by’ date is tomorrow.
Best before’ dates appear on food with a longer shelf life. They show how long the food will
be at its best quality. Using food after the ‘best before’ doesn’t mean it will be unsafe. The
exception to this is eggs, providing they are cooked thoroughly, they can be eaten a day or
two after their ‘best before’ date.

Fridge looks like this at Christmas? Seriously – asking for an infection!

Use leftovers safely
Eating leftovers can be a good way of making food go further.
If you are going to store leftovers in the fridge, cool them as quickly as possible (ideally
within 90 minutes) cover them and eat them up within two days.
If you are going to freeze them, cool them before putting them in your freezer. Once food is
in the freezer, it can be safely stored for a considerable time – but the quality will

Eurgh! Cover your food – even if close to serving!

deteriorate so it’s best to eat it within three months.
Make sure you defrost leftovers properly before reheating. Defrost them in the fridge
overnight, or in the microwave if you intend to cook them straightaway.
Eat leftovers within 24 hours of defrosting and do not refreeze. The only exception is if you
are defrosting raw food, such as meat or poultry, once it’s cooked it can be refrozen.
Cook leftovers until steaming hot throughout.
Don’t reheat leftovers more than once.

Plan your meals
Before you go shopping check what’s in the fridge and freezer.
Think about what you are going to eat that week, plan your meals and write it down.
Make a list of what you need to buy and stick to it! Impulse buys can be expensive and, if not part of your plans, could lead to something else being wasted.
If you do get tempted by special offers in the shop, such as ‘buy one get one free’, think
about adjusting your meal planner for the week to add it in, or freeze the extra pack before
the ‘use by’ date, ensuring that it is possible to freeze the food. Or you could cook larger
portions and save some for another time.
Label food and date it before it goes in the freezer, so you know what it is and how long it’s
been frozen for.

Preparing and cooking your turkey here is what NHS Choices recommend:

Defrosting your turkey

If you buy a frozen turkey, make sure that the turkey is properly defrosted before cooking it. If it’s still partially frozen, it may not cook evenly, which means that harmful bacteria could survive the cooking process.

Defrosting checklist:

  • Work out defrosting time in advance, so you know how much time to allow – it can take at least a couple of days for a large turkey to thaw.
  • When you start defrosting, take the turkey out of its packaging, put it on a large dish and cover. The dish will hold the liquid that comes out of the thawing turkey.
  • Remove the giblets and the neck as soon as possible to speed up the thawing process. Wash your hands thoroughly after handling raw turkey, giblets or any other raw meat.
  • Before cooking, make sure there aren’t any ice crystals in the cavity. Test the thicker parts of the turkey with a fork to tell whether the meat feels frozen.
  • Turkey (and any other poultry) is best defrosted in a covered dish at the bottom of the fridge so that it can’t drip onto other foods.
  • Pour away the liquid that comes out of the defrosting turkey regularly to stop it overflowing and spreading bacteria. Be careful not to splash the liquid onto worktops, dishes, cloths or other food.
  • If the bird is too big for the fridge, put it somewhere out of reach from animals and children, and where it won’t touch other foods. For example, a cool room, shed or garage.
  • If you’re not using the fridge, watch out for sudden changes in room temperature as they could prevent the turkey from thawing evenly.

Defrosting times

To work out the defrosting time for your turkey, check the packaging for any guidance first. If there aren’t any defrosting instructions, use the following times to work out roughly how long it will take to thaw your turkey.

  • In a fridge at 4ºC (39ºF), allow about 10 to 12 hours per kg, but remember that not all fridges will be this temperature.
  • In a cool room (below 17.5ºC, 64ºF), allow approximately three to four hours per kg, or longer if the room is particularly cold.
  • At room temperature (about 20ºC, 68ºF) allow approximately two hours per kg.

When your turkey is fully defrosted, put it in the fridge until you’re ready to cook it. If this isn’t possible, make sure you cook it immediately.

Preparing the turkey

Wash you hands before preparing or touching food.

Keep the uncooked turkey away from food that’s ready to eat. If raw poultry, or other raw meat, touches or drips onto these foods, bacteria will spread and may cause food poisoning.

Bacteria can spread from raw meat and poultry to worktops, chopping boards, dishes and utensils. To keep your Christmas food safe, remember the following things:

  • After touching raw poultry or other raw meat, always wash your hands with warm water and soap, and dry them thoroughly.
  • There’s no need to wash your turkey before your cook it. If you do, bacteria from raw poultry can splash onto worktops, dishes and other foods. Proper cooking will kill any bacteria.
  • Always clean worktops, chopping boards, dishes and utensils thoroughly after they have touched raw poultry or meat.
  • Never use the same chopping board for raw poultry or meat and ready-to-eat food without washing it thoroughly in warm soapy water. If possible, use a separate chopping board just for raw meat and poultry.
  • Cooking times The cooking times below are based on an unstuffed bird. It’s better to cook your stuffing in a separate roasting tin, rather than inside the bird so that it will cook more easily and the cooking guidelines will be more accurate.If you cook your bird with the stuffing inside, you need to allow extra time for the stuffing and for the fact that it cooks more slowly. Some ovens, such as fan-assisted ovens, might cook the bird more quickly – check the guidance on the packaging and the manufacturer’s handbook for your oven if you can.As a general guide, in an oven preheated to 180ºC (350ºF, Gas Mark 4):
    • Allow 45 minutes per kg plus 20 minutes for a turkey under 4.5kg.
    • Allow 40 minutes per kg for a turkey that’s between 4.5kg and 6.5kg.
    • Allow 35 minutes per kg for a turkey of more than 6.5kg.

    Cover your turkey with foil during cooking and uncover for the last 30 minutes to brown the skin. To stop the meat drying out, baste it every hour during cooking. There is some debate over the cooking times so have a look at the Live Well website comments below – and also check out the time for other birds.


Best not to watch this next one if you have a sensitive disposition! I don’t remember this video being released – very good though!

Snack time – spicy paprika crackers Low FODMAP, wheat free, dairy free, gluten free

I have been meaning to look into snack ideas for the low FODMAP diet and wondering how to make crackers. I have been reading on the internet and the methods people use seem simple enough. This is my own recipe – but thanks to those whose recipes I have read – too many to mention individually. However special thanks goes to Jonathan Itchon see the link at the bottom of the page – for providing a ratio to make the crackers. Here is the recipe:

200g of plain gluten-free flour mix

150g of water

50g of olive oil

2 tsps of chilli powder (not a blend of spices, chilli ONLY)

1 tsp cumin

1/4 tsp of asafoetida

1 tsp of smoked paprika

1/2 tsp of salt

Add the oil to the water, place the flour in a mixing bowl and add the spices, mix well. Add the water/oil to the flour and mix till it has bound together, too wet and add a little more flour, too dry and add water – although the mix did come together very well. Place dough on a large piece of cling film and add another piece of cling film over the top. Roll the dough till it is VERY thin – thinner dough makes crisper crackers. Cut out with a pastry cutter. This is the most time-consuming bit. the dough is quite brittle so take care – or you can always add 1/2 tsp of xantham gum to make the mix more elastic. Place the crackers on an oiled baking tray and cook on gas mark 7, 220 degrees for ten minutes. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.

With 2 teaspoons of chilli powder these crackers are hot hot hot! Reduce the amount or exclude it altogether if you find that chillies don’t agree with your digestive system, or if you are making these for children – use animal cutters! Also the whole house was filled with the smell of asafoetida – just be warned! 😉 Also I don’t tend to use much salt in my cooking so they are perhaps less salty than you may be used to. If you have coeliac disease and are following a gluten free diet you must ensure that the spices you buy have not been contaminated with gluten containing grains – wheat, barley, rye. But these crackers were easy to make and has made me feel like trying different flavours – excellent, since ready-made flavoured gluten free crackers are rather expensive. Make some for your food intolerant friends today!