Madeira cake low fodmap gluten free

I haven’t posted anything to my blog for a long time but this recipe is perfect for a bank holiday weekend. This is a lovely cake for a treat. Its texture improves after a couple of days in a cake tin and is just about right. It is also a great base for a trifle but it might not last log enough to make it! Try it and see if you like it.


150g butter

150g golden caster sugar

3 eggs

1/2 grated lemon rind

1/2 teaspoon Xanthan gum

100g gluten free self raising flour mix

Butter for the baking tin

1 500g loaf style baking tin


Heat the oven to 170°C, Fan150°C, 325°F or Gas mark 3

Butter the baking tin well

Add the butter and sugar to a bowl and cream till pale colour.

Sieve the flour in a separate bowl add the xanthan gum and mix well.

Add the eggs one at a time to the butter and sugar mix and beat well after each one. If the mix appears to be curdling add a tablespoon of the flour mix

Add the grated lemon rind

Add the rest of the flour mix slowly till it’s incorporated fully.

Mix well and add to the baking tin, smooth the top and cook for one hour or until a cocktail stick pushed into the centre of the cake comes out clean.

Enjoy! If you can leave it a couple of days before you eat it, do as the texture does become more moist.

Stir up Sunday – ‘free from’ fun! Low FODMAP, wheat free, gluten free, milk free

By this I certainly don’t mean devoid of pleasure! it is a tradition in our household to make Christmas puddings, but for this year I have decided to make a pudding that you can make just before Christmas and is made from ingredients that are cows milk protein, gluten, and wheat free plus Low FODMAP to ensure you have a symptom free Christmas. Everyone in the household would stir the pudding and a sixpence was often hidden inside, a nice surprise for someone on Christmas day. As long as you don’t choke on it that is!



120g wheat/gluten-free self-raising flour*

1 tablespoon cocoa powder** (gluten free, dairy free – see link below)

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon mixed spice

1 teaspoon powdered ginger

1/4 freshly grated nutmeg

1 cap full of vanilla essence

100g dairy free margarine

2 eggs

1 tablespoon of treacle

grated rind of 1/2 lemon and 1/2 an orange

Juice of 1/2 an orange and 1/2 lemon

90g soft brown sugar.

2 tablespoons of dried blueberries

*this recipe does not work well with flour based on chickpea and chickpea flour is a source of FODMAPs.


Weigh out and sieve the dry ingredients into a small bowl, add gluten substitute and mix well into the dry ingredients.

Generously grease a pint pudding basin

Weigh out margarine, treacle, soft brown sugar, lemon + orange rind, Lemon + orange juice, vanilla essence into a mixing bowl and using a hand mixer, mix well till the mixture is pale.

Add 1/3 of the egg and a tablespoon of the dry mix, mix well, if it looks like it is curdling add a little more flour. It will likely look like it is curdling so don’t be put off, just add some more flour. This recipe needs 2 eggs to stop it from crumbling, repeat till all the egg is used up.

Fold in the dry ingredients to the batter.

Then add the fruit and again mix into the batter. Get each of your family members to give

the pudding a stir – if you can drag them away from the tv. Add the batter to the pudding basin and cover the top with a grease proof paper lid tied with string, add a fold in the paper to allow room for the pudding to rise. Cover the whole dish with foil and steam for 1.5 hours. Serve!


If you follow a gluten-free diet then ensure your spice ingredients are gluten-free – supermarkets usually ensure these ingredients are labelled appropriately.

DSCF0998modThe pudding has dried fruit – but not too much, so that a small portion should be suitable for those with fructose malabsorption. It is very light and a good choice for Christmas day pudding.

I found this really interesting blog on recipes from history with a plum pudding recipe – don’t try this at home it contains FODMAPs 😉

DSCF1057**For milk free cocoa powder check out the following link

Gluten free bread woes?

The one anxiety people have when they are diagnosed with coeliac disease is the bread. People complain about the texture, the taste, the fact that sandwiches ‘are just not the same’, the slices are too small and they struggle with choices at lunchtime. In my experience most people find a solution to the bread ‘problem’ and this can be achieved by trying all different types, most

companies will allow you to sample the products. Free From shows are ideal venues to visit as most companies exhibit and will allow you to taste. It can be argued that the popularity of the gluten-free diet as a lifestyle choice is not ideal, but one thing is for sure, choices for gluten-free foods are improving all the time. Although free market competition and following price reductions due to market competition does not seem to have followed with the increasing choice available.

The fresh breads that are marketed are good options and if you can tolerate codex wheat (wheat that has had the gluten removed) but you may need to have freezer storage as if these are ordered on prescription (for people with coeliac disease only) they are delivered in larger batches. Try to choose ones with added fibre or seeds to increase wholegrain options in your diet. Some breads can be freshened by warming in an oven or microwave – this is usually stated on the packet and some versions have humectants (an additive that holds on to water) added to keep them moist, such as psyllium husk flour, which can also act as a bulking laxative! Useful for most people but you might want to limit the amount of these types of bread if you have irritable bowel syndrome and you suffer from diarrhoea and bloating.

lunch day 2

Most types of bread are available in gluten-free varieties, such as baguettes, rolls, fruit loaf, pita and naan, a new wrap has even been introduced recently. If you use artesian bread outlets or farmers markets, please ensure contamination with gluten has been avoided and the seller is aware that spelt flour is not gluten-free. One clear problem with the gluten-free bread is that the slices are often smaller – but do be cautious as these slices may contain the same calories as a standard sized loaf. Those people who have weight management requirements need to review the labels when choosing bread as sometimes ingredients that are used to improve the texture increase the calories the bread contains. Some of the more common breads and there fat and calorie contents are below.

————–Energy per Slice/per 100g (Kcal)              Fat Content per slice/per 100g (g)

Juvela Fibre Fresh                           73/229                                                     1.3/4.2

Glutafin Select Fibre Fresh             88/252                                                     2.2/6.1

Genius brown original                      82/304                                                    3.8/14.3

Warburtons Brown                           73/229                                                    2.2/6.1

Yes You Can (fibre)                          83/221                                                    1.4/3.7

Wellfoods (fibre)                               –/216                                                     –/2.3

Ener-G (rice brown loaf)                  –/334                                                     –/15

Fria Fiber                                            83/265                                                   2.1/7.0

Barkat Brown                                      –/221                                                   — /3.2

Dietary Specials                                68.5/249                                                 1.7/6.2

Biona rice brown bread                       –/200                                                  –/2.0

Asda Brown                                            86/234                                                1.2/3.3

Sainsbury’s Brown  (slice = 36g)         86/302                                                3.6/12.5

Tesco Brown                                         105/285                                                3.1/8.6

Only two of the above products would be classed as a low fat product if you go by grams of fat per 1oog only, but this is complicated, as slices are different thicknesses and sizes and calorie content is also important. Concentrating on the fat level might not be that helpful (and the calorie content of the rest of the diet too is clearly important – it’s no good complaining about the calorie content of the bread, if you consume lots of gluten free cake, biscuits and pastries!) Those examples above without per slice options may be unsliced, therefore the calorie content depends on how generous you are, thin slices or ‘door stop’ slices, as my Lancashire family would describe. Some companies are now producing loaves that have larger slices to address the issue of small slices, but again caution might need to be taken for those who struggle to maintain a healthy weight.

gluten free bread loaf 3 4-23-12 w

As can be seen above we now have lots of options for choices for bread – so those who are newly diagnosed should ideally try each version to see which they prefer, this choice can be as different as chalk and cheese! You can make your own using breadmakers and baking by hand, mixes are available to help and they are usually very good in my experience. Making your own can take some time to get used too but home-made can taste much nicer – you could add dried fruit, a source of iron and fibre. Other options are gluten-free crackers and crispbreads, good options for lunchtime and eating away from home. Toasting the bread can also make the bread more tolerable for some.

If you are following the Low FODMAP diet ensure you check ingredients.

If you have any tips for people please share!

No funding or free samples were provided to faciliate writing of this post.

Simply Gluten Free and Dairy Free – Grace Cheetham

SimplyGluten_Nov12This book is a useful addition to the bookshelves of anyone who has a requirement to follow either a dairy free, lactose free and gluten-free diet or both. However despite the name of this book it contains some recipes for a number of different food allergies or intolerances identified by symbols at the side of each recipe, the symbol key is at the front of the book. The gluten-free symbol does include wheat free so the recipes are suitable for those people needing to follow a wheat free diet, although this is not clear from the title of the book. For those coeliacs amongst my readers the book has the endorsement of Coeliac UK, meaning that the recipes are guaranteed gluten-free (as long as you use the listed gluten-free ingredients of course!) Healthy eating recipes are included and the pictures certainly make you want to try some of the dishes as they look fresh and colourful and Grace injects some personality into the chapters by writing a small introduction to each and hints and tips are included throughout. Most of the recipes are not easily identifiable as ‘free from’ by anyone who wouldn’t be aware, making the recipes useful for the whole family. Treats are not forgotten, also very important to include occasionally in the diet for those people who have to exclude certain foods. It is perhaps better to wait till you have identified your intolerances if you are being treated with the Low FODMAP diet before you think about buying the book as the recipes do contain a number of high FODMAP foods, but these types of foods are generally healthy for those people who don’t have Irritable Bowel Syndrome or types of gut inflammation such as crohn’s or Colitis. For Low FODMAP followers you should only consider these recipes if you only have lactose intolerance and/or need to avoid gluten or wheat and you are fine with all other types of high FODMAP foods. The recipes I tried worked well and the book is nicely presented and not too expensive, so perhaps think about the book as a nice birthday or Christmas present for your friends or relatives with free from needs. Or buy it yourself and treat your friends to some baked goods – even better!”

The book was provided by the author for this review


Coeliac Awareness Week, food labelling and celebrity intolerance!

Sausages may contain gluten via fillers or bin...
Sausages may contain gluten via fillers or binders such as Butcher’s Rusk (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have had a very busy week and been unable to blog, my wish was to blog of my findings at the end of Coeliac Awareness Week however we were extremely busy on The IBS Network stand at the Allergy and Free From Show – I needed a weeks rest (but I was still at work during the day!) It was an experience to follow the gluten-free diet again, I did find it much easier second time around but the challenge was eating out, of which it was my first experience. I managed to resist the temptation of eating the ginger biscuits left on my tea-tray in the hotel room and survived the eating out experience. I did find discussing my requirements a little difficult at first, being someone with a shy disposition (you may find this a little difficult to appreciate, but I assure you its true,) I was soon used to the challenge of asking how food is cooked and served.

At the show, a colleague informed me that someone was selling a freshly cooked sausage 97% gluten-free – we discussed this, why make 97% gluten-free sausages? Why not go the whole hog, so to speak – 100% gluten-free and suitable for all? Who were these sausages aimed at? Clearly not people with coeliac disease, perhaps those with gluten intolerance?  I suspect that 3% gluten may affect those with gluten intolerance also. Or possibly aimed at those with the highly exclusive condition ‘fashionista celebrity gluten hypochondria’ who follow the latest dietary trends and can afford to be a little selective in their gastronomy – perhaps now I am being a little too cynical or cruel? I am sure you will tell me, if I am! Am I suffering from celebrity intolerance, I wonder? This food was being provided freshly cooked for direct sale – not prepackaged, but freshly cooked food in restaurants and cafe’s provided for those with coeliac disease is included in the new UK 2012 gluten-free food legislation and to be labelled gluten-free it should have been tested and have no more than 20 ppm of gluten. What this does show is industry food labelling obfuscation at its worst – despite the fact we now have regulations regarding the labelling of gluten-free and allergen containing foods. We do seem to have individual suppliers who still persist in supplying food that is unsuitable for those who need to avoid certain components that may cause illness. Unfortunately I didn’t have adequate time to discuss this with the vendor as we were so busy, but I do hope that someone had the time to elucidate them with the details of the legislation.

Where I felt that I was of use was to explain about contamination risks for coeliacs with the hotel before I left. If you recall the breakfast was a buffet style with gluten contamination risks with serving cutlery, this was discussed when I checked out of the hotel, I did suggest that it may have been better to provide and gluten-free cooked meat and cheese on a separate dish and avoid contamination in the kitchens, then people with coeliac disease could be a little more confident in the food provided. I still feel that people with coeliac disease will still struggle with eating out despite the new legislation, but we must continue to explain what is needed to the catering industry and if this is done sensitively, working with the industry, awareness hopefully will increase. Let me know of your experiences of coeliac awareness week, eating out, food labelling and the new legislation.

‘G’ day – day one on gluten free diet.

Day one – the gluten-free challenge – how is it going? Well fine actually – I have done good so far, but less than 24 hours in so perhaps that isn’t too surprising. Nearly had one mishap this morning though, or what would be classed in the health service as ‘a near miss incident!’ My alarm clock decided to ring VERY early – I don’t know why, this woke me up, disturbed my sleep and when I eventually managed to drag my body out of bed and go down for breakfast, I reached in the cupboard and took out the box of cereal that is too high in barley malt – poured a bowl – then realised. Had to put the cereal back in the box and get a new bowl. Opened the gluten-free cereal and had that with skimmed milk, a handful of raisins and two tablespoons of gluten-free cherry yoghurt – nice!

The picture above was my lunch consisting of

1/2 packet of brown rice fine noodles – pour on boiling water till soft, then drain and cool.

2 inch slice of cucumber – cut lengthways

100g prawns

2 sticks of celery – cut lengthways

2 radishes (for colour)

2 tablespoons of gluten-free sweet chilli

Mix well

I had this with 1 apple and 1 banana.

Waiting now for my evening meal of jacket spud and gluten-free baked beans – yum!

Last night I emailed the hotel and requested a gluten-free breakfast – they were very fast in responding, but I also need to ask them to bring my breakfast separately should it be a free for all buffet – breadcrumbs included! 😦

This is what I requested – we will see what happens, although it might be difficult to tell if some contamination has occurred 😉 but this is no different to what some people will experience.

Dear Sir/Madam
I have a reservation on the 17th and 18th of May and I am sending this email to request a gluten-free option for breakfast, if you would be so kind to provide this. This is required because of coeliac disease and consuming gluten can make me ill, should you need more information on how to provide a gluten-free diet please check the following link, which will take you to coeliac UK’s website where you can find further information. It is important that any contamination with gluten during preparation and cooking is avoided, this can sometimes be a problem. I am more than happy to answer any questions, or check foods for you, should this be needed.
If you can’t provide a gluten-free option I will bring my own cereal, so please let me know if this request is problematic.
Thank you
Tummy rumbling now – need my meal
Will blog again tomorrow!