Christmas Eve tear and share Low FODMAP

Christmas eve is a time to start the celebrations but it is often very busy wrapping presents, last minute gift purchasing and perishable food shopping. I would usually do my food shopping perhaps a day before Christmas Eve as the supermarkets can be just too busy for me. However, every year I plan to have it all finished by Christmas eve and I have never achieved my goals. So, if you are entertaining guests you perhaps might need a stunning dish that’s easy to prepare? The pastry can be made earlier and frozen and then all the preparation is in rolling out the pastry and decorating the top. Which means chopping vegetables and grating cheese – what could be easier?

Ingredients

  • 200g Plain flour
  • 150g Butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1 Teaspoon baking powder
  • 50mls water
  • Salt
  • Flour to roll out the pastry
  • 100g cheese
  • 2 Heritage carrots purple and orange (or standard ones will do just fine!)
  • 1 small parsnip
  • 30g pine nuts
  • Spray oil

Method

  • Sieve flour, Baking powder, xanthan gum and salt into a bowl, mix.
  • Weigh out the butter and divide into three.
  • Rub 1/3 of the butter into the flour and then add the water.
  • Bring the ingredients together and roll into a rectangle, mark out into three sections – to the bottom 2/3 and add blobs of butter to the dough.
  • Bring the bottom 1/3 of the pastry over the middle third and then fold over the top third. Rotate a quarter turn, roll and repeat the above at least three times.
  • Rest for 30 minutes before use. Or freeze at this stage if planning to use the pastry later.
  • Roll out the pastry into an oblong and score around the edges with a sharp knife taking care not to score through.
  • Where you are planning to place the vegetables prick the pastry with a fork.
  • Grate the cheese and sprinkle over the pastry.
  • Wash and slice the carrot and parsnips thinly.
  • Arrange the carrots on the pastry and spray with oil.
  • Cook in an oven at 220 degrees C or gas mark seven for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Five minutes before the end of the cooking time sprinkle the pastry with pine nuts.
  • Serve.

Chestnut pies – an alternative to mince pies (low FODMAP)

Mince pies are quintessentially Christmas. Normally mince pies have a large amount of dried fruit which can cause problems for people with fructose malabsorption if enough are eaten, plus they are made from pastry, a source of fructans. This is the reason I decided to develop a nut based pie instead and chestnut was just the right choice (along side the fact I had 1/2 tin of chestnut puree left from the previous recipe!) I am probably going all out to trash the traditional mince pie – but needs must!

Again this is a Christmas recipe and not one necessarily for health – the addition of lard really should be part of a true shortcrust pastry, the recipe standard is 1/2 fat to flour and 1/2 lard to butter/margarine. The lard in the pastry is also traditional in mince pie but usually added as suet to the filling. This recipe is made a rich shortcrust with the addition of an egg and the sugar. A recipe for a treat occasionally and when else can you have a treat except Christmas?

Ingredients

  • Pie filling
  • 50g Candied Ginger
  • ½ Can chestnut puree
  • ¼ teaspoon Vanilla
  • 40g pecan nuts
  • ¼ teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • Pastry
  • 200g gluten free plain flour
  • ½ teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 50g margarine
  • 50g Lard
  • 1 medium egg
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 egg beaten for egg wash

Method

  • Sieve the flour into a bowl add the xanthan gum and mix well.
  • Add the sugar.
  • Cut the margarine and lard into small pieces and add to the flour.
  • Rub the fat into the flour until it forms a small crumb.
  • Add the egg and bring the crumb together into a pastry – you may need to add a small amount of water if it is too dry but be cautious – you can always add more but you can’t remove too much!
  • Chill the pastry whilst you make the filling.
  • Chop pecan nuts and add the filling ingredients into a pan and warm through till blended well, chill.
  • Roll out the pastry and cut out the pie bases and tops
  • To a well oiled pie tin add the pastry base, some filling (don’t overfill) and then add the top and glaze with beaten egg wash (it will not brown without this addition.
  • Cook at gas mark 6/200 degrees C for 15-20 minutes.
  • Serve with sprinkled icing sugar.

Pumpkin gnocchi and sage butter

I have been thinking about Halloween recipes this weekend – this is likely to be the last one I post this year. I adore gnocchi but I do find it very filling. It is a dish for a day where you need something satisfying and tasty. The day has been nothing but grey sky and drizzle so it is very apt to make a starchy dish and pumpkin is a seasonal alternative to potato. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 1 Medium pumpkin – mine gave 600g flesh
  • Spray oil
  • 300g maize or cornflour
  • 1 Egg
  • Seasoning
  • 25g butter
  • 10-12 sage leaves
  • 30g Grated parmesan

Method

  • Slice the pumpkin and spray with oil and roast in the oven till soft.
  • Leave the slices till cooled.
  • Remove the skin from the flesh, season.
  • Add to a blender with the egg and enough flour to bind the mix.
  • The mix is slightly soft but can be weighed into 10g portions and rolled, then flattened with a fork.
  • Heat a large pan with boiling water add seasoning and drop in the gnocchi – don’t add to many at once – they will float (Halloween reference to IT here) when ready.
  • You might have to change the water if it becomes too starchy.
  • Dry well on kitchen paper.
  • Chop the sage, melt the butter in a pan and add the gnocchi.
  • Serve and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
  • Serves 6.

The Perfect Watercress Soup – low FODMAP

Watercress soup is sublime and tradition in our household means that we have it as a starter every Christmas. I have considered the fact that we can’t use onion – the complete taste profile onion gives to the dish – including the slight amount of sweetness it provides and I have replaced the onion with alternatives in hope of retaining it’s benefits without its nasty gut side effects.

Watercress is a member of the brassica family of vegetables, therefore it is related to broccoli, cabbage, radish and rocket. Watercress has lot’s of peppery goodness, but although it is rich in some nutrients you would only gain benefit if you include it in your diet regularly – luckily it has lots of uses. It tastes excellent with salmon and watercress is great to use as the leaves for a salad, if you enjoy it’s slightly hot taste! It contains some vitamin A, vitamin K and folate, plus iron (plus is a reasonable source of vitamin C to help absorption of the iron – it is probably better eaten as a salad leaf to achieve this benefit.) As it is a source of iron it is therefore useful for vegans to include in their diet alongside other sources – but this recipe would have to be made with almond milk and dairy free margarine instead of butter to make in suitable. Perhaps I could try that next!

The soup does contain butter and uses full cream milk – but this is a soup for special occasions – so it is OK to have this amount of fat occasionally and you could change to semi skimmed milk and 20g fat, if needed, if you do find that rich foods result in symptoms. The garnish I have used is watercress leaves, radish sprouts and dried seaweed – radish sprouts and seaweed are not integral to the dish, however – and the conkers in the picture are not edible. I hope you enjoy it!

Ingredients

  • 1 bag of fresh watercress
  • 500ml of full fat lactose free milk
  • 1 sprinkle of asafoetida
  • 1/4 teaspoon of sugar
  • Salt to taste
  • 40g butter
  • 1 tablespoon of corn flour

Method

  • Melt the butter in a pan and add the cornflour whilst mixing and the sprinkle of asafoetida and the sugar. This will not form a traditional roux, but not to worry.
  • Slowly drizzle in the milk – note that it will start to thicken at this stage and a whisk might be a better tool to use to ensure that no lumps are formed.
  • When all the milk is added then bring to a slight boil to thicken.
  • Add the watercress and cook until wilted then blend the soup
  • Season to taste.
  • Serves 1-2

Carrot and nut cake – vegan and low fodmap

This cake is a real treat, it also has a good degree of fibre which should help people with BS-C – however do be aware of the fibre and introduce slowly if your bowel is not used to it. It is sweet, vegan, egg and wheat free and low fodmap.

Ingredients

50g ground flaxseed

100ml water

400g Gluten Free self-raising flour

125g chestnut flour

100ml water

1 teaspoon ginger

2 teaspoons cinnamon

½ teaspoon of ground cloves

100g chopped pecan nut

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

150g castor sugar

200g brown sugar

500g carrots

150ml hazelnut oil

1 ¼ teaspoons gluten free baking powder

Method

Prepare 2, 7 inch cake tins

Mix the flaxseed with water and leave in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Add the dry ingredients (flour, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and ginger) to a bowl

Grate the carrot using a food processor using the grating accessory and add to the flour – mix well.

Chop the pecan nuts and add to the flour, mix.

Add the flaxseed and water mix to the food processor using the usual blade and blend for 20 seconds.

Add to the processor the sugar and vanilla essence and blend for 20 seconds and then whilst the processor is mixing drizzle in the oil slowly.

Pour this mix into the flour, nuts and carrots and mix well. If too stiff add 100ml of water – the mix should look like a cake mix.

Add the mix to the two cake tins and bake at gas mark 3 (165 degrees C) until a skewer/cake tester comes out clean from the mix.

The cake will rise and may crack a little on the surface but trim off the and turn the cake upside down for decorating.

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)