Staffordshire Oatcakes with a vegan filling

So, for those people following the low FODMAP UK method kidney beans are now allowed and I would advise you to use tinned and rinse them well prior to using them. Beans are an excellent source of iron and fibre for vegans. Plus I was very surprised at how well these pancakes turned out with no eggs or milk added – just oats and water. If you like a savoury breakfast these pancakes are just the ticket!

Ingredients

  • 85g Oats (use gluten-free for people with coeliac disease)
  • 85g gluten free plain flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon yeast
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • A pinch of salt
  • 350mls luke warm water
  • 250g tinned rinsed kidney beans
  • 250g chard or spinach works just as well
  • 1 teaspoon of Moroccan spice
  • 50g pumpkin seeds

Method

  • Toast the oats for 5 minutes in a non stick frying pan.
  • Add the oats to lukewarm water and mix with a hand blender for a few seconds, then add the salt.
  • Add the gluten-free flour sugar and yeast to the mix and leave to rise for 1 hour – or until you can see bubbles forming in the mix.the sugar is to feed the yeast and cannot be detected in the final mix.
  • Make pancakes with a small spray of oil and a hot pan. The amounts make approximately 5 pancakes.
  • Keep them warm.
  • Use another spray of oil in the pan and fry the dry spice mix. Then add rinsed kidney beans, chopped chard and pumpkin seeds and fry until cooked.
  • Add the beans mix to the pancake and serve.
  • Makes five servings.

Pecan and maple syrup marzipan – low fodmap

Ok, so why do we need a marzipan based on pecans? Well, marzipan is based on almonds and these are limited on the low fodmap diet, it also contains honey – it would be very difficult to know how much FODMAP sugars are ingested with most Christmas marzipan containing dishes – so I thought I would see if I could make an option where amount consumed doesn’t matter (from a FODMAP content anyway!) Now, although Italians probably would balk at this statement but I think my version is actually better than the original. It is really tasty and a good treat for a Christmas winters evening whilst avoiding the winter weather. Or gift wrapped for friends or family – everyone likes a home made treat.

This dish is certainly not a healthy option – despite being high in nuts and containing a natural sugar – maple and ‘brown sugar’ – it is a sweet and should be treated as such. Too many people on Instagram post recipes for ‘energy balls’ and state they are healthy because they are based on natural ingredients – sugar is sugar – despite the source. Eat sparingly and Christmas is a good time to partake.

Ingredients

  • 200g finely ground pecans
  • 100g icing sugar
  • 100g soft brown sugar
  • 3 Medium egg yolks
  • 2 tsp liquid glucose
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp glycerine
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Method

Grind the pecans in a food processor until smooth and place them in a bowl with the sieved icing sugar – then mix together.

In a saucepan, whisk together the brown sugar, egg yolks, glucose, maple syrup, glycerine and vanilla, then cook over a low heat whisking constantly until pale, light and boiling. Take care as this is HOT.

Pour the above liquid over the pecan mixture and stir well to make a smooth paste. Leave to cool, then wrap in cling film.

Makes 20 balls – I have coated them in gold and silver powder to make them great for a gift. They are just as nice eaten with a bit of hygge – curled up in front of a roaring fire with a good book . Enjoy.

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