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Sundried tomato & basil focaccia

14 Oct

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I accidentally bought gluten free bread flour rather than plain flour a few months ago, since then I’ve always thought about attempting to bake a loaf but having tried so many questionable gf bakes I wasn’t sure it would work…

Anyway I got home early from work last week and thought I’d give it a go. I searched for recipes, I love sundried tomato and/or olive bread so decided to try a sundried tomato and basil focaccia as its one of my faves and I had all the ingredients. I found this recipe but made a couple of changes to make it FODMAP-friendly. I watched Great British Bake off while trying it, and low and behold Becca was cooking a very similar bread on their “alternative grains” challenge.

Previous to attempting to bake it, I had no idea that focaccia was fairly easy, almost knead free and it doesn’t take much rising. Perfect for a novice!

ingredients

  • 7g x fast action dried yeast
  • 1 tsp x caster sugar
  • 200ml x warm milk (I used soya, but you could use rice, normal, other)
  • 250g x gluten free plain flour
  • 1 tsp x xanthan gum
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ¼ tsp. x bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tsp. white wine vinegar (this is what was in the recipe, but I didn’t have any so, after a quick google consult I used a bit of white wine, but apparently lemon juice will work just as well)
  • 3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling (I used the oil from my sundried tomatoes for the drizzling part)
  • 1 tsp. fine salt
  • small bunch of fresh basil
  • approx 8 sundried tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • Coarse sea salt for sprinkling
  • Ground black pepper

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Method

  • Grease a 9-inch square cake tin with oil ( I also lined mine with greaseproof paper)
  • Mix the yeast, sugar and a little of  the milk together – it should start to foam a little.
  • Mix together the flour and xanthan gum, add the egg, oil, salt and the rest of the milk and whisk the lot together. At this point my whisk snapped in half, so I used a fork and it was just as effective!
  • Add in the foaming yeast mixture and whisk together until smooth, sticky and fully combined.
  • Add the vinegar (or lemon, or white wine, depending on what you have to hand!) and fizz up the bicarbonate of soda.
  • Fold the fizzing bicarb into the mixture,
  • Then smooth the dough out into your prepared tin  – it’s a good idea to lightly oil a spatula or palate knife to do this.
  • Cover with a sheet of greased cling film and pop in the airing cupboard, or somewhere warm, for an hour to prove.
  • Preheat the oven to 190°C (170°C fan)/375°F(350°F fan)/Gas Mark 5
  • Once the bread has proved – it should be about double in size – take off the cling film and use your fingers to make dips into the dough, I used my sundried tomatoes to do this!
  • Drizzle some oil over the top (I used the oil from the sundried tomatoes, but olive oil is great.
  • Sprinkle some coarse sea salt and pepper over the top and pop in the oven for 30mins or until golden brown.

I’m already looking forward to making my next batch, and will attempt to leave it to rise a little longer! I am thinking rosemary for the next attempt, or olive and sundried tomato… or both.

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Mary Berry does Salad Dressing

11 Oct

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Who knew that Mary Berry, of cake baking and Great British Bake Off fame made salad dressing too? I assumed that this was made by some other Mary Berry, but after a very quick google search I discovered it is the one and same Mary Berry! And it turns out they make Chutney’s and all sorts too. Every day IS a school day.

Unfortunately the website doesn’t list the ingredients of each of the products, but when I found them, I had a quick look, the Salad dressing and light salad dressing are both onion, garlic, gluten, nut and dairy-free, Not only are these a FODMAPpers dream, but really tasty! They remind me of the Pizza Express dressing that you can also buy in the shops, but without the garlic and other intolerable ingredients! It’s a good thick sauce and would work well as a dip as well as a salad dressing, so when you find yourself with a rather dry GF offering, or a salad that could do with a bit of something other than oil and balsamic, or you find yourself wishing you had a good sauce for your steak – a splash of this makes the world of difference!

I’m not sure about the ingredients in their other products (lets be honest a chutney without onion is unlikely) but I will be keeping an eye out for them!

YUM!

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FODMAP Thai green curry

10 Oct

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I adore all Thai food, I went over when I was 18 and developed a total addiction to Pad Thai, Thai Green Curry and Massaman Curry. I did a Thai cookery class during my next visit, but then along came the FODMAP diet, no garlic, no onion, no thai green curry. This was actually one of the first things I searched for a FODMAP recipe for when I started the diet and the first “adventurous” thing I attempted to make, and to be honest, it’s pretty easy and tastes great! The paste can be made in advance and kept in the fridge for a couple of days or in the freezer. Last night I grabbed some chicken and paste from the freezer and 30 mins later I had a delicious Thai green curry for me and my housemates – easy peasy!

I found the recipe on the Cooking with Noting Blog and have made it a few times now. I made a few changes to the recipe, either due to struggles with finding the ingredients or personal preference (or occassionally, being too lazy to go back to the shop when I realised I had forgotten something…).

The curry paste is the bit that takes the longest to prepare, but it is well worth it as curry paste from the supermarket seems to be chock full of garlic and onions. We have a great little blender which cuts down the prep time considerably.

Ingredients

Curry paste:

  • 2 x lemon grass stalks, or I am personally a big fan of these from Gourmet garden: so about 2 tblsp
  • 1-3 green chilis (depending on your spice preference)
  • 1 bunch spring onions, green part only
  • 2-4cm of galangal or ginger, also available from gourmet garden (again approx 2tbsp)
  • 1 bunch of coriander, stalks and leaves – I do think this is best fresh and I love coriander so generally find myself adding some of this too!
  • 1 bunch thai basil – I admit both times I have made this I have been unable to get thai basil so I have used normal italian basil and it has been fine, though I think you need less of it otherwise it can be a bit overpowering
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • juice of half a line

Dish:

  • Chicken thighs (I use chicken thighs as they tend to have more flavour, but any chicken will do, you can even use leftovers from a roast chicken!)
  • half bunch spring onions
  • butternut squash
  • 2 peppers (red and yellow – I am not a fan of green ones, but obviously it would work just as well – I particularly like the colours in my food!)
  • baby corn
  • green beans
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1tbsp oil

The vegetables can be changed for other vegetables depending on your preference, and for a vegetarian option you can just leave out the chicken and add extra veg or replace it with tofu.

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  • Finely chop all of the ingredients for your curry paste.
  • If you have a blender, blend them all together, if not use a pestle and mortar, if you don’t have either, chop as finely as you can and combine – it’ll be a little more chunky, but will work just as well! I never get my paste to be quite as paste like as those you buy from the shop!
  • Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a pan
  • Add the curry paste and heat for 1 or two mins, until the flavours are released
  • Add the chicken, and if you are using it, butternut squash to the paste and cook until the chicken has got a little colour and is coated in the curry paste.
  • Add the remaining vegetables and stir through.
  • Add the coconut milk
  • Leave to bubble away for about 20 mins

Serving Suggestions

  • Sticky rice works really well with green curry
  • Or the flavours in Tilda’s coconut, chilli and lemongrass 2 minute rice compliments the curry really well
  • You can add a pint of chicken (or vegetable) stock to the curry to make it into a soup, adding some rice noodles to this works really well.

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Halloumi & pesto pasta salad

5 Oct

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This is another of my “what have I got to hand to make something tasty for lunch tomorrow” kind of dishes. I quite regularly find myself knocking this up after I have returned home at about 11pm and want to be in bed by 11.30 but not having to spend another day surviving on plain rice and corn cakes.

It’s much the same as the Chicken, Pesto, Pasta but for once a vegetarian dish, which for us is quite unusual!

As mentioned before, pesto often contains garlic but, as long as you can tolerate a bit of dairy Sacla basil pesto is good for FODMAP diets

Ingredients

  • 40g x GF pasta (per person)
  • 30g x Halloumi (per person)
  • cherry tomatoes
  • peppers (mixed colours) chopped
  • rocket
  • 1/2 tbsp x pesto (per person)
  • Any other salad vegetables you fancy
  • A sprinkle of parmesan

Method

  1. Boil hot water and add the pasta, cook according to instructions on the packet, approx 12 mins.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, slice the halloumi and cook – I do this in a frying pan, generally rule of thumb for when it is done is after the liquid has come out and then evaporated, remember to turn it half way through. Put to one side to cool.
  3. Once the pasta is cooked drain the water and run under cold water to ensure it cools quickly.
  4. Add the pesto to the pasta and mix through – the oil will stop the pasta sticking together.
  5. Add the salad to the pasta, mix well and then pop in a container ready for work.
  6. Try to remember to take it with you when you go!

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Genius Bread – a revelation

3 Oct

I know, I know, I am VERY late to this particular party, but on Monday I was heading to work and really fancied some proper bread (specifically a bagel) but I was well aware this would be a terrible idea, so I headed to Co-op to see what was available in their little Free From section. It was all the usual, tiny slices of gf bread in a vacuum pack, gf pitta and cakes, that was my choice. Not fancying any of that (surprise surprise) I snuck round to the other side of the shelf full of loaf upon loaf of fresh, gluten-filled bread looking oh so enticing, and then out of the corner of my eye, what did I spot? Only a lonely looking loaf of Genius soft white sandwich loaf.

I was surprised to find it in the “normal” bread section, as since embarking on a gluten-free diet back in February I never venture too near the bakery for fear of overwhelming temptation, leading to me running home with a freshly baked loaf under my arm and devouring the entire thing in a matter of minutes while repeating to myself, “I’ll just have one little slice, I’ll just have one more little slice” until all there is left are a few crumbs and me lying on the sofa complaining about how sore my stomach is!

Anyway back to the bread, my second surprise was the price! £3 for a half size loaf of bread, what is it made from? Gold? Compare this to the surrounding bread, a “normal” loaf of comparative size was a mere 85p, and a Weight Watchers one £1.39.

But since it was the best offering available, I went for it, £3 is a better option than a day in pain at work.

I got to work and headed straight to the toaster. First impressions, the bread actually had a defined crust, with a squashy middle, like actual bread (admittedly not as squishy as normal bread though much better than other gf versions I had tried). The bread did not immediately fall to pieces in my hands… Very unusual. I popped a couple of slices into the toaster, but was unable to wait, I quickly buttered (well, to be precise, soya spreaded) the end crust…

It had that typical gf sweetness, it was soft and had a harder crust, and was the first time I had even considered eating the end crust of some gf bread, and you know what? I liked it! I’d do it again! Then the toast was ready,there was that mouthwatering smell of toast wafting through our tiny work kitchen, people were commenting on how nice it smelt and how good it looked and they weren’t even aware of its gluten-free status!

I was excited! I quickly buttered (soya-spreaded) and marmited and didn’t even make it to my desk before I had eaten the first half! Toast! I think it has been over a year since I have had toast! I’ve been trying to make out that corn cakes with a bit of spread and marmite is the same. IT ISN’T!

This is a diet changer. All those foods that were so out of reach, peanut butter on toast, marmite on toast, cheese toasties, sandwiches! All now back firmly in my sights! It seems that my previously boring breakfast and lunches and diet based on corn cakes and rice is on the road to becoming a bit more “normal”.

Thank you Genius! I am off to invest in a toasted sandwich maker! Cheese and marmite toasties are officially back on the menu! Now if only Branson would develop an onion free pickle…

FODMAP Spicy Sausage Casserole

2 Oct

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In our house we love sausages. sausage sandwiches, sausage and mash, sausages with pasta and sausage casseroles. Both JM & I regularly make sausage casseroles but to our own recipes. so below you’ll find mine. Another perfect on a chilly day, or a cooking for loads of people and want something really tasty but don’t want to do anything too difficult dish.

The first hurdle was finding sausages with no rusk, wheat or gluten in them. I was delighted when after reading many, many packets of sausages that ALL of The Cooperative’s truly irresistible range were gluten-free! It even said it nice and clearly on the front! BUT THEN today i popped in to pick up some sausages and where the no gluten symbol was previously was the text “allergen update” guess what? they’ve added gluten back into some of their sausages! why coop? why?? So now you have to double check!

Thankfully the Black Farmer and Black Farmers daughter still do Gluten-free sausages that are really tasty, and you can get thick sausages and chipolatas so a bit of variety (I have heard rumours of pork & apple ones too, which if I ever found, and could eat apples I would be all over!).

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Ingredients

1 x bunch Spring Onions (green part only)

10 x good gluten free sausages

2 x peppers

1 x courgette

1 x tin tomatoes

1 x chilli

1 tsp x paprika
Salt and pepper to taste

Method

This is another easy peasy recipe, which I do one of two ways:

  1. Slow Cooker
  • place sausages and veg in the slow cooker, cover with the remaining ingredients and leave to cook overnight or throughout the day on low while you are at work. Don’t do as I did when first using a slow cooker and add more liquid – none of it reallly evaporates, so if you are not careful you end up with a sausage soup (at one point I was eating “chili soup” for weeks after making this mistake!)

2. Oven

  • Personally I prefer the oven version as you get a chance to brown the sausages first (which you could do prior to adding to the slow cooker, but I am not a fan of making more washing up than necessary….)
  • Place sausages in an oven proof dish (I actually use the one from my slow cooker for this) and pop in the oven at 200 for approx 20 mins until sausages are starting to brown.
  • Once sausages start to brown add the rest of the ingredients, turn the oven down to 180 and cook for a minimum of 40min, I tend to leave it bubbling away for as long as possible

Serving suggestion

Ideally with some creamy mashed potato, or a baked potato, truly comfort food. If you are doing baked potatoes, stab them, cover with a little oil and salt and pepper and pop them in the oven at the same time as the sausages to brown, an hour an a half to two hours later you’ll have some deliciously crispy potatoes, like these bad boys!

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Pesto, bacon, Feta FODMAP Frittata

28 Sep

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So on Thursday I was due to meet my friend for dinner, we’d planned to go to Pizza Express so I hardly ate all day in preparation and was really looking forward to another one of their GF pizzas. I was also STARVING! When I met her, she then told me she wasn’t feeling well and suggested we went for a cuppa instead. So we had a cuppa and a chat which was lovely, but by the time I made it home at 9 I was so, so, hungry! I had to whip something up from whatever I had in the fridge, and came up with a frittata! I had never made one before, but for a while I had been thinking it would be a great FODMAP-friendly option. Having never made one before I had a quick look online and found this recipe for an “as-you-like-it tortilla” which is perfect – it basically says, use whatever you’ve got! It did give me the idea of adding pesto to the egg mix which I wouldn’t have thought of otherwise!

Frittata’s are also a great next day lunch option, or as a snack at parties or last minute dinner! I made a fairly small one had half for my dinner and half for lunch at work the next day. So the measurements below are for a frittata for two, but you can obviously add more depending on your numbers.

Ingredients

4 x eggs

1 x spoonful of pesto

3 x smoked bacon rashers chopped

1 x spring onion (green part only)

60g x feta

1/2 x courgette

chopped potato (if you have some cooked, great, if not cook as you go, like I did!)

salt and pepper to taste

Method

  • Beat the eggs together with the pesto
  • Add the chopped bacon (and potato, finely sliced, if uncooked) to a frying pan and cook for about 5 mins until it has a bit of colour. I don’t use oil when cooking bacon, but if you do, add some to the pan before cooking the bacon and potatoes.
  •  Add sliced courgette and spring onion and cook for a further 2 minutes.
  • Remove half of the mix from the pan and add half the feta
  • Pour in the pesto egg mixture and place the ingredients removed from the pan and the remaining feta on top
  • Cook on the hob until its cooked about three quarters through
  • Place under the grill until fully set and slightly browned on top
  • Serve!

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