Feta and Pesto Stuffed Mushrooms – Fructose Friendly & Gluten Free

Feta and Pesto Stuffed Mushrooms - Fructose Friendly, Gluten Free and Vegetarian

It’s funny how your taste buds change as you get older – if someone had told my ten year old self that I would eventually love mushrooms and asparagus more than my beloved cheese, lettuce and mayonnaise sandwiches, I’d have laughed in their face – but it’s true, the impossible has happened. It’s not just me, even my sister, who used to hate mushrooms so much that she once hid them up her nose to avoid eating them, eats mushrooms happily. Side note – Lis was three, it was hilarious; Mum and Dad had left the room and told her all the mushrooms had to be gone when they got back or she wouldn’t get dessert and returned to her sneezing up mushrooms.

Mushrooms are an hearty, healthy vegetarian steak that can be prepared in just about any way you could imagine. Nutritionally, they are high in dietary fibre, iron, magnesium, certain B group vitamins, phosphorous, potassium, selenium and zinc, and they have a moderate amount of protein (3.3 g per 100 g serve); mushies are also low in fat, cholesterol and sodium, for those who need to watch those components of food.

Notes:

  1. Mushrooms contain high levels of the polyol mannitol in 1 cup servings; one or two of these mushrooms is about 1/2 a cup of mushrooms. Eat what you can tolerate.
  2. Feta and Parmesan are lower FODMAP cheeses, being lower in lactose than soft cheeses.
  3. Use any bread you like for the bread crumbs – spelt, sourdough, gluten free, or grain free are fine.
  4. To make these vegetarian, use a sharp cheddar or vegetarian hard style cheese to top instead of the Parmesan, which contains rennet.

Feta and Pesto Stuffed Mushrooms

Makes 16, serves 8 as an entree/canape.

  • 16 large button mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp. garlic infused olive oil
  • 1/3 cup of a fructose friendly basil pesto
  • 4 slices of the bread of your choice (approx. 1 cup bread crumbs)
  • 150 g Feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese or vegetarian hard cheese, freshly grated

The day before you are making the filling, get out the bread and roughly chop it. Let it sit, uncovered, to go stale overnight. Alternatively, if you forget this step, toast the sliced bread before roughly chopping them and blitzing them in your food processor to create bread crumbs.

Wash the mushrooms, then carefully de-stalk them and use a teaspoon to dig out the fuzz, so that you just have empty shells. Line a baking tray and evenly space the mushroom tops, upside down.

WP_20140823_15_01_19_Pro

Finely grate the stalks and then saute them in the garlic infused olive oil for 3 minutes, before adding in the pesto, bread crumbs and crumbled Feta cheese. Mix thoroughly and then let it cool completely before filling the mushroom shells. Fill the mushrooms so that the mixture rises above the top by about 5 mm or so, not too much or the Parmesan cheese will fall right off later on. Depending on the size of the hollows in the mushrooms, you could use anywhere from 2-4 tsp. of the filling. You will most likely have some filling left but don’t worry, it makes for a great sandwich spread. Sprinkle the mushrooms with finely grated Parmesan cheese (or vegetarian option) and store in the fridge until you want to bake them.

WP_20140823_15_01_07_Pro IMG_5850

When you are ready to bake (half an hour before serving), have the oven pre-heated to 180 C/350 F and bake the mushrooms for 20 minutes, until al dente. Remove them from the oven and let them sit for 5 minutes, to let the excess juices drain, before plating and serving them.

IMG_5870

Shortbread Pastry – FODMAP/Fructose Friendly & Gluten Free

Shortbread Pastry - Gluten Free and FODMAP, Fructose Friendly

If you’re after a pastry that is quick and easy to whip up and not *too* fiddly (compared to typical gluten free pastry), then look no further. This slightly sweet, buttery and delightfully crumbly pastry will do the trick.

These tart shells will keep (once baked) in an airtight container in the pantry for about five days, before they start to go stale, so they are great to make ahead and then fill on the day you are planning to serve them.

I highly recommend this lemon curd or this passion fruit cream cheese as a filling. This pastry would also suit any Christmas style baking, as shortbread is definitely seasonally appropriate! I am working on a fructose friendly fruit mince pie recipe as we speak, so stay tuned…

Notes:

  1. Be sure that you use BOTH a gluten free flour blend (or spelt flour, if you can tolerate it) and white rice flour – both their properties are required in this recipe, so using 100% white rice flour wouldn’t give the best results.
  2. Use coconut oil instead of butter for a dairy free biscuit.

Low FODMAP and Gluten Free Shortbread

Makes approx. 60 mini tartlet shells, or two 23 cm/9 in shells.

  • 1 cup dextrose or 3/4 cup castor sugar
  • 1 1/3 cups/300 g softened unsalted butter/coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup gluten free flour blend
  • 1/2 cup white rice flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup gluten free flour
  • 1 cup rice flour
  • 1/2 tsp. xanthan gum or 1 tbsp. ground chia seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Sieve the sugar, 3/4 cup gluten free flour blend and 1/2 cup white rice flour into the bowl of your stand mixer and add in the butter, then beat on a low to medium speed until smooth.

Meanwhile, sieve the second cup each of gluten free flour blend and white rice flour, the xanthan gum (or ground chia seeds), baking powder and salt into a separate bowl.

When the wet mixture is smooth, scrape down the edges and add in the egg. Beat on medium until it is smooth once more, before adding in the rest of the dry ingredients and mixing thoroughly for 5 minutes. Wrap the mixture tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour before you want to bake them.

When you’re ready to bake, pre-heat your oven to 190 C/375 F and then generously flour your work area. Break the dough into 6 and sandwich it between two layers of wax paper. Roll it out to about 4 mm thick (for small tarts) or 6 mm thick (for full-sized tarts) and gently transfer it to your chosen tart pan/pie dish.

Baking:

  • To blind bake these miniature shells, cook at 190 C until lightly golden – this should take about 10-12 minutes; I normally set the timer for 10 minutes and then watch it for the next two. Cook larger shells for approx. 15 minutes, but keep an eye on them.
  • To bake with a filling in, blind bake for 3 minutes, then use the pastry according to the recipe you are following.

Gluten Free Shortbread Pastry Collage

If you baked your pastry with the filling inside, the tarts will be done when they are removed from the oven. Serve them as instructed.

If your pastry was blind baked until completely cooked, let them cool to room temperature and store in an airtight container for up to five days and fill them with the topping of your choice when required.

WP_20140606_01_09_51_Pro

From left to right: lemon curd, chocolate hazelnut and passion fruit cream cheese – all are delicious, though the lemon curd is my favourite. Enjoy!

WP_20140606_21_31_47_Pro

Peach Crumble – Fructose Friendly, Gluten Free & Vegan

Peach Crumble - Low FODMAP, Fructose Friendly, Gluten Free & Vegan

I thank my lucky stars quite often that polyols don’t seem to affect me. Avocados, blackberries, peaches… I can still eat them all in reasonable amounts without making myself sick. I think I’ve had to give up enough, without resorting to cutting out those, as well. Of course, I realise that others have had to cut out much more than I – one of the reasons that I am so thankful. No matter how bad you or I may have it, someone else is always worse off.

This peach crumble came about because it’s summer, peaches are in season, I needed a dessert that I could make ahead of time and forget about, and peaches are delicious! A little prep work the day before you need this dessert and you can keep it in the fridge until 45 minutes before you need to bake it (your baking dish, if glass or ceramic, will need time to get back to room temperature before baking or you’ll most likely have a shattered crumble on your hands).

Also, I apologise for the grainy photos, I was using my phone camera.

Notes:

  1. All peaches contain sorbitol in large enough amounts to be considered high FODMAP (according to Monash University) but Clingstone and Yellow peaches are low in FOS, GOS and fructose in servings of one peach. White peaches, on the other hand, contain enough FOS to get a high rating for that FODMAP, as well as sorbitol, in servings of one peach. So, if you only have issues fructans, Clingstone and Yellow peaches are safe; if you have issues with sorbitol, peaches are not advised. I would stick to one slice of this crumble, so as not to over-do the fruit portion of your FODMAP bucket.
  2. Almonds are considered low FODMAP in servings of 10 nuts and high in GOS in servings of 20 nuts. The crumble topping in a single serve of pie doesn’t contain that many almonds, so should be safe – unless of course you have separate issues to almonds.
  3. Desiccated coconut is considered low FODMAP in servings of 1/4 cup and a moderate rating (overall) in servings of 1/2 cup; any more than that and sorbitol becomes an issue.
  4. Pure maple syrup is low FODMAP, watch out for any added ingredients that may cause digestive issues, such as polyols.
  5. This crumble is low in excess fructose, fructans/FOS, GOS, mannitol and lactose. It is not low in sorbitol.

Peach Crumble

Serves 10.

Fruit Filling

  • 6 large ripe peaches (yellow or cling)
  • 1/4 cup castor sugar or 1/3 cup dextrose
  • 1 tbsp. potato or corn starch
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves

Crumble Topping

  • 1 1/4 cups almond meal
  • 1 1/4 cups unsweetened desiccated coconut
  • 1/3 cup white rice flour (or gluten free alternative)
  • 1/3 cup virgin coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger

To peel the peaches, score four evenly spaced lines from top to bottom and place them in boiling water for 60 seconds, then strain them and dunk them into an ice bath for a further 60 seconds; the skins should peel right off. If all else fails, use a peeler.

Dice the peaches into bite-sized chunks (approx. 1.5-2 cm) and mix through the rest of the fruit filling ingredients, until well combined; dump the lot into a pie dish.

IMG_5863

To make the crumble topping, mix all the ingredients together, either by hand or in your food processor, until they begin to clump together. Easy! Cover the fruit evenly with the crumble mix and you’re ready to bake or store the pie before baking.

IMG_5865 IMG_5866

When you are ready to bake it, pre-heat your oven to 180 C/350 F and bake the crumble for 55-60 minutes, when the peaches should have cooked until soft and the topping browned nicely. If you notice that the crumble is browning too quickly, cover it loosely with a sheet of foil to prevent further browning.

If I am serving this as a hot dessert at a dinner party, I put it in the oven as dinner is served, so we have an hour to eat dinner and digest/chat before the crumble is ready to eat. Serve with vanilla ice cream (vegan or lactose free if required), vanilla bean custard, coconut yoghurt (vegan) or plain Greek yoghurt. Enjoy!

IMG_5907

Oven Baked Sockeye Salmon with Fennel and Lemon – Low FODMAP, Fructose Friendly, Gluten Free & Paleo

Oven Baked Sockeye Salmon - Low FODMAP, Fructose Friendly, Gluten Free and Paleo

Ev and I had people over a few weeks ago to welcome a couple of friends to Seattle and we decided that it was going to be too hot to have the oven on all day to prepare our usual dinner party staples. What to do, what to do?

Then it hit us.

We’re nearing the end of Sockeye Salmon season here in the Pacific Northwest (*sobs uncontrollably*), so it’s the perfect time to get our Sockeye fix in while we can. In my humble opinion, Sockeye is the best value salmon you can get, at least in Seattle, in terms of taste for the price; and just take a look at the colour of this beauty! You can’t beat wild caught salmon.

IMG_5853

Once your salmon has been filleted, there is very little prep work involved with this dish, making it a quick and easy meal to cook for a lot of wow factor. The beauty of this cooking method is that you don’t have to adjust it much for a smaller fish, especially if the fillets are the same thickness. The skin and the foil help to keep the moisture in – you’ll just need less marinade.

Notes:

  1. Lemons are a low FODMAP fruit.
  2. Fennel leaves are low FODMAP in servings of 1/2 a cup.
  3. Fresh fish will always taste best – a fresh fish shouldn’t smell of much at all. If your fish smells “fishy,” it probably is. We normally buy whole fresh fish, as they are considerably cheaper per pound and you can make stock with the skeleton.

Baked Salmon with Fennel and Lemon

Serves 10.

  • 2.5 kg/5.5 lb whole sockeye salmon
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice (approx. half a lemon)
  • 1 tbsp. ground sea salt
  • 2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1.5 tsp. ground cumin
  • 4 lemons, sliced into rounds
  • 6 sprigs of fennel leaves

Clean and fillet the salmon, if it has not already been done – leave the skin on. Rinse and pat dry the salmon, before slicing 4-5 x 1 cm deep slices into the skin. The skin can be a little tough, so this will require a sharp knife.

IMG_5852

Wash and dry the lemons and fennel sprigs. Next, slice 3.5 lemons into rounds and juice the remaining half. While your hands are clean, get a baking tray ready and line it with baking paper, before laying out two rows of lemon slices and fennel sprigs, on which you will later bake the salmon. Reserve 8-10 lemon slices for the garnish.

Briskly combine the olive oil, lemon juice, sea salt, black pepper and cumin together to emulsify the ingredients and then rub the mixture thoroughly all over both sides of the salmon fillets. Lay each fillet skin side UP on the rows of lemon/fennel and cover the tray with foil. Store in the fridge for at least one hour, to let the marinade work its magic.

IMG_5856

Preheat your oven to 180 C/350 F. When ready, place the covered baking tray on the middle shelf and bake for 20 minutes, at which point you will remove the foil and bake for a further 10 minutes. The fish will be perfectly cooked and flake apart, so be careful when you move it to the serving dish!

To serve, lay out a bed of greens on a long plate and carefully transport each fillet to the dish, along with the lemons/fennel, if you wish. The skin will peel off easily, if you don’t like to eat it and the simple marinade really enhances the flavour of the salmon. I could eat this every day.

IMG_5878 IMG_5879

Sangria – Low FODMAP/Fructose Friendly for Some

Lower FODMAP Sangria - Not From A Packet Mix

I love red wine, especially a good Pinot Noir but, unfortunately, it doesn’t always love me back. Earlier this year I woke up at about 3 am with a racing heart rate and I freaked out. Heart conditions run in my dad’s side of the family and I’m only 26! Despite my chest feeling like someone was playing the drums in there, I eventually managed to get back to sleep and was still alive in the morning. Phew! A few weeks later, the same thing happened… and then again, a few weeks after that. Only, the third time it happened, I thought back to what I’d been doing beforehand.

It turned out that I wasn’t dying (!) but I had enjoyed two glasses of Merlot the nights before I had woken up with a rapid heart rate. I asked on the very trustworthy Fructose Malabsorption Support Group whether anyone there knew anything and two words were thrown at me: histamines and sulphites.

Histamines are a a biogenic amine that occur to some extent in many foods, in addition to being produced endogenously by mast cells; histamine is degraded by the amine oxidase class of enzymes – if this enzyme activity is reduced, histamine levels can accumulate and allergic-type reactions can occur. Sulphites are a common food preservative, which some people develop a sensitivity to over their lifetimes, the cause of which is unknown. My money is on histamines, as I am yet to have a problem with white wines but red wine apparently contains anywhere from 20-200% more histamine than white wine, whereas white wine usually contains more sulphites than red wine (thanks, Wikipedia). Whichever it is, I do know that I can drink about half a glass of red wine safely, definitely not more than one. Stupid body!

So, this is where sangria comes in. The sangrias I have had in the past were 1:1 red wine and soda water, among other things, so half the amount of whatever it is that makes my body react. Ergo, I can drink twice as much. Yay! It is best to make this at least 4 hours before you plan to serve it, I normally make it in the morning, so the flavours have had time to mingle together and settle down.

Notes:

  1. A traditional sangria originated in Portugal and Spain and contains red wine,  a little brandy, chopped fruit and a sweetener of some sort (honey, castor sugar, orange juice).
    • Brandy is NOT FODMAP friendly, so I replaced it with vodka. Feel free to use brandy if you can.
    • I looked up quite a few different recipes to create this one, and I liked the use of triple sec to enhance the orange flavour. I do not know if it is strictly low FODMAP but there is only a small amount in there. If anyone knows anything different, please let me know.
    • I only used low FODMAP fruits – orange, lemon, lime… if strawberries were cheap, I would probably have diced some and thrown them in, too.
    • I used soda water/club soda to add some fizz and also reduce the histamine content… though the vodka helps to get the alcohol percentage back up a little bit, maybe I should have made this brew a little more potent?! Haha.
    • Dextrose helps to balance out any excess fructose that might occur due to the red wine or triple sec liqueur.
  2. Like white wines, the dryer (less sweet) the red wine, the lower it will be in FODMAPs. Choose a bottle that is nice but not expensive, as I’m sure that some would count that as an offense to the Wine Gods.
  3. If gluten is an issue, make sure you choose gluten free spirits and liqueurs.
  4. As always with the low FODMAP diet, everyone is a little different. If you are just trying out wine or a sangria for the first time, take it easy and just have a small serving.

Low(ish) FODMAP Sangria

Serves 8-10

  • 1 x 750 ml bottle of a red wine that you tolerate.
  • 1/4 cup vodka
  • 1/4 cup triple sec – I’m okay with this but it can be replaced with fresh orange juice if required
  • 1/4 cup castor sugar or 1/3 cup dextrose
  • 1 tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 2 tbsp. fresh OJ
  • 1/2 orange, washed and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 lemon, washed and thinly sliced
  • 1 x 750 ml bottle of soda water

Pour the vodka, triple sec, fruit juices and dextrose/castor sugar into the jug you plan to serve it in. Thoroughly mix until the dextrose/castor sugar has dissolved and then pour in the entire bottle of red wine, before mixing once more and adding the sliced fruit. Refrigerate for at least four hours, I normally leave it for eight.

Just before you are ready to serve the sangria, pour in the chilled soda water and give it a gentle stir.

Sit back and watch it disappear! I made two batches of sangria for a dinner party a couple of months ago and they were both gone in under an hour and a half, between 14 people.

IMG_5920 IMG_5923 IMG_5922

Make a Pup Cake for your Furry Friend’s Birthday – Low FODMAP, Gluten Free & Dog Friendly

Pup Cakes - Dog Friendly Birthday Cakes

What do you get the dog who already has everything?

He has more tennis balls than he knows what to do with, plenty of tug-of-war ropes, as well as a few bones buried in the backyard, where Nellie can’t find them… you make him a cake, of course.

You might remember the last birthday cake we made Bailey. They definitely enjoyed it but I wanted to make this year’s cake a little healthier.

These cakes are nutritious, dog-friendly and pretty tasty, too – when you make the “human-friendly” alterations; before that, they are understandably bland, as dogs’ stomachs can be upset by human food and they shouldn’t really have salt or red wine… poor things.

Speaking of “poor things,” Bails is having surgery today to remove a lipoma in his right groin, so maybe I’ll have to make him some get-well-soon pup cakes this weekend. He won’t be able to do his usual off leash walk, so we’ll have to bribe him to stay still, somehow. I’m dreading the next week… a bored Bailey is a force to be reckoned with and they always feel better before they are safe to run and jump again.

Notes:

  1. According to my own research, all the ingredients are dog-friendly.
  2. Carrot and zucchini are low FODMAP.
  3. Celery contains polyols, if they bother you in the amount required, omit them and replace with green leek tips (not dog friendly).
  4. Sweet potato contains mannitol, if you can’t handle 2 tbsp. of mash, swap it out for mashed potatoes or yams.

Pup Cakes

Makes 12.

Cake

  • 800 g lean mince beef
  • 4 rashers of bacon, minced
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup grated carrot
  • 1 cup grated zucchini
  • 1/2 cup finely sliced celery
  • 3/4 – 1 cup rice flour (or dog friendly flour of your choice)
  • 1/2 cup onion free/fructose friendly chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. ground chia seeds
  • Optional (if you’re cooking this for yourself) – use garlic infused oil, swap the chicken stock for red wine, and add 1 tbsp. minced fresh thyme, 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper, 1 tsp. cayenne pepper, and 1 tsp. dried chili flakes.

Icing

  • 400 g of sweet potato, pureed (tinned or fresh)

Prepare, then saute, the bacon, carrot, celery and zucchini in the olive oil for 15 to 20 minutes, adding in the chicken stock about halfway through, until most of the fluid has cooked out. Remove it from the heat and then let it cool.

IMG_5777

Preheat your oven to 180 C/350 F and grease a 12 hole muffin pan. Once the veggies have cooled, thoroughly mix all the ingredients together and divide the mixture between the muffin pans. Bake for 20 minutes and then let sit for another 20 minutes, before turning them out onto a cooling rack.

IMG_5780 IMG_5782 IMG_5789

To make the icing, roughly dice and boil 400 g of sweet potato until it’s fork tender – about 15 minutes. Drain the water, then blitz it with your immersion blender until smooth. Spread it on top of all the pup cakes before serving to the lucky dogs (or humans!).

IMG_5798

Poor Bailey, he had to pose for photos before he got to eat his birthday cake last month.

IMG_5814

Going, going… gone. Bailey and Nellie thoroughly enjoyed their cake and had left overs for the next few days, as well. Spoilt rotten!

IMG_5819

Strawberry and Coconut Chia Seed Puddings – FODMAP/Fructose Friendly, Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Paleo & Vegan

Strawberry & Coconut Chia Seed Puddings - FODMAP. Fructose Friendly, Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Vegan

To further my obsession with puddings for breakfast, I combined some of my leftover strawberry sundae sauce with some leftover coconut cream and the dregs of a packet of chia seeds – I just happened to have the perfect amount of everything, lucky! It was delicious but did not make a super healthy breakfast, as there is decent amount of castor sugar in the sundae sauce, seeing as it’s intended for dessert fare.

It was so good, though, that it was worth revisiting, so the next time I made them I just used fresh strawberry puree with a little maple syrup and stevia. Bingo! They became the perfect weekday breakfast, as they’re made ahead of time. Bonus – they are also sweet enough to serve for dessert, if you wish.

Notes:

  1. Coconut cream is low FODMAP in servings of 1/2 cup.
  2. Maple syrup is contains 1:1 fructose and glucose, just make sure it’s pure maple syrup and has no additives.
  3. Pure stevia extract is low FODMAP, different brands of stevia products may or may not be low FODMAP, depending on sweetening additives used, such as polyols.
  4. Strawberries are low FODMAP in servings of 8 medium berries or less.

Strawberry Coconut Chia Seed Puddings

Makes 8 x 120 ml/4 oz. puddings.

  • 400 ml of coconut cream (your choice of full or light)
  • 300 g fresh strawberries, plus a few more for serving
  • 1/2 cup chia seeds
  • 1/8 cup maple syrup, or to taste
  • 5 drops of stevia extract, or to taste

Wash, hull and pat dry the strawberries, then place them in your blender with the coconut cream, maple syrup and stevia. Blend on high for 2 minutes, until smooth – or until there are only very small chunks of strawberry left, if you’d like.

Pour into a mixing bowl and stir through the chia seeds.

Divvy the mixture up between eight 4 oz ramekins, or put it all in a large serving dish, before covering and leaving them in the fridge to set for 2 hours. Top with extra strawberries, if you wish. Dig in!

IMG_5410 Recipes