Classic Lasagne – Low FODMAP & Gluten Free

Italian Lasagne - Low FODMAP & Gluten Free

Hi guys! I’m sorry that it’s been so long between posts but I’m finally writing recipes for my own blog again – and this lasagne is a great way to get back into it. It’s both a delicious and hearty dish that is perfect for winter meals (hello Melbourne!); it’s also easy to assemble and either refrigerate or freeze until you need a pre-made dinner, or you can bake it and then have your lunches made for the week ahead.

Who am I kidding? You’d have enough for ten lunches if you ate it with a side salad.

I’m not going to lie, you’ll need to set aside some time for this dish as it cannot be rushed – quick Bolognese sauce is almost never good – but it is totally worth all the effort. And, really, the Bolognese is not difficult, the stove does all the work. You just need to stir it every now and then. The bechamel sauce is more involved but, again, it’s really just a matter of stirring/whisking it properly to get it smooth. If it’s still lumpy and not getting better, you could also just chuck it in the blender. 😉

Once you get to assembly, this basically makes itself.

A note for the purists – I am not Italian, and I follow a low FODMAP diet – so this is as traditional as I can get while keeping this dish onion and garlic free. So far there have been no complaints.

FODMAP Notes

  1. This lasagne, while low FODMAP, does contain large amounts of protein and fats if you over indulge. In addition to FODMAPs, these can cause issues for some with IBS, so be careful if this is you.

Classic Bolognese Sauce

  1. This recipe is onion free but if you can tolerate onion then add in up to 1 onion diced finely and brown at the beginning with the other veggies.
  2. Either infuse garlic into your own olive oil or buy it pre-made. If you can tolerate the garlic, then feel free to mince it and leave it in. You’ll notice I’ve done this.
  3. Either use tomato paste, which is not low FODMAP but some can tolerate it spread throughout multiple serves, or a fructose friendly tomato sauce (as in ketchup for those in the USA) of your choice. Monash lists a serve (2 sachets) of non-HFCS containing tomato sauce as low FODMAP. If you can tolerate neither tomato paste or tomato sauce, add in 1 tsp. of sugar and 1 tsp. of white wine vinegar, instead.
  4. If you can’t tolerate any wines, a FF chicken or beef stock or tomato juice could replace some or all of the red wine for fluid. Just use what you can cope with, even water would do, though you might need to add in a little extra salt and pepper etc for flavour.
  5. Green leek leaves are low FODMAP in 1/2 cup serves; this recipe spreads 1 full cup over 6-8 serves, so is safe.
  6. Celery is low FODMAP in 1/4 medium stalk serves, 1/2 a medium stalk contains moderate amounts of polyols. This recipe contains 1 cup of diced celery, which is approx. 2 cups, so a 1/8th serving is low enough in celery to be low FODMAP but if you are extra sensitive, feel free to replace it with celeriac (celery root), which has a similar taste to celery and is lower in FODMAPs. For a completely different (yet delicious) taste, you could replace celery with red or green capsicums that have been roasted and peeled.
  7. One whole medium carrot is low in FODMAPs, though if you consume enough mannitol can become an issue. This recipe stays within safe serving limits.
  8. Canned tomatoes are low FODMAP in 1/2 cup serves; 800 g/28 oz of tinned tomatoes equates to approx. 3 cups of undrained tomatoes, so you could safely consume 1/6th of this recipe in terms of tomatoes (fructose) – however, you must remember that 1/8th of the dish is safe in terms of celery (polyols).

Bechamel Sauce (aka White Sauce)

  1. Butter, a butter/oil blend and dairy-free margarine are low FODMAP in 1 tbsp/19 g serves, according to Monash University. Half a cup of butter is equivalent to 8 tbsp., so the amount of butter in this recipe is safe when broken down into individual portions.
  2. Lactose free dairy milk is low FODMAP in 1 cup/250 ml serves, this recipe contains less than that per person.
  3. Parmesan cheese is a hard/aged cheese, which are low in lactose. If you are sensitive enough to lactose that you need to avoid even low lactose cheese then you could replace it with a low FODMAP vegan cheese or simply leave it out, as it’s an optional extra.

Classic Lasagne

Makes 8-10 low FODMAP serves.

Both sauces can be made ahead of time and refrigerated or frozen until you plan to use them.

Bolognese Sauce

  • 1/4 cup olive oil to seal pot
  • 3 cloves of garlic – to infuse oil
  • 1 cup green leek tips
  • 1 cup diced carrot
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 cup diced zucchini
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 1 cup fructose friendly stock – chicken, beef or vegetable.
  • 500 g/1 lb beef mince
  • 500 g/1 lb pork or chicken mince
  • 800 g/28 oz tin of whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1 tsp. ground cloves
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup tomato paste or FF tomato sauce (ketchup)
  • Oregano – approx. 1/4 cup fresh or 1/8 cup dried.
  • Thyme – 1/8 cup fresh or 1 tbsp. dried
  • Rosemary – 1/8 cup fresh or 1 tbsp. dried
  • 1/2 cup finely minced chives

Follow these instructions to make the Bolognese sauce.

Bechamel Sauce

You will most likely have left over bechamel sauce. It freezes well in an airtight container, or can be kept for a week in the fridge – it goes really well with broccoli and zucchini as a side dish.

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick or 113 g) of butter or dairy free substitute
  • 1 cup of gluten free plain flour, potentially more or less if you use a different blend
  • 4-5 cups of lactose free milk or dairy free substitute
  • 2-3 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese (optional)

Slowly melt the butter in a medium sized saucepan (a heavy base is best), over a low-medium heat. Once it has melted, create a roux by sifting in the gluten free flour a quarter cup at a time; whisk it through the butter until it forms a smoothe paste, then add each further quarter cup. Keep the heat to low/low-medium at the most, we don’t want the roux to brown as this is a white sauce.

The paste will eventually thicken so much that you might need to change to a spoon (depending on the quality of your whisk). You are aiming for a dough-like consistency, a thick paste that will keep its shape, as demonstrated here.

Once you have the thick paste, begin adding in the milk a bit at a time and whisk/stir each portion through well, before adding in the next. The mixture will begin to resemble soft mashed potatoes and, eventually, a smooth white sauce. If your sauce isn’t smooth, just use a stick blender to get rid of any lumps.

Keeping the heat low, season the sauce and feel free to stir through the grated cheese for a little extra oomph (though that’s not strictly traditional).

IMG_0429

Assembly

  • One pack of Tinkyada brown rice lasagne sheets (or similar – corn tortillas will also work in a pinch)
  • One batch of my low FODMAP Bolognese sauce
  • One batch of my low FODMAP bechamel sauce
  • 2 large tomatoes, sliced into rounds
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil or oregano, shredded (to add after cooking)

Bring a large fry pan of water to the boil and pre-cook the lasagne sheets as per the packet instructions. Meanwhile, pre-heat your oven to 190 C/375 F and get out a large baking dish.

Once you have all of your ingredients (except for the basil) in front of you, you can begin to layer your lasagne like so:

  • Bolognese sauce (1 cm thick)
  • Lasagne sheets
  • Bolognese sauce (1 cm thick)
  • Bechamel sauce (thin layer)
  • Lasagne sheets
  • Bolognese sauce (1 cm thick)
  • Bechamel sauce (thin layer)
  • Lasagne sheets
  • Bechamel sauce (thin layer)
  • Tomato slices and Parmesan cheese

Your lasagne is now ready to cook, or to refrigerate or freeze for cooking later on. Cover the lasagne with foil and bake for 30 minutes, before removing the foil and baking for another 20-30 minutes until the top edges have browned nicely (but not burnt).

Remove the lasagne from the oven and let it cool for 10-15 minutes before slicing and serving with a healthy side salad or cooked veggies and a nice glass of the red of your choice.

Enjoy!

IMG_0364

IMG_0408

 

Advertisements

Instant Noodle Cups – Low FODMAP, Gluten Free & Vegan

Homemade instant noodle cups - low fodmap, gluten free, vegan

This post was brought to you because Autumn.

During the winter months back at school, I happily handed over my $1.20 for an instant noodle cup in whatever flavour they had left. If you’ve ever had to wear a school uniform, they’re not that warm in winter. Tights only do so much, and the wool is itchy. Combine that with the renovations to the senior school centre that went on throughout the entirety of my senior school career – meaning we lost our common room, so had nowhere to hide from the cold – and instant noodles warmed me from the inside and out.

Nowadays I don’t have to sit outside while I eat in all seasons – thank goodness! – but that doesn’t mean that I want to say goodbye to noodle cups. Problem is, I think I can say with confidence that every instant noodle cup out there is very high in FODMAPs, even the gluten free versions.

Enter these little beauties. I got the inspiration from a post by Gluten Free on a Shoestring (love her blog) after watching Ev devour yet another pack of 2 minute noodles and decided to FODMAPify it/give it a bit of an Asian twist. I plan to try a different version soon, using a homemade stock paste… I just need to make the paste.

Don’t forget to subscribe to the email list, so you’ll get brand new recipes and research-based posts right in your inbox (top of the right hand bar).

FODMAP Notes

  1. Nutritional yeast and all the other herbs and spices used in the bouillon powder are well and truly low FODMAP in a 1 tsp. combined serving size, as most either have no designated upper limit or are allowable in 1-2 tsp. servings individually.
  2. Rice vermicelli noodles are low FODMAP and gluten free. I chose vermicelli as they are truly “instant.” If you would prefer to use normal rice noodles, or gluten free ramen (they do exist!) then they should be precooked before going into the jar, as the boiling water won’t stay hot for long enough to cook them.
  3. Bok choy is low FODMAP in 1 cup serves, half of which is used here.
  4. Firm tofu and tempeh are FODMAP friendly in 1 cup and 150 g serves respectively.
  5. Carrot is low FODMAP up to eating one medium vegetable – about a quarter is used here, if that.
  6. Sweet corn is low FODMAP in 1/2 cup serves, much less is used in this recipe.
  7. Miso paste is made from fermented soy beans and water. The fermentation breaks down the oligos within, so it’s considered low FODMAP.
  8. Oils infused with garlic and onion are FODMAP friendly, as FODMAPs are water soluble, thus do not leech into the oil during production, whereas the flavour components do.
  9. Sambal oelek (chili sauce) can be found in onion and garlic free varieties – of course use one of those, unless you’re okay with onion and garlic (fructans).
  10. Coriander leaves are low FODMAP.
  11. The green parts of chives are FODMAP friendly, avoid the white bulb as it contains high levels of fructans.
  12. Lime is low FODMAP in general, especially in the small wedge you’ll be using.
  13. Please make sure any meat you use is cooked completely before going into the jar – the hot water will not cook it, just reheat it. If you choose to add meat, this will obviously no longer be vegan.

Vegan Bouillon Powder

Serving size: 1 tsp makes 1 cup of stock.

  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 tbsp. kosher salt
  • 2 tsp. dextrose or castor sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. green leek powder
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 tsp. dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp. dried parsley
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 3/4 tsp. dried sage
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika (smoked is best but normal is fine)
  • 1/2 tsp. ground coriander seed
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. ground turmeric

Measure all the ingredients into the bowl of your food processor and then blitz for 30 seconds to turn the chunky ingredients (sage, nutritional yeast, pepper flakes) into a fine powder.

Put into an airtight jar and store in a cool dark place for up to 6 months. When you wish to use it, dissolve 1 tsp. of bouillon powder in 1 cup of boiling water.

vegan bouillon powder

Instant Noodle Cups

Serves 1 (multiply for more servings).

  • 1 bundle vermicelli noodles (or equivalent gluten free noodle, precooked if necessary)
  • 1/2 cup sliced bok choy
  • 1/2 cup protein (cooked chicken, tempeh, tofu puffs etc)
  • 1/4 cup finely grated carrot
  • 2 tbsp. rinsed tinned sweet corn
  • 1 tsp. vegan bouillon powder
  • 1/2 tsp. chili sauce (sambal oelek)
  • 1/2 tsp. miso paste
  • 1/4 tsp. onion infused olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic infused olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. fresh coriander leaves
  • 1 tbsp. fresh minced green chive tips
  • 1 wedge lime

You will need one heat proof, seal-able container capable of holding 2 cups (500 ml) of fluid.

In a small bowl, mix the miso paste, chili sauce and infused oils together, then spread them along the bottom of your jar.

Layer the rest of the ingredients as follows: bok choy, carrots, sweet corn, vermicelli (or other) noodles, bouillon powder, your choice of protein, coriander leaves, green chive tips and finally the wedge of lime. You might need to press them into the jar to fit properly but don’t worry, the hot water will shrink them down later.

Put the lid on and store in the fridge until required. For work/school lunches, make enough for the week and they’ll last in the fridge just fine.

When you’re ready to enjoy them, simply boil your kettle and pour 1 1/2 – 2 cups of piping hot water into the jar (depending on how soupy you like it), place the lid on and wait for a couple of minutes. It’s that simple. Enjoy – and make all your coworkers jealous.

IMG_9434IMG_9509IMG_9445

Pork Loin Pot Roast with a Red Wine Reduction – Low FODMAP and Gluten Free

Pork Loin Pot Roast - Low FODMAP and Gluten Free

I love pot roasts – they’re the perfect convenience meal, great when you’re in need of a quick and simple dinner that is nutritious and will also impress.

Do you want to cook a healthy meal that will last a few days with minimal cleaning up? Pot roast. Do you have friends coming over but you haven’t cleaned the house in a week and need to get that sorted first? Pot roast. Side note – does anyone else hate leaving their house a mess in case you get burgled and the bastards judge your untidy kitchen? Maybe I’m just weird… Or, as is more likely the case, I would prefer to spend the whole day baking and have the dinner take care of itself. Pot roast.

You can use whichever roasting veggies you have on hand and can tolerate. You don’t just have to use potatoes and carrots, you can throw in sweet potato, different forms of squash or pumpkin in safe serving sizes (check the Monash app or use your own experience). Just be careful with adding in too many extra veggies to the one pot, though, as it will slow down cooking time. If you want to make more, just use a different dish and cover it with a lid or foil to keep everything moist. I will often roast some broccoli in garlic oil separately to get my greens in. The more colour in there, the more nutrients you’re getting – eat the rainbow, am I right?

This roast has come out moist and delicious every time and the leftovers will last for 2-3 days. To re-heat it, either use the microwave or wrap slices in foil and bake in the oven at 180 C/350 F for 30 minutes.

FODMAP Notes

  1. Potatoes are low FODMAP and so are carrots, which are listed as safe in 1 carrot servings but, if you eat too much, mannitol may become a problem. Sweet potato is safe in 1/2 cup quantity.
  2. Broccoli is safe in 1/2 cup servings – just FYI, if you choose to roast some in garlic oil while your roast is baking.
  3. Use a dry red wine, which will contain a more favourable glucose:fructose ratio.
  4. Oregano, rosemary and thyme are low FODMAP herbs.
  5. Potato and corn starch are safe, as starch is glucose-based.

Pork Loin Pot Roast with Red Wine Reduction

Serves 10.

  • 2.0 kg/4.5 lb pork loin
  • 60 ml/1/4 cup olive oil
  • 6 red potatoes
  • 4 carrots
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 750 ml red wine
  • 1/3 cup plus 1/3 cup mixture of fresh minced oregano, thyme and rosemary
  • Salt and pepper
  • 60 ml water
  • 2 tbsp. corn or potato starch

Preheat your oven to 165 C/325 F.

Rinse your pork loin thoroughly, then pat it dry. Season generously with salt and pepper and 1/3  cup herb mixture. Heat the olive oil in your dutch oven to seal the bottom and then sear each side of the pork loin for 4 minutes each, until they’re nice and golden brown. Once both sides have been browned, pour in half of the red wine and deglaze quickly, before putting the lid on and baking for 30 minutes in the oven.

Meanwhile, prep your veggies – peel the sweet potato and scrub the carrots and red potatoes, then chop into quarters – and coat in olive oil, salt and pepper and the second 1/3 cup herb mixture. Toss well to mix. After the 30 minutes is up, add the veggies to the pot, spreading them evenly around the roast, then pour in the second half of the wine. Replace the lid and send it back into the over for a further 60 minutes.

Once the roast is done (if your meat is a different weight, cook it at 165 C for 20 minutes for every 500 g/pound), the meat should be tender and white and any juices should run clear. Remove the roast onto a chopping board and let it sit for 10 minutes, while you get the vegetables onto a plate and make the red wine reduction.

To do so, skim off any fat you see and mix the corn starch into the water. Heat the pot with the drippings/red wine mix on the stove, add in the corn starch slurry and bring it to the boil. It should thicken to coat the back of a spoon but not become too thick, as you want it to pour easily and not look like a too-thick gravy. Pour it into a gravy boat through a strainer, to keep out any chunks.

Cut the roast into 2 cm slices and serve with the veggies, red wine reduction, and any other dishes you have going to the table. Enjoy!

IMG_9364 IMG_9375 IMG_9387 IMG_9392

Low FODMAP & Gluten Free Treats to Spoil your Mum this Mothers’ Day

Mother's Day, low fodmap, fructose malabsorption, gluten free, ibs, irritable bowel syndrome, love, family

As much as I love Seattle, it does suck a little bit (at least), living literally half a world away from your family. Even more-so around holidays; Skype is great but it’s not the same as being there in person. It might be just another Hallmark Holiday to some but I do like having a chance to show my mum (and my dad, when it’s his turn) how much I am grateful for the time they spent caring for and raising me as a kid.

Given that I’m not going to make it to Melbourne by Sunday, even if I could, a phone call will have to do until we’re next together and I can make Mum her chocolate cake and Dad his pecan pie. But for those of you lucky enough to live in the same city as your family, here’s a collection of low FODMAP and gluten free recipes with which you can spoil your mum, whether you chose morning tea, brunch (my favourite) or just fitting it in whenever you can. Hopefully there’s a variety to suit everyone’s needs, including vegan/dairy free, some healthy and others not so much.

There are twenty-seven recipes, one for each year that my beautiful Mum has put up with been graced by my presence.

155792_10150335249730341_328932_n

We scrub up alright

Sweets

I have my priorities sorted, thank you.

Breakfasts

Salads

Main Meals

Drinks

  • Sangria – Not From A Packet Mix
  • Freshly squeezed mimosas – Inspired Taste (It’s basically the same recipe that I make but have never published… I’ve never measured in the triple sec, though. Use freshly squeezed OJ and limit to one serving)
  • Purple basil lemonade – Fructopia

How to Make Homemade Pumpkin Puree – Low FODMAP and Gluten Free

How to make homemade pumpkin puree - low FODMAP, fructose friendly, gluten free, healthy

Tinned pumpkin puree is extremely useful to have around – I normally have a few cans on hand for lunch or dinner time emergencies (for example, to make pumpkin soup, or a pumpkin and tomato soup) – but really, when you’re trying to impress guests, it doesn’t help you bring your A game to the table. Freshly roasted pumpkin is miles ahead in terms of taste, so, at this time of year, when desserts apparently have to follow the pumpkin theme, too, it’s handy to have some freshly roasted pumpkin puree in the fridge or freezer to whip up your favourite pumpkin pie or cheesecake.

Speaking of this time of year, it’s starting to get dark at 3.30 pm already! Not that lighting has been great during “daylight hours,” anyway. Seattle is notorious for being dark and gloomy, though it doesn’t rain quite as much as Hollywood would have you believe. So I’ve been chasing it around the house for photos… you do what you have to! Though I don’t think Bailey was too impressed that his kennel was being used for a prop.

IMG_6614

FODMAP Notes

  1. Pumpkins/squash generally contain some level of polyols, usually sorbitol. I would not eat them if I was on elimination but if you are in the reintroduction phase of the low FODMAP diet, I’d test 1/4 cup of pumpkin first, as that is what is listed as safe for all varieties except Jap/Kent pumpkins, which are safe in 1/2 cup servings. Of course, if polyols are not a trigger for you, eat as much as you can/like.

How to roast a pumpkin

This method works for any pumpkin/winter squash variety.

  • One pie pumpkin, around 1-1.5 kg/2.2-3.3 lb
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 sharp knife
  • 1 spoon
  • 1 large baking tray
  • Cooking oil

Choose a smallish pumpkin that is brightly coloured – this will give you the best chance of a strong taste. The bigger pumpkins with duller colours tend to be a bit bland. The pumpkins I chose were around 1.1 kg each and yielded approximately 450-500 g of puree.

IMG_6569

Preheat your oven to 200 C/400 F. If you have not done so, rinse the pumpkin of any obvious chunks of dirt, before chopping it into four or five pieces and scooping/scraping out the seeds.

IMG_6584 IMG_6591

Spread the pumpkin evenly around a lightly oiled baking dish of your choice and fill a small, oven-safe dish with water – this keeps the oven environment moist and prevents the pumpkin from drying out as it bakes.

IMG_6595

Bake for 45-60 minutes, or until it is fork tender (think boiled potatoes). Remove the dish from the oven, let it cool for 30 minutes or so, then scoop the flesh out and transfer it to a large bowl. Discard the skin.

IMG_6609

Either mash or blend the pumpkin flesh to form a puree and then store it in glass jars or zip-lock bags in the fridge (for up to a week) or the freezer (for no more than two months before quality begins to suffer).

Now you can use it for any cake, pie, bread, soup or custard recipe that calls for pumpkin puree. Easy peasy!

IMG_6621

Balsamic Rosemary Chicken Risotto – Low FODMAP, Fructose Friendly and Gluten Free

Balsamic Rosemary Chicken Risotto - low FODMAP, fructose friendly, gluten free and lactose free

As always, my predictable stomach began to crave warm, hearty meals right about the time the weather started to cool down. Instead of light salads, it seems to be nagging for all the proteins and fats and carbs. Thanks stomach, I wasn’t planning on going up a size this winter but you seem to have other ideas. Of course, you shouldn’t always give in to cravings but occasionally it’s alright – say, for instance, after you had been sick for a week and could finally stay out of the bathroom for long enough to cook a meal (this gluten challenge is almost over, my immune system can see the light!).

After said week, I couldn’t stomach much but I could manage chicken and rice… but how appetising (or nutritious, really) is boiled chicken and rice? This risotto is pretty basic, so it’s easy on the stomach; you don’t need much to fill you up and it packs in more nutrients than its plain cousin thanks to the homemade stock and vegetables it contains. Oh and it’s pure comfort food. Ready. Set. Nom.

FODMAP Notes

  1. Balsamic vinegar is low FODMAP in 1 tbsp. servings. The 1/3 cup in this recipe will give 3/4 tbsp. per serving if divided between six people, less if shared among eight. Make sure you have real Balsamic vinegar, as the cheaper imitations might not all be FODMAP friendly – check the labels and use what you can tolerate.
  2. Rosemary is a low FODMAP herb.
  3. Chicken is of course low FODMAP – just be careful you don’t buy pre-seasoned chicken, which might have high FODMAP spices added.
  4. Zucchini is a FODMAP friendly vegetable.
  5. Mushrooms contain large amounts of the polyol mannitol in 1 cup servings. The 6 crimini mushrooms called for in this recipe would be just under 1/4 cup in size each, so you would be ingesting at most 1/4 cup of mushrooms if you divided this recipe among six people, less among eight. Of course, if you are sensitive to mannitol in any amount, substitute it with more zucchini, or even some cherry tomatoes.
  6. One serving of a dry white wine is considered low FODMAP.
  7. Arborio rice is a low FODMAP and gluten free grain.
  8. Butter is low in lactose, as FODMAPs are water soluble and butter is mostly fat. However, if you cannot tolerate any butter, either add in your favourite butter replacement or simply omit. For a less creamy version (i.e. when you’re recovering from a stomach bug and can’t tolerate rich foods) omit the butter. It’s what I did for my recovering stomach but any other time I would add it in.

Balsamic Rosemary Chicken Risotto

Serves 6-8

  • 5 cups/1.25 L of fructose friendly chicken stock
  • 700 g chicken, diced into 2 cm chunks
  • 1/6 cup Balsamic vinegar
  • Olive oil to seal pan
  • 2 cloves of garlic – to be removed before cooking the rice
  • 1 cup diced green leek tips
  • 1 large zucchini, diced
  • 6 medium crimini mushrooms, diced (see FODMAP notes)
  • 300 g arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup/125 ml dry white wine
  • 1/6 cup Balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup fresh minced rosemary
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt (or to taste)
  • 1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper (or to taste)
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter (optional, see FODMAP notes)

Prepare the chicken and vegetables, wash the rice and set everything aside. If you have time/thought ahead, marinate the chicken in the 1/6 cup of Balsamic vinegar overnight, otherwise, just add them together while cooking. Obviously, in this case you would prep the chicken the day before all the other ingredients.

In a small saucepan, bring the chicken stock to a simmer and reduce to low. Put the lid on and leave until required.

Fry the chicken pieces in a large fry/saute pan and add the Balsamic vinegar (if it wasn’t added earlier for marination – time constraints and all that). Cook over a high heat until the chicken pieces are all fully sealed and then remove the meat and juices from the pan into a clean bowl.

Next, add in a little more olive oil and add in the leek tips and garlic cloves. Fry over a medium/high heat until the garlic becomes fragrant, then remove and discard the garlic cloves. Add the diced zucchini and mushrooms and cook over a medium heat until the vegetables are mostly cooked.

Push the vegetables to the side and tip in the rice; fry the rice to coat it in the oil/pan juices and then pour in the white wine and last 1/6 cup of Balsamic vinegar. Cook over a medium heat until most of the liquid has evaporated and then begin adding the warmed chicken stock, one ladle at a time.

Reduce the heat to a low/medium setting and stir occasionally, letting the stock gradually absorb into the rice. Add a fresh ladle of stock when the previous batch has almost dried out and keep going until the rice is fully cooked (soft) or the stock runs out. The chicken and its juices should be added back into the pan when the pot of stock is about half-used, so it can finish cooking with the rice. Season with the rosemary, salt and pepper when you add in the chicken and then tinker with a little more if required at the end. Finally, add in the optional butter and stir through, for a rich and creamy dish. For pictures of not-quite-cooked vs. cooked risotto, see here.

Serving suggestions: freshly grated Parmesan cheese, minced chives (green parts only) or a sprig of rosemary or parsley. Don’t forget the wine.

IMG_6303 IMG_6309

Creamy Roasted Pumpkin and Sage Soup – Low FODMAP, Fructose Friendly, Lactose Free & Gluten Free

Creamy Roast Pumpkin and Sage Soup - Low FODMAP, Fructose Friendly and Gluten Free, with a vegetarian option

The leaves are finally starting to change in Seattle, huzzah!

I’ve always loved soups in Autumn – okay, okay, “Fall” – and pumpkin soup was a firm favourite of mine growing up; it was one of the dishes that my Mum had nailed (another being Spanakopita – I can’t believe I haven’t posted that one yet).

Well, just my luck to marry a guy who isn’t a pumpkin fan… or a spinach fan, either, for that matter. Hmm… I kid. It’s not that he dislikes them, there’s just plenty of other foods he’d rather eat, like a spicy chili or a really spicy Szechuan dish. I like those things, too, so mostly I don’t mind the compromise but every now and then, well, once or twice each pumpkin season, I make this soup.

The recipe below isn’t exactly my Mum’s recipe, as Ev hates nutmeg. The poor soup, it just can’t win. Instead, I went for a mix of oregano and sage, as we have a handy dandy supply of those in our herb garden. I love the traditional mix of the pumpkin and sage and the addition of a little bacon and Worcestershire sauce (see notes) really brings it all home. Top nosh. Although, be warned, this soup might look light and innocent but it is definitely filling. If you’re serving it as a first course, keep the servings small. Just FYI.

PS. Apologies for the lack of “during” photos, both my camera and phone batteries had carked it.

FODMAP Notes

  1. Butternut pumpkin/squash is low FODMAP in 1/4 cup serves but is given a moderate rating for GOS and mannitol in 1/2 cup serves. Jap/Kent/Kabocha pumpkin (squash) is low FODMAP in 1/2 cup (60 g) serves, with all green lights and no upper limit listed. If you are sensitive to GOS and mannitol, go for the Jap pumpkin but otherwise, use either or a combination of both.
  2. Garlic infused olive oil is considered low FODMAP, as carbohydrates are water soluble, so the FODMAPs can’t leech into the oil, like it would into a water based dish. Either use store bought or saute garlic cloves with the oil and bacon (or butter) at the beginning and discard before the other ingredients are added.
  3. Bacon is low FODMAP, as long as no spices like onion or garlic powder are added into its cure.
  4. Green leek tips are low FODMAP in 1/2 cup servings. Beware the white bulb, which is high in FOS.
  5. Worcestershire sauce is FODMAP friendly in 2 tbsp. servings, despite the onion and garlic that might appear at the very end of the ingredients list. The 1/4 cup called for in the recipe, divided by many servings, is a very small amount and should be tolerated. If you are concerned, or cannot tolerate even a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce, sub in Balsamic vinegar to taste, 1 tbsp. serving of which gets a green light from Monash. This will alter the flavour a little but will still taste delicious.
  6. If you want to make this paleo, use unsweetened almond milk instead of the cream and Balsamic vinegar instead of the Worcestershire sauce.

Roasted Pumpkin and Sage Soup

Serving size: 1/2 to 1 cup (125 – 250 ml).

  • 2 kg approx. Butternut or Jap/Kent pumpkin (works out to 1 large Butternut)
  • 2 tbsp. garlic infused olive oil
  • 1/2 cup diced bacon (replace with 1 tbsp. butter for vegetarian version)
  • 1 cup diced green leek tips
  • 1.0 L of fructose friendly chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1/4 cup fresh oregano
  • 1/4 cup fresh sage
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce (or Balsamic vinegar if required)
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt (or more to taste)
  • 2 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup cream (lactose free or almond milk if required)
  • 1 cup water (maybe a little more)

Preheat your oven to 200 C/400 F.

Cut the Butternut/Jap pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds and go to town (carefully!) stabbing it with the knife, to facilitate even cooking. Lay the halves skin side down on a baking tray and sprinkle with salt. Bake in the oven for approx. 90 minutes, until a fork will easily penetrate the flesh. Remove from the oven and allow to cool until it’s comfortable to touch. Alternatively, refrigerate it until required, for up to 2 days.

IMG_6143 IMG_6148

In a large saucepan, heat the garlic infused olive oil and fry the bacon until crispy. Meanwhile, scoop out the cooked pumpkin flesh. Remove the bacon and set it aside for later. Add in the diced green leek tips and saute til translucent, then throw in the pumpkin flesh, chicken or vegetable stock, oregano, sage, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. Bring to the boil for 1 minute, before reducing to a simmer for 30 minutes, with the lid on.

After 30 minutes, use your stick/immersion blender to puree the mixture until it’s completely smooth. Then, add in the cream and 1 cup water and stir through – if it needs a little more fluid, add in a bit more water.  Play with the salt and pepper, until the seasoning suits your tastes. Simmer for a further 20 minutes with the lid on, before serving warm with the bacon bits sprinkled on top or keeping it on a low heat until it’s required.

I like to serve with a dollop of sour cream and some finely minced chives. A fresh slice of crusty ryce bread (or your favourite low FODMAP/gluten free bread) also goes down a treat. Dig in!

This soup, like most, is better the next day and it lasts in the fridge for five days, so you can divvy it up for weekday lunches. Alternatively, it also freezes well.

IMG_6155 IMG_6157