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.

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Classic Spaghetti Bolognese – Low FODMAP & Gluten Free

This recipe has been moved to a new home at The Friendly Gourmand. Please follow this link to access the recipe and many more.

Rotini and Cheese – Fructose Friendly & Gluten Free

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As a child, Kraft Macaroni and Cheese was the epitome of my dinner hopes and dreams. Before we hit teenager-dom, every time Mum would ask what my sister and I wanted for dinner, we would scream out macaroni and cheese. We were easy children to please.

Of course, this changed as our taste buds did and the last time I had the Kraft mac and cheese from the tin, at maybe 14 years old, I thought it was disgusting. What was my child-self thinking? When it came time to make macaroni and cheese in our Home Ec. class at school, I wasn’t looking forward to it. I only associated the stuff with fake cheese sauce… little did I know that you can make the sauce yourself! Haha.

Times have changed since secondary school and cooking is now something I have to do more than once a week for a semester, although luckily I don’t get graded on it. Well, I sort of do. But at least I don’t have to complete a write up afterwards! Wait, isn’t that what this is? Gah!

I have no idea where on Earth that Home Ec. recipe is – probably in Mum’s kitchen somewhere – and in all honesty, I don’t remember being in love with it. But last week, when I had finished making four jars of a fructose friendly General Tso’s sauce (recipe coming) and sealed them, Evgeny decided that he didn’t want a stir fry that night. Double GAH! Well, I wasn’t going to make anything gourmet after I’d just spent so much time on the sauce, so my mind switched to easy mode. We had made a lasagne on the weekend and instead of a traditional bechamel sauce we used cream cheese as a base – considering that we had more cream cheese to get rid of (we’re currently trying to eat through out fridge and pantry) I decided it was time to make macaroni and cheese again and worked off that sauce.

Before I go any further, don’t shoot me, I didn’t have macaroni. I (successfully, woot!) trialled spelt pasta and the only shape it came in was rotini. Let’s not go calling this “rot and cheese,” though, because quite frankly it sounds like something that’s gone off.

Notes:

  1. This meal is not lactose free.
  2. Substitute macaroni back in if you’d like, of course.
  3. Corn is low FODMAPs and gluten free, although it does contain other allergens.
  4. Cayenne pepper is generally well tolerated, just make sure the powder doesn’t contain onion or garlic.

Rotini and Cheese

Serves 3-4.

  • 2 1/4 cups uncooked pasta of your choice – I wouldn’t recommend spaghetti or fettuccine for this
  • 2 cups grated cheese – I used 1 1/2 cups cheddar and 1/2 cup Parmesan)
  • 1 cup/225 g/8 oz cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup natural sour cream
  • 1/3 cup crushed corn cereal/GF bread crumbs
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper – believe me, it makes a difference.

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.

Bring a pot with at least 1.0 L (4 cups) of water to the boil and add a good pinch of salt. Stir in pasta and cook at a gentle boil until al dente, following the packet  guidelines.

Meanwhile, melt the cream cheese and sour cream together over a low-medium heat until combined. Gradually add in the grated cheese, 1/2 cup at a time and stir with a whisk until completely smooth. Add in the salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper and leave on a low heat until the pasta is done. Cover it with a lid to prevent a skin from forming but this shouldn’t have to sit for too long until the pasta is done.

Cream cheese and sour cream

Cream cheese and sour cream

The completed sauce mixture has thickened with the added grated cheese

The completed sauce mixture has thickened with the added grated cheese

Something smells good!

Something smells good!

Strain the pasta and add it into the saucepan with the cheese sauce. Stir through thoroughly and then pour the contents into a baking dish, no greasing required. Top with the crumbs of your choice and sprinkle with extra cayenne pepper. Bake for 30-40 minutes.

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Pre-baking

Post baking

Post baking

Let it sit for 5 minutes before cutting into it and enjoy it with a fresh side salad.

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Gran’s Stewed Raspberry and Rhubarb – FODMAPs & Fructose Friendly

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Whenever we would stay at Gran’s as a child, we were always well fed… and thoroughly spoilt as well but seeing as this isn’t anything close to a parenting blog I won’t comment on that.

Being a typical grandmother, as soon as we walked in the door, some sort of biscuit or treat was offered to us. If we were staying for dinner, I always hoped for her vegetable and barley soup, or her lamb shank soup. Gran was an amazing cook and I always use her comfort food dishes as a bench mark. Not just for taste but how they make you feel inside; they’re not called comfort foods for nothing, and while taste is of course important, certain foods will bring back memories and feelings.

For me, stewed fruits, rhubarb in particular, remind me of Gran and her kitchen and today, it seemed appropriate to make some. Now Gran would probably tell me off for not adding enough sugar to this but I’m sure she’d understand if I explained my reasoning to her. 🙂

Notes:

  1. Rhubarb and raspberry are both low FODMAP fruits.

Stewed Raspberry and Rhubarb

  • 3 large stalks of rhubarb, diced finely
  • 2 1/2 cups raspberries – fresh or frozen
  • 1/4 cup dextrose
  • 1/4 cup water

Slice the rhubarb stalks in half lengthwise and then finely dice them.

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Place them in a pot with the water, raspberries and dextrose, on a medium heat and stir through until the ingredients are evenly combined. Keep on the medium heat for ten minutes, until the raspberries have begun to “bleed” a little.

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Reduce the heat to low and leave for an hour, stirring occasionally. Rhubarb is a tough fruit and will take a while to soften. But the wait will be worth it! Continue to cook on low until it has reached the thickness you prefer.

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Gran would have served them with vanilla ice cream or thickened cream but they also go well with plain yoghurt – lactose free if required – or my vanilla bean custard, which is not lactose free.

This would also work well as the filling to a crumble – I might just do that with the left overs.

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Homemade Sausages – Low FODMAP, Fructose Friendly & Gluten Free

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Sausages, or “snags” as they’re more commonly known in Australia, are a BBQ staple that you can make as simple or gourmet as you’d like. Serve them as pigs in a blanket, slice them and use in a stew, or serve them with some sauteed tomatoes with rosemary – you can do so much with them.

But there’s one problem. Like many other foods over here, Ev and I discovered that they didn’t taste quite right. Unless you go to the farmers markets and buy English style sausages for jacked up prices, you can only have sweetened style sausages from the supermarkets. Add in the usual trials of finding fructose friendly sausages and last winter we decided to make them ourselves.

You will need to set a few hours aside for this task and we found that actually stuffing the sausages worked best with teamwork but the results are so worth it. I apologise for the lack of “how to” photos, our hands were both too grubby and full to use the camera. I’ll attach a link to a YouTube video to help explain it, instead.

Notes:

  1. If you don’t have a meat grinder/sausage stuffer, you will need one for this. We have attachments for our KitchenAid but you can buy standalone machines. It follows that these instructions will be directed towards KitchenAids but they should work well for any grinder. At any rate, the recipe won’t need to change.
  2. We found that cutting the pork shoulder into strips sped up the initial grinding phase.
  3. If you want to cut out half the time, you could use pre-minced meat but it will be more expensive and you will need to be careful of any additives.
  4. Hog casings can be bought from most butchers, although in the US it’s a bit harder to find a good local butcher because they all seem to be attached to giant mega-supermarkets. We are lucky to have a decent butcher around the corner. If they are frozen, make sure you soak them in salted, luke warm water until they are properly thawed, then rinse them off.
  5. You can of course play around with the spices – try some paprika or cayenne. Yum.

Homemade Sausages

  • 2.25 kg/5 lbs pork shoulder, cut into strips – weight after bones are removed
  • 1/3 cup homemade/FF stock
  • 2 tbsp. sea salt
  • 2 tbsp. ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp. minced fresh sage
  • 1 tbsp. minced fresh oregano
  • 1 tbsp. chili pepper flakes
  • 3-4 lengths of hog casings – we used 3, from memory

Stage 1

Mince the pork meat strips in your grinder, sending it through the grill with the larger holes. This is a very monotonous process, sorry. Play some music, or do it with a friend so you can keep each other company.

Next, swap the large hole grill for the smaller hole grill – if you have one – and repeat the grinding process to make the mince even finer. Stage 1 complete.

Stage 2

Mix the rest of the ingredients, except for the hog casings, thoroughly through all the newly minced pork.

Remove any of the grills from the grinding attachment before you insert the stuffing attachment.

Wash your hands and set up the sausage stuffing piece with the grinding attachment – or follow the instructions of whatever device you have. Place the hog casings onto the stuffing pipe, pushing them to the back and leaving a 10 cm length hanging off the edge.

In the top basin/tub of the grinder, one person needs to use the paddle to squash the mince/spice mixture through the hole and into the grinder while the other person handles the casings and the stuffing process. Once you have run a small amount of the mince through the device, stop it and tie a knot in the extra, as close to the mince/attachment as possible. This step was to make sure you didn’t have a giant air bubble in the end of the sausage, as you would if you had tied the knot before running any mince through the machine.

Keep the machine running at a medium speed, steadily pushing the sausage mixture through the grinder at an even rate, ensuring that you don’t have any air bubbles. Don’t rush at first, it takes a little while to get used to the process and you don’t want to tear the casings while you’re at it. Once you near the end of the casing, knot it off and load the next onto the machine.

This video, Italian Sausage – How To Stuff Sausage, will run you through the basics in such a way that you can see what is happening. It is a huge help to be able to imagine what you’re supposed to do before you do it.

Stage 3

Now you have a single, very long sausage. Have a good laugh at what it looks like and then begin to twist it into individual snags. Just decide how long you want each of the sausages to be and then place a hand on either side of the mark and twist thoroughly. The twist should stay in place.

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Once you have twisted the length onto individual snags, we like to portion them into more reasonable sized numbers that we are likely to cook in one go – three sausages means one for me and two for Ev. We then bag and freeze them, and have a stash of tasty snags in the freezer when the need for comfort food calls us.

Once thawed, we like to stab a few holes in them and then boil them for 10 minutes to pre-cook them before frying until the outside is browned/crisped up a little.

Make a batch of these and be the hero at the next backyard barbie that you go to.

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Scalloped Potatoes – Fructose Friendly

Seeing as I’m *not supposed* to eat sweet potatoes – but hey, a few sweet potato fries shouldn’t present too much of a challenge for my gut, should they? – potatoes are a very good substitute. High in potassium (good for your heart and to maintain a healthy blood pressure) and full of vitamin B6 (good for your skin).

A side note on sweet potatoes… supposedly yams are okay? I honestly couldn’t tell the difference between them unless they were labelled very clearly and they’re always next to each other in the produce section and potentially mixed together.

These scalloped potatoes are: Amazing. Delicious. Always gone. Which is really frustrating because they’re so freakin’ tasty that I want there to be left overs the next day! Sigh. Here’s the recipe; thank me later…

Scalloped Potatoes:

The following serves 8-10 people as part of the main course.

  • 1.8 kg/4 lbs of peeled potatoes
  • 1-2 tsp. garlic infused olive oil
  • 2 cups lactose free double cream/heavy cream
  • 1 cup lactose free milk
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups grated cheddar/tasty cheese (or your low lactose favourites)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (naturally very low in lactose)

Peel and slice your taters so that they are approx. 5 mm thick. You want them thin enough to not be chewy but not so thin that they dissolve while cooking. Lightly grease a casserole dish and layer your potatoes out however you would like. The prettier the design, the better. I made a potato flower once but sadly we never got a photo. Leave the potatoes to the side while you make the sauce.

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Bring the cream, milk, salt and pepper slowly to the boil. This just means that it should start to foam a little, not bubble wildly like water does. Let it simmer for 1-2 minutes.

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Remove the pot from the heat and let it cool down before stirring through the garlic infused oil and pouring it over the arranged potatoes.

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Sprinkle the cheese evenly over the dish.

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From here you can do one of two things; cook it straight away or cover it with foil and leave it to cook the next day. This is what we normally do when we have people over for dinner because it can be made a day ahead, saving time the next night. And anything that can save us time and space (this is great for stacking in the fridge) is fine by me.

When you do decide to cook it, preheat oven to 350 F/180 C and cook it uncovered for at least one hour, 70 to 80 minutes would be best. This allows it to brown quite nicely and for the liquid to reduce into a thick, creamy sauce.WP_20130315_001

It really is the best scalloped potatoes I’ve ever had. Try it and you’ll see!

As for variations, I think you could dice and fry some bacon in the pot you heat the sauce in before you add the milk, cream, garlic and so on. You could also use some fresh rosemary or thyme in the sauce. At least, that’s what I’m planning on doing next time; and there will most definitely be a next time.