FODMAP Friendly Christmas Recipe – Spiced Gingerbread Cake (also Gluten Free & Dairy Free)

Spiced Gingerbread Cake - FODMAP friendly, gluten free and dairy free - Copy (2)

Christmas is fast approaching – the last time I checked, it was the start of November and I was still comfortably in my mid-twenties. I’m now what most people would call “mid to late” twenties and it’s scaring the hell out of me! Where does the time go – and can I rewind it please? While I sit here and panic not-so-silently, I’ll take the opportunity to share a new recipe for a cake that is a combination of my two favourite Christmas desserts: gingerbread and plum pudding. I don’t think you could get a more Christmas appropriate low FODMAP recipe, if you tried.

But first of all, merry Christmas! Or rather the all encompassing term I heard a couple of years ago: Happy Chrismakwanzakah!

Secondly, I am a HUGE fan of fruit cakes and puddings – I absolutely love them. If there were Beliebers for fruit cakes, I’d be right at the front, wearing a t-shirt and screaming my heart out… but, by some cruel twist of fate (damn you, GLUT-5 fructose transporters), if I was to have a slice now, I’d probably have to down a glass of glucose syrup afterwards to ward off any reactions – which is not a healthy thing to do.

As for gingerbread, it’s quite easily made gluten free and low FODMAP, the instructions for which can be found here.

For me, Christmas is all about food and family. It’s just a pity that so many traditional Christmas desserts aren’t easily adaptable to a low FODMAP diet, as they rely so heavily on fruits higher in fermentable carbohydrates. It’s also especially hard being literally half way around the world from the rest of my family at this time of year but it’s alright… I never cook alone. Or eat alone. Or unwrap my presents without an audience, because every dog knows that the rustling of paper and plastic equals treats.

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Obviously, a proper plum pudding/Christmas pudding/cake would not be FODMAP friendly. In fact, I don’t know if even the best chef in the world could turn a recipe that asked for ONE KILOGRAM of dried fruit per cake into a low FODMAP recipe. Seriously – challenge issued to anyone out there. Jamie Oliver? Stephanie Alexander? Helloooooooooo?

I made this spiced gingerbread cake for Christmas 2014 at a friend’s house. After the flop that was the gingerbread house I had made the year earlier (apparently nobody else liked gingerbread), I decided to tone down the ginger and amp up the other spices, to give it a more well-rounded Christmas taste. In all seriousness, I also wanted to challenge myself a little last year, knowing that my Friendsmas hosts were going all out to make the meal Nat-friendly (thanks Kendal and Raymond, much appreciated), so I decided to add in just a little dried fruit to this cake, in the spirit of festiveness and, really, because whiskey and sultanas need no explanation.

FODMAP Notes

  1. Whiskey is low FODMAP in 30 ml servings.
  2. Sultanas (aka raisins for those in the USA) are tricky. Grapes are low FODMAP in quite generous servings but the drying process means that the amount of sugar per volume of the grape (now sultana) increases. Monash University lists sultanas (very similar to raisins) as high FODMAP even in 1 tbsp. serves. The 1/4 cup of sultanas called for in this recipe, when divided by 12 (the number of servings it makes), means you will get 1 tsp. of sultanas per slice. As a safety measure, the added dextrose should help to balance out the concentrated sucrose but you can always leave them out if you are on elimination or know you react/for peace of mind.
  3. Dried cranberries are a low FODMAP alternative to sultanas, they are safe in 1 tbsp. serves and contain moderate amounts of fructans in 2 tbsp. serves.
  4. Coconut oil contains no carbohydrates, so is low FODMAP.
  5. All the sweeteners used are FODMAP friendly, the dextrose should balance out the extra fructose from the brown sugar (minute amounts) and the extra sucrose from the sultanas.
  6. Make sure your vanilla extract contains no high FODMAP additives.
  7. Use your favourite gluten free plain flour blend, or a self raising blend and omit the baking powder. Spelt flour is low FODMAP enough for some fructose malabsorbers but not for all – it is also NOT gluten free, as it is an ancient variety of wheat. Use what you feel comfortable with, as this cake batter performs equally well with either flour.
  8. Chia seeds are low FODMAP but still a great source of fibre and other nutrients. They work well as a xanthan gum replacement, for those sensitive to gums. If you only have xanthan gum, feel free to use that.
  9. The spices are all low FODMAP.
  10. Coconut milk (watered down coconut cream) is low FODMAP in 1/4 cup servings, which would be adhered to unless you ate 1/5 of this cake in a sitting.
  11. If you are still in the elimination phase of the low FODMAP diet, don’t include the optional sultanas/raisins or whiskey.

Spiced Gingerbread Cake

Serves 12-14.

Cake

  • 3/4 cup coconut oil, softened
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup or rice malt syrup
  • 1/4 cup castor sugar
  • 2 tbsp. dextrose
  • 1 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 500 g gluten free plain flour or spelt flour (not gluten free, omit chia or xanthan gum)
  • 1 tbsp. chia meal or 3/4 tsp. xanthan gum
  • 3 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • Zest of 1/2 an orange
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/4 cups coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 tsp. white wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • Optional: 1/4 cup sultanas or up to 1/2 cup of dried cranberries soaked in 1/8 cup whiskey for 4 hours

Royal Icing

  • 1 egg white
  • 1-1 1/2 cups icing sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Decorations

  • Nonpareils (the edible silver balls)
  • Strawberries or fruit of choice

At least four hours before you plan to make the cake, start soaking the sultanas or dried cranberries in whiskey. This is an optional step, you can omit the sultanas if they trigger your IBS, or swap in the dried cranberries.

Preheat your oven to 180 C/350 F and grease your bundt pan, grease and line your 20 cm/9 in cake tin, or line your 12-hole muffin tin with patty pans.

In the bowl of your stand mixer, add in the coconut oil, maple syrup, castor sugar, dextrose and brown sugar and beat for 1 minute at a low speed, followed by 2 minutes on high. Stop, add in the eggs and vanilla extract, then continue to mix for another minute at a medium speed. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, sieve the flour of your choice, chia meal (if using gluten free flour), ground spices and salt and roughly mix them together.

Get the coconut milk ready and then alternate adding thirds of the dry mix and the milk and mixing, until everything is used. If you feel the batter is too runny, don’t use all the milk – coconut milks don’t have a uniform consistency, unfortunately, so yours may be different than mine.

Mix the freshly squeezed orange juice, white wine vinegar and baking powder together and quickly pour it into the cake batter, then mix on high for 30 seconds. Next, add in orange zest and the optional sultanas/dried cranberries and whiskey and mix through until combined. Pour the mixture into your prepared cake tin and bake according to the instructions below.

Baking instructions:

  • Bundt pan – bake at 180 C/350 F for 45-50 minutes, or until cake tests clean with a skewer. Remove from the oven and let come to room temperature.
  • Round tin – bake at 180 C/350 F for 50-60 minutes, or until cake tests clean with a skewer. Remove from the oven and let come to room temperature.
  • Muffin tin – makes 12, bake at 180 C/350 F for 15-18 minutes, or until a centre muffin tests clean with a skewer. Remove from the oven and let come to room temperature.

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Once the cake has cooled, flip it out onto your serving dish of choice and make the royal icing.

Beat the egg white until it forms a soft peak (it will look like sea-foam), then slowly add in the sieved icing sugar, until the batter just begins to form stiff peaks. If you add in too much, the icing will be quite stiff and harder to spread – this quality is great when you want to pipe fine details, like on gingerbread biscuits but not when you want to spread the icing easily over an entire cake.

When your icing is ready, immediately ice your cake and sprinkle with the nonpareils, or decorations of your choice. Royal icing dries very quickly when exposed to air, so it becomes rough, harder to spread and less sticky for your decorations. It will keep well for up to one week in an airtight container in the fridge.

This cake can be made a day or two in advance, just ice it no earlier than the night before you want to serve it. Enjoy this cake with freshly made warm vanilla bean custard, vanilla ice cream, lactose free yoghurt or fresh FODMAP friendly fruit. Merry Christmas!

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FODMAP Friendly Thanksgiving Recipe – Pumpkin Spice Pavlova with Candied Pecans and Pepitas (also Gluten Free)

Pumpkin Spice Pavlova with Candied Pecans and Pepitas - Low FODMAP, Gluten Free and perfect for Thanksgiving

It’s well into pumpkin spice season – almost Thanksgiving now, where does the time go? – and around Halloween I had a hankering for a pav. Problem is, berries are ridiculously expensive in November (in Seattle, obviously not in Melbourne where you lucky ducks are heading into summer). What to do? At first I considered making a jack-o-lantern pavlova but, after I couldn’t find red, yellow or orange food dye at the supermarket (tip – don’t leave that until the day before Halloween next year), I thought about a pumpkin spice pavlova. Who knew, it might be delicious.

As it turns out it, it was delicious (if you like pumpkin pie, PSL’s and pavlova, you’ll love this) but sadly I wasn’t the original genius that I had thought; after writing down my own recipe, I googled it and found out that a few others had beaten me to making this ultimate Ameristralian fusion dessert.

Never mind, my use of pumpkin in the pav instead of the whipped cream (or coconut cream) seems to be original, as was serving it with candied pecans and pepitas. Note – so you don’t end up with a giant mound of cream on one side and not much on the other, be gentle with your pav and don’t rush it! I didn’t realise how poor my cream application was until I cut this slice… Whoops!

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FODMAP Notes

  1. Castor sugar is sucrose, so 1:1 fructose/glucose and safe in moderation. One serve of this pav would be fine for most FODMAPers.
  2. Maple, golden and brown rice syrup are all low FODMAP.
  3. Pumpkin safety depends on the type of pumpkin – I prefer sugar/pie pumpkin, which is safe in 1/4 cup serves – sorbitol can be an issue in larger amounts. Given that the small amount of pumpkin puree is spread between 12-16 serves, this is low FODMAP.
  4. Normal dairy cream can be used if lactose is not an issue, otherwise replace it with lactose free double cream or a low FODMAP vanilla yoghurt.
  5. Coconut Cream is low FODMAP in up to 1/2 cup serves – any more and sorbitol becomes an issue. It is also the dairy free option, for those who do not eat dairy products.
  6. Pecans are low FODMAP in small serves.
  7. Pepitas are low FODMAP in 2 tbsp. serves, as with most seeds.

Pumpkin Spice Pavlova with Candied Pecans and Pepitas

Serves 12-16.

Pumpkin Spice Pavlova

  • 4 egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1 pinch table salt
  • 250 g castor sugar, sieved
  • 2 tsp. corn starch or 1 tsp. potato starch
  • 1 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp. white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground all spice
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 30 g pumpkin puree

Before you start, make sure your kitchen is not humid. Open a window and do not turn on the dishwasher before you make the batter.

Preheat your oven to 180 C/350 F (non fan forced) and line two baking trays with baking paper or a silicon mat.

Place the egg whites and pinch of salt in the bowl of your stand mixer and beat slowly for 60 seconds, to loosen the protein, before gradually increasing the speed in increments, until at full speed for 3-4 minutes. Stop when the egg whites are light and fluffy, like a cloud.

Next, gradually pour in the pre-sieved castor sugar in quarters while beating on high, allowing 30 seconds between each pour for the sugar to dissolve properly into the mixture, then continue to beat, on high, for another minute or two. After this, the batter should form stiff peaks when you remove the beater from it. If it does not, continue beating on high for another 2 minutes at a time, or add 1/4 cup pf sugar, then check again.

Once ready, add in the vanilla, pumpkin puree and white wine vinegar, then the corn starch, cream of tartar and beat for another minute to combine. Pile the mixture in two even piles on the lined baking trays and place in the oven and close the door. Don’t open it again until it’s done.

Immediately reduce the heat to 150 C/300 F and bake for 30 minutes, then reduce the heat further to 100 C / 200 F and bake for 45 minutes, then turn off the oven and let it cool down for 30 minutes.  Your pavlovas are done but they should be allowed to cool completely to room temperature before handling, which should be kept to a minimum. Store them at room temperature, covered with an upside down container to keep them from getting damaged, until you’re ready to assemble them.

Spiced Whipped Cream/Coconut Cream

  • 400 ml double cream to whip, or 3 cups whipped coconut cream (follow these instructions)
  • 1 tbsp. icing dextrose
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground all spice
  • 1 pinch ground cloves

Either whip the 400 ml of cream (only use as much as required), or prepare the whipped coconut cream according to the linked instructions. Once almost completely whipped, add in the icing dextrose and spices and whip for another 30 seconds until combined. Refrigerate until you are ready to assemble the pavlova – don’t make more than 12 hours ahead of time.

Candied Nut Topping

  • 1/2 cup chopped roasted pecans
  • 1/2 cup roasted pepitas
  • 1 tbsp. butter or dairy free sub like coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup maple, golden or brown rice syrup

Melt the butter over a low to medium heat, then add in the nuts and syrup. Increase heat to medium, and keep stirring for 1-2 minutes, until the syrup has reduced by half – the rest will firm up as the mixture cools. Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely before topping the pavlova. Can be made a day ahead, store in an airtight container.

Assembly

GENTLY lay the first pavlova upside down on a serving dish. Top with half the whipped cream/coconut cream and then cover with the second pavlova, right side up. Top with more whipped cream/coconut cream (don’t feel like you have to use all of it, if it’s not required) and decorate with the candied nut mix.

Refrigeration isn’t best for pavlovas, as it causes the crispy meringue shell to soften, so to avoid this serve within two hours of assembly. If you have to refrigerate it (summer in Australia etc), then it’s not the end of the world, the flavour will stay the same, it’ll just be softer.

Enjoy!

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Pumpkin Spice Pancakes – Low FODMAP, Gluten Free and Vegan

Pumpkin Spice Pancakes - Low FODMAP, Gluten Free, Egg Free, Dairy Free and Vegan

Well, a lot has happened since the start of January, which is why nothing has been posted here. We bought a house, packed up our rental, moved everything and are now planning improvements on our new home. We also went through a hasty visa renewal process and have applied for permanent residency, so my spare time to actually blog about what we’ve been cooking has been zero. Unfortunately, I lost some of the scraps of paper I’d written stuff down on, so now I just have photos of food I can’t remember the ingredients to. Well done, me.

To ease myself back into blogging, and to test how good the lighting is around our new house (best lighting of any place yet, hooray!), I decided to cook up some pancakes with what little we have in our just-moved pantry. I had no bananas to make my usual breakfast staple of banana oatcakes, so I had to improvise. Luckily, we had a tin of pumpkin puree lying around and we’d run out of frozen stock, so it wasn’t going to be made into soup any time soon.

Pancakes it was, then!

FODMAP Notes

  1. Pumpkin in general has been given a low FODMAP rating in servings of 1/4 cup and a moderate rating in servings of 1/2 cup. This recipe keeps the serving at 1/4 cup per person, so is considered FODMAP friendly.
  2. Oats are given a low FODMAP rating in servings of 1/4 cup, which is split between two servings in this recipe. Oats that have been processed separately than wheat are gluten free but naturally contain a protein called avenin, which is similar enough to gluten that some with coeliac disease will still react. If this is is you, replace the oat flour with quinoa or buckwheat flours, which are safe in 1/4 cup servings.
  3. Chia and flax seeds have recommended servings of  2 tbsp for those with IBS, to limit a potentially problematic fibre intake, regardless of FODMAPs. This is split in half in this recipe, so should be safe.
  4. Maple and rice syrup are low FODMAP sweeteners, with a glucose content that is either equal to or greater than fructose content.
  5. I used coconut milk, which is low FODMAP in 1/2 cup servings and otherwise higher in sorbitol. You could also use any other milk that you tolerate, such as rice or almond milk.

Pumpkin Spice Pancakes

Serves 2.

Pancakes

  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup oat flour
  • 1 tbsp. chia seed meal
  • 1 tbsp. flax seed meal
  • 2 tbsp. maple syrup or rice syrup
  • 1/4 cup dairy free/low FODMAP milk of choice (plus a little extra if required)
  • 1 pinch salt

Candied Walnut Topping

  • 1/2 cup walnuts of pecans, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp. maple syrup or rice syrup
  • 1 tbsp. unsalted butter or coconut oil (dairy free/vegan option)

Mix the chia and flax seed meals with the syrup and low FODMAP milk of your choice and let them sit for 5 minutes. Next, add in the salt, pumpkin puree and the oat flour and mix thoroughly. You don’t need to use a blender, although it does make the job easier. The problem is you need to clean it!

Heat your pan to a medium heat and divide the mixture into four parts. Spread them out into 6-8 cm diameter circles and cook for 4-5 minutes a side.

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For the optional nut topping, turn the heat to low after the pancakes have been removed and let it cool for a minute. Add the butter (or coconut oil) until it melts and then throw in the nuts and syrup and heat them all for a further 30-60 seconds. Remove from the heat and top the pancakes, pour on a little extra syrup (if you’d like) and dig in.

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Pumpkin Pie for Friendsgiving – Low FODMAP, Gluten Free, Dairy Free & No Refined Sugar

Pumpkin Pie with a Gingerbread Crust - Low FODMAP, Dairy Free, Gluten Free and No Refined Sugar

Thanksgiving is such a quintessentially American holiday. Sure, there’s Independence Day and Halloween (etc) but we get those to some extent, or at least the Australian equivalent, back home. What I really like about Thanksgiving is the emphasis on being thankful. It may sound really corny but, given it’s surrounded by Halloween and Christmas, two of most consumption driven holidays of the year, it’s a breath of fresh air to not worry about buying lollies for greedy kids who take more than their share (yes, I’m still annoyed about that), or wonder if you’ve left anyone off your Chrissy list, or if you’ve got them something they won’t like. Instead, you just have to cook your arse off for the three days prior… but some crazy people call that “fun.”

The fact that “Fall” in Seattle is so much more spectacular than Autumn in Melbourne also helps matters along – the roads around our place looked like the trees had been decorated, that’s how bright and colourful the leaves were – in every shade you could imagine from pink to yellow to red. Give me overcast and chilly over a day that can’t make up its weather-mind any day of the week. My inner child absolutely adores throwing on my gum boots and sloshing around the local walking trails or the dog park.

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For those reading in Australia, or anywhere else that doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving, it’s all about being thankful for what you have… ironically followed, in the USA, by Black Friday sales, which are a little along the lines of the Boxing Day sales in Australia. Still, I like that, for one day at least, we are encouraged to think about what we have and how lucky we are to have it.

The one problem with Thanksgiving, though, as well as Christmas and Easter, really, is that we don’t have any family over here to celebrate with… which is why I love the term “Friendsgiving.” Most, if not all, of our Seattle friends are also transplants from other parts of the US and the world, so a Friendsgiving is what we do and I love it. This year, we are hosting an early Friendsgiving at our house, so we are roasting the usual turkey with all the trimmings (gravy, cornbread stuffing, cranberry sauce etc) but I had to think of a dessert.

Well, there’s nothing more American than apple pie – but I wanted to be able to eat the dessert, too. I’d tried pumpkin pie once before and liked it, so I thought I’d give it a go. To give myself something to compare my pie to, I bought a pumpkin pie from the supermarket and tried a slice (I didn’t eat the pastry and it was otherwise low FODMAP). I hated it. I double checked the ingredients and I’m sure it’s all the corn syrup (note, not high fructose corn syrup) that made it taste sickly sweet and there was also a weirdness to it that I couldn’t explain. I got my American neighbour (neighbor?) to taste test my version of pumpkin pie for me and – aside from slightly overcooking the base – she approved. She also told me that supermarket bought pumpkin pies are almost never good. Anyway, I much prefered my own recipe, if I don’t say so myself.

This pumpkin pie is lightly spiced, pumpkin-y and has a custard-like texture; the gingerbread crust plays off the filling really nicely and the whole thing is quite rich, so you won’t need to eat much.

FODMAP Notes

  1. Almonds are low FODMAP in servings of 10 nuts and contain moderate fructans and galactans in servings of 20 nuts. One slice of this pie should be FODMAP friendly but, if you struggle with almonds, try subbing in some pecan meal or even some gluten free flour for a lower overall FODMAP count.
  2. Brown rice is low FODMAP in servings of 1 cup, however it can be hard to digest for non-FODMAP reasons. If you struggle with it, try replacing it with quinoa flour, or any gluten free/low FODMAP flour blend that you like.
  3. Golden and maple syrups are 1:1 fructose and glucose, so are safe, FODMAPs-wise, in moderation. Check for any higher FODMAP ingredients, to be safe. Use maple syrup if you want to make the “no refined sugars” version.
  4. Pumpkin and squash vary in safe serving sizes from 1/4 to 1/2 cup, depending on the type. The pie pumpkin I used is FODMAP friendly in 1/4 cup servings and contains moderate amounts of sorbitol in 1/2 cup servings. Freshly made pumpkin puree is best by far, in terms of colour and flavour of the resulting pie.
  5. Coconut cream is low FODMAP in servings of 1/2 cup, any more and sorbitol becomes an issue.
  6. Cinnamon, all spice, ginger and cloves are all FODMAP friendly spices.
  7. This pie combines pumpkin and coconut cream, two ingredients that, if you eat enough, are high in sorbitol. If the large pie is cut into 12, you should be eating a safe amount of pumpkin and coconut cream; if you made mini pies, then you are in control of the size. If you are super sensitive to sorbitol but can tolerate dairy, use lactose free double cream instead of the coconut cream.

Pumpkin Pie

Serves 8-10 (one large pie, or 10 mini 5 cm diameter pies).

Gingerbread Base

  • 150 g almond meal/flour
  • 150 g brown rice or quinoa flour
  • 1 tbsp. chia seed meal
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. all spice
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, softened
  • 1/4 cup golden or maple syrup
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 pinch salt

Pie Filling

  • 450 g/1.0 lb of pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup coconut cream
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup or golden syrup
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 ground all spice
  • 1 pinch ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. table salt
  • 3 large eggs

Place a tin of full fat coconut cream in the fridge at least overnight. This allows the  cream to separate from the water. When you are ready to make your filling, flip the can upside down and open it; pour the watery part into a glass and use in smoothies etc. Spoon out 1 cup worth of the thickened coconut cream and use in the filling recipe.

Sift all the dry ingredients for the gingerbread base together and put aside. In the bowl of your stand mixer or food processor, combine the softened coconut oil, syrup and egg, then pour in the dry ingredients and mix until a smooth, slightly sticky dough forms. This is your biscuit base. Wrap it and put it in the fridge for 20 minutes before handling.

Preheat your oven to 180 C/350 F and grease either one large tart dish, 5 medium tart dishes or 10 small tart dishes. Break the gingerbread base dough into chunks and press it into the tart tins. This can be done a day or two ahead, just refrigerate until it’s required. Cover the dough with baking paper and pour in baking/pie balls, then blind bake according to instructions below.

While the pie shells are blind baking, blend together all the filling ingredients until smooth and creamy. Let the pie shells cool for ten minutes after blind baking, before filling them until the pumpkin mix is just about to reach the top of the shell.

Baking instructions are as follows:

  • Small (5 cm) pie – blind bake for 10 minutes, before filling with pumpkin mixture and baking for a further 20-25 minutes.
  • Medium (10 cm) pie – blind bake for 12 minutes, before filling with pumpkin mixture and baking for a further 30-35 minutes.
  • Large (23 cm) pie – blind bake for 15 minutes, before filling with pumpkin mixture and baking for 45-50 minutes.

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The pies are done when the filling has darkened a little and only jiggles slightly (this will be much more obvious in the larger pie). When they are cooked, remove them from the oven and let them come to room temperature still in their tins, before refrigerating them. Leave them in their tins until you plan to serve them. Top with whipped cream, icing sugar, or candied nuts of your choice.

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Enjoy! Xo

Chocolate Chia Seed Puddings – FODMAP/Fructose Friendly, Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Vegan & Paleo

Chocolate Chia Seed Puddings - Low FODMAP, Fructose Friendly and Gluten Free

A few months ago I shared with you my recipe for Coconut Chia Seed Puddings. They are my go-to for a pre-made, nutritious breakfast or snack that I can take with me on the go. How could I possibly top that?

Uhh, duh. CHOCOLATE!

As if there was any other way?! This variation on the original recipe is just as simple and delicious but has the added benefit of tasting like a chocolate mousse – making it perfect to serve as a healthy dessert. Or dessert for breakfast… I don’t judge.

Notes:

  1. Chia seeds are low FODMAP but high fibre. They are safe for FM but can trigger separate IBS issues. Read here for a full article about chia seeds and fructose malabsorption.
  2. Cacao powder is a contentious issue. Due to it being unprocessed – and thus more nutritious than cocoa powder – it contains nutrients which some with sensitive guts react to. If in doubt, use unsweetened cocoa powder.
  3. Coconut cream – full fat tastes better but fatty foods can be an IBS trigger (separate to FM). I would recommend full fat for nutrition and taste/texture but if you have to use light coconut cream, as I did until a few months ago, it will still taste good.

Chocolate Chia Seed Puddings

  • 400 ml tin of full fat or light coconut cream
  • 1/3-1/2 cup chia seeds – add more for a firmer pudding
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder or cacao powder – depending on tolerance
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Berries/fruits of your choice to top.

Whip the coconut cream (this will only work with full cream) for a good few minutes, until it lightens up. Add in the maple syrup, vanilla extract and cocoa powder and continue to whip until combined.

Add in the chia seeds and stir through gently, then share the mixture evenly between 4 ramekins/jars and place (covered) in the fridge to set for at least 2-3 hours. The chia seeds need time to develop a mucilaginous lining, which aids digestion and of course turns the mixture into a pudding.

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Cranberry, Orange and Chia Seed Muffins – FODMAP/Fructose Friendly, Dairy Free, Gluten Free & Grain Free

Cranberry, Orange & Chia Seed Muffins

Maybe two years ago Evgeny and I went on a low carb/grain free diet for 6 months and we felt good. We had extra energy, my skin cleared up and we even lost some weight but then slipped back into our old habits – I of course remained fructose friendly. A little while ago we were talking about how good we felt back then and we decided to give it another shot; this time, however, we can eat rice occasionally.

The main reason we reverted to old habits was not because we didn’t feel good – quite the opposite – but because the diet was too restrictive for us to maintain all the time and as soon as we had one treat, another one crept in and before we knew it we were eating carbs/grains full time again. Whoops! This time our emphasis is on unprocessed, rather than grains. We’re buying ingredients, rather than foods, as the saying goes. It’s much easier to stay on track and eat meals that don’t get boring and they’re probably definitely much better for us than the pre-packaged low carb desserts that we bought last time.

Aside from that, I don’t really like diets that encourage extremes – either all low/non fat, or super low carb etc. Balance is the key to health and while I do agree we rely too much on grains for today’s diet – I used to have porridge for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch and pasta for dinner until I was diagnosed with FM – I’m sure that having a bowl of rice or a slice of FODMAP friendly bread on the weekend isn’t going to ruin all my good work. Besides, I enjoy baking and sharing the goodies that come out of the oven. It’s relaxing!

After a month of this diet – and feeling great, I might add – I think we will be able to maintain this long term. The one thing we miss, though, is a sweet treat during the week. Now I know it’s not good to have dessert every night but occasionally we need more than a banana or orange after dinner and these grain free muffins really hit the spot. As added insurance against splurging, I recommend freezing these so you can’t just guts them all at once.

I adapted this recipe from Delicious As It Looks, a fantastic website with FODMAP friendly recipes that I highly recommend visiting. The muffins are light, fluffy and delicately sweetened and inspired by the orange and poppy seed muffins I fell in love with at Melbourne Uni.

Notes:

  1. Cranberries are low FODMAP. Dried cranberries are tolerated by some fructose malabsorbers in small amounts – there should only be 5-6 dried cranberries per muffin and the dextrose (if you use it) will reduce the fructose load further. Also ensure your cranberries weren’t dried or mixed with any fruit juices or sugars that are not low FODMAP.
  2. Orange is low FODMAP, as is a little fresh squeezed juice. Bottled juice, however, is highly concentrated and very sugary, so has a higher fructose load.
  3. Almonds are low FODMAP in servings of 10 nuts. If you are concerned about the FOS/GOS of almonds in this recipe then you can sub in some buckwheat flour or my gluten free plain flour – just remember it will no longer be grain free.

Cranberry, Orange and Chia Seed Muffins

Makes 10 x 1/4 cup muffins.

  • 1/3 cup virgin coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup dextrose or 1/4 cup castor sugar – or more to your taste
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tbsp. fresh squeezed orange juice
  • Zest of 1 orange (washed!)
  • 2 cups almond meal
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup dried cranberries – depending on tolerance. If you’re unsure, stick to the 1/4 cup initially.
  • 1/8 cup chia seeds
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tsp. white wine vinegar
  • 1 pinch salt

Preheat the oven to 350 F/180 C. Note that you will reduce the heat to 300 F/150 C just before baking.

In a large bowl, cream the coconut oil and sugar together for 2-3 minutes, until they become smooth. Add in the eggs and OJ and continue mixing until combined.

Meanwhile, add the almond meal, chia seeds, orange zest, dried cranberries and salt together in a separate bowl and mix together roughly. When the wet ingredients are thoroughly combined, add in the dry ingredients little by little until you have a smooth mixture. Now combine the baking powder and white wine vinegar in a ramekin and mix quickly – it will foam. Pour it into the batter and keep mixing til combined.

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Spoon the mixture out between greased or lined muffin pans, reduce the oven’s heat to 300 F/150 C and bake for 15-20 minutes or until a centre muffin tests clean (with a skewer).

They won’t brown like a normal wheat – or even gluten free – muffin will, they stay a lighter white-ish yellow colour. This is normal, don’t leave them in the oven to brown, as they will just go dry and hard due to over-cooking.

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Let them sit for 10-15 minutes before turning them out onto a cooling rack to come to room temperature. Most importantly, enjoy!

These freeze well or keep in the pantry in an airtight container for a week.

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Strawberry Pepita Muesli Bars – FODMAPs, Fructose Friendly, Paleo & Gluten Free

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At the request of someone who cannot eat almonds – hence the last muesli bars I made were unsuitable – I promised to attempt an almond free version.

Well, here it is… and isn’t. I submitted the recipe to Yummly, a recipe/food/cooking website that I absolutely love for the reasons I listed here. It is like a big community of professional food writers, chefs, cooks and the likes of us. If you make your own account, you can start searching for delicious recipes with ingredient filters and saving them to try later… because of course you’ll be making these beauties first!

These are lower GI than your store bought muesli bars, and wont have any nasty preservatives in them. I kept mine in the fridge, in a sealed container and they lasted one month until I had finished them without spoiling.

As I mentioned in my last post about muesli bars, low GI is important not only when you’re not doing anything – to avoid a blood sugar spike, years of which can lead to insulin resistance and put you at risk of Type II Diabetes – but to help you maintain energy levels while you’re exercising, or even during the day if you eat one of these as a breakfast bar. Once reason I don’t eat any cereal other than whole oat porridge is because I was tired and hungry within an hour or two. Just ask Ev what I get like when my blood sugar drops… very grumpy 🙂

Notes:

  1. Use pure maple syrup, which shouldn’t have any extra sugars or sweeteners in there that could potentially elicit a FM reaction.
  2. I used raw nuts and seeds but you could use roasted for a little extra crunch.
  3. Strawberries are a FODMAP suitable fruit, with fructose concentration of 3.0g/100g and a glucose concentration of 3.1g/100g. Monash University lists them as safe.
  4. Most seeds are safe in moderate amounts, however they can affect some people because they are high in fibre. These bars will pack a caloric punch – they are intended for workout/hiking food, not for dieters – so you won’t need more than a single serving, anyway.
  5. Almonds have been listed by some as higher in FODMAPs, so to play it safe I excluded them.
  6. You could add in a quarter cup of dried cranberries if you can tolerate them – just watch for any juices used to sweeten them.
  7. Nuts are not safe for dogs, so please don’t share them with your furry hiking buddies.
  8. If you want a nut free version, simply remove the nuts and then add in the same volume of seeds. I still wouldn’t be sharing them with your dogs, though. We normally take chicken jerky for the dogs when we go hiking, as well as extra water.

The recipe is over on Yummly’s blog, please head over and have a look! I like to eat these as a breakfast bar with plain yoghurt and some berries. They are quite filling and keep me going until lunch time. Enjoy! Let me know what you think in the comments section below.

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