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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A FODMAP Friendly Veggie Garden for Summer

Fructose Friendly Veggie Garden, low fodmap, fructose malabsorption, ibs, irritable bowel syndrome, gluten free, healthy, organic, pesticide free, spoodle, cockapoo, homegrown

I apologise for the delay in today’s Fructose Friendly Friday post. I intended to share a low FODMAP/gluten free crumpet recipe but – unfortunately – it wasn’t quite ready to share. Hopefully next week! Anyway, I had to whip up something quickly and spring seemed the perfect time to talk about gardening.

Last year I was able to do something that I’ve been wanting to do for a long time – grow my own veggies. For the previous three years, I have been growing my own herbs in pots on our balcony, which was thankfully south facing (equivalent to north facing in Australia), so it got a lot of sun. It was great to be able to grow our own herbs but this year, we have a garden! Well, more like a patch than a full-on yard but it’s a start.

I wanted to grow my own veggies for a few reasons:

  • Price: organic veggies are expensive, as are some non-organic versions, such as zucchini and cherry tomatoes.
  • Quality: *fingers crossed* our home grown veggies will be better than store bought.
  • Control: even organic vegetables use pesticides, some of which have not been thoroughly tested (they just need to be deemed “natural”) and many are reported to be less effective than normal pesticides, so more has to be used; if we grow our own, we can be completely pesticide free. Please note, I am not anti-organic, I just wish that the organic industry was held to the same standards as the regular industry that uses synthetic pesticides. You’ll never experience judgement here for what sort of produce you choose to consume.
  • The experience: hopefully one day we will have a backyard big enough to grow most to all of our fruit and vegetable needs, as we plan to have a completely edible garden.

So, now we have a little yard. What next?

Firstly, we had to move in! We didn’t get started on our garden for two whole months, as we had to fix up inside the place – previous residents had left holes in the dry wall that needed spackling/painting and clearly had little darlings that were fond of wall art. Then we drove down to San Francisco to meet my parents for a road trip back up the west coast, which had some spectacular views.

My mum loves to garden (so much that we drove up to the Butchart Gardens – pictured below – in Victoria, B.C.) and had been telling me for months that she would be giving us a Backyard Blitz while she was staying with us. Awesome.

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Prepare your garden beds

It really was a huge do-over; I didn’t take a before photo – in retrospect, I should have – but the place was essentially a grass patch with three garden beds full of rubble, a hose with holes in it, decomposing flower pots and a random butcher’s knife that had belonged to previous tenants. It made me angry just looking at it – and a little concerned about the knife, though the scariest thing to happen was the lawn-mowers leaving the gate open, which meant the dogs almost got out.

We spent an entire day with the shovel and rake pulling out the weeds and the weed mat (awful things) and discovering that we only had about 40 cm of soil depth and the rest was building rubble that had been thrown in to raise the gardens to the second story, which was our lower living area, as the garage is at ground level, underneath it all. Your to-do list may differ but ours included:

  • Pull out as many of the rocks in the soil as possible, so we could use them in flower pots for drainage and for decoration. I’m not going to turn my nose up at free river rocks!
  • Get rid of the weed mat – not only do they mess with drainage but they stop the plants’ roots from getting deep enough to really stabilise and get at nutrients.
  • Weed like crazy and get rid of the chunks of cement that were close enough to the surface to get in our way.
  • Build the garden beds up with a decent soil and compost/fertiliser, so the plants have a chance at surviving.

We did all of the above for the two side garden beds, which were empty. The rear garden bed we just pulled out the surface rocks and weeded, as there were already some box hedges planted and, considering that we’re still renting, we couldn’t pull out the plants that belonged to the owners.

Plan your garden

What will you grow?

What do you want to get out of your garden, aside from pesticide free produce?

To narrow down which fruit and veg that we would actually grow, I did some research about the climate in and around Seattle, as well as the soil type. Seattle doesn’t have a huge growing season for summer crops, so I had to be on top of this in April. We used the following criteria to decide on what we’d grow:

  • Expensive at the supermarket.
  • Doesn’t last long in the fridge.
  • Suited to Seattle’s climate.
    • Fast growing, so they’ll be ready in Seattle’s short growing season.
    • Hardy enough to survive the Pacific Northwest’s climate.
  • Dog-friendly – so sadly rhubarb was out.
  • We need to eat a lot of them.
  • FODMAP (or Nat) friendly, see list here.

If you choose to grow your own fruit and veg, you’ll need to do some research for your own area.

Where will you grow it?

Unfortunately, our back yard is north facing, so it doesn’t get full sun. If we could pick the perfect spot, it would have:

  • Adequate sunlight.
  • Well-drained, nutrient rich soil.
  • Sheltered from the wind.
  • Close to a water source.
  • In a built up planter box, rather than rows – saves both space and your back.

But, that wasn’t the case, so we had to be realistic. Considering that flowering plants require lots of sunlight, we chose:

  • Green leaf lettuce
  • Carrots
  • Chard
  • Basil
  • Rosemary
  • Oregano
  • Coriander (cilantro)
  • Sage
  • Oat grass (for the dogs to nibble on)

And because why the hell not…

  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Zucchinis
  • Strawberries

Start your garden

To combat our short growing season in Seattle, I sprouted the seeds indoors, in front of a warm, sunny window in our kitchen.

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When the weather was warm enough to transplant the seedlings, I put them in the planter box that Ev built for me. Side note – we’ve since moved house, so the lucky people that buy our old rental will inherit it. It was sad to leave it but there was no way we were going to get it into the U-haul.

  • Feed and water your garden as required. Be careful not to over-water it, as excess moisture can lead to rotting stems and dead plants.
  • Do NOT over-plant an area of garden bed. I got a little greedy and then we had to transplant our cherry tomato plants halfway through the growing season. Though, to be fair, my last two attempts at growing cherry toms hasn’t been half as successful and the rate of growth of these two plants shocked both of us.
  • Get any support systems (stakes and cages) in place BEFORE you need them. See above.
  • Prune/maintain as required.

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The results

  • Cherry tomatoes – very successful. We didn’t buy tomatoes for 5 months.
  • Lettuce – also did really well. Best lightly sprayed with water and refrigerated for a day before use, to help it crisp up after the summer sun.
  • Chard – didn’t survive the seedling stage. There might have been a problem with the seeds, as everything else was fine.
  • Carrots – showers, not growers. They tasted alright but were small underneath.
  • Zucchinis – the plants were prolific flower-ers but they didn’t grow any successful fruit. They zucchinis would reach about 10 cm long and then begin to decompose. I was really disappointed.
  • Strawberries – the squirrels really enjoyed these. We didn’t get to taste any, as the little buggers would eat them before they were ripe enough to pick. At least it provided the dogs with some entertainment.
  • Herbs – all did pretty well in the pots/garden bed.
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This wasn’t even the biggest that the cherry toms got. They ended up three times this size – insane!

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Yup – showers, not growers.

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This year we probably won’t have much more than herbs, as we are heavily DIY renovating the inside of our new house, as well as turning the (very poorly sunlit) back yard into something nicer than a weed pit. The front yard gets a lot of sun, so potentially could be the site of  a future veggie patch, if we get the front fence up. We already know that the neighbourhood has resident bunnies, though, so it might end up being a feeding ground for them instead of us.

So give it a go. Get gardening and let me know what you’re growing!

Maureen’s Old Fashioned Chocolate Brownies – Low FODMAP, Gluten Free & Dairy Free

Old Fashioned Chocolate Brownies - low FODMAP, gluten free, dairy free

When I was younger, a friend of Mum and Dad’s always made a plate of her amazing chocolate brownies on special occasions. At Christmas and on birthdays, Sharon would turn up with an ice cream container filled with chocolatey goodness – and Dad would then say that they weren’t made for the kids. He was terrible at hiding them, though, so it all worked out in the end. The second drawer in the garage filing cabinet wasn’t such a clever place, after all.

For years, I’ve been trying to work up the courage to try out brownies. It’s not that they’re an exact science, or really fiddly, like pastry but they weren’t ever made in my house, so I didn’t have any tried and true recipes to go from/convert to be gluten free and FODMAP friendly…

… Which is why I snagged someone else’s (not so) secret family recipe and FODMAPified that, instead. Apparently it’s at least 75 years old! I’ve been following Maureen, the Orgasmic Chef, for a few years now and am continuously wowed by what she creates – and her pace of blogging. Fair warning, it’s not a blog for those with food intolerances, so you’ll have to put on your thinking caps and tweak the recipes yourself but, really, I like that, as it allows me to give my own flare to meals at the same time.

After my first attempt, I was a little disheartened, as my brownies hadn’t developed the crispy/flaky crust that I love so much. After a bit of searching, I discovered that the more you beat your eggs, the more pronounced this crust will be, as it’s actually a thin layer of meringue. Well, I decided to go all out and whip the egg whites and sugar together before adding them to the mixture and voila! Batch number two had a perfect layer of brownie crispiness on top.

These little beauties take almost no time at all to whip up and you’ll end up with cake-like brownies; just chocolatey and sweet enough to satisfy a mid-afternoon or late night craving without making you feel sick and guilty. Perf. Maureen very kindly allowed me to share my altered version with you guys here, so thank her!

FODMAP Notes

  1. Unsweetened dairy free dark chocolate is low FODMAP in the amounts called for in this recipe.
  2. Coconut oil is FODMAP friendly (it’s 100% fat, no carbs) but it can be replaced with butter if you can tolerate dairy. PS. Butter is low in lactose, just not lactose free.
  3. I’ve reduced the sugar called for in Maureen’s original recipe, both to suit my tastes and to reduce the overall fructose load of the brownies. Feel free to up it back to 2 cups if you want and you know you can tolerate it.
  4. Almonds and walnuts are low FODMAP in the amounts called for in this recipe.
  5. I use milk in this recipe (even though the original doesn’t call for any), as gluten free baked goods are notoriously dry and need a little extra moisture to keep them soft. Use coconut/almond/rice milk etc if dairy free is required, or lactose free dairy milk if not.
  6. The chocolate chips are optional, just, as above, use chocolate that follows your dietary requirements.

Maureen’s Old Fashioned Brownies

Makes approximately 32.

  • 120 g unsweetened dark chocolate
  • 4 tbsp. coconut oil or butter
  • 1 cup castor sugar
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup gluten free flour, sifted
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1/2 tsp. xanthan gum
  • 1 heaped tbsp. cacao powder
  • 1 pinch kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup low FODMAP milk of your choice
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat your oven to 180 C/350 F and grease and line a 9×13″ baking tray – or two 9×9″ cake tins (or there abouts), if you’re like me and don’t have the full sized pan.

Melt the chocolate and coconut oil together over a very low heat (so as not to burn the chocolate). Mix thoroughly and set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the egg whites until fluffy and soft peaks form, then add in the castor sugar beat for another minute. Pour in the melted chocolate mixture, along with the egg yolks and vanilla, and mix until combined.

Add in the flours, cacao powder and xanthan gum and stir through, before adding in the milk. Finally, thoroughly stir through the chopped nuts and the optional chocolate chips, before pouring the mixture into the prepared baking tins and baking for 20-25 minutes, or until they just test clean with a skewer.

Let them cool to room temperature before slicing and serving, or they might crumble while you cut them. Enjoy them with some fresh strawberries and tea or coffee. Yum.

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And a behind the scenes shot… it’s almost warm enough for the poor, shaggy creature to get a hair cut.

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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

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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

Pup Cakes - Dog Friendly Birthday Cakes

What do you get the dog who already has everything?

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

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

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

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

FODMAP Notes

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

Pup Cakes

Makes 12.

Cake

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

Icing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Summer has officially hit Seattle! Here are 25 Summer-approved low FODMAP recipes.

Whether you’re soaking up the sun like Bailey, or you’re more of a Nellie and prefer to relax in the shade, I hope you’re enjoying this amazing Pacific Northwest weather! We’re experiencing crazy hot temperatures – for Seattle – this year and some of us are loving it…. some, not so much.

Unfortunately for Nellie, we think the heat might be a trigger for her epilepsy. At the very least, she doesn’t cope well above 25 C/80 F, the poor thing; she’s a lot like Evgeny (cue fur joke). Bailey and I, on the other hand, don’t really consider this as “hot” weather, it still seems more like late Spring weather to us, than high Summer. Yes, I realise I just put words in my dog’s mouth. Also, check out our Facebook page for a cute little video of Nellie Belly getting her den just so. It’s been so hot that she had to dig down to find the cool/damp soil.

Baily, rolling in the sun

Nellie, shade

In honour of this hot weather – and also to make my Mum jealous, as she suffers through Melbourne’s “freezing” temperatures (her words, not mine) – here are some good looking, low FODMAP recipes that are also appropriate for summer.

Salads, Snacks & Meals

  1. Ceviche – Not From A Packet Mix
  2. Grilled tofu salad – Not From A Packet Mix
  3. Seared rainbow trout in white wine – Not From A Packet Mix
  4. Strawberry salad, with a maple lemon vinaigrette – Not From A Packet Mix
  5. Sushi, Gunkan, Maki rolls, Nigiri – Not From A Packet Mix
  6. Toasted almond and cranberry salad – Not From A Packet Mix
  7. Warm salmon salad – Not From A Packet Mix
  8. Balsamic chicken salad with strawberries –  – from Delicious As It Looks
  9. Carrot and coriander soup – from She Can’t Eat What?
  10. Greek pasta salad – from Thrifty Kitchen
  11. Grilled Rosemary Salmon – from Delicious As It Looks
  12. Rainbow salad – from Fructopia

Sweets

  1. Baked peach in puff pastryNot From A Packet Mix
  2. Banana “ice cream” – Not From A Packet Mix
  3. Chia seed puddings, chocolate, coconut and strawberry (coming soon) – Not From A Packet Mix
  4. Classic vanilla ice cream – Not From A Packet Mix
  5. Dark chocolate tofu mousse – Not From A Packet Mix
  6. Pavlova – Not From A Packet Mix
  7. Blueberry ice cream – from Savory Lotus
  8. Chocolate Frosty – from Rabbit Food For My Bunny Teeth
  9. Coconut melon ice cream lollies – from Squashablanca
  10. Frozen yoghurt trail mix bars – from The Lean Green Bean
  11. Lemon mousse – from No Sugarless Gum
  12. No-bake cheesecakes in jars – from Amelia (use Google translate)
  13. Rhubarb pie ice cream – from No Sugarless Gum

Stay cool, everyone!