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I’m so excited to share these pies with all of you, they have been a long time coming.
Mince pies (or mince tarts, whatever name you know then by) are a Christmas staple in many Aussie households – as well as many other places that were colonised by the British, I suppose. Every year, Mum would stock up with Bakers’ Delight mince pies as soon as they were available and we’d freeze a bunch so that we’d have them well past Christmas, we loved them so much. Unfortunately, though, I had to cut them out long ago due to the extreme amounts of dried fruits, and often apple, that were lurking inside their delicious pastry shells.
Well, not any more! These fruit mince pies are low FODMAP (according to Monash University ratings) in servings of two pies – you can read the FODMAP information for each ingredient in the FODMAP Notes section below. They are moist, sweet enough, with buttery pastry and just the right amount of spice to finish off your Christmas meal. Enjoy them with a cup of tea, some freshly made custard or FODMAP friendly vanilla ice cream.
Don’t be scared that there are vegetables in here (yes, I know, choko is actually a fruit); the carrot is a naturally sweet vegetable, especially when small and young and the chokos, while typically used as a vegetable and not very sweet themselves, are the perfect apple substitute in a lot of recipes. Combine them with low FODMAP amounts of nut meals, dried fruit (optional) and traditional spices and we have a Christmas classic made low FODMAP.
Merry Christmas guys! Enjoy your time with family and friends, whatever you celebrate and I’ll see you in the new year for more delicious low FODMAP cooking. Don’t forget to sign up to receive each new post by email.
Makes approx. 36 small pies | 18 low FODMAP serves
Fruit Mince Filling
The day before baking, make the fruit mince filling by mixing all the ingredients together in a container, then put the lid on and store it in the fridge overnight. This allows the dried fruit to soak up the juices from the carrots and choko and lets the flavours meld together. It makes a huge difference in terms of flavour, so don’t skimp.
The pastry can also be made one day ahead, if you wish. If you are using my pie crust pastry, don’t store it in the fridge – instead, keep it wrapped in plastic wrap in an airtight container in a cool, dark place. If you put it in the fridge for more than 30 minutes, it will turn into a solid brick, as most gluten free pastries do, and will need to be re-hydrated once more with a little ice water and your stand mixer.
Pre-heat your oven to 180 C/350 F and grease two small (24 hole) muffin pans.
On a pastry mat or a lightly floured bench, roll out your pastry until it is approx. 2-3 mm thick, then slice it into rectangles measuring 5 x 10 cm. Gently pick up each rectangle and line the muffin holes, trimming off the excess pastry as you go. Once all the muffin holes are lined and the pastry trimmed, re-roll the excess pastry and cut out little stars or leaves to top the pies.
Place the completed muffin trays into the freezer for 10-15 minutes, in the meantime clean your work space and get the fruit mincemeat filling out of the fridge.
Place approx. 1 1/2 tsp. of the fruit mince filling in each pie crust – they should be only slightly heaped, not overly full. Next, place a star or leaves on each pie and brush with your milk of choice.
Bake at 180 C for 15 minutes, until the stars toppers are slightly golden brown. Do not wait for them to turn a true golden brown as this often doesn’t happen with gluten free pastry and you’ll just end up over-cooking your pies.
Remove them from the oven and let them cool completely before you remove them from the muffin pans. If you are storing them, place them in an airtight container in the pantry for up to a week but they taste best if eaten in the first couple of days.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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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Pumpkin Spice Pavlova
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
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
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.
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.
I’ve been in a bit of a baking rut for the last few months – just being lazy and going back and forward between banana cake or chocolate brownies, two delicious, tried and true recipes that I love but, honestly, was getting a little tired of. I never thought I’d get tired of banana cake! But it happened.
Seeing as we’re trying to make the most of the last days of summer, I felt a tropical, refreshing flavour was called for – so lemon and coconut it was. Lemon and ginger was another flavour contender but it’ll have to wait for another day. Maybe until next weekend…
These cakes are incredibly light, fluffy and moist – something that doesn’t come as easily to gluten free baked goods as wheat flour products. Honestly, I’m pretty proud of them. The subtle lemon and coconut flavour is gorgeous, not in your face at all, as I know quite a few people who aren’t coconut fans. For those who are, simply add in a few drops of coconut extract to up the flavour. Voila. I think the best compliment that I received for these cakes was Ev eating an entire muffin himself and enjoying it. If you knew him, you’d know he hates cakes, he’s a pastry man. These are that good.
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Preheat your oven to 180 C/350 F.
Grease and line a 9 inch round cake tin, or a 12 hole muffin pan.
If not already soft, in a small saucepan, very gently melt the coconut oil, do not let it boil. Set it aside to cool (refrigeration will help). If using the chia gel, rather than the xanthan gum, mix the chia seed meal in the water now, then set aside.
Next, separate the eggs, putting the yolks aside. Beat the egg whites and salt at a high speed until light and fluffy, then add in the sugars and continue beating on high until stiff peaks form (as if you were making a pavlova).
Thoroughly mix the cooled coconut oil, egg yolks, vanilla extract and coconut cream together and whisk briskly, then pour into the meringue batter and stir on a medium speed until combined. Add in the chia gel at this stage, if you are using it instead of xanthan gum.
Place the gluten free flour blend, xanthan gum (if you are using it rather than the chia gel), baking powder and lemon zest in a small, separate bowl, mix through and then pour into the rest of the batter in thirds. Mix the finished batter on a medium speed for a minute to properly combine all the ingredients, scraping down the sides as required.
Bake at 180C/350 F for:
I serve these dusted with icing sugar (as it looks pretty) at dinner parties but it does not need it for the flavour, so if you’re just baking for you, feel free to leave it off.
This post was brought to you because Autumn.
During the winter months back at school, I happily handed over my $1.20 for an instant noodle cup in whatever flavour they had left. If you’ve ever had to wear a school uniform, they’re not that warm in winter. Tights only do so much, and the wool is itchy. Combine that with the renovations to the senior school centre that went on throughout the entirety of my senior school career – meaning we lost our common room, so had nowhere to hide from the cold – and instant noodles warmed me from the inside and out.
Nowadays I don’t have to sit outside while I eat in all seasons – thank goodness! – but that doesn’t mean that I want to say goodbye to noodle cups. Problem is, I think I can say with confidence that every instant noodle cup out there is very high in FODMAPs, even the gluten free versions.
Enter these little beauties. I got the inspiration from a post by Gluten Free on a Shoestring (love her blog) after watching Ev devour yet another pack of 2 minute noodles and decided to FODMAPify it/give it a bit of an Asian twist. I plan to try a different version soon, using a homemade stock paste… I just need to make the paste.
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Serving size: 1 tsp makes 1 cup of stock.
Measure all the ingredients into the bowl of your food processor and then blitz for 30 seconds to turn the chunky ingredients (sage, nutritional yeast, pepper flakes) into a fine powder.
Put into an airtight jar and store in a cool dark place for up to 6 months. When you wish to use it, dissolve 1 tsp. of bouillon powder in 1 cup of boiling water.
Serves 1 (multiply for more servings).
You will need one heat proof, seal-able container capable of holding 2 cups (500 ml) of fluid.
In a small bowl, mix the miso paste, chili sauce and infused oils together, then spread them along the bottom of your jar.
Layer the rest of the ingredients as follows: bok choy, carrots, sweet corn, vermicelli (or other) noodles, bouillon powder, your choice of protein, coriander leaves, green chive tips and finally the wedge of lime. You might need to press them into the jar to fit properly but don’t worry, the hot water will shrink them down later.
Put the lid on and store in the fridge until required. For work/school lunches, make enough for the week and they’ll last in the fridge just fine.
When you’re ready to enjoy them, simply boil your kettle and pour 1 1/2 – 2 cups of piping hot water into the jar (depending on how soupy you like it), place the lid on and wait for a couple of minutes. It’s that simple. Enjoy – and make all your coworkers jealous.
A few days ago I had a brain wave. It started off with me getting really annoyed, as I couldn’t find a decent looking dry bouillon recipe that didn’t contain onion or garlic powder. Green leek tips are my go-to onion replacement method in most meals… why couldn’t there be a green leek tip powder?
Why couldn’t there, indeed? I just had to make it myself.
It worked beautifully in the bouillon powder and I am sure it will work just as well in any dry rubs and spice blends in the future. This method would also work for the green parts of chives/spring onions, just beware that it will probably take a lot less time and the temperature might need to be lowered – I have not done it myself, so I can’t give exact numbers.
Serving size depends on the difference between the initial amount and final amount (see notes).
Preheat your oven to 90 C/200 F.
Slice your leek where the green becomes white. The more sensitive you are to fructans, the less white you should allow to bleed into the greens you keep. Give the white bits to a neighbour, or anyone else who can use them.
Separate the leaves and wash them thoroughly. Pat dry.
Arrange them in a single layer on lined baking trays, then put into the oven. Shut the oven door – we are not truly dehydrating them here but also roasting them a little. The intensifies and adds to the flavour, both good things.
Set the timer for two hours, then check them every 15 minutes thereafter. They are ready when they are crispy and snap easily when bent.
Let them cool to room temp, then smoosh (for lack of a better term) them into your food processor and blitz until a fine powder forms. I needed to use my coffee grinder to get the fine powder you see above, as my small food processor is on its last legs.
Use as required as a substitute for onion powder, like in a low FODMAP bouillon powder or instant noodle cup. Enjoy!
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