FODMAP Friendly Christmas Recipe – Shortbread Biscuits

Gluten free & low FODMAP shortbread - yum

It’s that time of year again! Crack out the tinsel, put on your Chrissy hats and get ready for temptation from all corners. Fa la la la luck. At times like this, I just have to remind myself what will happen if I tuck into a traditional mince tart and walk around with blinders on.

Christmas is my favourite time to bake. Not only do I get to make gingerbread (one of my favourite things, ever) or other types of biscuits (cookies), I get to spend time decorating them and generally being crafty. I love it but I was concerned that going wheat free would ruin my fun.

Fear not, though, as shortbread will come to your rescue. This recipe will produce buttery, crumbly, sweet biscuits that taste and look just like the real thing. Your family and/or co-workers will be none-the-wiser when it comes to your Christmas party contribution.

Oh and here’s a nifty trick – use this as a gluten free biscuit pastry base for any sweet tarts you’d like to make, just roll it out to 5 mm thick and blind bake for approx. 10 minutes at 190 C, until lightly golden. Easy!

FODMAP Notes

  1. Be sure that you use BOTH a gluten free flour blend (or spelt flour, if you can tolerate it) and white rice flour – both their properties are required in this recipe, so using 100% white rice flour wouldn’t give the best results.
  2. Use coconut oil instead of butter for a dairy free biscuit.

Low FODMAP and Gluten Free Shortbread

Makes approx. 30-40 biscuits, depending on size.

  • 1 cup dextrose or 3/4 cup castor sugar
  • 1 1/3 cups/300 g softened unsalted butter/coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup gluten free flour blend
  • 1/2 cup white rice flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup gluten free flour
  • 1 cup rice flour
  • 1/2 tsp. xanthan gum or 1 tbsp. ground chia seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Sieve the sugar, 3/4 cup gluten free flour blend and 1/2 cup white rice flour into the bowl of your stand mixer and add in the butter, then beat on a low to medium speed until smooth.

Meanwhile, sieve the second cup each of gluten free flour blend and white rice flour, the xanthan gum (or ground chia seeds), baking powder and salt into a separate bowl.

When the wet mixture is smooth, scrape down the edges and add in the egg. Beat on medium until it is smooth once more, before adding in the rest of the dry ingredients and mixing thoroughly for 5 minutes. Wrap the mixture tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour before you want to bake them.

When you’re ready to bake, pre-heat your oven to 190 C/375 F and line two or three baking trays with baking paper before rolling the dough out to approx. 2 cm (3/4 in) thickness. Cut the biscuits into 2 cm by 4 cm rectangles, or use your favourite cookie cutters to make fancier shapes and use a fork to poke holes, if you wish.

Shortbread

Bake for approx. 15 minutes, until the bottoms have browned slightly but the biscuits are still soft to the touch while warm – they will harden as they cool. I normally bake in shifts, with no more than two trays in my oven at the one time, or the heat will not circulate properly – if your oven has a fan mode, you might be able to back more at once. Just do whatever works best for your oven.

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Once the biscuits have cooled to room temperature, store them in airtight containers in the pantry for up to five days, until they are required. They do last longer but will taste a little stale – it’s best to serve them before the five day mark.

Enjoy them with a nice cup of tea and seasonal fruit – in Australia this would mean fresh summer berries, as the closest thing we have had to a white Christmas was an hail storm on Christmas morning 2006 that left a nice covering of white hail stones all over the ground. In Seattle, you might be lucky enough to get a white Christmas but they unfortunately don’t come with seasonal low FODMAP fruits – apples, anyone? – so we’d have to spread on some preserves like a strawberry freezer jam.

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Maple Lemon Butter – Low FODMAP, Fructose Friendly, Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Paleo & Vegetarian

Maple Lemon Butter - low FODMAP, fructose friendly, gluten free, dairy free, vegetarian, no refined sugar, paleo

A few months ago, I posted my Gran’s lemon butter recipe with a promise to attempt a healthier version soon. Well, better late than never, right?

As much as I love baking, photographing the end results and posting them up here for you, sometimes life gets in the way. Over the last few months my IBS was getting worse, no matter if I took it back to basic FODMAPs or not, after which I discovered that spelt, unfortunately, had begun to make it worse. I then embarked on a gluten challenge for ten weeks, to get retested for coeliac disease and wait for an endoscopy, which also took its toll and left me feeling constantly fatigued and with a shoddy immune system to boot.

Well, on Monday I had the endoscopy and I’m already feeling better now that I’m back to being wheat and spelt (fructan/gluten) free. It sounds like a quick turnaround but, given that I stopped eating on Saturday evening for the Monday afternoon procedure, used a colonoscopy prep (those things clean you out!) and knowing what I do about my reactions normally taking about 2-3 days to clear, I’m not surprised that I’m feeling so much better by Wednesday morning. I’m just glad to be able to get on with everything and not be in a brain fog haze.

So, Tuesday evening I decided to get cracking with this healthier lemon butter. Now, I say healthier, which it is, compared to traditional lemon curd – but it’s still definitely not an health food, so don’t go guzzling it down like water! Maple syrup (used instead of castor sugar) is unrefined and the grade B syrup (not pictured but delicious and flavourful) even contains many nutrients but it is still sugar. Luckily, using stevia allowed me to cut the sugar in half. The reason I did not use a stevia product as the only sweetener is that I find it can get too bitingly sweet and leave a distinctive aftertaste; by combining a natural sugar like maple syrup with the stevia drops, you get the best of both the flavour and low calorie worlds.

The result is a creamy looking curd with a nice balance of maple and lemon, both tart and sweet but not too sweet, with very minimal stevia taste.

FODMAP Notes

  1. Maple syrup is a natural, low FODMAP sweetener. Make sure you’re not buying maple flavoured syrup.
  2. Stevia is FODMAP friendly, however many products that contain stevia also contain other sweeteners that may not be. Read the labels. I use SweetLeaf stevia drops, which contain water, organic stevia leaf extract and natural flavours. Seeing as only 1 tsp. is required to reach the sweetness of 1/2 cup of sugar, the natural flavours are not present in large enough amounts for me to be affected, if any of them are not low FODMAP. Use the sweetener that you are happy with.
  3. Lemon is a low FODMAP fruit.
  4. Eggs do not contain FODMAPs.
  5. Coconut oil is an oil, therefore contains no carbohydrates, so cannot contain FODMAPs. This is the dairy free option.
  6. Butter is lower in lactose than other dairy products due to its very low water content.

Maple Lemon Butter

Makes approx. 1 pint.

Option 1: maple syrup and stevia combination, paleo

  • 25 g virgin coconut oil or 20 g grass fed butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 3/4 tsp. SweetLeaf stevia drops (equivalent sweetness of 3/8 cup sugar)
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • Juice of 2 large lemons

Option 2: maple syrup and raw turbinado sugar combination

  • 25 g virgin coconut oil or 20 g grass fed butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup raw turbinado sugar
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • Juice of 2 large lemons

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Gently beat the coconut oil (or butter), maple syrup and stevia (or turbinado sugar) in an heat proof bowl until well combined, then add in the eggs and continue to whisk until mixed through. Add in the lemon juice (using a sieve to keep out pulp and pips), then place the bowl over a double boiler on a medium heat.

Mix with a whisk until the coconut oil (or butter) has completely melted and the mixture is smooth, then keep stirring and slowly increase the heat until the mixture thickens. This should take 2-3 minutes.

Maple Lemon Butter Double Boiler

Keep stirring for another 2 minutes at that temperature, then divide it between two clean half pint-sized/235 ml jars and let it come to room temperature before refrigerating. It will thicken further as it cools, though is a little runnier than the original recipe. But don’t worry, it won’t run sideways off your toast!

All that’s left to do now is enjoy your treat on some gluten free/FODMAP friendly bread, on a scone as part of afternoon tea or use it to fill up tart shells. Yummo!

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Banana Oatcakes – Low FODMAP, Fructose Friendly, Gluten Free, Dairy Free & No Added Sugar

Low FODMAP Banana Oatcakes - fructose friendly, gluten free, dairy free, no added sugar, vegetarian

Ahh, pancakes; we have a long and complicated history. At the tender age of twelve, I scored a free meal for my entire table at a restaurant in Mordialloc, thanks to the dodgy ice cream that your banana-laden brethren was served with. Maybe my pancakes for breakfast obsession stems from me trying to recreate that scenario at every restaurant and cafe possible (it hasn’t happened yet). Or, maybe, it’s just because you’re so delicious. I guess I’ll never know. My dad’s clever suggestion was to start carrying around a sachet of glass chips (the offender from the ice cream), as he liked not paying for his meal that day and, “could get used to it.” He’s always setting the best examples – though we both know that neither he nor I would do that; karma is a bitch.

Poor Mum, she really had three kids to deal with.

It stands to reason, then, that one of the things I miss most while eating low FODMAP (and nominally gluten free) is being able to safely order pancakes or waffles when out for breakfast. Don’t get me wrong, I realise that it’s really a good thing – scrambled eggs and veggies is a much healthier and more nutritionally balanced option than a mixture of carbohydrates, more carbohydrates, some nutritious sugar (a fruit-based compote) and syrup thrown on top – but every now and then, a sweet treat for breakfast is okay in my books.

I have previously made flourless banana pancakes, which are delicious and also easy to prepare but almond meal can get expensive and I like to mix things up every now and then. Enter these banana oatcakes! Easy peasy to whip up and cook in 15 minutes and they contain what any kitchen – even a normal one – is likely to stock… everyone has chia seeds nowadays, right? Quick, delicious, nutritious and guilt free – that’s exactly what I want in a breakfast. Bonus – they also keep well, to make ahead of time and take for a portable lunch or snack. I haven’t tried freezing them, though you could always make the batter ahead of time and cook as required.

FODMAP Notes

  1. Oats are low FODMAP in 1/4 cup servings, according to Monash University. Use gluten free oats if you are sensitive to gluten.
  2. Common bananas are likewise low FODMAP in servings of one medium fruit, at all stages of ripeness. Lady Finger (aka Sugar bananas) do become higher in FODMAPs as they turn brown, just FYI.
  3. Eggs are low FODMAP, though are obviously unsuitable for those with egg allergies/intolerances.
  4. Cinnamon is low FODMAP.
  5. Chia seeds are low FODMAP; they are also little nutritional powerhouses.
  6. I served these with low FODMAP strawberry freezer jam and Greek yoghurt.

Banana Oatcakes

Serves 1.

  • 10 g (1 tbsp.) chia seeds (or sesame seeds, also delicious)
  • 30 g (1/4 cup.) traditional oats, gluten free if required
  • 1 medium ripe banana (common variety)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

In a clean spice/coffee grinder, blitz the chia seeds and oats to a flour like texture. If you can’t get them fine enough, that’s okay – the oatcakes will still work, they’ll just have visible chia seeds and a few chunks of oats (see last two photos). In a separate small food processor, or by hand, mash the ripe banana and briskly whisk the egg and cinnamon through until smooth. Add the oat/chia flour to the banana batter and blend until thoroughly combined, then set aside.

While the batter thickens a little, preheat your fry pan and melt your choice of oil (olive, coconut, butter etc). Keep the heat at just above medium temperature, as the natural sugars in the banana will burn easily.

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Divide the batter into three or four dollops on the pan and spread to about 5-6 cm in diameter. Cook over the medium heat for 4-5 minutes on the first side and about 3-4 minutes on the second side, until golden brown. Any bigger than this and the oatcakes will probably break as you flip them.

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Remove them from the heat when done and plate them up. Serve immediately, so that they are warm. If you are making a large batch, keep the cooked oatcakes on a plate in the oven on a warm setting until you’re ready to serve them.

I like to spread small amounts of strawberry jam between the oatcakes and place a dollop of natural Greek yoghurt on top. You could of course go for more traditional pancake toppings, if you wished. I just do my best to save those for special occasions. Enjoy!

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Lesley’s Lemon Butter – FODMAP/Fructose Friendly & Gluten Free

Lesley's Lemon Butter

When life gives you lemons, make lemon butter!

Some recipes make you think of your childhood; certain tastes and smells can bring back happy memories. This particular recipe is for my Gran’s lemon butter (curd). When I eat it, I’m instantly back in her kitchen, having breakfast and maybe a cup of tea, after sleeping the night.

I have been asking my mum to find it for the last two years but it was written on a scrap of paper and had gone missing. Luckily, it turned up a month ago. By putting it up here, I am sharing it with you and storing it in a place from where it is much less likely to be lost. Touch wood.

This is a traditional British style recipe, so it’s not a big surprise that it’s also popular in Australia. No starches or thickeners required, just patience and a double saucepan (boiler)/bain-marie. Tarter lemons are more suited to lemon butter than sweet, because it adds a depth of flavour. If you use sweet lemons and sugar, it will of course work but you will just end up with sweet lemon butter and no notes of anything else. If that’s how you like it, though, then by all means use sweet lemons.

This lemon butter works well in a sandwich, as you’d expect but it also goes great guns with a Pav or as part of a Devonshire tea. Or just on a spoon, when nobody’s looking. If you can bear to part with it, lemon butter makes a fantastic gift… a great way to get rid of the ridiculous amount of jars that you (or I) may have collected.

Notes:

  1. Lemons are a low FODMAP fruit
  2. Butter is lower FODMAP than other dairy products, as FODMAPs are water soluble and it is mostly the milk fat. However, if butter does not agree with you, replace it with a lactose free alternative such as coconut butter.
  3. There is a lot of sugar in this recipe, so obviously small servings (1-2 tbsp) are recommended. As it’s intended as a spread, that’s about all I ever use, anyway.
  4. Eggs do not contain FODMAPs.
  5. Replace some or all of the castor sugar with dextrose (glucose-glucose) if you want to increase the glucose:fructose ratio of the spread.

Lemon Butter

Makes approx. 1 pint

  • 20 g softened unsalted butter
  • 225 g castor sugar (or 125 g castor sugar and 100 g dextrose)
  • 3 large eggs
  • Juice of 2 large lemons

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Gently beat the butter and sugar together in a heat proof bowl until well combined and then add in the eggs and continue to beat until mixed through. Add in the lemon juice (using a sieve to keep out pulp and pips) and then place the bowl over a double boiler on medium heat. Mix with a whisk until the butter has completely melted and the mixture is smooth, then keep stirring and slowly increase the heat until the mixture thickens.

Lemon butter, before and after double-boiling

Keep stirring for another 2 minutes at that temperature after it thickened, then divide it between two half pint-sized/235 ml glass jars and let it come to room temperature. It will thicken further (from a runny sauce consistency to spreadable) as it cools, don’t worry.

Now all that’s left to do is enjoy!

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Homemade Strawberry Sundae Sauce – FODMAP/Fructose Friendly & Gluten Free

Strawberry Sundae Sauce

I made this sauce for the first time to serve with dessert at a friend’s house a few months ago. My friend isn’t a fan of baked goods, so she decided we’d have sundaes for dessert instead. I bought the ice cream – I didn’t have time to make it, toasted and diced the almonds and got a chocolate sauce for everyone else to have (I couldn’t find a Nat-friendly option at the last minute) but I decided I’d make the strawberry sauce. Not only did I know – from previous experience – that the only suitable options would be ridiculously expensive, “artisan” style sauces that I could just as easily make at home, we also had a tonne of frozen strawbs in the freezer.

This sauce takes only about 15 minutes of attention, as it just needs to simmer for the rest of the time. The result is a rich and flavourful strawberry sauce that can be served with ice cream, Pavlovasbanana cake or even pancakes and crepes.

Notes:

  1. Strawberries are a low FODMAP fruit.
  2. Make sure you use pure vanilla extract, to rule out any additives that might irritate your gut.
  3. Dextrose is less sweet per gram than sucrose, as it only contains glucose, whereas sucrose is 50% fructose, which gives it added sweetness. This is why the amounts required differ. However, you can make this to your own taste by adding more or less of either sugar, as you see fit.

Strawberry Sundae Sauce

Makes approx. 750 ml of sauce

  • 750 g strawberries (fresh or frozen)
  • Up to 1/3 cup castor sugar dextrose or 1/2 cup dextrose (I prefer less, you could also combine it with Stevia)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tbsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract

Weigh, hull and dice (if fresh) the strawberries, before putting them in your saucepan with all the other ingredients. Turn the heat up to medium and simmer until the strawberries have softened enough to smoosh them with the wooden spoon – about 5 minutes. At this point, take the pot off the heat either use your blender or immersion blender to puree the mixture, before returning the mixture to the medium heat and bring to a gentle boil.

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Strawberry before and after

Watch it like a hawk, as it can boil over easily… been there, done that; the clean up isn’t fun.

As the sauce comes to the boil, you will need to spoon off the foam that develops, as this will add a bitter taste to the mixture that you want to avoid. After boiling gently for 5 minutes, finish spooning off the foam and drop the heat to low. Let the sauce simmer for at least an hour, an hour and a half is best to really thicken. You may need to spoon off a little more foam at the end.

Either pour this sauce (piping hot) straight into a sterilised canning jar and use your choice of canning techniques to preserve it or let it cool and serve warm (for that awesome semi-melted ice cream effect).

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Coconut Chia Seed Puddings – FODMAP/Fructose Friendly & Gluten Free

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Ev and I are a little obsessed with puddings and while his brother has been staying with us over the Aussie school summer holidays, he has become addicted to them as well. I bought a 6 pack of rice puddings once day and by the next night there were none left and I didn’t get to have one! Oh well, it was probably for the best. But I swear, teenage boys can eat!

These chia puddings are lower GI than rice and you can control what goes into them, which isn’t much at all – they are so simple!

To find out more about the health benefits of chia seeds and its relationship with FM, read here.

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Notes:

  1. For some with IBS, the high fibre in chia seeds can cause problems – gurgly stomachs, stomach and gut cramps and diarrhoea to name a few. It’s the typical FM case of you need to try it yourself and see. I have had no issues, luckily.
  2. Coconut cream is low FODMAP, although there are small amounts of polyols present.
  3. Some people who have low stomach acid, or just sensitive stomachs, may need to use the light coconut cream for these puddings as the higher fat content in full fat coconut cream can irritate their guts. This is not FODMAP related, however, as fats are not FODMAPs (a group of fermentable carbohydrates).
  4. If coconut is completely out for you, any sort of milk or cream (normal, lactose free, vegan option) will work.
  5. Top with fructose friendly fruits of your choice – I like berries, bananas, desiccated coconut, passion fruit or kiwi fruit.
  6. If you can’t tolerate pure maple syrup, something like glucose syrup or rice malt syrup would also work.

Coconut Chia Seed Puddings

Makes 4.

  • 400 ml can of light or full fat coconut cream – full fat tastes better
  • 1/3 cup chia seeds – add 1-2 tbsp. more if you like a firmer pudding
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Berries/fruit of your choice to top

Mix the coconut cream, maple syrup and vanilla extract vigorously until combined, then stir through chia seeds. See, I said it was simple!

Share the mixture between four ramekins and refrigerate for 2 hours, until set. Once set, top with whatever you’d like; I used mixed berries and desiccated coconut shreds.

I like to use canning jars (or left over jam jars) to store my chia puddings as they come with lids, which keeps the pudding air tight – this means it lasts longer in the fridge and is already in a travel friendly case. Just don’t forget your spoon!

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Cast Iron Cornbread – Low FODMAP & Gluten Free

Cast Iron Cornbread - Lower FODMAP

I had never eaten corn bread before moving to the USA, which isn’t really that surprising. I suppose back home our cheat’s bread is damper and many Americans wouldn’t have tried that, either.

The first corn bread I tried was a sweet version that I’m pretty sure had corn grits in it as well, judging by the texture. It was moist and chewy and sweet and delicious but really only a one trick pony. The savoury version you can use as sandwich bread, as the base to a stuffing, serve it with soup etc. Much more versatile.

The following recipe I based from reading about corn bread in general – to get an idea of ingredients, as well as the method. The website I found most useful was The Paupered Chef, as I particularly liked the idea of soaking the corn meal in the buttermilk (they used milk) beforehand. Some say that true Southern corn bread is 100% corn meal, others say that that’s untrue. Not being from the South, let alone the country, I have absolutely no opinion on what is or isn’t traditional, I’m just making what I find tasty.

FODMAP Notes:

  1. Corn is a tricky one. The FODMAP content depends on the variety; sweet corn can be troublesome for some with FM due to the high sugar content and some people are sensitive to GMO crops, of which corn is the poster child (I’m not going to enter the GMO debate here, though). However, the sweet corn that is grown for eating on the cob isn’t the same corn that is used for corn meals, flours or starches and it’s different again to corn that is grown for use in plastics and bio-fuels. Corn meal is not made from sweet corn, thus is much better tolerated. There are specific corn allergies, though, so watch out for those.
  2. Rye can be substituted in for the GF plain flour, if you can tolerate it. As I have mentioned beforestudies show that rye flour contains more fructans than wheat but evidence suggests that the chains are longer, thus taking longer to ferment. It is generally less of an irritant than wheat to those with FM, although many still have problems.
  3. If you have a gluten issue or are very sensitive to fructans, replace the rye flour with your favourite gluten free blend and 1/2 tsp. of xanthan gum (or 1 tbsp. chia seed meal).
  4. Buttermilk contains lactose, which is water soluble. If you malabsorb lactose then replace it with the same volume of LF milk with a dash of lemon juice.

Cast Iron Corn Bread

This quantity cooks well in a 12 ” cast iron skillet.

  • 2 1/4 cups corn meal
  • 2 cups buttermilk or lactose free milk
  • 1 1/2 cups rye flour OR a gluten free plain flour blend with 1/2 tsp. xanthan gum or 1 tbsp. chia meal
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 3/4 cups unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 large or 3 small eggs
  • Optional – 1/4 cup roughly cut fresh herbs, such as rosemary

Combine the corn meal and buttermilk in a large mixing bowl – everything will end up in here eventually – and let it sit for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 230 C/450 F. Place your cast iron skillet (or any skillet with an oven safe handle, the heavier its base the better) in the oven to heat up. Please remember to now use gloves whenever you handle the skillet!

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While the corn meal is soaking, sift the flour (with any necessary xanthan gum or chia meal), baking powder, salt and the optional herbs into a separate bowl, and combine the eggs and softened butter (the softer, the better) in another.

When the corn meal and buttermilk have been sitting for the ten minutes, add in first the wet ingredients and then gradually add and mix in the dry ingredients – depending on your particular flours of choice, etc, you may or may not need all of it. The mixture should resemble a thick cake batter.

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Now, take the skillet out of the oven and grease it up with either a dollop of butter or olive oil, or even lard – I used butter. Spread your lipid of choice all around the base and at least half way up the sides of the pan and tip out any excess. Plonk the batter (it is too thick to pour) into the waiting skillet, make sure it is evenly spread out and pop it in the oven.

Baking instructions:

  • 12″ cast iron skillet – 25 minutes at 230 C/450 F.
  • Loaf tin – 50 minutes at 180 C/350 F (until a skewer tests clean).

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Let it sit in the skillet for 10 minutes to cool slightly and then turn it out onto a wire rack. Let it sit for half an hour before cutting, or it may crumble. This corn bread works well as sandwich bread (in a loaf pan), served with soup etc, it goes very well with my cranberry sauce/jam and can be used in a corn bread stuffing, the recipe for which I will be posting next. Stay tuned!

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