Don’t forget to sign up at the bottom of The Friendly Gourmand to receive an email whenever a new recipe or research article is posted!
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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Maple and rice syrup are low FODMAP sweeteners, with a glucose content that is either equal to or greater than fructose content.
- 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
- 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.
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.
I have a confession – I am not a cookie baker. Everyone tells me how easy they are to make, which might be true; they are easy enough to mix together… but then you have to bake them. They’re not like cakes, into which I can stick a skewer and check if it’s done. There’s no fail safe method (that I know of) to judge the perfect balance of done-ness, so that the biscuits will firm up as they cool, yet remain chewy without getting too dry. It’s IMPOSSIBLE, I tell you. I think I have managed it once in my life but only after baking three separate batches of the same chocolate chip cookie dough. I’d made Stephanie Alexander’s recipe gluten free, (drools) and was *this close* to giving up and just eating the raw cookie dough. I suppose, with practice, I could get it right consistently but then I’m sure I’d bake biscuits more often and that is something my waistline does not need.
That being said, there are literally no low FODMAP biscuit/cookie options at our local supermarket. All the gluten free versions – maybe four or five brands – contain inulin, honey or agave syrup etc. I haven’t tested inulin out specifically but it’s generally in foods with other higher FODMAP ingredients, anyway, so it’s probably not much use. Besides, most of those packaged biscuits also contain a tonne of sugar and are ridiculously expensive, as well. Five dollars for a packet of gluten free biscuits that would cost no more than three dollars if they were made with wheat? No, thank you.
I decided to try my hand at a healthier cookie recipe. I chose peanut butter and chocolate because, even though I can’t stand Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups, peanut butter and chocolate is an awesome flavour combination that I can’t get enough of, when done correctly. I’ll also kid myself that the choice of peanuts and almonds makes this “healthy” (combined, they’re low in sugar and high in copper, magnesium, manganese, niacin, phosphorous, riboflavin and vitamin E) and conveniently forget the maple syrup, which, although technically an unrefined sugar, is still a sugar. Shhh! Though, to be fair, I’ve used less than half of what might be found in your typical store-bought biscuit. No sugar-induced headaches here.
What resulted is a baked cookie ball that is delicately sweetened and peanut buttery, with a decadent fudge-like texture. The perfect after dinner treat with a cup of tea or coffee.
- Peanuts are a legume but are generally well tolerated, FODMAP-wise, in small (2 tbsp.) portions.
- Almonds are low FODMAP in servings of 10 nuts – stick to 1-2 of these balls and you should be fine.
- Maple syrup is low FODMAP, with a ratio of 1:1 fructose/glucose. Make sure you buy pure maple syrup, without any additives, to prevent sneaky sweeteners from getting in.
- Eggs are FODMAP friendly but can be an allergen/irritant in their own right.
- Pure vanilla extract is low FODMAP, check for additives.
- Dark chocolate is low FODMAP in servings of 30 g, see here.
Chocolate Coated Fudgey Peanut Butter Balls
Makes approx. 26-30 balls, depending on size.
Peanut Butter Cookies
- 1 cup of natural, unsweetened smooth peanut butter
- 1/2 cup maple syrup or brown rice syrup
- 1/2 cup almond meal
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 pinch table salt
- 1 cup dark chocolate, chips/chunks/smashed
- Finely chopped roasted nuts (I used peanuts and pecans)
In a bowl, beat the peanut butter, maple syrup, vanilla, table salt and egg until smooth, then add in the almond meal. Mix until well combined and then cover and chill in the fridge for 10-15 minutes. During this time, preheat your oven to 150 C/300 F.
Place 1 tablespoon balls of the cookie dough about 2.5 cm/1 in apart on a lined baking tray; you could gently flatten them with a fork, making a crosshatch pattern if desired. Bake for 10 minutes, swapping the trays halfway through, until golden brown at the edges. Let sit for a couple of minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack until they reach room temperature. Repeat with the remaining dough. As you can see below, I tested out both a flattened cookie shape and a ball shape and (obviously) decided that the balls were what looked best.
Let the cookie balls come to room temperature before melting dark chocolate (lactose/dairy free if required) using your preferred method (stove top double boiler, microwave etc), stirring until the chocolate is silky smooth. Fair warning, it is really easy to overheat and burn chocolate, so low and slow is the way to go.
Dip the peanut butter balls halfway into the chocolate. Next, while the chocolate is still slightly soft (but not dripping), dip the coated part into a mixture of finely chopped nuts and leave to set on a baking tray. Store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to two weeks – if they last that long. Don’t forget to enjoy them with a nice hot cuppa.
To further my obsession with puddings for breakfast, I combined some of my leftover strawberry sundae sauce with some leftover coconut cream and the dregs of a packet of chia seeds – I just happened to have the perfect amount of everything, lucky! It was delicious but did not make a super healthy breakfast, as there is decent amount of castor sugar in the sundae sauce, seeing as it’s intended for dessert fare.
It was so good, though, that it was worth revisiting, so the next time I made them I just used fresh strawberry puree with a little maple syrup and stevia. Bingo! They became the perfect weekday breakfast, as they’re made ahead of time. Bonus – they are also sweet enough to serve for dessert, if you wish.
- Coconut cream is low FODMAP in servings of 1/2 cup.
- Maple syrup is contains 1:1 fructose and glucose, just make sure it’s pure maple syrup and has no additives.
- Pure stevia extract is low FODMAP, different brands of stevia products may or may not be low FODMAP, depending on sweetening additives used, such as polyols.
- Strawberries are low FODMAP in servings of 8 medium berries or less.
Strawberry Coconut Chia Seed Puddings
Makes 8 x 120 ml/4 oz. puddings.
- 400 ml of coconut cream (your choice of full or light)
- 300 g fresh strawberries, plus a few more for serving
- 1/2 cup chia seeds
- 1/8 cup maple syrup, or to taste
- 5 drops of stevia extract, or to taste
Wash, hull and pat dry the strawberries, then place them in your blender with the coconut cream, maple syrup and stevia. Blend on high for 2 minutes, until smooth – or until there are only very small chunks of strawberry left, if you’d like.
Pour into a mixing bowl and stir through the chia seeds.
Divvy the mixture up between eight 4 oz ramekins, or put it all in a large serving dish, before covering and leaving them in the fridge to set for 2 hours. Top with extra strawberries, if you wish. Dig in!
During my two years of VCE – years 11 and 12 of secondary school in Victoria – I swear I kept the canteen running from my addiction to Hedgehog Slices. Jam doughnuts were a close second. Very close. This dwindled out when I started my B. Science and Monash Uni’s Cafe Cinque Lire had ah-MAZING citrus tarts. Seriously amazeballs. It made 8 am starts with 2 hours of biology and chemistry bearable – I wasn’t to know that, by 2nd year physiotherapy, 2 hours was a walk in the park; try 5 hours. However, when I moved to Melbourne Uni to start my physiotherapy degree, Thresherman’s Bakehouse near Lygon St had cheap and delicious custard tarts.
You can tell I’m a bit of a pastry fan 🙂
After moving to Seattle and having to deal with not only HFCS – for those of you back home in Australia it’s corn syrup that has been chemically altered to change over half of its glucose to fructose – but an increase in my sensitivity to wheat as well, I had to cut baked goods from my life unless they were homemade. Combine this with the fact that I haven’t even seen a hedgehog slice in the US, last summer I decided it was high time that I made my all-time favourite slice.
- This contains coconut. While coconut is no longer listed as a FODMAP by Monash University, some people are sensitive for other reasons. I use unsweetened desiccated coconut.
- The biscuits used can either be store bought GF/FF plain biscuits – think Arnott’s Marie biscuits from Aus – or roll the almond meal pastry mixture flat onto a baking tray and completely blind bake it to form plain biscuits which can then be crumbled and used instead.
- A serving of 20 almonds or more is considered high in FODMAPs. If you limit yourself to one or two pieces of this, you should be right, unless you are particularly sensitive to GOS’s.
- Butter could be replaced with the same amount of coconut butter.
- Although I use dark chocolate and cocoa powder, which has less lactose than milk chocolate, be aware that this might cause a reaction in those who are sensitive to lactose.
- This mixture uses raw eggs. They are added to the hot butter mixture, so they will cook but not at length in an oven. To be safe, I would say this is not safe for consumption by pregnant women or infants. If you can tolerate it, condensed milk would provide the same binding properties that eggs would. Just be sure that, if you buy the sweetened version, you know what it is sweetened with.
- The original recipe called for 1tbsp. dark rum, instead of maple syrup. You can swap it back if you’d like.
Adapted from Stephanie Alexander’s, ‘The Cook’s Companion’ to be FF/GF.
- 350-375 g/12.5-13 oz GF/FF Arnott’s Marie style biscuits or almond meal pastry biscuits.
- 100 g/3.5 oz chopped walnuts
- 125 g/4.5 oz unsalted butter
- 3/4 – 1 cup dextrose/castor sugar – dextrose isn’t as sweeet as sucrose so more might be necessary to your taste
- 1/3-1/2 cup Dutch cocoa powder – I’m a chocaholic so I add the 1/2 cup
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten or approx. 1/3 cupcondensed milk for an egg free version, you can add more later if necessary
- 130 g/4.6 oz dark chocolate
- 1 tbsp maple syrup – optional
- 50 g/1.75 oz unsalted butter or coconut butter
- 1/2 cup unsweetened desiccated coconut to top, more if you wish
Grease a baking tray’s base and sides and set aside – should be around 20 cm/8 in square with edges but if it’s a little bigger, like mine was, don’t worry.
Put the biscuits in a marinade bag and smash them with a rolling pin. You want chunks, not powder, so don’t crush them too much. It’s very cathartic, so I recommend making this if you’re angry – chocolate and stress release in one!
Melt butter and dextrose until well combined, then add in the cocoa powder and mix until completely smooth. Add in the lightly beaten eggs or condensed milk and mix until smooth once more.
At this point, you can either let the mixture cool before adding the biscuits and walnuts, or mix them in anyway – it will just mean the mixture takes longer to set later on. If you feel more condensed milk is necessary (i.e. the mixture is too dry) add it now.
Once the dry and wet ingredients are mixed though, you can press them into the greased tin you prepared earlier. Condense the height and even it out with a spatula. I only had a large baking tray and it worked without any issues.
To prepare the icing, melt the dark chocolate, butter and maple syrup (or rum) in a double boiler until smooth and creamy. Pour over the slightly cooled base, being careful if you used a bigger pan than necessary, as I did. You don’t want to lose the icing on the uncovered portion of the baking tray.
Sprinkle with as much shredded desiccated coconut as you’d like and refrigerate for at least 3 hours before cutting them into 5 cm/2 inch squares.
These are best made the day before eating, so they can really firm up in the fridge. Store them in the fridge for no more than a week, due to all the dairy and the potentially uncooked eggs. They go really well with a cup of Earl Grey tea. Enjoy! And if you use the condensed milk option, let me know how the slice turned out.
Firstly, sorry for not posting over the last couple of weeks. I was in Australia minus my laptop so my photos and recipes weren’t accessible… plus I was having WAY too much fun with my family and friends. This particular recipe, however, I printed out and took with me; I had promised my dad a pecan pie and he wasn’t going to let me forget it.
Dad loves pecan pies so much that every Australia Day weekend (when we were growing up) that we stayed in Bright for the Audax Alpine Classic bike ride, we had to come home via Beechworth to go to the Beechworth Bakery. Dad would stock up on about 20 of their medium sized pies and freeze them to last through the year. He is the ultimate champion at making food last. I think that’s where my sister and I get it from, because every Easter growing up we would see who could make their chocolate last the longest. I think we still had chocolate in August most years.
This pecan pie is a pretty standard recipe. You don’t have to use maple syrup – in fact, in Australia real maple syrup is so expensive that I halved it and replace the rest with CSR’s treacle or golden syrup (both made with cane sugar). In Seattle, maple syrup is about half the price as Aus so I have no qualms using as much as I like. Which is lots, ’cause I love the flavour.
- Use lactose free cream in the sour cream pastry and pecan filling if you malabsorb lactose.
- Pecans are FODMAP friendly in the amounts served in a single slice of this pie.
- Brown sugar is FODMAP friendly in 1 tbsp. serves. 1/2 a cup contains 6 tbsp., and this pie serves 12. Add a little dextrose if you are worried about the fructose load or are extra sensitive.
- Butter is low in lactose but, if it still bothers you, use a suitable sub like coconut oil or something else you know works.
- Maple syrup is low FODMAP, with a fructose ratio of 1.0.
Classic Pecan Pie
For the pastry, I used my GF sour cream pastry recipe. The amounts listed in the recipe will make enough pastry for one large pie. I had to double it, though, because I had to make two. I wonder how long Dad will make them last?
One note though, you should only blind bake the pastry with the pie weights for 10 minutes and then put the filling in to complete the baking below.
Pecan Pie Filling
Adapted from a Donna Hay recipe.
- 2 cup pecan nuts
- 1/2 cup brown sugar or 1/2 + 1/4 cup dextrose if brown sugar is a trigger food
- 1/2 cup maple syrup (or substitute/mix with rice syrup, golden syrup or treacle)
- 50 g butter (or coconut oil), melted and slightly cooled
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/4 cup thickened cream/heavy whipping cream (lactose free if required)
Place the pecans on a baking tray and bake for 5 mins until golden and aromatic at about 150C/300F. Set aside to cool completely.
Chop 3/4 of the pecans into small chunks and the last 1/4 in halves for the top of the pie. If you’re in a hurry and can’t be bothered placing pecan halves prettily, just chop them all. It will still taste delicious.
Place the sugar, maple syrup, butter, eggs and cream in a bowl and whisk to combine. Stir through the pecans. Pour the mix into your half-baked pie shell and bake for 40 mins at 150C/300F or until filling is set.
Cool before serving.
Enjoy with cream, ice-cream or custard. Yummo!