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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Banana and Cinnamon “Ice Cream” – FODMAPs, Fructose Friendly, Gluten Free & Dairy Free

As I mentioned in my last post, we had a great time on the weekend, hiking and fishing – unsuccessfully, those fish were very tricksy – in the Snoqualmie National Forest. It was a short hike, only 5 km but carrying fishing gear can get annoying and it was quite warm so for our sake and the dogs’ it was probably a good thing we didn’t choose the 14 km hike instead. For anyone who is local, we hiked to Lodge Lake from the Snoqualmie Pass Ski Lifts, near Alpental Rd.

Summer 2013

Who doesn’t love a cold snack on a hot day or after working out, or both combined? Or just because? Well, this is so quick and easy to whip up and incredibly nutritious and guilt-free that you can treat yourself to it without worrying. If you cover it to prevent freezer-burn, it also keeps well in the freezer for a few days – just remove it and let it sit for 5 or so minutes to soften slightly before enjoying your “ice cream.”

A huge thanks to my friend Chath who told me about this awesome phenomenon – that frozen bananas turn into ice cream. She has since posted her original and baby friendly version on her blog and very kindly gave me permission to have a play with it and record it here.

Notes:

  1. Lactose is a FODMAP, so if you malabsorb lactose then use lactose free yoghurt in place of normal yoghurt.
  2. If you want a vegan/dairy free/paleo version, omit the yoghurt or replace it with the same amount of coconut cream. I am planning on trialling a little avocado in it’s place sometime soon. I’ve seen it done before, I just need to figure out amounts.
  3. Bananas that are over-ripe can be higher in FODMAPs, so if you are extra sensitive then use an eating banana rather than a cake banana. It will just taste a little less like bananas than this version.

Banana & Cinnamon Ice Cream

The measurements below are “per banana.”

  • 1 banana per person (or as tolerated).
  • 1 tbsp. plain, lactose free or Greek yoghurt – this can be omitted or replaced with coconut cream for the dairy free/vegan/paleo option.
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. cinnamon (to taste)

Chop and freeze your bananas for at least 8 hours to really freeze them, otherwise they will produce a cold banana custard texture, rather than ice cream. Don’t freeze unpeeled bananas, they don’t thaw well. “Cake” or “over-ripe” bananas are best, as they have a stronger flavour. If, however, you cannot tolerate the extra sugar present in very ripe bananas, normal bananas are okay.

Once your bananas are frozen, put them in a food processor, along with the yoghurt and cinnamon and blend until smooth and creamy. You’re basically done. Scoop it out and either enjoy it right now or place it in the freezer for 5 or so minutes to firm back up a little first.

How easy is that?! I’m planning on attempting a strawberry vanilla version next, or maybe a chocolate banana. The possibilities are endless!

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Strawberry Freezer Jam – No Added Sugar & FODMAP/Fructose Friendly

I love strawberries. Who doesn’t? But something about strawberry jam has always put me off. After making my own strawberry purees for serving with Pavlovas or Banana cakes (etc), I have come to realise why. I don’t like the sickly sweet taste that comes along with store-bought strawberry jam. Which is strange, as I have always considered myself a sweet tooth.

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For those of us with fructose malabsorption, it’s not just the calories that we need to watch out for with high sugar foods and spreads – it’s the fructose load. Even though it might be castor sugar that has been used, which has 1:1 fructose/glucose ratio, the co-transport method of absorbing fructose can be eventually overwhelmed and symptoms would still ensue.

You can buy “no added sugar” jams at the supermarket and find recipes online but I find that they add either very large amounts of artificial sweeteners like Splenda or fruit juices – well, that’s still adding sugar to me… and even worse, it’s usually apple or grape juice.

So, after struggling to find a recipe that would work for me, I decided to make my own. And here it is. It is sweet enough to satisfy a sugar craving but it wont add many calories to your daily intake or unnecessary fructose to your fructose load.

Notes:

  1. I have linked instructions on how to preserve acidic foods, however I found that the freshness of mine lasted approximately 3 months before they began to go south. I have a couple of theories as to why. Firstly, I stored mine on the shelf above the fridge, not realising how hot it got above there, which clearly wasn’t storing it in a cool place, no matter how dark it was. Secondly, sugar helps to reduce the water available for any flora present to use for metabolic processes; the fact that I didn’t add any sugar means that, even though I pressure canned these jams, one line of defense was gone. While I think that it was more likely the warm storage area, rather than the reduced sugar, that is the culprit, I will most likely make this as a freezer jam recipe in the future… just to be safe.
  2. Strawberries are low in FODMAPs, thus safe to eat.

Strawberry Jam with No Added Sugar

  • 1.8 kg/4 lb strawberries, with tops removed
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Rind/zest of 1 lemon
  • Water to make lemon juice up to 1 cup
  • 50 g no sugar required pectin
  • Instructions to preserve acidic foods

Makes 10 x 240 ml/half pint jars with a little bit left over.

It comes in at a whopping 2 calories per tablespoon serving! I used http://www.caloriecount.com to work this out. If you are a desperate sweet tooth, you can still add sugar/glucose to this but I can’t see it needing more than 1/2 a cup, to my taste.

Remove the stalks from all the strawberries. This is very mundane. Sorry. As you can see, I took myself to the couch and did it while watching Doctor Who. Much better.

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Slice strawberries into quarters or there about.

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Grate the rind from the lemon and then squeeze it til the juice has all been removed. Top the lemon juice up with water until it measures 1 cup.

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The “Less or No Sugar” pectin is important. If you get regular pectin, it won’t set properly without the exorbitant amounts of sugar required for traditional jam recipes.

Combine all ingredients in the saucepan and bring to the boil. Using a spoon, remove the frothy scum from the top; this gives jam an unpleasant texture and a slightly bitter taste when it has set at the tops of jars. Discard it. Let the jam simmer for 15 minutes, removing more froth as necessary.

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Follow the instructions for preserving acidic foods.

Use a wide-mouthed funnel to fill sterilised jars, leaving 2 cm space at the top. After removing air bubbles, wipe rims and place on lids and rings. Place jars back in the simmering water to keep the glass hot before processing.

The above linked instructions will demonstrate how to water-bath can the jars. Process for 15 minutes and then let cool for 10 minutes in the water before removing to cool completely on a wire rack – approx 12 hours.

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After 12 hours, test the seals with a magnet, if they do not pass then either re-process or refrigerate/freeze immediately.

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This jam is great spread on toast, muffins and banana cakes; with yoghurt and some slivered almonds; or used in smoothies to add a strawberry flavour. Or with a Devonshire Tea. Done. I’ve just decided what I’m making next time I want dessert.

It is just sweet enough to satisfy a sugar craving but isn’t going to ruin your carbohydrate or calorie count for the day if you’re being careful. There is just a slight hint of the lemon flavour; not overwhelming but it gives it some interest. Yummo!

How To Preserve Acidic Foods

Making your own preserves can be both rewarding and fun. Doubly rewarding, really, because if you buy your produce in season, it is generally much cheaper than buying a pre-preserved version later on.

Example: I paid $5 for 1.8 kg/4 lb of strawberries and ended up with 10 half pint/240 ml jars of jam… Each jar was about 50 cents but they can also be re-used. $10 for ten jars of jam? Yes please! And what’s better is you can dictate how much sugar, if any, that you add.

How you handle the preserving of different foods depends on their acidity, which helps to protect them from developing bacteria:

  • Acidic foods, like tomatoes and strawberries, need to be “processed” (boiled) for 10-15 minutes and then left to cool completely over night.
  • Non-acidic foods must be pressure-canned to really super-heat the contents of the jar and thoroughly eliminate any nasties that might be present because they don’t have the innate defense of acidic foods. I will go into more detail on non-acidic foods here.

The following will outline the steps required to safely preserve acidic foods, which if followed correctly should be safe for up to 12 months. However, be smart about it. If, in a few months time you open the jar and it looks/smells off – don’t eat it.

How to Preserve Acidic Foods

Equipment required:

  • Canning jars and lids
  • Ingredients
  • Large saucepan, small saucepan, pot to prepare filling
  • Wide-mouthed funnel
  • Non-metal spatula
  • Jar tongs
  • Jar wrench
  • Magnet
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Jar tongs, tongs, wrench, magnet, spatula with incremental measurements, wide-mouthed funnel

Place jars in a large saucepan with a stand in the bottom (to keep them raised off the base) and fill with water so that they are immersed. Bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer to await whatever filling you are preserving.

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Place the lids in a separate saucepan and simmer. This will both sterilise them and soften the sealant that is around the rim. If you are using store bought canning jars that come with lids and rings, you only need to sterilise the lids, not the rings.

Prepare your filling; examples include strawberry jam, raspberry puree, cranberry sauce or tomato puree/sauce. Make sure you keep it hot.

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Using the jar tongs and wrench to manipulate the hot glassware, remove each jar from the boiling water and empty it. Fill each jar using the wide-mouthed funnel, leaving 2 cm between the filling and the mouth of the jar. Sterilise the spatula for 2 minutes in boiling water, then use it to remove any air bubbles from the jars by scraping the inside edges.

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Wipe the jar rim and place on the lid, then the ring and tighten – only use your hands to do this, do not over-tighten the ring with any implement.

Replace the jars in the simmering water, ensuring they are fully submerged by about 4-5 cm. Bring to the boil and process for 10-15 minutes to kill off any remaining bacteria that might be present.

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More water must be added to submerge these jars before processing

Let the water stop boiling and the jars sit for 10 minutes further to let the glass cool slowly, then use the jar tongs to remove each jar and place them on a cooling rack. Dry the metal lids/rings to prevent rust and leave them to sit for 12 hours at least. After this time, test each seal with the magnet; if it pops up then either re-process or refrigerate/freeze the jar immediately. Refrigerated jars should be used within 2-3 weeks of opening.

* There is nothing preventing you being doubly certain about killing bacteria and pressure-canning acidic foods instead of water-bath canning them – you can do this, but the colours will not be as bright in the end.

Peanut Banana Blueberry Smoothie – Low Fructose

The sun we have been having lately (that has disappeared again since Saturday but should be back on Wednesday!) put me in a summery frame of mind, which means one thing. Smoothies for breakfast.

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I just hope our downstairs neighbour forgives me for having the blender on in the morning… but considering the noise her family makes, she really shouldn’t complain. Anyone who has stayed with us can attest to that!

Pre-FM, I would have added honey to any smoothie I made but now that I have to watch my fructose load that isn’t the case.

I like the nutty flavour that peanut butter gives to this smoothie but you have to be careful to watch for added sugars in things like peanut butter, especially in America. Also, if you are conscious about where your food comes from, look out for Palm Oil, which is typically from an unsustainable source.

My peanut butter just contains peanuts and a little salt. The fewer ingredients, the better. I should really try and make it one day. Peanuts are great for your health in moderation – because they are quite calorie dense – yet full of vitamins, minerals, proteins and even oleic acid (a monounsaturated fatty acid) which has been shown to reduce your LDL (bad) cholesterol.

Purple Smoothie

  • 1/3 medium banana
  • 1 tbsp. peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 3/4 cup milk/almond milk if you can’t have lactose/dairy
  • 4-5 ice cubes

Blend all the ingredients til the ice is smooth and the fruits are combined. Maybe 45 seconds. Pour into your favourite glass. This makes either one very generous serving or two normal servings.

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If you like your smoothies thicker, add more ice or less milk. If you like them runnier, add more milk or less ice.

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I love our new blender for this; our old blender couldn’t handle ice and would leave chunks, so our smoothies would be gritty… yuck. But that’s what you get for buying an $8 blender.

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