Leek Chimichurri – Low FODMAP, Gluten Free & Vegan

Leek Chimichurri - Low FODMAP, Gluten Free and Vegan, fructose malabsorption, irritable bowel syndrome, healthy, low carb

When we moved into our new house in February just been, there was a run-down little veggie patch by the front door. I looked at it in dismay – I had just left behind the gorgeous wooden planter box that Ev built for me the year before at our last rental – and then proceeded to ignore it every time I walked by it. The box was cheap plastic, the soil full of weeds and the dried out remnants of what was once a zucchini plant were splayed out on a trellis.

After a couple of weeks, I looked at the “garden” tab of the house folder the previous owners had left us and got a little shock. Apparently, the veggie patch was full of leeks, chives and kale. Yum. I checked the garden again and there were the leeks and chives, hidden among the weeds; no kale, though, it obviously hadn’t made it through the winter. There was one problem, though. There was grass growing up throughout the chives and the leeks were apparently planted next to some small agapanthus, whose leaves look a lot like a leek but are not edible. Why on earth? Anyway, it was still February, so these hardy little plants hadn’t begun to flower yet. I was reasonably confident that I could tell them apart from the bulb/lack of bulb (agapanthus vs leek) but, to be sure, I wanted to see the flowers.

Finally, the leeks and agapanthus flowered a week ago and last weekend we decided it was time to get rid of the sad little veggie patch and replace it with a lawn, instead. Unfortunately, our backyard is surrounded by pine trees and gets very little sunlight, so I understand why they chose the front yard for the veggie garden – I just wouldn’t have done it in quite the same way. Also, because our backyard gets basically no sunlight, the “lawn” is about 95% weeds, so we’re going for a forest/path/hidden surprise backyard with shade loving plants and we want to get as much lawn out of the front yard as possible. But I digress. Even after ditching the leeks that were growing so close to the agapanthus that they were intertwined (and all the chives, because they were thoroughly knotted together with grass and nobody had time to sort that mess out), we had a sink-full of leeks. I’m not even kidding, our extra deep, double-sized kitchen sink was overflowing.

This wasn’t even half of what we kept, which was half of what was there. Please excuse the weeds, the garden is a work in progress.

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What on earth could we do with so many leeks? It’s warming up, so it’s no longer really soup weather and simply processing the leeks and freezing them seemed like a cop out. A few weeks ago we had watched an episode of No Reservations (Anthony Bourdain’s show) and they had dipped leeks into chimichurri. Why not make leeks into chimichurri, instead?

Chimichurri is a very versatile sauce. It’s primary use is for grilling meats but you can use it as a dipping sauce, a condiment, a sandwich spread (mixed with mayo – yum!), a pasta sauce, a salad dressing, to spice up omelettes and add flavour to mashed potatoes. You can also use it as a base from which to build an entirely new sauce. It’s definitely handy to have around, as it allows you to cut some corners during dinner prep – I won’t say no to that!

FODMAP Notes

  1. Green leek tips are considered FODMAP friendly in 1 cup servings.
  2. Garlic olive oil must be made ahead of time and cooled, or it can be pre-bought. If you are buying garlic olive oil, make sure you choose an oil quality that is more suited to how you plan to use your chimichurri. For example, we grilled the chimichurri marinated beef kebabs we made, so a refined olive oil was more suited to this particular dish than if we had used the chimichurri as a dipping sauce, in which case extra virgin olive oil would have been fine (due to the heat resistance/smoke points of different oils).
  3. As all FODMAPpers are different, if you can tolerate a bit of actual garlic, feel free to replace the garlic olive oil with the same amount of olive oil plus 1-2 cloves of garlic, to taste.

Leek Chimichurri

Makes about 600 ml of sauce, depending on how firmly packed the leeks are.

  • 4 cups green leek tips
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup pre-made garlic olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional – 1 tbsp. red pepper flakes or fresh oregano

Place the garlic oil (or actual garlic if you can tolerate it), roughly chopped leek tips and red wine vinegar into the bowl of your food processor and blitz until combined. Add some salt and pepper (and the optional herbs if you like) and keep blitzing until smooth. Taste the chimichurri, then add in more salt and pepper (or garlic oil or red wine vinegar) to get the exact taste and consistency that you like. We like ours a little thicker, so feel free to add more oil if you see fit.

That’s it. It’s very simple. Store in the fridge for up to two weeks, or freeze for up to two months. It’s especially important to practise safe food handling if you’ve used an homemade infused oil, due to the risks of botulism that rise when infused oils are stored incorrectly/for too long. Store bought infused oils have been prepared in such a way that they have a much longer shelf life.

But please don’t let that put you off making chimichurri! The simple measure of freezing extra jars right away will keep the sauce safe for a couple of months. I know our batch won’t last longer than that, and it made 10 jars. It’s that good.

Here is our leek chimichurri, served with a yolk porn-worthy poached egg on top of polenta and wilted spinach. Simple, delicious and nourishing. The perfect meal.

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Low FODMAP & Gluten Free Treats to Spoil your Mum this Mothers’ Day

Mother's Day, low fodmap, fructose malabsorption, gluten free, ibs, irritable bowel syndrome, love, family

As much as I love Seattle, it does suck a little bit (at least), living literally half a world away from your family. Even more-so around holidays; Skype is great but it’s not the same as being there in person. It might be just another Hallmark Holiday to some but I do like having a chance to show my mum (and my dad, when it’s his turn) how much I am grateful for the time they spent caring for and raising me as a kid.

Given that I’m not going to make it to Melbourne by Sunday, even if I could, a phone call will have to do until we’re next together and I can make Mum her chocolate cake and Dad his pecan pie. But for those of you lucky enough to live in the same city as your family, here’s a collection of low FODMAP and gluten free recipes with which you can spoil your mum, whether you chose morning tea, brunch (my favourite) or just fitting it in whenever you can. Hopefully there’s a variety to suit everyone’s needs, including vegan/dairy free, some healthy and others not so much.

There are twenty-seven recipes, one for each year that my beautiful Mum has put up with been graced by my presence.

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We scrub up alright

Sweets

I have my priorities sorted, thank you.

Breakfasts

Salads

Main Meals

Drinks

  • Sangria – Not From A Packet Mix
  • Freshly squeezed mimosas – Inspired Taste (It’s basically the same recipe that I make but have never published… I’ve never measured in the triple sec, though. Use freshly squeezed OJ and limit to one serving)
  • Purple basil lemonade – Fructopia

The Ultimate Guacamole – Fructose Friendly, Gluten Free & Vegan

The Ultimate Guacamole - low FODMAP, fructose friendly, gluten free, vegan, ibs, irritable bowel syndrome, healthy, low carb, healthy fats

Guacamole is one of my favourite things in the world. creamy yet chunky, soft and full of plant-powered nutrition and flavour, it’s a win-win-win in my book. Luckily for me (and I really don’t mean to gloat), I flew through the sorbitol challenge with flying colours instead of flying to the loo and I can consume reasonable amounts of avocado without issue, which is good, because 1/4 of an avo contains about 8% of your daily folate requirements, as well as good amounts of vitamins B2, B5, B6, C, E and phosphorous and magnesium. See below for avocado’s FODMAP information.

Now, I realise that the claim to the ultimate guacamole is pretty extreme but this, to me, is the best way to make it. This is not the awful stuff you peel the lid off from the supermarket, this is fresh avo mixed with other flavours like tomato and lime to play on your taste buds. The bonus of adding in the tomato is that, besides tasting great, it also allows you to spread (pun intended) the avocados further, which is important when you live in Seattle and the decent avocados cost an arm and a leg. It works well with breads, chicken, corn chips or veggie sticks; and don’t you dare think of skimping on the corn chips. Go hard or go home.

So, the next time you have an impromptu gathering and/or need an entree (“appetiser,” in US lingo) in an instant, give this guac a whirl. The only downside is you won’t have leftovers. Unless you make yourself a secret batch for later. Do it.

FODMAP Notes

  1. Avocados are considered low FODMAP in 1/8 fruit servings, any more and sorbitol might be an issue. If you are okay with consuming more sorbitol but are sensitive to fructose, keep in mind that sorbitol can inhibit the co-transport method by which fructose malabsorbers absorb most of their fructose. Don’t go nuts, figure out the balance that works for you.
  2. Tomatoes are FODMAP friendly in 1/2 cup servings, the amount called for in this recipe once split into the eight servings would be safe.
  3. Garlic infused olive oil is free of fructans, as FOS are water soluble, thus do not seep into the fatty oil. I really like Nicer Food’s garlic infused olive oils, available here.
  4. Limes are a low FODMAP fruit.
  5. Corn chips are low FODMAP and gluten free, as long as they’re not seasoned with anything high FODMAP.

The Ultimate Guacamole

Serves 16 FODMAPers – of course, you can eat more if you tolerate it.

  • 2 large, ripe avocados
  • 1 cup (200 g) diced vine ripened or cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp. garlic infused olive oil
  • Juice of 1 medium lime
  • Salt to taste
  • Optional: 1-2 tbsp. minced chives or coriander leaves (cilantro)

Mash (don’t whip, then it’s like baby food) the avo’s  until 75% smooth, then add in the diced tomatoes, lime juice, garlic oil and salt. Mix through and tinker with more oil – if required for texture – and salt if needed. Cover it, with the stone in the bowl, until you want to serve it. For best results, don’t make it more than a couple of hours ahead of time.

It’s that simple. You’re done. Go and have a (low FODMAP) beer while you wait for your friends to arrive. To serve, I like to surround the small bowl of guac with my favourite corn chips.

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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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Shortbread Pastry – FODMAP/Fructose Friendly & Gluten Free

Shortbread Pastry - Gluten Free and FODMAP, Fructose Friendly

If you’re after a pastry that is quick and easy to whip up and not *too* fiddly (compared to typical gluten free pastry), then look no further. This slightly sweet, buttery and delightfully crumbly pastry will do the trick.

These tart shells will keep (once baked) in an airtight container in the pantry for about five days, before they start to go stale, so they are great to make ahead and then fill on the day you are planning to serve them.

I highly recommend this lemon curd or this passion fruit cream cheese as a filling. This pastry would also suit any Christmas style baking, as shortbread is definitely seasonally appropriate! I am working on a fructose friendly fruit mince pie recipe as we speak, so stay tuned…

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. 60 mini tartlet shells, or two 23 cm/9 in shells.

  • 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 then generously flour your work area. Break the dough into 6 and sandwich it between two layers of wax paper. Roll it out to about 4 mm thick (for small tarts) or 6 mm thick (for full-sized tarts) and gently transfer it to your chosen tart pan/pie dish.

Baking:

  • To blind bake these miniature shells, cook at 190 C until lightly golden – this should take about 10-12 minutes; I normally set the timer for 10 minutes and then watch it for the next two. Cook larger shells for approx. 15 minutes, but keep an eye on them.
  • To bake with a filling in, blind bake for 3 minutes, then use the pastry according to the recipe you are following.

Gluten Free Shortbread Pastry Collage

If you baked your pastry with the filling inside, the tarts will be done when they are removed from the oven. Serve them as instructed.

If your pastry was blind baked until completely cooked, let them cool to room temperature and store in an airtight container for up to five days and fill them with the topping of your choice when required.

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From left to right: lemon curd, chocolate hazelnut and passion fruit cream cheese – all are delicious, though the lemon curd is my favourite. 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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