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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Summer has officially hit Seattle! Here are 25 Summer-approved low FODMAP recipes.

Whether you’re soaking up the sun like Bailey, or you’re more of a Nellie and prefer to relax in the shade, I hope you’re enjoying this amazing Pacific Northwest weather! We’re experiencing crazy hot temperatures – for Seattle – this year and some of us are loving it…. some, not so much.

Unfortunately for Nellie, we think the heat might be a trigger for her epilepsy. At the very least, she doesn’t cope well above 25 C/80 F, the poor thing; she’s a lot like Evgeny (cue fur joke). Bailey and I, on the other hand, don’t really consider this as “hot” weather, it still seems more like late Spring weather to us, than high Summer. Yes, I realise I just put words in my dog’s mouth. Also, check out our Facebook page for a cute little video of Nellie Belly getting her den just so. It’s been so hot that she had to dig down to find the cool/damp soil.

Baily, rolling in the sun

Nellie, shade

In honour of this hot weather – and also to make my Mum jealous, as she suffers through Melbourne’s “freezing” temperatures (her words, not mine) – here are some good looking, low FODMAP recipes that are also appropriate for summer.

Salads, Snacks & Meals

  1. Ceviche – Not From A Packet Mix
  2. Grilled tofu salad – Not From A Packet Mix
  3. Seared rainbow trout in white wine – Not From A Packet Mix
  4. Strawberry salad, with a maple lemon vinaigrette – Not From A Packet Mix
  5. Sushi, Gunkan, Maki rolls, Nigiri – Not From A Packet Mix
  6. Toasted almond and cranberry salad – Not From A Packet Mix
  7. Warm salmon salad – Not From A Packet Mix
  8. Balsamic chicken salad with strawberries –  – from Delicious As It Looks
  9. Carrot and coriander soup – from She Can’t Eat What?
  10. Greek pasta salad – from Thrifty Kitchen
  11. Grilled Rosemary Salmon – from Delicious As It Looks
  12. Rainbow salad – from Fructopia

Sweets

  1. Baked peach in puff pastryNot From A Packet Mix
  2. Banana “ice cream” – Not From A Packet Mix
  3. Chia seed puddings, chocolate, coconut and strawberry (coming soon) – Not From A Packet Mix
  4. Classic vanilla ice cream – Not From A Packet Mix
  5. Dark chocolate tofu mousse – Not From A Packet Mix
  6. Pavlova – Not From A Packet Mix
  7. Blueberry ice cream – from Savory Lotus
  8. Chocolate Frosty – from Rabbit Food For My Bunny Teeth
  9. Coconut melon ice cream lollies – from Squashablanca
  10. Frozen yoghurt trail mix bars – from The Lean Green Bean
  11. Lemon mousse – from No Sugarless Gum
  12. No-bake cheesecakes in jars – from Amelia (use Google translate)
  13. Rhubarb pie ice cream – from No Sugarless Gum

Stay cool, everyone!

BBQ Smoked Rosemary Chicken – FODMAP/Fructose Friendly & Gluten Free

BBQ Smoked Rosemary Chicken

If you’re after a recipe for juicy chicken that feeds 10-12 adults (per two chooks) and frees up space in the oven for other dishes, then look no further!

This method of cooking chicken requires some advanced planning but it consistently delivers moist meat that is still tasty the next day. I love leftovers and this recipe always gets a work out every summer, as it’s perfect for barbeques. You can’t beat that!

BBQ Smoked Rosemary Chicken

Serves 5-6 adults, as part of a main.

  • 1 chicken, approx. 2.5-3.0 kg (5.5-6.0 lbs)
  • 1 batch of a basic brine
  • 1 handful of rosemary sprigs
  • 1 large handful of wood chips of your choice for smoking – we use hickory
  • 1.0 litre water
  • Other equipment – BBQ, coals, disposable baking tray, meat thermometer

Step 1: Brine the Chook

Clean and remove the skin from the chicken before spatchcocking it and cutting shallow slits in the flesh. Then, follow these instructions to make enough brine for your chicken; a typical chicken will need one batch of the brine, extrapolate how much you’ll need from there.

Submerge the chicken in the brine and refrigerate it (or use an Eski/cooler with ice) for 3-4 hours. The temperature needs to stay at or below 3 C/38 F.

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Step 2: Prepare the Chook and BBQ

About 30 minutes before you remove the chicken from the brine, get your BBQ started and put the wood chips in water to soak (this prevents them from drying out and burning too quickly later on). I say 30 minutes, because that is how long it takes our coals to light properly. Once the coals have been lit, push them to one side and place the disposable baking dish on the other side and fill it with the 1.0 L of water.

When the chook is ready to come out, thoroughly rinse the brine off the chicken, lightly rub it with some melted butter or olive oil and then place the rosemary in the slits you cut earlier.

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Step 3: BBQ the Chook

Sprinkle the soaked hickory wood chips over the coals (give them a shake, first, to get rid of excess water that would extinguish the coals) and then place the grill on top. Arrange the chickens so that they are on top of the water bath, being indirectly heated by the coals. Put the lid on and half open the vents at the bottom and top of your BBQ (if you have them, as out kettle style BBQ does), to allow air flow to keep the coals burning. You will probably need to add some more coals halfway through, which will light on their own, to maintain the temperature inside the BBQ at 105 C/220 F.

Keep an eye on it but it should take about two and a half hours until it’s done, more (around four hours) if you haven’t spatchcocked it. The hallmarks of a “done” chook include an internal temperature of 85 C/185 F, juices running clear and a nicely browned surface. It’s best to make sure it has all of these.

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Step 4: Serving the Chook

Divide the chook into four parts – two each of the maryland and breast/wing segments, or eight parts – two each of the breast, wing, thigh and drumstick.

Serve with dipping sauces of your choice (I like this capsicum dip or a little BBQ sauce) and the rest of your BBQ spread. Yum!

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Homemade Sausages – Low FODMAP, Fructose Friendly & Gluten Free

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Sausages, or “snags” as they’re more commonly known in Australia, are a BBQ staple that you can make as simple or gourmet as you’d like. Serve them as pigs in a blanket, slice them and use in a stew, or serve them with some sauteed tomatoes with rosemary – you can do so much with them.

But there’s one problem. Like many other foods over here, Ev and I discovered that they didn’t taste quite right. Unless you go to the farmers markets and buy English style sausages for jacked up prices, you can only have sweetened style sausages from the supermarkets. Add in the usual trials of finding fructose friendly sausages and last winter we decided to make them ourselves.

You will need to set a few hours aside for this task and we found that actually stuffing the sausages worked best with teamwork but the results are so worth it. I apologise for the lack of “how to” photos, our hands were both too grubby and full to use the camera. I’ll attach a link to a YouTube video to help explain it, instead.

Notes:

  1. If you don’t have a meat grinder/sausage stuffer, you will need one for this. We have attachments for our KitchenAid but you can buy standalone machines. It follows that these instructions will be directed towards KitchenAids but they should work well for any grinder. At any rate, the recipe won’t need to change.
  2. We found that cutting the pork shoulder into strips sped up the initial grinding phase.
  3. If you want to cut out half the time, you could use pre-minced meat but it will be more expensive and you will need to be careful of any additives.
  4. Hog casings can be bought from most butchers, although in the US it’s a bit harder to find a good local butcher because they all seem to be attached to giant mega-supermarkets. We are lucky to have a decent butcher around the corner. If they are frozen, make sure you soak them in salted, luke warm water until they are properly thawed, then rinse them off.
  5. You can of course play around with the spices – try some paprika or cayenne. Yum.

Homemade Sausages

  • 2.25 kg/5 lbs pork shoulder, cut into strips – weight after bones are removed
  • 1/3 cup homemade/FF stock
  • 2 tbsp. sea salt
  • 2 tbsp. ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp. minced fresh sage
  • 1 tbsp. minced fresh oregano
  • 1 tbsp. chili pepper flakes
  • 3-4 lengths of hog casings – we used 3, from memory

Stage 1

Mince the pork meat strips in your grinder, sending it through the grill with the larger holes. This is a very monotonous process, sorry. Play some music, or do it with a friend so you can keep each other company.

Next, swap the large hole grill for the smaller hole grill – if you have one – and repeat the grinding process to make the mince even finer. Stage 1 complete.

Stage 2

Mix the rest of the ingredients, except for the hog casings, thoroughly through all the newly minced pork.

Remove any of the grills from the grinding attachment before you insert the stuffing attachment.

Wash your hands and set up the sausage stuffing piece with the grinding attachment – or follow the instructions of whatever device you have. Place the hog casings onto the stuffing pipe, pushing them to the back and leaving a 10 cm length hanging off the edge.

In the top basin/tub of the grinder, one person needs to use the paddle to squash the mince/spice mixture through the hole and into the grinder while the other person handles the casings and the stuffing process. Once you have run a small amount of the mince through the device, stop it and tie a knot in the extra, as close to the mince/attachment as possible. This step was to make sure you didn’t have a giant air bubble in the end of the sausage, as you would if you had tied the knot before running any mince through the machine.

Keep the machine running at a medium speed, steadily pushing the sausage mixture through the grinder at an even rate, ensuring that you don’t have any air bubbles. Don’t rush at first, it takes a little while to get used to the process and you don’t want to tear the casings while you’re at it. Once you near the end of the casing, knot it off and load the next onto the machine.

This video, Italian Sausage – How To Stuff Sausage, will run you through the basics in such a way that you can see what is happening. It is a huge help to be able to imagine what you’re supposed to do before you do it.

Stage 3

Now you have a single, very long sausage. Have a good laugh at what it looks like and then begin to twist it into individual snags. Just decide how long you want each of the sausages to be and then place a hand on either side of the mark and twist thoroughly. The twist should stay in place.

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Once you have twisted the length onto individual snags, we like to portion them into more reasonable sized numbers that we are likely to cook in one go – three sausages means one for me and two for Ev. We then bag and freeze them, and have a stash of tasty snags in the freezer when the need for comfort food calls us.

Once thawed, we like to stab a few holes in them and then boil them for 10 minutes to pre-cook them before frying until the outside is browned/crisped up a little.

Make a batch of these and be the hero at the next backyard barbie that you go to.

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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 Salad with a Maple Lemon Vinaigrette – Low FODMAP & Gluten Free

I apologise for the strawberry theme that’s going on at the moment but they are in season and I am making the most of it! Don’t hate.

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I suppose I should apologise further to those in Australia/the Southern Hemisphere who are going into winter and don’t have the luxury of in season strawberries or the warm weather we’re having. *Insert evil laugh.* I should say, though, that this is the third spring we’ve spent in Seattle and it is so much warmer than the last two. When I was walking the dogs earlier this week it was still 30 C/85 F at 5pm! That’s not far below the maximum summer temperature that we had last August!

But anyway, back to the salad! I was taking this to a lunch with the girls and wanted something a little more interesting than what I usually make for my own lunches. And I also wanted to try and recreate a lemon viniagrette that I had on a salad a couple of weeks ago… I snuck a look at the ingredients; a few tweaks were required (such as getting rid of the honey) but I got it right eventually.

FODMAP Notes

  1. Strawberries, cucumber and spinach are all low FODMAP in the servings given, as are the nuts and seeds.
  2. Maple syrup is sucrose-based, thus is FODMAP friendly, however, feel free to use dextrose if you’d like.
  3. White wine vinegar is fructose friendly, as it has been double fermented.
  4. Olive oil is low FODMAP, assuming that no high FODMAP ingredients have been added.

Strawberry Salad with a Maple Lemon Vinaigrette

Salad

To serve as a side salad, you will need the following per person (double to serve alone):

  • 1/2 cup baby spinach leaves
  • 1/3 cup diced cucumber (Lebanese, English or Continental)
  • 3 medium/2 large strawberries, diced
  • 1 tbsp. toasted almonds/pecans/walnuts, chopped roughly or slivered

Roughly shred the baby spinach leaves (if you want to) and dice the strawberries and cucumber. Roughly chop your almonds (or other nuts) if you didn’t buy then slivered and toast them in the oven at 300 F/150 C for 5-10 minutes, until they give off an almondy smell. Take them out and let them cool completely or they will make the spinach leaves wilt.

When the almonds have cooled, toss all the ingredients together and put in the fridge until ready to serve. I would suggest not preparing it any further than half a day in advance.

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Maple Lemon Vinaigrette

The below amount will provide generous servings of dressing for 8 people.

  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup (or 1.5 tbsp glucose/dextrose powder)
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted

Combine the liquid ingredients in a jar. I prefer the maple syrup over glucose powder for the extra flavour and the fact that it doesn’t need to dissolve.

Over a med heat, toast sesame seeds on a dry pan. They will begin to look a little oily/shiny before they give off an aroma and brown slightly. As soon as they are just a golden brown, remove them from the pan and let them cool for a few minutes before adding them to the dressing. I didn’t do this and the first few popped back out at me. Whoops.

Shake the jar well before serving.

You could toss the dressing through the salad just before serving; however I prefer to serve it separately so people can dictate how much they get.

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Enjoy!

Fish & Chips – Low Fructose and Gluten Free

I don’t know about you but warm weather always gives me cravings for fish and chips. Only problem is, since wheat has been off the menu I can’t just pop down to the local Fish and Chippery for a fix. As an added kick in the pants, they don’t use flake (gummy shark) for fish and chips in America like they do in Australia, so it kind of tastes wrong anyway but hey, we have to take what we can get sometimes.

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Please ignore the red onions, they are easy to pick around!

Oh, and we don’t have a beach nearby to eat them at, with seagulls begging for chips. But maybe the latter is a good thing… have you seen the seagulls in Seattle?! HUGE. Some are almost as big as Nellie.

The Fish

  • Enough of the fish of your choice required to feed the amount of people you have – we used Tilapia, and 2 fillets each is a good amount for average eaters, 3-4 for hungrier people.
  • 1 cup corn flour/meal
  • Butter and/or olive oil for cooking – we used a combination for added flavour; seal the pan with oil first and then add the butter with the fish.
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Freshly squeezed lemon juice

Fillet your fish of choice, or buy them pre-cut to save time.

Pour the corn flour in a zip-lock bag and place the fish in after it. Roll it around gently – you don’t want to damage the fish fillets – and leave it in the fridge until you’re ready to cook it. The potato chips (fries) can take a while, so don’t start cooking the fish until the potatoes are almost done – the fish only takes 5-6 minutes to cook.

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When you are ready to cook the fish, seal your pan with olive oil and then place the fish fillets and approx. 1 tbsp. butter in to cook on a med-high heat. Squeeze some of your lemon juice over the fish, leaving half for the other side.

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As the fish cooks, the colour of the flesh will become less translucent; as this colour change works its way up the fish fillet, use it as your guide as to when to flip the fish. When the colour has changed 3/4 of the way – for Tilapia sized fillets, approximately 3-4 minutes, turn the fillets over, drizzle with more lemon juice and cook for a further 1-2 minutes.

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The Chips

  • 1 medium potato per person, more depending on how hungry you are
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Herbs of your choice

Wash the potatoes thoroughly and then slice them in half length-wise and then further into wedges. You can remove the skins if you’d like.

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Boil the potatoes for 8 minutes and then drain. Place them onto a lined baking dish and drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and any herbs you choose and bake at 180 C/350 F for 45-60 minutes, until golden brown.

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These chips could have browned a little longer but we were getting hungry.

This dish is best served warm, so timing the chips being done at the same time as the fish is crucial; the salad you can make ahead, or in downtime while the chips are baking in the oven. Nobody likes cold fish and chips. Yuck.

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Plate them up and serve with condiments of your choice. The spiced capsicum dip that I made last week went down a treat with the hot chips.

Oh, and who needs seagulls when you have two hungry dogs looking on?

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I swear that Bailey was a cat in a past life. Or a mountain goat.

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On the other hand, Nellie uses the pathetic approach to begging.