Gluten free truffle and parmesan pasta

Gluten free truffle and parmesan pasta

Today’s theme in the low FODMAP photo challenge is ‘fast’. When I started this diet I feared for the pasta shaped hole in my life. I’ve tried a few gluten free varieties, but I have to say that this maize and rice pasta from Doves Farm is my current fave. It’s a little pricier than supermarket own brands but I think an extra £1 or so is worth it – it tastes more like real pasta, and … depending on how long you’ve been following the low FODMAP diet – I’m sure you’ll agree that sometimes, the flavours we all pine for are worth paying for!

This is one of my favourite pasta dishes to make at the moment. It’s simple, fast and flavourful … first class comfort food.

You will need:
A good bowl’s worth of your favourite gluten free pasta
25g parmesan
1 x large egg yolk (our chickens lay mini eggs so I use two)
3 or 4 drops of truffle oil (porcini oil would also work here if you’re not a truffle fan)
black pepper

Gluten free truffle and parmesan pasta

Put your pasta on the heat, and commence with your prep – which is minimal. Separate your egg yolk(s) out and whisk in a bowl with a few drops of truffle oil. You really only need a few – don’t be tempted to add more until you’ve tasted it as it can really overpower! I like it as a subtle addition but if you’re using porcini oil you could throw in some more. Add black pepper.

Grate your cheese. When the pasta is done, drain it, reserving a couple of tablespoons or so of the water. In the same pot, add the egg/truffle oil mixture and your cheese, with some extra black pepper. Keep stirring the mixture through the pasta until it has coated the penne and you can see there are no uncooked parts of egg. Like a carbonara, you don’t need to put this back on the heat but if I’m really hungry sometimes I do for just a second to get it going again! Top with some rocket / salad if you wish, or just tuck into it on its own.


Light and leafy: feta and spring greens salad

Light and leafy: feta and spring greens salad


Today is day 13 of the 21 day FODMAP Photo Challenge over on Instagram. Despite this challenge not appearing on my radar until it was a few days in, I’ve managed to keep up …with a few exceptions! It’s a challenge alright. Cooking low FODMAP is already a mission most days, so this challenge is a challenge indeed!

It’s been really enjoyable so far though, and totally what the FODMAP community needs: something that connects us and presents a whole load of accessible, inspiring low FODMAP recipe ideas. Kudos to @calmbellykitchen@fodmapjourney and @fodmaplife for hosting the challenge and sparking conversation between us all!

Today’s photo challenge theme is LEAFY.

Enter this super quick ‘oh-my-god-I-cannot-eat-another-potato’ spring greens salad.

Light and leafy: feta and spring greens salad

You will need:
3 or 4 large leaves of spring greens
handful of green beans
4 or 5 small florets of tenderstem broccoli
75g feta cheese
glug of olive oil
squeeze of lemon juice
toasted mixed seeds
half a chopped chilli (optional – sometimes I like it to have a kick)
black sesame seeds (optional)

Wash your veggies. Take the spine out of the spring green leaves and slice into strips. Trim the green beans and halve if you like, and cut the broccoli into bitesize chunks. Chuck your broccoli into a steamer and steam for about a minute, then adding your green beans, followed by your spring greens a minute after that. They should all be ready once the spring greens have started to wilt. I like this salad to keep its bite, but you might not. Just do whatever floats your boat! Once steamed, you may wish to blanch your vegetables to stop them cooking any further. This is a good idea – have a big bowl of ice water standing by to drop the veg in when you’re ready.

While things are steaming, chop your feta up into smallish chunks and your chilli finely (if using). Toast your seeds in a dry pan on a moderate heat.

Drain the veg / remove from steamer and add to a bowl with your feta, a squeeze of lemon juice, a lashing of good olive oil and of course, your toasted seeds.

This salad is so quick to do… it’s refreshing, light and of course … leafy! You can sub in / out many things – if you tolerate beans / peas for instance, they’d be welcome in this recipe. I am doing my reintroductions again, so no peas for me – otherwise I totally would. Enjoy!

Butternut squash and sage risotto

butternut and sage risotto

Since I learnt to cook, risotto has been my go-to comfort food. I always find it more satisfying than pasta (which no longer ranks highly on my comfort food list, sob). Sometimes it’s nice to earn your comfort food; risotto has to be made with love but you are deeply rewarded (I think often because you can eat it with a spoon if no one is watching. Or if they are…who cares). Risotto is a great post-Sunday roast dish when you have the leftover chicken bones for chicken stock and a few little bits of meat left over.

Now, do not fret about the star ingredient in this dish. Limit your serving to a 1/4 cup of butternut squash and this will be low FODMAP. That may not seem like a lot, but you really only need a very small amount of roasted / cooked squash to stir through the risotto towards the end. The flavour here comes from a good chicken stock, a good parmesan and sage.

butternut and sage risotto

You will need:
1/3 cup aborio risotto rice
1/4 roasted butternut squash
small bunch of sage leaves
1 litre chicken stock (or vegetable)
knob of butter
25g parmesan
garlic oil
splash of white wine
handful chopped chicken (optional)

See our recipe for low FODMAP chicken stock – it takes less than 10 mins to prep and can just bubble away on a low heat with the lid on in the oven for a few hours or even overnight. Once you have stock to hand, go go risotto!

Start by roughly chopping your sage leaves (leave in fairly large chunks) and frying them in a small amount of butter. Remove a few pieces of sage when crispy and set aside on some kitchen towel. Add in the chicken. As this will already be cooked, this is just to infuse the chicken with the sage so you don’t need to cook it for long really. Give it a whiff and if it smells deliciously buttery and sagey you may remove, and add to a bowl.

Add another dollop of butter and a glug of garlic oil to the pan and melt together. Add the rice and stir so that it is coated, at which point you can add the white wine. After a minute or so, add enough stock so that the rice is covered. Keep stirring constantly and each time the liquid is absorbed into the rice, top it up again. It’s time consuming, but important because you don’t want it to be a soup (which happens if you add all the stock at once) or stodgy (which happens if you just add a bit and don’t stir it).

After a few top ups, and usually about 20 minutes, test the rice and see if it’s cooked. If it isn’t, keep adding stock. If it is, wait until most the liquid is absorbed but so that it still has movement and stir through half of your parmesan. With a fork, mash up your butternut squash and stir this through too. You can leave a few pieces to top the dish with if you like. Add the chicken, removing any sage pieces as these might have gone soggy.

When ready to serve, add the remaining parmesan and crispy sage leaves from before. Season if it needs it, and enjoy your well earned comfort food!

Low FODMAP stock

A note on chicken stock (or ‘bone broth’):

In our family we value chicken stock quite highly. It takes up the majority of space in our freezer because we won’t ever have a roast chicken and not make a good stock up afterwards. My auntie sees is as being respectful to the animal, which is fair … but it also makes total sense. Once you’ve had homemade stock, throwing a chicken carcass away becomes sacrilege; there’s a lot of goodness in them bones.

If you haven’t ever made your own stock and cooked with it, you may not feel you’re missing out. It’s fair enough because there are plenty of off-the-shelf options that might deter you from wrestling with chicken bones. You might have tried the real deal and felt that it didn’t bring as much flavour as the shop-bought stock cube like I did when I first switched to homemade stock. I later realised the ‘flavour’ I was missing was salt. Everything else was much more delicious, natural and better for me and with a few twists of salt, my auntie’s recipe for stock has seen my trusty old sodium filled stock cubes banished from our larder. What’s more, those little cubes, shop-bought gravy, bouillon… they all make good use of onions quite often. If you’re going to live low FODMAP, you need a good stock in your arsenal.

How to make chicken stock low fodmap

Rule no 1: no onions. We’ve experimented with putting the green parts of spring onions in, which definitely works, but we’ve found that you can make a really tasty stock from one chicken, some bay leaves, thyme, carrots, celery (the amount absorbed into the stock wouldn’t amount to 1 stick, which is the low FODMAP limit) seasoning and of course, water. Takes less than ten minutes to prepare and it can be stretched so far in cooking, we should all have a tub to turn to in my opinion!

You will need:
carcass of 1 chicken
3 carrots, unpeeled, roughly halved
2 sticks of celery, roughly halved
3 or 4 bay leaves
3 or 4 sprigs of thyme
garlic oil

In a large, deep pot, fry your carrots and celery in some garlic oil. Add the herbs, bending the bay leaves slightly first so that they crack but don’t tear up. This will just help release their flavour and oils a bit.

Let the carrots caramelise slightly, at which point you can add the carcass. Season well and top up the pot with boiling water. This can bubble away on a medium heat for five minutes before putting the lid on the pot and popping into the oven on a low heat. It can stay in the oven on a low temperature for a really long time, we often leave ours in for at least 5 or 6 hours.

When ready to remove, take the pot out of the oven and drain the stock through a colander into another pot / large jug and you have a healthy, natural, good old fashioned chicken stock! I’m not sure how long this would keep in the fridge, but we always freeze in portion sizes or big batches, ready to defrost when we need it.

7 ways to use superstar stock

1. Risotto
2. A base for almost any soup
3. Add to vegetable ratatouille
4. Add a bit to your mashed potatoes (really)
5. Cook your rice and polenta in stock for a more flavourful base
6. Gravy base
7. Add to pie fillings

‘Miso hungry’ red cabbage and black rice salad

Miso hungry red cabbage and black rice salad

This Asian inspired (and it’s a complete fusion… I guess of Japanese and Thai) black rice salad is a recipe to celebrate my finding out that Monash has recently announced 1 cup of red cabbage is low FODMAP. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again … if you haven’t already, please get the official app. I also recently heard on the FODMAP grapevine that they’re about to announce a new wave of low FODMAP foods that they’ve recently tested. Huge.

The diet is changing constantly – things once condemned are now allowed. Often it’s just a case of thinking harder about portion sizes. And that’s fine, because usually 1 cup of red cabbage is plenty.

Miso hungry red cabbage and black rice salad

Mmmmmm… miso hungry!

You will need:
For the red cabbage salad:
3 x cup shredded red cabbage (only eat 1/3 of this at a time remember!)
1.5 x finely sliced green parts of spring onions
1 x cup black Thai rice

For the dressing:
1 x tbsp dark miso (sometimes called red miso)
1 x tbsp soy sauce
1 x tbsp sugar
1 + 1/2 x tbsp walnut oil (sesame would work too)
1/2 tbsp garlic oil
1 x tsp grated ginger
juice of 1 lime
few shakes of Tabasco (yes really!)

Put your black rice on to boil but be careful – it turns the water very dark almost instantly and looks like it would stain clothes.

Place your shredded cabbage and spring onion in a bowl. Mix up your dressing and be sure to taste. Once happy mix through the cabbage, let it sit for a few minutes before sprinkling with some black sesame seeds.

Drain the rice when cooked, and serve with the salad. I made up an extra batch of rice and had this for my lunch at work for the following couple of days – it just soaks up the yummy dressing and is super filling. The cabbage is raw remember, so be careful – limit your portions if you’re not sure it’s your thing.


10 things you previously thought were illegal

  1. Black tea with 250ml cow’s milk
  2. Chocolate Bourbon, shortbread and Digestives – 1 biscuit (I KNOW!!!)
  3. Savoury crackers (e.g. Ritz) – 2 crackers
  4. Chutney (without onion/garlic)
  5. BBQ sauce
  6. 1/2 tbsp pesto (enough to coat a whole three of your gluten free pasta pieces)
  7. Milk chocolate  & WHITE CHOCOLATE – 1 fun-size bar
  8. Haloumi – 2 slices
  9. Coconut – 1/4 cup shredded
  10. Celery – 1/4 stalk

Miso hungry red cabbage and black rice salad

Salted cocoa coco bliss balls

Salted Cocoa Coco Bliss Balls

If you’re yet to try a bliss ball, you might be wondering what the fuss is all about. I have to say though, having made them (and eaten them) in such a short amount of time I am fully on the bliss ball bandwagon. Come join.

You will need:
A food processor/mini chopper

1 x cup nuts (I used a mixture of almond, hazelnut, walnut and pecan)
2 x tbsp coconut oil
1 x tbsp peanut butter
1 x tbsp cocoa powder
1 x tsp maple syrup
1 x tbsp desiccated coconut
1 x tbsp flax
1 x tsp chia seeds
good pinch of salt

Whack your nuts in a food processor and pulse until combined and roughly but quite finely chopped.

Add all the other ingredients. I just use my mini chopper and find I have to add things in stages as it’s so diddy. The more liquid ingredients, particularly the coconut oil, really help the mixture pack down so I would add that after the nuts, along with the cocoa powder first of all. The salt is what makes the chocolate taste more chocolatey and makes them really delicious so I recommend a generous twist.

The best thing about bliss balls is that you can mess with the recipe to please yourself – nuts / nut butters are pretty essential, but you can use cocoa, cinnamon, oats, protein…dried fruit if your stomach permits you… the list goes on. I strongly encourage you to lick the mix and make them to your taste. I think it needs the sweetness from the maple syrup but if you’re ok with dates add a couple to the mix as they do wonders for the texture too.

You can move the mixture to a larger bowl before adding the desiccated coconut, flax and chia if your processor is weeny like mine. Mix together with your hands and roll into bitesized balls before laying them out on a tray / plate.

Pop in the fridge to set for 20 mins. They are then yours to enjoy for as long as you can make them last!