Low FODMAP pecan pie

low fodmap pecan pie

Pecan pie is one of my all-time favourite puds. With a teeth-achingly sweet filling and dense, crunchy crust … one piece is never enough. That’s why this raw, natural version has made its way into my fridge lately. I guarantee it will satisfy your craving for something sweet in a more lasting way, without the crash. Stash a couple of squares in your lunchbox for the 4pm slump.

This recipe is adapted from Madeleine Shaw’s Pecan Pie Bites in her first book, Get The Glow. I really like Madeleine Shaw’s food philosophy. Her approach is a sensible, fuss-free one in a world of overly-health conscious superfood-worshippers. Her books are fab for anyone who has made it beyond the reintroduction stage of the low FODMAP diet, with countless nuggets of relevant advice. She writes with an acute awareness of digestion issues having suffered with IBS herself, and her recipes are nutritious and light without leaving you feeling deprived. If you have a few alternative stapes such as buckwheat flour and ground almonds, which, let’s face it, if you’ve been following the low FODMAP diet for any amount of time you probably have acquired, most of her recipes will be accessible to you. She’s just released her second book, Ready, Set, Glow – which arrived at my door yesterday, and I can’t wait to test out some more of her inspiring recipes.

Having been a fan of these raw ‘cheesecake’ style desserts for a little while, I couldn’t resist adapting her Pecan Pie Bites into a low FODMAP, mini cake version. Whether you bring the dish to a party in pie form or slice it into mini slabs to take to work – this pie is one to try. Swap out honey and dates for maple syrup (agave would work too) if you malabsorb fructose.

low fodmap pecan pie

you will need:

For the crust:
2 x tbsp maple syrup / agave syrup / golden syrup (or 150g x pitted dates if you don’t malabsorb fructose, soaked in a bowl of just-boiled water)
100g x pecans
50g x almonds
50g x desiccated coconut
5 x tbsp coconut oil
pinch of salt

For the filling:
250g x pecans
1 x tsp cinnamon
50ml x almond milk
2 x tbsp maple syrup (or honey, or 1 x tbsp of agave)


If you don’t malabsorb fructose, you can use honey and dates in this recipe – making it more nutritious. Begin by soaking 300g of dates in just-boiled water, then taking half of your soaking dates and chopping roughly into small bits. Blitz these, plus 100g of pecans,  the almonds, the desiccated coconut, 1 tbsp of coconut oil and a pinch of salt together to form a crust. If you’re not using dates, simply substitute for maple, agave or golden syrup. You just need a sweet ingredient that binds the rest of the crust ingredients together.

Once you have a consistency that will hold when pressed, push into a round springform cake tin or shallow dish with your fingers. Pop in the freezer for five minutes to set.

To make the filling, blitz the remaining dates (or your chosen syrup) with the filling ingredients, reserving a few roughly chopped pecans. Pour over the crust and scatter the pecans over the top. Pop in the fridge to set, and then slice as you fancy or chop into squares for a tasty treat on the go.

low fodmap pecan pie


Banana and cinnamon buckwheat bread

Banana and cinnamon buckwheat bread

Buckwheat is a flavour that, in my experience, needs a little consideration. It’s a strong, unusual one that tends to dominate.

Buckwheat flour though, is one of the few grain-free flours that creates convincing baked goods I think. I’ve had great success with it in terms of consistency, just not that flavour…

So recently when subbing in buckwheat flour I’ve had a think about ways to fight back with flavours from other ingredients. The spotlight here is on cinnamon.

The trick to buckwheat bliss is to match its power with something that doesn’t just rival its strength, but rather provides a contradictory flavour e.g. something sweet, or spiced, or sour. The former is at work in these low FODMAP quinoa and courgette fritters.

So I give you this banana and cinnamon loaf, whose sweetness and spiced flavour doesn’t attempt to beat the buckwheat, but instead works with it, so that the best parts of both ingredients come through in every heavenly bite.

Banana and cinnamon buckwheat bread

you will need:

110g coconut oil / butter (melted)
160g brown sugar
4 x bananas, preferably ripe (but if not just mash with a fork until they change their minds)
4 x tbsp almond milk
1 x egg
1 x tsp vanilla paste
275g buckwheat flour (another grain-free flour would work)
1 x tbsp cinnamon
1 x tsp baking powder
1/2 x tsp bicarbonate of soda


Preheat your oven to 180C. This is going to be very easy.

Get that coconut oil / butter melting somewhere. Take one large bowl, and add all your dry ingredients to it. Once the fat has melted, add it along with all your other liquid ingredients to the bowl. Fold the mixture until combined.

If yours was anything like mine, the mixture is quite wet, so I didn’t need to grease or line my loaf tin. Take a call, and then pour! Pop into the oven for 50 minutes, checking after the first 15 that it isn’t catching. After 20 minutes I had to put some foil over to allow the rest to cook.

Take out, allow to cool and make sure you cut yourself a slice while it’s still warm. Delicious slathered in butter,  or with this raspberry chia jam.

Banana and cinnamon buckwheat bread with chia raspberry jam

Raspberry chia jam

raspberry chia jam

This is one of those ‘why-didn’t-I-make-this-BEFORE’ recipes (if like me you have chia seeds in the cupboard that you feel guilty about not using very much).

This jam has a fraction of the sugar content you’ll find in most jams – and because of this, it actually tastes like raspberry. It’s delicious, I’ve been finding excuses to incorporate it into my food all day.

Banana and cinnamon buckwheat bread with raspberry chia jam

Banana and cinnamon buckwheat bread with raspberry chia jam

you will need:

150g frozen raspberries / or any other low FODMAP berry (could use fresh)
1 x tbsp maple syrup
1 x tsp vanilla paste
2.5 x tbsp chia seeds


If using frozen berries, pop in a bowl with a little boiling water and break up with a fork so that they’re a little bit mushy with some liquid in the bottom. Combine your berries, maple syrup and vanilla paste in a food processor or blender and whiz up into a fine, smoothie like texture.

Add your chia seeds, and stir through. Pop in the fridge, stirring every fifteen minutes or so. After about half an hour the jam will be set and you can enjoy it on this banana and cinnamon buckwheat bread, in your porridge, with your ice cream, your yoghurt… everywhere! Guilt free and gorgeous.

This will keep for 4 days in the fridge, so you have every excuse to have an extra spoonful!


Low FODMAP Banoffee Pie

low fodmap banoffee pie

I picked my brother up from the airport yesterday – he’s been away in Hong Kong for five months and so today we had a huge roast dinner with all of the family to welcome him home; it was such a great day.

I wanted to make a cheek-achingly sweet pudding he used to love as a kid – banoffee pie. Of course – we’re about to start the third week of the FODMAP free challenge – so no cheating allowed!

Thanks to the Monash app though – I was able to double and triple check, and we are allowed up to two plain sweet biscuits in a portion, and cream, so long as it’s whipped. So you have two options with this pie if you’re making a low FODMAP version: either use plain rich tea biscuits for your base, or use gluten free digestives. Digestives make a more robust base with texture, but rich tea work well too. The star of this pie though, is the pecan. Don’t make it without them, they bolster the base with crunch and flavour that marries beautifully with the banana and once candied, they bling up the topping with their glistening coats.

low fodmap banoffee pie

the evolution of pie

you will need:

(for the base:)
225g rich tea biscuits OR gluten free digestives
100g pecans
125g salted butter (melted)

(for the filling:)
125g salted butter
100g soft brown sugar
400g dulce de leche or caramel
1/2 tsp salt

(for the topping:)
60g pecans
15g icing sugar
4 ripe bananas
juice of half a lemon
275ml double cream
1/4 tsp coffee granules/ground coffee


To make the base: crush up your biccies into crumbs (you can use a food processor or just throw into a sandwich bag and smash with a rolling pin).
Chop the pecans roughly, keeping the pieces fairly small.
Add the melted butter and stir through. Press into a medium sized pie dish or spring form pan. Pop it in the fridge to stiffen a little while you make the filling.

To make this, add the butter and brown sugar to a pan and melt together on a low heat – being sure to stir constantly. Pour in your dulce de leche / caramel and salt and stir through, allowing to bubble. If you want to make this a salted caramel affair, add an extra few twists to your liking. Take off the heat, and then pour onto your biscuit base. Pop back in the fridge to cool for about an hour.

To make the candied pecans, rinse them under water, drain and cover with the icing sugar. Pop them into the oven at about 180 degrees and bake for 10-15 mins, being sure to check them every couple of minutes to ensure they don’t catch. Remove and leave to cool – the sugar will harden and form beautiful, sparkling crystals.

Ok! When you’re about ready to serve, whip your cream, adding the coffee as you go. It’s just a subtle flavour through the cream, but it works with all the sweetness this pud has got going on.

Slice your bananas thinly, and drizzle your lemon juice over them. Place them in circles over the pie. Dollop the whipped cream on top, smoothing out as much as you like. Finally, decorate with your sparkling pecans, and you’re ready to serve!

Gooey, gorgeous, gluten-free banoffee heaven. Sunday wouldn’t be Sunday without a treat, would it?

low fodmap banoffee pie

Chocolate dream cake

Chocolate dream cake

I could eat this pud every day. IT IS SO GOOD. The recipe is from My New Roots, who made this stunning layered raspberry creation  – which I’ve tried too and can assure you is fantastic. I had to pull out some serious stops recently for a dinner party though so thought I’d bling it up and make a crowd-pleasing chocolate version.

Now, beware … this recipe is high in GOS as its main ingredient is cashew. It’s also moderately high in fructose thanks to the honey but you can substitute for agave nectar. I am lucky to tolerate these FODMAPs and take a great deal of comfort in the fact that it’s still a lactose free, gluten free dessert which you can serve a group of friends and not feel self conscious about your free-from option; most people won’t even know the difference. I made a raspberry version for my team at work once and they spent about ten minutes guessing the ingredients; cashew was not high on the list.

Chocolate dream cake

you will need:

1/2 cup raw almonds
1/2 cup soft dates
1/4 tsp sea salt

1 ½ cups raw cashews, soaked in cold water (for at least 5 hours, soak overnight if you can. You can speed the process up by soaking in boiling water.)
juice of 2 lemons
2 tsp vanilla paste
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
1/3 cup honey / agave nectar
1/3 cup cocoa powder

Choose anything you’d like to bling it up. Chocolate shavings…chocolate chips…some berries… I  used some candied hazelnuts and a glittery chocolate bar which I smashed up. If you want to be a show off like I did you might add some chocolate work (easier than it looks if you haven’t tried – just pipe melted chocolate onto a baking sheet and refrigerate until solid)


Chuck your almonds and dates together into a food processor or mini chopper with salt and pulse until you can press the mixture with your fingers and it holds its shape. You may wish to do it in batches. I quite like the base to have a grainy, crunchy texture, but if you feel otherwise then pulse until smoother.

Press the base into a 7″ spring-form tin (or cling film a flat-based bowl) with your fingers, I find you have to persevere with the mixture to ensure it’s properly packed down.

Now dig out your blender (or clean your food processor if that’s what you used for the base – it needs to be quite large though!). Warm the coconut oil and honey in a small pan on a low heat until it melts down, whisking it to combine. It might stay a little separated but don’t worry too much.

Add this liquid to the blender / food processor and all the other topping ingredients plus extras, in this case cocoa powder. Blend until very smooth – this does take some effort. I have to keep scraping the sides of the blender and stirring the mixture round to ensure evenly blended. Do not scrimp on lemon juice; as My New Roots explains, this is what gives the dream cake its cheesecake-like tang.

You can freeze the dream cake to set it – just take out 30 mins before serving.  I’ve always just popped it in the fridge to set for a few hours before serving and it’s been perfect every time. Leftovers can be frozen too, which is a dream indeed.

Chocolate dream cake

Gluten free, low lactose Portuguese custard tarts

Gluten free, low lactose Portuguese custard tarts

These gluten free and low lactose Portuguese inspired custard tarts are quick, easy and tasty – adjectives I don’t tend to associate with free-from baking!

While food shopping last week I spotted a product I got really excited about.

Silly Yak gluten free ready to roll pastry block

Silly Yak’s gluten free, Ready to Roll Pastry Block.

That’s going straight in my basket.

This is something I haven’t really seen before, and because every homemade GF dough/pastry I’ve attempted so far hasn’t really worked, I was definitely ready to roll with this.

One thing I will say is that this isn’t suitable for freezing, so you will need to buy it and use it within the sell by date. Seeing that I had reached this date and the pastry was indeed starting to look a little sad, I decided to make some quick little Portuguese style custard tarts, inspired by Jamie Oliver’s recipe video from 30 Minute Meals. These are gluten free, low in lactose (just a little yoghurt but we’re allowed 2 tbsp a day, so even if you went ape and ate all the tarts at once… you’d probably be ok). They’re almost totally low FODMAP – be aware there is soya flour in the pastry block.

Gluten free, low lactose Portuguese custard tarts

You will need:

1 x block of Silly Yak Gluten Free Ready to Roll Pastry Block
sprinkle of cinnamon..
butter (for greasing)

For the custard:
1 large egg
2 tbsp plain yoghurt
2 tbsp caster sugar
grated zest of 1/2 an orange
1 tsp vanilla paste


Makes 6 custard tarts.

Heat your oven to 200C.

Roll out your pastry on a lightly floured surface – I used gluten free but a little plain flour would have been ok too. This pastry is quite sticky so you may want to flour your rolling pin too. Roll it out to about a centimetre thick – and then sprinkle a good pinch of cinnamon over the pastry.

Using a large circular cookie cutter (or floured glass if you don’t have), cut out as many tarts as your pastry will allow. I made six, but had some leftover custard so just see how you go – it’s likely that if you stick to the sell by date (unlike me), you won’t have to trim any pastry away (like me!)

Now grease a muffin tin (or better yet, use a silicone one) and press each pastry circle into the base of each hole and pull them up the sides too. Blind bake for about ten minutes.

Gluten free, low lactose Portuguese custard tarts

Now it’s time to make the custard.

In a bowl, whisk together your custard ingredients. Again I can’t stress enough how much better this recipe will be if you use the vanilla paste rather than just vanilla extract. Trust me – invest in the paste, it’s so much more potent and will go way further than vanilla extract anyway in anything you’re making.

Once the tarts are almost baked (prick the bottoms to see if they’ve firmed up before adding the custard), spoon your custard into each one – be brave and fill nearly to the top! The custard will set and they will firm up once in the oven.

Bake for about 8 minutes – just keep your eye on them.

These really are so quick and easy to make and it feels like a real treat to be able to eat something warm and comforting straight from the oven – I think largely because it’s a very convincing pastry – which I’m not used to nowadays. I think this kind of product is a testament to the fact that wheat free products are really coming along – and it’s exciting!

Gluten free, low lactose Portuguese custard tarts

Orange Polenta Cake with orange and cardamom syrup

Orange polenta cake with orange and cardamom syrup

I’ve sampled two polenta cakes in London over the past few months. The really standout one came from Lily Vanilli Bakery just off Columbia Road. It was a very simple polenta slice topped with black sesame seeds, I think using olive oil rather than butter, which gave it such a gorgeous and distinctive flavour that I haven’t really stopped thinking about since.

Lily Vanilli Bakery

Since that heavenly cake, I’ve been keen to attempt my own. The mood really struck me last week, cold and hungry for cake. I dug out my slightly neglected pack of polenta and decided on a buttery version of the cake over olive oil, just to try things out. It seemed to go down really well, and take it from someone who is definitely not a baker (yet, anyway), it was a totally not-a-palaver polenta cake.

Orange polenta cake with orange and cardamom syrup

you will need:

for the cake

200unsalted butter at room temperature (plus some for greasing)
200caster sugar (we always like to use golden for a nicer colour)
200ground almonds
100fine polenta (or cornmeal)
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
large eggs
zest of  oranges

for the syrup

juice of  3 oranges
125g caster sugar
5 cardamom pods, crushed

Heat the oven to 180°C / 340°F. (Aga users, use the baking oven if you have)

Dig out a 9inch springform tin, or any size you have really, as polenta cakes still look lovely when they’re quite flat and disc like. Line the bottom with greaseproof paper and grease the sides with some butter.

Keep the butter out to soften and weigh out your ingredients.

You can buy ground almonds easily, but I had a load in the larder so decided to blanch and grind my own almond meal. Very easy, just a bit time consuming and requires a food processor / mini chopper (my weapon of choice). To do this, weigh out 200g of the almonds and boil the kettle. Cover the almonds in a large bowl with boiling water and leave to soak for a good 5 minutes. Drain and fill the bowl with cold water. Stick something very diverting on your nearest device and get going. Took me about half an hour but was really easy, you literally just squeeze the almond out of the skins, which will be loose. I found it weirdly therapeutic, but if this sounds like hell to you then treat yourself to the pre-ground stuff.

Once your almonds are all naked, dry them with some kitchen towel and lay them out somewhere warm to just dry off completely. You’re going to need to grind these in a food processor of some kind, so you don’t want them to be wet or it’ll just smush down and be a nightmare. Once dry, add to a food processor / mini chopper in batches and grind into a slightly grainy meal.

While they’re drying, zest two oranges and squeeze the juice from three. Set aside.

Chop your butter into cubes to make it easier to work with, and once it seems reasonably malleable beat together the sugar and butter in a large bowl with a wooden spoon. You can use a food processor I guess on a mix setting too.

When you’ve combined the butter and sugar and ground your almonds, in a separate bowl you can mix together your gorgeous golden polenta, almonds and baking powder.

Now we can make the cake! Add a third of the butter / sugar mix to the dry ingredients and combine, then add an egg and beat in. Add another third of the butter / sugar, beat, add an egg, beat, and continue to do this until everything’s combined. Add the orange zest last and beat together. Scoop mixture into the tin and even out before popping in the oven for about 40 mins.

Mine was catching slightly after about 30 minutes but still not cooked (a curse often thrown upon me when I bake… I blame the Aga) at which point I put some foil over it and carried on cooking it, actually for a further 15 / 20 minutes. My advice would be to use a skewer to check the cake very carefully – it’s wobbly before it cools, which is normal but you do want the skewer to be clean. Be careful though, I think prodding mine with a knife caused it to sink quite badly!

Take out and allow to cool in it’s tin on a wire rack. Don’t remove from the tin until you’re ready to serve.

This is a sweet cake that doesn’t necessarily need the syrup at all. It does add to it though, and I think is worth doing. To make it, combine the crushed cardamom, orange juice and sugar in a pan on a low heat and allow to thicken and reduce. When ready to serve, prick the cake all over slightly with a skewer and then brush the syrup all over it and take out the tin when ready to serve.

I know this is delicious served up with a dollop of creme fraiche for the rest of the family / friends, but it’s also really good with a spoonful of plain yoghurt to balance out the sweetness. Less than 2 spoonfuls are low lactose and should be tolerated by most of us!

I’m so glad I finally made this cake – it’s such a comforting treat. I can’t wait to make it again!

Orange Polenta Cake with Orange and Cardamom Syrup

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!


raspberry sorbet, berries & dark chocolate


The low FODMAP diet is so restrictive. Especially when it comes to sugar. But I find ways of eating pudding, of course, as I have such a sweet tooth. When my family reach for the frozen yoghurt/ice cream some evenings, I turn to sorbet. One of my favourites is raspberry sorbet, which is delicious topped with berries and some crushed raspberry filled dark chocolate. Little bit of glucose in here but sometimes you just need a little lift and I don’t think the amounts are too shameful! Better than diving into a gluten-filled dessert at least.