Low FODMAP Meatballs

low fodmap meatballs

For the last few weeks I’ve been roasting a chicken every Sunday, so that I have a good base to work from for my lunches during the week. It means I can make some chicken stock up the same evening, which I use for all sorts of meals during the week: soup, stews … or even just cooking ‘grains’ like rice or quinoa in to add some extra flavour.

Last week though, I got a little sick of chicken. I often do this with food; find an ingredient I love and eat it, and eat it, and eat it until I’ve totally ODd. But unlike Sesame Snaps, which I haven’t been able to eat since year 9 following an 8-week lunchbox obsession, a roast chicken can’t really be replaced in my eyes.

Acting quickly following this realisation, I decided to try a new kind of meat-feast. I like meat in my lunches, and I l-o-v-e meatballs. Meatballs with rice … with slaw … with salad … I repurposed these guys each day last week with joy.

you will need:

1 x 250g pack of lean beef mince
a big handful of fresh basil
a not so big handful of fennel seeds
1 x egg
1 x pinch of asofatedia powder (optional)
garlic oil (for frying)

method:

Start by beating an egg in a large mixing bowl. Roughly chop up your mince on a board so that it is a little easier to work with. Finely chop up your basil, and crush the fennel seeds (either roughly with the base of your knife or with a pestel and mortar if you have the energy). Add all the remaining ingredients to the mixing bowl and mix together with your hands. If you want to get an oniony flavour coming through in these, you can add a pinch of asofatedia powder to the mix. But be warned – it’s strong stuff! You only need a pinch.

Roll into balls, frying in garlic oil when you’re ready. I like to cook the whole lot (3 mins on each side should do it) in one pan and then just either freeze or keep in the fridge for the week, eating as I need them.

These really do take hardly any time at all – and when you consider that most off-the-shelf meatballs contain onion, it might be worth giving them a go!

low fodmap meatballs

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Comforting sausage cassoulet

Comforting sausage cassoulet

I love making this dish. It’s so simple but the flavours are everything you want in a big bowl of mid-winter comfort food. And although it’s almost Spring in England … it’s still coat and glove weather, which means cassoulet remains firmly on my mid-week menu.

My version contains a high amount of GOS thanks to the white beans here, however I’ll pop a few suggestions in the recipe for those who are going through eliminations / can’t tolerate the beans.

you will need:

(makes enough for two people)
2 cups white beans (e.g. cannellini), soaked and cooked*
half a packet of good quality pancetta
4-6 good quality sausages
1 x tin of tomatoes
4 cups low FODMAP bone broth / chicken stock
splash of red wine
a few bay leaves, sprigs of thyme and rosemary
garlic oil

* substitute for white beans: use a few potatoes (boil first) or two finely diced carrots, to be fried in the pan with the sausages.

method:

If you aren’t using canned beans, the first step is to soak the beans, and cook them. If you are cooking them, do so in a good amount of chicken stock – about 2 or 3 cups. This will make sure they start out full of flavour. Cook them in a big enough pot – you’ll be adding other bits to this later.

Take the leaves off a few spriggs of rosemary and thyme, reserving the stalks. Pop the stalks into a frying pan with the pancetta. Once the pancetta is crisp, remove it from the pan and reserve.

*If not using white beans, ensure that a) your potatoes are cooked or b) that your diced carrots have been fried in the pancetta fat and reserved before the sausages have gone in.

Chop the sausages into meatball sized chunks; it’s up to you whether or not  you leave the skin on. I like to take it off and just use the sausage meat. Pop these into the pan (still with the herb stalks), adding a little garlic oil if you need. You’re just browning the sausages here, but I would advise cooking them most of the way through.

When your beans are cooked, or have been cooking in chicken stock for at least a little bit if they were from a can, you can start to add the other elements to your cassoulet.

The way I like to do it is this; add a tin of tomatoes, followed by a splash of red wine and the remaining cup of stock, and all the leaves and stalks of the herbs (chop the rosemary really finely and crack the bay leaves to help release their oils). Let this bubble and reduce a bit.

Once you’ve got a slightly thickened, gorgeous smelling base for your cassoulet, add the sausages. I like to add the pancetta here too because I think the longer it has to kind of melt into the stew the better, but if you like it crispy you can add this at the end too. Give it a taste, it may want some pepper.

This is comfort food …if you’re anything like me, hugging a bowl of this close to you as you eat it will always make your day a little bit better.

Salmon and parsley pesto salad

Salmon and parsley pesto salad

Mondays are hard. I know that before the low FODMAP diet, the way I felt tonight when I came through the door… there would’ve been one thing on the menu tonight. It would’ve been pizza. I’d have stopped into Tesco on the way home, I’d have bought a Hawaiian pizza and a beer, and I’d have eaten the whole thing in one sitting.

Alas. This isn’t a Hawaiian pizza and a beer – it’s not really even worthy of comparison to a Hawaiian pizza and a beer, but it is comparably quick to make, delicious to eat – and it outranks the Hawaiian when it comes to health, post-meal smugness and of course – the bloat factor.

You make a salmon parcel in foil – which takes all of two minutes. While that’s cooking in the oven, whizz up the pesto. On a bed of rocket, rests your salmon, under a heap of fresh, fragrant pesto. What a cracking mid-weeker.

you will need:

1 x salmon fillet
1/2 a lemon
knob of butter
Couple of glugs of white wine (1 in the sauce, 1 for you)
handful of parsley
5 or 6 brazil nuts
handful of grated parmesan
garlic oil
a few generous handfuls of rocket leaves

method:

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees. On a baking tray, lay out some foil. Pop your salmon fillet on the foil, with a knob of butter on top. Pour on a little white wine, a good squeeze of lemon, and season well. Wrap the salmon up and pop in the oven for about ten minutes. You can check it isn’t drying out after 7 minutes and just spoon over some of the sauce to keep it moist.

While the fish is cooking, take a mini chopper / food processor and add your brazil nuts, a good drizzle of garlic oil, one  handful of rocket and one handful of parsley (include the stalks). Whiz it up. Next, squeeze lemon juice into the mix and grate a small amount of parmesan in there too. You can zest some lemon if you like too and add a little bit of black pepper. I don’t like my pesto too wet but if you prefer the texture, simply add more garlic oil – or just regular olive oil. Be sure to use a good quality one if you can though as it does make a real difference.

By the time you’ve done this, your salmon should be cooked. Take it out and have a look, and if it flakes away in the middle slightly, you can serve up. Pop your salmon onto a bunch of salad leaves (be it rocket or otherwise) and top with your pesto. Monday is saved!

Smoked mackerel salad with orange

Smoked mackerel salad with orange

Have we seen the back of the ‘new year, new you’ salad drive yet? Apparently not. But this is a game changer, I promise.

Mackerel and orange are a seriously good duo. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it – I’ve been repeating versions of this all week. And with all the winter disease rife in any workplace, you’d be a fool to shun the vitamin C.

YOU WILL NEED:

1/2 an orange, sliced
2 x smoked mackerel fillets
Handful of chicory leaves or shredded iceberg (anything with some bite, basically)
Drizzle of olive oil

METHOD:

There isn’t one really. Shred your salad if you need to, and arrange on a plate with mackerel and orange slices. Drizzle with olive oil and season well!  If it’s not orangey enough for you, you can zest some of the skin. Whoever said salads were boring…

Mackerel salad with orange

 

Mediterranean style lemon chicken salad

Mediterranean style lemon chicken salad

Ask a British person what their favourite thing about the winter is and I guarantee you, Sunday roasts will rank highly on their list.

One of my favourite things about a Sunday roast is the mileage you can get out of one meal. You can’t beat a roast chicken for value. A lot of people complain about the price of a whole free range chicken these days, and it’s true that they’re not cheap, however by using all of the meat and then making chicken stock, one bird will provide you with many a meal.

This recipe from Madeleine Shaw is one that works particularly well. Fantastic on a Monday, it’s a refreshing, salty, zesty salad to cut through the richness of a roast and all the other weekend naughtiness.

you will need:

for the salad:
a good handful of cooked chicken breast
two handfuls of iceberg and any other lettuce – I really like the bitterness of chicory
2 x tbsp green olives
1 x tbsp pine nuts, toasted

for the dressing:
zest of half a lemon
garlic oil
2 x tbsp plain yoghurt (I use goat’s milk yoghurt as it doesn’t contain any lactose)

method:

Place your chicken and salad leaves onto a plate. While your pine nuts are toasting in a dry pan, make the yoghurt dressing. Mix together your yoghurt, lemon zest and garlic oil in a bowl. Stir well.

Add the olives and toasted pine nuts to the salad, followed by your dressing. I actually think the goat’s milk yoghurt works well with the lemon, but if it isn’t to your taste, 2 tablespoons of regular yoghurt is low FODMAP too.

Mediterranean style lemon chicken salad

Courgette and quinoa fritters

Quinoa courgette fritters

Crunchy, filling and a little bit naughty … find me somebody who doesn’t love a fritter.

These beauties, formed from courgette and quinoa, are all of the above, and require a lot less effort than you might think. If you remember to put your quinoa on to cook while you prep the rest of the ingredients, they’ll be ready in a flash.

you will need (makes 6 fritters):

125g quinoa
1 x courgette (grated)
3 x spring onions (finely sliced, green parts only)
2 x tbsp garlic oil
2 x eggs (beaten)
zest of 1 lime
30g buckwheat flour (or any other GF flour)
half a block of feta (chopped)

method:

First get your quinoa on to boil. You can cook it either in boiling water, or in some low FODMAP stock for a really delicious base.

While it’s bubbling away, throw your spring onions, eggs, feta, lime zest and flour into a bowl. On a plate, grate the courgette and then roll the gratings in some kitchen towel to blot away any water. This is important, as you want your fritters to hold their shape and that won’t happen if they get soggy.

When your quinoa is cooked, drain it, allow to cool and add to the mixture. If your mixture is too dry you can add another egg. If too wet, sieve in some more flour.

Pop a large pan on a high heat, and add your garlic oil:  it’s time to fry your fritters! Everyone has their own way of doing this part, but I think the easiest way is to scoop a good sized portion of the mix straight into the pan with a spoon, using a spatula immediately to flatten and shape it. I fry three at a time, for 3-4 minutes on each side. Once the first side is done, you might find they hold their shape really well and you can flip them without too much trouble. For me, my first batch was very co-operative, while the second had to be turned into (a very delicious) Plan B: a kind of quinoa bubble and squeak.

If you do manage to escape with fully formed fritters however, they are really tasty on their own, in a gluten free bun, or on a bed of fresh rocket. Definitely one to revisit come summer BBQ season too.

corguette and quinoa fritters

 

 

Lunch in a flash: Fennel and tuna salad

Fennel and tuna salad

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I find low FODMAP lunchtimes can be a tedious affair if you’re prepping meals at work.

If I haven’t made anything ahead, lunchtime means looking for quick fixes; an easy lunch that I can throw together with minimal ingredients and fuss. The trouble is, to stick to a raw low FODMAP lunch, the options open to us are few. I only really ever eat salads, sushi, or oat and rice cakes slathered with cheese. All of the above are great! But it’s easy to lose the variety, meaning often I’ll fall in love with one kind of salad, eat it until I can’t stand it, and so begin to search for the next option.

This isn’t a great way to eat of course, especially when options are so limited for us low fodmappers. So, since deciding to re-do my eliminations, I’ve been trying to embrace some different ingredients throughout my week.

For salads, I like to keep a few staples at work like olive oil, vinegar and a lemon, so that there’s always a something to form a decent dressing – no matter how bland the salad beneath! This salad is anything but bland though. By slicing half a fennel bulb finely, stirring through tuna and lemon zest, it’s instantly so much more fresh than what I usually serve myself up at lunchtime.

you will need:

1/2 a fennel bulb, raw.
zest and juice of half a lemon
1 small tin of tuna
olive oil

method:

Finely slice your fennel and place in a bowl. Grate your lemon zest over it, then squeeze the juice in. Add your tuna, and finally drizzle with plenty of olive oil. Season well, and enjoy!

Seared tuna steak with zingy fennel salad

Seared tuna with zingy fennel salad

I love December. I love the comforting meals we associate with it; the stews, soups, roasts and crumbles. It’s got to be the best time of year for eating.

I can’t help but feel though, that this year I sort of want to relish the feast a little bit more. Loading up on heavy, indulgent food for the entire month doesn’t create much of a climax in Christmas dinner.

I think perhaps without wheat this festive season, I’ve turned more and more to potato … so without the tantalisingly tasty sausage rolls (cry) and comforting mince pies in my life, on dark rainy December evenings, although not particularly cold, I’ve been defaulting to jacket potatoes a lot.

So, sometimes it’s necessary to skip the beloved potato and make something like this – a tasty, lemony fennel salad with a nice piece of seared tuna. A breath of fresh air amongst the richness of December dining – and a dinner, I think, that makes you appreciate festive food all the more.

you will need

1 x tuna steak
1 x fennel bulb
1 x lemon
handful of cherry tomatoes
garlic oil

method

Put a griddle pan on really high heat, with no oil.

Chop your fennel bulb into bitesized chunks, and pop into  a bowl. Grate the zest of one lemon over the fennel, drizzling with garlic oil and seasoning well.

Put crosses in the tops of your tomatoes, and add a little oil to the hot pan. Careful – it will spit (if it’s hot enough). Coat the pan in oil and add your tomatoes. After one minute, add the tuna steak and allow to cook for about two minutes, turning it halfway through. You can do this to your taste; I like my tuna quite rare but you can quite easily cook it all the way through.

Add your tuna and tomatoes to the fennel, squeezing some lemon juice over the bowl.

Voila! Takes far less time than a jacket potato, too.

Sundried tomato and pancetta risotto

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I know I haven’t posted in a little while, so apologies! I dashed off to Copenhagen last week for a few days to see their stunning Christmas markets and sample some delicious Nordic cuisine – something I’ve never done before! It was really wonderful and such a special treat.

Back on English soil and into my routine, I was in the mood for something warming and familiar. This is probably my favourite risotto flavour combination. I use sundried tomatoes, which I can happily eat one by one if left alone with a jar. We’re only supposed to have 2 pieces at a time due to these being quite high in fructose – but if you tolerate fructose like me, you can throw in a few more!

you will need

1/3 cup aborio risotto rice
2 (or 4 if you tolerate glucose) sundried tomatoes, roughly chopped
small bunch of basil leaves
a good handful of smoked pancetta or lardons
1/2 packet of passata  or chopped tomatoes
squeeze of tomato puree
1 litre chicken stock (or vegetable)
knob of butter
25g parmesan
garlic oil
splash of white wine

method

Begin by frying your pancetta / lardons in some garlic oil and butter. You want this to become really lovely and crispy, don’t worry about it sticking to the pan a little. Once you’ve achieved desired crispiness, add a splash of wine to deglaze the pan and add a little more butter if you need to, before adding your aborio rice and stirring it all through. You want the rice to be nicely coated in butter before adding more liquid.

After about half a minute or so, add your stock, bit by bit. As the rice drinks it up, add more stock, constantly stirring. Add the passata in too, giving it a good stir. As your rice achieves the texture you’re happy with (normally takes me a good 25 minutes) you can add in the chopped sundried tomatoes, tear in some basil, and once all mixed in, two thirds of your parmesan. Season with pepper and allow to sit for about 10 minutes.

Return to your risotto and tweak the flavours as you see fit. Serve with another sprinkling of parmesan.

Sundried tomato and pancetta risotto

Easy peasy Pad Thai

Easy peasy Pad Thai

This easy peasy, low FODMAP pad thai is top drawer comfort food. Once again I slightly cheated with peanut butter, but why not – life’s too short and my beloved peanut butter needs to be put to use now that I can’t have lashings of it on fluffy white bread (sob). If you feel this pain, I suggest you channel your grief for peanut butter sandwiches with this delicious pad thai like I did last night.

you will need:

1 x nest of thick rice noodles
2 x spring onions (green parts only, you know the drill)
3 x tsp fish sauce
1 x small chilli / smattering of chilli flakes
2 x tsp tamarind paste
2 x tbsp crunchy peanut butter
garlic oil
1 x lime
optional: a portion of fully defrosted prawns or chicken, bean sprouts, or other veggies – I used some bok choi which was nice! Coriander finishes the dish off nicely too.

Slice your spring onions, and any additional ingredients such as chicken or vegetables that need it. Pop your rice noodles in a heatproof bowl and pour boiling water over them. Allow to steep for 5-10 minutes.

Add some garlic oil to a pan / wok and fry spring onions with the chilli and any meat that you’re using. Add any vegetables in once your meat is cooked. Mix together the tamarind, peanut butter, fish sauce and a good squeeze of lime in a mug. When all ingredients are cooked to your liking, add this to the stir fry. Stir through as best you can, removing the pan from the heat if necessary.

Drain the noodles, reserving a little water, and add them to the pan. The water will loosen the stir fry and sauce a little bit. Stir until the noodles are well coated, and dish up. Serve up with a slice of lime and some fresh chopped coriander.