Crunchy chilli beef salad

Low fodmap chilli beef salad

This is perfect when you want a healthy dinner that doesn’t compromise on exciting flavours or textures. It’s mainly raw so tastes wonderfully fresh.

I’ve included sugarsnap peas here as I tolerate fructose, but you can easily swap in any green veggies to suit you!

you will need:

1 x large high quality minute steak
1 x nest of fine vermicelli rice noodles
LOADS of greens (anything works – I’ve used sugarsnap peas but if you can’t tolerate fructose, 1/2 cup of savoy cabbage, broccoli or green beans would work – just make sure you steam the cabbage a little before adding in!)
2 x good handfuls of pea shoots or spinach leaves
1 x fresh chilli
2 x spring onions (green parts only)
garlic oil
juice of half a lime
dash of soy sauce
dash of fish sauce
sesame seeds (optional)

method:

Begin by heating your garlic oil in a pan. Flash fry the minute steak (it will need hardly any time at all!) and move to a chopping board.

Chop your chilli and spring onions finely. Dice any green veggies you’re including – simply steaming the savoy cabbage for 1 minute if using. Broccoli and green beans add nice crunch when raw, but if it’s easier on your stomach, steam a little first before adding to the dish.

Slice your steak into fine strips. Add to a large bowl with your veggies, two handfuls of pea shoots or similar, tossing in the spring onions and chilli too. Squeeze the lime juice, soy and fish sauce over the salad to your taste and mix well.

In salted, boiling water, add your rice noodles and cook for one minute. Drain these, trying to get as much water out of them as possible before stirring through the salad.

Sprinkle with some sesame seeds and this is ready to enjoy. Delicious with a beer … if you’re lucky enough to tolerate one!

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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:

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

Topping:
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

Decoration:
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)

method:

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

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

kale & parmesan salad with dates and toasted almonds

kale salad

So after spending 17 days in Sicily I am definitely in need of some light and fresh food. Although there were plenty of gluten free options and I managed to stay clear of bread and pizza, I couldn’t resist so many of the pasta dishes on offer. Plus, the region we were in was known for its production of gorgeous almonds, pistachios and ricotta. All on the naughty list.

Anyway, I’m home now and it’s time to get back on the wagon! Enter this simple but delicious Kale Salad with Dates, Parmesan and Almonds I like from Epicurious. It’s a great mix of sweetness and citrus flavours and with all the deliciousness of the parmesan thrown in it’s easy to forget you’re eating raw kale!

The original recipe has shallots in, but I’ve taken them out. The dates and honey mean that this recipe is moderately high in fructose, so beware. If you know you malabsorb fructose or are yet to reach the reintroduction stage of the low FODMAP diet, replace the honey with maple syrup and skip the dates. A handful of almonds is perfectly legal so enjoy. Leave enough time for the kale to sit in the dressing before gobbling – at least 20 minutes.

Kale salad

Prep time: 10 mins
Total time: 30 mins
Serves: 1

you will need:
– big handful of kale, stalks removed
– 1/3 cup almonds, sliced
– 3 dates, chopped (these are high in fructose so be aware if you malabsorb this group!)
– teaspoon of honey (ditto above – sub in maple syrup if you need to)
– six slices of good parmesan cheese
– lug of olive oil
– juice of 1/2 lemon
– salt & pepper

Whisk your lemon juice, honey and salt and pepper together in a big bowl. Add kale and leave for at least 20 minutes (you can also make this a day in advance and finish the salad just before you’re ready to serve – allowing the kale to soak up maximum goodness!)

while the kale is sitting, slice your almonds roughly into halves and toast them on a medium heat in a dry pan until they deepen in colour.

when 20 minutes have passed, add the almonds, chopped dates and sliced parmesan to the kale. add a generous splash of olive oil, and you’re ready to eat. Enjoy!

raspberry sorbet, berries & dark chocolate

sorbet

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.