Friday, 23 December 2016

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Bolognese Sauce, Homemade Tomato Sauce and how to re-grow Spring Onion Greens

One of the dishes I missed most when I first started eating Low-Fodmap (LF) was Spaghetti Bolognese.  My Bolognese sauce had always contained large amounts of Onion, Celery, Mushrooms, Carrots, Courgettes and Garlic. And Onions, Mushrooms and Garlic were now on the list of things I dare not eat.  Bolognese without Onions and Mushrooms especially would never be the same again. Never.  My Bolognese sauce was now pretty bland, not the thing of joy it had been, both to make and to eat.

I've tried every which way to make a Bolognese Sauce that matched the richness of my pre-LF sauce. Just recently a friend sent me a recipe which is her mother-in-laws, and her mother-in-law is Italian, so I thought I'd give it a go. I noticed that there is no Garlic in this recipe, although there are Onions, which I have replaced with Spring Onion Greens.

Bolognese Sauce
serves 4 - 6
40g Butter
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Garlic Infused Oil
1 Carrot chopped
1 Celery Stalk
50g Unsmoked Bacon chopped
550g Minced Beef
150ml Red Wine
1Tablespoon Tomato Puree
150ml Homemade Tomato Sauce (see recipe below)
150ml Chicken Stock
Salt and Black Pepper
150ml Lactose-free Milk
6 Tablespoons Parmesan Cheese
Spring Onion Greens

1. In a large heavy bottom pan, heat the Butter and Oil, add the Vegetables and unsmoked Bacon and cook over a low heat for 5 minutes.
2. Increase the heat and crumble the Minced Beef into the pan.  Cook, stirring all the time until the Beef has browned.  Add the Wine, give it a couple of minutes until it evaporates.  Add the Tomatoes.  Add Tomato Puree and stir until the Tomatoes and Puree are absorbed into the meat and veg.
3. Add Parsley, Chives, Spring Onion Greens.
4. Add 150ml of Homemade Tomato Sauce.
5. Add Chicken Stock. Turn the heat down and simmer uncovered on a low heat for about 30 minutes.
6. Add Salt and Black Pepper to your taste.
7. Cooking slowly, covered for at least 1hr 30 minutes ( I usually cook mine for 2 hrs, adding the milk a little at a time until used up.
8. During this time, if you like the sauce more liquid than dry also add a little water at a time with the milk.
I usually make this the day before I need it as it tastes better the next day.  And I make a large batch which I can then freeze in portions.

Homemade Tomato Sauce
1 can of Tomatoes
1 tsp dried Oregano
1 tsp dried Basil
½ tsp Salt
½ tsp Balsmic Vinegar
½ tsp Maple Syrup
1 Carrot chopped and steamed (use water in Tomato Sauce)
1.   Place all ingredients in Food Processor and process until smooth.
2.   Put into pan with a little olive oil and simmer gently for 30 minutes. If needed add a little water as it cooks.
When cool measure into 150ml portions and put into freezer bags and freeze, ready to use in Bolognese Sauce or just on its own with pasta.

Spring Onion Greens Re-Growing
When I have used all the green of the spring onions I buy, I place the white parts in a jar of water just to cover the roots.  Leave and the green part of the Spring Onion will re-grow.
If you are doing this indoors, please replace the water daily, as there can be a smell.  If re-growing outdoors, I don’t worry about this too much.

When you have a new crop of Spring Onion Greens, cut the green parts, and chop or cut with scissors.  Place in Ice Cube trays, stuff as much as you can into each ice cube compartment and then add a little water and freeze.  When frozen you can then decant into Freezer bags and you have Spring Onion Greens to add to your cooking.

Monday, 21 September 2015

Chinese Porridge - LF Go To Foods in IBS crisis

For over a year now I’ve been following the low-fodmap diet.  I prefer to call it a regimen, because I've found that people generally assume that a diet is often faddy.  And as all of us know who are living the Low-Fodmap regimen, it's not a fad, it is a necessity, a way of eating means we don't spend our lives in pain and or sitting on the loo a lot!

Here in leafy outer London, we are a multi-cuisine household.  My other half is Chinese-Malaysian, so for the past god knows how many years I have been attempting to reproduce Chinese and South-East Asian food, whilst we also like Italian, Indian and French food. I am a big fan of Rachel Khoo’s -  Little Paris Kitchen, but have not gotten around to attempting to adapt any of the recipes.  Possibly because one of my favourites is Tarte Tatin and I really cannot face the disappointment I feel at not being able to eat that wonderful dish of apple soaked pastry!

So for a while, food chez nous, post my IBS diagnosis, was a little bland. You know that feeling don't you? The aroma is amazing, but you risk a day or more of bloating, cramps and pain if you dip into that dish which probably has onions, garlic, etc etc, whatever your particular triggers are.  And as to taking the easy way and getting a ready-made meal to stick in the microwave, so you can put your feet up, well forget it, ready-mades’ are full of no-no additives hidden in there.

So I began reading up as much as I could about the ways in which meals can be adapted, and flavourful, and still be Low-FODMAP eating.

The first stage of my LF journey was mostly about finding recipes I could use, cooking in batches and freezing if possible, so that I had my own LF ready-mades prepared and ready to cook or reheat.  Especially as by this time in my life I had a fairly wide repertoire of recipes I could prepare really without thinking.  Now I had to think and at first it was really frustrating.

So to begin, here are the most important recipes in my recipe book, what every LFodmapper needs, the go to foods when the digestive system is in crisis.
There are three recipes I have for times of digestive crisis.  1 - Chinese Rice Porridge a la Ken Hom and adapted by me.  2 - Chicken Soup Homemade and 3 - Mashed Potatoes with Spinach and Ground Almonds. (I can tolerate Almonds, caution if you cannot)

So here's the first one: 

Chinese Rice Porridge:

1 1/4 pints/ 700ml Water
5fl oz./ 150ml short grain Rice/Basmati Rice/Jasmine Rice
1/2 teaspoon Salt
2 tablespoons Spring Onion Greens finely chopped
Chicken -pre-cooked, finely shredded

The following are my additions for taste:

½  teaspoon ground Coriander
½ teaspoon ground Cumin
1 teaspoon finely grated Ginger
1 tablespoon Coriander and/or Chives finely chopped

1. Wash Rice in sieve, pour 1 1/4 pints/ 700ml cold water into pot and bring to the boil, add Rice and Salt.  

2. Add all the other ingredients except Coriander/Chives finely chopped , bring water back to boil and stir well. Then turn the heat down as low as possible and let simmer for 35 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure that the rice is not sticking to the pot.  Gradually the rice will break down and begin to thicken.

3. When cooked, add pre-cooked shredded chicken. Whilst the Rice is cooking I usually steam Carrots and or Pak-choi to add when the porridge is ready, you can add a drop of Garlic-Infused Oil, and or Sesame Oil if you can tolerate it.  Freshly chopped Coriander or Chives, depending on what you prefer.

4. If you would like to add some colour to the porridge, a ¼ teaspoon Ground Tumeric at Stage 2, or if you can find it Grated Tumeric root as well as Ginger, both are good for the digestive system.

ORIGINAL : Ken Homs Recipe for Rice Congee

Sorry I forgot to take photos.

So hope this is helpful.  I hope to write not only about my successes, also the failures, after all I will learn from those, and share my ups and downs as I navigate my way through Low-Fodmap and living with IBS.

On the right of the blog is a list of all the blogs (so far) that I have found helpful.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Eating Low-Fodmap 101

At the beginning of 2014 I set myself a project, a la Julie Powell's - A Year of Cooking Dangerously - I would cook all the recipes (with the exception of the shell-fish) in Joanne Harris' and Fran Warde's - The French Kitchen, minimum one recipe a week was my goal. And I made a good start cooking three recipes from the book, two of which are here on my blog and the third Tarte Tatin which I never got around to posting.    

And then Fate did, as Fate does, intervene.  And I spent 6 weeks lurching between episodes of dia and vomiting, one particularly bad episode after trying a fritatta for the first time  (never again), there are two no-no's on my list now, shell-fish and fritatta's, don't even mention them.  I was in and out of my doc's like a yo-yo, I had blood tests and procedures, and was becoming well acquainted with the corridors of my local hospital.  Everything came up negative, with one exception there was a bug in my poo that took a week to identify.  There I was imagining that I must have some strange and exotic condition, when my doc got all the results in and declared, we think you have food intolerances that cause IBS.  Oh joy.

And so at the beginning of March this year, armed with information sheets from my GP, and his particular choice of a way to cope, Low-Fodmaps, I began to research the Low-Fodmap way of eating.  I won’t call it a diet, because I am not trying to lose weight, I’m trying to find a way eating that will calm my digestive system and not provoke the worst of the IBS symptoms.  And so here I am almost three and a half months down the line, and feeling that I have at last managed to stabilise my digestive system, and come to terms with the upheaval that is changing my entire way of eating and cooking and what that entails.

Though I still have some symptoms from time to time - (especially after ingesting something I shouldn’t, like too many biscuits, or too much Indian Tonic Water – the only fizzy drink I can allow myself in small amounts) – I am currently experiencing more stability in my digestive regions and as someone on the FB group – Low Fodmap for Foodies – once described as “proper plops”.

Its taken me three months to get used to this new way of eating and devising weekly menus.  Also making what I can eat in batches and freezing.

During this time, I’ve discovered to my surprise the level at which our food is “added to” is far beyond what I’d previously imagined. For instance, we recently had top quality Beef Burgers from the supermarket, I had only eaten half of one before I had to rush to the loo. And sure enough when I checked the ingredients, there it was Onion Powder! So what I’m finding is that foods are added to, to improve taste and that’s where the hidden stuff that provokes my digestive system lurks.

With hindsight I realise there were some clues that I have food intolerances, I just didn’t put them together that they were causing me pain, bloating, gas etc, etc,.  let’s take for instance the biggest culprits, Onions, Garlic, Spring Onions, things I’ve used on a daily basis for years, and then in the last year I noticed that cutting Onions and Garlic caused my eyes to water painfully and the tips of my fingers to sting!

There are, I’ve found upsides to eating Low Fodmap, (apart from the obvious avoiding digestive earthquakes and crises) and the first one, is that we are “eating clean”, cutting out the obvious junk food and the hidden additivies that I’ve discovered most prepared foods seem to contain. I’d never have imagined that store-bought humus contains sugar, but it does; or that some Cottage Cheese contains cream and they do.  The second is that we are eating smaller portions. Oh and my sinuses have cleared up, and my sense of smell is a lot sharper than it used to be.  I can often smell that a food contains something that is going to upset my stomach!

So though at the beginning of my Low-Fodmap journey I was freaked that I might have to cook two sets of meals, one for me and one for Chas, he is now eating what I eat, with the addition of veg and fruit that I cannot, which is great for him as he has type 2 diabetes.

So if you are just starting out on the Low Fodmap way of eating, and feeling freaked out at changes you will need to make, yet also having to cook for family, here’s my suggestion, get yourself a copy of Sue Shepherd’s book,The Complete Low-FODMAP Diet, and visitSuzanne Perrazani's website Strands of My Life,  Suzanne's book, Low Fodmap Menus for IBS, is not only a wonderful collection of recipes, but literally a feast for the eyes, it has wonderfully photographed food which will have your mouth watering!  

From the recipes in these books you can  make a list of menus for one week. Meat and Chicken recipes, can be prepared in batches and frozen, and then served with different veg, rice, quinoa, whatever you choose; so your meals are planned ahead, and stick to it,  while you sort your eating life out. This very important, says the woman who rarely planned meals, and did most of her cooking on a wing and a prayer. Oh and not forgetting the Delicious as it Lookswebsite, which has a wonderful recipe index. (link at end of post).

There will be days when your whole new way of eating and cooking for yourself and possibly family will feel totally overwhelming and you will want to cry, I did. And there will be days when you give in to the incredible urge to have that forbidden food, ice-cream, fizzy drinks, cheese-cake or whatever it is “that doesn’t love you back”, and you will pay for it, keep Loperamide handy!  You will have eaten whatever it might be, possibly because like me, every so often you feel like a child who is being denied their treats.

Organise, I cannot emphasis that enough, says she who hates planning ahead, but I found it to be a must, to instigate the changes I need to make.  I now have two folders, one is filled with Low-Fodmap recipes,  a stock sheet which records the contents of the Low-Fodmap section of my freezer, and a bog standard weekly planner with menus for each day.  And the other Folder contains information I have gleaned from various sources, doctor, and the internet.
Menu and Freezer Stock Sheets

It is really important that you have contact with other Low-Fodmappers, I was really lucky to discover on that first day I got the diagnosis,The Low Fodmap for Foodies on Facebook.  The group is enormously supportive and helpful, and you will be connected to people who may be further along in the low-fodmap journey and will benefit from that contact.

And I do a DSDOR every week, that’s a Digestive System Day of Rest, eating lightly.

My weekly menu plan is based around these dishes:

Sea Bass or Sea Bream Steamed with Rice, Veg and Salad
Low Fodmap Spaghetti Bolognaise Sauce with GF Pasta
Chicken Wings marinated overnight in Maple Syrup, Ginger, and Tumeric with steamed veg and salad
Chinese Chicken Breasts a la Sue Shepherd recipe (p. 151 The Complete Low-Fodmap Diet)  served with rice, steamed veg and salad.
Turkey Meatloaf
Homemade Beef Burgers
All of the above are served with Veg and Salad.

Homemade Chicken Broth with Carrots and Herbs from the Delicious As It Looks Website

And mostly I have these dishes with Rice, Quinoa, Vermicelli Noodles (Rice Sticks)