Thursday, 30 June 2016

Banana, Sultana and Choc Chip Muffins #FODMAP

Yesterday I was very lucky to spend it attending a full day workshop on Quality Improvement for healthcare, which working for the NHS as part of a project to improve patient safety it was super beneficial and very interesting. I am really lucky to work with a great bunch - and a great Trust which is committed to improving quality to benefit both us staff and patients. I knew the provided sandwich lunch would be a no go on FODMAP but I had planned ahead and took some leftover baked millet & veggies. However, the hardest part was in the afternoon when trays of amazing looking and smelling cakes appeared - there was glossy topped caramellos, fancy cupcakes and lots of other treats and not a single one was suitable! All I could think about was cake!!

So last night after dinner and still craving cake, I decided to try again with some FODMAP suitable baking, last weeks banana bread was not a huge hit but I decided to persevere with a the banana theme, mainly though as I had two very, very ripe ones to use up! After a rummage through my cookery books I dusted off a copy of 'the egg book'. Its not a book I've admittedly used very much but it does have a few good recipes inside... I chose the banana muffins recipe but tweaked it to be FODMAP friendly, also I increased the liquid to allow for the gluten free flour - which seems much thirstier, and changed the honey to maple syrup. I also had no ground almonds so subbed for ground rice too! Oh and I added some suitable dark chocolate chips and sultanas and left out the nutmeg!

The mixture looked quite sloppy and I easily filled 12 cases rather than the 10 stated! I didn't hold out much hope but was pleasantly surprised and it satisfied my cake longing! The resulting muffin was light and taste rather good even if they did stick super well to their paper cases! Oh and as ever I had great fun making a mess!

Make 12 muffins

225g gluten free plain flour (I used Dove's Farm)
3 tsp baking powder
25g ground rice
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
50g light soft brown sugar
2 large mashed bananas
2 large eggs
2 1/2 tbsp sunflower oil
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
150ml soya milk, unsweetened
3 tbsp maple syrup
50g sultanas
50g dark chocolate chips (check labels for suitability)

Pre-heat oven to 190o

Sift the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and ground rice together.

Separately mix together the eggs, banana, oil, milk and maple syrup. fold into the dry mixture gently and stir through the chocolate chips and sultanas, spoon into prepared muffin cases.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until lightly golden and a skewer comes away cleanly

Monday, 27 June 2016

Monday Meal Plan..... with FODMAP

Ah my sweet meal plan...You and me had such fun together... Sunday nights with a glass of wine, poring over cookbooks longingly gazing at the photos of all the delights to dream of, rummaging in the freezer and cupboards for inspiration....flicking through the never ending pile of recipes torn from magazines currently halfway between being filed in a binder or in a the pink tray under the sofa patiently waiting.. and then FODMAP came along.. like some wicked witch of the west... that despite consenting entirely to try it out... and knowing why I was doing it... well I never figured meal planning would go from a necessity to a staple but at the same time enough to hate meal planning!!

The best piece of advice I've received over doing FODMAP is focus on what you can eat as honestly, the no list is seemingly endless and I can see why people would struggle to get past the first day, yet alone week! I am currently sort of 3 weeks in - most days I have scraped it, some not so much. I am not sure if fortunately or unfortunately I have quickly realised I may never eat pasta in its normal form again and I really regret stock piling and bulk buying pretty much every pasta variety!! In a weak, tired moment last week I cooked up some ready made tortellini.. yeah .. not again...!! I am still making mistakes and discovering new things -who knew buckwheat mash could be so good? The jury is however still out on Amaranth and Millet caused a lot of budgie comments in the office!!

So this week, ha - its already nearly 9pm and dinners eaten - weekend flew by and I only planned tonight after getting home late from work (which is fun but crazy busy right now!!)- majority has been adapted to suit FODMAP diet:

Minced steak with chilli and soya sauce, lettuce wraps, basmati rice

GF breaded mustard coated pork fillets, roasted tomatoes with courgettes & millet

Pulled pork filled peppers, cheesy baked polenta

Calamari either fried or in seafood pancake form GF

GF sausages, buckwheat mash & veggies

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Pulled Pork with FODMAP Ginger Barbecue Sauce

Since my last posting, about starting a FODMAP diet in order to try and figure out some of my ongoing digestive 'issues', it sent me into a bit of well, frankly a meltdown! I think trying to start anything that has such a big impact on everything, combined with a super busy time at work, plus being rather hormonal at the time, it was just heading for a disaster!! I did mention I was on the edge of a meltdown previously and I have never cried in a super market but it came very, very close the following day!! One thing I've learned, is do not go shopping when hungry and whilst doing FODMAP!! Nothing will be suitable and you will only be sad and disappointed!! Not to mention quite close to pretty much offending anyone you love! (Sorry B!)

So, towards the end of last week, in an attempt to get back on plan, afterall on the days I did follow it I REALLY noticed a difference digestively, planning was key in it all and with Father's Day fast approaching and the thought of navigating a restaurant menu bought me out in a cold sweat, I knuckled down and after poring over the FODMAP books, again I decided to do pulled pork.Meat after all is easy, the sauce is where it gets interesting... pretty much any ready made sauce, condiment or flavouring is very much on the no list, and so I decided to make a FODMAP friendly barbecue sauce...

Starting was the hardest part - how to do it without any garlic-honey or onions! Previously I have relied on my trusty 'Winter Barbecue sauce' but couldn't make it due to the aforementioned 'banned' items, along with also not being able to have dates or apple, that sauce was doomed. Also another no go was the sauce I make for my pasta! What to do?!! It was time to start a clean slate, wave goodbye to my beloved garlic and embrace a new food challenge... and its time to say Mr Celery! He will be your new friend!! It substitutes very well for when you would normally be browning your onions etc! The spice Hing was also recommended by my dietitian as a sort of replacement to the flavour that onion gives - I am not entirely sure on quantities but thought would start with half a teaspoon and go from there!!

Fortunately all the hard work paid off and its actually a pretty low maintenance dish whilst still being delicious! The sauce was really tasty, with a sweet smoky depth and also fresh tasting and no one missed the onion or garlic, including my brother commenting it wasn't bloating compared to a regular version. This sauce is now definitely my base sauce!! I adore ginger and would eat it in copious quantities, though the overall finish of the dish is not very gingery at all, if it was just for me I would of added some extra ground ginger!

For the pork - it takes a long time to cook, so plan appropriately. I woke at 6am Sunday morning to put mine in the oven, I recommend a later time but it depends on your guests schedule...

Serves lots - maybe 8? Depends on greed of guests!


Approx 2 kg joint Pork shoulder
1 x 440ml can ginger beer (check label, mine was from Tesco)
1 tin good quality plum tomatoes, chopped
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 stick celery, finely chopped
25g dark soft brown sugar
2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 bay leaves
1 heaped tsp English mustard powder
1/2 tsp hing (also known as Asafoetida)
1 heaped tsp smoked paprika
4 heaped tsp tomato puree concentrate (roughly 1/2 a small tin)
1/2 bunch fresh coriander, shredded

You will need a roasting bag OR lots of foil

Oven 150o (mine is still broken but medium!)

Place the pork joint in the roasting bag and tip in just under half the can of ginger beer (save the rest), seal and place in a baking tin. Or do equivalent making a tight foil bag around the pork. Place in the oven and roast for 6-7 hours or until cooked through and falling apart almost just by simply staring at it.

For the sauce -roughly 3 hours before the pork is going to be ready:

Heat the oil in a medium sized saucepan to medium/ hot heat, fry the celery for 4-5 minutes or until starting to brown, add the red wine vinegar and simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated.

Stir in the bay, smoked paprika, hing, mustard,sugar and tomato puree and saute for about 3 minutes until well incorporated and its a lovely reddish brown colour, stir in the chopped tomatoes and most of the remaining ginger beer (I couldn't resist a sneaky sip!), cover and reduce the heat down low. Simmer for a good 2 1/2 hours, giving the odd stir.

When the sauce is done, stir through 2/3 of the chopped coriander, leaving the prettier leaves for garnish. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Remove the pork from the oven, cut open the bag/ open the foil up and fold back the sides. Lift the pork onto a suitable chopping board (I have one with a drainage area purely for these dishes!) Drain off most of the liquid into a jug and use a little to enhance the barbecue sauce - maybe 1/2 a cup or so at the most.

Remove the rind from the pork - if you want crackling, scrape off most of the loose fat, and return to the oven on a thin baking tray until done to a desired crunch. (I am not a fan but my dad and brother are far more fond of crackling)

Using forks (and maybe a large knife to hack into chunks first), shred the pork into a deep sided baking dish.

Pour over the prepared sauce and return to the oven for about 25 minutes to warm through.

Garnish with remaining coriander leaves and feast! We had ours with a mountain of fodmap suitable roasted veggies and roasted new potatoes

Do not attempt FODMAP diet without consulting a registered dietitian.
OR when in crazy busy month.
I am also very new to this whole diet thing so tailor to your own individual needs and follow advice given by your dietitian!
*Celery is not to be eaten in large quantities on FODMAP but I used a small amount, spread across a large amount of sauce

Saturday, 11 June 2016

Hello, FODMAP...

Last week Anne's Kitchen entered new food territory... albeit I think I am currently in the 'terror' part! Following roughly 16, maybe 17 years of IBS (Irritable bowel syndrome), all the joy that it brought which on a food blog frankly I don't want to divulge too much but has resulted in surgery, more than once rectifying issues, then throw in some GORD (Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease) and managing to then add a little Fibromyalgia in to the mix; they have taken away a lot of the joy that food and drink can bring. Blogging has become really difficult too, so many recipes I love I can no longer have and I've developed sensitivity to several foods, weirdly Kiwi fruit is completely on the no-no list despite a lifetime of eating them! However, I am a determined woman and wont let it get the better of me!!

This meal was almost all on the naughty list apart from the steak, I bought a pack reduced which had a sachet of marinade so I thought I would just leave that off mine but the steak turned out to be already rubbed with something - labelling is so much fun! The buckwheat mash was a new one on both of us and made for me a welcome change to potato with everything!!

Buckwheat 'mash' with steak, roasted peppers and tomatoes
Towards the end of last year all the gastro symptoms came to a head and I lost weight as well as being generally fatigued and totally off my food, fast forward a few months, various gastro tests that didn't show much other than grade B oesophagitis I met with a lovely Dietitian last week and am now going to try the FODMAP diet, with the view to sorting out a lot of my issues. If you want to find out more about it, the Kings College website is a good start. The diet originated in Australia and now seems to be gaining momentum worldwide. FODMAP stands for Fermentable, Oligo-saccharides, Di-saccharides, Mono-saccharides And Polyols- and basically means that short chain carbs do not get digested very well and have their own little party without your permission.

As I had already meal planned last week, I stayed fairly on plan but was able to adjust a few dishes easily. At the moment, 5 days in I am up to about 80% on plan and running halfway between determination and getting a little too emotional whilst shopping. Next week when I go all in is going either make me or break me. This evening in particular almost resulted in a meltdown after getting home and realised the gluten free breadcrumbs had gram flour in. In the end I used them but will now be resigned to when I am back in the re-introducing phase, I'll follow the diet for 4 weeks, then re-introduce and see what happens!

This was a meal I managed to easilly adapt - I did baked haddock fillets, B's had a pistachio herb crumb, mine had polenta sprinkled over with chives - wasn't bad but I do like my crumb a bit more crispy!

Baked fish with roasted potatoes and kale with capers
The actual list of what I can and can't have is daunting. Roughly my diet will be gluten free, wheat free, lactose free and a reduction in dairy. The dairy bit is easy, I already use either almond or soya milk the majority of the time, apart from my endless cups of tea, though hopefully I will adjust to the different flavour. Also, no leeks, beans, pulses, onions  or garlic too. A little awkward when you mostly eat a plant based diet. Out of everything I think no garlic may break my spirit. I love garlic and the thought of a month is gonna be tough! A lot of the fruit I like is also on what I am referring to as the naughty list. However, I must keep strong, remember why I am doing this and focus on what I can eat!!

Over the next month I will try and keep you updated with the high's and potential low's and hopefully if you have issues, it will help you too! Hopefully there will be some tasty recipes too! Please also let me know if you have tried the FODMAP diet and how you got on with it? I am always super grateful for any feedback!!

Monday, 6 June 2016

Meal Planning Monday

Well today is Monday again. where did last week go exactly?! Oh I know - my works project Go Live! For those interested, it has gone really well and has certainly kept me out of mischief!! I am thoroughly enjoying the process and when my secondment ends they will be carting me out the office kicking and screaming!! It has been a rollercoaster and a ride I don't want to get off! Being part of the project is hugely exciting and of late has definitely boosted my interest in things in general. I've finally got my cooking mojo back! I think the reflux is on the mend and even my IBS has not been as bad and whatever that strange bug was last month has left the building! Maybe its all the sunshine that helps?!

Last week we ate very well. One real success was managing to sneak a Tofu dish into B! There was an awkward moment when he saw the empty tofu pack but I bluffed it by saying I had it for lunch!(Yeah like I ate a whole tub haha!) he does know now it did contain the Tofu and most importantly he both enjoyed it and would eat it again! I used a Jamie Oliver recipe from his 'Save with Jamie' book (that I possibly was sent a million moons ago...) It made loads and is a very economical eat! Now for the keener eyed you'll notice it wasn't on the meal plan. for some reason in my head last Thursday this dish was what I thought was on it! Teach me not to pin it on the fridge!

Friday night's dinner was a lovely end to a busy week - beautiful smoked cod fillets, simply baked with lemon and butter, atop garlic & parmesan wilted spinach and roasted cherry tomatoes with Orzo

There was baking too!

On a random whim, which to be honest is how most of my baking occurs were these yummy oat and currant cookies, I couldn't find the more traditional raisins and these mini currants fitted the bill! They took about 3 minutes to knock up and were soooo good warm from the oven with a cuppa and a catch up with my neighbour!

This one was kept a secret on my social media channels - it was a surprise birthday cake for my big brother! Its espresso and pecan - and it was delicious! Wish I had taken more home! Both cookies and cake recipe came from my ancient Baking book - It must be at least 10 years old and its my most treasured possession!

This week is planned.... though judging by today its subject to change as I ended up leaving work quite late, then a cheeky pint in the sun with B meant we only just finished dinner! (its nearly 10pm!)

Monday - Braised Miso aubergines with spinach and black bean, basmati rice
(our favourite Chinese shut down, and I am desperately trying to recreate the aubergines - they were soooooo good there!)

Tuesday - Italian style baked eggs
(I first made this back in maybe February / March time and its a firm favourite from M&S!)

Wednesday - Pesto crumbed baked Haddock fillets, veg TBC
(have a tub of pistachio crumbs which are rather nice!)

Thursday - Meatballs from the freezer with something...
(been there forever!)

Friday - possibly out for dinner...TBC!

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