Vegetable bake

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This was a “Raid the Fridge” meal that turned out so tasty I decided I had to record the recipe somewhere for future reference.  Obviously the cream and cheese could be substituted for lactose free versions, to make it completely FODMAP friendly.

Vegetables (what? bacon and cheese are vegetables, right?)

Half bunch silverbeet, cooked & chopped, spread out on the bottom of a baking dish
4 potatoes, chopped and cooked until almost done, spread out on top of the silverbeet
4 red capsicum roasted skinned and chopped, spread on top of the potato
About 100g bacon, chopped small and fried until crisp, on top of the capsicum
Several handfuls grated cheese, over the top of the vegetables & bacon

Egg mix

Mix together:
4 eggs
About 2 teaspoons garlic oil
200ml cream
Half teaspoon salt
Half teaspoon chilli flakes
Zest 1 lemon
1 cup parmesan

Pour the egg mix over the vegetables, and bake at 150 degrees for about 30 minutes or until set.


Spicy Chocolate Custard

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I’ve been pashing on custard recently, a little at a time, because lactose in large doses is a problem for me.  While most of my custard efforts have been flavoured with vanilla, last night I decided to try something a little different.  This could be made more FODMAP friendly by using lactose free cream and milk, it would likely work just as beautifully.  The custard I made last night was thick, set with a little wobble, and tasted divine.


600ml milk
300ml cream
Zest of one orange
Half a dozen cloves
Half a teaspoon chilli flakes
100g very dark chocolate (I used 85% cocoa), broken up into bits
Two thirds of a cup of glucose powder, which I use instead of sucrose to further reduce the fructose in the dish
Four eggs

Heat the milk, cream, zest, chocolate and spices until the milk is steaming but not boiling, stirring occasionally to break up the chocolate.  Let it sit for about ten minutes to cool down a little and steep.  Remove the orange zest and cloves, and set them aside for later.

In my stand mixer (my trusty KitchenAid) I whisked the eggs and glucose until pale and thick.  I added the warm milk mixture a quarter of a cup at a time, to avoid having strange sweet scrambled eggs.

When all the milk mixture has been added, I scrub out the pan, and put the whole egg/milk mixture back into the pan for cooking on the stove.  I all added back in the zest and cloves.  I use a simmer mat and a VERY low heat, again to avoid scrambled eggs.  Cook the mixture, stirring constantly, until it reaches 80 degrees C, and/or coats the back of the spoon.  There is a point at which custard is hot enough that it will set when it cools down.  Once I didn’t let the mixture get hot enough, and all I ended up with was creamy vanilla flavoured milk, so you’re definitely looking out for a change in texture.  This usually takes me about 15 or 20 minutes.

Strain the custard to remove the cloves, chilli flakes and orange zest.  Pour into pottles to set.  Voila, chocolately, orangey, spicy custard that’s got a little bit of a kick.

Low FODMAP Harira

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I made this last night, using chuck steak from my local butcher, Rump at Tunstall Square, Doncaster (they are excellent, go there now!).  I was going to make minestrone, but I have made that a lot in the past, and wanted something different. Plus, minestrone without pasta – not really minestrone.  And minestrone with gluten free pasta – not very nice, IMO.

This soup is also eaten in North African countries during Ramadan, apparently. Given Ramadan has just finished, it seems like good timing for me to try it. There are heaps of recipes online, such as this one from SBS Food, that seemed lovely.  But I seem to make Frankenfood – mixing up recipes to make my own version, plus removing / substituting to make the recipe FODMAP friendly.  Not always a great idea, but this one turned out well.


Approx 500g chuck steak, diced small – Matthew, the butcher at Rump, did this for me, greatly appreciated 🙂
1.25 litres beef stock (onion free)
Garlic infused olive oil
4 carrots, diced
800g tin chopped tomatoes
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cumin
400g tin chickpeas
400g tine brown lentils (both tinned chickpeas and tinned lentils show in the Monash app as low FODMAP in small serves)
1 bunch of coriander leaves & stems, minced
salt, to taste


Heat the oven to 150 degrees Centigrade (mine is fan forced), want a low heat for a long time to make the beef tender.  Brown meat in garlic oil.  Mix spices into tomato paste, then mix through the meat.  Add the stock, tomatoes and carrots, bring to the boil.  Transfer to the oven, cook for about two hours, adding the chickpeas and lentils when there’s about half an hour to go.  Mix through salt and minced coriander once it’s out of the oven. Would be really nice with low FODMAP spelt sourdough (or gluten free) bread.  Another variation I might try is to add half a cup of brown rice halfway through the cooking.

Cheesy Pesto Sourdough Buttermilk Pancakes

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Catchy title, hey?! It was Shrove Tuesday yesterday, Pancake Day, and while I have very little idea about the actual meaning of the event (something religious to do with Lent?), I always have pancakes on Shrove Tuesday.

But this year, as well as being on the low FODMAP diet, I am also in the middle of the I Quit Sugar program.  I chose to do the 8 week program because I had got to the point of eating waaaay more chocolate than is healthy for anyone, and I needed a circuit breaker. Also, IQS provides meal plans for 8 weeks – easy peasy pie. But they didn’t have pancakes on for Shrove Tuesday, so I made it up.

This recipe is a riff on a Gamma’s Sweet Sourdough Waffles, which I have made previously to use up sourdough starter.  In order to make bread that is low FODMAP (spelt sourdough), I need to have a sourdough starter on the go, and sometimes there is more starter than I need. And I refuse to just throw it out, spelt flour is expensive. So I make pancakes … it would be wasteful not to, right?

Anyway, combine Shrove Tuesday with being off sugar, I needed a savoury pancake. This is what I came up with, based on the recipe linked above.  The sourdough and buttermilk (or yoghurt) make for an acidic and sour base, but once you add in the bicarbonate of soda, which is alkaline, the bicarb neutralises the acid, and whole mix fizzles and breathes.  When heat is added as a catalyst, the pancakes puff up, and are light, fluffy and wonderful.

This recipe takes about 12 hours to make, most of that time is the batter resting on the bench.

Cheesy Pesto Sourdough Buttermilk Pancakes


1 cup active spelt sourdough starter (bubbly)
2 cups buttermilk, or 1 cup plain yoghurt and 1 cup milk
2 cups spelt flour – white or wholemeal
1 teaspoon fine salt
2 large eggs
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (also call baking soda, but not to be confused with baking powder)
3 tablespoons pesto
Some grated vintage cheddar cheese

Mix the starter, flour, buttermilk or yoghurt/milk, flour and salt in a glass bowl large enough for the mix to puff up a bit. Cover with a teatowel and leave on the bench for 8-12 hours, while the batter ferments.

When you’re ready to cook the pancakes, and the batter has fermented, mix the eggs and olive oil in a bowl, and add to the batter.  Then add the pesto and cheese (up to you how cheesy you want the pancakes to be), beat well.  Finally, add in the bicarbonate of soda, mix well, and then marvel at how the batter starts breathing.

Use half a cup of batter for each pancake, and cook on a low heat in a non stick fry pan.  They will puff up beautifully.  If you like to be a bit decadent, top pancakes with a sliver of butter, or serve with a poached egg and some bacon.  I also cook a whole batch, and then freeze most of them when they cool, making sure I put a piece of baking paper between each pancake to make separating them while frozen a bit easier.  They defrost and heat up easily in a non stick fry pan.

Braised beef short ribs low FODMAP

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Middle of winter here, comforting casseroles the order of the day. Just put together a casserole with which I am extraordinarily pleased.


  • 6 beef short ribs
  • 1/4 cup spelt flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon smoky paprika
  • generous amount of freshly ground pepper
  • 4 rashers short cut bacon, diced
  • 1 parsnip, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 litre stock (I used home made beef stock, also known as ‘essence of cow’ at my place)
  • couple of glugs of dry sherry -unsure of FODMAP status of sherry, but figured a dry sherry would be OK – substitute a cup of red wine if you don’t want to risk it, and reduce the amount of stock if you want
  • big handful of mixed herbs from the garden, tied together with kitchen string so you’re not fishing herb stems out of every mouthful

Mix the flour, salt, pepper and paprika in a bag, add the ribs and shake to coat the meal. 

Brown the bacon in a heavy casserole dish, until crispy. Remove the bacon, add some olive oil and brown the ribs thoroughly.  Remove the ribs, add the vegetables and cook until slightly soft. Deglaze the pan with a glug of sherry.  Add bacon, ribs and herbs and stock and another glug of sherry, bring to the boil and then cook slowly for a couple of hours.  When I made this two weeks ago I put it in the oven for 2.25 hours at about 150 degrees C, but this time I was also making bread so needed the oven at a higher temp.  So I put it on a very low heat on a simmer mat on the stove top, seemed to do the trick.

Senfgurken – low FODMAP style

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My friend Janina put me onto Senfgurken (I don’t know where the find the umlaut on my keyboard, but there is one over the ‘u’) last Christmas.  They are wonderful, and a big hit with my family.

The pickling brine can be refrigerated and used several times, keep an eye on it though, and I wouldn’t use it if it appeared to be fermenting, e.g. bubbles appearing.

Peel and de-seed one cucumber, and slice it up. I cut it into chunky slices, but personal preference is the key here.

Pickling brine:

  • 2 c. white wine vinegar
  • 2 c. water
  • 1 c. sugar (the recipe I used originally had 2.5 cups, I simply couldn’t bring myself to put that much sugar in a vegetable dish)
  • 1 T. yellow mustard seed
  • 6 juniper berries
  • 1/2 tsp. whole coriander
  • 1/2 tsp. whole black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. whole caraway
  • 1/4 tsp. whole dill seed
  • 1/2 tsp. whole allspice
  • 1 crumbled bay leaf
  • 4 cloves
  • 1/8 tsp. powdered ginger
  • 2 T. salt

Put all ingredients into a saucepan, bring to boil and allow to simmer until sugar and salt are dissolved.  Pour over the cucumber slices while hot, and allow to cool.

We like these once they have cooled to room temperature, but they keep for several days, and just seem to get nicer.

Vietnamese style coleslaw

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I’ve been making a few rich, meaty dishes recently.  It’s smack bang in the middle of winter, and while we don’t really get thumped with cold & snow here in Melbourne, it’s still a bit miserable.  So braised beef ribs, pulled pork and wiener schnitzel are making an appearance.  With those types of dishes, I want something a bit sharp, a bit fresh, to balance the yummy umami goodness.

The other night I made this coleslaw for my weekly get-together with my family and it went down a treat – I made a huge bowl of salad and everyone had at least two big serves.  I also made Senfgurken (German pickled cucumbers), which were also extremely well received.

The salad itself was quite simple:

  • Half a wombok cabbage (not tested by Monash, so I’m unsure of its FODMAP status, but regular cabbage has been tested and has a green light in the app, while one cup serve of Savoy cabbage has a red light as a source of oligo-fructans) – shredded
  • Two carrots, grated
  • Couple of handfuls of green beans, topped, tailed, cut into 3cm bits and lightly cooked so they are still crunchy, then refreshed in cold water and drained well
  • One red capsicum, diced
  • One bunch of coriander, shredded
  • Big handful of mint (regular or Vietnamese), shredded
  • Toasted sunflower seeds

The recipe for the dressing was adapted from an SBS Food recipe:

  • 60 ml (¼ cup) fish sauce
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp white sugar
  • 125ml (½ cup) water
  • 1 tsp garlic oil
  • 1 red birdseye chilli, finely chopped
  • Juice of one lime

Shake in a jar, pour over the salad.  Enjoy!

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