Teff Bread

Sliver pictureI know I’ve said this before, but I am still of the opinion that gluten free flours have a tendency to be either nutritionally poor and mildly flavored, or nutritionally good and strongly flavored, and unfortunately, many of the strong flavors are too intrusive and so we have to mix our flours to moderate them, or settle for the less nutritious flours. Teff appears to be a moderate flour; on its own it approaches the nutritional value of whole wheat, and there are no harsh notes. Don’t expect it to taste like wheat bread, but do expect it to taste like a great specialty bread.

This loaf was springy, flexible, and moist; easy to slice and slightly dense, and reminiscent of the malt loaf that I absolutely loved as a kid. It isn’t sweet, however, so it’s fine for savory sandwiches (although I am SO tempted to make a sweet one to toast).

I cooked this at a low temperature in order to get a soft crust, which it obligingly gave me.DSC_0011

10 oz (2 cups) teff flour
5 oz (1 cup) tapioca starch
1 oz (1/4 cup) flaxmeal
1 1/4 tsp xanthan gum
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp yeast
2 tbsp sugar (for the yeast, not for you)
1 tsp white vinegar
2 eggs
9 fl. oz water

DSC_0001

Batter consistency.

DSC_0003

Smoothed, unrisen dough.

Put all the dry ingredients in a food processor.
Put all the wet ingredients in a jug.

Start the processor, and slowly (over a period of about 10 seconds) add the wet ingredients to the dry. Process for about 2 minutes to activate the xanthan gum.

Risen dough ready to go in the oven.

Risen dough ready to go in the oven.

Scrape the batter out into a greased loaf pan; smooth the top, and allow to rest somewhere warm to rise by about 50% (~35 minutes depending on liveliness of your yeast and ambient temperature).
Place the pan in the oven, cover with a sheet of parchment or foil, and set the temperature to 330F.

Bake for 65 – 70 minutes (timed from turning on the oven, not from getting up to temperature).
Remove from the pan, and allow to cool (ha ha!) before slicing.

Teff Pancakes

DSC_0007

Teff American Pancakes served here with scrambled tofu. These pancakes are moist, light, and springy; a little more flavorful than wheat pancakes, with slight undertones of chocolate.

Teff seems to be a very well behaved gluten free flour. These American style pancakes are soft and springy, with the sweet version having a taste mildly reminiscent of an orange and milk chocolate cake, which is great for those of us who appear to be unable to tolerate chocolate!

It’s also low-FODMAP, if that’s something that bothers you.

This amount makes two 4″ pancakes.

1 egg
1/4 cup (1 1/4 oz) teff flour
0 – 3 tsp sugar (0 tsp for savory meal, 3 tsp for sweet)
1/4 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1 – 2 tbsp dairy free milk OR orange juice (for sweet meal)

1 tsp oil for frying

Put all the ingredients (except oil) into a cup or small mixing bowl, and beat together briefly with a fork to form a batter.

Heat the oil in a frying pan until hot (and a splash of water instantly beads up and evaporates if splattered in the pan). Reduce the heat to medium low, and spread out the oil with a spatula or by tilting the pan.

DSC_0003Pour out the batter into two rounds in the frying pan, and allow to set for about 2 minutes until small bubbles have appeared on the surface of the pancake, the edges have set (and look less shiny), and the bottom has browned slightly.

Use a spatula or fish slice to flip each pancake over, and cook the other side for about a minute or until it too is lightly browned.

Serve hot with the usual breakfast accompaniments.

Virgin Tomato Cocktail

Tomato cocktailI was intending to make a low-FODMAP tomato soup here, but didn’t get around to heating it, as I drank it all before getting out the saucepan. I think it should be served in a glass with a green olive on a stick, or green onion spike! You really need some kind of special treat when sticking to this diet, and I felt this counted as one. Daughter #1 was a bit suspicious when I offered it to her, but was pleasantly surprised. However, I managed to drink the whole lot myself (by waving her off) in the space of about 15 minutes (though this should serve 2 people), and it looks as if I managed 90% of my vit.A daily requirements, and 200% of my vit.C daily requirements for my 230 kcals!

28 oz tinned tomatoes (I’m not convinced that fresh would work; it might end up very frothy)
3 spring onions, green parts only
1 tbsp white sugar (or to taste, depending on how sweet your tomatoes are)
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp garlic infused oil
1/8 tsp black pepper
No salt! :)

Blend all ingredients together until smooth. Pass though a sieve/chinois, if you think it needs it.

Low FODMAP Breakfasts

As promised, here’s the first of my short lists of low-FODMAP recipes.

All of these dishes are nomeatnowheatnodairy compliant, they just happen to observe further restrictions so they are acceptable on a low-FODMAP diet, too.

Berry Quinoa Porridge

Quinoa PorridgeI’m not convinced that I can tolerate oats, but if you can, then oatmeal/porridge is a good option. Of course, even if you can eat oats, you might like this variation! If you like your quinoa a bit squishier, like oatmeal, add an additional 1/4 cup of liquid when you’re cooking it, and cook for longer before turning off the heat!

1/2 cup (3 oz.) quinoa
1/2 cup (4 fl. oz.) almond milk
sugar, to taste
1/4 cup (4 fl. oz) mixed berries

Mix the quinoa and almond milk with 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz.) water in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook (stirring occasionally) until the quinoa is nearly soft (~15 minutes). Turn off the heat, and leave covered for 5 minutes until the quinoa is fully cooked.

Stir in the berries, and serve with sugar and additional almond milk as desired.

Variation: use diced banana instead of berries.

Tofu, spinach, and tomato scramble

Scrambled tofuI happen to REALLY like this one. How much of that is down to having been separated from tofu for 3 weeks while I was on the Comprehensive Elimination diet is unknown.

Two thoughts:

1) Apparently, corn is OK on a low-FODMAP diet, so you could serve the scramble on a corn tortilla if you don’t have other reasons to suspect that corn is a problem.

2) Although my nutritional yeast (brand name KAL) is grown on molasses (a high FODMAP substance according to Stanford), the nutritional data shows 0g of sugar per serving (as well as being gluten free), so I’m going to keep using it. :) ) I notice that the WholeFoods nutritional yeast not only says that it’s produced in a facility that also processes things I don’t want to eat (including wheat), but it also has 2g of sugars per serving … and I have no idea which sugars it refers to, so I’m not going to be using that one! It just goes to show how important it is to keep reading the labels!

1 tsp olive oil (garlic infused, if liked. Do not use garlic itself, if you’re avoiding FODMAPs!)
10 baby tomatoes, halved
2 oz fresh baby spinach
5 oz firm tofu (not silken), well drained
1 tsp nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp salt (or less, to taste)
1/4 tsp pepper

Heat the oil over a medium heat in a large frying pan. Add the tomatoes (cut side down), and allow to cook for 5 minutes until starting to soften and brown.

Pile the spinach on top of the tomatoes along with half the salt and pepper, and toss in the pan so that all the leaves start to wilt (~3 minutes).

Push the vegetables to one side of the pan, add the tofu, nutritional yeast, and remaining salt and pepper to the cleared side and mash with the back of a fork. Once the tofu has warmed through, stir the vegetables and tofu together, and serve.

Carrot and ginger juice

Only of interest if you own a juicer or can find a juice bar that squeezes things in addition to fruits!

5 large carrots, peeled
1 small piece of fresh ginger (1/4″ cube)

Juice and drink.

Breakfast potatoes

This is an adaptation of an earlier recipe for Home Fried Potatoes but without the onions.

1 lb potatoes, cooked, cubed (3/4″), and cooled if possible
1 + 1 tbsp vegan margarine (Earth Balance) OR canola (rapeseed) oil
1 cup (8 oz) red/orange/yellow pepper strips (no green ones, if you’re avoiding FODMAPs)
1/4 tsp salt, or to taste
1/8 tsp ground black pepper, or to taste
paprika/cayenne pepper (optional)
2 spring/green onions, green parts only

Warm the first half of the fat in a large frying pan.

Cook the red/orange/yellow pepper strips in the fat until they’re soft and starting to brown. Remove from the pan, and put to one side.

Add the remainder of the fat to the pan, and once it is hot, add the potatoes. Keep them moving around with a metal spatula/fish slice, to reduce sticking, scraping the bottom of the pan as necessary (those crispy bits are tasty, but also stop the potato cubes from browning further, if not scraped off).

Fry until they start to brown on all sides (this will be quite quick, if the surface of the potatoes is dry and the fat is hot). Add the  peppers back into the hot pan to reheat, sprinkle salt and pepper (and paprika or cayenne pepper, if liked) over the vegetables, and serve hot for breakfast, with fried egg or the scrambled tofu, above, and garnished with the green parts of the spring/green onions.

Spaghetti Squash Omelette
spaghetti squash fritters omelet

Yes, OK, this sounds weird …. but so’s the low-FODMAP diet, and these are pretty tasty, and contain some much needed fiber due to the squash. I tried doing them using tofu instead of egg, but they weren’t as good …. a variation that needs more experimentation! These taste delicate, and slightly cheesy. I think I might well continue making these even after this weird diet is over!

This quantity makes about five 3″ omelettes …. perfect for 1 person.

1 egg
1 cup cooked spaghetti squash (~ 1/4 of a whole squash)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
3 tsp nutritional yeast
oil for shallow frying

Beat the egg. Stir in the cooked squash, salt, pepper, and nutritional yeast.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan (seasoned cast iron for preference, but non-stick will probably work, too), then use two forks to grab hold of 1-2 tbsp quantities of the mixture and transfer to the hot pan. Use the back of a fork to pat the mounds down into 3″ rounds. Allow the bottoms to solidify slightly (30-60 seconds), then start pushing the omelettes around gently to prevent them from sticking. Continue cooking until the bottoms brown, flip them over, and brown the second side. Remove from the pan onto some kitchen paper blot up any excess oil and to keep warm. Repeat with any left over mixture.

FODMAPs

Well, I’ve had an ‘interesting’ month or so! I finally found a doctor who would take seriously my concern that my symptoms were gradually getting worse despite staying off the wheat and dairy. Initially, I had allergy bloodwork done (the only things I was highly allergic to were fish … and I haven’t eaten any of them for some 25 years, and don’t intend to ever again, so that wasn’t my problem).

We then tried the Comprehensive Elimination Diet, which was supposed to remove all food-stuffs that folks are often allergic or sensitive to, with the aim of settling my tummy then reintroducing offending foods one at a time …. except that my tummy never got any better. Having spent three weeks feeling a little like Roger Rabbit trying to resist ‘shave and a haircut’ whenever I was faced with feeding the family (and not being able to join in, nor go to restaurants), I’ve now moved onto a low FODMAPs diet (temporarily), and have high hopes for success, though I’m now constantly having to refer to lists of un/acceptable foods so as not to get muddled with the previous list of un/acceptable ones.

If you haven’t heard of them before, FODMAPs are a group of carbohydrates/sugars which are badly dealt with in some people’s intestines, causing gastric distress. (For further information, Wikipedia has a good introduction!)

The advice on the web can seem heavily contradictive in the details, however, even between reputable sources such as Monash University of Austrailia, which was the cradle of FODMAP research, and that bastion of educational excellence, Stanford. I think some of the confusion relates to where the line is drawn regarding how much FODMAP is allowed in a food before it is considered significant. This leads to assertions such as ‘almonds are allowed, providing you don’t have more than 10 of them’ (which isn’t enough to make pastry or almond bread :( ).

What they all tend to agree on, is the names of the carbohydrates that you need to avoid. Note that they’re all carbohydrates, so pure fats do not contain any, even when they come from foodstuff that is high in FODMAPs. However, high intake of fats can also disrupt bowel action, though for other reasons! Sigh.

This is NOT a complete list of foods to avoid:

Lactose (Dairy sugar): If you’re on this website because you’re already following a diet deviod of dairy products, you’ve already got this one covered.
Fructans (inulin): Wheat, onion, garlic, brassicas, chocolate …
Galactans (long strings of galactose): Beans, lentils, agar (galactose), and such like.
Polyols: Alcohol sugars, found predominantly in artificial sweeteners whose names end in ‘ol’, but also in fruit with stones in them such as my beloved avocado, cherries, plums; and in watermelon, cauliflower, mushrooms, mange-tout …
Fructose: Fruits (ripeness plays a factor, and not all fruits are a problem!), and apples and pears inparticular; honey, agave, high fructose corn syrup ….

Oddly enough, apparently Glucose is OK on this diet, and if taken with fructose, it balances out the undesirable effects and it is this that causes some fruits to be included on the acceptable list! See this document.

Because there are so many foodstuffs that have to be avoided, it’s easier to work from a list of foods that are acceptable. These links to Monash, Stanford, and DieticianToday, have these … and I’m working on a short list of recipes that will work, before returning to my standard (and far more lenient!!!) meat, wheat, and dairy free adventures! Watch this space …..

 

Lentil Soup (Dal), and variations

The recipe below is my basic lentil soup recipe. Below that are some variations that I have enjoyed. Both this and the lentil and spinach soup are actually fairly standard Indian curry accompaniments, when served thick. It’s one of those very comforting meals, sating hunger without expanding your waistband.

1 tbsp Earth Balance (vegan margarine) or oil
1 medium onion, peeled and coarsely diced
5 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
2 tsp ground cumin
1 lb red lentils
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp lemon juice

Heat the margarine/oil, in a large saucepan, over a medium heat, and fry the onion until it becomes translucent and starts to brown.
Add the garlic and cumin to it, to warm through for a couple of minutes.
Pick the lentils over for stones, and then rinse them.
Add 6 cups (48 fl oz) of water to the onions, then the lentils, and bring to the boil. Simmer the soup until the lentils have completely disintegrated (about 20-30 minutes. The lentils should disintegrate just with vigorous stirring with a spatula).
Adjust consistency with more water, if desired.
Stir in the salt and lemon juice (and any other desired additions); taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary.

Variations:

Lentil and Tomato Soup: Add 2 handfuls of cherry tomatoes (halved) to the soup 5 minutes before the end of cooking.

Lentil and Spinach Soup: Add  ~8 oz fresh or frozen spinach to the soup at the end of cooking, along with 1/4 tsp salt.

Chili Lentil Soup: Mince 1/2 cm squared piece of chipotle chili in adobo sauce (check for gluten) with the blade of a knife (so you don’t end up with exciting lumps in your soup), and add with the water and lentils.

Creamy Zucchini and Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

I made this sauce one evening when I wanted to make Rich Mushroom and Black Olive Sauce, but only had 1/2 the mushrooms I wanted and a child who, for stuffed jacket potatosome unfathomable reason, had decided that she didn’t like mushrooms! It has the advantage that it is more colorful than the original, but apart from that is similarly easy to knock together, and it has my husband’s seal of approval!

I have served it up on pasta, and as a stuffing for baked potatoes. It’s also good in the baked tofu shells that I recently figured out as Halloween fare ….. but this sauce is a little too bright and jolly to be served up on that holiday occasion.

4 oz (1 scant cup) raw cashews
1 tbsp margarine
4 zucchini (courgettes), quartered lengthways then sliced
4 large roasted red peppers, deseeded and cut into 1″ squares
3/4 cup (~40) black olives
1 tbsp light chickpea miso
1 tsp white balsamic vinegar or lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt (for the sauce)
1/8 tsp black pepper
pinch of nutmeg

Put the cashews into a blender with 1 cup (8 fl oz) water, and leave to soak, briefly.

Heat the fat in a large frying pan over a medium/high heat, then fry the sliced zucchini (courgettes), stirring occasionally, until softened and starting to brown.

Add the roasted red peppers and black olives, and allow these to warm through over a low heat.

Add the remaining ingredients (miso, lemon juice, salt, pepper, nutmeg) to the cashews, and blend everything together until completely smooth.

Pour the sauce over the vegetables, then use an additional 1/2 cup (4 fl oz) of water to rinse the blender out onto the vegetables.

Turn up the heat, and stir frequently until the mixture thickens.

Check for seasoning, and serve hot with pasta, baked potato or baked tofu shell.