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
3 spring onions (green parts only for low FODMAPs)
1 tbsp white sugar (or to taste, depending on how sweet your tomatoes are)
1/2 tsp dried basil
1 small clove garlic (or 1/2 tsp garlic infused oil for low FODMAPs)
1/8 tsp black pepper
No salt! 🙂

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


Dairy Free Iced Chocolate Coffee Drink

The temperatures are up in the 90s (F), again today. Yesterday it was even hotter, and the girls were desperate for something cool when they got home from school. This is a drink for when you’re sitting in the sunshine watching the world go by, or just sitting with your feet in a pool of cold water trying to get cool, and facing the idea of homework. Icy refreshing, coffee with a hint of chocolate. Something to make you feel that the world is actually a good place to be.

chocolate coffee frozen drink

Serves 1
1 cup (8 fl. oz) sweetened vanilla almond milk
2 tsp instant coffee granules
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tbsp sugar
1 cup (8 fl. oz) ice

Blend everything together in a blender until smooth (~30 seconds), and serve immediately.


Vegetable Juicing

Well, I got zapped good ‘n proper with gluten over the holiday period this year: the problems were too much eating out (I started to get complacent about re-confirming that my food was gluten and dairy free when it was delivered); and a waiter who sounded as if he was paying attention, but in retrospect really wasn’t. Not only did half my meal not appear until everyone else had nearly finished eating (that should have warned me), but the half that I took home (and confidently ate the next day) was most definitely not gluten free …. and you don’t want to know how I knew it wasn’t … and it’s now February, and I’m still itching!

Carrot, apple and ginger juice

Early morning freshly squeezed, carrot, apple, and ginger juice

It takes a few days to a couple of weeks for the worst of my symptoms to subside. I have found that my best bet to deal with this situation has been to juice only, on the worst days. To be honest, I’m not sure why I don’t juice more often. There’s something blissful about the almost instant satiety without the feeling of being stuffed, and the calm that ensues. I don’t generally count calories when I juice. I just drink when I want to, but the weight tends to slide off as I do. So, tell me: if I like the taste, and I like the way I feel when I juice, and my weight does good things when I do so, how come I only seem to do it when my tummy is in desperate need of a rest?

Answers please, on a post card …….

I can’t say that I usually follow any recipes for juicing. I wanted to share an idea here, rather than a recipe. However, because carrots are remarkably cheap, and because we have orange trees, my standard juice is basically loads of carrots (6 large ones), with a small orange and a diddy amount of fresh ginger. It’s not that I only drink this combination, but if I want a juice in a hurry, this is what I opt for.

Juicing veggies

Veggies for juicing …. if appearance bothers you, use green rather than black grapes.

There are loads of books and web-sites out there that do suggest combinations of vegetables to juice with associated benefits, and sometimes I try out their combinations, but quite often I will just juice what’s already available in my fridge or garden, and most of the time it is delicious. I have learnt to limit kale to a couple of handfuls, and celery to a single stalk per cup of juice I make, but carrots, cauliflower stems, broccoli stems, white cabbage, lettuce, fresh tomatoes, red/yellow peppers, cucumber (skinned), and zucchini/courgette I will use as much as I fancy. Generally, I add a small orange, 1/2 an apple, a handful of grapes, a persimmon, or a slice of fresh ginger, as available, but the dominant ingredients are (culinarily speaking) vegetables.

I have enjoyed The Juice Lady’s Turbo Diet by Cherie Calbom. She is very inspirational, though I do tend to feel there is a bit of pseudoscience stirred in for good measure.

I rather like this site (, too, for its page where you can get a nutritional run down of the ingredients that you’re juicing. Juicing calories and nutrients tend to be less than those of the whole plant (as you’d expect), but it’s nice to know how much less, and if you do want to count calories, this is good information.

If you want to buy a juicer, I recommend this website which helped me chose which juicer to buy:   They only sell kit that they have tested, and discuss the pros and cons of each one. They’ve also got good tables for helping you to compare different types and brands of juicer. I ended up buying a masticating juicer from them (this one, in fact: … they don’t seem to sell DSC_0001it any more, though that was 3 years ago, and I still love it) which allows me to make almond/cashew flours and butters, and instant fruit sorbets (from frozen fruit) as well as juice. It also has fittings for making various pasta shapes, but I found a brand of GF pasta that I liked before I’d figured out a recipe for it, and didn’t get any further. I might have to look into that again …. but not until I’ve shifted this holiday weight!

Pineapple and Mango Smoothie / Cocktail

Frozen Pineapple and Mango with rum.

Creamy frozen pineapple and mango with rum.

This recipe has just been requested by Madeleine of Nottingham in England, who came to stay with us during the summer, and appreciated this cold drink in the unaccustomed, California heat. That’s my excuse for posting a frozen smoothie recipe when the east of the US is experiencing the coldest weather it has had in a couple of decades …. though to be honest, here in California, we’re having mild summer weather, humidity levels down at 12%, and no rain. Again. This place is parched, so maybe a frozen drink would be a good idea right now.

This serves 2.

1 cup (8 fl oz) frozen pineapple chunks
1 cup (8 fl oz) frozen mango chunks
2 cups (16 fl oz) sweetened, non dairy milk (I use vanilla almond milk)
1 tbsp honey (optional) … or 2 tbsp Bacardi if this is destined for adults (also optional).

Place all ingredients in a blender, and blend on highest speed until smooth.

Hand out to all your kids (without the Bacardi) who won’t really realize they’re getting their day’s quota of fruit.

Vegan Bailey’s Irish Cream

Oh, I’ve missed this! Before children came along, and the realization that I couldn’t consume dairy products had materialized, the ultimate self-indulgence for me was to spend an evening on my own, poring over a jigsaw puzzle, and drinking Bailey’s Irish Cream. A couple of years ago, friends brought a bottle over as part of a dinner party, and all I could do was look sadly at it. Not so any more. This version is thick and creamy, festive and comforting; just right for the on-coming holiday season. Note that this mixture thickens as it sits, and you should either drink it immediately (poured over ice-cubes to chill), or expect to have to adjust the consistency with water or brandy (your choice).

Cashew Bailey's

1 1/2 cup water
1 1/2 cup raw cashews
6 tbsp soft brown sugar
6 tbsp brandy

Put all ingredients into a blender (preferably high speed), and blend until smooth.

Chill in the fridge until required. Adjust consistency with water/brandy if required.

Serve in sherry glasses, or in a tumbler on the rocks.

Happy Holidays! 🙂