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! ­čÖé

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

(Nearly) Instant Creamy Sun Dried Tomato Pasta Sauce


Rich Sun Dried Tomato and Basil Sauce with GF Pasta

This pasta sauce is rich with a very pronounced taste of tomatoes. It’s one of those instantly ready ones that can be made in advance, but is still good enough for entertaining, along with a light, green salad of some description.

1/2 cup raw cashews
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes in oil
1/2 cup fresh or chopped tinned tomatoes
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
4 large fresh basil leaves
extra basil and diced tomato for garnish

Blend everything together with 6 fl oz (3/4 cup) water until completely smooth.
Stir into cooked pasta. This amount is sufficient for 1 lb of dry GF pasta.

Custard (American: Pudding)

That word ‘pudding’ causes a whole heap of confusion to Brits in the USA. Just so as we’re clear, in the USA, the word ‘pudding’ appears to denote what the Brits refer to as custard, which is a pretty specific, vanilla flavored, cornstarch or egg thickened, sweet sauce for serving with apple pie/crumble/trifle or even on its own as a private, pretty gratuitous dessert. For my American friends: the word pudding is another word for dessert in England. I have lived in the States for about 15 years now, and have picked up a good many habits (verbal and physical) from the locals, but I cannot bring myself to think of custard as ‘pudding’!


Trifle topped with home-made, uncolored custard.

Now, if you happen to live in the UK, this recipe is going to be pretty superfluous, since Birds Custard is universally available, even in corner shops and petrol station stores. As someone who doesn’t tend to eat dessert (even saying the word adds another inch to my waist), I can’t say I’ve actually looked for custard here in the USA, but the familiar package does leap out at me when I’m in stores that cater for the local British contingent, so we generally have some in stock. Not always, though! So, if you’re caught short with no commercially prepared custard powder (social faux pas in our household), or you happen to live in some part of the USA which doesn’t have a strong British presence, this could be useful.

The recipe below describes adding boiling milk to the starch and flavorings. Although it sounds illogical, the texture doesn’t seem quite right if you just put all the ingredients in the pan and bring it up to the boil. Adding boiling milk to the corn starch really does seem to be the right way to do this. The type of starch makes quite a difference here, too. I once tried making custard with tapioca starch (because I was out of corn starch), but no-one could get past the gelatinous, mucus-like texture, and I ended up putting it on the compost. Potato starch is just about acceptable, in a pinch.

Bananas and Custard

Bananas and Custard: a favorite from my childhood. This amount of custard (with 2 ripe bananas) is enough for 2 servings. Slice the bananas into 2 individual bowls, pour the custard evenly between the bowls, and chill before eating.

The 4 tbsp of corn starch makes a good, thick custard suitable for trifles as well as serving with pies and steamed puddings. If you prefer your custard to pour more easily, though, reduce to 3 tbsp.

As yet, I don’t use food coloring in my custard. I have tried blending a medium sized, cooked carrot into the mixture, but that produced a subtle pink custard. I know some folks will want to use turmeric, but I haven’t tried that yet, primarily because I’m not bothered by cream colored custard. I’ll update the blog once I’ve tried that.

And lastly, a note about the non-dairy milk: rice milk doesn’t work here. I know this sounds daft, but I just can’t get the custard to thicken using rice milk. I suspect that rice milk boils at a lower temperature than the cornstarch thickens at, whereas almond milk and soy milk work beautifully. The soy milk makes for a very rich sauce, however, so unless I’m making trifle, our preference is for almond milk, or 1/2 soy and 1/2 water. Plain or vanilla flavored work equally well.

16 fl oz non dairy milk (see note, above)
4 tbsp cornstarch
4 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
3 drops yellow food coloring if required
pinch of salt

Put the milk in a stainless steel pan on the stove top to heat.

Put the remaining ingredients in a >1 pint jug, and add just enough of the cold milk (< 1/8 pint) to form a thick liquid when stirred smooth.

When the milk starts boiling hard, pour it swiftly into the jug, stirring vigorously as you do so, while the cornstarch thickens the milk. If necessary, return to the pan to reheat or to finish thickening, stirring constantly to avoid scorching.

Mexican Rice

This is a tasty way to serve rice along with all manner of chilis. It’s also very straight forward to make, and most of the time, you just ignore it while cooking the accompaniments. I can’t tell you for sure how authentic this recipe is, but it can’t be far off where it’s supposed to be. If you want to use brown rice instead of white (which will make it even less authentic, I’m sure), you’ll need to increase the amount of water used by another cup (8 fl. oz). If your rice runs out of water before it has finished cooking, just add another 1/2 cup or so of water, and return to the heat again.

I know. I know. You saw this picture in the last post .... but now I'm talking about the rice in the middle. :-)

I know. I know. You saw this picture in the last post …. but now I’m talking about the rice in the middle. ­čÖé

2 cups (16 fl. oz.) long grain white rice
1 cup (8 fl. oz.) ranchero sauce
1/2 tsp salt

Rinse and drain the rice in a sieve to remove any loose starch that would make the rice stodgy.

Put all the ingredients in a medium sized saucepan (or a rice cooker) along with 2 1/2 cups of water.

Bring the lot to a simmer, and cook (tightly covered) until the water has almost all been absorbed and the rice is very nearly soft. Turn off the heat, and let it rest of 5 minutes while it finishes cooking. Fluff the rice gently with a fork before serving.