Thanks for visiting my first EVER blog entry in my first EVER blog.
Having suffered from back pain for the last 3 years, I have recently been diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis, an auto immune disease and have since started on the auto-immune protocol diet.
What does this mean? well essentially – to preserve my back and help to improve it – I can’t eat foods that contribute towards the condition and cause inflammation, and believe me, that turns out to be a whole lot of food! If you’re interested, there is more information from Sarah Ballantyne’s fantastic website.
Over the last few months, with the help of Sarah Ballantyne’s book I have cut out all the banned foods.
Frozen Yoghurt with chocolate sauce – a distant memory!
Having got to grips with the dos and don’ts of AIP I am now experimenting in the kitchen. Over the past few weeks, I’ve had a lot of fun (and a few culinary disasters) trying out new recipes and new foods. Its hard work, but worth it as my back has started to improve.
I’ve set up this blog to share ideas and recipes with other people in the same situation – or for those brave people who dare invite me round for dinner!
Enjoy the blog!
The weather has been great this weekend and everyone has been cooling down with Ice Cream. That’s pretty tricky for those of us on the AIP, Paleo or low FODMAP diets but I’ve recently discovered something even tastier than shop bought Ice Cream. This frozen banana based ice cream is just as nice but so much healthier than anything you can buy. It’s also a great way of using up those brown bananas that you were about to throw away. Just peel, slice and freeze. Keep extra in the freezer for a hot day. This Ice Cream take just minutes to make and the combination of flavours are endless. By far my favorite though is Hazlenut and Maple Syrup.
- One sliced frozen banana
- One Tablespoon Hazlenut butter
- 1/2 Tablespoon maple syrup
1. Pop it all together in a blender
2. That’s it, pretty easy right – enjoy!!
Just add the following to the frozen banana and blend
- Peanut butter and chocolate (1 tablespoon of peanut butter and 1 teaspoon of cacao)
- Pecan Pie (1 tablespoon chopped pecans and 1/2 tablespoon maple syrup)
- Coffee (Cooled down expresso. Add honey / maple syrup to sweeten)
- Red berries (1 cup of any frozen berries of your choice)
- Tropical Fruits (1 cup of any tropical fruit you like or a mixture: pineapple, mango, papaya etc. For an extra twist mix in some fresh passion fruit once it’s all blended).
- Create your own and let me know what you’ve invented!!
I haven’t done much blogging recently and I’ve really missed it. The main reason is because my diet has changed; i’m no longer 100% AIP as I’ve reintroduced some foods. I wasn’t sure about blogging non-AIP recipes on a AIP blog and so I stopped for a while.
I’ve decided that maybe my blog needs to move on like I have. I still eat for my auto immune disorder, sticking to a mostly AIP diet but with some exceptions. I now eat white rice at times, eggs, spices, nuts and seeds amongst other things! My diet doesn’t fit into a neat box or label like AIP / Paleo / low FODMAP – but people don’t fit into boxes either – it’s better to eat what’s right for you and your body than sticking rigidly to a certain diet. It’s all about getting the right balance for you.
Don’t get me wrong, going on a strict AIP diet is the reason why the inflammation in my back is so much better but the diet doesn’t have to be forever. Over the last year I have learnt which foods I can and can’t tolerate but I have more learning to do. I want to share that learning with others who have been on the AIP but now want to move on. I hope that I can inspire some of you with my recipes and help you to enjoy healthy tasty foods.
It’s probably no surprise that my first recipe is going to be a desert – so go check it out!!
This no-fuss dish of cod cooked in foil packets is one of the easiest foolproof fish recipes out there! This recipe makes a super fast yet fancy weeknight meal and best of all there’s practically no clean up involved because the foil is discarded!
This is really a template for any type of baked fish. I used cod, but you could just as easily go with halibut, tilapia or salmon. The foil packets mean that the fish cooks in an aromatic steam, ensuring moist, flavourful results every time.
Baked Cod in a Ginger and Lemon Sauce
Ingredients: (just double or triple the recipe for larger servings)
- 2 pieces of Cod
- 1 whole Lemon
- 1-2 teaspoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh grated ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 tablespoon honey (optional and leave out if on a low FODMAP diet)
- Salt (and Pepper) to season (optional)
- Make marinade by mixing together the lemon zest and lemon juice from half the lemon, olive oil, grated ginger, honey and turmeric
- Place Cod in large piece of foil and cover with the marinade
- Sprinkle with salt and pepper and add sliced lemon on top
- Close the foil tightly over the fish, sealing the fish in completely
- Leave in fridge for half an hour or longer
- Cook in an oven proof dish for 15 – 20 minutes on 180- 200
- Remove the packets from the oven and allow them to rest for 2-3 minutes before opening.
- You can serve the fish straight onto the plates in the packet, or scoop the fish out with a spatula and drizzle the juices on top before serving with fresh green vegetables and roast carrots / parsnips
- Add a few spinach leaves or Bok Choy into the packet of fish to add colour and some greens to your dish
- Thinly slice some onions and garlic and add to the marinade (if not on a low FODMAP diet)
Growing up, one of my favourite meals was my Mums stuffed peppers. They were wonderfully comforting and filling. Even as an adult my mum would make me big batches of these and leave them in my freezer for a quick meal. Since starting this diet I have had to stop eating a lot of my mums dishes (which is a shame as she’s a brilliant cook) but thankfully she left me with the skills to experiment with my own ingredients and come up with my own meals. So, I did a little swapping of ingredients and voila a delicious stuffed butternut squash meal was born. It even gets me a portion of red meat (which I am still working hard on eating after years and years of avoidance)!
These can be made in advance and reheated or made in batches and frozen for a quick microwave meal! This recipe makes enough for two people. Double it up to get four servings.
Stuffed Butternut Squash
- One large butternut squash cut in half long ways
- One garlic clove chopped finely *
- 1 small red onion chopped finely *
- 250g mince beef
- 1 Carrot chopped into small pieces
- 1 Courgette chopped into small pieces
- 1/2 cup approximately red wine (skip if you don’t tolerate wine)
- 1/2 teaspoon mixed herbs
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric (optional – I add it due to its anti inflammatory effects)
- Olive Oil
- Roast squash flesh side down in oven (200) for approximately 45 minutes or until thickest part is completely soft
- Whilst the squash is cooking, fry onion in olive oil and once soft add chopped carrot and courgette
- Once all soft add in the mince beef and cook through
- Add minced garlic, wine, herbs and turmeric and season with salt
- Once squash is cooked, scoop out the seeds and bin them. Then scoop the inside of the squash out, leaving about 1-2 cm’s around the edge.
- Mix the scooped out squash into the mince and vegetable mix in your pan
- Scoop it all back into the two halves of the butternut squash and cook in oven for further 20 minutes
- Serve alone or with green salad or vegetables
* onions and garlic are high in FODMAP’s (see here for info on FODMAP’s). If you are avoiding high FODMAP foods just omit the onion and garlic and instead use garlic infused olive oil to get similar flavours.
I have only just entered into the world of slow cooking and I’m never going back!! For the sake of 10 minutes preparation in the morning I can come home from work to a hot dinner ready to eat – it’s like having my mum living with me!
I haven’t really ventured out into any of the complicated recipes yet. Last week I just chucked some carrots and sweet potatoes into the slow cooker, popped a whole chicken on the top, seasoned it a little, turned it on and crossed my fingers that I would come home 10 hours later to something edible! And wow did I – it was amazing to walk through the door to all the amazing smells of roast chicken, meat that falls straight off the bone and the juices…… sorry I’m getting carried away!! I will just get on with the recipe, that’s what you are here for after all, not my ramblings!!
Slow Cooker Whole Chicken
(Apologies for the raw chicken picture! We were half way through eating dinner when I realised I hadn’t taken a picture of the end product! A hazard of blogging such yummy food! I will upload the finished version picture when I make the dish again)
• 1 whole chicken
• 6 carrots chopped in half
• 2 – 4 sweet potatoes peeled
• 2 garlic cloves peeled and put in whole
• 1 onion chopped into quarters
• Sprig of fresh rosemary
• Blend of mixed dry herbs including Basil, Rosemary, Thyme, Oregano
• 1-2 Bay leaves
• Salt (and cracked pepper – if not AIP)
1. Put vegetables, onion and garlic in the bottom of the slow cooker
2. Pop the chicken on top
3. Mix all the dry herbs, salt (and pepper) together and rub onto chicken
4. Add bay leaves and Rosemary around the edge
5. Cook on low setting for 8+ hours or medium for 6+ hours or until chicken has reached 165 degrees (mine was on low for 11 hours and it was just fine)
6. Come home to a delicious hot dinner
Use left over chicken to make soup – see my chunky chicken soup recipe here
So, I am still on a soup making mission and earlier this week I made my favourite yet. This chunky chicken soup was a result of the left overs from my slow cooker chicken and took just a few minutes to put together. Take a look at the slow cooker whole chicken recipe here for the details and then follow on with this recipe to make the soup.
If you do not have a slow cooker you can just cook the chicken and carrots separately in the oven and then follow soup recipe below.
Chunky Chicken Soup
You can make as much soup as you like depending on how much chicken you have left over. As you may have noticed I’m not great with measuring out ingredients. That’s partly because I think it’s nicer to just go with what you feel is right (by sight and taste) rather than what a recipe tells you and because different people have different preferences. But for clarity sake I probably used about two cups of shredded chicken (roughly one chicken breast) and this combined with the other ingredients below made two very large bowls of soup.
• Shredded chicken pieces from slow cooker
• 2-3 carrots from slow cooker cut into chunks
• All the chicken juices from slow cooker (or use chicken stock if cooking chicken in oven)
• 1-2 generous handfuls of baby spinach
• Grated fresh ginger (quantity depends on how strong you like it. I used about 2 tablespoons which was nice and warming)
• 1 teaspoon Turmeric
• Salt (and pepper if not AIP) to taste
1. In a pan combine all the ingredients and heat though
2. Add extra hot water until it reaches your desired consistency
YEP that’s it!
All the hard work was done by the slow cooker over night!
I hope you all had a happy Halloween weekend and the pumpkin carving was successful. Did you make any yummy Pumpkin treats – maybe the Pumpkin Pie Bites I blogged last week? Hopefully you will still have some pumpkin flesh left over – if not there are still plenty of pumpkins in the shop – because its time to make SOUP!
The main criteria for my soups are: quick and easy to make, simple, minimal and healthy ingredients and of course TASTY! This is the perfect time of year for soup – make it in large batches and freeze in containers so you have a constant supply of healthy and quick lunches. Pumpkin works perfectly in soup and here are two of my current favourites.
1. Pumpkin Spinach Soup
Ok, so this may not be the most beautiful looking soup in the world but its amazingly tasty and so healthy. It’s also impossibly quick and easy to make.
Ingredients: no need to measure out these ingredients exactly
- Pureed roasted Pumpkin (one medium pumpkin or about 4 cups of pumpkin puree)
- One can of Coconut Milk
- One small bag of baby spinach
- Tablespoon Olive Oil
- Heat Olive Oil in large pan and add spinach. Cook until the spinach has started to wilt
- Add coconut milk and pumpkin puree and stir until completely mixed together and heated through.
- Season with salt and enjoy
2. Autumn Pumpkin Soup
Ingredients: again using the exact quantities is not important
- 1 medium pumpkin
- 2 – 3 medium sweet potatoes
- 1 butternut squash
- 4 – 6 medium – large carrots
- Chicken or Vegetable stock (I used about 1 litre but use as much as you need to make it the consistency that you like – I like my soup quite thick
- Seasoning (salt and cinnamon)
- Roast all the vegetables in olive oil until soft (I tend to roast them whole or cut in half and then remove the skin afterwards as its easier than trying to peel before cooking)
- Once roasted and the skin has been removed put all the ingredients into a large bowl and blend using a hand held blender
- Season with salt and some cinnamon if you like
It’s that time of year again when mountains of pumpkins appear in our supermarkets and the children (and parents!) around me get excited about who can make the best pumpkin carving for Halloween. But what happens to the inside of the pumpkin that is so painstakingly scooped out?! Well, most people I’ve spoken to tell me that it goes straight in the bin. Pumpkin as a food just isn’t that big over here in the UK despite it’s amazing taste and versatility.
So I’ve looked over the pond to the United States where pureed pumpkin is found in tins and you can buy pumpkin flavoured ice cream to get some inspiration for all things pumpkiny!! Hopefully I will be able to entice you to use that scooped out pumpkin flesh with one of the recipes I will post over the next week.
Today it’s Pumpkin Pie Bites. Pumpkin Pie is HUGE in the states and I remember tucking into a warm piece of pumpkin pie as a kid. There are loads of pumpkin pie recipes out there – most of which are obviously not AIP friendly, so I’ve been slowly collecting some of these and the few AIP / Paleo recipes (this one and this one) and made my own version. I love these cupcakes; they give you just enough pie to feel satisfied without feeling overloaded with the strong flavours. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have.
Pumpkin Pie Bites
For the Base
1/4 cup arrowroot powder
2/4 cup coconut flour
1½ cups dates, pitted and soaked in 1½ cups hot water for 5 minutes (don’t throw away the water after soaking)
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1½ teaspoons fresh grated ginger root
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
For the Filling
3 cups pureed pumpkin (roast pumpkin for 30-45 minutes until soft then purée)
1/2 cup maple syrup or honey
1/4 cup coconut oil
2½ tablespoons gelatin
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
For the Icing
1/3 cup arrowroot powder
2½ tablespoons coconut oil
2 tablespoons honey
1-2 tablespoons of maple syrup
1. Preheat oven to 200c
2. Drain the dates (but keep the water)
3. Combine all the base ingredients (including 1 cup of the date water) in a blender and process until a thick paste is formed
4. If it’s too dry add the rest of the date water until the mixture is a little sticky
5. Scoop out mixture into cupcake moulds (I used silicone as it prevents any sticking). I made the base about 1cm deep
6. Bake in oven for about 15 minutes, or until the base starts to brown. Remove from oven and leave to cool
7. Whilst the base is cooking combine all the filling mixture in a pot on the stove over a medium heat and stir until it is all combined and starting to gently bubble
8. Using a hand held blender, make sure all the chunks are gone and mixture is smooth
9. Scoop the mixture on top of the crust
10. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours minimum to set
11. Once set you can make the icing. Combine the arrowroot powder, coconut oil and honey in a bowl and mix together to form the icing. Add maple syrup bit by bit until it reaches desired consistency (mine was quite thick)
12. Spread icing on top or make pretty patterns with a piping bag and sprinkle with cinnamon powder
I don’t know about you but I had never heard of Kale before starting the autoimmune protocol. Now it’s popping up in all sorts of recipes – smoothies and cakes are the strangest two recipes I have seen it in. I won’t knock it though as doing the AIP certainly opens your eyes to lots of different foods and the wonderfully strange combinations that they are used! Kale is packed full of amazing nutrients which probably explains why people add it in wherever they can.
Kale though is in my opinion, best on its own. Where it’s flavor can be fully appreciated.
These take 20 minutes to make and are a great healthy alternative to crisps
Curly Kale Crisps
• One bag of curly kale (there are other types of Kale but curly seems to crisp up the best)
• Olive oil or Coconut oil (coconut oil tastes the best but they are still great with olive oil)
• Pink Himalayan Salt (or any salt if not AIP)
1. Preheat oven to 160 (too high and it will burn)
2. Wash and dry the kale thoroughly (wet kale will make it soggy!)
2. Sift through to remove the large stems as they don’t crisp up
2. Put on baking tray and coat completely in oil using your hands
3. Sprinkle salt on the top and mix in
4. Spread evenly over the tray so the kale isn’t on top of each other
5. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until kale is crispy but not burnt (I tend to keep a close eye on them!)
6. Enjoy warm or store in airtight container for a snack later on
Earlier this week I had the pleasure of meeting the lovely Ilja from Pudding Pie Cookery School. We spent the morning cooking up some wonderful AIP dishes and I learnt loads in the process – like how to chop a whole chicken into pieces (ok I’m really squeamish so that was a challenge!!) and how to finely cut vegetables without chopping my fingers off. We made a few dishes which I will share over the coming weeks. Two of the dishes had the same sauce base, Soffritto. Soffritto is an Italian sauce (or French or Spanish depending on who you ask!!) that is used as a base in loads of different recipes in Italy (Spain and France). I was a little sceptical at first as it contains large amounts of celery which i really dislike but once it’s all cooked you can’t taste it at all. It’s such a versatile sauce I’m going to make large amounts to freeze and add to dishes when needed.
Lemon and Garlic Chicken Casserole
For the Soffritto
- 2 large carrots
- 2 sticks of celery
- 2 onions
- 4 garlic cloves
- 3 bay leaves
- Fresh sprig of Rosemary
- Fresh sprig of Thyme
- Olive oil
For the Chicken Casserole
- Half a chicken (chopped) or 2 chicken breasts / pieces
- Arrowroot flour to coat chicken
- 1 whole lemon
- 1 cup white wine
- 200ml chicken stock
For the Soffritto
- Chop all veg and garlic into small pieces
- Add a generous amount of olive oil to the pan and add all ingredients
- Cook on a low heat until tender
For Chicken Casserole
- Coat chicken in arrowroot flour and cook in olive oil in a frying pan until one side is golden brown before flipping over and browning the other side
- Once brown add lemon (cut in half), Soffritto mixture, wine and chicken stock
- Leave to cook on a low heat for approx one hour
- Do not allow to dry out, top up with more chicken stock or water if needed
- Season with salt
- Serve with grilled courgettes and sweet potatoes