Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Pulled Pork with FODMAP Ginger Barbecue Sauce

Since my last posting, about starting a FODMAP diet in order to try and figure out some of my ongoing digestive 'issues', it sent me into a bit of well, frankly a meltdown! I think trying to start anything that has such a big impact on everything, combined with a super busy time at work, plus being rather hormonal at the time, it was just heading for a disaster!! I did mention I was on the edge of a meltdown previously and I have never cried in a super market but it came very, very close the following day!! One thing I've learned, is do not go shopping when hungry and whilst doing FODMAP!! Nothing will be suitable and you will only be sad and disappointed!! Not to mention quite close to pretty much offending anyone you love! (Sorry B!)

So, towards the end of last week, in an attempt to get back on plan, afterall on the days I did follow it I REALLY noticed a difference digestively, planning was key in it all and with Father's Day fast approaching and the thought of navigating a restaurant menu bought me out in a cold sweat, I knuckled down and after poring over the FODMAP books, again I decided to do pulled pork.Meat after all is easy, the sauce is where it gets interesting... pretty much any ready made sauce, condiment or flavouring is very much on the no list, and so I decided to make a FODMAP friendly barbecue sauce...

Starting was the hardest part - how to do it without any garlic-honey or onions! Previously I have relied on my trusty 'Winter Barbecue sauce' but couldn't make it due to the aforementioned 'banned' items, along with also not being able to have dates or apple, that sauce was doomed. Also another no go was the sauce I make for my pasta! What to do?!! It was time to start a clean slate, wave goodbye to my beloved garlic and embrace a new food challenge... and its time to say Mr Celery! He will be your new friend!! It substitutes very well for when you would normally be browning your onions etc! The spice Hing was also recommended by my dietitian as a sort of replacement to the flavour that onion gives - I am not entirely sure on quantities but thought would start with half a teaspoon and go from there!!

Fortunately all the hard work paid off and its actually a pretty low maintenance dish whilst still being delicious! The sauce was really tasty, with a sweet smoky depth and also fresh tasting and no one missed the onion or garlic, including my brother commenting it wasn't bloating compared to a regular version. This sauce is now definitely my base sauce!! I adore ginger and would eat it in copious quantities, though the overall finish of the dish is not very gingery at all, if it was just for me I would of added some extra ground ginger!

For the pork - it takes a long time to cook, so plan appropriately. I woke at 6am Sunday morning to put mine in the oven, I recommend a later time but it depends on your guests schedule...

Serves lots - maybe 8? Depends on greed of guests!


Approx 2 kg joint Pork shoulder
1 x 440ml can ginger beer (check label, mine was from Tesco)
1 tin good quality plum tomatoes, chopped
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 stick celery, finely chopped
25g dark soft brown sugar
2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 bay leaves
1 heaped tsp English mustard powder
1/2 tsp hing (also known as Asafoetida)
1 heaped tsp smoked paprika
4 heaped tsp tomato puree concentrate (roughly 1/2 a small tin)
1/2 bunch fresh coriander, shredded

You will need a roasting bag OR lots of foil

Oven 150o (mine is still broken but medium!)

Place the pork joint in the roasting bag and tip in just under half the can of ginger beer (save the rest), seal and place in a baking tin. Or do equivalent making a tight foil bag around the pork. Place in the oven and roast for 6-7 hours or until cooked through and falling apart almost just by simply staring at it.

For the sauce -roughly 3 hours before the pork is going to be ready:

Heat the oil in a medium sized saucepan to medium/ hot heat, fry the celery for 4-5 minutes or until starting to brown, add the red wine vinegar and simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated.

Stir in the bay, smoked paprika, hing, mustard,sugar and tomato puree and saute for about 3 minutes until well incorporated and its a lovely reddish brown colour, stir in the chopped tomatoes and most of the remaining ginger beer (I couldn't resist a sneaky sip!), cover and reduce the heat down low. Simmer for a good 2 1/2 hours, giving the odd stir.

When the sauce is done, stir through 2/3 of the chopped coriander, leaving the prettier leaves for garnish. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Remove the pork from the oven, cut open the bag/ open the foil up and fold back the sides. Lift the pork onto a suitable chopping board (I have one with a drainage area purely for these dishes!) Drain off most of the liquid into a jug and use a little to enhance the barbecue sauce - maybe 1/2 a cup or so at the most.

Remove the rind from the pork - if you want crackling, scrape off most of the loose fat, and return to the oven on a thin baking tray until done to a desired crunch. (I am not a fan but my dad and brother are far more fond of crackling)

Using forks (and maybe a large knife to hack into chunks first), shred the pork into a deep sided baking dish.

Pour over the prepared sauce and return to the oven for about 25 minutes to warm through.

Garnish with remaining coriander leaves and feast! We had ours with a mountain of fodmap suitable roasted veggies and roasted new potatoes

Do not attempt FODMAP diet without consulting a registered dietitian.
OR when in crazy busy month.
I am also very new to this whole diet thing so tailor to your own individual needs and follow advice given by your dietitian!
*Celery is not to be eaten in large quantities on FODMAP but I used a small amount, spread across a large amount of sauce

Saturday, 11 June 2016

Hello, FODMAP...

Last week Anne's Kitchen entered new food territory... albeit I think I am currently in the 'terror' part! Following roughly 16, maybe 17 years of IBS (Irritable bowel syndrome), all the joy that it brought which on a food blog frankly I don't want to divulge too much but has resulted in surgery, more than once rectifying issues, then throw in some GORD (Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease) and managing to then add a little Fibromyalgia in to the mix; they have taken away a lot of the joy that food and drink can bring. Blogging has become really difficult too, so many recipes I love I can no longer have and I've developed sensitivity to several foods, weirdly Kiwi fruit is completely on the no-no list despite a lifetime of eating them! However, I am a determined woman and wont let it get the better of me!!

This meal was almost all on the naughty list apart from the steak, I bought a pack reduced which had a sachet of marinade so I thought I would just leave that off mine but the steak turned out to be already rubbed with something - labelling is so much fun! The buckwheat mash was a new one on both of us and made for me a welcome change to potato with everything!!

Buckwheat 'mash' with steak, roasted peppers and tomatoes
Towards the end of last year all the gastro symptoms came to a head and I lost weight as well as being generally fatigued and totally off my food, fast forward a few months, various gastro tests that didn't show much other than grade B oesophagitis I met with a lovely Dietitian last week and am now going to try the FODMAP diet, with the view to sorting out a lot of my issues. If you want to find out more about it, the Kings College website is a good start. The diet originated in Australia and now seems to be gaining momentum worldwide. FODMAP stands for Fermentable, Oligo-saccharides, Di-saccharides, Mono-saccharides And Polyols- and basically means that short chain carbs do not get digested very well and have their own little party without your permission.

As I had already meal planned last week, I stayed fairly on plan but was able to adjust a few dishes easily. At the moment, 5 days in I am up to about 80% on plan and running halfway between determination and getting a little too emotional whilst shopping. Next week when I go all in is going either make me or break me. This evening in particular almost resulted in a meltdown after getting home and realised the gluten free breadcrumbs had gram flour in. In the end I used them but will now be resigned to when I am back in the re-introducing phase, I'll follow the diet for 4 weeks, then re-introduce and see what happens!

This was a meal I managed to easilly adapt - I did baked haddock fillets, B's had a pistachio herb crumb, mine had polenta sprinkled over with chives - wasn't bad but I do like my crumb a bit more crispy!

Baked fish with roasted potatoes and kale with capers
The actual list of what I can and can't have is daunting. Roughly my diet will be gluten free, wheat free, lactose free and a reduction in dairy. The dairy bit is easy, I already use either almond or soya milk the majority of the time, apart from my endless cups of tea, though hopefully I will adjust to the different flavour. Also, no leeks, beans, pulses, onions  or garlic too. A little awkward when you mostly eat a plant based diet. Out of everything I think no garlic may break my spirit. I love garlic and the thought of a month is gonna be tough! A lot of the fruit I like is also on what I am referring to as the naughty list. However, I must keep strong, remember why I am doing this and focus on what I can eat!!

Over the next month I will try and keep you updated with the high's and potential low's and hopefully if you have issues, it will help you too! Hopefully there will be some tasty recipes too! Please also let me know if you have tried the FODMAP diet and how you got on with it? I am always super grateful for any feedback!!

Monday, 6 June 2016

Meal Planning Monday

Well today is Monday again. where did last week go exactly?! Oh I know - my works project Go Live! For those interested, it has gone really well and has certainly kept me out of mischief!! I am thoroughly enjoying the process and when my secondment ends they will be carting me out the office kicking and screaming!! It has been a rollercoaster and a ride I don't want to get off! Being part of the project is hugely exciting and of late has definitely boosted my interest in things in general. I've finally got my cooking mojo back! I think the reflux is on the mend and even my IBS has not been as bad and whatever that strange bug was last month has left the building! Maybe its all the sunshine that helps?!

Last week we ate very well. One real success was managing to sneak a Tofu dish into B! There was an awkward moment when he saw the empty tofu pack but I bluffed it by saying I had it for lunch!(Yeah like I ate a whole tub haha!) he does know now it did contain the Tofu and most importantly he both enjoyed it and would eat it again! I used a Jamie Oliver recipe from his 'Save with Jamie' book (that I possibly was sent a million moons ago...) It made loads and is a very economical eat! Now for the keener eyed you'll notice it wasn't on the meal plan. for some reason in my head last Thursday this dish was what I thought was on it! Teach me not to pin it on the fridge!

Friday night's dinner was a lovely end to a busy week - beautiful smoked cod fillets, simply baked with lemon and butter, atop garlic & parmesan wilted spinach and roasted cherry tomatoes with Orzo

There was baking too!

On a random whim, which to be honest is how most of my baking occurs were these yummy oat and currant cookies, I couldn't find the more traditional raisins and these mini currants fitted the bill! They took about 3 minutes to knock up and were soooo good warm from the oven with a cuppa and a catch up with my neighbour!

This one was kept a secret on my social media channels - it was a surprise birthday cake for my big brother! Its espresso and pecan - and it was delicious! Wish I had taken more home! Both cookies and cake recipe came from my ancient Baking book - It must be at least 10 years old and its my most treasured possession!

This week is planned.... though judging by today its subject to change as I ended up leaving work quite late, then a cheeky pint in the sun with B meant we only just finished dinner! (its nearly 10pm!)

Monday - Braised Miso aubergines with spinach and black bean, basmati rice
(our favourite Chinese shut down, and I am desperately trying to recreate the aubergines - they were soooooo good there!)

Tuesday - Italian style baked eggs
(I first made this back in maybe February / March time and its a firm favourite from M&S!)

Wednesday - Pesto crumbed baked Haddock fillets, veg TBC
(have a tub of pistachio crumbs which are rather nice!)

Thursday - Meatballs from the freezer with something...
(been there forever!)

Friday - possibly out for dinner...TBC!

Monday, 30 May 2016

Tomorrow will mark one of the main reasons as to why my blog has slacked off the past year or so - I am proud to work for the NHS and tomorrow marks the 'Go Live' date for one of the biggest IT projects its seen, and one I have been very lucky and proud to be a part of it over the past 10 months! Its going to transform so many services for my Trust and really transform it for the better, not only improving patient care but improve efficiency in a lot of processes and a whole host of other things! So meal planning this week is essential, whether I stick to it is another thing but at least with what we are going to survive on is out of the way, everything else takes care of itself! I am also seeing the Dietitian soon so it needs to be full of good things, not the emergency draw noodle pots and chocolate!!

Last week I managed to stay fairly on plan, saying that it was only 3 of the 5 nights on plan but our lunches and breakfast were on plan at least! Friday night I really wanted to make the battered quorn sausages but in all honesty I was tired, still had several hours of work to do and I couldn't be faffed with deep frying so opted for easy fish fingers! If I say so myself, the wedges along side were outstanding, I took the trouble of part boiling them first, coated in rapeseed oil and a dried herb mix consisting of thyme, garlic and smoked paprika and they were most excellent! The veggies were frozen mixed veg, when cooked I tossed them in a teaspoon of EVOO mayo and a sprinkle of cheese - naughty but so nice!

As those who know me well, I hate wasting anything - and on Thursday night I used a packet of Ras Malai dessert mix (its an Indian sweet) and I had loads of the scented poaching milk leftover (think didn't boil it enough!) , I kept hold of the liquid whilst deciding what to make and the following night I used it to make baked semolina pudding, to which I jazzed up with some gloriously sweet Amarena cherries in syrup, and in a proper no waste clear the fridge purge, swirled through the last of my pot of Greek Yoghurt with honey and in the oven it went until nicely golden and fluffy - there is no way I could recreate it, but it was spot on! Comfort food in a bowl!

This week breakfasts are planned - my breakfast tomorrow is being bought for me, I have to go in to work at an ungodly hour but the rest of week will most likely be overnight oats, made up with almond milk, oats, sultana, chia and hemp seeds and some fresh raspberries.

Lunches for the next few days for me is a roasted butternut quinoa salad that I put together tonight and towards the end of the week most likely the green soup that's lurking in the freezer too long! B gets leftover Pancit (A Filipino noodle dish I made last night) and after that most likely a tuna sandwich.

Today as it was bank holiday Monday, I didn't cook and we went out with friends to the coast- I had a giant 'California' burger with avocado, cheese, bacon and a beef patty, with some rather lovely chips! I somehow managed that and two scoops of icecream too!! Probably why my jeggings feel so snug tonight perhaps?!

So for Tuesday through to Friday:

Gammon and courgette Pesto Fusilli
Tuna melt baguettes, wedges and mixed veg
Either Shashouska or Miso braised aubergines with coconut rice
Baked smoked cod fillets with Orzo and spinach
(unless I convince B he really wants to eat the puy lentils shh!!)

Monday, 23 May 2016

Monday Meal Plan

This week has fortunately started a lot healthier than last week! I am so glad that tummy bug has long gone, it really knocked the wind out of my sails! My appetite has fully returned, and I returned to my day job - the project I am on is about to launch so I couldn't really afford much more time off! Last week's post was a bit moany, so I apologise! I try to err on being more optimistic, than pessimistic but after a week of broken sleep and tummy pain from hell I was feeling more than a bit sorry for myself!!

Despite my no-plan last week, we ate quite well in the end including a rather tasty crustless tuna quiche, which did both dinner and lunch for work easily, a definitely handy standby considering we always have a tin of tuna in the cupboard and a good supply of eggs! However by Friday night I was more than happy to have a rare night off cooking, and we were chip shop bound! Our chippy makes some really good 'gourmet' calamari rings - this was my only one as B ate the rest! And I know its so sinful and god knows alone what goes in them but I couldn't resist a jumbo battered sausage! IT was sooooo good and really hit the comfort spot!! Its very rare we get a takeaway so it was a nice treat!

So onto this week - the fridge is restocked with a variety of veg and a few of the dishes have been lurking on the planning radar for some time but not quite made it - hopefully will have better luck this week! Breakfast for me is usually overnight oats, plus maybe a cheeky banana flapjack I bulk made, B gets his usual cereal (I don't do cereal, something about soggy things floating in milk, ick!)

Our lunches are mostly already made - I did a bulk batch cook last night to save time during the week! I made one large pan of smoky sausage and tomato rice for my boyfriend, for me its roasted feta and veggie couscous - its jam packed with roasted chard, carrot, pepper, baby aubergine, courgette and olives - yum! When they run out it will either be leftovers or a hastily thrown together salad of fridge surprises!

This week will potentially be:

Breaded fish, mash and peas (easy freezer meal!)

Chicken Balti, roasted broccoli and pilau rice (a jar of posh sauce that's been in the cupboard far too long!)

Tofu okonomiyaji (Jamie recipe, meal for one!), pickled carrots 

Creamy pork meatballs, leeks and spaghetti 
(bought some lovely free range pork mince on offer and we have a tub of cream cheese to eat up!)

Crispy battered Quorn sausage bites-
had to put these on the plan after salivating over Tinned Tomatoes recipe!  Probably have with potato wedges

Monday, 16 May 2016

The No meal plan week

Ahhh my dear readers... if you are still out there!! I feel all I do is either apologise or give you a sort of meal plan of late!! Without wanting to rant too much I am starting to feel that blogging for me personally is going to whittle out soon, or at least judging by the year so far!! Maybe the blogging gods have got it in for me as I do feel the odds have been stacked against me?! With three separate repairs to my laptop (including a new hard drive and a complete re-set each time!), each repair also resulting in at least 2 weeks downtime, not to mention the enormous amount of time wasted in between restoring my rather large photo collection, not to mention documents and other software to reinstall, the latest currently running painfully slow in the background as I type, its been somewhat challenging! And that's just been the technical issues!

Food has also been a bit tricky this year, as mentioned earlier in the year my long term digestive 'issues' came to a head and I had a nasty bout of reflux oesophagitis on top of it all, which basically means when it comes to meal planning, I write down all the things I want to eat, remove half as I can't eat it then still find the joy to both cook and eat it. Fortunately the reflux is abating slowly and I am off to see a specialist dietitian soon to try and tame my digestion! I've been experimenting with a few different alternative food options, and I've been fairly successful with reducing my dairy intake, and swapping to either almond or hazelnut milks instead for my morning porridge - or overnight oats, and it has done wonders for the reflux and IBS, so will be continuing with that. Though I can't stand either milk in my tea - so that remains moo milk!

When I look back at my first blogs, almost 10 years have passed and both my cooking and diet has evolved so much! I think its not just me either! The UK food scene has also evolved so much, talking about food now is 'normal' and chances are if you know me in person, we talk about food or drink in some way! During my imposed rest I've been catching up a lot on Masterchef episodes on the hard drive and the style is so different too, especially compared to when I remember watching it as a child, in the dark TV studio with the three coloured pods- they were red, blue and yellow if I recall correctly?! So you can see I am hugely interested in food still, and I really do hope I get back into blogging properly again. I love to create food, made with love to share with you all so do bear with me a while longer whilst I find my feet again!

Despite everything I've been trying to meal plan, often on my lovely paper planner I received for Christmas, however my last few attempts at meal planning have failed a little, with the technical and food issues, I then caught a bad sinus infection a month ago and was off my food again (don't ya love antibiotics!), then oh joy - last week I went down fast with suspected food poisoning, and only this afternoon I am starting to feel a bit more human and regaining a small appetite. I swear if the grim reaper had knocked at my door on Friday night I would of taken his hand willingly, I have no idea what triggered it but I really don't want it ever again!

As I am pretty much restricted to very plain foods for the next few days at least, I've not bothered to meal plan at all but I will be feeding my boyfriend via a mixture of freezer cheats I.e. fish fingers or sausages and mash. I felt bad the other night packing him off to the chippie for his tea but I doubt he was that disappointed hehe!! My only food highlight in the past week was toasted banana sandwich - it may sound a bit weird but I learnt it off a fellow patient when I was in hospital a few years back!

So overall I think my own personal plan if anything will be well cooked porridge, banana toasties and lightly cooked eggs! 

See you soon,
Anne's Kitchen 
01 09 10