Breakfast Banana Smoothie (moderate)

In an effort to cut down breakfast time (thereby increasing time in bed) I’ve come up with a tasty and nutritious breakfast smoothie.  It has vitamins, potassium, calcium (if you choose rice milk with added calcium), protein and fibre.  This contains moderate ingredients so proceed with caution.

Ingredients

  • 1 banana (ripe)
  • 1/2 cup rice milk
  • 1 tsp golden syrup
  • 2 tsp cashew paste
  • 2 tsp Benefiber (non-gluggy, friendly and taste-free!)

Blend. Consume.

I have a Cuisinart stick blender which came with a few attachments and I use this for everything from beating eggs and blending soups to chopping nuts and making satay paste.  My blender met with an unfortunate accident but I’m glad in a way because it was overkill and took up unnecessary bench and dishwasher space.

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Six months on, friendly as ever!

I have been on the diet for nearly six months now and have graduated to moderate restrictions, though I’m taking it easy generally.  Everything has improved.  My stomach problems have almost totally subsided, my mood has improved, energy levels are up, concentration is a little better (procrastination notwithstanding) and my skin is great.  I have lost 20kg so far without any additional exercise but I am starting training now so I expect to lose more at a steady rate.

The first two weeks were torture.  Temptation was all around me and habit loomed large.  Giving up snacking, gluten, chocolate, Diet Coke, caffeine and a host of other delicious friends was very, very hard but I found that doing it for scientific reasons kept me from breaking it.  I didn’t break at all.  I didn’t eat chocolate for two months after having eaten about 100g per day for the past three or more years!  Score one for will power.

I was terrified of starving but I didn’t.  I had plenty of delicious and diverse food to eat but was noticeably eating much less and was hungry all the time.  I got used to being hungry and after a couple of months my stomach shrank so I now eat less anyway.

When I began I was on an inter-session break from Uni so I had plenty of time to cook.  I regularly made bread and salad and always had food to eat when I came home for lunch.  Since going back to Uni everything has been more of a struggle and I have been a bit lazy with keeping a varied diet.  My go-to meal is McCain Healthy Choice Chips and an egg.  Lately I’ve been more motivated and have been creating my own speedy recipes out of necessity.

Going away has posed more than its share of challenges but I made sure to prepare well and I survived.  I spent three nights away in March and a week away in April.  I also had a night away camping in January and will post what I’ve learned in due course.

I’ll post more recipes too and you can either try them out or shake your head at the horrible concoctions I invent.  I’ll also get around to posting some photos so you can see that this isn’t a boring, white, tasteless diet and it’s possible to still enjoy food and be healthy if you have food chemical intolerances.

To my health and yours!

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Crispy Little Fishies

Following a Friendly diet will likely mean consuming a lot of vegetable oil, which is high in omega-6.  For heart health, it’s important to balance this with plenty of omega-3 oils such as those in seafood.*  This is a simple recipe that can be used for finger food or coupled with a salad and starchy side for a full meal.  I use whiting as it is a fairly firm fish that can withstand frying and is small, easy to handle and sweet to taste.

All these ingredients are suitable for someone on the strict, gluten free elimination diet.

Ingredients

  • 400g whiting fillets (skin on or off, your preference)
  • gluten free plain flour
  • ground sea salt
  • rice bran oil

Scatter a healthy handful of flour onto a plate and sprinkle through some salt.  Dip the little fish fillets in the flour so both sides are totally coated.  Put a heavy-based, medium sized saucepan on the heat and fill to about 3mm with oil.  When bubbles and streaks form in the oil, carefully place a few of the fishes, one by one, into the oil and let them fizzle away happily.  It’s time to turn them over when they curl up all around the edges.  Fry on both sides until lightly brown.  Gently transfer fried fishes to a plate lined with paper towel.  Once the fishes have dulled they’re ready to eat.

Serve with friendly mayonnaise and chips.  Serves two, or one greedy-guts.

 

* I am not an authority on heart health but this is what I have read.  If I can find a reference I’ll edit it in.

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A friendly day!

I ate entirely friendly today and I am well and truly stuffed.  After weeks of planning to properly begin I ultimately decided just to begin as soon as I woke up this morning. OK, this afternoon, but it is New Year’s Day.

I don’t know if it will stick but this is the first day where I’ve been entirely friendly with no exceptions.

I ate:

  • 2 hard-boiled eggs
  • 4 pieces of (freshly baked) GF wholemeal bread, one with golden syrup
  • 1 cup of decaf coffee
  • 1 bowl of pear and bean salad
  • 1 pear ice block
  • 1 glass of gin & tonic
  • 1 bowl of lamb and celery satay with rice

I also took a multivitamin and drank a lot of water. I’m getting closer to starting for real. All these false starts have made me realise how difficult this will be but I’m glad to have the time to work out my strategy properly instead of diving in, going a couple of weeks and then failing and having to start all over again.

And to my friends who have requested photos, I’m sorry – I didn’t take any photos today. Not of the glorious bread I baked, not of the perfect salad I made, not of the delicious satay lamb… I was too hungry to stop and click! Next time I’ll have the camera crew at the ready, I promise.

Tomorrow morning I might start with buckwheat pancakes and then we’re having some tangy marinated baked chicken for lunch. That should stretch to dinner as well and I’ll bake some snacks in the afternoon. Let’s see if I can go two whole days!

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Sausage rolls

I made a test batch of sausage rolls from the recipe on p 219 of Friendly Food.

The meat was yearling (a one-year-old cow) I had minced by my butcher. All local meat.  I got 400g instead of 300g and just added a handful more of everything else for the filling.  The pastry is basically a gluten free potato pastry. I had bought some local organic nicola potatoes from the Co-op, peeled and quartered them then frozen them for future use.  These I put into a pot with cold water and a generous pinch of salt then I brought them to the boil and turned them down to a moderate simmer for about 15 mins.  That method is Nigella Lawson’s – I saw it last night on Nigella Kitchen.  She said the salt helps to maintain the waxiness of the potato and the simmer, rather than a boil, ensures they don’t go powdery and starchy.  She was right.  The Nigella method and the quality of the potatoes made the smoothest, creamiest mash I’ve ever made and I didn’t add anything to it (i.e. no margarine or rice milk – no emulsifiers) – no need!

The potato is combined with about half an egg and some dry ingredients (see the book for the whole recipe) and kneaded.  I had way more potato than the recipe allowed for and in retrospect I could have added more flour but in the end it worked out fine.  The rolling was the trickiest part and not least because I remembered I don’t own a rolling pin!  The surface I was using wasn’t really adequate and the pastry stuck but I had cling wrap down (because I didn’t trust the cleanliness of the bench) so I used that to help me roll.

The rolls took about 35-40 mins in the oven, with us turning it down after about 20 mins then up again after another 10 mins (lack of confidence + fan forced turbo oven) so I think 25-30 mins on a constant heat would be right.

The rolls turned out quite pink in the middle but lovely and crispy on the outside (and not burnt.)  Next time I’ll roll the filling thinner so it cooks more thoroughly but it is young beef and it needs to be said that it doesn’t brown like older beef mince does.  It tends to pink then grey or pale brown but is tender, tasty and lower in amines!

I think I would only cook what I need next time because now I’m left with a large batch of rolls I should consume tonight but can’t.  Rules of the diet include no refrigeration of leftover cooked meat as amines develop.  I think it would be fine to freeze these uncooked (sans eggwash) for up to a month so I’ll do that next time and will then have them on hand for lazy dinners or visitors.

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Chicken stock

I made my first-ever batch of stock today. My wonderful poulterer had some chicken “frames” in so I bought two. I find it funny that they call them frames. Maybe it’s an industry term but it seems to me to be another apology for the true origin of the product. I just call them carcasses. No need to make it sound nice because they look pretty macabre!

The recipe is straight from Friendly Food (p 238) and I added whatever friendly veg I had in my fridge. Altogether it was leek, spring onion, chives, parsley, swede and celery.

I doubled the recipe and yielded about 2L of stock which I divided up into a 1L container, a 600mL container, four ~250mL containers (1 cup each) and two ice cube trays. It should keep for a month. Better make sure I use it (or give some away.)

I’m actually tempted to pick the remaining meat off the boiled carcasses but I’m resisting because I think it’ll be disappointingly grey and bland now that all the flavour is in the stock!

Look out for posts where I use the stock.

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Tangy Chicken and Noodles

Adapted from Chinese-Style Chicken Noodles in Friendly Food (p 116)

Ingredients

8 (880g) chicken thigh fillets
80mL (1/3 cup) oil (I use rice bran oil)
125mL (1/2 cup) pear juice (canned pears in syrup, pureed)
1 tbsp fresh chives, chopped
1 tbsp citric acid
1 tsp ground sea salt
250g dried rice vermicelli
2 spring onions, chopped

Slice chicken into strips and place in non-metallic bowl. Mix together oil, half of the pear juice, chives, citric acid and salt and pour over the chicken, making sure all the meat is covered.  Cover and marinate in the fridge for 1 hour.

Discard the marinade. Put the chicken pieces in a hot frying pan and simmer on medium heat for 10-15 mins. Drain off excess liquid and return to heat for a further 10 mins.

While the chicken is cooking, soak the noodles in cold water until soft. 

Add the remaining pear juice to the chicken and reduce the heat slightly. Strain the noodles and add to the pan with the spring onions. Toss through until the noodles are warm.

Serve immediately.

Cooked chicken should not be refrigerated as amines will develop. This dish must be made for immediate consumption only.

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