I developed this Lamb Rendang recipe because, in the spirit of spring, I treated the family to a Sunday dinner which consisted of a leg of lamb with the usual roasted vegetables etc, but I didn’t realise just how much meat was actually on it! There was loads of tender meat left over so I thought it’d be nice to use it in a slow cooked curry. One of my favourite ways to cook lamb is in a Lamb Dansac, but I wanted to make something new for a change so I went for a lamb rendang instead.
A while ago I made chocolate bundt cakes to celebrate my 100th blog post and the sponge I made them with was so tasty that I wanted to try making other things with it. I’ve always loved whoopie pies, but sometimes shop-bought whoopie pies can be a bit too sickly because they have too much filling inside them and the quality of the buttercream icing often leaves a lot to be desired. The beauty of baking your own therefore, is that you can control the buttercream icing to baked sponge ratio to suit your own taste.
Although I used a proper whoopie pie tin it’s not completely necessary because you could just use a yorkshire pudding tin or something like it to bake your whoopie pies in. All you’re looking for is something that’ll control the spread of the sponge as it bakes and allow it to rise. In fact, if you don’t mind your whoopies looking a little odd you could even use a traditional fairycake shallow tin to bake them in.
I made my whoopie pies traditional chocolate ones, but you could omit the cocoa powder and make them with other flavours instead, such as vanilla (using 1 tsp vanilla extract), lemon (using the zest of 1 lemon) or bake them as a plain sponge but sandwich them with strawberry jam as well as buttercream icing.
I can highly recommend making the chocolate whoopie pies though because they result in two rich, moist chocolate sponges that are bonded together with a lightly whipped decadent cocoa buttercream, creating the perfect cake for one. One whoopie pie is a low FODMAP portion, but stopping at only eating one is a different matter entirely though.
Preheat your oven to 180C/160C Fan/350F/Gas mark 4.
Lay out your whoopie pie tins and give them a light greasing before dusting them with flour.
Measure all of the wet ingredients into a mixing bowl.
Measure all of the dry ingredients into another bowl and give it a stir.
Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix well.
Pour equal amounts of the cake mix into the whoopie pie tins.
Bake in the oven for around 10-12 mins. (They’re cooked if a skewer pushed into the middle of a couple of the cakes comes out entirely clean.)
Leave to cool on a cooling rack before taking the whoopie pies out of the tin.
Place your buttercream ingredients in a large mixing bowl and whisk together.
Once cool, sandwich the whoopie pies with the buttercream icing.
I’ve now been following the low FODMAP diet for a couple of months and I have to say that I’m feeling much better overall. I navigated the 6 to 8 week elimination phase without too many hiccups and have started to reintroduce some higher FODMAP foods back into my diet. Sadly, some foods remain difficult for me to process, a list that’s quite lengthy unfortunately, but the overall benefits of eating low FODMAP foods is reward in itself.
I think the FODMAP diet journey is an incredibly individual one and everyone will respond differently to it, just as they will respond differently to certain foods. I’ve had a few encounters online recently in which people have stated that particular foods shouldn’t be included in a low FODMAP recipe because they’re high FODMAP, even though they are actually a perfectly fine low FODMAP food if eaten at the correct serving size that’s recommended in the Monash app.
This has irritated me, to be honest, because I feel it is important to learn as much as possible about the health conditions which we suffer from. I’m all about educating myself to the best of my abilities as to what foods I can safely incorporate into my low FODMAP diet because it’s vital that we try to eat a wide variety of foods in our diet in order to get the best forms of nutrition our bodies require.
I’ve seen a lot of people online who are permanently living solely on the exclusion part of the low FODMAP diet and, as any good nutritionist will tell you, that’s not good at all because they are cutting out important nutritious dietary ingredients for no good reason. They’re also missing out on being able to eat delicious foods which would actually not cause them any digestive discomfort anyway!
Also, if there’s one thing that’s abundantly clear when it comes to the FODMAP diet it’s that everyone is different. That’s the whole freakin’ point of the FODMAP diet! Individuals will be able to tolerate or not tolerate a variety of foods differently. I don’t understand why people can’t just assess their own potential response to recipes or a meal and make suitable adjustments. For instance, if you know that you can handle a small amount of oats then have one small Anzac biscuit. If you can’t, then don’t eat them! It really doesn’t have to be hard.
One thing that has been hard is that I miss bread a lot. I’ve tried a number of shop bought gluten-free loaves, but I find it difficult to get past their grainy texture and general lack of flavour. (I’ve found the £3 price point for a Genius loaf pretty hard to swallow too). I’ve also made my own gluten-free loaves. They’ve turned out okay and have been tasty enough, but they still don’t compare to a normal wheat loaf.
I recently tried sourdough bread, but I don’t think my system liked it. It’s quite an acquired taste at the best of times due to its sour aftertaste, but I suspect my body still isn’t that keen on processing either gluten or the fructans found in wheat. I’m in the process of getting a sourdough bread culture on the go which I intend to use to make a spelt sourdough loaf, so I’ll see what my body makes of that.
As I said at the start of this post, it’s clear that the FODMAP diet is very much a personal endeavour and I think the journey’s very much about identifying what your own personal triggers are. All I can say with certainty is that I feel infinitely better as a result of finding out about the FODMAP diet and I’m happy to help spread the word to other IBS sufferers in order to help them too.
After giving it a great deal of thought I feel ready to announce that I’ve came to the conclusion that I definitely prefer biscuits over cake. I know it’s bold and don’t get me wrong, I love a slice of good cake, but there’s that lovely unbeatable crunch that is present in a decent biscuit that is lacking in cake (unless it’s a terribly baked one!).
One of my standby baking ingredients at the moment is dark chocolate because it’s naturally dairy-free and FODMAP friendly. I think it lends itself to being used as a biscuit topping because it’s really easy to use and the flavour complements so many different types of biscuit. In my mind, one of the best partnerships in the sweet area of the culinary world is that of chocolate and orange, with the dark, rich silkiness of the chocolate providing a wonderful counterfoil to the fresh zestiness of the orange oil. Divine.
This chocolate orange biscuit recipe is really quick and easy to make and produces little crispy biscuits that are a doddle to top with melted chocolate. The inclusion of custard powder and a little bit of cornflour ensures that they have a good crunch, but still have a bit of crumble to them. I used a triangular cookie cutter which gave great results, but you can cut them out into any shape you like.
The real struggle lies in waiting for the dark chocolate to cool and harden on the biscuits before you eat them. I’ll bet you can’t.
70g butter (or dairy-free version)
30g coconut oil
80g gluten-free flour (I use Dove’s Farm G/F Plain Flour)
50g custard powder
70g caster sugar
The grated zest of 1 orange
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp orange flavouring
1 tsp orange juice
1 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp baking powder
200g dark chocolate (for the topping)
Preheat your oven to 200C/180C Fan/400F/Gas mark 6.
Line two baking trays with greaseproof paper.
Melt the coconut oil and butter in a microwavable bowl.
Add all of the other ingredients and mix until a smooth dough is formed.
Bake the biscuits in the oven for 12 to 15 mins, or until they are golden brown.
Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely on a cooling rack.
Once the cookies are cold, melt the dark chocolate in a bowl in the microwave (stirring very frequently so that the chocolate doesn’t burn).
Generously spread the chocolate over the cookies and leave to harden before serving. Or dive right in and get your chin and fingers covered in melted chocolate. It didn’t happen to me, you understand, it was a friend one time…