Fruit Custard Tarts (makes 4)

Fruit Custard Tarts by The Fat Foodie

Now that we’re starting to see a bit more sun on a daily basis thanks to the arrival of spring I’m finding myself more inclined to make desserts that incorporate lighter flavours, such as these fruit custard tarts. When I started eating dairy-free one of my best revelations to come from the vegan community was finding out that Bird’s Custard Powder doesn’t contain dairy. I found this really surprising, but I suppose it’s just because you expect such a sweet vanilla-based substance to be already creamy even before you add anything to it. Regardless, I’m grateful!

It feels a bit cheeky to be posting the recipe for these fruit custard tarts because they’re so easy to make, especially when I haven’t made my own custard, but they are really delicious so I figured I’d share it anyway. The pastry is very light and a bit crumbly, but I think that works very well with the sweet custard and berries.

It makes life so much easier if you bake the pastry in tart tins which have a removable base, but it’s not absolutely essential and you can just use a piece of greaseproof paper in the base to help take the pastry cases out of the tins instead. Also, don’t try to take the pastry cases out of the tins until they’re completely cold otherwise they’re more likely to break.

You can use any fruit you like in these tarts. I’d bought some raspberries and blueberries that were reduced to a ridiculously cheap price and that’s what I used, but you could make them more exotic by using coconut oil instead of butter for the pastry tarts and topping them with chunks of fresh pineapple. Whatever you choose to top them with, these fruit custard tarts are light, creamy and filled with flavour, perfect for dessert on a warm summer’s evening (or an optimistic Scottish spring night).

Ingredients for the tart cases:

70g gluten-free plain flour (I use Dove’s Farm G/F Plain Flour)

30g ground almonds

1 tsp xanthan gum

20g caster sugar

3 tbsps rice milk

40g dairy-free butter

1 tsp vanilla extract

Ingredients for the custard filling:

80g Bird’s Custard Powder

40g sugar

1 pint (580ml) rice milk


Make the custard in accordance with the instructions on the pack and set it aside to cool.

To make the pastry for the tarts, put everything except the milk into a mixing bowl and rub the butter into the dry ingredients with your fingers until it looks like fine sand.

Preparing the Dough for the Fruit Custard Tarts

Add the milk a little at a time, stirring all the while, until it forms a dough. (You might not need to use all of the milk. It can depend on the individual batch of flour you’re using.)

Preparing the Dough for the Fruit Custard Tarts

Set your tart tins out on a large baking tray and cut out two little squares of greaseproof paper for each tart that are big enough to line the base of your tart tins. (See the photo below if necessary.)

Preheat your oven to 200C/180C Fan/400F/Gas mark 6.

Put a piece of greaseproof paper in the bottom of each tart tin. Divide your dough into four and place a small lump of dough in each tart tin and mould to fit the tart tin.

Put another piece of greaseproof paper on top of the pastry and put baking beans on top.

Putting the Dough in the Tart Tins

Bake in the oven for 15 mins and then remove the baking beans and bake for another 10 mins (or until the pastry cases are golden brown). Leave the tarts to cool on a cooling rack.

Baked Tart Cases

When the tarts and custard are cold, fill each tart case with custard and top with fresh fruit. Dust with icing sugar just before serving.

Freshly Filled Fruit Custard Tarts by The Fat Foodie

Freshly Filled Fruit Custard Tarts by The Fat Foodie

Freshly Filled Fruit Custard Tarts by The Fat Foodie

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Sweet Potato Rostis (makes 4 rostis)

Sweet Potato Rostis by The Fat Foodie

Sweet Potato Rostis by The Fat Foodie

I’ve been on holiday for the past week and one morning after a very long lie-in I really fancied something quite indulgent for breakfast. I’d bought a large bag of sweet potatoes at the supermarket and was looking for ways to use them up so I decided to make sweet potato rostis that I could fill with a baked egg and serve alongside some rashers of smoky bacon. That’s what days off are all about, right?

I always have lots of nuts and seeds in my larder because I find them to be a very useful source of iron and they can be added on an ad hoc basis to so many dishes. So, I thought the addition of sesame seeds to the sweet potatoes would go well, adding a toasted flavour to the natural sweetness of the sweet potatoes.

I cooked my sweet potato rostis in little tartlet tins, thinking that the tins would help the rostis to bake into a hard flan shape that would hold the baked eggs whilst also crisping up the rostis, but sadly the tins didn’t make the rostis bake into that shape. However, I’m still pleased I cooked them in the tartlet tins because they helped form a bowl for the eggs to be baked in.

These sweet potato rostis respond well to a very generous seasoning of pepper, resulting in a crunchy, but sweet, satisfying bowl of potato in which to encapsulate your chosen fillings. I’ll definitely be making these again in a heartbeat.

Sweet Potato Rostis with a Baked Egg by The Fat Foodie

Sweet Potato Rostis with a Baked Egg by The Fat Foodie


2 grated sweet potatoes (300g grated weight)

4 tbsps gluten-free flour

4 tbsps sesame seeds

1 tbsp olive oil

Salt and pepper


Preheat your oven to 200C/180C Fan/400F/Gas mark 6.

Grate your sweet potatoes into a large bowl and then add all of the ingredients and stir well.

Divide the mixture between the tart tins (or a large baking tray, if you’re not using the tart tins) and bake for around 25 minutes until the top of the rostis are crunchy and the base is soft.

Add your eggs and put the rostis back in the oven until the eggs are cooked to your liking. (Equally, if you’re having bacon with them you could chop the bacon up and add it to the eggs before you bake them.)


Sweet Potato Rostis with Baked Eggs and Smoked Bacon by The Fat Foodie

Sweet Potato Rostis with Baked Eggs and Smoked Bacon by The Fat Foodie

Sweet Potato Rostis with Baked Eggs and Smoked Bacon by The Fat Foodie

Sweet Potato Rostis with Baked Eggs and Smoked Bacon by The Fat Foodie

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Gluten-Free Carrot and Pecan Cake

Gluten-Free Carrot and Pecan Cake made by The Fat Foodie

Gluten-Free Carrot and Pecan Cake made by The Fat Foodie

I recently got a copy of The Complete Low-FODMAP Diet book from the library and it has a great recipe section at the back. I’m definitely going to buy a copy of my own though because it’s an invaluable resource for following the low FODMAP diet, as is the cookbook. As I was reading, one of the recipes that caught my eye was one for a gluten-free carrot and pecan cake.

Now let me tell you, I love cake, but I hate gluten-free cakes that have that horrid granular texture and whip all of the moisture out of your mouth whilst you try to chew them. Nope. Just nope. However, I’m very pleased to tell you, friends, that this cake is not like that. It’s moist, moreish and massively tasty!

The official recipe in the book calls for a blend of cornflour, rice and tapioca flours, but who has time for that? I just used a Doves Farm Gluten-Free Plain White Flour blend (which I’m going to start buying in bulk) and it worked just fine. The recipe also just states that you’re to use “2 small carrots”, but I hate that sort of instruction, particularly when it comes to making things like cakes when the quantities you use can make a massive difference to the overall result of the cake. Instead, I weighed my carrots and ascertained that 250g of carrots was the optimum carrot quantity needed. You’re welcome.  😉

I must admit, I tweaked the recipe that was in the book, so this is my version of the one you’ll find in The Complete Low-FODMAP Diet book. However, I’ll justify this ‘tweakage’ by stating that I think the different flours used called for a bit more rice milk and a bit less egg. And some nutmeg because all carrot cakes should have a bit of fresh nutmeg grated into them. And a coconut milk frosting too because all good cakes deserve to be draped in yet more sugar, don’t you think? What can I say, I’m a rebel.

This makes quite a large cake, so although the book recommended baking it in a single cake tin I actually baked mine in two smaller sandwich tins. My intention was to sandwich the two cakes between a dairy-free coconut icing, but the icing let me down because it wasn’t thick enough to join the cakes together. As a result, I just drizzled the coconut frosting over the carrot and pecan cake as you would with cream and it was delicious none the less.

If you fancy a slice of a good carrot and pecan cake, regardless of whether you’re gluten-free or not, I’d really recommend using this recipe. It makes a wonderfully delicate, but moist cake that’s speckled with sweet little carrot pieces and soft, yielding, tasty fragments of pecan nut. It’s definitely one of the best gluten-free carrot and pecan cakes I’ve ever had.

Gluten-Free Carrot and Pecan Cake made by The Fat Foodie

Gluten-Free Carrot and Pecan Cake made by The Fat Foodie


250g grated carrots

270g gluten-free flour

220g sugar

100g pecans

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

2 tsps of baking powder

1 tsp xanthan gum

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tsps ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

130ml rice milk

2 large eggs

125ml vegetable oil

For the frosting:

1 tsp lemon juice

The coconut cream from a can of coconut milk (the solid fat that sits at the top)

350g icing sugar


Preheat your oven to 170C/150C Fan/325F/Gas mark 3.

Prepare a pair of cake tins by lining them with greaseproof paper.

Put all of your wet ingredients into a large mixing bowl and whisk together.

Add all of the other ingredients (apart from the frosting ingredients) and whisk together until it’s all fully combined.

Pour into the two cake tins making sure an equal amount of cake mix is in each tin.

Bake for around 35-40 minutes or until a skewer pushed into the middle comes out clean.

In the meantime, make your frosting by putting all of the frosting ingredients into a jug or bowl and whisking together. Add more lemon juice if it needs loosening up or more icing sugar if it’s too liquid.

Once baked, remove from the oven and let them cool.

Once they’re cold, serve with a drizzle of coconut frosting.

Gluten-Free Carrot and Pecan Cake made by The Fat Foodie

Gluten-Free Carrot and Pecan Cake made by The Fat Foodie

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Beef Chilli Nachos

Beef Chilli Nachos by The Fat Foodie

Beef Chilli Nachos by The Fat Foodie

On Saturday night I couldn’t be bothered cooking anything particularly time consuming, so I decided that a plateful of corn nachos covered in a rich beef chilli would do nicely for dinner. These nachos only took half an hour to make, but they resulted in a very satisfying and chilled out TV dinner.

I’ve been following the low FODMAP diet and a couple of things that they strongly advise you to stay away from is onion and garlic because they’re renowned for irritating IBS. To begin with I found this very restrictive because onion and garlic are the base ingredients for so many dishes, but as time has went on I’m discovering that really, you don’t notice when they’re omitted from recipes.

When I decided to make these beef nachos I found myself pausing before starting to cook them and asking myself whether they’d be any good without the usual addition of sliced onion and minced garlic, but upon tasting the beef chilli I can happily confirm that they weren’t missed at all.

I served the beef chilli on top of a bed of crispy corn tortilla chips. I used Morrison’s Savers lightly salted corn tortillas which, along with being very tasty, have the added benefits of being both gluten-free and cost only 46p a bag! I only wish I could have added a healthy dollop of guacamole to my nachos, but that’ll need to wait until I’ve finished my two month FODMAP elimination phase. For now the jalapeños and dairy-free cheese did very nicely.

This simple, but tasty recipe for beef chilli nachos makes a generous plateful of crunchy salted tortilla chips that are covered in a rich, hearty and satisfying beef chilli. It’s a perfect meal for those evenings that require you to cook something that’s low fuss, but delicious.


450g beef mince (or vegan mince)

2 red peppers (diced)

1 tbsp smoked paprika

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tin of chopped tomatoes

Salt and pepper

1/2 a bag of plain tortilla chips

Possible toppings: jalapeños/guacamole/fresh chilli/fresh coriander/grated cheese etc.


Cook your beef mince in a pan (I dry fried mine, but you could add a little oil if you wanted) and once it’s cooked add the red peppers, herbs, spices and tin of chopped tomatoes.

Cook for ten minutes and then taste for seasoning. Add salt and pepper as you see fit, but remember that your tortillas chips are salted, so you might not need as much salt as you think.

Put the tortilla chips on each plate and top with a generous helping of beef chilli.

Add any additional toppings and serve.

Beef Chilli Nachos by The Fat Foodie

Beef Chilli Nachos by The Fat Foodie


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Vietnamese Sweet Almond Curry (Serves 6)

Vietnamese Sweet Almond Curry by The Fat Foodie

Vietnamese Sweet Almond Curry by The Fat Foodie

Last night’s dinner was a variation of another helping from The Happy Pear cookbook, mainly because I still had loads of vegetables left in the fridge from the last ‘big’ shop I did and I didn’t want them to go to waste.

It was only when I was doing the dishes afterwards that I realised that I hadn’t eaten any meat at all that day and was surprised at how satisfied I felt after eating what was actually a completely vegan dinner. I think it’s easy to become brainwashed into thinking that a ‘proper’ meal can only be the ol’ meat-and-two-veg combination when, in actual fact, dishes based on beans, lentils and starchy vegetables can be just as satisfying and tasty.

Although I’m normally a fan of heavier Indian curries, such as kormas, tikka masalas and dansacs, this makes a gorgeous curry that’s got a lovely zingy fresh flavour to it, curtesy of the addition of lime juice and a couple of lemongrass stalks. The addition of almond butter was a taste revelation too. I’d never have thought of using a nut butter in a curry before, but man does it work well, adding a creamy savoury nuttiness that makes the curry more satisfying. Perhaps it replaces the tongue-pleasing fattiness that a meat, such as beef, would usually provide?

Like many other recipes in The Happy Pear lads’ cookbook you can adapt the ingredients according to what you’ve got at hand. In my case I left out the aubergine and leek they recommend and used onion and sweet potato instead.

It made a very generous quantity so we’ll be having this again for dinner tonight, although I’m sure it’ll be even tastier seeing as the flavours will have been marinating together in the fridge overnight. I’ll also be making some stuffed flatbreads to go with it, the (very entertaining) video for which can be found here.


1 small butternut squash (peeled and cut into bite-size pieces)

1 sweet potato (peeled and cut into bite-size pieces)

1 red pepper (deseeded and cut into bite-size pieces)

1 onion (diced)

3 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)

1 cm piece of fresh ginger (finely chopped)

¼ tsp of chilli flakes (adjust to taste)

2 lemongrass stalks (bash them a bit with a rolling pin to release the aromatic oils)

4 tbsps. of oil

6 tbsps. soy sauce

4 tbsps. almond butter

1 400ml tin of coconut milk

1 400g tin of black beans (you could use any type of bean you fancy though)

Juice of 2 limes

2 tbsps. honey

2 tsps. ground turmeric

2 tsps. paprika

2 tsps. ground coriander

1 tbsp. ground cumin

2 tsps. salt (adjust to taste though)

½ tsp black pepper

To serve:

Boiled rice

4 spring onions (finely sliced)

Flaked almonds


Preheat your oven to 200°C/180C Fan/400°F/Gas mark 6.

Prepare your vegetables as per the ingredients list.

Put your squash, sweet potato and red pepper on a baking tray and sprinkle over the soy sauce and 2 tbsps. of the oil. Mix so the veg is evenly coated and spread out on the tray. Put in the oven for about 25 mins until the veg is cooked.

Put the remaining oil in a large saucepan and put on a medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, chilli, ginger and lemongrass and cook for about 10 mins, stirring every so often.

Add the coconut milk, almond butter, lime juice, honey, spices and salt and pepper and mix well before simmering it gently for 10-15 mins. Add a bit of water if you think it’s too thick.

Start to boil your rice (if you’re having it as an accompaniment to the curry).

Add the black beans and roasted vegetables (and any cooking liquor left behind in the tray) to the pan and cook for 3-5 mins more.

Drain your rice and portion out into serving bowls, top with the curry, spring onions and flaked almonds.

Vietnamese Sweet Almond Curry by The Fat Foodie

Vietnamese Sweet Almond Curry by The Fat Foodie