Sage and ‘Onion’ Chicken with Polenta Chips (serves 2)

Sage and ‘Onion’ Chicken by The Fat Foodie

My Mum makes a cracking dinner in which she coats chicken breasts in beaten egg and then dips them in Paxo sage and onion stuffing mix and bakes them in the oven. They’re absolutely delicious, but as anyone who follows the low FODMAP diet will tell you, onion can be a massive trigger for a lot of people, me included, so I needed to adapt Mum’s recipe to make a FODMAP friendly version.

The dried sage is perfectly FODMAP friendly and the breadcrumb component of the sage and ‘onion’ chicken was easy enough to substitute with some stale low FODMAP gluten-free bread, but the ‘onion’ flavour that’s so characteristic of stuffing mix can be difficult to replicate. However, I’ve written before about the fantastic spice that is asafoetida powder, a powerful spice that’s derived from a variety of giant fennel and is wonderful for using in recipes as an onion substitute. Its flavour truly mimics the depth of onion and it even has a hint of garlic notes to it too, so it’s the ideal low FODMAP solution to add to your recipes.

I’d been looking for something to serve alongside the sage and ‘onion’ chicken and although I love chips and homemade potato wedges, I fancied something a bit more exciting to go with it, so when I noticed the pack of ready made polenta in the cupboard I decided to have a go at making my own polenta chips.

I’ve tried making my own polenta from scratch before and I’ve never been that impressed with it, but I absolutely adore Jamie Oliver’s polenta chips that he serves in his Italian restaurants, so when I was shopping a while ago I thought I’d buy a pack of ready made polenta and try to have a bash at making polenta chips at home.

I’ll be honest with you, although these polenta chips are very tasty, it was difficult to get the same results as those you can have at a Jamie Oliver’s Italian because I think you’d need to deep-fry the polenta chips to get the same level of crispiness that his have. Also, I’d think I’d prefer to have a chip that’s made from potato instead of polenta because at least that way I’d be eating the abundance of vitamins and nutrients which are naturally found in potatoes rather than the pretty much pure carbohydrate that is polenta.

I really enjoyed this dinner of sage and ‘onion’ chicken with polenta chips. The crispy, but tender and juicy, baked sage and ‘onion’ chicken tasted just as good as the Paxo coated version my Mum makes, with the asafoetida powder providing the right oniony flavour it requires, and the parmesan coated polenta chips were a tasty accompaniment to go with it. All it needed was a good dollop of Heinz ketchup on the side. I’m classy like that…

Polenta Chips by The Fat Foodie

Polenta Chips by The Fat Foodie

Ingredients for the sage and ‘onion’ chicken breasts:

2 chicken breasts

50g gluten-free breadcrumbs

2 tsps dried sage

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1/4 tsp asafoetida powder

1 beaten egg

 

Ingredients for the polenta chips:

500g block of ready made polenta (cut into chip-sized slices)

2 tbsps vegetable oil

2 tbsps ground polenta (aka cornmeal)

1 tbsp dried rosemary

Parmesan (to serve)

Method:

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

To make the chicken: mix your sage, salt and pepper and asafoetida powder into the breadcrumbs.

Dip each chicken breast in the beaten egg and then the breadcrumb mixture and lay them on a baking tray.

Coat your polenta slices in ground polenta, place on a baking tray, coat with oil and scatter the dried rosemary over the chips.

Bake both dishes in the oven for 25-30 mins or until the chicken is fully cooked and your polenta chips are crispy.

Sprinkle the polenta chips generously with parmesan and serve with the chicken breasts and a fresh salad.

Sage and ‘Onion’ Chicken by The Fat Foodie

Polenta Chips by The Fat Foodie

 

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Chocolate Fudge Cake (serves 8-10)

Chocolate Fudge Cake by The Fat Foodie

This recipe for chocolate fudge cake kind of came about by accident because I was on autopilot making a coffee and walnut cake the other day and as I was pouring my cake batter into my two cake tins I realised that I’d added cocoa powder into the mix without even realising. I clearly enjoy chocolate cake far too much! However, this turned out to be a fortunate mistake because after I’d baked the chocolate cakes I realised that I could turn them into a rich chocolate fudge cake instead.

A lot of chocolate fudge cakes tend to be very dense and are often very heavily laced with cream, but because this one is gluten-free it remains light while also being rich in flavour. I added instant coffee to my cake mix because although you can’t taste the coffee in the finished cake, it adds a depth of flavour and enhances the taste of the cocoa, resulting in a very satisfying indulgent bake.

This chocolate fudge cake is rich, chocolatey and very, very decadent. It has the perfect blend of moist, cocoa-heavy cake sponge that’s lavishly slathered in melt-in-the-mouth chocolate fudge icing. It’s the ultimate death by chocolate experience and I make no apologies for it.

Ingredients for the sponge:

3 heaped tsps instant coffee dissolved in 50ml boiling water

180g butter (or a non-dairy version)

20g vegetable oil

2 eggs

200g brown sugar

170g gluten-free plain flour (I use Dove’s Farm G/F flour because it’s made with low FODMAP ingredients whereas many other gluten-free flours are made with high FODMAP options.)

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 tsp xanthan gum

2 tsps vanilla extract

Ingredients for the fudge icing:

90g soft unsalted butter (or a non-dairy version)

180g icing sugar

3 tbsps cocoa powder

1 tsp vanilla extract

16 walnut halves to decorate (optional)

Method:

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

Prepare two 8” cake tins by lining them with greaseproof paper or do what I do and use ready made cake tin liners.

Put all of your wet ingredients into a large mixing bowl and whisk thoroughly and then add the dry ingredients and mix well.

Divide your cake batter between the two cake tins and bake for 40-45 mins or until a skewer pushed into the middle of one of the cakes comes out relatively clean. (It’s okay if there’s still a little bit of mixture on the skewer because it is supposed to be a very moist fudge cake anyway.)

Leave the cakes to cool on a cooling rack.

To make the chocolate icing put your icing ingredients into a large mixing bowl and whisk together until it’s all combined. (If you feel it’s not loose enough add a tsp of milk or rice milk at a time until it’s the right consistency for you.)

Once your cakes are cool, remove them from their tins and greaseproof paper and spread half of the fudge icing onto one of the cakes.

Put the other cake on top, slather the top of it with the rest of the icing and decorate with walnuts if you fancy. Enjoy!

Chocolate Fudge Cake by The Fat Foodie

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Tomato and Smoky Bacon Soup (serves 8)

Tomato and Smoky Bacon Soup by The Fat Foodie

There’s nothing better on a cold day than a steaming hot bowl of soup and this tomato and smoky bacon one is particularly tasty. The recipe came about when I was looking in the fridge for something for lunch one day, spied a few rashers of cold bacon that I’d cooked the day before, realised that I didn’t fancy something cold to eat and decided to whizz it up into a soup instead.

 

I always have tins of good quality chopped tomatoes in my kitchen cupboards because they’re a staple ingredient in a lot of what I cook. I’ll let you into a secret though. For all that you can buy expensive Italian tins of plum and chopped tomatoes in the supermarkets, often for as much as over £1 per tin, the best quality tinned tomatoes I’ve ever had (and they’re the ones I buy every time) are an Indian brand called KTC which Morrisons sell at 3 for £1. The tomatoes they use are always sweet, the tins are never filled with unnecessary excess juice, and the chunks of tomatoes are always perfectly ripe. I also know they’re excellent quality because on recycling day you can see huge 2.5kg empty tins of them waiting to be collected from outside the best Indian restaurants in Stirling. If that’s not a good recommendation, what is?

 

I used my Nutribullet to make my tomato and smoky bacon soup nice and smooth, but you can just leave it chunky if you don’t have one or if you’d prefer to make a heartier soup. Both ways are delicious regardless of the texture you go for. This soup is very simple to make, but it’s got bags of flavour in it. It’s thick, rich, well-flavoured and hearty. It’ll warm you up from the inside out.

Ingredients:

2 tins of chopped tomatoes

1 vegetable stock cube dissolved into 1/2 a pint (285ml) of boiling water

1 tsp of dried thyme

1 tsp of dried basil

1/2 tsp sugar

12 rashers of smoked bacon (fat removed and finely chopped)

Salt and pepper (to taste)

Method:

Cut the fat off the bacon and dry fry it in a large saucepan until it has released its oil and is crispy. In the meantime, cook the bacon rashers.

Keep a few rashers aside, but chop up the remaining bacon and add it to the saucepan.

If you’re using a Nutribullet then blend the chopped tomatoes and dried herbs until smooth and add them to the pan. Add the vegetable stock.

Cook until hot, taste and season with salt and pepper (if necessary) and then serve with a scattering of bacon bits on top of each bowl.

 

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Iron-rich Flapjacks (makes 20)

Iron-Rich Flapjacks by The Fat Foodie

I often have low iron levels and so I like to try to have snacks at hand which are packed full of natural sources of iron, such as these iron-rich flapjacks. As much as I enjoy eating meat on occasion, it can get a bit tedious (and expensive) to frequently eat a lot of meat, but thankfully, there are lots of great ways you can incorporate iron into your diet without always having to resort to eating meat all the time.

The natural world provides us with a whole host of plants and seeds which pack a serious iron-rich wallop and the beauty of eating plant-based sources is that they tend to be really, really cheap to buy, especially in bulk. Oats, for instance, are a brilliant source of iron and they’re also highly rich in nutrients, such as protein, soluble fibre and B-vitamins, while pumpkin and sunflower seeds have also got loads of iron in them along with a list as long as your arm of vitamins and essential minerals.

I made a big batch of these iron-rich flapjacks and they were demolished by myself and my family in no time at all. They’ve got a great texture and are filled with delicious fruity flavours. I topped mine with a dark chocolate drizzle, but if you’d like to keep the iron-rich flapjacks healthy you could leave the chocolate off them. Although, bear in mind that cocoa powder and good quality dark chocolate are great sources of iron in themselves and they’re also rich in antioxidants, so in my humble opinion that sounds like an excellent reason to go ahead and use the chocolate.

Ingredients:

300g gluten-free oats

3 tbsp chia seeds

100g sunflower seeds

100g pumpkin seeds

100g raisins

4 tbsps cocoa powder

1 tbsp dried ginger

160g coconut oil or butter (melted)

140g golden syrup

1 large firm banana (mashed)

100g dark chocolate (for decorating)

Method:

Preheat your oven to 200C/180C Fan/400F/Gas Mark 6 and line a deep-sided traybake tin with greaseproof paper.

Mix the chia seeds with 7 tbps of hot water and leave them for 5-10 mins to gel.

Melt the coconut oil with the golden syrup and put it in a large mixing bowl.

Add all of the dry ingredients and the mashed banana into the bowl and mix very well until it’s all coated.

Pour the mixture into the lined traybake tin and bake for 30-40 mins.

Remove from the oven and cut into bars, but leave them in the traybake tin to cool and solidify. Once cold, remove from the traybake tin and drizzle with melted chocolate.

Iron-Rich Flapjacks by The Fat Foodie

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Patatas Bravas (serves 2)

    Patatas Bravas by The Fat Foodie

Patatas Bravas is a recipe I’ve fancied making for a while. It’s quite a traditional tapas recipe that originates from Spain and it’s a very simple fried potato and spiced tomato sauce dish. However, for all that it’s a basic recipe it really packs a hefty wallop in the flavour department thanks to its spicy, well-seasoned rich tomato sauce.

Tapas are small portions of a wide range of foods which are served as appetisers or snacks in Spanish tapas bars, but can be ordered in quantity to make a buffet-style full meal. This recipe for patatas bravas makes two portions as a substantial main meal, but you could serve it as a side dish to accompany roast meat or fish and the quantities would serve four people.

This patatas bravas is simply an excellent vegetable-based meal that’s filled with flavour. It makes a bowlful of crispy, sweet cubes of roasted potato which are drenched in a rich, spiced red pepper and tomato sauce and is topped with melting grated cheese and freshly chopped coriander. It’s a gorgeous bowlful of veg that celebrates traditional Spanish flavours.

Ingredients for the roast potatoes:

500g potatoes (peeled and cut into bite-sized cubes)

2 tbsps oil

1 tbsp dried rosemary

Salt and pepper

Ingredients for the tomato sauce:

1 red bell pepper (thinly sliced)

2 tbsps oil

40g fresh minced ginger

1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes (optional)

180g (1/2 a tin) of chopped tomatoes

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp sweet paprika

1 tsp white sugar

1 tsp red wine vinegar

1 tomato (cut into thin wedges)

1 tsp dried mixed herbs (or oregano)

Salt and pepper (to taste)

80g grated cheddar cheese (or non-dairy version)

Method:

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

Boil your cubes of potato in heavily salted water and once they’re almost done, drain them and put them on a baking tray.

Drizzle the potato with the oil, dried rosemary and salt and pepper and put the tray in the oven.

In the meantime, make your tomato sauce by melting the butter in a large saucepan over a medium heat and adding the minced ginger, sugar and all of the spices.

Add the diced red pepper, tin of chopped tomatoes and slices of tomato. Cook until the peppers are soft.

Once your potatoes are roasted golden brown, divide them between two dishes and top with the tomato sauce.

Serve with grated cheddar, parmesan and freshly chopped parsley or coriander.

Patatas Bravas by The Fat Foodie

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