Blueberry Pancakes (serves 4)

Blueberry Pancakes by The Fat Foodie

This morning I made Blueberry Pancakes because I had a large punnet of blueberries in my freezer that I’d had earmarked for using in muffins one day, but I figured I might try them in a stack of pancakes instead. I bought the blueberries at a brilliant reduced price from Marks and Spencer and although I had no immediate use for them I thought I’d freeze them to use another day. (The freezing process makes no difference to the taste of the berries whatsoever and is a good, handy way to make sure I have nice fruit at hand to add to recipes.)

I’ve never made pancakes with blended gluten-free oats before, although I’ve heard that they’re a staple for people who can’t tolerate gluten, but I was quite surprised at how tasty they were. Don’t get me wrong, the texture is very different from normal flour-based pancakes because the oats are a considerably more dense ingredient, but they work quite well overall.

These blueberry pancakes are fairly easy to make and although they require 15 minutes at the start of the process to soak the chia seeds, once that’s done all of the ingredients can be thrown into your food processor, blender or Nutribullet and whizzed together to create the batter (with the exception of your blueberries because you want those delicious little bad boys to be kept whole). If you’ve never heard of or used chia seeds before, they’re a tiny little seed which absorbs water really fast and turns into a thick, gel-like consistency, so they’re a really useful ingredient to use if you’re looking for an egg replacement.

This recipe for blueberry pancakes makes a generous stack of fat blueberry pancakes which are soft in the middle, crisp around the edges, and laden with little blueberry bombs that explode in your mouth, flooding it with their sweet juice. With a description like that how can you possibly resist making them?

Ingredients:

1 tbsp chia seeds mixed in 2 tbsps water

100g gluten-free oat flour (I just pulsed normal oats into a flour in my Nutribullet)

100g gluten-free 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 firm banana

1 tbsp sugar

300ml rice milk

1 tsp baking powder

100g blueberries

Method:

Put the chia seeds in a mug and cover them with 2 tbsps of water. Leave the water to be absorbed into the chia seeds for at least 15 mins.

While you’re waiting for the chia seeds to plump up you can put all of your other ingredients (except the blueberries) into a food processor, Nutribullet or blender and blend it all together.

Once the chia seeds are gel-like add them to the mixture and mix again.

Pour the mixture into a jug and stir in the blueberries. (I just used my blueberries from frozen and they worked fine).

Place a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat and once it’s hot, cook your pancakes.

Let your pancake cook on one side for a while before peeking at its underside and if it’s brown then flip it over and cook the other side until it’s brown too.

Continue until all of the mixture is used up, keeping the cooked pancakes in the oven on a low heat, and serve with low FODMAP nut butters, maple or golden syrup, fresh fruit, lactose-free whipped cream or whatever low FODMAP options take your fancy.

Blueberry Pancakes by The Fat Foodie

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Meringue Wreath (serves 6-8)

Meringue Wreath by The Fat Foodie

It’s Christmas Eve and I think that because it’s an evening that’s inherently filled with a sense of magic and wonder it’s a perfect evening for gathering around the dinner table and sharing a relaxing, warming meal with our loved ones. However, as much as I love making a good dinner on Christmas Eve I also think that it’s always nice to make something really special for dessert, such as this festive meringue wreath.

I’m really pleased with how this meringue wreath turned out. I’m not a fan of dry, crumbly old-fashioned meringue that just shatters into shards in your mouth and has nothing particularly interesting going for it. I much prefer my meringue to be crisp on the outside, but lovely and stickily chewy on the inside. I think this type of meringue has a lot more flavour to it, producing a caramel-flavoured note that dry meringue cannot. I chose to decorate mine with dark chocolate and pomegranate seeds, but you could use white chocolate if you prefer (although it won’t be dairy-free) and you could opt for blueberries or raspberries as your decorative fruit too.

This meringue wreath is really easy to make, but there are just a few things to remember to get the best results:

1.) Don’t get any fat (i.e egg yolk) in the egg whites because they will not fluff up properly if there is any fat in them. Also, make sure your bowl and electric whisk beaters are spotlessly clean of any residual fats.

2.) Use room temperature eggs as they will produce much more volume than fridge-cold ones.

3.) Use caster sugar because the egg white bubbles are so delicate that they’ll break more easily if they’re in contact with granulated sugar.

4.) Add a little cornflour to stabilise the beaten egg whites and to create a chewy texture to your meringue.

This meringue wreath is made of crisp, but chewy, sweet meringue that’s drizzled all over with melted dark chocolate, scattered with toasted flaked almonds and topped with freshly popped pomegranate seeds. It’s a real showpiece that just so happens to deliver on the taste front too. Just what you need in your recipe arsenal as we roll into Christmas in earnest.

Ingredients:

3 egg whites

180g caster sugar

1 tsp cornflour

For the decoration:

100g dark chocolate

40g flaked almonds

1 pomegranate (seeds only)

Method:

Preheat your oven to 180C/160C Fan/350F/Gas mark 4.

Put greaseproof paper on a large baking sheet and get a piping bag to hand. (I like using disposable piping bags because they’re so much easier!)

Separate the 3 eggs and put the egg whites in a large mixing bowl. Whisk until firm and then gently whisk in the cornflour and caster sugar.

Put your meringue mixture into a piping bag and pipe big dollops of meringue mixture in a circle onto the baking sheet.

Put the meringue wreath in the oven and then turn the oven down to 150C/130C Fan/300F/ Gas mark 2. Bake for 1 hour and then leave the meringue to cool.

While the meringue is cooling, toast the flaked almonds in a frying pan until they are golden brown and leave to one side.

Once the meringue is cold and ready to decorate, melt the dark chocolate and drizzle it all over the meringue wreath. Scatter the flaked almonds on top and add the pomegranate seeds before serving.

Meringue Wreath by The Fat Foodie

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