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

Method:

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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Dairy-Free and Gluten-Free Moussaka

Dairy-Free and Gluten-Free Moussaka

One of the meals that seems to be very popular within the FODMAP community is moussaka. I must admit, I love when Marks and Spencer includes their moussaka as a main meal option when they have their Dine In For £10 deal on, but sadly it’s unsuitable for me now because it contains loads of dairy in the form of its generous topping made of rich, butter and cream-filled béchamel sauce. Oh, and I think it’s got gluten in it too. Sigh.

However, I’m not one to shirk at a challenge so I decided that I would try to create a dairy-free and gluten-free moussaka that would rival the decadent M&S one. I headed off to my lab (aka the kitchen) and started tinkering with a recipe which resulted in a very tasty moussaka that had layers of soft flavoursome vegetables sandwiching a rich tomato beef mince ragù and was topped with a thick, creamy béchamel sauce. I’m quite proud of it actually!

Traditional moussakas are made with layers of aubergines and potato, but I’m not a massive fan of aubergines because quite frankly they bore me. They have hardly any flavour and no real texture to speak of. I’m hard pushed to think of a vegetable that could rival the aubergine to claim the title of most boring vegetable in the world. I know they’re supposed to be great at soaking up flavours in dishes, but my view is, why not just use a tastier alternative in the first place?

As a result of these strongly held opinions I have regarding the aubergine, I have used sliced courgettes and sweet potatoes in the moussaka which I believe enhance the flavours of the herbs and spices in the tomato ragù. Feel free to go with the traditional if you like, but I’d urge you to try this version instead. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. And although this is a dairy-free and gluten-free moussaka, if you don’t have any dietary restrictions you could just make it with normal butter and flour. It’ll taste just as good regardless.

Ingredients for the tomato mince:

2 courgettes (sliced thinly lengthwise)

1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp ground black pepper

400g beef mince

1 tsp dried oregano

1 1/2 tsps dried mint

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tbsp gluten-free plain flour

1 tin of chopped tomatoes

2 tbsps tomato puree

2 tbsps olive oil

2 sweet potatoes (thinly sliced)

For the béchamel sauce:

50g dairy-free butter

50g gluten-free plain flour

400ml rice milk

1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

3 tbsps of Engevita (or 25g parmesan if you’re not dairy-free)

1 egg

Method:

Thinly slice your courgettes and place them on a microwaveable plate. Cook in the microwave until soft. Do the same with the sweet potatoes.

Place a saucepan on a medium heat, add the olive oil to the pan and cook the mince.

Once the mince is cooked add the salt and pepper, cinnamon, oregano, mint, flour, tomato puree and the tin of chopped tomatoes. Cook until hot.

To make the béchamel sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan before whisking in the flour, Engevita and nutmeg.

Slowly add a little rice milk at a time, stirring continuously, so that eventually a thick sauce is created. (Don’t panic if it looks really lumpy, just keep stirring and adding more milk and it’ll come together.)

Once the béchamel sauce is thick, take it off the heat and add parmesan if you’re using it. Leave to one side to cool a little while you build your moussaka.

Preheat your oven to 190C/170C Fan/375F/ Gas mark 5.

Take a large casserole dish and spread a third of the mince over the bottom of the dish.

Dairy-Free and Gluten-Free Moussaka Base Layer

Place your courgettes on top of the mince in an even layer and top with another third of the mince.

Dairy-Free and Gluten-Free Moussaka Second Layer

Top the mince with the slices of sweet potato.

Dairy-Free and Gluten-Free Moussaka Third Layer

Add the last of the mince on top.

Dairy-Free and Gluten-Free Moussaka Fourth Layer

Whisk the egg thoroughly into the white sauce mixture. Pour the béchamel sauce over the mince and bake in the oven for 45 mins.

Dairy-Free and Gluten-Free Moussaka Béchamel Sauce Topping

Freshly Baked Dairy-Free and Gluten-Free Moussaka

Serve either on its own or with a fresh salad.

Dairy-Free and Gluten-Free Moussaka

Dairy-Free and Gluten-Free Moussaka

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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

Ingredients:

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

Method:

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.

Ingredients:

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.

Method:

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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Dark Chocolate and Ginger Oaties

Dark Chocolate and Ginger Oaties by The Fat Foodie

Dark Chocolate and Ginger Oaties by The Fat Foodie

I made Anzac Biscuits a wee while ago and, although they were lovely, they were the thickness of a flapjack and I wanted to make these dark chocolate and ginger oaties thinner so that they were more like a biscuit. Oats are very FODMAP friendly and most people love baked oats, so it made sense to me to base a biscuit recipe on them.

Oats are really good for the body. They’re a great source of protein and fibre and are full of vitamins and minerals, such as iron, B vitamins, calcium, magnesium and zinc. Oats are also excellent for helping to lower levels of bad cholesterol in the blood due to their soluble fibre content, thus reducing the risk of heart disease. They’re all round good guys, really.

Although I’ve just written about how healthy oats are, I must confess that aside from my morning bowl of porridge, I really love oats baked as biscuits. There’s something about the flavour of a toasted oat that lends itself well to being incorporated within a crunchy little sweet biscuit. They also have the wonderful ability to complement the flavour of certain spices, such as cinnamon and cardamon, but none more so than within these dark chocolate and ginger oaties.

These dark chocolate and ginger oaties are crisp and sweet, but with the added deep flavour profile of the dark chocolate drizzle on top. They’re unbelievably easy and quick to make and keep in the biscuit tin for at least a week, if not more. It all depends on how much you can resist their tempting call.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups of gluten-free oats

1/2 cup of desiccated coconut

1/2 cup gluten-free flour (I use Dove’s Farm Gluten Free Plain White Flour)

1/2 cup coconut oil (melted)

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 cup sunflower seeds

1/4 cup pumpkin seeds

1 tsp xantham gum

1 chia egg (1 tbsp chia seeds mixed with 3 tbsp cold water and soaked for 1/2 an hour)

1/2 cup dark brown sugar

1/2 tsp salt

2 tsps ground ginger

100g dark chocolate

Method:

Soak 1 tbsp of chia seeds in 3 tbsps of cold water for half an hour.

Preheat your oven to 170C/150C Fan/350F/ Gas mark 4.

Line a baking tray (if you’re making individual biscuits) or a baking tin (if you’re making one large bake and then cutting it into squares, like I did) with greaseproof paper.

Melt the coconut oil and then put all of the ingredients into a large bowl and mix to combine.

Form into individual balls (about golf ball size) and then place on the baking tray and press them down slightly so they form a little patty, or if you’re baking it as a whole, tip the mixture into the baking tin and press it down.

Dark Chocolate and Ginger Oaties About to be Baked by The Fat Foodie

Dark Chocolate and Ginger Oaties About to be Baked by The Fat Foodie

Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes until the biscuits are golden brown.

Remove from the oven and, in the case of the individual biscuits, leave to cool. If you’ve made one large bake, then leave it in the baking tray, but cut it into squares while it’s still warm.

Once your oaties have cooled down a bit, melt the dark chocolate (I just do this in the microwave, but I stir it very frequently so that the chocolate doesn’t burn). Drizzle over the oaties and leave to set.

Dark Chocolate and Ginger Oaties by The Fat Foodie

A Tray of Dark Chocolate and Ginger Oaties by The Fat Foodie

Wait until the biscuits are totally cold before removing from the baking tray.

Dark Chocolate and Ginger Oaties by The Fat Foodie

Dark Chocolate and Ginger Oaties by The Fat Foodie

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