Weeks of early starts, late finishes, bad eating and bad sleep caught up with me…
At Confest. Was not happy to have had to leave early, but it was a very effective boot up the ass. Mega effective. The upset to me and the upset to the Wild one – who was meant to b fire twirling that nights – was far worse than the drive back on Sunday or how sick I felt.
It’s highlighted a lot of frustration that I have though. Do you know how hard it is to get food that I can eat when I’m out in the sticks? And restaurants that cater to my dietary requirements are either super expensive or… average. I feel bad even saying that, but it’s true. If the menu consists of stuff I can make at home and better then it’s average. I don’t want to pay for that.
But paying for not average poison… well my hands are weak as shit and in pain days later. My joints are aching and I feel like crap, still. Just better than on the weekend.
Mental health went to shit and then it got slowly better. Now it is in the best place I remember it ever being. Unfortunately physical health then followed along the same path. Thankfully it too is also now good thanks to actual diagnosis of an actual problem, not just random guesses and/or being dismissed by doctors. That caused massive dietary changes very recently so I’m cooking more, feel better and am just, in general, doing well.
Things are well on the home front despite the health dramas. The Wild One and I go from strength to strength, supporting each other through the years challenges. The twins and I continue to get along and have good times. We’re building a house. We’re planning a wedding. The former appears to be easier than the latter.
I have found myself in great company throughout the year. Reconnecting with old friends and finding a more social me gradually. I’ve been blessed to find myself back in the company of W (I don’t know he’d appreciate his name on my blog), and therefore in the company of his lovely people. I was blown away at the first dinner he threw post my diagnosis when everyone, including people I didn’t know, went out of their way to make things I could eat. Just… people do shit like that!?!
Work carries on. It’s good mostly and now that my health is better I’ve been able to identify issues and have started to address them so that I can work better and be happier there. I am content with that as movement. There were a lot of highly stressful and massive changes through the year, but it’s getting there.
So the goals I’d set for 2015 were:
Continue with the building of solid relationships. – Great Victory! There are friends, and twins, and gorgeous partner.
Cut back on the alcohol and sugar. – Also Great Victory!! Like seriously HUGE victory. On both fronts.
Cook things. Lots of things. New things. Use the fucking cookbook collection. – Fuck yes on the first bit, the change of diet aside I’ve done more cooking this year than I have in years. Tried a lot of new things. Not so much with using my cookbooks. I really think I need to give 99% of them away. And then replace them with ones I will actually use.
Learn to work wood, silversmith and make incense. – I failed this one. Too much other things happening. I’m ok with this.So, for all the stress and drama of the year, this has been a good year. It was a struggle, but everything has been moving towards something. The pain has always proceeded or been part of growth.2015, in short, was a great success.
Ok, ok, so this was actually fucking awesome. My attempt at home made pastry was not so awesome. It came out a bit too dry for anyone’s tastes, but it was soft and crumbly in all the right ways. We have a plan of attack for that. However the second pie, made with shop bought gluten free pastry, was perfect and the filling was amazing.
To make it grab (approximately) the following. I say approximately because I wasn’t really measuring shit. It also made two large pies so adjust accordingly:
1kg beef or lamb – Super cheap cuts work fine for this but no bones.
6-7 lamb kidneys
GF flour of some description to dredge kidneys in
Mushrooms – I put a lot in, but up to you.
3 tbsp tomato paste
3 bay leaves
Garlic infused olive oil
Salt and Pepper
Smoked Paprika – I love this stuff. I put it in everything ok?
1/2 cup red wine or port, or a mix of both
Throw beef/lamb into the slow cooker on low. No need to dice it at this point.
Slice up mushrooms and chuck them in with the beef/lamb (you can also do this at the end)
Dice up kidneys into bite sized/pie sized pieces and dredge in flour.
Fry up kidneys in a hot pan with olive oil. Allow to stick to the bottom a bit. When they’re mostly done throw them in the slow cooker with beef/lamb and mushrooms.
Toss tomato paste, a good amount of the smoked paprika, oregano, thyme, a bit more garlic infused oil, salt an pepper to taste and asafoetida into the pan and let sizzle a bit.
Pour in wine/port and scrub at the bottom of the pan with a spatula to life any crusted flour.
Add in bay leaves and beef stock, and let reduce for a few minutes.
Pour over meat and mushrooms in slow cooker over night (8-10 hours is good)
Pull out cooked beef/lamb and ‘shred’ (By shred what I mean is gently prod while it falls apart around your cooking implements).
For the next bit you need to be able to bring the sauce part of the dish to the boil. If you’re able to just pop your slow cooker insert over a burner then use a slotted spoon to remove most of the solids into a bowl to one side and get it on the boil. If not you’ll need to strain the liquid out into a pot. Do this, get liquid boiling.
Add some salt, pepper, more paprika, etc to the liquid to get it tasting how YOU like it. We like lots of pepper and paprika.
Add a few heaped teaspoons of cornflour to cold water and drizzle it into the boiling liquid while stirring continuously. Let it thicken a bit* and then add it back to the meat.
Do pie related stuff here! You want your over pre-heated to 200 celsius. You’ll be cooking it anywhere from 20-40 minutes depending on the oven – basically you want the pastry nice and brown.
The easiest method is to pour the filling into a dish and then grab some GF pre-made pastry from the freezer section, roll it out and fit it over top, poke a few holes in it.
Slightly harder is using said pre-made GF pastry again. Grease your dish, put down a layer of pastry so the bottom and sides are well covered and add filling – leaving a gap at the top. Cover with pastry, rolling or scoring the sides to the pie lid. Then cook.
Hardest method is doing either of the above with home made GF pastry. When I get the pastry right I’ll tell you about it.
*A note about thickening: We made the mistake of reducing the liquid by half then thickening it. The pastry and shredded meat drank it up so the filling was quite solid (Still moist but not gravy-ish). I’d recommend either following what I said above or reducing the stock only. Feel free to experiment.
So it’s been a while. I’ve been suffering a long string of further health problems, including ongoing exhaustion issues, which came to a head when my digestive system started doing some rather odd and scary things. I hauled my ass to the GP who proceeded to scare the crap out of me but suggesting I may have bowel cancer….
A couple of very tense weeks and a few expensive specialist visits later and I am assured I do not have bowel cancer.
This makes me very happy.
I did however get a dual diagnosis of digestive system issues, a third potential problem in my oesophagus that we’re waiting on lab results for and a number of biopsies have been taken to check that the first two, which were visual diagnosis’ aren’t linked to anything else or part of a bigger problem. Go me, I don’t fucking do anything in half measures.
A lot of reading later and the short answer to the main two is goodbye gluten and lactose – and my body still has no love for fructose. So basically I’m on the strict end of the FODMap diet going forward, instead of the half assed version I’ve been getting away with for the past few years.
I’m looking at the bright side: I don’t have cancer.
Also this fucking thing won’t scroll down on my mac. Fucking new post editor.
It’s 1:30am and I just ate dinner. Admittedly I didn’t start making dinner till after midnight thanks to the gorgeous Wild One dropping by for a couple of hours, but still. I’m writing this at 1:45am in an attempt to remember the recipe for later.
I’m trying to eat healthier and in the great debate on what to make that wasn’t loaded with sugar, take out or poison (read: full of FODMap foods) I randomly settled on trying to make a favourite dish from my childhood: Tuna Patties.
The recipe is really simple, but I forgot something very important…
It takes a shit ton of TIME. So if you’re after dinner in under ten minutes this isn’t the recipe for you. However if you’re doing pre-planned meals and want something super fast sitting there for later in the week then this is totally the recipe for you.
Bone’s Tuna Patty Recipe
Edit: I refer to this as my recipe because I was making it up from memory. Obviously it was originally my Mum’s and she probably had like twice the ingredients involved because she’s a mother and they do shit like that and make it look easy.
4x medium to large potatoes
1x 450g can of tuna in brine (drain the brine off please)
Keen’s curry powder (The yellow kind for those of you not in Australia)
2 – 3 large eggs
Gluten Free corn flour
Gluten Free bread crumbs
So we start with the potatoes. Dice these babies up and chuck them in a pot of boiling water to cook till mashable. I, personally, use the washed ones so I don’t have to peel them. I like to pretend it’s because someone told me that vegies hold all the nutrients in the skin (which one day I’ll follow up on) but honestly it’s because I’m too lazy to peel the fuckers.
Once the potatoes are nice and soft throw them in a bowl with the tuna and about 1/3 to 1/2 a teaspoon of the curry powder – look I guesstimate a lot of this stuff as I go. Mash all that stuff up till it’s… not smooth but not chunky either? Then throw it in the fridge to cool.
YOU MUST LET IT COOL DOWN HERE! DO NOT BYPASS THIS STEP!
This is where you can cheat a little however. You can’t add the egg until the mash mix is room temperature and it is easiest to handle when super cold BUT once it’s just cooler than room temperature you can get on with the program if you’re like me and eating at stupid am.
While that’s cooling grab one of your eggs and whisk it lightly in a bowl, put your cornflour in a bowl and your breadcrumbs in a seperate bowl.
Anyway, once the mix is at least room temperature, if not completely cold, grab another one of your eggs and whisk it a little. Add that to your mash mix and mash it all together some more, but don’t over do it.
Final steps: Grab even chunks of your mash mix and shape them into balls. Coat the balls lightly in corn flour, then coat them in the egg and then – you guessed it – coat them in bread crumbs.
At this point you can put the uncooked balls into the fridge. Don’t try to freeze them because potato and freezing isn’t a great match but the tuna is cooked and they’ll keep a few days in an airtight container.
The ones you plan on cooking go in a frying pan thats either lightly oiled or had some butter melted in it. Butter tastes nice. Fry them at a medium heat until they’ve browned a little and heated through. Do not cook on a high heat because they don’t taste great burnt. Trust me.
That’s it really.
To serve… depends on the time of day and the heat. They require Mayonnaise not matter how they’re served, if you ask me. Patties and a simple salad is nice. Patties and a fancy salad could be nicer. As a kid it was patties and 2 minute chicken noodles with salad if Mum thought she could get us to eat it on any given day. And tonight, at 1am, it was patties with mayonnaise eaten with my fingers…
They’re kind of soft so it’s a tad messy but it was 1-fucking-am and that’s that.
Potato and Leek Soup is one of my comfort foods. It’s what Mum made when we were sick or the weather was cold… or she felt like it because it was delicious. It was a thick, creamy, white soup rich with flavour and we added a generous helping of cayenne pepper and extra cream to it and ate it with crusty french breadstick.
Then, of course, I was diagnosed with fructose malabsorption and on the list of bad foods was the entire fucking onion family. Leeks are part of the onion family and there was much wibbling and very literal tears when I realised that my favorite soup was off the menu.
Fast forward almost a full two years to last Monday night. Picture your grumpy, disheveled red-haired host sitting behind her computer screen searching recipes as a means of not doing university work and lo a recipe in the FODMAPcategory and… What is this? There are leeks in this food, how is this so?
Turns out that sometime this year the guys over at the Monash research department updated their app with the information that the green part at the top of the leek was as safe for us on the Low FODMAP diet as the green parts of spring onion. You want to see me scream and bounce? Because I totally fucking screamed and bounced. I COULD HAVE SOUP!!!
Follow up on Tuesday night where, due to work commitments, I ended up starting making the soup at 1am and finished at around 3am and promptly died of happy…
No, not really, but it was pretty fucking awesome soup. So here’s the recipe. It might have been in a cookbook somewhere in the dim past but this is how my Mum has made it from memory for as long as I can remember.
Potato and Leek Soup – FODMAP friendly
3 large potatoes
3 leeks – green part only
1 bacon rasher – I use 2 because bacon
Campbell’s Real Stock chicken stock – or other FODMAP friendly stock
Cracked pepper to taste
1 cup milk – dairy free substitutes works fine
1/2 cup cream – dairy free still awesome
Cayenne pepper and extra cream to serve
1 big fucking soup pot
Dice up leek, potato and bacon and lightly fry it.
Transfer to soup pot and cover with chicken stock. Simmer till potatoes are tender.
Now, to get this really thick, you’ll need to drain off a little of the liquid. If you don’t care proceed to step 4.
Blitz the soup in the blender to make it nice and smooth. Remember to let it cool down if your blender is glass.
Back in the pot with it, add milk and cream and heat it back up. Add pepper here if you want it.
Serve with cream and cayenne pepper on the side to be added to by the devourer of the yum to their own tastes. Bread that you can eat kind of does good things to. The bread fingers in my picture are home made spelt bread.
What else do you need to know?
This recipe makes a LOT of soup. Fed a family of 5 with plenty of left overs.