Friday 24 November 2017

Tummy-friendly treats - delicious recipes for people with food intolerance

Polenta pizza
Polenta pizza
Salmon and quinoa salad
Cooking for the Sensitive Gut by Dr Joan Ransley and Dr Nick Read
Shredded ham hock with kale

About one in five of us suffers from food intolerances - that's according to two medics who have penned a cookery book filled with healthy, delicious recipes that are kind to a sensitive gut

Polenta pizza

This pizza is different. The middle of the polenta crust remains moist and adds a different dimension to eating a regular wheat-dough base. The pizza is gluten-free and low in FODMAPs.

We have found making up batches of polenta quick and easy; sometimes the cooking instructions on the packets overestimate the time polenta takes to cook.

The great thing about making pizza is you can include the toppings that suit you and, if you are eating with other people, you can customise their pizza toppings, too.

Hands-on time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 40 minutes

Makes 2 medium pizzas, enough for 4.

You will need

For the topping 2 red (bell) peppers, deseeded and cut into strips

2 courgettes (zucchini), shaved into ribbons with a potato peeler

2 tbsp garlic-infused oil, plus more for the trays

4 tomatoes, thinly sliced

1 tbsp capers, drained and rinsed

100g/3oz/‡ cup olives, stoned

200g/7oz/2 cups mozzarella

Handful of torn basil leaves

For the bases 160g/6oz quick-cook polenta

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

30g/1oz/2 tbsp unsalted butter

2 tsp finely chopped oregano leaves


Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas 6. Lay the peppers and courgettes on a baking tray and drizzle with the garlic oil. Roast for about 15 minutes or until soft, then set aside. Keep the oven on.

Place 1 litre/1¾ pints/1 quart of water in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the polenta in a thin stream and stir well. Continue to cook for 5 minutes, stirring continuously. It is cooked when it has formed a thick paste and leaves the sides of the pan. Season with salt and pepper, and stir in the butter and oregano.

Make 2 pizza bases by spreading the polenta on to 2 lightly oiled baking trays, making oval shapes about 25cm/10in long. Cook for 10 minutes to allow a skin to form. Remove from the oven. Arrange the sliced tomatoes, peppers, courgettes and other topping ingredients over the bases and top with mozzarella (not the basil yet). Cook for 10-15 minutes or until the mozzarella bubbles. Remove from the oven, scatter with the basil and serve with a salad.

Try this:

• Substitute feta cheese or goat's cheese for mozzarella.

• Add Parma ham for a meat version.

Salmon, quinoa and crispy potato salad with a blueberry and maple syrup dressing

We really encourage you to give this a try. You do not have to use all the ingredients listed for it to taste fabulous. You can adapt it according to taste and with reference to a list of gut-friendly ingredients. We love to forage for wild foods in hedgerows and we included some hazelnuts we found in this recipe. Hazelnuts add essential fatty acids, proteins and energy, and can be eaten in moderation by people with a sensitive gut.

Hands-on time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 45 minutes

Serves 4.

You will need

For the salad 200g/7oz new potatoes, rinsed

1-2 tbsp olive oil

Sea salt and ground black pepper

60g/2oz/º cup quinoa

300g/10oz salmon

4 handfuls of watercress and rocket (arugula) leaves

Leaves of 1 head of red chicory

¼ cucumber, halved and sliced

4 spring onions (scallions), green leaves only

2 tbsp canned lentils, drained and rinsed well

Micro salad leaves, such as purple radish or cress (optional)

1 tbsp shelled hazelnuts (optional)

For the dressing 100g/3½ oz/½ cup blueberries

3 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 tbsp maple syrup


Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas 6.

Steam the potatoes until tender, then cool and cut in half. Using a potato masher, crush the potatoes slightly and place in a roasting tin with the olive oil, mixing well. Sprinkle with a little salt and cook for about 30 minutes until crisp and golden brown.

Meanwhile, cook the quinoa in boiling water for 10 minutes, or according to the packet instructions, then drain.

Place the salmon on a sheet of foil, season well and fold the foil into an envelope. Place the salmon in a roasting tin and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool, then flake the fish.

To make the dressing, crush half the blueberries in a mortar and pestle and add the olive oil, lemon juice and maple syrup. Season with a little salt and pepper and mix well.

Place the leaves, cucumber and spring onions on a serving dish.

Arrange the potatoes on the salad, with the salmon. Sprinkle with the quinoa and lentils and dress with the dressing. Scatter the remaining blueberries over the salad together with any micro herbs or nuts.

Try this:

• Use smoked trout in place of the salmon.

Shredded ham hock with kale

Kale is one green vegetable most people with a sensitive gut can eat. Its dark-green, frilly leaves are a rich source of beta carotene, vitamin C, vitamin K, folic acid, fibre and potassium, which all help to keep us healthy. Kale teams up well with a slow-cooked ham hock to produce a flavoursome stock.

If you have extra stock from cooking the ham, you can use it in soups or freeze it for use later.

Ham is also delicious with a few canned lentils, which can be tolerated by most people as the fermentable carbohydrates leach out of them during the canning process. If you are not keen on lentils, just leave them out. This is ideal to cook at the weekend to be eaten during the week.

Hands-on time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 1¾ hours

Serves 4.

YOU will need

To cook the hock 1 small ham hock, weighing 860g/2lb

1 green leek leaf, roughly chopped

1 carrot, roughly chopped

1 celery stalk

1 bay leaf

To make the dish 2 tbsp olive oil

50g/2oz/½ cup tender green leek leaves, finely chopped

1 carrot, sliced

150g/5oz/1 cup celeriac, peeled and diced

2 small potatoes, peeled, cut into 2cm/ 1in dice

100g/3½oz/½ cup canned lentils, drained and rinsed

Large handful of shredded kale with stalks removed

Sea salt and ground black pepper

1 tbsp chopped parsley leaves


Place the ham hock in a large saucepan with the leek, carrot, celery and bay. Cover with water. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for 1ƒ hours, or longer if you have the time. Remove the saucepan from the heat and allow it to cool a little before lifting the ham hock from the stock. When the hock is cool enough to handle, shred the meat and discard the fat and skin. Strain the cooking liquid and set aside.

Add the olive oil to a large pan and add the leek leaves, carrot and celeriac and potatoes, and cook gently for 10 minutes or until the vegetables are soft. Add 600ml/1 pint/2ƒ cups of cooking liquid from the ham hock and the lentils.

Add the kale and ham, and simmer for 5 minutes. Season the dish and serve in bowls scattered with parsley. Make sure there's a pot of mustard on the table.

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