For anyone who has gone through the journey of having a back injury you will understand what an ordeal it can be; not just physically but emotionally as well. When I was in my early thirties, a couple of my spine’s intervertebral discs decided to give way while I was in the middle of performing a dental procedure on a dog. It was at a point where my veterinary career was progressing perfectly and I was just about to ask my bosses to buy in as a partner to the practice. I was one of their star employees who happily worked consecutive twelve hours shifts, overtime and after-hours with no complaints.
And then, thanks to my back, it all turned on it’s head. It took me eight grueling weeks to be able to return to work and even then it was only in a part-time capacity. It was over a year before I could go through a full day without severe pain. Chronic pain can often lead to depression and it took me a long time before I could say I felt mentally whole again. Fortunately those dark days are far behind me and my focus on health, nutrition and mobility forms part of every day of my life.
Given my history, I became very concerned this week when I had a sudden onset of back pain with a total inability to bend. I couldn’t even put on a pair of socks! After seeing a doctor, remedial massage therapist and physio along with downing some analgesics, I am relieved to find out it is hopefully just my ol’ faithful disc flaring up again with some muscle spasm to boot. I am hoping this is a better prognosis as I cannot afford to have an extended time off work again!
To assist my body in recovery, I have been nourishing myself with natural anti-inflammatory foods including fresh fish, leafy greens, beetroot, ginger and turmeric. Because the Boy isn’t keen on curry, I had to think hard about how to add turmeric into our daily meals. This inspired me to create a dairy free custard that is also fructose friendly and of course gluten free. It it naturally sweetened and easy to make in the Thermomix. If you don’t have a Thermomix, you can make on your stove top too.
- 2 free range eggs
- 1 vanilla pod, split open and scraped
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- 45 grams of a natural sweetener of your preference such as maple syrup, rice malt syrup or coconut sugar
- 50 gm arrowroot or gluten free cornflour
- 400ml can organic coconut milk
- Add all ingredients into your Thermomix mixing bowl and cook for 7min | 90C | Speed 4.
- Once cooked, blend for 4 sec | Speed 6.
- Remove any remaining vanilla pod portions and serve immediately.
This year is my second year as the official blogger for the Gluten Free and Healthy Living Expo. The expo was held this weekend over two days at the Perth Convention Centre and received a fantastic turn out on both days. The stallholders have caught on to the concept that people love free stuff and at nearly every exhibit there was something to try. I strongly recommend arriving at the expo with an empty stomach! For those who make the mistake of having breakfast beforehand, there are some great discounts so you can fill up your show bag and enjoy them later on.
It makes such a pleasurable experience to attend a food expo and to not have to worry about cross contamination with gluten! 2015 brought a number of newcomers to the expo to join all the gluten free fun and I was pleased to see there were also a number of new FODMAP friendly products available.
Here are my top ten highlights for 2015. For my full album of photos head to my Facebook page.
1. Lupin Foods – www.lupinfoods.com.au
After my involvement with last year’s WA Signature Dish I am no stranger to Lupin Foods. It was used by Rhiannon Birch as one of the hero ingredients for her winning dish of Dorper lamb with a lupin and za’tar crust.
Lupin Foods is a proud Western Australian company founded in 2012 and have grown to a high level of popularity in a short space of time. Lupin is not only gluten free but high in protein and dietary fibre in addition to being very easily digestible.
They had a couple of different options to taste at their stall including sweet apricot balls and a variant of hummus made with lupin instead of chickpeas. They were also the proud winners of the Expo’s best Display Award for this year.
My favourite sample was their pomegranate and lupin salad which was made to be like a couscous salad. It is the first gluten free “couscous” I have had that isn’t gluggy and had a wonderful fluffy texture. I made sure to go home with a bag of Lupin Flakes to make this dish for myself at home.
2. Turban Chopsticks – www.turbanchopsticks.com.au
Turban Chopsticks are another Western Australia company that drew the crowds at the show. With a constant stream of hot food pouring out of their tiny makeshift kitchen it was hard to walk past the stall without drooling.
Turban Chopsticks are a family business who have helped simplify meal preparations for busy people with food intolerances. Their meal kits make it so easy to conjure up dinner without too much effort but still with maximum flavour. Their tropical Thai coconut rice was highly addictive and I cannot wait to make some more.
3. Sue Shepherd – shepherdworks.com.au
I was very excited to see Dr Sue Shepherd lecturing this year. Dr Shepherd is an Advanced Accredited Practicing Dietician and Advanced Accredited Nutritionist and is recognised as one of the world’s leading dietician in the areas of Coeliac Disease and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
She is one of the pioneers in researching and understanding the low FODMAP diet which in turn has helped so many sufferers of IBS around the world. She gave talks on the FODMAP diet and on Coeliac Disease versus IBS to a full audience. There wasn’t a spare seat in the house.
4. The huge range of new fructose friendly products that are available!
Many of you will be familiar with Kez’s Kitchen gluten free products. They make a range of gourmet gluten free biscuits sold in major supermarkets however most of them contain dried fruit making them not suitable for those on a low FODMAP diet. They have now brought out a product called “Cereal Bites” that is low in fructose and has received the FODMAP Friendly logo to prove it.
Another new product I discovered was Rick Grant’s Seasoning Mixes. Rick has brought out a range of gluten free, onion free, and garlic free seasoning mixes to please both Coeliac and FODMAP bellies. I bought myself all four to try; Tempura Batter mix, Wedges Seasoning mix, Chicken Seasoning mix and Fish Seasoning mix. I will let you all know how I go!
5. Well & Good stand – www.wellandgood.com.au
The Well & Good stand are strong performers at the expo every year with a guaranteed chance at sampling most of their premixes all freshly baked.
There is often queues of children lining up for their free cupcakes and I cannot help but smile that these food intolerant kids can finally get a chance to do what some take for granted.
A new Well & Good product I hadn’t seen before was Rye-less Rye bread. It has the added goodness of spirulina and sunflower seeds and had a wonderful texture and flavour.
6. Vintage Style Cakes & Cookies – www.vintageglutenfree.com.au
I may be a little biased in my love for Vintage Style Cakes & Cookies as they are a regular attendee at our local Vic Park Farmers Markets. The company was only established last year and has since hit cult levels of popularity for some Perth residents. My favourites include their carrot cake, lemon slice and the jelly cakes. I will often confuse my in-laws when I bring some of these cakes along to family lunches as they don’t believe me that they are gluten free!
7. Solomon’s Cafe – solomonscafe.com.au
Solomon’s Café is based in Mount Lawley on Beaufort Street and serve delicious gluten free, dairy free, organic meals made from scratch in their kitchen. The Boy and I ate a meal at Solomon’s earlier last year where I got to enjoy gluten free gnocchi and healthy raw zucchini noodles. At the Expo they offered some meals for hungry punters.
We tried their buckwheat tuna wraps made with cashew cheese and salad. I washed mine down with a carrot and ginger juice adapted to be fructose friendly by the omission of apple.
8. Coles Supermarkets
Being the main sponsors for the Expo the Coles stand was a buzzing hive of activity. In addition to a having a mini-store selling all their Coles-branded gluten free products there were a couple of stands offering free sampling.
There was also a main stage with Master Chefs Michael Weldon and Courtney Roulston performing cooking shows held throughout the day. They also engaged in some popular interactive cupcake decorating classes for the children.
9. Barilla – www.barilla.net.au
Barilla only launched their gluten free pasta range last year and are slowly rolling out to selected stores across the state. I was lucky enough to be sent samples to try and made vegan truffle mac and cheese and creamy vegan mushroom pasta.
I have been busting to refill my pantry with more Barilla pasta as it is the closest to “normal” pasta that I have tasted since going gluten free. I have been told that the Barilla gluten free range is now stocked in Woolworths and it will not be long before they will start appearing in Coles too so look out for them on the shelves!
10. Delish Ice – delishice.com.au
Our final pit stop at the Expo was for a cooling ice-pop from Delish Ice. This is one of my favourite food trucks in Perth; the girls are always uber-cool, dressed impeccably suave, never stop smiling and pump out some seriously delicious flavours. They always have something in their freezer that will be gluten free and fructose friendly and are more than happy for me to taste test before I buy.
Disclaimer: Chompchomp attended the Coles Gluten Free & Healthy Living Expo 2015 as the official blogger and received a free double pass to attend the event. This year’s event was held as part of the Eat Drink Perth Festival.
This year is my second year to be chosen as the official blogger for the Coles Gluten Free Food & Healthy Living Expo for Perth. For many individuals, the diagnosis of Coeliac Disease or gluten intolerance can be very overwhelming. Not only do you have to learn in detail what you can and cannot eat, but additionally you have to scrutinise every meal that you don’t prepare yourself for fear of it being cross contaminated with gluten. It only takes a tiny crumb of gluten to set off a Coeliac’s symptoms with simple things like shared toasters and cutting boards being common culprits.
Although I found sticking to an exclusively gluten free diet challenging at first, once I started to feel my health and energy levels return I realised that this diagnosis was one of the best things that has ever happened to me. My anaemia resolved, my skin rashes healed and my mind never felt more clear.
Being strictly gluten free, it is a rare luxury to be able to attend a food expo where I can eat everything safely. This year Perth’s annual Gluten Free Food & Healthy Living Expo is held on Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd of March 2015 at the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre and everything at the event is 100% gluten free.
There will be twelve seminars given over the two days and I am most looking forward to listening to Sue Shepherd. A Coeliac sufferer herself, Dr Shepherd is one of Australia’s leading expert dieticians. She will give two talks; “The FODMAP Diet” and “Coeliac Disease vs IBS: The Importance of the Correct Diagnosis”.
There will also be some lively cooking sessions from ex-Masterchef finalists Michael Weldon and Courtney Roulston who return to the Expo again this year. There will also be some cooking demonstrations with Laila Gampfer from Rawsome, Rick Grant and Latasha Menon from Latasha’s Kitchen.
For those who haven’t attended a Gluten Free Expo before, check out my top ten favourites post from last year’s Gluten Free Expo here.
For your chance to WIN a free double pass to the Coles Gluten Free Food & Healthy Living Expo plus a massive hamper filled with goodies from exhibitors at the show, share with us who your favourite exhibitor at the show will be and why in the comments section below. Good luck!
The lucky winner of this competition will receive:
- ● A double pass to the Gluten Free & Healthy Living Expo 2015
- ● Plus a hamper containing gifts from exhibitors at the show:
- ● Lupin Foods
- ● 2 x 480g bags of Lupin Flake
- ● Orgran
- ● 3 x Orgran Pasta packs
- ● Leda Nutrition
- ● 1 x Gojos, 1 x Choculence, 1 x Minton, 1 x Rumballs, 1 x Multipack – Strawberry, 1 x Multipack –TripleBerry, 1 x Multipack –Apple, 1 x Dunkies, 1 x Choc Chip 250g,1 x Arrowroot, 1 x Gingernut, 1 x Golden Crunch
- ● Loni’s Allergy Free
- ● 1 x Loni’s Allergy Free Cookbook
- ● Rawsome
- ● 2 x Carawmel Slice, 2 x Choc Mint Slice, 2 x Rawkus bites, 2 x Raffa Jaffa, 2 x Lovebite Slice
- ● Barilla
- ● 1x box of Barilla Gluten Free Penne, 1x box of Barilla Gluten Free Elbows, 1x box of Barilla Gluten Free Spaghetti, 1x jar of Arrabbiata sauce (gluten free)
- ● 1x Barilla vintage pasta tin, 1x Barilla apron
- ● Lupin Foods
Competition Terms and Conditions
Competition is open to all Chompchomp readers who have an Australian postal address. The winner will be chosen by myself and the Boy based on the most interesting and creative answer written in the comments section below. Entries close 5.00pm Wednesday 18th March 2015.
THIS COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED!
Coles Gluten Free Food & Healthy Living Expo
Saturday 21 & Sunday 22 March, Perth Convention Centre, 21 Mounts Bay Rd, Perth | 9.30am-4pm
Pre purchase tickets: Adult $12+booking fee, Coeliac WA members $5 www.glutenfreeinwa.com.au
One of my most popular recipes on the blog is my coconut flour banana bread. It is one of our staples at home and whenever we have browning bananas in the fruit bowl I will get a request from the Boy to bake it. Since I first published the recipe in early 2013, I have progressively made some tweaks to improve it whilst not taking away from its purpose of being somewhat healthy.
I found that by adding in chia seeds to my original recipe along with beefing it up with a few more eggs, the end result is banana bread with much improved texture without any of its predecessors crumbliness. This banana bread toasts beautifully and with the increased fibre content of the coconut flour it can be quite filling.
I was recently approach by Belmont Forum to provide recipes for publication on recipe cards to be displayed in their centre and I knew this paleo banana bread would be a total hit. Better still, it is very allergy friendly as it is grain free, gluten free, dairy free and fructose friendly.
- Makes 1 loaf
- 400 g ripe bananas
- 6 free range organic eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract or 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- ¼ cup (50 grams) coconut oil
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons gluten free baking powder
- ¼ cup (65 grams) pure maple syrup
- ½ cup (55 grams) coconut flour
- ¼ cup (35 grams) chia seed
- Extra banana and shredded coconut to decorate
- Preheat your oven to 150 Celsius (fan forced) or 170 C (no fan).
- Combine banana, oil, cinnamon, vanilla, eggs, maple syrup and baking powder into a blender or food processor and blend until creamy and combined. For those with a Thermomix blend for 2-3 mins | Speed 5. or until smooth and creamy. Alternatively you can do this by hand in a large bowl.
- Add the coconut flour and chia seeds and mix through. (Thermomix 2 min | Speed 2)
- Rest for 10-15 minutes to allow the chia and coconut flour to expand.
- Lightly oil one loaf tin and then line with baking paper.
- Spoon batter into the tin, at this stage you can decorate the bread with flaked coconut and sliced banana before baking.
- Bake for 55 – 60 minutes depending on your oven (a skewer inserted into the centre should come out dry). Cover the top with foil if over-browning.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool before turning out the loaf.
Following a gluten free diet has become second nature to me. Ingesting just a tiny crumb of gluten has such a profound effect that there is simply no point me risking a reaction. Our whole household is gluten free to avoid any contamination and the Boy is more than happy to eat a gluten free diet with me.
In contrast, my sensitivity to eating dairy products is not so black and white and I can tolerate small amounts. Being able to eat a little bit now and then leads me into a false sense of confidence as it isn’t something I have to avoid totally like gluten, I just try to minimise my intake. I have never been good at minimisation and generally prefer to take the all-or-nothing approach with most things in life, especially food. Progressive day to day carelessness in restricting my dairy intake is generally brought to a grinding halt after one of my hedonistic cheese binges. These joyous cheesy evenings always result in my skin becoming so inflamed and sore that I can barely stretch my fingers fully open. Consequently I have learnt to try to only eat dairy on special occasions.
Being a massive lover of mushrooms, one of my favourite types of pasta sauces to prepare at home is a thick creamy mushroom sauce. I use as many different types of mushrooms as possible and add in some fresh herbs from the garden. It doesn’t take me forever to prepare and is packed full of all the amazing nutrition that mushrooms provide.
I decided to try to create the creamy goodness of a classic mushroom sauce but without all the lashings of dairy cream. I wanted to make it more allergy friendly and was curious to know if a vegan mushroom sauce could live up to its traditional dairy counterpart.
I recommend that you try to get the freshest mushrooms possible to maximise flavour and get as many types of mushrooms as you can. I got these beauties from the new fresh food section at Belmont Forum. They have an impressive multitude of different mushrooms varieties including enoki, oyster, shiitake, shimeji, button, and Swiss brown.
- 450 grams mixed mushrooms roughly chopped (e.g. Swiss brown, Portobello, button, shiitake, oyster, enoki)
- 1 tablespoon of fresh sage
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk
- 1 clove garlic
- Olive oil
- Fresh herbs (thyme, basil) to garnish
- 350 gm gluten free pasta
- Cook gluten free pasta according to the directions on the packet.
- Cook garlic in olive oil in a deep fry pan over medium heat until the garlic just starts to brown.
- Add all the mushrooms (except for the enoki mushrooms) and the wine and cook until the liquid is released from the mushrooms.
- Stir in sage and enoki mushrooms.
- Add milk and cook stirring until thickened
- Add salt and pepper to taste and garnish with some fresh herbs.
I realise everyone has their sad story to tell at some point in their life but I have to be honest with you, this past fortnight has been really tough going for me. One of my friends was tragically killed in a horrific car accident at the tender age of 27 years. She was a head strong and outspoken girl, much like myself at times with a heart of gold. She was also a fervent lover of animals and we totally connected on these two levels. She cared for her fur-kids with the utmost level of love and attention and her death left many of us feeling numb in disbelief. It wasn’t until her funeral that it finally sunk in for many of us, we would never see her smiling face again. As I watched my dear friends pluck up their courage to give their eulogies before hundreds of mourners, it was as touching as it was heartbreaking.
In a desperate attempt to soothe my grieving soul, I was inspired to create a comforting dish that I have lusted after for weeks; truffled mac and cheese. After all my dairy indulgences at the Truffle Kerfuffle food festival I needed to make a version of this homely food without punishing my immune system. And here it is; my gluten free truffled vegan mac and cheese.
You will be surprised at the level of cheesy flavour this dish imparts. The Boy is lucky enough to be blessed with no food intolerances and the concept of a vegan mac and cheese sounded like total gobbledegook to him. Despite his apprehension that I wouldn’t be able to prepare him something worth eating, he managed to devour not just his own serve but wolfed down the extra bowl that I prepared for the following night’s dinner.
For my pasta I used some Barilla gluten free elbows that the lovely people at Barilla sent to me to try a few months back. For those of you who have tried gluten free pasta before, you will appreciate that achieving an al-dente texture is not that easy and many brands will go from chewy and hard to literally falling part in the space of a few seconds. The Barilla pasta cooked to a beautiful texture and I honestly think you could serve it up without telling anyone it’s gluten free and no one would know.
I finished off this dish with a combination of truffle oil and grated fresh Manjimup black truffles. When it is not truffle season, you can opt for using just truffle oil. Keep your left over fresh truffle in a sealed container of uncooked rice to allow the truffle aroma to impart into the rice.
- Packet Barilla gluten free pasta elbows
- ¾ cup raw pine nuts
- 1&3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
- ¼ cup of grapeseed oil
- 1.5 tablespoons gluten free corn flour/starch
- ¼ cup of nutritional yeast
- 1 tablespoon of white or rice miso
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ¼-1/2 teaspoon salt (to taste)
- 1 tablespoon of thyme
- Truffle oil and fresh black truffle for garnishing
- Preheat oven to 180C
- Soak pine nuts in water for 2-3 hours or overnight. Drain and add to blender. Blend until crumbly.
- In a heavy saucepan, combine almond milk, oil and corn flour and stir until cornflour dissolved. Bring to simmer over high heat. Once cornflour totally dissolved add mixture to blender. (Note make sure you check your blender is heat-resistant. I use my Omniblend blender which is resistant to very high temperatures).
- Add nutritional yeast, miso, lemon juice, ½ tablespoon of thyme and salt into blender and blend on high until smooth.
- Meanwhile cook pasta elbows as per packet directions. Drain pasta.
- Place cooked pasta in ovenproof bowls and top with blended sauce mixture.
- Cook in the preheated oven for 15-25 minutes or until top becomes crunchy and slightly browned.
- Remove from oven and drizzle with generous amounts of truffle oil. Shave fresh truffle if available lavishly over the top.
- Enjoy while it’s hot!
This is an original recipe by Chompchomp Barilla gluten free pasta to try without any obligation to develop a recipe or give a favourable review. Regrettably they didn’t include a free truffle to sample as well. The black truffle she used in this recipe was given as part of attending the Hunt and Harvest dinner at the Truffle Kerfuffle festival in Manjimup. For any future companies that wish for Chompchomp to sample their product, please be advised that she is happy to accept any samples of fresh black truffles that they may want her expert opinion on. This will include samples of truffle butter, truffle cheese and any other gluten free truffle product.