Browse Month by October 2015
Breakfasts

Porridge with apple, pear and cinnamon puree

With the weather becoming so cold this week, I wanted to send my kids out to school having had a warm and filling breakfast. Porridge is the obvious answer and I made this really easy version the night before.

Porridge with Apple, pear and cinnamon puree - A Free From Life

When you soak oats overnight, you don’t need to cook them, although warmed up, just seem to set you up for the day. Cooking up some chopped apple and pear, with a sprinkling of cinnamon just added to that warmth.

Apart from peeling and chopping the fruit, it didn’t take long to make. I only cooked the fruit through for a few minutes, just enough to start to soften. Then I whizzed it up in the blender to make a smooth puree.

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Although this comfortably serves four people, by adding a little extra milk to taste (depending on how thick you like it), this went round all five of us. I also made this recipe gluten and dairy free.

 

Porridge with apple and pear puree
Print Recipe
A hearty porridge of oats soaked overnight, for added convenience and nutritional value. Guaranteed to warm you through on these chilly autumn mornings.
Servings Prep Time
4-5 5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4-5 5 minutes
Porridge with apple and pear puree
Print Recipe
A hearty porridge of oats soaked overnight, for added convenience and nutritional value. Guaranteed to warm you through on these chilly autumn mornings.
Servings Prep Time
4-5 5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4-5 5 minutes
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Weigh out the oats into a large bowl and add the milk and vanilla extract
  2. Store the oats in the fridge overnight
  3. First thing: In a saucepan, warm the chopped apple and pear with the cinnamon until starting to soften. Transfer to a blender and whizz until smooth
  4. Divide the porridge into bowls and add milk, stirring to the desired thickness
  5. Warm through in a microwave for 1-2 minutes and then top with the puree. Serve immediately
Recipe Notes

It's easier to divide in to bowls and then warm through, as it takes less time. Also, for my family, we have different milk requirements, so we need to do that anyway. For this recipe, I use a coconut milk (Koko) and add more of the same for my dairy intolerant son. My husband prefers almond milk and the girls have cow's milk!

You can, of course, add any combination of fruit you desire. Strawberry and peach is particularly nice too, but I have to say, apple and pear with cinnamon is my favourite. With the cinnamon and the vanilla, you don't need to sweeten this porridge, but if you do feel the need, try adding a teaspoon of honey, drizzled over once warmed through.

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Health

Health Writing Round-Up

Healthy writing round up - A Free From Life

I’ve been writing away frantically for the last few weeks, which means I haven’t had as much time to dedicate to my blogs. What I thought I’d do though, is provide a health writing round up right here on A Free From Life, so you can find out what I’ve been up to.

How to convert recipes to gluten free - A Free From Life

Having a gluten intolerant child, I’m more concerned perhaps than most when it comes to worries about arsenic in rice. Most gluten free products contain rice flour and that’s why I mostly make my own things and monitor what my son eats. He loves rice milk, but I don’t give him it any more, choosing coconut milk by Koko instead (look out for added rice milk in some other dairy free alternatives). I make my own bread, but my son’s biggest love of all is pasta. He would eat it all day and everyday if I let him and prefers it to sandwiches for his lunch. I try to look for corn based pasta if I can, as he has to give up so much already and I feel sorry for him.

In the news last week though was the story that Swedish officials have warned parents against giving children rice cakes as a snack. That simple little product that we all thought of as a healthy alternative to a biscuit has raised concerns about the level of arsenic consumption in children. No doubt we will be hearing more about this as studies continue.

Debunking the FODMAP diet - A Free From Life

I looked in to the world of apps and how they can help people with food allergies and intolerances and found a number of useful ones. For me, being out for the day and not knowing where to go to eat is one of the biggest worries and having an app that can link your location with nearby establishments would be a really useful tool. Whether you need help with your shopping and cooking, managing your symptoms or you’re embarking on a FODMAP diet and need some guidance, you can download a corresponding app and have vital information at your fingertips wherever you are.

Health writing round up - A Free From Life

Whether you choose to eat gluten free (for health or medical reasons) or want to switch to being completely grain free (Paleo), you may choose to increase your protein content. Protein takes longer to digest and so can keep you fuller for longer. When you cut down or give up those carby grains, you may find you need to up your protein for that very reason. I investigated some high protein food swaps that would make healthy alternatives or additions to your diet.

Health writing round up - A Free From Life

From zero calorie noodles, to savoury ice cream and spreadable beer, quirky food is everywhere. I looked up several examples of seemingly ordinary food that’s made with unusual ingredients. These twists on the originals make for some fun and interesting products. I’m not sure I would eat all of them though!

FODMAPS and IBS - A Free From Life

I shared a personal experience of what it’s like to live with IBS. Having learned to control the symptoms over the last twenty years, it came as a shock when I had a particularly bad attack. Looking back at the events leading up to that day, though, it really shouldn’t have come as a surprise. Stress, not eating properly and indeed not eating at all, are all factors and I of all people should know that. It’s a lesson learned and a reminder not to forget about my own health when I am busy looking after the rest of my family.

Airlines traveller's guide to In-Flight Meals - A Free From Life

After a particularly stressful long haul flight that involved my son having no meals because his order was messed up, I resolved to never trust airline food again. When investigating what airlines claim to offer by way of special dietary meals, what surprises me most is the lack of flexibility. As my son can’t eat dairy OR gluten, not one seems to provide an option that caters for both. So which do I go for? A vegan meal might be an option, but will a child be likely to eat it? There are so many things to consider when ordering a special meal on a flight and I’ve heard many instances of people having terrible experiences. I can only hope that the situation improves as more people highlight these issues.

Health writing round up - A Free From Life

Last, but not least, I couldn’t finish without including a little something for the weekend. Although not health related in the slightest, these cocktails I created are a fusion of three classics: Pimms and lemonade, G & T and Mojito. Inspired by the idea that we are a divided nation when it comes to choosing our favourite, I thought why not mix them up? And why not indeed. I hope you feel inspired by this little burst of sunshine we’ve been blessed with to try one of these. I’m particularly proud of my photography work in this article, as it’s my first time using a professional camera. What a difference it makes too.

Savoury Dishes

Sweet Potato and Chestnut Gnocchi – #glutenfree #nightshadefree

Sweet potato and chestnut gnocchi - A Free From Life

I love Italian food and in particular it’s versatility. Having said that, I can only buy gluten free pasta these days and being nightshade intolerant, I’m limited to tomato free sauces. Then for a change the other day, I bought some gnocchi for my daughters and served it up with a cheese sauce. I was so envious. Those little potato dumplings, so simple and yet so satisfying, are beyond my reach now.

That doesn’t mean to say that I can’t become inventive and make my own though does it? Avoiding potatoes isn’t a big deal when you can use sweet potatoes instead, I thought. Not related in the slightest, means that sweet potatoes are a perfect substitution for ordinary white potatoes for anyone following a nightshade free diet.

So, I had the idea of trying out sweet potato in a gnocchi recipe and then I wondered what to use as a replacement for the flour in order to make it gluten free too. I don’t use rice flour and I thought that buckwheat and chickpea flour might be too strong in flavour and would clash with the sweetness of the potato. Then I stumbled across chestnut flour. Having never used it before I was intrigued and the idea of chestnut and sweet potato together seemed like a good combination to me, so off I went.

Sweet potato and chestnut gnocchi - A Free From Life

I wasn’t wrong on the flavour choices. These little dumplings, together with homemade pesto, made a truly scrumptious dinner that satisfied my craving for gnocchi. They were so simple to make and are a great alternative to pasta too.

Sweet potato and chestnut gnocchi - A Free From Life

 

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Sweet potato and chestnut gnocchi - A Free From Life
Sweet Potato and Chestnut Gnocchi
Print Recipe
A sweet and nutty combination to give little gnocchi dumplings that are bursting with flavour
Servings Prep Time
2 30
Cook Time
5
Servings Prep Time
2 30
Cook Time
5
Sweet potato and chestnut gnocchi - A Free From Life
Sweet Potato and Chestnut Gnocchi
Print Recipe
A sweet and nutty combination to give little gnocchi dumplings that are bursting with flavour
Servings Prep Time
2 30
Cook Time
5
Servings Prep Time
2 30
Cook Time
5
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Add a good pinch of salt to the mashed sweet potato
  2. Beat the eggs, then add to the mash, followed by the flour
  3. Mix to form a smooth dough
  4. Cover a surface with the flour
  5. Take half of the dough and roll into a sausage shape, about 2 cm in diameter. Then cut into 2 cm pieces and set to one side
  6. Repeat with the other half
  7. Add to a pan of boiling salted water and cook for around 5 minutes, or until the gnocchi floats to the top
  8. Remove from the pan and serve with a sauce of your choice
Recipe Notes

I served this gnocchi with homemade pesto, along with some mozzarella pearls (for my non-dairy free girls). Grate over some dairy free or lactose free cheese (if you can tolerate this).

Homemade pesto - A Free From Life

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