Saturday, December 30, 2006
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Lamb Casserole for one, with a mint dumpling. Like the Chicken and Beef Casseroles I've written about before, this dish is absolutely fine for those following the anti-Candida diet, providing you don't have any problems digesting wheatflour. And it's pretty tasty too!
Two chicken breasts with a garlic and herb dressing ('Cook' range). Okay, it would be quite easy to make something similar at home, but it doesn't hurt to cheat occasionally. ;) Again, there's nothing in the dressing which is prohibited on the anti-Candida diet.
Despite my initial reservations, Marks & Spencers seem to be coming out tops in the okay ready-meals stakes!
Thursday, December 07, 2006
When I first started out on the Candida Diet I was told that I couldn't have smoked or cured meat in any circumstances. The idea being that cured meat has been hanging around in an environment conducive to yeast and mould growth. I've always felt a bit ambivalent towards this prohibition. After all, how much meat these days in cured or smoked in a shed or up a chimney, with no environmental/hygiene controls whatsoever? And wouldn't heating/cooking kill off any organisms which had managed to colonise my rasher of bacon, or slice of smoked salmon?
Over the two years since, these restrictions have been relaxed slightly (not least because I have a different nutritional therapist now): I'm now allowed to eat cured or smoked meat occasionally - mainly because there is a school of thought which considers the chemical changes that occur during curing/smoking as potentially carcinogenic. Nevertheless, the other day - as a treat - I bought myself some prosciutto from Marks & Spencers no least! ;)
Good prosciutto or parma ham should be okay - it shouldn't contain anything but pork, salt and possibly a bit of water. The only thing I found was that it did taste incredibly salty, which I think is a result of me re-educating my taste buds since I went on the diet. Anyway, apart from in a sandwich (made with soda bread) I did come up with a few ideas on how to use the rest of the pack.
Potato farls* with prosciutto and goats cheese
A couple of potato farls or pancakes
Two slices of prosciutto
grated hard goats cheese
Slice each farl/pancake width-ways. Place the farls cut side up on a baking tray/grill pan and toast under a grill for a couple of minutes. Remove, and on top of each farl place half a slice of prosciutto and some grated cheese. Place back under the grill and cook until the cheese is bubbling and starting to brown.
Delicious! But packed full of calories. ;)
(Sort-of) Pasta Carbonara
Okay, this isn't anything like a real carbonara, but it's kind of the same idea.
Sufficient pasta shells/spaghetti for one person
2/3 slices of prosciutto
goats milk/soya milk
olive oil spread
salt & pepper
Put a saucepan of water on to boil. Add a spot of olive oil to the pan to prevent the pasta from sticking together. When boiling, add the pasta, cover and simmer until al dente. Meanwhile make a white sauce (add a dessert spoonful of cornflour to a pan, with a knob of olive oil spread and a dash of milk - whisk until smooth and cook on a low heat, whisking all the time to prevent the sauce from burning/going lumpy. Gradually add more milk until the sauce is a good consistency). Take off the heat and add the grated cheese, a sprinkle of paprika and salt and pepper to taste (remember, the prosciutto and cheese will be quite salty, so you may not need to add much salt).
Drain the pasta and put back in the saucepan. Tear up the slices of prosciutto into strips and add to the pasta along with the cheese sauce. Give it a good stir and serve.
*I thought that I'd written about potato farls/pancakes/bread before in this blog, but it turns out I haven't, so here goes. Potato farls tend to be candida diet-friendly (with caution). Predominantly made from potato, they do include a small amount of plain wheatflour and occasionally (as is the case with Marks & Spencer's version), vinegar. As ever, it's important to check the ingredients list, and if there's anything you're not sure about, it's best to leave it on the shelf.
Sunday, December 03, 2006
The first, Courgette rice with feta and olives, I found on the BBC Good Food magazine website, so I won't reproduce it here. What's great about this one is that it needs no adaptation or substitutions. Just make sure the neither the feta cheese nor the black olives (Sainsbury's stoned black olives in a ring-pull can are fine) include citric acid and the stock is candida diet -friendly (i.e. no yeast, sugars or monosodium glutamate - try Kallo's 'Yeast-free Stock Cubes' available from Holland & Barrett and other Health Food shops).
The second recipe is one I made up, so as usual the instructions are bit a vague!
1 chicken breast (I'm enjoying Sainsbury's free-range, organic West Country chicken at the moment - it's a bit more expensive, but the texture and taste far surpass 'normal' processed chicken breasts)
half a can of chopped tomatoes (no citric acid)
half an onion, sliced
clove of garlic, chopped
oil (sunflower or olive)
a handful of black olives (use the leftovers from the courgette recipe above), sliced
half a red pepper, sliced
a dash of paprika
about a tablespoon of fresh parsley, finely chopped
seasoning to taste
Lightly fry the garlic and onions in the oil. Slice the chicken breasts into strips and add to the pan. Cook for a few minutes and then add the red pepper. Cook until the chicken is golden brown. Add the tomatoes and stir in the sliced olives. Add a dash of paprika and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for about ten minutes, and then add the parsley.
Serve with brown rice and a green salad.
Saturday, December 02, 2006
First up, the best recipe (so far) I've found for paneer (which I'm quickly developing an addiction for). It's from the manufacturers, Long Clawson Dairies. They have a lot of recipes on their site but not, unfortunately, this one (which was printed on box):
I get my paneer from Sainsbury's, 'though I'm not sure how widely available it is around the rest of the country (I live in Leicester which has a very large South Asian population, so getting hold of ingredients for Indian cookery here isn't a big problem).
This recipe serves two.
227g paneer, cut into small cubes (I'd suggest one square inch)
butter or oil for frying
227g fresh spinach
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic*
small piece of ginger, chopped*
1 fresh green chilli, chopped
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
seasoning to taste
* Try grating the garlic and ginger - much, MUCH easier than trying to slice/chop them!
Now, the recipe also suggests 1/2 tsp mixed spice - I'm assuming they mean garam masala and not the stuff you put in mince pies!
Heat the oil or butter in a large pan. Fry the paneer quickly until golden brown then put it to one side. Roughly chop the spinach leaves.
Using the same pan, fry the onion until golden brown then add the ginger, chilli and garlic. Cook for a further minute. Add the tomato, salt, pepper, turmeric and garam masala. Cook until the oil separates.
Add the spinach. Cover and cook on a low heat until the spinach is tender and the mixture is almost dry.
Add the paneer, stir and cook for five minutes on a low heat. Add a small amount of hot water if too dry.
The recipe suggests a tomato and onion ring garnish and to serve the dish with naan bread or rice. I had it with poppadoms, which was a filling enough combination for me.
Monday, November 27, 2006
I've already devoured the dairy-free, sugar-free (sweetened with maltitol) slab of plain Belgian chocolate - those Belgians know how to make chocolate, and GOD! Do they know how to make diabetic chocolate?!!! Better than that Boots cr*p I was writing about the other day!
I've just eaten a mini chocolate waffle. Well, what can I say? Just sweet enough without cloying, no bitter aftertaste. Really...very special indeed. So, what's in it? I hear you cry. Well, drawing on my rudimentary French language skills (with a little bit of help from Babel Fish), I reckon the ingredients are as follows:
Pure chocolate (23%), sweetened with maltitol
Fructose from chicory (which is a new one on me)
Inulin fibre (another type of fructose)
Raising agents: mono-calcium phosphate and sodium bicarbonate
Emulsifier: soya lecithin
Plus, it also contains bifidogenic fibres (i.e. 'friendly' bacteria). They're also lactose-free and GMO-free.
They're made by a company called Damhert Natural Products. From their website, it looks like they offer a massive range of 'free from' products. Wouldn't it be fabulous if they were available here?
I also got a pack of Canderel brand plain chocolate with hazelnut bars and strawberry flavoured 'laces' from the Hema supermarket. Now, both of these contain illicit substances, like aspartame and glucose, so I'm saving them for Christmas Day, when I'm planning one almighty PIG OUT! :)
Saturday, November 18, 2006
The nasty side-effects of aspartame are well known, so when I'm looking for an occasional treat (let's face it, we all need a bit of comfort food from time to time), I tend to avoid anything containing it. Much of Boots' (the Chemists) range of diabetic sweets, chocolate and biscuits contain both sweeteners, but their dark chocolate mint discs and shortbread fingers, just use maltitol, and the chocolate discs are dairy-free to boot! So I've availed myself of a couple of packets to get me through that 'time of the month'. And they're really not bad. Diabetic chocolate is never going to be the same as normal chocolate (and I still crave a bar of Dairy Milk from time to time), but it's not far off and the shortbread fingers are a revelation: buttery and delicious, with no perceptible difference from 'normal' shortbread. Great!
My nutritional therapist assures me that products containing maltitol are fine occasionally - possibly not for someone just starting out on the diet (it's a really good idea to deal with that initial sugar craving and in time lose your sweet tooth), but for me - maintaining - it's okay. Of course, excessive consumption is not recommended; for a start large amounts of maltitol can laxative affect!
Thursday, November 16, 2006
Saturday, November 11, 2006
Friday, November 10, 2006
Puffed Rice 12%
Concentrated Apple Juice
Pumpkin Seeds 4.8%
Sunflower Seeds 4.6%
Sesame Seeds 4.4%
Low sodium sea salt
Okay, to be fair, there are a couple of things in there to regard with some caution, the puffed rice is probably not brown and the concentrated apple juice is a no-no if you're just starting out on the diet (though the bars really aren't very sweet), and I'm still not certain about the status of rice syrup, but as an occasional treat I can't see how they could do too much harm. The manufactuers also make a nut bar which looks okay; will try them next! As an added bonus (especially to me as I currently attempting to single-handedly save the planet!), they are - according to the label - baked using renewable energy sources.
The other new find is a liquid vegetable stock produced by Knorr. Unlike so many other ready-made stocks it doesn't contain yeast extract, or monosodium glutamate (assuming you can trust the ingredients list!):
Vegetables (Leek, Mushroom, Celeriac, Carrot)
Damn those mushrooms though! If it wasn't for them it would be perfect. But as mushrooms are hotly contested (with regards to whether or not they are allowed on the anti-Candida diet), I think their inclusion here can be excused. The only real disadvantage I can see with this stock over the cubes produced by Kallo, is that the whole packet has to be consumed within three days (450 ml). That's a lot of soup, especially if - like me - you only cook for one. Still, it's a useful store cupboard standby.
By the way, I've started to get my food delivered by Sainsburys. One big advantage they have over Tescos is that the complete ingredients lists for many products, including home brand ready meals, can be consulted online.
Sunday, November 05, 2006
Traditionally these are eaten with lashings of butter, but they're equally good with a soft goat's cheese.
225g self-raising flour
1 egg, beaten
pinch of salt
goats milk or water
Pre-heat the oven to 230 degrees. Place flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Rub the butter into the flour, until it resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the beaten egg and enough liquid (milk or water) to produce a smooth dough. Roll out onto a lightly floured surface to a thickness of 1 inch, and cut into 2 1/2 inch rounds (I used a tall glass, in place of a cutter). Place on a greased baking sheet and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cut in half (width-ways). Reduce the temperature of the oven to 190 degrees. Return the rusks to the baking sheet, cut side up, and cook for a further 10 to 15 mins, or until the rusks are crisp and golden-brown. Cool on a wire rack.
Vegetarian Shepherds' Pie
Rather than finely dice the vegetables, I left them quite large which stopped them turning to an unidentifiable mush!
1 tin of mixed pulses
1 onion, finely sliced
1 clove of garlic
1 large carrot, sliced and chopped
About 5 mushrooms (okay, not strictly anti-candida friendly, but a few won't hurt!)
Couple of large potatoes
1/2 yeast-free stock cube
salt and pepper
Peel and chop the potatoes. Place in a saucepan of water and bring to the boil. Simmer until cooked. Meanwhile, slice the garlic and lightly fry in the oil. Add the onion and carrot and cook until the onions start to soften. Chop about three of the mushrooms into fairly small pieces. Add to the pan and cook for a further couple of minutes. Then slice the remaining mushrooms and add to the pan with the tin of pulses. Cook for a couple of minutes and then add the the stock cube and a good quirt of tomato puree (about a dessertspoon full). Season to taste.
Mash the potatoes, season with salt and pepper to taste. Place the vegetable mixture in a deep dish and top with the mashed potato. Cook in the oven (at about 200 degrees) for about 15 mins, or until the potato starts to brown.
Thursday, October 26, 2006
Saturday, October 21, 2006
Having said all that, I had a bit of exciting news recently: I can have cakes and biscuits made with fructose now! Just need to find some good recipes and time to try them out now. Will post the results as soon as I'm able.
Continuing working my way through Miriam Polunin's book at the moment. Made Watercress Soup (p. 103) yesterday and about to have the second serving for my lunch. Pretty good, but quite gloopy, probably because I didn't add the soured cream recommended in the recipe. Perhaps a spot of goats milk will slacken the texture a bit...?
Thursday, October 12, 2006
Monday, October 02, 2006
Thursday, September 28, 2006
The sausage and courgette thing
Serves one to two
3-4 pork sausages (make sure they don't contain any nasties like yeast or breadcrumbs - rusk is okay, providing you can tolerate wheatflour)
1 large courgette
1 clove of garlic
1 tin of chopped tomatoes (watch out for citric acid!)
salt and pepper
Grill the sausages until brown. In the meantime, heat the oil in a large frying pan. Slice the garlic and onion and fry until soft. Finely slice the courgette (on the slant). Add to garlic and onions and fry until brown on both sides. Add a good squirt of tomato puree to the pan along with the tin of tomatoes. Add a sprinkle of oregano and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer until the liquid is reduced. Slice the sausages into three pieces and stir into the courgettes and tomatoes. Heat through and serve with brown rice, or soda bread and a salad.
N.B. You can add a pinch of cayenne pepper to the tomatoes before you add the sausages to spice up the sauce if you choose.
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
N.B. The recipe was adapted from the Veetee website.
Lemon Pulao Rice
Serves four very hungry students!
2 mugs of brown basmati rice (I get mine from 'Sainsburys')
4 mugs of boiling water
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 mustard seeds
pinch of asafoetida powder
1/2 ground turmeric
pinch of cayenne pepper
fresh coriander leaves
salt and pepper to taste.
Heat oil in large saucepan. Add cumin and mustard seeds. Cook in the oil for a few moments until the mustard seeds start to pop. Add asafoetida powder, turmeric, cayenne pepper and basmati rice. Stir for a few moments, coating the rice in the oil and spices. Add water. Bring to the boil, stir once, put on the lid and simmer until the water has been absorbed.
Chop up some coriander and stir into the rice, cut a few slices of lemon and add the juice to the rice. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with coriander leaves and lemon slices and serve immediately.
Friday, September 22, 2006
Thursday, September 21, 2006
Monday, September 18, 2006
I'm very penitent. Following my refined sugar slip-up the day before yesterday I've just been eating pure, unadulterated, healthy food. Though having said that, it was the first sugar I'd knowingly imbibed since 20th May. That's not bad going!
In my continued quest for something anti-Candida friendly and sweet I've discovered frozen smoothie mix from Tescos (see pic - from the Tescos website). I'm trying the Strawberry and Banana flavour at the moment, but they also do a tropical fruit and red berries version. The smoothie mix consists of just fruit, basically; chopped and frozen and packaged in individual bags. The directions suggest you defrost it slightly in the microwave and then whizz it up with fruit juice. I've been trying it with goats milk and plain yoghurt instead, and very good is it too!
Sunday, September 17, 2006
Saturday, September 16, 2006
* just make sure that, if you're using tinned sweetcorn, it isn't sweetened.
Monday, September 11, 2006
Makes two kebabs
1/2 a block of paneer
1/2 red chilli
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp garam masala
splosh of lemon juice
clove of garlic
piece of ginger
Finely dice the chilli and mix with the cumin, grated garlic and ginger and a good splosh of lemon juice. Cut the paneer into large cubes. Place in a dish and coat well with the chilli, ginger, garlic and lemon and marinade in the fridge for at least a couple of hours (the longer the better).
Cut the onion into quarters and the red pepper into about eight regular pieces, retrieve the paneer from the fridge and skewer onto the kebab sticks, alternating each piece of paneer with onion and pepper.
Place on a baking tray and cook in the oven at a fairly high temperature until the paneer is sizzling and starting to go brown on the edges.
Serve with a green salad and wholemeal chapattis.
Saturday, September 09, 2006
Anyway, in other news, a friend took me to Tescos last night (in his car!) and I stocked up on about a month's worth of food in one go (rather than my usual couple of shopping trips a week). I had a great time in the 'free-from' aisle and found lots of interesting, anti-Candida diet friendly products which I'll blog about as as when, over the next couple of weeks. Incidentally, I'm really busy with loads of writing and reports and organising events and stuff like that at the moment, so 'The Cardboard Diet' might be a little quiet, perhaps until the end of October. In the meantime, please bear with me. And if you have any comments, or suggestions, or experiences you would like to share, don't hold back! ;)
Thursday, September 07, 2006
Monday, September 04, 2006
Incidentally I made Leek and Potato Pie (p. 157) the other day. Very good. The best sort of comfort food; creamy sauce and mashed potato. Yum!
Saturday, September 02, 2006
Did have some fantastic organic Japanese green tea in a cafe at lunchtime 'though. Wish I could remember what it was called. Came in a little handsewn fabric pouch, rather than a tea bag. It was great.
Friday, September 01, 2006
I've already mentioned my addiction to Double Dragon Green Tea from Holland & Barrett, but how about cold drinks and, crucially, what to drink down the pub? Well, I was at an advantage in some respects, because I'm largely tee-total. Most of the time I drink water, and perhaps on special occasions I have sparkling mineral water with ice and a slice ;) Yep, it's pretty boring, but at least you keep a clear head. One of the advantages of being completely sober is that you can embarrass your mates with their drunken exploits the next day.
Now I'm maintaining, I am allowed some fruit juices, providing they're diluted (half water, half juice). Fresh cloudy apple juice is nice (my preference - being a Suffolk girl - is for 'Copella'*: their Apple and Blackcurrant juice is fantastic), and I've also tried 'Pomegreat'#: pomegranate juice with raspberry. Orange juice is definitely out and it's important to check that the juice hasn't been sweetened.
As regards hot drinks, obviously 'normal' tea, coffee and hot chocolate are out of question. I've often seen reference to things like 'Barleycup' in anti-Candida diet books. The thought of that turns my stomach! Some people can tolerate Rooibusch (personally I think it looks and tastes like compost). Most fruit teas are good - but make sure they don't contact citric acid or have been sweetened. Most Twinings fruit teas are fine. I regularly drink their Cranberry, Raspberry and Elderflower and Peppermint teas. It's a great shame that my absolute favourite, Ginger and Lemon, contains citric acid, but if you're partial, it's easy to make it at home:
Ginger and Lemon Tea
piece of ginger
copious amounts of boiling water
Take a knob of ginger, peel and grate it and put in a tea pot. Pour on boiling water and allow to steep for a few mins (depending on the desired strength). Before pouring (use a tea strainer), squeeze a good glug of fresh lemon juice in the mug. You can keep topping up the pot until you've had enough. Fantastic as a winter warmer, or if you have a sore throat. In theory you should be able to make peppermint tea in the same way. I've recently just taken possession of a mint plant, so might give it a go later.
In fact I did try it. Not bad - steeped a few leaves in hot water for about ten minutes. Pleasantly minty, but not as good as you get in restaurants. Perhaps I'm not using the right sort of mint? Or, should I bruise the leaves a bit first? Might take a bit of experimentation to get it right.
* available from Sainsburys and Tescos
# available from Tescos and Holland & Barrett
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Why does life have to be so complicated?!
Monday, August 28, 2006
Friday, August 25, 2006
Thursday, August 24, 2006
I know you're not supposed to have caffeine on the anti-Candida diet, but I really would not be able to survive without green tea (and crisps - but that's another story!) - I'm an addict. My particular favourite is 'Double Dragon' from Fujian province in China, available from 'Holland & Barrett'. It's not as bitter, nor as strong as some green teabags can be. It still contains some caffeine, but at much lower levels than 'normal' tea or coffee (which I detest). White tea - if you can find it - has even less caffeine and more antioxidants.
What particularly caught my eye here, was the recipe for 'Felixstowe Tart' in the regional foods section. Hmmmmm - I could add something really bitchy here (my ex ran off with a tart from Felixstowe), but I won't. ;)
This is a really easy and quick way of cooking chicken or fish. The oatmeal is a great substitute for breadcrumbs and makes a lovely crunchy casing.
1 chicken breast or fillet of salmon (without skin) per person
Seasoning (salt & pepper, or Schwartz Season-all, for example)
Place a little oatmeal on a plate or in a bowl. Add a little seasoning (just enough to liven the oatmeal up!) and mix well. Take strips of chicken or fairly chunky slices of salmon (cut 'with the grain'). Roll in the oatmeal mixture until well coated and shallow fry in sunflower oil, turning occasionally to ensure the goujon is evenly cooked and browned.
Serve with salad and new potatoes (or chips!).
Ginger and cashew stirfry
You could add chicken or tofu to the stirfry, if you fancy something a bit more substantial. Just chuck the ingredients in, according to how much of each you fancy (I'm really not a very accurate, 'measured' cook!). The green vegetables and cashew nuts are packed full of iron, and the brown rice and noodles contain B6 (which activates iron) - just what the doctor ordered if like me, you're slightly anaemic.
clove of garlic
piece of ginger
cashew nuts (unroasted/unsalted)
dark soy sauce (if you're allowed it) or miso paste
Grate the garlic and ginger and gently fry in the sesame oil. Quickly add the onion, cut in half and sliced and the broccoli (cut into florets) - try peeling the stalk, slicing it finely and adding that to the pan too! Stirfry for a few mins, until the vegetables start to soften. Add the bok choy leaves and the chinese leaves (sliced) (as much as you want - or fits in the pan - but remember, they'll cook down to nothing in no time at all!). Stir fry until the leaves start to wilt and add the cashew nuts. Fry until the nuts are starting to brown and add a splash of soy sauce or a good heaped teaspoon of miso paste (with a splash of hot water). Combine well and serve immediately with brown rice or brown rice noodles.
If you are adding chicken or tofu, slice or cube and cook until brown on all sides in a separate pan. Add to the vegetables just before the soy or miso.
Variation: Butterfly some king prawns (i.e. de-vein) and marinade in the grated garlic and ginger, with a splash of soy sauce or squeeze of fresh lemon juice, for at least an hour before cooking (remember to refridgerate!). Add to the vegetables (instead of the cashews) just before you add the soy sauce or miso paste.
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Whoops! I got it wrong. It's actually manufactured by 'Delamere' and you can get it at 'Holland and Barrett' too. Fab website bty, it's got audio of goats 'baa-ing' (do goats baa?)!
First up is a recipe I have adapted from one I found in a Cranks cookbook (I think!):
Enough for two (will keep in the fridge overnight)
1 tin of cannellini, butter or haricot beans
large clove of garlic
half a large onion, peeled and sliced
1 large green pepper, de-seeded and sliced
1 tin of chopped tomatoes (without citric acid)
2 tablespoons of tomato puree
2 teaspoons of paprika
a dash of cayenne pepper or half a de-seeded and finely sliced green chilli pepper (optional)
salt and pepper
natural/bio yoghurt to garnish
Fry the garlic and onions (and chilli) in the olive oil, add the green pepper and fry until onions are soft. Add the tomatoes, tomato puree, the drained and rinsed beans and the paprika (and cayenne). Season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for about fifteen minutes, without a lid on the pan, to reduce the liquid a little.
Serve with a swirl of yoghurt and accompany with a green salad or brown rice.
Indian style food is pretty easy to adapt to the anti-Candida diet. I make up a basic Korma-style sauce, using Coconut Milk or Cream, to which I add pieces of chicken, prawns or tofu. A quick and easy recipe follows:
Chicken (or prawn or tofu) Korma
chicken breast (cooked prawns or half a packet of tofu)
half an onion
half a green pepper
clove of garlic
piece of ginger
tablespoon of mild curry powder
2 teaspoons of garam masala
tin of coconut milk or half a block of coconut cream
Grate the garlic and ginger and fry in sunflower oil (do not allow to burn!). Add the onion (diced or sliced) and gently fry until softened. Cut the chicken into pieces (cube the tofu, if using instead) and add to the pan. Fry until browned. Dice the green pepper (fairly large pieces), add to the pan and cook for another couple of minutes. Add the curry powder to the pan. Give the ingredients a good mix and then add the coconut milk (if using creamed coconut dissolve in a little hot water first). Allow mixture to simmer until the chicken (or tofu) has cooked and the liquid has reduced a little. If using prawns, add them to the sauce and gently warm through. Add the garam masala and serve with brown rice, poppadums or wholewheat chappattis.
I have made a vegetarian option before, using cubes of potato, florets of cauliflower and green beans.
For an extra special version, substitute the curry powder for 2 teaspoons of freshly ground cumin seeds, 1 1/2 teaspoons of freshly ground coriander seeds, 1/2 teaspoon of ground turmeric and 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper. Marinade the chicken in the cumin, coriander, turmeric, salt and pepper for at least an hour before cooking. Cook as per instructions above, but add a good dollop of yoghurt to the pan before the coconut milk/cream.
Check back soon for some more recipe ideas!
Saturday, August 19, 2006
When I'm not worrying about what I'm eating, I'm a research student and, at the moment, I'm heavily engaged in a bit of writing that I must get done for my supervisor by the middle of next week. So today's posts are likely to be the last for some time.
So, here's me, signing off for a little while. Bye bye...
I tried out a couple of the recipes with varying degrees of success last night: Thai Tofu with Coriander, Chilli and Ginger (p. 154) was quick and easy to make and delicious (even though I wasn't able to get hold of several of the ingredients for flavouring, kaffir lime leaves anyone?!). I made (or attempted to make) Apricot and Walnut Clusters (p. 205) with one eye on the 'Big Brother' final. Not so successful - but for the most part due to me not following the recipe properly, rather than a problem with the recipe per se. I thought I'd be clever and stew the apple in the microwave instead of on the hob, but it didn't produce the necessary sticky mush required to stick all the dry ingredients together. Consequently, they were not so much clusters, than one big cake. I crumbled it up and used it as a crunchy yoghurt topping (and froze the rest). Not bad!
She's also got some useful information in there about Chinese medicine (apparently people with Candida problems are too 'damp'). Worth investigating further methinks.
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
Monday, August 14, 2006
I recently had a very successful shopping trip at 'Budgens'. I found a range of products suitable for people following the anti-candida diet (see photograph), some of which - like the chappattis - I've previously, but most I haven't come across before. Perhaps things are looking up!
1. 'Sacla' Char-grilled Aubergine Pesto - ingredients:
- sunflower seed oil
- cashew nuts
- sea salt
- fresh garlic
- crushed pine kernels
- lactic acid (preservative)
- hot chilli pepper
2. Tzatziki (Budgens)
- garlic granules
3. 'Glutano' Tri-Colour Pasta
- maize starch and flour
- spinach powder
- tomato powder
- beetroot powder
(v. tasty with the aubergine pesto!)
N.B. 'Orgran' produce a similar corn-based pasta, available from Holland & Barrett.
4. Patak's Plain Chappattis (six)
- wholemeal flour
- vegetable oil
- fruit juice (guess this is okay in small quantities!)
- raising agents #
- calcium propionate (preservative)
* Mono and Diglycerides of fatty acids, mono and Diacetyl Tartaric Acid esters of Mono and Diglycerides of fatty acids (no idea what this is - if anyone out there knows, and it's nasty, please let me know!).
# Disodium Diphosphate Sodium Hydrogen carbonate (ditto!).
- and finally
5. 'Delamere' goats yoghurt
Same company produces a fresh goats milk available from the Co-op.
Other 'new' products:
('New', because I haven't seen them before!)
- hard goat's cheese
- UHT (longlife) goats milk
Both manufactured by 'St Helen's Farm' and available from Tescos.
Just a quick addendum to the entry about breakfast ideas...
'Kallo' make a puffed (brown) rice cereal, which is available from Tescos (look for it in the 'free from' aisle). It's unsweetened - in fact, it contains nothing but rice - so try it with goats milk, chopped dried apricots or apple and yoghurt. Makes a nice change from muesli.
Have included a photograph of the packaging to give an idea of what to look out for!
Wednesday, August 09, 2006
The first sections of the book deal with her personal story and give background information on candida albicans and symptoms. The bit I'm most interested in here is from Chapter 6, where she details 'foods to avoid' and 'foods to enjoy' (pp. 42-45). My only criticism is that it is a very basic list. Often, presented with something a bit more exotic than your average British fayre, I've been unable to find the advice I need. And to be honest, if you were going to live on just the foods Erica White recommends, your diet (and life) would get very monotonous indeed.
Which takes me onto my next criticism: the recipes. While it is really helpful to have suitable recipes to hand, the perceived need to adapt them to suit every possible dietary requirement, including gluten and wheat-free, means that the recipes I've tried (which, admittedly is few) have been bland and uninspiring. Which is a great shame.
The best way I've found to use this book, is to treat it as a kind of encyclopedia of knowledge about Candida and the anti-Candida diet, and use it as the backbone for the development of your own recipes (and most of the time you'll find that - with a little bit of experimentation - you can just adapt the things you made before you started the diet, by substituting white wine, for example, with a yeast-free stock, or white pasta for wholewheat, etc). For me, following Erica White's puritan programme and recipes to the nth degree would be akin to mortification.
However, having said all that, I would really recommend everyone following, or about to embark upon the diet, to buy the book. If nothing else, it helps to know that you're not the only one out there suffering!
Sunday, August 06, 2006
Saturday, August 05, 2006
However, thought I should mention that I've recently come across a couple of ready-prepared salads manufactured by Delphi and available from Budgens - a Chickpea salad (chickpeas with olive oil, feta cheese and sundried tomatoes) and a Lentil salad. Both very tasty. I didn't get to see the packaging for the Chickpea salad, but have been assured that there wasn't anything in there that I needed to worry about (and, unfortunately their website - 'though beautiful - doesn't give ingredients listings), but there was a small (and it must have been tiny) amount of vinegar in the Lentil salad (couldn't taste it, came after chopped parsley in the list of ingredients and only before salt, so a very small quantity indeed). Worth looking for if you've got a barbecue or summer buffet coming up.
Wednesday, August 02, 2006
Tonight I had Marks & Spencers 'Bombay Aloo' for my dinner - potato chunks cooked with tomatoes, ginger and fresh coriander, according to the blurb on the box. And I can quite believe it, cos very tasty it was too. In fact it contained nothing but:
- vegetable oil
- tomato puree
- fresh coriander
- mustard leaves; and
- curry leaves.
So, unless M&S is being economical with the truth, there's nothing in there that we need to worry about.
I had it with an undressed salad and a couple of Patak's wholewheat chapattis (previously mentioned in my 'lunches' entry a couple of days ago).
I can also recommend M&S's Vegetable Curry and Bubble and Squeak Potato Cakes (available from the prepared vegetables section). However, apart from those few items, M&S is a bit of a disappointment. I haven't been able to find anything else suitable in my local branch in Leicester (and believe me, I've scoured those shelves!). They seem addicted to putting cream and sugar in EVERYTHING! Perhaps whoever devises their recipes has an undiagnosed candida problem? ;)
As a sufferer herself she's set up this website for fellow anti-candida dieters to get more information about the diet and to share her experiences and recipes.
I haven't had a chance to have a really good look at it yet, but there's some interesting info about rotating food to find out if you have any specific intolerances (apart from the main suspects) and what look like some fab recipes for Indian and Mediterranean inspired dishes: http://www.candidadiet.com/recipes/redefault.shtml
Definitely worth a look. Will try out some of the recipes and report back...
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
What really irritates me is that it really doesn't seem necessary. Why is it that Sainsburys, for example, uses citric acid as a preservative in its jars of green olives, but the Co-op doesn't? It appears to me that it is often used arbitrarily by food manufacturers, without real necessity (perhaps a chemist would care to comment?!). It's so damn frustrating to think you've found a 'friendly' pasta sauce or tin of tomatoes, only for it to be ruled out by the insidious presence of citric blinking acid!
It's the bane of my life!
Rant over... normal service will be resumed shortly. :)
Mozzarella is a 'young' cheese, which means it will contain fairly low levels of lactose, so it is suitable once in a while. Try to get buffalo milk mozzarella - avoid Danish 'pizza-style' mozzarella, it's revolting! - and make sure it isn't preserved in citric acid. Last time I looked, the Sainsbury's 'Be Good to Yourself' version was okay.
2 fairly thick slices of aubergine (medium-sized, sliced lengthways)
half a tin of Sainsburys bruschetta topping
packet of mozzarella
olive or sunflower oil
Lightly fry the aubergine slices in the oil until golden brown and soft (but not falling apart). Spoon some bruschetta topping on each slice. Top with generous slices of mozzarella and place under a hot grill until brown and bubbling.
I have adapted this recipe from Claudia Roden's version published in 'Mediterranean Cooking'. Tahini (sesame seed paste) is available from health food shops, such as 'Holland & Barrett'. You'll need access to a liquidiser or, better still, a food processor, to make this recipe.
Makes a generous amount. Will keep in the fridge for up to three days.
1 tin of chickpeas (make sure they don't contain citric acid)
3 tablespoons of tahini
juice of 2 lemons
1 large clove of garlic (if you don't like the harshness of raw garlic, try lightly sauteing it first)
drop of water
salt to taste
Drain and rinse the chickpeas. Blend with the tahini, lemon juice, garlic (crushed) and salt, adding a drop of water if necessary, until smooth. Garnish with a sprinkling of paprika and a swirl of olive oil.
Monday, July 31, 2006
- hummous ('friendly' versions available from Tescos, Sainsburys, Marks & Spencers and the Co-op - go for the plain, 'full-fat' option, 'diet' or flavoured versions are usually packed full of hidden nasties), spread on oat cakes (plain), or use as a dip for (plain, salted) tortilla chips, crudities, or - a recent discovery of mine - wholewheat chapattis (instead of the more traditional pitta bread). Make your own, or try Patak's version (sweetened with fruit juice, but I figure it must be a tiny, tiny amount), available from Sainsburys. Hummous has fabulous candida-fighting properties!
- salads (see my previous post on barbecue food, for a few ideas) - try adding tinned tuna, prawns or grilled seasoned chicken) for protein.
- eggs - boiled, scrambled or omelette-d.
- home-made soup (see recipe for my version of Onion Soup below).
- jacket potatoes with goats cheese (Sainsburys do a nice organic soft goats cheese without rind, or you could try grating a hard goats cheese), cottage cheese, or seasoned tuna mixed with yoghurt.
This does take a bit of effort, but makes a smallish saucepan full, enough for two servings.
1 large onion
1 clove of garlic
olive oil spread
olive or sunflower oil
yeast-free stock cube (the only one I've come across so far is made by 'Kallo' - yellow box - and is suitable for vegans: available from 'Holland and Barrett' and other health food stores).
dried or fresh herbs (finely chopped)
salt & pepper
Finely slice the garlic clove and onion (in rings) and saute over a gentle heat for about 20-30 mins in a combination of the olive/sunflower oil and olive oil spread until soft and caramelised (this will add flavour and colour to the soup). Add the stock cube, a pinch of the herbs, pepper (the stock cube is already fairly salty) and about a pint of boiling water. Simmer for another 20 to 30 mins before serving. If the soup is too pale, you can add a splash of soy sauce or a teaspoon of miso paste (if you're allowed them) for colour.
More lunch ideas to follow...
Sunday, July 30, 2006
Invariably I have muesli with yogurt for breakfast. 'Normal' supermarket-bought muesli brands are no good, even the no-added sugar versions, because they will contain raisins, other sugary dried fruits and possibly nuts (which are to be avoided, especially by those just starting out on the anti-candida diet). So, I make up my own muesli mix, which takes a bit of planning and to-ing and fro-ing between different shops, but ultimately it's worth it.
Holland & Barrett (health food chain) sell a muesli base (just flakes of oat, wheat and bran), to which I add dried coconut shreds (anti-fungal properties) and an 'omega' seed mix (both from 'Julian Graves' - another health food chain). Now I have been able to reintroduce some foods, I add three chopped apricots ('Crazy Jacks' organic dried apricots, available from Tescos and Sainsburys, are dark and caramelly and delicious - and are free from added sugar and citric acid), and a few chopped brazil nuts, but if this isn't an option, try chopping up half an apple for natural sweetness. To this I add 'milk' (more below) and a good couple of spoonfuls of bio yogurt.
If I've run out of muesli/'milk', I go for fruit (chopped apple or maybe some berries - if you're allowed them) with yoghurt. Not as filling as muesli, but it'll keep you going.
Dairy products are restricted for those on the anti-candida diet. Lactose - found in all dairy products - is a naturally occurring sugar, but sugar all the same. However, it is found in greater proportions in cows milk, which is why lactose-intolerant people may be able to tolerate sheep and goats' milk, cheese and yoghurt (where levels are lower), and the same applies to those following the anti-candida diet.
There are other options: oat, rice and soya milk are fine (and can be used as substitutes for milk in cooking and baking, with no problems), and - despite what it says on the carton - never seem to go off! But, goats' milk and yoghurt are my current preference (I've been able to get goats' milk from Marks & Spencers and the Co-op and goats' yoghurt from Sainsburys); there's been a good deal of media speculation recently about the moral and ethical objections to the production of soya beans, as well as health problems associated with the over-consumption of phyto-oestrogens found in non-fermented soya products.
Eggs are great. Have them scrambled (with a knob of olive oil spread and salt and pepper to taste) or boiled for breakfast, with oat cakes instead of bread.
Red pepper and halloumi kebabs
I can't really take credit for these. A vegetarian friend of mine had a vision of some kind of cheesy/pepper/red onion combo, and this is what I came up with.
Makes approx. four kebabs
1 large red pepper
2 red onions
packet of halloumi cheese (made with ewes' milk and available from Sainsburys and Marks & Spencers, and probably elsewhere too)
chilli or basil infused olive oil
Cut all the pepper, onions and cheese into pieces and arrange on the sticks/skewers, alternating between pepper, onion and cheese (aim for about three cubes of cheese per kebab). Drizzle with the olive oil and grill until the cheese is starting to brown (halloumi is 'grill-able', it won't melt and make a cheesy mess all over your barbecue).
Again, kind of inspired by a creation of my vegetarian friend. Can be adapted according to taste/availability of ingredients/time and effort you're prepared to put in!
Makes a large bowl of salad, enough to feed at least six.
Go to the supermarket and buy:
bag of mixed salad leaves
bag of watercress
2 gem lettuces or a large cos lettuce
half a cucumber
baby spring onions (or normal ones, trimmed and sliced length-ways)
small jar of green olives (look for ones that aren't preserved in vinegar/citric acid - the Co-op own brand ones are okay)
packet of feta cheese (Marks & Spencers sell an 'all sheep' feta)
For the dressing:
garlic-infused olive oil
cider vinegar (or freshly squeezed lemon juice, if you're avoiding vinegar)
mixed herbs (fresh or dried)
salt and pepper
Take half a bag of mixed salad leaves and mix in a bowl with a good handful of watercress. Roughly chop the gem/cos lettuce(s) and add to the bowl, along with the cucumber (halved and sliced), the spring onions, the olives (drained) and the feta cheese (chopped into cubes).
Mix about three glugs of olive oil in a mug or jar with a capful of cider vinegar (or a good squeeze of lemon). Whisk until combined and add herbs, salt and pepper to taste.
Just before serving, pour dressing on salad and toss.
Non-mayonnaise potato salad
V simple and probably nicer than potato salad made with mayonnaise.
As many new potatoes as you think you'll need
handful of baby spring onions
salt and pepper
Boil the potatoes until al dente. Drain, halve (large ones) and allow to cool. Chop spring onions and add to potatoes. Stir in a couple of spoonfuls of yoghurt (enough to generously coat the potatoes without 'drowning' them). Add salt and pepper to taste.
Red pepper salsa
More like a chunky salad than one of those jars of dips you get to eat with tortilla chips. This recipe owes a lot of Delia.
To make enough for six (couple of good spoonfuls each):
one large red pepper
three-four large tomatoes
small red chilli
salt and pepper
Blanch the tomatoes to remove the skins. When cool, remove the seeds and chop into small chunks. Mix in a bowl with the red pepper and onion (cut into equal sized chunks). Slice (as much as you can bear of) the chilli, chop a sprig of mint leaves and stir both into the tomato/pepper/onion mix. Add a splash of olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice and mix together. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Options for meat-eaters
- Use of sprinkle of Schwartz' 'Season-All' and a splash of olive oil to enliven grilled chicken.
- Cook salmon pieces (seasoned with freshly ground pepper) en papilotte - shielded from the BBQ flames in an aluminum foil parcel.
- Make a marinade for king prawns by mincing or grating a clove of garlic and a piece of ginger and mixing with a splash of chilli-infused olive oil.
'Vegetarian' burgers and sausages: A word of caution
Many pre-prepared/processed vegetarian burgers and sausages, be they made from soya or Quorn, are unlikely to be suitable for people following the anti-candida diet. Apart from added sugar (could be masquerading as 'dextrose') and yeast extract, they're crammed full of additives and preservatives. Quorn is also a fungus-based product, and so should be avoided if you've been advised to steer well clear of mushrooms.
The next instalment will be about breakfasts. 'Til then...
Saturday, July 29, 2006
My own symptoms have responded well to the anti-candida diet and I am now in the process of reintroducing some foods into my diet, but for those just starting out (or what to find out more), here's the basics (N.B. 'bad' and 'good' foods may vary depending on who you talk to):
- all refined sugars;
- dairy products (except yoghurt, 'young' cheeses, like cottage cheese - sheep and goats' milk/cheese has lower levels of lactose than cows' milk/cheese, so - if you can tolerate it - you may be able to use it as a substitute);
- yeast and yeast products (i.e. marmite);
- fermented products, e.g. vinegar ('though I can tolerate a small amount of cider vinegar), soy sauce and miso paste ('though these are now back in my diet);
- and avoid caffeine (I drink green and herbal/fruit teas) and red meat (I'm virtually meat-free these days).
Eat plenty of:
- fresh vegetables and some fruits (most practitioners will suggest you eliminate all fruit except apples (maybe pears) at the start of your diet);
- ginger and garlic (both have anti-fungal properties);
- yoghurt; and
- wholewheat grains.
This all sounds very scary at first, but there are plenty of really tasty things you can eat, which will be the subject of my next posting.
There are loads of recipes online and cookery books available specifically designed for those on the anti-candida diet, but they are very US-oriented, and quite frankly, many of the recipes resemble and taste little better than cardboard (hence the title of this blog!).
My mission is, therefore, to share my experiences, recipes and tips, so that others just starting a strict elimination diet, or maintaining their symptoms through diet, can save time and continue to enjoy food.
In the coming weeks I will introduce some of the easy and quick recipes I've devised, give links to useful websites, publish cookery book reviews and give tips about which supermarkets stock the best anti-candida friendly products.