Saturday, December 30, 2006


As long promised I experimented with fructose over Christmas and the results were pretty good. The type I used was Fruisana (available from Tescos) and you simply use it as you would 'normal' sugar in recipes, except you reduce the amount by a third. Tried it in a red cabbage and apple recipe and cranberry relish, as well as a lemon steamed pudding (yum - first pudding I've had in two years!). Admittedly I cannot accurately determine whether it had any adverse affect, or resulted in the current flare-up of symptoms I'm experiencing (boo), as I also pigged out on illicit chocolate gingers, turkish delight, Roses chocs and chocolate trifle over Christmas Day and Boxing Day (I shan't be doing that again in a hurry)! But, for the occasional treat (birthday cake, anyone?!), fructose would seem to be a good solution to those 'maintaining'.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

More good stuff at Marks & Spencers

A couple more good finds from Marks & Spencers:

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

Prosciutto and how to use it

Errata: When I originally wrote this post I had a bit of a brain freeze and talked about pancetta when - of course - I meant prosciutto ham. Duh! Sorry...

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
Goats cheese
olive oil

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

More new recipes: Courgette rice with feta and olives & Spanish-style chicken

As promised, here are a couple more candida diet-friendly recipes:

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!

Spanish-style Chicken

Serves one

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

New recipe: Palak Paneer

It's December! Hardly seems possible. Looking back over the archives for the last couple of months it's clear how slack I've been at posting new blog entries just recently. I've just finished writing a MAMMOTH chapter of my thesis and now I can relax a bit. I have loads of new recipes and ideas to try out, so expect the pace to pick up over the next few days.

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):

Palak Paneer

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.