Friday, June 27, 2008

Recipe: Pea and Bacon Chowder

I've just made this delicious Lesley Water's recipe for Pea and Bacon Chowder, aka Witches' Brew. Quick and easy to make with just a few ingredients and very comforting. I will definitely make this one again!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Recipe: Sweet Chilli Lime Tofu with Steamed Spinach and Quinoa

This is a great vegan recipe originally posted by LindyLoo, and adapted par moi!

Sweet Chilli Lime Tofu with Steamed Spinach and Quinoa

Serves 2-4

1 block tofu sliced length-wise and cut into triangles

For the sauce:
3 tsp granulated xylitol
3 tsp soy sauce
1 3/4 tsp fresh lime juice
1/2 zest of the lime
1/2 tsp red chilli flakes
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp salt
4 mint leaves, chiffonaded

For the quinoa:
3/4 cup quinoa rinsed and drained
1/2 zest
2 bruised cardamon pods
1 small piece of cinnamon stick
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/3 cups of water

For the spinach (the original recipe calls for collards , but I have no idea what those are!)
1 bag spinach leaves
2-3 tsps water
1 pinch salt
1 tsp lime juice

Combine all the ingredients for the quinoa in a saucepan. Bring to the boil and cover with a tight lid. Reduce heat and cook for 20 minutes. Then turn off the heat and steam for a further 10 minutes before serving.

Prepare the sauce by whisking together all the ingredients until the xylitol has dissolved.

Heat a pan and dry-fry the tofu triangles until golden on both sides.

Chop the spinach leaves (if necessary) and add to a deep frying pan/wok with the water, lime juice and salt. Cover and cook over a high heat for a couple of minutes until the spinach has wilted.

Re-heat the tofu and add the sauce to the pan. Stir to coat. Turn off the heat when the sauce starts to bubble and glaze the tofu.

Serve the spinach on top of a bed of quinoa. Add the tofu on top of that and drizzle over any left over sauce. Garnish with lime slices and the mint leaves.

Recipe: Massaman Curry

At last! The first of those recipes I promised...

Adapted from Healthy Dairy-Free Eating, by Mini C and Tanya Carr (p. 99).

Massaman Curry

Serves 4

1 tbsp vegetable oil
4 tbsp Thai red curry paste (I used Geo Organics Red Curry Paste - which apart from a spot of white wine vinegar and orange juice is Candida diet-friendly)
310g firm tofu, cut into chunks
200ml coconut milk
2 large potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1 onion, coarsely sliced
1 tbsp cashew nuts (I added extra!)
4 cardamon seeds
1 inch piece of cinnamon stick
1 1/2 tbsps freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 tbsps granulated xylitol
1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 handful coriander leaves to garnish

Heat oil in a pan over a low heat. Add the curry paste and stir-fry or about 15 seconds - don't burn! Add the tofu chunks and stir-fry for 1 minute.

Stir in the coconut milk and simmer for 5 minutes, add the potatoes, onion, cashews, cardamon and cinnamon.

Season with lemon juice, xylitol and soy sauce. Leave curry to simmer for 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked through.

Garnish with the coriander leaves and serve with boiled brown rice. Delicious!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

I want Marmite!

Apologies for the lack of promised recipes; have been mega-busy recently (conferences, writing, etc) and now I've got a filthy cold and hacking cough - oh joy! Just taking a few mins out to see if I can garner any thoughts from you, dear readers, about Candida and Marmite.

When I was little, the fail-save cure for all that ails you in the Djinn household was Marmite on toast, with a nice cup of tea. And, of course, that's just what I'm craving now. As I've previously described, I'm relaxing the diet, so might a spot of Marmite on sourdough toast be okay? After all, it is extracted from an entirely different yeast from Candida albicans, and is packed with B vitamins, which - given the hideous PMT I've been suffering from recently - I clearly need. And sugar is really my problem, right?

Dammit! I'm going to do it. I'm going out and buying a (small) pot of Marmite - hurrah!

Check out the Marmite website, and in particular, the 'hate it' sandwich suggestions. Genius!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Some great health & beauty products

Before I post the recipes I mentioned in my last post, I'd like to mention a few health & beauty products I've recently come across which I've found really good and helpful for keeping my external symptoms at bay.

At the moment I'm very into natural toiletries; I was really interested to read on Katie's blog, a few weeks ago, that parabens are thought to overload the immune system, thus triggering allergic responses as well as affecting hormone levels. I've long been concerned about the possible negative effects of chemicals in toiletries, household cleaners, make-up etc, absorbed by the body, and that little nugget of information really made me wonder about my own problems with allergies and intolerances. So, I decided to seek out some paraben-free products.

Facial skincare
Since I've been using Faith in Nature's cleanser, toner and moisturising night cream, the overall tone of my skin is much improved. I still get the occasional spot, but many fewer blemishes, dry and sore patches. I even managed to venture out of the front door without foundation for a few days last week: that's not something I've achieved on a regular basis since I was about twelve! The products are very gentle, but effective and delicately fragranced with lavender, which helps to calm the skin. The handcream is good too; very easily absorbed. I buy mine from my local independent health food shop, but you can order products from the Faith in Nature shop. They're reasonably priced too!

Shower gel
My skin is very dry and can get quite scaly. I spend a fortune on moisturising shower gels and body lotions, mostly with little noticeable improvement. The only halfway effective solution I've previously come up with, is to douse myself in baby oil while still wet from the shower, but my avoidance of parabens counts that option out. Instead I've started using a shower cream made from goats milk and natural oils, which I picked up a couple of weeks ago at the Suffolk Show(of all places!). It's made by Roseacre, based in Ireland, but I'm sure there must be similar products made by other companies available. My assessment? It's great! The shower cream is quite gloopy and doesn't lather as much as you might expect, but it cleanses without drying or irritation. I hardly need to apply any additional moisturisers anymore. And it really doesn't smell of 'goat' at all! ;)

Last, but not least, is Kingfisher toothpaste. Since I've been using it I haven't suffered a single mouth ulcer or sore patch (usually a fairly constant complaint, even when I was following the anti-Candida diet religiously). Not only that, my teeth have never been whiter! Its even getting to work on the tartar and tea stains on my lower front teeth, and usually only my dentist can deal with those! My only complaint is that my mouth doesn't feel as fresh as it might using conventional toothpaste, but overall, the pros vastly outweigh any cons.

A great bonus of all of these products is that they are produced in the British isles, from locally and/or ethically sourced ingredients and using largely recyclable packaging. Great if you're keeping an eye on your carbon footprint.


So, I've been a bit quiet recently. That's mostly because I've been working very hard on my thesis. It's also because I've be contemplating my future on the anti-Candida diet. My candida symptoms are mangeable and my overall health is MUCH improved. But, after three years of following it fairly religiously, I've got rather sick of all the restrictions (if I'm working hard in the Library I don't want to have to spend two hours faffing about trying to find something I can eat). Not to mention the cost of nutritional support and supplements. So, I've decided to:

i) (slightly) relax the diet I follow during the week - this means that I will now have vinegar, raisins, oranges/orange juice from time to time, the odd sandwich (yeasted bread), but I will largely stick to a maintenance diet.

ii) I will eat what I want during on the weekends - although, it has to be said, I longer have much of a sweet tooth.

iii) I will bring to an end my nutritional support and supplements - and to these ends I 'sacked' my nutritional therapist last week.

And I'm really quite happy about it! I will, however, continue to post here (recipes, anti-Candida okay products) from time to time. Next up, some new recipes to try out!