Month: September 2015

Shakshuka for Crohn’s

My daughter-in-law texted me from her hospital bed. Her Crohn’s disease had finally required an operation on her large intestine. ‘What I can eat’ the message said, and attached were pictures she had taken with her phone camera, pages from the leaflet on low residue foods she would be restricted to eating during the recovery period – easy to digest foods with no fibre. So no berries, cherries, mangoes or olives. No asparagus, aubergine, cabbage, fennel, kale, leeks, mushrooms, onions, peas, sweetcorn or spinach. Etcetera. Post-op she was only allowed to drink chicken stock soup… in small sips throughout the day. “Can u tell how hungry i am btw?” she wrote. I pored over her lists of food to see if I could rustle up a tasty-not-boring dish that would fit in with her eating regime. Tomatoes OK? Red peppers? Yes and yes! Eggs and potatoes also good to go. No harm in garlic, smoked paprika or ground cumin. Leave out the chilli pepper. Perfect for a little ‘welcome home’ shakshuka, inspired by Ottolenghi. Serves 1-2 …

Gluten free chocolate chip cookies

When my daughter adopted a sibling group this was the deal: children and new parents only for the first month while they got to know each other – no grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins or any other hoards of well wishers that might overwhelm the little ones. At the end of the ‘final placement’ week the foster carer said goodbye. The next day I had a text from my daughter: Need lasagne! Need chocolate chip cookies! I made them gluten-free so my son-in-law could eat them too. I took the food over to their house, set it down on the front door step and left, then texted my daughter from down the street. The phantom grandmother strikes again. My recipe here is inspired by David Leite’s, but I have made quite a few tweaks. It has been well tested by old and young! Oh… and the next week, my daughter was telling her social worker about the food deliveries. It seems I had new little fans of ‘nana cookies’. The social worker said, ‘You know what, it …

40th birthday cake

A couple of years ago my daughter and her husband began to wonder if they would ever have a family. In their late 30s, they decided to stop buying tickets for the IVF rollercoaster. They braced themselves for the adoption process. When they were approved as adopters last spring, they asked for a sibling group. They were cautioned that it could take up to two years to find the right children. Miracle of miracles they were matched just a week later. For my son-in-law’s 40th birthday last week I baked a gluten free cake (he’s coeliac). My new little grandchildren came over to our house. I let them spread on the icing, and they decorated the cake with jelly beans. And on the big day, they helped Daddy blow out the candles. Vanilla birthday cake with chocolate icing Adapted from Flavor Flours by Alice Medrich  400g white rice flour 50 oat flour 360g caster sugar 225g unsalted butter, very soft ¼ tsp salt 2 tsp baking powder 1 tsp baking soda ½ tsp xanthan gum …