This past weekend I went on a food photography course at The Artisan School of Food. The course itself was great (recommend it if you are food blogger looking to sharpen up your skills) but it was the little added extras that you can’t predict that really made it for me. The people were so lovely (so many different reasons for attending), the Wellbeck estate that the school is on was stunning, the lunch was delicious. As a mum it was just really nice to have some ‘me time’ and focus on something creative for a whole day.
The course was taken by Joan Ransley, who is a food writer and photographer. She also has this blog, Cooking for the Sensitive Gut, and is soon to publish a book on this subject. I don’t talk about my dodgy gut here… (it’s not a very appetising subject really is it?) but, yes, I do have tummy troubles – they tend to come and go in flare ups. Certain foods definitely seem to make my symptoms worse. I have tended to just live with is as it is so very inconvenient for a food blogger to have to avoid certain things!
Over lunch Joan mentioned the blog and her book. I was intrigued – a sensitive gut, that sounds familiar! I have suffered on and off with IBS type symptoms since I was diagnosed and (successfully) treated for ulcerative proctitis last year. But I have just been sweeping my symptoms under the carpet. At home I had a look at Joan’s blog and decided to address my tummy troubles. Since then I have been avoiding all high FODMAP foods – these are types of foods that can aggravate a sensitive gut like mine. Do you know what? I have been considerably less symptomatic since I started on Sunday, four days ago. I don’t know if I will do this forever, but for now, it’s working great.
It has prompted me to make an appointment at the doctors and address my issues properly. If you are suffering from IBS type symptoms I recommend looking at this so called FODMAP diet – you may find, like me, that it really makes a difference. Here is a list of high and low FODMAP foods.
This crumble recipe is adapted from Joan’s gluten free Rhubarb crumble recipe on her blog. I have added gut friendly strawberries (I know, they aren’t in season but I have started buying them as my kids love them) and blueberries (same). I tossed in some desiccated coconut into the topping to give it added coconut flavour. It was divine – my son and I went crazy for it. I am gluten free at the moment but if you want, just use spelt or plain flour. This is a great way to use coconut oil in baking too – give it a go, even if you have a nice, normal gut (lucky you!)…
Serves: 8 people (simply halve proportions is you want a smaller crumble)
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Total time: 35 minutes
500g rhubarb, cut into 2cm chunks
400g strawberries, hulled and big ones cut in 2
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the topping:
8 tablespoons of porridge oats
2 tablespoons of gluten free flour
4 tablespoons of brown sugar
3 tablespoons coconut oil (solid)
2 tablespoons of desiccated coconut
1 pinch salt
- Preheat oven to 180C. I used a large pie dish to make mine in (about 24cm).
- Mix the fruit and squeeze over lemon, add ginger and vanilla and mix.
- Mix the dry ingredients: flour, salt, sugar, oats, coconut – and rub in the coconut oil as you would if it were butter.
- Top the fruit with this mixture and bake for 30 minutes.
- I allowed myself a very small serving of cream (it is high FODMAP) as I just can’t eat crumble without it!