My journey has had an eventful 2 weeks. To be honest I haven’t felt happier in myself in a very long time. I think this has to do with a combination of things. Just knowing I’m doing something beneficial for my wellbeing is an excellent feeling, but my diet, lifestyle and yoga have had a very positive effect on  body & mind alike. I have now lost about 1/2 a stone, my skin is clear and I have a great positive energy. 

Being a chef has its upsides and its downsides. It means I can enjoy creating luxurious tasty meals for myself, but it also holds my temptation on a knife edge every day. Week 6 was really tough, as it was Pancake Tuesday and when a pancake sizzles on the pan, it’s too difficult not to try one. Although our pancakes are made from just banana, egg, salt and cinnamon, they are still quite high in sugar.

 

The next special day was Valentine’s, and I suggested making heart-shaped truffles! This is the one thing I cannot resist, warm gooey melty chocolate! I obviously had to try them to make sure they tasted good enough to sell, but once I got a little taste, I found myself going back for more. I did feel somewhat  guilty that day, but you know there’s only so much resisting a girl can do when it comes to chocolate!! I would be in trouble if we had to make those every week.

My digestive system took a turn for the worse in week 6 and I am unable to pinpoint exactly what the problem was, whether it was perhaps caused by eating mushrooms (a FODMAP) in my stew 3 days in a row, and then the sugar on top of that. I felt bloated for a few days. Since then my bloating has gone away and hasn’t returned. This week, I decided I had to be more careful about my sugar intake.

I went out dancing and socialising over the weekend, and had a great time. I was apprehensive at first because I would usually have a few drinks when I go dancing, but my fears were unfounded, as the night felt extra long and I remember every second vividly. It was nice to get some good exercise dancing, enjoy the music and catch up with friends. I think this was a very important step for me, as sometimes I feel a little dependent on alcohol in social situations as I can become quite anxious around large groups of people.

I have continued taking most of the same supplements, but I omitted the shiitake mushroom and added in NAC+ by Viridian, which includes N-Acetyl L-Cysteine (great for killing candida)  & L-Glutamine which aids in healing the gut wall.

Every meal I have prepared so far has been a spontaneous assembling of ingredients and this experimental approach has yielded  some interesting and  rewarding results over the past two weeks...for example:   

Lamb Meatballs in Passata Stuffed with Durrus Farmhouse Cheese.

This was one of the tastiest meals I have made so far and represented  a good opportunity  to incorporate  some liver into the diet.  I went to Sheridans cheese counter in Dunnes Stores and they recommended a cheese that would melt well in a meatball. (recipe below)

Fish Pie (recipe to follow):  It looked wonderfully appetising  when cooked  and went down a treat.

I visited Alchemy Juice Co. at the weekend and consumed some of their famously tasty bone broth. I then went for lunch in Klaw in Temple Bar where I ate the best oysters I have ever had, torched, with spinach and parmesan! To follow I chose wild Atlantic prawns with tomato and chilli. I was very impressed with this meal.

Brunch at the weekend consisted of an egg & tomato stuffed aubergine which turned out tastier than expected.

I found a company called Salters that do free range pork which is sold  in my local butchers, Lawlors, so I bought a pork belly and roasted it with chantenay carrots and celeriac.

I ate in a new restaurant called Fowl Play in The Square Ball Sports bar. They serve free range chicken and turkey over an open wood burning BBQ. I was advised that there is a little garlic powder rub on the chicken before it’s cooked but I decided to go for it anyway. It was truly delicious and I felt absolutely fine afterwards. I also ordered charred baby gem lettuce heads with a squeeze of lemon.  I was pleasantly surprised at how flavoursome and substantial this was for a side. They also sell some great bone broth here too. After that we went to the Cavern on Baggot Street for a cheese board. Lovin’ Dublin voted it in the top ten cheese boards in Dublin. I had to ask my usual fussy questions, “how long are they matured for? are any of them fresh?” We enjoyed the cheese with a glass of red wine. I’m not sure if I would be voting it in the top 10 cheese boards, but it was still enjoyable.

I made a few broths over the 2 weeks, my favourite being from free range chicken carcasses, a few beef bones and the bones from the pork belly. I retrieved so much chicken meat from the free carcasses that I was able to make soup. Lawlors Butchers is amazing!

 I prepared 3 different soups over the 3 weeks but  only one of them turned out well.. I used unpeeled organic carrots for one which gave the soup a strong earthy taste. I put too much rocket into my  aubergine, courgette and rocket soup which resulted in an unpleasantly strong flavour.. The last one was a celeriac, rosemary and basil soup which was super creamy and satisfying.

The last meal I prepared was a slow cooked wild venison tom kha. I will have to write out this recipe too, as it was very flavoursome. The wild venison was only €9 and will last 3-4 meals. 

 

Lamb Meatballs in Passata, stuffed with Durrus Farmhouse Cheese

Makes 9 meat balls

½ cup toasted hazelnuts

380g lamb leg mince

100g pork mince

50g chicken liver, small dice

Zest of 1 orange

1 egg

40g parmesan, grated (optional)

1 sprig rosemary, minced

½ tsp cinnamon

1 tsp salt

Pinch of black pepper

120g Durrus cheese, cubed into 9 pieces  

1 glass jar 680g tomato pasata

¾ cup beef/lamb/chicken broth

 

  1. Blend the hazelnuts in a powerful blender for a few seconds to make a powder. Do not over blend as the oils with start to come out.

  2. Mix all ingredients together (excluding the durrus and the tomato) with your hands and make 9 balls out of the mixture.

  3. Push cheese cube into the centre of a ball, and pull the edges of the meat ball around it until it’s a new ball again.

  4. Place in a pot, cover completely with the passata & broth and simmer gently for 30 mins. (Alternatively cook in a slow cooker high heat for approx.  2/2.5 hours).

 

                           SCD Low FODMAP Fish Pie

Serves 4

Topping

1 small butternut squash, peeled, ¾ large dice, (¼ grated, for filling)

½ a celeriac, peeled, large dice

A knob of butter

A squeeze of lemon

A few pinches of salt

Filling

500g wild caught white fish (I chose ling), cut into bite size pieces

1-2 lemons, Juice

150g wild caught prawns

5 egg yolks

100g parmesan cheese, grated

200g crab meat

2 courgettes, grated

A few handfuls of baby spinach and rocket

2-3 sprigs fresh thyme, minced

Salt & black pepper

 

Topping

1.       Simmer the butternut squash and celeriac in water for about 15-20 minutes until soft.

2.       Place in a blender with a knob of butter, a squeeze of lemon, a little of the parmesan and a good pinch of salt. Taste and season more if desired. (Alternatively, you can use a masher, but it won’t be as smooth)

Filling

1.       Preheat the oven to 160c and place the white fish in a baking dish with a squeeze of lemon, a few pinches of salt and pepper and bake for 8 minutes.

2.       Add the prawns in and bake for another 5 minutes. The fish should be just under cooked at this stage.

3.       Mix the egg yolk, most of the parmesan and juice of 1 lemon together and pour over the warm fish and mix around.

4.       Squeeze as much liquid as you can out of the grated courgette. (I use a mesh bag, a new J cloth works just as well)

5.       Mix all of the ingredients together with a teaspoon of salt, and place in a large baking dish.

6.       Spread the topping over the mixture and run a fork through to make lines.

7.       Sprinkle the remaining parmesan on top.

8.       Turn the oven up to 180c and bake for 25/30 minutes. Put a knife into the centre, if the knife is piping hot, it is ready.