Gluten Free Savoury Waffles with Bacon and Eggs

I have never been a big fan of one-purpose kitchen contraptions and gadgets that take up cupboard space. It’s probably the cause of Mum trying to keep the kitchen manageable when we were growing up, which she has always done so well. We didn't have a dishwasher for many years, no mix master, just hand held beaters, it was simple. This mantra has now been (semi) enforced in my own kitchen, and threads it’s way throughout my life. I try to keep things simple, buy less, use less. I’m not very good at it, but I try. Because on the flip side I have trouble letting go. Letting go of things I haven’t used for years, taking up valuable space. So I now err on the side of not acquiring stuff in the first place - to save me from my hoarding self!

There was however, one kitchen contraption that slipped through the cracks of Mum's kitchen. One shiny toy I hold dear. The waffle maker! Though only pulled out on occasional lazy Sunday mornings, I developed a love for waffles and the infinite possibilities. Sweet, savoury, soft or crispy. Sky's the limit with this bad boy. When I moved out of home, over a year ago now (wow how time flies), Mum gifted this on to me. What a gift!

Speaking of gifts, that plate you see in the photo is a Bridget Bodenham piece I was given for my birthday from my family. It's seriously amazing, I even ate my waffles off it post-photo shoot because it felt too pretty not to.

Anyway, back to the serious stuff. These savoury waffles make the perfect breakfast, lunch or dinner accompaniment, whilst being healthy and full of protein. Tigernut flour (not in fact a nut) is a great addition to the mixture for a boost of fibre and prebiotics. I got mine from Terra Firma Foods, but if you can't get a hold of tigernut flour, simply replace the amount with a nut meal or oat flour. I also eat these savoury waffles with sweet toppings (see below the recipe) - I did say sky's the limit! But you can also make these gluten free waffles for a sweeter experience.

Gluten Free Savoury Waffles with Bacon and Eggs
Makes 4-6 waffles

1 cup buckwheat flour
1/2 cup tigernut flour (or oat flour or a nut meal of choice)
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk of choice
A handful of fresh parsley, chopped
1 tbsp coconut oil, melted

Savoury toppings

Heat your waffle maker. Combine dry ingredients. Whisk eggs in a separate bowl, add milk and parsley, and mix together with the dry ingredients. Add coconut oil and mix well until all combined. Once the waffle maker has heated, pour about half a cup of mixture to make each waffle.

Top and enjoy!

I hear you wondering "can I also eat these as sweet waffles?" Why yes, of course!! My favourite thing about these waffles is having a savoury breakfast waffle first, swiftly followed by a sweet dessert waffle. Heavenly.

Simply top with your favourite sweet toppings, like frozen banana, maple syrup and yoghurt (those are mine), and if you wish you can leave the parsley out of the mixture (but it is delicious regardless).

Low FODMAP | gluten free | fructose friendly | lactose free | sugar free | nut free

Torta di Riso aka Italian Rice Cake

"Sorry to be a pain, I can't eat onion or garlic, what can you suggest from the menu?" That's my latest one liner as I'm getting ready to order, perusing a menu of everything I can't eat. I say it cheekily and confidently, because I know this one liner works. I've eaten out a lot to know that succumbing to embarrassment, bashfulness and plain old cbb (can't be bothered), is not the way to go! But with this magic sentence, you'll put the decision in the trusty waiters hands, coercing them to the kitchen to ask all the questions. 

In saying this, the line didn't work the other day when I was out for dinner. I got that look of confusion, I am all too familiar with, followed by suggestions that I just knew wouldn't fly when the order hit the chefs in the kitchen. All is well though, a bit of flexibility on my part and a nice chat with the waiter, and I had a big bowl of steaming FODMAP friendly mussels in front of me, sans bread.

My point is, a bit of confidence goes a long way. Starting a restricted diet is overwhelming and I hear so many people say they stop eating out, and more often than not it's because it can be a daunting experience, not because there's nothing to eat. But please don't do this! Eating out is a special part of life and a wonderful experience to enjoy with friends and family, especially during this festive time of year. No matter how much I love cooking, I will always love the experience of going to a new cafe or restaurant, sitting back and eating something delicious that has been carefully prepared by a pro, whilst chatting away with my company. I keep my growing list here of some of the places around Melbourne I've 'successfully' eaten at. 

So don't feel weird about your diet, like I did for some time. Be brave and ask away. These days my friends and family look at me in bewilderment. I'm relaxed, casual and ready to eat anywhere - I mean sure there's a few garlic-y exceptions, but you get what I mean! Plus, times are changing and it's getting less and less weird to have a food intolerance. 

To celebrate being brave with our food restrictions, I have a beautiful, interesting and unique cake recipe for you - an Italian Rice Cake! I wish I came up with this idea myself, because it's genius, but unfortunately someone else many moons ago decided to make a cake from rice. How brilliant. If you're a fan of rice pudding, you'll love this one!!

I first came across this rice cake whilst watching Two Greedy Italians, a beautiful and funny food show that pays homage to the recipes of regional Italy. Gennaro Contaldo, one half of the Two Greedy Italians, cooks this up whilst they're travelling through Calabria (a place dear to my heart). In this video you can watch Gennaro cooking his Torta di Riso at home, definitely one to watch before you get stuck into baking! I've tweaked Gennaro's recipe to make it FODMAP friendly and lower in sugar, but just as delicious. Enjoy!

Torta di Riso aka Italian Rice Cake
Makes - 1 cake
Prep time - 45 minutes
Cooking time - 1 hour

900ml lactose free milk
2/3 cup rice malt syrup
1 tsp vanilla essence
Pieces of lemon rind, of half a lemon

180g arborio rice
3 eggs
30ml Cointreau (orange liqueur)
3 tbsp raisins
Zest of half an orange

Yoghurt of choice & cinnamon for serving

Grease and line an 8-inch spring-form cake tin with baking paper. Place the milk, rice malt syrup, vanilla and pieces of lemon rind in a medium saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the rice and simmer over a medium to low heat for about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Continue to simmer until the rice is cooked and the milk has absorbed but still has a creamy consistency. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Discard the lemon rind.

Preheat oven to 180°C. In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks and liqueur until creamy. In another bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff. Add the egg yolk mixture to the cooled rice, and then fold in the egg whites, followed by the raisins and orange zest. Pour in the prepared tin and bake in the oven for 1 hour.

Serve warm or cold, with a smearing of natural yoghurt and a sprinkle of cinnamon and orange zest.


Carrot & Tahini Savoury Muffins

I love lazy Sundays. Waking up, not to an alarm nor the urgency of getting out of bed, but to the morning light filling the room as I continue to fall in and out of sleep. A slow breakfast, almost always pancakes, is always the first consideration on one of these days, as there is no rush to get moving or be anywhere in particular. The caffettiera goes on shortly after, albeit a lazy day a caffeine hit is a necessity. What follows after is a blend of reading, baking, eating, tidying, maybe some blogging or some exercise. Whatever it may be, it’s done in a slow and lazy fashion. The day always concludes watching a movie, on the couch, preferably wrapped in a blanket with a cup of tea. And hopefully I’ve baked something to accompany said tea, but if not, a piece of dark chocolate will do. Now that's a perfect lazy Sunday.

The latest product of a lazy Sunday are these savoury muffins, the perfect snack to bake up and freeze ready for the week ahead. They may be small but they are packed with heaps of goodness - carrots, eggs, almonds, tahini - so they'll certainly kick those afternoon sugar cravings.

You have most likely gathered by now, if you read my blog regularly, that I love tahini (or you may just be thinking 'seriously, tahini again Steph'). Well yes, sweet or savoury, breakfast or dinner, I'm obsessed. How, you may ask, can one thing be so versatile. See for yourself...

For breakfast, drizzle tahini over your bowl of overnight oats
For a healthy snack, use tahini as a dip for veggie sticks
For a tasty sweet treat, make these gluten free tahini cookies
To jazz up a salad, use tahini in your dressing, like this pumpkin and brown rice salad
For a delicious marinade, replace half the peanut butter with tahini in this satay chicken skewer recipe

Carrot & Tahini Savoury Muffins
Makes 12

1 cup oat flour*
1/2 cup almond meal
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cumin
Pinch of sea salt
2 tbsp sesame seeds (plus extra for on top)
2 tbsp currants
3 eggs
1/2 cup natural yoghurt (or yoghurt of choice)
1/4 cup hulled tahini
2 cups grated carrots (approx 2 medium carrots)

Preheat oven to 180C and grease a 12-muffin tray. In a bowl, combine the dry ingredients, including the sesame seeds and currants. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, yoghurt and tahini. Add the dry mixture and grated carrots, and mix well. Spoon the mixture into the muffin tray, sprinkle each muffin with sesame seeds and bake for 15-20 minutes. Store in the refrigerator or freeze them for snacks.

*To make your own oat flour, simply put 1 cup of oats in a food processor and pulse until fine like breadcrumbs.


A Friendly Chat with Dietitian Chloe McLeod

Today I have the pleasure of introducing a truly talented individual to you, Chloe McLeod. Chloe is not only an Accredited Dietitian, but is also the Director of The FODMAP Challenge, a coaching program for beginners to the diet. Specialising in Irritable Bowel Syndrome, the FODMAP approach and food intolerance, Chloe has kindly shared her story with us and answered of few burning questions of mine!

Tell us a little bit about yourself! What do you do as a job and in your spare time?
I’ve been working as a dietitian for nearly 8 years, with IBS being one of the key areas I work in. I started The FODMAP Challenge in mid 2016 when I saw a gap for an online program to help individuals determine their triggers of IBS.

When I’m not working, I love cooking and developing recipes (though you could argue that has turned into work!), going out for meals, and of course, spending time with my loved ones. 

Chloe McLeod, Accredited Practicing Dietitian & Director of The FODMAP Challenge
What role does food play in your life? 
My partner often says to me that my day is always planned around food… so yes, I guess you could say it plays a major role in all facets of my life. 

What's your typical meal for...
Breakfast: Banana and peanut butter porridge, or homemade muesli with soy milk and fruit
Lunch: Either leftovers, or a salad with canned tuna or salmon, or tofu
Dinner: Usually based around fish and vegetables, and I include chickpeas and lentils a few times per week as well
Snacks: Soy flat white, raw nuts, carrot and cucumber sticks. Fruit and yoghurt for dessert.

A typical dinner for Chloe of Baked Ocean Trout with Orange, Fennel & Coriander Seed, yum!
As a Dietician (and fellow food intolerance sufferer), what advice do you give to new starters on the low FODMAP diet?
Be kind to yourself – it doesn’t matter if you are not perfect, it’s all about doing the best you can. If you accidentally ‘fodmap yourself’ as a client of mine calls it, so be it! These things happen, and whilst it is unfortunate, it’s bound to happen sometimes. This is why determining your individual triggers is so important, as it makes it much easier for you to make well informed decisions around what you choose to eat. Knowledge is power; if you had to choose, I think knowing you may have a reaction if you eat something you’re sensitive to is better than eating it not knowing, then being surprised and wondering why you feel terrible. 

I’ve been following the low FODMAP diet for 5 years, and I often get asked whether the low FODMAP diet is a forever diet. Could you share your expertise on this one?
Such a common misconception! Whilst everyone has different levels of sensitivity, research indicates that most people are able to re-introduce high FODMAP foods and maintain good symptom control. This means it is easier to make informed choices when not in control of food choices, and better management of symptoms on a daily basis. It also means a less restrictive diet, and likely better variety of prebiotic foods, which provide food for the healthy bacteria that are found in your gut. Research indicates that long term avoidance of these may affect the health of your microbiome.

Can you share with us your favourite resources you turn to for advice and inspiration?
I love the Monash Low FODMAP App, and the FODMAP Friendly App, they both provide great up to date information about what is low and what is high. I love instagram as well for recipe inspiration and beautiful pictures – there are so many creative people out there!

Thanks Chloe for sharing your story with us! 
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