Christine’s Cashew and Pear Millet Porridge (gluten free recipe)

gluten free porridge

This is a wonderful creamy porridge, designed by nutritionist Christine Bailey, using the whole millet grain rather than flakes.

It’s perfect as a gluten free option and the addition of the nuts provides protein to help stabilise blood sugar levels. You can even make this the night before and heat it up in the morning if rushed for time.  Top with additional fruit, nuts and seeds and a sprinkling of ground cinnamon if wished.

Serves 4

125g (4½oz) ¾ cup millet
750ml (26floz) 3 cups water
2 ripe pears, peeled, cored and diced
150ml milk or milk alternative
50g/1¾ oz/ 1/3 cup cashew nuts
4 dried apricots
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp raw honey
1tbsp ground flaxseed

1. Put the millet and water in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.  Add the pear and continue to cook for a further 15 minutes until all the water has been absorbed. Set aside.
2. Put the remaining ingredients in a blender or food processor and process until smooth.
3. Pour the nut mixture into the millet and mix well. Serve hot or cold. Top with additional fruit, nuts, seeds and a sprinkling of ground cinnamon if wished.

Storage: This can be kept in the fridge for up to 1 day. To reheat, place in a saucepan with some extra milk and simmer, stirring, until warmed through.

Christine is a qualified nutritionist and chef and author of numerous healthy recipe books.  One of her specialisms is digestive health and cooking for people with allergies including those sensitive to gluten and dairy.  When she’s not writing recipes she advises clients and companies. For additional gluten free recipes why not book on to one of Christine’s cookery days or purchase one of her e-books online (See www.advancenutrition.co.uk)

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Alternatives to milk

Possibly 75% of people around the world are lactose intolerant – which might go some way to explaining why there are so many alternatives to milk.

But there are numerous other reasons too, it might be simply be beneficial to health, or autism related, or asthma, or galactosaemia, or a sensitivity to casein or one of many other problems with drinking milk.

Whatever your reason it’s important to make sure you’re still getting the calcium, iodine and vitamins that you need.

Here are some of the alternatives…

Goat’s milk
Rich in nutrients and easier to digest (even though it still contains lactose). It has less casein but almost as much fat and calories as cow’s milk. However, it can cause a vitamin B12 deficiency in children.

Sheep’s milk
Sheep’s milk has twice as many minerals, eg. calcium, phosphorus and zinc and the vitamin B-complex, as cow’s milk. But it is also higher in calories and fat. Like goat’s milk, it is easily digested. And it’s also a good source of iodine, which helps if you suffer with thyroid problems.

Camel’s milk
Five times as much Vitamin C as cow’s milk. Helps with diabetes. Contains some lactose. Not easy to source.

Buffalo’s milk
Higher in calcium, protein and iron and contains more vitamins and minerals (including calcium and iron) and 43% less cholesterol than cow’s milk. But it also has twice as much fat and still contains lactose. Not easy to source.

Hemp milk
Half the amount of protein of cow’s milk, and calcium is often added. Rich in Omega 3, minerals and vitamins, hemp milk also has a creamy consistency. No lactose.

Quinoa milk
Quinoa is a very digestive food and nutritionally well balanced. It’s protein contains all essential amino acids and it is rich in unsaturated fatty acids. No lactose.

Spelt milk
A good source of fibre and B-complex vitamins. Cholesterol free. No lactose.

Oat milk
Rich in fibre, lowers cholesterol and low-GI. It’s actually the preferred energy drink of many athletes. A pleasant milky taste. No lactose.

Barley milk
Has a higher phosphorus and potassium content than regular milk. Helpful in repairing the body, though it doesn’t contain calcium. No lactose.

Kamut-wheat milk
Highly recommended for its milk-like taste. No lactose.

Millet milk
Lower in fat, higher in fibre and less calories than cow’s milk. Rich in protein and minerals. No lactose.

Rice milk
Compared to soya, rice milk is considered closer to cow’s milk in taste and texture. It is naturally sweet, low in fat and high in fibre. But it’s also low in calcium and protein. No lactose.

Soya milk
Soya milk is high in protein so it’s useful for cooking with. It is also comparatively cheaper than other milk alternatives due to its ubiquity. However, some avoid it because it can raise estrogen levels. No lactose.

Almond milk
Tastes great, and has some of the lowest calorie counts of all milk alternatives. No lactose.

Hazelnut milk
A thicker consistency. It also provides calcium and sulphur. No lactose.

Coconut milk
Lots of phosphorus, iron, magnesium and fibre makes coconut milk a superfood. It’s low in calories, boosts immunity and has a distinctive creamy taste.

Cashew nut milk
Delicious but not easy to find. Just as well it’s easy to make… Cashew’s are a good source of copper and magnesium.

Raw milk
The argument is that pasteurisation destroys some of the goodness in milk which would actually make it digestible for people with gut problems. It remains to be seen whether ‘green top milk’ is actually helpful for people with psoriasis and high blood pressure.

UV milk
Possibly the milk of the future: milk that is treated by UV instead of pasteurisation?

Lactose-Free milk
Or, of course, you could take the lactose out of the milk

You can also make milk from peas, peanuts, or seeds!

Yeast free breakfast cereals

I was writing about cereals for people who avoid gluten recently.

But if you avoid yeast, dairy or gluten, you might have come across the Morning Puffs range.

Morning Puff cereals are 100% natural so they have no artificial colours or flavours. That way you know exactly what you are eating.

Healthy cereal
Healthy cereal

Maple syrup or agave syrup, honey or fruit berries concentrate is used for flavour in some of the cereals. And you can select puffed grains made from rice, corn, buckwheat, millet or brown rice.

The other advantage is that they are organic and produced in a nut free environment.

It’s always good to have a range of healthy cereals in your cupboard.

Pasta galore! In more flavours than you could possibly think – recipe below

Forget fish and chips or curry, pasta is the nation’s favourite when it comes to choosing what to cook.

In many UK homes Italian food is served 2-3 times a week with “spag bol” in top position as the most cooked meal.

Pasta - everyone's favourite meal
Pasta - everyone's favourite meal

Imagine pasta salad with sun-dried tomatoes, rocket and walnuts; or goats cheese and honey ravioli; or creamy spinach and asparagus fettuccine – it all sounds soooo delicious, but if you have a friend with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) it’s immediately off the menu.

Still, IBS sufferers can eat pasta if it’s not made from traditional durum wheat. Biona have spaghetti, fusilli and tagliatelle all made from spelt, a more ancient grain which doesn’t effect people with IBS.

In fact pasta can be made from corn, rice, kamut, buckwheat, amaranth, millet or quinoa; vegetables are often used in pasta too.

Using other types of pasta also means a bigger range of flavour: nutty or sweet, firm or rich in texture. Choose the right kind of pasta and you really can amplify how your dinner will taste.

Here’s a buckwheat pasta recipe called Pizzoccheri – it’s a great comfort food.

125g butter
1/2 teaspoon of dried sage
2 cloves of crushed garlic
2 medium potatoes, cubed
300g dried buckwheat pasta
1 small savoy cabbage
100g brie sliced
100g grated mature cheddar
50g grated parmesan
salt and pepper
a pinch ground nutmeg

1. In a small pan, melt the butter together with the cloves of garlic and the sage. Keep on a low heat so it does not burn.
2. Cook the pasta in boliling water for about 15 minutes (buckwheat pasta takes longer then normal pasta).
3. At the same time boil a second pan of salted water. Shred the cabbage leaves and blanch for 1 minute. Drain and place in a large serving dish. Keep the pan of water.
4. Add the potatoes to the same water and boil until very tender (about 10 minutes). Drain and add to cabbage.
5. When the pasta is cooked to al dente. Drain and toss in with the cabbage and potatoes. Mix in the cheeses.
6. Pour the butter over the top of the pasta and season with the salt, pepper and nutmeg.

Gluten-free pasta

When it comes to gluten-free the Italians are well educated about Ceoliac disease. All Italian children are tested for gluten intolerance by the time they are 6.

We get a little benefit of their know-how with companies like Buontempo who price their gluten-free pasta at very competitive prices. And our very own Doves, the British purveyor of organic and gluten-free flours, has an organic gluten-free pasta range where the pasta is made in… well Italy, obviously.

There are so many pasta companies out there who are worthy of a mention. Barkat, for example, is a special diet company who have just introduced it’s own gluten-free macaroni.

The best thing to do is to type ‘pasta‘ into the GoodnessDirect search box and then use the brand guide on the right to check through the different options.

Creative Carbohydrates

Complex carbohydrates are essential for health. They provide our bodies with essential energy. The best sources come from whole grains such as whole wheat, oats, wholemeal rice, barley, rye, spelt, quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat, corn and millet.

Why are they important?

These whole grains supply more than just energy. They are packed full of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients plus fibre for a healthy digestion. They are good sources of antioxidants, B vitamins, and minerals including iron, magnesium and selenium. Whole grains tend to have a lower glycemic index than refined grains so are useful for stabilizing blood sugar levels. They contain a range of phytochemicals, phytoestrogens and lignans which may protect against certain cancers and cardiovascular disease.

Options Available

For optimum health we should be eating 3-4 servings of wholegrains every day. Include a variety to maximize health benefits. Whole wheat, rye and wholegrain rice are probably the most familiar. They are all highly nutritious, rich in protein and good sources of B vitamins to help nourish the nervous system. Barley which is easily digested is a rich source of fibre, iron, calcium and protein. Pearl barley has been more intensely milled. Pot or scotch barley retains a portion of its bran layer and has a higher nutritional value. Oats are renowned for their high fibre content and ability to lower cholesterol. They are also a good source of vitamin E, B vitamins, zinc and manganese.

Quinoa and Amaranth are pseudo-grains but used like grains in cooking. Both are exceptionally rich in protein and contain plenty of calcium, iron and B vitamins. Buckwheat, which is actually a fruit of a plant related to rhubarb is a wonderful alkali-forming grain which when roasted is known as ‘kasha’. Being high in fibre and silica it can help support the intestines and contains rutin, known to strengthen capillaries. Millet is also protein rich and easily digested.

As well as using these grains in their whole form try them as flours or flakes in recipes. Many can also be sprouted.

Christine Bailey © Naturally Good Health in connection with Natural Health Week