I haven’t spent a lot of time looking into what fructose intolerance/malabsorption is, because it affects my husband, not me – I’m so caring! (not) If you want to know more about it, there’s a good website on allergy symptoms here . I just need to know what I can and can’t cook.
All I know is that there are foods that I can’t use any more – like onions.
Great! I LOVE onions. I use onions in everything. How can you cook without onions? Their caramelised yummyness ads depth and sweetness to curries, casseroles, soups, risottos – you name it. And onion powder seems to be EVERYTHING! While I try to avoid using too many processed foods, I will admit to relying on stock cubes pretty often, and things were getting a bit flavourless and grim for a while there, until I discovered two things:
- It may not be your favourite vegetable, but CELERY has become my new staple when I need flavour, and
- There’s a brand of stock cube (photo below) that contains NO onion or garlic, and is gluten free!
I must remember to write Massel a thank you letter.
The stock cubes are fairly self-explanatory, but the celery needs a bit more of an explanation.
Celery, I’ve found, is a pretty unpopular vegetable. You can occasionally get away with public displays of celery by filling it with peanut butter, but not many people (with the exception of my mum) would say “Oooh yum! Celery!” (Correct me if I’m wrong!)
If you hate the texture of celery, you can either cut it up really small, or you can grate it. Grating it removes the stringy bits (which I don’t like either) and disguises it pretty well.
If you object to eating celery because it has a reputation for absorbing pesticides used in conventional farming, buy organic or grow your own.
If you have a fructose problem in your family, I suggest coming to grips with your prejudices and learning to love this magic vegetable, because if you do, it will love you back.
The other trick to using celery (once you’ve grated it) instead of onions is to sauté it properly (i.e. slowly, so that it has time to develop and start to caramelise), just as I would recommend with onions. This way you get maximum flavour. The dish we cook most often in our household is spaghetti bolognese. I like to think mine is the best, but it’s one of those meals that is particular to every family that makes it, so I know not everyone will agree with me. I’ll give you my recipe in the next blog.