Tag Archives: rice

Rice Two-Ways

When we made the decision to go elemental in an attempt to bring about a reduction in M’s chronic symptoms, I never imagined that the reintroduction of foods would be as fraught and intensely stressful as it has proved to be. In the past 12 months we have made absolutely no progress whatsoever and everyone is stumped about what the root cause of M’s problems actually is, with opinions fluctuating between complications from his EC, “simple” multiple allergies or a physiological problem with his gut. Whilst the teams of medical professionals involved in M’s care try to decide on what direction they should follow next, I’m left stretching my ingenuity to its very limits when it comes to preparing meals for my understandably fed up 10-year-old.

mixed_rice

I’m constantly on the search for anything that will make my cooking life that tiny bit easier and a lot more interesting and love finding products that are both M-friendly and a little out of the ordinary. Like many of you I’ve eaten rice for years, but generally just as boiled rice to go with a tasty chilli con carne or egg fried from the local Chinese takeaway and had never really thought much about it. Since rice has become the staple carbohydrate of M’s diet, I’ve come to love the versatility of this ingredient and continue to be delighted by the many versions of it I’ve uncovered along the way. Rice milk, rice porridge flakes, rice cereal, rice flour, rice crackers, rice noodles, rice pasta, rice vinegar and your choice of plain rice: long grain, brown, basmati, wild or black have an overwhelming presence in my kitchen cupboards and so now do 2 rice-based products that I’ve discovered over the summer.

img_08441First are Blue Dragon Spring Roll Wrappers, which do contain a small amount of tapioca starch, but are predominantly made from rice flour. Having recently perfected my own version of lemon chicken to satisfy M’s longing for some much-missed Chinese food, these seemed like a great addition to the repertoire and I couldn’t wait to make both M and G some M-friendly pancake rolls for dinner. If you’ve never attempted to cook with these before, let me tell you that they are not the easiest ingredient to use, but I suspect that a lot more practice will make a big difference. I set up my workspace next to the kettle, filled a shallow baking dish with boiling water and then painstakingly soaked the wrappers, 1 sheet at a time, before filling them with some thinly sliced chicken, cucumber, apple and pear that I had already prepared. img_08461I cooked them in 2 different ways, interested to see which my discerning duo preferred and was very much surprised by the results when they came in. G loved the bigger roll which was just prepared as I described above, whilst M told me he’d opt for the shallow-fried triangles every time. I am thrilled that the wrappers were so well received by both children and can’t wait to see what else I can cook with them as I’m sure that they are versatile enough to be used to create some sweet treats as well as the more traditional savoury dishes.

img_11031The other is a real store cupboard essential and I can’t begin to tell you how excited I was to discover this item when I was perusing the virtual aisles of the fantastic online supermarket that is the FreeFromMarket. As for when the box of Clearspring Brown Rice Breadcrumbs arrived, nestled in the midst of my other purchases, well, Mike and the children were all summoned by my squeals of joy and then left me to my celebrations, shaking their heads sadly in complete disbelief. I am sure that there are so many ways to use the breadcrumbs in my cooking, but I started by preparing a breaded, stuffed chicken breast along the lines of a more traditional chicken kiev. I made a coconut oil and herb mix, which I carefully squeezed inside the cut I’d made in the chicken breast, before coating it liberally with the breadcrumbs. 25 minutes later and img_11091dinner was ready with a golden brown chicken breast tantalising the taste buds with both its look and its smell. They really were delicious and neither child was very willing to sacrifice a mouthful of their meal for Mum to taste-test herself. Now that the summer holidays are over and we’re heading into the autumn, roast dinners will make a more regular appearance in our household and I’m hoping to use these breadcrumbs to create an M-friendly stuffing for us all to enjoy.

img_08531          img_11101

 

Black is the new white

When you consider M’s restricted diet, particularly the fact that rice is currently his only safe source of carbohydrate, you might find it hard to believe that there can possibly be any new products out there for us to discover. With all our exciting finds for breakfast and snack times from the Allergy show, I wouldn’t blame you for thinking that was it, but I can’t wait to share these 2 new gems with you, not least because they have expanded M’s meal options even further, something for which I’m eternally grateful.

IMG_0680[1]The first is a fantastic new product that is sadly not yet available in the British market, although the company is working hard to make sure it soon will be: Gusto Nero Black Jasmine Rice pasta. This was an accidental find, but one that I’m really glad we stumbled across so late in our day at Olympia. It caught my eye as we were heading towards another stall, but I stopped to take a look as M has recently found a real love for the many varieties of rice pasta from Rizopia and I wondered if this might be another welcome addition to his meal-time options. I opted for the macaroni as I had bags of lasagne, spaghetti, penne and Fantasia lurking in the cupboard at home and variety is, after all, the spice of life. M was intrigued by the idea of a black pasta and was keen to try it almost as soon as we got back home.IMG_0684[1] I prepared a simple dish, combining the cooked pasta with some diced chicken and thin slices of cucumber, all lightly drizzled with a little rapeseed oil and topped with a sprinkling of rosemary. M savoured the very first bite and quickly devoured the rest of the bowl. The box we bought at the show has already disappeared and I’m keeping a close eye on this company waiting for the date it finally becomes readily available in the UK as I’ve no doubt we’ll become a loyal customer.

M’s marks: 9.5/10

IMG_0702[1]Our end-of-day wanderings also uncovered the second great new addition to M’s meal-times, Gallo’s riso nero or black rice. M and I were told all about the nutty flavour of this rice by their knowledgable rep and he was keen to give it a go. The success of their stand at the Allergy Show meant that they had only a very limited supply of it left by the time we reached them late Saturday afternoon, but the news that rice was M’s sole carbohydrate saw their rep very kindly giving us a microwave pouch of the Venere riso nero to take away and try.  M couldn’t wait to have a taste and was very excited once the meal was made just over a week later. The slightly different taste and texture of this rice made a welcome change to my standard offerings and M made short work of the plate I’d prepared. IMG_0705[1]I served it mixed with some small chunks of pear and drizzled with a little melted coconut oil to accompany the herby chicken pieces and slices of apples on his plate. The pack provided a good-sized serving for dinner and there was enough left-over to make a stir-fried chicken dish for both children the following evening. G seemed to enjoy the flavour of the black rice as much as M did and it will definitely be a part of our meal-times going forward.

M’s marks: 8/10

Apple crisps – a mixed success

When I first discovered my own potato intolerance, there were a few things I knew I would miss. Mashed potato I could do without and chips had never been a particular favourite of mine, but the prospect of a life without roast potatoes or crisps seemed a grim one. Of course, 7 years on and the reality of all that M has had to give up from his diet, my occasional longing for a crisp butty pales into absolute insignificance; butStar Wars the one thing it has given me is the insight into how much M might be missing his favourite foods and it made me determined to search high and low to find him a safe alternative to that much-loved part of any child’s lunch-box: a  bag of crisps.

With rice an early staple in M’s new diet, we quickly included rice cakes as a regular part of his lunch-time routine and the discovery of Rude Health Mini Rice Thins was a success that continues even now as M really enjoys munching on these during his lunch-times at school. Great as they are, the rice crackers don’t quite replace the crisps and I continued to look for something else that might just fit the bill. Rice was quickly followed by chicken and cucumber, but neither really opened up any viable alternatives and it wasn’t until the successful reintroduction of apples into his diet that we finally had a whole new realm of options to investigate.

20151104_081555Thanks to the advice of a couple of my fantastically supportive #EGID Mums, we heard all about Perry Court Farm Apple Crisps and couldn’t wait to try them out. I bought a mix of both their sweet and tangy varieties and the moment the box arrived, M eagerly grabbed a bag to try out. The sharpness of the tangy crisps proved a little too much for his particular taste-buds and he refused to eat more than one or two crisps from that original pack. Fortunately, the sweet ones proved to be more palatable and M enjoyed the addition of some crisps to his daily packed lunch. Sadly, I have to be honest and say that these haven’t been our most successful find as M isn’t keen on the after-taste he is convinced is there and has now stopped eating them completely. They do, however, satisfy my cravings for my much-missed crisps and I’ve really enjoyed them as part of my lunch-box choices for work.

M’s marks:  3.5/10                                                                                                                                    My marks: 9/10

 

Day 5 and finally it’s A for Awareness!

A for Awareness has meant:

This…                                                                    and this…

                                                          …lots of this…

and this…  

This is the amazing video that M made, with help from his big sister, to share his story about life with EGID.  By the time this blog post is published, he will have presented it to every class in his school – that’s 8 classes, approximately 220 children and around 15 members of staff who will now understand his journey a little better.

So come on, you all know the drill by now:  share, share and share some more and help us get M’s message out there.

“I like rice…

..Rice is great if you’re hungry and want 2000 of something.”

– Mich Ehrenborg

I never realised just how daunting food could be until we embarked on our dietary journeys with our children.  It might sound ridiculous, but having achieved such a resounding success from M’s move to the elemental diet, the prospect of food reintroductions caused my heart to beat a little faster, my palms to grow a little sweatier and several middle-of-the-night awakenings to contemplate just how the whole process would work.  A big part of the problem was the lack of useful any information from the dietetics team about…well about anything I wanted to know.  I like to have a clear plan to follow and needed to understand how we would choose which foods to start with, how each food should be prepared, how much to give and how often.  The vagaries of sweeping statements such as serve M “a portion”, with no hard and fast details of the specifics drove me insane, but with lots of discussion, frantic e-mailing and a move back to our old and trusted dietitian rather than the one I’d had run-ins with during M’s admission, we finally got the answers we were after.

Courtesy of alternative-doctor.com

Courtesy of alternative-doctor.com

The decision was to begin with rice, commonly considered to be hypoallergenic and therefore a great starting place for M.  Whilst many children reintroducing foods following the elemental diet might trial potato first, this was one of the known triggers for M’s allergic reactions and so we needed to find a basic food that was likely to be safe.  Despite being told that we could comfortably start with a “portion” of rice, I chose instead to take things slow and M had just 1 tablespoon of plain, boiled rice on that first night.  He enjoyed his mouthful and, looking forward to having more the next day, carried on somewhat oblivious to the anxious monitoring I was trying desperately to hide.  The evening passed without event and we all went to bed happily – well, the rest of the family went to bed happily, I went battling the usual Mummy-paranoia that accompanies anything and everything that involves my children and their welfare.

Courtesy of smartwebsite.ru

Courtesy of smartwebsite.ru

Since that day, around 4 weeks ago now, we have been able to gradually increase the amounts of rice M eats each day and have branched out to include rice milk, rice cakes and gluten-free rice cereal – a veritable feast!  This week I even managed a rice batter, using rice flour and sparkling water and made some deep-fried rice balls to tantalise his taste buds.  M has shown an occasional atopic reaction to the rice as it triggered a rash across his shoulders and back, although the hives have now calmed down as his body has become accustomed to eating once again.  Despite this rash, we have seen no reaction in his bowels and are able to count rice as a “safe” food for him.  Even better, we have also been able to add chicken to the mix and this week have been trialling pineapple, though the jury is still out as to whether this may be causing a mild behavioural reaction akin to the one we’ve seen him experience before to soya.  Assuming all is well with the pineapple, we have plans to trial pork, cucumber and carrot over the coming weeks and may even have time to squeeze in another carbohydrate before we head back to GOSH in April.