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Wheat free, sugar free, dairy free Christmas menu with Susan Jane Murray

Thursday, 3 December 2009

A lot of people will struggle to create a Christmas menu to suit their diets for many reasons, coeliacs, diabetics, wheat intolerant, dairy intolerant... Our menu today is suitable for people who suffer from these dietary problems.

About Diabetes
Diabetes is one of the most common chronic diseases today. Type 1 diabetes is growing by 3% per year in children and adolescents, and at an alarming 5% per year among pre-school children. It is estimated that 70,000 children under 15 develop type 1 diabetes each year (almost 200 children a day). Currently, an estimated 440,000 children live with type 1 diabetes globally. Type 2 diabetes was once seen as a disease of adults but today, it is growing at alarming rates in children and adolescents.

Susan Jane Murray - Specialist Cook

. President of Oxford Uni Gastronomy Society
. Nutritionist
. Specialist Cook (
. Modelled for 8 years
. Weekly column in The Sunday Independent
. Regular feature on Newstalk

Susan Jane runs cookery classes specialising in wheat-free, dairy-free and sugar-free cooking at Donnybrook Fair, Dublin 4.

Chilli & ginger scallops with avocado cream

. Preparation time: no more than 10 minutes.
. Wheat-free yes
. dairy-free yes
. sugar-free yes
. Coeliac and diabetic friendly.

This avocado cream is like a smooth and delicately perfumed thick mayo, but packed with essential nutrients to fuel our body's chemistry. Heaving with an impressive array of anti-oxidants and vitamin E, avocados are nature's best anti-aging formula. Don't be fooled into thinking they are off-limits because of their fat content. Balderdash. Avocado oil assists in lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol and boosting HDL (good) cholesterol.

Particularly tasty when used as a dip for marinated scallops, plump cold prawns, sushi, steamed asparagus or even plain carrot sticks for kiddies. Certainly beats using more artery-clogging cream and butter recipes this festive season - our liver and love-handles will need all the help they can get!

Starter portions for approximately 5 mouths

. 5 pudgy scallops, spanking fresh
. 4-inch length of fresh ginger, peeled
. 4 tablespoons of Maldon sea salt flakes to cook or 'cure' scallops
. 1 chilli
. 1 large ripe avocado
. Up to 1/2 cup of filtered cold water
. Spot of lemon juice or cider vinegar
. Seasoning to taste

1. Remove the 'queen' (orange roe) from the scallops. You may like to keep it for pan-frying with eggs or spread once grilled on sourdough with chopped dill. Don't be put off by its appearance! Cut off the rough translucent beard however, attaching the queen to the scallop. This tastes gritty, so discard it.
2. Slice each scallop across the circumference very thinly, into little discs. You should get about 3 slices per scallop depending on the size of course.
3. Juice the ginger in a vegetable presser / juicer and pour over scallops. This effectively 'cooks' them due to the potency of ginger. Similar to citrus, only citrus is too harsh on scallops.
4. Coat with Maldon salt flakes, and refrigerate for one hour.
5. For the avocado cream, puree the avocado flesh, water, cider vinegar and seasoning together. You must use a hand-held electric blender as it thickens with the addition of water at high speed. Add more water and seasoning if desired. A smidgeon of lemon juice is necessary to prevent the avocado turning brown, but careful not to put too much. Easily done through excitement.
6. Retrieve scallops from fridge and remove excess salt and ginger juice. Serve on an elongated plate sprinkled with finely sliced chilli and teeny bowls of avocado cream.

Pomegranate Fudge

About this recipe:

Preparation time: 10 minutes, or 2 minutes if using goji berries in place of pom seeds.
Wheat-free, dairy-free, sugar-free recipes.
Coeliac, vegan and diabetic friendly.

The easiest recipe you're ever likely to come across which will reap in sheer admiration from your guests this Christmas.

Low on the glycemic index (GI), pomegranates are dandy for dieters controlling blood sugar levels. Its powerful antioxidant content has earned them superfood status, making green tea look lazy in comparison. More commonly known as an immune enhancer and anti-carcinogenic, this fruit is now stealing headlines for its ability to reduce heart problems and fatty arteries. Couple this with tahini's glorious supply of calcium, B vitamins, omega oils, and you're onto a nutritional cracker this Christmas.

Fudge has never been so saintly.

Should cost no more than 3 Euro

. Dietary Specifics:
. DF (Dairy Free) Yes
. SF (Sugar Free) Yes
. WF (Wheat Free) Yes
. GF (Gluten Free) Yes
. Low GI Yes
. CD (Candida Diet) Yes

. 4 tablespoons pomegranate seeds
. 1 cup tahini (sesame paste)
. up to 1/2 cup agave nectar (diabetics) or organic honey (non-diabetics)
. good pinch of Maldon sea salt flakes

1. To remove the seeds from the pomegranate shell, cut it in half, and break it up from its flesh in a bowl of water. The seeds will sink to the bottom and the pith will float to the top. Easy Peasy. Otherwise, you can pick out the seeds by tearing through the pith and pillaging its inners. Messy yet satisfyingly sticky.
2. With a fork, mix the tahini, agave, and salt flakes together, adding pomegranate seeds lastly.

3. Transfer to a small rectangular container lined with cling film, or ice cube moulds. Set in freezer for 30 minutes before eating. Like icecream, it must be stored in the freezer or else it will melt into a holy mess.
4. When set, sprinkle with additional supersonic seeds for extra antioxidants during party season. Your liver will thank you.