Autumn Recipes

Clair Willcocks

 

Hello everyone, my name is Clair Willcocks, I am 27 years old and I am Galen Medical Nutrition’s new PKU blogger. I am an adult with PKU and I was diagnosed with Classical PKU 8 days after birth. I am on 5 exchanges of protein a day and currently taking the PKU EASY Microtabs substitute 6 times a day.

So Autumn is finally here with Winter/Christmas swiftly following along! Naturally, being a redhead, it’s easy to say that Autumn is one my favourite seasons. There’s no more sunburn to worry about but just a whole load of brown leaves, crisp cold mornings, warm boots, big scarves and comfortable jumpers! I love it all and on a chilly day when it’s raining outside, there is nothing better than making a nice hot meal or snack to warm you up, so here are some of my favourite exchange free recipes that I use!

Please note, I haven’t invented these from scratch, I am certainly no MasterChef and all measurements and timings can be adjusted to suit your kitchen/preferences! I just hope to provide the basic blueprints that I’ve found work for me every time, as I find once I’ve got the core recipe down, I can then experiment with it in more exciting ways.

Please also see below the gadgets, equipment, and storage units that I have found useful, with Black Friday/Christmas just coming round the corner now is the best time to get them!

Recommended equipment/gadgets/storage units

Homemade Soup

Soup is a classic PKU meal, both filling and warm, it also has the benefit of usually being completely free in protein. However, homemade soup can also sometimes be a hassle, with all the peeling and chopping of veg, boiling it all in a big pan for hours and then there’s the mess of having to wizz it with a hand mixer and hope all the veg has cooked through.

I am going to introduce an appliance that has changed my life, the Morphy Richards Soup Maker. This great gadget not only mixes but also cooks the soup for you in less than 20 minutes, so by the end you always have hot fresh soup! There are two sizes available on Amazon, the compact 1L or the standard 1.6L. This is also a great one to experiment with, as you can use all different kinds of vegetables, spices, and flavours.

Ingredients

  • 700g of chopped vegetables (large chunks)
  • Water
  • 1 stock cube/pot
  • Salt and pepper (and any other spices) to taste
  • 2 gloves of garlic
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 Large Tablespoons of Oil

Recipe

  1. Chop and peel the veg of your choice, but total weight must be 700g (in this soup I’ve used butternut squash and celery)
  2. Put your chopped or pre chopped veg into the soup maker
  3. Add water until it fills up to the ‘Max’ mark
  4. Add the spices, garlic, stock, salt and pepper
  5. Put the lid on and turn the soup maker on (lumpy or smooth mode)
  6. Wait until it’s done, then pour and eat!

Prep Time – 10 mins (if chopping veg yourself). Cooking time – 20 mins

Honestly stick to those quantities and you’ll have lovely soup every time. You can use any veg you like and even better, in most supermarkets now, you can find pre-chopped veg in bags, specifically ready to make into soup, so no chopping is required at all. The true secret of good soup is the tablespoons of oil. That’s what makes the soup bind into a creamy texture rather than just watery veg broth.

You can then either freeze it or use the liquid storage containers and put that in your fridge, ready for your next meal!

Forgers Pie

You may have heard of shepherd’s pie or cottage pie but a great PKU friendly variation of this, introduced to me by my in-laws, is the Forgers Pie. It doesn’t get more winter comfort food than this meal. The topping usually is mashed potato but for those who are on a lower amount of exchanges in the day, I’ve discovered sweet potato makes a great alternative, with a gravy base of mushrooms and other veg, it’s just so delicious.

Ingredients

  • 1 x large sweet potato (4 medium potatoes)
  • Again, a mix of veg to your tastes & preferences but enough to fill a small cooking pot.
  • 1 x yellow pepper, 1 x onion, handful of mushrooms, 2 x radishes
  • Vegan grated cheese of your choice (I love Tesco’s own coconut milk grated mozzarella for cooking with)
  • Gravy granules
  • Butter

Recipe

  1. Preheat oven to 200ְְְׄ°C
  2. Peel & cut up sweet potato or regular potato in large even chunks and put in salted water to boil for 20 minutes. (I also used carrots in the below as I only had a single small sweet potato)
    • Side note – have an extra bowl on the side where you can put peelings and cuttings to easily throw away!
  3. While SP/P is boiling, cut up and fry your other veg in another pan, you want as much veg as possible to give your pie a good firm base. Frying the veg tends to take up to 15 minutes, depending on veg used.
  4. Then prepare the gravy, just as you normally would but you don’t need too much, around half a mixing jar and stir in with cooked veg, ideally you want to coat the veg like a sauce and not have the veg swimming, then put on a low heat to keep warm but not cook.
  1. When SP/P is done (you’ll know when they are done as when you jab them with a knife, they should be close to falling apart) drain the water, add your preferred amount of butter and mash.
  2. Your oven should hopefully be warmed up by now so it’s time to put it all together! Pour the veg into a casserole dish, and all being well, it should fill it roughly halfway.
  3. Gently scoop your mashed SP/P on the top and keep scooping until it completely covers the veg, then pat it down with a fork.
  4. Add a sprinkling of grated vegan cheese on top then put onto a tray to go into the oven for 15 minutes to finish it off (remember to use gloves when handling the dish, as it will be hot from the cooked veg!)
  5. Then get it out of the oven, serve and enjoy!
  6. Leftovers can be stored in the fridge and be heated in the microwave the next day.

Prep Time – 15 minutes. Cooking time – 45 minutes

Pancakes

Another nice easy one, even though we may be nowhere near Shrove Tuesday, it’s the perfect warm snack or breakfast meal that is so surprisingly filling, it should not be forgotten about!

Ingredients

  • 300g of your preferred flour/bread mix (I use Mevalia’s)
  • 75ml Olive Oil
  • 500ml of water (with an extra 100ml on the side to add)
  • Preferred topping – sugar & lemon juice or blueberries/fruit

Basic recipe - Crepe style

  1. Put flour in a bowl, add the oil and the water.
  2. Whisk together until smooth with no lumps (I’ve found an electric whisk works better as it saves sore arms and broken whisks!)
  3. You know it’s the right consistency when you pick up the whisk from the mix and it has a fast-flowing fall back down, ideally you want it as easy to pour and spread as possible without it being too watery, so just keep adding water until you get it there!
  4. Pour the mixture into a cold frying pan and spread out the mix as thinly as possible but you shouldn’t be able to see the pan through the mixture.
  5. Turn the heat on to a medium heat and let it cook on one side.
  6. You’ll know when the pancake is ready to be turned over as the edges of the pancake will start to turn up and you can put the spatula underneath the pancake without having to unstick it from the bottom of the pan.
  7. Flip to other side and cook for another few minutes, keep doing this until both sides look cooked.
  8. Slide onto a plate, add sugar and lemon, fold and enjoy!
    • Side note – before making your next pancake I recommend letting your pan fully cool down!

Blueberry Pancakes

  1. Make the mixture as previously explained, with the same viscosity as before
  2. Pour the mixture onto the pan but this time instead of spreading it out thinly, make it a smaller thicker blob in the pan
  3. Start to cook the underside and as that’s cooking, stick your blueberries into the raw top half of the mix
  4. Because it is thicker it will take a little longer to cook but once the first side is starting to peel away, flip it over the same as before.
  5. The blueberries will make it hard to get to the heat onto the mix, so with the bottom of your spatula, squish the mix down as much as possible, don’t worry if you burst or burn the blueberries, it all adds to the finished taste!
  6. Flip over as before once that side has been cooked and keep going until mix is cooked through
  7. When done, serve up and enjoy!
  8. For a great breakfast meal I add on top a splodge of my favourite coconut milk yogurt, the Koko plain, a few more blueberries and the thing that really brings it all together, a good helping of maple syrup.
  9. Eat with knife and fork and enjoy!

Prep Time – 5 minutes (if that!) Cooking time – 5 minutes

Storage

 You can put the mix into the same style container as the soup, and put into the fridge – this saves a lot of mess making future pancakes! When you pour it out, start with a small circle and pour the mix around the edge of the circle, making it bigger and bigger until you reach you’re desired size.

Hot Cross Buns

Another Easter classic but I swear I’m not going crazy! With cinnamon, dried fruit and putting them in a toaster to then add melting butter on top, I feel this should also be included in the autumn favourites. This recipe comes directly from the Fate recipe.

Ingredients - Buns

  • 500g of flour with yeast (that usually comes with the flour/bread mix)
  • 75g Demerara Sugar
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 1-1/2 – 2 tsp ground mixed spice/cinnamon
  • 250g mixed dried fruit (I used dried raisins and cranberries)
  • 50ml of oil
  • 420ml of very warm water

Ingredients – Sugar Glaze

  • 30g Caster Sugar
  • 30mls of water

Recipe – Glaze

  1. Put sugar and water into a small pan and bring to boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for around 3 minutes

Important side note – make sure you have extra flour left over to use on your hands!

Recipe

  1. Preheat your oven to 200°C
  2. Place the flour, yeast, salt, demerara sugar and spice into a mixing bowl and stir well
  3. Pour the measured oil and very warm water into the mix all at once, then immediately use an electric whisk to start mixing quickly until it’s smooth, the mixture will begin to thicken as you mix!
  4. Using a large metal spoon, stir in the dried fruit
  5. Get an oven tray out and grease it using butter or oil
  6. Cover your scales with cling film (or a plastic bag) to stop it getting messy and cover the plastic with a bit of flour
  7. Spoon out some of the mixture onto the scales, you want it to be around 120g in weight (give or take a few grams)
  8. Dust your hands with flour and then get the mixture off scales, mould it into a nice ball shape to keep it smart (I did not have any leftover flour, hence why mine don’t look tidy!)
  9. Put the mix onto your greased oven tray
  10. Do this until you have 6 buns on your tray
  11. DO NOT PUT IT IN THE OVEN YET
  12. Cover the tray with a plastic bag, tying it up at the ends (don’t worry if the bag touches your mix while trying to put them in the bag)
  13. Puff up the bag so it doesn’t touch your mix, then leave it in a warm area to let it rise, I let mine rise for around 15 minutes
  14. Then take the bags off, and put them into the oven for 30 minutes until they are brown
  15. While waiting, make the sugar glaze to go on top (I forgot to do this with my batch!)
  16. When done, remove from the oven and brush the sugar glaze on top and put onto a wire rack to cool.
  17. Once cooled down, they can then be eaten! They can also be frozen or kept in an airtight container. For a toasted snack, cut in two halves and stick in the toaster, add butter after toasting for a great warm snack!

Prep Time – 15 minutes. Cooking time (including time to rise) – 45 minutes

 

And those are my top four Autumn recipes! As said before, you can use any veg, spices or fruit you prefer, if you want carrot and coriander soup, a pie with more mushrooms or to add ‘normal’ yoghurt to pancakes give them more exchanges, then please give it a go!

Cooking has been an interesting journey for me, as before, I found cooking and baking really hard. Especially when it comes to PKU cooking, as not only can it be very unpredictable, it can feel like a lot of work for the end result to then not really turn into what it’s supposed to be.

I think the biggest thing that’s helped me, is to find recipes that use things I already have in my kitchen cupboards, like my favourite veg, dried fruit or spices, so it doesn’t feel like I’m going out of my way to get special things or spending huge amounts of money if it does go wrong. It’s also about finding the time to do it, even though the baking may only take half an hour to an hour, it is lot of reading, planning, and organising. So, if I am baking, I make sure to have my whole morning clear to do nothing but baking and to give myself the time I need to work everything out.

Also, it’s about not taking it too seriously, having some fun with it and remembering baking isn’t life or death and sometimes it will just go wrong! However, if it goes wrong, that is sometimes the best way to learn how to get it right next time or you discover something completely new! This is what happened with my hot cross buns when I was making them for this blog, not only did I forget to buy Caster sugar and I also forgot to have left over flour, so they went big and flat, making them more into hot cross cookies than buns but either way they were still just as delicious!

I don’t try to compare my cooking with anyone else because even though 9 times out of 10 my cooking does look pretty messy; the flavour and taste is always there. I’ve realised it is so important to give baking and cooking a go, as even though it can feel overwhelming sometimes, there are so many benefits to it. As a lot of recipes are exchange free, it keeps me well fed without using my precious exchanges, it provides different foods which I can’t buy in the supermarket or get on prescription, so it gives me more variation in my diet that I enjoy and really that’s what PKU baking is all about!

Follow me on Instagram @ginger_pku_goddess where I already have shared some of these recipes and I will keep sharing more food creations as I go, and if you have any questions, please direct message me or talk to me on Twitter where you can find me @Clairbear42.

MAT-GAL-UKI-000058

Date of preparation: November 2021

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