This time of year can get pretty busy. I never realised how busy until an English friend pointed out the differences between Australia and England. In Australia we have the end of the school year, Christmas, summer holidays and all the tying up of loose ends and celebrations that go along with these occasions. In my family we also have 3 birthdays the week before Christmas! England, being in the middle of winter, stops for a few days for Christmas and New Year and then it’s back to work and school as usual.
Don’t get me wrong, I love this time of year. But sometimes the busyness of things that must be done doesn’t leave much time for things that I would like to do.
Last year the same friend from England gave me this little Advent box.
Tucked inside are 24 little scrolls, each with a quote or saying from various sources. The idea is that each day from December 1st until Christmas some time is taken to stop for a few moments to read and reflect on one of the scrolls. This was a special gift that
helps me steal a little time back for myself, to rest, think, breath.
Of course this time of year usually involves plenty of cooking and eating. The eating part can be a challenge for people on a low FODMAP diet. All the dried fruit and wheat in cakes and puddings, not to mention the onion in stuffing, make for a veritable IBS minefield. And sometimes you just need something light and fresh.
Sorbet is a delicious frozen dessert made of a mixture of fruit and sugar syrup. It is light and refreshing, perfect on a hot summer day, dairy free and egg free. The recipe below is loosely based on one in Jamie Oliver’s “Jamie at Home” cookbook. Instead of using an ice cream maker to churn a pureed fruit mixture, chopped fruit is frozen and then whizzed in a food processor with some lemon juice and the sugar syrup. If you do happen to have an ice cream maker, then by all means put it to work with a fruit puree.
You could easily make other fruit flavours, such as raspberry, strawberry, banana or kiwi, simply by substituting the same weight of fruit. You could flavour the syrup with a split vanilla bean or teaspoon of vanilla bean paste. Some chopped mint might also be a nice addition
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
zest of 1 orange
600g peeled and chopped cantaloupe
600g peeled and chopped pineapple
lemon juice to taste
Combine the sugar and water in a saucepan. Use a vegetable peeler to peel strips of zest from the orange and add to the saucepan. Place the saucepan on a medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature then chill in the fridge. This can be done the day before. You will have approximately 1½ cups of syrup.
Put the cantaloupe in one freezer or zip lock bag and the pineapple in another, remove as much air as possible, and freeze until solid, approximately 2 hours.
Place 2 dishes or bowls in the freezer to chill for 30 minutes.
Remove the strips of orange zest from the sugar syrup. Blend the cantaloupe in a food processor with ½ cup of syrup and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Stop and scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula and continue to blend. Repeat several times until smooth. You might have a few pieces a fruit that manage to remain solid and you can easily remove these from the smooth sorbet. Taste the sorbet and add a little more sugar syrup or lemon juice if you like. Transfer the sorbet to one of the chilled dishes and place in the freezer for 30 minutes before serving.
Repeat with the pineapple.
If you don’t finish all the sorbet it can be stored in the freezer in an airtight container. It will become quite hard so you will need to take it out of the freezer at least 30 minutes before serving. You can also break it into chunks and blend in a food processor again.
Don’t forget that even safe low FODMAP fruits contain fructose, so limit your serving size so that you don’t consume excess fructose. As you can see in the photo above I like to enjoy a small scoop of each flavour with some lactose free vanilla ice cream.