Since my PCOS diagnosis a while back, I have looked at different ways of changing what I eat. Certain things are best to be avoided, mainly refined sugar and reducing my diary and gluten intake. Of course, constantly keeping things like that out of my diet, really reduces what you’re able to eat. Luckily these days there are plenty of options these days, especially with many of the big supermarkets having ranges suitable for those looking for a ‘free-from’ diet.
Last week I headed up to London to try take part in a cooking class with Tesco, to try out their new lactose free range. Though I don’t have too much dairy, it was interesting to learn how lactose can affect you as we get older, but you don’t have to miss out on any of your favourite recipes from time to time.
We had the pleasure of having Lesley Waters showing us how to cook the recipes. Having a lactose-free recipe book, she seemed like the right candidate for the job. She spoke to us all individually and was really attentive to our needs. Not to mention how hilarious she is; really lovely lady.
First of all, we made the desserts so that they could set as we made the main course. We had a choice of tiramisu and fruity cheesecake to make. They were pretty straightforward to make, and things that I will definitely look to make myself. The used the lactose-free ingredients like mascarpone, greek style yoghurt, and soft cheese. They got put to one side to set. When we sampled them after our main meal, I was pleasantly surprised at just how normal they tasted. The cream of the tiramisu was thick and delicious, and the cheesecake was just the same consistency any other cheesecake. So you don’t feel like you’re missing out at all.
The next things we were shown how to make were some dips to have with flatbreads. I honestly wasn’t sure what I would think of these, particularly as one was fig and blue cheese, a combination I would have never put together. That, alongside a butter bean dip with dukkah, were simply amazing. All of this and free-from lactose! If you want to give them a go yourself, the recipes are below:
Fig and Creamy Blue Cheese Raita
- 120g of dried ready to eat figs, chopped
- 400g of Tesco Lactose Free Greek Style Natural Yogurt
- 110g of Tesco Lactose Free Creamy Blue Cheese
- 1 small bunch of chives, chopped
- Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
- Combine the figs and yogurt and crumble in two thirds of the blue cheese and two thirds of the chives in a bowl and season with black pepper
- Spoon and spread this mixture into a shallow serving dish, crumble over the remaining blue cheese and finish with a scattering of the remaining chives and finish with black pepper.
Beany Dukkah Dip
For the beany dip:
- 400g can of butter beans, drained, rinsed and patted dry
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 tsp of Dijon mustard
- 3 tbsp of extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 tbsp of Tesco Lactose Free Greek Style Natural Yogurt
- A squeeze of lemon juice
- 2 tbsp flat leaf parsley, chopped
- Pinch of salt
- Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
For the dukkah topping:
- 2 tbsp of sesame seeds
- 1 tbsp of cumin seeds
- ½ tbsp of ground coriander
- 25g of toasted almonds
- Place all ingredients except the parsley, into a food processor. Whiz until smooth
- Season with ground salt and freshly ground black pepper. Spoon onto a large shallow serving dish, scatter over the parsley and finish with black pepper. Hand out alongside the dukkah topping
- For the topping add the sesame seeds, cumin seeds and ground coriander in a dry frying pan for 2 minutes
- Place the toasted almonds in a food processor with the toasted spices and season with salt and pepper. Pulse for a few seconds until ground.
For the pièce de résistance, we made a pea risotto, with chick and lemon spinach. A really yummy dish that was super tasty and filling. It would be great to make as a week night meal as its packed full of veggies (and my kids love rice)! Again, you don’t miss out on any creaminess when using lactose-free products in the cooking of a creamy risotto; it honestly tasted amazing!
Have you thought about using lactose-free ingredients in your cooking before? We had a talk from Christine Bailey, nutritionist for Tesco, and it really was fascinating. An intolerance to lactose is something that we can develop later in life, which I find very evident these days, for both myself and others that I know. Lactose intolerance is very common in adults. The condition isn’t serious but may be unpleasant as it shows gastrointestinal symptoms, such as gas, bloating, and diarrhoea, about 30 minutes to two hours after ingesting milk or other dairy products containing lactose. So if you feel like you get any of these symptoms after a bowl of ice cream or yogurt, for example, it might be worth checking out a lactose-free option.
*collaboration with Tesco. All opinions are my own.