To a Squash Unknown

Pull up a chair and settle in for a ramble. The recipes will follow and I promise they’ll be worth the wait.

It’s rare that I address any issues that the free-from community faces, I suppose I’d hate to phrase something wrong and put someone off from making a difference in their lives. It takes a lot of courage to take your health into your own hands, I understand this, I’m ten stone lighter than I was a few years ago,  fifty odd foods free and still pushing forwards, but I feel I want to say something here, maybe I need to. So what’s up? Well I’ll start with a question: What is celiac disease? That’s a loaded question, but here it’s a question of it being a beginning or an end. Although this is addressed to no-one in particular, it’s for those who seem to fall under the impression that going gluten free is the end of their journey, maybe they’ve gotten their diagnosis and feel better so that’s enough. Now I’m not one of those who tell people how to live, I don’t think anyone has that right, but as someone who has done and seen a lot with all this I think I may be worth a little consideration. Take it as advice left there for anyone willing to examine it, think about it and integrate it into their own understanding. What I’m seeing these days is a lot of celiacs that have health troubles, be it lack of essential nutrients, weight problems or a myriad of other ailments, what I’m also seeing is a lack of understanding as regards food and health. not always linked, but too often it’s the case. Let’s face it, there’s so much gluten free food out there that you could easily replace all your old wheat based diet and never miss it, but what if you examined the nutritional value of those replacements? Starches, gum and filler comprise a lot of what goes into gluten free food. Not all are like that, but I’ll focus on what feels like the majority right now.

Of course I’m not telling anyone how to live, but if you’re fully gluten free and still sick then you need to look to the food you’re eating, the life you’re living. There are so many excuses to wrap ourselves in, the I can’t, I won’t and you can tell me what to do. We dig in our heels because we’re scared, I know I’ve been scared in ways I never knew possible. When I first went gluten free, I also ditched potatoes. You know what I ate instead? Rice Cakes and Package Lasagne, but if I adopted the unwilling attitude so many do why shouldn’t I  have eaten what was a terrible dinner. I hadn’t the time to spend cooking (I made time), I could eat it because it’s gluten free (It’s still trash regardless), I didn’t understand food (I learned) and worst of all: It’s hard enough going gluten free, I can’t do everything (I did a lot more than if I’d settled for just that). Why does this bother me? Because  it’s going to become the standard, people will accept that celiac disease even when managed will make you a wreak. That’s nonsense, but it’s nonsense some people will cling to for comfort. Me, You and so many others like us followed our own paths, we found out what way we could use food to heal ourselves and as the old adage goes: “You’re either part of the solution or part of  the problem.” This is my meagre contribution to the solution, not a solution in itself, that’d take more than a blog post, just a caution to anyone who may read it in passing. hanks for reading that, I just hate to see people struggling and not realising there’s a way out. I spent two years in a living hell thanks  to celiac disease, I don’t want to see others get out of one hell by substituting another. There’s a quote from Kurt Vonnegut that I feel is fitting:

“You were sick, but now you’re well again, and there’s work to do.”

Well, from that cheery note, let’s go onto something softer, fudgier, cakey…where was I?

I spent (Five and a half-hours? Woah) a while in the kitchen today. I bought another Hokkaido Pumpkin for BNS Cottage Pies and someone else bought me another, so Hokkaido Pumpkin Gnocchi was in order, then of course I needed a Flourless Nut Cake, so why not a Pumpkin Spice one?! I’ve fallen in love with this squash, if it were possible to grow my own, sadly I’m lacking in the space and weather department, I’d grow all I could. This will probably be the last Pumpkin based post for a while. Now for too many photos!

The cake firms a lot as it cools and the bottoms looked underdone, but is just fine and firm to the touch. Not at all sticky like it usually is.

The recipe is on the page, just easier that way, it keeps it stored somewhere where there’s less clutter and it won’t get lost in a post like this. As for the cake its…its…*Toot Toot*…That’s me tooting my own horn, it’s just delicious. I was apprehensive at first as it was really soft, then it melted in my mouth and I was hit with the Pumpkin Spice and that hint of Maple in the Buttercream. It’s in no way complicated, the lining can be daunting at first (Hence the Guide), but it’s so worthwhile.

I used steamed for the cake because well, check the next photo.

Yeah, from 800g to 175, just what the Gnocchi needed, thankfully. I prefer the taste of it steamed, it’s less harsh and sweeter. Though I do prefer Butternut Roasted, but at nearly three hours, steaming wins out.

Suddenly! Seeds. Much too much seeds.

I had to use larger containers, but you work with what you can get. That’s this diet in a nutshell. I can’t wait to try these.

There was also a Tahini Bread and a dinner in all this chaos. The last thing was the Gnocchi. It went as it usually does, but either the squash was drier or it gets drier when roasted, but it wasn’t as sticky as usual. I still ended up with orange hands though. That’s it for today. I’ll add the last of the photos. Take care.

I love the orange hue it gets. I had to really work the dough to get the squash mixed through. I only mashed it, I really should have puréed it, but my machine was used to blitz onions and I was too lazy to wash anything else. So many dishes.

Like little nuggets of sunshine.

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