Hello October and welcome to darker nights, lighting candles and it being more socially acceptable to jump straight into your pyjamas when you arrive home from work.
This month has been a much easier month, emotionally, than September.
Physically things are better but daily symptoms persist in varying degrees and I am still learning to come to terms with the fact that this is part of my life until further notice.
But you keep fighting on, taking each day as it comes. It’s all you can really do.
I am grateful to have received my flu jab and my third booster jab for Covid. I am feeling a bit like the Terminator just now – indestructible!
Staying positive despite uncertainty
On the whole I am maintaining a ‘normal’ life at the moment, you really don’t know what is ahead of you with Crohn’s as things can change so quickly with this disease.
So you try and stay positive, with varying degrees of success I have to say.
Crohn’s Disease does throw up many challenges physically and emotionally and it is a disease I will have for the rest of my life. It can be difficult to adjust to that and can make you feel very alone no matter how many people you have around you.
But I have to acknowledge my family and friends who have supported me from day one, especially my husband. He picks up the pieces on a regular basis and he really is my rock.
I wonder how difficult it must be for them to sit back and watch and be able to do nothing? How would that make me feel? I think helpless and frustrated at the very least. But I need them to know that their non-judgemental, never-ending support is better than any medication that my consultant could give me.
Thankfully I have my cooking as my therapy and my escape and I enjoy sharing my food through my social media pages.
This month I have been plunged into the gluten-free world and I have to say it’s not that bad.
I have had a couple of slips and have been in pain and unwell after them so that has really cemented the need to be gluten-free for me.
There are plenty of options in the shops for people following a gluten-free diet, some more than others. But all my recipes have been able to be adapted with ease and with no change to the overall flavour or texture.
My local butcher offers gluten-free produce and I even found out that a local fish and chip shop has ‘Gluten-free Sundays’ – happy days!
Family comfort food
As we are into autumn now I am beginning to want comfort food, warming dishes that remind you of your childhood. Real old school dishes that put a smile on your face and leave you feeling content.
Pasta with mussels and, my favourite ingredient, garlic, was dreamy. A dish you want to cosy up on the sofa with wrapped in your favourite throw watching Netflix.
Cottage pie is always a good dish to serve up to the family with plenty of green veg on the side to boost those vitamin levels. Plenty of cream and butter in the mash makes all the difference, too.
After eating out at our family’s favourite Italian restaurant I researched the recipe of an Italian soup that I tried – pasta fagioli.
I looked at some different recipes online and tried to create my own gluten-free recipe, making some changes along the way. The finished dish was hearty and warming but I think I need to add something to finish off the dish – I just need to work out what.
I made my family’s favourite – macaroni and cheese – which is a firm favourite of so many but unfortunately is not one of mine. Although, I actually enjoy making it and seeing how much my husband and kids enjoy eating it is such a pleasure.
Some of you were asking for my recipe so here is my mother-in-law’s macaroni cheese.
- 400g of macaroni
- 25g of butter
- 25g of plain flour
- Milk (roughly three quarters of a pint)
- 2 x 350g of strong sharp cheddar, grated (I use McLelland’s Seriously Strong Vintage Cheddar)
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Boil your pasta in salted water in a pot and once cooked (as per your packet instructions), drain and rinse it under cold water to stop it sticking together while you make your cheese sauce.
- Melt the butter in a pan then add the flour and stir until they are all combined (the mixture should be dry, this will determine the thickness of your sauce).
- Then you add the milk gradually, stirring well to stop your sauce going lumpy. Your sauce should resemble the same consistency of double cream and at that point you can add your grated cheese.
- Again, add the cheese gradually, stirring well throughout. Reserve a few handfuls of the cheese for later.
- Add the cooked pasta to the sauce and gently combine. Decant into an oven dish and top with the remainder of the cheese and grill on a high heat for around 15 minutes to get that yummy crunch topping and enjoy.