Notes and a Family Recipe
I, and all my close family, as far as I know, are not lactose intolerant, but, I was fascinated to try the Arla Lactofree Challenge for two weeks, which involved cutting out all lactose products to see how we all felt, and at the same time, to see if there was any reduction in taste and flavour when using lactose free produce. Up to 15 per cent of the UK population are thought to be lactose intolerant, according to research published in the American Journal of Clinal Nutrition‘ and, although I am not aware of any lactose intolerance myself, as I mentioned before, after two weeks of only using Arla UK Lactofree dairy products in place of my usual ones, I did notice some small but beneficial effects. Today’s post is all about my how we got on, and I’ve also shared a new recipe for Pork and Pepper Enchiladas, which uses lactose free cheese and yogurt and is perfect for any midweek family meal, or for a healthy “fake-away” meal over the weekend.
I was sent two weeks of lactose free products, which covered all of the dairy bases…….there was long life and fresh milk, cream, yogurt, hard cheese, soft white cheese and spreads; the plan was to replace all of my usual dairy products with the lactose free ones for two weeks, and to drink, cook, bake and prepare all my usual (and new) recipes as I normally would but with the replacement lactose free ingredients. I kick-started the challenge on day one by replacing the usual milk I used with lactose free milk in my early morning cup of tea – well two cups actually, as I always start the day off with 2 cuppas! Breakfast was a Lactofree strawberry yogurt, served with a chopped banana, and we all commented on how beautifully creamy the yogurt was, and there was no discernible lack of flavour, or indeed texture.
We eat a lot of eggs, as we keep chickens, and so eggs on toast is a favourite breakfast or light luncheon dish, so I was keen to try the spread next; the spread was easy to use, and again, none of us noticed any difference in taste compared to the usual low-fat butter spread that we normally use. The next three to four days followed the same routine, and by day five I had cooked with and tried all of the lactose free products from breakfast through to tea and with some baking in between. One thing we had started to notice by this time, was that the slight, almost sick feeling that we sometimes (me and my husband) felt after our early morning cups of tea, had dissipated……we had put it down to excess tannin or caffeine, but maybe it has been the milk we normally used, we’re not sure if it was the change to lactose free milk, but it was a small and positive benefit.
As a “cheeseaholic”, I was very keen to test the cheese – I was sent two types, mild Cheddar and mature Cheddar; we like mature cheeses in our family, so we all found the mild cheese a bit too mild, like a “kiddie” cheese! It was creamy and grated well, and it would be great for the school lunch box – however, the mature cheese had a great “bite” to it and was almost like a normal lactose Cheddar, with the exception of the texture, which was not as crumbly and a bit more “processed”, as in waxier and more solid. But, it tasted wonderful and melted well when I made Welsh Rarebit, as well as today’s recipe for Pork and Pepper Enchiladas. The soft white cheese was also delicious, and I devised a new sandwich spread by adding chopped spring onions, red onions, celery seeds and some grated mild Cheddar to it, which was slathered between some wholemeal bread and was served with radishes, lettuce and cherry tomatoes.
After two weeks of using the Lactofree products, we also noticed that we felt less bloated after drinking a milky cup of coffee (latte), and after using the milk in porridge too, but other than that, there were no changes. Could these be the effects of lactose, maybe, it’s hard to tell, but they were positive changes that we all noticed. The taste and texture of most of the products was the same as normal dairy produce, and the range was diverse enough for any person with lactose intolerance to feel as if they could eat, bake and cook as normal, with the obvious exceptions of choices of cheeses…..but, for everyday swaps such as milk, yogurt, soft and hard cheeses, it’s handy to know you can enjoy dairy without any of the unpleasant side effects that is normally associated with ingesting lactose, including my husband’s favourite, Cauliflower Cheese!
But back to my new recipe – lots of family recipes for easy mid-week enjoyment are savoury tray bakes such as gratins, pasta bakes, lasagne and toad in the hole etc; so, with that in mind I decided to create a tasty Mexican inspired meal that uses Lactofree cheese and yogurt…..these Pork and Pepper Enchiladas were a HUGE hit when I served them, and if you can substitute the minced pork for beef, chicken or turkey if you wish, as well as making the dish vegetarian by using lentils for the enchilada filling. I’m planning on making a fish pie and cottage pie soon, using the lactofree spread, cheese and milk too, as I still have quite a lot left to play with! The recipe is shared below, and I hope you enjoy it as much as we did when I last made it. You can see where and who stocks Arla Lactofree products here: Where to find us. And, so see if you may have symptoms of being lactose intolerant, why not take the test here: Lactofree Discovery Tool.
Disclaimer: Collaborative work with Arla Lactofree