It’s pancake day here in the UK, which means my kids got a pancake lunch, a pancake supper, and pancake dessert. If that sounds like a lot of work, it really wasn’t. Not only was I too lazy to make a pancake breakfast, the truth is, I only actually made pancakes once. To be more accurate, I made galettes bretonnes once and we ate them three different ways using three very easy variations.
Galettes bretonnes, or buckwheat crepes, are traditionally made with buckwheat flour only, making them naturally gluten-free. If you want to have them in a restaurant, however, be careful, since some cooks mix the buckwheat flour with wheat flour. Perhaps they fear that the buckwheat will be strong-tasting – and in some recipes it can be – but honestly, here it isn’t. No, it doesn’t taste exactly like a wheat flour crepe, but it has a mild and pleasant taste and texture. Honestly, it’s nothing too challenging.
When I first came to England, I didn’t understand what a flapjack was. I thought of it as a down-home-American word for a pancake. Even once I understood what a flapjack was in England, I didn’t get for a long time what all the fuss was about (the English LOVE their flapjacks). As far as I can tell, the classicBritishflapjack is essentially a very sweet and buttery granola bar without all the good stuff associated with granola bars, other than oats. Little by little, however, I have come to see the potential of the British flapjack. Oat bars are almost a blank canvas, to which you can add any number of ingredients and still bake up a tasty treat. After considerable experimentation, I’ve come up with a version that’s really quite healthy.
My flapjacks are much lower in sugar and fat than the classic flapjack. They’re gluten-free and dairy-free – in fact, vegan. For added nutrition, I add a lot of nuts. Lots of banana keeps my flapjacks moist and sweet. For a quick and easy everyday snack, that’s where I stop. However, for a more decadent treat or to serve to guests, I like to add chocolate drizzle and hazelnut toffee crunch. Continue reading →
To me, perogies have always tasted of home. No, I’m not Ukrainian or Polish, but I did grow up in Alberta, Canada, which has a large Ukrainian population. The perogy (AKA pyrogy, pierogy, or as I’m reliably informed by Ukrainians, varenyky) has become thoroughly part of Canadian prairie culture, so much so that Glendon, Alberta, is home to the “world’s largest pyrogy,” which I once had the pleasure of visiting (along with the world’s largest kubasa, another prairie cuisine staple with Ukrainian roots).
In any case, the ubiquity of perogies is such in Alberta that my Japanese mother regularly made them at home when I was growing up. Oh, she didn’t make them from scratch – she brought frozen Cheemo perogies (which I still remember as the best brand; cheddar was the best flavour) and served them with soy sauce. Not traditional, perhaps, but really good. Continue reading →
I love to travel and, with very few exceptions, I would love to visit every country in the world. However, I feel my failure to visit Laos is one of the saddest of my missed opportunities. When I was travelling in Asia, pre-kids, I managed to get to Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, and Indonesia – why didn’t I go to Laos? (Or Vietnam, for that matter?) I hope I will indeed get there one day.
My failure to visit Laos means I don’t know a lot about Lao food. However, since I don’t believe there’s a Lao restaurant in town, never mind one that can cater for gluten-free and low-FODMAP, I figure the only way to learn is to try. So I picked what the interwebs said was one of the defining dishes of Laos and decided to try to make it. Continue reading →
Bibimbap is one of those beautiful dishes to which you can add almost anything, substitute almost anything, and still end up with something delicious. Basically, you need a bowl of hot rice, some toppings, and a spicy sauce. You mix it all up at the table and you have a bellyful of Korean comfort food. Depending somewhat on the toppings you use, it’s a relatively healthy dish, and because it’s improvisational by nature, you don’t really have to measure anything. It’s a good way to use up leftovers too. And did I mention it tastes great? It’s a real family favourite around here.
I love cornbread muffins but a lot of them are too crumbly for my taste. I get that cornmeal is crumbly by nature but it gets to be too much when it’s difficult to eat. These gluten-free savoury cornbread muffins are moist and not crumbly at all. With the addition of cheese, corn kernels, chives, and smoked paprika, I got a tasty, easily packable breakfast or lunch food that reheats well. Plus they’re refined-sugar-free!
To me, nothing tastes of Western Canada (home!) like salmon does. Back home, I was super picky about which salmon I bought – I would only spend money on wild Pacific salmon, preferably sockeye or chinook; never pink, never farmed. That would still be my preference but here in the UK, it’s harder to get non-canned salmon that meets that description. (Not impossible, just harder and more expensive.) So when I saw a side of Scottish farmed Atlantic salmon on sale half price, I bought it.
You see, I’ve developed a recipe that makes any salmon taste divine. I used to think of it as semi-Canadian, semi-Japanese, but I’ve since realized it’s actually totally Canadian, since Canadian cuisine draws on all other cuisines. I like to serve it with a simple brown rice-wild rice mix with dried cranberries and fresh herbs, which is also very Canadian. So in honour of my Canada week, here’s a quick and simple midweek recipe.
Hinamatsuri, or Girls’ Festival, is in Japan something of a spring festival as well as a celebration of girls. Though I know my friends in Canada are still shivering and shovelling, spring is starting to show its face here in England. I saw my first open daffodil today as well as a bunch of little white blossoms, so I’ve been getting into the mood for some springy food.
Chirashi sushi (translates as “scattered sushi;” it’s pronounced chirashi zushi in Japanese) is basically just a layer of vinegared rice with toppings. The toppings generally include sashimi, though it’s certainly possible to make an all-cooked version. Chirashi sushi is one of the traditional foods of Hinamatsuri. These are others too, but clam soup is out in my family because my husband is allergic to shellfish, and I didn’t think it was realistic to obtain the ingredients for sakura mochi (pounded rice cakes coloured pink and wrapped in pickled cherry leaves). Chirashi sushi, however, I could do, and easily.
Chirashi sushi is, in my mind, one of the world’s most perfect dishes. It’s super easy, healthy and incredibly delicious. It’s impressive enough to be used for entertaining or just to make a family dinner feel like a special occasion. The possibilities are endless in terms of exactly what ingredients you use and how. It’s virtually impossible to screw up. Continue reading →