Parsnip pizza crust (paleo)

Close-up pesto pizzaIt’s been ages since I blogged but I have to write about this one because I have come up with The Perfect Paleo Pizza Crust. It tastes pretty much like “regular” pizza. It’s easy and quick to make. It’s pliable but crusty at the edges and holds it shape well. It involves only a few ingredients. In addition to being paleo (provided you don’t put cheese on the finished pizza), it’s low-FODMAP, gluten-free, dairy-free and vegetarian if you don’t use meat toppings. It’s even good cold. And it was born of desperation. Continue reading

Beef borscht (paleo)

Beef borscht in a bowlBorscht is reputed to be one of the world’s great soups. However, to be honest, I initially wasn’t so sure. I’ve only had borscht a few times and it hasn’t always been a memorable experience. For a long time, I thought of it as an Eastern European peasant soup, probably good if you didn’t have much more to eat than beets but pretty dull otherwise.

For me, what changed things was having a borscht with dill. I’d had chilled beet soup with dill before but dill in hot borscht was a new thing for me. I understand it’s not really traditional but dill takes borscht from plain to interesting without overshooting the mark and getting into the realm of weird. Also, using plenty of beef turns this from a side to a filling one-pot meal. Continue reading

Buckwheat crepes (galettes bretonnes) with gluten-free, dairy-free bechamel sauce

Crepe with steak and broccoliIt’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.

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Cullen skink (Scottish smoked fish soup)

Cullen skinkCullen skink. It sounds like a particularly unpleasant sort of lizard. But actually, it’s a delicious Scottish soup, hearty enough for a one-pot meal, quick and easy enough for weeknight supper when your kid has swimming lessons after school and you’re going to a PTA meeting after dinner.

Cullen skink normally contains lots of butter, milk or cream, onions and/or leeks. My version is easier on the tummy – gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, low-FODMAP, and full of healthy fish oils. For those paleo folks who eat potatoes, it could be considered paleo. However, it is still full of flavour, none the worse for the missing ingredients. Continue reading

Haggis burgers with neep and tattie chips

Haggis burger with neep and tattie chips and saladIt’s Robbie Burns Day, which marks very nearly a year since I started this blog. I hadn’t actually been planning to blog this meal, so please excuse the relative lack of pictures, but when I realized it was almost my blogiversary, I took a picture of my plate just before I dug in. Good thing too. Because my impromptu creation in honour of Rabbie Burns turned out truly delicious.

Last year, I made a modern haggis in the slow cooker, eschewing the traditional sheep’s stomach casing as well as the sheep’s heart, lungs, liver and whatever else goes into traditional haggis. This year, however, I decided to take modernizing haggis a step further. I decided to turn it into burgers. Continue reading

The best gluten-free perogies ever

Perogy on a fork, showing fillingTo 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

Laap with sticky rice

Laap with sticky riceI 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

Korean tacos with quick cucumber pickle

Korean tacosInspiration for this nominally Korean dish comes not from Seoul but from the streets of Los Angeles, where apparently the popular Kogi BBQ truck has spawned a number of imitators around the U.S.

I’ve never been to Los Angeles and have never had Korean tacos made by anyone other than myself but I liked the sound of the idea and wanted to create my own version, gluten-free and low-FODMAP, of course. They came out delicious, a fusion of different flavours into a perfect marriage. (I don’t think the fact I’m in a mixed marriage myself is influencing me.) Continue reading

Bibimbap – Gluten-free, low-FODMAP version

BibimbapBibimbap 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.

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Jap chae (Korean sweet potato noodles) with bulgogi

Jap chae noodlesJap chae is one of those dishes for which I like to keep the ingredients in the pantry/fridge/freezer at all times. Then, on those days when I’m lacking a plan but need something quick and tasty, I can just whip it up. The only problem is, I always underestimate how much everybody will gobble up. What looks like a generous amount of noodles in the wok always gets eaten up and I don’t end up with leftovers (I love leftovers). Oh well – I can’t complain too much about my kids eating healthy food without the usual whining.

Jap chae is made with Korean sweet potato noodles, which look like thick, brownish glass noodles. (This is the brand I used.) They have a slightly sticky, chewy consistency that I really like – though this is decidedly not a dish for which you want a gluey sauce. They’re naturally gluten-free. I can’t scientifically say whether they’re low-FODMAP but I can say I’ve never had a problem with them. Although sweet potatoes are moderate in FODMAPs I would suspect making them into starch, then noodles, would probably eliminate most of the FODMAPs. Again, this is speculation. Continue reading