Oven-baked root vegetable crisps (chips)

Oven-baked root vegetable crispsSince I came to the UK, I have all too often indulged in Tyrell’s veg crisps, made with beetroot, parsnips, and carrot. They are delicious – but they’re also very greasy, salty, and made with sunflower oil, which isn’t a very healthy oil. After some trial and error, I have come up with an alternative that’s even more delicious. My oven-baked root vegetable crisps are crunchy, satisfying, and because they’re a lot less greasy and salty, the real taste of the root vegetable shines through. And lest you think this means they’re yucky, let me tell you: my junk food-loving small children adore these. Continue reading

Papas arrugadas (wrinkly potatoes) with coriander-red pepper mojo (sauce)

Papas arrugadas (wrinkly potatoes)I discovered papas arrugadas, wrinkly potatoes, on a trip to the Canary Islands, where they are ubiquitous. Partly because they’re gluten-free but partly because they’re really tasty, I had them almost every time we ate out. At first I thought they might be difficult to make. I also thought they might take a special kind of potato, since some websites said they’re made with special Canarian potatoes. Nope on both counts. In supermarkets I saw bags of very ordinary new potatoes, grown in various locales around Europe, marked “papas para arrugar” (potatoes to wrinkle). Maybe the Canarios don’t want the word to get out but the fact is, papas arrugadas are very easy to make and taste the same in England, made with English potatoes, as they did in Tenerife.

Initially I felt a little foolish when I found out how papas arrugadas are made – they’re simply boiled in heavily salted water (originally sea water, apparently). Easy, right? I couldn’t believe I’d never thought of making potatoes that way before. However, having actually managed to screw them up a few times, I’ve discovered a few techniques for making them properly. I’ve also developed a low-FODMAP sauce that loosely approximates mojo, the garlicky sauce normally served with papas arrugadas. Continue reading

Yu sheng (Yee sang) – Singaporean New Year salad

Yu sheng - Singapoean New Year saladMy husband and I now have a new favourite salad to which all other salads will henceforth be compared – and inevitably, they will fail to measure up, because yu sheng has got to be the king of all salads. It’s the perfect marriage of fresh, crunchy, tart and sweet, and it features smoked salmon, which is one of my favourite things in the world. And yet I’d never even heard of it until a few days ago, when I started researching lunar New Year dishes of Singapore and Malaysia. 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

Citrus dill gravlax (plus three more flavours and bonus sushi rice recipe)

Gravlax ingredientsI’ve been wanting to make gravlax (AKA gravad lax) for some time now. Salmon is one of my favourite foods, especially when raw or semi-raw, and the idea that I might be able to cure my own salmon without buying a smoker or paying extortionate prices for sashimi-grade salmon strongly attracted me. However, for a long time I was nervous because the recipes I’ve seen vary dramatically. Some call for as much as a full cup of salt while others call for as little as a couple of teaspoons. Some call for much more salt than sugar; others call for much more sugar than salt. Some recipes I’ve seen also make the process seem incredibly complex, involving weights, precisely timed curing, even the use of thin slices of lime that can’t actually touch the fish.

After consulting a ton of recipes, I became convinced that a fairly minimalist approach would work, but although I wanted to simplify the process (and avoid ending up with a fish-flavoured lollipop or salt lick), I also wanted to experiment with a variety of flavours. So I ended up making four different kinds. Continue reading

Gluten-free cheddar cornbread muffins

Cornbread muffinsI 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!

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Gluten-free bannock (fry bread)

Gluten-free bannockNo taste takes me back to childhood summers on the Canadian prairies like bannock. Bannock, for those not in the know, is a bread so simple, it can be made while camping. It doesn’t require much more than flour and water and can look like a big round loaf, like scones, or like pancakes. It can even be wrapped around sticks and toasted in the flames.

Although for me the classic bannock is scone-like and made in a skillet outdoors, another, slightly more decadent treat is fry bread. That’s the name for bannock that’s made big and flat and deep-fried. I used to always get it at the Aboriginal tent at Edmonton’s Heritage Festival, sometimes plain and sometimes in the form of Indian tacos. I hadn’t tried to make bannock since I went gluten-free, but bannock is so easy, it turned out fantastic even when switching flours and shallow-pan frying rather than deep frying.  Continue reading

Maple teriyaki salmon with cranberry wild rice

Maple teriyaki salmon with rice and saladTo 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.

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Matzo ball soup (Gluten-free)

Matzo ball soupIt’s Passover, so I thought the time was right to make matzo ball soup. Not that I’m Jewish. I’m about as shiksa as they come. Especially when I was in university, however, I had a lot of Jewish friends. I even dated a couple of nice Jewish boys, much to the chagrin of at least one of the mothers. I attended a number of Passover seders and enjoyed them. The best part, however, I always considered to be matzo (matzah) ball soup. Continue reading

Boxty dumplings with tomato sauce

Boxty dumplings with tomato sauceHaving made boxty crepes and boxty blinis during my Irish week, I wanted to turn the basic mixture of grated potato, mashed potato and flour to a different use. I therefore decided to make boxty dumplings, AKA boiled boxty.

The recipes I saw made me think of gnocci, but sounded a little… well… boring. I gather the traditional way, as detailed by Radio Ulster, involves simply frying the dumplings in butter. Another recipe I saw on CatholicCulture.org calls for a “sweet sauce,” which to me sounds unpleasant. So I decided to do an Irish-Italian fusion dish and serve my boiled boxty with tomato sauce. It turned out to be a good decision. My dumplings turned out chewy and indeed gnocci-like, and my kids loved them with the tomato sauce. Continue reading