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

Paleo banana flax pancakes

Paleo banana flax pancakes cutThis was breakfast this morning. It’s by far my kids’ favourite breakfast. It’s easy to make and I can eat it without guilt because it’s not only gluten-free, it’s grain-free, dairy-free (if you use coconut oil rather than ghee) and free of refined sugar. Personally, I eat them with almond butter rather than maple syrup, though my kids (of course) go for the maple syrup. Either way, they’re delicious. Continue reading

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

Healthy banana nut flapjacks (oat bars) with optional hazelnut toffee crunch

Nutty banana oat flapjacksWhen 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 classic British flapjack 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

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

Chocolate zucchini fruit rainbow cake (gluten-free, dairy-free)

Chocolate zucchini cake with fruit rainbowWe interrupt our regularly scheduled blogging about foods of the world to bring you probably the best chocolate cake I’ve ever had. Because, well… chocolate cake. Need I say more? This one actually contains zucchini (courgette) and is gluten-free and dairy-free. Not that you’d ever know. I topped it with a rainbow of fruit for my five-year-old’s birthday party and it was divine – moist, the perfect balance between dense and fluffy, with a fine crumb. It was sweet enough but not TOO sweet and the juicy fruit perfectly complemented the dark chocolatiness. Heaven!

With the exception of the little girl with the dairy allergy, none of the kids knew it was a gluten-free, dairy-free cake. Nor did any of them know it contained zucchini. I gave all the kids generous slices after a substantial snack of fruit, veg, crackers, and cheese. Yet almost without exception the cake slices were gobbled up practically before the candles were blown out. I can think of no better testimonial from a roomful of five-year-olds. Continue reading