These cookies were born of disaster. I had actually made another batch of almond cookies beforehand, using a grain-free recipe. The pictures of the cookies from that recipe showed nice, firm little balls. I followed the recipe quite exactly, I thought, and put them in the oven a few inches apart, at the indicated temperature, thinking they would take 20-25 minutes to bake. Within minutes, my husband noticed they had melted and spread flat, all fused together. Because they had been in the oven such a short time at that point, I turned off the oven but left the cookies in there thinking they might need a little more time to bake properly. Not long after, I smelled something burning. Although the oven was off, it was hot enough to continue baking the now super-thin cookies, which had burnt to a crisp. Grr!
I was, however, determined to have almond cookies. I love almond cookies, though almonds are moderate in FODMAPs so I can only have a limited quantity. So I started over, consulting a number of different recipes to figure out what the problem might have been. The first thing I decided was that grain-free was out. The cookies needed more structure. The second thing I decided was to use vegetable shortening (vegetable fat) rather than butter, as that tends to produce a more tender cookie that spreads less, because it melts at a higher temperature than butter does. I also added an egg. All three decisions turned out to be right. Continue reading →
The weekend of Chinese New Year, I wanted to do traditional Chinese New Year food. However, I didn’t want to work too hard at it. I thought about making dumplings (AKA potstickers or gyoza), but I’ve done that before, and while they came out delicious, it was a LOT of work. Even in my pre-gluten-free days, when I could just buy wonton wraps at the store, dumplings were labour intensive. When you factor in having to make all the wraps as well as the fillings, then form and fry/steam the dumplings, it becomes a huge undertaking. So that was out.
Next, I thought about making gluten-free barbecue pork buns, which I have also done before using more or less the recipe linked to in this sentence (I followed the directions for the bun part but made up my own low-FODMAP filling), but that too was pretty fiddly. I also rejected the idea of making turnip cake because I’d have to go to the Asian grocery store to look for rice flour and daikon, and besides, my husband is allergic to shrimp and lap cheong, with its inimitable taste, is typically not gluten-free.
I first heard the term “Gung Haggis Fat Choy” when I was a teenager in Western Canada. It was coined by “Toddish McWong,” a Vancouver student of Chinese descent whose university asked him to help out with their Robbie Burns Day celebrations. Since then, Gung Haggis Fat Choy has, according to McWong himself, “come to represent a celebration of combining cultures in untraditional ways.” And that is what this blog, my family and I are all about.
I’m a Canadian of Japanese descent and my husband is a Canadian of Scottish descent. We now live in England. We have two daughters, aged one and four, and I just went back to working full time after the New Year. Since I started working, I’ve gotten into the habit of doing a ton of cooking on the weekend and freezing some of the output so we can have dinner on the table quickly when I get home after work during the week. Since I love trying different types of international cooking and since I want to teach my older daughter about the world, I had the idea of doing a particular country’s food and tying it in with related educational activities every weekend. Continue reading →