It’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
I usually try to write these blog posts the day I make the dish in question but sometimes I don’t manage to get around to it until some days after. Sadly, this is the case today. Sadly, because the leftovers are gone. Sadly, because I’m a bit hungry and I suddenly really want some more chicken musakhan. It was really good. The leftovers were even better. Sigh. Continue reading
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
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.
Cullen 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
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 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
Happy New Year! For what’s still the holiday season, I bring you polvorones. We were recently in the Canary Islands on holiday (in quieter parts of Tenerife where we actually didn’t see any lobster-red beach sardines or drunken English louts) and I wanted to make some Spanish food for Christmas. Polvorones are a traditional Christmas treat and I thought they sounded easy enough to make in a limited holiday rental kitchen. However, the oven turned out to be malfunctioning so I ended up doing fruit and ice cream for Christmas dessert instead. Back home, however, there was nothing stopping me, so I made polvorones for New Year’s instead of Christmas. Continue reading
Chicken paprikash is easy, classic comfort food, perfect on a chilly winter’s day. It isn’t low-calorie, especially when served over a generous helping of noodles, but it’s definitely tasty. The Boy spent some time in Hungary when he was younger and loves paprika, so this also gives him his fix. Typically chicken paprikash is full of onions, wheat flour, and lactose, and is served with wheat noodles or dumplings, but this version is gluten-free and low-FODMAP. It also contains somewhat more in the way of vegetables than the typical version, but not so much that my kids complain.
It’s Eid al-Adha, the Feast of Sacrifice, the second-most-important holiday for Muslims. Not being Muslim, I know little about the holiday and have never celebrated it before, but apparently it commemorates the willingness of Ibrahim to sacrifice his son Ismail upon Allah’s command. At the last minute, Allah intervened and gave him a lamb to sacrifice instead. Pretty much the same story occurs in the Bible, though the names of the main characters are Abraham, Isaac, and God, and instead of a lamb, God offers up a ram.
Um, yeeeaahhh. Much as I respect people’s religious freedom, to me, either version of the story seems frankly barbaric. However… I do like the idea of roast lamb. So putting aside the squickiness of the idea of the lamb standing in for a son, we “celebrated” with a delicious Moroccan-spiced roast lamb. I served it with a simple saffron rice (I cooked basmati rice with saffron, mustard seeds, and just a little asafoetida and turmeric, then stirred in chopped coriander once the rice was cooked) and a spinach dish similar to sabzi, except that I garnished it with olives.
I’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