Slow cooker pulled pork with homemade barbecue sauce

Pulled pork sandwich with saladPulled pork is one of my go-to recipes for something that’s really simple to make but tastes complex. Also, my kids love it. Sometimes I spice it Mexican style, for pork carnitas, but for American week I decided to do it with barbecue sauce for sloppy, delicious pulled pork sandwiches that taste like a sunny day drinking beer and listening to the blues (perhaps at Kitchener Blues Festival).

I know, slow cooker pulled pork isn’t quite the same as pulled pork smoked over a wood fire. But I don’t have a fire pit. Here in our temporary home in England, I very sadly don’t even have a barbecue. However, pulled pork in a slow cooker is not only super easy, it’s really, truly, delicious. With the right sauce it’s honestly hard to tell the difference between this and something cooked by an award-winning barbecue chef who used three kinds of wood chips in just the right proportions.

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Indian tacos

Indian taco

Indian taco flat on a plate – to eat, bend in half and eat like a Mexican taco.

I always feel weird saying “Indian tacos” since they’re not at all Indian in the subcontinental sense and not really tacos in the Mexican sense. Also, I feel uncomfortable using “Indian” to refer to the First Nations of North America. But nobody says “First Nations tacos.” The Aboriginal friends I had growing up on the prairies in Canada would have laughed at me if I’d tried. Indian tacos are Indian tacos and they’re as authentically First Nations as Irish stew is Irish (despite the fact potatoes are native to South America) and as vindaloo is Indian (even though chilies too are from the New World).

What makes an Indian taco “Indian” is that, instead of a corn tortilla, it uses fried bannock, AKA fry bread. As to the rest, it usually contains meat, cheese, tomatoes, and lettuce. Sour cream is optional. Salsa is optional. If you want to make it even more North American Aboriginal, you can use ground bison. I, however, didn’t have any, so I used ground beef, which is, I would guess, the most common filling in Indian tacos anyway.

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Tourtière

TourtiereHappy Canada Day! Bonne fête du Canada! To celebrate the motherland from way over here in England, we ate leftover tourtière for lunch.

Does that sound somehow disappointing? It wasn’t. Tourtière is, after all, a beautiful and truly Canadian dish, not to mention delicious as leftovers. I made the tourtière on Sunday because it takes a little more time than I figured I’d have today. For our actual Canada Day dinner, we had a simple picnic. Were we shirking our duties as Canucks? No! Most Canadians picnic or barbecue for Canada Day. Tourtière is actually more of a Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve tradition, with some eating it on Christmas Day. But I couldn’t let a Canadian-themed week go by without making tourtière. It’s that good.

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Japanese curry: Gluten-free, low-FODMAP version

Japanese curry with riceCurry is one of Japan’s great comfort foods. Does that sound strange? I know curry is normally associated with South and Southeast Asia. Japanese cuisine, by contrast, doesn’t tend to use a lot of spices, especially not curry-like spices. Also, while I love Indian brinjal curry, red Thai curry, Malaysian penang curry, etc., they’re not foods I would want to curl up with on the couch on a cold winter’s day or eat by a campfire while camping.

Japanese curry is different. In fact, you might not want to consider it curry at all. It’s more of a hearty beef and potato stew that happens to be curry flavoured. Some Japanese curries contain ingredients that would make any self-respecting Indian or Thai chef want to cry. Ketchup, soy sauce, dashi, yogurt, honey, apples, raisins… Sound gross? You’re wrong. Virtually every Japanese person, from toddler to centenarian, loves karei. And so will you if you forget your ideas about what a proper curry should be and think of Japanese curry as another beast altogether. Continue reading

Chicken with wasakaka

Roasted chicken with bowl of roasted vegetables, citrus parsley sauceOur whole family loves roasted chicken and we also love fun words, so when I was researching our Dominican Republic weekend and I saw a recipe for pollo con wasakaka, or roasted chicken with garlic sauce, it was hard to go past. Unfortunately, garlic is high in FODMAPs, so I knew I was going to have to come up with an alternative. I’m a little ashamed to admit just how easy it was. Continue reading

Boeuf bourgignon

Beef stew on a plate with vegetables and mashed potatoBoeuf bourgignon. Even saying it is satisfying. When I decided to make this past weekend France-themed, it was the first dish that popped to mind. There are few things better than hot stew on a cold, damp night, as all English nights are in February. Besides, it was the weekend of love, and what dish better to get you in the mood for love than a dish full of red wine and red meat?

I used to make boeuf bourgignon quite a lot in the slow cooker. But that was before I was diagnosed with IBS and discovered the low-FODMAP diet. Boeuf bourgignon normally involves mushrooms, which are high in mannitol and exacerbate my IBS symptoms. I didn’t make this dish for a long time because wasn’t sure if I could make a satisfying boeuf bourgignon without mushrooms. Fortunately, I’ve found I can. Continue reading

A Chinese feast

Table full of Chinese foodThe 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.

The more I researched, though, the more it became clear the Chinese New Year foods that most readily popped to mind for me were far from the only ones. In fact, it seemed like almost any Chinese dish could be considered a New Year dish. So I decided to do what was tasty, easy and would create enough leftovers that I wouldn’t have to cook for a few days. On the weekend menu: kung pao chicken, gingery tofu vegetable stir-fry, mu shu duck, steamed aromatic fish, almond cookies, and “ants climbing a tree” (Sunday lunch). Yeah! Continue reading