Cullen skink (Scottish smoked fish soup)

Cullen skinkCullen 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

Polvorones

Polvorones almond cookiesHappy 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

Korean tacos with quick cucumber pickle

Korean tacosInspiration for this nominally Korean dish comes not from Seoul but from the streets of Los Angeles, where apparently the popular Kogi BBQ truck has spawned a number of imitators around the U.S.

I’ve never been to Los Angeles and have never had Korean tacos made by anyone other than myself but I liked the sound of the idea and wanted to create my own version, gluten-free and low-FODMAP, of course. They came out delicious, a fusion of different flavours into a perfect marriage. (I don’t think the fact I’m in a mixed marriage myself is influencing me.) Continue reading

Jap chae (Korean sweet potato noodles) with bulgogi

Jap chae noodlesJap chae is one of those dishes for which I like to keep the ingredients in the pantry/fridge/freezer at all times. Then, on those days when I’m lacking a plan but need something quick and tasty, I can just whip it up. The only problem is, I always underestimate how much everybody will gobble up. What looks like a generous amount of noodles in the wok always gets eaten up and I don’t end up with leftovers (I love leftovers). Oh well – I can’t complain too much about my kids eating healthy food without the usual whining.

Jap chae is made with Korean sweet potato noodles, which look like thick, brownish glass noodles. (This is the brand I used.) They have a slightly sticky, chewy consistency that I really like – though this is decidedly not a dish for which you want a gluey sauce. They’re naturally gluten-free. I can’t scientifically say whether they’re low-FODMAP but I can say I’ve never had a problem with them. Although sweet potatoes are moderate in FODMAPs I would suspect making them into starch, then noodles, would probably eliminate most of the FODMAPs. Again, this is speculation. Continue reading

Flourless banana oatmeal pancakes

Flourless banana oatmeal pancakesA friend of mine recently shared a recipe for flourless banana pancakes and I was so excited, I immediately tried it out. The recipe called only for one mashed banana and two eggs, mixed together and fried like a pancake. It did work, rather to my amazement, and my kids loved them, but the resulting “pancakes” were very light, difficult to flip, and not really pancakey enough for me.

I wanted to improve on the recipe without adding, well, flour. Even gluten-free flour makes a mess and I wanted to pancakes that were easy and quick enough to make on a weekday morning, with minimal clean-up. I also wanted to make something satisfying but healthy that my kids would still like. That’s how I came to add oatmeal and flaxseed. Continue reading

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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