Boxty dumplings with tomato sauce

Boxty dumplings with tomato sauceHaving made boxty crepes and boxty blinis during my Irish week, I wanted to turn the basic mixture of grated potato, mashed potato and flour to a different use. I therefore decided to make boxty dumplings, AKA boiled boxty.

The recipes I saw made me think of gnocci, but sounded a little… well… boring. I gather the traditional way, as detailed by Radio Ulster, involves simply frying the dumplings in butter. Another recipe I saw on CatholicCulture.org calls for a “sweet sauce,” which to me sounds unpleasant. So I decided to do an Irish-Italian fusion dish and serve my boiled boxty with tomato sauce. It turned out to be a good decision. My dumplings turned out chewy and indeed gnocci-like, and my kids loved them with the tomato sauce. Continue reading

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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

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

Gingery tofu and vegetable stir fry

Vegetable stir fry in a large glass bowlWhen I was growing up, one of my favourite vegetable-heavy dishes was a stir-fry my mother made using broccoli, shrimp, tofu and ginger. The broccoli was delicately infused with the flavour of ginger and the sea, making it a comfort food that was actually healthy. When I grew up, I learned to make it too, albeit not quite as well as my mother. Unfortunately, I fell in love with a man who’s allergic to shrimp and shellfish, and more recently, I developed irritable bowel syndrome and found broccoli disagrees with me because it’s high in FODMAPs.

It took awhile but I’ve since developed this tofu vegetable dish as an alternative. Sometimes I add thinly sliced chicken breast too, if I want it to be a main dish, but more often I make it as a vegetable side dish. It’s not quite what I remember but it hits the same notes – soft, saucy, gingery, mildly salty. It’s also a dish that’s easy to throw together by feel, without having to measure ingredients, so the quantities given here are approximate. Make it to your own taste. Continue reading

Modern haggis with neeps and tatties

Plate of meatloaf and vegetablesI had proper haggis once. Well, as proper as you can get in Canada, anyway. It was at a Robbie Burns Day celebration in the small town of Ayr, and if I remember correctly, the haggis was from a specialty shop in Hamilton, Ontario. There was an old guy in a kilt who recited “Address to a Haggis” and, at the appropriate moment, stabbed the haggis with a dagger to let the “gushing entrails” spill forth, “warm-reekin, rich!” What little I got was delicious but years later, I don’t remember the details of exactly how it tasted. I have every reason to believe it was stuffed in a sheep’s stomach and the “entrails” involved heart, lungs, kidneys and assorted other parts I prefer not to think too much about.

This is not that kind of haggis.

This haggis was inspired by my friends Dan and Meredith, who had/have a food blog called The Haggis and the Herring, a name that brings together their respective British and Jewish heritages in the sort of cultural mashup I love. Dan, sadly, died suddenly about a year and a half ago, and his brother Abisaac, who runs the blog Gluten Free Edmonton (it’s sheer coincidence that Abisaac’s wife is celiac and that Edmonton is my hometown – I didn’t meet Dan there), posted a slow cooker haggis recipe in memory of Dan on The Haggis and the Herring.

My haggis too is for you, Dan. I miss you. Continue reading