Welcome to my crazy world of real food cooking ...

Eat Food. Not too much. Mostly Plants. -- Michael Pollan

I wish I could take credit for that because I think it sums up how we should eat. Simply -- eat stuff that really is food, instead of stuff that is food like substance. The supermarket is almost entirely food-like-substances, and, my friends, you should probably never ever eat them.

Fortunately, there is a world of deliciousness out there, and it can all be had in a way that not only doesn't harm your health, but in a way that benefits you hugely.

I think it's important to eat stuff that satisfies you, that keeps your blood sugar stable, and that gives you stuff your body really needs to run optimally.

But baby, it's gotta taste good.

I really like getting experimental in the kitchen. I love cooking, I love layering flavours, and I love coming up with really super yummy food. I have very strong opinions about what constitutes food, and there are a lot of things I won't touch in the kitchen. Bottom line? Pretty much everything I make is ridiculously good for you even if it tastes decadent. Although there are occasional big fat cheats ... but even those stick to real food, my friends.

For food that is usual gluten free, usually free of cane sugar, usually super low on the glycemic index, full of protein, fiber, flavour, and excellent energy, join me and Alice down the rabbit hole.

Every recipe on this blog is my own original effort and idea, so please pass 'em on, giving credit where credit is due.

Many thanks, and come back often. I'm really glad you are here!


Thursday, 28 April 2011

Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Baby Cakes -- Don't blink, because they'll be gone!

I whipped these little cuties up in just a few minutes. They are mostly virtuous, but just a little naughty. Sound like anyone you know? The chocolate is our usual fave, callebaut, which makes no excuses. It is a fabulously balanced tasting dark chocolate chip that I can't recommend highly enough. If you've never had the pleasure and are a chocolate lover, you might like to check it out. Callebaut also makes organic fair-trade chocolate, but I've yet to come across it. When it comes to a cake like this, or even chocolate chip cookies, I would absolutely recommend using the best quality chocolate you can get your hands on. The taste makes all the difference in the world. And real, good quality chocolate is a super-food. Which makes it guilt free, right? ;)

These cakes are full of blood-sugar stabilizing ingredients such as chia seeds and high protein flours. The sweeteners in these cakes are agave and coconut sugar. I chose agave for its uncomplicated and bright sweetness, but just used 2 tbsp of it. The addition of 2 tbsp of coconut sugar gives a darker sweetness with more depth and more complex flavours. That works out to 1/2 tsp of coconut sugar and 1/2 tsp of agave in each cake.

I know that people with blood sugar issues such as hypo-glycemia or diabetes need to be careful when indulging in sweets. However, with the small amount of sugar in dark chocolate and the small amount of agave and coconut sugar added to this recipe, the sweeteners are well offset by the protein rich ingredients and the chia. If you are very sensitive, you could safely halve the quantity of chocolate in the cakes. The cakes are too chocolaty for me the way they are, but my boys -- chocolate lovers both -- were very happy with them.

Also, I ran out of eggs, so instead of 2, I used 1 and 1 tsp egg replacer. OOPS.


2 tbps extra virgin coconut oil
3/4 cup warm water
1 egg
1 tsp egg replacer + 1/4 cup cool water (combined)
1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbps clear agave
2 tbsp coconut sugar

1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp ceylon cinnamon
1 tsp ground vanilla bean

2 tbsp ground chia
1 cup almond meal
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp coconut flour

1/4 - 1/2 cup chocolate morsels (Callebaut!)


preheat the oven to 345

1. combine the coconut oil and the warm water to melt the oil
2. add the agave and coconut sugar
3. add the vinegar
4. make sure the mixture is no longer warm and beat in the egg
5. mix in the egg replacer and water
6. stir in the salt, vanilla, and cinnamon
7. add the chia
8. add the almond flour
9. add the baking soda
10. add the coconut flour
11. add the chocolate morsels
12. scoop into prepared muffin cups, and bake at 345 for 37-40 minutes in the upper half of the oven

makes 12 cakes

Gluten free cakes of this ilk are fragile, and need to cool in their cups for a while before they are taken out onto a cooling rack. Store in an air-tight container in the fridge ... but don't blink ...

Baked Apple With Pecan 'Crumble' -- Gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, cane sugar free

I'm an incurable, calculating, and at times slightly fanatical apple lover.  In short, there have been days when I've loved apples not wisely but too well. Fortunately, my days of indiscriminate apple loving are over, and now I just love 'em in a good old fashioned amiable apple way. I don't even eat an apple a day anymore. How times have changed.

One of the nice things about apples is how well they keep. It's pretty much possible to always have apples on hand as a staple without them easily going bad.

Plus, who doesn't love apple pie, apple crisp, or apple crumble? Or apple slices dipped in a mixture of almond butter and coconut oil? Or just fresh apple ... :)

For the purposes of our brunch, I wanted to make some baked apple. The recipe is slightly different than last baked apple recipe. Also, it includes the addition of an optional topping, made with pecan meal, coconut sugar, and cinnamon. The problem that I have with apple crisp is how uncrisp the topping is the next day if you have leftovers.  This way, the topping can be sprinkled on at any time, and enjoyed for breakfast or for dessert. There you have it. Please feel free to scoff at my gluttonly ways.

Toasted Ground Pecans with Cinnamon and Coconut sugar -- as good as it sounds.
toasted pecan topping recipe:


1/2 cup pecan meal
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp sea salt
 2 tbsp coconut sugar


1. toast the pecan meal with the sea salt and cinnamon over low heat in a dry skillet (I used a ceramic one)
2. once the pecan meal has been thoroughly toasted, add the coconut sugar, and toast a little longer
3. be careful not to let the mixture stick or burn once the coconut sugar has been added
4. serve with baked apple (recipe below)

baked apple recipe:


6 large apples, washed and cored, but not peeled (I used 4 royal galas, 1 piƱata, and 1 pink lady)
1/2 cup organic thompson raisins
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ceylon cinnamon
1 tsp ground vanilla bean
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 pinch sea salt
1 tbsp extra virgin coconut oil


preheat the oven to 345

1. choose a large casserole or dutch oven, put the coconut oil in, and put it in the oven for 5 minutes while you begin cutting the apples
2. toss the chopped apples in the casserole or dutch oven with the melted coconut oil and lemon juice
3. add the spices and pinch of salt, and toss well
4. cover and bake at 345 for 60 minutes in the upper half of the oven. If need be, remove the cover and bake for 20 or 30 minutes open. I found in my big cast iron Nemesis, the apples were not done enough, and there was too much liquid after 60 minutes covered, so 30 more minutes uncovered did the trick nicely.
5. serve the baked apple with a generous layer of the pecan topping on it, or by itself. It's delicious either way.

Vegetable and Bean Salad -- naturally gluten free, dairy free, and vegan

 I've been full-scale into chopped veggie salads lately. I used to crave leafy green salads, and wanted to eat them every day. Then, when I was pregnant with my son, I had such a profound adversion to salad that just the smell of it brought on an immediate gag reflex. Sadly, I've never regained my previous adoration of the humble leaf. So, I do enjoy it from time to time, but it's no longer something I want everyday, and I've found myself preferring cooked greens to raw. The honeymoon is clearly over, but a new relationship has developed.

So, now I really like chopped up salads of whatever veggies are handy, and I like throwing in whatever beans are in the fridge (or freezer -- that's why it's so handy to freeze 'em in small quantity packages like a cup or two). Plus, these seem to go over really well with everyone in my family. It seems to be much easier to get my three year old to eat something like this than a bowl of leafy greens, which he enjoys for a few bites but then loses interest in. I will often throw in left over cooked veggies like cauliflower or broccoli -- or you could use asparagus if you are a fan. I've also been using steamed green peas (because unfortunately they are not fresh sweet peas, but rather gulag peas from my stock of organic veg in the freezer).

Nice thing, too, is the leftover are great the next day if you make too much.


1 avocado (1 cup chopped)
1 pint grape tomatoes (1 1/2 cups chopped)
3/4 cup finely sliced celery
3/4 cup finely sliced carrots
3/4 cup black eyed peas
1/2 cup chick peas

1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tbsp raw honey
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp chili powder
black pepper


1. combine the cut up veg and the beans, except for the avocado -- mix that in after the major tossing has been done
2. add the seasonings, and toss really well
3. adjust for taste
4. add the avocado and mix gently to combine

We don't always have avocado, and anyway I've found that steamed cauliflower is a delight in this salad.  As is broccoli. Go crazy, kids.

Gluten Free Maple Coffee Cake Baby Cakes

I decided to revamp one of our favourites. This coffee cake has no dairy, no gluten, and no agave. Instead, it has almond and coconut flours, and is sweetened with a little maple syrup. Not being a big maple syrup fan myself, I'm not convinced this is an improvement. ;) However, if you like maple, then this lightly maple flavoured cake might well be for you. It is a dairy free and gluten-free confection, and the stultifying powers of the coconut flour are mitigated by the charm of vanilla and sass of cinnamon. A teensy bit of apple cider vinegar helps hit that high note, allowing the flavours to all balance beautifully. And of course the moistness engendered by the coconut flour allows you to enjoy these cakes for days and days and days and days ... provided, of course, that they last that long. Lots of protein means this snack keeps blood sugar stable, and is pretty good even for the sugar sensitive.



2 tbsp extra virgin coconut oil
3/4 cup warm water
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 eggs

1 1/2 tsp ground vanilla bean (or 1 tbsp extract)
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp ceylon cinnamon
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
black pepper (not too much, and freshly ground)

1 cup almond flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup coconut flour

1/4 cup organic thompson raisins
1/4 cup chopped pecans

** and coconut sugar and cinnamon to sprinkle on top **


preheat the oven to 345

1. combine the water and coconut oil to melt the oil
2. add the maple syrup and vinegar
3. add the eggs
4. add the salt, vanilla, pepper, ginger, and cinnamons
5. add the almond flour
6. add the baking soda
7. add the coconut flour
8. add the raisins and pecans
9. scoop into prepared muffin cups, and sprinkle a little cinnamon and coconut sugar on top of each one
10. bake at 345 for 35 minutes in the upper half of the oven
11. makes 12 muffins, so make sure you share them with maple lovers

Savoury Gluten-Free Polenta Baby Cakes -- Sauteed Tomato with Corn

In our dairy-free and gluten-free theme, I made these savoury corn muffins. I started with grape tomatoes, which I sauteed into submission with minced garlic, finely chopped onion, and some carrot for sweetness. A little chili powder, sea salt, and marjoram jump up the flavour to mouth-party. I thought these would be a nice little brunch treat, especially because I don't prefer a lot of sweet flavours myself. So, yes, I was really just indulging myself. The almond meal, flax seed, organic eggs, and coconut flour make these little cuties practically a meal in themselves along with all the sauteed veggies. Or at least a tasty and guilt free snack. Great with soup or salad for a light lunch or dinner, too, in the summer. 

The sauteed tomatoes that I did up are pretty much a sauce, and any extras would go very nicely on our green pasta recipe -- which it did that very night. ;)

sauteed tomato recipe:


1 tbsp extra virgin coconut oil
1 tbsp finely minced garlic
1/2 cup finely diced onion
1/4 cup finely chopped carrot
300 g finely chopped tomatoes (I used a combination of grape and vine tomatoes, because that's what I had)

1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tbsp marjoram


1. saute the garlic and onion with the coconut oil until translucent
2. add the carrot and the tomato, sea salt, and herbs, and saute until well thrashed and reduced

This recipe makes 1 cup

polenta muffin recipe:


2 tbsp extra virgin coconut oil
1 cup warm water
1/2 cup sauce (from above)
2 organic eggs

1/2 - 3/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp chili powder
1 tsp marjoram
1 tbsp nutritional yeast

2 tbsp ground flax
2 tbsp ground chia
1/2 cup almond flour
1/4 cup stoneground organic corn meal
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp coconut flour

1/2 cup corn kernels (organic)


1. preheat the oven to 345
2. combine the warm water and coconut oil to melt the oil
3. mix in the sauce (make sure it's cool)
4. mix in the eggs (make sure the mixture is not too warm before doing so)
5. add the herbs, spices, and sea salt
6. add the flax and chia meal
7. add the almond flour and corn meal
8. add the baking soda
9. add the coconut flour
10. stir in the corn kernels, and scoop the batter into prepared muffin cups
11. bake at 345 for 30 minutes

makes 12 muffins

Monday, 25 April 2011

Lovely Brunch with Friends -- Recipes to follow

We had the great good fortune to have friends over for brunch the other day. It was one of those get-togthers where -- despite years having past since the last -- it's like no time has gone by at all. In short -- it was lovely. Lovely, good, kind people. Lovely children. Lovely tea. Lovely food. That's all it takes for a lovely time. Lovely :)

If you would like to come over for brunch, just let me know. We love brunch.

gluten free savoury baby cakes

gluten free maple coffee cake baby cakes

chopped vegetable and bean salad

baked apple

before the feast began

after ...

all that was left ;)

Friday, 22 April 2011

Roasted Vegetables Layered with Goat Cheese and Ricotta -- naturally gluten free

For this dish, I was inspired by my cousin Emily, queen of all things sandwich, and by 
The Chubby Vegetarian. Hello ...  Just when I was thinkin' I was unique and creative, in walks the Chubby Vegetarian and his grilled vegetable terrine. ;)

Now, I didn't end up making a terrine, nor did I barbecue. I don't even have a barbecue. Sorry. I hope that didn't make you cover your eyes in disgust. What I did instead was oven roast my sliced vegetables until they were reduced in water content and very sweet, simmer down my grape tomatoes until they were reduced and vivacious, and drain both my ricotta and my spinach very well. So, I started with very little moisture in my dish, and didn't need to press it out. I layered vegetables with goat cheese, and with ricotta, and then baked it all for a couple of hours.

The results were a many layered affair with a symphony of flavour and colours. Pretty, and yummy.

I used a 12 inch springform pan (those are those cool ones that have the detachable base so you can easily remove whatever you bake in it) lined with a circle of parchment and coated well with coconut oil. Regardless of what kind of pan you use -- springform, loaf, square, etc -- I advise liberal application of coconut oil and lining the bottom with parchment. Anytime you need to remove something from a pan (such as a cake or this baked vegetable and goat cheese layered thingy), I would highly recommend lining the bottom or base with parchment and liberally coating the pan with coconut oil.

Now, when you look at the directions below, it might seem like a lot of work. But if you slice and roast your veggies one day, saute your tomatoes another, and then finally mix up your cheese mixtures and assemble your layers, it really isn't a lot of work in one go. Which is important if, like me, you can rarely rely on large chunks of time. The baking itself took 2 hours, so you need to set aside enough time for that before serving the dish.


3 medium red peppers, cut in half with the guts removed
2 very large or 3 medium yellow peppers, cut in half with the seeds removed
3 chinese eggpants, sliced about 1/2 cm thick, lengthwise
4 enormous portobello mushrooms, stems removed, and stems and caps sliced about 1/2 cm thick

goat cheese and sundried tomato mixture:
300 g goat cheese
1 1/2 oz sundried tomatoes, finely chopped
2 organic eggs (large)

ricotta and spinach mixture:
1 lb of ricotta, drained in a towel while weighted down
300 g of spinach (either blanched and squeezed dry, or defrosted and squeezed dry)
2 organic eggs (large)
1 tsp sea salt
black pepper
dash nutmeg

grape tomato sauce:
4 pints grape tomatoes, quartered
2 tbsp garlic, finely minced
3/4 cup onion, finley chopped
2 tbsp coconut oil
2 tsp marjoram
2 tsp oregano
1 tsp sea salt
black pepper


1. place the mushrooms, peppers, and eggplants on individual baking sheets. Brush with coconut oil and sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt. Bake at 345 for 60 minutes, or until done and a little reduced. You don't want to have too much liquid in your layered vegetable dish. After your peppers are roasted, you will have to peel and slice them. If they are cooked enough, the peeling is very very easy.
2. To make your sauteed grape tomato sauce: saute your garlic and onions in coconut oil, then add your tomatoes and seasonings, and simmer until reduced.
3. To make your goat cheese and sundried tomato mixture: chop your sundried tomatoes in your food processor, then add your eggs and goat cheese and process until well combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste. My sundried tomatoes were salty, so I needed no salt.
4. To make your spinach and ricotta mixture: chop your spinach in your food processor, then add your eggs and ricotta cheese and seasonings to taste, and process until smooth.
5. Assemble your layers. Mine were as follows:
a) I made an interesting pattern on the bottom layer using the portobellos. Because, once the dish is done, I will invert the whole thing onto a platter, and presto the bottom layer will be the top layer.
b) I layered 1/2 of the spinach and ricotta mixture. This would have been a little easier if the mixture wasn't quite so dry ...
c) next, a layer of eggplant
d) 1/2 of the sauteed tomato mixture
e) 1/2 the spinach and ricotta mixture
f) the red peppers
g) the goat cheese and sundried tomato mixture
h) a layer of eggplant
i) 1/2 the sauteed tomato mixture
j) the yellow peppers

I sprinkled a little balsamic vinegar and sea salt on the top layer of yellow peppers. Now, you can layer yours however pleases you. This just worked for me. And you can mix it up, use different veggies, go crazy. Whatever.

6. Store the compiled layers in the fridge until you are ready to bake it. 
7. bake at 345 for 2 hours in the top half of the oven
8. allow to cool fully, then invert onto a large plate or platter

the finished layers, ready to go into the fridge

arial view ...

after baking!

sorry, too many pictures ...

inverted onto a plate

a vegetarian feast!

ready to cut into it ...

Delectable, savoury layers


Matza -- It may not be kosher, but it is unleavened, and it tastes great

For those of you who do not know, matza's nickname is 'the bread of affliction'. The reason we eat unleavened bread at Passover is because the Israelites were in such a hurry to flee slavery under Pharoah that they didn't have time for their bread to rise. Now that's affliction.

When the first batch came out of the oven, my husband broke off a piece and popped it in his mouth. He then shook his head and said: "This bread does not taste like oppression."

Thanks, Erin, for directing a recipe for homemade matza my way. This is a variation on it, because being me, I can never leave well enough alone. I always have to make it my own. Make it bigger, better, faster.  Instead  of using white flour and olive oil, I used kamut and coconut oil. And other things. Additionally, my flour has not at any time been blessed by a Rabbi, nor will it ever be. Then again, I'm such a sinner it probably wouldn't matter anyway ...

This matza is dead easy. You put the dry ingredients and oil in the food processor, and pulse to combine. Then you drizzle in just enough water so that it forms a ball. 

You then divide the batch into 12, roll them out super thin, prick them all over with a fork, and optionally sprinkle them with sea salt before baking.

I think next year I will add a cup of almond meal, for texture and taste.


2 cups kamut flour (whole grain please)
1/4 cup extra virgin organic coconut oil
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup water


preheat the oven to 375

1. put the flour, sea salt, and coconut oil in a food processor, and pulse to combine
2. turn on the processor, and drizzle in water just until it forms a ball. Do not add too much water!!
3. divide the dough into 12 pieces. 
4. roll each piece until it is super thin. Place it on a lined baking sheet and prick it all over with a fork (and optionally sprinkle with a little more sea salt)
5. bake it for 10 minutes, or until crisp and browned.
6. store in an airtight container

variation chili: 
1. increase the sea salt by 1/2 tsp (total 1 tsp)
2. add 1 tsp chili powder
3. add 1/4 -1/2 tsp granulated garlic
4. add 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
5. add 1 tsp marjoram

variation oregano:
1. increase the sea salt by 1/2 tsp (total 1 tsp)
2. add 1 tbsp oregano
3. add 1/4 tsp granulated garlic
4. add 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

my matza has oregano
my matza has heat ...

Leek and Vegetable broth for Matza Ball Soup

Broth by any other name is still soup, so don't sweat it. Soup's easy once you get the hang of it. The secret to soup is that there is lots of water, so you need to layer your flavours in there, and don't skimp on the salt. Don't over salt, but also don't under salt. Because under salted broth has a whole lot in common with warm dish-water ... Enough said.

A bunch of organic leeks beckoned to me, taunting me with how great they'd taste in a broth. I chose to believe them. The cool thing about leeks is how buttery the tender parts get when you saute them in coconut oil. And how flavourful the fibrous green parts are when you boil them in your broth. You just have to remember to remove them before serving.


2 cup celery, sliced
2 cup carrots, sliced
1 bunch of leeks, well washed (leeks can have a lot of dirt between the layers). Slice the 'whites' thinly, and leave the 'greens' in large pieces
4 tbsp coconut oil

4 tsp sea salt
black pepper

12 cups filtered water


1. put the leek greens in a large pot with 12 cups of boiling water
2. simmer the leek greens for at least 30 minutes
3. saute the celery, carrots, and leeks in the coconut oil with the sea salt until they are happy and sweaty
4. add the sauteed veggies and simmer for around 20 minutes
5. remove the leek greens
6. your broth is now ready!
7. before serving, reheat it with the matza balls in it.
8. put one matza ball in a bowl, ladel soup over it, and garnish generously and foolishly with copious amounts of parsley from your window garden

Matza Balls -- the whole-foods, vegetarian version

Who doesn't love matza ball soup? So what if it's chicken soup and you're a vegetarian? It's a taste of childhood. Eat, eat, it's good for you. At least that is what your bubbi will tell you. Or your auntie Voula who might just make it out of lamb. Fear not, for those who eschew meat, there is a perfectly good way to make both the broth and the matza balls that doesn't involve anything that ever had a face -- except for the person making it, who probably has one. I'm going to go with most likely.

For the broth we made, please check out the Leek and Vegetable Broth for Matza Ball Soup. This broth rocks, and is delicious and easy.

The matza balls are super easy too. There are very complicated ways to make matza balls if you want to look for one. I adapted my recipe after doing much research. I make it with whole wheat matza that I turn into matza meal using the food processor. However, if you have a source for whole wheat matza meal that comes in a box, be my guest. Or if you are more traditional than me, you can always go for the white matza meal. But you know me. I'm a bit of a white-food-a-phobe. (Or should I say a lot ...)

In my recipe, I added 1/2 cup of almond meal, which is entire optional. I should tell you that the addition doesn't seem to affect the taste or the texture in an adverse way, and we've had them both with and without. So, if you are a nut-phobe or allergic, or don't have any almond meal, you can happily skip it with equally gracious results.


1 cup whole wheat matza meal (approx 5 sheets of commercial square matza in the food processor if you don't have matza meal)
1/8 tsp granulated garlic
1/2 tsp vegetarian bouillion (optional -- if you use one, choose one without msg)
plenty of black pepper
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tbsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp marjoram
1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar (optional)
4 eggs
1/4 cup extra virgin coconut oil
1/2 cup almond meal (optional)


1. combine the matza meal with the seasonings
2. stir in the coconut oil and the beaten eggs
3. add the optional apple cider vinegar and almond meal if you are using them
4. allow this concoction to sit in the fridge for about 30 minutes
5. roll the batter into balls (they will get bigger when you boil them). I made 18, and they seemed like a good size when cooked.
6. boil the finished matza balls in water for 40 minutes. Remove carefully with a slotted spoon.
7. store the drained matza balls in an airtight container without any addition liquid.
8. before serving, reheat the matza balls in the broth. This will allow them to absorb some of the broth flavours. Yummy.