This blog is all about Food. Real Food. Food that Nourishes, Heart and Soul.

Real Ingredients, Organic and Locally sourced whenever and where ever possible, shared with love.

No packages, no ingredients that are impossible to pronounce.

Real, honest food, from my kitchen to yours. Enjoy!

Monday, 13 June 2016

Gluten Free Rhubarb Crisp

I love rhubarb. It has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. My Grandma Pringle had a large lovely row of rhubarb growing in her garden every spring (along with a cherry tree that grew two kinds of cherries, gooseberries, and the most wonderful black raspberries ever!!) Their house in the summer was the best place to visit… my brother and I spent many an hour pilfering whatever was ripe and in season at the time.  My love of both food and gardening definitely had its start in that lovely backyard of delights, and for that, I am thankful.  

This crisp is delicious. The topping has a delightfully crisp texture, and if you decide to add the pecans, they add a lovely crunch. (my eldest son prefers the version without…but he isn’t much of a nuts-in-baked-goods fan. If you like pecans, throw them in…they won’t disappoint!) Made with maple syrup, it is refined sugar free as well as gluten free!

The strawberry version is every bit as good as the straight rhubarb version. Try them both out…let me know which your favourite is!  We served ours with a nice scoop of good quality vanilla ice cream (look for one with ingredients you can pronounce!!)

Gluten Free Rhubarb Crisp

Fruit base:
8 Cups washed and chopped rhubarb (or 6 cups rhubarb and 2 cups sliced organic strawberries)
3 Tbsp arrowroot flour
¼ cup maple syrup

½ cup rice flour
1 ½ cup large flake oats
¼ cup arrowroot flour
½ tsp salt (if your butter is unsalted increase to 1 tsp)
½ cup butter (1 stick, cold!)
½ cup maple syrup
Optional: 1 cup chopped pecans (really good addition!)     
Preheat oven to 350F

Toss rhubarb (and strawberries if using) with the maple syrup and arrowroot (the first measurement) in a large 9X13 glass baking dish. Set aside.
In a medium mixing bowl, stir together all of the dry topping ingredients. 

Using a box grater, grate the stick of cold butter into the bowl, and then rub into the dry ingredients with your fingertips until it is well combined. 
Stir in maple syrup and mix again until it makes a nice thick batter. Drop by spoonful evenly across the top of the prepared fruit. 
Bake in preheated oven for 35-40 minutes, or until fruit is bubbly and topping is starting to brown and get crispy.
Remove from oven and cool slightly before serving.
Store leftovers, covered, at room temperature for a day or two, if they last that long!
When the temperatures outside soar, I love to use
my bbq as a second oven, to keep the heat
out of my kitchen!  Bricks help to
keep the heat more even,and The oven
thermometer is great for keeping an eye
on the temperature. 

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Grain Free Chunky Monkey Muffins

Oh, what a bad blogger I have been! Having not posted a brand new recipe since Christmas, I knew it was high time I got on with it! 
So, on a blustery April Sunday afternoon, baking was on the agenda, and these lovely muffins were just  begging to be blogged. Two overly ripe bananas were the starting point, and the rest just fell into place. I had intended to blend the peanut butter in with the immersion blender, but decided at the last minute that the crunchy peanut chunks in the peanut butter would lend a lovely texture to the muffin, and I was right! Smooth peanut butter would work as well, and if that’s all you have, don’t dismay. The flavour will still be lovely!

You will notice there is no added sugar in the batter. With two bananas, and the chocolate chunks, I think they are perfectly sweet enough. They are grain free, gluten free and dairy free too, for those who avoid dairy! Lovely for breakfast, or with an afternoon cup of tea, I hope you enjoy them as much as we did!

Grain Free Chunky Monkey Muffins

1/3 cup coconut flour
1/3 cup arrowroot flour/starch
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 ripe bananas
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 eggs
Add ins:
¾ cup crunchy peanut butter (natural, no sugar added!), at room temperature!!
¾ cup chocolate chunks (or chips...Enjoy Life are my favourite!)
Sliced fresh bananas for the tops

Preheat oven to 375F.
Line a 12 section muffin tin with parchment liners and set aside.
In a medium sized mixing bowl mix all the batter ingredients together 
with an immersion blender until well combined.
Fold in the peanut butter and the chocolate chunks with a silicone spatula 
or wooden spoon until completely mixed.
Scoop evenly into lined muffin tins, and top with sliced bananas.
Bake in preheated oven for 22-24 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Let cool in pan for 4 minutes, and then remove from pan to wire rack to cool completely.
Store leftovers at room temp for 1 day, or in the fridge for 2-3 days. Freeze for longer storage. 

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Gluten Free Shortbread Cookies

These cookies were created for two reasons. First: they are the 12th post for my holiday “12 Days of Cookies” on my Facebook recipe page (I saved the best ‘til last!)  Second: they are one of my husband’s favourite kinds of cookies, and I thought it would be a nice Christmas gift for him! 

I sweetened them with pure dark Maple syrup, and the flavour, while not quite traditional, is divine!

As for making them grain free, as is more the norm for my baking, that was a struggle. I couldn’t seem to strike the right combo of ingredients. But, when I added in the rice flour (which is still a traditional shortbread ingredient) the whole cookie came together beautifully. Chill the dough thoroughly to make rolling out a breeze!

They do make a very tender cookie, so take care when handling the finished product, as I had a few that broke when I was plating them for a gathering.Let them cool completely before attempting to move them at all...unless you are taste testing of course!!

Gluten Free Shortbread Cookies

1 cup Butter, room temp
½ cup Maple syrup
1 ½ cups Arrowroot flour (plus a bit more for rolling out the dough
1 c white rice flour
Pinch salt

Preheat oven to 350F

Cream the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer until nice and creamy. 
Add the maple syrup and mix until well blended.
Turn mixer off, add flours and salt, turn mixer on low (to avoid a large cloud of dust!!) and mix until it all comes together into a nice dough. 
Do not over-mix!
Shape dough quickly into a disk and refrigerate for 
at least 30 minutes or until firm.
On a lightly  arrowroot or rice floured board or piece of waxed paper, roll out dough into a ¼ inch flat disc. Cut into desired shapes, re-rolling scraps(and chilling if needed) until all is used up.  
Carefully place on parchment lined cookie sheet, prick with fork 
if desired for a more traditional look.
Bake in preheated oven for 12-13 minutes or until they just slightly start to turn brown at the edges.
(You don’t want much colour at all!!)
Carefully remove from pan and let cool on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container on the counter for a few days, or in the freezer for longer storage.

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Grain Free Maple Pecan Cookies

These little beauties are made start to finish in a food processor. If you don’t have access to one, you could use your blender to process your pecans, just pulse until they are fairly uniformly ground. (If you go too far they will become pecan butter!)They keep well at room temperature for a few days, and freeze wonderfully too. 

Grain Free Maple Pecan Cookies

1 cup pecans
¼ cup butter, slightly softened
½ cup arrowroot flour
3 Tbsp coconut flour
2 Tbsp maple syrup
2-3 Tbsp coconut sugar (use 3 for a slightly sweeter version)
½ tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon

In the bowl of a food processor measure your pecans and pulse until they are fairly fine crumbs. You still want them dry, if you process too much you will make pecan butter!
Measure in the rest of the ingredients and pulse until it all comes together into a sticky dough.
Scrape out of food processor onto a plate or bowl, and chill for 30 min plus to firm up the dough.

Preheat oven to 350F

Roll chilled dough into balls and palace on parchment covered cookie sheet. Press a pecan into the top of the ball and bake in preheated oven for 10 -12 minutes. Cool on wire rack. Keep leftovers in airtight container for a few days, or freeze for later use. 

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Grain Free Maple Bacon Cookies with Thyme

These grain free lovelies are a palate pleasing combination of sweet and savory. The bacon marries the maple syrup and thyme into a wonderfully different cookie, in a very good way. Use dried thyme if you must, but try to find fresh if you can!  If you don’t have bacon fat, you can sub in a good quality lard, coconut oil or butter, but the bacon fat contributes to the uniqueness of the cookie!

Grain Free Maple Bacon Cookies with Thyme

1 cup almond flour
½ cup arrowroot flour
1 Tbsp coconut flour
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
Pinch of salt
¼ cup dark (grade b or c) maple syrup
¼ cup cooled bacon fat
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves, woody stem and big peices removed, (sub ½ tsp dried thyme)
¼ cup + 2 Tbsp diced precooked bacon, separated.

Preheat oven to 350F

Whisk dry ingredients in medium mixing bowl. Add bacon fat and maple syrup,
 and mix with wooden spoon until well combined.
Fresh thyme has a bigger flavour profile than dried, try and find it if you can!
Luckily I still have some in the garden :)

 Add the fresh thyme and the  ¼ cup diced bacon and mix in well. Dough should be slightly sticky.
Using 2 spoons place approx 1 tbsp cookie dough on pan,
Top with a smidgen of the leftover bacon, pressing down slightly into the top of the dough to secure. 

Bake in preheated oven for 12-13 minutes or until the edges start to brown.
Remove to a wire rack to cool. 
Store any leftovers in the fridge for a few days or freezer for a few months,
if you can keep them that long!

Makes approx 16-18 cookies.
I keep bacon drippings in an empty jam or mason jar
in the fridge until I have enough to use

Friday, 11 December 2015

Grain Free Baguette

This recipe has been a work in progress since the end of September. We were taking a much needed break in the Fingerlakes with our wonderful friends. We planned a 4 day escape and rented a lakeside cottage over one of the most beautiful fall weekends you could ask for.  We hiked Watkins Glen, and had some absolutely delicious meals! (in a cottage with hodge podge of kitchen implements, it was a bit of a challenge to cook!) But, we succeeded in creating some memorable meals, and enjoyed some very much needed time away.

Our view from the deck
Watkins Glen has to be one of the
most beautiful places I have been!
renamed this one "flatbread"
Anyhoo, the whole grain free baguette quest started with a trip to Wegmans (Have you been to Wegmans?? What an amazing grocery experience!! We need Wegmans in Canada!!)We picked up a frozen Against The Grain baguette to go with dinner one night. It was pretty darn tasty, and you would honestly never know it was grain free. Which, of course, made me want to make it myself. Easy peasy…or so I thought….(those of you who follow my Facebook page may remember some of these...)

Dense! But the right shape!!
This one went straight in the trash :(
Well, multiple tries and multiple fails later, I FINALLY came up with a winner! Taste, texture and look, it has it all. It has a great shelf life for grain free as well.  It keeps well for 4 days on the counter in an airtight container, and freezes like a dream. I have toasted it as crostini, used it as a bruschetta base, and have enjoyed multiple slices with a simple skim of butter. It does not disappoint!

In all my trials I have used multiple different types of cheese, and I find ones with less moisture content work best, like a grana padano (my fav) or parmesan. That being said, I have used cheddar, asiago and mozzarella as well with good results.

My favorite cooking method is on my pizza stone in the oven, and while it gives the crust a bit more crunch, it is not absolutely necessary if you do not have one. I have used a sheet pan as well, and it works just fine.
The dark interior colour comes from the chia. I have a very large bag of black chia seeds right now, and all my experimenting has been with them. Using white chia would lighten up the inside of the bread although it won’t alter the taste at all. Give the seeds a quick whiz in a blender before using!

Grain Free Baguettes

1 c whole milk
½ cup avocado oil
finely grated Grana Padano
3 c tapioca starch
½ c ground chia seeds(whiz in a blender jar!)
1-1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
100g  cheese, grated with small side of grater (just shy of 1 1/2 cups, NOT packed!)

Heat milk and avocado oil on medium low heat until bubbles start to form all around the edges of the pan, approx 6 min. You want it very warm but not really boiling. 

While milk is heating, in your stand mixer with paddle attachment, mix the tapioca starch, chia, baking soda and salt on low until combined.
Add the hot milk and turn up a notch on your mixer. Let mix until the mixture becomes a fairly smooth dough. Continue mixing until the dough becomes cooler to the touch.
When the dough is cooler, add the vinegar, and the eggs, one at a time, letting them combine somewhat in between. 
Mix until the eggs are well mixed in and your dough smoothes out again. It will take a bit to mix in, but trust me, it will!!
Add the grated cheese and mix well. Turn mixer off, scrape down sides of bowl with firm spatula and mix again for 1 minute to ensure all ingredients are well combined. 
Preheat oven to 425 with rack in the middle position. If you have a pizza stone, put in oven on the middle rack before preheating.

Divide dough in half evenly and with WET hands shape into two long thin baguettes on a piece of parchment paper.  Rewet hands as needed, the dough is sticky and wet hands help greatly with the shaping of your loaves!
With a wet serrated knife, slash shallow cuts diagonally across the tops of your loaves, re-wetting knife blade if it starts to stick.
Using a pizza peel (or the back of a cookie sheet) slide your loaves (still on parchment) onto hot stone in preheated oven. (alternatively, if you have no pizza stone, place the loaves (still on parchment)  on a large sheet pan and place in preheated oven)
Bake for 25 minutes or until baguettes are nicely risen and browning. Do not under bake as it changes the inner texture of your loaf.

Remove from oven and let cool on wire racks before slicing. Store in airtight container for up to 4 days at room temp. Freezes really well.