Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Almond and Raspberry Jam Squares - EXCELLENT!!!

THE BEST GLUTEN FREE TORTE IN THE WORLD!!!  Almond and Raspberry Squares

I have not been able to do a post in a while due to life's going ons, but I needed to do a quick post on this recent delicious discovery. Usually I take the time on food styling and taking the perfect shot so I apologise for this quick Iphone photo!  This tart's too good to wait and I needed to share this with everyone!!!!

This is super easy to make, and you can use your favourite flavoured jam instead of raspberry. It's also a great way to use up those big bags of Almonds from Costco.  The nutty flavour combined with the sweetness of the jam and cookie like crust is amazing.  No one will even know these are gluten free!


1 1/4 cup gluten free flour
Pinch of Xanthan gum
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp Gluten Free baking powder
1 large egg
1/2 cup unsalted butter (room temp.)
1/3 cup raspberry jam or any other favourite jam!


1 cup whole almonds
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter (room temp.)
1/2 tsp almond extract
2 large eggs

Before preparing the crust, make sure to preheat your oven to 350° degrees Fahrenheit.

Sift together the flour, sugar and baking powder. Beat the egg and add it to the flour, along with the butter. Schmush with your hands until the dough just comes together. Then gather the dough into a ball.

Place the dough inside a 9" inch non stick sheet pan or foil pan. Press the dough evenly over the bottom. Once done, spread a thin layer of the jam over the base of the dough. Chill the crust in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.

To make the filling, pulse the almonds until quite fine. If you don’t have a food processor you could also chop them by hand.

Next, cream together the sugar, room temperature butter and almond extract. Once this mixture is light and fluffy add the eggs one at a time and mix well to combine. Scrape down the sides periodically and then add the remaining egg. Gently fold in the ground almonds. Once the mixture is just combined, spoon it into the crust. Gently spread it out right to the edges.

Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through in the middle. Once done, remove from the oven and place onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

Cut into squares and serve on their own, or with cream or ice cream.  YUM!  

Monday, March 5, 2012

Balsamic Feta and Tomato Wheels - Gluten Free

These are a wonderful inexpensive side dish for entertaining or a tasty accompaniment to a variety of mains. It's also a good way to use up any stale gluten free bread you have lying around as it soaks up all the wonderful juices that release during cooking.  You can easily omit the bread crumbs if you don't have them.  It will still turn out amazingly well.

1 medium to large marrow or zuchinni
Red and yellow cherry tomatoes, organic and good quality!
Bit of Olive Oil
Bit of Balsamic Vinegar
Feta Cheese (1/2 package or so)
Sprinkle of gluten free breadcrumbs* optional
Fresh Basil
Salt to taste

Line a baking pan with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 375C or around 200F. Then cut the marrow approx 3 inch thick slices and hollow out the mushy centers, leaving only the firm flesh.   Depending on the size of the marrow, you should be left with six or seven large rings. 

Stuff each ring with 3-4 whole cherry tomatoes, a bit of basil and a light sprinkle of breadcrumbs.  Drizzle with olive oil and add about 1 tsp of balsamic vinegar to each wheel.  Finish with a pinch of salt and place in the oven for about 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes, remove from oven and add about one or two medium/large size chunks of feta cheese into each wheel.  Place the rings back into oven and continue to cook for another 20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the veggies look cooked.

Remove from oven and finish with another drizzle of olive oil, balsamic reduction* (optional) and fresh chopped basil.


Sunday, March 4, 2012

Skinny Carrot Muffins - Gluten Free, Dairy Free

I'm slowly trying to ease myself back into eating super healthy so I thought this would be a great way to get back into the swing of things.  These muffins are made with ground almonds and olive oil, instead of flour and butter.  I also used a new sugar/stevia blended sugar product in the UK from Tate+Lyle.  Stevia has been readily available in other counties but has just been approved for use in the UK.

For those of you who are not familiar with Stevia, it's a natural sweetener that comes from Stevia plants.  Stevia will not raise blood sugar levels and is pretty much calorie free.  It's extremely sweet so you don't need to use very much of it. It does have a bit of an unusual aftertaste but not unpleasant. It's a way better alternative to artificial sweeteners (in my opinion).

If you are not too concerned with sugar, just use the real deal and you'll still have a yummy snack to enjoy with your morning coffee.
2 medium grated carrots
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup dark rum
2/3 cup sugar or 1/3 cup Sugar/Stevia blend.
1/2 cup plus 2 TBSP olive oil
3 large eggs
1 cup plus 2 TBSP (9oz) ground almonds
½ tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp vanilla
½ lemon finely grated zest and juice
pinch of salt
handful of pumpkin seeds - raw and unsalted
Preheat over to 180F or 350C.

Peel and finely grate carrots, being sure to absorb any excess water with a paper towel.

Place raisins in a microwave safe dish along with the rum and microwave on high for about 30 seconds.  Let sit.

With an electric mixer, beat together oil, sugar and eggs until light and airy.  It's the air from the eggs that will make this cake rise.  Carefully fold in ground almonds, carrots, raisins with reserved rum, nutmeg, vanilla, lemon zest/juice and salt.  If your batter is on the runny side, add a bit more almonds.

Using a large muffin pan, line with paper muffin holders and fill each about 3/4 full.  Sprinkle with pumpkin seeds and bake for approx 35 minutes or until brown.  Use the toothpick test to see if they are done - toothpick should come out clean.

Let cool for a few minutes and then enjoy!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Awesome Buttermilk and Blueberry Pancakes - Gluten Free

These are so delicious and super moist, the texture and flavours are a symphony in your mouth.  Another reason to sing on Sunday mornings.

1 cup gluten free flour (I used Doves Farms)
2 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon gluten free baking powder
1 teaspoon gluten free baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup plain yogurt
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries, washed
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Combine first 6 ingredients in large bowl and whisk to blend. In another bowl, mix together buttermilk, yogurt, and egg. Add to dry ingredients and stir until just blended but still lumpy. Gently mix in 1 1/2 tablespoons melted butter and blueberries.
Heat griddle or large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Spread thin coating of butter over griddle and let melt. Working in batches, drop batter by heaping tablespoons full onto griddle, spacing apart. 

Cook until brown on bottom and bubbles form on top, about 3 minutes. Turn pancakes over and cook until bottoms are brown and pancakes are barely firm to touch. Transfer to a cookie sheet, uncovered and place in warmed oven.  Repeat with remaining batter, adding more butter to griddle as needed. 

Serve with butter and lots of REAL maple syrup!  YUMMMMM!!!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Tony Roma's inspired coleslaw - gluten free

The secret to this delicious coleslaw is the celery seed - the same secret ingredient found in Tony Roma's version.  Bring on the ribs and slaw!!!


Approx 2 cups thinly chopped green cabbage
1 carrot, peeled and grated
2-3 green onions
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/2 an apple, peeled and chopped


1/2 cup Hellmann's mayonnaise
1/4 cup low fat yogurt or sour cream
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 1/4 tsp sugar
1 tsp celery seed
1 TBSP milk 
salt and pepper to taste

Mix all dressing ingredients together and set aside.

Remove tough cabbage leaves and any woody veins.  Thinly chop and place in large bowl.  Add remaining ingredients, cover and refrigerate.  Add dressing just prior to serving.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Asian inspired beef and rice - gluten free

My 'chefy' friend likes to make this when he's sick of eating out in restaurants all the time.  He says it's his comfort food.  I can see why as it's become on of my favourites as well. 

500g ground beef
1 can cherry tomatoes
1 small onion - chopped
2 garlic cloves - chopped
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup gluten free soya sauce
1 Tsp Sambal Oelek
1 TBSP The Original Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce***
3/4 cup water

**Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce in the UK and US doesn't contain gluten whilst the CANADIAN version does contain gluten.  It's all really confusing so if you are in doubt, you can find gluten free versions out there if you look for them.

Brown ground beef until cooked through.  Drain off any excess oil and return meat back to pan.  Add chopped onion and garlic and continue to cook until onions are soft.  Add ketchup, soya sauce, Worcestershire sauce, Sambal Oelek, tinned tomatoes and about 3/4 cup of waterBring mixture to a boil then reduce heat and let simmer for about 40 minutes.

Serve on your favourite gluten free noodles or rice.

Freezes well.

Super Easy Gluten Free Appetizer - Bacon n' Dates

This is probably one of the most unattractive appetizers out there, but they are so yummy.  Just be a little creative in your presentation (or not) and they'll get eaten up in a jiffy.  The balance between sweet, salty and crunchy is totally addictive!!!

1 can waterchestnuts
1 package of smoked streaky bacon
12 or so fresh Medjool dates
Gluten Free Tamari soya sauce
Tooth picks

Cut Medjool dates in half, removing the pit.  Marinate in soya sauce for about an hour. 

While the dates are marinating, place bacon on a non stick baking sheet lined with tin foil and bake in the oven until partially cooked.  Should start to turn brown but not too firm.  Remove from oven and allow to cool. You'll finish baking later.

Take 1/2 a date, one waterchestnut and wrap with bacon.  Repeat until all done.  Place on a cookie sheet and bake at around 200F / 400C for another 10 minutes or until bacon is done.  A few minutes before removing from the oven, finish with a bit more soya sauce.

Remove from oven and serve warm. 

Super Easy Gluten Free Appetizer - Deviled Eggs

Deviled Eggs - So 1970's!  Funny thing though - is when you bring these to a party, they are usually the first thing to go.  I assume it's because they are clean eating and high in protein.

Basic Recipe (Makes 12) - see Bottom Right Image

6 hard boiled eggs, cooled and peeled.
1/4 cup Hellmann's mayo
1 dijon mustard
Salt and pepper to taste
Green onion

Carefully cut eggs in half and remove yolks.  Combine yolks with remaining ingredients until smooth.

Add finely chopped green onion and mix well.  For a nice presentation, use piping bag (or cut the end off a zip lock bag) and pipe the filling into each of the egg white halves.  Garnish with paprika and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Bacon and Egg Option.  Try adding chopped bacon for a neat alternative.  (see Top Left Image)

Super Easy Gluten Free Appetizer - Tomato and Bocconcini

I would not even call this a recipe.  But sometimes the most simple combination can create fantastic appies for parties.   Plus, they are Gluten Free anyways, and super quick/easy to make. 

Baby bocconcini
Cherry tomatoes
Fresh basil
Sea Salt
Balsamic Reduction

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Baked Tarragon Salmon - Gluten Free

This is a no-brainer recipe if you are in a rush or just plain lazy.  Serves two.

2 Boneless, skinless salmon fillets
2 TBS Hellmanns or other Gluten Free Mayo
1 Tsp Dijon Mustard
1 Tsp dried Tarragon
Gluten Free breadcrumbs (optional)

In a small bowl, combine mayo, mustard and tarragon.  Spread evenly on top of the salmon fillets so fish is covered.  Sprinkle with gluten free breadcrumbs if desired.  Bake in oven at 400F or 200C for around 20 minutes or until salmon is done.

Serve with rice or favourite greens.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Super Yummy Artichoke Dip - Low Fat, Dairy and Gluten Free

Like the title says, this is super yummy! 

1 cup canned/jarred artichokes, drained
1 TSP chopped garlic clove
1 TBSP chopped shallot
2 TBSP lemon juice
1/4 cup low fat mayo
1/4 cup tinned red or green chili's (less or more - depending on your desired heat)
1/2 cup tinned cannelloni or great northern beans (any type of soft white bean will do)
1/4 tsp dry mustard powder
pinch of salt
pinch of white pepper

In a food processor, finely chop garlic and shallot.  Add remaining ingredients and blend well.  Add artichokes and pulse until artichokes are incorporated into the mixture but don't over chop - you want to be left with some nice chunky pieces.

Garnish with a generous pinch of paprika, a squeeze of lemon and dry chili peppers (if desired). Serve with your favourite chips/cracker.


Try adding a 1/4 cup chopped spinach for another tasty healthy option. 
Substitute egg free mayo for a vegan option.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Maple Balsamic Sweet Potato Wedges

I never get sick of Sweet Potatoes.  A lovely winter indulgence to accompany a hearty stew or toss cold into your favourite salad. 

 3 - 4 sweet potatoes
1 TBSP Balsamic Vinegar
1 TBSP Maple Syrup
1 - 2 TBSP Olive Oil
Salt to taste
1 TBSP Cinnamon* optional

Peel and chop potatoes into 3" wedges.  Toss all ingredients together so potatoes are evenly covered.  Preheat oven to 400C or 200F.  Spread potatoes on pan.  Cook for about 20 minutes until they start turning brown.  Turn over and continue to cook for another 10 to 20 minutes.  The total time it will take to cook will depend on how thick your potato wedges are. 

Once done, remove from heat and serve.  These can be made up in advance an re-heated just prior to serving. 

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Gluten Free, Low Carb Mini Pizzas!

A sneaky way to get your kids to eat their veggies!  Your guests will also appreciate this healthy, low carb option as well, especially after the holidays.


1 cup cauliflower
1/4 cup shredded hard cheese (Cheddar, Parmesan or similar)
1 egg
Salt, pepper and seasonings of choice

Pizza Sauce
Fresh basil for garnish
Sea salt

In a food processor, blitz cauliflower until it forms a course mixture.

Add 1/4 cup shredded cheese, egg and seasoning of choice. I've used a head of garlic and chopped basil in this recipe.  Blitz again until all ingredients are mixed together well.

Spoonful approx 1 TBS of mixture in the bottom on a non stick bun/muffin pan. Pat down firmly ensuring the cauliflower mixture completely covers the bottom and is smooth along the sides.  Should be about 1/2 cm thick.

Bake for about 1/2 hour at around 200F degrees until brown and firm.  Careful not to burn, but make sure they are cooked long enough that they are sturdy and crispy.

Remove from oven and set aside until ready to assemble.

Place on a cookie sheet.  Add a small dab of your favourite tomato or pizza sauce.  I know, I know - it can be tempting to smother it on but too much sauce will cause your cheese and toppings to slide off.  In this case, less is better.  Add cheese (same principle - less is more!) and bake under a grill or hot oven until cheese is melted and heated through.

Garnish with chopped basil and a pinch of sea salt.  Serve hot.

You can also try making these with alternative toppings:

BBQ sauce, mozzarella and fried onions
TEX MEX, spicy tomato sauce, jalapeno peppers, cheddar
BRIE, spicy chutney
GOATS cheese, lemon zest, roasted garlic

Monday, January 23, 2012

Seared Ahi Tuna with Orange Soya Glaze

This gluten free recipe is really easy to make, healthy and delicious. Made with gluten free soya sauce, enjoy as a light snack or as an accomplishment with a light salad or rice.
  • 4 x 200g/7oz pieces of good quality ahi tuna
  • 110g/4oz orange marmalade or apricot jam
  • 1 tbsp gluten free soya sauce (like Tamari) 
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds, sightly crushed
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds, lightly crushed

Preparation method

  1. For the tuna, place the tuna onto a plate.
  2. Whisk the apricot jam or marmalade, soy sauce, coriander seeds and cumin seeds together in a bowl with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Pour the mixture over the tuna and turn it over to ensure it is well coated in the marinade.
  3. Set aside to marinade for 30 minutes.
  4. Heat a griddle pan until hot. Place the tuna onto the griddle and cook for one minute, turn it 90 degrees and cook for a further minute. Turn the fish over and cook for another 1-1½ minutes (for rare). Remove the tuna from the pan and set aside to rest for one minute. Slice into thin slices and enjoy.