Tag Archives: cooking

A glutton for gluten-free

Standard
Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes

Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes (Photo credit: FamilySweetery)

So, we’re trialling a gluten-free diet in our household and one week in, we’re starting to see (or smell) a real difference.

I don’t want to lower the tone of this blog, but I can tell you that the eldest child is experiencing a lot fewer . . . um . . . ah-hmm . . . bottom burps. There, I said it. Let’s move on.

The only stumbling block so far has been tracking down enough suitable lunch box recipes to keep the kids happy.

Despite the recommendations of several helpful websites, I will not be packing a salad nicoise with tuna for any of my kids’ lunches. I’ve already said no to kabana and vegetable kebabs and closed the door on gluten-free sushi.

I want us to eat better. Not necessarily five star.

I’ve entered a new world where quinoa reigns supreme. Pronounce that right and its sounds even fancier.

I’ve been bemoaning a lack of reading time lately but it seems the quest for gluten-free food has solved that problem as well. I can spend hours reading labels in the supermarket aisles and still leave with just one or two things.

But we are not starving! Bags of rice have invaded our kitchen cupboards. Corn crumbs, corn flakes and cornflour have taken up residence in every other cabinet. Gone are the ready-made chicken strips, pies and cakes. I’m cooking again.

And with a bit of luck and some perseverance, we might just be a little healthier for it.

PS If you can recommend any good gluten-free sites, let me know. Much appreciated! 🙂

Advertisements

Oh, Miguel! Where are you?

Standard
P3101501

P3101501 (Photo credit: a_b_normal123)

I didn’t plan it this way. When I woke up this morning, it didn’t even cross my mind. But just a few hours later I found myself standing in line buying a book I didn’t want, just to get an autograph I never knew I needed.

Perhaps it was the delectable Spanish accent that kept me waiting in line for so long. Maybe it was the whole tall-dark-handsome thing or the roguish smile and cheeky sense of humour.

All I know is that I paid $30 for a book about Spanish cooking that I will probably never use. And let’s face it – this is no audio-book. So we don’t even get to hear that Spanish-English accent that makes Miguel Maestre so appealing.

That said, my kids were pretty chuffed about meeting a celebrity chef. So we stood in line as countless women before us got the kiss on both cheeks and the signature we so desperately wanted.

Then it was our turn. Miguel Maestre stood before us, pen in hand, smile at the ready. But before he could reach for our book, there was a whisper in his ear. He was needed for a taste-test. Could we wait just a minute?

“Sure,” I said. The kids had waited this long, a few more minutes wouldn’t kill us.

Moments passed and a woman appeared where Miguel should have been. He was going to be another hour. The taste-test had turned into a cook-off. Could we come back?

Probably not, I thought to myself. “Sure,” I said and turned away.

The couple behind me stepped forward. “Oh, but we’re leaving,” they gushed. “Could we just get his autograph?”

“Follow me,” said the woman while I stood back, just a little bit annoyed.

Minutes later, the couple re-appeared. He was smiling. She was glowing. What on earth had gone on back there?

Having never planned to buy Miguel’s book, much less get his autograph, I was now oddly peeved.

What to do? I gave up. There was no way I was entertaining three kids while we waited for Miguel to finish cooking.

But my husband was not so easily put off. He sat through that cooking demonstration, lined up with the throngs of excited fans and got that autograph.

The only thing he didn’t get was the double kiss. Oh well. The book is signed. It’s on a shelf. Mission accomplished.

Cooking the old-fashioned way

Standard

I have a ‘new’ favourite book. But it’s not new at all. It’s from 1946 and I love everything about it.

Firstly there’s the title – ‘How to Cook Well’. No fast, furious, low-fuss cookery mania here. No boutique, chef hat, posh nosh in sight. No sir-ee. From the out-set, the author, Ann Roe Robbins, is keeping her expectations low, which suits me fine.

As it happens, we actually have a bit in common. In her preface, Ann Roe Robbins admits she never cooked until she was married. Unless you count cakes, I too was in the same boat. In between leaving home and getting married (perhaps a little longer if I’m honest) my diet consisted largely of peanut butter and honey on toast. Things improved somewhat after the nuptials but there was always a jar of peanut butter on standby in the fridge.

Around this time, I was given one good, contemporary cookbook. It covered some of the basics until I eventually inherited Ann Roe Robbins’ answer to all things culinary. It’s just what I needed. It seems she wasn’t interested in simply compiling a book of recipes. She wanted to explain why things were done the way they were done. She believed in instructions over instinct and measuring over guess-work. She wanted to share her money saving techniques and make sure her readers were eating healthy, flavoursome food.

That meant rules – always have a hot dish with every meal even in the summer; include flavour, colour and texture to ensure every meal is appetising; avoid dishes that require last minute attention, and; don’t be scared of a long list of ingredients.

Not every rule rings true today, but her enthusiasm and passion for food shines through. Ann Roe Robbins and her sky blue cookbook with its linen cover, gold embellishments and understated title would give any of today’s chefs a run for their money.