Monthly Archives: May 2010

Gluten-free pear/chocolate upside-down cake.

This is really just a re-do of the pear and chocolate muffins from the other day as a cake, but isn’t it pretty?! (and those muffins were, again, a spin on the muffin recipe from Linux Caffe).

I used the same recipe, but I baked it, as you see, in a round springform pan which I generously buttered and sprinkled with brown sugar, and then I lay pear slices at the bottom. I also added 1/2 tsp of cinnamon and 1/4 tsp of xanthan gum to the batter, and omitted the chocolate chips. I added the xanthan gum to make sure the cake wouldn’t collapse.

I baked it for 24 minutes at 200, and I could have probably taken it out a few minutes earlier, so keep an eye on it. Leave it to cool properly before removing the ring of the springform pan and carefully flipping it onto a plate. If I had had parchment paper, I would have lined the dish with it to facilitate flipping, but it went quite smoothly as it was.

This is a surprisingly wholesome concoction for a cake, I must say. It’s vegan and gluten-free, not extremely high in either sugar or fat (partly fruit-sweetened), and not made with extremely refined starches/flours (brown rice flour is not nutritionally amazing, but it’s better than the white varieties anyway).  Additionally, because of the pears, it doesn’t require any form of frosting. And it tastes great, too!

Here it is before the flip:

And here it is afterwards:

Update 200510: I calculated the nutritional info on this, and it’s really not bad for cake. Based on 12 servings, each slice has 120 kcal: 5.2 g fat (0.5 saturated), 18.5 g carbohydrates (1.7 g fiber and 8.4 g sugar) and 1.5 g protein. Quite a guilt-free treat!


Gluten-free crackers two ways.

We picked up some pork rillettes today at Provenance on Palmerston and Dundas, which was a really lovely little delicatessen/café. They focus on local and sustainable produce, and have fish from Georgian Bay, local meats and nifty things like wild mustard and locally sourced organic flour. They served rillette samples on crostini, which is obviously not quite suitable for a gluten-free diet, so I decided to tinker a bit with potential vessels for the delicious pork rillettes.

I tested two kinds of gluten-free and reasonably healthy crackers, which both turned out alright, but I must say the chickpea one is miles above, flavor-wise. I only made a small batch as was running out of chickpea flour, but I will definitely be making them again!

Sesame crackers

  • 1 dl/100 ml soy flour
  • 1/2 dl/50 ml brown rice flour
  • 3/4 dl/75 ml sesame seeds
  • 2 tsp psyllium husks
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • water

Mix the dry ingredients and season. Add the oil, and then add water by the tablespoon until it comes together to form a thick dough. I found it quite fragile, so I didn’t dare to try to move it around too much, and I just pressed it flat onto the baking sheet and cut it into rectangles with a knife. Bake at 375F until crispy and golden (15-20 minutes?)

Rosemary chickpea crackers

Is there anything you can’t do with chickpea flour? That stuff is amazing!

  • 1 dl/100 ml chickpea flour
  • 2.5 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/2-1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • water

Mix the dry ingredients and add the oil. Carefully add a small amount of water so that it becomes a thick dough. I only needed about 1.5 Tbsp. Knead briefly and put on a floured surface (I was out of chickpea flour and used brown rice). Sprinkle a small amount of flour on top as well. Roll very thin (1.5-2 mm?), adding small amounts of flour if necessary to keep from sticking. I don’t own a rolling pin, so I just used a glass. Cut into the shapes of your choice, with a glass or cookie cutter or whatever you have handy (I used the lid of a Lock and Lock water bottle…).

Transfer to baking sheet and prick with a fork. Bake at 375 F until they are crispy and a couple of shades darker, keeping an eye on them. About 12 mins?

Enjoy as is or with a topping of your choice. We’re going for rillettes!

Update: We followed up our crackers and rillettes with pan-seared splake (a sort of trout), roasted little potatoes and a salad of mache, fennel and orange. Yum!

Decadent chocolate pear muffins.

I hesitate to call these muffins, because they are so cakey and decadent. They are definitely a dessert kind of muffin, and they are vegan and gluten-free! Relatively low in fat etc too. I have, again, adapted the stellar muffin recipe from Linux Caffe. They taste like really delicious chocolate cake with pear in it (rest assured, they do not taste like buckwheat in the least!). I wonder if it would work as a cake as well, but I am afraid it won’t have enough “rise” in it, being gluten-free. Perfect as muffins though!

The picture does not do them justice — I baked them a bit too late at night and light conditions were less than ideal. Take my word for it — they are amazing!

Gluten-free, vegan chocolate pear muffins

  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup minus 3 tbsp buckwheat flour (measure 1/2 cup and then remove 3 tbsp)
  • 3 heaped tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder (you can eyeball this, but cut about as much buckwheat flour as you add cocoa to maintain the correct ratio)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • half a banana
  • 1/5 cup oil
  • 100 ml orange juice
  • 60-70 ml non-dairy milk of your choice (I used EdenBlend Soy and Rice)
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 pear
  • 40 g chopped dark chocolate (I used an extremely dark 80-something % one which I find too bitter to eat, but which worked well here because of the sweetness of the cake)

Sift all the dry ingredients together to introduce air.

Using a blender or immersion blender, thoroughly mix the wet ingredients, making sure there are no chunks of banana.

Cut about 10-12 little pear slices for decoration, see the picture. Chop the rest of the pear into small chunks. Chop the chocolate into small chunks (or use chocolate chips).

Mix the wet with the dry ingredients, and fold in pear chunks and chocolate. Spoon into muffin cups and decorate the top with a pear slice.

Bake at 200C/400F for 25-30 minutes, until knife comes out clean.

Parsnip apple soup.

I finally replaced my broken immersion blender! So now I am going nuts and making all kinds of mushy things: super velvety guacamole, white bean dip, pesto… And today, soup. This is simple, quite quick, and creamy (though non-dairy and low fat). A very satisfying soup!

Parsnip apple soup

  • 2 big, fat parsnips
  • 1 apple (like Granny Smith)
  • 1 small white/yellow onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 500 ml chicken or vegetable stock, or 500 ml water and 1 stock cube (I use a low sodium stock cube from my local health food store)
  • about 150 g soft silken tofu
  • curry powder, salt, pepper

Chop the onions and garlic roughly, and start to sauté in the oil in a big pot. Peel and chop the apple and parsnips roughly, and add to the pot. Add your stock, or crumble in your stock cube and add water. Bring to a boil, simmer for about 20 mins until the veggies are softened. Use your immersion blender to puree the veggies, and then add the silken tofu. Process again. It should be smooth without any lumps, and even in color. Season to taste with a bit of curry powder, salt and pepper. The parsnip should be the dominant flavor, so don’t overdo the curry. Reheat briefly if necessary.