Gluten free clafoutis with raspberries

Gluten free clafoutis with raspberries

As hoped, we seem to be experiencing a second wave of raspberries on our land – not as abundant as round one, but there is something so perfect about stepping outside after supper and finding just enough berries to make dessert. There isn’t always time for this kind of thing, but tonight the dog was happy to sniff around while we gathered a few hands full of berries for a clafoutis. A gluten free clafoutis, which I promised to share here recently.

I can still remember being unnerved and unsettled at the idea of baking without wheat gluten; I had spent years getting very comfortable with wheat-based baking, and I was afraid to resign myself and my family to a life without delicious baked goods. But that fear was never realized. It turned out that so many years of traditional baking made it remarkably easy to switch to different baking methods, and to question anything that I didn’t like the sound of.  Flours empty of nutritional value are something I really don’t like to use, and I spend time on any new or unfamiliar recipe figuring out how to get the most nutrition and flavour into the flour base before proceeding.

Clafoutis, a traditional French dish from the Limousin region, is essentially a baked custard with fruit (cherries, in fact – the appearance of any other fruit actually transforms it into a ‘Flaugarde’). It is easily made into a gluten free treat, as many versions make use of ground almonds, a very nutrient dense ‘flour’. Almond flour happens to be one of my favourites, along with sorghum, another nutrient rich flour. These two flours form the basis of the simple batter for my take on gluten free clafoutis:

Gluten free clafoutis with raspberries

1 1/2 cups – 2 cups of raspberries (the original Limousin version uses cherries, but it’s possible to make a delicious clafoutis with stone fruits and berries, as well as pears)
75 grams ground almonds / almond ‘flour’
2 tbs sorghum flour
5 tbs golden or brown sugar
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
250 ml table cream
1 tsp vanilla extract

Butter a baking or shallow gratin dish. Scatter with washed fruit. Combine remaining ingredients in a blender or mix rapidly by hand taking care to mix liquid into dry ingredients slowly so as to avoid clumping. Pour batter over fruit and bake in a 375F oven for approx 25-30 minutes or until the clafoutis has risen and browned lightly. Serve warm sprinkled with icing sugar.

There are many recipes for clafoutis that I consulted when putting together my own, but the BBC’s Fruit & Almond Clafoutis most closely resembles the final recipe.

Earlier this summer we had so many raspberries that we managed to freeze some and put them away for future enjoyment. Definitely one of the real gifts of summer.

Raspberries for the freezer
Raspberries for the freezer

Firing up the Ironheart: The first woodstove meal of the year

Beef stew with Guinness

It’s official, Ironheart weather is here (that’s woodstove weather, if you’re not familiar with this particular British export). We’ve had a couple of burns already this year, and yesterday I cooked our first meal of the season in the stove.

Jamie Oliver’s Beef & Ale Stew, which lends itself beautifully to a slow cook in the Ironheart, stretched over about three hours. A 350-degree conventional oven works fine too (and is what Oliver created his recipe for).

The recipe calls for stout or Guinness, and I’ve always used Guinness and love its particular flavour. The only modification I make is to add some spuds, as I can’t imagine a beef stew without potatoes (though Oliver seems particularly inclined to beef stews which include everything but).
Continue reading

Harvest time

Our year in the garden is coming to a close, but there are still treats to be had. Some things that we put a lot of effort into came to nothing (sweet potatoes), while others that we put next to no effort or absolutely no effort into have been late in the season successes (wild raspberries, radicchio). Some old stand-bys did very well (garlic, rhubarb, lettuces), some were decent in their output but far from stellar (carrots), while others never took off (my chard never happened, in spite of repeated sowings, which is downright weird for me). Locally, green tomatoes seemed to be a major trend this summer, and that’s fine by me (we love green tomato chutney as well as just allowing the fruit to continue ripening indoors).
Continue reading

Garlic scapes

Garlic scapes in late June

If there is one thing that I hope to do in the garden each year, it’s to learn more about the plants we grow and how to make the most of them. A pretty universal aim for any gardener, especially one as new to growing food as I still am. Hardneck garlic has been an easy crop to master and become self sufficient in, in part thanks to a friend who gifted us with a starter crop of a variety that does well in our area. This year we’ll be able to return the favour by sharing some of our harvest with friends who are establishing their garden anew after losing their home to a fire last year.

When I planted our garlic that first year, I was focused solely on the bulbs that would result, not giving any thought to the scapes or flower heads that they put up before maturing. I learned enough that first season to know I should remove the scapes in order to allow the plants to maximize the energy they had to put into growing the bulb. Sadly, I didn’t know enough to keep the scapes and use them in the kitchen. Now, I now better!

More specifically, now I know to make garlic scape pesto and to pickle some of the scapes for a treat long after harvest season is over.

Garlic scapes, parmesan cheese and walnuts in mixer bowl

I’m a big fan of pesto and have done my fare share of experimenting with flavours; chard is probably my favourite, both for flavour and because I can easily grow enough to make plenty. Garlic scape pesto is, as you might expect, pretty seriously garlicky, so it’s best enjoyed as a companion ingredient in a larger dish or meal. It can be prepared very similarly to classic Pesto Genovese with basil and pine nuts, but it’s easy to substitute other nuts and to swap out other ingredients.

Garlic scape pesto in mixer bowl

The pesto pictured here used the following ingredients in these very approximate amounts:

1 cup garlic scapes
1/4 cup walnuts
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Splash lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

The ingredients were tossed into the bowl of my cuisinart and quickly combined. I was then stuck, as I hadn’t noticed that the button which is used to release the lid had gone missing. My 16-year old came to the rescue with a typical MacGyver move, pictured here (and it works a treat):

Cuisinart lid with stick

I prepared seven jars of pesto for freezing with most of the scapes (from roughly 120 garlic plants), but reserved a small batch for pickling.

Jars of garlic scape pesto

The recipe for pickling garlic scapes on Foodie with Family is exactly what I was looking for, so I followed the method and ingredients exactly. It’s been far too hot for canning, so I was completely on board with a method of preservation that didn’t require that step.

Ingredients for pickling garlic scapes

The cleaned and de-blemished scapes are coiled in a sterile jar, black peppercorn, mustard seed, coriander seed and hot pepper flakes are sprinkled over them, and a solution of apple cider vinegar, water, kosher salt and sugar is heated and then poured over the scapes.

Garlic scapes coiled in a jar

Six weeks later, the pickled scapes are ready to be used as a garnish; I can’t wait to try them on pizza, as suggested on Foodie with Family. Apparently they will keep in the refrigerator for up to eight months using this method. Sounds good to me!

Jar of pickled garlic scapes

Celebrating summer

Chocolate roulade with strawberry decoration

School’s out and today we celebrated the start of summer with friends. The younger kids played outside for hours (water play was definitely a major feature), the big kids set up on the kitchen island with several board games, and the adults chatted on the porch. There was loads of fresh fruit, especially strawberries, and a chocolate roulade, courtesy of our teenager.

Chocolate roulade is a tasty treat that just happens to be gluten-free as it doesn’t include flour of any kind in the ingredient list. My fearless teenager, who is always happy to tackle baking that involves a tricky step or two, has been making this particular recipe for several years. Today, he proudly showed me how tidy he has become in separating eggs:

Egg yolks and whites in separate bowls

He loves the old-fashioned hand mixer that I picked up for a few dollars at a flea market years ago.

Teen baking in the kitchen

The chocolate sheet cake before rolling:

Chocolate roulade in the pan

Today we took turns whipping the cream and I spread it on the cake. He took the honours of rolling (it’s actually more like folding):

Teen rolling chocolate roulade

Transferring roulade to a plate

A lovely treat that’s really quite light and a perfect companion for fresh fruit. There are many recipes for chocolate roulade easily available on the internet:

This one, from the BBC, is very close to the one my son makes.
This one, from the UK’s Sam Stern, is a nice variation.

Chocolate roulade

Here’s a sneak peek of something we’ll be doing this summer now that we’ve added a zipline from the treehouse platform (normally with a helmet and footwear more appropriate than wellies!).

Kid on zipline