Nanaimo Bars are quintessentially Canadian. They are to British Columbia what Butter Tarts are to Ontario, Flapper Pie is to the Prairies, Tarte au Sucre is to Quebec, and Figgy Duff is to Newfoundland: beloved and iconic. Essential pieces of our culinary history. Continue reading “a batch of stunningly good Nanaimo Bars”
It’s Valentine’s Day this week and in my kitchen I’m making these four-ingredient, (happen-to-be-vegan) Valentine’s Day cookies. These are a breeze to whip up and are beautifully soft and delicious, almost disproportionately so when you consider how simple the ingredients are. Plus they’re good for the planet.
I’ve been remiss – an erratic blogger. I haven’t managed to spend an entire week at home for months. Between work, a surprisingly extensive book tour, and visiting my elderly mother in hospital six hours drive away across the province – I’ve been on the road constantly. Continue reading “Susan Musgrave’s Welsh Griddle Cakes”
The love of place is as real, as strong, and as important as any love. I felt it on the wild remote coast of Tasmania. I’ve felt it over and over on visits to Yorkshire – my ancestral home and the place I spent my formative years. I’ve felt in the south of France – the north of France – the middle of France. The sunshine coast of Australia. Salt Spring Island off the coast of Vancouver. I’ve felt it in the rugged, wilderness of Northern Canada. In Killarney Provincial Park as I watched a blue moon rise over the lakes and listened to the loons call to each other. I’ve felt it the Rocky Mountains, in Mexico. And absolutely in Newfoundland. Definitely there. That was love at first sight.
It’s hard to imagine anything that smells more heavenly than freshly made gingerbread. Continue reading “gingerbread cookies”
Once again, I’m so far behind in holiday preparations that I’ve practically given up before I’ve even managed to get started. There’s no tree in my new house, no decorations up, no baking done, very few gifts organized, and only one card mailed (to my cousin in England). Despite the fact that I’m a Christmas minimalist – I need some serious help.
I’ve made several batches of this recipe – all variations on a theme. I think I have it perfected. I LOVE these cookies. They’re soft, chewy, and loaded with flavour, fibre and protein. They keep well and there are no strange ingredients. And as cookies go, these are healthy. Plus they are infinitely variable. You can add Reese’s pieces like I did here or chocolate chips or seasonal m&m’s or Smarties or just skip the chocolate altogether (WOT?!) and add raisins or cranberries or walnuts or pumpkin seeds. But really, don’t skip the dates – that hit of sweet, soft fruit works so perfectly in these cookies.
I don’t have to eat gluten-free but I’m trying to reduce wheat and gluten in my diet to keep my migraines under control. Amazingly, it’s working. But I’m having to learn a whole new way of baking.
I won’t go on but I wanted to include a couple of recent photographs, taken from the walking trail in my neighbourhood where I walk my dog, Lola, almost every day.
the marshland along the path where I watch for owls
trail through the naked woods
November sun glinting on Butternut Creek
and this is Lola on her bed (she likes the animal prints!)
best ever gluten-free oatmeal cookies
- 1/2 cup butter, coconut oil, or margarine
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup white sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla essence
- 1 cup peanut butter or almond butter
- 4 cups quick cooking oats (use gluten-free here if required)
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1 cup chopped dates – I used Medjool dates because they’re SO good and worth every cent
- 1 cup mini Reese’s pieces
Beat together the butter (I used half coconut oil and half margarine) and the sugars. Add eggs, vanilla essence, and peanut butter. Beat until mixed.
Stir in the oatmeal and sea salt. Add the dates and chocolate.
Drop by the spoonful on buttered cookie sheets. Bake at 350 for 12-14 minutes or until browned. Remove cookies a wire rack to cool.
Neither am I.
I am interested in food though – all food – and especially healthy, tasty food.
And I’m interested in food trends even though I sometimes scoff at them. But when I was sitting in the dentist’s office and flipping through a magazine and saw these Paleo Balls – I just really liked the look and sound of them. So I made a quick note of the ingredients.
This is my version of the recipe. You can either make this Paleo or not – the Paleo version should have almond butter – but if you’re not Paleo – go ahead and use peanut butter if that’s easier. (Paleo diet does not allow legumes.) I added dark chocolate chips to my version even though the original recipe didn’t have any. I’m not really clear if the actual chips I used are Paleo or not because that’s not important to me.
What is important is that these balls are really delicious. They’re easy to make – remarkably healthy – and filling. So many great ingredients packed into them. They would be really good for packed lunches. Equally good with tea mid-afternoon. Perfect for travelling. Gluten and dairy-free. And seriously yummy.
Paleo or not – these are well worth trying.
- 1/2 cup almond butter (can use peanut butter for non-paleo version)
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup ground almonds
- 1/4 cup ground flax seeds
- 1/2 cup sesame seeds
- 1/4 sunflower seeds
- 2 tbsp liquid honey
- 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
- shredded coconut – amount will vary – see instructions
Mix all the ingredients together. If the batter is not stiff enough to roll into balls – add a tablespoon or two of coconut. Roll into balls about 1 inch (2.5cm) in diameter. They are better smaller rather than larger so don’t err on the size of being overly generous. Should make between 20 and 24 balls. Roll the balls in coconut. Bake at 350 degrees F for 3 minutes. Yes – 3 minutes. The coconut should be a little toasted. Remove from oven and let cool before serving or storing.
“Maybe I should make a coulibiac of salmon with a whole salmon.”
Lately there’s been a run on chocolate chip cookie posts on various blogs I follow including The Broken Bread. The result is that I’ve been craving a batch myself. And although you likely already have a favourite recipe of your own – if you haven’t already discovered the Jacques Torres recipe posted in 2009 in The New York Times – then perhaps it’s time to give it a try. Continue reading “the NYT classic chocolate chip cookie”