Kale Chips


Happy new year! Here’s wishing each and every one of you a wonderful 2014 filled with good health and delicious food.

It’s been a year now since I started the blog section of my website. Thanks so much to all of you who have supported me and cheered me on. My most popular post of the year was Slow-Roasted Duck Legs, with 261 hits! I have big plans to continue posting recipes and fact sheets this year. In particular I will be adding more GAPS-friendly recipes, as GAPS has been increasingly significant in my clinical practice.

Kale chips might be a little bit 2013 by now, but they are still easy and delicious. So if you have never made them, I urge you to have a go. I used curly purple kale, but any variety works for this recipe.

Kale chips (adapted from a David Lebovitz recipe)

1/2 of a head of kale (about 6 large leaves)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon sea salt

Serves four as a snack

Preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.

Wash the kale leaves and dry in a salad spinner. Tear the leaves into large bite-sized pieces, taking care to discard the tough central stem. Toss with the olive oil in a bowl, then arrange the kale on a baking tray in a single layer.

Bake for 20 minutes or until crispy. Remove from the oven and put the kale on some kitchen paper to blot excess oil. Sprinkle very generously with sea salt, and serve as a snack.

Side dishes

Carrot salad

carrot salad

During the many years I lived in France, carrot salad was something of a staple. I never actually made it myself, but would pick up a barquette de carottes rapées at the charcuterie on my local market street along with some cold cuts to serve as a weekend lunch that was more about shopping than cooking. The carrot salad was something I liked and enjoyed but never got terribly excited about.

Then one day my friend L brought a homemade carrot salad to a BBQ at a mutual friend’s house. Now, L is an amazing, professionally-trained cook, so I was quite surprised she would bring along something so ordinary. Until I tasted her salad, which was fresh and flavorful and incredibly moreish, with just the slightest kick of spice. Naturally I hounded her for the recipe.

I now make carrot salad very regularly, and not just because the nearest French charcuterie is a Eurostar ride away. It’s a lovely accompaniment to grilled fish or lamb chops, and the recipe can easily be scaled up to feed a crowd. Or to ensure leftovers.

Carrot salad (adapted from Chez Panisse Vegetables by Alice Waters)

750 g carrots

2 cloves garlic

1 teaspoon salt

a small pinch of cayenne pepper (more if you like it hot)

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

4 tablespoons of your best olive oil

2 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves

Serves about four people.

Peel and grate the carrots – I use the grater disk of my food processor for this but you could also use a box grater or mandolin. If the carrots appear watery I like to drain them in a colander for about 15 minutes, but feel free to skip this step.

Crush the garlic into a bowl and add the salt. Mash together, then add the cayenne pepper, vinegar and olive oil and whisk well.

Toss the dressing with the grated carrots and taste. If it is at all bland or dry, add a pinch of salt or a drizzle of olive oil. Add the chopped coriander leaves and toss just before serving.


Coconut macaroons


Did I mention that we have a lot of April birthdays around here?

Continuing our theme of birthday celebrations, my son asked me to bring a treat in to school on his birthday to share with his friends and teachers. The catch? My son is gluten and dairy-intolerant, and the school is nut-free.

Fortunately, I had this coconut macaroon recipe up my sleeve. This is another family favorite and I think it might now be a school favorite too. The recipe scales up or down very easily to I simply adjust quantities depending on the occasion. Over the years I’ve made notes of the ratio of ingredients for different quantities, so I’m sharing that here as a table.

Coconut macaroons (adapted from a David Lebovitz recipe)

Yield: 20 macaroons Yield: 25 macaroons Yield: 30 macaroons Yield: 60 macaroons
3 large egg whites 4 large egg whites 5 large egg whites 10 large egg whites
210g caster sugar 285g caster sugar 350g caster sugar 700g caster sugar
165g dessicated coconut 225g dessicated coconut 280g dessicated coconut 560g dessicated coconut
30g rice flour 40g rice flour 50g rice flour 100g rice flour
1 tablespoon honey 1 tablespoon honey 2 tablespoons honey 4 tablespoons honey
pinch of salt pinch of salt pinch of salt large pinch of salt
½ teaspoon vanilla extract ½ teaspoon vanilla extract 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Combine the egg whites, caster sugar, dessicated coconut (make sure this is unsweetened), rice flour, honey and salt in a large skillet or pan and place on the hob over low heat. Allow the ingredients to melt together, stirring constantly, until the mixture has a porridge-like texture and begins to brown on the bottom. Remove from heat, stir in the vanilla extract and allow to cool.

The batter should at least be cooled to room temperature but for best results refrigerate for several hours or overnight (the batter will keep in the refrigerator for up to one week, and according to David Lebovitz can also be frozen for up to two months).

Preheat your oven to 170°C/325°F/gas mark 3.

Using your hands, form the batter into balls, around the size of golf balls. Place on a non-stick baking tray (or two) in evenly spaced rows and press the sides with your fingers to make a slight pyramid shape. (This is a fun task for small helpers!)

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the tops of the macaroons have lightly browned.

In an airtight container, the macaroons will keep for up to one week.


Chocolate olive oil cake


April is a month of birthdays at my house. And thus a month of baking as well – so there will be plenty of gluten and dairy free celebration recipes to share with you over the coming weeks.

We kicked off the festivities with a chocolate olive oil cake that is one of my family’s firm favorites. It is a very rich, moist cake that is a breeze to make (especially with a small helper) and appeals to adults and children alike. I made the cake with my daughter and we used a peppery Spanish olive oil that gave the cake a bit of a kick – but you can stick with a mild olive oil for a more classic taste.

Chocolate olive oil cake (from a Nigella Lawson recipe)

50g unsweetened cocoa powder

100ml boiling water

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

150g ground almonds

1 teaspoon gluten-free baking powder

a pinch of salt

3 large eggs

200g caster sugar

150ml olive oil

Serves 8 (generous slices) to 16 (dainty slices)

Preheat your oven to 170°C/325°F/gas mark 3.

Measure the cocoa powder into a bowl, then slowly add the boiling water and whisk well until the mixture forms a thick chocolate paste. Add the vanilla extract then set aside to cool.

In another bowl, combine the ground almonds, baking powder and salt.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs and mix in the sugar and olive oil using a handheld or standing electric mixer until the mixture is pale and creamy, about two minutes, then gradually add the chocolate paste and mix well.

Fold in the dry ingredients, then pour the batter into a 23cm springform cake pan, lined and greased (I use ghee but you could also use a bit of oil). Bake for 45-50 minutes, until the sides are firmly set but the top is still slightly springy to the touch. Cool on a rack, then remove from the tin. Insert suitable number of candles.


Chocolate rice krispie treats

rice krispie treats

My children and I do not see entirely eye to eye on what makes a fun cooking project. On a rainy “let’s make something” day, I might suggest we attempt pavlova, or California rolls, or something slightly ambitious that I bookmarked in my Charcuterie book. The kids, on the other hand, love to make rice krispie treats.

It’s pointless to argue. The recipe is simple enough that very little adult supervision is required. Also, it is not only gluten and dairy free, but also nut free.

But the main point is really that kids love to make rice krispie treats because kids love to eat rice krispie treats.

Chocolate rice krispie treats

(adapted from Ellen’s South Hampstead Dinners, available from South Hampstead Junior School)

250g golden syrup

25g unsweetened cocoa powder

300g gluten-free puffed rice cereal (we buy Kallo brand)

Makes enough to feed a houseful of kids.

Heat the golden syrup over a low flame in a large heavy bottomed pan or dutch oven. Add the cocoa powder and whisk until smooth.

Remove from the hob and stir in the rice cereal.

Transfer to a lightly-oiled, high-rimmed baking tray, spreading evenly. Refrigerate for one hour or until firmly set.

Cut into squares to serve.


Happy New Year!


Best wishes for a healthy and happy 2013!

Huge thanks to all you who have supported me during the launch of my website. I’m planning to start blogging here very soon. In the meantime, why not check out my Pinterest boards? I’ve shared a collection of gluten and dairy-free recipes I can’t wait to make on my GFCF recipes to try board. I’ve also started a cooking with kids board that I am really excited about. I’ll be posting all of my blog entries on Pinterest as well.

See you soon!