Flour Power – Amber writes a guest post and “Good to the Grain”…


I’ve got a new Cookbook. Now there’s a surprise, well not really as I am rather taken by cookbooks particularly those of a healthy nature. Naturally I couldn’t resist one called Good to the Grain (Baking with Whole-Grain Flours by Kim Boyce and Amy Scattergood (now isn’t that a good name for a cook!). In my quest for delicious but healthy food and styles of cooking and in my attempt to stop myself contracting diabetes, a disease which I  have seen decimate my family’s good health and cause the odd amputation) I am always keen to use wholegrain flour, brown rice and largely cook from scratch. This wonderful book uses many alternative flours – Amaranth, Barley, Buckwheat, Kamut, Oat, Rye, Spelt, Teff, and Quinoa. If you love baking and like a really good read, you’ll adore this book. Kim started out wanting to cook healthily but got to experimenting with using less fat and sugar and appreciating the unique tastes and properties of each type of flour. I’m not an expert in gluten free baking but I am attempting to use more spelt, some rice (for vietamese pancakes) and to try a few alternatives. Below Amber Holmblad makes gluten free pancakes using Amaranth Flour. Amber contacted me after reading one of my articles posted on Jo Parfitt’s summertime Publishing website – http://www.joparifitt.com. Amber and I have become food friends over the electronic airways and I was delighted when she volunteered this recipe for the Food Forum Blog..

Amber says “I am a parent of 2 – one of my daughters has a gluten sensitivity so our family tries to avoid gluten as much as possible.”

Amber is an artist, a life coach specializing in creative expression (she does workshops too) an expat, and a mother of two who finds being a parent intensely creative. She is also passionate about serving wholesome, homemade foods that are nourishing, colorful and delicious.  See her work on http://www.holmbladcreative.com.


Perfect Gluten Free Waffles – not just for the weekends!

I make these waffles, nearly everyday for our family because they are fast, high in protein, nutritious and most of all – my kids love them! I know it may seem like just one more thing that your busy schedule doesn’t permit, but honestly sending your kids out of the house in the morning with a good solid breakfast is one of the best things you can do for them. I know how hectic mornings can be but making a commitment to starting the day out right is important. It gives their little brains fuel for learning and thriving.

Start with 2 cups of Gluten Free flour. I find the commercial mixes of gluten free flours to be loaded with a lot of unneccessary starches, so I always mix my own. This is my favorite combination:

1 cup Quinoa flour
1 cup Amaranth flour (If I can’t find Amaranth flour in the stores, I substitute 3/4 c. buckwheat and 1/4 c. wholegrain rice flour, which is also very tasty and nutritious)

2 cups warm water
2 Tbsp whey* (I make my own)

Mix the flours together the day or night before and combine them with 2 cups of warm water + whey. Allow them to soak for 12 to 24 hours in a warm place.

In the morning:
While the waffle iron is heating up, melt your butter and add the eggs, salt, soda and cinnamon to the soaking flours.

2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp baking soda
1-1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 Tbsp melted butter

These waffles need a little bit extra cooking time than the unsoaked, wheat flour kind. Soaking and allowing the flours to begin the fermentation process makes it taste better plus gives the waffles a crispy skin while still spongy on the inside. Plus, it’s healthier, and makes mornings easier.

I’ve also noticed that the soaked slightly fermented, flours don’t stick to the waffle iron so much, allowing me to use less butter than you find in other recipes. The times when I’ve used this recipe and forgot to soak the night before, I have had problems with the mixture sticking to the waffle iron.

*I make my whey by straining yogurt through an unbleached coffee filter and store it in the refrigerator. You can also use vinegar if you don’t have whey.

I love these waffles with a bit of sour cream and an all-fruit marmalade. My kids like theirs with a little yogurt and a dash of maple syrup.

In the afternoons, they are great with a homemade pesto spread or just plain without anything.

Tips for a speedy breakfast:
By soaking the flours ahead of time, you’ve already committed yourself to eating a healthy breakfast and you’ve done some of the work the night before.

If you’re really pressed for time in the mornings, measure out the baking soda, salt and cinnamon ahead of time so they are ready to mix in.

Or you can make them ahead of time and just heat them up in the morning. You’re still getting a much healthier start to the day!

This is a recipe was adapted from Sally Fallon’s Pancakes “Nourishing Traditions”. If you don’t know who Sally Fallon is, and you’re interested in eating healthier, then I’d suggest looking her up. Beyond the recipes, her cookbooks are filled with tons of information.

Cooks note – Whey is the watery part of milk, separated from the curd rich in lactose, minerals and vitamins.

Meanwhile this last week we made coconut and rice flour pancakes, a classic sweet, sour sharp Vietamese sauce with garlic, fish sauce, chillies and palm sugar, stuffed them full of holy basil, mint and coriander, beansprouts and marinated fried tofu! I made the precious left over holy basil leaves into a fragrant pesto. Also, went to a great talk by Katherine Fortier on Food Fights organized by Passionate Parenting in which she emphasised how sitting at a table for 20 minutes will not only enrich your child’s vocab but will make the whole family happier! So, keep trying, I know it can be tough, oh yes!!! Image

A Little Spring Salad as the Earth Warms Up



March 8 International Women’s Day and I am acutely aware that I am lucky to be sitting here at my desk in the weak tremulous spring sunlight, writing and thinking about food, experimenting with recipes and enjoying my many freedoms. Recently after attending the International Pen Awards for those who write under duress I wrote a piece about writing in the warmth without fear of arrest or harassment – I know this is a blog is primarily about food (which I find tremendously important of course) but I can’t help but think of those women who work for freedom and justice and all those in the world who may be going without food today for reasons of war, injustices, lack of fair trade, water etc. I made a little salad today to share for lunch and thought I might just entitle it International Women’s Day Salad but that seemed way too grand. So, it’s just a little Spring Salad to Share. There will be something for everyone in it I hope. The secret is to have a really sweet crisp cabbage. In The Netherlands I use a pointy little number called a “spitskool”. Goes well with virtually anything this little salad. We had it with portabella mushrooms on Brood’s Spelt bread with a chaser of Twinning Organic Early Grey iced tea. You can see we are longing for the summer.Enjoy…


Spring Salad

Make a dressing by blending kaffir lime leaves (frozen or fresh) – If you have fresh, then remove the spine and chop finely into tiny shreds.  Add a tablespoon of rice vinegar, some lime or lemon juice (approx a tablespoon) some palm sugar to taste, fresh mint leaves and a good dollop of your favourite olive oil. I used lemon infused oil and added some water. Blend with a hand held wand. Taste and adjest seasonings. Sieve if using frozen lime leaves as they can be tough.

Mix the following ingredients together in a pretty glass bowl

Half a cabbage, finely sliced

A blood red carrot if you can locate one or a normal carrot cut into ribbions

Almonds toasted in a fry pan with a teaspoon of tamari sauce (be careful, don’t burn them) or peanuts

A red or green apple. cored and chopped into small peices

some torn mint and coriander leaves

seasame seeds

Mix with dressing and feel free to grate on some raw beetroot and finish with a mixture of herbs. Lovely!


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