January 31, 2011

Gluten-Free Mac & Cheese

One of the Honey’s favourite things is Kraft Dinner. I don’t understand the fascination with it and why people like it so much. To me there is nothing natural about it and it’s orange. And it’s a crazy colour of orange too. I have had it, long long ago and I’ve tried my best throughout the years to avoid making it.

To subdue the Honey I learned how to make it from scratch. It seems daunting at first, but it’s actually quite easy. With gluten-free elbow pasta being easier to find on the market it is just like the stuff mom used to make. Let’s be honest, mac & cheese is not the same with penne or fusilli pasta.

The best part: you can choose what kind of cheese you want (the picture below is with old cheddar).

Macaroni with Gruyère & Parmesan  Serves 8 (20 minutes to prepare)
1 lb macaroni
2 tbs butter
1 cup grated gruyère cheese
1 cup parmesan cheese
¼ cup cream or milk
1 tsp salt
½ tsp white pepper
Cook the pasta in boiling water & drain. Stir in butter, cheese, cream & seasonings. Combine & serve.

January 28, 2011


This is something I’ve always grappled with. I’ve never easily trusted people and didn’t feel many people could be trusted. This may have been chocked up from experience; friends who weren’t really friends, boyfriends who were jerks, and a grandmother who liked badmouthing my father and stepmother. Surrounded by people like that makes you think differently about people in general.

Since moving to Ottawa I’ve learnt that people can be trusted. Some took some time. Some never gained it. Some others gained it wholeheartedly. While I still don’t willingly hand my trust over, I’ve found it a bit easier as I’ve matured. I’m a pretty good judge of character (again learning from past experiences), but once in a while, I’m fooled. Maybe I’m not fooled, but I feel pretty stupid.

A while ago I met someone who was a fellow blogger and we got chatting. Ironically, she has more food allergies than I do, and that’s quite a few. One that we share is gluten. We got talking about gluten-free food, products, restaurants, problems, etc. We continued our discussion via email and it seemed like a decent discussion –people talking about ideas, experiences, and of course life.

Not too long ago I happened to be checking out some updates on her blog and I saw something that seemed eerily familiar. At first I told myself it was a coincidence, but I really knew better. She had many of the things I had said written and made it very clear she disagreed. I was shocked. Then I was angry, then I was saddened. Now I’m just ambivalent.

Sometimes I feel like I’m being too sensitive. Sometimes I take things the wrong way. Aware that this might have happened I asked the Honey to take a look and explained the situation. Luckily for me, he knows when I need something sugar-coated and when I want the truth. He read it. He wasn’t impressed.

It was someone I had trusted and shouldn’t have. It is a reminder that I should continue to trust my gut instincts and it is okay to keep my guard up. What I find most disappointing is that this person couldn’t discuss it. Instead she had to disagree via her blog, a place I find very public. Ironically, I don’t push my ideas on people and I listen to what they have to say whether they agree with me or not. In contrast, I felt her opinion was being forced upon me. It seemed she had something to prove. She disagreed and made it appear that she knew better and more than me, and was the authority for gluten-free. Her tone bordered on militant and fear-mongering. I’ve been dealing with food allergies for 10 years and it made me doubt a lot of what I know (even though I know many of her points were incorrect or inaccurate). It was a little scary.

Maybe that is the downside of the written word. It is a wonderful tool to communicate, but once in a while written words become a very powerful tool. In this case they felt like a weapon.

January 24, 2011

Gluten-Free Mexican Brownies

One day, while on a bacon run for the Honey, I saw something that looked delicious. I had to take a second look, then I had to ask some questions. I couldn’t believe it. Baked goods at a butcher shop, and to top it off they were gluten-free.

I couldn’t resist.

These aren’t your typical brownies. They have a bit of heat, hence they’re called Mexican Brownies. I’d never tasted anything like it. I had to get the Honey’s opinion and he approved (a little surprising given that he’s a bit of a traditionalist). I really like the contrast of these from other brownies. Also, they aren’t super sweet or moist. I enjoy the firmer texture of them. They’re different.

During the summer I bought these quite often, then I needed to take a break. With my own brownie making I had brownie overload (I didn’t think it would be possible, but it was!). Then I didn’t see them for a while. One day, on another bacon run, I asked the cashier if they had stopped making them. They still did, but she said I could always ask if I didn’t see any (and I assume they would take an order for them).

Next time you’re taking a walk in Wellington West (Hintonburg/Westboro) pop into Saslove’s to pick some up to try. It’s nice to try something a little different.

January 21, 2011

Want to be a Barista?

I’ve become quite the regular at the Bridgehead coffee shops downtown. Since I work from office to office I’m a transient by day – moving from my students’ offices instead of them coming to me. The major drawback is that I’m buying a lot of my coffee (aka expensive lattes) and tea on the go in addition to many lunches instead of having a place to brew my own and sit to eat my lunch. The upside: I get to go to Bridgehead often (lactose-free milk for my lattes and fabulous soups that are usually gluten and dairy free).

On a recent morning run, as I was waiting for a sugar-loaded latte that was to be my breakfast, I saw a little card for a coffee seminar.

Bridgehead and The Urban Element are teaming up for seminars to help improve one’s ‘at home barista skills’. While you learn how to brew that espresso and pour the steamed milk creatively you can munch on some of the great tasting goodies made at the kitchens of Bridgehead and Urban Element (if you’re concerned about the GF options, contact Urban Element to see if accommodations can be made). It sounds like a lot of fun and if it’s not for you, it may make a original gift idea.

Workshops take place Jan 23, Feb 20, Mar 27, and Apr 17 at The Urban Element on Parkdale Ave. Prices are $75/person. Contact them for more info.

January 18, 2011


I consider myself lucky when it comes to my job. Not only do I enjoy my job, but I’m lucky in that my students are great people. They are so easy to work with and easy to please. They are happy to be getting language training and will do whatever you want. It helps that I give them what they want too, but it’s amazing to think at the end of the day I work with great people.

Of course I can’t say I’ve never had a difficult student. That would be a lie. I have encountered the odd difficult student, but I find ways to work with them. Even if they frustrate me, we work together on their goals. There have even been shouting matches, but nothing that would make me pull out my hair or tell them where to shove it.

In October I got a pile of new students – 5 actually – for private lessons. They are wonderful people and ironically we have a lot in common. That seems to happen a lot. It’s really nice. Sometimes a student will say ‘I know I’m different and people don’t agree with me’ about a specific topic and I often find myself saying ‘I know what you mean’. Both of us are always taken by surprise that someone else has the same quirky opinion or idea.

Last year I had two firsts: a nightmare student and I had to quit a student. My nightmare student expected her English to improve magically. She needed to obtain a specific level because she had actually gone down a level when she had redone her test prior to our lessons. Our goal was to get that level, and to this day, I’m not sure if it happened. I’d actually be surprised if it did. Although she needed a specific level, she would not do the work involved or make an effort. She wanted homework, but would never do it. To make matters worse this student had a timeline. She was the only student I’ve had that didn’t make one single improvement. It was a little sad, but I needed to realize that I could only do so much. My supervisor was very understanding and knew from previous teachers what this student was like. Ironically she didn’t want to tell me beforehand, afraid I’d refuse to take the student on.

My second first: I had to quit a student last month and again I had an understanding supervisor. This student kept cancelling on me, sometimes with notice and sometimes without. It was maddening given that this student had my home phone number so things like this wouldn’t happen. But often, there I was waiting in the lobby at 8am with her being somewhere else. Or I would get a call just before the 24hr timeline, preventing others from taking her spot so they could make up hours they had missed. When she refused to adjust her lesson schedule I knew it was time to say goodbye. I just hope her new teacher scheduled afternoon classes so he doesn’t have to get out of bed early for her.

Whether or not it is luck, it became clear to me this week how lucky I am to work with a large number of fabulous people. Recently I had some prep classes for the government’s lovely language test and every one of the students was pleasant, motivated and happy. Last week I started with four other new students and again, they all seem appreciative and happy to have language training. I have friends who also teach ESL and they seem to have horror story after horror story. I feel so bad when I talk about my great students. One even asked once in frustration ‘How do you always have great students?!’. My answer: ‘Just lucky I guess’.

January 16, 2011

Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies Italian Style

Every once in a while when I’m at DiRienzo Foods on Meadowlands, I pick up some cookies. They always have the Le Veneziane brand and since I like the pasta I figured I’d try the cookies. The first time I bought them I made the mistake of opening the bag in the car. What greeted me was the smell of chocolate chip cookies. You can’t say that about many packaged gluten-free cookies.

I had one. Then I had another. Then another. They were good.

Sor Risi di Mais chocolate cookies are not large, but they have nice flavour and texture. They aren’t grainy or mealy and they melt in your mouth a little. They aren’t super chocolaty, but I like that. The cookie base is full of a flour taste either. This is a nice cookie.

January 14, 2011

Chocolate Banana Snacking Cake

This summer and fall I put the bananas in my freezer to good use. I stock them up for banana bread and discovered a chocolate banana cake that I really, really enjoy. My normal banana bread could be considered quasi-healthy, but with all the chocolate and sugar in this recipe it would be considered more like a snack or dessert.

It was hard deciding which picture to use as the crazy sunshine from my kitchen window was almost overwhelming, and if I waited, there wouldn’t be much left to photograph.

This is a nice moist cake that is easy to make in one bowl (even though you’re probably not supposed to). I’ve used different forms too; using a bundt pan makes it seem a little more posh than it is. The rise is really nice and it isn’t too dense or heavy. The flavours are also nice and balanced, not too much banana or chocolate.

I’ve been trying recipes from the Complete Gluten-Free Cookbook by Donna Washburn and Heather Butt for a bit now and this one so far is my favourite.

Chocolate Banana Snacking Cake (makes 9-12 servings)
2/3 cup sorghum flour
¼ cup quinoa flour
2 tbs tapioca starch
1 ½ tsp guar gum
2 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
1 cup mashed bananas
¾ cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
¼ cup water
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
Combine dry ingredients then set aside. In a large bowl beat bananas, sugar, oil, water, vanilla and egg until combined. Add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Spoon into a pan and smooth out. Let stand for 30 minutes. Bake at 350° for 35-45 minutes.

January 12, 2011

Edgar! At Last!

For those of you who haven’t heard of Edgar, I have to ask ‘Where have you been hiding?!’ Those around me have probably grown impatient hearing about my desire to go a café on the other side of the river. Well, I finally made it and it was worth the wait.

Marysol of She Eats Bears opened up Edgar, a nice little café, at the end of October. Unfortunately, I was in Toronto during opening weekend and couldn’t wait to return and pay her a visit. Followers knew how hard Marysol had worked towards that weekend and the delicious offerings she would have. We would read about her latest creations and drool over the pictures. Her fine-tuned culinary skills were evident in what she produced and as a result, followers awaited the opening of Edgar knowing the care and quality that would greet them.

Unfortunately, it took me two months to get there. It was torture as I read reviews from Eva, the pair at FoodiePrints, and quirky Ron Eades. Then I saw Marysol on Rogers Daytime and heard her interview on CBC. I couldn’t wait any longer. You see it really was torture for me. I have every Friday off and since Edgar’s opening weekend I’ve been planning to go for a nice lunch. But every Friday something came up – errands or a pathetic quest for jeans, or I’d be far away. With the holidays coming up and my sister in town (and my mom arriving earlier) I was finally able to go across the river. The anticipation was growing each day of the week.

Edgar is a quaint spot that has a counter in the front overlooking the street and three high-top tables along the side. The red stools catch your eye as do the fresh buds atop each table. Her café feels like warm sunshine on a bitterly cold day. You instantly feel warm upon seeing it and even warmer once you step inside and see what’s on offer.

I put my French to the test translating some items for my mom and sister and when stuck Marysol or the nice tall gentleman behind the counter helped me out (hmm, could that be Simon?). All three of us were lured by the soup: tomato & basil, sweet potato, and red lentil, and ironically we got one of each. I was so happy to be there that I had forgotten to take some pictures (darn, have to go back!). Our soup was presented with a swirl of herbed oil and the cutest little buns. Mom couldn’t get enough of them. All the soups were delicious and full of flavour so it was quite hard not to eat it quickly . The lentil soup was spicy and had some kick, but was still oh so pleasant. I hope to have that one on my next visit (mom didn’t want to share – the nerve!) as I don’t make enough bean soups myself.

As the lunch hour passed I was surprised by the number of people coming in; it was 2pm and packed with people waiting. As we began wrapping up I picked up two of Edgar’s famous date & bacon brioche for the Honey. Two of his favourite things -a sweet bun and bacon all wrapped up together in a cute little package. He was so happy the next morning at work when he opened up his little surprise.

We left Edgar to head home all warm and content on the sunny, but slippery streets. Before my gushing gets too much out of control (if it hasn’t already) I’ll say one more thing: Go to Edgar. You’ll enjoy it.

It’s so easy to find, just off Tache Blvd, across from the entrance to Gatineau Park

60 rue Bégin (off of Alexandre-Taché), Gatineau
Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays

January 7, 2011

Taking Time

This week I’ve been on a reduced schedule as many of my students are still off or have training/meetings. Plus Monday was a holiday for those who work for the government, and that means it was a holiday for me too. I can’t complain and I have enjoyed having many days to myself.

Monday the decorations and tree were put away and some cleaning ensued. My little Santa babushka (nesting doll) went back in the box until next year.

I had a chance to put our new TV stand together. But like many Ikea directions, some things weren’t really clear (even though I consider myself a pro with Ikea furniture assembly) and I didn’t leave room for the cords. Well, out came the drill and a steak knife and some holes were born.

In the mornings I had off I started the day with a soy nog latte. I really enjoy egg nog, but the combined egg and milk really do a number on my tummy. Many many years ago I found Noel Nog by So Nice in the grocery stores and it tastes pretty much the same. This year it was hard to find for some reason, but low and behold, I came across some at the Metro at Lincoln Fields. Two bottles came home with me and they taste great heated up as a latte.

There are two things I love about the holiday season: The above egg nog lattes, at home or at one of the local coffee shops.

I fell in love with them while doing my teacher training in Vancouver eons ago and with all the Starbucks locations in that city, they were hard to resist. Now it seems all the major coffee shops have them, Second Cup, Bridgehead and they really taste the same. The problem this year was resisting them every day or many times a day.

The second thing I love are pomegranates. I love the flavour and colour of a pomegranate. They are only around for a short period of time so I try and get my fill.

There is no easy way to eat them unless you want to spend the time taking out all the seeds individually, and honestly, that takes too much time and effort. I prefer to dive right in. I refuse to eat them anywhere but at home. I have my routine: I wear dark clothing and have some paper towels nearby. After cutting them into quarters I peel back some of the skin and pith and begin eating. It’s almost savage-like, hence why I eat them at home, and usually alone too. The Honey once commented on my lack of class while eating a pomegranate (he’s never had one) and since then, I try to eat them alone.

With this extra time I have I’ve been hitting some of the shops on the hunt for a poster. My sister, knowing I’ve been on the lookout for a ‘Keep Calm’ poster, found an apron for me. I’m sure it’ll become a fixture in my kitchen. But I’m still looking for a poster.

While at Homesense I found a stash of boxed gluten-free goodies. I’ve seen some of them at the health food or specialty stores, but have never picked one up (I’m not one for pre-packaged mixes and the price steered me clear). Since they were at Homesense the price was a lot less and I couldn’t resist. ‘For the sake of research’ I told myself as I loaded up a basket. This is what I brought home with me

I’ll keep you posted on my thoughts as I make my way through them.

On days I’m home for lunch I can have whatever I want. One day it was gluten-free crackers and a nice creamy camembert cheese, with some sliced dill pickles on the side. Today it was a grilled cheese sandwich.

I always hear of funky fillings yet never try them so today I was living on the edge (not really but we can pretend). On my gluten-free toast was extra old cheddar, sliced cherry tomatoes, and Dijon mustard. It was yummy. It warmed me up inside as I looked out the kitchen window and saw the falling snow. A nice way to spend a Friday lunch.

January 4, 2011

Hello 2011!

Here it is, the first week of 2011. We’re all back to the grind of normalcy, or close to it. Unlike some people I did not overindulge this holiday season and I’m left a little perplexed as to why. It’s so unlike me. I don’t gorge on every little thing I see, but I tend to enjoy myself and the food around me. I did pretty well even with my favourite chocolates from Reid’s in my hometown.

I have yet to find out the reason, and while I did enjoy the food around me, I didn’t once say ‘Oh, I ate too much’ or ‘Oh, I think I’m going to be sick’. I’m especially proud of myself for not diving into the cookies that my mom and stepmother boxed and bagged from a Mennonite kitchen in St Jacobs or their own (respectively). They are full of good stuff like chocolate, sugar, and sprinkles, but they are also full of gluten. I stayed far away from them and as a result, I didn’t regret it.

I had mentioned in my last post that I had spent a lot of time in the kitchen during the holidays and so, here are some of the recipes. Everything (except the above mentioned cookies) was gluten-free. Some were traditional (mincemeat tarts) and others were not (a roasted chicken), some were elaborate (a gingerbread trifle - the reason I picked up Saveur Magazine) while others were nice and easy (frozen veggies). There are some pictures that follow, but alas, in the craziness of getting dinner out while it’s hot (and with decent lighting) there isn’t a picture for everything.

Christmas Brunch
French Toast Bake
Smoked Back Bacon (from Saslove’s on Wellington)
Toast & Jam (all kinds made throughout the summer)
Gingerbread Trifle
Mincemeat Tarts (nana’s secret recipe)
Cheese & Baguette (this is my French bread recipe baked in a baguette pan)
Smoked Salmon, Leek & Chevre Tarts
*Appetizers made an appearance due to the homefries taking forever to cook)

Christmas Dinner
Butternut Squash Soup
Basmati Rice
Garlic and Herb Roasted Chicken (flattened to lessen cooking time)
Cranberry Sauce
Baguette with margarine (vegan and GF)
Corn and Beans
Tossed Salad with homemade herb dressing
Gingerbread Trifle
Plum Pudding with Brandy Sauce (the Honey’s family’s secret sauce)

The following days were a mishmash of delicious leftovers for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I’m one of those people who love leftovers so I enjoyed them as much as the first time round.

Plans for New Year’s Eve were nice and simple. Friends who had a little one invited us over for a relaxing evening and dinner was added. We decided on Indian food, a blend of home-cooked, takeout and a visit to a small Indian grocery. The evening was perfect: nice and relaxing. Here, we did eat a little too much, but the upside was that it was all healthy and again gluten-free. I took another gingerbread trifle for dessert (to use up the copious amount of custard I had remaining in the fridge) and we left it behind as no one had room for dessert, even as the countdown began.

The three dishes from the evening are so easy to put together; they are one-pot meals and if you use frozen or pre-cut veggies, your time is reduced. Then add some favourites from the grocery: papadums, pakoras and saag paneer and you’re set for a great dinner.
Curried Chickpeas
Navrattan Korma
Cauliflower Curry


Night Before French Toast
1 loaf of gluten-free French bread, (stale if possible) cubed
8 eggs
1 cup maple syrup
1 cup cream
1 cup milk
½ brick cream cheese
Place cubed bread in a large baking dish (8x13). Mix together eggs, maple syrup, cream, milk, and vanilla then pour over the bread. Slice up the cream cheese and place over the bread mixture. Refrigerate overnight. In morning bake for 30 mins at 350°. When finished sprinkle with berries and icing sugar.

Frittata (everything is approximate)
1 egg for each person
¼ cup milk
Sliced peppers, onion (and any other veggies)
Cheese (optional)
Salt and pepper
Oregano, parsley, basil
Beat eggs then add milk. Beat again to aerate. Place in a large baking dish and sprinkle in remaining ingredients. Bake 15-20 for mins at 350°.

Leek, Chèvre & Smoked Salmon Tartlets
Makes approx. 24- 2” tarts
2-3 dozen pastry tarts (depending on size)
½ lb (250g) smoked salmon
1 leek, minced
1 tbs butter
½ cup goat cheese
1 egg
1 cup sour cream
2 tsp Dijon mustard
¼ tsp salt
pinch pepper
Sauté leeks in butter until they are soft. Put into bowl & mix with remaining ingredients. Spoon mixture into tartlets then bake 15-20 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes. Serve or freeze & reheat as needed.

Butternut Squash Soup
2 tbs butter
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp gingerroot, minced
1 ½ tsp curry powder
½ tsp each salt & pepper
5 cups butternut squash, chopped
4 cups veggie stock
In a large saucepan, melt butter. Add onion, garlic, ginger, curry, salt & pepper. Cook until softened. Add squash & stir. Add stock. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat & simmer for 20 minutes. Puree soup & serve.

Roasted Chicken with Forty Cloves of Garlic (adapted from Joy of Cooking)
3 ½-4 lb chicken
Olive oil
1 tsp each dried thyme and sage
½ tsp each ground rosemary and black pepper
1 lemon, sliced
3 heads garlic, top of head removed
1 ¼ cups chicken stock
1 cup dry white wine
Place chicken in a large roasting pan. Rub the skin with olive oil. Mix the herbs together and rub onto the skin. Place lemon slices over chicken. Pour stock and wine into the roasting pan. Place heads of garlic into the pan, but on chicken so they can roast. Cover pan with foil and put into oven. Check every so often to make sure there is still liquid in the pan and add more stock or wine if needed.
*With a flattened chicken, ours took 2 hours to cook at 350°.

Pastry (for pies and tarts – from Gluten-Free Baking Classics)
1 cup plus 2 tbs flour mix
2 tbs sweet rice flour
1 tbs sugar
½ tsp guar gum
¼ tsp salt
6 tbs cold butter, cut into pieces
1 egg
2 tsp lemon juice
Mix dry ingredients then add butter and mix until crumbly. Add egg and lemon juice. Mix until dough holds together (it shouldn’t be sticky). Roll into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until dough firms up. Roll out for pie and tarts for the size you need: Place dough on a plastic cutting board and roll out or roll out between two sheets of wax paper.

Plum Pudding (from Style at Home)
¾ cup dark raisins
½ cup sultana raisins
½ cup dried currents
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup chopped pitted dates
¼ cup mixed candied peel
¼ cup slivered almonds
1/3 cup brandy
4 oz butter, softened
½ cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 ¼ cups gluten-free breadcrumbs
½ cup gluten-free flour mix
1 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup milk
Place fruit and almonds in a bowl and coat with brandy. Let sit overnight or at least 4 hours. Place butter and brown sugar in a bowl and beat until light and creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one. Combine flour, bread crumbs and cinnamon. Add to fruit mixture and mix well. Add fruit mixture to butter mixture alternating with the milk until well combined. Spoon pudding mixture into large muffin cups, filling ¾. In a larger baking dish, fill halfway with hot/boiling water. Place muffin tin into the larger baking dish, cover tightly with foil and place in oven. Bake for 1 hour at 350°. Makes 10 puddings.
*gluten free mixed peel can be found here at the Natural Pantry and No Name brand at Loblaws stores
**I substituted vegan margarine and rice milk for the dairy


Gingerbread Trifle (the original recipe is from Saveur Magazine, but I used a different gingerbread recipe for the cake (not included since it was overpowering) – sub the flour mix)
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, plus more for pan
1 3/4 cups flour*, plus more for pan
3/4 cup golden syrup or dark corn syrup
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 eggs
1 tbsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 cup fresh or frozen lingonberries or halved cranberries
3/4 cup sugar
7 tbsp. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
4 egg yolks
2 eggs
4 cups milk
8 oz. 70 percent dark chocolate, finely chopped
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, cubed
3 tsp. vanilla extract
8 oz. white chocolate, finely chopped
10 oz. fresh blueberries
2 tbsp. sweet oloroso sherry
12 oz. fresh raspberries
2 tbsp. kirsch
1 cup seedless raspberry jam
1 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. sweet oloroso sherry
1 tsp. cognac or brandy
1/2 tsp. lemon zest
1 cup heavy cream
1. Make the ginger cake: Heat oven to 325°. Butter and flour an 8" square baking pan; set aside. Heat butter, golden syrup, and brown sugar in a 2-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until butter is melted and mixture is smooth. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Add cream and eggs and whisk until smooth; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together 1 1/2 cups flour, ground ginger, baking soda, and salt; add to syrup mixture and stir until just combined. Toss remaining flour with lingonberries in a small bowl and add to batter; stir to combine. Pour into a baking pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean, 45–50 minutes. Transfer to rack and let cool. Unmold cake, cut half the cake into 1" cubes; set aside. Reserve remaining cake for another use.
2. Make the custards: Whisk together 1/2 cup sugar, 2 tbsp. cornstarch, and 1/4 tsp. salt in a 2-qt. saucepan; add 2 egg yolks and 1 egg and whisk until smooth. Add 2 cups milk and heat over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring often, and cook until mixture thickens, 1–2 minutes. Remove from heat and add dark chocolate in four batches, whisking after each addition until smooth. Add 2 tbsp. butter and 2 tsp. vanilla and whisk until smooth; transfer to a bowl, cover surface with plastic wrap, and refrigerate dark chocolate custard until chilled. Whisk together remaining sugar, cornstarch, and salt in another 2-qt. saucepan; add remaining egg yolks and egg and whisk until smooth. Add remaining milk and heat over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring often, and cook until mixture thickens, 1–2 minutes. Remove from heat and add white chocolate in four batches, whisking after each addition until smooth; add remaining butter and vanilla and whisk until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and cover surface with plastic wrap; let cool to room temperature. Fold blueberries into white chocolate custard and set aside.
3. Assemble trifle: Arrange ginger cake cubes snugly in bottom of a 3-qt. glass trifle dish or bowl; drizzle with sherry. In a medium bowl, toss raspberries with kirsch and add to the top of the cake in a single layer. Spoon white chocolate custard over raspberries and smooth top with a rubber spatula; refrigerate until set, 30 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the raspberry jam in a small saucepan over medium heat until loose; pour through a fine strainer set over a small bowl and let cool for 10 minutes. Pour jam over white chocolate custard and spread evenly. Return trifle to refrigerator and chill until set, 2 hours. Stir dark chocolate custard until smooth, spoon over jam, and smooth with spatula; cover dish with plastic wrap; chill for 8 hours.
4. An hour before you plan to serve trifle, make syllabub: Whisk together sugar, sherry, cognac, and lemon zest in a large bowl until sugar dissolves. Add cream and whisk until mixture holds peaks but is not stiff; spoon syllabub over dark chocolate custard, creating swirls and peaks with spoon, and chill until ready to serve.

Navrattan Korma
4-5 cups mixed vegetables (I used the pre-cut mixed bags in the produce section)
½ cup onion, sliced
1 ½ cup rice milk (or milk)
4 tbs ketchup
2 tbs gluten-free flour
2 tbs butter
1 tsp red chilli powder
1 ½ tsp garam masala
Salt to taste
Precook all the vegetables, except the onions. Mix rice milk, ketchup, and flour in a bowl then set aside. Saute onions in butter until softened. Add the vegetable and sauté for a few minutes. Add chilli powder and garam masala and mix well. Once spices become fragrant add the rice milk mixture and stir well. Cook for 6-7 minutes. Serve with rice.

Cauliflower Curry
1 head cauliflower, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 tbs butter
2 bay leaves
1/3 cup onions, finely chopped
2 tsp ginger paste
1 tsp garlic paste
½ cup tomatoes, chopped
1 tbs garam masala
½ tsp turmeric
¼ tsp ground coriander
½ tsp pepper
¼ cup ground almonds or cashews
1 tsp cornstarch
¼ cup rice milk (or cream)
½ cup yogurt
Saute onions in butter and add the bay leaves. Add garlic and ginger and sauté until browned, and then add tomatoes. Add the spices and mix well. Add almonds and yogurt and mix well. Add cornstarch and stir continuously until it has dissolved. Add cauliflower and cook until the mixture is thick and cauliflower is tender. Remove from heat and add rice milk.