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Quinoa Fritters or Scramble

I love Donna Hay – before there was an iPad app, I used to have to hunt down the print issues as soon as a new one came out, or my family would find it for me, because once it was gone, it was gone. Since the iPad app, I no longer have hunt down the latest issue, knowing it is only a download away, not to mention with exclusive features like beautiful animation and videos accompanying recipes.

One of the winning streaks about Donna Hay is the simplicity of her recipes. You’ll never find anything overly complicated or fussy, only recipes that are easy to prepare and nothing short of inspiring.

Take these quinoa fritters, for example, which also work just as well as a scramble if you’re not in the mood for fritters or don’t feel like shaping fritters. Quinoa is mixed with cut up bacon, mashed white kidney (cannellini) beans, broccoli, and cheese (the original recipe uses mozzarella but the Gruyere I had on hand also worked). I was lucky to get the one photo at the top of this post, since it was all gone quickly. Everybody liked it. I know I’ll be making them again, at some point.

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Joy the Baker French Onion Soup Sandwiches

I love French onion soup, but have never made it myself. (In fact, I’m not even sure if I have had French onion soup…maybe I just love the idea of it?) This is partly because I have never seen a recipe for it that doesn’t use wine. Before, when I was underage, I didn’t want to cook with alcohol or want to eat anything made with alcohol, even if the alcohol was cooked out and all that was left was the flavour. I think I had some sort of fear that I’d get drunk.

Well, I haven’t made the inaugural French onion soup yet but I have gotten closer with making these French onion soup sandwiches from Joy the Baker, which she made from Portuguese Girl Cooks (new-to-me blog that I am now enjoying browsing). It’s my favourite sandwich of the moment and it kind of reminds me of onion pizza. There’s no wine involved (I used the beef broth option) and they are seriously good. SO GOOD, as Sophia Grace would say on Ellen.

I’d never cooked down onions before but now that I have, they are being kept on the menu. Carmelized onions, onion jam (whatever you want to call it) is extremely versatile and we’ve already put it to different uses besides this sandwich. (I’ve already made more, cooked in bacon fat leftover from frying bacon.) Plus it’s easy to do, with hardly any effort involved. I can’t promise there won’t be tears, though. (Ha!)

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Simply French Café

Simply French Café was started three years ago by Isobel and her husband, Hasmet, after a long sojourn in France with their two teenage daughters. It was there that Isobel learned how to make macarons in Paris at Lenotre, a restaurant, cafe, and cooking school founded by Gaston Lenôtre.

Simply French Café is home to the BEST macarons (naturally gluten-free) my family has ever tasted – they are perfect, from the way the fragile shell cracks upon first bite to their delicate, melt-in-your-mouth taste. Our favourite is the lemon macaron; it has a delicate, almost floral quality that we’ve not found before in other lemon-flavoured desserts and we’re always recommending it because its flavours are so pleasing to the senses, it is just sublime. Other favourite flavours are chocolate, orange, chocolate mint, coconut, and strawberry.  (Ok.  Really, we like every flavour they make and we’ve tried them all, so far. If I have missed any, I will update you accordingly;)  Another bonus – ! – macaron classes have recently become available so that everyone is welcome to the pleasure of making and enjoying their own macarons both at any time and to impress their friends and family with – and they WILL be impressed with the Simply French Macarons!

Many of the desserts offered at Simply French are also gluten-free, including a flourless chocolate mousse cake that’s also made without butter, making it also dairy-free.  (I would also heartily recommend their chai latte, which I tried the last time I visited Simply French to meet a friend, it really hit the spot and was perfect on a cold, rainy day.)  Paninis are also available to be made with gluten-free rice bread upon request. There are desserts and other baked goods as well as some meal items made with wheat as well, so do ask when you place your order rather than assume.

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