In Perspective: 2010 + Top Ten of the Year

(top to bottom) 1. poached egg on toast (scd & gfcf) 2. apple cobbler (gfcf) 3. flourless apple pancakes (scd & gfcf) 4. honey sweetened marshmallows (scd & gfcf) 5. flourless peanut butter or almond butter chocolate chip cookies (gfcf) 6. banana tarte tatin, or banana upside down puffed pancake (gfcf) 7. roasted bell pepper egg in the basket (scd & gfcf) 8. gluten-free puff pastry (gf) 9. peach melba spoom (scd & gfcf) 10. new orleans style shrimp (scd & gfcf)

A New Year is on our doorstep. Tomorrow it is 2011. I’ll be taking that day off in blogland, but first I’m taking this moment now to reflect upon this year, appreciating all the good things which includes you, Dear Readers, and all my blogging friends who have made my blogging journey that more of an adventure. Truth be told, I’m feeling slightly nostalgic. Last year at this time, I was having camera issues (the camera was on its way out) and I was posting nearly every day.

I’ve grown from that awkward moment of just staggering out a paragraph or two about the recipe, sometimes barely so – sometimes not sure what to say – before launching into the recipe to writing fluidly and knowing what to say, or at least most of the time. There are still days when I’ll stare at the blank screen and not do anything, or I’ll type out a whole lot of fluff for the sake of flexing my muscles before I delete it all; days when I just want to post the recipe without further commentary but somehow find a way to still say something.

This year I hosted a blog event. I’ve made friends. I feel like I keep on repeating myself, but it has been – and continues to be – a whirlwind of an adventure. For the longest time I didn’t share much about myself or insert my character because I thought that the focus should be more on the food and less about me, but I’ve learned that part of what makes food blogs – and any blog, whatever its area – fun to read is the personality and voice behind all those words, as well as fun to write. My primary focus is still the food, though I am learning to being open and sharing more about myself in the process.

Now, for my Top Ten. Since I couldn’t really get into picking my top ten (or twelve) cookbooks of 2010, simply because I didn’t read that many cookbooks actually published this year, I’m opting for what I do know. This year, my criteria for my Top Ten are if it’s a favourite with family and friends and if I’d make it again. Next year, if I do this again, maybe I’ll go with stats or hey! more fun: I’ll have you all vote for the top ten favourites. How’s that sound?

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Apricot and Raspberry Flognarde (SCD & GFCF)

As part of my foodie interest, I remember reading about clafoutis on Wikipedia – a French dessert with cherries, traditionally unpitted, baked in a kind of pancake batter. It’s difficult to describe what a clafoutis exactly is, although I’ve found the best definition yet, so far, in a book called The Patisseries of Paris by Jamie Cahill and Alison Harris (which I read as an Amazon preview), describing clafoutis as “a cross between a pudding and a cake”.

When other fruit is used instead of cherries, clafoutis becomes flognarde, although this distinction does not seem to be made, at least, in the English-speaking world. That’s why you’ll see a variety of “clafoutis” that aren’t made at all with cherries! Whenever I see one of those kinds of recipes, for a clafoutis made with fruit other than cherries, I’m always quick to inform others. My definition for flognarde is “clafoutis without the cherries.” One day I’ll make a clafoutis proper, but for now flognarde is what’s on the menu.

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Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten Free! Cream of the Crop: Dairy-Free Delights Round Up

For this month’s theme of Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten Free, it was dairy-free delights. This was new for many people and a great opportunity to explore and discover options or alternatives to dairy. Dairy is sometimes a tricky ingredient to replace, depending on what’s being made – in most cases I’ve been successful in replacing it but in others, not so much, or I’ve yet to find a suitable alternative. This can be tough, especially as not everyone can eat soy or rice products, for example, but slowly, there are more options becoming available for those who eat dairy-free or are lactose intolerant. Coconut milk, for example, I think is only really being picked up on now (at least in our part of the world) as really healthy and flexible to use in a variety of dishes, in both sweet and savoury.

If you’ve been wondering what to make for dinner, or dessert, or just something to nibble, there’s a great variety that you could mix and match. There’s a lot of sweets and fruity things since summer is officially here, but there are a few savoury dairy-free delights as well. Some are also grain-free, and also suitable or “legal” for the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) or could be easily adapted as such.

I decided to present every dairy-free delight in the order that I received them. I would have loved to make them as they rolled in, but I didn’t have enough time, unfortunately. Thank you, Naomi, of Straight Into Bed Cakefree and Dried, the creator of this monthly blogging event, for having me hosting this month; and thank you everyone who joined in this event and helped spread the word! It would not have been possible without you. I also thank my sister, who helped me with the layout of some of the photos. (Unless otherwise noted, she does all my photo collages for me, until I’ve learned how and remember.)

First, Jamie of What On Earth Do I Eat Now? made gluten-free, vegan blueberry muffins, which are also gum-free! (Xanthum or guar gum, that is.)

A double whammy:  Chinese Five Spice Molten Chocolate Cake and Moist Chocolate Avocado Cake from The Curious Baker. I’ve seen many recipes for molten chocolate cake (alas, cannot yet say eaten many molten chocolate cakes as well) but never one with Chinese five spice. Since seeing the spice used in a cookie, I’m thinking we have a new trend going on here! Avocado and chocolate is still something on my goals list to try.

Naomi Devlin, of Straight Into Bed Cakefree and Dried and the creator of this wonderful blogging event, submitted these Dairy-Free Mango Ice Cream Lollies. I think that these ice cream lollies are really unique since it uses dried mango, which hooked me from the start.

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