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efae46653083f9f7a09a5e76125a35d2Author: Aran Goyoaga

Category: Special Diet Cookbook

Rating

% Gluten free recipes: 100%

Adaptability: Nothing

Worth buying: A stunning addition to any cookbook collection, coeliac or not.

I have been a long time follower of the stunning food blog Cannelle et Vanille. Beautiful photography, coupled with uber-seasonal recipes, tales of local producers and trips to her Spanish homeland, this is a feast for any foodie.  To begin with it was not specifically gluten free. Over the years more and more recipes appeared naturally free from wheat, and this was because Aran was ultimately diagnosed with auto-immunie Meniere’s disease.  Research led her to use gluten free cooking as a way to alleviate many health issues. As a result her recently published book Small Plates & Sweet Treats  is dedicated to her journey to gluten free cooking and it is a glory to behold, much like her website.

The book, sectioned into seasonal small plates and sweet treats, is packed with Basque and Spanish inspired recipes. Currently living in the US, Aran treats us to aromatic childhood food memories, cake or biscuit recipes from her grandparents’ Spanish bakery and soothing home cooked meals such as Basque fish stew. And every recipe is deliciously gluten free, brimming with fruits and vegetables of the season such courgette and gruyere clafoutis, apple and chesnut bundt cakes or my favourite swiss chard, pear and gruyere tart. Her style is to fuse unusual yet complementary ingredients together – for example the addition of thinly sliced pear in the tart is wonderful. Yet nothing jerks…. Honestly, every page makes me salivate, which is also probably due to her fresh, personal style of food photography, for which she has become renowned.

The recipes themselves are extremely successful. The pastry from the swiss chard tart has become one of my staples, plus the filling combination is unusual but a huge hit with everyone I have tried it on. The shortbreads are honestly like normalbiscuits and the cakes are rich and dense with flavour. I can’t wait to try out many of the ice creams and custard deserts too.

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Whilst some of the ingredients lists look long, I believe in this instance its worth getting a stock of the individual flours. Trained as a pastry chef – pre gluten free diet – Aran expertly guides you, imparting great tricks and tips for improving gluten free baking in particular. Plus with ways for utilizing spare dough and whether products freeze, there is a great sense of practicality to each dish.

I truly love this book. I look forward to cooking more of the modern, seasonal recipes as the year progresses with access to the best ingredients. And I encourage you to dip into Cannelle et Vanille if you have not done so before, for a tempting taste of what you can expect in print.

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