26 Days of Home · Gluten-Free Food · Gluten-Free Recipe

O is for…

A question arose over breakfast with my sister a few weeks ago: “What came first the colour or the fruit?”

O is for Orange Drizzle Cake. A quick search and we knew the answer, the colour was named after the fruit; before the colour orange there was the very true descriptive “red-yellow.”

This orange drizzle cake is inspired by the fruit too, and Mary Barry’s recipe in the cookbook Everyday Recipes. Her recipe is not gluten-free, mine is. She describes the cake as a cross between a drizzle cake and a Victoria sponge.

Gluten-Free Orange Drizzle Cake

makes 9″ layer cake

Gather (for cake):

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • zest from 1 orange (about 2 tsp)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups white rice flour
  • 6 tbsn tapioca starch
  • 6 tbsn potato starch
  • 1/2 cup sweet rice flour (also called glutinous rice flour)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 scant tsp xanthan gum
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 3/4 cup orange juice (juice one orange and top up with water to make 3/4 cup)

Method (for cake):

  • Prep two 9 ” cake pans and line with parchment paper. (8″ cake pans may be used, adjust baking time)
  • In large bowl combine white rice flour, starches, sweet rice flour, baking powder, baking soda and xanthan gum. Whisk to fully combine.
  • Put sugar in separate mixing bowl, add the orange zest to the sugar and blend well with mixer.
  • To orange/sugar mixture add oil and mix until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each. Add vanilla.
  • Scrape bowl before adding 1/3 of flour mixture, blend. Add buttermilk. Blend.
  • Add another 1/3 of flour mixture, blend. Add orange juice and blend.
  • Scrape bowl and add final 1/3 of flour mixture. Mix until combined.
  • Divide batter between two prepared pans. Tap on counter to remove air bubbles. Bake in preheated 350F oven for 25 – 30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool for few minutes in pan, then remove to rack, removing parchment paper.

Meanwhile prepare drizzle, which you want to pour over one layer (this will be top layer) while still warm. Place cake on rack over baking sheet to collect excess glaze.

Gather (for drizzle):

  • juice of 1/2 orange
  • zest of 1/2 orange
  • scant 1 cup icing sugar

Method (for drizzle):

  • Whisk together juice, zest and icing sugar. Pour over one cake layer, using offset spatula to spread to edges if necessary.

Allow the cakes to cool completely before final assembly. Once cooled, place unglazed cake on platter, top with orange buttercream, carefully place glazed cake layer on top of buttercream (glazed side up).

Gather (for buttercream):

  • 2 tbsn unsalted butter, softened
  • zest from 1/2 orange (about 1 tsp)
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 2 tbsn orange juice (more or less to reach desired consistency)

Method (for buttercream):

  • Cream together butter and orange zest until light and fluffy. Add icing sugar, adding orange juice as needed a bit at a time, until it reaches an easily spreadable consistency.





26 Days of Home · Gluten-Free Food · Gluten-Free Recipe

J is for…

J is for jam. Both jams and jellies are made with fruit, sugar and pectin. The difference is in the form of the fruit – for crabapple jelly, for instance, the fruit is sieved through cheesecloth, so no fruit, only the juices gel. In jams, the pulp or crushed fruit is not strained and jams, for the most part, are made from a berry or combination of berries.

Making jam is time-consuming and the sterilization of the jars can be a little daunting. But if you make a small amount, keep it in the fridge and eat it up with a couple of weeks, making a quick berry jam is easy and tasty. By cooking it in a skillet, the jam cooks even quicker and less sugar is required!

Quick Any-Berry Jam

makes about 1 cup of jam


  • 2 to 3 cups of fresh or frozen berries
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • squeeze of lemon juice


  • Place berries in skillet, over med-high heat. (If using strawberries you may wish to chop or mash them first.)
  • Add sugar and lemon juice. Bring to boil.
  • Cook. Stir. You want the berry juices to be released and to thicken. Looking for the consistency of ‘loose jam.’
  • Once the jam is thickened to desired consistency, transfer to a jar or bowl. Allow to cool and store in fridge for 1-2 weeks. Or serve warm right away!
I used 2 cups of frozen three berry mix (blueberry, raspberry and blackberry), and reduced the sugar to 1/3 cup. I mashed the blackberries with the back of my spoon.
After about 30 minutes of simmering I reached the consistency I wanted.



26 Days of Home · Gluten-Free Food · Gluten-Free Recipe

D is for…

D is for dates, not the type you take with a romantic partner, the kind you bake with!

The date is the fruit of the palm and there are over 3000 varieties, originating in the Middle East. It could very well be the world’s oldest cultivated fruit (having been grown at least 6000 years), in fact, the Middle East produces six million tons of dates per year.

The Medjool date is the premium date, a fat and maple-coloured date valued for taste and texture.

Whether you bake with dates in sweet or savory dishes, or just eat them as is, there are a variety of dishes in our home they can be found in: date squares, date and walnut focaccia (makes a terrific grilled cheese), sticky toffee pudding and date and walnut granola.

Gluten-Free Date and Walnut Granola Recipe


  • 2 cups whole rolled certified gluten-free oats (if oats are not tolerated there are flakes of other gluten-free grains such as quinoa which can be substituted)
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1/4 cup (total) raw seeds, pumpkin and sunflower
  • 1/2 cup dates, chopped
  • 2 – 3 tbsn maple syrup or honey (or combination of the two)
  • 2 tbsn extra virgin olive oil, or oil of choice
  • 1/2 tsp of pure vanilla extract


  • Preheat oven to 300F.
  • Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, toss and mix, use your hands!
  • Spread on baking sheet in thin layer.
  • Bake 10 minutes, stir, and bake another 5 – 7 minutes (remember it will continue to toast when removed from oven). Allow to cool.
  • Yields about 3 cups, store in jar up to two weeks.


26 Days of Home · Gluten-Free Food · Gluten-Free Recipe

B is for…

We eat a lot of cake. “Let them eat cake” really applies to us. In fact, since going gluten-free, because of a Celiac disease diagnosis, we eat more cake than ever before! Gluten-free does not mean going without! And what is cake without the creaminess on top, a cake’s crowning glory?

Most of the cake we eat is in the form of a cupcake, they cool so much faster and are quickly frosted using a piping bag. My go-to piping tips are all Wilton tips, 1M (deep star open), 33 (drop flower), 104 (ruffle or rose) and a writing tip (4). I find the 8 or 10 inch piping bags fit nicely in my hand.

Basic Buttercream Recipe


  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups icing or confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 – 2 tbsn milk


  • Cream butter until smooth.
  • Add icing sugar, 1 cup at a time, adding milk as needed.
  • Beat until reaches desired consistency.

Notes and variations:

  • This recipe makes enough for 12 cupcakes, and it can easily be doubled, or halved.
  • Sift or at the very least, whisk the icing sugar prior to measuring and spoon it into measuring cup. Do not scoop, you’ll lose the air.
  • Speaking of air…if using a stand mixer, use the whisk attachment instead of the paddle for extra lightness. If using a hand mixer, give a good mix on high once everything is mixed in.
  • Butter makes the best buttercream. I always used to use a combination of margarine and vegetable shortening, it was whiter in colour and good for themed cakes. Now, I use margarine only rarely. Buttercream made with butter holds its shape better and I find it less likely to sweat.
  • Flavour: add pure vanilla extract (the imitation may contain gluten), or other pure extract of choice (almond is nice), about 1/2 tsp or to taste. Cocoa buttercream needs 2 – 3 tbsn of cocoa and additional milk. Lemon buttercream can be made by using lemon juice instead of milk, adding some zest gives extra flavour (this works for orange buttercream too, even clementine or mandarin).
  • If you want to colour the buttercream, use paste or powder colour, liquid food colouring will change the consistency of the buttercream.

Piping Tips:


Holding the piping bag in your hand (make a c-shape) makes quicker work of filling it. Close your hand around the spatula when pulling it back out of the bag gets every bit of buttercream into the bag.




A rosette is a swirl made from the centre out, moving in a counter-clockwise direction. Smaller rosettes look lovely covering an entire cake, or a few on top of a cupcake. I use a 33 Wilton tip and stagger the rosettes so they nest together. Any holes can be filled in with drop flowers, no need to change the tip.



Ruffles can go up the side of the cake, or along the side of the cake. They can go in a circle on top of a cupcake. For vertical ruffles (those on the left) hold the tip with the larger opening (it is tear-shaped) facing right and make a motion similar to a figure eight. Horizontal ruffles are similar to single rose petals, in this case, the larger opening of the tip is pointing downwards and make a slight up and down motion. Make sure to apply even pressure throughout.

A large tip makes quick work of cupcakes, but keep in mind, it will use more buttercream. This rosette was made using the 1M tip. Start in the centre and while applying even pressure, rotate to the outside in a counter-clockwise direction.




The same 1M tip will make a nice swirl too. This time, start on the outside and rotate inwards. Overlapping each turn slightly over the previous one to build height. Keep in mind this will use more buttercream. Don’t have a tip, just use the coupler for a smoother swirl.

It takes a bit of practice, but soon you’ll be whipping up batches of buttercream and the cakes which go with them!





26 Days of Home · Gluten-Free Food · Gluten-Free Recipe

A is for…

“Apple of my eye,” “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” “bad apples,” “comparing apples to oranges,” “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree,” “as American as apple pie,” there is a body part named after the apple (Adam’s apple), the historical figures like Newton and gravity, William Tell with the apple and arrow, and Johnny Appleseed, it is also a nickname for a city (The Big Apple), another name for a tomato (love apple), and finally there is the computer company. It would appear there are almost as many connections with apples in language and history as there are varieties of apples.

There are over 7000 varieties of apples and our favourites are Empire, McIntosh, Cortland, Paula Red, Honeycrisp, Ginger Gold and Granny Smith (especially good in paninis).

Welcome to 26 Days of Home, a series based on the ABC’s of our home.

A is for applesauce!

Basic applesauce (recipe can be doubled):


  • 3/4 lb of apples, about 4 small, use C grade to save costs, Empire, McIntosh and Royal Gala are good for applesauce
  • 2 tbsn water
  • pinch of cinnamon (optional, we like to add ours when serving)


  • Peel, core and slice the apples. I like to leave some peel for the nutritional benefits.
  • Combine with water in saucepan.
  • Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer about 20 minutes – until tender.
  • Puree, or mash depending on preference.
  • Once cooled, place in jar and refrigerate. Yield: 1 cup
Peeled, leaving some peel for colour and nutrition.
Cored and sliced.
After 20 minutes, still some firm slices, so another few minutes needed.
Pureed. Nice pink hue.
Ready to eat and still warm. A sprinkle of cinnamon and raisins, for some, to top it off.



Gluten-Free Food · Gluten-Free Recipe

Perfect Poached Egg

Poached eggs have always been a comfort food for me. As a child, each day started with a poached egg made by Mum. She used an egg poacher which was well-worn after years of use. I, too, have an egg poacher which my husband uses to make poached eggs for breakfast every Sunday morning. I find this poacher, with metal cups, inconsistent; it makes four eggs at a time, and if you just want a single egg, pulling it out of the cupboard and cleaning it up afterwards, is too much of a deterrent for me.

Mum and I have been working to perfect a method for a consistent poached egg in a saucepan. With or without vinegar, with or without a vortex, it boils down to preference. In fact, I have found it boils down to boiling!

Here is my preferred method for a single, perfect poached egg:

Firstly, crack an egg and place it in a shallow dish or ramekin.

In a small saucepan, bring a couple of inches of water to a rolling boil. Add a drop of vinegar (it will not flavour the egg and is supposed to keep the white from floating off). Now, reduce the burner to low, remove the pot from the burner for a few seconds to reduce the boil. Once the water is just at a soft simmer, return pot to burner and stir in the centre of the pot to create a vortex, a tornado in the pot! Carefully, hold the dish close to the surface of the water and allow egg to slide into the swirling water.

I like my yolk soft, so I use a three-minute timer. Adjust your time accordingly. Using a slotted spoon, scoop egg out of water, gently test for doneness by feeling the yolk. I like to let my egg sit on the spoon, suspended over the pot – it keeps the egg warm and eliminates the water puddle if left to sit on a plate. 

Enjoy your perfect poached egg however you prefer to eat one. For me, it is mashed on a piece of toast. It makes an equally satisfying breakfast, lunch, supper, or even a filling snack (just not all in one day!)


Gluten-Free Food · Gluten-Free Recipe

A Pot of Tea and a Recipe

Mum and I had a lovely day today, just the two of us. We shared a pot of tea and a ham and havarti grilled sandwich for lunch. We wondered and browsed around shops and found a new supply of our favourite body moisturizer (in a stick for easy application!) I bought myself some flowers and then we headed home.

My son has some sniffles and is in need of extra rest after his first week back to school. To help his immune system, I made a stir-fry filled with peppers and onions and added extra ginger to the teriyaki sauce. For dessert, peanut butter cupcakes with chocolate buttercream – cupcakes may not heal but they certainly sooth!




Peanut Butter Gluten Free Cupcake with Chocolate Buttercream


  • 3/4 cup white rice flour
  • 1/2 cup tapioca starch
  • 1/4 cup sweet rice flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1/3 cup each granulated and brown sugar
  • 6 tbsn butter (or margarine)
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup milk


  1. In medium bowl whisk together flours, starch, baking powder and xanthan gum.
  2. In large bowl, or bowl of stand mixer, beat butter and peanut butter together. Add white and brown sugars and beat until creamed and fluffy (about 3 minutes) on medium.
  3. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing after each one. Blend in vanilla.
  4. Add half of flour mixture to creamed mixture. Mix.
  5. Add all of the milk.  Mix.
  6. Add remaining flour mixture. Mix.
  7. Fill 12 liners of cupcake tin 3/4 full each. Bake in preheated 350F oven for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool in pan for few minutes. Remove cupcakes to cooling rack to cool completely.

Chocolate Buttercream


  • 2 cups sifted icing sugar
  • 1.5 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2 – 3 tbsn milk


  1. Melt chocolate in small heatproof mixing bowl over couple of inches of simmering water.  Once melted, remove from heat and allow to cool.
  2. In large mixing bowl, cream butter until fluffy.  Add 1 cup of icing sugar. Add 1 tbsn of milk and mix until coming together.
  3. Add cooled chocolate to butter and icing sugar mixture and beat until chocolate incorporated.
  4. Add the final cup of icing sugar and add milk, as needed, until frosting reaches the desired consistency. I pour a bit of milk into a creamer jug and then add it as I go along – there is much more control over adding a bit of milk from a small jug!

This is enough buttercream for 12 cupcakes if spread, but if piping larger swirls, there will be enough for only 9.

Gluten-Free Food · Gluten-Free Recipe

Just Peachy

I don’t know where the expression “just peachy” originated, or what it originally meant.  Now, of course, it is usually said it a sarcastic way with a bit of a snap to the delivery.

What could it mean?  Literally, peaches are bright and juicy. They are fuzzy and sweet.  The term would mean things are great (no sarcasm), looking good, everything is just wonderful.

So using the expression, literally, things were just peachy when my son brought home a basket of peaches from work on Saturday.  There is one minor catch, however, I do not like peaches.  I dislike the smell, texture and taste of peaches.  I do like the colour though!  Peaches are still welcome in my home, my husband loves them.  But when faced with more than he can eat, what is one to do?  When life gives you peaches, make curd!  And since there were also nectarines in the basket, I used one peach and one nectarine in the curd…rumour has it that it went well with the brownie.  I had a sour plum instead!

Peach Curd Recipe (naturally gluten-free)


  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup chopped peaches (approximately 2 whole peaches)
  • 2 tbsn water
  • 1 tbsn lemon juice
  • 2 tbsn cold butter, cubed (can substitute margarine)


  1. Reserve 2 tbsn sugar.  Place remaining sugar in medium bowl. Whisk egg into this sugar.
  2. Combine peaches, the reserved 2 tbsn sugar and water in medium saucepan, and place over medium heat. *note if the peaches are juicy the amount of water can be reduced – my latest batch had no additional liquid added.
  3. Bring to a boil and reduce heat, boil gently until fruit is softened. Use the back of a wooden spoon to mash fruit while cooking.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice.  Slowly pour the hot fruit into the sugar and egg mixture, whisk while pouring.  Then return mixture to saucepan and cook over med-low heat – stir constantly with wooden spoon until thickened (about 10 minutes).
  5. Remove from heat and stir in butter one cube at a time, until completely smooth.
  6. Chill *we like warm curd and have one serving warm, then allow the rest to cool before placing in jar.  If you want to smooth the texture even more, place in blender or processor until the desired smoothness.

Makes 1 cup.  Store in fridge.

Curd is really good over cupcakes, brownies, ice cream, or stirred into plain yogurt.  You could even use it between cake layers, just make sure it is completely chilled as it will thicken more as it cools.


Gluten-Free Food · Gluten-Free Recipe · Life

Round and Round

I have been thinking a lot about patterns this summer.  Perhaps it is something which happens when one quilts; I see patterns in windows and brickwork and think of patchwork.  Lately, it has been circular shapes catching my attention.

Nature likes a circle.

Just a quick glance around the kitchen and all the circles, spheres and round objects jump out.  Plates, bowls, pots, pans, lids, the curve of the teapot, mixing bowls, tomatoes, a colander, the light fixture, coasters, oranges and an old baking powder tin. Even things we don’t think of as round, become round when sliced, a zucchini, a cucumber or a banana for instance;  all of these elongated shapes slice into nice rounds.

Once round the kitchen…

“Running around in circles” isn’t necessarily the best thing…unless you are a dog chasing your own tail – he seems to get enjoyment out of it! But many of our routines do have a roundness to them.  Groceries (at our home, for example) begin with the delivery of the weekly flyers, followed by the shopping a couple of days later.  The fridge is filled for a day or two, and then the list starts again and before I know it the flyers are sitting in the mailbox. Full circle…

Of all the rounds I have noticed this week, I’d have to say the best rounds have nicely domed tops, bake in multiples and come in a variety of flavours.  Did you guess cupcakes? I was thinking cupcakes…and then one cake in particular came to mind (and it is just as good as a 9″ round, or as 12 cupcakes).




  • 1/2 c sugar, granulated
  • 1/4 c canola oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tbsn grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 c white rice flour
  • 3 tbsn tapioca starch
  • 3 tbsn potato starch (not potato flour)
  • 1/4 c sweet rice flour (also called glutinous rice flour)
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 3/4 c buttermilk (can make own by adding tbsn lemon juice to milk)


  1. Prep pan, line bottom of 9″ cake tin with parchment paper.  Or line muffin tin with liners for cupcakes.  Preheat oven 350F.
  2. In medium bowl combine and whisk together flours, starches, baking powder, baking soda and xanthan gum.
  3. In stand mixer bowl, cream together sugar and oil.  Add egg and combine.  Add lemon zest and vanilla to creamed mixture and combine together.
  4. Add flour mixture to creamed mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the buttermilk (2 additions).  Mixing well after each addition.
  5. Pour into prepped tin.  Tap on counter to remove air bubbles.  Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in 350F oven, or until toothpick/tester comes out clean. (Adjust time if making cupcakes.)
  6. Allow to rest for 10 minutes, before removing from tin and allowing to cool completely on rack.  Remove parchment paper while still warm.

Waste not, want not…use the fresh lemon juice instead of milk in the buttercream for a double shot of lemon.

Quick Buttercream…1/4 cup softened butter, 2 cups confectioner’s sugar, dash of vanilla extract.  Add sugar 1 cup at a time and lemon juice by tbsn, as needed, until spreadable, or piping consistency.  Buttercream can be doubled or halved as needed.

Gluten-Free Food · Gluten-Free Recipe · Life

Roll with it…

The weather continues to be hot and humid, but even with diminished appetites, we still need to eat.  All the cooking has been done on the stove top this week and all the baking has been done in the toaster/convection oven – heat or no heat there must be cake in some form!

Kung Pao Chicken with Cashews on Rice

What can we do about it?  There’s only one thing we can do, roll with it.

A number of years ago, I had an annoying ache in the back of my knee. The diagnosis, after x-rays and scans, was osteoarthritis, but not in my knee, rather in my back.  I underwent physiotherapy and traction to ease the symptoms at the time.

It was a new way of living from that diagnosis on.  My son, a toddler at the time, learned to jump when being lifted to decrease the bending I

Gluten-free Chocolate Donut

had to do.  I began bending at my hips, not my waist, and kneeling to get to toddler level. Inside and out I always wear orthotics.

Our family used to travel, upwards of six hours in the car (there and back) to visit extended family.  Now, I squirm after 45 minutes, as the discomfort starts to build…and we’ve had to stop the trips. I have learned to control and adjust, the arthritis is a part of who I am and what I do now.  I continue to work with my hands, daily, sewing or knitting to keep the joints moving and schedule heavier tasks for earlier in the day.

Gluten-free Cinnamon Sugar Donut

After a year of taking iron supplements, my son’s iron levels were showing little sign of improvement.  Our doctor started ordering tests to see if there could be a cause.  (We were fortunate because I have read of other’s having years of problems before getting the appropriate tests.) The diagnosis for my son was Celiac disease.

So began another round of learning to adjust to the conditions.  We began eating gluten-free in the house.  All of my baking had a learning curve as I learned the differing qualities of gluten-free flours and binders.  My first loaf of bread was heavy, gummy and unpalatable! We have experimented and found our favourite bread and bun recipes-our millet bread looks like egg bread and I prefer it to the gluten containing loaves I can still eat.  Grocery shopping became more involved, as every label has to be read, every time.  We never leave the house without food now.  And we never ate as much produce as we now do.  In fact, we are all probably healthier because of the Celiac disease diagnosis and we look at what can be eaten instead of what is off-limits!

Gluten-free Banana Roll with Maple Buttercream

So when life gives you lemons you can make lemonade or when your bananas are starting to spot and turn brown, roll with it.



Gluten Free Banana Roll with Maple Buttercream Filling

1/2 cup sorghum flour

1/4 cup white rice flour

1/4 cup tapioca starch or potato starch

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp xanthan gum

3 eggs (large)

3/4 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup mashed banana

  1. Line a jelly roll pan with parchment paper.
  2. Whip eggs with whisk attachment until starting to grow in volume.
  3. While eggs whisk, mix flours, cinnamon and xanthan gum in bowl and whisk to combine.
  4. Once eggs have some volume, gradually add sugar.
  5. Once egg and sugar mixture has increased even more in volume, gradually add mashed banana.
  6. Slowly add dry ingredients to egg, sugar, banana mixture.  Scrape bottom and sides of bowl (carefully you don’t want to lose the volume you’ve created)
  7. Pour batter onto prepared sheet, spread evenly and tap pan on counter to release air bubbles.
  8. Bake in preheated 350F oven for about 20 minutes.
  9. Turn out onto rack, remove parchment paper.  Allow to cool.
  10. Mix 2 tbsn and 2 tsp butter or margarine with 3 tbsn maple syrup and 1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar.  Mix until smooth and spreadable (if too thick add drops of water until right consistency)
  11. Once cake is cooled, spread buttercream over the top of cake.  Roll the cake from the short end and place with seam down on platter. Sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar.