Virtuous Gluten-Free Ginger Cardamon Pear Cake

Pears mark the very end of in season fresh fruit here in Canada. I couldn't resist buying a whole basket even if I was the only one home to eat them. William was away on a road trip and I wanted to have lots of simple meal options on hand. Naturally, I figured it was a great time to bake.

Baking a cake can be a very dangerous act. Especially if you are home alone with a whole cake afterwards. For this reason, and because I knew I'd want the "cake" to supplement light meals, I opted to more of a "loaf". By that I mean there was almost no processed sugar in it at all. It does have loads of fruit (sugar) and crystallized ginger (sugar) that make it plenty sweet - but not quite dessert.

1/4 cup oil
1/4-1/3 cup brown sugar
3 organic eggs
1 ripe banana
1 cup chick pea flour
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1tsp gf baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1tbsp garam masala
1-1/2 tsp cardamon 
5 firm pears - diced
1/2 cup walnut pieces
1/4 cup finely chopped organic crystallized ginger

This is pretty darned healthy - so great for breakfast on the run, or warmed up with a cup of tea. Chick pea flour is high in protein and fibre. Fruit is also high fibre and integrating any fruit typically means a moister outcome without having to use much oil (not that I'm into low fat in any way - if it's good fat!). 

I'm pretty lazy when it comes to baking. I'm sure it would be lighter and possibly even rise higher if I mixed this in another way - but I'm happy with my lazy food processor, um, "process". 

Pulse the ingredients in a food processor in the order presented using the paddle attachment (not the blade). Oil sugar and eggs first until well combined. Whip in the banana and you'll have a paste. Now measure in the dry, pushing sides down with a spatula as necessary between pulses. Pears, ginger and walnuts go in last so they don't get pulverized into the batter. Pour into a non-stick or greased angel food or bundt pan. Bake for one hour in a 350 degree oven. 

If you eat a quarter of the cake in the first day by yourself, you can easily justify that you just ate a pear, some chickpeas and rice, an egg, walnuts and ginger with a trace of sugar sprinkled on top. I mean seriously - your practically a saint. 

I made this "cake" two weeks in a row as it was so easy and yummy. I preferred the first version when the pears were less ripe. Apples would work perfectly in this recipe - in which case I'd add raisins and or dates too. The point for me was to make it chock full of nutritious ingredients so that it could cover a meal here and there.  

This is very similar to the carrot ginger cake that I've posted about in the past. You can find that sweeter and slightly less virtuous recipe for that cake HERE


Gluten Summit… ONLINE & FREE!

My childhood friend Sarah is a well-respected naturopath (and responsible for getting me back on the road to health many, many years ago). She just sent me a link to an online event knowing that readers would be interested.

November 11-17 2013. 

Anyone can register - and it's FREE!! Just click on the big button for the Gluten Summit on the right side of this blog to go directly to their website. 

I recognize a lot of the well respected experts on the agenda - and one of them is Dr. Cynthia Kupper who wrote the introduction to my first book. I trust the content will be quality - and you can't beat the price!


Catelli Gluten-Free Pasta

I was recently asked if I'd be interested in reviewing Catelli's new gluten-free pasta. As a blogger you get this kind of offer quite frequently. This time I was curious enough to accept a box to try. 
I've posted on pasta before. After living two years in Italy, I have learned that pasta is not to be taken lightly… and that good pasta (gluten-free or otherwise) is not as fool proof as some think. It needs lots of boiling water - plenty of salt, watching, testing and an agile maneuver to drain it quickly before it over cooks. 

Never, ever, rinse the pasta. 

I'm very happy to report that this box of Catelli did not disappoint. William and I whipped up this dish on a night when we were way too exhausted to put much time or effort into the sauce. We chopped up red onion, bacon, and tossed in a (gasp) JAR of organic primavera sauce that we let simmer for 30 minutes. Just before serving we tossed in fresh spinach. We drained the pasta and stirred it into our nearly instant sauce. This simple dinner was totally terrific. Add a few candles to the table, and it was even romantic!

We loved the texture and consistency of the fusilli. It's a little bit heavier than the brown rice version we've been eating. This is likely due to a tighter shape but also the inclusion of other grains. It's made with both brown and white rice, corn and quinoa. Molto, molto buono. 

I am delighted to have a new option on the shelf to choose from. I'd love to know how the spaghetti fares. That shape can be rather tricky in the gluten-free category. While I've been cooking gluten-free pasta for more than 30 years… in my experience it's difficult to find long pastas like spaghetti and fettucini that don't clump together. I'll be giving Catelli's a test drive. For those of us with serious gluten restrictions, you'll be happy to know that this product is made in a strictly gluten-free facility. Grazie Catelli - e buon appetito!