Thursday, May 29, 2008


Exciting times. Busy times. Victoria and Lauren only had one week to renovate the new space, set up the equipment and start baking before the first market at Bearspaw.

But they did it. Today, Thursday, the health department is making a final inspection and off they go. You can come by the Bearspaw Farmer's Market on Sunday from 11am to 3pm and sample Victoria's baked goods. She did not tell me the final list yet, but regardless it will be fantastic.

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday are productiondays and then Thursday June 5th, they will have a full line up in their bakery in Cochrane. See you there!

Sunday, May 25, 2008


In Europe when you travel the Autobahn, legend goes that the best food is found where you see the most trucks. Well, it is a legend. Not always, but sometimes true.

In China, I can safely say that the best food I had was on the side of a road or at markets, where fresh ingredients made for some lively, tasty meals. Fresh fish in the south, spicy foods in Shanghai, noodles in Beijing, always the best in small places on the road sides. GF is not a challenge, noodles are mostly made of rice, all else is fresh and not pre packaged (yet). Not to mention that you can eat for under $3.00, bottled water included.


Before Victoria started GF PATISSERIE, she often travelled with me to China to help select new designs and of course enjoy the travels. one of the most rewarding aspects of visiting China besides it's great people, is the food. Yes, they have wheat, but it is certainly secondary to other ingredients like rice or corn. So it is a natural place to eat (mostly) without fears. Our trusted friends and suppliers, have been invaluable to us over the years.  So naturally they always come out to dinner with us, where they helped us many times explaining the Gluten Free issues.
PLEASE, ALWAYS ASK BEFORE YOU ORDER. Email me and I will send you the translation for GLUTEN FREE in Chinese.

One of very few obstacles we had to overcome was the soy sauce and to our surprise, many of them used commercially were Gluten Free. Hardly ever do Chinese use flour as binder or thickener for their sauces. Even in crummy food stalls on the road side we were surprised to be safe to eat. In all those years travelling to China, I only got sick once, Victoria never.

That we love Chinese food, is certainly a bonus and we look forward to each trip, where we try to find new foods to explore. Sometimes I feel like Anthony Bourdain, my favorite travelling chef. C

Sunday, May 11, 2008


Almost daily now Victoria is baking bread and we switched away from the great Kinnickinick products to home made bread. I buy less french bread for myself as well, Victoria's bread is a worthy replacement. I still do buy it once in a while though.

While living in Vegas, I took Isabella to the Elvis museum one afternoon and to my surprise she actually enjoyed it. Live performance and all. One of the displays was on Elvis' favorite foods and there was a nice picture of his favorite sandwich, fried peanut butter and banana.....well, Isabella had to have one.

Since then we stopped frying the sandwich, but it is still one of Isabella's favorite after school snacks. Simple enough to make, good bread helps. Healthy too.

Thursday, May 08, 2008


Calgary weather. Many jokes you've heard. But let's be honest, fun it is not! Today is May 8th, we are back from Vegas for almost two years, but I doubt we can ever get used to a snowy backyard this time of year. The fog is so thick, we can't see the neighbor's house across the fence. What does help though is good, homemade food that warms the belly and soul on a day like this. I love to make Risotto and it just cheers the whole family up when they get it. So this is a Risotto day, if there ever needs to be one.

Simple to make, few gluten free ingredients needed and you get a great meal in less than 30 minutes. I made mushroom risotto for us using a great GF & organic chicken stock from Costco. Served with extra parmesan and a few drips of truffle oil......uhm, let's say is $24.00 good. Per person!!

Not being a Celiac, I must admit that with a little bit of extra time at the grocery store or your favorite food market, one can learn quickly to buy GF. I was amazed at the beginning in what types of product I would find wheat, even as absurd as orange juice (Sunny D.) and cold cuts. Now though, I see it as a challenge to buy better, which not always means more expensive. Will go shopping soon and write about it.
or f

Monday, May 05, 2008


Here is a first look at Victoria's business card for GF PATISSERIE.


Some more traditional recipes for this summer's market. Classic Pies. made from scratch, no ready made fillings. Great crust, not starchy or sandy at all. Just add whipped cream and vanilla ice cream.


City palate, a local foodie magazine wrote a very short blurb in their latest issue about Cafe Beano's butter tarts. Well, I very much agree with their comments of them being a very good versions of those sweet little treats. We go there once in a while, as their chocolate milkshake also ranks in the top 3 of all milkshakes ever tasted. I can eat their butter tarts, but Victoria and Isabella can't. Of course I had to point out the short write up to Victoria and explain why I had to have one every time we go there......I should have known better. Nothing like a good pastry challenge for Victoria.

So this morning over coffee Victoria casually mentions her goal of the day is to master the perfect butter tart. Oh good, more calorie bombs for me, is all that went through my head. Like I need it.

No raisins in the pantry. Over and out, no butter tarts. I was 100% sure Victoria would abandon her quest today and maybe try some other time, or even better, just forget about it and let me eat my tarts at Beano.

But we have Cranberries......ugh, here we go. And she did it. Not only is the crust very,very good and tasty, the Cranberries instead of raisins give this traditional recipe a twist to the better. Tart tarts? Still sweet, but a nice touch to the whole thing.

Available this summer at GF PATISSERIE and Bearspaw Farmer's Market.

Saturday, May 03, 2008


The organizers of the Bearspaw Farmers Market called yesterday to inform Victoria that her application has been accepted. So. That's BREAKING NEWS! Exciting to say the least.

As of June 1, 2008 you will be able to visit Victoria at her stand (look for a black tent (GF PATISSERIE), where she will sell freshly baked goods. 100% GLUTEN FREE. All will be made from scratch in a leased kitchen in Cochrane, so there is zero chance of cross contamination that so many Celiacs are concerned about.

The Bearspaw Market is located right past the Calgary city limts on the 1A Highway to Cochrane at the Lion's Hall on Nagway Road. Please email with any questions you may have.


Is it my birthday??? Nope, that was a couple of weeks ago. So much baking in one day, it feels like my birthday. Here are two gluten free variations of the classic coffee cake. One with a Cinnamon brown sugar topping, which in my opinion beats the coffee cake at STARBUCKS (again!) and then Victoria made another style with Cranberries. Great combination, the cranberries are tart and contrast the sweetness of the cake perfectly.


Wow. Look at that pile of Brownies. Victoria made some for Isabella today....excellent news for me. Victoria uses top quality Callebaut chocolate for these and you can taste it. THE BEST!!

I may just become a convert one day, if she keeps it up. What a flavor.

Friday, May 02, 2008


A simple dish from the French German border region of Alsace is today's dinner at our house.

Turned out very well, great crust, almost identical to a real crust. Very easy to prepare. Not much to tell, other than we ate all of them. Victoria made 7 individual portions.


Below is Wikipedia's info on Quiche

In French cuisine, a quiche is a baked dish that is made primarily of eggs and milk or cream in a pastry crust. Other ingredients such as cooked chopped meat, vegetables, or cheese are often added to the egg mixture before the quiche is baked.
Quiche Lorraine is perhaps the most common variety. In addition to the eggs and cream, it includes bacon or lardons. Cheese is not an ingredient of the original Lorraine recipe, as Julia Child informed Americans: "The classic quiche Lorraine contains heavy cream, eggs and bacon, no cheese."[1] though most contemporary quiche recipes include Gruyère cheese , making a quiche au gruyère or a quiche vosgienne. The addition of onion to quiche Lorraine makes quiche alsacienne. In other parts of Europe it is called "Zhulienne."


Isabella, our youngest, loves going to school. Every morning bright and early she is ready to go, really looking forward to a day in school with her friends and teachers. A few years ago we switched her to a gluten free diet as well, since Isabella suffers from Absence seizures, a mild form of Epilepsy. One day she will grow out of it, as most kids do.

Lunch is an important part of her school routine, socializing time with her peers and compare what's packed for lunch. Lucky me, I have Victoria's bread always in the freezer, ready sliced. Amazing how well her bread freezes, no crumbling or dryness as I have experienced in some of the store bought breads. I just pop a couple of slices in the toaster for 90 seconds, lightly brown it, add some Mayo, cold cuts and cheese. Delicious. Dutiful husband and father that I am, I even make sure we only have gluten free cold cuts in the house. I found FREYBE, a Vancouver based company to be the best. Huge selection and 100% gluten free.

To round off the lunch package, I always add fruits or vegetables, some snack and a bottle of chocolate milk.

Thursday, May 01, 2008


About a year ago when we had one of our cake chats, I mentioned to Victoria that when growing up in Austria, one of my (many) favorites was a marble loaf cake, or as we call it in Austria Gugelhupf. My mother would make it frequently, as it was perfect for afternoon coffee (adults) or a quick breakfast (me....) alike.

Always, always up for a challenge, and happy to surprise me, Victoria found a suitable receipe with which she would attempt to replace the regular flour with her own mix of flours. "Go ahead", I said, not really expecting too much, as it is a very distinct flavor with the real cocoa my mother used, to get the marbelization in the cake.

I am not sure if you have seen the movie Ratatouille, but there is a scene where the famous restaurant critic ANTON EGO is being served a simple Ratatouille, which in his mind reminds him of his childhood and is moved to tears.

Needless to say, I don't cry, but yes, my darling Victoria has magically reproduced my mother's Gugelhupf without Gluten. To this day Victoria claims she saw me well up when I first took a few bites (absolutely not true, nonsense, never, Austrians don't cry), I hardly could believe it. The taste, though made with different flours was 100% identical. I used to order the marble loaf cake at Starbucks all the time, but let me say it's not even on the same planet. Victoria does not tell me much about the baking process, but I had to ask her about this incredible fluffyness. partly incredients she claims, but also Victoria does give credit to the table top CADCO oven she bought. Italian made, it seems to be much better for gluten free baking than most standar ovens we have in our houses.