Monday, December 28, 2009

GLUTEN FREE CINNAMON BUNS

5.30am. I am eating another one of Victoria's gluten free Cinnamon buns for breakfast. It's been a few days of trials and troubles. But finally, yesterday afternoon after a few FAILS (of which I am not allowed to publish images), she did it. The perfect gluten free Cinnamon bun.

You know, very much alike to the ones in the mall, when you walk by Cinnabon's in the food court, smell the sugar with Cinnamon, the icing and all. Yes, just like it.

It all started with Shauna's post (Gluten Free Girl), when I pointed out that there is only two things Victoria has not mastered yet. These and the Croissant. Well, don't throw out a challenge to Victoria.
The first couple of buns just were not right, a few things went wrong, but yesterday morning when I got up Victoria told me, she had an idea how to make the perfect one. Uhm OK. It's 5am and that's all you think about?? Who's idea was it to start GF PATISSERIE? It has completely consumed us now.
Poor Isabella, she does not know that our next family vacation will lead us to a gluten free mixing and packaging facility. And it's not near a beach either...


PERFECTION IN GF BAKING


SOFT, TASTY, SWEET
ROLLED LAYERS

LAST BITE






Friday, December 25, 2009

DECEMBER 24TH

PLEASE CLICK ON IMAGES FOR CLOSE UPS


December 24th. The final day of a hectic Christmas season at GF PATISSERIE. I still had to do a few deliveries and Victoria was swamped at the store with those last minute shoppers.
Lucky me, Isabella was my Elf and came along to help with the deliveries. Always fun!

Needless to say, Elfs must eat. Especially when they work so hard. YANN HAUTE PATISSERIE opened yesterday (cutting it close for the season I would say....), so that gave us an excellent reason to make a detour to Mission. HAUTE seems to stand for "out there", "excellent", or "the best of", very much like HAUTE CUISINE or HAUTE COUTURE, where you know you are in for a treat outside your normal experience.

The sales room a stark white affair, with still limited wares artfully displayed throughout. Their Macarons (our main reason to visit) did deliver. Very HAUTE, not your normal Vanilla, Chocolate flavors, but such interesting creations such as Violet, passion fruit and Rum Raisin amongst the flavors.

I tell you, they are good. Very good. I may have mentioned this before, but could it be that Macarons are the next Cupcakes? Somehow I see a trend developing here in Calgary.....another macaron maker is opening up at the Farmers' Market in January.
Are you reading this Victoria? They are gluten free. You made them in Vegas, darling!

Another one of my Elf's favorite spots to stop for hot chocolate when we work together, is Cafe Beano. Maybe Calgary's best people watching spot.

I am not sure if it was the Christmas spirit or a general new direction they are taking, but the normally uebercool staff (They really think they are God's chosen ones in the coffee world), was personable and down to earth. I could not believe it. How refreshing. How nice. Both, the order taker and the Barrista! Janice Beaton, keep it up just so.

At home, while Victoria was closing up shop, I prepared our cold cuts and cheese platter for our family Christmas Eve meal. A relaxed and simple affair, I bought some real nice things at L'Epicerie and Lina's Italian Store. Pate, Rillette, a couple of finer cheeses and french ham.
The girls yaked on about times past, while I was about to fall asleep. I think I missed half the stories. Yes I did.

Hope you all have a good time as well this season.


Baked treats to be delivered all over Calgary
HAUTE

Right behind Mercato's on 4th

HAUTE Macarons
Stylish, stylish

Isabella, stop eating the Macarons
Cafe Beano
Isabella, fitting in.
Well, maybe not.
Christams Eve at home
Simple and good














Saturday, December 19, 2009

WEDDING CAKE STORY OF THE DECADE


Cake & Cammerce, a California based Blog I read regularily. Sometimes great ideas, sometimes great stories. But below recount of baking a wedding cake in Berlin crowned this Blog for me.
You have to read it!

Friday, December 18, 2009

HIGH TEA - GLUTEN FREE

One of the ideas Victoria keeps tossing around is to host a really nice afternoon tea for you. Gluten free everything.
Scones, finger sandwiches, Petit Fours, cookies and other special treats. Just for you. GF Patisserie's loyal crowd.

What she really is looking for is a venue that can provide the dishes. If any of you know of a place in and around Calgary, let Victoria know.

There is this hotel in London that hosts gluten free afternoon teas. The menu below makes me want to take Victoria to London for a long weekend...

http://www.wintergarden-london.com/uploads/file/restaurant_pdf/Gluten_free_Afternoon_Tea.pdf








Thursday, December 17, 2009

GLUTEN FREE NANAIMO BARS







I may have said this before, but let me say it again. If you had a GF Nanaimo Bar from GF Patisserie, or are about to get one, I really want you to go over to http://www.glutastic.com/ and say THANK YOU to Caitlin
Because of Caitlin's insistence to get her hands on gluten free Nanaimo Bars, GF Patisserie sold more of these bars than any other treat so far this Christmas.....


I took some to Hall's Auction today and gave them to the staff without mentioning that they were GF. Gone in 30 seconds.....They are that good. Victoria is making another sheet for this weekend, so everybody can have a few slices.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

GLUTEN FREE PIZZA

Pizza. Haven't talked about Pizza in while. Just this past weekend, I made some for Isabella. And thought how easy a meal it is to prepare.

Once again, good ingredients are key. Good tomato sauce, good cheese and good toppings.
Make the oven as hot as you can, (ours tops out at 500F) and your family's favorite food is done in less than 20 minutes from start to finish.

Have you tried Pizza shells from GF PATISSERIE? As they are all formed by hand, they never have a lot in the freezer and for sure don't like me promoting them, but next time out, ask.

Judy G has great Pizza shells as well, I have seen them all over the place in the organic markets around town.

My favorite Pizza toppings are Prosciutto and Anchovies, fresh basil and some Mozzarella.
If Victoria ever expands into savory food, Pizza would be on top of the menu.



GLUTEN FREE PIZZA SHELLS















Sunday, December 13, 2009

STOCKING UP THE BAKERY

Only 6 more shopping days before Christmas at GF PATISSERIE. And Victoria wants to be ready. So I offered to help today, with the procuring of groceries for the bakery. Usually it gets done on Mondays, but they are running a couple of extra baking shifts to ensure everybody who comes before the holidays, gets something.

Off to Costco we went and stocked up on all the premium ingredients she needs to make your delectable treats. -30 Celsius. So cold. I was worried the eggs would freeze on the way to Cochrane, but it's all good.

The weather is turning mid week towards warmer temps, so get ready for a final ride to GF PATISSERIE before Christmas.


SIX MORE DAYS
PLENTY OF EGGS

IT'S BETTER WITH BUTTER. ALWAYS!


MUST ADD CREAM!

IT'S COLD IN CALGARY






Saturday, December 12, 2009

MORE STREET FOOD

China is changing. Rapidly. Some good, some the verdict is still out. Food is still a high priority in this great nation. I doubt that will ever change. Too may times when I call a supplier around noon their time, did the conversation end with a simple "Sorry, have to go, it's lunch time", even if we were in the middle of a heated price negotiation...

Though there are many more "newly prosperous" who can afford fine dining, there are still plenty who cannot afford white linen and silverware when eating out.
Even in such cosmopolitan places such as Shanghai, every few blocks you are able to find those "food alleys" as I like to call them.

This particular one was in the middle of a factory area on the very east end of Pudong. About 20 food stalls with a variety that makes our Mall food courts look anemic. Even if I don't recognize half the offerings, it is just great to try a few things from a variety of vendors.
Fresh, inexpensive and very tasty. Not for everybody, Tony only tried a bun, but if you are headed to China, step out of your comfort zone and dig in.



Cold Cuts
Seafood

This is what the Calgary Farmers' Market needs. Farmers.

Bakery

What to try from this booth?

Maybe fresh BBQ for Tony

Rice bags?

Head Cheese

Bring your own dishes...










Thursday, December 10, 2009

STREET FOOD

So. When you travel abroad and get hungry, how safe do you play it? Stay in the hotel and eat? Well known Franchises ? Fast Food?
Or do you step out on a limb once in a while and try to immerse yourself into the local food scene?
Personally I like to mix it up. Good breakfast at the hotel (coffee...) but then during the day, no matter where I am, I like to try food from street vendors.

On my recent trip to China, I saw this cart a couple of blocks behind the Silk Street Market in Beijing and I knew I had to try it. Savory Crepes. At least that's what it looked like.
I first watched the guy prepare one for a lady in front of me, it looked simple enough, so I ordered one.
An egg, parsley and onions were the obvious ingredients, but he also added three different schmears on top, one of which was probably a Chile based sauce, the Crepe had a nice kick to it.
And before he folded it all together he topped it with some sort of a crispy something. No idea what it is, anyone of you knows what I ate?

Yes, if you enlarge the images, hygiene may be questionable, but that savory Crepe was the best I had. Besides, nothing like a little stomach flu to loose some weight, right?

The whole thing cost 70 Cents.






























Wednesday, December 09, 2009

MEET TONY

Tony. With his wife Maria, they were the first couple to invite me over for dinner when I moved to Calgary all those years ago. Tony is from Hungary, so you can guess what we have in common. Yes, food. Of course. Good food. Amongst other things.

Tony wanted to go to China and who better to go with him than me. A few years back Tony tried to get into the import business but was thrown under the bus by his best friend and that guy's greedy wife. ( Now they are going to send their Ivory tower lawyers after me again...)
A sad tale really, but Tony never complained, licked his wounds and moved on. It seems he is ready to jump back into the fray and I can't wait to see what he is up to.

A great trip it was, as Tony is not only fun to travel with, but he has some brilliant ideas as well. Not all Chinese food was well received by him, but we did manage to find some Euro food to make him happy!


Joining the Red Army?

"You so tall, Mister"

Tourist!

Construction material

A bench for his backyard

Fruits are better than chicken feet

Head cheese in China?

Not his favorite food.