Tag Archives: gluten-free

Sweet and Chunky Chicken Salad

The latest lunch-break invention: sweet and chunky chicken salad! sweet chicken saladWhat you need for composing the salad:

  • chunks of roasted chicken
  • chunks of grilled artichokes
  • chunks of melon (I used Cantaloupe)
  • avocado slices
  • lettuce
  • almonds and walnuts

What you need for the dressing:

  • wheat germ oil (the best available natural source for vitamine E!!)
  • sesame oil
  • balsamic vinegar
  • mustard
  • black pepper

Mix and enjoy! And do not forget to check out Pearlspotting on Facebook, too.


Coffee on the Balcony

The first coffee of this spring enjoyed on the balcony. Need to turn this into a habit! Morning coffee on the balcony in Parisgluten-free chocolate biscuits

PS For months now, my husband has been buying gluten-free chocolate biscuits made of rice flour from Bio c’Bon –healthy alternative to croissants…


Note: Due to a problem on WordPress, you probably missed the last post Perfect Weather for Hamburgers.

Healthy, gluten-free Kerala style breakfast

I have never seen a country where a simple breakfast varies as much as it does in India. Generally speaking North Indian breakfast that tourists most commonly come across with is about masala omelette or puri (bread made of wheat) served with curry stew, whereas South Indian breakfast is more about eating things cooked with rice flower and coconut.

I have now had two breakfasts at Somatheeram Ayurveda Resort and it has been a great pleasure to sample typical Kerala delicacies while watching the enormous Indian Ocean in front of me. Yesterday I had herbal tea, banana lassi and coffee as drinks. To eat I had curry leaf idly (the round thing in the photo) with sambar, rice puttu (rice flour dough layered with grated coconut) with kadala curry and sweet rice ada (Kerala delicacy cooked in banana leaf).Kerala breakfastThis morning there were some variations so I had green pea curry, tattu dosa (again, made of rice flour) with sambar and chutneys, and steamed banana. Rice ada was the same as yesterday.Kerala breakfastI am neither a big wheat eater nor a great fan of eggs, so I am very happy eating idlies and dosas for breakfast. In fact I like South Indian breakfast so much that I could eat them for breakfast even in Paris –all I would need is a live in South Indian cook!

Note: As Somatheeram Ayurveda Resort welcomes guests that are serious about feeling better by eating well and by following special treatments, there are specific diets available for all sorts of people and illnesses. For example, when I told my Ayurveda doctor during the initial consultation that I don’t stand wheat and eggs very well he directed me towards a gluten-free diet (he printed out a list of items that are good for me to eat!). 

Somatheeram Ayurveda Resort: http://somatheeram.in/

Fish eggs for breakfast anyone?

I live in Paris where bakeries are full of richly buttered croissants, but to be brutally honest, I eat a croissant approximately once a year! Shocking, isn’t it.

Originally, I come from Finland, which is a country of savory breakfasts, but I don’t eat typical Finnish breakfast (porridge) either. So, what is it, what do I eat? Well, I often have rice cakes with salmon and avocados. Or avocados and cheese. Sometimes I add turkey. Or if I made Indian food the night before, I would eat leftover dal for breakfast. To be honest, my ultimate happiness was found in South India where I could eat idli and sambar for breakfast! Yummy.

I do admit, I have weird breakfast habits but I am afraid they are now getting even more strange (some of you may call them disgusting). For some time now, I have been preparing a salad that consists of fish eggs, grilled artichokes, avocados, truffle oil and fresh herbs (thyme, basil and rosemary). fish egg, avocado and artichoke saladThe fish eggs I have been buying are some of the cheapest available in Paris (and apparently the saltiest) and of course it would be better to buy salmon eggs but they are considerably more expensive. Anyhow, apart from these “cheap” eggs, everything in this salad is very good for your health. Most importantly, I love the combination, which fills the stomach, but not the same way wheat does (yes, I try to avoid gluten as often as I can).

Would you eat this salad for breakfast? Do you have a breakfast recipe you like making but think it is utterly crazy? Let me know (and make me feel less weird..)! 

Market surprise

Doing groceries at the food market is exciting: you never know what you come home with! The weekly market supply for food products depends on the season, on the weather, on transport issues, on regulations, on trends, on political issues, etc. –you name it! And that is why it is so interesting (if you like unpredictability).

For example today, my husband asked for the price of mussels. The seller was in a hurry to return home and responded: “They were caught yesterday. I have tried to sell them for 6€ and nobody wants them, so if you like, take them home for free”. My husband offered him money anyway but the seller smiled and said no worries.

So, today’s (late) lunch is going to be mussels with parsley, celery, onions, white wine (Muscadet) and crème fraiche. And guacamole, grilled bell peppers, slow-roasted cherry tomatoes for the rest of the week. La vie est belle!Bastille market on Sunday

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Le Tipaza: refined Moroccan food

Le Tipaza is located in the northern part of the 15th arrondissement, not far away from the Eiffel Tour and UNESCO. We used to go this Moorish restaurant a lot in the past and were always very pleased with food and service. And yesterday was not an exception! Le TipazaLe Tipaza serves classic North African specialties (couscous and tajine) and some French dishes. My husband always chooses couscous and I take tajine (which is gluten free because it comes without the semolina). The wines come from Algeria, Morocco and France. Le Tipaza, couscousMy husband’s couscous royal came with a large bowl of hearty vegetable stew, a plate of mixed grilled meats, small bowls of raisin and chic peas, and semolina of course. He absolutely loved the stew, beef and chicken. The rest (merquez and lamb) he found tasty, too, but a bit dry. Anyhow, it was an excellent couscous. grilled meat plate, Moroccan foodI usually have tajine with lamb but changed my mind and ordered chicken. The tajine I chose came with preserved lemons, onions and olives. Some potatoes were included in the dish, too. It was delicious!! Such a delight!  tajine with lemons, onions, olivesWe drunk Château Mansourah, Côteaux de Tlemcen (Algeria) and it was a perfect choice: aromatic, slightly maderized red wine made of grapes that grew under that strong African sun. On previous occasions when drinking North African wines we have noticed that they make us really tired –maybe it is the sun effect? Yesterday again we felt the same and in the end of the meal we could have fallen asleep right way. The dinner was very enjoyable and we were happy customers, but indeed the only thing we could have wanted more was a magic carpet to fly us home over Paris!

Lastly, the bill was 51€ for a couscous, a tajine and a bottle of wine. Excellent price-quality ratio!

Le Tipaza: 150 Avenue Emile Zola, 75015 Paris. Tel: 01 45 79 22 25. Metro: Avenue Emile Zola.


Previous posts about eating North African food in Paris are:

L’Alcôve: finest meat of Paris (also serves couscous and tajine, but house specialty is grilled meat)
Algerian restaurant l’Atlantide in Paris (excellent couscous and tajine)
L’Homme Bleu: Berber hospitality in the center of Paris (reputable couscous and tajine restaurant but I was disappointed during my last visit)

My chili con carne

“If It’s Chili, It’s Personal” runs the title of a recent article by The New York Times. And this is exactly what I was thinking last Thursday when I was home alone, preparing Chili con carne at 10 pm. Make it personal, use your imagination.

My chili con carne:

1. Saute two large sliced onions until they get nice brown color. Add garlic, cumin-coriander powder, Indian chili powder, lots of dried marjoram, paprika powder and Jamaica pepper (also called “allspice”). Add minced beef meat (about 600g). Keep stirring.

2. Add slices of raw carrot (I used two medium-size carrots).

3. Add slices of celery (I used an entire celery stalk, about 20cm, not forgetting the leaves).

4. Add 2dl of tomato purée.

5. Add about 2dl of Slow-roasted cherry tomatoes.

6. Add two large cans of red beans and one can of white beans. chili con carne7. If you are in a hurry, the meal is ready. If you can wait, let it simmer for 30 more minutes. Add salt to your taste, if necessary.

8. I added one glass of Cahors red wine in the end.

Lastly, serve hot with crème fraîche.

And as a meal like this would not be complete without a glass of wine, I had some very lovely red Bordeaux 2006 from Château Thieuley. Recommended in the 10€+ category!Chateau Thieuley

The NY Times article: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/12/dining/if-its-chili-its-personal.html?_r=0

The wine: http://www.thieuley.com

What is a whelk?

A whelk looks strange. It is slimy. It smells like sea and mud. Some call it ugly. Just look at this photo!a whelk

But a whelk is also delicious! Especially with homemade mayonnaise! Moreover, it is rich in protein: around 20g of protein per 100g, which is more than what lamb contains. Would you have believed? In addition, a whelk is rich in vitamin B12, copper and zinc, making whelks more than ten times richer in B12 than beef. Impressive how good these slimy creatures are for us!

You can buy raw whelks and boil them for a few minutes with salt and black pepper, but supermarkets in France sell them ready-cooked. This is what we did yesterday: we purchased shrimps and whelks and ate them with mayonnaise. Afterwards we had a cheese platter with salas. Such a perfect dinner. Easy (no cooking needed), affordable, tasty, healthy. And as a bonus, gluten free. shrimps and whelks for dinner

If you are interested in whelks, maybe you would like to read this article by the New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/19/dining/whelks-are-coming-out-of-their-shell-and-onto-your-plate.html (December 2012). Apparently the whelk has surfaced on cutting-edge menus in the US, and chefs are creating some very interesting-sounding dishes of them. Why not to try when you next time see them on the menu?

Tip number 1: The only thing you really need to be aware of when eating whelks is that little tiny “lid”. It is the thin top part of the whelk, and should be removed by your fingers and thrown away.

Tip number 2: You need special equipment to eat whelks with. A normal fork won’t do it. Tiny forks or pins are the only efficient ways to pull the whelk from its shell, believe me.

PS Have you already tasted a whelk? What was your impression? How was it prepared and eaten? Did you have red or white wine with it? We had biodynamic red (Côtes du Roussillon, Marie Gabrielle Cazes, Languedoc), creating a nice match.

If you haven’t yet tasted the whelks, do you think you will one day?




Easy oven-roasted cauliflower

A friend recently sent me a recipe, which included broccoli, but since I had cauliflower at home, I used that. Since that day I have made the recipe several times and cannot seem to get enough. Some people eat chocolate for a snack, I opt for cauliflower!

So, how to begin? Buy a large cauliflower. Cut it into florets. Place them in a large oven-safe bowl. Sprinkle olive oil, black pepper and salt. Add crushed garlic. Roast in the oven (225C) for 30 minutes (cooking time depends on your taste and on the size of florets, so taste to see how you prefer your cauliflower). oven-roasted cauliflowerOnce the florets have obtained nice color, remove the bowl from the oven. Immediately after, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese (again, add according to your taste). And voila, the dish is ready to be served!! See, super easy and fast to make! oven-roasted cauliflowerFYI: the original recipe said squeeze a lemon at the same time when adding Parmesan cheese, but I have not yet done that. Maybe one day.

PS In case you are wondering, the tiles (carreaux ciment) are from a shop called Mosaic del Sur. Their production takes place in Andalusia, Spain and Morocco. If you are looking for original and beautiful tiles, this is The Place! They have a showroom in Paris, and even if you are not renovating at the moment, stop by to admire these elegant pieces of art! (http://www.carreauxmosaic.com)


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Twisted cauliflower risotto

Last fall, upon my brother’s recommendation, I visited a blog specializing in the Paleo diet and found a cauliflower risotto that contains no rice. Today I finally decided to try the recipe, but me being the rebel I am, I had hard time following the instructions. My cauliflower risotto (or a cauliflower side dish, if you prefer) became something between Oriental and Indian, and it is delicious!! Here you go: modified cauliflower risotto

1. Sauté finely chopped onions, garlic, fresh ginger, leek and celery in a pan with coconut oil until the onions turn golden brown.

2. While sautéing, add turmeric, Indian chilly powder, black pepper and Himalayan salt. I added extra ginger powder because I did not have enough fresh ginger root.

3. Add fresh lemon juice and stir. I used an entire lemon.

4. Add raw cauliflower chunks and mix well.

5. Add coconut milk and let it simmer until the cauliflower is soft. Unfortunately I cannot give you the exact duration: it depends on the quantity and how you like your vegetables (I don’t like mine too soft).

Enjoy with whatever your imagination sees it with! We had salmon.

PS If you don’t want your dish turn yellow, then skip turmeric. I added it because it is super good for health.

Cauliflower risotto recipe by Paleokeittiö that I found last fall: http://paleokeittio.fi/2013/10/02/kaali-riisista-risotoksi/ (in Finnish)

Health benefits of turmeric: http://theflexifoodie.wordpress.com/2013/01/15/why-turmeric-is-the-new-kale/