I am having an absolute blast with my gorgeous family! They arrived from Australia a week ago and we have been flying the foodie flag with gusto, exploring the culinary delights of Los Angeles. In my humble opinion, no whole foodie tour of L.A would be complete without a visit to Real Food Daily. I was so proud as my ever-supportive family, who are not vegetarians, but rather "whole foods/slow foods geeks," dove into their vegan troughs with over-zealous piggy enthusiasm and joy.
Ann Gentry's delicious vegan recipes continue to inspire and delight me, and I was thrilled that my foodie family agreed. The food is so simple and clean. My sister Kara was hilarious: she closed her eyes as she cleaned every last morsel off her kale-and-quinoa-ladened fork in one slow orgasmic movement that could have taught those 976 babes a thing or too, and said, "Oh, yeah -- clean and green". Not a bad motto. Or we could adopt Alexandra's motto that she proudly offered up after eating some steamed vegetables, "Yummy in my tummy mummy."
Suffice it to say, we have been licking our troughs clean all around town and at home. In fact, my mother started cooking her famous galettes the minute she dropped her bags in my apartment after a fourteen hour plane ride from Melbourne! Now, if that does not display a deliciously obscene commitment to culinary pleasure I don't know what does! I will be sure to post her delectable recipe later, but today it is all about my baby niece, Alexandra, who is not really a baby anymore! She bounded off the plane with the mantra "Bag the jet-lag!" as she hit the ground running with no intention of stopping. She has been a constant source of amusement as she discovers every little thing in this new world of L.A. She is just divine! I have been reminded constantly this week, as my heart has expanded again and again after every cute little thing she has said and done, that I have never loved anybody or anything this much.
Those of you who have been following me for a while are aware that Alexandra suffers from severe food allergies to wheat, dairy, eggs and nuts. We take specially-prepared food everywhere we go and must carry an Epipen at all times in case of an anaphylactic reaction. We are thrilled, however, that she is participating in the ground-breaking food allergy study "Health Nuts" being conducted by the Murdoch Children's Research Institute at the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne. Here, she has been undergoing controlled food challenges under the supervision of doctors and allergists, which is proving to be illuminating for my sister and other parents. We are crossing our fingers that she grows out of many of these food allergies, but know that we can cope and enjoy delicious food regardless.
So, I post this allergy free cornbread recipe in honour of my bread-loving niece. Or as we tell her, "special Alexandra bread." This cornbread is gluten free, dairy free, egg free, nut free, soy free, and absolutely delicious. I have posted the rosemary/chilli version because it is my favourite, but I have tried this recipe with all kinds of flavours and it is fail-safe. We actually just made a batch without any garlic, rosemary or chilli to make it palatable for the baby and it tasted great.
This cornbread is perfect as an accompaniment for soups and salads, or just as a snack with some spread throughout the day. It is one of those quick easy healthy recipes that can be enjoyed by the whole family. The basic recipe without the garlic, chilli and rosemary serves as a wonderful blank canvas for a multitude of flavour combinations. Either way, this recipe is a winner and a lifesaver for those of us living with multiple food allergies. I have suggested using fine cornmeal (or as we say in Australia, polenta) but I also enjoy using coarsely ground cornmeal, which adds a nice rustic texture to this blend. This is one of those great recipes for a mixer. Give this vegan cornbread a go. It will get a rise out of even the most allergy-skeptic foodie.
I must go now. I have a little angel tugging at my arm -- "Tessy Tessy… market?" Yep, you guessed it: we are off to the Farmer's Market. My taste buds are dancing already.