Low sugar Blueberry muffins


I always try to have low sugar snacks in the freezer for an afternoon bit of delight with a cuppa tea.  I have a rotating list of favourites such as my Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Muffins, but THIS, my friends is my current CHOSEN ONE !  Extremely moist, absolutely sweet enough and have a delightful squidgy yet fluffy texture.  You know what I mean 😉

I usually use locally produced flour made from an ancient wheat variety but in my last batch I used half organic Chestnut flour.  EVEN BETTER !  Chestnut flour is full of loads of vitamins and minerals and tons of fiber. I enjoy playing around with different flours, and this recipe has, so far, been very forgiving.

If you have access to a blueberry farm, they freeze well, popped directly into a bag and back into the freezer.  I always have a stock for baking, porridge and smoothies.

Low Sugar Blueberry Muffins

  • 1 3/4 (219g) cups whole wheat flour (used half chestnut flour)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon (or another spice that you prefer)
  • 1/3 cup (45g) olive oil (or Ghee)
  • 1/2 cup (150g) maple syrup
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup 250g plain yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (170g) blueberries (fresh or frozen)

In a large bowl, combine the flour with the baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. In a medium bowl, combine the oil, maple syrup and mix well using a whisk. Add the eggs and mix well, then the yogurt and vanilla.

Preheat the oven to 180°C (gas 4 or 350°F). Prepare a 12 cup muffin tin, greasing if needed.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix using a wooden spoon (a few lumps are ok). Gently fold the blueberries into the batter. The mixture will be quite thick.

Divide the batter between the 12 cups (I use a soup spoon). Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the muffins are golden and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Leave to cool before removing them from the tin.

These keep well for 2 days at room temperature in a airtight container. They also freeze really well.

Bon Appetit !


My Favourite Matar Paneer

Can’t get enough of this recipe ! My fave Indian veggie dish…

GOOD food from the good life . . .


Peas and home made Indian Cheese in a flavorful tomato sauce…  Pure comfort food !  I’m sure Saag Paneer (spinach and paneer) which is a standard in Indian restaurants in most “western” countries, is more well known. This dish is made with peas instead of spinach and the cubes of paneer (fresh Indian cheese) are cooked with the peas and a tomato sauce which has a beautifully light, silky texture. Because of the way the spices are cooked into the dish, it has an elegant and complex flavor. Serve with rice and, if you like a couple other veggie dishes such as a nice Dal and a spicy potato dish to make a full Indian vegetarian feast !


I’ve learned quite a few interesting techniques through Indian recipes.  One being the way to start the dish off with onions and usually garlic and ginger.  Instead of just “sweating” or “browning”…

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Paneer in Pepper Sauce with Coconut Sambal

coconut sambal

This is a delightfully simple dish that is brightened up by this beautiful coconut sambal (that I could just eat by the spoonful).  Paneer cheese is one of my favourite things to put in a sauce and this is a nice change from my usual tomato based Matar Paneer.


The original recipe called for Halloumi, mostly because Paneer is not always easy to find.  I make my own Paneer from fresh raw milk and it’s SO easy, give it a try.


Summer came late this year so I had this recipe put aside waiting for the green peppers to turn orange, red or yellow.

paneer peppersauce

Paneer in a Pepper Sauce with Coconut Sambal

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

For the Curry:

1 or 2 x 225g blocks of Paneer (if you use one, its just more saucy 😉 ),  patted dry and diced into 1cm cubes (or make your own)
2 red peppers, roughly chopped
2 red onions, roughly chopped
4 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp of salt
6 cloves of garlic, chopped
zest and juice of 1 lemon plus extra wedges (add juice and taste before adding all !)
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
A handful of coriander leaves

For the Sambal:

150g desiccated coconut
1 clove of garlic
zest and juice from half a lime
a small handful of coriander leaves

Add the sambal ingredients to a food processor and blitz until combined. Transfer to a serving bowl and set aside.

Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large frying pan over a high heat and add the paneer cubes. Stir-fry for 5-7 minutes or until golden-brown. Then transfer them to a plate and set them aside until later.

Return the pan to the heat, add the remaining 2 tsp of olive oil and add the garlic. Stir-fry for a few minutes until the garlic starts to brown (carefful not to burn it).  Remove and put aside. Pile in the onion, pepper and salt. Stir-fry until soft, about 10 minutes.

Add the zest and juice of the lemon, the turmeric and cumin seeds. Mix well, add 250ml of water and cook for another 10 minutes.

Transfer the sauce to a food processor or use a hand blender to blitz to a paste.

Return the paste to the pan and place over the heat. Stir in the paneer and mix in until warmed through. If it’s dry, add a splash of water to loosen it.

Transfer it to a serving bowl, scatter over some coriander leaves, the crispy fried garlic. Serve with some lemon wedges and sambal with basmati rice.

Bon Appetît !

**Adapted from a recipe by Nadiya Hussain

Low Sugar Oatmeal Chocolate Muffins


It’s HOT HOT HOT outside, but I need to fill my freezer with “not too nasty” snacks to keep me and the kids happy with our afternoon tea.

What’s a girl to do ?  Get out my solar oven !


Baking in a solar oven can be a bit limited, but when the oven temp gets up to around 150°C I have a few favourite recipes that seem to work well (this Berry Clafouti is nice too).

These delicious muffins freeze really well (to then be quickly defrosted in the …….  SOLAR OVEN 😉 ) They have hardly any sugar (the dark chocolate helps though) and lots of oats to add structure and fiber.  They are practically good for you 😉

This is a forgiving recipe.  Any milk will do and I sometimes play around with the flours.  I had some beautiful Farro flour that a friend brought me from Provence.  So here I used half of the whole wheat flour I can get locally and half Farro flour.

I make my own vanilla extract by soaking sliced open vanilla pods in vodka for about a month.  WAY better than the shop bought stuff and dead easy !

Chocolate Oatmeal Muffins - low sugar

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 1 cup oats
  • 1 cup milk (whatever you have, I used fresh Jersey cow milk)
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (or any other spice you fancy with chocolate)
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup melted butter or oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup chopped dark chocolate

Prehead your oven to 180°C (350°F) if you are not using a solar oven 😉 . Line or grease a muffin tin.

Mix your oats with the milk and set aside to soften while you prepare the other ingredients.

In a large bowl whisk the egg and sugar until smooth.  Add vanilla and melted butter or oil.  Add flour, oat-milk mixture, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.  Stir until well combined but don’t over mix (muffin rules !).

Fold in the chocolate  and distribute the batter between the 12 muffin tins.

Bake for 15 – 18 minutes or until a knife comes out clean.  In my solar oven at 150°C they took less than an hour.

Bon Appetît !

**Directly inspired by the Family Food on the Table blog




It becomes quite evident when looking at the list below, how I like to eat when I’m out and about !  Living in an area that has only a few good restaurants and very little variety in the style of cooking, I do eat a lot of “non French” food when away from home as I miss that from growing up in Vancouver.  The presence of natural wine pulls me back to a more modern style of fresh, seasonal food or sharing plates as well.  Therefore my list is a bit eclectic !  For the more “exotic” restaurants (Asian, North American, Middle Eastern, Indian etc…), my criteria is home made and TASTE, for the others I expect more from the quality of the ingredients, seasonality and a good natural wine list.


Hakata choten   1ère:  Very good ramen using homemade broth !  If its too hot out for soup other things are good too especially their Gyoza (try the one covered in chili sauce !

Raviolis  Nord Est   1ère:   Home made dumplings.  Tiny place but cheap, cheerful and very good.

Frenchie to go   2ème:  I’ve tried breakfast and coffee here.  Great quality and North American inspired menu.  Think breakfast sandwich, eggs benny and reuben or pulled pork sandwiches.  Located on the funky Rue du Nil with a restaurant and wine bar with the same name.

Hokkaido   2ème:  An old favourite (found as they are open sunday night !) in the Japanese area of Paris.  Reasonably priced menus.  Great Gyoza and noodles (big portions).

California canteen   3ème:  Takes me right back to North America !

Krishna bhavan  10ème:  Vegetarian Indian food a simple friendly setting.  VERY good value for the quality and all homemade.

La cave a Michel   10ème:  Standing room only in this natural wine bar with lovely things to nibble.

El nopal   10ème:   Mexican Taqueria that is so small you can’t actually go in.  So take away and find a nice spot along the Canal St Martin.  Absolutely delicious tacos, home made corn tortillas.  They have a new spot in Pigalle (9ème).

Thaï Street food   10ème:  I don’t really like the dark cramped interior of this place but the food is good and served in big portions (often one curry is enough for two).  So good for take away and a night “in”.

Siseng   10ème:  They call themselves an Asian Food Bar….  Great Bo Bun.  Right on the Canal St Martin.

Jones   11ème:  I go here almost every time I’m in Paris.  Original, yet simple small plates using seasonal ingredients (only a small list that changes often) with a great natural wine list.  RESERVE !

Fulgurances  11ème:  I do wiggle with anticipation every time I lunch here…  I specify lunch as the menu at lunchtime is about half the price of the dinner menu.  AMAZING value.  Wonderful concept where the an up and coming cook that has much experience in fine restaurants around the world is given the chance to be the CHEF for a few months.  Kind of like an “incubator”.  Menu of the day with probably 2 choices and a great natural wine list.  RESERVE

La buvette   11ème:  Wine bar serving natural wines and nice things to nibble.

Clamato   11ème:  Fishcentric small plates created by the neighbouring Septime Restaurant and wonderful natural wines.  Great atmosphere but sometimes hard to get a table as reservations are not accepted.  They will take your name and number and call when your table is ready.

La cave de Daron   11ème:  Nice tiny place for pre or post-dinner drinks or to buy a bottle or two of natural wine.  Interesting selection including some Georgian and Hungarian wines.  The owner is from Georgia.

Café Luxe   11ème:  Pretty hard to tell from the outside of this bar that one of the best Bo Buns is to be found inside !  The owner makes a yummy version of her grandmothers Bo Bun, perfectly seasoned just before being served by her husband…  They even have a bottle or two of natural wine.  While you wait you can squeeze in a bit of old fashioned pin-ball.

Bahn me tender   11ème:  This little place specializes in Bahn Mi sandwiches.  Fresh and well made.  Mostly take away, but they have a couple of tables.

Le Grand Breguet   11ème:  This is an odd place, mostly as its just enormous (for Paris).  They have a simple lunch formula which is choose your grain (rice or….), your protein (meat, fish, egg or vegan) and they will finish off the dish with fresh cooked and raw veg and sauce.  All for about 11€.  Organic to boot !  Finish off with a yummy coffee (and or dessert) at Ten Belles Bread right next door.

Restaurant Raviolis Chinois   13ème:   Delicious food from the North Eastern Chinese province of Liaoning.  Dumplings offered fried, boiled or steamed.  The “small shrimp and chive” boiled dumplings were delish !

Le Pacifique   19ème:   Dim sum !

Guo Xin   19ème:  Good Chinese food.  Yummy dumplings.


Montreal Plaza  St Hubert Street:  I become sad when I think about how long it may be before I can go back to this place.  Creative, amaaaaazing service, delicious, reasonable and beautiful space.  Be still my heart !

Super Taco   Rue Bélanger:  This is my type of Taco place.  Just get down to it and eat.  Super cheap for the quality…

Coming Soon…..  San Sebastian !










I’m a bit of a coffee kook.  Far from a connoisseur, I just enjoy a great cappuccino, café au lait, café con leche etc…..  I don’t drink coffee at home as I enjoy the art of “going out for coffee” almost as much as the coffee itself.  I know when its good (in my opinion) or not, that’s it.  I am quite obsessed  as I recently realised when counting how many café’s (coffee shop in French 😉 ) that I had tested and approved in Paris (21 to this day !).  Considering I only go to Paris a couple of times of year….  For that reason, if you should see any café’s here that are closed, please let me know !

CLOSE TO HOME (Northern Spain, Basque Country, Béarn)

Sakona    San Sebastian, SPAIN :  I try to get to San Sebastian every couple of months and if its been that long since I’ve had a decent coffee, this place (and the next on the list) gives me much joy !  The coffee is served with flair (on wooden boards with a glass of water) and the atmosphere is great.  The owner Javier Garcia Funez won Spanish Barista championship in 2009 and they roast their own coffee in the nearby city of IRUN on the French border.

Old Town Coffee  San Sebastian, SPAIN

Beanz   Pau, FRANCE

La Torref’   Anglet, FRANCE :  Also a roaster and just a lovely couple that own this place!


PARIS (by arrondissement)

Frenchie to go  2ème :  Located on the delicious Rue du Nil, there is also a Frenchie Restaurant and Wine Bar nearby.  I recommend the pricey but worth it version of an egg McMuffin !

Fragments   3éme

Loustic   3ème :  Nice comfy room in the back.

Caféotheque   4ème :  Beautiful space with lots of room in many rooms.  BUT a bit over-priced and the service can vary but great coffee so if you are in the neighbourhood….

Le peleton   4ème

Yellow Tucan   4ème :  One of my new fave’s on the edge of the Marais district.

Dose   5ème

Coutume   7ème :   On of the first of its kind in Paris and still one of the best.

Printemps du gout   9ème

On the 7th (and  8th) floor of the Department store “Printemps Homme” is this recently opened fancy pancy food halls, a bit like at the Bon Marché.  Great for roaming around and drooling over the expensive fine grocery items.  Café Lomi18 is present in what may be the great coffee with the BEST VIEW in Paris….  Check it out 🙂


Ten Belle’s  10ème :  Very small, try Ten Belles Bread for the same coffee but in an easier space to enjoy it !

Café craft   10ème :  Nice place for breakfast.

Hollybelly  10ème :  Great atmosphere but victim of their success and hard to get a table sometimes.  I don’t like lining up for a coffee.  Great for breakfast.

Blackburn café   10ème

Radio days   10ème :  One of my husbands faves.

Ten Belle’s bread  11ème :  Add pretty amazing bread and baked goods to the delicious coffee.

Spoune   11ème :  Other than the cocoa powder panda sprinkled on the top of my coffee (not a fan of cocoa on cappuccino) very nice coffee.

Mokonuts   11ème :  BIG time on my list to also have lunch here one day !

Cafe oberkampf   11ème

Cafe mericourt   11eme :  Little sister of Café Oberkampf.  Try the breakfast sandwich !

Kopi cream  11ème :  Say hi to Mimi the little dog whilst sipping your delicious café.

Café lomi  18ème

Sylon   18ème :  They get my vote for the lovely decor.

Soul kitchen  18ème




Carrot Ginger Dressing

A jar of this in the fridge…  Good idea 🙂


This couldn’t get any easier.  Do you have a blender ?  Oui ?  You’re in !

Along the same lines as that delicious dressing served on the salad in a good Japanese restaurant this dressing is a bit odd as it starts with a raw carrot !

Don’t worry if you don’t have a high speed blender, I made this before I invested in my VitalMix Blender (aka the German made version of a VitaMix !) and it worked well.

Dip for crudités – Salad dressing – Topping for grain or rice bowl –  Dunking bread, pita or fingers in.

Slightly sweet, tangy and full of healthy ginger.

Carrot Ginger Dressing

  • Servings: bit more than 1 cup
  • Difficulty: very easy
  • Print

  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 large carrots, roughly chopped (about 2/3 cup)
  • 2 Tablespoons peeled and roughly chopped ginger
  • 1 or 2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • “up to” 1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Tamari or soy sauce

All goes in the blender and blend away until you reach a nice smooth texture.  I suggest adding the lime juice and the honey gradually until you reach the mix of sweet and sour that pleases your palate.  Add more salt if needed and blend one last time.  This will keep in a jar in the fridge for at least a week…

*Inspired by Cookie & Kate

Bon appétit !