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Quinoa, Mixed Peppers and Avocado Cream Verrines

Quinoa, Mixed Peppers and Avocado Cream Verrines

Living with food allergies sucks. Living with food intolerances also sucks. Don’t ask me which one is less sucky. It all depends on the person and how they see the sun shine when they get up. I can only talk about personal experiences and of those around me.

Lauren at Celiac Teen for example is allergic to gluten. I am gluten intolerant. While she will get really strong physical reactions within hours, mine will build over days. Hers will manifest after one speck of gluten ingested by taking her digestive track for a spin, making her brain as cottony as the pillow she’ll use to sleep it off. It will take several days of glutenized meals for me to get vertigo, tinnitus, aura fullness where I’ll have to lie down and hope it stops soon so I can get back to work again.

Roasted Mixed Baby Peppers

Instant. Over days. Stomach. Ears. Brain fogged up. Lying down. It just sucks. And as far as I can tell, we’re not wearing a line on our foreheads that reads "gluten can’t pass these lips." We just deal with it. So when my friends, family or anyone coming to eat at my table says "I am allergic to this or that." I don’t question. I accommodate.

I get terribly aggravated when I have to explain I am gluten intolerant and can’t have "regular" flour and I can tell the first thought in some people’s mind is "here’s another low card fad freak." Ugh no. I can have carbs. I can have truckloads of carbs. I can swim in carbs if I wanted to. They just should not contain gluten. That kind of thoughtless reaction bugs the heck out of me. If I were to say "I am allergic to dairy" I’d probably get a sympathetic "Oh you poor thing!". How can they tell that I am not using that as an excuse to avoid calorie ladden ice creams sundaes (just an example. I love sundaes. There)

Quinoa, Mixed Peppers and Avocado Cream Verrines

Somehow, some people make these kinds of decisions in their mind about what is an ok allergy and what just looks like a fad. That’s sad. And wrong. It can create a whole lot of discomfort for someone you don’t know and who places a part of humanity upon you. Trust. I was raised by a father who used to say "if someone says they don’t like this, don’t ask them why. Don’t put them on the spot and don’t make them feel uncomfortable. Trust that they know what they need."

When Flo Makanai sent me a copy of her book "Les Intolerances Alimentaires", it took on a whole level of compassion with me. Flo’s daughters have a lot of different food allergies they must deal with on a daily basis. And in France no less where allergy awareness is still in baby steps. Flo’s book is the best thing that could happen to keep on educating people on food allergies and intolerances. I love my peeps but when I hear things "oh yes, the grilled veggies with camembert sandwich is dairy free." I just get very, very worried.

Making Guacamole

I truly feel for her young daughters going through trial and error of finding what they can and cannot eat. No to mention the reactions from others at times must be hard to bear for such young souls. I love how fierce a fighter Flo is for her daughters. I am not a mom but I know that’s what mothers do. I know I would not let go until I’d see my daughter smile again.

Flo did it. She then wrote it all down in such a detailed and simple, precise and researched way that I can’t recommend her book strongly enough to anyone who reads/speak French. I know, here I am recommending a book in another language that only some of you will be able to read. For those who can’t read or understand French as well (or at all), I only hope I was able to transmit the notion that food allergies are real, and we should keep on getting educated about them. In whatever language you speak.

Homemade Goat's Milk Yogurt

When friends came over for dinner, one of them gave me a call the day before saying that he was bringing a guest who was allergic to cow’s milk. Dairy was ok. Just not from a cow. No problem I was wasn’t planning on serving any dairy….oh wait! Duh! I was. One of the dishes I wanted to do, (inspired by Flo’s quinoa and green lentil dish, was a verrine of layered quinoa, roasted peppers and avocado cream and it did contain yogurt. Zut alors! (yikes!) That was by far the easiest allergen orientated change one could have to make. I used goat’s milk yogurt instead.

I know some people who because they don’t think these things are "real" would have said, "oh well, the recipe calls for just 1/4 cup. That’s nothing! That can’t possibly hurt her." Yes it can. It will. Changing a recipe to help someone enjoy the evening and the hours afterwards can be a learning curve but it can also lead to very tasty discoveries in the kitchen. It sure did for me in this recipe. The goat’s milk yogurt gave more of a cheesy creamy bite than cow’s milk yogurt did in previous occasions. I don’t think I’ll change the recipe again after this, actually!

Hope you enjoy this as a refreshing appetizer or light side dish. Everyone at our table was able to partake. That’s what matters.

Quinoa, Mixed Peppers and Avocado Cream Verrines

Quinoa, Mixed Peppers and Avocado Cream Verrines:

Makes 6 to 8

For the quinoa:
1 cup raw quinoa
1.5 cups water
pinch of salt

For the mixed peppers:
1/2 red pepper
1/2 yellow pepper
or one 10 oz box of mixed baby peppers
olive oil
salt and pepper

For the avocado cream:
1/2 avocado
juice of half a lime
1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro
1 green onion, finely chopped (or 1 tablespoon red onion, chopped)
1/4 cup yogurt (your choice)

Prepare the quinos:
In a medium saucepan, combine the quinoa, water and salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook 15 to 20 minutes until the quinoa feels tender. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.

For the mixed peppers:
preheat the oven to 400F. Place the peppers on a baking sheet and drizzle with a splash of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and roast until the peppers start to blister (20 minutes). Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature. Cut the peppers in half, remove the seeds and set the peppers aside.

For the avocado cream:
In a large non reactive bowl, mash the avocado with the rest of the ingredients until smooth with the back of a fork or a potato masher.

Start layering the verrine with some a layer of peppers, a layer of avocado cream, a layer of quinoa, repeat once or twice depending on the size of your glasses and finish with some of the cream on top. Add a couple of blanched asparagus tips if desired for garnish.

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Charles April 6, 2011 um 6:56 am

This looks incredible – so colourful and fresh. Never tried quinoa yet… it seems to be one of these things which has grown in popularity over the last few years so I'm missing the boat somewhat. Must try this!

Carina April 6, 2011 um 7:26 am

Really love this post, my friend.

I'm just coming to terms with my egg white intolerance. I would LOOOVE to eat beautiful eggs, soft boiled, meringues, perfectly poached, but I cannot.

It's new (less than a year old) and upsetting. I must scrutinize things to see if they'll cause me anguish. My favorite palletin from that little bakery? Out. Fast scrambled eggs in the morning? Out. And if I DO partake? Oh, the terrible things that happen. I even have to remember to thoroughly and completely scrub my fingers after breaking eggs otherwise I will be in a world of itch and hurt.

So many sympathies to my allergic and intolerant sisters!

Ruth April 6, 2011 um 7:59 am

These verrines are so attractive. They might even cause me to make quinoa this week!!

Anonymous April 6, 2011 um 8:21 am

This is a great post, I have been admiring your blog from afar for a few months now and love the food photography I think it is brilliant.

The idea that people don't take allergies seriously frustrates me too, I have a good friend that has a sever Latex allergy and she has to deal with it every day, such a trooper, but when she visits I am super on the ball making sure she is ok and accommodating her needs.

A similar thing happened when a new fiend had a birthday a few weeks ago, loving cupcakes I set about making him some, however his mum rang me and told me about his severe egg allergy and that I shouldn't make him any… not to fear I was immediately on the internet researching! I will be definitely looking into your friends book, something every house needs! I hope that it will be translated to English soon !!!

car01 April 6, 2011 um 8:43 am

I'm allergic to latex (life-threateningly so), which means that I *might* cross-react with avocados, bananas, sweet chestnuts or kiwi fruit. Lot of people just don't believe me when I tell them that the tiny speck of avocado in a salad might kill me. 🙁

Florence A. April 6, 2011 um 9:06 am

Oh Hélène, now you're making me cry…
Because of the pride, your words are so intensely nice about my book, thank you SO much, and because of the joy of feeling that, day after day, we all, allergics or intolerants or for whatever reason DIFFERENT (and therefore constraining for others), are less alone in our journeys…
Blogging and then writing that book about my daughters intolerances (because all of my 3 little ones have multiple, and, to make it easier, different, food intolerances, just as their Dad is +++ food intolerant, while I'm not) helps me SO much to keep going for the sake of my kids, to put myself back on the right tracks in my kitchen whenever it just feels so hard and tiring I just want to cry on my plate.
And living in France sure doesn't make it easier…
Un immense MERCI, Hélène. It's not that I wish there will be a community of food hypersensitives, it's just about knowing we're all there to HELP each other.
May you all have a bright and happy day!

Ali April 6, 2011 um 9:10 am

Oh yes. Mercifully my eldest's lactose intolerant symptoms are not serious enough that he can't have a scoop of ice cream if he really really wants one. He knows the price he must pay and is old enough to decide if it's worth it.
But my friends son struggles with serious dairy allergy, not helped by the school who gave him mashed potato (with milk) because "he looked like he really wanted some".

Anonymous April 6, 2011 um 9:59 am

Love that colours, looks yummy.
But now I feel empty and hungry 🙁

girlleastlikely April 6, 2011 um 10:04 am

Wow! This looks amazing!
I actually have a lot (and I mean A LOT) of food intolerances myself, but I never really speak up about them because people always jsut assume I'm one of those 'fussy' eaters. Like you, I have a gluten intolerance, and I can't even count the number of meaningful glances exchanged when I mention it! The problem with me is that apparently my body builds up resistances to grains when I eat them too often, so I have to keep rotating them.
Add vegetarianism to the list and you have one fussy eater!

As I said, this recipe looks incredible and I'm very, very excited to give it a go! I haven't actually tried quinoa before, so this should be a fun little experiment!

Also, absolutely beautiful images!

Tine April 6, 2011 um 10:55 am

Those peppers look so great!
And that quinoa recipe! Beautiful colors!
Thanks for the recipes!

Shirley @ Kokken69 April 6, 2011 um 11:24 am

Great post,Helene. With better understanding, I hope we can all learn to be more considerate. I have a colleague living in Italy who is allergic to garlic…I don't know how he deals with it but it must be really difficult.

Averie April 6, 2011 um 11:56 am

these look amazing and the avocado cream part sounds heavenly. I could just eat that with a spoon. Or on veggies, chips, you name it…oh great recipe, Helene and gorg photos!

jenn from midlife modern April 6, 2011 um 11:59 am

Terrific post. Whenever I invite people for dinner I am sure to ask for allergies and intolerances and make the proper adjustments, or at least make sure to include plenty of dishes that they will be able to enjoy. Having some parameters can actually help me reign in some of my ideas and settle on a menu more quickly!

What a clever presentation for a savory dish! Your photography is lovely and that recipe sounds like something I would absolutely love.

Denise April 6, 2011 um 12:02 pm

Haha these are confusing! I thought they were gonna be sweet desserts… looks like I was wrong!x

Caroline April 6, 2011 um 12:35 pm

This looks so good! I've just stared cooking with quinoa recently and I love it! I actually enjoy making recipes for people who have intolerances/allergies – it makes me try incredibly hard to find something that is delicious – not just 'good for being gluten free/dairy free/egg free' – just plain old good. And I know those who are allergic/sensitive appreciate the thought, too!

d.liff @ yelleBELLYboo April 6, 2011 um 1:00 pm

Oh my, avocado cream! Looks delightful 🙂

Marmita April 6, 2011 um 1:18 pm

Oh man.. 🙂 Love your blog and the colours od your dessert. a big kiss from a fan from Portuga. MARMITA***

Cristin April 6, 2011 um 2:09 pm

Well done. You are a fine champion for this important issue. I don't have any food allergies and I count myself very lucky.

Maris (In Good Taste) April 6, 2011 um 2:13 pm

This is a wonderfgul heartfelt post. Your avocado looks delcious!

Winnie April 6, 2011 um 2:13 pm

Lovely post Helene,
Yes! Food allergies/sensitivities/intolerances and whatever else you want to call them are very real and anyone who thinks otherwise is just ignorant. This quinoa dish looks incredible and your photographs are, as always, beyond stunning.

Sara April 6, 2011 um 2:30 pm

Helene, I've always loved your blog, and I appreciate 99% of the message you appear to be sending in this post.

However, the part I'm struggling with is that you seem to take a jab at other people's dietary choices. Yes, living with a food intolerance/allergy sucks (I'm lactose intolerant, so I truly get this).

You know what sucks more? Brain cancer. Eating a low carb diet is one of the few weapons I have in my arsenal to (I hope) give me some more time by providing little fuel to cancer cells.

I will still likely read your blog, as I'm *hoping* your remark was simply made because you don't understand the reasons people have for following what you appear to deem as a fad diet.

Unknown April 6, 2011 um 2:38 pm

This looks absolutely scrumptious. Plan on making this tonight!

Pétra April 6, 2011 um 3:11 pm

Those are gorgeous! I can't wait to make them.
I have been Celiac for 18 years.I would say the toughest times to go out to eat were the beginning of the low/no carb faze.I was lumped in with people that made a low carb choice and feared what was coming out of kitchens.Now, at least here in Portland, restauranteurs and chefs are more educated in the realities gluten free but it's been a journey. It's been a long time since I was told there was no flour in a dish only to have the protein come out on a bed of pasta.
Beautiful post!

sally cameron April 6, 2011 um 3:18 pm

Enjoyed your post Helene. Food allergies, insensitivities, or intolerances, whatever you call them, are very real. I am fortunate not to have any personally, but as a personal chef I have clients who to. My job is to help them. Food is like medicine. People need to get that. It can hurt you or help you. I am glad to see more people understanding that. I recently converted a cake recipe to gluten free and dairy free. It's so good I now make it that way always! Would love to read your friends new book, but alas, I don't speak French (yet). I feel for people who have to deal with them. It can make life more complicated.

Alice Olive April 6, 2011 um 3:55 pm

Great post and amazing images, as usual!

The wife of a very good friend of mine is gluten-free. I remember one time they were at my place for lunch and she told me that she appreciated that she never has to remind me of her dietary restrictions. That she knows that whenever she comes over, she can happily eat whatever I will serve.

I had just assumed that everyone would accommodate an allergy and take it very seriously. A big part of entertaining is having your guests enjoy what they eat. Thanks for the reminder.

Stephanie R. April 6, 2011 um 4:00 pm

oh. my. gosh. i am DEFINITELY making these tonight! how perfect that mini sweet peppers happen to be on sale at my co-op… 🙂

erica April 6, 2011 um 4:07 pm

I love your refreshing and gracious support for people with food allergies and intolerances! Thank you for your honesty…may the challenges of living with food intolerances continue to be transformed into joyful opportunities for creativity in your kitchen!

Helene April 6, 2011 um 4:09 pm

Sara: you misunderstood me completely. It's not because say I can eat "truckloads of carbs" that I do. I don't. And my sentence reads "I can" not "I do". Primarily because my level of physical activity does not call for ingesting copious amount of carbs. And I don't believe my body and health need huge amount of it. The idea being my paragraph was that people equal carbs with bread and gluten only and you and I both know it doesn't end or start with just bread.

Didn't I just write that I get aggravated when people pass judgement and label as "people on fad diets" those following the diet of their choice (Low carbs, no dairy, etc…)? I think I did. How does that make me one who deems that they are on a fad diet. I am saying throughout my post the complete opposite!!

You clearly misread the entire post as I am one of those suffering of such labeling when I say I can't have gluten, regular bread, regular pastry, etc…

I just lost my uncle to brain cancer. I know.

Asha @ FSK April 6, 2011 um 4:14 pm

Lovely post! and how brave you all are. I can't imagine life with food restrictions! But we all find a way don't we!

going to go get my hands on Flo's book. I need lessons in glutenfree baking!! My recent disasters vouch 😀

Asha @ FSK April 6, 2011 um 4:15 pm

And, did I say, the verrines are just gorgoeus.. simple food.. so beautiful and happy that everyone could enjoy 🙂

Tracy Grant April 6, 2011 um 4:22 pm

I really appreciate your post! As usual the photos are stunning, but your thoughts about allergies really struck a chord. My 13 year old son is allergic to basically all nuts, and a lot of proteins that are found in meats.
I have had to be a real pain when eating at friends or out but only when people have had the attitude of just a little won't hurt him..It has taught me quite a bit on how to be protective and aware but not fearful.
Thank you again for your post.

RT April 6, 2011 um 4:24 pm

Oh Helen I simply love this post and yr photos..only you can make simple food look sooo good…didnt know you were gluten intolerent..

Kelly-Jane April 6, 2011 um 4:40 pm

I do get what you've said here.

I'm allergic to yeast, I thought it was a gluten intolerance for years, but eventually worked it all out.

Anonymous April 6, 2011 um 4:41 pm

this is interesting. I've never been tested for any food allergy or gluten allergies but I think it's time I go in. I'm noticing similar symtoms to what you wrote about — not too drastic but noticeable. I guess I'm afraid of the outcome but that is just stupid, I know. If anything it will be a new challenge in the kitchen that is much needed. thank you for posting this and for the yummy recipes!


Nicole Pelton April 6, 2011 um 4:48 pm

What a beautiful, and yummy post. I feel very lucky my kids and I are not allergic to anything, and are totally sympathetic to those who are. My mom just discovered a gluten intolerance, and I tell her, no, a little is not ok 🙂 I want kids who try new things, but I would never force it on an adult. Your comment about camembert reminded me of my trip to Switzerland last week, where I had to argue with a waiter that fish was not vegetarian. Yes, many vegetarians eat fish, but he refused to acknowledge there was anything beside meat and fish…sadly I had attempted to pre-order a deliciuos sounding mushroom risotto (it was a work event and we'd planned for 50 guests each day, 5 vegetarians) but that didn't work out.

jie April 6, 2011 um 4:57 pm

Thank you so much Helene. I've been reading your blog for a couple of years now and this is my favourite post.
I've been living with food allergies for a while now, including wheat allergy, so I found myself identifying with this post. And I agree, making sure every one at the table is able to enjoy the same meal is what really matters. I'm more than happy to accommodate for multiple religious and dietary requirements in the same meal, and fortunately most of my friends are understanding and will accommodate for me too. I'm thankful for the food allergies really… they might be frustrating but they're what really got me into cooking and experimenting. I hope more people read this post – I've had too many well-meaning relatives press food on me because "one little taste won't hurt".

Confidex April 6, 2011 um 5:13 pm

These look great, we use quinoa regularly, typically with a light sald and vinagrette but this is in interesting use, and I love roasted peppers and goats milk things.

Though the rest of the post strikes a raw nerve with me being celiac myself and having to deal with people thinking I do it as a fad, though when someone makes a comment I usually point out it's a disease and to look it up to be more educated. This also dovetails into my family notdoing what they should for their own health since my mother, grandmother, aunts and uncles are all celiacs they just don't do anything about it. Ok rant over. Love your blog dear, and keep up the faith maybe one day we'll ALL be able to understand food allergies/intolerances/dieases.

Cookie and Kate April 6, 2011 um 5:39 pm

Wow, that's a novel combination of quinoa, peppers and avocado! I'm crazy for all three, so I'll make this as soon as I get a chance!

Maria @ Scandi Foodie April 6, 2011 um 6:45 pm

I'm a huge fan of quinoa and although I'm not gluten intolerant I still prefer to cook and bake g-f. Fortunately there are so many alternatives available nowadays!

This dish looks fantastic Helene, I love how you've presented it in layers 🙂

Anonymous April 6, 2011 um 6:52 pm

The picture of the avocado is AMAZING!! So fresh and perfect. And the verrine looks absolutely delicious.
I appreciate you raising awareness of the seriousness of people with food allergies or intolerances. Thankfully, I feel that progress is being made in the US in accomodating people with food allergies.

Gen April 6, 2011 um 6:58 pm

C'est magnifique et la verrine semble bien gourmande! Une belle entrée, avec de belles couleurs et quelle onctuosité!

Mayfair Wells April 6, 2011 um 7:02 pm

While at work 2 months ago I overheard my co-worked being teased that she needed to check her chair for gluten. I asked her what that meant and she explained she had celiac disease and could not eat gluten. I could not believe the insensitivity of our other co-workers. She and I had lunch and she explained how she found out she had the disease and what her symptoms had been. My husband has been suffering from the same symptoms for 5 years. No Dr. had been able to diagnose him. We searched online and sure enough, all of his symptoms were a match. We found him a new Dr. who tested him. The results were positive. He has been gluten free for 3 weeks now and is starting to get relief. We have been encountering the same rude behavior and comments my co-worker has endured. Thank you for putting out these wonderful recipes that our whole family can enjoy and creating awareness about gluten intolerance.

Meagan @ Scarletta Bakes April 6, 2011 um 7:22 pm

I really enjoyed this post and recipe, especially the avocado cream.

Thanks, Helene. I can't wait to try these verrines in my own kitchen!

Amy April 6, 2011 um 8:44 pm

Thank you for the lovely post. It is always good to have a reminder of what a difference a little compassion can make. Also, this recipe looks so good that I will be trying it for dinner tonight!!

Rocky Mountain Woman April 6, 2011 um 9:01 pm

I have a grandson who is on a gluten free diet..I'm betting he would just love these cuties!

terri April 6, 2011 um 9:28 pm

thanks for posting on such an important topic. i have several friends and relatives with severe food allergies/ sensitivities/ intolerances, and i know the kinds of things they have to deal with. one of the reasons (among many 🙂 ) that i love your blog is because you've created so many lovely gluten-free options i can make for my loved ones.

Carmeta April 6, 2011 um 9:34 pm

Hi Helene, I can understand you perfectly, at my 23,(now I'm almost 40) suddenly I became alergical at nuts,almonds, garlic, peach, pepper, parsley, etc..and people thinks that a simple cuted garlic, its inofensive, but not. Now I make cakes for kids and people who have intolerances and alergies, extremely precautions, I can understand them so well. Nice photos. Regards from Spain.

Dana @MyCherryPie April 6, 2011 um 11:10 pm

My dad is allergic to gluten and it was such an overwhelming process for him to discover that. My heart goes out to everybody out there who has to suffer food allergies.

The recipe sounds so amazing, and I've been on a healthy kick lately so it will fit right in. Thank you for sharing!

muppy April 6, 2011 um 11:13 pm

This looks gorgeous and tasty, I feel very happy when I hear of others who go out of their way to accommodate food allergies and intolerances. It also makes me feel so blessed to not suffer from them.

SMITH BITES April 7, 2011 um 12:01 am

i really appreciate this post Helene; not only because i love feeding people good food, but because i've had stomach issues most of my life that i'm just now starting to realize that it is food related – more intolerances than anything but a learning curve none-the-less. love this!

test it comm April 7, 2011 um 12:33 am

Nice way to enjoy some quinoa! I like the stacked presentation!

DonnaD April 7, 2011 um 2:23 am

Thank you so much for your succinct and eloquent essay. I've only one food intolerance–to chickpeas, of all things–but the effects the day after eating some hummus, or a falafel, give me an inkling of what people with major allergies or intolerances have to face. And you're spot on, it's so rewarding to make a dish that the entire table can eat and enjoy–serving food requires an open heart in the first place, and tweaking a recipe until everyone can join in opens the heart wider. I've just ordered Flo's book, and am looking forward to it. Thanks again!

Unknown April 7, 2011 um 2:42 am

That looks so glamorous.

Jun April 7, 2011 um 3:38 am

Beautiful!!! It looks festive and fresh.

Kethrim April 7, 2011 um 4:14 am

The French also tend not to always understand vegetarianism- I am not a vegetarian, but I do not eat pork, bacon- pig in any form! When studying abroad a few years ago, my host mother tried to convince me that my chicken (which she kindly prepared for me as an alternative to the pork that everyone else was eating) would benefit from the sauce from the pork. Oh, not the pork itself, just the sauce! She never really seemed to understand why I refused to eat the sauce that the pork was cooked in!

Helene April 7, 2011 um 4:18 am

Kethrim: I think the older generations especially. I've seen it happened. Reminds me of My Big Fat Greek Wedding when the groom-to-be says "i am a vegetarian" and the aunt goes "you don't eat no meat? I'll make lamb!"
The humoristic approach worked to make everyone go "oh boy!"

Younger generation Europeans at large are much more in tune with veganism, vegetarianism, etc…

Lesley April 7, 2011 um 5:46 am

Thanks Helene for this post. My daughter is anaphylactic to peanuts and I often found it hard to get through to some people (some family!) about how real the threat was or to those who glibly stated all was ok, when you just knew they didn't really know and didn't want to bother. Fortunately, there were many others who went out of their way to check, reassure and provide. I really liked your father's comments on not asking why.

Orchidchef April 7, 2011 um 5:49 am

The photos had my heart skipping a beat. One of your most beautiful posts ever and that says something.
So many of my kids' friends suffer from food allergies or intolerance and I have used blogs like yours to accommodate them when they come over. Blogs like yours are changing peoples attitudes slowly but surely, because it is lack of knowledge that lead to discrimination. Your blog and other like yours are helping by making the subject understandable and beautiful and tangible at the same time.

Patrizia April 7, 2011 um 8:29 am

brava brava brava sei bravissima nelle foto e nelle ricette 🙂

Maaike April 7, 2011 um 11:06 am

A friend of mine is allergic (like, deadly) to dairy (from all kind of animals, not just cow's) and all sort of nuts.. and I am a vegeterian (thus eating more dairy, nuts and eggs than a meat-eater) so I always have to think carefully what to serve for dinner. I know the problems with allergies, but a lot of people don't. They think a little cream in the tomato soup won't hurt my friend, but it'll actually kill him.
These pictures looks great, thank you for the recipe!

Sarah April 7, 2011 um 1:33 pm

Beautiful! Will definitely try these with some soy or coconut yogurt! I became vegan about 9 months ago and since then my heart has gone out to the lactose intolerant/allergic. It is snuck into sooooo many things! If I goof and eat it, it may be against my wishes, but at least I won't get ill. Brava to you and your compassionate and accommodating soul:)

Heather @ Get Healthy with Heather April 7, 2011 um 3:01 pm

Thank you for this thoughtful post. My very favorite part was the quote from you father-not to question why people don't eat something. I love that. It can be so uncomfortable having to explain why you're avoiding a certain food or food group.

This recipe sounds delicious and your photos look amazing.

Janice Harper April 7, 2011 um 6:17 pm

Your father was wise; his words of compassion are a reminder to us all not to cast judgment on our friends and guests, but to accept them and do everything we can to make them comfortable in our homes and kitchens.

Anonymous April 7, 2011 um 9:22 pm

Hi Helene, I'm planning to visit Paris next month. Could you recommend me any antique/vintage store and markets I can visit?
Thanks for your help!

freckles April 8, 2011 um 1:46 am

The photos are just lovely and the recipe sounds very interesting. Avocado cream, yum!

I have food allergies and other members of my family do too.

I think it's important to remember that a lot of people are uneducated in terms of allergy and sensitivity. While it would be really nice if all restaurants and everyone who had guests could cater to us, I think that's unrealistic.

Also (in my family at least), being a picky or fussy eater is frowned upon. You eat when you get given and don't complain.

If I am a guest at someone else's house, I don't expect them to cook to my specific needs. I will eat what I know is safe for me and eat later if there wasn't enough.

Equally at restaurants where most dishes are prepared in advance, asking for something, but without the X or Y might not be possible. It is however very nice when there are things on the menu that I can order without harm.

Brian Samuels Photography April 8, 2011 um 2:19 am

I have never thought to do a savory trifle before… but it is a beautiful idea. The combination of ingredients is endless…. though this one seems to be right on the money.

Isa April 8, 2011 um 2:44 am

Merci mille fois Hélène for helping people understand what it feels like to explain for the umpteenth time what having a gluten allergy means. I'm not being picky: I'm trying to prevent your meal from destroying the lining of my stomach (again) and robbing my system of nutrients, not to mention the explosively painful side effects. My favorite is when people say "Just have a salad." If I wanted a salad I would stay home and fix it with my delicious homemade vinaigrette! Most commercially made restaurant salad dressings are thickened with wheat starch and the waiters (and sometimes chefs) don't even know. I avoid salads as much as I avoid pasta.

Thanks for including a recipe with my favorite grain, quinoa. I make it with 3/4 chicken stock and 1/4 water. Then I mix in a finely chopped shallot sautéed in a little butter. Delicious! I can't wait to try it with the avocado cream.

Dana April 8, 2011 um 3:27 am

What a gorgeous savory parfait!

Jenn @ I am woman, watch me cook April 8, 2011 um 2:31 pm

I have bookmarked this for my sisters bridal shower!! I think these would be a hit!

Lizzie (El Moorish) April 8, 2011 um 3:05 pm

This recipe combines some of my favourite flavours and ingredients (quinoa, roasted peppers and yoghurt). I have a mild dairy intolerance and even though I am generally fine with cow milk yoghurt, I would opt for the goat's yoghurt too – such a delicious goaty taste!

I have great sympathy for anyone suffering from any kind of intolerance or allergy, no matter how mild or severe. As a waiter, I witnessed many (not all) chefs roll their eyes and complain because someone had let us know they couldn't eat a certain food. I made sure that anyone I supervised treated customers who made their dietary needs known with utmost respect. I would also politely repeated specifications to the kitchen numerous times (much to their annoyance) 🙂

Valérie April 8, 2011 um 8:51 pm

Wonderful post. It is important to spread awareness about gluten intolerance and allergy. I myself only really learnt about it when I started food blogging, and I always admire you and others for making delicious gluten-free recipes… like these gorgeous verrines!

Audrey April 9, 2011 um 12:17 am


Tara Barker April 9, 2011 um 2:49 am

I love this, Helene. Especially the quote from your father. It is a good reminder to ask ourselves why we would ever want to be so challenging and distrustful of someone we want to share a meal with! What a compassionate, generous man, your father. Thank you for this post.

Unknown April 9, 2011 um 12:17 pm

Helene, AMEN! I used to wonder how someone found out they were allergic or intolerant to gluten. I experimented with g-free baking so that I could do so for others that were gluten intolerant. Then, while being worked up for Rheumatoid arthritis, I read that a gluten free diet could help. I had a friend who is gluten intolerant so she explained the elimination diet. After 5 days, I felt better than I had in years! I found that adding gluten OR dairy back into my diet made the symptoms come back. So I now only have goat cheese and rice milk. I miss ice cream! I miss being able to safely go to a restaurant with my family! But waking up with pain in every joint in my body is definitely not worth it! It is so frustrating when a server at a restaurant says "Are you allergic to gluten or are you just avoiding it?".
Your blog has been so helpful to me- I used one of your tart recipes the other day to make g-free tarts and it was SO good! I look forward to experimenting with gluten free puff pastry too. Thank you, Helene.

julie April 10, 2011 um 4:08 am

Great post! Everyone who entertains needs to read it.

–kyleen– April 11, 2011 um 3:59 am

Amazing post as usual. I love your pictures; they're simple but beautiful nonetheless. And the food you make… delicious.

I have a question, if the verrine is made ahead of time, would the avocado cream change colour?

Unknown April 11, 2011 um 7:42 am

Very well said! I have a gluten intolerant boyfriend and I appreciate your blog so much for the wonderful recipes you share… as well as the gorgeous photos!
And I just have to say that I absolutely loved the quote from your father about trust! Such wise words!!

emiglia April 13, 2011 um 10:39 am

A lot of these comments strike a chord… I was diagnosed with a severe buckwheat allergy, and because it's so rare, I feel like I'm constantly making a fool of myself in restaurants. Just yesterday, I asked if there was buckwheat in the bread, got a firm, "No," saw it arrive and asked again, this time requesting the ingredients list, at which point the answer changed to, "We don't have it." I'd rather go without bread than go into anaphylactic shock!

Bossy Chef April 13, 2011 um 7:01 pm

I feel for you. I have an intolerance to gluten and high fructose corn syrup (not that you would really ever want that one, but gluten? sigh…), I am also restricted from dairy at the moment since my baby has an intolerance to cow milk proteins… I'm waiting for someone to say I'm allergic to wine so I can just throw myself out the window and be done with it.

Malia April 20, 2011 um 4:38 am

These were fabulous! A fun thing to take to a friend's who was serving crackers and cheese. They were scarfed up, making me glad I doubled the recipe.

Ana Maria March 10, 2013 um 10:13 am

Greetings from sunny Oslo! Thanks so much for an amazing Quinoa recipe not only delicious but safe for allergies. I have dear friends affected by allergies struggling with the issues you mentioned on your post on a regular basis… will definitively share your recipe in my blog 🙂

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