I have always considered myself quite a nice person. I like food of all shapes, flavours and colours. From every country and continent. I don’t discriminate, I am an equal opportunity eater. It’s only the doctors who say I’m intolerant. And certain foods who refuse to tolerate me. They certainly refuse to recognise and respect my right to eat them without major physical discomfort and distress.

Gluten and lactose are not my friends.

Despite the negative attitudes surrounding me from many of those I love best, (cakes, ice cream, hot toast) I decided to become a chef. Not always easy when you live in a bread and milk filled world. I like to think that this has helped me become a better person as I embrace my differences and refuse to let the gluten get me down. I believe InTolerance. I am the InTolerant Chef.

Food should not be about what you can’t eat, but what you can and what you enjoy eating. This blog is about my journey of cooking and eating and discovery. It’s not a definitive guide to allergy awareness nor do my intolerances make me an expert. Your body is your responsibility, not mine. I only know what works for me.

I can tell you this..... No glutens were harmed in the making of this website.

June 1, 2010


A Truffle Tree. I just had to have one. Despite all my hints and "this is what I want for Christmas", BigJ still didn't have a clue. I had seen these little babies at my local garden centre and immediately fallen in love. Just one catch , they're not cheap. "Of course I need it, I'm a chef." I rationalized. I paid quickly and left before I could change my mind.

So this is my Truffle Tree. I chose a Holly Oak so I can topiary it and keep it clipped and tidy.

It may be small, but the tree company guarantees that within 3 years I will have a crop of truffles. Oh! The anticipation! I planted my little baby in a half wine barrel, facing north, protected from frost, (and dog, as evidenced by the wire grid) and stood back in awe.

I am now a Trifolau. Awesome!

Actually, it looks kind of small. And lost. And lonesome. O.K, what would be worthy of my cheffy garden? Inspiration struck.... Saffron! The most expensive spice in the world, to go with the most expensive fungus in the world. Back to the garden centre.

Twenty little crocus bulbs later and I was in business. The nice man at the centre was not encouraging, saying he had tried planting some with no success. Well, for $2 a pop they were going in the ground. With no research whatsoever, I bunged the little babies in the dirt. Every here and there you could see a bit of the woody looking bulb, but they were tucked in nice and cosy.
Within 3 days there were sprouts! Unseasonably warm weather and lots of love had worked their magic. In 2 more weeks there were buds! I held my breath and prayed for no frost! Yes!! Flowers!!!

Pretty little purple flowers, with stamens of pure, pure, gold. I plucked carefully, removing the three pronged preciousness with tweezers. The smell was fantastic! A honey scented, dried hay sort of thing- but so much better. Mmmm... honey scented hay.......


8 flowers bloomed this year. All the buds produced greenery and some even seem to have multiplied already as there are so many green spears everywhere. Maybe next year I'll have a complete harvest.

And maybe, just maybe, a truffle. But for today, I'm happy.

Now the eternal question, What to cook today?

So readers, what would you like to make with some saffron?


  1. How exciting! A million dollar pot! :P can't wait to see what comes up :)

  2. Paella! :)

    I wonder if the truffle tree would do well here in western Washington? Between the truffles and the saffron, you could start a very lucrative little sideline in culinary delicacies!

    By the way - I was referred to your blog by your sister, Kathryn. Keep writing, I can;t wait to read more! :)

  3. We all know how to do pilavs and other various dishes with saffron what about a cheesecake with a saffron sauce?

  4. We all know how to do saffron pilavs and other various rice dishes, what about cheesecake with saffron sauce or a saffron toffee.

  5. Boullaibaise (how is it spelled?) the fish soup of Marsailles -- a great dish for western washington too. My daughter tried growing the saffron crocus, but squirrels dug everyone of them up and ate them. I'll look forward to hearing how the Truffle tree works. I've not seen them advertised in the states.

  6. Hello Ladies!
    A million dollars? One can only hope!
    I don't think squirels will be a problem, but the wire is there to keep out my German Shepherd, he steals things from our veggie patch all the time and tries to beat us to the strawberries each year.
    I think truffle trees could grow anywhere oak trees could, and they are from the northern hemisphere, you may have to order them in.
    Michelle,say hi to my sister for me!
    And keep the ideas rolling in....

  7. Saffron, I love it and got some from the Spice Bazaar in Istanbul and gave it to my daughters. Sure hope they use it..Great truffle tree. Good luck with your Cheffy garden. I did not ask for a Truffle tree I settled for a money tree ... I must admit I like my tree better. I don't need the obligitory pig to sniff out the truffles???

  8. İ got the saffron from İstanbul too İ am not sure it is the real thing, if it is i was disappointed. İts flavor is not noticable and the colour was washed out unless İ didnt use enough of it.

  9. Hello Notquitekosher and Simcha, I think the saffron from Istanbul has some marigold petals mixed with it to eek it out a bit. If you have a close look you can see that there are a mix of shapes. It still tastes good and marigolds used to be fed to chickens to make the egg yolks nice and yellow. Just use a bit more and it will be fine.
    I would like a money tree too... if only I had a rich family who would like to share?...
    dogs are also commonly used to sniff out truffles as they don't try to snuffle up the truffle before the farmer. xx

  10. The saffron from Turkey is supposed to come from a town Saffronbolu. İt is a very old town based on the black sea. İt certainly looks like marigold petals hence the disappointment. The seller assured me that Turkish saffron might look different :) isnt saffron just saffron?

  11. I have also heard that there are lower quality mixes of saffron available that have more of the bits of the crocus blooms in them, as opposed to just the stigmas.

  12. Thats interesting and probably what they do since they sell it at the spice bazar for about 7aud 500g

  13. Seems my Turkish saffron was a fake, and not the bargain I thought. Hope the Turkish delight and Pismaniye(?) was authentic! Who knows? We all know that home grown produce is always much better. I will be very reluctant to buy anything of a similar nature when travelling to exotic places. Just post cards from now on lol

  14. Thats funny Notquitekosher the word Pismaniye translated means İ REGRET

  15. Wow, you must have a green thumb, well done! I just came across the lovely comment that you left on my blog, thank you. I have now posted the recipe for the orange syrup cake if you are still interested. (www.sweetpeacreativedesign.blogspot.com). Now, my project for tomorrow......gardening :)

  16. If you get a truffle under your tree in three years I will eat my hat and several other items of clothing. The company who sold it to you must be crazy to guarantee truffles or else they have pages and pages of small print in their contract.

  17. Hi Dick, the information sheet that came with my tree was very comprehensive and came with a guarantee, so I guess you'll have to read my blog for another few years to find out what happens!

  18. İ was putting off the inevitable question until now. What is a truffle tree?

  19. A Truffle Tree is a tree that has had their roots inocculated with truffle spores. This means truffles will grow under your little tree for lots of deliciousness.