Recipes, Tips

Cookbook Review: “Small Plates and Sweet Treats” & Quinoa Tart with Zucchini and Leek

A few years ago «Cannelle et Vanille» was the first food blog I discovered and I was immediately excited. It was my gateway to the wonderful world of the art of food photography, the creation and worldwide sharing of unconventional recipes and the stories around a way of cooking and living that is close to nature. Aran Goyoaga who is the person behind this blog inspires me a lot and is one of my favorite photographers. Her cooking style is different than mine in some significant aspects. Nevertheless, I admire her recipes and am a big fan of her cookbook «Small Plates and Sweet Treats». From this book, I made a gluten-free tart for the first time in my life. The crust containts different types of flours. The filling consists of quinoa, leek and zucchini. You’ll find this delicious springtime recipe at the bottom of this article.

Here is my review of Aran Goyoaga’s cookbook “Small Plates and Sweet Treats.

Small Plates and Sweet Treats
Author: Aran Goyoaga
Editor: Little, Brown and Company

Aran Goyoaga lives in Seattle and runs the successful gluten-free Food Blog “Canelle et Vanille

Who is Aran Goyoaga?

Together with her family, Aran Goyaga lives in Seattle. She has grown up in the Bask country near to the spanish-french border. Her maternal grandparents used to have a small pastry shop, where Aran Goyoaga spent a lot of her childhood. Each sunday, she visited her paternal grandparents who owned a farm. Thus, she already got in contact with the production and preparation of food in her early years. Eating together always connected her large family. She first studied economics. But when she moved to the US, her passion for cooking grew because it made her feel connected with her family despite the physical distance. This is why she decided to graduate from culinary school and work as a professional chef. When she gave birth to her first child, she quit her job and started the blog «Cannelle et Vanille» instead. At the same time, she suddenly suffered from vertigo attacks and other health problems. After many medical examinations, she was diagnosed with intolerance to gluten. As a consequence, her blog became a platform for gluten-free family recipes with more and more readers.

Here is a little video in which she presents herself:

How are the recipes?

As mentioned, the more than 100 recipes in Aran Goyoagas cookbook are all gluten-free. They are structured by the four seasons of the year. In each of the four chapters, there are first savory and then sweet recipes. You clearly notice that the author has a background in patisserie, as there is a great variety of sophisticated dessert recipes. The book contains numerous cakes, tarts, cookies and other goodies coming from the oven. Ingredients that are often used are different gluten-free flours such as rice flour, chestnut flour or coconut flour. The savory recipes are insprired from the Bask country’s traditions. They contain eggs, meat, fish and seafood, different kinds of vegetables and legumes. Sometimes the ingredients are quite special. For example, there is a summer soup based on black cherry tomatoes. Aran Goyoaga works with a lot of herbs and spices. The way I interpret her recipes is that there is always one ingredient or a particular combination of ingredients at the core, while the rest is adapted to that. Among others, you’ll find grapefruit and praws in a risotto, strawberries and pistachios on sweet galettes, apples and parsnips in a soup or poppy seeds and nectarines in a cake.

What else can you find?

At the beginning of the book, Aran Goyoaga tells her story in a very beautiful way. Furthermore, she gives some baking tipps and presents her favorite ingredients. There is a long list of gluten-free flours, starches and binders. I think this is a great introduction to the gluten-free cuisine. One chapter is dedicated to the recommended kitchen equipment. The photography plays an important role in this book. Not only is every recipe illustrated with a photo, but also in the introduction section and at the beginning of each chapter there are wonderful pictures of nature, Aran Goyoaga’s children, particular ingredients and dishes. Each chapter contains an introduction with anecdotes from the author’s life. The recipes are complemented with personal comments and some extra cooking tips.

What is particularly good?

Personally, what I like most in this book, are the photos. If you buy the book or look at the blog «Cannelle et Vanille», you’ll know what I mean… But also the recipes are very inspiring. As you already know, I love special food combinations. And there are many of them in the cookbook «Small Plates and Sweet Treats». Looking at the pictures, you clearly wouldn’t notice that everything is gluten-free if you didn’t know. Aran Goyoaga’s goal was to show that the gluten-free cuisine doesn’t have to be boring. She achieved it more than successfully!

What could be better?

Not all the recipes, but some of them are quite complex. They are a little time-consuming. Unfortunately, the preparation time is not mentioned, so that you have to read the whole recipe to know how much time you need to plan.

For whom is this book interesting?

Of course, the book is specially interesting for people who are on a gluten-free diet. For these people I’d almost say that «Small Plates and Sweet Treats» is a must-have. Moreover, I recommend the book to everybody who likes food photography. From this point of view, it is a masterpiece. When I look at the pictures, I always learn incredibly much that I can adapt to my own photography. If you like to cook a little sophisticated, to get to know new ingredients and to combine them in a genius way, you will love the book «Small Plates and Sweet Treats». The book also offers you a great introduction to baking, in case you want to learn more about it. Different baking concepts are presented. Particularly the dessert lovers will be excited about this book, as approximately one half of the recipes are absolutely delicious looking sweet treats.


As I mentioned, it was thanks to the cookbook «Small Plates and Sweet Treats» that I baked a gluten-free tart for the first time. The recipe can be found in the chapter of the savory spring recipes. I have slightly adapted it so that it worked best for me and consists of only plant-based ingredients. The tart has three layers: 1. A gluten-free crust with different types of flours and thyme. 2. A mix of quinoa, zucchini and leek. 3. A fresh layer of dairy products that I successfully replaced with our cashew sour cream, to which I added some pepper and lemon zest. Together, these three layers make up a wonderful harmony of flavors that you shouldn’t miss!


lactose-free, soy-free, gluten-free, wholegrain, plant-based (vegan)

4 servings

Level of difficulty: intermediate

Preparation time:


  • 70 g/2.5 oz brown rice flour 
  • 70 g/2.5 oz quinoa flour 
  • 35 g/1.2 oz ground almonds
  • 30 g/1 oz amaranth flour
  • 1 tsp dried or fresh thyme
  • 60 ml/2.1 oz and 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 50 g/1.8 oz quinoa
  • 2 zucchini
  • 2 leeks
  • 1 portion of cashew sour cream (with 100 g/3.5 oz cashews and 40 ml apple vinegar)
  • ½ tsp grated lemon zest
  • pepper


Combine the brown rice flour, the quinoa flour, the ground almonds, the amaranth flour, the thyme and some salt in a large vessel. Add 125 ml of cold water as well as 60 ml of olive oil and knead this to a dough. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the quinoa with some salt and water in a small pot. Grate the zucchini, mix it with salt and strain it through a sieve. Cut the leek and fry it together with the strained zucchini in a frying pan with 2 tbsp of olive oil before adding the quinoa. Prepare the cashew sour cream and add the lemon zest as well as some pepper.

Now you need to roll out the dough and place it in a baking tin of 22 cm in diameter that is covered with baking paper and greased at the edges. Place some baking paper and dried beans on top. Preheat the oven to 190C/374F before baking the covered crust for 10 minutes. Then, put away the baking paper and the beans and spread the quinoa on the crust. Cover the tart with the cashew sour cream as uppermost layer. Like this, bake the tart for another 25 minutes or until the crust is crispy at 180C/356F.

On the left, you see my plant-based version and on the right, the picture of the cookbook «Small Plates and Sweet Treats».

By the way, this is a beautiful video, in which the cookbook is presented:

And here you can buy the book:



Are you going to start spring with this awesome gluten-free recipe?

And how do you like the book “Small Plates and Sweet Treats”?

Warm greetings


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