Gluten Free Foods, Cafes, Restaurants and Recipes
Gluten Free Land Blog
If you're looking for cooking inspiration this holiday season, then look no further than Goodbye Gluten, the gorgeous new gluten free cookbook by Sally Holland of Tauranga, New Zealand.
Sally has no shortage of experience with food having worked in the New Zealand Woman's weekly test kitchen under iconic food editor Tui Flower. Sally had to reinvent gluten free versions of her favourite recipes after her husband was diagnosed with coeliac disease several years ago. Goodbye Gluten is a collection of her gluten free recipes.
Sally's team kindly sent me a copy of Goodbye Gluten to review. The same week, I had been invited to visit some friends for dinner so decided to make the New York style cheesecake with blueberry sauce.
I must admit to being a bit nervous as I have never made a cheesecake before but as the photo suggests, the result was fantastic. Smooth and creamy, the slightly sour filling was well balanced against the sweet blueberry sauce and buttery biscuit base. It reminded me of cheesecakes that I've tasted in restaurants and my (non-coeliac) friends were delighted.
Goodbye Gluten is beautifully laid out with stunning full page colour photos of every recipe. Like many gluten free recipe books, the author uses a flour blend throughout the book. Thankfully, the flour blend in Goodbye Gluten is simpler than many others and uses the more common gluten free flours - I already had all of the ingredients in my pantry.
As you would expect, Goodbye Gluten's 90 recipes span the usual sections on baking, appetisers, meals, desserts. But rather than stop there, Sally has also included special chapters dedicated to Christmas foods and childrens birthday parties. I know these will prove popular with our readers and I'm really looking forward to trying out the Christmas mince pies!
This book is printed on good quality stock and bound with a sturdy hard back and would make a great addition to any kitchen.
More info and user reviews
Gluten free Christmas cookies
Every year the Cookietime Christmas cookie sellers visit my workplace with free samples of delicious cookies which my colleagues are all too happy to accept. But when offered the allure of a bucket of delicious biscuits, my first question as a coeliac has always been "do you have gluten free ones". I've always been disappointed at the answer since Cookietime have been making the gluten free versions of their standard cookie that many of us are big fans of.
This year, the answer is different. Cookietime are finally making gluten free Chrismas cookies! I'm lucky enough to have got my hands on a bucket already and can confirm they're just as delicious as the full size gluten free Cookietime cookies. Due to their size, I also found them to be lighter and less crumbly too!
The gluten free cookies come in a 1 litre mini bucket for $15. If you have a lot of non-ceoliac cookie munchers in your family, you may want to also get a 2L bucket of regular (wheat based) cookies too. Trust me, you won't want to share!
I should point out that this is the first year that Cookietime have made gluten free Christmas cookies and the production run will be for a limited quantity. Therefore it's strongly recommended that you reserve yours now to avoid disappointment.
7 cookies were eaten while writing this blog post.
Gluten Free Overseas Part3: Restaurants in America
Eating out for lunch or dinner in America is relatively easy for coeliacs. In New Zealand, nearly all restaurants will do gluten free meals on request, with many labelling which items are or can be made gluten free. In America, I found a much smaller proportion of restaurants labelled gluten free options. I also ran into establishments that simply had nothing available. As a general rule, good quality restaurants easily catered to my needs. Restaurant chains such as Applebees had folders with dietary information about their menus including gluten status. Fast food outlets such as Taco Bell had absolutely nothing on offer. I struggled to find much in the way of cafes over there as the market seems to be dominated by Starbucks or state-wide chains (reminiscent of Robert Harris).
So what sorts of GF foods were available?
Starbucks stocked fruit salads, GF nut bars and a marshmallow rice bubble thing. Restaurants typically had at least a couple of GF menu items though in many cases these were salads with nothing on the main menu available gluten free. Luckily, American meals are much larger than those in New Zealand, so even though some establishments could only offer me a salad, it was usually still a fairly filling meal.
Chicken salad at a cafe in downtown Charlotte, North Carolina.
At this restaurant in Charlotte, the stir fry was one of only two items marked as "can be made GF" but the waiter did not make a note despite me mentioning gluten 3 times while ordering. I wasn't brave enough to eat the chips that came with it which appeared to be battered.
Brixx in Charlotte not only have a special GF menu but also give heaps of reassuring information about their GF procedures. Click to view larger.
An amazing GF gourmet burger at the Wild Goat Bistro in Petaluma, California. It was wonderful.
A BLT at the Hilton Hotel in Charlotte, North Carolina. In the background is my colleague's non-GF version with the fruit side while I had the vege.
Gluten Free Overseas Part2: Breakfast in America
Of all the meals I had in America, breakfast was by far the hardest for me. As a coeliac, the vast array of pastries, breads, donuts and mueslis were out of bounds, typically leaving fruit salad, apples, bananas and eggs. Those who read my previous blog post will know that I dislike eggs leaving fruit as the only option in most cases. While I like fruit, a high FODMAP meal consisting solely of fruit doesn't do my gut any favours.
The solution for me was to order a whole lot of gluten free nut bars from Amazon. With shipping, credit card fees and currency conversion, they ended up well under NZ $2 each. The other reason they worked well is that I continued to travel within America every few days and unlike here in New Zealand, Californian hotels and motels almost universally do NOT provide crockery, cutlery or a fridge. What you will get are paper and plastic cups, a small coffee machine and creamer. No tea, hot water, milk or teaspoons. I was told that this is due to somebody once getting sick from poorly washed dishes and suing a hotel. Some motels do have a "kitchen" which means you get a sink and bar fridge, but still no dishes or milk.
My fairly cheap & healthy breakfast that wasn't eggs.
Gluten Free Overseas Part1: Air New Zealand
Several of you indicated through our Facebook page that you would be interested in hearing about my two recent experiences eating gluten free overseas. This is the first in a short series of blog posts about my experiences on work trips to China and America. For the first post, I thought I'd start with my airline experiences. Airline food has a reputation for being poor, but as you'll see, even within one airline I received food that was anywhere from inedible to delicious.
For both trips, I travelled with Air New Zealand economy class on the way there and was lucky enough to return on premium economy (the first time due to economy being sold out because of the Cricket world cup, and the second by redeeming a recognition upgrade). I will also be flying with Qantas (economy) later in the year so will be able to compare in a future post.
The Auckland to Hong Kong and Auckland to San Francisco flights all left in the evening regardless of the direction travelled, with a dinner served an hour and a half into the flight and a breakfast an hour and a half before landing.
Dinner, economy class AKL to HKG.
Appetiser, roll and dessert in premium economy SFO to AKL.
The hot breakfast in premium economy SFO to AKL.