Wednesday, 30 November 2011

I'm not alone!!!

I'm so excited! Tonight I googled gf blogs, like I have done many times before and have only ever found a few! But tonight there were several from both Australia n overseas! It feels like I've finally joined a group in this rather large blogger community! I've followed and have friends who are mummy bloggers and I enjoy reading their blogs, but now almost 5 months into my blog, I have found some gluten free bloggers! It kind of feels like finally meeting the right group of friends that you click with at school! I have big aspirations for my blog, I'm proud of every reader from a multidue of countries who has read my blog and I thank them, I also hope it has helped them in some way. This blog has turned out to be rather therapeutic when I'm going through a rather challenging time in my life. My goals for my blog by next June, the 1 year anniversary is to have 100 followers! I have 11 now, but I do have alot more readers, so people please follow me, it really is very simple, just set up a profile or use an existing account. I also have a Facebook page, with 18 likes, I would also like for it to reach at least 100 likes on Facebook by June 2012! I also make a vow to meet my fellow gf bloggers and become more involved in the blogging community! I will use my blog to assist in raising money for womens cancer, next October for girls night in! I will continue to blog and create recipes and share, to research the link with improvements in autism and the gf diet, I will write restaurant reviews, making dining easier for others. I will look into cooking food that people can purchase. One day I aim to write a book with my recipes and stories. Welcome new and old readers, dont forget to follow me, I need your help to reach my goal!share this blog with your friends, for the recipes or the stories, it doesn't matter! Show me your support and I will continue to reward your support!

Gluten free Christmas gifts and recipes

I can't believe that it's less than a month before Christmas! I've only just started with the Christmas shopping. After working in retail whilst at uni I despise going to the shops amongst the buying frenzy that occurs in the lead up to christmas! I'm also very aware that so many of the traditional recipes for Christmas are filled with gluten! Instead of an advent calendar, my aim will be to reveal to you gluten free recipes for a gluten free Christmas. Things like puddings (I'm trying to convert my great grandmothers recipe!), to Christmas balls, macaroons, Christmas chocolate, the works, I'll give it all a go! I also wanted to put out their to my readers if they would be interested in purchasing gluten free hanpers or specific dishes such as brownies, cupcakes etc for their friends and family. It's something that can be ordered via an email and paid for over the net, then delivered to your chosen destination. I know that handmade gluten free food, is the best and something specially made for your loved one at Christmas, is guaranteed to impress! If you could please let me know if this is something that you would be interested, either comment or email me. If I get positive feedback. I'll put up a list of products available, with a price list. This idea was a thought that came to me as I try and plan how I can shop without entering a crazy shopping mall at Christmas! I can't wait to hear your feedback on this new idea, remember if you like it say so otherwise it unfortunately won't happen. Look forward to hearing from you shortly!

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

The ignorance of some restaurants about gluten free food

I've mentioned this in previous posts, but have you ever been so frustrated by the ignorance of some chefs and restaurants in their menu production. Last night I was perusing the menu of a well known and up market restaurant. I was initially impressed by the gf selection they had, but on closer inspection I was a little confused to say the least! You see there were several dishes on the menu that have specific gf ingredients, one was chicken with quinoa. Now as we know, this is definately a gf grain, I've even supplied recipes on the website using the grain. I was amazed to discover that beside these dishes was (to be gf you need to remove the quinoa)! WTF!!! I couldn't believe it! A dish which is renowned for being gf has now been taken off the gf menu and replaced by a more basic alternative of the dish! The ignorance didn't stop there! Another meal on the menu had polenta as one of the key ingredients. For those who dont know polenta is derived from corn, thus it is completely gf. On this menu, for the meal to be gf, the polenta had to be removed from the dish! It truely amazes me that a chef at a high calibre of restaurant, has such little knowledge of gluten, a substance that they cook with regularly but is also something that can cause an reaction, an autoimmune reaction to their customers. When you read this on a menu, it makes you a bit cautious if you choice to eat at the restaurant! If their knowledge of gluten is so limited, which is made oblivious on the menu, will they be cooking the gf dishes, unknowingly with gluten? Have you had the same problem with a relative fancy restaurant, or indeed any restaurant? After my little rant I'll finish on a positive, hats off to the chef at 6 Months in Picton, who has a detailed understanding of gluten and cooks with gf flours to ensure a more enjoyable dining experience for all, without having any unpleasant reactions! Feel free to jump on the rant wagon about the ignorance of chefs about gluten free foods,comment or email your annoyances!

Saturday, 26 November 2011

A gluten free high tea

The first impression most people, including myself when I was first diagnosed as a coeliac, would have thought catering for a rather large event, almost impossible! Maybe one or two gluten free food would be available, but that was certainly were I thought that would stop! Last weekend, I assisted in hosting a 'Girls Night In' High Tea, the date had already been post poned due to my recent hospital stay. The messages had been sent out reinviting lovely women, both friends and family, some directly affected by cancer and some who were fortunate enough to have a few degrees of separation from this horrible disease! I was determined to provide a gluten free menu, for my blog, to show my readers that they too can host a party and have some delicious food that was entireley gluten free, and everything was handmade, nothing was processed or store brought. I wanted my readers to know that gf and allergy free parties are actually easy to cater for and don't involve eating lots of pre packaged treats filled with additives and nasty things that I would rather not know about! We had my famous gluten few brownies, the next recipe that will go up on the sweets page (they take only 5 minutes to make and 18 minutes to cook, and they are always a hit!. Then there were gluten free plain cupcakes(the recipe already features on my blog, the perfect addition to the cupcakes was a lovely royal icing recipe I received from my friend Nicci from Cupcakes In Camden, with Niccis help I made a lovely icing and Pipped some delicious ribbons and fancy swirls on my gf cupcakes! I felt very proud! I also made a delicious chocolate cake, that was found on (I'll also feature this recipe shortly), Instead of a cake, I made this moist chocolate cake into chocolate Cupcakes! The secret moist ingredient was indeed yoghurt! One of my dear friends thought that I had brought the chocolate cupcakes! I also made my coconut macroons! You may remember, I am unwell so cooking was done over, two days, with plenty of rest in-between cooking and numerous calls to rest and let my dear mother, husband, father and sister set up the lovely decorations and tables! But the gluten free cooking didn't stop there, my sister made a delicious berry cheescake, with gf chocolate biscuits as a base, and my dear mother also made passionfruit kisses, they were delicious, a sponge like texture, with a passionfruit cream icing in the middle, topped off with icing sugar (yet another recipe that will go on my blog)! There were also some petite meringues brought by a dear cousin, that added to the total of gluten free food! The only food that was not gf could have easily been made gf, there were butterfly cakes, which I could have made with my Cupcakes, scone's with jam snd cream, a recipe which already features on my blog. Mum also made a coffee walnut slice, which would with only a few variations, could be made gluten free. My Aunty also made a delicious marshmallow slice, a favorite of my late grandmothers, the only gluten is in the bottom of the slice. My mission is to find the right texture to re create an old family favorite but as gluten free, once I get the perfect mix it will be shared on the blog. My dads eldest sister had made some delicious gluten savory treats, a recipe both myself and my mother have used. It's white bread cut in circles (we use a shot glass)to create a circle, then add cream cheese and sun-dried tomtoes and basil or another alternative is cream cheese, smoked salmon and dill. To make as a gf option, you could use white gf bread, or a nice flavored gf cracker, thus not wasting expensive gf bread! As you can see it is very easy to create a gluten free menu for a 'high tea' or indeed a party. Over the next weeks I will endeavor to create party plans for children's and adults catering to gluten free needs. Please let me know if you have your own ideas, maybe a party you are planning and you need some help cooking gluten free food, or it may be another type of allergy. I can't wait to hear from my readers your thoughts on our 'High tea'and any ideas you need assistance with. Remember the only question that seems silly is the one that is not asked! I hope to share some more ideas with you, I'm thinking of something Christmas like, eatable gifts and gluten free food which can be enjoyed by all! Don't forget to follow me if you like what you read, or even more convienant, follow by email, each new blog post will be emailed to you! Also for my overseas readers particularly in the uk, my lovely in laws have got me brochures etc, of places that sell gluten free food, my dream of really making this blog truly international is coming to fruitation. One last thing, to the store holders at the Sydney gf expo, your reviews are coming, thankyou for your patience as I wait for my health to slowly get better! I can't wait to hear ideas from readers as to want you want as far as party planning etc goes, remember gluten free doesn't mean taste free or packet mix heaven or he'll ad I would call it! I can already hear your brain ticking over as you think of what Christmas dishes and party ideas you have to be transferred to gluten free!I'm excited just thi king about it.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Eating normal food again!

Today and yesterday I got to eat food that I haven't been able to eat since my diagnosis last may!

No things didn't get the better of me and I didn't succumb to cravings.

It started last night with a gluten free frozen pie! I've walked past them many a time at the supermarket and often wondered what they tasted like, but kept on walking. This pie was brought for me, for the first time in 18 months I. was able to have pie and chips! I know you all want to know the outcome of this pie. Well to start I think my
taste buds are slightly adjusted to gf food and I forget what a normal pie tastes like. This pie reminded me of school canteen pies, the colour and texture was different to a gluten pie but the taste was surprisingly tasty! And the thought that I can eat something and feel a bit normal was uplifting, in a weird type of way.

My ventures in eating normal food continued, I was at the local shopping mall, Narellan Town Centre for locals, wandering the food court. Sushi is my normal dish of choice, healthy and gf, but I felt like being a bit naughty
and I wandered over to Ali Baba,the kebab chain and I was completely amazed to discover that they had a gf range!
For only an extra dollar, I had my first kebab in nearly two years! There was not only gf bread but marked gf sauces
and the people working there were well versed in their range of gf products! There was not only kebabs but salad

I thoroughly enjoyed my kebab, which topped off with hommus and garlic mayo, made for a delicious, mouth watering food experience! With no side effects that I used to have when I ate a kebab, obviously no gluten this time! This kebab shop is definately not in the category of dodgy kebabs, the ones that we all eat after a night out on the
town, after a few beverages! Definately something that everyone must try who is a coeliac or on a gluten free diet.
For a kebab without the dodgy side effects, head to Ali Baba.

Let's hope other food chains follow in their footsteps and we begin to see gf options as something that is
available at all places, making eating out at shopping malls not such a limited experience.

I loved feeling slightly normal again, it was the high light of my day! Sad but true, the feeling of being a bit normal again, to have choice in what I eat was an amazing feeling, that so many of us take for granted!

Enjoy feeling normal like I did, you will enjoy it and share it with others!

Monday, 14 November 2011

A hidden gem in Picton

A few Friday nights ago, I had the pleasure of going out to dinner with an old friend. We were fortunate enough to gain a reservation at '6 Months', a new restaurant in Picton (for locals its underneath the Pumphouse Gym). I've tried a few times to get a booking to this new trendy restaurant, so needless to say I was excited to finally get in!

The restaurant is only small, but that adds to the ambidence created by the overall design. The style is very minimilist, but trendy and extremley city like. Something that a small country town like Picton needs. The setting is a french style, with the decor and walls painted white, and for me the feature was an old rustic ladder, leaning tenderley against the wall. All of these things made a marvellous combination to enhancing the overall mood of the restaurant, and the evening for indivudal groups of diners.

The menu is written on a large blackboard, no individual menus that have been handled numerous times by others, but something nice and big in print, for all to read. The basis of the meals is shared plates, very similar to a Tapas style of dining. All drinks are also for you to bring (how great is that!), water however is provided, and was the drink of choice for both of us on that night.

We had a fantastic waiter, who was not only well mannered, but well versed in the content of the menu (not a trait found in all waiters!). I was in total and utter amazement when I discovered that there was only one meal that I couldn't eat! Generally it's only one meal that I can eat. The extremely talented chef cooks in gluten freee flours to ensure all patrons can experience the delight of the vast majority of the menu! Needless to say I was very excited! A definate restuarant to go to for any coeliacs or gluten intoerlant people!

When a restaurant endeavours to take on the idea of shared plates of their main method for serving food, its the pace that the meals are brought out that makes all the difference! To begin, we had the cured beef, which was cold beef (it had the taste and texture of a prostitio type meant), with sweet potato and a delicious sauce. The presentation was suberb, in theme with the rustic style of the restaurant, dishes were served in a ceramic bowl, with additional cultery for each person to put on their plate. The cured beef, left a lingering delicious flavour in your mouth, activatiting my tastebuds to a whole new level.

There was enough time to digest the first plate and indulge in some catch up converstation before the next dish was served. Our second dish was pulled pork, accompained by a white bean salsa. The pork literally melted in your mouth, with an expolision of various tastes mixed with the salsa, the pork was simply delicious and highly recommended.

The final dish was handcut chips, accompanied by a handmade garlic aioli! They were simply delightful and a fantastic final dish to a lovely meal.

I definately recommend everyone in the Macarthur area to try this hidden gem of the'Dilly'. Prices are extremley reasonable at $30 per head for a selection of 5 dishes from the menu or $45 for all 10 dishes on the menu. With BYO for all drinks, this calls for a very affordable and enjoyable evening at a remarkable restaurant. For bookings at '6 Months' call 0467 666 036.

Enjoy and let me know your thoughts on this great restaurant.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Quinoa, the facts and figures about this ancient grain

Recently I trekked off to the gf expo in Sydney. I have mentioned to my readers this before and I do recall informing my readers I would be writing some product reviews; this was to be done in exchange for some lovely exhibitors displaying my blog cards! Firstly apologies for the delay on this blog post, my health has not been the best of late, even resulting in an 11 day hospital stay! Unfortunately typiintonation the computer is something that greatly aggravates my various injuries and subsequent illnesses. Thankfully I have recruited the assistance of my husband and mum in typing my blog! I had the pleasure of buying what is known as 'The lost Ceral', quinoa and amaranth seeds. As those of us who are coeliacs know, that most grains are banned from our diet, if we follow the diet strictly and correctly! The best thing about quinoa seeds is it's a rediscovered ancient grain, originally from the South of America and was called 'The Gold of the Incas'. It is also filled with an ambudance of healthy minerals, protein,making this grain an essential part of any gf diet, or indeed any diet! There is a variety of types of quinoa based products including; a berry based cereal (of quinona and amaranth seeds), also quinona seeds (which I purchased), there is also a quinoa and amaranth pasta(which cooks in 3 minutes!). Apologies if I have missed any of the great products they have! There website is, check it out for yourself or email any queries to I brought the quinoa seeds at the expo, and to be honest I wasn't entirely sure what to expect. I cooked the quinoa as per the instructions of the lovely ladies at the expo told me, in a saucepan with chicken stock, instead of water. The flavor was lovely, it had an almost nutty texture to it. I served it with herbed Mexican chicken dish, it was the perfect combination! I'll be putting the recipe up later this week. I urge all coeliacs to buy this amazing grain, checkout the website above, for stockist or how to buy online. But the main reason to buy and eat this grain, is we miss out on so many grains, which are an important part of our dietary needs. So make sure you try this 'Gold of the Incas', please let me know what you think of this amazing grain.