Category Archives: Travel

Gluten Free Brisbane

brisbane-gluten-free

Stella Magazine published with Sunday Mail today had an article entitled Gluten Free Glee which promoted About A Boy & A Girl in Newstead and Detour in Woolloongabba.  While I don’t live in Brisbane, it is promising to see establishments not just catering to allergy eaters but also highlighting an understanding of food that is suitable for those with allergies.  With talk of hand pressed corn tortillas, buckwheat pancakes and sweet potato waffles, I can’t wait to visit Brisbane again. I also like the comment, “Our menu doesn’t include a paleo burger or a gluten-free burger, and there are no acai bowls” by Lanchester at About a Boy & a Girl.  Here is someone who is not focussed on dietary fads and fashionable foods but on the essence of food which happens to be gluten free.

As we all know, there are many “Gluten Free Eatery” lists like  Top Ten Gluten Free Eats in Melbourne,  The UrbanList – Gluten Free Guide to Brisbane but the concern for the coeliac disease sufferer is that reviews are based upon what is tagged gluten free on the menu rather than a review by a “must eat gluten free otherwise I will be extremely and violently sick within 10 minutes if I eat gluten” eater.

Chelsea’s Gluten Free Guide to Brisbane and surrounds is a list verified by someone who knows.  Chelsea has coeliac disease and has eaten at all of these places and never felt nervous or gotten sick from gluten. Thank you to mum Adrienne Pearson for passing this list on.

1.  Alfredos in The Valley for the best gf pizza.

2.  I Heart Brownies again in Fortitude Valley… all the brownies are gf and some are dairy free.  So delicious.

3.  Buffalo Bar in Brisbane city for the best gf wings YUM

4.  Byblos restaurant at Portside Wharf Hamilton for heaps of delicious gf menu items

5.  Eat Street Markets at Hamilton for the best gf donuts.

6.  Gold Coast Sunday markets at the Arts Centre also great gf cinnamon donuts.

7.  The Cuban Restaurant at Broad Beach for delicious gf tapas and cuban goodies. Mojitos are great!!

8.  Helensvale Plaza ( the old one not Westfield) has the Old Danube Bakery outside with the best gf choc chip cookies , gf quiche, gf cheesecake, gf chocolate cake

9.  Ferry Road Markets has a lot of gf snacks, gelato and especially (ironically)  Flour Bakery has the best gf cakes and bread rolls.

10.  there’s a french bakery at Garden City Westfield top floor, it’s french forget the name but best gf macaroons YUM!!

11.  Grill’d at Harbour Town Gold Coast for gf burgers. They toast the gf buns on the grill to avoid cross contamination

12.  House of Brews in Surfers Paradise has an entire gf menu and separate deep fryers for gf fires

13.  Burgerd at Arundel has gf burgers soooo good.

14.  Boom Boom Burgers on Chevron Gsland has gf burgers and separate deep fryer for gf fries too.!!!

15.  O- Sushi has gf sushi rolls at Broadbeach and Byron

16.  Miss Margaritas Mexican at Broad beach and Byron great  for gf Mexican

17.  Harajuku Gyoza in Brisbane has gf as well…..

18.  No Do Donuts at Newstead in Brisbane is the bomb also !!!!

Eating Outside Your Comfort Zone

I am a kind of “glass half full” person.  I am aware of realities but I like to think that there are positive outcomes if you look for them.

So I apply this way of thinking to eating gluten free when you are outside of your comfort zone albeit eating in a foreign country, at a family gathering or eating at a restaurant.

But I am allowed my optimism because I am lucky:  I am not the one who MUST eat gluten free.

Eating gluten free really is a tough gig which requires diligence and vigilance and eating outside your gluten free comfort zone  is hard work.

On a recent holiday to Spain and France, I tried to see the ‘food’ world through the eyes of a coeliac disease sufferer. The last time I travelled to these countries in 2012, we  travelled as a family including a 15 year old coeliac disease suffer and to cater for gluten free meal options we tried to eat breakfast and dinner in our apartment, and packed snacks in a backpack on our way out the door. This time, it was just my husband and I, but I still kept my eyes open for signs of gluten free options.

So what did I discover:*

  1. Staying in self contained apartments is still the most sensible gluten free option as you have control over your food
  2. Mainstream supermarkets are now stocking a greater range of gluten free options eg Old El Paso, Pad Thai Rice Noodles, Asian sauces, Barilla pastas and as well the ‘sans gluten’ shelves have a wider variety of products.  This was not the case in 2012.Paris (1)

     

  3. Local food markets are a treasure trove of fresh produce. If travelling to Barcelona, try Mercat de Santa Caterina which is more local than St Josep Boqueria just off the Ramblas. In Granada, take a visit to Mercardo San Agustin. In Cordoba visit the shops in the arcades of Plaza de la Corredera.

     

  4. Shops advertise with window signs that they have gluten free breads for sale whereas in 2012 bio, natural, organic stores were the only places to find  gluten free breads

     

  5.  Sometimes you can get lucky and find gluten free options at railway stations (Passion Food Atocha Madrid) and on planes (Vueling) identify gf on their snack menu
  6. Sometimes you stumble across a few gems: Amaltea in Cordoba has a separate gluten free menu, Yummy and Guiltfree in Paris has gluten free waffles, Eat Gluten Free is a newly opened gluten free produce shop in Rue Caron, Saint Paul area of Paris, Eat With Andalusian Picnic in the Countryside, Casa Mazal in Cordoba, El Deseo in Granada

  7. Some Hotel Breakfast Buffets are making an effort to provide gluten free options with an individual wrapped gluten free bread roll or rice cakes. Though yoghurt, fruit, beans in tomato sauce, mushrooms, bacon,  meats and cheeses are always on offer.
  8. Sweet treats might be hard to find especially in Paris where patisserie displays are filled with colourful and elaborate cakes and desserts , but steer yourself toward chocolates in Paris and icecreams (without cone) and turrons in Spain. Turron and icecream stalls on the Ramblas in Barcelona is a good starting point.

     

  9. Estrella Damm Daura  is a Spanish gluten free beer with a swag of international ‘best gluten free beer’ medals. My husband knows a bit about beers and has given this gluten free beer the thumbs upIMG_0798
  10. Do your research as there are many bloggers and Trip Advisor reviewers who may be able to help you find gluten free throughout the world.  For Paris, have a look at Coeliac on the Road and  Our Gluten Free Guide to Paris.   And if you really like your pastries, then Helmut Newcake is a place where you can have your cake and eat it too….helmut newcake

11. And for a bit of fun, if you read French, then stumble into a bookshop and you might find a copy of Mon Cahier Sans Gluten. Most certainly helps in expanding one’s French vocabulary relating to products that are gluten free

mon cahier sans gluten

As we all know, if you stay with grilled fish and steak a la plancha and a basic salad, then the gluten free eater will find something to eat on their travels.  But Europe has such a strong food culture, a traveller needs to eat local and be inspired by culinary trends.  So I am pleased that in four years, I see positive trends toward catering for gluten free eaters as even the appearance of one extra product in mainstream supermarkets or one cafe making gluten free waffles is most definitely a bonus for coeliac sufferers.

*It goes without saying that you must still  do your due diligence when eating out and ask the important questions about gluten free options regardless of recommendations as staff, management, procedures change in a hospitality environment. And always check the ingredient list of packaged products.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gluten Free in Melbourne

 

 

mamachomp

always a mum

I have just returned from a short visit to Melbourne to see how my gf son has settled into student life in Melbourne.

My visit had several agendas but I enjoyed ‘seeing’ where KJ worked and lived and studied.

I also enjoyed satisfying myself that he had gluten free options close by and making him aware of some of these options.

So here are some of  our gluten free highlights:

Lunch at La Petite Creperie  in Hardware Lane : the galettes are gluten free (made from buckwheat) but make sure to let the staff know that the meal must be gluten free and they will not serve it with a piece of bread placed on the galette. For $12.50 the La Triskel is a filling meal. We assumed that the galettes with bechamel sauce would not be gluten free so steered away from these options.

Shopping at Casa Iberica in 25 Johnston Street Fitzroy for great gluten free nachos and tostaditas. Catch the 96 Yarra Tram from the city to Johnston/Elgin Street. A treasure trove, there are many other products that are gluten free as well.

tostadas

Eating at Pho Chu The at 270 Victoria Street Richmond in my son’s neighbourhood.  Thanks to blogger Coeliac in Melbourne we enjoyed a (huge) medium bowl of Pho for $11.00. Made with rice noodles the Special Chicken Pho and Beef and Brisket Pho were full of flavour and very filling. Our first Pho experience and certainly not our last.

pho

Stopping by Spring Street Grocer at 157 Spring Street where they have a small range of gluten free products, an amazing cheese cellar and fresh organic produce. Picked up a can of ‘the best’ anchovies.

anchovies

Coffee at Dimattina Coffee at 173 Claredon Street South Melbourne and an opportunity to buy gluten free wagon wheels by Mama Chomp  .  Catch the 12 Yarra Tram from the city.

mama chomp

 

Browsing at Toscano’s at Victoria Gardens on Victoria Street Richmond. Besides an amazing range of fresh produce the Cocofrio Salted Caramel Dairy Free and Gluten Free Ice Creams was a must have purchase and a range of gluten free nachos also caught my eye.

Gluten Free Icecream

 

Visiting   Fredericks Fine Grocer at 231 Bridge Road Richmond.  They stock One Girl Pies, a range of Yes You Can products, gluten free pastas and Elly’s Salted Caramel Bang

gluten free bang

I can’t speak highly enough of Coeliac Victoria and Tasmania who have provided us with a list of doctors and gastroenterologists who specialise in Coeliac Disease, copies of articles about Eating Out Gluten Free in Melbourne and a booklet about Fast Food Gluten Free Choices.   The Coeliac Australia community and the state associations do an excellent job of providing information for its members on a wide range of topics to help its members with their gluten free lifestyle.

I am already  planning my next visit to Melbourne in June and making a list of places with gluten free options.

Always a mum….

 

 

 

Eating Out In Townsville

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A friend from ‘out of town’ was arriving for a few days and asked for some guidance regarding gluten free eating out options in Townsville.

I had been one of the biggest moaners, on behalf of my gf teenager, about the lack of gluten free eating options in Townsville.  But putting together a list for my friend, helped me gain a little perspective.

So I photocopied an article from The Australian Coeliac June 2013, “Take it away” about gluten free take away food as well as putting together this list.

1. McDonalds… ask for a burger no bun… it really is okay… my teenager survived the looks and friendly ribbing by his friends when his burger without the bun arrived in its box.  And don’t forget their chips and hash browns.

2. Zambrero – they have a number of gluten free options: corn tortillas, bowls,tacos, nachos and are in Flinders Street East, Stockland, Domain and Thuringowa Village. It is like a Mexican Subway… you choose the meat, the filling, the sauce … etc

3. Willy’s Cantina – at Warrina Centre, Currajong  between Ottos and the cinemas. “All menu items are gluten free unless otherwise noted”

4. Lulu’s Cafe 66 – at Warrina Centre, Currajong  between Ottos and cinemas. They have a number of gluten free options.

5. Mocha Mecca – Riverside Douglas – makes their gluten free bread on the premise and their sausage rolls are yummy.  Very very very gluten free.

6. Tom’s Tavern Roadhouse Grill,  Aitkenvale – very impressed with their service… tell them that the customer has a severe gluten allergy and they will press the allergy button on the till and type a note on the docket that is sent to the kitchen : pizzas, pastas, bread

7. Relish – Kingsway Place, off Flinders Street West down a little street in the new development. Haven’t eaten here but a friend says that it is their ‘go to’ cafe for gluten free

8. Red Rooster – chips… they have three fryers : one for chicken, one for fish and one for chips,  I know this because I asked to speak to the manager regarding “how gluten free are their gluten free chips?”

9. My Favourite Thai – Yolanda Drive, Annandale – the sweet and sour and curries are  gluten free

10. Wayne and Adele’s Garden of Eating, South Townsville – this is the place for a special night out, owned and operated by Wayne (chef) and Adele (front of house) their menu is that little bit different with many great gluten free options.

11. Guzman y Gomez – at The Precinct, Idalia – Mexican with gf options although my sons say that there are too much beans, rice and salad for their liking. Home made Mexican is better.

12. Rising Sun Hotel – cnr Ross River Road and Bowen Road, Mundingburra –  the Townsville Coeliac Qld Group had their Christmas in July dinner there.

NB  Please remember that the nature of the hospitality industry is such that staff change on a regular basis and so while a cafe may have had safe gluten free options the last time you ate there, it doesn’t necessarily follow that the same holds true now.  Always be prepared to ask the questions.  

Don’t be afraid to let the maître d’ know that a member of your group has a gluten allergy and  check the integrity of their gluten free options when ordering. It is however best to do your research, phone calls before hand and then make mention of your allergy requirements when ordering.

Also important to note is that if you mention Coeliac Disease, this might mean very little to the person you are talking to.  Mention “severe allergic reaction: gluten and wheat products”.

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Travelling the Gluten Free Way

Every coeliac has a story about airline and airport food and their lack there of, of gluten free options. Most domestic flights in Australia are short legs, so we find that the best option is to be prepared and take your meal or snack with you.

Our family are not experienced international travellers, but here are a few things that helped us make sure our teenager survived long haul flights as well was our ‘just in case’ supplies once we arrived at our destinations.

1. Make sure you obtain translation cards not only for the countries that you are visiting but also for airports that you are transiting through. We transited through Hong Kong and Singapore but didn’t think to get translation cards to help us in these terminals. Translation cards for Hong Kong and Singapore would have made things that little bit easier. If you prefer not to have to carry pieces of paper around, then scan translation cards and email to your holiday email account accessible via your phone.

Translation

2. Not all airport security operates the same.  We flew home from Barcelona, via London City, transferred to London Heathrow and transited through Singapore.  I had no problem with my carry on bag and gluten free supplies through Barcelona security, but had a lengthy wait at Heathrow, before security attended to me and repeatedly asked questions regarding what I had in my bag. I had nothing to hid. I had placed all my fluids in the zip lock plastic bag.  And then finally the offending item was uncovered… a can of tuna in olive oil.  Next time, I will make sure the tuna is in the zip lock bag and reduce my time through security by 45 minutes.

Heathrow

3. For long haul flights, pack 24 hours of snacks and then add some more. Travelling time from Townsville to a destination in Europe can be up to 40 hours.   I found packing items into a sturdy plastic container helped keep food in once piece and items didn’t slide down into your bag and get lost.  I also find zip lock bags invaluable for all sorts of reasons but especially useful for that packet of rice crackers you have opened. We found that ordering a gluten free meal only relates to the meals. The order does not relate to snacks eg crackers and cheese, spiced nut mix.  So pack crackers, nuts, muesli bars, biscuits, lollies, chips.  If you don’t use them during your flight then they will be used once you reach your destination. For a just in case you don’t like the gluten free breakfast served to you, take a serving of your breakfast cereal.

4. Know the Quarantine Requirements of the countries you are visiting. Australia and New Zealand have strict quarantine requirements.  You must declare all food coming into these countries and acknowledge this with a tick in the box on your Customs landing card.  Fresh, unprocessed food such as fruit and nuts are not allowed in, so if you have any in your bags, deposit them in the bins provided. Have food accessible and the officers will let you know which items can be taken into the country.

5. Train travel needs a little planning in advance.  Food kiosks at train stations have an extensive range of sandwiches (none of which are gluten free) and even the salads were off limits due to the generous scattering of croutons or an unknown origin dressing. We found a collapsible insulated lunch bag  and a food thermos essential. As we stayed in apartments, we could prepare food for our train journeys or day trips.  Freeze a water bottle to keep food cold in the soft pack and a microwaved meal keeps hot for quite some time in a food thermos.

Train Travel

6. Food Supplies. Our family holiday was 12 months in the planning and during this time our son had his coeliac diagnosis.  I felt that I needed to over prepare because I wanted our holiday to be a success and for our son to understand that gluten free and travelling was do-able.  With this in mind I packed a few just in case meal items because gluten free shopping is an adventure in your own country but Spain and France were unknowns for us.  Vietnamese Rice Papers : an easy lunch if we couldn’t find a suitable bread for sandwiches. El Paso Taco Mix: add 500 g mince and a few vegetables and you have a meal for the food thermos. Microwave single serve rice: a good side or filler with a can of tuna. Packet tomato soup: a just in case quick snack. And probably next time I would consider taking one or two packets from the Passage to range for a quick evening meal in the apartment.

Food Supplies

7. In case of an accidental ingestion of gluten. Unfortunately for us, this did happen when my son ate two normal crackers instead of  gluten free ones. I was mortified, because it happened on my watch so to speak.  We were new to gluten free and this was the first accidental ingestion of gluten post diagnosis, so were quite overwhelmed by my son’s reaction to gluten.  Next time we will take medication for this just in case situation to ease the cramps and for re-hydration. We will take a heat pack to help ease the cramps. And I will make sure I have some language phrases prepared to help explain to the pharmacist the situation.  I will say though that the pharmacist in Paris did very well to understand my panicked bad French and was most helpful.

I suppose as we all know, gluten free eating and cooking requires that little bit extra planning and preparation. The same goes for travelling.

My hope is  that the next time my son travels overseas, he won’t feel so daunted by the prospect of having to eat gluten free and that he has a few ideas about how best to be prepared.

Visit also The Gluten Free Alchemist and her advice for travelling.

Gluten Free Baking with Coconut Flour

I had lunch with my sisters on Friday and both handed me something relating to gluten free: a Gluten Free Cupcakes Cookbook and a magazine cutting.  Coincidentally, both dealt with baking with Coconut Flour, something I hadn’t come across before.  I am yet to make any recipes but thought both were worthy of a mention.

1. Husk & Honey Cafe Nambour, Queensland (http://www.huskandhoney.com/cafe/ ) serves up gluten free food and the owner Tania Hubbard has launched  bake-at-home cake mixes http://www.glutenfreegrainfree.com.au  The base of the mixes is coconut : coconut sugar, coconut flour and desiccated coconut.

2. Gluten Free Cupcakes Cookbook by Elana Amsterdam

Her recipe base is almond and coconut flour and you can find her at Image

http://www.elanaspantry.com/about/

Happy baking 🙂

Buckwheat Galettes – Galettes Bretonne

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If you find yourself in Paris or Brittany, then you will find yourself in gluten free food heavenGalettes Bretonne, Galettes Sarrasin, Galettes Ble de Noir. 

They are relatively cheap, very filling and everywhere.  When we travelled with our two teenagers to Paris in December last year, we had no qualms about them finding their own lunch or dinner.  We always knew that they could fall back to a Galette at a cafe for a gluten free meal.

Our favourite galette cafe was Breizh Cafe ( http://breizhcafe.com/fr-breizh-cafe-paris.html ).  In their Deli next door you can get a pack of galettes to take home.  As we were staying in an apartment, these galettes were a great breakfast or a back up for dinner in the apartment.

I have included two recipes below for you to experiment with as well as a link to two David Lebovitz sites about galettes in Paris.

I make them for breakfast for my son on my Breville Crepe Creations and  any extras can be frozen with a sheet of glad bake in between.

NB Traditional Galettes are made with buckwheat only.

Buckwheat Galettes  – Galettes Sarrasin

4 oz milk

2 eggs

2 oz buckwheat flour

  1. Put ingredients into a bowl and whisk until smooth.
  2. Pour 1/3 to ½ cup of batter onto prepared crepe maker and spread with batter spreader.
  3. Cook until galette starts to brown.
  4. Turn galette over and cook on other side.

Traditionally galettes are savoury crepes filled with any combination of fried egg, cheese, ham, mushrooms, edges folded in to make a square exposing the ingredients, placed under a grill to melt the cheese. Can be also used as wraps.

Buckwheat Crepes

2 eggs

1/2 cup buckwheat flour

1 cup rice flour

milk

Place eggs and flours into a metal bowl.  Whisk eggs and slowly add milk until mixture is a runny paste.  Leave to stand for 15 minutes and recheck consistency.  Buckwheat absorbs large amounts of liquid.  Cook in a crepe pan and use with sweet or savoury fillings. Fold and place under grill to melt the cheese.

(Recipe from Against the Grain September 2012, Coeliac Queensland)

IMG_0493IMG_0495

http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2008/01/breizh-caf-1/

http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2009/02/pimping-my-crepes/

Gluten Free in Paris and Barcelona

 Bonjour Paris and  Hola Barcelona

We had booked our holiday, months in advance, a week in Paris and a week in Barcelona.  Of course we were looking forward to walking the streets of Paris with a baguette tucked under our arms, indulging in a different French pastry or two every day, experiencing churros with chocolate in Barcelona  and sampling tasty morsels of crumbed and deep fried tapas.

And then our youngest  teenage son was diagnosed with Coeliac Disease.

Fast forward 4 months and we were there, in Paris, in our self contained apartment overlooking the Seine.  And with a bit of planning, having to eat gluten free was not too much trouble.  Breizh Café 109-111 Rue Vielle du Temple (www.breizhcafe.com/fr-breizh-cafe-paris.html)  is an authentic Bretagne café  and while there were no seats at the café available for us, we ate at the Deli next door.  All savoury crêpes are made with buckwheat and once we explained our son’s dietary needs, they also made a sweet buckwheat crêpe for him. You can also buy a pack of 6 buckwheat crêpes to take away and these became a staple for breakfasts at our apartment.   Crêperies became a popular eating venue for our two teenage sons.

For something sweet and delicious, head to Helmut Newcake 36 Rue Bichat. (www.helmutnewcake.com) This café bakes beautiful éclairs, tarts and gateaux, all gluten free.  Vegan Folie’s 53 Rue Mouffetard  bakes  6 cupcake varieties  a day and one is gluten free.  (www.veganfolies.fr)   And don’t ignore all patisseries as most macarons are gluten free (some do have a coating which contains gluten) and crème bruleés are perfect for sweet tooths.

French Chocolates

French Chocolates

For general supermarket supplies we found  it was hit and miss at the mainstream supermarkets.  An organic food chain, Naturalia has 3 types of gluten free bread baked daily and a few other lines.  Grand Marché Bio 78  Rue St Honore we found to have the most comprehensive supply of products.  Le Bio Adam et Eve 41 Rue St Honore (www.lebiodadameteve.com)  is a small café specialising in vegetarian and gluten free meals.  Visit  Noglu 16 Passage  de Panoramas. Unfortunately we were too early for service but I have their recipe book : Good Without Gluten and I am sorry we never ate there. ( www.noglu.fr)

Hola Barcelona and we found restaurants and cafés more than happy to accommodate the need for a gluten free meal.  At the Hard Rock Café, Plaça de Catalunya,  21 the waitress brought to the table a gluten free menu from the kitchen.  At the Federal  Café Carrer Parlament 39 (www.federalcafe.es) the chef sprinted up three flights of stairs to explain to my son, which menu items were suitable or could be made suitable for him.  Restaurant La Poma , La Rambla 117, identifies gluten free options with SG (sin gluten) as does La Lluna a restaurant down an alley off Carrer de Santa Anna, 20.  And the McDonalds at the Barcelona airport offered a laminated menu with gluten free options.

Paella Barcelona

Paella Barcelona

For supplies of gluten free products, the El Corts Ingles Plaça Catalunya, 14 at the top of the Ramblas is an Aladdin’s Cave with an extensive gluten free range.  Also worthy of mention is the supermarket chain “Mercadona”  which has made a special push to not only increase their range of gluten free products but also to try to keep their prices affordable. Biospace  Carrer de València, 186 (www.biospace.es)  is an organic shop  with a gluten free range and Celipan Gourmet BCN Londres, 26 is a gluten free bakery. (http://celipan.com/)

It also goes without saying that some days we found it difficult searching café menus for something our son could eat, before we settled on a place.  Airports and train stations are definitely not gluten free friendly and for a teenager, being spontaneous with a food purchase, was definitely off the agenda.   But we found it helpful to travel with a food thermos and a small cooler bag,  as well as an overnight bag packed with GF provisions.   And a must is the Coeliac Disease Travellers translation sheets, provided to us by our state Coeliac Society.

Ok, we didn’t get to tuck those baguettes under our arms or enjoy the sugary churros smothered in chocolate and our son soon became quite tired of Steak Entrecote being the only menu item suitable for him.  But as a family, we learnt to be more flexible with food and our teenagers learnt to step outside their food comfort zone and experiment with other menu items.

So if you find yourself in Paris or Barcelona:  bon appétit and bon apetito.