Marks & Spencer back in Amsterdam

In April a small Marks & Spencer store opened on the Kalverstraat in Amsterdam. They’ve also got plans to open a full-line store in the Hague in 2014 and in Amsterdam on the Rokin in 2015. A lot of my friends rushed down to buy scones, custard creams, crumpets, sausages, cheddar cheese etc. Everything was sold out. I decided to wait a while but last week I finally went down. To my big surprise all the sausages where gluten free and they had a big gluten free sign on them. Thanks M&S. Bangers and mash just don’t taste as great with Dutch sausages.

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Gluten free carrot cake @ Cottoncake Amsterdam

logo_website
1e van der Helststraat 76-hs
1072NZ Amsterdam
+31 (0) 20 789 58 38
info@cottoncake.nl
http://www.cottoncake.nl

I love catching up with friends over a cup of tea or a coffee. A couple of weeks ago I just felt like going out for coffee and tea and being able to order a gluten free sandwich or a piece of cake with it. So I decided to search on Google for a gluten free lunch in Amsterdam in the hope of finding a new place, and to my surprise I found some reviews about a cafe and clothes shop that served gluten free food. It was Cottoncake. I found out that they also offer plenty of choice for a gluten free breakfast or a lovely piece of cake, all made from organic ingredients. It’s not round my corner because I live in the West of Amsterdam but my friend does live round the corner. It’s in the East of Amsterdam, the Pijp, near the famous Albert Cuijp market. So I decided to meet up with her there. She ordered a frittata which was also gluten free (I could try it!)

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and I ordered the carrot cake.

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The girl serving us was very friendly and she checked if I could eat the icing. I love it when staff double check, so you don’t feel that you might get poisoned. I’ll definitely go back to try some other dishes on the menu. On their website you can find the menu and behind the dish you should look out for the letters GV (= Gluten Free).They also have a lovely selection of clothes. There was a nice vibe in the cafe/shop. A lot of girls were working on their laptops sipping on mint teas/ coffees and fresh juices. Give it a go if you’re in the neighbourhood and spread the word because it would be great if more places in Amsterdam would mention gluten free dishes on their menu.

Open:
Mon – Fri: 10:00 – 18:30
Sat – Sun 10:00 – 17:30
Breakfast and lunch are served till 16.30.

The NeighbourFood Market

I love markets. Amsterdam has lots of markets but I always found it was missing the cosy, vibrant atmosphere of a local farmer market like in the UK. Well, I think I have found that feel at the NeighbourFood Market in Westerpark, Amsterdam. You don’t have to be a farmer or a professional caterer. Everybody can have a stall: locals, people from outside of the city, catering companies, restaurants and people who just want to give it a go. You can buy all sorts of foods. From homemade jams and chutneys, olive oils, biological wines to Spanish hams, dried sausages, cakes and foods from different continents. It’s a real treat for a foodie. Even a gluten free one. The stalls vary monthly. However some stalls don’t, like the Amsterdam Soup Company. They have been there every month to my knowledge. It’s my favourite stall because all their soups are gluten free. I tried the parsnip and pear soup last Sunday. It was lovely. It’s a great Sunday activity with friends. If you missed it, the next one is on the 17th of March. If you can’t wait that long you can go to the Sunday Market at Westerpark on the 3rd of March. This market also has food stalls but it’s a bit more focused on art, fashion and design. Anyway it’s also worth visiting. Enjoy your Sundays!

Tea, scones and jam with whipped cream, mmmmm!!!!

I haven’t got such a sweet tooth but with something growing in my belly my taste has changed a bit. I really fancied scones. My parents had been to the UK before x-mas and had brought me back some gluten free surprises. One of them was Helen’s brilliant scone mix.

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I had made scones before from scratch with gluten free flour but they had never turned out as great as this mix. Even my friend and husband who don’t follow a gluten free diet loved them. It turned out to be a tasty spontaneous tea party.

Tea

Source photos: hhtp://www.helenshealingfoods.com  hhtp://www.bbcgoodfood.com  hhtp://www.pinterest.com

What shall I have for breakfast?

Yesterday I forgot to buy some gluten free bread and when I woke up I didn’t feel like running to the shops. It’s Saturday, my day off, time to take everything nice and easy. Maybe I could bake my own bread today? No I didn’t feel like that. So I decided to make pancakes. Well, one big pancake. I got inspired by the recipe of DovesFarm: http://www.dovesfarm.co.uk/recipes/gluten-free-pancakes, but I adjusted it a bit to serve 1 and give it a bit of a x-mas feel. Seeing as I’m going to get a x-mas tree today.

Ingredients:

  • 100 g gluten free white self-raising flour ( dove farm)
  • 1 egg
  • 150 ml of milk
  • a bit of butter or sunflower oil
  • 1 banana
  • a few dried cranberries
  • a dried vig
  • cinnamon
  • dried coconut

Method:

  • Put the flour and egg into a mixing bowl.
  • Adding the milk a little at a time beat into a batter.
  • Mix well then leave to rest for a least an hour.
  • Lightly oil or put a bit of butter in a heavy frying pan and heat well.
  • Put a good tablespoon of batter into hot pan, rolling it around to cover the surface.
  • Add the banana, cranberries and the dried vig.
  • Cook until golden then turn over and cook on the other side.
  • Serve warm with a sprinkle of dried coconut and cinnamon.

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Gluten free cakes in Amsterdam, thanks dikke lepel ladies !!!

Last Sunday at a x-mas lounge mini-market pop-up in the Jordaan, in Amsterdam

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I bought some lovely gluten free cakes. The dikke lepel ladies were selling all sorts of snacks and cakes. They had a lovely gluten free selection: traditional mince pies, chocolate cupcakes with caramel and pecan pies and I tried them all. Mmmmm!

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They create fresh, handmade food, using natural ingredients, preferably organic and never with artificial additives and they also cater to all sorts of dietary needs :)You can check them out on there site: http://www.dikkelepel.nl

Sunday Dec.16th they’ll be at the The NeighbourFood Market in the Westergasfabriek.

Travelling gluten free through South Africa, is it possible?

Gluten free food on the flight to Cape Town

I went on a  four month honeymoon trip with my husband. Our first stop was South Africa.  Of course I packed my bag full of gluten free bread, pasta and crackers. We arrived in Johannesburg  but our luggage didn’t. Lucky enough I had some gluten free crackers and some extra underwear in my hand-luggage.

We picked up our rental car and drove to the Satvik Hostel in Tzaneen. 4 hours from Johannesburg. There we went to a supermarket, the ‘Pick n Pay’.  A big chain of supermarkets in South Africa. I bought some gluten free pasta there. We stocked up because our next stop was Kruger. It’s best if you bring most of your own food to the park.They do have  shops but they sell more souvenirs then food and it’s more expensive then the supermarket.

Kruger was amazing. It’s funny driving in a rental car and then seeing elephants, zebra’s a lion and all sorts of other animals in front of you. We stayed at Letabo and Lower sabie. We saw more around Lower sabie.

After our 4 day safari we drove to Swaziland. In Manzini they also had a ‘Pick n Pay’ . I couldn’t find any gluten free bread there so I bought some rice crackers.We camped at The Sundown lodge/backpackers in the Malkerns Valley, 25km from Mbabane and Manzini. I put all our food in a bag in the communal fridge. On the bag I wrote our names and “Gluten free don’t touch! If you do it could make me very ill.”  I did that because people sometimes just borrow a bit of jam or margarine which would mean cross-contamination. Two of the days we were there we did the Ngwempisi trail. Our guide Thabo was really friendly and told us all about the plants and the insects. We stayed the night in a cave/tree-hut.

The weather in Swaziland was a bit like Wales, so after a few days we wanted to find the sun again. We drove back into South Africa. After driving nearly all day we reached a place called Kosi-Bay. It’s near the border of Mozambique. The shops weren’t open any more. We heard from the Thobeke Lodge where we were staying that they close early on Saturday and Sunday. Lucky enough they had some meat which we could buy and braai ( BBQ). Lovely with a savannah cider!  The next day we went into town. My gluten free bread was nearly gone and I couldn’t find any gluten free crackers/bread there or even rice crackers. The supermarkets were very basic there. My back up plan would be to make pancakes from cornflour because you can buy that everywhere there. I didn’t have to in the end. The beach there reminded me a bit of the movie the beach. It takes a while before you get to it but it’s worth it.

After a few days we drove to Hluhluwe where we met up with my family in law. Lucky enough I found some rice crackers there. The next day we drove to St Lucia.  At Cape Vital we stayed in a big cabin with the six of us. We didn’t see as many animals there as we did in Kruger but it was nice catching up with everybody.

After two nights we headed to the Drakensberg. We camped at a backpackers near Underberg. The view was amazing. I would definitely go back there to go hiking. We couldn’t this time because we had planned to go to Lesotho for the day wit a 4×4 Range-rover. The people organising the tour knew a while ago when we had booked it and the night before that they had to make a gluten free lunchpack. When everybody got there lunchpack mine was missing. The woman organising it went back to the kitchen. They must have made it quickly. I had two sandwiches made from rice crackers with cheese and margarine.  It crossed my mind that the margarine could have been contaminated. I know I should have asked. Why didn’t I?  I ate one but after that I didn’t feel I wanted to risk eating the other. At the end of the day I didn’t feel that great but it could have been the altitude. Anyway we saw how some people lived there, we saw sheep sheering and we had a drink at the highest pub of South Africa. In the evening we had dinner at the Grind café in Underberg. I had the lambshank. I informed them about my intolerance and they took the time to listen and tell me all the ingredients and the way they prepared the dishes.

The next day we said goodbye to my family in law and we went our different ways. We would meet up again in Cape town for X-mas. Si and I drove to Hogsback. We stayed at away with the fairies. One night we had our own private bedroom and the other two nights we camped. The cook there makes a dish of the day. The only thing you have to do is let the staff know if you want to eat there. He made me a gluten free Thai curry. He knew what a gluten free diet was. The cooks name was Stuart. Hogsback is beautiful. It’s like an old English forest. There are lovely waterfalls. We walked up one of the Hogsback. We walked for about 8 hours. It was a good preparation for the great walks in New Zealand.

Our next stop was Wilderness. This area started to look more like Europe. It’s part of the garden route. We camped at The Wild Farm. They have got a fantastic view of the sunset. They had a big field with veg and fruit. You could pick as much as you liked. So we made a lovely dinner with freshly picked veg. You also got a free breakfast. There were some home-made cakes. Great for Si but there was not much for me except fruit, which I was very happy with. I wish we could have stayed a bit longer but we needed to be back before x-mas.

After a long drive we finally arrived in Cape town. What a lovely view when you see table mountain. The next day it was my mission to find some gluten free food. I did at a health shop near my sister in law. Lovely gluten free bread from The allergy free kitchen. If you click the link it tells you where you can buy the bread in Cape town. Before I went travelling I found a blog with a gluten free guidebook to Cape town:www.gfsouthafrica.blogspot.com

On X-mas eve we went for lunch at Die Strandloper. My sister in law, Liz had contacted them about my intolerance. They said it would be o.k.  but in the end they didn’t want to risk it. So I took my own pick-nick basket full of goodies I bought at Woolworths . The food looked lovely.It was fish prepared on the braai (BBQ). I think they were afraid of contamination with their home-made bread. Anyway I made up for it at Liz and Doug’s with loads of braais in their back garden. They made sure the rack was clean and that anything with gluten wasn’t on it till the gluten free food was cooked. Don’t worry at Pic ‘n Pay you can find some gluten free sausages. They are lovely. You can taste the cloves.

X-mas we celebrated at Liz and Doug’s. Doug’s mum had made a lovely ham. Gluten free! We also had a braai and cocktails.

Boxing day we went on a wine tour with Bruce www.africanstorytours.com He’s a good friend of Liz. It was a nice day out with the whole family. Bruce knows a lot about wine. I learned a lot but forgot some as well because of all the wine. Bruce took us to visit farms in the Paarl, Franschoek and Stellenbosch wine region. We had a lovely lunch in Franschoek. My dish was gluten free. They can cater for those with special dietary needs ;)…..around six, Bruce dropped us back at home and we nearly all passed out except for Si, liz and Doug who had enough energy to braai.

On Chris and Mike’s ( my parents in law) last day we went to Kirstenbosch. A big park in Cape town. It’s beautiful. You pay a small fee to get in. We had lunch there. At the restaurant/café they had gluten free cakes and bread on the menu. I had a gluten free sandwich with grilled veg and feta. It was lovely. Sadly the day came to an end and we had to say goodbye ;(.

New years we celebrated at a festival: Rock the river. It wasn’t really our cup of tea but we had a nice time with Liz, Doug and his brother and a friend. We brought all our own food and drinks. I made some fried rice for the first night.

Cape Town was our base for about a month. We did go off for a weekend to Betty’s Bay, Beachhouse lodge  ( Jack’s is a lovely pub/restaurant to have a drink and some olives and watch the sun go down) and Stellenbosch, the stumble inn ( a lot of gluten free food in the Pic ‘n Pay of Stellenbosch) and a week to Namibia ( in another post, information will follow about this trip).

But mostly we stayed around Cape town. We walked up Table mountain. We hiked in Constantia and saw the elephants eye. We had cocktails on Longstreet, gluten free Indian food at the eastern food bazaar and  we went clubbing with friends of Doug and Liz. There were lot’s of braais.

We sailed on a big yacht during a race of a friend of ours.

During our stay we also met up with my brother Jason and his wife Monique. They were there for a two week holiday. We had a pick-nick with them and saw Boulder’s beach (penguins, I thought it was expensive) Cape point and we went to Cape of Good Hope. The pick-nick was disturbed by the baboons. They stool Liz’s orange juice. The guards do keep them away with a stick but you have to pay attention. Another day Jason and Simon played golf and I went shopping with Monique. They’ve got some big shopping centres in and around Cape Town. We also hung out at the pool of their lovely hotel: The vineyard Hotel.

The last thing. Something I think you should definitely visit is Houtsbay. It’s next to Cape Town. There is a beach and they sell loads of fish there but the best thing I think is the indoor market on Friday evening till Sunday. They sell food, cloths and other lovely handmade gifts. The market has got a lovely atmosphere. It’s very cosy and done out very creative. They have a stall with gluten free cupcakes, cake and biscuits. There are also other food-stalls that sell gluten free food. But be aware for contamination especially with the stall selling normal rolls and gluten free rolls.

All in All a fantastic holiday, such a beautiful country and it was nice seeing so many family members. We were very sad to leave but a new adventure was waiting for us in New Zealand.

Did you think South Africa was an easy place to travel gluten free?

Sushi @ home

I just love sushi. At home or at a Japanese restaurant. At home it’s of course very safe. You know it hasn’t got imitation crab in it (that contains gluten) or any other filling that contains a sauce with gluten and at home you’ve always got your gluten free soya sauce with you. When I go to a sushi restaurant I mostly forget it and only have Wasabi. I have read on other blogs and forums that  some restaurants use a fake Wasabi that contains gluten. I’ve never found Wasabi/fake Wasabi with gluten but I do always check the ingredients or ask the restaurant to check it.

A friend of mine gave me a Tupperware sushi maker. I’m not a big fan of kitchen gadgets but after making sushi with it I was very impressed. See the photo at the top of the page. The sushi looked as if It was made by somebody who knew what they were doing. I have in the past made sushi the proper way but the sushi just turned out very big and looked messy.

Here’s a video that shows you how to use the Tupperware sushi maker:

Have you ever made sushi at home? How did it turn out?