Gluten Free Blinis

I don’t think that there is anything that goes better with a glass of bubbles at a party or on a special night in than a freshly made, gluten free blini. Of course the gluten free variety are impossible to get hold of at the supermarkets but fear not, I have the perfect recipe for y’all here. It’s one I’ve whipped out for special occasions for years and no one can even tell they are gluten free. I like to top mine with smoked salmon, crème fraiche, lemon and freshly chopped chives. These are very versatile party snacks however, and so can be topped with whatever you fancy. Give them a whirl and let me know what you think!

Ingredients

1 x Cup Gluten Free Flour
1 x Large Egg
1 x Cup of Milk/ Dairy Free Milk
½ x Teaspoon Bicarbonate of Soda
½ x Teaspoon Gluten Free Bouillon Powder
Cracked Black Pepper
1 x Teaspoon Vegetable/ Sunflower Oil

For the topping:

1 x Small Tub crème fraiche
50g x Smoked Salmon
Freshly Chopped Chives
½ Lemon

Method

1. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, Bouillon powder and black pepper.
2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg and the milk. When combined, add gradually to the dry ingredients and mix into a smooth batter.
3. Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat and use a small spoon to create small blini discs in the pan.
4. When bubbles form in the blinis, they are ready to turn over. Once turned, cook for 2-3 more minutes before removing from the pan.
5. Leave to cool and then top with ½ a teaspoon each of crème fraiche and chopped salmon.
6. Squeeze the juice of the lemon over the plate of blinis when armed and then sprinkle generously with chopped chives before serving.

Madrid: The Gluten Free Suitcase Guide

Spain has always been a great destination for anyone gluten free and the Spanish capital of Madrid is no exception. One of the first places I ever travelled as a gluten free person and the home of notorious bakery Celicioso and tapas galore, Madrid will have you spoilt for choice. Just take note that most restaurants in Madrid still take bookings, especially at peak times on weekends, so call ahead to make sure you secure your spot!

Sana Locura Gluten Free Bakery

Whitagram-Image (11)

By far my favourite bakery in Madrid, Sana Locura boasts one of the most impressive cake, pastry and bread counters I’ve ever seen in my life. The bakery has a family business atmosphere and is always buzzing with people either buying treats to go or sitting down for breakfast and lunch. Don’t miss the opportunity to try Sana Locura’s croissants or red velvet cake. And if you’re dairy free order a delicious soy or rice milk latte and ask the staff to point you towards any dairy free sweet treats for the perfect afternoon combination. Closed on Mondays.

Where?
Calle del Gral Oraá 49
28006 Madrid

Celicioso

The original gluten free bakery in Madrid, Celicioso has branched out to four different locations across the city, and now even has branches in Malaga and Marbella. Picture anything you miss since going gluten free and I can guarantee you that Celicioso offers the gluten free version. Perfect for brunch (order the legendary avo toast!) or lunch with an epic sweet and savoury selection of goods to pack in your bag to fuel your sightseeing around Madrid, Celicioso is somewhere you will want to visit over and over again.

Where?
Calle de O’Donnell, 4
28009 Madrid

Plaza del Callao, 2, 9º planta
28013 Madrid

Calle de Hortaleza 3
28004 Madrid

Calle del Barquillo 19
28004 Madrid

Maestro Churrero

Whitagram-Image (12)

Lo and behold – a place that has finally answered all our gluten free churro prayers! Maestro Churrero prepares its gluten free churros separately so there’s no chance of cross contamination and you can even dip them into lactose free hot chocolate. A perfect spot for in between meals or even to start your day because is there ever a bad time for churros?!

Where?
Plaza de Jacinto Benavente 2
28012 Madrid

Pasteleria La Oriental

Another winner on the gluten free bakery scene in Madrid, La Oriental is packed almost to the ceiling with gluten free cakes, cookies, tarts and pastries that will make you do a double take. Their traditional Roscon cake is something else and keeps well for a few days if you want to stash one away in your hand luggage! Better yet, La Oriental is open seven days a week!

Where?
Calle de Ferraz 47
28008 Madrid

Solo de Croquetas

Whitagram-Image (13)

Croquettes are a special part of the Spanish food scene and sadly one that we’re rarely able to indulge in. So you will be delighted to know that Madrid is home to a 100% gluten free croquette restaurant where you can sample the whole menu and wash down your selections with an icy gluten free beer. Perfect for lunch!

Where?
Calle de Echegaray 5
28014 Madrid

Mercado de San Miguel

Well worth a visit, Mercado de San Miguel is one of Madrid’s oldest markets, with an array of food and drink stalls offering some of the freshest seafood, tapas and chilled cava I’ve ever had. Keep your eyes peeled for what’s on offer gluten free wise as the menus at various stalls can change. I hopped around sampling tortilla and fresh prawns at different stalls when I went but I have it on good authority that Tacos Margaritas y Punto is 100% gluten free and well worth a pitt stop for their outrageously delicious tacos.

Where?
Plaza de San Miguel S/N
28005 Madrid

La Tintoreria

Whitagram-Image (17)

A traditional Spanish restaurant, La Tintoreria is a great spot for tortilla and a good platter of traditional jamon. The staff are very clued up when it comes to allergies and will take extra care when serving a gluten free customer. Booking advised, especially on Fridays and Saturdays if you want to ensure you are seated!

Where?
Calle Espoz y Mina 20
28012 Madrid

Emma y Julia

Whitagram-Image (16)

In the market for some delicious Italian food while in Madrid? Well when it comes to the menu on offer at Emma y Julia I think it’s well worth a go! This restaurant makes almost every single item on its regular menu gluten free upon request and has some of the best pizza I’ve had in years. The portions are huge and the staff go out of their way to accomodate coeliacs and customers with dietary requirements. Another gem that is sure to set you up well for a night out on the town! Closed on Mondays.

Where?
Calle de la Cava Baja 19
28005 Madrid

Taberna La Concha

Whitagram-Image (15)

By far my favourite tapas bar in Madrid, Taberna La Concha is small, traditional and offers an extensive gluten free menu upon request. What’s special about Taberna La Concha is the albondigas or meatballs which are so rarely gluten free and here they are huge and delicious! This restaurant is perfect for a late night dinner but be prepared to wait in line as it’s a popular spot!

Where?
Calle de la Cava Baja 7
28005 Madrid

La Gamella

Whitagram-Image (18)

Finally, if you’re in need of a top notch brunch to start or end your time in Madrid on a high, venture to La Gamella for a gorgeous and gluten free friendly brunch. Most things on the menu can be made gluten free and can be all washed down with a mimosa with freshly squeezed orange juice and followed with an array of sweet treats to accompany a post brunch espresso. The Eggs Benedict here is incredible so don’t forget to call and reserve your table as this place gets packed during the day on weekends.

Where?
Calle de Alfonso XII 4
28014 Madrid

Burger King

Like the rest of Spain, Burger King in Madrid offers a gluten free bun for their burgers and cheeseburgers. Better yet, this option is available at the airport so in case you didn’t have enough pastries or tapas while in Madrid, you can grab a cheeseburger on your way out of the country. Check with each branch if the chips are fried separately as sometimes they are not. P.S. McDonald’s has gluten free options in Spain too!

Whitagram-Image (19)

Gluten Free Oaties by Nairn’s

Where From? Nairn’s
Available in Waitrose & Partners, Morrison’s and on the Nairn’s Website

I am on a permanent quest for a dunkable gluten free biscuit. Cue Nairn’s, the oatcake masters, who have just brought out a biscuit that is perfect with a cuppa and contains 45% less sugar than the average teatime treat. Oaties come in handy packs of four so they are also perfect for on the go. Totally coeliac safe and delicious, Oaties are also great for use in cheesecakes and homemade cookie bars or millionaire’s shortbread. Give them a whirl and let me know what you think! Oaties are available in Waitrose & Partners, Morrison’s, independent health food stores around the UK and the Nairn’s company website.

This post has been sponsored by Nairn’s.

Warm Kale, Sweet Potato and Quinoa Salad with a Lemon, Tahini and Chive Dressing

To celebrate Coeliac UK Awareness Week this year, I’ve teamed up with Knorr UK to create the ultimate gluten free meal using one of my favourite grains – quinoa. I fell in love with this grain when I lived in South America and was delighted when I realised I wouldn’t have to give it up when I stopped eating gluten. It is delicious when cooked in vegetable stock – for this recipe I used Knorr Organic Vegetable Stock Pot, which gives it great depth and flavour. Try out this veggie recipe for yourselves for a perfect mid-week meal or a summery lunch.

Warm Kale, Sweet Potato and Quinoa Salad with a Lemon, Tahini and Chive Dressing
(Serves 2)

Ingredients

40g x Sweet Potato
2 x Garlic Cloves
1 x Tablespoon Olive Oil
Freshly Ground Pepper
80g x Quinoa
1 x Knorr Vegetable Stock Pot
200g x Kale

For the Dressing:
2 x Tablespoons Tahini
4 x Lemons (juiced)
1 x Garlic Clove (minced)
1 x Teaspoon Gluten Free Soy Sauce
Salt & Pepper to taste

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees celsius.
2. Prepare your sweet potato for roasting by cutting into small cubes and then
arranging on a baking tray with the two garlic cloves. Drizzle the olive oil over the
pan and add cracked black pepper.
3. Roast for 20-25 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, prepare your quinoa by washing thoroughly before adding to a pan
with 400ml water. Add the Knorr Vegetable Stock Pot and bring to the boil. Cover
the pot and simmer for 15 minutes or until the water has cooked off and the quinoa
is soft.
5. Separately, wash and then steam the kale for six to eight minutes. Drain.
6. Start preparing your dressing by adding the minced garlic clove, tahini, lemon juice
and soy sauce to a bowl. Stir until all mixed together into a dressing consistency.
Add chopped chives and salt and pepper to taste.
7. Combine the cooked quinoa, kale and sweet potato together before serving and
adding the dressing. Serve with a lemon wedge and extra chives.

Côte Brasserie: A Coeliac UK Accredited Gem (Invite)

While eating out for gluten free folk in the UK is becoming easier in terms of the variety of options available, places that adhere strictly to standards safe enough for coeliacs are still a rarity. UK chain Côte Brasserie is one of those exceptions, and is fully accredited by Coeliac UK. To celebrate Coeliac UK Awareness week, the team at Côte invited me along to try their extensive gluten free menu with some of my wonderful gluten free friends. I have always been a fan of this restaurant, which offers up traditional and modern French dishes with a twist. Côte has recently however revamped its gluten free offerings and even now has a dedicated Gluten Free Prestige set menu so coeliacs need not feel left out of the two and three course deals offered in all branches.

IMG_7902

While perusing the menu, we ordered a selection of mixed olives and saucisson sec to start, which paired perfectly with Côte’s wonderfully crisp sparkling wine Blanc de Blancs Brut. I then opted for the Prawn Gratinee as a starter: king prawns baked in a white wine, garlic, chilli and tomato sauce. This came with a serving of gluten free toast on the side and was one of the most delicious starters I have had in a restaurant for quite some time – not least because of the blue gluten free flags that came in the dish to indicate that this was indeed coeliac safe! My friend Jessie and I also shared a chicken parfait, which came with a serving of cornichons, spiced apple chutney and more gluten free bread, toasted to perfection.

IMG_7909

For my main, I could not resist ordering a fillet steak, recommended to me by the manager. Perfectly cooked, the steak was served with a generous portion of Côte’s trademark coeliac safe fries and truffle hollandaise sauce. To add a touch of greenery to our meal, Jessie and I also ordered some creamed spinach and French beans to accompany our meal. Again, our meals came with gluten free flags intact, allowing us to be fully relaxed without having to ask the usual twenty questions that follow the arrival of food for most gluten free diners.

IMG_7920

What’s important to note about Côte is that you will need to save room for dessert. Forget the usual single ice cream option all of us gluten free diners are far too familiar with in most restaurants – Côte offers a great selection including Creme Brulee, chocolate compote, crumble and more. I finally decided on the mixed summer berries with warm white chocolate sauce, which I would quite happily eat everyday if I could.
To conclude, I urge you all to head to Côte as soon as you can to see for yourselves just how wide a variety they have on offer for gluten free diners. If you have any other dietary requirements, intolerances or allergies, Côte will also go above and beyond to ensure you eat well and safely. Thank you again to the team for taking such good care of us – we all can’t wait to come back!

IMG_7942

We dined at the Soho branch of Côte Brasserie on Wardour Street. Tables bookable on the company website and on Quandoo.

Ardiciocca: A 100% Gluten Free Trattoria Experience in Fulham

London’s ever-expanding gluten free scene is full of Italian food. Pizzas, pastas and more can often be found in gluten free form at restaurants across the city. Italian restaurants that cater entirely to gluten free diners are however, still a novelty. 100% gluten free trattoria Ardiciocca opened up shop three months ago in Fulham and has since remained a hidden gem – well until now.

1AB06846-64A6-4A49-A2C8-25567B5B277B

Ardiciocca is the latest project from Roberto Costa and the group behind Macellaio RC, which owns four other Italian restaurants in London and one in Milan. The goal for the new Fulham eatery was simple – Costa wanted to make the “comforting, homely” recipes of his childhood available to everyone – not just gluten eaters. The menu lends itself to simple and delicious flavours, many of which will instantly make you feel like you’re on vacation in Italy, as opposed to southwest London.

120FF9FC-D8D5-4118-8C54-F12243F9D214

With a chilled glass of Prosecco in our hands, we took our pick from the eclectic selection of starters, settling not on one, but three small plates to share between us. The mussel and potato croquettes instantly caught my eye in the typical way that a gluten free person is drawn to breaded, deep fried treats after lengthy periods without. While the croquettes were crispy, warm and bursting with flavour, I couldn’t help but think how a light aioli would have completed the dish. We also chose the salami, broad bean, pecorino cheese and fresh bread plate – the star of the show of which was most certainly the salami, dominated by a strong truffle flavour. I was incredibly impressed by the homemade bread, which was served warm from the oven. My dinner date Mateja also insisted on trying the brain – a delicacy which came fried in light crispy batter.

2522C0C5-1F34-415A-8373-635D8DEF49DF

Ardiciocca has a wide array of main dishes to choose from, which go way beyond the traditional pizza/pasta offering of many Italian eateries. These range from pickled fried mackerel to sausage stew and homemade hearty minestrone. However, we simply could not resist giving the Sardinian gnocchi and sausage ragú a go, as well as the Nduja pizza – the dough of which is made with gluten free flour and Ferrarelle water before it is left to rise for 72 hours. The ragú was perfectly seasoned and incredibly moreish, leaving me wishing for a second bowl. The pizza crust was thin and light, and topped with flavourful passata, creamy mozzarella and spicy sausage, the kick from which was neutralised softened slightly by the addition of fresh lemon and rocket.

980927A7-7893-47AC-A7D2-A6A192537DD6

While we had next to no room left for dessert, I could not pass up the opportunity to sample the basil infused panna cotta – a flavour combination I had never seen on a menu before. It was tangy and refreshing, served with a drizzle of Italian honey on the side. The homemade chocolate torte is also definitely worth a try, only lacking in a side dollop of creme fraiche or gelato, which I’ll be sure to request next time I go.

Anyone in Fulham and beyond must not miss out on the opportunity to eat here for a meal full of flavour, tradition and excellent service to boot. Don’t forget to try a different glass of Italian wine with each course – you won’t be sorry!

Ardiciocca

461-465 North End Road

Fulham

London SW6 INZ

020-3848-6830

(Tables Bookable via email or telephone)