Pão de Queijo (Brazilian Cheese Bread) with a Whipped Cheese and Chive Dip

I am not a baker at heart so when I first came across these doughy, cheesy balls of goodness in Latin America and realised how easy they were to prepare, I could have jumped for joy (in fact I think I did). This naturally gluten free recipe calls for tapioca/cassava flour, which comes from a root widely used in Latin America in a multitude of dishes and its texture when baked together with the rest of these ingredients makes for the most moreish treat. Originally from the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais, this bread is eaten for any meal of the day, although it absolutely steals the show at breakfast time, accompanied by a coffee and some fresh fruit. It’s commonly served with a creamy cheese spread (known as requeijao), which I’ve adapted below for dipping. Enjoy this recipe – once you try it, I guarantee you’ll be making it on repeat!

Ingredients

Pão de Queijo (Brazilian Cheese Bread)
200g x Free Tapioca Flour
140ml x Almond or Gluten Free Oat Milk
50ml x Water
1 x Large Egg
3 x Tablespoons Good Quality Olive Oil
50g x Parmesan/Italian Hard Cheese (grated)
50g x Mature Cheddar Cheese (grated)
2 x Garlic Cloves (Minced)
1 x Teaspoon Sea Salt
Extra grated parmesan for the garnish

Whipped Cheese and Chive Dip
100g x Philadelphia Full-Fat Cream Cheese
1 x Teaspoon Good Quality Olive Oil
1 x Heaped Teaspoon Dried Chives
1/3 x Teaspoon Garlic Granules
1/3 x Teaspoon Sea Salt
2 x Teaspoons Fresh Chives (Finely Chopped)

Pão de Queijo (Brazilian Cheese Bread) – Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees Celsius (fan) and line two baking trays with parchment/baking paper.
  2. Place the tapioca flour in a large mixing bowl and set aside.
  3. Heat the milk, water, oil and salt in a saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil.
  4. As soon as the liquid comes to a boil, remove from heat and add to the bowl with the flour and mix until combined (either by hand, using a good wooden spoon or in a standing mixer).
  5. Now add the egg and mix well. The texture will seem very uncooperative at first and the mixture will appear to not be combining but do not give up! After enough mixing, the mixture will all come together to form a sticky dough.
  6. Please note that the dough should not have a liquid-like consistency as it needs to hold together in small ball-like form on the baking tray. Sometimes however, depending on the temperature of the room and if the mixture has been “too mixed”, the dough will not appear sturdy enough. If this is the case, feel free to add a dusting of additional tapioca flour and mix again, repeating this step until you are happy with the consistency.
  7. Now using two large spoons, place the dough onto the baking trays in small ball-like shapes. The perfect ball shape is very hard to achieve by hand, so do not fret if they look more like blobs!
  8. Bake immediately for 15 minutes until the breads are golden brown.
  9. Remove from the oven and quickly sprinkle the extra grated Parmesan cheese on top of the breads and bake for another 5 or so minutes, until the cheese is melted.
  10. Remove from the oven and leave the bread to cool for 5 minutes before enjoying warm with a cheese and chive dip (please see recipe below).

Whipped Cheese and Chive Dip – Method

  1. In a medium-sized bowl, combine all the ingredients and mix well. This can be done either by hand with a regular spoon or with a hand-whisk, if you’d like a fluffier texture.
  2. Serve immediately either as a spread or a dip for your Pão de Queijo and enjoy!

Empanadas by Lincoln’s Cafe, Holborn

Where From? Lincoln’s Cafe, Holborn
Available in Store from Monday to Friday

As a massive empanada fan, I cannot tell you my delight in coming across what Lincoln’s Cafe has to offer. This modest eatery tucked away behind Holborn station in the West End of London not only offers gluten free bread as an option for its vast sandwich menu, but a selection of homemade Colombian savoury treats too. Pictured, the Empanada de Pollo (Chicken), is a must-try if you’re passing, and even if you’re not, I would recommend the trip purely for this! This empanada is corn based and is perfectly crispy on the outside when heated and soft as a pillow inside, jam-packed full of flavour. Whilst you’re there, you would be silly to not also try some of the Pan de Bono (traditional Colombian cheese bread), an arepa or a vegetable stuffed empanada. This store closes early every day so make your way there before 4pm to avoid disappointment!

Tooting: The Gluten Free Suitcase Guide

Those of y’all who follow my Instagram account will know by now that I LOVE my neighbourhood. I grew up in South East London and six years go switched things up by moving South West to Tooting. In the past six years alone, this area has seen an immense amount of change, especially when it comes to food! Home to the famous Tooting Market and Broadway Market, this area has something for everyone, and is especially great when it comes to gluten free. Enjoy reading through my guide and seeing for yourself just how awesome this southern corner of the capital is!

Barra 10

Whitagram-Image (7)

Argentina has come to Tooting! Hands down, my favourite restaurant in the area, Barra 10 boasts an array of traditional Argentine dishes, many of which are naturally gluten free. Venture here for perfectly cooked steak, wine from the famous Mendoza region, oh and a provoleta – barbecued provolone cheese – for a quintessentially Porteño experience! Coeliacs note that if you wish to eat chips with your steak (you’ll want to, they’re FANTASTIC), then ask to reserve a portion of chips when you book a table and the team will happily fry them separately for you to avoid cross contamination. Make sure you finish with a scoop of homemade Dulce de Leche ice cream. Closed on Sundays and Mondays.

Where? 
16 Broadway Market
Tooting High Street
London SW17 0RL

Brickwood Coffee and Bread

Whitagram-Image (10)

This South West London favourite is nestled away inside Tooting market and one for the brunch lovers. Not only do they serve up a MEAN gluten free fry up, these guys offer gluten free versions of all their toasties which are LEGENDARY. I always opt for ham hock and smoked truffle mayo. The coffee is great to boot and it served the people of Tooting well during lockdown. Fancy a cocktail? Brickwood is open on Fridays and Saturdays for tipples as well.

Where? 
Tooting Market 21-23
London SW17 0SN

Boom Bap Burger

tempImageForSave

I’ve tried a lot of burgers in my time, and since going gluten free seven years ago, I’ve tried even more. However, top of my list for anyone visiting Tooting has got to be Boom Bap Burger, which offers delicious gluten free patties, packed full of flavour, and perfectly sguidgy gluten free burger buns to boot. Coeliacs should check with staff on the day to see if the french fries have been fryed separately before ordering as this can bit hit or miss. If they’re safe, go ahead and order the cheesy fries because they’re EPIC. Closed on Mondays.

Where?
Unit 2, Tooting Market
20 Totterdown Street
London SW17 8TA

Mamma Mia Pasta

IMG_4750

If you’re a gnocchi fan like me, you won’t be disappointed that gnocchi is your only gluten free option at this family-run pasta restaurant inside Tooting Broadway Market – you’ll be ELATED. Gluten free gnocchi is still incredibly hard to come across on the London restaurant scene and here at Mamma Mia Pasta, the chef will top it with any sauce you desire, whilst taking extra care to avoid cross contamination. I highly recommend you opt for the slow cooked tomato and basil sauce with burrata – absolute winner! State your allergy or dietary requirement and you’ll be wonderfully taken care of. Closed on Sundays and Mondays. 

Where?
Tooting Broadway Market
The Cave
29 Tooting High Street
London SW17 0RJ

VBELLY

Tooting’s vegan hotspot VBELLY is located inside Tooting Market and is both reasonably priced and perfect for a takeaway. Try the nachos if you’re feeling snackish or ANY of the desserts which are all gluten free. Ask the team about the specials, in case any more gluten free items crop up. Closed on Mondays.

Where?
Unit 13, Tooting Market
20 Totterdown Street
London SW17 8TA

The Gorringe Park

This isn’t just my favourite pub in Tooting because it’s local but because a large portion of the menu is gluten free! And the items safe for us to eat are not just steak, or grilled fish and mash – they include things like croquettes, breaded camembert, calamari and much much more! The Gorringe Park has a separate fryer for all of its gluten free items, meaning the chips are safe to eat – something which sadly seems to be a rarity in pubs these days. If you’re in the mood for culture with your meal, pop on down to the pub cinema in the basement, which shows several movies daily and is free – just buy yourself a drink or a snack and enjoy!

Where? 
29 London Road
London SW17 9JR

Juliet’s Quality Food

Whitagram-Image (9)

I definitely can’t complain when it comes to Tooting’s brunch offerings. Juliets Quality Foods – headed up by the founders of Balham’s famous Milk Cafe – – is always spot on when you’re in the mood for eggs, perfect flat whites and retro hip hop, all at the same time. Gluten free diners can choose between several dishes but are likely to be drawn to signature numbers like sweetcorn fritters with kasundi and the Young Betty –  this restaurant’s answer to Eggs Benedict or Royale – served atop homemade cornbread with your choice of bacon or local smoked salmon and drizzled with Espresso Hollandaise. Those in the mood for sweet treats can also order a slice of the pistachio and polenta cake with buttercream frosting – it’s truly delightful AND gluten free!

Where?
110 Mitcham Road
London SW17 9NG

Green Monkey

Whitagram-Image (11)

Tucked away behind Tooting Bec station, Green Monkey is a hidden gem for gluten free. Serving up delicious coffee, Green Monkey has a selection of sweet and savoury gluten free treats on offer including EPIC toasties to go or eat in (try the halloumi and avocado – TRUST ME), a whole array of brunch dishes with delicious gluten free sourdough on the side as well as one of the best brownies I’ve ever had, and vegan and gluten free caramel shortbread. Another hero during lockdown – thank you Green Monkey!

Where?
2d Tooting Bec Road
London SW17 7TS

Mud

IMG_4749

Another spot for the breakfast fans out there, Mud serves up all sorts of egg-based dishes seven days a week. Gluten free eaters can replace regular bread with gluten free bread on most breakfast dishes or can tuck into the buckwheat pancakes which are served wtih caremalised pear puree, pecans, lemon balm and maple creme fraiche. I tend to go big here and order the Eggs Benny with pork belly, and usually finish with at least three coffees just to bring me out of the food coma. Be sure to flag your requirements upon arrival so the team at Mud can take care of you!

Where?
141 Mitcham Road
London SW17 9PE

Nuvola – A Little Bakery

IMG_4753

I’m usually in the market for something sweet after all of the savoury treats that Tooting has to offer, and so tend to head on over to Nuvola – A Little Bakery. This organic bakery is not a gluten free dedicated facility but always has at least two delicious gluten free baked goods on offer. Run by former pastry chef Nuvola Tivoli, this bakery prides itself on handmade cakes made only with the best ingredients, which will make you even prouder to support such a great local business! Closed on Mondays and Wednesdays.

Where?
Unit 25, Tooting Market
Totterdown Street
London SW17 0SN

Rosa’s Thai Cafe

As well as a plethora of independent shops and restaurants, Tooting has a number of reliable chains which offer solid gluten free options. Rosa’s Thai Cafe is one of those, offering a detailed gluten free menu upon request. Take your pick from a number of fragrant curries, stir fries, Asian salads and more and you’re sure to be well looked after.

Where?
70 Tooting High Street
London SW17 0RN

Honest Burgers

IMG_4748

A restaurant these days which needs little introduction, Honest Burgers has long had a home in Tooting. A great and fuss-free option for gluten free diners who want to tuck into a familiar and great-tasting burger, Honest Burgers offers all patties on a gluten free bun as well as coeliac-safe rosemary fries and onion rings. Wash it all down with a gluten free Daura Damm beer and you’ve got a winning combination!

Where?
72 Tooting High Street
London SW17 0RN

The Athenian

IMG_4740

You won’t even miss the pitta bread when you tuck into some naturally gluten free Greek street food at The Athenian. On offer for gluten free folk, the Naked Souvlaki box comes jam packed with fresh Greek salad, herbs, grilled meat and is made even better by a portion of grilled halloumi on the side. Staff members will change their gloves for you if you state your allergies and are intent on giving you a stress free ordering experience. The Athenian is part of a chain with locations now all around London and I couldn’t be happier to have it in Tooting!

Where?
Unit 3, Tooting Market
21-23 Totterdown Street
London SW17 0SN

Cardamom Club

Last but not least: Cardamom Club has been my favourite Indian food delivery restaurant since I moved to Tooting. This independent Tooting Bec takeaway has good allergy awareness and always delivers delicious meals that are piping hot. While I’ve tried a number of dishes from here, my number one has got to be Butter Chicken – a perfect combination of spice and creaminess. The Paneer Tikka is also fantastic, and makes for a great starter and is perfect for sharing!

Where?
18 Trinity Road
London SW17 7RE

Naked Souvlaki Box by The Athenian

Where From? The Athenian
Available at the London and Bristol Locations

Having to skip on the warm and fluffy pitta bread when tucking into Greek food is definitely a sad state of affairs. However, when you find Greek food that is so good there’s no real need for the bread, you’re winning, and that’s exactly what I found at The Athenian! This modern chain brings traditional Greek flavours to the street food scene and is very allergen aware. The Athenian states clearly on its menu that the “Naked Souvlaki” is naturally gluten free, which is a box of fresh Greek Salad with herbs and grilled meat skewers – perfect with an accompanying portion of halloumi cheese. The team will also change their gloves for you when prepping your meal if you request gluten free, to avoid cross contamination, and will withhold the fries, which are not gluten free as they are fried together with other gluten-containing items. Go check this place out – you have four London locations to choose from, including inside my local hotspot Tooting Market. The Athenian also has a Bristol location, so what are you waiting for?

Vegan Donuts by Borough 22

Where From? Borough 22
Available at Selfridges

Never did I think I would see a cereal flavoured donut that I could actually eat… Borough 22 is an entirely gluten free and vegan donut company, run by Ryan, who still bakes all of the goodies himself. The Cereal and Mylk flavour is the newest addition to the Borough 22 kitchen and is now available to purchase at Selfridges Food Hall in London, Birmingham and Manchester. The melt-in-the-mouth donuts are also available at other London outlets including The Broca Cafe, Plant Base Cafe and Unripe Banana.

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)