Fluffy Cloud Bread

Even though there is a wide array of gluten free bread available on the market today, sometimes I still need a break. Growing up, my mom would come up with all sorts of things for breakfast, lunch and dinner that were bread free, just to give us an alternative from time to time. I therefore never got used to bread on the table at every meal and I still see it as quite a luxury!

When I’m in the mood for something a little different, and something lighter than gluten free bread, which can often be quite heavy, I turn to my trusty fluffy cloud bread. This alternative is made from eggs and cream cheese and yet still comes out of the oven resembling bread! It makes a delicious sandwich, or accompaniment to any meal. For years I hand whisked the eggs and I am delighted to say that a brand new electric whisk has just changed my life! Let me know what y’all think!

Fluffy Cloud Bread
(Makes between 12 and 15 portions)

Ingredients

4 x Eggs (separated)
65g Full Fat Cream Cheese (I use Philadelphia)
½ x Teaspoon Gluten Free Baking Powder
½ x Teaspoon Cream of Tartar
½ x Teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper
½ x Teaspoon Sesame Seeds
¼ x Teaspoon Sea Salt

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 150 degrees and line two baking trays with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk egg whites until they form stiff peaks. No liquid from the white should remain in the bowl and all the mixture should be foam that doesn’t slide across the bowl (this may take up to ten minutes).
  3. In a separate bowl, beat the yolks, cream cheese and rest of the ingredients until smooth.
  4. Spoonful by spoonful, fold the yolk mixture into the whites. Word of warning: take your time here. The quicker you go, the more likely the whites will fall flat and turn to liquid again, which is not the appropriate consistency for fluffy cloud bread.
  5. When all the mixture is combined, spoon the mixture on to the baking trays using a tablespoon. Allow at least 6cm between each cloud bread as they do spread in the oven.
  6. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Leave to cool for up to 15 minutes before serving in sandwich form with an array of fillings or on their own as a snack.

Toulouse: The Mini Gluten Free Suitcase Guide

Known for its cassoulet and confit de canard, Toulouse can be a food lover’s paradise. The city pulls in multitudes of tourists each year, especially during the summer months when the masses head to the wine region. It’s a beautiful city to walk around in, with lots of culture and a rich history. But how good is it for gluten free food you ask? Finding gluten-free friendly eateries can still be a challenge and so I’ve pulled together a mini guide to the provincial city, which will be perfect for anyone staying nearby and venturing in for the day or in Toulouse for a city-break over a weekend. Bon Appétit!

Lucas et Marie Sans Genes

A highly popular free from spot, Lucas and Marie Sans Genes is a 100% gluten free bakery, which also specialises in vegan products too. From beautiful pastries to homemade bread, you’ll be spoilt for choice here and will not have to worry about traces. The bakery prides itself on creating food that is free of up to 14 key allergens and is entirely organic. A lovely family run business created by mother Marie and her son Lucas, this place is a must-visit for coeliacs and vegans alike who will go absolutely crazy over the pastry selection – trust me! Closed on Sundays.

Where?
28 Rue des Polinaires
31000 Toulouse

Yard – La Burger Factory

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If you’re craving a proper hamburger while you’re in Toulouse, this is your one-stop shop. This fast food joint is incredibly gluten free friendly, and offers most burgers on a soft and squidgy sesame seed gluten free bun! I was assured that the regular fries and sweet potato fries are also safe, so just be sure to state your dietary requirements at the beginning so the staff make sure to take extra care of you. I opted for a classic cheese burger, which is entirely gluten free when the house Yard sauce is removed and it was absolutely delicious. Yard gets brownie points in my book for also offering a gluten free beer on the menu – the perfect accompaniment to your burger!

Where?
51 Rue du Taur
31000 Toulouse

Invita

Another organic hotspot, Invita is a great destination for lunch, dinner or weekend brunch while you’re in Toulouse. The menu, which is entirely vegetarian, has a great array of options from salads to gluten free pizzas (yes you read correctly!) to galettes. What’s great about Invita is their availability of a weekday meal deal, where you can get two courses for €16 or three for €20. As I hate missing out on dessert, I’d personally recommend you opt for three courses! If you fancy a pizza or vegetarian lasagne course, head to Invita on a Friday or Saturday when they are available. Vegan options are also aplenty!

Where?
18 Rue d’Aubuisson
31000 Toulouse

Pastel & Sarrasin

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Everytime I venture to France I crave crepes and galettes. Luckily for the gluten free community, more and more places are starting to offer a gluten free friendly alternative so that everyone can feel included. Pastel et Sarrasin is a must-visit during your time in Toulouse as they not only use the freshest of ingredients to top and fill their pancakes, but they offer a gluten free batter on the menu too. This expansive restaurant has lots of indoor seating and sets up tables outside on warmer days so you can watch the world going by while you feast. WARNING: As Pastel et Sarrasin deals with non gluten free flour in its kitchen as well, the company warns that traces in the preparation area are a possibility but they take as much care as is possible to avoid that by keeping the gluten free batter away from the rest and cleaning the pans before use.

Where?
75 Rue du Taur
31000 Toulouse

Silex & Fourchette

Are you both gluten and lactose free? Then Silex & Fourchette must be your first stop in the city. This is the first “paleo” restaurant I have seen in continental Europe, so imagine my excitement, especially as paleo food is all naturally gluten free! Silex & Fourchette serves lunch five days a week and has a monthly Sunday brunch for only €18, which includes a lot of food, so check the company website to see if brunch falls on your weekend! The most photographed and ordered item here is undoubtedly the paleo burger, which comes with sweet potato fries and is definitely worth a try! Closed on Saturdays and Sundays.

Where?
138 Grande Rue Saint-Michel
31400 Toulouse

Aux Douces Heures

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While not an obvious gluten free spot, Aux Douces Heures is the perfect place to stop for a coffee and a rest while you are whizzing around Toulouse. The regular menu at this French tea room is not gluten free, but the team at Aux Douces Heures make sure to always have at least two freshly baked gluten free sweet treats to accompany your coffee or tea for a pick-me-up. The cakes are kept separately from the rest of the restaurant’s offerings and are usually displayed in the window next to a welcoming gluten free sign. The chocolate tart makes a regular appearance and is deliciously rich. Closed on Mondays.

Where?
9bis Rue des Lois
31000 Toulouse

Shopping

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Supermarkets in France have come a long way in the past few years, and that includes smaller city branches. The two biggest supermarket chains in Toulouse are Carrefour and Monoprix, both of which have several stores across the city, so you are never too far from gluten free snacks or necessities. I was able to find gluten free bread, pasta and cookies in all shops I went into so check the company website for your nearest store and stock up!

Lasagne d’Almagro

A piece of my heart will forever be in Buenos Aires – a vibrant, hectic and culturally rich city where I spent almost three years during my twenties. Beyond traditional dishes like Argentine steak and empanadas, much of the country’s cuisine was brought and developed by Italian immigrants who arrived there en masse from the 1850s onwards. A favourite dish of mine was always lasagne, prepared in its own Argentine way and featuring the smoky taste of aji molido (smoked red pepper powder) and black olives which add a natural saltiness and depth to the dish.

After becoming gluten free, I quickly released that coming across a lasagne that was safe for me to eat – in my Buenos Aires neighbourhood of Almagro and beyond – was a rare luxury, not only due to the pasta but also the stock used in the sauce. So, in honour of Coeliac Awareness Week, I have recreated this dish to make it safe for coeliacs to enjoy with friends and family. Thanks to Knorr, who create the best tasting and fuss-free stock I have ever had, this dish is bursting with flavour and completely gluten free. Knorr has been a household name ever since I remember, and I am pleased to shout about its efforts for the gluten free community. Be sure to enjoy this dish with some homemade garlic bread and a glass of strong bodied Malbec for the true Argentine experience.

Lasagne d’Almagro
(Serves 6)

Ingredients

For the Lasagne Filling:
1 x White Onion (Finely Chopped)
4 x Garlic Cloves
2 x Celery Sticks (Finely Chopped)
1 x Large Carrot (Finely Chopped)
800g Chopped Tomatoes in Juice
500g Lean Minced Beef
400g Gluten Free Sausage Meat or Sausages (Casing Removed)
160g Drained Black Olives
1 x Tablespoon Knorr Rich Beef Concentrated Stock
2 x Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 x Cup Red Wine
½ x Cup Boiling Water
2 x Bay Leaves
½ Teaspoon Dried Basil
½ x Tablespoon Gluten Free Worcestershire Sauce
1 x Teaspoon Aji Molido
250g Gluten Free Lasagne Sheets
300g Fresh Mozzarella (Diced)
100g Parmesan (Grated)

For the Béchamel Sauce:
1 x Tablespoon Butter
1 x White Onion
3 x Cups Milk
3 x Tablespoons Gluten Free Flour
1 x Cup White Wine
½ x Knorr Vegetable Stock Cube
½ x Teaspoon Nutmeg
Pepper

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a shallow pan over moderate heat. Add the beef and sausage meat to the pan and cook until brown (around 8 minutes), stirring occasionally and at the same time breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon.
  2. Meanwhile, take a separate, good sized cooking pot and warm the rest of the oil over moderate heat before adding the chopped onion, celery, carrot and whole peeled garlic cloves. Stir until all vegetables are soft, taking care to not burn the onion.
  3. Turn attention back to the meat once cooked through and drain fat. Then add beef to the vegetables, stirring through to make sure all vegetables are evenly dispersed throughout the mixture.
  4. Add the chopped tomatoes, olives, wine and boiling water to the pot. Stir well.
  5. Now add the Knorr Rich Beef Concentrated Stock, along with the gluten free Worcestershire sauce, bay leaves, dried basil and aji molido before stirring again and leaving to simmer for 30 minutes with a splatter guard covering the top of the pot. This will help the mixture cook down and also protect your surfaces!
  6. While your lasagne mixture is cooking, start preparing the béchamel by sautéing the finely chopped onion in butter over moderate heat in a medium saucepan.
  7. When onion is soft, add milk and let the milk almost come to boil (but not quite!) before removing from heat and whisking in the flour. Whisk vigorously for 2-3 minutes. Add the wine, nutmeg and crumbled Knorr vegetable stock cube and using a hand blender, blend the mixture until smooth.
  8. Return béchamel to heat and simmer for 20 minutes until the sauce has thickened. The sauce will still be fairly thin and pale in colour. If you prefer a thicker sauce, add 1 teaspoon of flour and whisk again. However, the consistency should not put you off – it blends beautifully with the lasagne filling during the baking process.
  9. Preheat oven to 200 degrees and start arming your lasagne.
  10. Take a medium sized lasagne dish and create layers: after removing bay leaves, ladle in one spoon of the meat mixture and smooth out to cover bottom of dish, then lay down lasagne sheets (I tend to use three sheets per layer).
  11. On top of the lasagne sheets, drizzle one ladle of béchamel sauce and smooth out to just about cover the sheets before adding an even sprinkling of fresh mozzarella and torn basil leaves on top. Repeat, leaving enough béchamel to cover the entire top layer which will then be dusted in grated parmesan cheese.
  12. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until evenly golden brown.
  13. Leave to rest for 10-15 minutes before serving and garnish with more fresh basil and mixed leaves.