Gluten Free in Edinburgh – Tupiniquim’s crepes!

Since I moved to Edinburgh this summer, every time I’ve passed the ‘Brazil Crepe’s’ stall (it’s actually an old police box) just going into the Meadows, I’ve thought I needed to go there. I just never got around to it until last week. On the awning above the ‘box’, it says ‘gluten free’, so this was a pretty obvious choice for me!

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I wish, wish, wish I had known about this place on the few occasions I was around during the Edinburgh Festival, with the weather being so fantastic this summer and all the things that are happening around the streets at the time, I bet the atmosphere would have been cool! If you go onto their website and go to the pictures section, there are a few which make it look like they had their own little festival going on!

So I went to this place last week – and after getting home and looking it up online by just typing in ‘Brazil Crepes Edinburgh’ to Google (cause that’s what their sign says), I found out it’s actually called Tupiniquim. (Which actually is a name for some indigenous people of Brazil, don’t you know).

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I got chatting to the owner and asked him about why he decided to make ALL of the crepes they make, gluten free. He explained that his son had a lactose intolerance, which led to a gluten intolerance, and in light of this, he began cooking gluten free. When he opened the crepe stall, he said having a batch of each gluten free and regular batter could cause cross-contamination, so decided to go totally gluten free. To which I am very glad, as I’m sure lots of other people are!

I ordered a chicken curry piri-piri crepe, and I was asked whether I needed it dairy free too – I found out they can also make them with soya milk or almond milk batter – they’ve thought of everything! So I got my crepe – chicken in a spicy sauce with tomatoes and peppers, spinach, cheese, and jalapeños – it was supposed to have avocados in it, but I’m not a fan of those.

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It was super good. I wouldn’t normally have a savoury pancake – I’m 100% a lemon and sugar girl, but this was good. The crepe was as good (better) than I usually make at home, and the filling was really tasty. It cost about £4.50 – very reasonable when you consider what a hot sandwich could cost, especially when there was pretty much a large meal inside it!

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I went back again this week and got myself a lemon and sugar one. I took my friend with me (who doesn’t follow a gluten free diet), and she agreed the crepes were great! It makes me happy when a friend can eat something which is gluten free, and genuinely say it’s fantastic and they’d go again, even though they could easily go out and get/make themselves a glutened-up version.

Here’s a link to their website. 

Gluten free potato cakes

I was inspired to try making some potato cake type snacks after trying ‘Glamorgan Sausages’ from a company called Goodlife. I hadn’t heard of this company before, but discovered a few of their products in the frozen aisle. I had been craving some kind of veggie burger/bean burger thing for a while – the café I used to work in B.A. (before allergy) used to have these amazing spicy coated bean burgers and I miss them – so I was looking at the veggie burgers when I came across Goodlife. The packaging of the Glamorgan sausages doesn’t jump out at you as being gluten free, but once I had scanned over the cardboard box I found the small gluten free symbol, and of course checked the ingredients just to be sure!

I cooked the so-called veggie sausages and I have to say they tasted great, but I would one hundred per cent have called them potato and vegetable croquettes if it were me who had been in charge of naming! So after eating these I decided to try making my own potato cake-y-ish-type of something.

If you have left-over boiled potatoes from last night’s supper, this is a super tasty snack or meal accompaniment to use them up!

For this I used:

About 5 medium sized new potatoes
1 carrot
1 large onion
A handful of peas
1 tbsp gluten free flour
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsb chilli powder
Salt & pepper

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I boiled the potatoes, waited until they were cool, then mashed them up in a large bowl. After this I grated in the carrot – I chopped off the ends but didn’t peel it. I finely chopped the onion and added that to the bowl, along with the peas. With my hands I mixed up the mixture a little, then added in the flour, spices, salt and pepper. After all the ingredients are well and truly mushed up together, heat oil in a frying pan. On a clean surface or chopping board, sprinkle a good covering of flour, and then grab small handfuls of the mixture and press into the flour, making them into small pancakes about 1cm thick. Fry them in batches and turn them until they have turned golden brown. Enjoy!

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I wouldn’t say my version tasted very much like the ones I got from Goodlife – they were quite different – but I would definitely recommend trying some of their products if you come across them – they are all vegetarian and they do a selection of gluten, dairy and egg free food. I will definitely be looking out for more of their products!

Here is a link to their website. 

Gluten free in Edinburgh – Falko: Konditormeiser

Wow, I haven’t written on here in a long time! I’ve had a busy summer so I have a huge back-log of gluten free adventures to write about. I have millions (not literally) of food photos saved from different outings, now I just need to get organised and write all about them!

So I have moved from Glasgow now (boooo) and into Edinburgh, I finished my two years at college and have now progressed into 3rd year at Edinburgh Napier University. Being in a new city means finding new fantastic places to eat fantastic food!

The first place I’ve been to for some gluten free treats is a German bakery called Falko: Konditormeiser in Brunstfield. My mum came down to Edinburgh and I am staying in the Bruntsfield area, so we decided to have a wander around and see where we could go for lunch. Bruntsfield is full of lovely little cafe’s and shops, but this German bakery caught our eye.

Once inside the cafe, there is a wonderful display of freshly baked varieties of bread and amazing looking cakes, each of which had a small label highlighting which common allergens each contained – eggs, dairy, nuts, wheat and gluten. I ordered the sweet potato and chilli soup which was lovely – super spicy, but lovely. Even though I had made sure it was gluten free before ordering and asked if they had any gluten free bread to go with it (which they didn’t), the soup was served to me with two slices of ‘regular’ bread. I guess they were just serving me what they would regularly serve and didn’t want me to be missing out, but for the fact that I’d stated that I couldn’t have gluten I thought it was a bit silly.

The soup was reaaally filling so I probably shouldn’t have had anything else, but I couldn’t resist having a slice of the gluten free rich looking chocolate cake. It was made with ground almonds instead of flour and was pretty heavy – not in a bad way though – it was just quite different, I had never really experienced German baking before! The cake was lovely and I will definitely be trying more of their gluten free baking! My mum had an amazing looking cake as you can see in the picture, but sadly I couldn’t try it as it wasn’t gluten free!

Here is a link to their website.

Gluten free in Glasgow – Firebird

My boyfriend says I should re-name my blog to‘gluten free pizza diaries’, because it seems that every time I’m writing about food I’ve had in Glasgow, it’s pizza. What can I say? I love pizza.

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Last weekend we went out for supper at Firebird restaurant on Argyle Street before going to see World War Z in the cinema. I knew they did gluten free pasta and pizza and had wanted to go there for ages, and seeing as I am leaving Glasgow and moving to Edinburgh in a couple of weeks’ time, I thought it was about time I actually went to eat there before it was too late! What can I say? WHY hadn’t I been there before!?

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We had booked in advance as it was a Friday, and good job we did – it was pretty busy and there were people waiting for a table sitting in the little outside seating bit (for once it has been reasonable weather in Scotland so I guess people were also making the most of that.) I ordered a gluten free – or as it’s called on the menu ‘W.O.W – without wheat – margherita pizza. It was fantastic. One of the best, if not THE best gluten free pizza I’ve had. The base was really thin, but not horribly crispily cardboardy and burnt like they can be. It was the most Italian gluten free pizza I’d say I’ve had as it was thinner and less doughy than others. It was as if all the other gluten free pizzas I’d had were good because they were a substitute to something I could no longer eat, but I feel Firebird really have made an effort to make their pizzas awesome, and not just ‘it’s good for being gluten free’.

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It wasn’t expensive either – £9.00 for my pizza. I would highly recommend anyone who wants gluten free pizza (and probably ‘regular’ pizza also as my boyfriend said his was great too) to go to Firebird. Next time I go I’ll have to try a pasta dish just for the sake of going somewhere and NOT ordering pizza! Oh, and the movie was pretty good too. 

Here is a link to their website.

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Gluten free in the Higlands of Scotland – Archiestown Hotel

Recently, my family from America came over to Scotland for a visit. They are very into their whisky, so for a lot of their trip they were staying in Speyside which is famous for their whisky, and it is also where I am from. We went for a couple of really nice meals with them – one at The Mash Tun in Aberlour, and one at the Archiestown Hotel which is in a village called Archiestown – they are both about an hours drive away from Inverness and about 45 minutes from Aviemore. 

The meal we had at the Archiestown Hotel was at lunch time – the meal I ended up having would have definitely done me for supper, but I managed to finish it anyway! I panicked a bit when I saw the menu, as there were only about five starter options and four main meals – most of which were bread or pasta based. I asked the proprietor about a dish on the menu which – if I’m honest – was the only one of the main meals I thought I would enjoy anyway – it was venison and beef meatballs with mashed potato, red onion gravy, served with parsnip chips. She said that the chef would be able to adapt it to make it gluten free as the gravy would normally be unsuitable but it wouldn’t be a problem to do this. I was so relieved, as there had been one or two things I could have had on the starter menu, but these were either salmon or mushroom centered and I hate both, so I would have hated to look so fussy and have to say there was nothing I could either have or wanted!

When my meal came, it looked really nice, however there was no sign of these parsnip chips that had been mentioned on the menu – that’s actually the bit I was most excited about – and I thought they may have left them off my plate if they weren’t gluten free, however my uncle who had ordered the same dish didn’t get any either. I guess they had just ran out and not thought to tell us when we ordered which was a shame. However, everything that was on my plate was lovely. Usually I find venison a bit strong, but the meatballs were great and the gravy tasted fantastic. The vegetables it came with were basic (only broccoli) but for lunch time, I couldn’t have eaten any more anyway!

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If any gluten-free’s are up this way, and wanting somewhere very nice for a meal, I would recommend this place, as although there wasn’t much initially on the menu for non-gluten eaters, it appeared that they were totally accommodating and that the chef could whip something up with short notice. 

Here’s a link to their website.

Gluten free in Cyprus – Paphos

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I was in Cyprus with my mum and sister last week for a weeks holiday – it was lovely but as always when travelling, the question of ‘what will I eat?’ was at the front of my mind.

The holiday was great in general, we were staying in Pissouri, about a half hour drive from the popular destination of Paphos and we rented a car so getting around the island was easy. We took day trips and went up the Troodos mountains which were lovely – I thought it was like being in Scotland but with the temperature about 100 times hotter!

Before going, I had looked up gluten free restaurants, and the only one which I found mentioned numerous times was one called Pinguino which is on the harbour front. When we went to Paphos we looked for this restaurant specifically so that I could see the gluten free menu I had read about – however we couldn’t find it at all, even after asking a local! It turns out, not finding this restaurant could have been one of the best things to have happened on the holiday as we ended up taking a bus up to the old market part of Paphos and stumbling across a traditional, genuinely authentic restaurant.

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‘Laona’ was up a small slope in a cobbled street, with no overly-flashy signs and nothing which shouted ‘tourists should come here’. We sat down, and instead of being shown a menu, we were pointed towards a large chalk board with about 12 options on it, which our server preceded to read out to us, detailing every dish on it. I had downloaded one of the gluten free travel card apps, so I showed the waiter this, and he then listed everything I could have any the few dishes I couldn’t – he clearly knew the food very well which was so comforting. As it was only lunch time, we decided to opt for two main meals to share between the three of us; stuffed vegetables and chicken stew. We were brought bread (at which the waiter apologized to me as I couldn’t eat which showed they cared) and a bowl of salad. When the meals came, they looked fantastic – real food and definitely authentic. The stuffed vegetables were lovely and very fresh tasting, the meat in them was pork and the whole taste of the dish was great. The chicken stew was lovely with the chicken very tender – it was served with both rice and potatoes so we didn’t have to worry about going hungry!

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After we had finished the meal, my sister and mum were brought a complimentary slice of cake which they said was delicious, and I was given a plate of watermelon. I really feel they cared for their customers and genuinely wanted us to enjoy our food as opposed to just being all about the sales. All the food came to 18 euros – which for three people is pretty great!

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If anyone is visiting Paphos or this area, I would definitely recommend Laona, whether you are after gluten free food or not. They served real, fresh food, and really cared.

Gluten free – Pizza Express

I feel like I haven’t written anything on here for years. I’ve been really busy getting everything finished up in the last few weeks of my second and final year at college, along with having got myself a position interning with a company in Glasgow, as well as going to Cyprus for a weeks holiday.

So I’ll catch up on what I’ve been doing in terms of gluten free-ing. 

As everyone will know by now, Pizza Express launched a gluten free range at the end of April. I don’t remember ever having been to Pizza Express before I became allergic to wheat, but I know all my friends say that the pizza is great there – so I was pleased to be able to finally see what it was all about! We went to the nearest restaurant to us which is on Sauchiehall Street in Glasgow – it’s a nice restaurant inside and out.

My friend won a “taste card” a while ago which in Pizza Express entitles the holder to buy one get one free on each course, so my boyfriend and I borrowed the card (I am not sure sharing the card amongst your friends is entirely allowed but what the heck) and decided to go for a pizza. I would buy myself a taste card, but at nearly £80 a year, I don’t think I’d be able to afford to actually go for the meals after buying one!

For my main course I had the Pollo ad Astra pizza which is chicken, peppadew sweet peppers, cajun spices, garlic oil and red onions. It was pretty different to other gluten free pizzas I’ve had from restaurants or take-away’s – it was less doughy and more of an authentic Italian thin base. I can’t say I was blown away by the pizza, but in all fairness it was definitely the best gluten free pizza I’ve had (I’m not really classing it in the same category as Domino’s because that’s more of a pizza-pie type base). 

Pizza Express Gluten Free Pizza

As it was a buy one get one free deal, we felt as though it would be silly not to order pudding so I ordered the gluten free chocolate brownie from the Dolcetti menu – mini puddings that come with a hot drink. The brownie itself was nice, however it didn’t come served with a strawberry as it was shown on the menu. 

When we went to pay, the bill came and the main courses were marked as buy one get one free, however both of the deserts were being charged for. When I asked the waitress about this she told me that the Dolcetti desserts aren’t included in the taste card two for one offer so I pointed out that the chocolate brownie was the only gluten free desert on the menu. The waitress told me the sorbet was also gluten free (which I had suspected would be – apart from the fact it was served with a wafer) but as it hadn’t appeared on the menu as being gluten free she agreed that we wouldn’t have to pay for the second dessert.

All in all, our bill came to just over £20 for two drinks, two pizzas and two desserts which I can’t complain about! I don’t think I would choose to go to Pizza Express again without a taste card or a similar offer as I think it could become quite expensive, but I did enjoy my pizza!

Gluten free quiche!

I know you can buy gluten free ready-made pastry now in supermarkets but I prefer to make my own. As far as I know it’s only frozen gluten free pastry they sell in the shops which is a bit of a pain because you’d have to plan beforehand as you’d need to thaw the pastry, and also, I’ve found the shop bought ones I’ve tried to be really dry and crumbly, and really hard to roll out of the thick blocks they come in. Obviously with any quiche you can totally change the fillings to suit anything you want to put in – I always have cheese and onion in mine, with the addition of different things like bacon, tomatoes, broccoli, asparagus, spinach or peppers.

Gluten free quiche

For the pastry:

Ingredients:

7oz gluten free plain flour

4oz butter

1 egg yolk

Water

Pinch of salt

Method:

First, turn the oven on to 160° and grease a loose-bottomed cake tin around 9 inches across and a minimum of about 2 ½ inches deep. Weigh and sieve the flour into a large bowl add the salt, then weigh the butter and add to the bowl in small 1cm cubed chunks. Rub in the flour and butter until it reaches a breadcrumb-like consistency, then mix in the egg yolk – save the egg white as this can be used in the quiche filling. Then, gradually and very carefully add water until the pastry can be formed into a ball of dough. To make rolling the pastry out easier, I lay a sheet of clingfilm on the table, put the ball of pastry dough onto the clingfilm, then lay another sheet on top – this makes the process easier. Roll the pastry out to a thickness of about 3mm and when it is evenly rolled, peel the top sheet of cling off. Place the cake tin upside-down on the pastry, slide your hand under the clingfilm sheet, and flip so that the pastry is now lying on top of the dish. Gently push the pastry in and peel off the clingfilm – there will be breaks in the pastry but patch these up with the spare pastry. Once the tin is lined with the pastry, put it in the oven for 5 minutes.

For the filling:

Ingredients:

4 eggs (plus the white leftover from the pastry)

¼ pint of milk

¼ pint of cream

1 large onion

6 rashers of bacon

150-200g cheddar cheese

A handful of spinach

12 baby tomatoes

Salt and pepper

Gluten free quiche

When the pastry is put in the oven for 5 minutes, cut the onion and fry on a very low heat until they soften and at the same time, grill the bacon. In a jug, whisk the eggs, add in the milk and cream and add the salt and pepper until the mixture is creamy. Grate the cheese and pour it into the jug with the eggs mixture. When the pastry has had 5 minutes in the oven, take it out, and when the onions are soft and going se-through, take them off the heat and pour them in the bottom of the tin. Cut up the grilled bacon into small bits then add to the quiche, along with the tomatoes, chopped into ¼ s. Add the spinach, then finally pour over the eggs and cheese mixture and place back in the oven. It will take around 35 minutes and when it comes out, it should be golden brown on top but still slightly wobbly. Yuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuummm. 

Gluten free quiche

What’s all the fuss about quinoa?

Gluten free quinoa

I had tasted quinoa about a year ago in a salad – I liked it because of its nutty taste but I can’t say I was overwhelmed by it. I know it’s become quite a faddy thing recently with the rise of super foods and even gluten free diets becoming popular as a weight loss and healthy lifestyle method as opposed to just being for people who have severe dietary conditions. I don’t usually go in for these fad type things but I do like to try new things, especially if I think they can improve a gluten free diet. I’m not dismissing that quinoa is tasty and some people have genuinely taken on eating it for good now, I just think it has sprung up a little too quickly so I was a bit sceptical of it before I tried it again.

My mum had seen quinoa flour on the internet and she is always trying to buy new flours and gluten free products to help make my eating easier and more enjoyable. She bought a bag (a REALLY big bag) ready for me to try cooking with when I next visited home. All the recipes I had seen were more specialist things as I understood quinoa adds a distinct texture and flavour, so to use it as an addition as opposed to substitute flour. I decided to make quinoa pancakes as I had definitely seen recipes for these and it was a quick and easy thing to try out the flour with and it would give me an idea of the taste and texture of it for if I wanted to cook more with it. I measured ¼ pint of milk and the same volume of the quinoa flour with one egg and whisked. I cooked one just as you would with any other pancake in a frying pan – so far, everything seemed normal. When I tasted the pancake, I didn’t initially like it, however it had a nice, different after taste – as I said it was quite nutty. I decided that quinoa pancakes alone weren’t too great so experimented with the mixture, adding apricots to some, and raisins and almonds to the rest. These were better as they added much more to the pancakes and cut up the texture which was pretty dry. I had maple syrup with the almond and raisin ones which was lovely, however you wouldn’t want to eat too many of these pancakes as the dry texture could stick in your mouth. My mum suggested making savoury pancakes with quinoa flour such as corn fritters which I agreed would have been really nice, especially with bacon. I’m not sure that I’ll be having quinoa pancakes again, but I will definitely experiment with baking different things with the flour.

Quinoa

Gluten Free Lemon Drizzle Cake

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It was my Grandma’s 88th birthday yesterday so obviously, it was cake making time! I couldn’t decide between an amazing flourless rich chocolate cake I make, a cream and fruit cake, or lemon drizzle. In the end I decided I better go with which one I thought she’d appreciate most (although if I’d been making it for myself it would 100% have been the chocolate one) so I went with a gluten free lemon drizzle cake. The strong citrus taste gives it loads of flavour and the ‘drizzle’ part of it keeps it moist. Because the drizzle and icing are made from pure lemon juice, it tastes amazingly fresh and zingy unlike some synthetic overly-sweet lemon cakes you can buy in shops.

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For my Grandma’s birthday day out, we took her to the amazing cake shop in outside of Kingussie I mentioned before, The Potting Shed, so after we’d had cake there, my lemon cake seemed a bit redundant! But it was enjoyed anyway (I hope!)

The recipe I use for the main cake mixture is one I took from a basic fruit cake recipe I used to use when I worked in a coffee shop. It works really well for fruit cakes and more dense cakes you’d bake in a loaf tin and is less runny than a regular sponge cake mixture. I’ve changed it around a bit to suit being gluten free but I find it gives a great result as with the lemon drizzle cake, the lemon adds extra moisture, and if you were to use it as a fruit cake mixture the fruits in it provide the moisture.

Ingredients:

(For the cake mixture) –

1 un-waxed lemon

7oz self-raising gluten free flour

4oz margarine

4oz caster sugar

2 large eggs

(For the top)

1 un-waxed lemon

Roughly 1oz caster sugar

Roughly 3oz icing sugar

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Method:

Firstly, turn the oven on to 160°C, and line a loaf tin about 8X3 inches and 4 inches deep. Cream together the sugar and margarine with an electric whisk and then add in the flour. Add the rind of both of the lemons (the one for the top just needs the juice) to the mixture, then juice the lemon. Beat the eggs separately and add the lemon juice – add this to the main mixture and whisk until there are no lumps. Transfer the mixture to the loaf tin and bake for around 40 minutes. When the cake comes out it should be firm.

To make the ‘drizzle’ part of the cake, cut the remaining lemon in half and juice one half. Pour the juice into a small bowl and add some caster sugar. 1oz is a guide – probably about a tablespoon will do because you don’t want this mixture too thick. With a skewer or another long pointy utensil, stab holes in the top of the cake – probably about 8 – 10 evenly along it, however if the cake looks like it starts to crumble when the holes are poked in it, don’t add too many close together. Pour the lemon sugar mixture over the top of the cake, being careful to fill the small holes that have been made. The more holes that are made, the more moist the cake will be, but don’t push it because when you go to cut it into slices, it’ll just fall apart.

For the icing, juice the other half of the lemon and use the same bowl as the first lemon sugar mix. Gradually add the icing sugar until you have a white paste – if it doesn’t look like there will be enough lemon juice to make enough icing to spread on the whole cake, add a tiny bit of water although it is a shame to do this because it dilutes the taste. Remove the cake from the baking paper and place it on the plate it will be served on. Then generously smear the icing over the top – it will fall down the sides but I think this adds to it.

Enjoy!

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