South Africa a Gluten-Free Guide

Leopard eyes the horizon for something gluten-free...

Before leaving for South Africa for World Cup, I was a bit concerned about what foods I’d have to eat. Turns out South Africa is the most gluten-free friendly place I’d ever been. From the airports to the supermarkets, there were gluten-free options everywhere.

At Cape Town International airport, the international terminal cafe had options of pasta and pizza made gluten-free. Not only was that option amazing but I was more amazed that the cafe took the time to train their staff to properly cook the pasta. I had a gluten-free linguini and there was no gummy texture, tasted just like regular pasta.

All across South Africa there are convenience and supermarkets called Spar (http://www.spar.co.za) . They’re everywhere, from small towns to airports to the big city, you couldn’t get away from it. They have dedicated aisles for organic and gluten-free items, snacks to full meals, everything to satisfy the most discerning palate.

Seafood Platter at Meat and Seafood Mongers, Guateng

Nelspruit we found a little pizza place in the Riverside Mall, called Panarotti’s Pizza (http://www.panarottis.co.za), that made a gluten-free handmade pizza crusts too. The malls have a variety of food from spiced chicken, Indian and Asian fare so it’s not hard to find good options that are gluten-free.

Springbok Carpaccio

All over the country I found cheap and delicious seafood. In a small area just outside of Johannesburg, Guateng, I stayed at a little B&B called Outlook Lodge. Just around the corner from it I found this wonderfully priced place called Meat and Seafood Mongers in Benoni, Guateng area. Check out the picture of the Queen Platter I got and it was only about $10 US dollars. Impressive to say the least. I ate, loved it, and had leftovers to fill me up later.

Heading south to Cape Town by the V&A Waterfront there are a host of seafood and local fare fine dining. We stopped at Karibu (http://www.kariburestaurant.co.za) and enjoyed this Springbok carpaccio special. The meat was very tender and not very gamey at all. Local foods like Bredie often consist of rice, meat and vegetables, so for the g-free foodie, you’ll do just fine. I ordered a Waterblommetjie Bredie (try saying that 3 times) which was lamb and a sea flower. Tasted soo healthy and hearty I loved it, the photo doesn’t do it justice.

There’s so much more I brought back from SA, but I’ll save it for another blog. Stay tuned. Congrats to Espana, they were my favorite to win!

Danielle Honey Banana Chips, Good on the Hips

Danielle Honey Banana Chips are lightly crisp, slightly sweet and hugely delicious.

I love chips, they’re crunchy, salty and there’s just something about eating something fried in between lunch and dinner. On one of my afternoon chip cravings I ventured out to try something a little healthier and even tastier. Danielle Honey Banana Chips screamed out with its’ cute packaging, wholesome 2 ingredients of Fresh Bananas and Palm Oil, and well of course, being gluten-free! Not sure where the honey comes into play, it tastes like its’ in there but it’s not on the ingredient list.

The package looked fairly large, but inside only had what seemed like just one bananas worth of chips. The texture was quite peculiar, peculiar in a good way though. It wasn’t like a standard banana chip that is dense and hard, but rather it was almost puffed like a Cheetoh is. After checking out their website, I found out that there was some special way of cooking them with “…selected fruit pieces are put in a vacuum chamber, and a fine mist of heated non-hydrogenated palm oil is sprayed on the fresh fruit pieces under very low pressure and high temperature. This process retains pureness and flavor of the fruits and absorbs less oil than conventional frying methods.”

Each 28g serving has – 130 calories, 4g fat (1 sat fat), 22g Carbs (7% daily value, with 2 g dietary fiber and 13g sugar), 15% Vitamin C and 2% Iron.

Danielle Chips are part of the New England Herbal Foods company, which has prided itself on being a premium snack brand with a bit of a small farm charm. The prices are a premium but you cannot deny the quality in these chips. There’s about 11 varieties of chips from this company to try including jackfruit, okra and spicy carrot, but it’ll cost the months rent. Chip away.

Bulk Up at Whole Foods with Bulk Foods

Bulk up with bulk items at Whole Foods. Cornmeal and almonds.

In the corner of Whole Foods, I’ve figured out that everything in the Bulk Food section is the best place to spend your time in the market. I’ve gone about a month looking for roasted almonds that aren’t 1lb and meant to feed an octuplet family. I just want a little snack. Why can’t I get that? I can, I just haven’t been looking in the right place. It feels like I just found the awesome shirt on sale at Bloomingdale’s for the price of something at Forever21! Going to “Whole Paycheck” doesn’t have to be so bad.

All I had to do was go to the corner of Whole Foods that no one is ever in. Seriously it’s usually empty except for a few granola mom types or the 20 something girl who just stepped off the treadmill. I wasn’t watching the clock but I think I spend about 20 minutes looking at all the items there and ended up with cornmeal for polenta, slivered almonds and my roasted almonds. All of them are high quality and a total steal. Tons of gluten-free stuff there, and they’re labeled with a little “G” to help you narrow down what you can have.

Next time I go, I’m going for some more snacks and dried fruits. The only thing I need to figure out is how I can bring my own jars to fill and avoid using a big new plastic bag.

**For those of you wondering…NO, I do not work for Whole Foods. I just love the products they carry and what more people to love them too so that they keep getting good products.

Onion Dip for the Olympics
February 17th, 2010

Onion Dip for the Olympics

Onion dip with anything crunchy.

With the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada and the Superbowl that just passed, I thought a good quick party side would be good to post. Here’s an easy one even your man can make and feel proud of. It’s a simple Onion dip made with gluten-free Onion soup mix and a tub of light sour cream. Here’s how to do it.

Tear open onion soup mix Open Sour Cream Tub Pour in and mix

Serve with some celery, carrots, potato chips or even dab your little gluten-free hot wings in it. Were you expecting more? This should really be one of those GQ recipes to impress a party or possibly one of those no brainers that Rachel Ray “mmmm’s” about then makes everyone in the room feel uncomfortable.

Crunchy and Tasty Seaweed Snack
January 21st, 2010

Crunchy and Tasty Seaweed Snack

Seaweed Snack

There’s a good new little snack at my favorite Trader Joe’s, Roasted Seaweed Snack! Slightly toasty, crunchy, salty and earthy. I grew up with this stuff and am so glad to see this one that’s gluten-free. They often use a soy sauce to make these, but these are just fine. Eat plain or even with a little rice or with a Redbridge beer. Mmmmm. At only $0.99, anyone can handle this.

Leftover Soup For The Soul: Gluten Tales

Homemade turkey soup is mmm gluten-free good.

Here’s an idea for that leftover turkey leg or bones after the holiday. Throw it in some water with celery, onion, carrots and even a piece of ham if you have it and boil for a couple hours. I turned the last bones into homemade turkey chicken soup, added some pasta more meat and voila a warm soup for my soul. I never read one of those strange books, they seem strange and they have a book for seriously every relation you could have….well except for the eczema and gluten-free soul. It would lament about breads and pastas and no one would buy it. On that note, Happy Holidays.

Bagel Burger and Home cut Fries
December 4th, 2009

Bagel Burger and Home cut Fries

This past week I made an organic beef burger with onions, cheese and a gluten-free bagel. It was really juicy, since I grilled it and put in an extra tablespoon of water into the pound of meat. That’s the secret, well not so secret now, trick to keeping a burger juicy. I also made my own home cut fries with onion, salt and olive oil baked into them. Easy and good meal.

Cafe Mariposa Bakeshop Sweet Sweet Gluten-Free

Chocalate chip and nutmeal cookies from Cafe Mariposa. I want more!

In a rare find I was taken to Cafe Mariposa, a gluten-free bakeshop in Oakland, California. What, a bakery with gluten-free breads, desserts, bagels, cookies and pizza??! How is this so? This bakeshop was in a brick flanked building in a quiet neighborhood. What seemed quiet on the outside with an excess of hybrid and bio diesel vehicles, became a busy and bustling little bakeshop cafe on the inside.

I felt like I found a lost treasure. I was so excited I bought cookies, a slice of pizza, frozen bagels and frozen pizza crust. I went a little crazy. The cookies purchased were the chocolate chip and nutmeal cookies. In comparison to regular flour cookies, I really couldn’t tell the difference. Good chewy soft texture with nice sweetness are still in my mind. Ahhhh. The pizza was good too, the crust was a rice flour and didn’t crisp the way a regular pizza does but the cheese and toppings were flavorful and satisfying. Remember the lumpy one from Pizza Amore and Conte’s slightly better version. This one was cooked fresh at noon and the cheese was real cheese.

I still have the bagels and the pizza crust to try at home. If you’re in the neighborhood whether you’re gluten-free or not stop by and pick up a dessert. I have heard rave reviews of their flourless cake from non-gluten free (wheat loving) people.

5427 Telegraph Ave
Ste D3
(at 55th St)
Oakland, CA 94609
(510) 595-0955

www.mariposabaking.com
Battle Popchip vs. TJ’s Popped Chip, Pressure Is On

It’s battle time again. This a much better match and the competitors are both in the gluten-free game and taking the chip and snack industry by storm. Pop Chip vs. Popped Potato Chip. Both items are made without any frying or baking but rather through pressure cooking, or Popping. The Popping process requires less oils and no saturated fats which makes it a much healthier option than things like Sun Chips or Baked Lays. Here are their profiles below:


Pophips – Barbecue Trader Joe’s Popped Potato Chip Barbecue Gluten-free Yes, no gluten products are used but they warn it is made near wheat products, so they don’t actually 100% confirm it. Yes. Stated on label. Calories 120 120 Ingredients potato starch, potato flour, safflower oil, etc potato starch, potato flour, safflower oil, etc Flavor Salty and strong scent Salty and less aftertaste Crunch Good Pop Good Crunch Price $1.99 / 3 ounce bag $1.99 / 3.25 oz

This is a really close match and both and really great products and equally addictive to eat. After a careful study of tasting and constant eating of these little snacks I have a decision. The winner is Trader Joe’s Popped Potato Chip! The winner came down to the aftertaste and slight price in the end, as the health and ingredients are similar. The aftertaste is slightly less fake tasting. I think it is the tanginess of the barbecue a just slightly more mild and easier to eat.  I wish I took pictures of the little chips themselves, but I ate them too fast. Oops. Until the next Battle!

Banana, As a Starch or Sugar?
November 15th, 2009

Banana, As a Starch or Sugar?

Cool sticker on the nanner.


Fried up bananas make a great gluten-free side.

Here’s a good side dish to cook that people never seem to think of when they’re cooking at home, Bananas. I needed something more on the plate and thought maybe sauteed bananas like the Brazilian style would be good.
I’ve been missing Cafe Brazil in Los Angeles lately. I had a regular banana on the counter, sliced it up, threw it on a fry pan with oil and let the heat do its’ work. I added a sprinkle of organic sugar to help sweeten it too.

When I finally ate it, the taste was more starchy than sweet. After a little research, seems that unripened bananas, like many other fruits, are high in starch until ripening. Upon ripening the starches turn into a sugar, so depending on how you want to use the bananas determines what type of banana you should be using. So if I want to make a dessert like bananas foster, I would choose an ultra ripe banana with the highest sugar content. For a side dish like I had, a more yellowy green one will do. Good and tasty….and of course gluten-free.

This video makes me happy and I love how the people on the field just stand there confused.