Namaste Bitchin kitchen @ Retreat My Soul

Now that I’m officially cheffing at Retreat My Soul’s yoga retreats which are AWESOME.  I’m putting all my gluten free, veggie and vegan recipe inventions up on the Retreat’s food blog here:  http://www.retreatmysoul.com/blog/

CANADA BABY YOU BEAUTIFUL, WILD GLUTEN FREE FEEDER! (Vancouver and British Columbia)

I went to see my best friend who has abandoned me for the West Coast of Canada. Having paid her a visit in August I can’t really blame her. We spent a few days in Vancouver and then the majority of the time on the islands of Quadra and Cortes which are incredibly beautiful and peaceful. We swam in crystal clear lakes, hiked through dense forest and camped out. Our time on the island if we weren’t camping was mainly spent in our friends homes so we didn’t eat out a great deal. If you find yourself in BC even on a small island you are going to have no trouble locating really great quality, organic gluten free options – including BEER. Seriously there were gluten free beers everywhere, bars included.  One of the great things about eating out was that all the servers knew not only what was gluten free but they also asked if I had coeliac specifically – this really put me at ease and stopped me feeling like a diva.

beer beer beer beer

beer beer beer beer

We had a really good ‘treat’ meal at the Gowlland Harbour restaurant on Quadra. There were plenty of gluten free options including puddings and I went for classic salmon with rice and vegetables which was simple and really beautifully cooked.

In Vancouver itself there were an abundance of options. Acorn is on the hipsterish Main Street – it’s definitely worth the trip out of the centre. They have really intelligently executed raw and vegan dishes and fantastic cocktails. The atmosphere and service were fantastic – high end and understated. Many of the dishes are gluten free and they really know their food.

Raw dessert at Acorn

Raw dessert at Acorn

We also had some of the best sushi I’ve ever eaten. Vancouver has a large Japanese population and access to some of the world’s best fresh fish so the sushi chemistry is on point! Minami is great – it’s a swanky experience and it isn’t cheap but it’s definitely well priced for the quality. It’s brilliantly liberating to be able to have good sushi with gluten free soy sauce. I had a sashimi platter and two rounds of the house speciality salmon sushi which was one of the best things I’ve ever tasted. “No I don’t want dessert I want another plate of that please”.

image3

To balance out all this posh food we located somewhere that does the Canadian indelicacy poutine which is basically chips, gravy and cheese. It’s great as you can imagine. The Wallflower Diner on Main Street was super cool with loads of gluten free options most of which were healthier than the poutine but when in Rome… this is the sort of place you could come and turn it into a night out.

Gluten free poutine (wrongness)

Gluten free poutine (wrongness)

I should also mention Smak on West Pender. It’s really healthy fast food and everything is gluten free! I grabbed a bacon sandwich in lovely bread as well as a carrot muffin on my way to the airport.

Such a happy belly

Such a happy belly

There are so many reasons to go to Canada and especially British Columbia and being a slave to your diet is never something I would promote but it was absolutely the cherry on the polenta cake to be able to be so carefree with food and BEEEEEEER!!!

Retreat My Soul

I went to Ibiza, to a yoga retreat. And it was one of the best things I’ve ever done.

We spent a week in a beautiful villa right on the edge of the Mediterranean. There was a large garden in which we yoga’d, we swam, we lazed and we ate.

Each day started with morning meditation followed by 2 hours of challenging and uplifting yoga (I was an absolute beginner) and then we sat together for a beautifully nutritious and tasty brunch. A different and very creative smoothie every morning (not crammed with fruit ), a fresh salad, frittata, yoghurt and more peanut butter and rice cakes than you can shove in your deserving gob. There was almond milk oatmeal for those who can eat gluten.

Days were spent doing some more fitness training (madness), swimming, exploring or simply doing a lot of laughing.

Most days there was more yoga in the evenings but we also had trips out involving sunsets, cava and singing.

Evening meals were all gluten free and mainly vegan. We all felt lighter and fitter for it and I know many of the others have tried to continue this kind of eating afterwards.

It definitely wasn’t all virtuous but you’d have to come and check that out for yourselves 🙂

After a hugely successful first retreat the retreat my soul crew are planning the next one. I will keep you posted

IMG_7165.JPG

IMG_7166.JPG

IMG_7167.JPG

IMG_7168.JPG

Gluten free in Andalusia!

Me and a fellow gf-buddy took ourselves off for a mini tour of the beautiful Spanish region Andalusia.

General advice is that people are really clued up on what “celiacos” means and “sin gluten”. As usual avoid fried things which often included patatas bravas, avoid the mayonnaise. But do go for tortilla – an incredibly cheap and tasty way to fill up pretty much any time of day and anywhere. Make sure you ask for it “sin pan” as sometimes tortilla comes on top of bread. And the cheeses and cured Spanish meats are no problem. Always ask about the rice as often paella has flour added.

First stop was Seville. We stayed at the cosy and friendly Rooftop Hostel. There wasn’t anything in the free breakfast apart from drinks and fresh oranges good for coeliacs but the price was so cheap it didn’t matter. Even small local supermarkets had a decent free from section and we were able to get cereal and toasts and muffins so we were sorted! Health food shops had an incredible selection including gluten free versions of local specialities.

We read about an Italian place with an entirely separate gluten free kitchen so of course we had to check it out!! Al Solito Posto is I would say a pretty decent italian restaurant but by no means amazing. It is great to have such a complete menu available to coeliacs and to feel totally assured about cross contamination. They didn’t have the tiramasu which was heart breaking! Our ravioli dishes were really nice but flavour wise nothing to write home about. I would recommend if you’re feeling tired and just need something easy or if you have gf kids in tow.

IMG_6373.JPG

IMG_6374.JPG

The best meal we had in Seville was a local recommendation Bar Eslava – a tapas bar heaving with locals even on a week night. The food there was really excellent and they had a great knowledge of gf options and gluten free bread! We even tried the cubes of chicken blood (local dish- see if you like it!). A really tasty, local meal for such a good price.

IMG_6401.JPG

IMG_6403.JPG

On to Granada! Granada is a lovely little city, really special with it’s cool mountain air and old world feel. Of course go to the Alhambra but also make sure to visit Navas Street on a weekend. A small street full of little bustling bars. They all follow the tradition of giving you a free tapas dish with every (cheap) drink. The dishes we received were beautiful. And when we said we were coeliac they went and prepared us gluten free dishes specially. So we really didn’t need to buy dinner (which is a good indication of how many glasses of wine we bought). But we had eventing from tuna carpaccio to chicken wings to mini burger sliders (in gf bread).

In malaga we made the most of the seaside and headed to one of the local fish restaurants on the beach. I can’t remember the name but it was very plain and selling fresh catch of the day fish. You can’t go wrong with fresh grilled fish, salad and potatoes.

There is also a completely gluten free and vegetarian cafe complete with celiac friendly beers in Malaga near to the Picasso Museum called El Piano. I took some lovely food to go along with a cold beer and sat in the square. Just what I needed after a week of wine and cured meats!

Gluten Free Retreat Paradise!

Travelling can be really hard if you’ve got a restricted diet especially when you want to eat fresh, healthy local produce.  Well here’s a treat for sun, health, peace and fun seeking GF-ers.  A full board 1 week yoga retreat right on the beach in beautiful Ibiza.  There’s a pro chef cooking up veggie, vegan and raw food banquets every day and a coeliac assistant chef to make sure the gluten free efforts are up to scratch (that’s me!).  Obviously there’s loads of yoga as well as meditation, hiking, kayaking and general good times.

if you want to treat yourself to a renewing and easy-going holiday experience then now’s the time to book for the early bird offer.  And if you’ve got any more specific dietary needs we can work out a meal plan to make sure you don’t miss out 🙂

http://www.retreatmysoul.com

Yoga-Villa-Ibiza21

GF fish and chips!

What a bad blogger I am. So long since I’ve last posted. But today I had a good chat with the lovely guys at Wolfies of Hove about how much pleasure and pride they’ve taken in perfecting their gluten free fish and chip offer so I had to post!!

It’s a lovely fish and chip shop near Hove station – a classy mix of modern, ethical sourcing and real deal fish and chips. And the gf batter is fab. They use a separate fryer, separate utensils and even a tray for the gf fish to sit on so there’s no mix up. Even better they do a lunchtime special of cod and chips for 3.50! Can’t argue with that.

We walked the 10 mins down to the sea and ate our lunch from the paper in the winter sun. I didn’t snap the food because I was too busy eating. These are the snaps I have

Recipe book is making slow but steady progress… Watch this space!

IMG_6303.JPGe

IMG_6304.JPG

Romeo’s Bakery

It was my birthday last week and the BF took me to Romeo’s Bakery on Upper Street for a slap-up lunch.  I was super excited to visit this all gluten free cafe-restaurant – such a treat not to have to worry about ANYTHING!

It’s a lovely interior – very cafe-ish, I can’t really imagine it at night time but maybe with a few candles…

The menu is great with lots of lovely things you can’t normally eat out like er, bread and toast and granola.  

Now I will mention that the service wasn’t exactly great – very slow and forgetful but they were nice.  Also, there was no hollandaise sauce which made the eggs benedict with asparagus not really worth ordering. 

In the end we ordered the lasagne special YUM. And a chicken and mushroom pie. Both were very tasty although the lasagne was a bit cold.  The pie only had pastry on the top and it was very short-crusty – we were hoping for a miraculous puffy one.  We decided to get some scones to take away so we could have a cream tea in the park.  The scones were really very nice even without warming – i was impressed.

All in all a real treat to be able to have a proper brunch and proper sandwiches. Gluten free cakes and pasta are everywhere now so having the good bread and pies etc is the real selling point for me.