I recently went to a get together of a group of friends who share a similar interest. There is always plenty to eat and lots of laughs to be had.
On the heavily gluten ladened table, there were some mini frittatas. Most frittatas are gluten free but I thought I had better check before I ate them. The maker of the frittatas talked me patiently through the ingredients and yes, there was no gluten in the ingredients, so I ate one, and then another and another (not all at once of course).
That evening my tummy was bloated and I felt uncomfortable. I had also had breakfast at a cafe that morning but I couldn’t think of anything that may have contained gluten that I had inadvertently eaten.
The next day I contacted the host to say thank you for the lovely day and she said she had been feeling terrible and was hoping that I was ok because she had forgotten to tell me she had dusted the pans she had made the frittatas in, with flour. Oh dear. An honest mistake. A mistake that was to last a week. My tummy remained bloated for most of the week and on Wednesday and Thursday the familiar feeling of exhaustion set in.
Exhaustion is a common symptom of Coeliac disease. It is an exhaustion (for me anyway) that is very hard to describe. It is overpowering and all encompassing. When it first hit me on Tuesday, I had forgotten I had eaten flour dusted frittatas and thought that maybe I was developing sleep apnoea. I had such an urgent desire to just put my head down wherever I was, and go to sleep. Then I remembered the frittatas.
Last time I went to Taupo I had a bad gluten free experience eating out at night.
This time I decided to play it safe and decided to eat at an Indian restaurant. Most Indian curries are gluten free but it does depend on where they source their spices but the majority of the time you can feel safe eating in an Indian restaurant. An English friend of ours had eaten the evening before at Master of India in Taupo and highly recommended the restaurant. So we tried it.
When we walked in we were warmly greeted by the staff. And yes, gluten free was not a problem as all of their curries were gluten free so I could eat anything from their menu apart from the breads. They even confirmed that the pappadums were gluten free. (Always check pappadums as they are not always gluten free.)
So we sat down and selected a dish each from their extensive menu. They had so many choices. Pages of curries and they all sounded so good. Curries that you don’t normally see on menus in most Indian restaurants in New Zealand.
Our meal arrived and it was truly the best curry I have ever eaten. I know this sounds silly, but it tasted “home made”. The flavours were distinct and complex and I wish they had a branch in Auckland. Our friend who recommended this restaurant said that his daughter wanted the family to go to back to Taupo for her next birthday so she could eat here again.
So if you are looking for the best Indian restaurant in New Zealand, go to Taupo and if you happen to be gluten free, that’s ok too. And don’t just take my word for it, the Trip Advisor reviews give it 4 ½ stars.
Three years on and I still have times when I get annoyed at having to be gluten free. Not very often. But now and again something triggers my sadness or my anger and I go through a wave of feeling sorry for myself all over again.
My husband, Haitch has recently been raving on to anyone who will listen (and that certainly isn’t me) about cronuts. A cross between a doughnut and a croissant (don’t wanna know). Crispy on the outside (tell someone who cares), deliciously soft on the inside (lalala hands over the ears).
Last weekend he dared to buy these cronuts while I was with him. I looked the other way when he got a cronut out of the bag and took it towards his open mouth.
Unfortunately my nose could still absorb the delicious smell.
Unfortunately my ears could still hear the delicate crack as he bit through the crispy outside.
After he had eaten two of these beautiful things, he told me how delicious they were!
And then that evening we were at Eden Park for the All Blacks vs South Africa rugby game. I have posted before about the lack of gluten free food at Eden Park but a comment had been left on my previous post that the pizza place based in Eden Park makes a gluten free pizza base. So while the others were greedily tucking into their burritos, I went on the hunt for the pizza place. I found it but unfortunately, they looked at me rather strangely when I asked if they had gluten free bases.
So I walked back to find the rest of my family, feeling hungry and just a bit annoyed with myself for not having eaten before I left home. Haitch tried to look slightly empathetic when I said there were no gluten free bases and then we walked on. Empathy quickly forgotten as Haitch turned to me, held out his burrito and said this tastes really good!
Then this morning I came across this blog written by a mum of an Australian teenage boy who has recently been diagnosed with Coeliac Disease. I read through the entire blog and even three years on from my diagnosis I felt their pain, particularly with this post titled Gluten Free – the emotional roller coaster.
Chelsea icing sugar (powdered sugar) has always been gluten free but I notice the new packaging clearly labels it as gluten free. Great idea.
Be careful with brands of icing sugar, as starch is often added to the powdered sugar to keep it free from lumps. Some brands are mixed with tapioca starch and some icing sugars are mixed with wheat starch.
Always check the ingredients if it is not labelled as gluten free.
Our local pub changed hands recently and the new owner is a chef. There is a rumour that he is going to be opening the pub restaurant but meanwhile they have started serving pizzas in the pub.
So one afternoon, Haitch and I decided to see if they had gluten free pizza bases. No, but the person behind the bar said that she would mention it to the chef and see if he would be prepared to buy some in.
A few weeks later, we went back to see if she had asked the chef. Yes she had. He said he won’t be getting in gluten free pizza bases because they tasted horrible! Hmmmmmmmm.
I was in the supermarket a week or so ago and I happened to see a new Whittaker’s chocolate bar. Their peanut slab is a New Zealand favourite chocolate bar and it is gluten free.
I picked up the chocolate bar to have a closer look. Whittaker’s chocolate and L&P? A strange combination. L&P (or Lemon and Paeora) is a famous New Zealand soft drink and has been around for years and years. Very bad for you, as all soft drinks are but it has a very distinctive taste and if you are visiting New Zealand, this soft drink is worth trying.
But what about a chocolate bar with L&P? I picked up the bar and read the label to see if it was gluten free. Yes, it is gluten free (and this is confirmed on their Facebook page). Hmmm. I was about to put the chocolate bar into my supermarket trolley and then noticed it was white chocolate. No thanks. I don’t like white chocolate so I put it back on the supermarket shelf. As I walked away, I was still wondering what chocolate and L&P would taste like. It had intrigued me.
Then a few days later, Car from work pulled a bag of Whittaker’s L&P chocolate out of her desk drawer and asked me if I had tried it and if it was gluten free. I told her it was gluten free and that I didn’t like white chocolate. She said it was really good and handed me the bag. Of course I put my hand in and pulled one out. I ripped the paper off and put the whole thing in my mouth (it was only a small square) for my first taste of this intriguing chocolate bar.
What an amazing taste. The combination of white chocolate, L&P flavour (yes, it is distinctly L&P) and the little bits of popping candy to make it like the fizzy soft drink, make this a really delicious chocolate bar. Do try one. If you are not from New Zealand get a friend to send you one over.
Way back when I first started this blog three years ago, I wrote a post on my local cafe, DD’s Country cafe in Waitoki. When I was first diagnosed, DD Country Cafe didn’t have any gluten free options but were thinking about doing something. (They make all the food on the premises and their food is delicious).
Then a few weeks later, they had a deliciously gluten free chocolate brownie that they had made and a biscuit. Next they g0t in gluten free bread.
Then a bit later I went in and they had gluten free pizza bases and a gluten free chocolate cake.
A few weeks ago, as I stopped for my coffee early in the morning on my way to work, one of the D’s handed me a paper bag. I looked inside and there was a passionfruit slice. They had made a new gluten free slice and they wanted me to test it for them.
So I just wanted to say thank you to the cafes like DD’s Country Cafe who make such an effort to provide delicious gluten free choices.