Sunday, 20 January 2008

New food, chocolate and snow fields

As a gluten free girl in love with all things foodie, I kick started my gloomy and grey UK new year by hitting the gym and visiting Neals Yard for some herbal remedies. It is barely the end of January and I am planning all sorts of parties and events. I'm determined to keep fresh and rejuvinated for another party hard year ahead.

Our love affair with food has been capitalised on by the media who tell us what to eat, how to eat, where to eat and more. I like mooching through the international food isles at the supermarkets to find new and interesting ingredients.

I've been back in My New Kitchen this week having been introduced to plantain which looks like a banana. Plantains tend to be firmer and lower in sugar content than dessert bananas and are used either when green or under-ripe.

After removing the skin, unripe fruit can be sliced (1 or 2 mm thick) and fried in boiling oil, to produce chips and then salted with cracked rock salt. This is a great snack. If you can get your hands on plantain flour, try making bread. I haven't done this yet, but it's on my 2008 list of things to do.

If you would like the recipe for the plantain chips please send me an email to

The Greenhouse in the heart of London's Mayfair has re-opened its doors. This is a fabulous restaurant with meticulous attention to detail and their European influenced menu. They will do gluten free - just telephone ahead when making your booking.

UMU the luxury Japanese restaurant in Mayfair, London, has just announced dates for the first series of cookery classes it will be holding, showcasing authentic Japanese cooking by Michelin-starred chef, Ichiro Kubota.

Ichiro Kubota specialises in cuisine from the Kyoto area of Japan and will present monthly themed cooking demonstrations on one Saturday of each month, between 11am and 1pm.

Dates are the following:
13 May – The philosophy of Kaiseki and Kyoto cuisine
10 June – The importance of the quality of ingredients, especially fish
8 July – The importance of the quality of ingredients, especially vegetables
20 September – The differences between sushi

The classes will offer participants the opportunity to experience the expertise of Ichiro Kubota and learn the techniques of preparing pure Japanese food. Each class will take up to 12 people, and will be held at the restaurant’s sushi counter. Costs are £110 per person, which will include the demonstration, Kaiseki tasting menu with matched Saki, and a bespoke gift pack to take away - comprising Japanese herbs, recipe pack, tips for shopping and a box of chopsticks. To book your place, telephone the UK: +44 (0) 207 4998881

Click here to read the Around The World Without travels to Tokyo.

Don't get caught without. If you are out and about between meetings, missed breakfast, needing a quick snack before a session at the gym or travelling (especially on a flight), here in the UK you can purchase Eat Natural bars.

There are no dodgy ingredients in these fruit and nut bars. They even make these in a yogurt, dark chocolate or milk chocolate coating. I had a chat with the Eat Natural team at TASTE London in the summer and that are completely gluten free.

Around The World Without Hits The Snow Fields

The following are recommendations from Around The World sporting foodies...

La Fontaine Hotel, Sauze d'Oulx, Italy
The la Fontaine Hotel is small and charming and is a popular spot for lunch and at the end of the day, when the bar fills up and the atmosphere gets lively. Meals are hearty, just what is needed after a day on the slopes. Breakfast is buffet style and in the evening there's a choice of three courses. There is a sheltered beer garden/outside eating area serving fondue and the hotel welcomes those with gluten free dietary requests. Located at the foot of the Jouvenceaux chairlift, with skiing on your doorstep (subject to snow conditions), 150m from the centre of Jouvenceaux and a 15 to 20-minute walk uphill, into the centre of Sauze d'Oulx.

Pyha, Finland
Pyhä (pronounced 'poo-ha') is found on the edge of the Arctic Circle in Lapland within the Pyhätunturi National Park, an area of unspoilt and dramatic landscapes. It is a wilderness of frozen lakes and snow covered forests and is totally unspoilt offering a unique adventure skiing adventure. The resort of Pyha has a number of cafes and restaurants where guests can enjoy both the delicacies of local Lappish style dining as well as international cuisine and they will cater to gluten free diets.

Ruka, Finland
The resort of Ruka sits on the border of Finland and Russia. Ruka has a wide selection of restaurants including outside the Ruka Plaza. The Lappish menus come highly recommended and they cater for gluten free! One of the recommendations has come from a friend who visits Restaurant Rukahovi each year.

Taxacherhof Hotel, Kirchberg, Austria
Kirchberg is a picturesque town with both local lifts and easy access to other resorts, including Kitzbuhel with the world famous Hahnenkamm downhill run. The Taxacherhof Hotel offers three eateries including two superb gourmet restaurants serving evening meals at a local charge. You will have a buffet breakfast and waiter service at the Tyrol restaurant where you will enjoy a three course evening meal. Vegetarian, diabetic, and gluten free meals as well as smaller portions for children are all available and there is also a modern hotel bar serving snacks within the restaurant.

Foodie dates for your diary...

Be my Gluten Free Valentine. Check out Hotel Chocolat for gourmet chocolate treats in time for February 14th. If you are in Bristol or Bath in England, you must stop in for a gluten free chocolate treat at Bar Chocolate.
A Lot of Chocolate is an on line store of chocolate gifts delivered direct to you.
Chocolate On The Avenue are an online chocolate store in Australia and they also have a store in Albert Park, Victoria.

If you like your sweets, check out A Quarter Of - an old fashioned on line sweet store. Humbugs, Cinnamon Rock, Fruit Bon Bons, Fudge, Turkish Delight and lots, lots more.

Or if you would like to get in your kitchen and make our delicious chocolate torte, please email me at for the recipe.

Special Offers ...Johnson's Gluten Free Food (UK & Some European Countries)
10% off local and UK mainland deliveries until 15th February 2008, plus some great savings for you in the Special Offers section. Hurry while stocks last! They will deliver to most European countries, so this is a very handy site for those of you holidaying or living in Europe. See their web site for full details.

Miami Beach, Florida. Now in its 7th year, the Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival is a national, star-studded, four-day destination event showcasing the talents of the world’s most renowned wine and spirits producers, chefs and culinary personalities. 21st - 24th February 2008.

Click here to visit the previous edition of Around The World Without.