Archive of ‘Pasta’ category

Pretty and pesto

This weekend I felt like pasta and one of my favourite sauces is a simple pesto. That said, with additives and who knows what else sometimes being added, one has to be quite vigilant in terms of what one actually buys (plus some pesto seems to have walnuts in which, for some reason, can bother me). So right now I have two trusted options:

Option 1 – raw pesto from Free Food

Made with extra virgin olive oil, filtered water, basil, almonds, garlic, lemon juice and kalahari salt; this is a gluten-free, dairy-free, additive and stabilizer free pesto. If you eat dairy then you can just your own parmesan as so desired.  Free Food has a small restaurant and deli just off Corlett Drive where you can find deli items, frozen meals, soups, salads, gluten-free pasta, vegan burgers, gluten-free pizza bases/wraps and so much more (including the odd dessert). The menu changes every 2 weeks but you can always find the pesto and other great things in the deli section. Free Food is gluten/what, dairy, sugar, preservative and animal free. Many more postings on this shop to come!


Photos originally from

Visit for more or visit them at the corner of Corlett Drive and Delta Street (opposite BMW).

Option 2 – make it yourself!

I was recently watching Siba’s Table (starring Siba Mtongana) on the Home Channel and she made a chicken pesto penne dish, and I was inspired by this to make my own pesto as well.

Find the original recipe here at

For the pesto:

  • 200g fresh basil
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 100g pine nuts, toasted
  • 100g Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 green chilli, deseeded
  • 160ml olive oil
  • Parmesan shavings, to serve
  • Fresh basil, to serve

1. To make the pesto: place the pesto ingredients in a food processor, except for the olive oil. Blend until smooth and well combined. Add the oil in a thread like motioning until you have a thick pesto.

2. Transfer to a sterilized jar and cover with a layer of oil to seal. Store in the fridge until needed.

How simple is that? I do not add the chilli myself not being a lover of spicy food so that is up to you.

With both these options I know exactly where the products have come from and what the ingredients are, which for me, is the most important thing… and they taste pretty good as well!


Gluten-free pasta faves

I am a person who enjoys shopping for food. I will go to the largest Pick ‘n Pay or Woolworths, start one end of the store and make my way up and down every aisle (bakery section excluded!). Despite the fact that in reality I can buy very few products I am always on the lookout – you never know when a gluten-free something will pop up in some odd place (as does seem to happen).

Dischem is another story as their gluten-free range has grown and grown. With the opening of the new store in Rosebank last week I was thrilled – Dischem round the corner. But once there I was a little disappointed with the size of the gluten-free section – the new store in Cresta has a much larger range which kept me occupied for rather a long time. Rosebank, not so much.


So, from the aisles of Dischem, let me introduce two gluten-free ranges that I trust. Up until a year or two ago, I used to only eat gluten-free pasta by Schar – the European market leader. Their headquarters are based in Italy – a country where children are screened for coeliac disease by the age of six. I trust them 100% and although we do not have all their products in South Africa, there is a good range of breads, pasta, biscuits etc. Schar products are imported by Master Health Products – visit their website for a full list of stockists .


Then in my quest for a gluten-free AND corn free pasta option I discovered my present favourite Glutagon. Glutagon is a locally manufactured product, their range including pasta, flours and pre-mixes for cakes, muffins etc. The pasta does include egg which may be an issue for some, but for me from a flour/grain perspective just rice makes my life a lot easier!


Another range that I have previously used for a while is Orgran – an Australian range and products are gluten, wheat, dairy, egg and yeast free. They also make pasta, cereals and crisp bread from multi-grains using quinoa, amaranth, millet and buckwheat. If you can tolerate these grains then they have a much better nutritional value than just rice and corn. I read recently that Barilla, one of the world’s largest pasta producers; have launched gluten-free pasta in the USA and Australia to compliment their range of pasta sauces which are also gluten-free… hmm interesting. Not sure if we will see that range here as the demand for gluten-free products is not yet as high in South Africa as in these countries, but I will keep my eyes peeled!

Over and above these ranges mentioned I do stay away from any other locally manufactured pastas. I am tired of seeing the small writing “not suitable for coeliacs”, but apart from that I am not convinced a) that the labeling is 100% accurate and displaying all that I need to know and b) that many of these products are not being produced in a gluten-free environment so cross-contamination is a concern. And although I have never really eaten “normal pasta” sometimes, even to me, these products don’t exactly taste great either!