Archive of ‘Shops’ category

Gluten-free hazelnut cake

Fresh Earth is one of the best places to spend some time milling around on a Saturday. They have a range of local and imported gluten-free products, plus they produce their own gluten-free bread, cakes and biscuits in their gluten-free bakery. They also have a restaurant with a gluten-free and vegetarian menu. And Fresh Earth is one of the few places I trust to produce 100% gluten-free. This gluten-free hazelnut cake is one of their recipes – find the original here.



  • 35 grams cacao powder
  • 80ml hot water
  • 150 grams dark eating chocolate, melted
  • 150 grams butter, melted
  • 295 grams brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 100 grams hazelnuts, finely ground
  • 4 organic eggs, separated
  • 25 grams cacao powder, extra


Preheat oven to 180 degrees.

Grease a deep 20cm round cake tine and line with baking paper.

Blend cacao powder with water in a large bowl until smooth.

Stir in melted chocolate, butter, sugar, egg yolks.

Beat egg whites in a separate bowl until at soft peak stage.

Fold into chocolate mixture in two batches.

Pour mixture into cake tin and bake for one hour.

Dust with extra cacao powder. Serve with cream or ice cream and fresh gooseberries, or use what fruit takes your fancy!

Visit Fresh Earth at 103 Komatie Road, Emmarentia, JHB.

Gluten-free chocolate cupcake (#1)

So the quest for the gluten-free chocolate cupcake in Johannesburg has its first nomination. Whilst at Belle’s Patisserie in the Bluebird Centre for a work function, I discovered the “Skinny Menu” with gluten-free, sugar free and vegetarian options. So what’s gluten-free on the menu? Red Velvet Cupcake, Fran’s Cheesecake, Hemp Brownie and Paleo Poppie Loaf.  In the interests of fair investigation I tried the cupcake (although they had chocolate not red velvet), the cheesecake and the brownie. Tough job but someone had to do it. Let’s be clear though, I did share. They also have savoury options (in fact, most of the menu is gluten-free) from crustless quiche to cauliflower wraps – see the full Skinny Menu here.


The cupcakes are made from coconut flour and are very moist… but I am I think still getting used to eating coconut flour. Or maybe the icing threw me off slightly – is sugar free and I think made from coconut cream which gives it a different taste and texture… rich but different. So I give this cupcake a 7/10. Is good but not decadent. You don’t feel like you have to run round the block after eating, which I suppose is the reason behind creating a Skinny Menu in the first place. But nice to know it’s there when you just feel the need to cheat but be skinny at the same time!

Belle’s Patisserie also has gluten-free Paleo bread which they serve for breakfast as part of their Skinny Menu. I tried this with some of the snacks they had provided for our event and was very very moreish!


So moreish in fact I bought a loaf. Unfortunately I cannot eat large quantities of this as the nut butter can get to me (main ingredients almond nut butter and egg yolks; also made with almond milk, coconut flour, honey, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds). But if you do not have issues with eggs or nut butters then this is the bread for you! You need to phone ahead and order if you want to buy a loaf as is very popular.


Visit Belle’s Patisserie website or find them at Shop 16, Blubird Shopping Centre, Corner Athol Oaklands Road, Birnam, Johannesburg

Girl wants cake – first taste of a Lamington

For those in Johannesburg – seems every 4th week or so I feel the need to venture forth and find myself some sweet treat. So as per previous excursions I ended up at Fresh Earth in Emmerentia, and this time I bought a gluten-free Lamington.

Now this is something that I have never actually eaten, or even tried a nibble of in the dark while no-one was looking. So time for some research… a Lamington is an Australian dessert with sponge cake coated in chocolate sauce (or icing depending on where you read) and then in desiccated coconut.


Being a fan of both chocolate and coconut I decided to try the unknown. Very nice, satisfies the sweet tooth and as with everything I have tried at Fresh Earth a great tasting gluten-free cake – nothing worse than a gluten-free cake or bread that tastes like dried cardboard! Visit the Fresh Earth website here.

Whilst on the topic of nibbly things, someone recently gave me some Schar gluten-free “Maria” biscuits (thank you Morne) which are basically Marie biscuits, and I wondered why an Italian company was producing a South African biscuit. Seems I rather erroneously believed that a Marie biscuit was a South African invention. Imagine my horror (and embarrassment, yes maybe I blushed a little) to find out that the Marie Biscuit was created in London in 1874. I grew up in the UK and have no recollection of a Marie Biscuit – not that I would have been eating them of course,  but I am well aware of chocolate digestives , Bakewell Tarts and Jaffa Cakes and I was not eating those either!

I did ask someone at work to try one and then do a comparison with a local Marie biscuit and apparently it is rather close – they taste just like the real thing.  So if it’s time for tea and you are looking for a biscuit to dunk, now you know what to eat! Schar products are imported by Master Health Products – visit their website for a full list of stockists.


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!


Ode to the cauliflower

The simple cauliflower has it seems been elevated to super hero status by Tim Noakes and his “Real Meal Revolution”. I have been making cauliflower rice and mash for quite a while now (yes way before Tim Noakes made Banting famous) after hearing and reading about the Paleo diet. This diet is based on the premise that we should eat as our caveman ancestors did and gave me inspiration for recipes and options to eat as a coeliac. With a no grain approach the diet gives great ideas on how to use coconut and almond flour and the humble cauliflower. I am limited to potatoes and rice at the moment as my carbs so I try to find other ingredients that can provide more nutrition and less high GI options on a daily basis.

1405947343  cauliflower rice

I do not follow the Paleo diet specifically as they avoid legumes and dairy and focus on a higher fat diet; I just adapt some of the recipes.  A similar diet is the Primal Diet (visit for more), though in this case dairy can be included. Either way, great inspiration can be found!

Next on my list this week was cauliflower wraps made by Calorie Conscious, available on their website or at Jacksons Real Food Market at the Riverside Shopping Centre in Bryanston. I was at Jacksons early to purchase my wraps (5 for R111) but I have to admit I was not bowled over by the texture,but I think maybe the microwave was not a good idea and the oven might be better option to warm them! Made from cauliflower, psyllium husk, eggs and Himalayan rock salt it all sounds good as a gluten-free option. Jacksons also makes their own “Banting” cauliflower mash and rice. I did buy the cauliflower rice (and yes it tastes very nice) but with the butter and coconut oil they add, I will stick to making this myself and not have the additional fat.

Cauliflower is low in fat, cholesterol free, is a rich source of minerals and vitamin C so give this humble veg a place at your table. Next recipe to tackle…cauliflower hummus!

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!