Kamers vol geskenke “SA’s pop up treasure trove of handcrafted creativity” was held over the Easter weekend at St. John’s College. Not only have I been attending Kamers for the past 3 years or so, and have now roped in my friend Futhi as my Kamers buddy, but I also attended Sixth Form at St. John’s, so a good excuse to meander around the school while attempting not to buy beautiful things which I want but don’t need… There is a point to this, that in the gluten-free world, it can be extremely difficult to attend such an event and be able to find something to eat… I sometimes avoid a music or food festival (especially if a whole day event) because I know I am not going to find something to eat and then I am hungry and miserable; and carrying around your rice cakes is not as exotic as buying open pizza or Turkish flatbread. Food envy can strike!
But back to Kamers. It was extremely cold and raining so we started at the most logical spot which was the coffee. At the previous Kamers in Pretoria I was able to eat some rather yummy brisket (minus the roll and the sauce). This time amongst the pizzas, wraps, cupcakes and deep fried calamari (and a slightly confused Banting stand) there was no brisket but there was Paella. As a child my family used to travel to Spain twice a year and I have eaten my fair share of this Spanish dish and am quite partial to it – the flavour of saffron is a favourite of mine. There should be no gluten in authentic paella – it is as gluten-free as it gets – unless some dodgy stock is used – but I would not expect that in this situation with what looks like a reputable set-up (but as with most things always ask!). The paella was piping hot and exactly what the Dr ordered as we sat looking out over the rugby fields as a rather cold wind blew. Happiness.
Despite the cold we found time for champagne (and once again we forget to return the glasses so we are stockpiling champagne glasses quite nicely at this rate).
Did I buy anything..? Well a few items of jewellery, a block mounted picture that appealed to my Protea obsession, and some random Oh my Deer cards because they are cool!
As an aside , when I have visited the Old Biscuit Mill in Cape Town there is always someone selling potato with salmon and a poached egg. Not the easiest to eat standing up but thrilling none the less. Sometimes it’s the small things that are the most memorable…
Visit kamersvol.com for information on the next event.
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 http://www.bellespatisserie.co.za or find them at Shop 16, Blubird Shopping Centre, Corner Athol Oaklands Road, Birnam, Johannesburg
A few restaurants around Johannesburg are starting to offer gluten-free pasta on their menu, but with that does not generally come the understanding that the pasta sauce also needs to be gluten-free, or the ability to actually list the ingredients of said gluten-free pasta. For these reasons I generally give it a skip unless I feel my myriad of questions has been satisfyingly and confidently answered.
However, this weekend whilst out for lunch at Full Stop Cafe, an old favourite haunt that I had not been to for a while, I discovered on the menu gluten-free zucchini spaghetti (gasp of amazement please).
What an unexpected discovery.I was thrilled, thrilled I tell you! I ordered the bolognaise which was gluten-free (and I can confirm there were no repercussions the next day).
So refreshing to be able to order a meal in a restaurant like a normal human being, and it tasted great as well. Although I did not specifically enquire about other sauces, safe options look like arrabiata, bosso nova (roasted vegetables with pesto), prawns in napolitana sauce and maybe the salsicce (but this includes chicken, Italian sausage and creamy napolitana sauce so may necessitate a lot of questions… maybe too many).
I am sure the zucchini spaghetti is being offered as Banting meal option or as homage to Tim Noakes’ Real Meal Revolution. Either way I am not fussed. If it makes my life easier and more delicious then I am in! Life would be very exciting if one could just buy the zucchini spaghetti… now there’s a thought.
Visit Full Stop Cafe at 50 7th Avenue, Parktown North, Johannesburg, 2193.
Side note: do not go to 4th Avenue Parkhust, they have moved!!!