Tag Archives: gluten-free pasta

Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free in Rome

Rome bridge

We’re just back from a magical 3 days in Rome! Bella! We stayed in central Rome, just next to the Opera House and spent our days walking around, looking at the amazing sights that the city offers. We saw the majestic Colosseum, where gladiators fought to the death and prisoners were thrown in with lions and other wild beasts….

colisseum

We went to the Forum, an incredible sprawl of ruins dating back to 700 BC – which were once marble-covered temples, forums and other awe-inspiring buildings.

forum

Roman fragment

We also went to the Pantheon – the temple (now a church) built by Emperor Hadrian in 120AD. And then walked on to the beautiful Trevi Fountain. (Zoë has now been telling everyone at school, apparently, about the magic wishing well that we threw coins and wishes into!)

Trevi fountain

We popped into a couple of churches – the Chiesa di San Luigi dei Francesci and the Chiesa di Sant’Agostino – where there are famous Caravaggio paintings.

Caravaggio

And on our final day, we took the metro to the awe-inspiring St Peter’s Basilico, and the Vatican Museums. One of the great things about going in January (apart from the bargain price!) is the lack of crowds. We didn’t have to queue and we wandered around, soaking up the history, the opulence and the incredible store of treasures within. I knew that there were many paintings, statues and works of art within the Vatican but I was still astounded. The floors, walls and ceilings are literally covered. There are ancient Egyptian relics, ancient Greek and Roman pieces (including the famous statue, Laocoön), Renaissance masterpieces (including the iconic Sistine Chapel which was utterly beautiful) and many, many more – right up to works by Matisse, Chagall and Bacon.

st peters

Laocoon Vatican

me and Zoe

ceiling Vatican

Peter and Zoe Vatican

matisse

And throughout all of this, I tried to find gluten-free food. Buoyed by my success in finding gluten-free ingredients in Tuscany, I arrived in Rome thinking it would be easy. On the way to our hotel from the airport, we passed a restaurant advertising gluten-free pasta and I thought, ‘oh, great, there are going to be lots of restaurants like this’. But easy it certainly wasn’t! In fact, I found it very hard to track down anything gluten-free – and then the problem was compounded by the fact that there seemed to be cheese in everything! We were served cheese (in various shapes and sizes) for breakfast and, as I looked for something to eat for lunch and for dinner, I was overwhelmed by the frequency of cheese – it seemed to be a main staple of the Roman’s diet. As Peter and Zoë munched through pizzas and sandwiches all full of the stuff (and ice creams), I hunted and hunted for something I could eat. I saw a couple of cakes in one shop – but in the end, I resorted to the fail-safe thing to do in Italy – go to the Farmacia. Fantastico! There I found a brilliant selection of very good gluten-free goodies – by Schär – especially a really good Foccaccia.

farmacia

gluten-free Rome

gluten-free cakes

We went out for dinner in the evenings. Both the restaurants we went to on the first and second night had no gluten-free options, so I had the usual safe option of chicken and roast potatoes, and then lamb and the same old roast potatoes. By the third night, I’d given up trying. We tried to find a restaurant that had been recommended to us, but it was closed. So we wandered around and ended up in a bar/restaurant called Mimi & Coco, just because it looked so inviting. We had some drinks, including the wonderful green apple juice that they serve in Italy and then they came to take our food orders. I started to order another potato-orientated dish and they mentioned that they had gluten-free pasta. YAY!! They brought a delicious Penne alla Amatriciana and I sat drinking organic wine and savouring every mouthful of the pasta – with delicious crispy bacon and a lovely, slightly fiery tomato sauce. Finally I found what I had been looking for! You’ll find Mimi & Coco near to Piazza Navona on Via del Governo Vecchio, 72 00186 Roma, Italia.

Mimi g-f pasta

Us in Mimi

Super-Easy Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Creamy Salmon Pasta




Taking some time to make a delicious meal is lovely – but often I want to be able to whizz something together with zero effort. So I made this Creamy Salmon Pasta recipe for lunch at the weekend. Zoe (who’s almost 2 years’ old) loved it!

Recently Peter (hubby) and I went on a health blitz for a weekend. We drank loads of juices and ate mainly salads with either pulses or steamed fish. It reminded me just how delicious steamed fish can be – beautifully moist and very soft textured. And the flavours of the fish come through wonderfully. So here I’ve steamed the salmon, instead of frying or baking, to get that gorgeous taste and texture.

gluten-free, wheat-free, dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, seed-free

Preparation time 2 minutes     Cooking time 15 minutes     Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 4 salmon fillets
  • 400g gluten-free pasta
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for greasing
  • 450ml soya cream cheese
  • juice 2 limes
  • 1 small bunch chives, finely snipped
  • 1 handful finely chopped dill leaves
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper (optional)
  1. Grease the skins of the salmon with the oil and put in a steamer. Cook for 12–15 minutes over a high heat, depending on how cooked you like it, until it is cooked through. Take the fish out of the pan and remove the skins. Using a fork, flake the fish, checking for any bones and discarding any you may find.
  2. Put the pasta in a large saucepan and cover with boiling water. Pour in the oil and stir well. Cook over a medium heat for about 8–10 minutes, or according to the packet instructions, stirring frequently so that the pasta does not stick together. Drain and rinse well with boiling water, then drain again and return to the pan.
  3. Mix together the soy cream cheese and lime juice in a large mixing bowl until smooth and cream. Stir in the herbs and the pasta and season with salt and pepper if you like, and stir in thoroughly. Add the salmon, stir in gently and serve.

Dairy-Free Pesto Pasta


Dairy-free cheese makes a fantastic pesto. I find the harder types of dairy-free cheese (often called cheddar-style) best for this, but any of them work well. This recipe freezes well, so you can prepare a large batch – especially if basil is in season and inexpensive – and freeze individual portions for when you’re just too tired or just don’t have any spare time to cook.

gluten-free, wheat-free, dairy-free, egg-free, citrus-free

Preparation time 2 minutes     Cooking time 10–13 minutes     Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 400g gluten-free pasta
  • 50g basil
  • 25g pine nuts
  • 1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
  • 40g dairy-free cheese
  • sea salt
  1. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil, then the pasta. Cook over a medium heat for about 8–10 minutes, or according to the packet instructions, stirring frequently so that the pasta does not stick together.
  2. Meanwhile, wash the basil under the running cold tap, and carefully pat dry in a clean tea towel.
  3. Heat a heavy-based frying pan over a low heat. Add the pine nuts and dry-fry for 2-3 minutes, until they start to brown. Keep the nuts moving all the time so they don’t burn.
  4. Remove from the heat and tip the nuts into the bowl of a food processor. Add the basil leaves, garlic and dairy-free cheese, and start to blend the mixture. With the motor running, pour the remaining oil in gradually until the mixture becomes a thick, dense sauce. Add salt to taste.
  5. Drain the pasta and rinse well with boiling water, then drain again. Serve immediately with the sauce.

Harry’s Nut-Free, Dairy-Free Pesto Pasta!


Harry’s Mum requested this as Harry can’t eat pesto because of a nut allergy. He’s fine with chickpeas (but they’re part of the same food family as peanuts, so it’s important to check this out), so I devised this recipe. Apparently it was a great success!

gluten-free, wheat-free, dairy-free, nut-free, seed-free, egg-free, citrus-free

Preparation time 5 minutes plus overnight soaking time, if using dried chickpeas
Cooking time 1½ hours–2 hours, if using dried chickpeas     Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 400g gluten-free pasta
  • 50g basil
  • 25g dried chickpeas, or 50g tinned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
  • 40g dairy-free cheese
  • sea salt
  1. If using dried chickpeas, place them in a bowl, cover with cold water and leave to soak overnight or for at least 12 hours.
  2. The next day, drain the chickpeas, then rinse thoroughly. Put in a large saucepan, cover with fresh water and bring to the boil. Boil rapidly for 10 minutes, then turn the heat down, cover with a lid and leave to simmer for 1-1½  hours until tender. Drain thoroughly.
  3. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Add 1 tbsp of the oil, then the pasta. Cook over a medium heat for about 8–10 minutes, or according to the packet instructions, stirring frequently so that the pasta does not stick together.
  4. Meanwhile, wash the basil under the running cold tap, and carefully pat dry in a clean tea towel.
  5. Put the basil leaves, garlic, cooked or tinned chickpeas and dairy-free cheese into the bowl of a food processor, and start to blend until the mixture is a smooth puree. With the motor running, pour the remaining oil in gradually until the mixture becomes a thick, dense sauce. Add salt to taste.
  6. Drain the pasta and rinse well with boiling water, then drain again. Serve immediately with the sauce.