Lets divert a little here ok? Cos I have been busy spinning, weaving, dyeing, posting about it… time for a break. And what could be better during a little side-tinkering than FOOOOOOD??! Not just any old food, no nonono no, cant have just any old food that takes our fancy, nope. I mean food that contains no gluten, gluten free, generally also meaning wheat free.
So a few months ago my daughter was tested and found to have some food sensitivities. Well not too surprising, its in the family, in fact one of my brothers is basically allergic to everything. At one point he was seriously considering he was allergic to air. Or his wife. Luckily for him it was found that it was, in fact, a serious cat allergy that had certainly spread to pretty much everything, but reducing the main allergin did help reduce his other sensitivities to a bearable level and he was able to continue life as a married man. We were all relieved, my sister in law is ten kinds of awesome.
My aunt also has various allergies, in fact that reminds me, I have a mission this week to wash and dye some of the beautiful alpaca I have to send her for christmas! This is the aunt who taught me to spin and gave me my first wheel then sent me to lessons too! And sadly she has since become more and more allergic to wool, she cant spin it anymore. So problem solved, Alpaca! I cant wait to see her spinning it 🙂
Ok back to my daughter. Clearly then this food sensitivity thing is not so rare after all. Last time we were back in New Zealand I noticed that all the Cafe’s have additional gluten free menus with all sorts of wonderous fare of every kind, it was blissfully easy to go out to eat! This acknowledgement of food issues hasnt really reached Holland yet, although I was very happy to find out that our local Pancake restaurant now does gluten free pancakes, OR lactose free pancakes, sadly not gluten AND lactose free in one pancake, but its a start!
So basically when we found out that my daughter was both Lactose and Gluten sensitive, it did rather seem like the world had started rotating in the opposite direction. I mean, this IS the Netherlands, standard fare is pretty much ANYTHING in bread, chocolate sprinkles, speculaas cookies, of course cheese, and all followed with a glass of milk. Have you met many dutch people? They are tall, very tall. I swear its the milk, they drink it a lot, they are probably the least lactose intolerant people on the planet as a consequence, its like natural selection has evolved a race that is totally immune to lactose. I was therefore pretty relieved to find both Soya milk and Rice milk available at the supermarket.
So here we were hunting through recipes for things my daughter, and by that I mean WE because I said I would change my diet with her in support, could safely eat. I immediately felt like we would NEVER be able to ever eat normally again, and our diet would consist of only vegetables fruit and meat. Oh ok, and rice.
I flung my thoughts back to my own teenage years. Ironically, as a young child I never liked meat, hated it, but my mum made me eat it because it was good for me. By the time I was 12 and had finally developed a taste for meat, she had become vegetarian. Of course.
At this point she started feeding us on various vegetarian dishes we fondly dubbed with names like; Road Tar, Fake Shepherds Pie (lentils in place of meat, similar looking enough to get our hopes up only to dash them down again when dished up), and Garden Weeds. Because of her vegetarianism, my mum had also developed an interest in eating weeds. I am sure it had something to do with eating plants that our ancestors ate in place of lettuce and broccoli, but I never could get enthusiastic over ‘Chickweed Salad’ complete with prickly borage leaves, or Boiled Fat hen and bitter Sorrel. However, I must also thank my mum, because these experiences did teach me that there is more to food than plain old meat and two vege, the good ol’ kiwi standby.
Ok so mostly, we eat fresh fruit, vegetables, fish and meat, rice… thats not really changed in fact, and when I started really looking at what had gluten and what didnt, I realised that actually we didnt need to utterly change what we were eating. But its the little things, the milk in the coffee became soya milk, our toast in the morning is now made with gluten free bread,, goats cheese is abundant here, as is sheep cheese. But there are still the treats that we miss. I have started shopping more at the organic farm not far from here, its lovely, and they have a much better range of gluten free and lactose free stuff than any dutch supermarket, although sadly of course everything is triple the price. But hey, we dont eat pancakes every day, or muffins, or apple strudel, so we can now buy those things and have them as treats again, I have gluten free flour and other baking goods, as well as sauces like Soya sauce gluten free, sweet chilli, and pasta too!
Like everything though, too much of the same old thing does get a bit boring, so when I find a site like the ‘Gluten Free Goddess’ I am totally reinspired and remotivated towards food! I dont really surf to find sites like this, so lucky for me there are other lovely foodies who post these sites on their facebook pages, this one from the amazing Christiane from the Three Ravens Fiber Studio, she posted a photo of an incredibly yummy looking Quinoa Mushroom pilaf. It looked so good I followed her link and found the Gluten Free Goddess, what a cool blog! Funny AND packed with amazing recipes, its got everything!
Tomorrow we are going to eat the Roasted Acorn Squash Risotto , it just looks soooo good – I already love risotto and I just happen to have the Squash for it already too – it was fate brought all these elements together..