Tag Archives: food

Gluten Free Puno & Lake Titicaca

Neither Kay or I realized when we got to Puno that its elevation would affect us with altitude sickness already. We both had headaches, a bit of nausea, a general sense of feeling unwell, and were really winded walking around. My headache felt like a vague hangover with stuffed up ears, but soon I realized that my stomach was upset probably due to the altitude and not food we had eaten.

For our first dinner, we went to Mojsa Restaurant in the main square and ordered some coca tea to help our headaches.Our waitress was American and I was really happy to know that she knew what gluten was and could recommend several things to me.
I ordered the Sirloin steak with Andean chimichurri, golden huayro and sweet potatoes, and parsley alioli sauce before getting pretty sick and running to the bathroom several times. When I came back, I’d lost my appetite completely (another symptom of altitude sickness) and it was a shame because my food looked really yummy.As I mentioned in our homestay post, we spent the next day in the care of locals who cooked mainly corn and potatoes, all gluten free. The soup below was absolutely delicious and vegetarian, with fresh muña tea herbs for our tea.Also at lunch after the soup, we got a big bowl of various potatoes, some carrots I think, as well as a big piece of salty goat cheese.I was really impressed with the cooking the entire homestay because the kitchen was basically a small hovel off the eating area. It looked more like a barn or trash room because the family always swept everything from the eating area into the small kitchen space so that they could pick things up to burn later on. I was SO curious to see how they really cooked in a space like that. It was very small and cramped, with no vents for the smoke.For dinner we had a kind of carrot and potato mix with rice.The next morning I was concerned when our mama served us what looked like pancakes. Communicating with Kay’s Portuñol to their dialect of Quechua was a little tricky, but we verified that there was no “Harina de Trigo” and that it should just be made out of corn, so I ate my pancakes with coca tea and they were delicious.Next on our homestay tour, we had left Amantaní Island and headed to Taquile Island where we had a big goodbye lunch before heading back to Puno. Here I asked our guide to make sure the food was OK for me. First up was some quinoa soup. We realized on the trip that quinoa, which we eat so often now with my celiac diet, often comes from Peru, and that the local diet uses it heavily, to my benefit.For lunch we had a choice and I picked fresh fish with a side of rice, fries, and some veggies. I also purchases an additional Coke out of the homestay package because I felt icky and headachey and it took my headache right away. After that, I pretty much felt fine and headache-free from the altitude for the rest of the trip. Still extra winded though. 😉Back in Puno, I wanted to go back to Mojsa Restaurant because I didn’t believe that the food had made me sick and I really wanted to try their gluten free brownie for dessert. It really had to be the altitude, which is quite a common reaction from travelers.

Kay and I decided to split a ceviche as our appetizer because we hadn’t had it in Lima yet and it was delicious, it was trout ceviche with sweet potatoes and crunchy corn. If you are heading to Peru, make sure to try this signature Peruvian dish of fish cured in citrus. For my main, I got the grilled trout fillet with a passion fruit and rocoto pepper sauce, served with sautéed vegetables. And a Pisco Sour, because we’d hiked a tough walk on Amantaní Island. 😉For dessert, I got my brownie and shared a tiny bit with Kay, who was quite stuffed himself.On our fourth day in Puno, we thought we’d try something else out and we had the dreaded breakfast search, which is honestly still the worst part of traveling as a celiac. I’d eaten a snack bar or two before we found Cafe Bar de la Casa del Corregidor, which seemed like it was the cafe of a kind of hostel in the area.Muña tea and espresso were ordered, as well as juice because it was breakfast for us.The menu was not extremely gluten-free friendly, but I got some kind of frittata that met my needs.We also decided to split some chicken kebabs. Looking at them is making me hungry again.After we walked up to the Condor in Puno, we stopped at the cafe again for some classic Inca Kola, which is like bubble gum flavored pop.I also ordered a quinoa soup because breakfast didn’t fill me enough.And they were so kind to give us more corn to munch on.For our last meal before our night bus to Cusco, we just went back to Mojsa Restaurant again. I’m still not one for repeats, but it makes life so much easier as a celiac when you know there is a safe restaurant with decent food. I’m making peace with the lack of spontaneity because I don’t have a choice in the matter. What makes life easy, makes life easy.

Because it happened to be our 4th anniversary that night, I decided to go all out and try their kitschy oven baked guinea pig served with sweet potato puree, orange sauce and a small rocoto pepper and tomato salad. Yep, that is a guinea pig and this lady had no shame in eating it. It was GLUTEN FREE!It tasted alright, maybe a bit more gamey than chicken or beef. It was a bit hard to get all the meat off the bone though and I ended up finishing it chicken-wings style.

For dessert, we opted to split the second gluten free dessert, which was a kind of hot, sweet, quinoa porridge with raisins. It was very filling.Up next, we arrive in Cusco the days we’d planned to acclimatize to the altitude we just encountered in Puno. Oops.

More from our trip to Peru:



I-Can-Eat.ch Gluten Free Galore!

I can’t recall if a colleague recommend i-can-eat.ch to me or if I found it when I was searching for gluten free hamburger buns, but it was on my list of things to try out for a long time. I really wanted some pre-made hamburger buns!

In July, I finally made a big order for around 100CHF, which got me much, much more than I would from the local Reformhaus, where bio, gluten-free items cost much more for even the same things.A bag of muesli for instance can cost almost 8CHF in the store, but were under 5CHF online. Not only that, but they had tons of brands and foods not available in stores. I ordered multiple types of cereal, muesli, my hamburger buns, and several types of Belgian gluten-free beer that I had never tried.I had high hopes for the buns, but I only ordered two packs to test them out first. I mean, not only have I not tried to make hamburger buns myself yet, but sometimes you just want the convenience of making something spur-of-the-moment, or as on-the-fly as you can with a meticulous gluten free diet.

I can’t tell you how often I have hamburger cravings and know it’s impossible to order one. The gluten free hamburgers we found in Australia were incredible and I had a strong craving again this summer!We are also pretty set on cereal mixings for a long time. Normally if we don’t feel like going to Reformhaus to buy special cereal, we just buy the only available cereal at Coop or Migros, corn flakes (blah!) and add in dried fruit. Sometimes not even Coop carries GF corn flakes though, but now we can make our mixes with puffed oats or buckwheat, buckwheat flakes, assorted puffs and so on. I was also looking forward to testing out all the beer they had. I only ordered ones I haven’t had before and not everything was in stock, but I got five kinds of Brunehaut beer, which is made similar to Daura GF beer where they make the beer and then de-glutenize it later.

It’s worth noting that these beers would not be allowed to be labeled GF in the US because malt/barley is an ingredient, but I have never reacted on one of these de-glutenized beers yet, so I partake in them from time to time. (Don’t worry, my main love is still caipirinhas!) Overall I am happy with my purchase and plan to make another one in the future. The only downside is all the packaging that ordering online comes with, but lots of these products are French or foreign and I couldn’t  get them in a store in the Zurich area anyway.

Baby Shower Treats

Last weekend some friends and I planned a “surprise” baby shower for a friend in Zürich having her first baby. Baby showers are not common in Switzerland, but we couldn’t help wanting to shower her with gifts and good food and games. It was a lovely day, so I wanted to share a few images of our party decorations and FOOD.

I made Russian teacakes, snickerdoodles and frosted sugar cookies with Easter M&Ms and the flower painted ones. For the flowers I followed this tutorial my friend shared. They were a bit tricky because my piping bag didn’t have small enough nozzles, so I had to dump all my frosting in a ziplocked baggy and cut a much smaller hole to use.

I also made my first diaper cake for the shower! After seeing one at work, I thought it would be a great centerpiece for the party so I set to work making it. I’m thinking of making a tutorial later on to show how I made mine with a cost breakdown.

My friend also has the cutest, most feminine coffee table! In love.

The lady hosting the party at her house got decorations online and they really added to the party feel at the flat.

As you can see, there was a ton of food for our tea party theme and we all stuffed ourselves silly!

Even though lots of desserts were bought and brought from lots of people, they all worked with the baby theme.

One friend put together a Johnson and Johnson basket full of goodies.

Funnily enough, my friend couldn’t figure out where to get the helium balloon filled so she just hung it up on the wall. Gotta do what works! 🙂

Also, doesn’t bubbly just make any party picture look even more divine? 😉

I tried to be healthy and eat salad and fritatas before I gorged myself on cookies and the green tea ice cream below. I was SO full when I left!

What kind of goodies do you make or take to baby showers?