Gluten free at Abama Hotel Tenerife

With a  multitude of food intolerances holidaying at a Hotel for me is a very daunting thought. Something I’d almost rather not consider.  But after a tough year with health issues and a house move we really felt we needed a break away. A break where we both had complete relaxation , no cooking or worrying about what to eat.

My husband had heard good things about the Abama in Tenerife . A Ritz Carlton Hotel in Guia de Isora . After a little persuassion we booked a week in the winter sun.

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Abama Hotel

In advance we emailed the food and beverage manager at the hotel . Giving a hotel advanced notice I think is a good idea, whether you are gluten free due to having coeliac disease or a dairy intolerance or like me a long list of foods I have to avoid. The restaurants then have time to make sure they can be fully prepared.

I felt far calmer about the holiday once the email was sent and a reply had been received. My husband researched all the restaurants at Abama and pre booked every night before we flew. Abama has two Michelin star Restaurants , neither was something we felt we needed to try , although I’m sure they are amazing . With so much other choice we knew we would eat well . We chose to go half board to get the best deal.

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Restaurants –

La Miramar – locally sourced Seafood restaurant / Breakfast venue for Villa guests

Verona  – Italian

20/20 Steak house

TXOKO – Traditional Spanish

Beach club restaurant

Los Chozos – Bar and restaurant ( not visited )

La Casa club ( not visited )

Sports bar ( not visited )

Lobby bar

M.B – Michelin star restaurant ( not visited )

Abama Kabuki – Japanese fusion Michelin star restaurant (not visited )

 

We arrived on Thursday afternoon and after checking in we were met by the Executive chef and we were given a glass of Cava . He instantly made me feel at ease about my week at Abama . Opening up his laptop he took more notes as I chatted him through my list including onions, garlic, paprika, chilli’s, yeast including wine & vinegar and Gluten . He was so reassuring making notes in both english and Spanish to send to all the restaurants. A fantastic start!

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Our villa

Our first meal was lunch at the beautiful beach side restaurant local fish grilled with the softest mash , just perfect alfresco dinning in a relaxed atmosphere. In the evening we ate at the Seafood restaurant overlooking the sea. With the weather in Tenerife warm enough to sit outside with heaters just like a UK good summer. We enjoyed a salt crusted Sea bass with traditional Tenerife style potatoes and vegetables.

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stunning view from our villa

Day 2 was our first chance to experience breakfast on the veranda of La Mirabar Alfresco this restaurant is for Villa guests only . A big plus for me, close to our villa and views straight out to the sea and the island of La Gomera. At 9am in the morning it was warm enough to sit outside with just a cardigan. From the very first minute I felt like a very special guest . Post it notes were on all our bookings and every day I was told reasuringly that they were informed about my intolerances. There was a huge buffet but also an a la cart menu Which I chose from every day. Sometimes asking for things off menu which the chef was happy to provide . Delicious omelettes , poached eggs, salmon bacon, avocado etc.

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Stunning views at breakfast

They struggled to understand that I couldn’t eat the gluten free bread and rolls and occasionally offered it to me. The good thing was I was able to have a look at what was on offer and the gluten free rolls etc looked really nice. I also noticed that lactose free milk was available and soya milk was available at the buffet. Plenty of fresh fruit as you would expect and hams and cheeses were on offer. I had these brought directly from the kitchen rather than the buffet to avoid the cross contamination .

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Alfresco breakfast in January

Our evening was spent at the steak restaurant 20/20 This restaurant is up at the hotel a steep walk or a 5 min buggy ride away. The waiting staff here were a little slow but on the whole it was a fine meal of Spanish cheese and Iberian ham , Steak and gluten free fries and a creme brûlée . It reminded me of eating at Côte.

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20/20 Steak house

Our third Evening was spent at the Amazing Spanish restaurant our favourite . The waiting and front of house team were exceptional The surrounding were lovely an indoor restaurant up at the hotel again but very Spanish in feel and just that extra bit special. The food was a real treat the best aged Iberian ham I have ever tasted along with some good quality Manchego cheese .

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Aged Iberian ham and Manchego cheese

My main course was some beautifully cooked fish with crispy skin , steamed veg and fries made specially for me in separate oil . Gluten free desserts are always more difficult to find on a menu it seems. But here I was offered the most incredible Spanish decadent rice pudding I had ever tasted with a brûlée style topping . At the end of the meal unexpectedly the wonderful Chef came out to be introduced and shook our hands . I’m sure the other customers thought we were very special , they made such a fuss of us.

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Decadent sweet rice pudding

Days were spent by the adult only pool very close to our villa looking out to sea and beyond to La Gomera , With complimentary water and fruit there was no need to move at all, or pay out for lunch  .

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January winter sun

Just plenty of time for absorbing some much needed vitamin D and reading some gentle books . Perfect for improving your mental health and completely switching off from all the pressures of life. The pool staff were attentive and friendly the pool area was very clean and quiet . The water was 24 degrees perfect for a little light exercise . There was a bar on site for tapas style lunches and a cheeky drink.

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The Adult only pool

Day 4 we had booked to eat at 20/20 again but as we were not over enamoured with the quality of the food we changed to the Spanish restaurant where we knew we would eat like Kings. It might sound strange but I had virtually the same meal as i’d had the night before. Being a Spanish restaurant the majority of main courses contained onions and garlic etc  But I was quite happy having more beautiful fish and this time special mash made for me by the chef in advance as he had asked on our last visit if there was anything he could make for me specially . The rice pudding the night before had been so amazing an even though there was other choices apart from fruit . I couldn’t resist ordering it a second time. So sweet and creamy it somehow felt very homely and comforting . Although I’ve never eaten quite such an amazing rice pudding in the UK.

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A very memorable evening meal was the special Paella the chef created at La Miramar

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Chef created a special paella just for me

Our final evening was spent at the Italian restaurant at the hotel, This restaurant did have gluten free pastas available , but I chose some lovely fish and fresh veggies followed by a delicious raspberry panna cotta .

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If you are thinking of spending a week on Tenerife, I can recommend a drive up the volcano Mount Teide , the scenery is absolutely stunning and surprised me enormously.

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view from the volcano

The small coastal villages are beautiful as are the historic inland villages like Garachico with quiet squares for people watching and welcome shade in the heat of the day.

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Garachico

The hotel we stayed at was really lovely and I can definitely recommend . I would particularly recommend a villa rather than a hotel room . It has the edge on the hotel and feels just that little more special.  Our room was clean , nicely decorated and had the most stunning views from our balcony.

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Family pool and our villa

Well worth a stay if you are celebrating a special birthday or anniversary . Just be aware the hotel is on a hill , with relatively steep slopes and numerous steps around the resort. There is though a team of drivers to taxi you around in golf buggies ( allow 15mins plus ) , a resort train to take you to the beach and hotel.

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resort train

and a funicular railway down to the golden sand beach .

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View of the beach

We had a fabulous time, and would definitely return, when we’ve saved up !

its certainly not a cheap holiday but for a special occasion you can’t go wrong.

Happy Holidays !

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My review of McCain’s new gluten free Home chips

Recently McCain asked if I would be happy to try their new gluten free Home chips and review them . I normally have a bag of McCain original oven chips in my freezer as they are gluten free,  so I was interested to try these new gluten free Home chips.

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These chips have a battered coating made from potato starch,rice flour,dextrin, pea fibre, raising agent . Prepared with sunflower oil

I had family over on Sunday so we decided we would all give them a try for a quick supper. they cook straight from frozen in a hot oven for 20mins . I turned them a few times while they were cooking  .

The result was a chip with a crisp exterior and a soft fluffy inside, we all agreed they were a perfect chip . An essential for the freezer .

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The family enjoyed them, and as my home is gluten free I will probably keep some in my freezer for a last minute supper.

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When I have time I like to treat myself to homemade chips made just from potato or sweet potato and oven cooked in beef dripping for 25- 30 mins in a hot oven.

McCain The Home Chip 1.5kg bag £2.50 Now available from Tesco 

click here for website -McCain 

I would be interested to know what you think , please let me know!

I was not paid to write this review . A bag of frozen chips were given to me free of charge to test.

Gluten free Bagels

I love all of Isabel’s free from mixes My  favourites are the Dough balls and the Pizza mix. Both popular with my gluten eating family too.

Today I thought I would have another go at Bagels using the Pizza mix. I’ve made these a few times before but knew they should have risen more in size than they had done.

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These latest yeast free gluten free Bagels are the best by far! This time I used 3 medium size eggs , rather than two eggs. I’m not sure if that made a difference. I also kneaded the bread dough for much longer. When it came to adding the bagels to boiling water , I left them in the boiling water for three minutes bubbling away ( I flipped them over once during this time ). I saw them double in size .

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I finally sat them on a tea towel to dry then popped them on a greased baking tray at fan 160c for 25mins. Some I sprinkled with sesame seeds some I left plain.

I was astounded at the difference from my  previous attempts. They were a great size, they did collapse a little when cooling but far superior to previous attempts.

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They freeze well and are best refreshed in the microwave

Click here for the recipe from Isabel’s free from

I have also tried Isabel’s Tea cakes made in a very similar way. Totally delicious. Tea cake recipe

Isabel’s recipe for Bagels

200g Isabels pizza mix

2 eggs , I used 3 medium eggs

2 tbsp Veg oil , I used olive oil as a healthier choice

50ml water

gluten free baking powder

1 tsp sugar

160c fan oven

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Isabel’s mixes available from Morrisons and Asda, online at Ocado or isabelfreefrom.co.uk

What will you fill your Bagel with ?

 

 

 

 

On days like today I really miss buttered toast!

In the early hours of yesterday morning I woke up with extreme stomach pain, a cramping pain that grew stronger by the hour. Anyone with IBD will know exactly what I mean . I have been fortunate enough to have avoided this for almost two years. I don’t as yet take any drugs but do stick to a very specific diet that works for me.

Avoiding all grains especially gluten and reducing my dairy intake particulary cows milk . Butter seems to be fine for me, but I often use coconut oil and beef dripping in my cooking. I also avoid yeast, onions and garlic and paprika which have all been triggers in the passed.

Anyway back to the other night, after the pain started the nausea and then vomiting and also strangely a runny nose. followed.  Aching inflamed joints and all in all after several hours I was exhausted . The pain etc carried on for seven hours in all . My husband was a star and nursed me through the night.

About 8.30am half an hour before I fell asleep .In despiration  I whats app’d my Church home group to ask for prayer to take the pain away. I had eight replies in a few moments. I remember very little after this as I then slept until 3.30pm. My faith is a great strength to me and my home group are a huge support.

Thankfully when I awoke the pain and nausea had gone. I never eat after a flare up like this and find that mint tea and water to rehydrate is all I can handle.

Today I have managed homemade chicken broth which I had in the freezer. My broth/stock is just slow boiled chicken carcass and water.

I’m hoping tonight to have cooked plain chicken a little mash and a few well cooked green beans . I was researching low residue diet today to see what was best to eat. I have never been given any dietary help with my diagnoses of Crohn’s disease so its all trial and error.

I would be interested to hear from anyone else with Crohn’s Disease or Colitis as to how  you manage your symptoms with diet and what you eat after a flare up.

On days like today I really miss simple buttered toast.

Bake off will be extra hard to watch tonight as its bread week.

 

 

Gluten Free Hazelnut Tuiles

As its Biscuit week on The Great British Bake Off tonight I thought I would have a go at a new biscuit.

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Inspired by a Mary Berry recipe from a book from 1995 Mary Berry’s complete cook book ( my most used cookery book )

I set about making a gluten free version using hazelnuts to decorate.

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Recipe 

2 egg whites

125g caster sugar

60g gluten free plain flour

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

60g melted butter

rough chopped hazelnuts or flaked almonds

Method

Line a couple of baking sheets with baking parchment

put egg whites and caster sugar into a mixer , beat until frothy

add sieved flour , butter and vanilla extract

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mix well

put 6 teaspoon’s of mixture on to the sheet leaving plenty of space between each one

sprinkle with a few crushed hazelnuts

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bake in a hot oven 180c for 6 mins

take out immediately and using a spatula or fish slice

put each one on a greased rolling pin

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to cool, then put on a wire rack

They should resemble roof tile’s ‘tuile’

repeat until all mixture is used up.

store in an airtight container.

I think if these had been presented to Paul and Mary on the ‘gingham alter’ I think they would probably have said they needed another minute in the oven as they were slightly softer than intended . Still delicious though.

 

Enjoy watching Bake off!

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Gluten free at the Medicine garden Cobham

On one of the hottest days of the year I decided to go and investigate a walled garden with cafe’s and shops in Cobham. I only recently found out about this beautiful walled garden on  Instagram. After seeing lovely pics I was keen to go and explore.

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Not far from the centre of Cobham Surrey the Walled garden can be found on Downside road KT11 3LU . My sat nav didn’t quite get the position right , undeterred I phoned up and a helpful lady explained that it was just a little further up the road. Medicine garden shares an entrance with a fencing company. Both sets of signs are clear to see from the road. There is plenty of free parking and the Gardens themselves are free to enter. A donation is requested for the upkeep of the gardens but this is not compulsory .

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As I visited towards the end of August many of the beautiful flowers were going over, but this did not take away from my overall experience. Bees and butterflies were still busy amongst the remaining bright colours and seed heads stood to attention in the heat on the midday sun.

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It was quite a lot to take in at first, I hadn’t gone with any preconceived ideas. The Medicine garden is enclosed in a gorgeous old wall and with the bright blue sky and honey coloured stone and palm tree you could have been somewhere far more exotic than Cobham. Not that Cobham isn’t a lovely destination !

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Firstly I took a tour around the entire area taking in the Airstream converted to a cafe, a canopied south facing raised seating area with miss match of bright coloured chairs a huge pink leather settee and large ornate mirror.

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A more shady area to the left with white roses growing up the wall and long tables perfect for a large group.

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A small play area fort for 4yrs and up surrounded by sand , full of little ones making the most of the school holidays. Next to a small veggie patch.

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Bike stands available for cyclists  making it a perfect half way spot for an espresso.

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This bike had seen better days but made a perfect container for flowers.

Glistening in the sunshine the vintage Airstream has pride of place serving teas and coffee’s etc from late spring to early autumn.

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On through to the most quirky garden pod cafe, set in the courtyard and formerly the potting shed open daily throughout the year. I was here to seek out any gluten free offerings, and I wasn’t to be disappointed. The staff were very friendly and helpful and explained that all the gluten free cakes and biscuits came from a local bakery Le Papillon Patisserie ( this is not a dedicated gluten free bakery ) but the GF labeled cakes on site in the cafe were stored in separate glass covered containers. There were three choices of gluten free and a vegan choice.

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I chose a gluten free macaroon and a cup of english breakfast tea, I tend to take my own milk as I prefer unsweetend almond. I imagine that the cafe would offer a dairy free alternative to milk. I think my bill was about £4 about average for anywhere in Surrey.

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I carried my tray out onto the south facing terrace under the shade of the huge white canopy . It was maybe a little to hot to be sitting in the sun but it looked so welcoming that I embraced the heat! For those who prefer the shade there was a cool shady courtyard on the other side of the cafe offering relief from the hot sun and many people were sensibly enjoying their lunches in the cool.

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Even though the car park was very busy there was plenty of places to sit I chose a tiny table and chair looking out onto the grass slowly getting scorched in the sun. My gluten free macaroon was a real treat , I have to admit I am always nervous of eating baked goods out as I worry about cross contamination. I have been absolutely fine after eating it and I’m sure they are careful to avoid causing any ill effects. I really liked my mug, and the tea and would definitely take friends along next time.

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Soon the heat became too much so I retreated into the shade of the courtyard. A selection of tiny shops. The Art shed, The Beehive, Blid and Hattan gatherings, The White Orchid flower shop and The Pineapple store entice you in. Plenty of plants for sale too and garden pots etc .

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Most of the little shops were in the shade and on the more northerly side of the courtyard allowing a rest bite from the intense heat of the day. I enjoyed a browse and could think of quite a few friends who would enjoy these indie shops too.

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The courtyard is also home to The Hothouse cafe, on my visit it certainly was a hot house! but on a regular English day I’m sure it would be lovely to sit inside. Gluten free bread was on offer but as always if you are Coeliac check first about their cross contamination policy ( separate toaster etc )

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The Medicine garden does not allow you to bring picnics along, but encourages you to buy something tasty from the cafe’s and eat it in or alfresco on one of the sun decks and for a picnic style you can borrow a blanket or sit on one of the extra large deckchairs.

Babies food is an exception and home prepared can be eaten in the gardens. Many families with young children where gathered in groups under the shade of the trees. Ice creams and lollies were available and I noticed a sign saying most flavours were gluten free. To upkeep the beautiful gardens and walls they  encourage you to purchase something from the cafe’s . A small price to pay to spend as long as you like in this stunning environment and to maintain it for the future.

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I made time to walk around the circle of trees reading carefully the inspirational texts written at each point . Even with the sun beating down it was a few moments of calm.

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My next visit won’t be too far away I’m sure. But I particularly look forward to late spring / early summer 2017 when I’m sure the gardens will be at their best.

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I can really recommend this hidden gem, why not go and check it out for yourself .

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You can follow Medicine garden on Instagram @medicinegardencobham 

Twitter @medicinegarden 

 

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Chocolate and Hazelnut Cookies

I made these new cookies today, and as they were so delicious I wanted to share the recipe straight away.

I’ve eaten two already and they are not even cold , a crisp outside with a soft chocolatey and nutty inside . I hope you enjoy them too.

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Recipe –

100g ground almonds

2 tbsp coconut flour

2 tsp cacao

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1/4 cup desiccated coconut

1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts

1/2 cup dark chocolate chips gluten free

1/4 cup maple syrup

70g melted unsalted butter

1 beaten large egg

Method

mix together all the dry ingredients

add the melted butter , maple syrup and beaten egg

stir together well

mould small balls of cookie dough and pop onto a lined baking sheet

bake in a pre heated oven 170c for 14 mins

cool on a wire rack

Enjoy !