Sunday, October 17, 2010

Gourmet gluten-free caterers

It's nice to be able to eat the food at your own party. With the help of Karen Will Cater, that's exactly what I was able to do at my recent birthday drinks.

After discovering a number of gluten-free caterers on the web, I chose Karen Will Cater as all her gluten-free options were listed on her website, making it easy to select choices. Karen was also very easy to deal with, efficient, and as one guest commented her food "was to die for".

Karen Will Cater offers nearly 20 hot and cold gluten-free finger food options.  My choices were:
  • Italian meatballs with tomato relish
  • Garlic and lemon prawn skewers
  • Zucchini and haloumi fritters with minted Greek yoghurt
  • Kumara, fetta and spinach frittata with prosciutto
  • Hand-made sushi pieces
  • Minted Moroccan lamb on polenta cakes
Karen Will Cater also provided a delicious Mediterranean chicken dish of lovely legs in a tomato sauce with olives and mushrooms with rice.  While there was plenty of finger food it was good to be able to serve something a bit more substantial to those that stayed on.  

As my sister and niece made a gluten-free orange and almond cake, we didn't order any of Karen's gluten-free sweet options, which include mini meringue nests with fresh cream and seasonal fruit, vanilla bean pannacotta, expresso-sized chocolate macadamia mousse and red wine poached corella pears.

As well as being our wait staff for the night, Karen and her daughter-in-law Georgina were very obliging in opening the door for guests and putting flowers in vases.

She can also cater for diabetics, people with a nut allergy, vegetarians, lactose intolerant and those on a wheat free or low fat diet.

In my investigations to find a gluten-free caterer I also discovered Onsight Catering and One Earth Foods, who were both very pleasant to deal with and offer a variety of GF options.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Jugiong's Long Track Pantry

On the way back from Wagga Wagga recently we had lunch at the Long Track Pantry at Jugiong.  Jugiong is a small town of about 230 people north of Gundagai and south of Yass off the Hume Highway.  A few famous people have passed through the Murrumbidgee River town including explorers' Hume and Hovell in 1824, bushranger Ben Hall in 1864 and Australian cricketer Richie Benaud who began his schooling there in 1935.

Inbetween the historic Sir George Tavern and the Jugiong Wine Cellar which doubles as an art gallery, the Long Track Pantry offers delicious fresh food in season including some gluten-free options. Local fruit and vegetable merchant Gino Polimeni provides the cafe with its fresh ingredients.

Manager Juliet Robb says while they do not aim to specifically cater for coeliacs and gluten-intolerant customers they try to offer something for everyone who comes through their doors. She added that having a coeliac on staff gave them excellent access to information and knowledge about products containing gluten.

This meant that my choice of locally smoked lamb, red onion relish, cheese and tomato toastie on Deeks gluten free bread was cooked in alfoil to prevent any contamination. The cafe offers four other toastie fillings which can all be made on Deeks gluten-free bread - the cafe's GF bread of choice. 

Other options for coeliacs include the Long Track Plate and the Ploughman's Lunch, both of which are antipasto-style meals which can be served with gluten-free bread. Some of their soups are also gluten-free, as well as their salads.

The cafe always offers one gluten-free cake. On the day we lunched at the red-gingham table clothed cafe we shared the vanilla and almond torte, which was very moist and melted in your mouth.

Added to the delicious food, the service at the Long Track Pantry is friendly and quick. The cafe also sells a vast array of jams, marmalade, chutneys, relishes and preserved fruit which are made from local produce and are all gluten-free.

Throughout the year Juliet Robb holds a number of cooking classes. The last sessions for 2010, which are being held on Tuesday 2 November from 10.00am-1.00pm and Saturday 6 November from 5.30-8.30pm, are on 'Summer Entertaining for Crowds with Ease and Confidence'. The Long Track Pantry is open from 10am-4pm (closed Tuesdays).