Aylena hails from Ireland but lived in the UK for eight years before moving to South Africa a couple of years ago and starting her blog Gluten Free South Africa. She was diagnosed with coeliac disease nine years ago and since cutting gluten from her diet, she has never looked back. Aylena highlights the difficulties of finding the range of specialist gluten-free products in South Africa that she was used to in the UK, but also presents us with solutions in the form of delectable gluten-free recipes that you can prepare at home. She often posts cakes and baked goods – the things that you don't expect on a gluten-free diet. And to be honest, many of her recipes look irresistible even to committed gluten-eaters like me – see for yourself!
1. Where are you - in South Africa or out in the wide world?
I'm lucky enough to be living in beautiful Cape Town
2. How long have you been blogging?
Only since August 2007
3. What do you enjoy the most about food or wine blogging?
Connecting with others and in some cases, meeting them in person! Blogging is so perfect for us coeliacs in our small niche medical diet world to support each other and exchange ideas, advice about visiting other countries and recipes.
4. Any downsides or frustrations?
That my Canon EOS was stolen in the UK and I since then I take my photos with a point-and-shoot!
5. What or who are your inspirations to cook, drink and write?
The superb quality of produce, ingredients and meat here in Cape Town. I'm working my way through all the wine farms in the Cape.
6. Where and when do you like to blog?
I don't have a laptop so it is always from my study overlooking Sea Point and the Atlantic. I blog during downtimes in work, which varies wildly from week to week
7. What's your signature dish or favourite wine?
My favourite wine is Villera's Sauvignon Blanc
8. What other food or wine blogs do you read?
I love Gluten Free Goddess for the quality of her writing and photos; Glutenfree Gobsmacked and Glutenfree Bay for bread recipes that really work; Dianne's Glutenfree Journey because we like a lot of the same food, but her blog looks alot healthier than mine. Gourmandises Sans Gluten has good quality recipes. I've had some lol moments at Martin Dwyer's blog and he has consistently excellent recipes.
9. Favourite restaurant?
My all-time favourite restaurant is in Aberdeen, Scotland: the Foyer Restaurant, situated in an art gallery and working together with an organisation to help homeless people in Aberdeen. The food is top quality seasonal food and showcases Aberdeen's fabulous local produce from seafood to meat to produce from the surrounding rich agricultural hinterland. They recently produced a separate gluten free menu which means there is a choice of at least SIX gluten free dinner options!
10. For my last meal on this planet I would order…?
If I could die instantly, I would go to a French patisserie and go crazy…but if not, it would be a seafood feast of seared scallops, fresh grilled mackerel with gooseberries finishing with rhubarb tart.