Hello, I'm Stella!
I am a London-based footwear designer turned food photographer, stylist, and recipe writer; with a focus on gluten-free food. Since being diagnosed with Coeliac Disease in 2010, and Sjogren's Syndrome in 2016, I finally had answers to all my bizarre bloating, foggy head, and serious fatigue episodes; my love for cooking nutritious food, and my quest for good gut health and wellbeing have since become my passion.
I draw my inspiration from my Greek heritage (the women in my family are incredible cooks) and the many countries in Asia I have traveled to. It is very typical in Greek households to not have or follow recipes. Cooking is done by eye, taste, and feeling. I have grown up with this instinct, but I wanted a place to treasure these gifts, all the while turning family favourites into nutritious gluten-free versions and documenting them in the process for others to try at home.
My exploratory and intuitive style allow me to apply my breadth of experience to any cuisine and I enjoy nothing more than experimenting with a recipe to make it healthy and gluten-free. My extensive knowledge of gluten-free living and maintaining a healthy gut is from my own experiences learning from nutritionists and nutrigenomics specialists.
It’s been a long journey of continuous learning, and I can empathise with how the initial adjustment can be difficult and overwhelming. Back then I just didn’t understand the variety of gluten-free ingredients that I now know and food felt very limited.
There came a point where the flavours and sheer happiness I used to experience in my mother's cooking were missing from my life for fear there was gluten hiding somewhere. I just knew there had to be more than this.
What else could I eat? How to accept no more bread, pasta, cake, pancakes you name it. Then it hit me. No. More. Baklava! You can imagine my distress after a life with such delicacies.
And so I began to process it all, I researched A LOT, I read countless autoimmune condition books, nutrition courses out of interest, I did DNA tests to better understand my own genetics, and all to say I advocate the natural and holistic approach to healing. I have a deep rooted passion for health and well being and for me that starts in the kitchen.
Did you know approximately 70% of our immune system is contained in our gut wall? That was an eye opener for me and you might not connect digestive problems with allergies, arthritis, autoimmune diseases as well as mood, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), acne, chronic fatigue etc, but many diseases seemingly unrelated are actually caused by gut problems and the 'leaky gut'. If you want to start making steps to fix your health, start with your gut. Gut health affects your entire body.
Fast forward 10 years being gluten free, I’m more self aware of my body than I ever was, I no longer bloat, my energy levels and fatigue are balanced, my skin, nails and hair are healthier and overall I feel great for making the shift.
Gluten free options have come a long way from what cardboard bread and crackers I remember getting on prescription all those years ago. But in many ways being a Coeliac has been a blessing in disguise for me, as not only does it keep me away from all the heavily processed and unhealthy toxic food out there, but I have become so open to new and exciting foods worldwide that I may have never come across if these were not my circumstances.
My quest for discovering new ingredients and recipes has lead me to travel across Europe and South East Asia several times, including Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, China, Cambodia and Laos. Besides soaking up the sun and exploring the local life, one of my favourite things to do is wander to local supermarkets searching for new and naturally gluten-free ingredients I can bring home and cook with.
I have spent countless hours searching recipe books and browsing the internet for the perfect gluten-free ‘just-like the original’ recipes, the perfect fluffy pancakes, crunchy bread with a soft crumb, shortcrust pastry that doesn't crumble apart, a banana bread with good bounce, you name it, and very often we have been disappointed with the results. I created Glutini as a celebration of this journey, sweet and savoury recipes, all tried, tested and perfected! My own recipes as well as familiar Greek favourites to honour my heritage, as let’s face it, Greek cuisine done right is just so yummy and healthy!
Whether you are Coeliac, gluten intolerant, or simply interested in Greek cuisine, I’m so glad you’re here and I want to show you gluten-free cooking can be equally nutritious and delicious.
Love and Baklava,