Gluten Free Favourite’s-November 2017

Here are some of the gluten free products I have enjoyed throughout November.

  1. Quaker Oats Gluten Free Porridge Sachets.

This is my go-to lunch at the moment. It is delicious and takes less that two minutes to make, great for a quick and easy meal.

The sachets hold the perfect portion of gluten free oats and are very filling, keeping me going for the rest of the day. The sachet can be used to measure out the correct amount of milk too. This is great for students, like me, who are unlikely to have a measuring jug or scales in their accommodation. It also saves on washing up which is great because this is my least favourite part of cooking!

My two favourite ways to have this porridge are: covered in cinnamon and topped with banana or with a teaspoon of cocoa powder mixed through. These gluten free oats are not sweetened; I like my porridge to be sweet so I will usually stir a teaspoon of set honey into the bowl as well.

I would definitely recommended these to anyone that likes porridge, especially students or those of us with limited time for breakfast or lunch!

  1. McVitie’s Gluten Free Hobnobs (Milk Chocolate).

I love getting ‘care packages’ from my family; they are definitely the best part of university life, mainly because they are always full of snacks! Recently, my mum sent me a box of gluten free hobnobs and now I am obsessed – It took all of my willpower not to eat the entire box in one sitting!

The biscuits have a great texture, they are crunchy & only slightly crumbly which means they hold their shape really well. There is a generous layer of milk chocolate on the bottom of the biscuit too, which is smooth & delicious.

These biscuits are great dipped in a hot cup of tea (my favourite is Twinning’s English Breakfast) – The chocolate melts but the biscuit holds it shape & leaves minimal soggy crumbs in the bottom of the mug. I was able to dunk my biscuit in my tea at least 5 times before it became too weak! This is very impressive because gluten free baked goods are usually crumbly and easily break apart.

I would definitely recommend these and will be re-purchasing!

  1. Tesco Beef Casserole.

This is perhaps my favourite thing from November.

My days in university are really busy so when it comes to dinner time I prefer to have something that involves minimal preparation and is quick to make. The less time cooking, the more time I can spend in bed watching catch up TV with a hot chocolate!

At university, the microwave is my best friend. I was so excited when I found this gluten free beef casserole in my local Tesco (it is also free from milk and eggs).

The casserole is so easy to cook; you just pierce the plastic film and then heat it in the microwave for 5 minutes. I usually serve this with a portion of homemade dauphinoise potatoes (thanks Dad!) or mash which I also cook in the microwave!

It is worth mentioning that some of the beef can be a little chewy. However, this is to be expected for something that takes five minutes to cook in the microwave! Despite this, the gravy is lovely and thick and the red current jelly gives it a slightly sweet taste. The vegetables are soft but still hold their shape and I was surprised to see a nice mixture of vegetables in the dish including: carrots, swede, peas and mushrooms.

The gluten free dumpling is my favourite part of this meal! They are soft, spongy, light in texture and soak up the delicious gravy, which means they stay moist and do not dry out when heated.

This is proper comfort food. I would recommend this to anyone who likes quick and easy meals; I will definitely continue to purchase this throughout the cold winter months!

Thank you so much for reading. See you again soon!

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Gluten Free Favourite’s – October 2017

I have to start with an apology; Sorry, Halloween is one of my least favourite things about October! I’d much rather stay in, get cosy with a G&T and watch Strictly Come Dancing than head out into the cold dressed as a pumpkin. Side note: I’m loving this series of Strictly so far, I was routing for Charlotte and Brendan (Okay, mainly Brendan!) but now my money is on Aston and Janette– Who’s your favorite?

Here are a few of the gluten free products I’ve loved this October.

  1. Lola’s Cupcakes


I had tried a chocolate cupcake from Lola’s before and found it to be dense & dry however, my opinion and life was changed by their lemon & raspberry cupcake. This cupcake was bought for me as a present from my Dad. The shop assistant had assured him that the Lemon and Raspberry Cupcake was their bestseller and I can understand why. This cupcake is amazing; lemon and raspberry is always a brilliant combo however, add a chocolate flake & a surprise milk chocolate ganache center and you’ve got a winning cupcake.

The sponge is light and fluffy; which is rare for a gluten free cake, especially something as small as a cupcake. As well as this, the icing is creamy but not too thick and the lemon and raspberry flavours cut through the sweetness of the chocolate perfectly.

It is worth mentioning, however, that these cupcakes are quite expensive (approximately £4 each) and so these are definitely a treat reserved for special occasions. Speaking of which, my 21st birthday is in 2.5 months and I definitely wouldn’t mind if someone bought me a box of these *cough cough*!

I would definitely recommend this cupcakes and would love to sample some of their other gluten free versions.

2. Nked Bars.

Nakd bars have been a favourite of mine since I started a gluten free diet in 2014; they come in so many different amazing flavours, are relatively low in calories and make a great mid-morning snack. I often take one of them with me onto campus to eat during a lecture or in breaks between classes. They are perfect brain food, you’ve got to have something to get you through lectures and textbook reading, eh?!

Recently Nakd have added some new flavours to their collection; the chocolate coconut flavour was originally a part of the Nakd Nibbles range and is one of my all time favourte flavours and therefore, I was so glad that it been made into a bar. In fact I was so happy that I forgot to take a photo for you; trust me it was delicious.

I also tried the Bakewell Tart Bar; this is amazing and may be my new favourite bar. The flavour is so close to a real Bakewell tart, its all the yumminess without the calories – What more could you want

 

I would definitely recommend Nked bars to anyone on a gluten free diet; they are a great snack and come in an amazing variety of flavours.

3. Dominos pizza.

Dominos does one of my favourite gluten free pizzas. The pizza bases are crispy, not doughy like most gluten free pizzas I’ve tried. Also, there is a wide range of gluten free safe toppings to choose from including pepperoni which is not often gluten free safe. However, I have had this topping before and had no issues. My favorite topping is Vegi Supreme; I tend to stick the vegetarian toppings, as these are least likely to trigger my IBS. I also order extra of the garlic and herb dip (who doesn’t love that?).

 

Dominos doesn’t slice the gluten free pizza and the box is clearly labeled with a yellow ‘gluten free’ sticker, this helps to ensure that there has been no cross contamination.

The only downfall is that the gluten free pizza only comes in a size small, this sometimes means that I will have to cook something extra and will have to order obscene amounts of dips and drinks to qualify for the 50% student discount! In addition, the pizza lacks cheese so I would definitely recommend opting for extra when placing your order.

Overall, dominos gluten free pizza is a perfect Saturday night treat; for both me and the delivery driver who gets to see me standing outside my halls in my fanciest Disney pajamas and fluffy slippers!

 

Thank you so much for reading. I hope this blog post have given you inspiration to try some new gluten free products; let me know if you do, you can contact me on here or on Instagram @myglutenfreelifeblg.

Have a great weekend and I’ll see you soon.

 

Mum’s Beef Stroganoff

Since being diagnosed with IBS and switching to a gluten free diet, we have had to adapt a lot of the families favourite recipes to ensure that they are gluten safe but also still delicious. One of our families favourite Autumn/Winter dinners is beef stroganoff.

Learning to adapt non-gluten free recipes is difficult especially when you’re aiming to please both the gluten free diner and the rest of the family. So, I thought I’d share with you our gluten free beef stroganoff recipe – it is really delicious and my family promises that they can’t taste the difference.

The equipment you will need is –

  • A slow cooker.
  • Spoon.
  • Large saucepan.
  • Measuring spoons.
  • Measuring jug.
  • Measuring scales.
  • Bowl.

The ingredients you will need are –

  • 50g salted butter.
  • 2 onions.
  • 2 TBSP gluten free plain flour.
  • Salt and pepper.
  • 700g shin of beef (The original recipe calls for braising steak but we have found that shin is more tender when slow cooked).
  • 300ml gluten free beef stock.
  • 400g mushrooms.
  • 1 TSP mixed herbs.
  • 1 TBSP tomato puree.
  • 1 TBSP wholegrain mustard.
  • 150ml soured cream.
  • 1TBSP fresh parsley.
  • 1TSP paprika.
  • Rice (to serve with).

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This recipe serves four people. When we make stroganoff we scale up the quantities, this is so that we have left over mixture to freeze for me to take away with me to university. This is my top tip for eating whilst at university! Get your Mum or Dad to make extra of all your favourite meals, freeze portions and then take these with you to keep in your freezer drawer in your university accommodation. This saves a lot of money on food shopping plus, you’ll have delicious home cooked meals on hand for whenever you don’t have time to cook or are feeling a bit homesick.

Method –

Step One: Turn the slow cooker on and turn the dial to its lowest setting.

Step Two: Finely slice the onions and mushrooms.

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Step Three: Dice the shin of beef. (You can ask your butcher or supermarket meat counter to do this for you!)

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Step Four: Put the butter in a saucepan, once the butter has melted add the onions and mushrooms and cook until soft.

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Step Five: Put the gluten free flour in a bowl or saucepan, season with salt and pepper and then toss the meat in the flour until it’s completely coated. You may need to do this in batches, depending on the amount of meat you are using.

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Step Six: Add the meat to the pan with the vegetables and cook until brown, stirring occasionally.

Step Seven: Make up the stock in the measuring jug.

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Step Eight: Add the stock, herbs, tomato puree and mustard to the pan.

Step Nine: Bring the mixture to the boil and then immediately transfer to the slow cooker.

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Step Ten: Cook for 7-10 hours, stirring occasionally.

Step Eleven: Cook the rice.

Step Eleven: Just before serving, add the soured cream and parsley to the mixture and stir to combine.

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Step Twelves: Serve.

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This is such a wonderful, warming recipe that is definitely one of my top 5 favourite meals. Let me know if you make this, you can contact me on her or on Instagram @myglutenfreelifeblg.

Thank you so much for reading. See you soon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gluten Free Favourite’s – September 2017

1 – All Butter Triple Chocolate Cookies – The CoOperative.

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These cookies are one of my favourite gluten free sweet treats. If we have a box of these in the house, all willpower is gone and the whole box doesn’t last more than a few days! These cookies, such as with most gluten free biscuits and snacks, are a lot smaller than a standard cookie. However, what they lack in size they make up for in a serious overload of delicious chocolate. The cookies are made up of milk chocolate cookie dough, which is stuffed with milk, dark and white chocolate chunks. The bottom of the cookie has then been submerged into more milk chocolate. Basically, these are the best chocolate cookies ever made! They have a lovely, soft and crumbly texture and are perfect dipped into a hot cup of tea. Alternately, for an extra sweet treat, these cookies are fab warmed in the microwave with a melted gluten free marshmallow on top.

All in all, these are a delicious and luxurious treat – I would definitely recommend you give them a try. Also, don’t forget that if you’re a student with an NUS card you can get 10% off of your shopping in The CoOp (a brilliant excuse to try these cookies!).

2 – Sweet Potato Wraps – Be Free Foods.

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For a long time, I found it difficult to find a gluten free tortilla wrap that I liked. This was because most of the wraps I tried were either too dry in texture or too floury or chalky in taste. Therefore, I was very happy when I discovered the Be Free Foods range of gluten free wraps in my local Sainsbury’s. The range consists of three types of wrap – Multigrain, Quinoa and Chia Seed and Sweet Potato. All three varieties are tasty however; I have found that the best wrap is the Sweet Potato one. This is because I feel that the texture of the wrap is a lot softer and less dense than the other two flavours’ and therefore, this makes it more malleable and less likely to tear or break when rolled up. My favourite meals to have these wraps with are chicken and vegetable fajitas or gluten free breaded chicken steaks (the gluten free Southern Fried Steaks from Asda are my favourite) and salad. In addition, these wraps are also a great lunch alternative if your like me and don’t like gluten free sandwich bread.

Altogether, these wraps taste delicious and are very versatile. I would definitely recommend them to anyone.

3 – Poachies



These are not an edible gluten free product however; they are amazing and I could not leave them out of my favourites post. I can poach an egg without a gadget but this method is time consuming and you can only cook one egg at a time. Due to this, I started researching different types of egg poaching gadgets.

I have tried a microwave egg poacher, which is brilliant because its takes less than 2 minutes however the results weren’t consistent and all to often I was left with hardboiled instead of poached eggs. I have also tried the silicone cup poaching gadgets and although t0his method was more successful than the microwave gadget I still wasn’t 100% satisfied with the results.

I found Poachies in my local CoOp. You get 20 little bags in a pack and the packaging has very clear instructions that are easy to follow.  You crack an egg into the bag, which you then submerge into a saucepan of bubbling water for 4-4.5 minutes. The results are amazing, I have tried the bags multiple times and each time I have had a perfect poached egg. The other advantages of this gadget are that you can cook multiple eggs in the same saucepan and the bags are thrown away after use, which means less washing up than any of the other methods.

Poachies are amazing! I would definitely recommend these; they are best poaching gadgets you will ever buy!

4 – Gluten Free (part baked) baguette -Schar

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Schar is one of my favourite gluten free brands, I have sampled so many of there products and they never fail to be delicious – especially there range of gluten free bread and this gluten free baguette is one of my favourites. You get two baguettes in a pack and the packaging for this product is brilliant, this is because it tears down the middle meaning that you can cook one baguette and still keep the other sealed and fresh in it’s packaging. As well as this, both sides of the packing have the cooking instruction written on them so you don’t have to worry about loosing the instructions when you throw one of the halves away.

The baguette cooks in fewer than 10 minutes and is delicious served warm or cold. The outside of the baguette turns golden and crispy whilst the inside remains soft and light. As well as this, unlike most gluten free bread, Schar’s recipe doesn’t result in the bread tasting sugary or artificial. The only thing I will say is that, when cooked, the ends of the baguette do become quite hard and difficult to chew. However, this is easily resolved, as I will often just cut both ends off before or after cooking.

I use this baguette to make sandwiches’ to take with me on picnics to the Ashdown Forest – my favourite filling is tuna mayonnaise with slices of cucumber. I would recommend using a filling such as tuna mayonnaise, egg mayonnaise etc… or have some kind of sauce in this baguette as, otherwise, it can be quite dry.

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I would highly recommended starting with Schar gluten free products to anyone who has recently been diagnosed with IBS (and gluten is one of your triggers) coeliac disease, gluten intolerance or any other condition that has resulted in you adopting a gluten free diet. Aside from this baguette, I also really love Schar’s gluten free ciabatta’s and panini’s which I like to serve with gluten free fish fingers (who doesn’t love a fish finger sandwich?!).

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Thank you so much for reading. I hope this blog post has helped you if your new to the world of gluten free or has inspired you to try a new gluten free product.

I am back at university now and therefore, I have decided to change my upload schedule. I am now planning on uploading two posts a month (instead of my once-a-week schedule). I hope that this is okay and that you will all continue to read and enjoy my blog.

Thank you so much for all the support. See you soon!

 

Lemon Drizzle Loaf

As my favourite ever program, The Great British Bake Off, is finally back on our screens I thought this was a good excuse to do some baking. I’m really enjoying this series of Bake Off despite the addition of adverts (I watch it on catch up so I can fast forward the adverts!) and absence of the original team, including my all time hero Mary Berry. What are your thoughts?

I made this gluten free lemon drizzle cake using a recipe from my new favourite cookbook, The Hamlyn All Colour Cookbook – 200 Gluten Free Recipes. I purchase this book on Amazon on recommendation from a friend. The book has 200 delicious gluten free recipes from breakfasts, evening meals, baking and light snacks.

Here is a link if anyone is interested – https://www.amazon.co.uk/200-Gluten-Free-Recipes-Cookbook-Cookery/dp/060063342X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1504084362&sr=8-1&keywords=200+gluten+free+recipes

This loaf cake is delicious! The sponge is moist, buttery and is wonderfully light. It is the perfect snack to have with a cup of tea whilst watching The Great British Bake Off or as a weekend treat.

I have cut my loaf into slices and frozen them individually so now I have gluten free cake on hand for any occasion. I’ll be taking slices out to defrost for my Great British Bake Off viewing snack each week. Why not join me and bake it for yourself?

Here is the recipe –

This recipe calls for very little in the way of equipment, you will need –

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  • A set of measuring scales.
  • A food processor.
  • Greaseproof paper (Use this to line your loaf tin).
  • A loaf tin (The recipe calls for a 900g loaf tin).
  • A set of measuring spoons.
  • A zester.
  • A spoon.
  • A skewer or cocktail stick.
  • A sieve.

The ingredients you will need for the loaf are–

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  • 250g rice flour.
  • 250g caster sugar.
  • 1 lemon (rind and juice).
  • 2 teaspoons of gluten free baking powder.
  • 4 eggs (beaten).
  • 250g unsalted butter (softened).

The ingredients you will need for the drizzle are –

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  • 2 lemons (rind and juice).
  • 100g granulated sugar.

Method –

Step One: Preheat your oven at 180C/350F/ Gas Mark 4.

Step Two: Place all the ingredients into your food processor and blend until smooth.

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If you have a small food processor like mine, I would recommend adding and blending the ingredient in stages. This will avoid overflow and ensure all the ingredients are fully combined.

Step Three: Spoon the mixture into your lined loaf tin and place in the oven for 35-40 minuets.

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It is worth mentioning that my loaf took 1 hour and 15 minutes to be fully baked. I think this may have had something to do with my oven and the size of my loaf tin, which was a little smaller than 900g. Because of this, my loaf was caught (or burnt!) slightly around the edges. However, this was easily rectified as I used a sharp bread knife to remove the darker edges.

If I were to bake this again I would possibly halve the quantities of ingredients so that my loaf tin isn’t so full and therefore reducing the cooking time. I would also make sure to line the whole tin with greaseproof paper as opposed to just the longer sides.

Step Four: Remove the loaf from the oven, transfer to a wire rack, and use the skewer or cocktail stick to pock little holes all over the sponge.

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Step Five: In a bowl, mix the lemon rind and juice with the granulated sugar. Pour this over the top of your loaf.

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Step Six: Once the loaf has cooled it can be sliced and served.

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I would definitely recommend that you try this recipe; it is a simple, easy bake that tastes delicious. Let me know if you do try this, I would love to see photos of your attempts. You can tag me on Instagram – @myglutenfreelifeblg.

Thanks so much for reading; the support so far has been amazing. I will see you next week with my September favourites.

BBQ Ribs, Napoleon Inn Style

I know I said I’d stop talking about the BBQ Ribs from The Napoleon Inn however, we have been trying to recreate the dish since we returned from our holiday and we have finally created a recipe that is very similar to the dish from The Napoleon Inn. If you have read my Gluten Free Boscastle post you will know how obsessed I was with these BBQ ribs sand I am so excited to now be able to eat them at home whenever I want.

The recipe is fairly simple.

The equipment you will need is –

  • A slow cooker
  • Spoon
  • Pastry brush
  • Baking tray.

The ingredients you will need are –

  • 3 bottles of Paul Newman BBQ sauce (The bottle states that this BBQ sauce is gluten free and suitable for coeliac’s).
  • 3 packs of pork ribs.
  • Spray oil.

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It is worth mentioning that these measurements are based on cooking for 4-6 people, they can be altered according to the amount of people you are serving.

Method –

Step One: Turn the slow cooker on and turn the dial to the lowest setting.

Step Two: Coat the inside on the slow cooker with the spray oil.

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Step Three: Put the all of the ribs into the slow cooker.

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Step Four: Cover the ribs with 2 and half bottles of the BBQ sauce and stir until all the ribs are coated in sauce.

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The sauce needs to completely cover the ribs to ensure they are completely cooked. If the sauce does not completely cover the ribs you can add a little hot water, this will not alter the outcome of the dish as this is only a cooking liquid and will be be served.

Step Five: Cook on the lowest setting for 7 hours; make sure to stir the mixture every hour.

Step Six: Preheat your oven to 200c/Gas Mark 6/400F.

Step Seven: After 7 hours, take the ribs out of the cooking liquid. Lay the ribs onto a baking tray and brush with the remaining half bottle of BBQ sauce.

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Step Eight: Put the tray of ribs in the preheated oven and cook for 15-20 minuets; turn the ribs over after 10 minuets to ensure an even cook.

Step Nine: Serve the BBQ ribs with accompaniments of your choice.

We served our BBQ ribs with homemade coleslaw, chicken wings, potato skins and corn on the cob (A lot of food I know but if you can’t overindulge with your family at the weekend, when can you?!).

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These BBQ ribs are absolutely delicious; I would definitely recommend you make them! Let me know if you do make this recipe, you can contact me on Instagram @myglutenfreelifeblg.

As mentioned above, we served our BBQ Ribs with homemade coleslaw. This is another really simple gluten free recipe that takes no time at all.

The equipment you will need is –

  • Sharp knife
  • Measuring spoons.
  • Large bowl.
  • Peeler

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The ingredients you will need are –

  • 1/2 white cabbage.
  • 1/2 red cabbage.
  • 1 carrot.
  • 3 TSP Dijon mustard.
  • 15 TBSP Mayonnaise.
  • 3 TSP Lemon juice.
  • Salt & pepper.

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Method –

Step One: Finely chop the white and red cabbage, place the pieces into the bowl.

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Step Two: Take the skin off of the carrot and then peel the rest of the carrot into the bowl with the cabbage.

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Step Four: Add the sauce ingredients to the bowl and stir until combined.

Note: The measurements for the sauce can be altered to suit your personal preference.

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Step Five: Cover the bowl with cling-film and chill until you are ready to serve.

My whole family loves this recipe; it goes perfectly with so many meals! We make big batches at the weekend and them have it with our lunches and dinners throughout the week. I would definitely recommend you try making this recipe too.

Thanks you so much for reading. See you next week with….

Lunch with Winnie the Pooh

I am a massive Winnie the Pooh fan! To put this into perspective, I once had a Winnie the Pooh themed bedroom complete with themed wallpaper, clock and bedding. Even though I am  20 years old, I still watch all the Winnie the Pooh films – My favourite is Winnie the Pooh: A Very Merry Pooh Year!

My home county of Sussex is beautiful! Less than 30 minutes away from my hometown is a place called the Ashdown Forest (or as my family calls it Pooh Bear Forest). The Ashdown Forest is said to have been A.A Milne’s inspiration for the One Hundred Acre Wood and has recently been used as a location for the filming of the movie Goodbye Christopher Robin.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQq3aFSijRg

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A short distance from the Ashdown Forest is Hartfield Village. A friend recommended that we visit Pooh Corner because of its Winnie the Pooh theme and it’s café’s gluten free options.

http://pooh-country.co.uk/pigletstearoom.php

The cafe is small with only a few tables inside however there is also a large outdoor garden area which offers more seating.

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The cafe is decorated with all things Winnie the Pooh and this filled my heart with a nostalgic joy! The walls were covered in pictures of the locations from the books that can be found in and around Hartfield. The tables were covered in Winnie the Pooh table cloths, the menus were themed using the names of the characters and even the tea and coffee cups were Winnie the Pooh themed. As well as this, the customer toilet was completely decorated in Winnie the Pooh pictures, posters and framed pages of A.A Milne’s books – They even had a framed copy of my favourite Winnie the Pooh poem, Buckingham Palace!

The café has a lovely selection of gluten free options. Most of the sandwiches could be made in either gluten free bread, panini’s or tortilla wraps. I was impressed that the café were able to give gluten free customers a choice of bread as this is not usually an option, most cafes or restaurants will only have gluten free loaves for sandwiches or toast. They also offered a gluten free cream tea and a selection of cakes.

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I ordered a capPOOHchino (I know, how cute is that name!) and a slice of gluten free chocolate and raspberry cake. The cake was delicious! It was a chocolate sponge topped with a chocolate ganache and filled with vanilla buttercream and a raspberry jam! The sponge was fluffy and moist, which is very rare as I have found that gluten free cake can very often be dry and crumbly in texture. The only thing I would mention is that this was perhaps the biggest slice of cake I have ever seen, it was so big that I couldn’t finish it in one sitting! Fortunately, the waitress very kindly put the left over cake in a bag for me to take home and it took me another two days to finish the whole slice!

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All in all, the café is wonderful (especially if you’re a Winnie the Pooh fan like me) and the food was delicious! I would recommend you visit both the Ashdown Forest and Pooh Corner. I definitely will be returning to Pooh Corner to sample some more of their gluten free options, I think next on the list is the gluten free cream tea.

Thank you so much for reading!

 

A Day in My Gluten Free Life

 

Friday 1st September 2017

8.30am

Having fed my dogs (Sunny and Daisy) their breakfast, I made a cup of tea for myself.

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12.50pm

After a busy morning, it was time to head into London with my Mum for a very belated 20th birthday celebration. I knew we would be having a very early dinner so decided to have a little snack to keep me going on the journey. I had forgotten to pack my own gluten free snack from home, however; the café in our local train station does have a few gluten free options. I chose a Peanut Delight Nakd Bar to have with my cinnamon latte. I love Nakd bars; they are a great snack and come in a variety of amazing flavours. The Peanut Delight is one of my favourite flavours as I am a massive lover of peanut butter (I mean, who isn’t?). My other favourites flavours are Cocoa Orange and Apple Pie, they taste like the real thing but are so much better for you. The only thing I will say is that they are very expensive so I don’t tend to by them very often. Maybe I could find a way of making these myself?

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15.18pm

The weather in London was lovely; when we arrived we had a wander around Covent Garden and then went on a hunt for somewhere away from the crowds for a pre-dinner drink. We found Café in the Courtyard just a short walk along The Strand, towards Trafalgar Square. The café is situated in a sheltered and quite location outside St Martin in the Field’s Church. The staff were very friendly and attentive and the prices were reasonable for a café in the centre of London.

http://www.stmartin-in-the-fields.org/visiting/getting-here/

The selection of alcoholic beverages was limited to beer, cider and wine and therefore caters for most people, unless you’re like me and prefer to only drink G&T’s! We ordered a bottle of rose, which was wonderful (but not quite as good as a G&T!). The Café even had gluten free safe crisps in three flavors – salted, cheese and onion and salt and vinegar. I was skeptical about the salt and vinegar flavoured crisps at first as vinegar is usually something I would consider non gluten free safe. However, these crisps contain spirit vinegar and after a quick Google (where would we be without Google search?) I learnt that spirit vinegar is made from the fermentation of alcohol and therefore is gluten free.

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All in all, this is a lovely location for a relaxing afternoon. I would definitely recommend you visit and I would love to go back!

17.30pm

We had dinner at a restaurant called The Diner.

http://goodlifediner.com/diner-menu/

This restaurant is amazing, it is located in the middle of The Strand within a 2-minute walk of both The Vaudeville Theatre and The Adelphi Theatre so is perfect for a pre-theatre meal. The restaurants décor is fabulously retro with neon signs, booths and a bar that looks like an old-fashioned cinema marquee. As well as this, the music played is feel good classics from artists such as Fleetwood Mac and Justin Timberlake, which was a brilliant soundtrack to our evening!

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The staff were extremely friendly and accommodating of my gluten free diet, they were all able to advise me on my options with ease. A special mention has to go to our waiter, Sam. He was fantastic and really enhanced our evening!

In the past, I have stayed clear of any restaurant with an American diner theme because I assumed that there wouldn’t be any gluten free options or, that I would be very restricted in what I could eat. However, in this case I was wrong. The Diner’s menu is extensive and has a large variety of both gluten free and vegan options, especially the burgers. I was impressed to see that most of the burgers could be adapted on request to suit a gluten free diet and only one of the burgers on the menu (The DBC – Fried Chicken Burger) could not be made gluten free.

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I ordered the Double Dirty Diner Burger, which is a two 4oz 100% beef burgers with US cheese, Diner burger sauce and pickles. In order to make this burger gluten free the brioche bun was replaced with a gluten free alternative and the Diner burger sauce was removed and I was given a tahini dip, which was amazing and tasted like a vegan garlic mayonnaise! All the chips on the menu were gluten free safe, including the sweet potato fries, which I have found is not usually an option in most restaurants, and were delicious.

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The Diner also has a selection of deserts and both the ice cream and banana split are gluten free safe. I never turn down an opportunity for dessert, especially as gluten free options are so rare! We ordered the banana split to share and it was delicious!!  This desert consists of a whole banana, ice cream in three flavours (vanilla, chocolate and strawberry), cream and chocolate sauce.

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In addition to delicious food, The Diner also has a lovely selection of cocktails which can be bought “buy one, get one free” during the restaurants Happy Hour from 5pm-7pm. I had a Diner G&T which was a blend of gin, tea, elderflower and apple juice – delicious!IMG_9746

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The whole menu was very reasonable priced, especially as I had downloaded the restaurants app in advance and received a £5 off voucher for our meal. I would recommend downloading the app from the App Store before you visit to check for discounts like this one.

In conclusion, I would definitely recommend The Diner to anyone but particularly, those following gluten free or vegan diet.

19.30pm

We walked the short distance from The Diner to The Adelphi Theatre to watch the evening performance of Kinky Boots.

The show was brilliant; I loved every second and would definitely recommend it to anyone. The set and costumes are amazing and Cyndi Lauper’s music is fantastic, there was not one song I didn’t love and I now have the whole soundtrack on repeat!

In addition, I was in awe of the talented cast. In particular the Jordan Fox and Simon-Anthony Rhoden (the actors in the lead roles of Lola and Charlie), both gave stunning performances that had us clapping and cheering until our hands were sore and our voices hoarse! To add to this, we later found out that Jordan Fox is the understudy and was in his debut week of shows in this role. He was incredible & played the role as if he has been doing it for years! We left the theatre on a high and we are already planning our next visit to “the land of Lola”.

22.31pm

We caught the train home after a wonderful day.

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed this slightly different style of post. See you next Saturday for my first recipe post; get ready to bake!

Gluten Free Tunbridge Wells: Ask Italian

 

Italian restaurants are another place that I have tended to avoid whilst on a gluten free diet, this is due to the limited number of options available. However, after looking at the menu online I was impressed to see that Ask Italian has a quite extensive gluten free menu. In the restaurant, you can request a separate gluten free menu this always makes me feel special & gives me a lot more control over what I eat.

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As I had studied the menu in advance, I already knew I was going to have the gluten free carbonara. I hadn’t seen this dish on the menu of any Italian restaurants we have been to since I became gluten free so I was really looking forward to being able to order it again. The chef used gluten free fusilli, which was cooked really well and there was a good amount of pancetta within the dish. My only disappointment was the sauce; this is because it didn’t taste as good as I had hoped it would. The sauce was slightly chalky and thin in texture, not the luxurious, creamy treat I had hoped for. However, this would not deter me from returning to Ask Italian as the overall meal was really tasty and I definitely want to sample some of the other gluten free options on the menu.

 

In addition, the menu had a range of gluten free deserts, which included ice cream, a chocolate cake and an Eton mess. I have struggled to find places that sell gluten safe deserts, particularly ice cream, so I was excited to try these. I ordered a scope of vanilla and a scope of hazelnut ice cream (this tasted like Nutella!), both of which were delicious.

 

All in all, we had a wonderful lunch and it was great to not feel restricted by a menu that is predominantly pizza and pasta. In addition, it is worth mentioning that we had a 25% off voucher, which was a big saving for our lunch. I would always recommend checking a restaurant’s website for offers or vouchers before booking.

Thank you so much for reading, I will see you next Saturday for….

 

 

 

Gluten Free Favorites – August 2017

 

  1. Newburn Bakehouse of Warburton’s – Tiger Artisan Bloomer.

I bought this loaf from the Free From section in our local Waitrose. I wouldn’t usually warrant spending close to £5 on a loaf of bread but we had been given a money-off voucher  for this particular range and thought that this would be a good oppertunity to sample a different brand and style of gluten free bread.

In all honestly, I  don’t like gluten free bread & will usually choose not to have it,this is because I find that most loaves tastes sweet, almost like a sugared donut, and no one wants to put cheese on top of a donut! (Or maybe you do, I’m not judging!)

However, this bread is delicious and was definitely another “is this really gluten free moment?” I gave some to my parents to try and they agreed that it has the same taste & texture as a standard tiger loaf.

This loaf is the perfect bread for a luxurious weekend brunch. I cut thick slices, toasted them and served with two poached eggs and ketchup – It was delicious.

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Alternatively, the next day I had the tiger bread with butter and jam for breakfast. This tasted  just as good, especially as the jam was homemade using the blackberries that grow in our garden.

 

One thing I will say is that the loaf is huge, however it does come in a re-sealable bag to keep it fresh for longer. You can also freeze this bread, which is what I am going to do otherwise the whole loaf will be gone by the end of the day!

  1. Green Pea Fusilli and Red Lentil Penne.

These are a brilliant gluten free alternative to pasta, made with slightly unusual types of flour. Due to this, there is a slight taste of both peas and lentils in both types ,but I do prefer this to the slightly starchy taste of standard gluten free pasta. Both the fusilli and penne hold there shape when cooked and go well with all kinds of sauces. My favorite thing to pair the green pea fusilli with is the bacon and spinach pasta from The Hamlyn All Colour Cookbook – 200 Gluten Free Recipes. We did alter this recipe slightly by using pesto instead of the cheesy cream sauce and adding courgette and olives to the mix. This recipe is a delicious, quick and easy midweek meal – I would definitely recommend giving it a try.

In addition, it is worth mentioning, that the boxes of pasta are quite small; you’ll probably get 2-3 servings from each one.

We bought these in our local Aldi. Unfortunately, as with most promotions in Aldi, they will only be stocked for a limited time. I’m hoping they will still be available in your local Aldi store when this post goes live but if not, Waitrose also sells a very similar variety just at a slightly higher price.

I would definitely recommended trying these regardless of the price. I will definitely be repurchasing.

 

  1. Whole Creations Gluten Free Garlic Bread Baguette.

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This is a game changer!

For years I’ve been making my own garlic bread with a gluten free roll & garlic butter, this is a good hack but I have never been able to replicate the same taste as garlic bread you would buy in a supermarket. Therefore, when I saw that my local Sainsbury’s had started selling gluten free garlic bread I was so excited and had to give it a try.

For anyone who lives in my hometown, I found this in the Free From chiller section, opposite the deli and pizza counters.

This baguette is amazing! It cooks from chilled really quickly, in approximately 8-10 minuets. The baguette goes really crispy and golden on the outside whilst staying soft and fluffy in the middle with a good amount of garlic butter. It also freezes well too; we always have at least one of these in our freezer to grab whenever I want too.

In summary, this garlic baguette is delicious and I would definitely recommend it to anyone.

 

  1. Mrs Crimble’s Original Cheese Crackers.

I ate a lot of cheese whilst away on holiday this summer and therefore I had a lot of opportunities to sample different varieties of gluten free cheese biscuits. The Mrs Crimble’s Original Cheese Crackers were my favourite. I would describe them as probably the closest I’ve got to finding a gluten free alternative to a water biscuit.

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The biscuits are a good size, big enough for a generous slice of cheese, and taste really good. However, they are very thin which does make them quite brittle and therefore they can break apart inside the box or when being held or bitten into.

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All in all, these are a great accompaniment to a cheese board but I would love to find something a bit studier. Let me know if you have any suggestions for me, I would love to hear from you.

You can contact me on here or on Instagram (@myglutenfreelifeblg).

 

  1. Quinoa Bars.

Our local Aldi started selling these at the checkouts (I’m a sucker for the individuals bars/packets of crisps/mini boxes of sweets that they tempt you with whist you wait in line!) so thought I’d give one a try. I love these bars, they are a fantastic snack made with quinoa and packed with berries and seeds. My favourite bars are the Goji and Cranberry ones, they taste similar to Special K cereal bars that my Mum would put in my packed lunch as a child.

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Alternatively, if you can’t get your hands on these bars Aldi also has a variety of gluten free safe cereals bars permanently stocked on their shelves. The boxes are clearly labeled as gluten free and the bars are individually wrapped so you can be confident that they are safe from contamination. My favourites are the Dark Chocolate and Peanut Butter Bars.

 

Thank you so much for reading: the support so far has been amazing!

I will see you next Saturday with another post.