Review- Shellseekers, Borough Market

I thought that the one place I would find something gluten free to eat, easily would be Borough Market.  Saturday is a main market day and along with stalls selling produce, there is an abundance of lunchtime vendors.

It was totally packed with visitors at lunchtime, which made it a bit of a challenge to see what was on offer.  The majority of food items that I could see were wrapped in or served with bread of various kinds, and I found it quite difficult to find anything. After a few laps around the market (not at a fast enough pace to burn off the lunch that was to follow!), I found some Stir Fry Scallops (3 scallops with stir fry vegetables and crispy bacon) from a company called Shellseekers.  I’m not certain whether they were gluten free, but they seemed the safest bet.

They were really fresh and delicious, and pretty good value.

 http://boroughmarket.org.uk/shellseekers-fish-game

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Its’ often a challenge to eat out in the UK if you’re gluten intolerant/or have celiac disease. Very often gluten free choices aren’t marked on the menu, so you have to put your trust in the waiting staff. This usually involves a bit of to and froing between table and kitchen to check with the chef if your choice is suitable, which is not only a hassle for you, but also your fellow diners who are held up by the lengthy decision making process.  For sufferers of celiac disease it must be really annoying as there really isn’t a choice in the matter, and for them, eating gluten can have serious consequences.

https://www.coeliac.org.uk/coeliac-disease/

I’m fortunate that I only have intolerance, but nevertheless, if I eat something with gluten in it, I can feel pretty ill.

Eating out is an occasion and shouldn’t be an uncomfortable experience and marred by the ‘will I/won’t I be ill?’ feeling.

Some restaurants are enlightened and either mark their menus with ‘GF’, so you can make an easy choice or have a dedicated Gluten Free menu.

Ask Italian- Horsham
Unit 2. Olde Kings Head Hotel Carfax/East Street Horsham, RH12 1EE. Tel: 01403 242002.

A very prompt and cheerful waiter, we were shown to our table very quickly.
The gluten free menu was provided promptly on request.
Fantastic menu with lots of choice. 

 http://www.askitalian.co.uk/site/static/files/GlutenFreeNational.pdf

 I had a Caprina Pizza with a gluten free base, which was delicious. 

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I didn’t have a dessert, because I wasn’t hungry, but again there was plenty of choice.  I would definitely return again, and perhaps save some room for dessert!

Coconut and Raspberry Ice Squares -around 45 pieces

If you like sweet things, then this is for you. I’ve added freeze-dried raspberries between each layer- they look pretty and make a nice contrast to the sweetness. Your sweet tooth will thank you, but your dentist might not!

375g sweetened condensed milk
375g icing sugar, sifted, plus extra for dusting
300g desiccated coconut
Pink edible food colouring
2 tbsp. freeze dried raspberries (If you are in the UK, you can buy them from Waitrose in the baking section)

  • In a large bowl mix together the condensed milk and icing sugar with a wooden spoon, until fully combined and very stiff.
  • Divide the mixture in two and add a small amount of food colouring to one half.
  • Dust a board with icing sugar, and shape each half into an equally sized rectangle.
  • Sprinkle the raspberries on one of the halves, and then place the other half on top.
  • Roll with a rolling pin, reshaping into a neat rectangle as you go, until you have a neat rectangle about 3cm thick.
  • Leave to set, uncovered on the board for at least 3 hours.
  • Cut into squares with a sharp knife.

They can be stored for up to a month in an airtight container and make a lovely gift, presented in a cellophane bag or pretty box.

Comforting Cottage Pie – serves 4

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One of my daughters likes to have this after swimming training, as it’s so warm and comforting.  It’s like a big hug in a dish. I like it served with steamed greens or peas.

500g lean minced beef
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
1 leek, trimmed and chopped finely
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
2 tbsp. tomato puree
500ml beef stock
1 ½ tsp. herbs de provence
1 tbsp. sweet chilli sauce
Sea salt
Freshly ground pepper
800g potatoes, peeled+ 2tbsp milk

  • Preheat the oven to 220C/Fan 200C/Gas 7.
  • Place the mince, onion, leeks and carrots into a large non stick pan and cook until lightly coloured, breaking up the mince with a wooden spoon to ensure it is well combined.
  • Add the tomato puree, beef stock, herbs and sweet chilli sauce and season with salt and plenty of black pepper.
  • Bring to the boil and then simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Boil the potatoes in salted water until they are soft.  Drain and then pass them through a potato ricer.
  • Return the potato to the pan and then adding the milk stir briskly until fluffy.  Season with black pepper.
  • When the beef is cooked pour it into a baking dish, top with the mashed potatoes and bake for 25- 30 minutes until the top is golden and the filling is bubbling.
  •  Let the pie stand for 5 minutes or so, to cool a little before eating!

Cheats Cucumber and Mint Raita

Greek Yogurt

Cucumber, cut into small cubes
Mint Sauce

  • For this recipe you need to make your own judgments about quantity.  Just mix the ingredients together, tasting as you go, until it tastes perfect.  Don’t worry if you make too much, it keeps in the fridge for a couple of days.  It goes well with all spicy food.

Spicy Stuffed Peppers- Serves 6

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I have boxes of recipes that I have torn out of magazines over the years, probably enough to wallpaper my entire house and more!  This dish is inspired by one of those recipes.  It is by Vicky Bhogal, but I’m not sure which magazine it originates from.

It makes a very easy and economical supper. 

6 Yellow, orange or red peppers
4 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped into small chunks
75ml sunflower oil
1 tsp. cumin seeds
2 onions, chopped finely
1 ½ tsp. chilli flakes
1 tsp. grated rot ginger
2 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. garam masala
1 tsp. grated lemon zest
Handful fresh coriander, chopped

  • Gluten free naan bread and cucumber raita to serve.
  • Preheat oven 200C, fan180C or gas 6.
  • Boil the potatoes until soft (around 10 minutes), then drain.
  • Heat the oil in a large pan with the cumin seeds, 
  • When they are sizzling, add onions and fry gently until soft
  • Add chilli flakes, ginger, salt, garam masala, lemon zest and potatoes. Mix well.
  • Turn off the heat and mash roughly in the pan.
  • Add the coriander and mash again. Set aside.
  • Slice a small slither from the bottom of each pepper so that it will stand up right in a baking tray.
  • Cut the tops off the peppers and gently scoop out the membrane and seeds.  To get any stubborn seeds out, tap the peppers on the palm of your hand, cut side down.
  • Do not discard the stalks.
  • Stuff the peppers with the potato mixture, using your fingers to press in as much as possible. 
  • When they are full, pop the tops back on, so that they look like a whole pepper again.
  • Stand them upright in a baking tray or dish and drizzle with oil.
  • Bake for 40 minutes.

Serve with gluten free naan bread and cucumber and mint raita.

American Style Pancakes

Yesterday was Shrove Tuesday and while everyone else was enjoying pancakes, I thought I would only be able to spectate, as I hadn’t found a good gluten free substitute. I came across this recipe for gluten free American Pancakes just in the nick of time.  I also don’t have a frying pan at the moment so had to improvise with a cast iron flat casserole, which meant that there was more washing up than usual, but it really was worth the effort! I served the pancakes with Vanilla Ice Cream and fruit, oh, and a drizzle of maple syrup. Delicious!

The recipe serves 5, but that all depends on how much you can trust yourself not to eat the whole lot!

125g gluten free plain flour
1 tsp. gluten free baking powder
1/2tsp xanthan gum

½ tsp. salt
2 tbsp. caster sugar
150ml milk (I used semi-skimmed)
2 medium eggs
15g melted butter

Vegetable oil for frying
Toppings of your choice

  • Mix the flour, baking powder, xanthan gum salt and sugar in a large bowl and mix well to combine.
  •  In a jug, beat together the eggs and milk.
  • Add to the dry ingredients, followed by the butter.
  • Beat until smooth and lump free, until it has a dropping consistency
  •  Heat a few drops of oil in a non-stick frying pan.
  • Using a dessertspoon, drop 3 rounds of batter into the pan (if your pan isn’t large enough do 2 rounds), so they spread to about 9cm in diameter. Reduce the heat.
  • After 2 minutes turn the pancake over with a spatula and cook the other side until golden brown and puffed up to about 1cm thick.
  • Layer the pancakes in greaseproof paper and wrap in a tea towel to keep warm. Make more pancakes until all the mixture is used up.
  • Top with whatever ingredients take your fancy.