Overnight Muesli

45g Gluten Free oats

2 large tbsp. Greek Yogurt

59g raspberries, blueberries, or strawberries or a mixture

20g Flaked Almonds

45ml Almond milk

1 tsp honey

  • Pop all the ingredients in a jar with an airtight lid.
  • Give it a good mix. It should be the consistency of yogurt, because it thickens overnight.
  • Pop on the lid and close tightly.

And that’s it. It will be ready to serve the next day (or the ones after that). If it’s too thick, just add a little more milk.

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Happy Christmas!

Well Christmas Day is nearly here and what promised to be an organized event has descended into laidback chaos! It started well. I shot some images and designed my Christmas cards. I made lists. Plenty of lists. And then… I couldn’t find my address list (I’m sure that there is a list somewhere on my Mac!) and then the printers messed up my order for my cards, only printing half of them correctly. They were printed again and still weren’t right, and eventually I ran out of time to send most of them. The lists have gone by the wayside, and are now ready to be recycled. But I don’t mind at all. Christmas Eve and the big day itself can be too stressful, when the most important thing is that you are with the people that love you and that you love back. It doesn’t matter if you’re late serving lunch. It’s your home, not a restaurant. It’s nice to be cooked for. I haven’t had Christmas Lunch cooked for me for about 20 or so years. I don’t mind at all because I love cooking, but others really hate it and so a little generosity and kindness should be the theme for the day.
So here’s to a really lovely Christmas Day and a happy healthy 2015!

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Sometimes only pizza will do…….

I remember the first time I had pizza- not the kind served for school lunches (ew!), but pizza served in a restaurant called The Chicago Pizza Pie factory’, which was based in Hanover square in London.
At that point I was adamant ‘cheese-hater’ so it was quite q challenge to be enthusiastic.
They served a deep pan pizza, with a doughy base. It was a revelation to me. I’d never experienced those flavours before. They also served garlic bread and garlic mushrooms, a real awakening of my taste buds! The weird thing was that I was on a date. Why so much garlic?! At the time I had quite a small appetite, so carried my precious box back home. It made a great breakfast. I don’t think my Mum was impressed though!

Gradually pizzas have become very popular, available in many restaurants as well as supermarkets, and have really become the go-to meal when time is short.

Before I stopped eating gluten, I regularly made pizza from scratch at home. I really enjoyed the process and it meant that everyone could choose his or her own toppings.

Largely because our local supermarket had stopped stocking frozen gluten free pizzas. I decided to try to make pizza again, but using gluten free ingredients.
I looked at a lot of recipes and found one in a book called ‘Seriously Good Gluten Free Cooking’ by Phil Vickery (a UK chef – not the rugby player!). I’d had the book for ages, but hadn’t used any of the recipes. It really is a great book with plenty of information about celiac disease and gluten intolerance, and some really delicious looking recipes.

Review- Virgin Atlantic VS015 London Gatwick to Orlando Florida (edited)

Travelling is always a challenge if you have dietary restrictions, through choice or medical need. I have memories of trying to find vegetarian food in France in the 90’s.   I eventfully found a restaurant that seemed to cater for my meat free needs, only to be disappointed (okay- horrified!) to discover pieces of lovingly chopped up bacon at the bottom of my Oeufs en Cocotte!

I have only been gluten free for a couple of years, and during that time, I have self-catered, when I’ve travelled overseas, including on the journey.I hadn’t been to Florida for a while so I was excited to see what gluten free delights were available!  With the likes of Gwyneth and co. leading the way for alternative eating styles, there was bound to be a variety of options available to me.

However, the first hurdle to cross, was the flight.

Virgin Atlantic passengers are able to request meals to suit all dietry requirements, when booking a flight.  There are a list of special diets listed on their website

(http://www.virgin-atlantic.com/gb/en/travel-information/your-health/dietary-requirements.html).

If the category you need isn’t listed, you can call the Special Assistance Department. I’m guessing if you wanted a Gluten Free and Vegetarian meal (and all of the other variations), then you would need to do this.

I was a little nervous because, I had read that sometimes requested meals weren’t loaded onto the flight.  I don’t ‘love’ flying at the best of times, so a journey of over 8 hours without food, wouldn’t be great!  I did plan to pack some snacks, just in case, but totally forgot, so had my fingers firmly crossed on takeoff!

The first item to be served on the flight was the small bag of pretzels, along with a drink. Of course pretzels aren’t gluten free, and there was no alternative available, however there was gin and tonic!

The question of whether gin is gluten free, is a mystery, there doesn’t seem to be a definitive answer.  This may help though:

http://glutenfreebitches.ca/gluten-free-gin-and-vodka/.

It doesn’t affect me adversely though (unless I drink too many, and not in a dietary sense!!), so that’s what I had, and very nice it was too!

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It was then time for lunch, which I awaited with trepidation. The special diets and children’s meals were served first, so I didn’t have to wait long.

The first course was a mixed salad, which consisted of lots of ‘tricky to eat with a plastic fork’ lettuce, chopped tomatoes, cucumber, and an overpowering amount of chopped onions in a dressing, served with a gluten free roll and butter, which was ok.

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The main course was chicken in gravy; small cubes of roast potato and carrots, altogether a bit ‘brown’ and under seasoned.  There were small sachets of salt and pepper, but as everything was squished together on a small tray, I didn’t find them until after I had finished.  I really would have liked it if the meal carton had a label on it describing what you were about to eat.  The passengers eating the regular meals had a choice of three different meals, so although It wouldn’t be feasible to choose, labelling the food would take away the ‘like it or lump it’ vibe (I have to say, not the attitude of the crew, who were fantastic).

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The dessert was a bit puzzling. It had a suspicious looking crumb topping.  I asked the flight attendant whether it was definitely gluten free as there was no description or ingredients listed on it, but she wasn’t sure, so I gave it a miss.

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Later on in the flight there was an ‘Afternoon Tea’ service, which was a really delicious egg mayonnaise roll (which I forgot to photograph, as I was so hungry by then!) and a Honeybuns Mini Chocolate Caramel Shortbread, which was by far the best food of the whole flight.

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I’m sure if I hadn’t been travelling Economy, I may have had better meal options, but my expectations weren’t high to begin with, so I wasn’t disappointed. At least there was something to eat!

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

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.