Afternoon Tea

Sunday, 26 July 2015
During Wimbledon we were kindly sent a gorgeous hamper of goodies to create our own afternoon tea! As you know if you go out for a gluten free afternoon tea the scones tend to be dry and the food just a little more tastier than cardboard. But to make it yourself must take hours surely?
Well actually not. We whisked up the gorgeous tea below in half an hour….

We used Bobs Red Mill Gluten free flour, House of the Rising Bun Lemon Poppy Seed Cake Mix (has a fabulous zing in the icing!), Sharaf Falafel Mix Original (boys love falafel) and of course the ever faithful Mrs Crimbles Gluten Free Macaroons. All from Holland and Barrett and a small percentage of the price of going out.

The recipe that we use for scones is Jamie Olivers simple scone, just scrummy!
Fluffy gluten-free scones
Makes 8
·         1 cup gluten-free plain flour ¼ cup white rice flour (we tend to just use 1 and ½ cups)
·         2 teaspoons baking powder
·         ¼ cup almond meal
·         a good pinch of sea salt
·         60ml cream
·         125ml milk, plus a little extra for brushing
·         strawberry jam, to serve
·         whipped cream, to serve
Preheat oven to 220°C/440°F/gas 7 and line a baking tray with baking paper. Put the flours, baking powder, almond meal and salt into a bowl, make a well in the centre. Combine the cream and milk then pourin to the well and mix just until the dough comes together. Pat the dough out on a lightly floured surface and use a lightly floured round cutter to cut rounds out of the dough. Place the rounds touching each other into the lined baking tray, lightly the brush the tops with milk and bake for 10 minutes, or until risen and golden. Break in half whilst warm and serve with fruit spread and whipped cream.

Coggings & Co - Brighton

Tuesday, 21 July 2015
Recently we went down to Brighton on a weekend adventure. Being gluten free as you know you have to plan in advance the food side of business. Certain business we tend to avoid as you just know they won’t have a gluten free option or if they did it would be a jacket potato. Normally if I saw a restaurant specialising in burgers we would past. There is the bun to worry about, the stuffing in the meat, cross contamination etc. However we were recommended by another friend to call up Coggings & co in Brighton as one of our stops. Originally this was supposed to be included in a much larger review about Brighton and gluten free Brighton but the experience and food were so outstanding we had to give it a review on its own!

They very kindly offered us a meal to review and wow were we blown away! They are a fabulous gastro restaurant serving local ingredients hand sourced and prepared with skill and with just amazing customer service. It’s a wonderful ethos and the products they have chosen are the best of local outstanding produce. An example of this the beef which is ground daily!

As soon as we arrived we were greeted straight away (as were all other guests during our meal) and were given water and asked for our drinks order if wanted immediately. No being left for 20 mins! I was amazed that regardless of how busy they appeared the staff had time for you, never made you feel rush and the wait for food was minimal. The menu has a wonderful range including some incredibly scrummy looking vegetarian options.

The specials were great with a meat and a vegetarian option and we were incredibly impressed with the childs menu too.  £6.50 for a drink, burger with salad and chips or pasta followed but an ice cream. Pretty good hey? A huge range of the burgers on the menu are made gluten free naturally so there is no need to miss out on any of the varieties. We couldn’t wait to sink into a nice juicy burger. It’s one of the things we’ve really missed being gluten free! Needless to say Coggings & co did not disappoint. A very short wait and our burgers arrived served on lovely wooden boards and boy did the burgers look amazing!
The gluten free bun was amazing! It’s very rare for me to find a bun and not think it’s too dry or crumbly but this was really spot on! It’s a long time since we enjoyed a meal so much. The desserts are mouth-watering and the chocolate torte was just an amazing end to the meal.

Do visit! The food was exceptional as was the service we received. A full five out of five stars! 

Gluten Free Cheesecake Brownie Muffin Things!

Thursday, 4 June 2015
A friend once made me this amazing tray of gluten free brownies with a cheesecake topping. They were super yummy and really squidgy, which can be rare for gluten free cake. So when I got a packet of Delicious Alchemy Gluten Free Chocolate Brownie mix out of the cupboard the other day I thought of that lovely brownie/cheesecake thingy, and decided to make my own using the mix.

So I mixed up the brownie batter using the mix instructions, which was very simple, and then blobbed this into some muffin cases. I didn't want to fill them right up, so spread the mix between 18 large muffin cases, which filled them all about two thirds full.

Next I made my cheesecake mix. I used one 300gms tub of cream cheese, one egg yolk, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, 3 large tablespoons of caster sugar and a squeeze of lemon juice. Wizzed it all up till well mixed (don't mix for ages or it will go runny, a quick wizz to combine is all it takes) and then blobbed this onto each case of brownie mix. Gave the two a swirl together and then in the oven for 20 mins (2 mins less than the packet mix said) at the same oven temp as the packet suggested.

When they come out of the oven they will be wobbly, so cool on a rack and then in the fridge to get the cheesecake mix to set. This will make the brownie part a bit denser from being chilled, but I like my brownies that way.

I think these would be great with some fresh raspberries folded into the cheesecake mix maybe. The fresh fruit wetness does make things take longer though. I will experiment next time, as I am certainly making these again.

Trex Protein Bars

Monday, 30 March 2015
It’s very rare I find to be able to have something you can pop in your bag before heading out for the day. So often I have to time my visits to places that I either end up taking a full picnic with me or rushing back to have lunch at home. However the wonderful people at Trex (the people behind nakd bars) sent me their complete range of protein flapjacks to sample and try out.

With six different flavours and being wheat and gluten free there’s a taste for everyone. I rather adore the cocoa and coconut flapjack but so do my boys so it’s a battle if I didn’t pack enough!  Another favourite is their banana bread and who can resist a morning berry flapjack with a cup of tea!

It’s lovely to some gorgeous, yummy, good for you munchies for being on the go. I have several packs now living in my glove box and my boys adore them as a snack after school. They often have one in their lunch box for a mid-morning snack as the protein flapjacks (a respectable 9g of protein in each bar) are designed to slow release energy which stops them burning out after a hard day at forest school or a morning swimming.

They are made from gluten free oats and vegan friendly and GM free. What more could you ask for really? They are definitely worth a try and make a great mid-day snack and perfect for a day on the run!

Newburn Bakehouse

Tuesday, 17 March 2015
Bread is a touchy subject for those with a gluten intolerance. It’s hard to find good substitutes and replacements for bread and it can be a staple in many diets.

I have been feeding my family (first my husband, then my children) a mainly gluten free diet for a long time now, and because my husband is gluten intolerance, I try to stick to a gluten free diet for all of us, because it’s easier to stick to and cater for than buying different foods for everyone. Bread is something we have experimented with over the years. I have bought many loaves of gluten free bread and even attempted to make my own, and we have become very picky about what works for us. Bread is thing my husband missed most when he was told he needed to stop eating gluten and it’s hard to find replacements for.

So when we were sent some bread and rolls from Warburtons, from their Newburn Bakehouse gluten free range, we were quite excited. We do have a couple of brands we like, for gluten free bread and I had heard they had a new range out, specifically gluten free, but we hadn’t tried it yet. We were sent some White Farmhouse loaf, Seeded Farmhouse loaf, Brown Farm House Loaf and Soft seeded rolls to try.

The main problem with gluten free bread is texture and taste. Gluten in traditional bread is what makes bread “bread” and finding ways to make gluten free bread resemble that is challenging. Also sometimes the ingredients used to replace the wheat in bread can make the texture of the bread very dry and tasteless and not something you want to use for you sandwiches or lunchbox.

Some brands get it almost right, and some brands don’t quite get there. Having been trying out gluten free breads for 14 years we kind of regard ourselves as semi experts in what works.

We were very pleasantly surprised by both the quality and taste of the bread loaves. Warbutons non gluten free bread is a brand I have used before and quite like, so I did have high expectations, which were not disappointed.

The bread was sliced well, and the texture was firm but not too dry, some gluten free breads can have an almost cardboard like texture. They worked really well in sandwiches, and toasted beautifully. I have to say my taste test for gluten free bread is how well it goes down with just plain butter, on it’s own. I am a girl who likes her bread and if a gluten free bread passes that test, with no frills but just butter, then it’s a winner for me. The children didn’t notice that I had changed their bread brand in their lunchboxes, and if the children don’t complain (and children notice everything) then that is also a good sign. We didn’t really have any preferences as to which breads were our favourite, I personally prefer a seeded, brown loaf but the children liked the white loaf toasted. We even tried the bread on a friend who came over for lunch, I didn’t tell her it was gluten free (I am so used to using GF bread I forget it’s not “normal” bread) and she commented on how nice it was, and was surprised when I did tell her it was gluten free.

The real taste test was the rolls though. Gluten free rolls are very tricky to make so that they are as good as their gluten based counterparts. I don’t usually buy gluten free rolls, and have tasted a few brands that really have been dry and as my husband says “rock like”.

The Newburn Bakehouse rolls were soft and not dry at all. We decided to try them with soup, and they worked really well, and actually I wouldn’t have noticed they were gluten free if I was offered one, and wasn’t told they were. They worked well filled with salad and cold meat as well. They were not at all dry, and their texture was really soft and fresh.

The team at their gluten free bakery have used their expertise to come up with their range of gluten free breads and other products and it shows in the results. They have come up with gluten free breads and rolls that are not dry, indigestible and that don’t resemble cardboard. We really enjoyed the products and would use them again. That makes them a winner in this household.
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