Thursday, 27 February 2014

Waitrose Gluten Free Petit Pains

These bread rolls are just lovely, crunchy exterior but not too hard, heavenly soft interior ... who needs gluten?
They go very well with a soup or just anything really.

The ingredients list is quite long, here they are: water, tapioca starch, rice flour, potato starch, sunflower oil, yeast, humectant vegetable glycerine, psyllium husk powder, corn dextrose, stabiliser hydroxypropyl methyl cellulose, dried free range egg white, polenta, maize flour, salt maize starch, preservative calcium propionate, rice starch

Each pain weights around 40-50 gr, has 137 calories of gorgeousness and are best heated in the oven for 5-6 minutes.
There are two petit pains in the pack, and you can get them from Waitrose for £1.54.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Spanish omelette naturally Gluten Free

I love Spanish omelette!

I remember as a child, whenever I went on a day out with my scouts group, my dad would get up early to make my lunch for the day.

It was generally a bread roll with something delicious inside, and when I got really lucky he made some Spanish omelette the night before for dinner, and kept some for my roll.
A bit of time has passed since then, and I've now learned to make it myself, but it always has so many good memories attached to it, it's always great for get togethers.
I cooked it recently for my sister, but of course I had to try it for quality control, very very nice.
So, if you fancy making your own, here is how to:
2 medium to large potatoes (aprox 330gr) cut in pieces (think of a plumpy 50p coin)
1 onion (aprox 250gr), roughly chopped
4 eggs, beaten
salt to taste
plenty of olive oil
A very new non stick 20 cm pan, I keep one exclusively for omelettes, otherwise it will stick and not come out in one piece
A 22 cm plate aprox to turn the omelette
Wooden spoon
The trick is to make the onion and potatoes very slowly in the olive oil so that they become as soft as butter. It seems like it uses a lot of oil, but once cooked, the potatoes are drained of it, so it is not that much in the end.
Put the potatoes and onion in a large pan with plenty of olive oil. They don't need to be completely covered, but you need to see a little bit peeping at the top.
I used 150 ml aprox, and had left around 100ml when I drained them later.
Leave to cook slowly for aprox 30 mins or until the potatoes are so soft that you can easily break one with a wooden spoon. Then drain well the potatoes and onion and place in a clean bowl.
Add here the beaten eggs too and add salt to taste.
Heat your non-stick pan and when hot add the contents of the bowl.
It can be cooked at high heat, but feel free to keep on medium too, it'll just take a little bit longer.
Stir with the wooden spoon all the ingredients until the egg is starting to set but it is still a bit runny.
Then keep still for a bit, until more of the egg sets and it gets a more consistent texture. You can shake the pan gently and see if the omelette is moving "as one" or not.
You can also run the spoon on the border of the omelette carefully.
When it seems quite set it is time for the turn.
Now, don't be a hero!
There is no need to throw the mix in the air while some cheese 80s music plays in the background...
Take your plate, position safely on top of the pan, full palm open on top, turn the pan quickly, and slide the omelette back on the pan, uncooked side down.
Leave to set for a few minutes; you can tap the top of the omelette with the spoon to check how set it is.
Once you are happy with it, slide back out onto a plate and enjoy!

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Sweet Mandarin Gluten free Aromatic Crispy Duck

I recently bought the Sweet Mandarin recipe book and first on my To Cook list had to be the Aromatic Crispy Duck.

I've always loved the flavours of this dish, and now I have the chance to make it myself!

The ingredients were easy to find in my local supermarket, except the Shaoxing rice wine. One tablespoon is used in the duck marinade, and, as the store cupboard page says it's similar to cherry, I used some sweet moscatel wine that I already had.

The taste of the duck was delicious, just as I remembered it from restaurants.

I also made barbecue sauce which is the gluten free suggestion instead of hoisin sauce, and it was really tasty! I ignored the Worcester sauce as I didn't have a gluten free option, and added a dollop of American mustard instead of the mustard powder, as I didn't have any at home and I was already back from the supermarket.
I have to confess I've been using it on just anything afterwards, no need to worry about expire date.

My only problem was with the pancakes, as I made them just a bit too thick and probably used more flour than the recipe calls for. So just a bit more practise here for next time ;)

Woman & Home March Gluten Free Recipes

I was surprised but in a good way when I opened my Woman & Home this month. I got to the recipes section and saw the first photo, a gorgeous looking Chocolate and orange cake that was gluten free!

And that is not the only recipe that is gluten free, there are various sections with food to get us through the winter with gluten free recipes:

Foods for heart health
Chocolate and Orange cake
Slow cooked pork casserole with grapes
Seared spice salmon (just have to substitute soy sauce for tamari)

To boost your immune system
Asian-Style beef salad with coconut dressing
Roast chicken

Food for healthy skin
Grilled aubergine with miso and sesame
Beetroot kale and feta salad

Foods for energy
Butternut squash soup with shiitake mushrooms and rye soda bread (add your favourite bread instead)
Broccoli and bacon frittata

It is great to see that gluten free eating is being acknowledged and catered for. Thanks Woman & Home!

Friday, 7 February 2014

Supermarket Gluten Free Choice (or lack of)

When you find out you have problems with food, one hopes to carry on eating as before making a few changes, just a matter of finding some substitutes, right?
Then you start shopping for your new situation, as you still need to eat everyday, and then it's when you discover the free from section at your regular supermarket.

At first you are just grateful to have anything at all available, but with time, and when you discover the amazing range of products out there, you wonder why are they not there on the shelf, when there is clearly a market for it and suppliers willing to meet that demand.

This is where I am at the moment, as I've been gluten free for around 18 months. At first I started trying what was available at my local Sainsbury's, most of it own brand.

But then I went to the Allergy Show at Olympia and discovered so many great companies that are making what I want.

I was so excited that I visited twice and got chatting to many of the exhibitors, about their products and how they make them.
I spent quite a bit of money in pasta, pizzas, new breads, puddings, sauces, toasted baguettes ...

It was a brilliant event, there were some established companies, but also so many small business addressing the issue of eating with allergies and intolerances, so proud of what they were doing.

So, after such a high I wanted to get all those products, surely they should be there for me to buy?

Well, not really.
I guess living in London is not great in that sense, as most supermarkets have a smaller store than outside of London.
The sad reality is that the supermarkets around me, most carry mainly their own brand, and some very popular products by well loved brands like Genius and Newburn Bakery, but not much else.
The Free From section seems to be barely a column, and on very few occasions I find what I want.
Photos from the top: choice at Sainsburys (own brand in green packaging),Tesco and a mini Waitrose (own brand in brown packaging). There is also a Marks and Spencer, where everything is own brand.

I guess the only choice is now to buy online, which takes the fun of browsing away, doesn't it?

Also, and unless you want to do all your shopping online, you have to consider delivery costs, which is a bit annoying if you just want a few products, and you'd like to find them in the same online store to avoid paying delivery costs for each product.

So reluctlantly I've been looking at Ocado, and they seem to have most of what I want. Sadly it might be time to make my life easier and say goodbye to my local Sainsbury's.

The 2014 Allergy Show in London will be at London Olympia, 4th-6th July, (Liverpool in October) here is the link to their website:

Sweet Mandarin Cookbook

Brilliant news when I heard the Sweet Mandarin Cookbook was out! I was trying to stop myself from buying it being January, a month of control, but didn't manage it ;)
I love their sweet chilli sauce and the recipe is in the book, as well as the recipes for barbecue sauce and sweet and sour sauce. No more looking for them in the supermarket, I can now make my own!
There are recipes for soups, dumplings, spring rolls, prawn toasties, satay chicken, char siu pork, glutinous sticky rice and even crispy duck. So many other recipes too, I'm sure everyone can find their favourite here.
The book is very well presented, with loads of photographs that make your mouth water.
All recipes give you instructions on what to substitute if you are on a gluten free, egg free or dairy free diet (most of the time you just need to swap one or two ingredients, easy).

I loved Dim Sum in my gluten eating days, and have bitterly missed it, so now I'll be able to make some myself, yummy.