Gluten Free Favourites – August 2016

August has been a lovely month – my first month of self-employment! This has also coincided with some lovely weather every now and again so I’ve spent some time working (and relaxing!) in the garden, and we’ve had a couple of nice days out too. Food wise we’ve been having quite a lot of great Simply Cook meals, some Tyga curries, and I’ve been experimenting with some of the goodies I got from the Morrisons Free From event 🙂

August 2016 GF favourites.jpeg

Gluten free favourites – August 2016

Gosh! Chickpea, Courgette and Moroccan Spiced Bakes topped with Harissa Peppers – I hadn’t come across this brand until the free from event I went to as Morrisons HQ, and I’m so glad I have now. These are vegan and free of all 14 main allergens, and really tasty, especially the harissa spiced ones. You can get these from some Tesco stores and I believe they are coming to other stores soon (there’s a handy store locator on their website).

Tesco Free From Strawberry and Vanilla Cones – these are just fabulous. We’ve had them before and enjoyed them, but it wasn’t until we tried a competitor’s product that we appreciated just how good these are. The ice cream is lovely and creamy (despite being dairy free!) and the cone stays crisp. They get the thumbs up from everyone, well apart from fussy brothers who complain about the bottom having unexpected strawberry syrup as well as chocolate.

Twice as Nice Bakery Teff Cookies – these are sort of secret as they’re a new product, but they’re so fantastic that I just had to share in my monthly favourites. I’ll be honest, I had to ask Laura at Twice as Nice what teff was and why it’s so great, but once I’d tried the cookie I was sold. So much so I bought another to take home for my partner to try (I’m the greatest girlfriend ever). He agreed; they’re awesome. The flavour is great, but it’s more the texture that surprised me. They hold together really well, but still have that wondrous cookie-ness to them. They’re also vegan but you wouldn’t know it. Fabulous! I didn’t get a photo but Sarah Leanne at Growing Butterfly (who was the inspiration behind the cookies!) posted one on Instagram.

Barnacles Chip Shop – when you’ve had a lovely day in the sunshine and you’re by the seaside there’s nothing better than fish and chips on the seafront. Normally this would be a no no for coeliacs, but fortunately more and more chip shops are offering gluten free options. Barnacles in Llandudno has been offering it for a while and there is such a great selection. I’ll be writing a blog post soon but in the meantime I wanted to mention it in my favourites as the fish, chips and curry sauce I had were amazing.

Genius gluten free pancakes – these were given to me at the Morrisons free from event and to be honest I wasn’t that excited, but they’re brilliant. I simply toasted them for a few minutes and then spread Nutella on them. Such a nice weekend breakfast. It may have been the GBBO effect but they reminded me of jaffa cakes – just needed some marmalade and I would have been sorted!

Veggie enchiladas – I’ve been experimenting with some Newburn Bakehouse products I was sent to try and made some veggie enchiladas with the seeded wraps. I filled them with mixed pepper rice, refried beans, chilli powder and spring onions, and cooked them in salsa, yoghurt and cheese. Really easy to make but filling and delicious!

What have you been loving in August? Any recommendations? 


If you’d like to receive updates from Gluten Free Joeyanne please follow the blog by email or RSS (links on the right hand side) or you can like Gluten Free Joeyanne on Facebook for links to blog posts as well as more regular updates, or Gluten Free Joeyanne on Instagram for photos of gluten free products and meals.

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Gluten Free Favourites – June 2016

Summer is always a fairly travel-heavy time of year for me as it’s conference season, and this year has been no exception. In June I headed to Philadelphia for the Special Library Association Conference (where I gave a talk on my leadership journey over afternoon tea – all terribly British!). I’ve also been to a conference in one of my favourite UK cities; Manchester. Both of those have influenced my favourites for the month!

Gluten Free Favourites - June 2016

Gluten Free Favourites – June 2016

Hershey Special Dark Chocolate – I’m not generally a fan of US chocolate, but whilst I was there I went on a post-conference trip to Hershey and did a chocolate taste test. It took a bit of quick detective work whilst I was there but fortunately all the ones we tried were gluten free. I was pleasantly surprised that I actually really liked the Hershey Special Dark Chocolate. It’s not as bitter as dark chocolate I’ve had before, and is lovely and smooth (whereas the Hershey milk chocolate I really don’t like!). You only need a tiny piece or two to satisfy a chocolate craving. I’m not sure if we get these Hershey bars over here but I’ll certainly look out for them in future.

Sahale Nuts – another find from the US, this time something I stumbled upon in a convenience store across the street from my hotel. I was looking for gluten free snacks I could carry with me and found these snack sized packs of nuts. I tried the Pomegranate Vanilla Flavoured Cashews first and absolutely loved them, and on my next visit I picked up the same again and the Honey Almond Glazed Mix. I liked them both but the Pomegranate Vanilla Flavoured Cashews are my favourite. Sahale are sadly tricky to find in the UK but I’m hoping to see if any other brands have similar products. Do you have any recommendations of snack sized packs of flavoured nuts?

Dough Pizza Kitchen – If you’re ever visiting Manchester (UK) you have to go to Dough. Even if you’re not gluten free you should, but it’s brilliant for coeliacs (and those who are dairy free too). Dough is an independent Italian restaurant serving pizza (surprise!), pasta, gnocchi, and more. I went out for dinner there when I arrived for my conference, and had Sweet Potato Bites to start, Gnocchi for main, and Chocolate Brownie Sundae for dessert (which was massive – I couldn’t manage it all!). I’ve had the gluten free pizza from there before which is also excellent. Highly recommend visiting Dough.

Simply Cook – We’ve been cooking from scratch a bit more this month, but with my travel schedule it’s quite tricky to plan to always have the right ingredients in without them going out of date! Simply Cook makes this so easy – you only need a few key ingredients for each meal as the spices/pastes/mixes etc. are provided for you. The meals are always quick to cook (usually around 20-30 minutes), and we’ve loved every one we’ve tried so far. We currently have a monthly gluten free subscription, but have also recommended it to family and friends who don’t need the gluten free options. It really does deserve its own blog post but in the meantime if you’d like to try Simply Cook, you can use this referral link to get your first box for £1.

Delicious Alchemy Rice Flake Porridge – As much as I love yoghurt and granola, occasionally I like to have something different for breakfast. Just recently I’ve been really enjoying the Delicious Alchemy Rice Flake Porridge (made with either rice milk or almond milk) with some jam. Our local supermarket has loads of mini individual serving size jars of jam so I’ve been trying all the different flavours; my favourite so far is cherries and berries. The rice flake porridge is a great gluten free alternative to porridge and with a fruity jam it satisfies my sweet cravings.

What have you been loving in June? Any recommendations? 


If you’d like to receive updates from Gluten Free Joeyanne please follow the blog by email or RSS (links on the right hand side) or you can like Gluten Free Joeyanne on Facebook for links to blog posts as well as more regular updates, or Gluten Free Joeyanne on Instagram for photos of gluten free products and meals.

Gluten Free Favourites in 2015

I enjoyed a lot of great gluten free things last year and I’d like to share my favourites with you – these are all things I love and highly recommend. There are a lot to share so you might want to get yourself comfy…

Book: Get The Glow by Madeleine Shaw

We have joked to family and friends that this is our bible, which admittedly is a little extreme for a cook book, but we use it very frequently and love pretty much everything we’ve tried for the book (the savoury recipes are better than the sweet ones in our opinion though). It’s not advertised as a gluten free cookbook, but it is gluten free as the author follows a gluten free diet (this is true of a number of recent cook books). Some of our favourite recipes include the ginger steamed fish parcels (really quick and easy to make, hardly any washing up necessary, and delicious!), the chicken schnitzel with sweet potato fries, the ginger beef kebabs and the quinoa burgers. I could go on but I’ll leave it at that for now – at some point I think I’ll write a full review of the book. It’s absolutely fantastic, and we have recommended it to family and friends who now use it too. Madeleine is releasing another book in a few months and I’m very much looking forward to that.

 

Newly discovered brand: Isabel’s Free From

This was a really tricky category as I’ve discovered a few great gluten free brands this year. Isabel’s is a definite highlight though! We really enjoy the pizza base mix (reviewed here) and the dough balls mix – we’ve even shared the dough balls with non-gluten-free family and friends who loved them! The yorkshire pudding mix works brilliantly, both for individual yorkshire puddings (reviewed here) and for toad in the hole (reviewed here). The Easy Pud Chocolate Sponge Mix is very convenient too, so all in all I’m impressed! The thing I like about Isabel’s is that everything is gluten, wheat and dairy free (or can be made dairy free) yet you really can’t tell. It’s not like the products are ‘good for gluten free’ they’re just good generally. With some other brands I feel like my partner is missing out if we share gluten free versions, but with Isabel’s I really don’t. I have a couple more mixes in the store cupboard which I bought at a show last year but haven’t had chance to try yet, but I’m sure they will be fabulous as everything I’ve tried from the brand so far is. The only mishap we’ve had was when we had no eggs in and tried an egg replacement in the yorkshire pudding mix – sadly that didn’t work so well. The instructions on Isabel’s mixes are quite specific but when I follow them they work out well. I also really like the brand’s communication – their social media accounts are great, and whenever I’ve met representatives of the brand at food shows they have been really informative and helpful. Big thumbs up to Isabel’s from me 🙂

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Notable mentions also go to Delicious Alchemy (love their chocolate brownies and their oaty cookies in particular, and again as a brand they do some great stuff on social media as well as having excellent customer service), Kabuto Noodles (especially for their rice pots), and Provena (fantastic chocolate muffin mix, and their oat bread mix is fabulous too).

Supermarket: Marks and Spencer

Gluten free festive sandwich and drink from M&S

Gluten free festive sandwich and drink from M&S

For a while now I’ve been enjoying the gluten free range from M&S – their sandwiches are my go to choice when I’m travelling, and I love their party ranges of buffet food. During 2015 though they just kept delivering great new products. There are the individual cake options you can get from most train station M&S Simply Food stores, and I love the fact they switch these up every so often – in the last few months to my knowledge there’s been a caramel pecan bar, a brownie, a fudge cake (with edible stars!), and a shortbread millionaire bar. The sandwich selection is expanding, and there are also healthier snacks too; I like the prawns with a sweet chilli dip for example. I also really like that many of their crisps are gluten free – just recently I picked up a small bag of ‘Made Without Wheat’ tortilla chips with my sandwich, and many of the regular range of crisps and snacks are gluten free too. I really like their multipacks of Cool Mini Tortillas, and the new baked Pea Snaps they do are really unique! The thing I love about M&S is their labelling – of course they have a really good ‘Made Without Wheat’ range, but lots of items within the store are clearly marked as gluten free (one example being their Hot Chocolate Fudge Pudding which is a firm favourite of ours!). For Christmas most of their food was gluten free (including things like pigs in blankets and stuffings) which makes it easier for families with coeliacs to all eat the same delicious food.

Notable mentions go to Holland and Barrett who stock some great gluten free brands (mostly online rather than in store), Waitrose who have vastly improved their gluten free offering, Ocado who have a huge range of gluten free products and brands, and Tesco for ensuring plenty of gluten free Christmas food items (I tried chestnut stuffing for the first time thanks to Tesco!).

Specialist store: Freego 

There are a few online stores who offer gluten free items, but Freego stand out to me. For a start, everything is gluten free which makes it really easy for coeliacs, and they sell some items that you can’t get elsewhere in the UK. They spend time finding and testing gluten free brands from around the world and then trying to bring the best ones to customers. We particularly enjoyed the Luce’s Artisan bread mix and definitely intend to try more of this brand. Freego have a great range of naturally gluten free grains too, and some unusual ingredients that can otherwise be hard to find. They cater for many different dietary needs via categories on their website which is very easy to use. You can see some other items we tried in my review of Freego. I certainly intend to use Freego again in future for stocking up on store cupboard essentials (and the odd treat!).

Restaurant: Pizza Express

There are more and more restaurant chains as well as independents who cater for those with a gluten free diet, but my most visited place during 2015 was Pizza Express. I really like their gluten free pizzas, and they have some interesting topping combinations with regular new seasonal menus. There’s usually starter and dessert options too, and although they’re perhaps not the most exciting (salads, risottos, brownie, and ice cream), I’ve not yet had a disappointing meal at Pizza Express – and I’ve tried lots of different branches! The area we’ve moved to didn’t used to have a Pizza Express but one opened up the week before we moved, so I imagine we’ll still be visiting Pizza Express (in fact we’ve already tried our new local one and it was great). They’re always a safe option when I’m travelling, and with the discounts (we have a Tastecard) they’re great value too. I also really like that many of the gluten free options are vegetarian which is really refreshing. The current gluten free menu is available online.

Notable mentions go to Zizzi (their chocolate melt is amazing!), Prezzo (enjoyed a lovely pasta dish here whilst travelling, sadly there isn’t one near us), The Cowshed in Pattingham (our go to local restaurant from last year), and Mothertown Fish and Chips (our new local chippie).

Savoury recipe: Simply Cook Jerk Chicken and Coconut Rice

Simply Cook Jerk Chicken and Coconut Rice

Simply Cook Jerk Chicken and Coconut Rice

It was really tricky to choose just one recipe and if I went on frequency of cooking I think it would have to be the ginger steamed fish parcels from Get The Glow which we have probably once a fortnight, but then I remembered the wonderful jerk chicken with coconut rice from Simply Cook. I haven’t yet blogged about Simply Cook but do intend to – they send you recipes and sauces/spices/stocks (four recipes per box) to make really interesting dishes, many of which are gluten free. The advantage of this over other boxes is that you can buy the ingredients so it can help you stick to a budget, or you can exclude ingredients you don’t like. We tried a box earlier last year, and since then have re-ordered our favourites which include the jerk chicken with coconut rice. You bake the chicken in the seasoning with lime, and then cook the rice with onion, stock, coconut rice, and black beans. The flavour combination is amazing – I’d never have thought of putting these together yet they work so well. The coconut rice is a revelation too – it’s delicious! I’d definitely recommend this meal (and most of the other Simply Cook dishes we’ve tried to be honest). I do plan to write a full review of Simply Cook as we really like it, but in the meantime if you’d like to try it out yourself I have a referral link which means you can get your first box for £1. We did this initially and I promise it only costs £1 – if you don’t like it or don’t want to be tied into a subscription you can turn off the subscriptions and just purchase boxes when you wish to (this is what we do as we prefer to choose the recipes and don’t want to have them every month).

Sweet recipe: Bakewell tart

Bakewell Tart (made from Phil Vickery recipe)

Bakewell Tart (made from Phil Vickery recipe)

This was a tough decision too as we have a number of recipes we make on a fairly regular basis, but the Bakewell tart is probably our favourite. It’s a Phil Vickery recipe from the Seriously Good! Gluten Free Cooking (made with Coeliac UK) – the recipe is also available online. We’ve made the pastry from scratch (following the recipe fully), and we’ve also used ready made shortcrust pastry for the base, leaving it as is or adding in the citrus flavour as in the recipe. All variants work well and it’s a recipe we turn to often when we have visitors (though sadly last time we burnt it a little as we’re still getting used to the oven in our new place!).

Notable mentions go to the chocolate chip cookie recipe from Louise at Slice of Heaven Gluten Free Cake Studio, the coffee and walnut sponge from Glutafin, the soft centered chocolate pudding from Glutafin, and the oatmeal and vanilla cookie recipe from Michael McCamley’s Gluten Free Baking.

Blogger: Gluten Free B

There are a number of gluten free blogs I follow; some of which have been blogging for a while, others I’ve only discovered fairly recently. I tend to prefer following bloggers who have coeliac disease as I know they understand what it’s like, though I do follow a couple who choose to be gluten free. I really like to read posts about living with coeliac disease (and quite enjoy writing them too to be honest – as difficult as it was, I found it useful to express my feelings on what it’s like being coeliac when you are the sort of person who prefers to blend into the background, so you may see more of these types of posts  on my blog in future). I also like to learn about ingredients I haven’t used, discover new recipes, places to eat out, and new products I might want to try. Carly is someone I’ve followed for a while on both her blog and social media, and during 2015 I’ve enjoyed seeing her adapt things to be mostly dairy free (due to her daughter needing avoid milk and eggs), seeing her produce some fabulous recipes and gluten free baking competition entries, and seeing her photography develop. She also released a gluten free and dairy free cook book which looks fantastic – I haven’t had chance to try it myself yet. She runs the ‘Fruit is not a Pudding’ blog too which I just love – I really enjoyed seeing the entries for the Christmas Fruit is not a Pudding competition. I’ve never met Carly but seem to share many of the same views as her, and really appreciate her support and friendliness (towards me and others). She recently blogged about how the gluten free trend seems to be at a peak and gluten free blogging has changed (see Have we reached peak gluten free?), and it’s given me a lot of food for thought – I’ve been having similar ponderings about my own blogging. I hope Carly does continue to blog because I really enjoy reading her posts, seeing what she has been working on, and seeing her cooking and focus change over time. I’m totally envious of her photography (check out her Instagram feed), and really admire her ethics and golden rules of social media, many of which are the same as mine – though I’m not averse to sharing photos of my breakfast as I love me some yoghurt and granola! Gluten free blogging, as with other types of blogging, has definitely changed, but I hope as bloggers we can continue to provide a useful resource for other coeliacs.

All in all, 2015 was an excellent year for gluten free discoveries and development. We moved at the end of 2015 and the town we have moved to has had a gluten free bakery and a lounge bar with a gluten free menu, both of which opened in the last few weeks. I look forward to sharing more reviews of places to eat and gluten free products via the blog in future, as well as some posts about being coeliac. I enjoy sharing my favourites too so may make this sort of blog post on a more frequent basis. I hope you found it useful 🙂

What were your gluten free favourites in 2015?

If you’d like to receive updates from Gluten Free Joeyanne please follow the blog by email or RSS (links on the right hand side) or you can like Gluten Free Joeyanne on Facebook for links to blog posts as well as more regular updates. 

Gluten Free Christmas – Christmas Dinner

As a traditional Christmas dinner usually consists of meat and vegetables (both naturally gluten free) there’s not much that needs to be adapted to make a Christmas dinner gluten free, but there are a few things to note. Below are some hints and tips for different elements of the Christmas dinner. 

Starters

My in-laws (where I’m having my Christmas dinner this year) don’t tend to have starters, but my family tend to. We always had tomato soup (Heinz is gluten free so no problem there), pâté (some are gluten free but some aren’t so you’d need to check the label), or prawn cocktail (easy to make gluten free, just check the sauce). Of course for gluten free you’d  have to have gluten free bread/toast rather than regular toast but otherwise starters should be fairly straight forward. If you’re serving toast for a gluten free guest, don’t use a toaster that is usually used for regular bread (cross contamination risk). I recommend either grilling the toast on a piece of tin foil, or using toaster bags in a toaster. It’s best to use a new butter for the gluten free guest too so there aren’t crumbs in the butter. 

Main course

Meat

Meat is naturally gluten free, but for Christmas you can buy prepared meat. If you’re planning to do this, make sure any coatings, stuffings or sauces don’t contain gluten. Many of the stuffed meats for Christmas in supermarkets have clear labelling (particularly Marks & Spencer and Tesco) so they may say gluten free or have the crossed grain symbol, but otherwise check the ingredients and ‘may contain’ section to make sure there is no mention of gluten (wheat, barley, oats or rye). 

Pigs in blankets

Another popular item on a Christmas dinner is pigs in blankets (mini sausages wrapped in bacon). Many sausages contain wheat as a filer so aren’t gluten free. However recently more gluten free sausages are available (own brand as well as branded), and in fact many of the ready made pigs in blankets are gluten free. I got these from Tesco earlier this week:

Tesco Finest Pork Cocktail Sausages in Smoked Bacon

Tesco Finest Pork Cocktail Sausages in Smoked Bacon


Yorkshire puddings

Regardless of the meat, my family always have Yorkshire puddings on a roast dinner – they’re one of the best bits! You can buy ready made gluten free Yorkshire puddings in most UK supermarkets (usually Dietary Specials/Schar though Tesco now do their own which I picked up the other day), and they’re really easy – just 4 minutes in the oven and they’re done. They’re also pretty good – my non-coeliac partner will happily have these on his roast dinner. If you have a bit more time though I highly recommend Isabel’s Gluten Free Yorkshire Pudding mix – it’s easy to make and gives you fabulous yorkshires! 

Stuffing

Most stuffing contains gluten as a filler, though as with sausages this is becoming less common. Many of the ready made Chrstmas stuffings are gluten free in M&S and Tesco (and possibly elsewhere, I’ve only checked these two).  You can also buy gluten free stuffing mixes; we really like Mrs Crimbles Sage & Onion stuffing mix. This year though, when I discovered I’d be having a Christmas dinner I treated myself to something a bit different. I’ve never tried chestnut stuffing before but my partner’s family always have it so I’m taking along this to try:

 

Tesco Finest Roast Chestnut and Onion Pork Stuffing

Tesco Finest Roast Chestnut and Onion Pork Stuffing

 

Pre-prepared vegetables

Although vegetables in their natural state are gluten free, many of the supermarkets sell pre-prepared vegetables with sauces or coating for Christmas. Sadly, some of these contain gluten so may sure you check if you’re buying vegetables this way (e.g. some roast potatoes have gluten in the coating, some parsnips have gluten in the glaze). The easiest way to avoid this is to buy fresh vegetables, though of course convenience is key when it comes to wanting to spend time with family at Christmas so if you’re buying pre-prepared just make sure you check labels – many are gluten free. 

Sauces and gravies

Unless you’re a crazy person (like my Mum!) you probably like to have some sauce or gravy on your roast dinner. Sadly many sauces and gravies have gluten in as a thickener. You can however buy gluten free gravy mixes, and some are already gluten free. Bisto Best is gluten free; this is a tricky one – despite the fact it says ‘produced on a line that handles wheat’, Coeliac UK have been in close contact with Bisto and the Bisto Best (in glass jars) is suitable – the regular one isn’t. I’ve had Bisto Best and seem fine with it, but to be totally safe you may wish to get one that is definitely gluten free. To make life easier when I visit family for my Christmas dinner, I picked up a ready made chicken gravy (we’ll be having chicken rather than turkey): 

Tesco Finest Roast Chicken Gravy

Tesco Finest Roast Chicken Gravy

If you’re having cheese sauce or cauliflower cheese (one of my favourites!) I can recommend Asda’s free from cheese sauce mix which is really easy to make and tastes great. 

Desserts and snacks

There’s plenty of gluten free mince pies, Christmas cake, and Christmas pudding in free from sections. I’m not a fan of any of these however so I’ll be sticking to good old chocolate dessert I think. Whilst I was in Tesco a couple of days ago they had taste tests of the free from profiteroles and they’re pretty good so I got some and I think I’ll be taking these with me:

 

Tesco Free From Cream Filled Profiteroles

Tesco Free From Cream Filled Profiteroles

 
 Another option is this fabulous chocolate fudge pudding from M&S which is loved by anyone I’ve served it to, you don’t need to be gluten free to enjoy these! It goes really well with nice vanilla ice cream (Carte D’Or is gluten free). 

Marks & Spencer Hot Chocolate Fudge Pudding

Marks & Spencer Hot Chocolate Fudge Pudding

I’ve also enjoyed free from chocolate brownies (Tesco’s Finest are great) and one of those warmed up and served with Ben & Jerry’s Caramel Chew Chew ice cream (or Phish Food) is delicious! Not allBen &Jerry’s ice creams are suitable but 
Gluten free guests can also dig into chocolates including Roses, Cadburys Heroes, and many of the Thornton boxes (just check the labels). Mars aren’t so good for gluten free and Lindt aren’t suitable, nor sadly are Chocolate Oranges. Matchmakers are gluten free though, plus After Eights and Elizabeth Shaw chocolate mints. 

I’ll be honest, the bit I’m most looking forward to is Christmas evening when my in-laws traditionally have salmon and cucumber rolls. In the early days of my relationship I accepted one out of politeness, not expecting to enjoy it, and I loved it! It’s been a highlight of my festive season ever since. I take my own gluten free rolls and this year I’m giving Udi’s finger rolls a try. 

I hope this is useful for those of you preparing a Christmas dinner for gluten free guests, or for yourself if you’re newly diagnosed. It can seem overwhelming if you haven’t catered for gluten free before, but Christmas dinner is a fairly easily adaptable meal. I hope you have a positive experience this Christmas 🙂

If you’d like to receive updates from Gluten Free Joeyanne please follow the blog by email or RSS (links on the right hand side) or you can like Gluten Free Joeyanne on Facebook for links to blog posts as well as more regular updates. 

Gluten Free Christmas: Holland and Barrett

One store that has really increased their gluten free (and free from in general) offering this year is Holland & Barrett. Christmas is no exception, and they have many traditional Christmas foods available in their free from section. I was kindly sent some to review and share with you:

Christmas goodies from Holland and Barrett

Christmas goodies from Holland and Barrett

Now I have to confess up front, I’m not a fan of mince pies, Christmas cake or Christmas pudding, so I’m probably not the best person to review these items! I gave them a go in the name of research though – I’m good like that! 😉

So, the Lovemore Luxury Mince Pies are made without wheat, gluten or milk so great for a variety of dietary needs. You get 4 in each pack, all sealed together. Each is a shortcrust pastry pie filled with mincemeat (which has to be one of the most confusingly named foods ever!). There’s also a sprinkling of sugar on top which is a nice touch – though with my limited mince pie experience maybe this is normal! Sadly after trying these I still don’t like mince pies, but as mince pies go I think these were probably pretty good. The pastry in particular was nice – not too firm but not too crumbly and fairly light not stodgy. I’m not a fan of the mincemeat filling but if you are I’m sure you’d like these.

I also wasn’t so sure about the nakd Christmas Pud bar, to me it smelt (and tasted) very strong. It certainly smelt authentic though, so again if you like Christmas pudding be sure to give these a go. I love the nakd bars, a really convenient snack and there are some really interesting flavours (I love the Bakewell Tart flavour bar!).

The final item, the Isabel’s Gluten Free Yorkshire Pudding Mix is excellent, and definitely a good one to use for your Christmas dinner. They’re really easy to make (photos of ours in my previous blog post about Holland and Barrett) and you can also freeze them and reheat in a few minutes in the over so you could make a batch of these yourself and then take them with you if you’re having Christmas dinner elsewhere. In our family we have Yorkshire pudding whenever we have a roast dinner (which is fairly often!) so these are a great staple.

This time round however, we decided to use the mix to make a gluten free toad in the hole (using Debbie & Andrew’s Perfect Pork sausages). It worked fabulously and was really delicious. I’ve absolutely loved everything I’ve tried from Isabel’s – you can see my previous reviews of Isabel’s products.

That’s just a small selection of festive related food items available at Holland & Barrett – you can find more in store or online (where there is Buy One Get One Half Price on selected Christmas items including the first two items). Definitely worth checking out if you’re coeliac or if you’re catering for someone who has dietary needs this Christmas.

Are there any gluten free items you love from Holland & Barrett? I’d love to hear your recommendations – let me know in the comments.

If you’d like to receive updates from Gluten Free Joeyanne please follow the blog by email or RSS (links on the right hand side) or you can like Gluten Free Joeyanne on Facebook for links to blog posts as well as more regular updates. 

Gluten free food from Freego

I recently came across the gluten free website Freego, who provide all sorts of gluten free products in the UK. Now of course, there are plenty of other websites who sell gluten free products, but something about Freego really stood out to me. All their products are gluten free and from a large variety of different suppliers, both large and small. They are passionate about finding the best products from around the world – see their About Us page for more information. I contacted the owners to find out more and was kindly offered a voucher code to try their service. The following review is my honest opinion about Freego’s service and products.

Freego logo

There are a really great selection of products on Freego, covering all manner of different gluten free flours, grains, mixes, cereals, pastas, crackers, and some sweet items. Don’t get me wrong, I love cakes and biscuits, but I do want some regular food too! The Freego website is really easy to use – you can browse by type of product or by diet (they have an excellent selection of vegan, paleo and low sugar products for example). What’s great for coeliacs is that absolutely everything in the website is gluten free. So you don’t need to worry about checking if any of the products have cross contamination risks (I’m looking at you, supermarket brand grains!).

There was so much I wanted to try, so it took me a long time to decide on the products I wanted to order. Finally I committed, and was very impressed with how straight forward the ordering process was, even with a voucher code. I instantly received an email to confirm my order and not long after I received an update with delivery tracking details. Freego offer free delivery when you order £40 or more from their website, and £2.99 if the order is less than £40. They aim to dispatch on the same day (if you order on a working day) and in the future plan to have the functionality to arrange for delivery on a specified day. I was very impressed with the speed of delivery and the communication throughout. I had to rearrange my delivery as I was away on the day it was due to arrive, and I was able to easily change it for the next day I’d be available. It arrived well packaged – a box full of gluten free goodies!

Freego order

Freego order

I’d asked for some recommendations as I know Freego have some brands they’re particularly proud of discovering and stocking (some of the brands stocked are from other countries and only available via Freego in the UK). Based on recommendation, I tried the Tolerant Red Lentil Pasta and the Luce’s Gluten Free Artisan Bread Mix. The pasta tasted great and is a really good way to get more protein in your diet, and the bread was a revelation; you get everything you need including parchment paper, baking bag, and even flour to dust on top. The instructions are very precise (adding 227ml of water in a certain temperatures range!); it felt like we were doing a science experiment (definitely a good thing for me!). The final result, despite being a little doughy in the centre, was delicious and definitely something I’d be keen to make again. I’m planning to write a full review of this in future, but may try it out again first to see if we can make it less doughy (we mistakenly used the fan setting on the oven which may have been the issue).

We also ordered some gluten free grains and flours like quinoa, buckwheat, millet and buckwheat flour and it’s great to know they’re definitely gluten free and not at risk of cross contamination (they have the crossed grain logo on to confirm the gluten free status too).  Freego have lots of different grains and flours in a variety of different pack sizes and I imagine we’ll use them for stocking our cupboards in future.

Another great feature on the Freego website is that if something is out of stock you can ask to be notified when it’s back in stock. I’ve also subscribed to their email newsletter which provides information on new products and any offers they currently have on.

Overall I’m really impressed with Freego; the variety of products available is excellent, the website is really easy to use, the delivery process is good, and the products themselves are great too. Highly recommend checking them out, and I’m sure we’ll be placing many orders with them in future. I’ll let you know if there are any other particular products I discover in future reviews.

In addition to their website, Freego have a Facebook page and a Twitter account for staying up-to-date.

Have you tried Freego? Any other stand out products you recommend I try in my next order?

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Orgran Gluten Free Pizza and Pastry Mix

Organ Gluten Free very kindly sent me some samples recently, and amongst them was the Pizza & Pastry Multimix. I confess I was a little confused about this product – it seems to be a multipurpose product (for pizza bases and pastry) but the instructions given were only for pizza bases, so pizza it was! We very recently discovered the Isabel’s pizza bases and love them so these had a lot to live up to.

Orgran Gluten Free Pizza & Pastry Multimix

Orgran Gluten Free Pizza & Pastry Multimix

The mix is really easy to make – you just need 40ml of vegetable oil and 250ml of water, which you stir with the mix until you get a dough. I just used a spoon and was able to make the dough fairly easily. The dough was very light and quite fluffy in texture which impressed me. After carefully kneading the dough, we split it into 3 as per the instructions (a slightly unusual amount, but meant we got to save one to share the following day!). The dough rolled fairly well, and although it was a little fragile it was no where near as crumbly as some gluten free mixes have been. We don’t bother trying to make them perfectly round, but I think if you wanted to you could with this mix as it’s easy to work with. So far, so good!

Orgran Gluten Free Pizza & Pastry Multimix

Orgran Gluten Free Pizza & Pastry Multimix

We added our toppings – tomato sauce from Madeleine Shaw’s Get The Glow, plus bacon and ricotta. The instructions said to bake for 15-20 minutes so we baked for 15 initially, and decided to go for the full 20 to crisp the bacon. They looked great!

Orgran Gluten Free Pizza & Pastry Multimix

Orgran Gluten Free Pizza & Pastry Multimix

Time to tuck in and again we weren’t disappointed. The base holds together well, and was nice and crisp on the outside crust whilst softer in the middle. It’s quite a doughy base, so if you like thicker crust pizza bases I think you’ll love this. Because it was crisp on the outside and bottom it was a bit tricky to cut, but I think that’s more because of our cutlery rather than the base! On the second night we sliced it with a pizza wheel before eating and it worked really well.

Orgran Gluten Free Pizza & Pastry Multimix

Orgran Gluten Free Pizza & Pastry Multimix

I really enjoyed this pizza mix and would definitely recommend it if you like thicker crust pizzas. I think for me the Isobel’s mix is just slightly ahead, but that’s due to personal preference for thinner bases. I loved how easy this was to make, and it’s quicker than most too as you don’t need to part-bake before adding your toppings. Definitely recommended for a quick and easy pizza.

Organ products are available online and in some supermarkets – stockist information is available on their website. The pizza and pastry mix is around £3.

Have you tried these? What’s your favourite pizza topping?

If you’d like to receive updates from Gluten Free Joeyanne please follow the blog by email or RSS (links on the right hand side) or you can like Gluten Free Joeyanne on Facebook for links to blog posts as well as more regular updates.