Free From at Morrisons: a review of my visit to Morrisons HQ

I was recently invited to attend an event for free from bloggers at Morrisons HQ in Bradford. It’s the first event I’ve been able to attend and despite the nerves, I was really looking forward to it. I wasn’t sure what to expect (all I knew was that it was a free from event at Morrisons HQ!) but had been assured that we’d be given lunch and would be asked for some feedback on free from foods. I can’t describe how strange it is as a coeliac to be able to go out somewhere knowing that you’re going to be able to eat safely and don’t need to carry lots of snacks and have plans of various places you can grab food from in an emergency! After a slight issue with taxis, myself and some other bloggers made it to Hilmore House, the home of Morrisons HQ.

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We were welcomed by Stefanie Downey, the free from buyer for Morrisons. She explained her role and how important it is for her to get customer feedback on current and potential future free from products in Morrisons. We were introduced to some new products which will be launching in a few weeks I believe (more when they’re launched – I really hope they make it to my local store!), and shown how Morrisons decide which free from products to stock and how they should appear in store.

The Morrisons staff were all keen to hear from us so after some interesting discussion, we were taken to the development kitchen for Christmas dinner. Yes, Christmas dinner. In August. The head chef pointed out that by this time of year he’s actually pretty much finished Christmas as all the products have been developed, tested, refined, and are now ready to be produced and packaged and put in stores. For our Christmas dinner we had prawn cocktail (with the sauce being made using free from tomato sauce and free from mayo), traditional roast dinner with turkey and lamb with a peppercorn crust (with gluten free stuffing and Yorkshire puddings), and Christmas pudding with soya cream. We were also given a sample menu which had other options including salted caramel profiteroles (much more to my taste than Christmas pudding so will definitely be looking out for these!). Morrisons have other free from Christmas products planned too, including Christmas spiced cookies which were delicious.

After lunch we had some samples of other foods, including those from free from suppliers such as Genius, Schär, Heck, Gosh, Perk!er, and Alpro (more to come on some of these brands!). I also got to do a 90 second plank to enter a competition! Genius shared some of the difficulties they experience baking gluten free, and had some of the flours and thickeners they use and got us to try them out to see how they respond to being mixed with water. They showed us some really interesting photos of what happens if you use just one of the gluten free flours in place of regular flour, which was fascinating to see! It certainly explains why sometimes you get very dense gluten free bread and sometimes you get one with massive holes in! Genius use a mix of flours to try to make the most of each of the properties, but also explained that this does mean the mixes can sometimes be inconsistent depending on the time of year and the crop. It certainly opened my eyes to another reason why gluten free food can be so much more expensive – not only are the ingredients more expensive and potentially more difficult to source, but there is also more wastage due to inconsistencies. I always really enjoy chatting to free from suppliers about their products, and the people behind the brand.

Genius gluten free bread workshop

Genius gluten free bread workshop

All in all it was a really excellent day. I enjoyed meeting other coeliacs and free from bloggers, learned a lot about how free from products make it to supermarket shelves, ate some yummy food, and was even given some samples to take home. Huge thanks to Morrisons and the other suppliers for being part of a really enjoyable day 🙂


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 – July 2016

According to my photos from the last month, July involved a lot of eating out! I had some conferences and work events, as well as a few lunchtime and evening meals out to celebrate (I left my job at the end of July and am now freelancing). Here’s a selection of the things I’ve loved in July…

Gluten free favourites - July 2016

Gluten free favourites – July 2016

Leon – I can’t believe Leon hasn’t featured in my monthly favourites yet; I adore Leon! For those who don’t know, Leon is a growing chain of fast food restaurants offering ‘healthier’ choices. Most are in London, but they are expanding and there is one in Birmingham New Street station. The allergens are clearly marked on the menu and many of the options are gluten free. I usually have a rice box with brown rice, coleslaw, plus whatever main choice I fancy. During July I visited Leon three times (twice in London, once in Birmingham), and had the sweet potato falafel, and Sicilian chicken meatballs – these were amazing so I had them twice! Leon also have gluten free cakes (from Honeybuns) – the lemon ginger crunch is really good.

Gluten Free Pizza at Amalfi White – we visited friends who live in Melbourne (the one near Derby, UK, not the one in Australia) in July, and went for a meal at Amalfi White. They have a gluten free menu with quite a lot of variety, and staff are very knowledgeable. I chose the Italiano wood fired pizza which was quite honestly one of the most amazing topping combinations I’ve ever had – it had chicken, pancetta, bolognese, goat’s cheese, red chilli, and basil pesto. It sounds like far too much for one pizza but it’s so good. I did have to take half of it home as it was massive but it really was amazing!

Cheshire Farm Ice Cream – I went to a food festival in July and although I wasn’t expecting there to be a lot of gluten free food, I was disappointed at how little there was I could try. One highlight however was Cheshire Farm Ice Cream who had a van with loads of different flavoured ice creams, many of which were gluten free. The staff were really clued up and had a full list of allergens, and were very aware of cross contamination issues too. I was able to have my ice cream in a tub rather than a cone (though apparently they do provide gluten free cones at their farm!). I chose one scoop of honeycomb ice cream and one scoop of sticky toffee pudding ice cream (which I was amazed was gluten free!). The sticky toffee pudding was quite possible the best ice cream I have ever tasted. I’ll definitely be seeking this out again!

Harissa-Spiced Chicken Burger – the last few times we’ve eaten at Cappello Lounge my partner has had the Harissa-Spiced Chicken Burger so not wanting to copy, I’ve tried other things. The most recent time we visited however I took the plunge and chose to go for the gluten free version of the Harissa-Spiced Chicken Burger. I’ve been missing out! The chicken was really succulent and the flavours amazing – it has red pepper mayo and pimento soft cheese and is just lovely. I adore the fries there too so all in all an excellent meal! I’ve previously reviewed Cappello Lounge and would highly recommend the Loungers chain for gluten free.

What have you been loving in July? 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 – 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.

Delicious Alchemy Gluten Free Granola

If you’ve read my previous blog posts you’ll know how much of a fan I am of Delicious Alchemy. Every product I’ve tried from their range has been fantastic in terms of being easy to make and tasting delicious, and not just for me but for non-coeliacs too (see my birthday cake which I featured in my May favourites for example). I’ve always been really impressed with their communication too; their social media channels are brilliant and I highly recommend following them on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

I was delighted when they emailed last month to let me know they were releasing a new product, and even more delighted to learn it was granola! I have yoghurt and granola most mornings for breakfast and have tried many gluten free granolas (with mixed success!) so was really looking forward to trying the Delicious Alchemy version. They kindly sent me a sample of the Wonderfully Nutty Granola to review (it was sent free of charge but this does not in any way affect my views).

Delicious Alchemy Wonderfully Nutty Granola and Fruity Muesli

Delicious Alchemy Wonderfully Nutty Granola and Fruity Muesli

The first thing I noticed was the focus on ‘nutty’ which is something that until fairly recently would have put me off, but over the last couple of years I have grown to love nuts so this intrigued me. Most granolas with nuts tend to have fruit as a main flavour with nuts as a supplementary flavour but the nuts are the main feature in this one. The granola contains:

  • Oats (gluten free of course)
  • Almonds
  • Hazelnuts
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Honey
  • Raisins
  • Pumpkin seeds

I’m not a huge fan of sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds but everything else sounded great. There aren’t any unusual preservatives in the ingredients list either which is always good to see.

To test the flavour of the granola, I tried it with my favourite vanilla yoghurt (Rachel’s Organic). The granola has some nice larger clusters as well as individual nuts and seeds, which is always something I like in my granola (they’re all bite sized so no need to break it down further). One thing I really don’t like in granola is when it’s not crunchy, and I’m pleased to say this one is 🙂

Delicious Alchemy Wonderfully Nutty Granola (with Rachel's Organic Vanilla Yoghurt)

Delicious Alchemy Wonderfully Nutty Granola (with Rachel’s Organic Vanilla Yoghurt)

The flavour is good – not too sweet but there is an element of sweetness with the honey and raisins (and it also has concentrated grape juice too). I wondered if a different yoghurt may complement it better than vanilla, so tried it with a Greek yoghurt with honey. This is a really great combination and one I’d definitely recommend!

So, would I buy the granola? Yes, I would. It’s not my favourite granola – that honour goes to Nature’s Path’s Nice and Nobbly Berry Granola – but it’s not as sweet and I think it’s probably better as an everyday breakfast whereas the Nature’s Path one is more of a treat.

Delicious Alchemy Wonderfully Nutty Granola is available direct from Delicious Alchemy and retails for £3.00. Delicious Alchemy have also kindly given me a discount code to share with you which gives you free delivery if you order the granola from their website for delivery to UK mainland before 31st July: GFJADA16.

I was intrigued to see on the back of the pack that there is also a berry granola but I haven’t seen that anywhere and it’s not on the website yet. I hope I find it soon as I’d really like to try that one.

Have you tried the Delicious Alchemy Wonderfully Nutty Granola? What did you think? Have you found the Wonderfully Berry Granola anywhere yet?


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 – May 2016

Happy June! 🙂

In contrast to April when we enjoyed some new recipes, most of May was spent eating out, getting takeaway, or eating convenience food. It’s my birthday month and our anniversary month so we often use that as an excuse for a week or so but this month has seen us completely lose our mojo for cooking and rely on convenience foods for the vast majority of the month. My favourites are therefore mostly in this category though one is a home baking mix.

Gluten Free Favourites - May 2016

Gluten Free Favourites – May 2016 (Mrs Crimbles image from their website)

Mrs Crimbles Bakewell Slices – I absolutely love these! They’re been a favourite for a while now but I hadn’t had them for a long time so picked some up as a treat at the beginning of the month. They didn’t disappoint! The cake is lovely and moist and the base is nice and thin but crunchy. Many of our family and friends have had these with us and they’re just as popular with those who don’t have to follow a gluten free diet.

Delicious Alchemy Vanilla Sponge – As it was my birthday earlier this month, I thought I should make a cake and had a Delicious Alchemy Vanilla Sponge that they had kindly sent me to try. I made it with a friend the day before my birthday and we thoroughly enjoyed making it. The mix is really easy to make and the cake itself was delicious – very light and a great flavour. We filled it with traditional jam and buttercream. I shared some with family and friends and they all loved it. Again something that doesn’t need to just be for those of us who have to follow a gluten free diet.

Peaches Chinese Takeaway – You may have seen my recent blog post about Peaches but I’m so delighted to have found a local Chinese who can offer such a wide variety of gluten free options. I haven’t tried eating in yet but the takeaway is great and it’s so convenient! Our previous default takeaway was Domino’s, so it’s nice to be able to have another option.

Trek Original Oat Flapjacks – I’ve had the Cocoa Oat Trek flapjacks for a while as a useful on-the-go snack, but the Original Oat versions are available in multipacks in our local convenience store and they’re brilliant. I tend to bring things like this with me when I’m travelling in case I need an energy boost. Most flapjacks are delicious, but these are particularly good because they have soya crunchies in which add a lovely texture to them.

What have you been loving this month? 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.

Peaches Chinese, Newcastle-under-Lyme

Since moving to Newcastle-under-Lyme I’ve been keen to try our local Chinese takeaway, Peaches, who offer gluten free options in their menu. Chinese cuisine is one of the trickiest when you have to follow a gluten free diet because soy sauce usually contains gluten and is in so many dishes. As most food is prepared in the same woks, you also have huge risks of cross contamination. Fortunately for me though, Peaches offer gluten free options for many of their dishes, and cook any gluten free meals separately. Peaches offer a buffet menu and an a la carte menu, but we chose to get a takeaway.

The menu is available online (current menu available here) and all the options that can be adapted to be gluten free are clearly marked. The majority of the menu can be gluten free, which I was very pleasantly surprised by. Obviously any of the deep fried dishes are out, and quite a few of the starters (spring rolls, dim sum etc.), but many of the main meals and accompaniments can be made gluten free.

I decided to go for Peppered Salt Mushrooms as a starter/side, and for my main I went for King Prawn and Scallop with Cashews with Egg Fried Rice. I also had a little bit of the Roast Crispy & Char Sui, Cantonese Style (which I asked to be made gluten free). The prawn crackers are unfortunately not gluten free so we bought our own and had those instead!

Peaches Chinese Takeaway, Newcastle-under-Lyme

Peaches Chinese Takeaway, Newcastle-under-Lyme

I ordered over the phone and was very reassured when I placed my order as I was informed that my food would be cooked separately and even stored separately. When we collected the food we were given a crate, and on the top was a plastic bag which had the gluten free dishes in (it did also have a crispy potato basket in which I was told wasn’t gluten free, but as this was in a separate bag and the gluten free items were all in sealed containers there were no concerns for cross contamination).

The food itself was lovely. I’m not that experienced in Chinese cuisine but I very much enjoyed the dishes I tried. I particularly enjoyed the scallops in my main dish, and the flavours of the mushroom dish. One thing others pointed out was the variety in flavours – each dish had very different flavours (all of which were delicious!). I don’t think this is necessarily the case at all Chinese restaurants/takeaways so Peaches got a big thumbs up from us!

I’m sure I’ll be trying more Chinese cuisine now we have somewhere so close (walking distance!). I’d like to eat in too though I’m not sure I’d be able to have the buffet as I imagine that isn’t gluten free. I’ll happily work my way through the a la carte menu though!

Peaches is on the outskirts of Newcastle-under-Lyme and offers eat in and takeaway options. For more information see their website.

Coeliac disease – a blessing and a curse

On 31st December 2009, my life changed. That was the date I received my letter with the results of my endoscopy which confirmed my diagnosis of coeliac disease. I’d had a few months to come to terms with it as a possibility, following a positive blood test in the summer, but I don’t think it really sunk in until I received that letter. The letter confirmed I have a lifelong autoimmune disease. My immediate though wasn’t one of disappointment; it was one of relief.

This is the blessing.

I’d been suffering for a few years (in my case it was uncomfortable bloating, painful cramping, diarrhoea, constipation, and occasional nausea) and now I knew why (I previously blogged about my full diagnosis story if you’re interested in reading more). Not only did I know why, but I knew what I could do about it. By following  a strict gluten free diet, my symptoms should stop. Since my endoscopy I’d been following a gluten free diet and had seen improvements, so I was hopeful that his would continue now I knew it definitely was coeliac disease. But of course, following a strict gluten free diet isn’t easy.

This is the curse.

I can’t eat any gluten, and have to be careful about my food preparation as well as ingredients. I can no longer grab anything I want to eat. I can no longer try new foods unless I know what is in them and how they have been prepared. I can no longer buy anything I want from a supermarket without checking the label. I can no longer spontaneously go somewhere to eat. I can no longer expect that when I’m out and about there will be something I can eat. I can no longer go to family and friend’s houses and eat the same as everyone else. I can no longer blend into the background at social occasions (well, not unless I want to go hungry!) – this is something I battle with a lot and have previously blogged about. Very rarely can I eat with new people without having to have a conversation about the food I’m eating and about coeliac disease.

I am very lucky though. I was diagnosed at a fairly young age (25) so I’m hopeful I haven’t done too much long-term damage to my body. My local supermarkets stock many great foods I can eat, both naturally gluten free and special gluten free versions of other items. I live near a town that has many restaurants and takeaways who cater for those needing to follow a gluten free diet (it even has a dedicated gluten free bakery!). I’ve discovered loads of new foods I love that I probably wouldn’t have tried if I hadn’t been diagnosed with coeliac disease. I pay attention to my body and what I eat. My gluten free diet is under control and I very rarely experience symptoms.

Coeliac disease is something I will always have to live with, and I’m not going to sugar coat it, at times it really gets me down. After all, it’s a lifelong autoimmune disease that impacts on every day of my life. But most of the time it’s not a problem, and I feel so much better health wise than I did before diagnosis. I’ve not only eliminated those short term symptoms, but I’ve reduced my risk of long-term complications such as anaemia, osteoporosis, infertility, and various cancers.

Today is my 32nd birthday and I’ll be celebrating with fabulous family and friends and lots of yummy gluten free foods – in fact I already have done! I’ll be having my cake and eating it (thanks to Delicious Alchemy and their fabulous Vanilla Sponge mix!)

My birthday cake

My birthday cake

My birthday cake

My birthday cake

Today is also part of Coeliac Awareness Week (so kind of Coeliac UK to make it my birthday week!). If you are experiencing any unexplained symptoms that could be attributed to coeliac disease, please visit Coeliac UK’s ‘Is It Coeliac Disease?‘ website, and if appropriate, speak to your GP.

I urge you to seek a diagnosis. Having coeliac disease isn’t the best thing ever, but the benefits of a diagnosis far outweigh the disadvantages. The coeliac community is great, and I’d be happy to help answer any questions you have.

Is there anything you’d like to know about what it’s like to have coeliac disease? Please feel free to ask me 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, or Gluten Free Joeyanne on Instagram for photos of gluten free products and meals.