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? 

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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 options at Waitrose

We’re fortunate to have a Waitrose store fairly close to us, and occasionally visit to pick up some of the things we can’t get in other supermarkets. We’ve been eating quite a bit of quinoa recently but it can be tricky to get quinoa that is safe for me to eat (it’s naturally gluten free, but often packaged in the same facilities as other grains that aren’t). Waitrose’s Love Life range quinoa is fine for me so we’ve been enjoying that recently. We went to get some more, and picked up lots of others bits and bobs whilst we were there. It’s always a bit of a treat visiting Waitrose; the selection of products is so good, and I can often get a lot of really good naturally gluten free options from all sections of the store. Then of course there’s the free from section itself…

I wasn’t necessarily intending to get anything from this section but was delighted to see much more variety than in the past – I think the range in this store has doubled in size recently!

Waitrose free from section

Waitrose free from section

This wasn’t all of it even – I forgot to photograph the end of the aisle which had breads and flours, including Genius pitta bread which is a new product I haven’t seen before. A lot of things I’ve tried before from other stores, but I’m pleased to see them in major supermarkets (such as the fabulous Provena – their flour with oats is available in Waitrose now),  and I did spot a few new things I thought I’d try. I also picked up a few things from the frozen section too. My full gluten free haul:

I’ve tried the a bounce balls and the almond ones are really good so I’d definitely recommend those, and I’m enjoying the Genius seeded rolls. We also made the brownies and I’ll post a review of them soon. Lots more still to try! I’m intrigued by the corn bulgar and red quinoa mix and am looking forward to trying the Food of Athenry Flapjacks as that a brand I’ve been keen to try for a while.

I’m so pleased to see greater availability of gluten free items in supermarkets, and although I’m tending to follow a mostly natural gluten free diet at the moment (more on that in a later post I’m sure) it is very useful to be able to get hold of convenient food staples and indulgent snacks. Three cheers to Waitrose – thanks for making it a surprisingly enjoyable experience to shop for groceries and snacks as a coeliac 🙂

What are your favourite free from products or brands from supermarkets? Any recommendations?

EDIT: I contacted Waitrose to thank them for such a wide selection, and in their response they shared a link to a really useful page on their website all about coeliac disease and the gluten free diet (including to gluten free products and some recipes):

Top gluten free discoveries in 2014

I’ve been gluten free for just over 5 years now – I received my coeliac disease diagnosis on 31st December 2009. Things have got a whole lot better in that relatively short time – both from a health perspective (I’m generally a lot better health wise now) and from a product availability perspective. When I was first diagnosed, our local supermarket had a couple of shelves of ‘free from’ food, but it now has a whole section. Eating out was initially really tricky, but is a lot easier now. I’m constantly finding out about new gluten free developments, and thought I’d take the opportunity to highlight some of my favourite discoveries from 2014.


Mare Rossa gluten free pizza

Nature’s Path Nice and Nobbly Granola with vanilla yoghurt

I’ve never been much of a breakfast person, but that’s all changed this year thanks to my discovery of granola. I often have yoghurt (Rachel’s Organic Vanilla is my favourite) with some granola. I’ve tried lots of different types of gluten free granolas this year and my favourites so far are Nature’s Path Nice and Nobbly Blueberry, Raspberry and Strawberry and Udi’s Almond Vanilla. I also sometimes snack on granola, and Nature’s Paths Granola Nice and Nobbly Blueberry, Raspberry and Strawberry was fantastic when we were travelling in America last summer (I even managed to find another bag in Walmart to replace what I’d eaten!).

Waitrose Free From Blondies

I added the Waitrose Love Life Gluten Free Millionaire Blondies to an Ocado order on a bit of a whim once, and am delighted I did! The base is similar to chocolate brownies but uses white chocolate, and they have a layer of caramel and chocolate on top. They are delicious, and my non-coeliac partner loves these too.

Genius Hearty White Bloomer

I’ve actually only had the Genius Hearty White Bloomer once as I don’t eat bread often enough to justify having a bloomer (I’m not sure if it freezes well). I bought this around my birthday and had slices of it in buffet style with smokey cheese spread or some smoked ham. It’s really nice and soft and my Dad and sister (who both love ‘normal’ bread) enjoyed it almost as much as I did. When a non-coeliac goes back for more of a gluten free product that’s always a sign to me that it’s a good product overall rather than just the best of a not-so-great bunch!

Pizza Express

Mare Rossa gluten free pizza

Mare Rossa gluten free pizza

I’ve become a fairly frequent visitor to Pizza Express this year. I travel quite a bit with work and Pizza Express is one chain I feel I can trust to have a safe gluten free meal at so I’ve been to quite a few different ones around the country. I also have a Tastecard so can get 2 meals for the price of 1, and they also often have good deals online. I really like their gluten free pizzas, and also love some of the other dishes too. It’s nice to be able to have a dessert too and they sometimes have seasonal options that are gluten free. Their latest menu is my favourite yet – last month I had Melanzanine as a starter, and the most amazing pizza ever for my main. It was a seafood pizza with smoked salmon, prawns, and a lobster bisque sauce (the Mare Rossa for anyone interested in trying it!). I really hope they keep this on their menu as it’s so delicious; I’m salivating just at the memory!

Starbucks Limited Edition Turkey and Cranberry Wrap

The end of the 2014 was a good time for new discoveries for me. I found a few new products to try over the festive season and the festive wraps from Starbucks and Costa were a very welcome development. I’ve found some of the wrap options from coffee shops a bit naff to be honest (I don’t like the Starbucks peppers and humous one they did), but the Limited Edition Turkey and Bacon Wrap was so good. It had stuffing (which I wasn’t expecting considering its gluten free and stuffing isn’t usually gluten free), and cranberry sauce which added a hint of sweetness. The bacon was a smoked bacon and you could really taste that coming through. It became a bit of a staple lunch when I was travelling in November/December as again it was really easy to find. Costa had a similar wrap but nowhere near as nice I didn’t think, and not as easy to eat.

These are just the top few highlights of 2014 for me, but there have been a number of very welcome developments in the gluten free world, and I’m looking forward to testing more out in the coming months and years. What have been your top discoveries in 2014?