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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Gluten free lunch at Costa

I previously posted about Gluten free options in UK coffee shops, and at the time I couldn’t find a gluten free wrap mentioned on Costa’s website. It seems I must have caught them between seasons as a short while after my post I was contacted by Costa to see if I’d like to try their new Egg and Tomato Gluten Free Wrap. Sadly I’m not a fan of egg at all, but fortunately I have a willing helper who was willing to come along with me and try it out.

We visited the a newish branch of Costa at Telford Southwater, which is located on the ground floor of the public library. We went on a Saturday lunchtime but it wasn’t too busy and we managed to find a fairly quiet table by the window.

We’d done a bit of research before going so I knew which drinks should be available and which were gluten free – the allergen information on the website is very comprehensive (including whether or not an allergen is present as well as if there is a risk of cross contamination) so this was quite straight forward. I went for the Caramel Latter Cooler which does not contain Wheat, Rye, Barley or Oats. As I wouldn’t be eating the wrap myself, I also got some vegetable crisps and a gluten free brownie – I love that the brownies are wrapped so I don’t need to ask any awkward questions to prevent cross contamination.

So what was the verdict? Well I really enjoyed the vegetable crisps, my caramel latte cooler was OK though I regretted not choosing a lighter more fruity drink (mine was quite bitter and my partner’s Tropical Fruit Cooler was much more refreshing!). The brownie was, as always, delicious – I was even kind enough to share it because I’m nice like that. The egg and tomato wrap was in a Newburn Bakehouse wrap which I think are really good, and my partner said the ingredients in the wrap worked well and you wouldn’t know it was gluten free – high praise indeed!

It’s great that Costa have gluten free options, though sadly for me at the moment there’s still not a main meal that I can eat as the only current option is egg. I’d love it if they had other flavour options of the wrap to add more variety – I’m sure they wouldn’t just be bought by coeliacs as the wraps are really good so could be offered for all. I’m really hoping they have the festive turkey wrap again this year as I loved those last year. I’d also still like to see soups if possible – I really enjoy the Caffè Nero soups and given the option I’d choose Caffè Nero over Costa at the moment due to the limited meal options available at Costa. I’m really pleased to see such clear allergen information though (for drinks as well as food) and hope there are more gluten free options in future.

Have you tried the gluten free egg and tomato wrap at Costa? What do you think? What options would you like to see in future?

UPDATE: Someone recently posted in a Coeliac Facebook group I’m part of that they tried a Coronation Chicken Gluten Free Wrap at Costa so it looks like the menu may have changed. I actually visited Costa yesterday to treat myself to a Mint Choc Chip Cooler, but didn’t check out the wraps!

Newburn Bakehouse White Sourdough Artisan Cob

In my local town there’s a fairly new Sainsbury’s superstore that has a huge free from section so I sometimes pay a visit to see if there’s anything new to tempt me (I also stock up on my favourite Nature’s Path Nice and Nobbly berry granola whenever I’m there!). On my last visit I came across the Newburn Bakehouse White Sourdough Artisan Cob. I have to confess, I’m not really sure I’ve ever had sourdough before but it looked delicious so of course I had to buy it.

Newburn Bakehouse White Sourdough Artisan Cob

Newburn Bakehouse White Sourdough Artisan Cob

I treated myself to some mustard ham and some pastrami to make myself sandwiches for the next few days. The loaf is 400g so I got a lot of meals out of it, though of course due to the shape the slices on the edges made for unusual shaped sandwiches! It seemed like a fairly dense heavy cob, but it tasted surprisingly light and fluffy. The texture seemed slightly tighter than you get in regular dough, but this worked really well as it meant I didn’t get any dreaded holes in the middle (which seems to be a very common problem with gluten free bread).

I tried some of the bread with just butter, and really liked it so kept the sandwich filling nice and simple so that I could still enjoy the bread too. Although it was nice and soft, it was really easy to spread butter on to – no clumping like I sometimes get with fresh bread. I really enjoyed having this for my lunches for a few days, and would definitely recommend it if you can get hold of it. I have also tried the Classic White Artisan Loaf and enjoyed that too so do look out for the Newburn Bakehouse Artisan range.

Have you tried this or other similar loaves? Any recommendations?

Santa Maria Chicken Fajitas

Thanks to the excellent Newburn Bakehouse gluten free wraps (made by Warburtons), I’ve been enjoying Mexican style meals with wraps recently. Many of the Santa Maria (previously Discovery) range products are gluten free, and one I was keen to try was the Fajita stir in sauce.

We’d planned to have this on the same day my Knorr Stockpot hamper arrived, so decided to enhance it with a stockpot. It’s a really simple meal – we just fried onions and peppers in some sunflower oil, added the chicken until it was almost cooked, added the fajita sauce, and then stirred a Knorr chicken stockpot through.

Ingredients for chicken fajitas

Ingredients for chicken fajitas

I have to be honest, I wasn’t sure the stockpot would work in this sort of meal, but I thought it was worth a try. I was impressed! Fortunately I took photographs before adding the stockpot, and after adding the stockpot so you can see how it enhances the sauce – it thickened it slightly and made it nice and glossy as well as enhancing the flavour.

I had my fajitas in a Newburn Bakehouse Seeded Wrap (warmed in the oven), and added some soured cream. The soured cream mixed with the fajita sauce was delicious!

Chicken fajita in a Newburn Bakehouse Seeded Wrap

Chicken fajita in a Newburn Bakehouse Seeded Wrap

We’ve had this meal again this week, and used a stockpot again. It’s really opened my eyes to the fact that stockpots can be used in a variety of dishes, not just your standard casserole type meals.

Have you used stockpots in other Mexican meals? Any recommendations?