Gluten Free on the Go

So I thought I’d have a go at another regular slot and feature some of the gluten free snackage and food products I’ve begun to notice popping up in cafes and highstreets recently.

So we’re going to start with that good old British stalwart, Marks and Spencers.  Now  M&S have been stocking some pretty awesome gluten free goodies for sometime in their food stores, their almond bakewell tray bake is something quite special and they do bread and other offerings too, not totally convinced on the bread personally but its good to know they are trying, right?  Anyway, did you know they had started selling gluten free sandwiches? Yeah? Yes, I know, I’m a bit slow on the uptake here but a couple of months ago I heard about them here and then about a month ago, desperate for a quick reprieve from the wails of ‘I’m hungry’ from my 3 year old, I collapsed into M&S Cafe Revive in Croydon to sate her poor rumbling belly.  And it was just as I was contemplating eating a whole casserole ready meal type affair from the cafe fridge that I saw them, gluten free cheese and pickle ploughmans sandwiches.

Sorry for the crappy picture here, it's a tad dim in the Cafe Revive Croydon!

The sandwich was pretty good, I did leave the crusts (not because I don’t want my hair to go curly!) because they were a tad dry and crumbly.  However the main body of the sandwich was soft and packed with filling, unlike alot of packed sandwiches I’ve had in the past.  So all in all I’d probably buy one again, but I would like to see them in all or at least more of their cafes and food stores, when I went to my parents over the Easter break they weren’t stocking them and so far Croydon is the only M&S I have spotted them in.  Have you seen these sandwiches in your local M&S?  Do you know of any better gluten free sandwich choices on the highstreet?  Let me know… 🙂

Scallion Soda Bread (Gluten Free)

Happy St Patrick’s Day! or ‘Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Daoibh!’

So a traditional Irish recipe is in order I think.  This soda bread is gluten free (of course) and flavoured with spring onions, or scallions as I keep being corrected. I didn’t have any buttermilk for this recipe so I’ve made my own version combining yoghurt and milk which works just as well and may even be a bit thriftier.

If you are looking for other Irish food inspiration then you could try these delicious gluten free potato farls here, otherwise…

Ingredients:

  • 1lb of Doves Gluten Free White Bread Flour
  • 2 eggs, topped up to 12fl oz with half yoghurt and half whole milk
  • 6 spring onions scallion, sliced finely
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 oz of sugar
  •  1 oz of bicarbonate soda
  • 2 oz of butter

Method:

Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees (fan) and oil a baking tray.

Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl and rub in the butter. Add the spring onions and mix.   Whisk up the egg, yoghurt and milk mixture then stir into the dry ingredients.  Turn out the dough onto a well floured board, the mix will be quite sticky so be generous with your dusting.  Knead the mix for a couple of minutes then form in to a large ball and plop onto the oiled tray.  Cut a deep (over half way) cross through the centre, brush with milk and dust with flour.

Bake in the oven for about 30/40 minutes, until golden and hollow sounding when you knock its bottom.

Serve with butter, cheese and chutney for tea or toasted the next day for breakfast.

‘Tabhair dom an rud céanna mar atá ag an fhear ar an t-úrlar!’ – translations sourced here.

Gluten Free Finds and Favourites

I’ve been wanting to share with you some of my new (and some old) favourite gluten free products available in the supermarkets.  I know not all of my readers follow a gluten free diet and it’s not something I want to always harp on about, I like this blog to have ideas for everyone, diet specific or not, but sometimes it’s nice to specify and this is what this is.  Anyway you might not be a Coeliac or gluten intolerant but you might have friends or family that are and it’s always useful to have a few tricks up your sleeves for feeding them with ease.

At the top of the list is a bread that even at 3 days old I can make pretty darn decent sandwiches from (this is not a common factor in gf breads) and has finally allowed me to bring a ‘normal’ packed lunch into work of occasion.   

Gluten Free Brown Sliced Bread (400g)

There seem to be a lot of new loaves arriving on the supermarket shelves but this has to be my favourite.  Unfortunately, I don’t rate their white, it’s still too dry and crumbly for me but ‘Warburtons Gluten Free Brown’ is ace.  It’s soft, yet hearty, and has good staying power.  If I want doughy, white goodness I go for Tesco’s own brand Free From White loaf featured here but in terms of a healthy, moreish, every day bread for sandwiches and toast this is the one.  I recently noticed some gf tea cakes on the shelves by the lovely Warburtons, I haven’t tried them yet so if you have let me know!

Another product I only spotted recently was this gluten free pizza base from Sainsburys, it made the most delectable base for garlic and cheese topping that I shared with my non coeliac friend who couldn’t tell the difference.  I know that really I should be knocking up my own dough and this recipe at ‘The Gluten Free Student Cookbook’, does look and sound gorgeous.  But time is tight sometimes, and occasionally (ok quite often really)  you just want something quick and simple and this fits the bill (or the stomach).

The next product on my list is something I’m still experimenting with but has so far proved to be a great store cupboard essential.  I made a beautifully moist and delicious Victoria Sponge and some yummy Citrus Drizzle Fairy Cakes with this flour and have been experimenting making flat breads with it too.  Dove’s Farm seem to be pretty hot on all things gluten free and their website lists extensive baking recipes using their flours so you are never without a gluten free alternative. 

Doves Farm Gluten Free and Wheat Free Flour

When it comes to spaghetti the best brand I’ve tried is Salute.  However it does seem to have disappeared recently.  I’ve done a quick search for a website and can’t find them, it used to be stocked in most of the big supermarkets but recently I’ve only seen it in Waitrose or on Ocado.  So if I see it now I stock up.  It seems like a long time since I ate gluten but as far as my memory can remember it is the closest in taste and texture I’ve found to a quality dried, wheat based spaghetti,  I serve it up regularly to non coeliacs and no one has ever noticed a difference (win).  It’s an Italian brand (of course) and really is a perfect gluten free alternative. 

Salute Gluten Free Spaghetti

Now I’ve had a bit of a cut back on my purchase of these bars recently because they weren’t fitting in with the purse strings or the new diet but they were a staple of mine for taking to work last year and they provide a great and fairly healthy mid morning or mid afternoon snack to keep you going.  They are packed with almonds and dried fruits and really yummy.  These days it seems quite hard to find a cereal type bar that is gluten free and these little beauties certainly fit the bill for me.

Right, before I stop, there are some little wonders I’ve been hiding in my cupboard regularly for the past two years and they are these Custard Creams by TruFree.  When I started eating gluten free I was impressed by some of the lovely cookies and macaroons on offer but I missed those classic, dunk in your tea, type biscuits that are a staple in biscuit tins and on tea breaks around the country and then I found them… 

Custard Creams

So with these little creamy, custardy biscuits of joy I will leave you….

p.s. What are your favourite gluten free finds?

Banana Bread (gf)

I used the recipe on http://www.pattycake.ca/recipes/easygfbananabread as a basis for this but didn’t have all the ingredients so experimented a little.  My little family and me just shared a slice hot from the oven with some butter on, it was good.  I’m hoping it will still be delicious tomorrow as I am attempting to change my breakfast rut of the moment.  Every so often I get hooked on a breakfast and don’t stop eating it until I am sick of the sight of it.  I went through yoghurt, crunchy nut cornflakes with banana, fruit toast (gf), cheese on toast, flapjacks and my latest far from healthy start to the day a cheese and ham toasted gf muffin. So this is the plan, start having a slice of this of a morn and give myself a break from my croque monsieur obsession.

Gluten Free Finds…

This is probably about the best ready made ,gluten free bread I’ve found.  I’ve tried Genius but I can’t help finding it a bit dry and lets face it, it’s pretty expensive.  However Tesco’s have produced their own brand of gluten free bread and if you get it within a few days before the best before date you can even make a splendid soft sandwich out of it. 

Sainsbury's freefrom mince pies x 4

The other little beauties I found yesterday, and they are almost gone, are Sainsburys Free From Mince Pies.  I’ve never been a great fan of these little christmas pastry parcels but since becoming a Coeliac I have rather missed the opportunity to eat them and when wondering round my local Sainsbury’s I found them and thought hmm, why not?  They are lovely, moist, crumbly and sweet, with an almost caramel stickiness of mincemeat inside.  I had mine heated up with a little ice cream, mmm, let the festivities begin!

What Isla’s Dad Ate!

I am very happy and excited today because not only have I had some great comments on my site (thanks Rebeka and Rimmy!), I also had some excellent feedback at work, but best of all my dearest Dad has sent in a recipe!

Now I haven’t sampled this myself for a couple of years as I am now a gluten free zone but my partner has tried this bread and loved it and my Dad is a tip top trained and experienced chef so he knows his stuff.

So here we go, let me know if you try it.

Bread recipe

 

The dough in this recipe you can use for bread, rolls, pitta and pizzas. The recipe can be doubled or trebled depending on the volume required.

  • 275g Strong White flour 10oz
  • 150 ml Water 5 ½ fl oz
  • Half-teaspoon Instant dry yeast
  • 15 ml Olive oil ½ fl oz
  • 4g Salt 1/8 oz salt
  1. Blend yeast into flour – ensure it is evenly distributed
  2. Mix water ,oil and salt together – make sure the salt is dissolved into the liquid
  3. Add liquid to the flour and mix – stand for five minutes to allow the flour to absorb the water.
  4. 4. Knead dough for approximately ten minutes until it is smooth and elastic Note: you can achieve this by using a mixing machine or food processor – if using a food processor, the operation to provide a smooth and elastic dough takes place quickly, so watch the process closely
  5. Place the dough in a very lightly oiled bowl covered with cling film or a tea towel and allow to rise to double its size in a draught free spot
  6. Remix dough for 30 seconds
  7. Rest for five minutes
  8. If making bread, mould the dough into the shape you require.
  • for freestanding log shaped loaf mould the dough into square, fold edges into the centre and roll into log shape
  • for a freestanding round loaf gather dough into a ball and roll in a circular motion with both hands to a globe shape
  • or you can use a loaf tin – grease well and dust with flour, use the log shape method for shaping the loaf to fit into the tin
  1. Cover shaped dough with a tea towel, place in a draught free spot and allow to double in size. Note: professional practice is to prove freestanding loaves upside down in proving baskets – approximation of this can be achieved by lining a suitable oval container or round bowl with a tea towel well dusted on the inside with flour. If you do not want to go through this process place shaped loaf on to the greased baking sheet and cover with kitchen towel – this does not produce such a good shape

10. Turn dough out onto greased baking sheet, only if the loaf is freestanding, cut a slit, both freestanding and tinned loaf, (1/8 inch 3mm) along the length of the loaf with a sharp knife or razor, spray with water and dust with flour Note: this is easier to write than to carry out and can leave you with squat deflated product, so handle gently at this stage

11. Place loaf point or blunt end first into the middle of the oven, preheated to 250 C. After 10 minutes turn loaf around and reduce temperature to 200 C. Bake for further 20 minutes Note: if the loaf is larger, you will need to increase the loaf’s length of time in the oven – 40 minutes double the size, 50 minutes treble the size

12. Remove from oven, turn out if tinned loaf, and place on cooling wire.

P.S. Dad can you send in a photo?

 

Pear, Chocolate and Bread Pudding

Another bread pudding I know!  It’s this flipping gluten free bread it goes stale so quickly and I wouldn’t want to waste it now would I?!

Ingredients:

Serves 3/4 normal people 2 greedy pigs!

A quarter of a gluten free loaf (I used Genius but you could use anything, i’m sure a nice brioche or stale baguette would be lovely too)

Half a pint of milk

2 Eggs

A teaspoon of vanilla extract

Two dessert spoons of sugar and a heaped teaspoon for dusting with

About 1 tinned pear chopped

About a third of a bar of dark chocolate

Method:

Pre heat oven to 150 degrees.

Cut the bread into cubes and put into ovenproof dish.

Sprinkle over and mix in between the chocolate, broken up into little chunks, and the pear.

Whisk up the eggs, milk, sugar and vanilla extract.

Pour custard mixture over bread til almost full.

I then weighed mine down for a ten or so min with a lid to make sure all the bread cubes got a thorough soak, if you can be more patient wait longer and leave in fridge until needed.

Place pudding dish in a larger pan or dish and fill with jusy boiled water (bain marie).

Sprinkle over teaspoon of sugar to creat crunchy top.

Put in the oven for 45/60 min until just set.

Leave to cool slightly before eating, remember I burnt my tongue last time!