Thursday, 24 October 2013

Afternoon tea @ Harrods

I was delighted to be asked to try the gluten free afternoon tea at Harrods, they have recently been awarded with coeliac accreditation and as such are safe for people with coeliac condition as well as those with a gluten intolerance.  

When we arrived I was struck with how beautiful the room was, the floral arrangements are large and stunning and it has a traditional yet modern feel to the room. 

Georgian restaurant 
As you would expect from Harrods the service was impeccable, a lovely waiter looked after us and recommended which teas to try.  I went for the Assam gold blend and my husband went for The Georgian blend, with a side order of champagne! Why ever not! The teas were delicious and they were continually topped up throughout the afternoon, my personal favourite was the Georgian blend but both were delicious, you also have a choice of herbal teas if you prefer.  

The silverware is reassuringly heavy and expensive looking and once we were settled with our tea and champagne our food stand was brought to the table,
Sandwiches, Scones and Cakes 
all the food looked delicious and we couldn't wait to tuck in.  we hadn't eaten lunch in anticipation so we got to work on the finger sandwiches straight away, the fillings were: Red pepper and hummus, 
Smoked salmon cream cheese, Ham and mustard, Egg mayo, Chicken and pesto.  The bread was slightly chilled which meant they weren't as soft as I would of liked but still tasted nice. Next were the scones, two fruity and two plain and both slightly warm, they were absolutely delicious! Some of the best gluten free scones I have ever tasted, the cream and jam were so yummy, I stopped at one scone to leave a small space for cakes, I had a pretty looking pink macaroon with a jam filling, the jam was yummy and tasted like the flavour you get  inside doughnuts, the little chocolate petit four was really good, the kumquat jelly was good but had a very strong taste, then there was marzipan inside a plum which was really good, and finally a vanilla meringue.  


We had a wonderful time having GF afternoon tea at Harrods, even with champagne it's really reasonable at £29 per person or £39 with champagne compared with Claridges afternoon tea at £69 per person, its somewhere you could justify going regularly.  It's a great treat and I am already planning a trip back with my mum, I would thoroughly recommend. 

Harrods gluten free afternoon tea in the Georgian Restaurant 
www.harrods.com/georgian-restaurant




Wednesday, 16 October 2013

White chocolate and raspberry muffins from Newburn bakehouse

I was very excited to get some white chocolate and raspberry muffins through the post from Newburn bakehouse, I am a long term fan of their gluten free muffins and this flavour was right up my street. 

white chocolate muffins
sample of the Raspberry and White chocolate muffins


I ate one pretty quickly after opening, and it was light with a good texture, slightly moist and very yummy. 

With the second muffin, Warburtons had a recipe for a trifle which I was delighted to try, crumbling the muffins into the bottom of the glass I topped it off with custard, raspberry sauce and white chocolate bits, then topped off with raspberries,  This made it stretch to a desert for 2 and was really nice for a quick desert.  The key is in the ingredients so if you try it use good quality custard.

Quick and easy trifle

So overall, thumbs up for the new muffin flavour, they launched in Tesco on last week!

www.newburnbakehouse.com

Sunday, 25 August 2013

GF Doughnuts in Greenwich

I cant wait to tell you about my discovery in Greenwich a few weeks ago.  We had decided to meet some friends for lunch in Greenwich and I remembered a recommendation a friend had given me for Ruby Tuesday, a vegan and gluten free cake stall in the market.  

It was a beautiful sunny day so it was pretty busy in the market and outside when I came across the stall.  Firstly it looks wonderful, a lot of care has been taken to lay it out nicely and the cake offerings on show were different and appetising.  


gluten free cakes
yummy cakes

Ruby is the baker but her mum was manning the stall and only allowed me to take a few pictures once I had given her my card and explained I wanted to tell people about her bakes,  apparently lots of people have copied her designs and unusual flavours so I can understand why she was reluctant.  


gluten free doughnuts
gluten free doughnuts
I bought 3 doughnuts and couldn't even wait 5 minutes before scoffing the first one! I had bought the chocolate, raspberry white chocolate and spiced chai.  They are baked doughnuts, and my previous experience of eating baked GF doughnuts were that they were quite dry, not these, the texture was lovely, it was perfect in fact not too moist and not too dry, They have a subtle cinnamon flavour to them which was really nice and for the chocolate covered ones the covering was delicious.  I am a big fan and I am basically trying to think of an excuse to go back there again to try the cupcakes.  

There you go I have shared a hidden gem with you, go forth and eat Ruby Tuesdays cakes, you won't regret it.

Scrumptious 9/10

Website 
rubytuesdaysoflondon

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Gluten free wrap off

One of the things I was on the look out for at the allergy show last week were some gluten free wraps, I was determined to have chicken fajitas for dinner Saturday night and knew of at least two producers that were going to have them at the show.

When I got to the allergy show I wasn't disappointed, there were plenty of gluten free wraps and as the prices were also lowered for the show, I was pleasantly surprised at the value for money.

I bought bfree wraps and newburn bakehouse wraps at the show, the bfree wraps were slightly more expensive at the show at 2 for £5, newburn bakehouse were selling each pack for £2 each.

gluten free wraps

When I got home Saturday night I decided to use the bfree wraps for the fajitas, they look more like regular tortilla wraps in that they are thinner and round and only come in at 99 calories each.  I wrapped them in foil and put them in the oven and did the same with my husbands regular wraps and got on and made the filling. When we sat down to eat them, the wraps were warm and as such they were slighter tougher than I was imagining and were a little bit chewy, I got my husband to take a bite to compare, and he said his regular ones were a lot softer, I don't want to be negative, they did taste nice, but still not up to the regular standard.  On Sunday I made quesadillas with parma ham, grated cheddar and cherry tomatoes, the bfree wraps tasted a lot better this time and I think that's because they were hot straight out of the pan.

The newburn bakehouse wraps I had the next day folded over as a kind of toasted sandwich, they are definitely softer and as  soon as I bit into the wrap I remembered why I liked it so much when I tried them a few months ago! They have a great taste, are soft and whilst they are slightly thicker still work well folded over.  I also made a pizza with the NB wraps which was also really delicious.


gluten free pizza using NB wrap


Exclusive:  Newburn bakehouse are releasing a seeded wrap on Monday as well as seeded baguettes!  I have been lucky enough to taste it ahead of time and I can tell you that its really delicious and particularly good as a wrap sandwich, yummy!

So overall, there is a place for both wraps in my store cupboard but on taste alone, I would recommend the newburn bakehouse wraps.

Enjoy!

Newburn Bakehouse 
Bfree foods

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Looking forward to the 2013 Allergy show

Exactly a week to go until the Allergy show 2013! Its always a date in my calendar I look forward to, especially because of the new products I discover and so much food all under one roof!

For the second year running I will be meeting up with some fellow foodie bloggers for a natter and then I will be off to learn from the Sainsbury's try team who are cooking up mini fish cakes, mushroom stroganoff and lemon meringue roulade yummy!

As for the exhibitors, I have quite a few I want to check out, the top 4 I will be looking out for our listed below:


Now of course on the day I may well find different products to try, but there will be another blog post post the show where I can let you know whether they lived up to expectations.

If you dont already have a ticket, get one here http://www.allergyshow.co.uk/london/london-tickets.php


Until next week

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Freefrom food awards - my top products

This week was my first year attending the awards of the Freefrom food awards presentation and what a fantastic night it was!

The FreeFrom Food Awards are the only Industry awards for freefrom food in the UK so I was really excited to get involved, it started in 2008 and exists to encourage innovation and celebrate excellence in the freefrom food industry. The awards founder is the very lovely Michelle Berriedale-Johnson who started the awards because her family suffered with dairy intolerance and she quickly realised the lack of quality for freefrom foods, luckily through the years she has seen things move on dramatically, and I am sure she has played a part in making that happen.  


The awards have distinctive yellow badges that freefrom brands exhibit with pride, the commended brands and winners are a good sign of a standout product.   Antony Worrall Thompson is a patron as well as the guest judge awarding the winners with their certificates on the night.


I definitely chose the right year to get involved, the venue was in central London with over 200 guests, as well as the presentation, revealing the winners in each category, for the first year, all winning food was laid on for guests in a buffet style!  Getting to choose all the winning products, especially from brands I hadn't come across before was great, and means I can share with you my stand-out products from the night.


Savoury

1) Dell’Ugo Chickpea Fusilli

I had never heard of or tried the Dell'Ugo range of products before but the Chickpea Fusilii won the innovation award, its a grain free pasta and is something of a revelation! it has a lovely taste and would go very well with a rich sauce like a Ragu.  yummy and I will be tracking it down for my store cupboard. Stockists: Waitrose and Ocado


 2) The Indian Coeliac Paratha

Pretty excited to have an Indian Paratha to try by The Indian Coeliac, lovely soft texture and great spicing would be a lovely alternative to a GF Naan with a curry. Stockists: Available direct from their facebook page or blog

3) Freedom Deli Ham & Cheese Panini

A gluten free Panini!  Yes I was pretty excited, and I was actually a judge on the day this product was featured, big gap in the market, tastes good with nice fillings, can you imagine ordering one in Starbucks?!?! awesome Stockists: Ocado and Goodness direct


4) Pig & Co Lucanian Roman Sausage   

These italian sausages had a really yummy taste, I am still a massive fan of the black farmer, but frankly if these were easy to get hold of I could see myself stocking both in the freezer for those nights you need bangers n mash. Stockists: Various farmers markets


Puddings

5) Glamourpuds Hot Chocolate Fudge Pudding Pot

Glamourpuds Hot Chocolate Fudge Pudding Pot was really yummy, lovely runny fudgy sauce almost like a fondant, and great that its also dairy free. Stockists: Wholefoods and Fortnum and Mason

6) Christine's Puddings Frangipane Tart

This tart has a lovely taste and almond flavour, this was another product I was lucky enough to judge and I was truly amazed that this tart is gluten and dairy free, it was served warm at the awards night and was delicious. Stockists: Direct or Various Farmers Markets

7) The freefrom bakehouse, chocolate macaroons

These macaroons dont look like a traditional macaroon, but boy do they taste goooood, this product was a commended but rather than a winner but they are so delicious they deserve a place in my top 10. Stockists: Wholefoods and Harvey Nichols


8) Bessant & Drury Dairy Free Frozen Dessert - Lemon

This product won the overall trophy on the night and its easy to see why, its just delicious and the fact is dairy free just has no bearing on the quality, I would eat and buy it and I am not dairy intolerant at all!  Lemony, creamy really nice desert.  Stockists: Waitrose and Tesco


So there you have it, my top products on the night, all delicious, all gluten free and a lot of them dairy free too.  Ocado seem to be the best bet to get hold of most of the products, please let me know what you think of them.

Congratulations to everyone who was commended and who won on the night.


Freefromfood awards 




Saturday, 30 March 2013

Review: Newburn Bakehouse GF wraps and other delights


A gluten free wrap that tastes good? It felt like one of those sad unobtainable dreams us coeliacs have about flour based products that are just out of our reach,  So honestly when I received a box full of Newburn bakehouse goodies and saw a wrap among them, I wasn’t actually that excited, because I just couldn’t let myself believe it would taste good, I am pleased to tell you it tasted very good, but more on that later.

Before I launch into my thoughts, let me give you some background on Newburn bakehouse, it’s the new name for a dedicated gluten free bakery owned by Warburtons, in, well Newburn! Hence the name, from what I have heard, they are very serious about producing great gluten free products and have a lot of ambition around R&D and developing longed for products for the coeliac community, yay!


So what it is it like? Its really really good, its not technically a tortilla wrap, it’s a bit thicker and I would describe the texture as in between a tortilla and a flatbread, you can absolutely wrap stuff up with it, use it as a pizza, or fold it in half as a kind of hot sandwich, that’s what I did, in a frying pan with some cheese and cherry tomatoes and it was really delicious, Jules had some and rather than his normal ‘eurgh’ face he reserves for when I make him try my GF bread, he nodded and said it was good, praise indeed!   There has been some twitter debate about the cost of them, I'm not even going into that, because frankly they are good, and like everything else in life, I am happy to pay money for good quality products, I also believe that if NB can bring prices down through increased production and economies of scale they will do so.

So what of the other goodies, I tried a seeded loaf, it was good, on a par with the Genius one which I buy every week, some breakfast syrup muffins, delicious, I am a big big fan of all the NB muffins and these were no exception.  Any duds I hear you ask? well, I have to be honest I don’t think they are there with the baguettes, I didn’t like the texture or the taste of them and so in my humble opinion more work needs to be done to bring these up to scratch with their other products.



So there you have it, a dedicated bakery, trying to meet our needs with exciting new products, embracing social media and therefore wanting to engage with their actual customers. 

Talking of which the ‘wrap’ is a limited edition product which has a campaign running on facebook entitled #saveourwrap, they want to make sure this product will have enough demand so I urge you to check out the link and make sure it becomes a permanent fixture! 

So in summary, I love the wrap, I want it saved, I have voted and I hope you will too because I need some wraps in my life! 

Save the wrap


Sunday, 17 March 2013

Bristol series - Lahloo pantry


So this is the start of what I will term my ‘Bristol series’ as I am from Bristol, and my parents and extended family still live there, I am headed to the south west every few months, when I am there, I like to try and check out new venues and cafes offering gluten free fare and Lahloo Pantry was somewhere I was excited to check out.


I finally got to find a slot in-between visiting family to visit Lahloo pantry. It's a tea shoppe/cafe in the Clifton village area where all the well-heeled and cool kids hang out, so I felt right at home ha!

We had been shopping nearby, so decided to swing by for an early lunch, it was a Friday, so busy but not rammed, downstairs there are 4 large tables with a glass wall letting in light one end, and French doors leading to a courtyard garden at the other, it's not a huge space but is modern and well designed, upstairs on a mezzanine floor are stools and high tables, on the ground floor is the counter with scrummy food to tempt you coming in or leaving.  We decided to head downstairs, there were two big groups in when we arrived, having what looked like 'creative' meetings, e.g. young people having casual chats with sketch pads and iPads, they weren’t too loud so we found ourselves a table in the corner.   Lahloo specialises in tea and has tons of different varieties, my husband and I tried a few the nice waitress recommended, and ordered a light lunch, our waitress explained in detail the gluten free options available for me, I went for the welsh rarebit on gluten free bread with chilli jam and leaves which was really yummy, a really good example of a pretty simple dish but with really great ingredients allowing it to sing, the chilli jam was amazing.  Jules had a bacon sarnie that also came with the more ish chilli jam, we really enjoyed our food but I did wish I could have some of the pastries or scones on offer!  After brunch we reluctantly got ready to leave but not before I got ready to choose my desert to takeaway, there were 3 gluten free cake options and so I chose the rose and lemon cake and a single macaroon which I scoffed in the car which was delicious! The cake was moist with an almond polenta type flavour, nutty taste, with cream cheese icing in the middle and with raspberries studded through it.  It was really good but I didn’t really get any of the rose flavour.  Overall I really liked Lahloo and think if I lived closer it would be a regular haunt.

Rose and almond cake – 8/10 scrumptious

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Review - Honeyrose Bakery


Honeyrose is an organic bakery founded by a Danish chef who trained in fine patisserie in Paris.  They are home-baked cakes that use entirely organic ingredients, and are stocked in most of the big supermarkets including Sainsbury’s and Waitrose, as Sainsbury's is my local, I have bought the bite sized brownies and the carrot cake loaf, and had the opportunity to try more of the range this month.

Its great to find good gluten free treats that are made with the best ingredients in the supermarket, whilst the supermarket own brand products are getting better in both taste and quality, I still find the smaller bakery products taste nicer, but its obviously more difficult to find the stockists to buy those products so its great that Supermarkets stock some of them.  Here is what I thought of a few of the honeyrose cakes:

honeyrose banana cake


Chocolate brownies
Little individually wrapped brownies, chewy, squishy yummy chocolate taste, really delicious and I think you can taste the quality of the ingredients. 

Macaroons
Nice coconut taste, I liked the lime, its different and gives them a really nice citrus flavour, these macaroons are a bit denser than some others I have tried but thats not necessarily a bad thing as they still taste really nice.

Banana cake
This is actually more like a bread, Its got a bread like texture and is delicately sweet,  It has a subtle banana flavour which is good.  I like my cakes a bit sweeter so this wouldn’t be top of my list for a cake treat, however I did take a few slices to work to have in the afternoon and it was great with a cup of tea, my 2 year old son also loved it!  and as its not too sweet and sugary I didn’t feel like I was giving him a traditional cake to eat, Its actually a really good little desert for children but didn’t feel indulgent enough for me. 

In summary, I really like the honeyrose range of cakes, the brownies are definitely my favourite and I really appreciate being able to pick the cakes up in my local supermarket. 

Honeyrose organic chocolate brownies – 9/10 scrumptious

Friday, 8 February 2013

Judging at the 2013 Freefrom Food Awards



I was honoured to be one of the judges for this years free from food awards, I have followed the awards over the years and feel strongly that as an allergy sufferer myself, they are something to support.  The organisation behind the awards Foods Matter, do a great deal to increase the quality of free from products as well as being a vital platform to raise awareness for smaller producers who are making great food free of allergies and need help to come to the attention of stockists and supermarkets etc.

The categories I was down to judge were, ready meals and sweet treats, biscuits and pastries.  The other judges were a great bunch of industry professionals, intolerance sufferers and the ubiquitous laymen which on the day I was there was the very lovely Ralph!  In the morning we tasted lots of pizzas, soups and one-pot foods, the quality of these were pretty good, and good debate was had over the products that should be shortlisted.  After a short lunch break where no one was very hungry! We started on the sweet category, we certainly ate a lot of biscuits, I personally feel there is still a long way to go with GF biscuit products to bring them up to a standard where a non allergy sufferer would say they were good, there were a few products which stood out from the rest but I can reveal no more until the announcement of the shortlisted products on the 20th February. 

Overall I had a great day, met some lovely people, and I discovered some new brands.  I am very proud to have been a part of the awards this year, and I will of course blog when the shortlist is out, so check back to see which brands made the cut.

For more information about the awards visit www.freefromfoodawards.co.uk

Sunday, 13 January 2013

2012 Roundup


2012 was a big year for me personally, I went back to work part-time after a years maternity leave,  I made my first ever celebration cake for my son’s first birthday which has opened up a whole new creative hobby for me, and my interest in sugarcraft has continued to grow over the year.  I attended a gluten free Italian cooking course which opened my eyes to new flours and techniques in my cooking, and I also continued to blog and find great gluten free brands as well as wonderful cafes and restaurants that are gluten free friendly, and I have also had the pleasure of meeting other gluten free food bloggers on a few meets ups, and have felt very welcomed by the whole community.

My hero’s this year

Brands

Honeybuns
Annies Larder
Perkier

Honeybuns I love, great cakes and with their new cookery book I can now try and recreate some of them at home.  Annie’s larder is a south London baed brad started delivering gluten free lunches in London this year and I try and order a lunch delivery at least once a week, what a treat to have a gluten free baguette delivered to your office!  Perkier foods, the Rocky Road is to die for!  And one of the few gluten free treats I have to hide from my husband!  I am also a complete convert to the Perkier porridges, the best in the market in my opinion!

Eating out

WAGfree bakery
Carluccios
Leon restaurants


I continue to support WAG free bakery in Brixton Village, who continue to provide great gluten free food.  Leon is still a favourite, for healthy fast food with great labelling on the menu.  I have loved the gluten free pizza base explosion this year!  Pizza hut, deliveries from Dominos have all brought conveinience at last when a craving for a pizza comes on, I have been very impressed with Carluccios GF menu and have eaten there regularly this year.

So the best cake of 2012?  It’s the WAGFree mini Victoria sponge!  I absolutely love this cake and cant go anywhere near WAGF without buying and eating one, making a great gluten free sponge is a challenge for anyone so the fact that this cake has such a light sponge which is so delicious is testament to their baking skills. 

WAGFree mini Victoria sponge is Gfcakelovers best gluten free cake of 2012!

Looking forward to 2013

What does 2013 hold?  Well I am very honoured to be chosen as one of the judges for the Freefrom food awards this year which I am really excited about, I am looking forward to continuing with sugar crafting and blogging, and of course seeking out great places to eat out that are safe for people who are gluten intolerant.  I also look forward to continuing to share these finds with you,  please keep commenting and letting me know how I am doing and I hope you continue to find the blog useful.