Saturday, 1 December 2012

My gluten free Christmas

Having been on a gluten free diet for over 20 years,  it's not daunting for me to think about food over the festive period; be prepared is my motto and if I am invited anywhere I often bring my own snacks and treats.  Christmas will be in Bristol this year with my family and my in-laws, who are great at catering for me.  There are still some staples that they, and I, will be buying and I thought I would share these festive items with you.


Most of the traditional Christmas dinner tends to be naturally gluten free, turkey, and lots of yummy veg, to compliment this though, I also buy the following products which the whole family love, even if they are gluten free!

Stuffing: Marks & Spencer's pork and caramelised chestnut stuffing, its absolutely delicious, but sells out quickly

Bread: I take a load of Sainsburys free from ciabattas for sandwiches and a Genius seeded loaf to get me through the Christmas week

Pigs in blankets: It's got to be 'The black farmers daughters chipolatas', wrapped in streaky bacon, yummy!

Montezuma advent 
Yorkshires: I like DS gluten free yorkshire puddings for convenience, nom

Sweet things

Now on to my favourite bit

To make sure I will be scoffing cake throughout the whole Xmas period I actually offer to do all the deserts! A combination of shop bought and things I make myself  

Advent Calendar:

My two favourites are Hotel Chocolat & Montezuma, my hubby bought me the Montezuma Calendar this year, yummy!

To nibble on and to take visiting:  

I am a big fan of hotel chocolat chocolates so will have a box of them to nibble on throughout Christmas; I have also become 
Perkier Rocky Road
a big fan of new brand Perkier, and will have a pack of the Rocky road to take home, you can get these products in Whole Foods.  Another good option is a 
tin of Honeybuns cakes, you get a great selection, they are all individually wrapped and so I have found these a great thing to have with you to take visiting. For the family, it can be tricky to have chocolates for everyone, as none of the popular tins of Roses or Quality street state gluten free on their packaging I will have a few boxes of Thornton's caramel melts this year to share around whilst watching tv, delish and I dont think the family will complain!

Prewetts Chocolate Bourbons

in my opinion Prewetts make the best gluten free biscuits so I have a stash of chocolate bourbons that will be accompanying me to Bristol.  The other biscuits I like are the Byron bay packs, both are available in most supermarkets in the free from aisle.

Christmas day deserts:

I hate Xmas pudding so won't have that at all this Xmas, I will however be indulging in...

A chocolate log from Annie's Larder this year, it looks delicious and will be sure to please my chocolate loving family

I have made a gluten free Xmas cake to have in the afternoon with a nice cup of tea, I am using the recipe in Darina Allen and Rosemary kearneys healthy gluten free recipe book

Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without mince pies - I tried them all last year and Genius ran away with the prize, they were the best tasting gluten free mince pie and I will be armed with two boxes to take me through the festive period, another mention though goes to Annies larder, for her delicious mince pies, I have been enjoying some of these in December and you can order them as part of a gluten free Christmas hamper.

I  hope you found this post useful, and maybe even found a few new products to try, have a wonderful gluten free Christmas, stay safe and have fun, I would love to know your favourites?


Sunday, 18 November 2012

Honeybuns - an array of GF deliciousness

I have recently been munching my way through a box of honeybuns cakes, and I can't believe I haven't reviewed them before! My only excuse is that they are such a staple in my cake diet I almost forget that other people might not of heard of them! They often pop up in the most unexpected places, I remember a few years ago in the peak district popping into an old tea shoppe and there on the counter was a honeybuns brownie! I was so happy to be able to sit down and have a brownie with my cup of tea and rest my aching limbs. They are in most Waitrose stores and also in the John Lewis cafes, you can also buy direct from their website.  Getting a gift tin of these delicious cakes is a great thing to have in your cupboard when you need a treat and would make a great Christmas's present for someone who loves cake.  In my box I got a selection listed below:

Gluten free cakes from Honeybuns

Chewy almondi, tasty, not quite a biscuit not quite a cake.

Coppice cake
Cranberry & chocolate chips and one of my favourites 

Congo bar
A nutty take on a millionaires shortbread, delicious

One of my favourite brownies really squidgy and really chocolatey

Lemon moon
Nice lemony cake on polenta

Every single cake was delicious, I am always reassured they are individually wrapped, especially when I see them in shops, I love the branding and the little descriptions inside telling me about the 'bee shack' .  I  am also excited about the recent release of their cookbook which is on my Xmas wish list. Jules didn't get much of a look in but I allowed him a bite of each to get his verification! He also thought they were delicious

So go get a gift tin and host your own afternoon tea (guests optional)!

Coppice cake - 9/10 divine

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Competition: 2 tickets to give away for Taste of Christmas

Taste of Christmas returns to ExCeL from 7th-9th December and this year there are more treats than ever under the tree.  I am delighted to tell you that I have 2 pairs of standard tickets to give away!

Learn from the experts including world famous chefs Michel Roux Jr, Jamie Oliver and The Baker
Brothers to create a gastronomic delight for the whole family, and taste your way around the world as
top restaurants including Cinnamon Kitchen and Comptoir Gascon cook up seasonal dishes.

Indulge in wine and cheese pairings and a whole heap of hands-on masterclasses and tastings, and take
the experience home with ingredients, decorations and gifts available from hundreds of fine food and
boutique market stalls, the main event however is Annie's larder stand who will have a plethora of gluten-free treats for the festive period.

So how to enter? - Simply comment on this post with the Christmas treat you miss the most being gluten-free and why and include your email address.  The winner will be chosen and announced on Friday 23rd November. 

If you are not lucky enough to win I also have an exclusive ticket offer for you. Buy 2 standard tickets for £30 and save £17 on the door price – simply click here or call 0870 161 2129 and quote TOCEX when booking.

*Calls cost 10p per minute plus network extras. Booking and transaction fees apply. Saving calculated onthe door price. VIP Tickets and other ticket types available from

Good luck! 

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Fria gluten free

Ever since I discovered Fria at the allergy show this year, I have been looking forward to picking some more products to try, at the show, i had some apple muffins and the bread which were both delicious.  My hair appointment last weekend happened to be near Oxford street and I knew that Skandi kitchen is a stockist, so that was my chance to stockup! 

I initially couldnt find any of the products, but when asked, a nice lady showed me where they were kept in the big freezer in the shop part of the shop.  They had bread, muffins and a kladdaka cake and told me they get more stock in regularly.  I purchased a pack of Fria seeded mini baguettes and chocolate muffins.  

Seeded baguettes and Chocolate muffins
As all the products are frozen, and I was going to be out for some time I knew they would defrost whilst I was out.  I waited until the following day and had a baguette toasted for breakfast, you do need to toast the bread as its been frozen, but the bread was really tasty, I really liked the seeds running through it, it gave it a nice nutty taste, I had one of the muffins later that day and thought it was delicious, really chocolatey, nice taste and texture which is really something considering it was frozen! Over the next few days I polished off the bread and muffins and they still tasted good.  So overall still really impressed with this brand of gluten free goodies.  As well as Skandi Kitchen you can also get the products from Goodness direct online, think I might go for the Kladdaka cake next.


Sunday, 7 October 2012

An open letter to express my anger at IKEA

I dont rant on this blog, in fact this is the first time I have ever posted an 'open letter'.  The reason I am targeting IKEA is because I like the brand, I genuinely do, they have cost effective yet stylish furniture, the showroom provides great inspiration, I don't even mind when it's busy, and I USED to love the restaurant.  This is the basis for my rant, my husband is a long time lover of the meatballs and chips and I used to happy go along with his requests to 'pop in' to IKEA knowing we would be headed straight to the restaurant because I was kept happy with the gluten free kids fish and chips, well labelled on big white boards, followed by gluten free almondy cake, a delight! Even when I had a small baby we still loved going, the private baby feeding area in the restaurant did even more to enhance my love for the brand.  Then one day I arrived at IKEA and gone was the gluten free kids fish and chips, gone was the clear gluten free labelling and gone was the Almondy cake!! I asked one of the staff what was gluten free for me to eat and was told he 'couldn't guarantee anything' I turned away angry and upset, my husband and son were already loaded up with meatballs making their way to a table, then I got mad, I asked to speak to the supervisor, a young guy looked a bit scared and went to find someone but within minutes he explained I would need to go downstairs and talk to someone in the bistro, I politely explained that my family were in the restaurant gobbling up meatballs and I just wanted something to eat, the supervisor finally came to speak to me and I again explained I just wanted to join my family with some food, and just wanted to know what was gluten free, he said he would need to check so went away (I had been waiting a LONG TIME by this point, when he came back, he told me the chips, veg and soup, as well as the IKEA version of the Almondy cake were gluten free and safe for me to eat.  I went ahead and ordered some chips with a side order of veg along with some IKEA almondy cake.  I am pretty disappointed with the service I received that day by the staff, and am angry that IKEA have gone backwards in terms of labelling and choice for people needing a gluten free diet.  I hope that this rant might go some small way to inspiring IKEA to go back to the time when there was a clear option for people needing to avoid gluten, that the previously clear labelling be reinstated and if cross contamination can't be avoided any longer in their kitchens well why not bring in some Fria gluten free products that are Swedish and amazing? Sort it out IKEA, I will be resisting my husbands pleas in the meantime. 

This open letter has also been emailed to Martin Hansson, UK MD of IKEA 

Thursday, 20 September 2012

GF day out at the Lambeth Country Show

Last weekend we went to the annual Lambeth Country Show in Brockwell Park, South London, where there are rides, a city farm, food and a sheep shearing show! What's not to like?  We Were spoilt with a beautiful sunny day, my son had a great time at the city farm tent poking his fingers through the netting at the chickens and making various noises at the guinea pigs. 
gfcakelover and family 
 Food wise there were a lot of vans dotted around the field, I spotted a vegetarian van offering GF mushroom stroganoff but it was so hot I didn't fancy it. That was the only sign I saw for something savoury, I ended up having 2 pieces of bacon and some onions in a cup (don’t ask)!  Gluten free signs were a lot more prevalent when it came to sweet treats. I spied a crepe stall offering gluten free pancakes and in the food hall 3 out of 4 stalls had gluten free cakes on offer.  I bought and ate two in quick succession! 

The first one was from Trinas delicacies it was a small carrot cupcake with a cream cheese icing, it was a great little cake, lovely texture, nice bite and yummy icing, I could of happily had another one as it was really nice, she also had some vegan options. 
Trinas Delicacies

I then wandered over the Ms Cupcake stand where they had a selection of yummy sounding gluten free cupcakes. This time I went for a bounty cupcake, they look do amazing and I love the different flavours, the cake was nice but too much icing for me, read my full review of Ms Cupcake’s cakes here.  My brother enjoyed a non GF lime cheesecake but felt the same on the too much icing front.  So overall a great day out for all the family and here’s hoping their our more savoury options for us gluten free foodies next year.

Trinas delicacies 8/10

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Love and cake @ herne hill market

The new Herne Hill farmers market on Railton road in South East London, has been up and running for just over a month, it's got a good selection of stalls selling everything from meat, fruit and of course cakes!

There is a stall selling gluten free cakes as well as normal cakes called Love and Cake, they are only at this market and also do bespoke cake orders from their south london bakery.   They have 2 or 3 cakes that are made without gluten,  I have eaten two cakes from the stall and haven't personally had any adverse effects, they make regular cakes with regular flour too so worth asking them if you are worried about contamination.

The two cakes I have tried are the chocolate brownie and the spiced chocolate cake, the brownie was delicious, gooey, chocolaty and tasted divine, I offered Jules a taste and I almost didn't get it back tsk!, The chocolate cake was nice but a bit on the dry side, it's such a delicate balance to get a perfectly textured cake with gluten free flour and it must be harder still if you are baking regular cakes just fine, I appreciate having more than just a brownie to choose from though and liked the different flavours on offer. 

So the verdict - the Brownie was really good so

Love and cake chocolate brownie 8/10 gooeylicious

Verified by Jules

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Gluten free lunch deliveries in London

Yes you read that right, gluten free lunch deliveries in London!  I had a similar reaction when I heard about Annie's Larder, a new catering company set up by Chef Annie who also runs the secret gluten free supper club on the London/Kent borders.

I work in Farringdon and luckily that is one of the areas they cover, they currently deliver to East and South East London but are hoping to extend locations.  Its very early days but having been to a supper club at Annie's I was really keen to try it as I knew of the quality of the gluten free cooking.  So I booked through the site and selected my lunch options, you can choose from sandwiches or salads with various fillings, one options of cake, fruit or crisps and then a drink option for £6 which I think is pretty reasonable for the quality.  They are happy to drop off at your office or if you don't have a designated receptionist they will meet you at a pre-approved venue.  I collected my lunch from outside of Farringdon station and was very excited to do so!  I got it back to the office, and unwrapped my sandwich, I had chosen a falafel, tomato baguette with chilli sauce, a lemon cake (of course) and an apple juice.  The baguette was quite clearly homemade, it was really delicious, like nothing we normally get to have as a sandwich, the falafel was also homemade and really tasty with cucumber, tomato and a side of chilli sauce really delicious.  The cake was really really good!  Lovely lemon flavour, perfect texture, not too moist not dry and with a lovely lemon glaze, yummy, and a nice apple juice to wash it all down with.  It is such a lovely feeling to have a fresh homemade gluten free sandwich delivered to you at work that I am fully behind this venture and urge you to give it a try, I will be re-ordering for next week.

Annie's Larder

Current area coverage EC2M, EC2N, EC3M, EC3N, EC4M and EC4N - but enquire if you would like to request a new area, link below:

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Gluten free mini bites from b-tempted

I was lucky enough to win a competition for a box of b-tempted cakes.  I was bursting with anticipation, and when they arrived I was suitably impressed with the premium looking box that came through the post.  

b-tempted box of cakes
Packaged in a brown metallic box with a hemp like ribbon, once opened, 4 different flavours of the mini bites b-tempted are famous for were inside.  I had come across b-tempted before, as I had bought a pack of the lemon and cashew cakes in a health food shop once before and had devoured them in no time at all!  b-tempted are a gluten-free bakery who specialise in mini bites,  brownies and shortbread. They sell their wares online and at selected stockists such as Harrods and Whole Foods market.  

gluten free mini bites 
The small flourless mini bites come in delicious flavours that include; raspberry, white chocolate and pistachio and lemon, cashew and flourless brownies.  They are completely moreish and I was shocked (but not surprised) at how quickly I got through the box, whoops! Jules was actually lucky to get to try a few.   They have a great subtle flavour, a lovely moist texture and I really like the little sizes of the cakes, this of course makes you feel you can have 2 or 3 at a time! I think the box of cakes and the tray bakes you can buy online would make an excellent present for anyone, although especially someone following a gluten free diet.  My favourite has to be the white chocolcate raspberry and pistachio and I enjoyed them so much I am looking forward to ordering a box of the shortbread next.

White chocolate raspberry pistachio mini bites – 9/10 heavenly

Verified by Jules

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

The refurbished WAGfree in Brixton Village

I was very excited to pay a visit to the refurbished WAGfree last weekend for lunch, the little shops inside Brixton Village are pretty small but by moving production out of the small space it's allowed WAGfree a bigger table and bench to exist as well as a few more tables just outside, the decor is still on the shabby chic side but hey it's Brixton so I didn't mind, there were two cooked options for lunch, fish goujons or pie which both came with peas and chips,

Wagfree pie and chips
We ordered one each. They were both delicious but I preferred the fish goujons which were yummy and crunchy, the chips were great and the mushy peas not so mushy but resembled real peas rather than your frozen variety,

WAGfree fish goujons and chips

Jules really enjoyed the steak pie which is praise indeed. The price is really reasonable and I hope this doesn’t change, WAGFree were not as busy as some of the other cafes in the village but I put that down to its niche concept? Unfortunately the service left a lot to be desired, lots of young girls focusing on I don't know what but not their customers! When I went to pay it took 3 of them to figure out how to use the till! Apparently it's new, but service elsewhere in the village is pretty slick so it would be a shame if this let it down. I bought a golden bloomer, two white rolls, a cupcake and a Victoria sponge, all of which have been good and I have been nibbling over the last few days, if I was being critical I would say the bread was on the dry side but I have still enjoyed the taste. So in summary it's a great place to go as a coeliac, it's pretty hard to find a dedicated GF bakery where you can feel confident all the food will be free of contamination, the foods great but it's the sponge cake with fresh cream I get excited about,
WAGfree gluten free sponge cake

It's good food at a good price and in a buzzy eclectic environment which is Brixton Village, I urge you to check it out

Wagfree sponge cake with cream 9/10 divine

Thursday, 12 July 2012

GF cake lovers cakes - muppets

muppets cupcakes

A few Muppet cupcakes inspired by cupcake occasions

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Gluten free cakes in Rye @ Hayden's

The weather forecast promised a (rare) sunny day on the weekend so off we went in the car to the nearest sandy beach!  This happened to be Camber Sands near Rye and Is a most beautiful sandy beach renowned for its sand dunes.  When we arrived it was a bit windy which wasn’t great for our toddler, so we decided to go into the town of Rye to look around and have some tea.  I had done some google searching on the way down and had identified a café that said they did gluten free cake.  It was easy to find on the main high street along with two health food shops next to each other which also seemed to have a range of gluten free treats, hurrah.  

gluten free lemon cake
We decided to go into the coffee shop called Hayden’s and have a well earned hot drink.  Hayden’s is a B&B as well as an Organic and Fairtrade coffee shop and restaurant and it is really lovely inside, minimal classic look with lots of chunky wood tables, yet still feels very modern and a relaxed atmosphere.  There were high chairs so baby A got to sit at the table and have a nibble on Jules’ scone.  There were 2 gluten free cakes on offer, a lemon cake and a brownie, I opted for the lemon.  The cake was really tasty, moist and tasted like it was probably made mostly with ground almonds, this meant it had a slightly nutty taste, Jules actually thought it had coconut in it but I didn’t detect this flavour! The Lemon flavour came out in the icing which was a sharp very tangy lemon icing which complemented the cake well, overall a lovely little place to stop for coffee and gluten free cake if you visit the lovely town of Rye.  We went down to the beach later on in the afternoon and got to make some sandcastles and sit on the sand, bliss.

Hayden's Lemon cake – 7.5/10 delicious

Verified by Jules

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Gluten free cake pops by Perkier

Another discovery at the Allergy show 2012 was Perkier, a new company who launched their products at the show this year.  The cake pops caught my eye as they were lovingly packaged and the branding was bold and bright and stood out from the other stands.  After trying a sample and having a quick chat with the very friendly owner I decided to buy a few to try at home that evening.

I actually forgot I had bought them until the next day so Jules and I had one each with a cup of tea, they looked great, I had a white chocolate covered cake pop and Jules had a milk chocolate, both were brownie pops, the chocolate had a really nice taste, the brownie itself was really suidgey, chocolately and fudgy, exactly what you want from a brownie, they also stuck very well to the stick so there were no accidents whilst eating them!

Overall I really like the cake pops and the company, its a novel idea that I think would be ideal for parties, especially kids parties.  Perkier also had other products to sample on the day, I didnt try the bread but some fellow bloggers told me that was good too.

Here's hoping the company gets taken up by some big retail brands, I can see myself ordering a box of the pops for a party soon.

Chocolate brownie cake pops - squidgilicious - 8.5/10

verified by Jules

Sunday, 27 May 2012

The gluten free italian cooking course

Senza Glutine!

I was lucky to get a space on the first gluten free Italian cooking course in the UK, last Monday the 21st May.  The school is a 5-minute walk from Bond street and is behind the restaurant of the same name La Cucina Caldesi.  I arrived just before 10am and joined the rest of the group for coffee in the restaurant, there were 6 of us, 5 women and 1 guy and they were all really nice.  Just after 10 we were called into the class to begin learning!  Our teacher was Adriana Rabionovich who teaches gluten free cooking courses at Leith’s and at the Waitrose cookery school and has authored the book GlutenFree4Kids.  We all donned our plastic aprons and met the rest of the team Lucia and a very friendly guy making sauces for our pasta whose name escapes me!  Giancarlo (the owner) also came in to say hi.  Adriana started making white bread dough, we watched and then worked in pairs to make our own, this took a long time!  Partly because we were getting started but partly because it takes a long time to get the dough at the right consistency and apparently by hand is the only way!  We then watched the sauces being made, 3 recipes, a sausage ragu, pesto and a cherry tomato sauce all of which looked yummy. 

After that we started on the pasta dough, we were short on eggs so one of the team went off in search of more, Adriana again demonstrated the method for the two different pasta’s buckwheat and polenta based, we then gave them ago in teams of two again, then came the fun bit, rolling the dough through the pasta machine to get it as thin as possible before cutting into tagliatelle and laying them out to dry a little, by this time it was past midday so we pleaded for a food break, we sat down and had some of the bread that had recently come out of the oven which was delicious.  Then it was back to it, we made short crust pastry next, the recipe was different from others I have tried and I learned a new technique on the day, they were then put in the fridge to rest.  Next up Pizza dough, this recipe was really easy and was one of the ones I was looking forward to the most; we rolled out the dough and got the bases in the oven to precook.  By this time it was 3pm!  And we were all flagging so we stopped for lunch, our pasta was cooked up with the different sauces, it was all delicious, I haven’t ever had fresh pasta and I was gobsmacked at how light, soft and delicious it was, helped along by the sauces, the sausage ragu was amazing and my favourite.  We had more bread along with our lunch and kept it quite brief as we had more to do!  After lunch we rolled out our pastry into tartlet tins ready to bake and our pizza bases came out of the oven.  It was basically 4pm by this time which was when the course was supposed to finish, we hadn’t managed to make the foccacia bread or the amaretti biscuits, I hung around until 4.30 but had to leave to pick my son up from nursery.  I didn’t therefore get to taste the pastry we had made but some of my fellow classmates tweeted some amazing pictures and have told me it was delicious, I have the recipe and intend to use it.

I really enjoyed the course, nice people, good teacher, great location and class environment.  Not as relaxed as some I have been on but I think there was just too much to get through in the time and as it’s the first one the course may well change in format and number of dishes.

Overall if you get to go on this course you wont regret it, bring on the gluten free carbs!

I brought home some of the goods and Jules agreed it was all delicious.

Allergy show 2012

I was really looking forward to this years allergy show, I could see some great producers were showing and the ratio of food seemed to be larger than the previous time I went (which was albeit a few years ago).  I had also arranged to meet up with some fellow bloggers so that was another highlight so hang out with some fellow Coeliacs and compare notes. 

So after coffee and a catch up I started to explore the various stalls, M&S and Tesco had very large stalls, there were samples to be had everywhere but I tried to limit myself only to the food I hadn’t tried before.  Sainsbury’s had a large demo area but I didn’t stop to watch any so I can’t tell you if they were any good!  So to the highlights, for me there were a few, Fria Gluten free, a very nice lady called Monica joined our blogger meet up, nice to see someone actually engage with this thriving community of ours, so we definitely knew we had to swing by her place, the bread samples were really good as was a chocolate cake they had out so that one has to be the best bread sample on the day.  I also checked out sweetcheeks and bought a box of cupcakes and donuts, I will review these separately on the blog but they were nice but slightly sugary to my taste.  A new brand debuting at the show called ‘Perkier’ they were selling cake pops along with bread, the staff were really friendly, telling me a lot about the brand, the sample was yummy and so I bought two to take home.  They were really good fudgy chocolate brownie cake pops and so I really hope they do well and get stocked by some big retailers.  I had some samples from Steph’s kitchen, which were really good, but I decided against buying yet more cakes as they were quite big and I had already bought quite a few, I will however buy one online at a later date and review. I had some yummy samosas for lunch from an Indian outfit based in Birmingham called afias.  It was also rammed!  The place was so busy I was shuffling through the aisles’ trying to get to the stalls, maybe that’s a sign to the organisers to do an extra day or something!  It was a great day and I discovered some great brands, definitely worth going again next year.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Gluten free cake stop in Brighton at Cloud 9

I went to Brighton last weekend for my birthday and of course wanted to find some nice gluten free cake to celebrate the occasion.

One of my fellow gluten free tweeters directed me to Cloud 9, a little cake shop and it also came up a few times when I was researching my trip to Brighton, it was very near the place we had gone for afternoon tea (food for friends) earlier and I now wish we had come to this place instead! It's a really nice little shop tucked around the corner in the lanes, they sell cakes, ice cream and do celebration cakes to order.  It’s only small but has a couple of tables and nice big opulent looking chairs so you can eat in.  

I dashed in and was delighted to see two stands of glorious cakes were gluten free. I didn't have to spend long considering before I went for the Belgian brownie cheesecake slab which is labelled as gluten wise which means (gluten free) I knew Jools was only getting a bite of this one so I also picked up a rather fabulous looking Oreo cupcake for him.  Then off we went for more fun on the pebbly beach. When we got home later that evening, I was looking forward to my cheesecake for dessert, I wasn't disappointed, it was scrumptious, it was very much like an American cheesecake in that it didn't have much of a base to speak of, it had a lovely creamy cheesy texture with a hint of salted caramel and chocolate running through it.  It was much yummier than the cake I had round the corner at food for friends and Jools agrees, I know where I am coming back to for a cake stop next time we are in Brighton!

Belgian brownie cheesecake slab - 9/10 - on cloud 9 with this delight

Verified by Jools

Sunday, 22 April 2012

A GF evening at Annies secret supperclub

I heard about Annies through the various GF people I follow on twitter, and was intrigued.  Annies has been going for just over a year, there are now often 2 events per month and most nights are themed around an event or type of food.  Annies food is gluten-free and as I found out last night she will also cater for other types of allergies such as lactose intolerance.  The St Georges day themed night was the evening I had my eye on, but as the menu is not released until a few weeks before the event you book without actually knowing what you are going to eat.   There was an example menu from last years SGD evening and the food looked delicious so I was happy to take the plunge and book.  The anticipation grew nicely as I continued to follow Annies tweets about trials in the kitchen for some of the dishes.   A few days before the night, I received an email with the secret address and mobile number of the hosts in-case we got lost, part of the booking promise is that you wont reveal the address or the identity of any of the hosts or their family which adds a nice mystery to proceedings.   On the night we had to put the baby down earlier than normal to ensure we could get to Annies by 7pm.  Our babysitter turned up on time and we were off following the sat nav.  There are 10 guests for each evening and I had been wondering what the mix of age was going to be on the night.  When we arrived I was relieved to see a good mixture ranging from early 30’s to late 50’s, we were sat opposite a couple of a similar age and with a new baby so we had lots in common.  The dining room is just off the main entrance and is nicely presented but very homely with dim lighting.  The first course was a take on an English fry up.  Plum tomatoes, sausage meat with a quail’s egg, some little toast and bacon Jam that was like a pate was absolutely delicious and really beautifully presented on the plate with small portions of everything.  The next course ‘fish and chip’s but without the chips was lovely battered fish presented in cone shaped newspaper along with homemade mushy peas and tartare sauce. This course was also wonderful, I really enjoyed the fish in a great tasting batter and the mushy peas and tartare sauce were a great accompaniment.  The next course was beef wellington with mash and tender stem broccoli, I ordered mine medium and it came perfectly cooked, the beef was divine, this was in my opinion the best course of all, the meat was obviously of great quality as it just melted in your mouth, the pastry was also really good, nice and crunchy and complimented the meat very well, the mash and broccoli were also delicious and this came with yummy gravy.  Even though the portions were not very big I was really starting to fill full at this point!  The conversation was slightly split down the middle as it would have been difficult to talk from one end of the long table to the other, we were happy talking to the couple opposite and to our right but I wonder if that normally happens on these evenings, I suppose it will depend on the group.  Before the desert came out our host informed us that one of the deserts hadn’t turned out as planned, the mini spotted dick hadn’t risen, I actually just felt really sorry for Annie because this had obviously not happened to them before, the spotted dick was served for those of us who wanted to still try it along with the other deserts which was a take on a trifle and a rhubarb and strawberry crumble.  

This wasn’t my favourite course even without the spotted dick not turning out as it should, I felt the crumble topping was too sugary and the strawberries mixed in weren’t to my individual taste although my husband really enjoyed it,  I really liked the strawberries and mascarpone cream in the ‘trifle’ but found the sponge base a little bit dry.  It really didn’t detract from the meal for me though, I was incredibly full anyway and they were so apologetic I just wanted to reassure everyone how good everything else was.  We then moved onto coffee, which came with handmade peppermint chocolates and fudge which were very sweet but nice and a lovely touch at the end of the meal. 

The host (Annies husband) is incredibly charismatic and adds very nicely to the evening as front of house, I would absolutely recommend Annies, if you want an evening with very good gluten-free food and like the idea of meeting new people then this is the evening for you.  I can definitely see us going to another event in the future as we enjoyed the food very much.


Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Freefrom awards 2012 results!

Hot off the press!

The results are in for the freefrom food awards, I have listed below all of the yummy sweet things that won in their category.

Innovation Award
Bessant & Drury Fine Ice Cream Co. – Lemon

Gluten-free scones, sweet tarts, Bakewells, muffins etc - sponsored by Tesco
Joint Winners:
Sugargrain Almond, Apricot and Tahini Flapjack
Sweetcheeks Almondies
Gluten-free cakes and mixes – sponsored by Mrs Crimbles
Joint Winners:
Sweetcheeks Maple & Pecan Cupcakes
The Cake Crusader Gluten, Wheat and Dairy Free Carrot Cake
Gluten-free puddings, desserts & cheesecakes – sponsored by Hale & Hearty
Food Heaven Sicilian Lemon Cheesecake
Dairy/gluten-free chocolate and snack bars – sponsored by Tesco
Booja Booja Rum Sozzled Sultana Chocolate Truffle

Dairy/gluten-free Christmas foods – sponsored by Produced in Italy
Foodamentalists Frangipane mince pies

What a great list, congratulations to Sweetcheeks for winning in multiple categories

For the full list of award wins check out the freefrom food website

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Better Brownies @ Leon

Have you been to a Leon Café?  I feel like I ‘discovered them’ over 10 years ago when I happened upon their café in Carnaby street, now they have 12 restaurants across London so things are obviously going well!  What I loved about them then and still do, was the clear labelling of food that was GF, and their really strong branding that gave such a standout identity to the place, its billed as healthy fast food and it is almost the only place I have lunch if shopping on Oxford street as they are still on Carnaby street and also have a smaller café on Regent street.  I wanted to review today the brownies at Leon, I have had many a brownie from this café so I thought I should tell you about them if you haven’t already discovered it.  

They are called ‘better brownie’ and are made with Valrhona chocolate (the best chocolate in my opinion)!  I went for a bite last weekend and had a healthy superfood salad knowing I would follow it up with a brownie!  The brownies are moist and gooey, with chunks of chocolate; there is a hint of orange  and a slightly crunchy exterior.  Brownies are the type of ‘cake’ you often get gluten-free, I suppose because they are often made without flour anyway, I have tasted some really good ones, and reviewed some on this blog.  

However, I have never had a brownie as good as a Leon brownie, the chocolate is just so delicious and they don’t taste overly sugary like so many can, I also really like the subtle orange flavour to them, unfortunately this orange flavour doesn’t agree so much with Jools otherwise I think the first 10/10 score would have been achieved for 2012.  

So to conclude, if you are in London you MUST check out Leon for a healthy, reasonably priced lunch, and then blow it and have a brownie for dessert!

Leon ‘Better Brownie’ – scrumptious 9.5/10

Verified by Jools 

Friday, 30 March 2012

East Dulwich bake off

I had great fun entering into the East Dulwich bakeoff this year, I entered my gluten free cupcakes into the 'cakes' category and there were some great competition.  I didnt win anything but had some lovely comments on the day.  It was also a shame I couldnt actually try any of the cakes!  I have asked for a gluten-free category next year as it would be good to enjoy some gluten free cake!  Here are some pictures