Cut The Mustard

Gloriously Gluten Free

Borough Market- March 2014

I’ve been spring cleaning my photographs and came across these photographs that I took at Borough Market back in March.

Slow Cooked Roast Lamb (Serves 6)

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Eating al fresco is, for me, one of the most enjoyable things to do when the sun is shining, sharing food and wine with family and good friends.  Particularly special after the long grey winter months that we have in England, and one thing that really gets me in the summery mood is fragrant roast lamb. I think it stems from holidays in Greece, exploring the wonderful landscape, fragrant with the scent of oregano, the warmth of the sun on your back.

As much as I love cooking, I don’t want to spend a sunny day in the kitchen preparing Sunday lunch, so I either barbecue the lamb or cook it slowly in the in the oven.

Crispy roast potatoes and roast vegetables make the perfect accompaniment, and add beautiful Mediterranean colours to your plate.

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Strawberries and Cream Cupcakes (makes 12)

Making gluten free cakes can have varied results, sometimes they can be grainy due to the texture of some gluten free flours or they can be quite dense due to the lack of elasticity and rise, which is usually provided by gluten.

There is a book of recipes that produces consistently delicious results, Red Velvet & Chocolate Heartache, by Harry Eastwood.

I needed to make some cupcakes this week for a shoot and found this recipe.

The unusual feature of Red Velvet & Chocolate Heartache recipes is that they all contain vegetables. Yes I did say VEGETABLES!

They add moistness to the cakes that I haven’t tasted in a while, well since I became gluten free, and I LOVE cake!  I’ve been known to sprint a steep hill if there is a possibility of cake at the top (okay, a bit of an exaggeration, but you get the picture!).

But don’t believe anyone (you know who you are!) who tells you that there is a café at the top of  Pen Y Fan in the Brecon Beacons, because there really isn’t!

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Review- Virgin Atlantic VS015 London Gatwick to Orlando Florida (edited)

Travelling is always a challenge if you have dietary restrictions, through choice or medical need. I have memories of trying to find vegetarian food in France in the 90’s.   I eventfully found a restaurant that seemed to cater for my meat free needs, only to be disappointed (okay- horrified!) to discover pieces of lovingly chopped up bacon at the bottom of my Oeufs en Cocotte!

I have only been gluten free for a couple of years, and during that time, I have self-catered, when I’ve travelled overseas, including on the journey.I hadn’t been to Florida for a while so I was excited to see what gluten free delights were available!  With the likes of Gwyneth and co. leading the way for alternative eating styles, there was bound to be a variety of options available to me.

However, the first hurdle to cross, was the flight.

Virgin Atlantic passengers are able to request meals to suit all dietry requirements, when booking a flight.  There are a list of special diets listed on their website

(http://www.virgin-atlantic.com/gb/en/travel-information/your-health/dietary-requirements.html).

If the category you need isn’t listed, you can call the Special Assistance Department. I’m guessing if you wanted a Gluten Free and Vegetarian meal (and all of the other variations), then you would need to do this.

I was a little nervous because, I had read that sometimes requested meals weren’t loaded onto the flight.  I don’t ‘love’ flying at the best of times, so a journey of over 8 hours without food, wouldn’t be great!  I did plan to pack some snacks, just in case, but totally forgot, so had my fingers firmly crossed on takeoff!

The first item to be served on the flight was the small bag of pretzels, along with a drink. Of course pretzels aren’t gluten free, and there was no alternative available, however there was gin and tonic!

The question of whether gin is gluten free, is a mystery, there doesn’t seem to be a definitive answer.  This may help though:

http://glutenfreebitches.ca/gluten-free-gin-and-vodka/.

It doesn’t affect me adversely though (unless I drink too many, and not in a dietary sense!!), so that’s what I had, and very nice it was too!

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It was then time for lunch, which I awaited with trepidation. The special diets and children’s meals were served first, so I didn’t have to wait long.

The first course was a mixed salad, which consisted of lots of ‘tricky to eat with a plastic fork’ lettuce, chopped tomatoes, cucumber, and an overpowering amount of chopped onions in a dressing, served with a gluten free roll and butter, which was ok.

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The main course was chicken in gravy; small cubes of roast potato and carrots, altogether a bit ‘brown’ and under seasoned.  There were small sachets of salt and pepper, but as everything was squished together on a small tray, I didn’t find them until after I had finished.  I really would have liked it if the meal carton had a label on it describing what you were about to eat.  The passengers eating the regular meals had a choice of three different meals, so although It wouldn’t be feasible to choose, labelling the food would take away the ‘like it or lump it’ vibe (I have to say, not the attitude of the crew, who were fantastic).

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The dessert was a bit puzzling. It had a suspicious looking crumb topping.  I asked the flight attendant whether it was definitely gluten free as there was no description or ingredients listed on it, but she wasn’t sure, so I gave it a miss.

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Later on in the flight there was an ‘Afternoon Tea’ service, which was a really delicious egg mayonnaise roll (which I forgot to photograph, as I was so hungry by then!) and a Honeybuns Mini Chocolate Caramel Shortbread, which was by far the best food of the whole flight.

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I’m sure if I hadn’t been travelling Economy, I may have had better meal options, but my expectations weren’t high to begin with, so I wasn’t disappointed. At least there was something to eat!

Review- Shellseekers, Borough Market

I thought that the one place I would find something gluten free to eat, easily would be Borough Market.  Saturday is a main market day and along with stalls selling produce, there is an abundance of lunchtime vendors.

It was totally packed with visitors at lunchtime, which made it a bit of a challenge to see what was on offer.  The majority of food items that I could see were wrapped in or served with bread of various kinds, and I found it quite difficult to find anything. After a few laps around the market (not at a fast enough pace to burn off the lunch that was to follow!), I found some Stir Fry Scallops (3 scallops with stir fry vegetables and crispy bacon) from a company called Shellseekers.  I’m not certain whether they were gluten free, but they seemed the safest bet.

They were really fresh and delicious, and pretty good value.

 http://boroughmarket.org.uk/shellseekers-fish-game

Its’ often a challenge to eat out in the UK if you’re gluten intolerant/or have celiac disease. Very often gluten free choices aren’t marked on the menu, so you have to put your trust in the waiting staff. This usually involves a bit of to and froing between table and kitchen to check with the chef if your choice is suitable, which is not only a hassle for you, but also your fellow diners who are held up by the lengthy decision making process.  For sufferers of celiac disease it must be really annoying as there really isn’t a choice in the matter, and for them, eating gluten can have serious consequences.

https://www.coeliac.org.uk/coeliac-disease/

I’m fortunate that I only have intolerance, but nevertheless, if I eat something with gluten in it, I can feel pretty ill.

Eating out is an occasion and shouldn’t be an uncomfortable experience and marred by the ‘will I/won’t I be ill?’ feeling.

Some restaurants are enlightened and either mark their menus with ‘GF’, so you can make an easy choice or have a dedicated Gluten Free menu.

Ask Italian- Horsham
Unit 2. Olde Kings Head Hotel Carfax/East Street Horsham, RH12 1EE. Tel: 01403 242002.

A very prompt and cheerful waiter, we were shown to our table very quickly.
The gluten free menu was provided promptly on request.
Fantastic menu with lots of choice. 

 http://www.askitalian.co.uk/site/static/files/GlutenFreeNational.pdf

 I had a Caprina Pizza with a gluten free base, which was delicious. 

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I didn’t have a dessert, because I wasn’t hungry, but again there was plenty of choice.  I would definitely return again, and perhaps save some room for dessert!

Comforting Cottage Pie – serves 4

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One of my daughters likes to have this after swimming training, as it’s so warm and comforting.  It’s like a big hug in a dish. I like it served with steamed greens or peas.

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