Author: Issi

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“Gluten Free”…but Not Suitable for Coeliacs

You would be forgiven for assuming that if something is labelled “gluten free” or advertised as a “gluten free option”, then it doesn’t contain gluten and is therefore safe for a coeliac person to eat. Unfortunately, you would be wrong. In the catering world, gluten free does not = safe. Several times in the last few weeks, I’ve walked hopefully into cafes and restaurants advertising gluten free options, only to be told that their “gluten free” options are not actually suitable for coeliacs, or people with allergies to gluten. Who is gluten free food for? “Gluten free” options in restaurants and cafes seem to frequently be aimed not at people with a medical need to avoid gluten, but at people who choose to “go gluten free”. People willing to spend significant money on gluten free foods that they perceive to be “healthier”, “cleaner” or “lighter”, who do not suffer an autoimmune or allergic reaction if they eat gluten, or trace amounts of gluten. In restaurant and cafe environments, this is presenting a problem for coeliacs. We get lured in …

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Gluten Free Snacks for Hungry Coeliacs!

As an awkward coeliac and frequently hungry person, I’m all about finding tasty and portable snacks. Even though there are more gluten free options in cafes and restaurants these days, I still feel more comfortable keeping snacks with me, or buying gluten free snacks that I know are safe. I especially like to discover good savoury gluten free snacks, as I find too many gluten free options are of the sweet variety – I love cake, but I don’t want to eat it all the time! I thought I’d share a few of my favourites for my fellow hungry coeliacs.  🎒 Gluten Free Breadsticks  While these Nature’s Store breadsticks don’t appear to be available any more, Tesco do a remarkably similar product which tastes just as good. You get two sealed bags of breadsticks in a box. Very handy for keeping in your bag as an emergency snack. Freefrom Breadsticks, £1.20 at Tesco Snacking Chorizo This snacking chorizo is the bomb.com, and gluten free! Chorizo is one of the most delicious foods on earth as far as I’m concerned, …

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Why I Always Take Notes: Brain Fog and Coeliac Disease

As a rather late tribute to Coeliac Awareness Week (9th-15th May 2016) , I thought I’d write about a lesser known symptom of coeliac disease. Brain fog. Though I’ve had coeliac disease since toddlerhood, I didn’t know there was a connection between brain fog and coeliac disease until about five years ago. I didn’t even know it was a thing. I thought it was part of my personality to be a bit ditsy, a bit dopey and forgetful. A bit Bridget Jones. Maybe it is to a certain extent, but I these intense periods of vagueness became more than that, and seemed to come and go with glutenings. What is brain fog? A lot of people assume that coeliac disease only affects the digestive system. This is untrue. Coeliac Disease is a multi-system autoimmune disorder. It can affect you neurologically. When I joined internet forums about coeliac disease, I noticed the term ‘brain fog’ floating around, and saw that I was far from the only one experiencing these symptoms. When the fog descends, I struggle with finding the right words and …

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Camden Market Gluten Free Festival: Street Food at #AgainstTheGrain

Imagine a food market where there’s multiple gluten free stalls, gluten free beer on tap and handy demos of gluten free cooking? Say hello to Against the Grain, the second installment of the Camden Market gluten free festival. I was excited to go after my empanadas, fish & chips and donut joy last year. The gluten free festival took place in a yard within Camden Market’s main food section (around the corner from Honest Burger and Cookies & Scream). There were some great gluten free choices: Arancini, crepes, curries, nachos, empanadas, breads, cakes, cookies, gluten free beer on tap. David and I tucked in. Read on to see my photo diary, and some thoughts cross-contamination… I started off with a gluten free mozzarella & Italian ham arancini from Risotto2go and a sip of gluten free beer from Westerham Brewery. David drank most of it. 😉 ADVERTISEMENT David had a glorious curry from The Naughty Roti. Served with rice rather than roti to keep it gluten free. There was a real variety of foods – cuisines from all over the world. I liked the …

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Niche – 100% Gluten Free restaurant in Clerkenwell, London

Niche is a 100% gluten free restaurant in London, an independent haven for coeliacs serving ‘Best of British’ food. Located just down the road from Sadler’s Wells, Niche is nestled in one of London’s loveliest and poshest neighbourhoods. I’ve been wanting to visit ever since I read Wandering Gluten Freely’s rave review, and I finally managed it a couple of weekends ago with my friend Mel. The Food Deep fried gluten free things are still a novelty to me. As such, I feel duty-bound to try them all. I had the ‘NFC’ (Niche Fried Chicken). “Free range buttermilk chicken coated in millet flour spiced crumb, with aioli & BBQ dips”. It was divine. The basket is deceptively small-looking – you actually get a lot of fried chicken for your £. I love ketchup and mayo as much as the next person, but it made the meal a bit more special to have homemade sauces. I had a basic side salad with the chicken (not pictured), which was fine. Mel went for a Chicken Burger with Superfood Salad instead of a bun …

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Gluten Free Doughballs at Pizza Express!

This is not a drill – Pizza Express are finally doing gluten free doughballs! I’ve eaten at Pizza Express many times over the years (it is one of my recommended places to grab a coeliac-friendly meal in London), and the doughballs have always given me serious food envy. It may seem like a small thing, but it sucks to be the one eating salad when everyone else is tucking into doughballs and garlic bread! (I’m sure my fellow coeliacs will know what I’m talking about). It will be great to have a decent gluten free starter to share…or keep all for yourself. 😉 I am so glad Pizza Express have listened to the feedback of carb-crazy coeliacs like me. Read more about the doughballs here. They should be available in restaurants as of now – I hope to try them ASAP! Have any of you tried them yet? Issi x P.S. Check the offers section of the Pizza Express website before visiting – you can usually get some sort of discount. Sign up for your FREE printable Coeliac Guide to Eating Out Gluten …

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Gluten Free Quinoa Beer (yes, really)

Here’s a new one for you… Quinoa beer. Yes, really! David and I stumbled across this in a health food shop in Bath (Harvest – brilliant place). At first we thought it sounded like a product from a fad dieter joke. It is definitely real. We didn’t buy a bottle because a) We weren’t sure how the nutty taste of quinoa would translate to beer and b) It was on the pricey side, even for GF. I thought it was a rather intriguing concept though, as an alternative to de-glutenised hops. Altiplano is the company – “100% gluten free, organic and french“. Have you tried it? Would you? Issi x Sign up for your FREE printable Coeliac Guide to Eating Out Gluten Free in London * indicates required Email Address * First Name Last Name

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Gluten Free in Manchester: Sad News about Tea 42

UPDATE 10/08/2016: IT’S BACK! Check them out here: www.tea42restaurants.com/ I was having an idle Google of gluten free restaurants when I saw this. Tea 42, Manchester’s own 100% gluten free restaurant has closed down. It actually stopped trading in December 2015. It was somewhere I looked forward to visiting when seeing friends and family in Manchester. They did a lovely gluten free afternoon tea, and as a coeliac there’s nothing quite like eating somewhere safe, with no worry about cross-contamination. I’ve no idea of the circumstances around the closure, apart from it seemingly going into liquidation. There are dodgy comments at the end of this article about not being able to get in touch with the owners to get refunds for vouchers, so re-opening doesn’t look likely. Whatever the circumstances (does anyone know?) it’s a shame to see one of the few 100% gluten free restaurants in the UK close. Even with the current popularity of the gluten free diet, setting up a 100% gluten free business is still a gamble. I hope it doesn’t put others off trying! …

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Camden Market Gluten Free Festival 2016

Just a quick post to let you know that Camden Market Gluten Free Festival is happening again this year on the 14th and 15th May, and if you are in or around London you may want to put it in your diary. You can read about my experience at last year’s festival here. Click the link below for more info from the organisers! FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE Issi x Sign up for your FREE printable Coeliac Guide to Eating Out Gluten Free in London * indicates required Email Address * First Name Last Name

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Gluten Free in Oxford: White Rabbit Pizza, Organic Deli & Greens Cafe

Last weekend I spent 48 hours in beautiful Oxford with my boyfriend, David. After the amazingness of London for gluten free, it can feel like there’s not as much choice for eating out in smaller cities. Oxford, Bath (and Leeds a few weekends ago) prove this wrong. In-between celebrating Valentine’s Day and exploring the city, we found some delicious places to eat gluten free in Oxford, and saw many more options around the city (particularly for pizza) that I’d love to try next time. Here are the places I would recommend. The White Rabbit The White Rabbit is a cosy and cool pub in central Oxford. Not only do they have cosy nooks, boardgames, great music AND decent cider on tap, but they serve some of the best gluten free pizza I’ve had since last summer’s trip to Sicily. They have a separate oven for gluten free pizzas and take care to minimise any cross-contamination, if you say that you are coeliac. They also serve Celia gluten free lager. We tried the Primavera Bianca and the Spagnola. YUM. Thin, crispy base, …