Review – Cafe Nero

A coffee shop with something differnet to offer coeliacs. Finally! 

Drum roll please! 

A risotto! And it’s good!

Although the label itself doesn’t say it’s gluten free, as you can see, it is. I’ve checked the ingredients, and do every time I have it, and it is most definitely gluten free. 

You collect it from the fridge and they heat it up for you, so it feels like a real lunch. 

It’s got a really good flavour and mushrooms really come through and hold their own against the starch of the rice. The mushrooms are large, and there’s plenty of them,  the sauce keeps the rice moist and the rice is real risotto rice and not long grain rice as some people try to cop out with. The only complaint I have is that you can’t really taste the spinach but this is a minor problem and absolutely doesn’t take away from the taste of the dish. 

I’ve started choosing this over the wraps/sandwiches at the other coffe shops and even the Marks and Spencer’s one. 

Honestly, I don’t have much to say about this one, because it’s surprisingly good – but maybe that’s just for a coeliac product – and I don’t have anything to criticise about it. Just, well done, Cafe Nero. Now, I’m just waiting for more than one flavour of it. *bats eyelashes sweetly, hoping to convince them*

Life’s too short for bad food.

Happy eating!

Xx

Chocolate Swirl Cheesecake


I’ve got a lovely Cheesecake recipe for you. It’s sweet, chocolate-ly and rather impressive when presented. Also, I hope you aren’t counting the calories if you try this recipe, there’s a lot of cream, cheese and chocolate in it. But it’s all worth it. This has been a recipe my Mum has made for years, I can’t remember a time when this cake didn’t exist in our family, so I don’t know where she originally got it from. But it really does taste like home to me. 

This cheesecake serves 8 people, or 10 if you’re being a bit stingy. 
INGREDIENTS 

275g chocolate chip cookies, crushed (I use Tesco’s free from buscuits and you should use your favourite)

150g plain cooking chocolate

350g cream cheese (make sure this is at room temperature to make it easier to mix)

75g caster sugar

50g chocolate to decorate

75g butter

45ml water

11g sachet gelatin

3 large egg yolks (again at room temperature)

700ml double or whipping cream
METHOD

1. Melt the butter in a pain and add the crushed buscuits. Put the stumbled moisture into a spring form tin 0r a tin that the bottom can be removed on and press down well. Chill this in the fridge while you complete the rest of the recipe. 

2. Melt the chocolate. Sprinkle the gelatin on to the water. Heat the bowl gently until the gelatin is dissolved and clear. 

3. Put the cream cheese, egg yolks and sugar into a blender and blend until smooth. In a seperate bowl whip 450ml of the cream (this is 425g on the scales if you’re weighing it out) until just thick. Stir in the cheese and divide into two bowls. Add the melted chocolate to one bowl and divide the water/gelatin mixture between the two bowls. Place alternate spoonfuls of each mixture onto the buscuit base. Make swirls in the topping using the handle of a wooden spoon. Return to the refrigerator for 1-2 hours, until it’s set.

4. Melt the extra chocolate (the chocolate to decorate in the ingredients), pour onto grease proof paper and spread to an 8-10cm square. When set, cut the chocolate into triangles or small squares (usually about 8, really how ever many slices you want to get out of the cheesecake). Decorate with the remaining cream and the triangle/squares of chocolate. (we usually whip it and pipe it on to the edge of the cheesecake, placing the chocolate on top of each swirl of cream).


Now, slice it, plate up, sit back and enjoy!

Happy baking and let me know what you think of it.

Life’s too short to eat bad food!

Xx

Gluten Free Ginger and Lime Cake

Hello!

I’ve got another cake recipe for all you coeliacs out there. It’s a little more difficult than some of the ones I’ve posted but it is so worth it.
Okay, so ginger and lime sound like a bizarre combination, I was skeptical too when my Mum suggested we
make it but I made it anyway and I did not regret it – so stick with me on this one.

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This is another BBC Good Food recipe that I have adapted for us coeliacs. This cake does take quiet a while to cook but it’s completely worth it, trust me.
This cakes serves 10-12, depending on how big you like your slices.

INGREDIENTS

CAKE
200g butter
200g dark muscovado sugar
175g black treacle
2 tbsp ginger syrup (you can take this from the jar that the stem ginger comes in)
200ml full fat milk
2 large eggs, beaten
325g white mix gluten free flour
About 1/4 tsp xantham gum
1 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp ground ginger
75g stem ginger
Zest of 2 limes (that’s shaving of the skin)
4 tbsp lime marmalade or curd

TOPPING
Zest of 2 limes
Juice of 1 lime
140g icing sugar
1 tbsp bet sugar crystals/ 5 sugar cubes

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METHOD
1. Heat the butter, sugar, treacle and syrup in a saucepan for a few mins, stirring occasionally, until the butter has melted and the sugar dissolved. Let this cool for 5 mins. Heat the oven to 140oC fan. Grease and line the base and sides of a deep 20cm round cake tin with greaseproof paper.

2. Whisk the milk into the butter mixture, add the eggs and combine. In a separate large bowl, mix together the flour, xantham gum, bicarbonate and ground ginger. Pour in the butter mixture and combine, making sure the flour is thoroughly mixed in. Mix in the stem ginger and lime zest.

3. Pour the mixture into the cake tin and bake for 1hr 15mins. If not cooked, bake for an extra 10 mins. Leave the cake in the tin to cool for 10 mins and then move the cake to a wire rack to finish cooling.

4. Cut the cake into 2 or 3 layers – I could only get 2 but then again I don’t have a very steady hand. Spread the lime marmalade/curd between the layers and reassemble the cake.

5. To make the topping: In a bowl, mic the lime juice and icing sugar until thick and smooth. You can add a little extra sugar if it’s too runny. Put the icing into an icing bag or a sandwich bag with a tiny bit snipped off the corner. Drizzle in stripes over the cake. Crush the sugar crystal/cubes, a pestle and mortar are best, with half the lime zest into a chunky rubble and scatter over the top of the cake. Sprinkle the rest of the zest on the top. You can add slices of lime as decoration as well if you want.

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And there you have it. A tasty and unusual cake. This one is even better after a day or two in an airtight tin.

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Do get baking and let me know what you think of it 🙂

Is there any recipes you want me to adapt/create and post for you?

Remember: life’s too short to eat bad food!
Xx

Chilli Ribs

Sometimes, when people have coeliac disease they can resign themselves to a simple food that they can be sure is gluten free but I prefer to be adventurous because what’s the point in having all this food technology if you can’t utilise it. This recipe can also be found on the Good Food website. Also in their magazine they’ve started to label recipes gluten free or showing how some of them adapted to be gluten free. My mum has a subscription to the magazine so we eat food from there often.

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We added a baked sweet potato to it with garlic butter and it was perfect. Sweet potatoes are orange inside with reddish skins, I think Americans call them yams, but I could be wrong.
It’s just a different way to do barbecue food and even if it raining outside you can just do this in the oven instead. A nice weekend meal.

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So for those who want the recipe here it is but don’t forget to check out the Good Food website anyway for more great recipes, we take a lot of our food recipes from there.

Serves 4

CHILLI RIBS:
1.5kg pork spare ribs, the meatier the better
DRY RUB
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp hot smoked paprika
1 tbsp ground coriander
2 tsp dried oregano
1 heaped tbsp dark soft brown sugar
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 lime, zested then cut into wedges to serve if you’d like
BARBECUE SAUCE
1 tbsp olive oil
2 fat garlic cloves, crushed
2 tbsp tomato purée
3 tbsp dark soft brown sugar
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tsp chipotle paste (if you cant chipotle paste you can process chipotle chillies or use a mix of chilli powder and smoked paprika)
Juice 1 lime
2 tbsp water

METHOD
1. Mix the dry rub ingredients together, then massage into the meat. Marinate this for at least 1 hr I the fridge or overnight if you have the time.
2. Now move on to the barbecue sauce. Heat the oil in a small saucepan and add the garlic. Cook for 1 min until soft. Stir in the rest of the ingredients and simmer for a few seconds until the sugar melts. Season with salt and set aside.
3. Heat the oven to 160oC or 140oC fan or gas mark 3. Put the ribs in a roasting tin in one layer. Pour in 100 ml of hot water, cover the dish tightly with foil and bake for two hours until the meat pulls easily from the bones. Drain off any fat.
The ribs can be cooled here and kept in the fridge for up to two days if you want to cook it ahead of time.
4. Get the barbecue hot or heat a very hot grill. Cook the ribs for 4-5 mins on until dark golden and hot through – use tongs to turn them carefully. Brush them with some of the sauce and give the ribs another minute to char a little.

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Now for the salsa/salad that was also in the picture. It was lovely and fresh, a different take on a salad for a barbecue.

Smoky corn and avocado salsa
Serves 4

INGREDIENTS
2 large sweetcorn cobs
1 large red
1 large orange pepper
Bunch of spring onions, finely chopped
1 ripe avocado, cut into small cubes
Juice of one lime
Small bunch of coriander

METHOD
1. Get the barbecue or a very hot grill ready. Meanwhile, boil the corn in slated water for 5 mins and then cool under running water and pat dry.
2. Cook the peppers on the barbecue/grill for 10-15 mins, turning them regularly, until the skins are charred. Put them in a bowl, cover and leave until cool enough to handle. Barbecue/grill the corn for 5 mins, turning regularly, until tender and charred a little.
3. Remove and throw out the skins and seeds of the peppers and dice the flesh. Shave the corn from the cobs and mix with the pepper, avocado, spring onions, tomatoes, lime juice and seasoning.
4. Rip the coriander and add to the mix just before serving.

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The sweet potato can be baked and jacketed just like normal potatoes.
Garlic butter can be made by mixing butter, crushed garlic and dried mixed herbs together.

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This was the first time we made this recipe and it was a big hit with my family. Although I didn’t add extra sauce to the ribs, I’m not a massive fan of spice, the rub and sauce cooked on to it was flavoursome and not too hot in spice. My Dad does like spice and he loved it with the extra sauce.

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Give it a go, check out the Good Food website and let me know what you think.

Life’s too short to eat bad food!
Happy eating
Xx

Review – Nandos

Nandos! The new fast food restaurant, and guess what? There’s more gluten free on the menu than at any other fast food place and its better food.
It’s like I always say; you win some you lose some and we definitely won this one 😀

Okay so lets get down to brass tacks. Although you can’t have any of the burgers or wraps etc like usual, there is so much more you can have.

I went with my parents and thanks to the platters we can all share, which is rare for us with my allergy, so it’s a great place for us. We started with the peri peri nuts. You can’t choose the spice, so if your not into spicy food don’t get these, although they aren’t too bad. It’s a mix of nuts with a lovely peri peri spice. Tasty and small for a starter.

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Next we had what we always have, a platter of one chicken, chips and coleslaw. It was wonderful as it always is.

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I usually have the leg of a chicken when I have chicken because I don’t like the white meat and always find it a bit dry. The chicken I had was moist and soft, the peri peri spice was medium and it wasn’t too hot or overpowering and have the chicken a lovely flavour. Both the chips and coleslaw are gluten free which is a bonus. The chips are proper chips, none of the McDonalds stuff but really ones. The coleslaw was a real one too not processed at all.

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The only problem I have with it, is it only has ice cream or frozen yoghurt as a gluten free dessert which is a bit of a let down.
But all in all, I would definitely recommend this restaurant to any coeliac that wants cheap, fast, good food. Especially considering the chips are gluten free which is something we miss out on a lot in restaurants and something I’m always happy to have.

Leave a comment and let me know if you know of any other good places to go.

Life’s too short to eat bad food!
Happy eating
Xx

Gluten Free Lasague

Lasagne is wonderful dish but sometimes difficult to make. And I know that coeliacs miss out on Lasagne at restaurants. But it’s one of my favourite dishes so I’m going to show you how I make it, it’s easy and takes less than a hour.

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This lasagne is soft, with slightly crunch to the top pasta layer, tomatoey and cheesy and wonderful.

So here’s the recipe:

Serves 6

INGREDIENTS
MEAT LAYER
500g mince beef
2 tbsp oil
1 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
100g sliced mushrooms
Salt and pepper
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp sugar
2 400g can chopped tomatoes

Lasagne sheets (any good supermarket do free from lasagne sheets that work well with this, just don’t forget to soak in hot water for 2-3 mins first)

CHEESE SAUCE
1 onion, sliced
4 peppercorns
625ml milk
60g butter
35g flour
100g cheddar cheese plus extra for topping, grated
15g Parmesan cheese, grated

METHOD
1. Brown mince, onion and garlic. Add mushrooms and cook for a further 2-3 mins.
2. Season and add tomatoes, oregano and sugar. Then cover and simmer for 20 mins
3. Remove lid and simmer for a further 5-10 mins until the sauce has slightly thickened.
4. While the meat is simmering, slowly boil milk with the onion and peppercorns. Stand the milk for 5 mins and then strain, removing the onion and peppercorns and set aside.
5. Melt the butter in the saucepan and add the flour. Quickly stir over a moderate heat for 1 min.
6. Add the milk slowly and bring to the boil until the sauce thickens and cook for 1 min.
7. Remove from the heat and add the cheeses, stirring until melted.
8. Layer the meat sauce, lasagne (cutting or breaking the sheets to fit if they don’t whole) and cheese sauce in to an oven-proof dish. Finish the layers with the cheese sauce.
9. Sprinkle liberally with extra grated cheddar and/or parmesan. Bake at 180oC until golden and bubbling.

And voila!

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So let me know what you think of the recipe or if you have any other good lasagne recipe. It’s easy, not too time consuming and yummy, so give it a go and enjoy.

Life’s too short to eat bad food!
Happy cooking!
Xx