Review – Bents Garden Centre

Bents is a very large garden centre that also has a cafe inside, it’s like a full day out in one place πŸ˜›
The cafe is quite unique, in that it has gluten free cakes, panna cotta and meringue. They even have gluten free meals.
We went for a day trip, looking for something in particular, and made a stop at the cafe. I had the meringue.

The meringue was soft and chewy on the inside and hard on the outside, like most people have out. I can’t really do chewy meringue because they’re hard to cut and I have hypermobility but it tasted wonderful anyway. The cream was good but because it had been sitting in their display cabinet it was a little warm and not quite right in its taste. The fruit on the top were tasty and went well with the meringue as they had some sharp fruits – a nice contrast to the sweetness of the meringue.

I like Bents but I always feel as though they could do a bit more. Their cakes are packaged individually, as of they’ve been brought in instead of made there like their other cakes look. They look dry. The meringue and panna cotta look better but compared to all the other choices for the others, it just looks pathetic.

I would recommend it, but only if you were already going, I wouldn’t say you should go out of your way to try it.

So let me know if you’ve tried Bents or any other garden centre cafe and tell me what you think.

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


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.

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.

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

1.5kg pork spare ribs, the meatier the better
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
1 tbsp olive oil
2 fat garlic cloves, crushed
2 tbsp tomato purΓ©e
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

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.


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

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

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.


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.

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.


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

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 πŸ˜€

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.


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


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.


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

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.


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

So here’s the recipe:

Serves 6

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)

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

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!


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!

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookies

Biscuits or cookies, doesn’t matter what you call them, they taste fantastic and are an indulgence we all enjoy. Millie’s cookies look and smell wonderful but us coeliacs can’t eat them, so with a bit of searching and tweaking I have found an amazing peanut butter cookies to rival theirs πŸ˜‰


This is an adapted Nigella recipe, hers are fantastic and easy to adapt. So, here’s the recipe:

50g soft light brown sugar
50g caster sugar
50g unsalted butter (soft)
1 medium egg
1 tsp honey
1 tsp vanilla essence
200g crunchy peanut butter
100g plain flour (again Glutafin or Julvela’s white mixes are great here) plus 1/4 tsp xantham gum
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp salt

1. Preheat the oven to 170oC fan.
2. Mix the flour, xantham gum, bicarbonate of soda and salt in a bowl and set aside.
3. Cream the butter and sugars until fully mixed – an electric mixer will speed up the mixing
4. Add the egg, vanilla, honey ( dip your spoon in boiling water first to make it easier to get the honey out of the tub and then off the spoon) and peanut butter. Mix together until smooth – pr as smooth as can be with crunchy peanut butter πŸ˜‰
5. Add the dry ingredients and mix in. The batter will be quite thick, don’t worry.
6. Using generous tablespoons full of batter, place them on the baking tray in roughy circular shapes, you should get exactly twelve.
7. Put the baking tray into the centre of the oven to make it as even as possible for 10-12 mins.

This cookies turn out crunchy on the outside and soft and moist on the inside. They are beautiful.


So give it a go, let me know how it turns out. If you have any other recipes for cookies, let me know.

Life’s too short to eat bad food!
Happy baking

Gluten Free Pizza

Who loves pizza? Everyone! And i know that authentic Italian pizza is hard to make gluten free. The manufactures make thick small pizzas and its not just the same, really is it? So I have found an amazing gluten free pizza; thin, crispy, large and tastes just like the real thing. As a family and Italian food lovers, we swear by this recipe, it’s the only one we make pizza with and we love it πŸ™‚


Who wants the recipe?
Here we go:

135g bread mix (Glutafin is a good one)
Pinch salt
20ml/15g olive oil
5g dried yeast
Black pepper to taste
60-70ml warm water (enough to bind into a soft dough)

1. Mix first six ingredients together in food mixer until smooth. (Add water until mix becomes soft but not sticky)
2. Roll out, on a floured surface, to desired size and thickness.
3. Add tomatoes and toppings and bake at 200oC fan for 12-15mins until golden and the cheese is bubbling.

Note: we find that if you mix tomato paste and red pesto at a ratio of 4:1 respectively it just adds a little kick to the pizza.
Adding Italian seasoning to tomato paste mix gives more flavour.
Also if you mix mozzarella and cheddar at the ratio of 1:1 for that stringing stretchy cheese you get on all the Italian pizzas.


Why don’t you give it a go? Comment and tell me what you think or if you have a good pizza recipe, let me know πŸ™‚


We made a little individual pizzas for a ‘do and I thought I’d share them with you. They’re adorable and went down a treat. It’s the same recipe but the amount of topping you’ll use is less and the amount of cheese you’ll use is more. 

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

Gluten Free Nutella Cake

Who wants another cake recipe? Thought so πŸ™‚
One of my personal favourite foods is Nutella, so Nutella in a cake would be amazing. So for a friends birthday that’s exactly what I made her. This can easily be a large cake or some cupcakes. I made her cupcakes because they’re cuter. This is also so easy to change to gluten free and I’ll show you how.

So this is the cupcake recipe but all you have to do if put the mixture in a 20cm/8in tin instead of 12 cupcake cases.


Looks yummy, right? So without further ado, the gluten free recipe:

Makes 12 cupcakes or a 12 slice cake

175g butter, softened (plus extra for greasing if making as a large cake)
175g golden caster sugar
3 eggs
200g self-raising flour (Juvela’s white mix is self-raising and Doves Farm do a wheat-free gluten-free one) plus xantham gum
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground cinnamon (I sometimes add more, depending on how much you like cinnamon)
4 tbsp milk
Small jar of Nutella or any other hazelnut-chocolate spread
Handful of chopped hazelnuts

226g butter, room temp
256g icing sugar
226g Nutella or other hazelnut-chocolate spread
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp cream

1. Heat the oven to 180oC/160oC fan. (If making a large cake butter and line the base of a 20cm cake tin.
2. Beat the butter, sugar, eggs, flour, baking powder, cinnamon and milk until light and fluffy.
3. Fill either the cake tin with three quarters of the mix or fill the 12 cupcake cases with half the mixture. Make sure the mixture is level, dip a spoon in hot water and use the back of it to level the mixture to stop the mixture sticking to the spoon.
4a. If making cupcakes, spoon a small amount of hazelnut spread into each cupcake and then cover with the remaining mixture. You can swirl the mixture or leave it as a bite of chocolate in the middle. Smooth the mixture off. Bake for 35 mins.
4b. If making a large cake, spoon the hazelnut spread into four blobs on top of the mixture. Then cover with the remaining mixture, swirl the mixture a few times with a skewer or knife and then smooth. Then sprinkle with the hazelnuts. Bake for an hour to an hour and ten minutes.
5. The cake should rise, brown nicely,, feel firm to the touch and spring back when lightly pressed.

To make the icing:
1. Beat the butter and icing sugar until smooth and creamy.
2. Add the Nutella and beat for two minutes.
3. Add the vanilla extract and salt and mix for 30 seconds
4. Add the cream and beat for a minute. The icing should be light and fluffy. If too thick add more cream, if too thin add more icing sugar or Nutella.
5. Pipe the icing onto the cupcakes and blitz the hazelnuts to almost crumbs and then sprinkle on top.


The inside of one that has been left with a bit of chocolate



Review – Green Lane Chippy

I know that coeliacs miss out on fish and chips, more often than not, and I know that it’s something they miss most but I think I have a solution for all of you πŸ™‚

I am a Committee Member of Coeliac UK Manchester Group and for a birthday in the group we went to a traditional Fish and Chip Shop for the celebration.


In Leigh, Green Lane Chippy does gluten free fish and chips. And they are beautiful! You can have the fish without battered or you can have one of two versions of gluten free batter.

And that’s just the small portion!

They do more than just fish, you can have gluten free curry sauce, fish cakes, chips, beer and much more!
I haven’t had any fish and chips that are better than these!
If you can I would recommend this place to anyone, if you can get there. The people are so helpful and willing to do as much as possible to help you.

A regular portion!

A fishcake


So hopefully you enjoy here just like I did. So leave me a comment and let me know of you have found another fish and chips shop that has a wonderful gluten free option.

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

Review – Ask Italian

Last night we went out to the cinema and we ate at Ask Italian for dinner. It’s not the first time I’ve eaten here and I always enjoy it. Ask Italian now has a large gluten free menu. It’s very extensive as far as gluten free menus go. They even have gluten free pizza and pasta, so you aren’t stuck with a grill meal or a salad. They even have desserts that aren’t just ice cream or fruit salad! Yay! It was definitely something I missed before restaurants starting getting better.


I had the Insalata Caprese for starters. This wasn’t changed for the original menu which is a lovely change for most gluten free options. It was lovely but my parents had the garlic bread and I kind of missed joining in and sharing that with them. The starter I had was still wonderful and I really enjoyed it.


I then had a pizza for mains and that was fantastic to have in a restaurant. This pizza was call Prima Proscuttio e Pancetta Pizza and it was actually designed by a patient at Great Ormand Street Hospital, and some of the cost of the pizza was donated to the Hospital. As a person who was born with a heart condition, this meant a lot to me. The pizza itself was wonderful, very thin base and great fresh toppings. As a gluten free pizza base it was a great one, crispy crust, thin, soft in the middle and no strange aftertaste. It was great!


I would recommend Ask Italian to those who are gluten free and want good, almost πŸ˜‰ authentic Italian food. Even of your only visiting England it would be a good place to go as a England’s cuisine is a wonderful eclectic mix of all cuisines.
So dig in an enjoy!

Leave me a comment and let me know of any good gluten free Italian restaurants or what you’ve thought of the restaurant when you’ve been.

Happy eating!