Panda's Kitchen

Because free from gluten doesn't have to mean free from YUMMY!

Gluten free fish n’chips February 17, 2013

Hands up if you’re coeliac and you never thought you’d be able to eat a fish supper ever again?

I had thought so. Even if I wanted to attempt making it myself, my gluten free batter attempts, with the notable exception of my buckwheat pancakes, have never been terribly successful. I also don’t own a deep fat fryer. I had considered a Tefal Actifry at one point, but now that Chef Kenny has taken up residence in my kitchen, I really don’t have room for any more gadgets. The tragedy of being a foodie and baker with a small kitchen – I can’t even begin to explain the frustration. My baking cupboard has now had to expand to the dining room cabinet, which houses all my silicone bakeware (brilliant invention) and has a drawer for my cake decorating paraphernalia.

So, the hunt for a fabulous gluten free fish supper was not going to start in Panda’s Kitchen on this occasion.

However, the wonderful people at the Federation of Fish Friers have got together with Coeliac UK to create a Gluten Free Directory of all the fish and chip shops in the UK that serve gluten free fish and chips that comply with the Coeliac UK guidelines on food preparation in commercial kitchens, which means that any food labelled gluten free is prepared in a separate pan using separate utensils. Imagine the happy panda dance I did when I realised that one of said holy grails of coeliac friendly chippys was in fact about a mile from my house. Why did I not know this!

Frydays Fish & Chips is located on Street Lane in the middle of Roundhay, Leeds. They do indeed do gluten free fish suppers on request, no need to order ahead, and may I say that the fish supper I had was absolutely awesome. The batter was crispy, no hint of sogginess, and the fish was fresh and flaky. Chips perfect, no hint of greasiness, and the mushy peas very nice, though for my taste a little underseasoned. They serve gluten free chip shop vinegar – not made from barley. I think it’s been decided that barley malt vinegar is OK for coeliacs these days, but I guess they like to stay on the safe side, which is better for us. Crowning glory was a can of Ben Shaws cream soda – definitely a win!

Frydays does of course serve normal wheat flour battered fish and chips, and there were no complaints from the two non-coeliacs I had with me either (my mum and boyfriend). Portions were generous – even with the regular size Mum and I couldn’t finish our chips, though the fish was far too yummy to leave, so I had a very happy dog when I brought home some leftover chips for him.

Frydays is open from 12-9:30pm every day, open until 10:30pm on a Friday (or Fryday!) Gluten free veggie burgers are also available.

 

 

Adventures with desserts, and the Kenwood Chef December 30, 2012

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So here is the proudest new addition to Panda’s Kitchen – my Christmas present from BF, the Kenwood Chef, affectionately known as Chef Kenny. What better excuse to bake than having a sexy new mixing machine? No more shall my arm muscles ache from whisking eggs or whipping cream or beating butter and sugar into the requisite “light and fluffy” consistency. No more 2-person mayonnaise making – Chef Kenny does the whisking whilst I drip in the oil. BF has a pathological hatred of eggs, so he hates having to be my mayonnaise assistant, so he will be very happy for Chef Kenny to take over that job.

My first experiments with Chef Kenny’s impressive, ahem, tools, were a gluten-free black forest roulade and gluten free honey and pistachio tuiles, to go with poached pears in red wine and vanilla cream. The roulade started well – perfectly stiff egg whites courtesy of Chef Kenny’s power whisk:

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And the power whisk also worked its magic on my whipped cream for the filling, but the sponge sadly didn’t turn out so well, and it cracked upon rolling. It was a flourless chocolate cake, comprising 5 eggs, 6oz dark couverture chocolate, and 6oz caster sugar, rather like a meringue. I baked it for 20 mins, but I’m wondering if perhaps it needed a little less baking time, and whether I left it to cool for too long. Experiment will need to be repeated and tweaked, though do remind me next time to buy my black cherries ready pitted – it took me a good 30 minutes to stone them all.

It looked a bit of a mess, but it sure tasted gooooooood. But then, you add that much brandy to anything and it’s likely to taste awesome.

The tuiles turned out better than I’d hoped for. Tuiles are a notoriously tricksy mistress, the downfall of many a Masterchef hopeful, even with normal flour, so I have to admit I was dubious as to how a GF version would perform. I melted butter, honey and sugar over a pan of water, then transferred to Chef Kenny to mix in the Doves Farm GF plain flour mix and crushed pistachios with the K-beater (sounds a bit like a rapper, not a cooking tool!). Chef Kenny didn’t let me down, and once I added a little extra flour to the mix after the test batch turned out more like caramel, the tuiles were pretty darn good – they were flexible and able to be shaped, a little like brandy snaps, which is a GF baking challenge I now feel more confident attempting. The dessert turned out pretty good, if I do say so myself……

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The pears were poached in red wine with a tablespoon of honey added for sweetness, vanilla essence, a cinnamon stick and the zest of an orange. I coated the top of the pears in crushed pistachios, for a little crunch, and served the tuiles filled with vanilla cream. We had a full house of clean plates, which is usually a decent vote of confidence!

Me and Chef Kenny, I reckon we’re going to make a darn good team.

 

First GF Christmas – my top five GF festive treats December 26, 2012

So 2012 was to be my first gluten free Christmas since my diagnosis. I’ve now nearly been GF for a whole year. My “GF anniversary” will be next month.

Christmas can be a difficult time of year for coeliacs, in fact for anybody with food allergies. If you think of most of the traditional foods we chomp our way through during the festive season, chances are you’ll find that most of them are a gluten fest, hidden or overt. I haven’t actually had much baking time recently, due to a busy time at work, so despite my best intentions of recipe experimentations and making my own GF Christmas pudding weeks in advance and making my Christmas chutneys, my time actually got completely taken over by the project I’m running at the moment, so that had to take precedence, and when I dragged my frazzled self home from work of a night, the last thing I felt like doing was shopping and cooking. I haven’t entirely done Christmas out of a packet, and there will be more on a future post about the Christmas cookery hits and misses that I have managed (gluten free tuiles being very much a hit) but this post is dedicated to the gluten free Supermarket Saviours, or rather, a gluten free Christmas for busy people without the time to experiment with gluten free suet.

At number 5, is Marks and Spencers’ gluten free stuffing range. I’ve had a few attempts making my own stuffing with gluten free breadcrumbs, but the result has been fairly stodgy. These are, however, meat based, the sausagemeat is made with gluten free rusk. We tried the pork and caramelised chestnut stuffing with our Christmas dinner, and it was definitely a hit, even with my non-coeliac BF. It was meaty, satisfying, and had some texture in from the chopped chestnuts, as well as a pleasant flavour with a hint of sweetness. I’ve saved a pack of the pork, bacon and leek version to take to my Dad’s on Sunday, so that there’s some stuffing I can have. I’m expecting good things!

At number 4, The Co-op‘s gluten free pigs in blankets. Co-op’s range of GF sausages has impressed me before, and these didn’t disappoint. They cooked well, the bacon had plenty of flavour and crisped up nicely, and I have honestly never noticed the difference with a gluten free sausage to its wheat rusk based counterpart. In fact, if anything, the GF ones tend to have a higher meat content, and therefore more flavour. These would make great party food as well as an accompaniment to a Christmas roast.

At number 3 – my all time favourite cheese biscuits from Mrs Crimbles.Their website only shows the sundried tomato and pesto version, but I can assure you that they do other flavours of these yummy cheese crackers – a cheese version and my personal favourite, rosemary and onion. My local Tesco stocks both flavours, but the rosemary and onion just edge it for me as a cheese biscuit. They have a briliant snap and crunch, no hint of powderiness that often besets GF crackers

My number one and the runner up both come from Marks and Spencers Food. M&S food has improved their gluten free range a ton over the last year, and they seem to have been releasing new products every month, including the gluten free sandwiches they now do, which always seem to sell out. They have started labelling some of their ready meals and soups as well, so you can clearly see what’s gluten free, and they do a decent range of GF sausages and fishcakes as well.

My number 2 is their Gluten free Christmas pud. Miniature they may be, but they pack a brilliant brandy punch, are crammed with fruit and nuts, and not a hint of stodge, unlike some other free from puds I’ve tried. Highly recommended with their brandy cream.

My number 1 for this year  has actually been my number 1 for a few years in the mince pie stakes. M&S’s gluten free mince pie is topped with a star, and is a Christmas food star. The genius foodie scientist types at M&S have worked something out that very few “free from” manufacturers yet have – that gluten free pastry is a) hard to get right; b) doesn’t keep well; and c) is generally not very nice, so it’s best not to use too much of the stuff if you don’t have to. The star topping the pie is made of marzipan, adding a nice almondy dimension to it, the mincemeat is rich, and the pastry case, despite my general dislike of GF pastry in general, is very much not like concrete. These are so good that my local M&S sells out of them, and they are the mince pie preference of my family, coeliacs and non coeliacs alike.

It’s good to see the mainstream shops catching up on the gluten free front and catering to us gluten dodgers for the festive food fracas. Time was when you’d have to either go to your friendly local health food shop, or a pharmacy to get it. However, not everyone who follows a gluten free diet necessarily wants sprouted soybean bread or to give up deodorant and toothpaste; nor do we particularly want our GF bread on the shelf below the incontinence pads at the chemist (yes, I have seen this). Even more importantly, if you have both GF and non GF family members or partners, Christmas is hectic enough without having to go to several different shops for your feastings.

So those are my festive favourites – what are yours? Have you established any GF festive foodie traditions? How do you do your Christmas meal – does everyone have the same food or do you buy different things for GF and non GF eaters? Feel free to share your GF festive experiences!

 

Primal/Paleo Almond Banana Pancakes October 5, 2012

Filed under: Gluten Free Life — themessylittlepanda @ 10:25 pm
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Oh wow, is all I can say…..

My boyfriend broke his ankle this week, so he’s been feeling a bit sorry for himself. To cheer him up, I made these pancakes tonight. I never imagined that ground almonds would make an awesome pancake, but this recipe is absolutely the pancake BOMB! I tell you what, I will never make pancakes with any kind of grain flour again now I’ve tasted these. Awesome comfort food, or a lovely weekend breakfast. We had them with a bit of extra chopped banana and a spoon of Nutella, which isn’t exactly primal fare, but we all need our indulgences, and it is Friday after all….

I’m pretty good with my diet most of the time, but if there’s one thing I’m a sucker for, it’s things that remind me of holidays from childhood, particularly the adventures I used to go on with my Dad, which often involved some kind of borderline forbidden indulgence or another. When I was little, you couldn’t get Nutella in the UK, it was a European thing, so it was always a holiday treat, spread on fresh rye bread at breakfast. I don’t in general like milk chocolate, but still retain a penchant for Lindt original milk chocolate, which we used to break squares off half way up the mountain side on our expeditions, whilst stopping to plan our route just right to beat the late summer thunderstorms home.

However, if you did want to keep these pancakes strictly primal, you could try adding a drizzle of honey and some plain yoghurt, or adding some fruit to the batter. Blueberries would work well, as would raisins, or chopped dried apple and a pinch of cinnamon, for a German apple cake-style effect. One of the things I’ll say for these is that they will fill you up as well, in a way that flour based pancakes don’t – the protein and fat content of the almonds is really satisfying, and in fact I struggled to finish my portion. I managed though, much to the disappointment of the dog, who was watching with beady eyes!

 

Ingredients (makes 2 generous pancakes or 4 small American style)

1 small mashed banana
2 free range eggs
1/2 cup of ground almonds
pinch of sea salt flakes

 

And yeah….that’s all you need, plus coconut oil for frying them, or butter if you prefer the flavour I guess. The batter isn’t runny like normal European style pancakes or crepes, I think the closest thing I could compare them to, taste wise, would be Dutch Poffertjes, which is kind of a puffed mini pancake. They don’t puff up like Poffertjes do, but somehow the taste was slightly reminiscent of them. I remember having them once, many years B.C. (Before Coeliac) on a trip with my Dad in Maastricht, covered in cinnamon sugar, and I thought I’d died and gone to sugar heaven – light, fluffy, melt-in-your-mouth soft batter, followed by a huge hit of toothsome sweetness. My attempts at gluten free pancakes thus far have been lacklustre to say the least. Buckwheat flour yields a rather earthy taste and texture, which lends itself well to savoury pancakes, but not so much to sweet ones. The gluten free plain flour just tended to soak the oil in the pan like a sponge. But these almond ones are the closest thing I’ve found that match the lightness of those Dutch pancakes, and allowed me to revisit my wide eyed ten year old self for a few moments. And I think we all need some of that occasionally.

 

 

Paleo Macaroons flavoured with rosewater September 30, 2012

Filed under: Gluten Free Life,Recipes — themessylittlepanda @ 9:33 pm
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This is my second attempt at making these, an adaptation of a recipe I found on Primal Kitchen. They are made with almond and coconut, and hence are gluten and grain free, and sweetened with honey or Sweet Freedom. The recipe called for vanilla extract and also some vanilla bean, which I thought would be lovely if you’re a vanilla fan, but I’m not a huge lover of it, so I adapted it to my tastes.I added some almond essence, for a more almondy kick, and instead of mixing warm water with the honey, I used rosewater instead, giving them a lovely Middle Eastern flavour. I thought they would also be nice with orange flower water, and maybe some grated orange zest if you like a citrus tang.

Here’s my recipe for paleo macaroons flavoured with rosewater – the recipe makes between 15-20 macaroons, depending how big you like them.

Macaroons

2 tbsp. honey or Sweet Freedom
4 tbsp. rosewater
1 tsp. almond essence
1 cup shredded coconut (I used Crazy Jacks, because they don’t use sulphites)
1 cup ground almonds
2 egg whites
Pinch of sea salt

Topping

Sweet Freedom or honey
Flaked almonds

Mix the honey and the rosewater until combined. Then mix in the almonds and coconut, salt, and the almond essence, then mix in the egg whites, until everything is combined. Chill in the fridge for 15 mins.

Line a baking tray with baking paper. Roll mixture into balls roughly the size of a golf ball – you could go for slightly larger ones if you like, but the cooking time would have to increase a bit.

Drizzle a little of the Sweet Freedom or honey on top of the macaroons and press a couple of flaked almonds on to each one.

Bake for 12-15 mins until golden on the top. I have a pretty fierce fan oven, so I baked them around 17o degrees, but if you don’t have a furnace like mine, I reckon around 180-190 should do the trick.

I love these, and so does my OH, who is definitely not one for “health food”, so if he eats them by the bucketload, it’s usually a good indication that they don’t taste like they’re good for you. I really like them – they’re not too sweet, but they will take the edge off any sweet craving I get during the work day, and they are great to take on hikes and days out because they’re light and easily portable.

I did use Sweet Freedom in these – not sure how “paleo” Sweet Freedom is, it is basically fructose I guess, and I know there is some debate about whether various sweeteners are ok or not, but I have been experimenting with it as a sugar substitute and it seems to taste OK. It doesn’t have the strong flavour of honey, which you don’t necessarily always want in your baking. It’s cheaper and lower calorie, and lower GI than agave nectar or sugar, and probably about the same price as honey, although again it’s lower in calories if that concerns you. But use raw honey if you want a more “pure paleo” recipe.

I was worried that going grain free would mean having to pretty much give up baking, but baking with almonds and coconut have offered an avenue that I think I’m going to enjoy exploring, if they turn out like these babies!

 

The problem with Gluten Free baking September 27, 2012

Filed under: Gluten Free Life — themessylittlepanda @ 5:04 pm

Problem? With gluten free baking?

Hang on a minute, did the gluten-free cake-obsessed food blogger just say there was some kind of problem with that? Surely, gluten free baking is brilliant, because it means that us gluten-dodgers don’t have to go cakeless and miserable at every charity bake sale, coffee morning and birthday party.

And of course, gluten free baking is indeed brilliant. But, when we think of gluten free baked goods, we tend to automatically think of products made with naturally gluten free grains such as rice. The main staple of any commercial gluten free flour blend tends to be rice flour, with varying amounts of other flours such as corn, tapioca, buckwheat, potato, sorghum or millet.

Gluten free they may be, and made right, will result in a lovely light cake with a much airier texture than wheat based baking. However, most of these gluten free grains, especially the white refined versions, are lower in nutrients than their wheaty counterparts, and also unlikely to be enriched, as most wheat flour is these days. So, if you are a big fan of gluten free baked substitutes for your former favourites, and these make up a large proportion of your diet – and the food pyramid does indeed tell us that 60% of our diet should come from carbohydrates, but more on that later – there is a risk you might be getting the calories, but not the nutritional value, or crucially, the fibre. A lot of gluten free grain products are fibre enriched, frequently with psyllium husk, to bulk the fibre content, but the problem with psyllium is that it swells inside your gut, and absorbs the water. If you don’t hydrate well enough, this can cause some, ahem, blockage. Yes, I know, we’re British, we’re squeamish, and we don’t like talking about our bowel habits. I promise I won’t go Gillian McKeith on you, but just hear me out on this one, because it’s important. One in four of us in the UK now has some kind of gut problem, so there’s a 25% chance that if you’re reading this, you’re one of them.

Yes, there is healthy eating advice out there – the aforementioned food pyramid. 60% carbs, 20% protein, 20% fat. Plant foods. Meat in moderation, and fat is generally to be approached with caution and a roll of hazard tape. But if you can’t eat gluten, that means that 60% of your food is likely to be nutritionally poorer than your gluten-munching counterparts. And for most coeliacs, your gut is damaged anyway, certainly in the early days, from all that gluten consumption, so your vitamin and mineral absorption is compromised.
So, is it really a good idea to base your diet primarily on nutritionally inferior grains?

In a nutshell, that’s why I don’t really think that the standard food pyramid style diet works for coeliacs, and indeed others who have digestive troubles. If you have malabsorption, you’d want to be packing your diet with Stuff What Has Nutrients, not just a bunch of starchy bulk.

Having said that, I’m no Atkins acolyte either. As much as I love bacon (mmmmm bacon), pandas cannot live on bacon alone. We need carbs. And we need that all important fibre, to keep our bowels happy. But grains are not our only source of them. Vegetables and fruits have plenty of carbs – but they are also much richer in all the vital nutrients than grains. Yup, that’s right. Veggies have more iron in than grains. They also have more B-vitamins, folate and magnesium, pound for pound, than grains. Grains only match vegetables in the selenium stakes, and even then the closest grain based match is wheat bran, which is no good anyway if you can’t eat gluten. The food highest in selenium is in fact mushrooms, followed by asparagus, which contains as much of the stuff as the next grain candidate, durum wheat.

My personal experience with going largely grain-free has been very positive, particularly with regard to improvement in troubling digestive symptoms, and having more energy (which I can only put down to a more nutrient-rich diet). However, this was pretty contrary to the advice given to me by my coeliac dietitian, who seemed horrified that my diet contained no wholegrains – in fact, I think she was surprised I wasn’t dead yet. So, to humour her, I reintroduced them. I had a great excuse for a good baking fest, made all sorts of things, and ate the standard food pyramid diet for a few weeks. The first few days were an awesome blur of cake and bread munching and sugar highs, but the end result has been pretty miserable. To say my digestive system is “troubled” would be an understatement, and I’m constantly tired. Sorry, NHS dietitians -  epic nutritional advice FAIL.

So my next series of blog posts will be dedicated to baking and cooking grain-free – and hopefully I will have some positive news to share about the improvements, as well as some awesome recipes. Anyone who knows me will know that I’m not one to settle for bland, tasteless food, and I set up this blog to demonstrate that free from gluten doesn’t have to mean free from the YUM factor – hopefully the recipes to come will show that great gluten free eating can be more than just creating substitutes for wheat products, it can be a whole new and exciting way of approaching food.

Watch out for decadent orange and cardamom cake with rosewater syrup, paleo coconut macaroons, and grain-free lasagne, to name but a few…..

 

10 Things that should not contain gluten…..and yet they do September 22, 2012

Filed under: Gluten Free Life — themessylittlepanda @ 5:03 pm
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Sometimes, it does baffle me, the sheer array of foods that turn out to contain gluten. In some cases, I get it – like gravy granules, they need thickener, so, fair enough, flour is the go-to thing. Anthony Worrall Thompson makes a decent range of GF granules, although they’re a lot pricier than Bisto, so I usually end up making gravy with a Knorr cube and some cornflour.

But in some cases, there can be gluten in some things you would never even think to look, and on occasion my boyfriend has bought things for me, thinking “this would never have gluten in it” and then we’ve got it home and seen the dreaded word on the pack.

So, without further ado, here is the list of the top 10 “catch you out” foods that might contain traces of your favourite nemesis.

1. Chips.

So, you think chips are just yummy little crispy chunks of fried potato? Sorry to bust the bubble, but chips can be a gluten-dodger’s nightmare. One of my “safest” meals to have out is a steak and chips, but in the early days, I didn’t realise that I should check with the restaurant what else they fry in that oil. They could be using oil that has been used to fry things like crumbed chicken, for example, or battered fish. And not all the frozen varieties are safe, either. Bizarrely, chips that aren’t even billed as “beer battered” or “seasoned” (where you would generally expect to have to check the label, if not reject outright) sometimes are coated in flour. So you have to make sure that the label says “Potatoes, vegetable oil” only. Or make your own. Nom.

2) Chocolate.

Damn you, Nestle. After a recent craving for white chocolate, BF bought me home a pack of Milkybars, which I absolutely loved as a kid. Imagine my cross panda face, then, upon realising that the label said “May contain traces of gluten”. Stink! He felt a bit bad, but then brightened up on realising that he would have to eat them. Before I vilify Nestle though (even though they kinda deserve it) they are not the only ones who put that on their label. Some Cadbury products carry the warning, as does Galaxy, and some supermarket brands, usually because they are making their chocolate in a factory that also processes gluten products, so they can’t guarantee it’s gluten free.

3. Hot chocolate

While we’re on the subject, some of the powdered hot chocolate drinks have barley malt extract in them, so that’s one to watch for. I don’t see the need for it – personally, I prefer my hot chocolate to taste of chocolate, not Horlicks, but hey, there’s no accounting for taste. Read the Coeliac UK info sheet on barley malt extract here.

4. Cereal

Well, duh. Of course most cereal is going to be banned, because it’s made of wheat. But I figured when I first got diagnosed that Rice Krispies (or equivalent) would be ok, right? Because they’re made of rice, not wheat. But no, again the barley malt extract rears its head, and most are not suitable. However, some supermarket own brands have actually removed the barley malt in some of their own brand cereals, making them now suitable. The Coeliac UK Food and Drink directory has a record of which ones. It’s good news for Rice Krispie fiends like me; even though I can’t have the original Kelloggs version thanks to the barley malt, I don’t have to resort to the specialist gluten free brand I once tried (which shall remain nameless) which had all the snap, crackle and pop of sawdust shavings.

5. Chutneys and Sauces

While we’re on the subject of our friend barley malt, watch for it in chutneys, sauces and condiments. Most of us will know about soy sauce, brown sauce and BBQ sauce, but things like fruity chutneys can contain barley malt vinegar as well, so it’s worth checking the label on those. Barley malt vinegar is cheaper then wine vinegar, so you tend to find it in the cheaper brands. Bummer for your pocket, like most things gluten-dodger friendly, it’s more expensive to find them without. Spirit vinegar, acetic acid, wine or balsamic vinegars are fine, and I found a particularly nice malt vinegar free caramelised onion chutney in Tesco Finest range recently. But yeah….Finest price too.

6. Pickles

If you didn’t know about the malt vinegar thing, you definitely do now. If you like your pickles, then you have to check what they’ve been fermenting in. Most pickled onions are pickled in malt vinegar, and even some of those posh balsamic pickled ones you get in delis can have malt vinegar in as well as the balsamic. Cheeky little cost saving measure which can be costly on your gut if you get them unknowingly. Again, look for pickles preserved in spirit vinegar. I’m getting quite into the Polish ones they sell in my local Tesco, and they don’t use malt vinegar at all.

7. Icing

Icing? Isn’t that just basically sugar and water? Nope, wrong again. I actually got caught out with this recently when making a Hello Kitty birthday cake for my friend Alice. I figured those tubes of writing icing would just be sugar and glycerine, but on the back there was a warning “May contain Wheat and Gluten”. Sigh….a trip to take them back resulted, and I replaced them with Dr Oetker ones, which had no mention of the evil G, but were, incidentally, not suitable for nut allergy sufferers.

8. Packs of naturally gluten free grains

I love cornmeal and polenta, and had wanted to try a cassava bread recipe, so I was pleased to find that my local supermarket had started stocking a range of Caribbean brands. However, on a closer inspection of their packs of cornmeal, ground yam, ground rice and other grains that are naturally gluten free, there was the familiar warning that it might contain traces of nasties. Curious, I had a look at some of the other things around that section, and one of the Indian brands of rice contained a warning too. I’ve never seen this on the mainstream supermarket brands or the Tildas or Veetees or Uncle Bens, but if you like ethnic foods (and I like those sections, because a lot of the time the brands are cheaper) it’s worth checking it out before you buy.

9. Cured and Deli Meats

I picked up a chorizo the other day which had a warning on, as well as finding a couple of packs of honey roast ham which contained barley malt vinegar in the marinade. I would generally avoid the pre-marinated meats, and things like breaded ham of course, but the deli section can still occasionally catch you out, even when the meat ostensibly looks pretty plain. Roast chickens from the deli, if they have the dubiously ambiguous “tasty” flavouring, also may well have hidden gluten.

10. Ice creams and sorbets

OK, so obviously you can’t eat Ben and Jerry’s Cookie Dough if you can’t eat gluten. But you’d think you’d be OK with the plainer flavours, surely? And sorbet – fruit, sugar and water, innit? Nope. I recently asked for a sorbet dessert in a restaurant (thinking it would be the safest option) but the waiter came back and said he was terribly sorry, but the sorbet contained gluten. I’m not sure how you would work gluten into a sorbet, or why you would want or need it, but I’m guessing the chef was a) literate and b) not drunk, so I took his word. I don’t know what brand it was, but being the gluten-hunting geek that I am, I checked a few out on my next shopping trip, and sure enough, even plain ol’ vanilla ice creams and some sorbets either explicitly said “Contains gluten” (which came, incidentally, from wheat protein) or had the “traces” warning.

So there you have it. 10 everyday foodstuffs which, if you ask me, frankly don’t need to contain gluten, but in some cases, they do.

Happy shopping (or should I say, happy label scrutinizing!)

 

 
The ex-sugarholic

Living a healthy life free of sugar (refined fructose), dairy and gluten...

JACK MONROE:

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