Back on the gluten

The best news of this week came on Thursday through the post. The letter rescheduling my gut biopsy appointment came and is set for the 30th May. From the positive blood test coupled with the fact I felt great not eating gluten, but all symptoms came back the week I reintroduced it in April (before that appointment was cancelled), I already know gluten doesn’t agree with me. Personally I’m fairly certain, as is my GP, of the celiac diagnosis but hopefully this biopsy confirms things. So the next three weeks is short term pain, hopefully for long term gain.

I had planned to start with the reintroduction yesterday by having beans on toast for lunch. However I treated myself to a Frys Peppermint Creams on Friday night as I read the label and thought it was free from gluten and diary. However I wasn’t well Saturday morning, it was the only thing different I had had in my diet so did a quick google and found a lot of celiac websites saying Fry’s chocolate isn’t suitable due to cross contamination in the manufacturing process. While I was glad I had figured out what it was and preferred that causing the symptoms than something I eat regularly, it did make me think how careful I will need to be after the biopsy with cross contamination, especially in shop brought food.

After my lunch of beans on toast, the bloat came back big time. My boyfriend, rather than say (as he often does to make me feel better) “you look great, can’t notice anything”, just said “you look huge”. Hopefully though people might think I’m pregnant and maybe I’ll get a seat on the train to work!

And today, due a broken oven we went out for a Sunday roast. Normally I have to check the gravy and roast potatoes too see if they are gf, and forego the Yorkshire Puddings. But today I ordered as normal. The result can be seen below! While the meal was lovely, it wasn’t worth the side effects, which extended to joint pain, and nausea. A photo of my tummy before and after is below. Due to having the Yorkshire Pudding it would have been the first time I had eaten diary since middle of March, the symptoms I got were no worse than when I’ve just had gluten, so hoping that once the gluten is out of my system in June and I give my tummy a little bit of time to heal, I will be able to reintroduce small amounts again which would make eating out and going to friends much easier!

Will keep you posted how the next few weeks go. I’ve still got some of the free form dishes I’ve made over the last few weeks to share!

before and after lumchBefore and after Sunday lunch.

Strawberry Shortcake Sponge

Personally for me nothing is more relaxing than baking a cake on a Sunday afternoon. However since March, my attempts at gluten free, diary free, and egg free cakes have failed to raise to the occasion.

But while writing this blog I stumbled amongst a website dedicated to gluten free vegan bakes and took a look.

There were a few required ingredients I hadn’t got in, such as flaxseed, and I didn’t have time to pop to the shops to get them, but I had everything needed for the Strawberry Shortcake recipe.

The recipe was easy to follow, and I soon had the mixture ready for the oven. I will say though that the mixture seemed to have a rubbery consistence, and I was sceptical about that. The only change I made to the recipe was add in 2 teaspoons of Xantham Gum as I find it always helps give sponges strength.

After 25 minutes in the oven it seemed well risen and definitely resembled a cake. I left to cool but when I took it out of the tin one of the sponges cracked a little down the middle but the cake was still together and I thought icing would fix it.

For the icing, I didn’t have time to chill the coconut cream before mixing it up, and used three little cans of creams, as the recommended brand in the recipe isn’t stocked in the UK.

After it was all put together, I couldn’t wait to give it a taste. And without wanting to blow my own trumpet, I think it was success. The texture was light and fluffy, and the coconut cream was lovely and fresh.

The only downside was after 24 hours and being cut a few times, it did crumble, but I guess if you eat it quickly this wouldn’t be an issue!

Definitely a recipe I’ll be repeating and a site I’ll be using again.

strawberry cake


I love pastry. Pies are one of my favourite meals in the winter and quiches in the summer. So one of the first things I wanted to find was a free from version of pastry.

I’ve never really made my own pastry, it’s often time consuming, especially for puff and filo which are my favourites, whereas the blocks are just so easy to roll out! Therefore I wasn’t confident in making my own gluten and dairy free version. So I got two kinds of free from pastry from Tesco to try.

I decided to make Cornish Pasties last Saturday which I think was my first mistake. Something a little simpler where the pastry could just be put on top might have been better, rather than needing to be shaped and crimped.

The first pastry I tried was from a company called Silly Yak. They make a pastry block which you just roll if you want puff or knead for a few minutes for shortcrust. I was initially positive as it looked and felt very similar to normal pasty blocks. I needed shortcrust so I kneaded, it held together well and was easy to roll out. I soon had two almost circles (issues here were due to my rolling pin technique rather than the pastry!) and placed the filling in the middle. However when I went to fold it over the pastry started to crumbled and soon there was gapping holes all over. It couldn’t be cooked. However the filling was saved and I gave Nature Store pastry a go!

This time you needed to mix the flour mixture with water. The right amount of water was used but it was still like crumbs, so I added more until it came together. I then divided the mixture into two to roll out but it was clear that it was too fragile to even attempt folding it in half. I decided to line a dish with half the pastry and then use to rest to top it, turning tea into more of a beef pie. It was easier to do this, still some holes appeared but they were quickly patched up. It cooked well and no soggy bottoms in sight. However the texture of the pastry was very rubbery, and not enjoyable.

Over all this wasn’t the more successful hour I’ve spent in the kitchen. However I will be trying again.

I think the Silly Yak pastry, would work much better as puff, to top a pie, or be rolled out and top with pesto and vegetables for a summer tart. Just Rol also do a puff pastry which is gluten free and I’d like to try that too, as their normal version has always been my go to favourites.

The Nature Store mix though, isn’t for me due to the rubbery texture and is one thing I won’t be trying again.

Fingers crossed for more success with pastry round two.

Chocolate Mousse

Since I started going Free from desserts have been mainly confined to sorbet or soya yoghurt, so when I found a gluten free, diary free, egg free recipe for Chocolate Mousse, I got excited to give it a go.

The recipe is one by Deliciously Ella and I’m pleased to say it went well, and one that will be repeated!

All the ingredients; avocado, dates, banana, almond butter, raw cacao powder, a wee bit of honey, and water, went in to the food processor and combined to form a rich smooth chocolatey mixture.

The texture was lovely, but for me the taste was over powered by the bananas. The recipe said to use very ripe banana, but maybe mine where a little too ripe. Next time, I’ll use less ripe bananas and maybe a little less, or slightly more raw cacao powder to try to balance it out. Will let you know how I get on.

Gluten Free Black Bean Spaghetti

If I had been in the Inside Health shop in Reigate on my own, I probably wouldn’t have picked up this product. But due to recommendation by my cousin I did. And, I’m glad I did.

When I took the noodles out of the packet they were very thin, and I had no idea how much to cook. For me, an idea on the back of how much to cook per person would be the only thing they could improve on. I filled a pan with what I thought was the correct amount but it expanded a lot! However I was hungry, and thought “its only beans“, so fortunately nothing went to waste. Next time thought, I will cook less, but also weight how much I use before hand, to try and get a better grip on portion size.

While the package says its perfect to go with asian dishes, I actually paired it with turkey bolognese, and think it was a perfect combination. The black bean spaghetti tasted much more like pasta than noodles, and if you had had your eyes closed I think it would have been hard to tell it about from normal spaghetti.

Overall I would highly recommend black bean spaghetti, as not only a gluten free alternative but tasty dish in general, and look forward to having them again, as well as trying other products in the range.

I brought the spaghetti from an independent shop but have found them online at Holland and Barrett.