Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Did I cause the credit crunch?

Some of my friends still can't get their heads around me not drinking beer. On more than one occasion I've been brought back a pint from the bar, but I suspect this may be so they have an excuse to down two pints.

I was indeed a fan of a few pints of Stella, I loved nothing more than a nice cold Kroneburg, and was especially partial to a Fruli strawberry beer.

But I didn't expect me having coeliac disease could cause a global economic meltdown!! Yesterday's dramatic credit crunch headline was that beer sales have dramatically fallen in the last year and pubs are in crisis.

I can't help feeling like I've let the side down. Just expect cider and wine sales to rocket sky high soon!

Monday, 30 June 2008

Glastonbury 2008

If there is one place in the world that I don’t want to get glutened and spend extensive amounts of time in the toilet, it’s at Glastonbury festival! So with the knowledge I would be paying £4 for a plain jacket potato, I packed a few rice cakes in with my wellies and loo rolls.

I stumbled across Risotto2Go (after stumbling away from the Brothers Cider bar). Its ‘nice rice’ and soups were gluten free and by the Sunday night of the festival I had become a regular and ate enough risotto to earn myself a free bowl.

Another highlight of the festival was Honeybun’s café which had gluten free cakes and is home to the best caramel slice on the planet.

Oh I saw a few bands too and managed to avoid Amy Winehouse’s right hook. My favourites were Operator Please, fellow Devonian Seth Lakeman, the Wombats and the Duke Spirit.

Sunday, 15 June 2008

Here Today, Glooooten Tomorrow

As an addict of Creme Eggs, I couldn't wait to try the new 'Twisted' variety. They would feed my addiction all year round, not just twice-daily during the Easter period. Since seeing it on Snackspot, I hung around Woolies, waiting for my fix.

But after being faced with a 'may contain gluten' warning I will be going cold turkey. I'm most concerned on the repercussions this may have on the Creme Egg in it's purest form. I might book my place in the Priory early for next Easter...

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Christmas is cancelled. I've just eaten Rudolf

Rumour has it that you can buy gluten free Big Macs in Finland, but I refuse to eat Macdonald's on holiday, and insist on trying traditional dishes of the country, like reindeer for example.

We didn't go to Lapland but found a log cabin styled restaurant in Helsinki called Lappi that looked just like you see on Noel's Christmas Presents. I had sautéed Reindeer and mash with these red berry things. It was very nice and I didn't feel too guilty about scoffing one of Santa's trusty friends. While I'm confessing to eating cute things, I may as well get the puffin I ate in Iceland of my chest too.

Local delicacies dealt with, I managed to eat perfectly normally in Finland. Coeliacs are two a penny and most menus are marked up with a nice big 'G' for things for them to eat. Wine is very expensive so I stuck to cider - some were really strong and smelly, and others concerned me that I'd just paid 5 euros for an Appletise. Apparently the banana beer was nice too, it certainly smelt fanatastic.

Monday, 7 April 2008

Chippy Whips

It's a bloody good job I don't drive or own a car for that matter.

If I did, I would drive myself over to the other side of Reading every Monday night to the Deep Blue fish and chip shop and buy cod in batter in gigantic proportions.

Every single Monday night I am acutely aware that not far away by car, there is a whole fryer dedicated to gluten free battered cod and chips. I never even ate fish and chips that much anyway - surely they should just be an occasional treat, but now they're suddenly an absolute luxury. It occupies my mind and I start scheming to get there, exploring the options...

I could get the bus and eat them on the way back. I should buy a bike and ride there, but will I get them home before they go cold? I might just run there and scoff them in the street.

I really ought learn to drive, no matter how much driving lessons cost or the fact I once failed the theory test - this time I have a reason to pass.

Thursday, 13 March 2008

BlOggy blOggy blOggy...

In Plymouth, pasties are considered as one of the major food groups. I grew up on Ivor Dewdneys, later progressed onto Oggy Oggy, and then found the perfect pasty in the West Cornwall Pasty Co.

I used to take my pasties seriously. I’d complain if one had peas in – not a proper pasty. If the crust was on the top, and not the side – it’s just not a proper pasty. It may seem trivial, but there have been wars over pasties.

Alas, I will never again walk down Royal Parade in Plymouth eating a steaming Dewdneys pasty out of a paper bag. It’s a sad fact, but one that will probably improve my waistline, not to mention my social decorum.

So what of the gluten free pasty alternatives? I honestly can’t bring myself to try them. It would almost be disrespectful to my Westcountry past, to the pasty pioneers, the miners of Cornwall and my mum’s fantastic pasty pie.

I live in Reading now, I’ve moved on and have bid farewell to most Devon culinary customs (with the exception of clotted cream on cornflakes naturally).

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Having once commuted to work in London, I now only make the journey to drink wine with my friends. This makes the trip much more enjoyable, but I have been known to fall asleep on the way home and wake up in Oxford. I now try to be sensible and eat something to stop the bottles of wine going to my head.

I suggested a Leon Restaurant on the Strand, which would have been an ideal solution. The menus are marked with little ‘GFs’, ‘WFs’ and ‘Vs’, so they have put a lot of thought into considering different diet needs. Unfortunately, they have absolutely no consideration for people that might want a glass of wine. The realisation that we were in a restaurant that only served fruit juice and smoothies, sent us running to the nearest Wagamamas quicker than you can say chicken katsu curry.

I have since given Leon a sober second chance, and am pleased that I did. Calling Leon a restaurant is a little ambiguous - the food comes in a cardboard box. But it’s lovely none the less. I’m heading back to Leon next time I’m in London, and will give my liver a well deserved break. I think we'll be OK here.

Thursday, 28 February 2008

I've brought myself some silicones

They're quite big and wobbly. I am, of course, talking about my new silicone loaf tins.

I brought them primarily to make gluten free bread, but I'm sure they can also be used to make other loaf-shaped goods - fruit cake for example. But one step at a time.

Being lazy and unable to follow simple recipe instructions, I opted for a Glutafin bread mix. The instructions are pretty straightforward. Add water, yeast and oil, mix around, put in the oven.

Sceptical that there is more to bread making than this, I was surprised that A) the silicone loaf tin didn't melt and B) there was actually a loaf of bread in it.

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

'I see you've played knifey-spoony before'

My boyfriend once used five knives to butter a single piece of peanut butter on toast.

This was to prevent the dreaded 'contamination'. All just so I could have some peanut butter on rice cakes.

He had hugely underestimated the amount of peanut butter needed to satisfactorily cover his toast. Unable to put the same, bread-crumbed covered knife back into the jar, he got another knife, and another, until the perfect quantity of peanut butter had been applied.

Some households operate a spoon system; using a spoon in the jar and then spreading with a knife. We have a better system - we buy two jars of peanut butter.

Friday, 15 February 2008

A gluten free shop, for gluten free people

We couldn't resist visiting the town of Hadfield where the League of Gentlemen is filmed when we went to the Peak District. We tried to be inconspicuous as we walked down the high street gawping at the shops, trying to work out their Royston Vasey equivalents. It was quite sinister with the war memorial eerily looking over the town, and you could almost imagine Tub's and Edward's local shop secluded up on the hills in the distance.

On the way back to normality, we stopped off in Bakewell which is famous for its tarts. Here, I found another local shop thefarmersmarketshop.co.uk which had a freezer dedicated to gluten free goodies! I spoke to the owner, and she cooks all these herself and of course makes gluten free Bakewell tarts.

The Peak District seems to be a gluten free haven; every market stall seemed to have something on offer. I don't know if this is true of other markets - I tend not to visit them that often as I still am under 30 after all.

Walking is another activity I tend to leave to older folk. I sincerely regretted mocking some fellow walker's hiking boots and sticks, when I was stuck in a bog in Converse trainers holding on to a wall that was covered in cow's muck.

I much prefer walking between pubs, and we crawled around the pubs of Ashbourne, which was still recovering from Shrovetide. Had a posh meal in the Lamplight, where they checked everything for me and totally understood Coelism!

Sunday, 3 February 2008

Gluten Free Goblin

Had Mum finally lost it? She was in the kitchen wearing a mask while making a cake. A cake that was not using gluten free flour, which she was in danger of inhaling, hence the mask. Bonkers.

So, I inherited coeliac disease from my Mum's side and my webbed toes from my Dad's. Marvelous! The toes I love, they are my party piece and I often get them out at parties after a few shandies. The gluten free diet is not so great at a party. It usually results in me drinking far too much on an empty stomach and showing strangers my feet.

But it's not all that bad - I've just had to change a few things I eat since being diagnosed 6 months ago. Not the end of the world, and I'm yet to wear a mask in the kitchen!