My review of Isabel’s gluten free baked Donut mix

Today is my niece’s 15th Birthday so this morning I searched through my pantry for inspiration on what baked treat I could take down for afternoon tea. I spotted a new mix which I picked up from the Allergy and Free From fair in London. I’m  a big fan of Isabel’s baking made easy gluten free Cheesy dough balls made from cassava flour, and this new mix from Isabel is a baked donut mix using a mix of gluten free flours including cassava starch.

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All I needed to add was an egg, milk ( or dairy free milk ) fat and sugar.

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I decided to make mine with raw honey instead of sugar, almond milk instead of cows milk and melted unsalted butter instead of vegetable oil suggested on the packet. I think melted coconut oil would work really well too. I try and avoid vegetable oil as it is not a healthy fat.

First I tipped the Donut mix in to a bowl and make a well in the centre, next you add the beaten egg, melted butter , sugar or honey and blend together. Then I added the almond milk and used a hand whisk to mix together.

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For this recipe you need an electric cake pop maker or a silicone cake pop mould which goes in the oven. Or you can make ring donuts using a donut ring tray.

I used a silicone cake pop mould which I quickly popped out to buy ( £9.99 ) you need to grease this mould, I used some spare melted butter.

 

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I pre heated my oven to 160c fan

I carefully filled the bottom half of each mould with the donut batter mix . It just went round my 20 cake pop mould , and then popped on the top mould ready for the oven.

 

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The mould went in the oven for 15 mins, after 15 mins I carefully removed them from the oven using oven gloves. I took off the lid to check the donuts. The donuts were a lovely golden brown and had mostly risen well.

 

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While warm I popped them out and rolled them in a little sugar, they looked amazing and the aroma was delicious!

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Finally I filled a syringe style icing set with low sugar strawberry jam ( Delfour ) I forgot to pass mine though a sieve which I think would of helped with piping into the donuts. I used the finest nozzle to inject into the donuts. I think next time I will use a thin metal skewer to make a deeper hole first. I do love a jammy donut.

 

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The donuts went down well at the party ( all gluten eaters ) and I thought they were very nice, I think I would prefer a little less vanilla flavouring. They had a lovely springy texture and if you are looking for a mini treat these would work well.

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The Donuts were really easy to make and would be extra delicious served warm and sugary.  Its been many years since I’ve eaten a traditional gluten filled donut but these sugary tiny donuts are very good 7/10

The Donut mix costs £2.15

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You can buy this mix HERE < Isabel’s website 

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Isabel’s website > isabelsfreefrom.co.uk

Dough ball review here <

cheesy dough ball mix here <

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Review of Niche gluten free restaurant in London

Last thursday four of us went to Niche to celebrate my Son’s birthday. It was our very first visit .

Niche is a gluten free restaurant in Islington providing British comfort food which is all gluten free.

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The restaurant has a very relaxed atmosphere, more cafe style than restaurant. A modern clean airy space in a prime spot on the corner of a Rosebury avenue , just down the road from Sadlers Wells theatre.

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I thought ordering would be relatively straight forward against other regular restaurants, but this turned out to not be the case. Firstly I went through my intolerances and that I had coeliac disease and gave the waiter my card. He then went through the starters with me, and popping back to talk to the chef re yeast onion and garlic and paprika. Unfortunately this ruled all the delicious looking starters except a plate of smoked salmon or a goats cheese salad.

I was excited to try the gluten free burger for my main but this contained onion so I had to rule it out , secondly I chose a steak, my go to meal at every restaurant. Unbelievable for me the steaks at Niche are marinated making them of limits to me. I plumped for sea bass in the end with potatoes and no sauce instead I asked for some green vegetables. I was pleased the family could order all the gluten free starters that I wanted to try, the deep fried parmesan and cheddar doughnuts and the fried chicken. For main courses they went for beef and chorizo pie and mash, sausage and mash and a goats cheese and Portobello mushroom burger on a gluten free bun with fries.

Our starters arrived promptly and the fried chicken strips and parmesan and cheddar doughnuts looked amazing. I was very disappointed that I couldn’t have either. Maybe something for Niche to look at? Many Coeliacs and those with intolerances can’t tolerate yeast, dairy, onions or sometimes garlic etc.  Just one simple treat starter would be appreciated. My smoked salmon was really delicious and I was given a huge portion.

The fried chicken strips cost £7.75 and were a hit and the parmesan and cheddar doughnuts cost £6.50 were liked but not raved about. My husband had the goats cheese salad which he enjoyed.

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Our main courses arrived next my sea bass was nicely presented but I asked for some butter to just cheer it up a little. The butter came individually wrapped portions very sweet 8/10  cost £15.25

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The sausage and mash meal was enjoyed. Delicious gluten free sausages but the mash and gravy were not overly warm 6.5/10  cost £12.25

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Beef and chorizo pie and mash was well presented there was a lot of pastry which was nice and crisp but just rather too much of it with a small amount of filling with only two slices of chorizo inside. It was given 7/10   cost £12.75

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The goats cheese and portobello mushroom burger looked amazing but was difficult and messy to eat and on a very small plate so no room to get into it.  The chips never arrived, which we only spotted at the end. 8.5/10   cost £12.25

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A lady came to take our dessert order and we mentioned about the lack of chips she apologised and offered a free pudding. I asked for information about the treacle tart which I had been really looking forward too. But after talking to the chef I was told it was made from gluten free bread that contained yeast. I was really disappointed but chose the chocolate brownie. My meal was turning in to the classic meal I have every where in all regular restaurants.

The family chose the treacle tart which scored a 6.5/10 as the pastry was too thick and the filling dry. They were underwhelmed   cost £5.75

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St Clements cheese cake scored a 8/10   cost £6.25

and my brownie was delicious and very moist 9/10 ( but not a very original pudding for a gluten free restaurant ) My warm brownie arrived with ice cream but I had ordered cream they once again apologised . cost £4.75

 

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Over all it is a pleasant restaurant for those who are gluten intolerant or have Coeliac disease as there is Zero risk of cross contamination but I think they are missing a trick by not finding out more about those with intolerances and designing a menu taking this into consideration. Niche is a reasonably priced restaurant well worth a visit.

I’m not sure about the reasoning behind the venture and whether anyone in the team is coeliac or gluten intolerant but It almost seems that Niche is jumping on the gluten free band wagon?  I may be entirely wrong but I didn’t have the opportunity to speak to anyone in charge. Maybe next time I will have the opportunity to ask.

 

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We had a lovely evening out together and would visit the restaurant again if we were in the area. I’m not sure we would make a special journey just to eat there though.

I look forward to hearing your reviews, especially if you have no added intolerances. I’m sure you will have a great time.

website –

Niche restaurant

Twitter –

@nichefoods

Menu here

closed Mondays

Eating healthily at Latitude festival

Freshly back from a long weekend a Latitude Festival near Southwold Suffolk and unlike most festival goers  I’m feeling healthy and am not nursing a hangover! Latitude is the most laid back family friendly music and arts festival. A weekend spent chilling in the woods to bands and an array of different musicians, sunbathing at the Obelisk arena or dancing to the latest bands at the 6 music big top, listening to poetry and crying with laughter in the comedy tent plus much much more.

 

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With numerous food intolerances, festivals aren’t the easiest of venues for me. But I think its worth the effort to plan ahead and go and have a relaxing and worry free time. We normally stay at the venue either hiring a family size camper or squeezing into a VW camper van but this year due to a last minute hitch we stayed quite close by in Ipswich with friends who kindly came to our aid.

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Having Coeliac disease and Crohns disease with numerous food intolerances including onion and garlic means I have to organise my weekend with military precision. The week before the event I start baking a freezing. This year grain free fruit and cherry bread,  gluten free cheese scones, and a grain free bacon and vegetable quiche with extra cheese. I also get an order delivered from Ocado with things I can’t buy locally.

 

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This year I took two large cool bags full of ice packs one containing eggs, salad, tomatoes, spinach, fruit and the freshly made quiche. The other containing the frozen fruity bread and frozen cheese scones, unsweetend almond milk, bacon, butter and gluten free cold meats, this year it was corned beef and ham from Waitrose.

Each day I would take a small cool bag with mini ice packs that fits inside my ruck sack and a container for almond milk. If you are staying on site with a fridge with freezer compartment you can refreeze these every night. This year I was able to use our friends freezer and fridge. They kindly cleared a shelf for my food.

I can honestly say during our 3 days at the festival I was never hungry. I was however often envious and a little sad to not be able to partake in some of the delicious festival food on site, Im only human! Due to my IBD and wanting to avoid sugar, I am careful not to over do it with alcohol so over the entire weekend I had a couple of gin and tonics. If I could have found the Pimms i’m sure I would have given in to a glass.

Some good news if you are gluten intolerant, or prefer not to eat gluten is that there are plenty of stalls advertising gluten free. From amazing beef brisket and rice to paella with chicken and seafood and chicken provencale. These choices seemed free from any gluten on the stall so probably fine for Coeliacs.

I even spotted gluten free pizza ( baked onsite with gluten containing pizza ) , chips with toppings and indian cuisine. Unfortunately all these had contamination risk and with all the above contained food stuffs that I am intolerant too.

One example of having to stay vigilant is that one afternoon I went an ordered a tea from a waffle stand ( very few stalls were solely tea and coffee stands. The guy serving me was covered in flour, up his hand and arms and all over his apron. I watched as he put his gluten floury hand inside my cup and picked up a tea bag. This was one of those occasions when you just have to be bold! I explained politely that I was a coeliac and that I was intolerant to gluten, I might of even used ‘Allergic’ I cant remember , just to get my point across and asked if it was possible for someone else to serve me. They were really understanding and quickly someone else took over with a new clean cup. It caused a little conversation with my fellow customers but that is always a good way of raising awareness.

Every day I took in a slice of quiche with a green salad, a cheese scone, individual wrapped cheese cubes, fruit and the homemade fruity bread and a treat nak’d bar or gluten free biscuit. Along with the almond milk for tea and plenty of water I was well away.

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It is worth mentioning drinks at festivals. Reuseable cups are used and beer and larger is the drink of choice for most. Gluten is obviously an issue here both in the drink and in a poorly washed up cup.

There was gin and tonic on offer cider and pimms , I was able to have a couple of cheeky G & T’s . The spirits were served in a smaller reusable festival cup. Water taps are available for refilling your bottles.

The variety of music, comedy, theatre etc is incredible and you can never get around everything. My highlights were Chilli Gonzalez and the kaiser quartet , Badly Drawn Boy, Soak, Songhoy blues, Naomi Shelton and the gospel queens ,Years and Years, Catfish and the bottlemen, José Gonzalez and Lianne La Havas. I Missed out on seeing Leon Bridges as he clashed with other bands and we couldn’t get in to Stornoway’s set but listened outside.

 

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Comedy standouts were Alan Davies, Jason Manford and Shappi Khorsandi

Gareth Malone brought together festival goers to create a choir that sang on the sunday lunch time spot at the Obelisk ( main open arena )

Thanks to @dansmythphoto Withay.co.uk  for some great music recommendations

Sunday saw a visit from Hemsley and Hemsley to the Literature tent. I was fortunate to arrive early and picked a great spot up the front. Jasmine and Melissa talked about their food philosophy and their book and I was in total agreement with what they said. Lots of up to date information on good fat, the importance of bone broth and avoiding processed food, food high in sugar and avoiding grains etc. Generally enthusing the audience and inspiring us all to take a good look at what we were eating. Also how we could make favourite meals more healthy. It was good to hear Jasmine and Melissa talk about digestion and chewing and the ladies even talked about learning more about ‘what is a healthy poo’. and getting your digestion on track.

 

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I can recommend the book they have written together with 150 recipes. I have made many of the recipes over the last few months already but feel even more inspired to continue making more. click here for website and book details Hemsley Hemsley

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You can catch Jasmine and Melissa Hemsley again this year at The Big Feastival  where they will be talking and demonstrating, along with Deliciously Ella and others passionate about healthy eating.

Maybe you will consider a Festival next year or go along to The Big Feastival especially the Healthy Living Zone 28th – 30th August 

Hoping to be at The Big Feastival myself, maybe see you there!

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My review of The art of eating well by Hemsley Hemsley < click here

Grain free chocolate and fruit bread

This grain free and yeast free bread has to be my absolute favourite. Almost to good to share the recipe!

I always take this with me on camping holidays and festivals. I  often just make it at home for a treat. Made using an > Ugg food mix < its quick and easy. Not cheap due to the mix itself but the chocolate and fruit bread lasts me for ages as I freeze most in sections .

I struggle to find gluten and grain free bread products that are also yeast free, this bread works brilliantly.

 

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Recipe

Ugg foods chia seed and nut bread mix

6 eggs – yolks and whites seperated

4 tbsp melted butter or melted coconut oil

1/2 pint ( 1 1/2 cups ) almond milk or regular milk

2 tbsp vanilla essence

1/2 cup of dark chocolate chips ( I used Sainsbury’s Taste the difference Belgian choc chips)

4 tbsp maple syrup

1 cup of cherries and raisins  ( I always use Sainsbury’s dried Morello cherries ) or any dried fruit

you could use just 1/2 cup of dried fruit if you wanted to keep the sugar content low

Method

pre heat the oven 160c fan

mix all the wet ingredients together (beaten egg yolks , milk, vanilla essence and maple syrup)

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beat the egg whites

Put the dry mix in a bowl

add the wet ingredients and the melted butter or coconut oil

stir well and add the dried fruit and chocolate chips

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stir again and add the stiff egg whites

 

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once blended

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spoon into your chosen tins

I use a small loaf and a ring tin which I greased well

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bake the loaf or loaves for 35mins for small loaf tin and ring tin but slightly longer for a large loaf tin

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this loaf can be eaten as soon as it is cold

or cut up or frozen whole. I freeze in sections.

The bread should be mildly sweet and the bread should be light and springy.

Perfect on its on or topped with your favourite preserve

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Happy Baking!

click here for UGG Foods products