My review of Deliciously Ella’s new book Every day

Needing some inspiration for new meals for 2016 I went out and bought a new cook book. I chose Deliciously Ella Every day, Ella’s second book is packed full of recipes. Breakfasts, healthy eating on the go, salads, easy weekday dinners and big batch cooking also a few simple sweets.

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The first recipe I tried was the gingerbread cookies these were very easy to make. I would definitely advise using as little extra flour as possible. Mine had a little too much flour on the biscuits once baked which didn’t taste nice. The biscuits themselves were nice, very plain which you can see by the photo in the book. I have to admit using some of mine to make chocolate refrigerator cake, oops. I would call these ‘biscuits’ rather than cookies as they are crisp and snap like a biscuit.

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The second recipe I chose was the maple chia pots. I thought this would be a new good breakfast alternative. They were easy to make and I popped them into the fridge to have the following day. I used a cleaned out Lucy bee coconut oil jar the perfect size. I found the maple chia pot had a pleasant creamy taste and just the right sweetness. Unfortunately I struggled with the texture and the look of the breakfast pot. A very gluppy gluey consistency I’m not sure I would make this again.

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For a change I thought I would try one of Ella’s vegan main meals in the batch cooking section. We normally tend to eat quite a lot of fish and meat. I halved the recipe which made enough for 3 large portions. Another simple recipe very easy to follow, Spiced sweet potato stew which was delicious. This went down well with Mr S so I will make this again. We had leftovers for supper with a few gluten free nachos.

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We had a family lunch yesterday the perfect occasion for a nice new pudding. I chose the chocolate ganache cake. Firstly I would say that this is a pudding more like fudge or a torte than cake. Very quick and easy to make the ingredients are definitely unusual for a cake . Avocados, cacao, chia seeds, maple syrup etc. I was shocked by the quantity of maple syrup in the cake. 15 tablespoons if you add the frosting, or 11 tbsp without frosting. I added the frosting which looked beautiful. The end result looked very nice but it wasn’t a hit with the family or myself. I definitely didn’t love it.  Even with the large amount of maple syrup it didn’t taste overly sweet ,some felt it had a bitter taste. More like a large slice of fudge but not as delicious ! and no better for you . I cut mine into 8 pieces but could have cut smaller slices as it was so rich.I think it is worth saying that this is no healthy for you than more regular sweet treats. Best in very thin slices served with cream.

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The next recipe I hope to try is the chick pea, quinoa and turmeric curry which looks good.

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The photographs in the book are lovely and most recipes have a photo of the finished dish or bake which I think is very important. The recipes so far have been easy to make. The cake recipe was very expensive to make but the spicy sweet potato stew is a good cheap vegan alternative for a meat free day.

I paid £10 for my book which was half price in WH Smiths. It is available every where, I even spotted it in Anthropology . Lots of deals to be had, so if you are keen to buy most places have it for half price.

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You can follow Deliciously Ella on Twitter @deliciouslyella

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Grain free Fruit cake ready for the Great British Bake Off

Tomorrows episode of The Great British Bake Off is inspired by Victorian baking. The contestants will be asked to make a Game pie for the signature bake and a fruit cake topped with sugar paste and marzipan. The show stopper is a Charlotte Russe

I was looking for an alternative Fruit cake that was refined sugar free and grain free. I found a delicious looking recipe from Elana’s Pantry   there are lots of amazing recipes on her website and her book, I have made many of them and can recommend you visit the website and check out her book the Gluten free Almond Flour cookbook   <click here to find out more . Its probably one of my most used cookery books !

I love to bake something that I  can eat along with Bake Off,  keeping it as healthy as possible and this fruit cake ticks that box

 

 

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This recipe is packed full of yummy dried fruit and the zest of both lemon and orange

 

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Click here for Elana’s delicious recipe > Fruit cake

I used

90g Raisins

100g dried cherries chopped

130g ground almonds

100g finely chopped walnuts

10g coconut sugar

80g chopped medjool pitted dates ( about 5 )

zest of 1 lemon

zest of 1 orange

4 large eggs

2 tbsp melted coconut oil ( I use Lucy Bee )

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 tbsp vanilla extract

I added

1 tsp mixed spice

1/2 tsp nutmeg

Method

pre heat oven to 180c

prepare 2 small loaf tins

I mixed the almonds, bicarbonate of soda, mixed spice, ground nutmeg and salt together

Then I added the dried fruit, chopped dates and walnuts and zest

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In a separate bowl and beat the eggs and added the vanilla extract coconut oil and coconut sugar

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I added these to the dry ingredients and mixed well

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spoon mixture in to the tins and bake for 25/30mins at 180c

cool on a wire rack

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This Fruit cake tastes amazing, I was thrilled with the result.  Grain free and very little added sugar. Remember dried fruit is already very high in natural sugar so this cake is still very much a treat food. I think this will become a family favourite.

find more recipes from Elana’s pantry here elanaspantry.com 

follow on Twitter @elanaspantry

Happy Baking!

 

For one large cake I used a large loaf tin and baked at 170c fan oven for about 45mins

 

 

 

A Free From Special on Bake Off tonight

Tonight on The Great British Bake Off the contestants will be asked to make a cake using an alternative to refined sugar . One contestant is making a pineapple upside down cake and another a carrot cake.

click here > Alternative ingredients 

The technical challenge is Paul’s gluten free pitta breads. It will be interesting to see how they get on with this tricky recipe. They are something I have not tried. Mainly due to the fact I can’t have yeast.

The Show stopper tonight is dairy free ice cream surrounded by jam and a light sponge.

I decided to make a Pineapple upside down cake that is not only gluten free but grain free and refined sugar free and dairy free too.

Pineapple Upside Down cake  grain free and dairy free

 

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100g coconut oil or unsalted butter

70g coconut sugar or maple syrup

4 large eggs

1/2 cup Almond milk or regular full fat milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

100g ground almonds

70g coconut flour

1 tsp gluten free baking powder

pinch salt

fresh pineapple

fresh cherries

Method

Pre heat oven 170c fan

prepare a loose bottomed cake tin

line with baking paper and fill the base with slices of pineapple,fresh sliced cherries a little coconut oil and a drizzle of maple syrup

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melt the coconut oil and mix with the coconut sugar or maple syrup

 

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add the 4 beaten eggs

in a second bowl mix together all the dry ingredients

Add the dry ingredients into the wet

mix well

add the vanilla extract and the almond milk

and mix well together

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spoon on top of the pineapple pieces

 

 

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bake in a hot oven 170c for 45 mins

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cool on a wire tray in the cake tin

 

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Here is a recipe for a gluten free Pineapple Upside Down cake

click here

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They were a real success !

Lets hope tonights episode is really good and inspires those who need to use alternative ingredients due to choice or intolerances or allergies to bake at home.

Fabulously Free From at The Big Feastival

Last weekend was a foodie and music lovers perfect Festival, The Big Feastival.

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Set in the gorgeous countryside of the Cotswolds at Alex James’s farm. Presented by Jamie Oliver and Blur’s Alex James with an amazing line up of chefs, cooks and musicians. Featuring the best street food and restaurant stalls as well as cooking classes and demos.

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I was attracted to the Big Feastival this year due to the addition of a Healthy Living Zone , added to highlight all the latest thinking on eating well and healthy. There was to be gluten free , grain free, paleo , raw stalls and demos with healthy eating pioneers including Hemsley and Hemsley and Deliciously Ella . I was thrilled to be accredited with a media pass and was determined to Max out my weekend finding out as much as I could for myself and my followers on twitter and Fabulously Free From.

 

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Our trip to Kingham in the Cotswolds on friday did not entirely go to plan. Our renovation project a Bambi Airstream was not as far advanced as we had thought so we spent an unexpected 5 hours waiting for it to be campsite ready! Once on the road we made good progress and arrived at Merry Weather campsite close to the Festival site , plenty of time to prepare for the two days ahead.

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Unfortunately due to the teething troubles with Betty the Airstream we missed out on friday afternoon and evening at the festival . I was desperately disappointed to have missed out on seeing at the Big Kitchen Monica Galleti, Nathan Outlaw and Richard Burr of bake off fame.

 

Saturday brought sunshine and light cloud desperate not to miss a thing we were up and out quickly after  homemade grain free fruit bread and a full english ready to take on the day. Only 14 mins from the Festival site we arrived just as gates were opening . There was no massive queues and parking was easy. We checked in and I quickly purchased an itinerary in the form of a programme on a lanyard.  I knew today was going to be quite a challenge to get around everyone I wanted to see.

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My main area was to be around the Healthy Living Zone and Big Kitchen thankfully the quietest part of the vast festival.

 

 

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Firstly I made my way to the Oatly Kitchen counter to hear Anna Jones.

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Here was to be the place I would be able to get up close to health food pioneers and chefs during the Feastival. Just a few tables and chairs set out in a rectangle covered by an open sided marquee with bright coloured deck chairs around the edge and a couple of bench seats. Very cosy and never overly busy.

Anna talked about her passion for healthy vegetarian food and about helping Jamie Oliver to write some of his books and how she had now written her own vegetarian recipe book.

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Following Anna was Ella Woodward better known as Delicious Ella. Ella talked about managing her illness by changing her diet dramatically to healthy eating including cutting gluten and refined sugar and vegetable oil.

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Admitted to being a sugar addict and advised using maple syrup etc with control and to find a balance. Ella’s top tip was to buy nuts and flour in bulk online. Deliciously Ella also talked about using coconut oil and olive oil in her cooking and baking and eating lots of good healthy fat especially her favourite avocados . I found her to be very honest and realistic . She summed up by saying she wanted to get vegetables in the centre of the plate.

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Following Ella I dashed over to the Big Kitchen a partly covered large stage with simple seating and extra tv screens to go and see Jasmine and Melissa Hemsley of Hemsley and Hemsley demonstrating a lime and avocado cheesecake and other healthy meals.

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The ladies talked lots about healthy fats including butter and coconut oil. They talked of their love of cabbage and bone broths. The Hemsley’s also encouraged the use of natural sugars instead of refined sugar but only in low quantities.

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Raw vegan blonde was next on the Oatly kichen counter art with fresh fruit and veg.

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I arrived at the end of this demonstration ready for Hemsley and Hemsley

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This really was a brilliant opportunity to see them and ask questions and hear more about their philosophy . In the slow cooker they had beef bone broth bubbling away and also the famous spiraliser for anyone to come and have a go with. They spoke about their book the Art of Living well, which I can recommend.

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The spiraliser was popular with the gathered crowd and a huge plate of courgetti in a pesto sauce was passed around the table to try. I had seen Jasmine and Melissa only a few weeks before in the literature tent at Latitude festival. But I have to say this was far better and easier for the ladies to demo properly.

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There was time for a Q&A and in such a small group worked really well. Their passion for not wasting food and using every part of the animal was good to hear. They talked of their love of saturated fat including dripping and butter, I was thrilled. Gelatine from chicken feet and bones also got a mention as well as encouraging everyone to watch the new Sugar film called That Sugar film! Probably my favourite Health pioneers at the Feastival.

Around the healthy living arena area was plenty of food to tuck into including Raw Press from London serving cold pressed juice and almond milk. I had the chocolate raw pressed almond milk which was very refreshing

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As I have so many additional intolerances as well as being intolerant to gluten I bulk baked before the festival and froze it all for our trip. Lunches and dinners for me were gluten free dough balls, grain free quiche lorraine , salad, cheese and fruit and water. If you were just gluten free there was many stalls offering gluten free options including raw press. there was also lots to sample from stalls like UGG Foods offering grain free bread and muffins to try and mix’s to buy

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UGG Foods stall was very popular with grain free mixes and testers

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Coconut merchant had coconut in almost every form from sugar and jam to oil

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Dried Kale looked tasty, sadly ran out of time to go back and buy some.

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The Primal Pantry were in the Healthy living zone offering tasters and their grain free bars for sale.

Deliciously Ella and Olivia Wollenburg were on the Big Kitchen stage demonstrating a chocolate orange brownie recipe a large crowd came to watch.

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Later at the Oatly kichen counter I heard Olivia Wollenburg talk about her line of crumbles Livia’s crumble part of Livia’s Kitchen. unfortunately the crumbles are not gluten free,  I think she is missing a great opportunity but she told me that it was not cost effective as 100 % dedicated gluten free factories are more expensive.

 

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On the Big Kitchen at 5.30 pm was Gennaro Contaldo this was a fun cooking demonstration followed by Jamie Oliver at 6.30pm as you can see I hadn’t left the Healthy Living Zone all day as there was so much to do. All this time there was music on three stages the Main stage, Udder stage and the Bandstand. Also BBQ demonstrations and even yoga

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As you would expect Jamie’s Big Kitchen demo was the most entertaining he also had a guest all the way from Brazil cooking steak on a BBQ on stage.

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It was difficult to get close as the crowds by now had grown enourmosly.

Earlier on the Main Stage had been Iris Gold, Johnny Borrell and Zazou , The Beach , Hudson Taylor and Grandmaster Flash

On the main stage that evening was Ella Eyre, Example and DJ Wire and the headliner was Dizzee Rascal

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Sunday brought a damp start but once again knowing that some of the speakers started early we were quickly on our way after a cooked breakfast with plenty of eggs and bacon to keep us going.

Natasha Corrett was first on the Big Kitchen stage demonstrating here recipe for a grain free quiche using cauliflower in the base. She urged everyone to keep your way of eating healthily sustainable. In her opinion 70% healthy 30% normal eating So as not to make the task to great to stick to.

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Natasha massaged kale with lemon juice to make it easier to eat in its raw form. She also used this in her quiche.

Next on was Joe Wicks The Body Coach I have to admit not knowing the name at all but he had a huge following mainly amongst the ladies.

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A star of the internet due to his 15 minute meals and new book called Lean in 15 . Joe chose to make a Thai green curry which looked good and then a turkey burger using lean turkey mince and a white processed burger roll, really not sure that was the best choice! He did though encourage the use of coconut oil and rubbished the old school pyramid way of eating.

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Emily Watkins was up next on the Big Kitchen Stage as the ran poured outside we stayed huddled under the stage over hang . Emily is a local chef who ‘s pub The Kingham plough is ranked in the Times top 25 pubs for food and two AA rosettes .  She made a delicious looking trifle

I had to leave Emily’s demo before the end to head back up to the Oatly kitchen counter for Adam Henson from the Cotswold farm park and Countryfile presenter final chat followed by

 

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Natasha Corrett Honestly Healthy a self  trained cook who encouraged the gathered crowd to avoid meat, dairy and sugar and to cut out processed food. She was asked during the Q&A what she couldn’t live without  food wise Nashasha answer was Lemons and avocados . The weather by now was not too nice and we were all tightly packed under the open sided marquee.

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I was very excited about the next speaker the very lovely and talented Raymond Blanc

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It was amazing to be so close and hear him talk with such passion about good local healthy food and the quality of british chefs, he teaches many of them! We heard all about his recent series on TV Kew on a plate and about seasonal fruit and vegetables and seasonality. He is also passionate about the environment and was very animated when speaking it was quite hard to take a photograph as he never sat still.

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Raymond was definitely the highlight of the weekend for me.

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Jamie Oliver was once again on the main stage but due to the sheer number of people watching we decided to take the opportunity to look around more of the festival.

The choice of food stalls was amazing, even for those who avoid gluten there was a good choice

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Some delicious pork belly cook on the BBQ

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corn on the cob

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Duck and seafood

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and sausages

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Here is a list of the gluten free stalls from my earlier blog post

There were also gluten free treats including

Ice lollies

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and cakes

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I preferred the healthy Paleo bars from Primal Joy Foods

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especially the grain free chocolate brownie

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lots to try and buy!

We sheltered under our umbrella to listen to Rae Morris who sounded amazing

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and then the weather started to improve

We watched Mabel Rogers on the Bandstand 

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and enjoyed a Rocktail

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After all the speakers it was time to relax!

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This festival is very family friendly with the best choice of food I have every seen at a festival. No wonder its called Feastival

It felt very much like an old fashioned English fair with fairground rides and independent local food stands Bales of hay to sit on

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and a helter skelter, bunting, fairy lights and balloons. Plus an enourmous live music stage with some big names over three days.

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There was so much to do I barely scratched the surface. I really focused on the Healthy Living Zone which I loved . The Feeling with Sophie Elis Bextor followed by Paloma Faith brought the Big Feastival to a grand finish. Even the earlier rain couldn’t dampen the festival goers spirits

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I’m sure we will be back next year for more tasty food, great music and interesting talks and demonstrations. Feel free to get in touch if you have any questions.

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Follow The Big Feastival on Twitter @thebigfeastival

The website is TheBigFeastival.com

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Early bird tickets now available for next year Friday 26th – Sunday 28th August 2016

Update –

Tickets now available for Feastival 2016

2016 LINE UP SO FAR

 

The new Healthy Living Zone and much much more at The Big Feastival

In less than two weeks it will be The Big Feastival presented by Jamie Oliver and Alex James.

A Food and Music Festival at Alex James farm in Kingham in The Cotswolds for all the family. A festival that not only celebrates the best in live music but also the best in delicious food. From some of the most tasty and creative street food vendors in the country to top chefs and health food pioneers.

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This year there will be a brand new Healthy Living Zone which has been added to the Feastival . Due to the rise in interest of eating healthily using fresh local ingredients and avoiding processed food. The line up highlights the up and coming health food pioneers at The Oatly Kitchen counter including  Jasmine and Melissa Hemsley, of Hemsley + Hemsley ,

Jasmine and Melissa will be at the Feastival on Saturday

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Ella Woodward of Deliciously Ella

Ella will be at the feastival on Saturday doing a talk at 12, a demo at 2.30pm and a book signing at 3pm

and Natasha Corrett of Honestly Healthy

Natasha will be there on Sunday on the Big Kitchen main stage at 10.30am for a demo and at 12.30 will be doing a talk with a 1.30pm book signing.

Olivia Wollenburg of Livia’s Kitchen

Olivia will be doing a demo in the Big Kitchen at 2.30pm on Saturday and a Kitchen counter session at 4pm talking about how she started her business. There will be chance to sample crumble too!

These timings may change, Please check your programme for up to date times

This year looks like The Big Feastival is going to be the place to be to get inspired to eat healthily and look at ways to cut down on the amount of grains and sugar from our diet.

Also in the Healthy Living Zone will be rising stars in the Paleo market My very favourite UGG Foods will be there

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as well as Primal joy foods

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and Primal Pantry.

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All of which I have reviewed in the past on my blog. I will put a link to these at the end of this post.

Also Lickalix  natural ice lollies using real whole fruit which are free from lactose, dairy and gluten. You can find Lickalix in the food and drink producers market

Also on stand HH07 you will find the lovely Gluten free Baking and living who will be amongst other things launching a new gluten free plain flour. You will also be able to learn about their baking courses and they will be sharing gluten free recipes.

Coconut merchant who as the name suggests will have an array of coconut products including raw extra virgin coconut oil and coconut water.

The Health Hub will be serving festival fare with everything from freshly pressed juices to raw salads and air dried kale chips.

The action station will be hoping to re energise festival goers offering a full programme of activities including yoga and even clubbercise!

In the big kitchen will be top chefs  Jamie Oliver, Gennaro Contaldo,  Monika Galetti, Mark Hix,  Raymond Blanc to name just a few. With Demo’s running on all three days of the feastival

 

Street food alley will have the best of the street food scene

Here are a few stalls that advertise that they offer gluten free,

Big Apple Hot Dogs advertise gluten free sausages

Crepe Lucette offer gluten free crepes, they told me “we use separate equipment and cleaning products for our gluten free options.”

Happy Maki – they should have have gluten free vegan Sushi

Popdogs–  these hot dogs are gluten free and can be served with a gluten free buns. Normally served with a gluten roll ?

The Duck truck says it has gluten free options  ( they say you can take your own gluten free roll which they will fill )

Beach food companysay they have plenty of fresh crab and lobster and gluten free fries, they say they do their best to avoid contamination

With all of these Food Stalls you will need to make up your own mind as to whether you will give them a try , If you have Coeliac disease please take extra care. I always pack a gluten free healthy picnic to take with me just in case. A festival is not somewhere you want to find yourself if you are glutened.

 

Churros – are Dairy free ( But Not gluten free )

 

As well as the big names in cooking there will also be three days of live music and DJ’s including Groove Armada, Dizzee Rascal, Example and DJ Wire, Ella Eyre, Paloma Faith, Rae Morris and Badly Drawn Boy and The Feeling.

and more music from Iris Gold, JP Cooper, Booka Brass band, The Beach, Hudson Taylor, Vangoffey etc

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If you follow me on Twitter @nels3 Gluten free Helen you will know I love live music and going to festivals. This festival looks to have a great selection of well known and new music acts preforming over the three days. I also love the camping side of festivals although when I say ‘camping’ I guess I really mean staying in a camper van or caravan. More than anything this offers me somewhere to store chilled food for the time I’m away from home . With some many food intolerances and being gluten free I normally have little or no options at Festivals. This Feastival I hope will be very different. I hope to blog about my experience to hopefully encourage more Free Fromers to give it a go next year.

Latitude 2015

Latitude 2015

 

When I heard about the new Healthy Living Zone at The Big Feastival I was really excited, great music and healthy food together. What could be better ? The added bonus of stunning sunny weather would be a great addition too.

I was thrilled to have been accredited to have a Press Pass for this years  Big Feastival I hope this will give me as a blogger for Fabulously Free From access to many of the health food pioneers etc and report back to you all about all things healthy eating and review the new Healthy Living Zone. Maybe you will be inspired to go along next year?

 

Maybe I will see you there! Do let me know if you are coming along

Some Day tickets are still available for Friday . Camping tickets and Weekend tickets are now sold out 

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Review of Primal Joy Foods > click here

Review of UGG Foods > click here 

Review of Hemsley+Hemsley > click here

Review of Primal Kitchen > click here

 

Follow on Twitter @thebigfeastival

Follow on Facebook Thebigfeastival

The Big Feastival will be raising money for the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation

Video of highlights from last year

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 

Gluten free pecan and honey cake

Here’s a really simple quick cake recipe for when only cake will do! That’s how the recipe came about yesterday, when I just needed cake.

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Pecan and honey cake

2 large eggs ( weight approx 150g )

150g gluten free self raising flour ( I used Doves farm )

1 tsp gluten free baking powder

150g melted unsalted butter or melted coconut oil

30g coconut palm sugar I used Biona from natureshealthbox ( or use regular brown sugar )

2 ripe bananas

topping

pecans about a handful

honey

butter

Method

prepare one 8 inch cake tin grease and add a piece of greaseproof paper to the base

mash the two bananas with hand blender

Add the palm sugar, beaten eggs, flour, baking powder and melted butter

use blender to mix ingredients

check all ingredients are well mixed together, use a spoon to stir mixture just to make sure all is blended

 

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in the bottom of the cake tin break up pecans and sprinkle over tin along with a little butter

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drizzle some honey over the nuts

spoon mixture carefully over the top of the nuts

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pop in a pre heated oven 180c for 25 mins, I checked after 20mins

check the cake is cooked completely through

cool, then turn out on to a wire rack so that the pecan topping faces up

remove grease proof paper carefully

 

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You can add a little more honey drizzled on the top

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The cake was moist and sweet enough for me, its amazing how little sugar you actually need to add.

Happy Baking!

Pecan and date bread

Looking for a breakfast alternative from gluten free bagels and fruit bread that you can toast or eat as it is? Well I think this could be the answer. Not only gluten free but grain free too ! With a sweet flavour it makes for a delicious breakfast treat.

 

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Free from yeast or refined sugar this bread is easy on the tummy and most importantly very yummy.

 

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Pecan and date bread

130g ground almonds

30g flax seeds

1 tsp baking powder – gluten free

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp salt

150g pitted dates

70g finely chopped pecans ( i used my food processor )

3 free range large eggs

50ml melted unsalted butter or 50ml of melted virgin coconut oil

100ml almond milk or regular cows milk

Method 

Pre heat oven 170c 35-40mins

grease 81/2 in x 4 1/2 in loaf tin

put the ground almonds, cinnamon, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and flax seeds into a bowl stir well together.

 

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chop pecans in a food processor and add

 

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Put the pitted dates in a food processor and cut until it forms a paste add a splash of hot water to help loosen the paste.

 

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Add the date paste to the dry ingredients along with 3 beaten eggs , the melted fat and the milk.

 

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Stir all ingredients together well

 

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spoon into a greased loaf tin . I lined the bottom of the tin with greaseproof paper too.

 

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and pop in a pre heated oven 170c

check after 35 mins

 

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leave to cool before turning on to a wire rack

slice and serve on its on or with butter or nut butter . Good toasted in the morning with your favourite low sugar jam or marmalade. Homemade no sugar jam would be perfect. I like homemade blueberry jam. Cut thicker slices for toast for best results.

 

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You could try using a different finely chopped nut like walnuts or add 50g of raisins

This bread freezes well, ready sliced or whole.

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Happy Baking!