Review of Bionita gluten free Gnocchi

I came across the gluten free gnocchi in my local farm shop and deli. My first thought was that the packet wasn’t very big, I was hoping there would be enough for two people. I think it could possibly be a starter portion for two.

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The Gnocchi is very simple to cook and I made a simple cream, cheese and egg sauce to accompany the gluten free gnocchi.

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Just a couple of minutes and the gnocchi is ready.

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I fried some strips of bacon and courgette then add double cream and grated parmesan

Finally I removed the pan from the heat and added a beaten egg and stirred it in the the sauce thickening it.

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I added the gnocchi to the sauce

and placed some baby spinach to my bowl and spooned the gnocchi and sauce on top.

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it was delicious and I can definitely recommend this gluten free gnocchi.

Find out more here >Bionita <

Follow on twitter @bionitafreefrom

click here for > Stockist

Easy gluten free scones

This week is Coeliac awareness week and so I thought I would share a really easy recipe for gluten free scones. It is the perfect weather for scone with jam and clotted cream!

 

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This is a good first recipe if you are new to baking gluten free. I find Doves farm gluten free self raising flour works well.

 

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Recipe

250g gluten free self raising flour

2 tsp gluten free baking powder

1 tsp optional of Isabel’s GF baking fix (binds, improves texture and extends shelf life )

80g unsalted butter or dairy free alternative (cubed)

90ml milk or dairy free alternative

1 large egg

extra flour for dusting surface

Method –

heat oven to a hot 220c fan

 

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In a clean bowl add your dry ingredients flour, baking powder (and baking fix if used)

Add cold unsalted butter in cubes

Rub butter into dry ingredients with your finger tips until they resemble crumbs

 

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Add the beaten egg and milk

stir with a knife until all is mixed together and it comes together

The mixture will be quite wet

 

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flour surface and carefully put dough on your floured surface

flatten gently with your hand, no need for a rolling pin

 

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using a cutter or drinking glass cut out 6 or 7 scones and place on a prepared tray with greaseproof paper.

if desired use egg wash to make the scones go a golden brown

 

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pop in the hot oven for 10 mins

cool on a wire rack

 

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serve with clotted cream and jam

 

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I don’t add sugar to my scone recipe and to avoid too much sugar you could use a low sugar jam or make your own by simply slowly cooking down your choice of berries, no need for added sugar

Enjoy!

 

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Happy Baking

 

Grain free crackers

I was in search of a simple grain free cracker to have with cheese that I could make easily and would store well. Shop bought gluten free crackers often contain yeast or onion powder so no good for me. There are lots of grain free recipes online and also in my many grain free recipe books I have in my kitchen , I tested a few variations out and this combination worked well. These little square crackers are tasty and are a good accompaniment to cheese .

These crackers are egg free, yeast free and dairy free too.

 

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Recipe- 

200g  of ground almonds

1 tbsp sesame seeds

1 tbsp poppy seeds

pinch of  salt

1 tbsp ground flax seed and 3 tbsp water mixed together and left for a few minutes

1 tbsp olive oil

( you could try using other spices or seeds )

 

Method-

pre heat oven 170c

mix the ground flax seed and water together and put to one side

mix the salt, ground almonds and all the seeds together

 

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add the olive oil and the flax seed mixture

 

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stir to form a dough

bring together with your hands

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place a piece of grease proof paper on your work surface

divide the dough in to two halves

put one half of the dough onto the paper and put a second piece of grease proof on the top

roll out with a rolling pin, not too thin

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remove the top piece of grease proof

using a pizza cutter, cut the dough into squares but leave as one piece

 

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put the grease proof paper complete with the crackers on to a baking sheet

repeat with the second piece of dough

pop the two trays in to a pre heated oven 170c

bake for 15 mins

they will start to turn golden brown on the edges

 

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cool for 15mins, the crackers will be ready to separate

store in an air tight container

Enjoy with cheese, butter or your favourite topping

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Free From Christmas festival

Yesterday Sunday 14th December was the very first Free From Festival in London. Organised by Freefromfestival The venue was BL_NK in Old street, East London and had an entrance fee of £5 which could be purchased online or at the door. It was a cash only event with live music and stalls open from 10.30 until 5.30pm Offering all kinds of free from products, dairy free, gluten free, sugar free, wheat free etc

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My gluten free purchases.

 

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Bread from Romeo’s Bakery.

 

I bought my tickets in advance and then also won a couple more just a few days before the event. When I realised where in London it was I nearly decided not to go, its quite a trip from Dorking Surrey! But my husband kindly offered to drive me as he was also keen to come along.

We arrived in east London at 11.30am on the most beautiful sunny day, extremely cold and blustery but a lovely day for a drive through the centre of London and over Tower bridge. I took in all the sights as if I was on a sight seeing tour bus.

Parking proved to be very easy, we found a free parking space in an adjacent road. BL_NK was quite easy to spot on Old street but there were no Free From Festival signage. There was though a welcomer who was on the door to make sure you didn’t miss the venue. It would be good to see a large banner next year. I’m sure more people would have come in, if it had been more clear what was going outside.

Outside were 3 stalls, I felt for them because it was bitterly cold. A stall selling the most delicious looking buckwheat pancakes with delicious savoury and sweet fillings available.

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A wine stall called L’ATYPIQUE

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Selling natural wines @LATYPIQUEWINES

and a Polenta stall selling hot sliced polenta La Polenteria  I didn’t explore the stall which I regret .

 

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The extreme cold and wind drove us inside quickly. After checking out the website today, I wish I had tried some. Maybe next year!

Inside in the warm were some interesting looking stalls. It was as I had expected, relatively small. But this was the first year and I’m sure by next year year there will be more stalls eager to be part of this exciting event so near to Christmas. A perfect opportunity to show off your Christmas products etc.

Freego  a gluten free online shop offering ‘the worlds best gluten free’ They search out the best gluten free products to offer on the site. At the festival there were mince pies, christmas puddings, bread mixes and posh chocolates that were also dairy free. There were samples of things to try including the mince pies which were very good. This is a site I haven’t used yet, but after chatting yesterday I certainly will go online and have a look.

 

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Romeo’s gluten free bakery The bread looked absolutely delicious there was an array of sizes and types of bread including onion, seeded, foccacia etc. I bought two small loaves for the family. Unfortunately I am also yeast intolerant so I couldn’t try the bread but my son and husband said it was some of the nicest gluten free bread they had tried. We wish we had bought far more to put in the freezer.

 

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Mini Magoos is allergy free award winning cereals . We bought some granola to try which looked very nice. The main ingredient appears to be toasted coconut flakes with blue agave nectar, almonds etc

 

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Conscious Organic raw chocolate had five new flavours to try and buy. with an offer if you bought 4 bars , So I did!

All chocolate is gluten free dairy and refined sugar free. some are sweetened with rice syrup some with agave nectar .

 

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Elvira’s secret pantry was an artisan italian bakery gluten free, dairy free and yeast free. Also some cakes were made using birch sugar ( xylitol ) I chose a selection of 3 mini cakes in a beautiful box . The pumpkin and chocolate cake I found quite dry and crumbly, I preferred the carrot and pistachio cake which was a little more moist . Elvira also sold quiches etc and other savoury products which looked very nice. All products were well displayed and presented.  The cakes contain lots of veggies, nuts etc . You can find Elvira at Crystal palace food market.

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Pistachio and carrot cake

Pistachio and carrot cake

 

Foodamentalists I have been following this company for a while now on Twitter but not managed to meet the man behind this exciting company so it was good to meet Steven and have a chat about the company and plans for the future. The company is 100 % gluten free . The stall was packed with delicious looking products from sweet christmas treats like mince pies and Christmas cakes, savoury pies and delicious looking pork pies. A selection of foodamentalists mixes to were for sale. Worth coming to the festival for this stall alone! We chose lots of goodies to take home for the freezer and Christmas goodies to eat over the next couple of weeks. Including a very lovely looking Christmas cake.

 

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Love bites A raw organic vegan stall, selling fresh salads, juices and chocolate tart. Can you guess what I chose!

 

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Antillia delights a stall selling a selection of well labeled wheat free, gluten free and dairy free bakes. My worry here was that the wheat free products were made using organic Spelt flour . I queried this at the time and checked again on twitter today. My understanding is that spelt flour is still considered a type of wheat ! I was also then concerned about the gluten free cakes being made in the same location. I was given a helpful reply on twitter from @antilliadelight ” GF items are prepared apart from WF items and as GF is a very serious concern extra caution is taken to prevent cross contamination”

I didn’t feel confident at the time to buy anything from this stall although everything looked very good and well displayed.

LiveSmart 360 chocolate with a purpose…. this was a stall selling chocolate with extra health benefits. This was very expensive. not really sure about this.

As with most gluten free and free from products all the stalls were quite pricey with the exception of Foodamentalists who were good value for money.

Would I visit again next year? Yes,  I think I would make the trip if I knew there were a few more stalls confirmed . I would be particularly be interested in a grain free low sugar stall. Possibly a bigger venue might be needed too.

 

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We queued outside for one of the buckwheat wraps. Mine had egg, cheese and spinach. Really delicious and thrilling to be able to eat out from a stall, with so many intolerances this Never happens.

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We took them back inside and listened to more live music. They were really delicious and perfect on a freezing day.

Follow Free from festival Twitter here > freefromfestival

Facebook > freefromfestival

Here’s hoping for an even bigger and better event next year

 

 

 

 

 

Nominated for Free From Blogger 2014

I’m thrilled to have been nominated for Best Free From Blogger 2014. I have been shortlisted with 7 other bloggers.

 

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If you like what you read and enjoy the free from recipes and reviews. Please vote before the end of today  31st October . Many thanks to you all for your continued support.

There are also lots of great gluten free and free from products, restaurants etc to vote for. Do please have a look!

Helen

Fabulously Free From

 

click below

foodsyoucan.com Free From #FFPeopleschoiceAwards 2014

A Big Thank you to everyone who voted for me, I’m thrilled to say that I came 2nd.

Here is a list of all the Winners and runners up for 2014

Free from awards Peoples choice awards

 

Review of Delicious Alchemy rice flake porridge

Delicious Alchemy sent me their porridge alternative to try, just rice flakes, no oats in this porridge ! Completely gluten free and dairy free.

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I have to say I was not sure about this idea, but on the other hand I do miss a bowl of porridge in the winter.

So I decided to give it a go.

The packaging is very smart and definitely draws you in,

It may just be that I’m getting old, but I struggled to read the tiny instructions on the packet. Tiny white writing on a blue background did not make it easy.

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The porridge was easy to make I chose to make in a saucepan but it can easily be made in the microwave.

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In just a few minutes it was a lovely porridge like consistency . I decided to taste it plain first, now this rice porridge does not contain sugar in any form. Due to this obviously the rice porridge is not overly pleasant on its own. But adding plenty of cinnamon and a touch of maple syrup it transformed into a delicious breakfast. I actually added only the tiniest amount to sweeten. Honey would have worked well too. Berries would be a nice topping too.

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I have to say I was very surprised I really liked it and would definitely buy it, especially in the winter, I think it would be good on camping trips to, as easy to make and very substantial and filling.

I made mine using un sweetened almond milk but could be made with any milk substitute or made with cows milk too.

You could also have this as a quick and easy pudding.

This packet is 450g and on the natures health box website £3.49

real comfort food!

Website here

 

Grain free Cheese scones

Inspired by finding a recipe from an Aussie with Crohns  for grain free #SCD English scones I thought I would have a go at making a grain free traditional english cheese scone. Check out more Specific carbohydrate diet recipes on scdelish.com

Click here for An Aussie with Crohns Blog #SCD #Paleo

I’m very pleased to say they turned out well and tasted great ,

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Here is the recipe

Grain free Cheese scones

makes 6

1 1/2 cups Almond flour

1/8 cup coconut flour

1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1/4 cup butter or coconut oil

1 heaped cup of a good strong cheese

1/4 cup Almond milk

1 large egg

good pinch of salt

(optional extra for herby scones 2 tsp mixed herbs or herbes de provence )

Method

Pre heat oven 180c

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Put ground almonds, coconut flour and bicarbonate of soda in a bowl

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add butter or coconut oil and rub into the flour

add grated cheese and salt

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beat egg

add egg and almond milk

mix together

the mixture is quite wet

handle carefully

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dust surface with almond flour ( ground almonds )

flatten slightly with your hand

cut out 6 cheese scones

put on a lined baking sheet

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bake in pre heated oven 180c for 15 mins

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cool on a wire rack

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add butter and enjoy!

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Happy Baking

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follow @anaussiewc  on Twitter

 

My experiences of cutting sugar from our diet

This morning I listened to Dr John Briffa talking to Chris Evans on radio 2 , I turned over from radio 1 to give it a listen as the subject was Sugar, and whether we should be eating it in the quantities we do these days. Now this is a subject I have been following now for about a year. I have bought books to read on the subject and looked at lots of pieces on the internet, all leading me to the conclusion that it would be best for my family and I to remove as much sugar as we possible could from our diets. The family have come on board with this, which has made the decision much easier.

I dont want to get into the scientific stuff about sugar, there is plenty of information about now, that you can read up on to make your own judgments. But what I found is lacking is, once you have made the decision to change, Where do you go from there!

We all need some ideas that are achievable.

We all have busy lives and have got into certain habits and ways of thinking and living and its hard to change. Let alone the fact that for many of us sugar is highly addictive.

So I thought I would share our story as a family, and how cutting the sugar has worked for us.

Firstly breakfasts, In our house, that used to be a quick bowl of cereal or porridge or a fruit flavoured yoghurt with granola. washed down with a glass of fruit juice usually orange. one of your five a day!

Now we have switched to eggs every morning usually two each with a good quality bacon or smoked salmon or a veggie or cheese omelette. We also love homemade pancakes with berries.

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If we are in more of a rush we will have toast or full fat greek yoghurt with no added sugar with seasonal berries and homemade low sugar or no sugar granola. I even sometimes make savoury breakfast muffins for a treat. Porridge is still a good option if it has no hidden sugar or dried fruit and you top it with double cream or a dusting of cinnamon. Avoid dried fruit in general as all the moisture has been removed leaving the sugar. Best to have a piece of whole fruit. Raisins etc are a big no no a real shock to find out.

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Now we have stopped buying fresh fruit juices or smoothies instead have a glass of water, coffee or tea without sugar and have fruit in its entirety as then the body can deal with the fructose because it also has fibre too.  That was a hard change for the family but if its not in the fridge they find something else to drink.

We tend to keep our carbohydrate intake low but include lots of good fats such as butter, cheese, coconut oil etc to fill us up.

On to lunch, for most of the family lunch has to be a packed meal at work. a high protein and fat salad with chicken, fish or eggs. usually with some cheese and plenty of vegetables. The family sometimes still have bread, but only occasionally as this has hidden sugar too.

At home it is far easier to use wonderful things like avocado , seafood or make homemade pasta from courgette topped with grated cheese or a creamy sauce made from double cream. Homemade soups are delicious and healthy too.

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Avoiding that sweet thing after your savoury lunch is tough especially to start with, it has become a habit for us all. But I was amazed how quickly that fades if you eat enough savoury high fat, low carb food for your lunch. I now find a pear or slice of watermelon a real treat. I actually get excited about buying fruit,  because I know its a treat.

Cans of drink also tend to make an appearance at this time of the day . Giving us that sugar rush for the start of the afternoon. We no longer buy them, instead water or teas and coffee are on offer. Fruit juice and fizzy and squash drinks have a very high level of sugar and best avoided completely .

Snacks I now find I have lost the need to snack , but to begin with I was armed with almonds or other plain nuts to nibble on. Cubes of cheese work well too.

Dinner Now my family come home famished from a day at work and up until a year ago I would have made sure there was some kind of pudding on offer.Which would have been high in sugar. These days we eat a good wholesome meal, again high in protein ,good fat and healthy vegetables and low in carbohydrates like pasta, white rice and potatoes. Instead using more cauliflower, cabbage, courgettes etc and usually we don’t feel the need for anything else. When we do we will have a couple of chunks of dark chocolate I eat 85% the family prefer 70% this still all contains sugar but very little and because it is so dark you can only eat a square or two. Fresh fruit is also available or full fat greek yoghurt. For special occasions I still make low sugar or no sugar puddings. Water is on the table to drink and the family still enjoy the odd glass of red wine.

Late night snack I turn to a cube of parmesan or a few macadamia nuts which feel very indulgent.

The easiest thing for me was avoiding sugar filled drinks I have never been a huge fan of soda, fizzy drinks . We don’t have sugar in our hot drinks and I have learnt to enjoy a camomile tea too.

I did used to love a gin and tonic, but after realising how much sugar was in the tonic I’ve stopped and now find it much to sweet.

I continue to find grabbing a snack quite hard if i’m out as I am gluten intolerant and usually the only option for me is cake. I treated myself to an old favourite at the weekend and with the first bite I realised I just couldn’t eat it anymore. It honestly tasted like a mouthful of granulated sugar. I tend to be very prepared now and take a banana or apple or nuts out for emergency food.

This all might sound like eating in our house is no fun anymore. I honestly think if you asked the family they would say we eat very well and they all now really enjoyed the homemade low or no sugar things we have on offer. The granola is a big favourite as are the chocolate profiteroles made with dark chocolate and no added sugar. Great for special occasions.

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I still use fresh fruit in my baking especially bananas and apples because once in a while it is still nice to have a treat and I use fruit instead of granulated sugar. This is still a form of sugar, but we only eat in moderation on special occasions.

I also occasionally use raw honey this is still sugar and I use only occasionally and in moderation. Our tastes buds have changed so much that very little is needed anyway.

I also use powdered dextrose which is good in cakes and is free from fructose.

I really hope this has been of some help to you. It really can be done without too much change. Its mainly changing how you feel about sugar. Get reading. I urge you! There is so much information out there, explaining the dangers behind sugar.

I will include a list of books and people to follow. I wish I had this information when my children were younger so that I could have put this into practise along time ago. But that isn’t possible, so we are doing the best we can now to be as healthy as possible.

All the best, You and your family Can do it!

 

Twitter

Dr John Briffa @drbriffa

Action on Sugar @actiononsugar

Sarah Wilson @_sarahwilson_

I Quit Sugar @iquitsugar

The Sugar breakup @thesugarbreakup

David Gillespie @gillespie

Sugar free me @beadlealison

Sam Feltham @samfeltham

Books

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Sweet Poison why sugar makes you fat by David Gillespie

The Sweet Poison Quit Plan by David Gillespie

Pure, white and deadly by John Yudkin

Low carb high fat

Christine Cronau @christinecronau

Sam Feltham @samfeltham 

More recipe ideas on my blog Fabulouslyfreefrom.net

or follow me on Twitter @nels3 gluten free Helen

Video

Fed up

Sugar is killing us

Sugar hiding in plain sight – Robert Lustig

 

 

 

Courgette ‘Pasta’ naturally gluten free

Avoiding gluten and grains? On a low carbohydrate diet? Looking for an alternative?

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This could be for you! Just like pasta but made from Courgettes/Zucchini

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All you need is a regular peeler and a courgette. You could use a Spiralizer, but I find a peeler works perfectly well.

Peel strips from top to bottom of the courgette until you reach the seeds in the centre, dispose of the centre.

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One good size courgette is about one portion of pasta

Cook the courgette Tagliatelle in a frying pan with butter or coconut oil for just a few minutes.

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serve with a homemade bolognese sauce

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or make your own pesto by processing pine nuts, parmesan, basil and a little olive oil

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I promise you, it is very delicious!

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with no bloated feeling after a large bowl full !

Simple and quick

What pasta sauce will you try with your courgette tagliatelle ?

 

Gluten free and low sugar breakfast ideas

I really believe that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Since changing my diet I was surprised  and pleased to find I no longer felt hungry by 11am. I was always desperate for a mid morning sweet snack, now I have to remind myself to have lunch.

The key ingredient for my favourite Breakfasts is free range eggs, cooked in a good healthy fat . You just can’t beat them! healthy, reasonably priced and naturally gluten free. No need to just eat the whites, the entire egg is a healthy addition to your diet and contains good fat.

Embrace good fat, coconut oil, butter and cheese etc . All are great for breakfast and really fill you up! Avoid the sugar not the fat.

Here are some ideas

For frying I use either coconut oil or butter. you notice the taste of the coconut initially but we no longer can taste it in my cooking.

Cooked Breakfasts –

Scrambled eggs with smoked salmon

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Naturally smoked fish fillet with poached eggs

Bacon and eggs either fried poached, scrambled etc optional extras fried tomatoes, mushrooms

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Ham and or cheese omelette

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Veggie Omelette with cheese, I use courgettes but you could use peppers, onions , tomatoes etc

Scrambled eggs with spinach, onion and finely chopped bacon or ham

For a full english Gluten free breakfast Sausages, bacon, eggs, tomatoes. Maybe even some gluten free black pudding!

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Grain free bread or American grain free biscuit  ( a little like an english scone  ) with bacon

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Fried Eggs on grain free or occasionally homemade gluten free toast. Helen’s gluten free homemade bread  or Sukrin gluten free bread toasted

other ideas for occasional breakfasts – 

Porridge with no added sugar. watch out for added raisins as they have a very high sugar content. Serve with a little honey, dextrose or cinnamon. Good with a dash of double cream

Homemade grain free or gluten free pancakes served with fruit or a little honey or dextrose and lemon

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Homemade banana pancakes fried in coconut oil, these contain sugar from the bananas so best to eat in moderation.

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Grain free Muffin cinnamon or lemon and poppy seed or savoury muffin for a quick breakfast on the run

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Cold Breakfasts –

Full fat plain greek yoghurt ( We use Yeo valley ) with homemade Granola. oat free version, sugar free version with fresh berries

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Fresh fruit with or without full fat plain greek yoghurt. Better to eat fruit rather than drink as a juice or smoothie due to the high level of sugar

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Cold platter of cheese, ham or mackerel and boiled egg

Hope these ideas will inspire you.

Ditch all the sugar filled cereals and fruit smoothies, you will notice the difference very quickly.

 

What will you have for breakfast tomorrow?