On days like today I really miss buttered toast!

In the early hours of yesterday morning I woke up with extreme stomach pain, a cramping pain that grew stronger by the hour. Anyone with IBD will know exactly what I mean . I have been fortunate enough to have avoided this for almost two years. I don’t as yet take any drugs but do stick to a very specific diet that works for me.

Avoiding all grains especially gluten and reducing my dairy intake particulary cows milk . Butter seems to be fine for me, but I often use coconut oil and beef dripping in my cooking. I also avoid yeast, onions and garlic and paprika which have all been triggers in the passed.

Anyway back to the other night, after the pain started the nausea and then vomiting and also strangely a runny nose. followed.  Aching inflamed joints and all in all after several hours I was exhausted . The pain etc carried on for seven hours in all . My husband was a star and nursed me through the night.

About 8.30am half an hour before I fell asleep .In despiration  I whats app’d my Church home group to ask for prayer to take the pain away. I had eight replies in a few moments. I remember very little after this as I then slept until 3.30pm. My faith is a great strength to me and my home group are a huge support.

Thankfully when I awoke the pain and nausea had gone. I never eat after a flare up like this and find that mint tea and water to rehydrate is all I can handle.

Today I have managed homemade chicken broth which I had in the freezer. My broth/stock is just slow boiled chicken carcass and water.

I’m hoping tonight to have cooked plain chicken a little mash and a few well cooked green beans . I was researching low residue diet today to see what was best to eat. I have never been given any dietary help with my diagnoses of Crohn’s disease so its all trial and error.

I would be interested to hear from anyone else with Crohn’s Disease or Colitis as to how  you manage your symptoms with diet and what you eat after a flare up.

On days like today I really miss simple buttered toast.

Bake off will be extra hard to watch tonight as its bread week.

 

 

My visit to the stunning Wiveton Hall, normal for Norfolk!

I love the North Norfolk coast and I’m a regular visit to Wiveton Hall ,café and fruit farm . Usually I go along for tea and gluten free cake and buy seasonal fruit and vegetables . I find it a great place to take friends and family.

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The location is just perfect with views stretching down towards the marshes and sea. After watching the BBC 2 series Normal for Norfolk the documentary about Wiveton Hall and the undeniably slightly eccentric character that is Norfolk gentleman farmer Desmond MacCarthy . His mother the lovely Chloe at 100 is still very much part of the farm and cafe and who I spotted enjoying a gluten free brownie , which I have to say looked delicious.

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On Sunday inspired by the tv series I made the drive along the coast road to Wiveton hall fruit farm with my husband. The sun was shining brightly and although the car thermometer was only reading 12c it felt much warmer. The scenery along the coast road was gorgeous. winding through pretty villages, passing a windmill , fields of rapeseed and hedgerows of cow parsley.

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I had pre booked a lunch for two at 1. 30pm We arrived and parked up, as always it was packed . Do book in advance online if you want to eat at Wiveton Hall. Its always been very busy but I’m sure due to Normal for Norfolk’s popularity this summer will be its best!

We were shown to a large clean table with views down to the sea in the distance. Bright coloured chairs and fun patterned table cloths make this light bright airy cafe the perfect place for a sunny Sunday lunch. I was delighted that Desmond himself was in the cafe chatting to families. He kindly agreed to a photo for my blog post and was interested to hear where we had come from.

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Chloe, Desmonds mother has her own designated table. Where she was sitting waiting for her Sunday lunch and possibly waiting for Desmond to finish chatting with one and all and come and sit down!

The big table next to us was a family celebrating the grandparents 50th wedding anniversary. Wiveton cafe is very family friendly and if you prefer there is a seating area outside for families and dogs. The chairs and tables outside are painted in zingy bright colours and have an outstanding view of the Norfolk countryside and distant views of the sea.

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Before I booked online I contacted the cafe by email to explain my dietary requirements. Charlotte emailed me back straight away assuring we I would be well looked after and also giving me a menu idea for my visit that would fit in with my many intolerances. This was very reassuring .

At the cafe you take your order to the till where you can pay in advance or at the end. The  kitchen is open and right next door and if you had any questions, which I did about choice of gluten free puddings they were quickly answered.

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I chose Hot smoked salmon and Wiveton asparagus salad with a horseradish, tomato and lime creme fraise dressing, this was the menu idea from Charlotte.  Followed by homemade Wiveton strawberry sorbet. My husband went for the roast beef and Yorkshire pudding with roasties and asparagus. His dessert choice was cappuccino panna cotta  with nut praline and raisins soaked in rum. Tea for one and a ginger beer.

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The drinks and food arrived promptly and were well presented. My salmon and asparagus salad was a good size and delicious the flavours delicate and a flavour combination I hadn’t tried before. Baby salad leaves, fresh asparagus picked from Wiveton farm and a good size piece of salmon with tomatoes. I would definitely chose it again.

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I eat out so rarely that when I do, and feel confident in the chefs , I always get a little emotional. The sheer joy of not having to cook and to be able to eat out like everyone else. That might seem quite crazy and difficult to understand but when you are intolerant to gluten , yeast thats vinegar, wine etc. Onions, garlic and paprika. Eating out becomes so difficult especially with the worry of cross contamination from gluten. These days any of these foods can cause me to be extremely ill for days and weeks to come.

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My husband enjoyed his large roast dinner with perfectly cooked pink slices of beef with crispy Yorkshire with plenty of hot meaty gravy.

Our desserts were both gluten free so I was able to sample to cappuccino panna cotta. My husband wasn’t convinced on the flavour combination with the nut brittle and the rum soaked raisins but I thought it was a clever idea that I’m sure worked well. My Wiveton strawberry homemade sorbet was a real treat. Bursting with early english strawberry flavour and more than a little sugar! ( well it was a treat pud ! )

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I thought the prices were ok my salad was £13.50 and the roast was £16.50 the desserts were £6 each. I found the waiting staff were friendly and very helpful.

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After my delicious meal I suggested we took a walk around the gardens this costs £2.50 each from the shop. Which by the way is amazing and I got carried away buying a Wiveton mug, postcards and Wiveton jam. Some lovely things, much of which is locally made.

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The gardens was something after seeing the tv show I really wanted to explore.

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Unfortunately the hall itself isn’t open to the public this is very much Desmond and his families home. But the walled garden , the outside of the hall and wild woodland gardens  are truly worth an afternoon stroll. I properly fell in love with the place and could of quite easily spent hours there.

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If you are up in Norfolk it is well worth a visit. Just don’t forget to book in advance if you want to eat at the cafe. You can click through here to find availability. There are also holiday cottages to stay in.

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Wiveton cafe is open for lunch and afternoon tea. Friday evenings for Beef and Reef. Saturdays are Tapas night, also pizza evenings . Special events are on the website too.

Before you leave its well worth checking out the plants, fruit and vegetables available to buy.

Wiveton Hall website

follow on Twitter @wivetonhall 

check out @Iizzirainey handmade lovely things available in the Wiveton shop

Missed the series Normal for Norfolk? click here to view 

 

These views and this stunning scenery is really Normal for Norfolk! come and see for yourself

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Grain free bakes from against all grain cook book

I had a go at making two grain free bakes from Danielle Walkers book Against all grain, this was Danielle’s first book from 2013 . The book is packed full of delicious bakes and meals that are grain free

I needed to use up some ripe bananas and I spotted Danielle’s Allergy free breakfast cookies. Made using apple sauce, dates, coconut flour, coconut raisins and bananas I knew they would taste good.

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The recipe was easy to follow in fact I just popped it on in the food processor and made a perfect cookie dough.

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I expected them to be quite firm but theses cookies I thought were more like the texture and taste of a date bar or raw paleo bar, a soft cookie . Saying this I still really liked them and preferred them to shop bought bars and would definitely make the again. They freeze well so I froze in bags of two for those moments when you are desperate for a sweet treat. they would make a good quick breakfast on the go. Here is the recipe Allergy free Breakfast cookies

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Secondly I made the world-famous sandwich bread   ( this recipe took Danielle’s blog global )

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With a very strange list of ingredients I did have my doubts . Eggs, cashew butter,honey, almond milk , coconut flour etc didn’t sound much like a bread recipe but I thought it was worth a go. The recipe used apple cider vinegar but as I’m yeast free and avoid vinegar I guessed lemon juice would do the trick and fortunately it worked well.

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I was so pleased with the result. The bread tasted very nice with a springy texture. It was time consuming to make and quite messy with lots of washing up. But well worth the effort. Very different from a regular gluten filled loaf but still suitable to make a sandwich or toast the slices are quite small but it does the job well .

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For me, having a bread I can slice and make sandwiches yet still stay grain free is amazing!

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Danielle was diagnosed with ulcerated colitis , like Crohn’s disease this is an inflammatory bowel disease. She is on a grain free diet to improve her health and control the disease. Danielle hasn’t had a flair up since 2011. She is now following a Paleo diet and staying well and free from IBD symptoms . Story’s like this encourage me to continue grain free.

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You can follow Danielle on Twitter  @againstallgrain

Her website is packed full of recipes and inspiration –  againstallgrain.com

The book is available on Amazon for £21.24

Book 2 – Against all grain meals made simple is available too

3rd book – Against all grain Celebrations will be released on September 27th

Review of Flaxseed buns from Hemsley & Hemsleys new book

Today I had a go at making a recipe from Hemsley and Hemsley’s new book Good and Simple.  The flaxseed buns really intrigued me , an unusual list of ingredients but all things I can eat. Not being able to tolerate regular gluten free buns and trying to avoid grains these looked perfect for me.

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I mixed the dry ingredients together then added the beaten eggs etc. Before my eyes I could see the mixture change after 5mins it had thickened up and was ready to mould into buns.

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I baked them for 20mins in a fan oven and they came out looking very like little bread rolls. I have to admit I had my doubts about these. But I was very pleasantly surprised . After cooling I cut one in half and filled it with salad and grated cheese.

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If I had a blind fold on, I don’t think I would have known that this was made from flaxseeds! Good bread like texture and not crumbly something that is often hard to find with gluten free bread.

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I will freeze the majority of these ready sliced and they will be perfect for a quick lunch.

definitely worth giving them ago especially if like me you are intolerant to gluten and yeast and avoid grains.

Flaxseeds are not a cheap ingredient ,but if you are grain free then I feel its worth spending the money .

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follow on twitter here @hemsleyhemsley 

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website hemsleyandhemsley.com

Natures health box sells flaxseeds for £3.19 for 200g or £4.99 for 425g

Holland and Barrett  425g are £5.99 offer buy one get one half price

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Norwich’s very own gluten free cafe and shop

Today we drove over to Norwich to visit The gluten free cafe and shop on Timber hill. We parked at the John Lewis car park but there are numerous places to park near the shop and cafe. The setting is perfect on a pretty street, one of the oldest recorded city streets in Norwich. Home to quirky shops , boutiques and beauty salons. Since January home to this exciting new enterprise from the Norfolk gluten free company. 

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I was blown away by the smartness and quality of the exterior and interior of the cafe and shop. Stepping into the busy cosy cafe I felt like a child in a sweet shop. To know that you can eat from the entire menu on the large black board was the most exciting thing ever. If  like me you have Coeliac disease or gluten intolerant  you will totally understand the wave of relief and calm you feel when you know you are safe to eat somewhere that is 100% gluten free with no worries of cross contamination. It offers a huge range of tasty savoury and sweet options for all the family including delicious looking soups and pies, quiches and ploughman’s. An enormous array of sweet treats from chocolate eclairs and muffins to beautiful cup cakes and flapjacks . You could have the biggest sugar high ! We all need a treat sometimes

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The staff were busy with lots of happy customers. Today Families , young couples and older people were sat around at tables drinking coffee and eating lunch. It was lovely to see the place so busy. We found a little table near the window where we could watch the world go by. I decided on hot cheesy balls with butter for lunch and Mr S choose a chicken pie with ploughman lunch, with coffee.

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After ordering at the counter I couldn’t resist a quick look upstairs at the gluten free shop where I was greeted by the lovely Louisa founder of the Norfolk gluten free company . I scanned the shelves full of everything you could possibly imagine, it really is like an Aladdin’s cave. I was beyond excited , far superior to a free from section in a supermarket. From an incredible selection of freshly baked bread goods from Wheat free bakery ( the best bread in my family’s opinion ) to pies and quiches and dry mixes , pasta’s, taco and wraps. Every gluten free flour, dough ball mix  I could go on.

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After doing a quick grab of goodies and paying upstairs I was down just in time for my Latte and hot yummy cheesy dough balls. These can be served with a selection of dips but I went for butter with mine. they were so scummy.

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With so many extra food intolerances I often find it difficult to order anything when I am out shopping. These were just what I needed. My husband was pleased with his flaky chicken pie packed with hearty pieces of chicken inside with a side salad, bread roll and cheese plus chutney, a feast.

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My coffee was so good I ordered a second and couldn’t resist a sweet treat.

 

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I spotted some very pretty looking cup cakes made by the talented Imogen from Sugar buttons cakes so it would of been rude not to take one home for later . A toffee popcorn cupcake was popped into a little cake bag for me to enjoy later.

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Imogen made my son and daughter in law’s wedding cupcakes in August 2014 so I know just how good they are. As well as cup cakes Imogen makes the most stunning large gluten free Wedding cakes too, do check out her website Sugar buttons creative.

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Before I left I had one more quick look upstairs in the shop, It is a surprisingly good size space. So if you are in for a coffee don’t forget to take a look yourself. I choose some freshly baked bread to take home and some extra special chocolate hearts from Montezuma.

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The prices in the cafe and shop I thought were very fair and we will definitely return next time we are in Norwich armed with extra bags and more room in the freezer to take home lots of gluten free bread for the family.

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I do hope if you are in the Norwich area or visiting Norfolk this year you will make time to visit this fabulous cafe and shop. If we don’t support these brave enterprises they won’t survive . I would like to wish Louisa and her team all the very best for the future. I’m sure you have a real success on your hands. I could see just how much work must have gone into the last few months do get this venture off the ground in the centre of this beautiful city.

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You can find the Cafe and shop at the top Timber hill number 21 on the left hand side as you look down the hill.

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Website – Norfolk gluten free company

Twitter – @nklkglutenfree

 

Living with Autoimmune diseases

If you have been reading my blog for a while or following me on Twitter you will know that I live gluten free, and as much as possible grain free and refined sugar free. My diet is like this due to the fact that I have not one, but three autoimmune diseases. Crohns disease ( A long term condition that causes inflammation of the lining of the digestive system ) which is an Inflammatory bowel disease and Litchen Sclerosus LS ( a skin disorder ) both diagnosed a couple of years ago and Coeliac disease ( causes inflammation of the lining of the small intestine when gluten is ingested ) while not officially diagnosed I have been told by my Gastro specialist that I have classic coeliac history and due to the fact that I have been gluten free for about 7 years now and my reaction to glutening is so extreme he would not suggest going back to eating gluten . I have had a endoscopy recently and all is looking fine which is good to know. The many years of eating gluten has left me with what some describe as a leaky gut which means my body struggles to absorb nutrients but also absorbs and is easily susceptible to inflamation both in the stomach and bowels but also in joints. Difficulty in walking up stairs etc when having a flare up.

After a couple of weeks recently which were very stressful I am now faced with the after shock . This is something that I don’t feel I have experienced in quite this way before. I think new knowledge means I am more aware of the symptoms these days. Aching painful joints primarily for me, knees and wrists. Lack of energy and fatigue. Brain fog to a worrying degree especially my short term memory. The one thing this time is that I haven’t experienced stomach gut problems to the level I normally do, For this I am very grateful for. I’m sure my diet has been a contributing factor. Avoiding grains, refined sugar and vegetable oil and processed foods seems to have made a huge difference. I also have a high good fat diet like coconut oil and butter and low carbohydrates especially avoiding white potatoes and white rice.

 

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I’ve not been in such a stressful place for many years and I have been shocked as to just quite how it has played havoc with symptoms of my autoimmune diseases. I am determined to get myself back on track quickly. Like most people I feel guilty if I sit down and relax and am always finding things to do. I think I am going to have to learn to take time for myself and give my body time to heal.

As yet I have not found a general practitioner, gastro specialist or specialist nurse who will give me more than 3 minutes of their time. It appears, and I have been told I have to do my own home work on the subject. I have up to now refused medication for my gut as I am so far able to control it with a very healthy diet.

My Family are very supportive and understanding our family home is 100% gluten free and eating out choices are far more reduced when eating out together due to being gluten free and my multitude of food intolerances. It also effects holiday choices, I would love to be able to be far more adventurous than I am.

My faith gives me enormous strength  and Church family are very supportive. I know the prayer support I receive helps a great deal.

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I have much to be very grateful for. A loving husband, family and friends and a strong determination to keep on top of these health issues. I Will do whatever it takes to stay well and happy.

It isn’t easy to share such personal information, but I hope it helps others in the same position. Often things you read about Autoimmune diseases on the internet are frightening and worrying.  I would be very interested to hear from others with multiple autoimmune disease and how you cope and any advice you may have ?

Eat well , keep healthy, focus on the positive things in your life !

 

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