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

Surviving gluten free at Le Mans 24hr race

This was to be our first visit to the Le Mans 24hr race but we have been away to other motor racing events like grand prix’s and my experience has been that there has been little or no options for those on a gluten free diet. We were due to be away for 5 days so I knew I had to be very organised about my food.

 

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We had hired a caravan for the trip which had a fridge. This made food choices much easier as you can pack fresh veggies and meat, cheese etc. I decided my best option was to make a selection of gluten free and grain free bakes which I would freeze and take for the trip. I made a grain free fruit and chocolate loaf

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and some yummy gluten free cheese scones.

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No trip would be complete without a homemade cake, I chose a grain free Mocha cake which I made the day before we left and stored in an airtight plastic box.

 

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I decided that as well as fresh food I would prepare for any eventuality and take tinned food, just in case! I bought tinned tuna, sweetcorn, peas and carrots, new potatoes, spam, corned beef, tinned tomatoes and soup. For a treat I took chocolate and hazelnut grain free granola, I ran out of time to make homemade granola.

 

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I filled the fridge with gluten free cold meats, cheese, butter, bacon, gnocchi, regular milk and almond milk. There was limited space in the small caravan fridge so I took two cool bags with plenty of cold packs full of fresh fruit and veggies, eggs and the frozen bakes.

Bottled water is always expensive at these venues so I went prepared with lots of small bottles of still and sparkling water.

All prepared and packed we set off on our first caravan trip.

Our trip was full of adventures I could tell you some stories! Suffice to say we have learnt lots of lessons for our next towing experience.

We had a few issues with our van fridge too and next time I would check the temperature more often on our journey to Le Mans and use some cool packs inside the fridge to help keep the temperature cool enough ( our electric connection to the caravan was faulty due to a mistake on our part )

Our camp site was on the Porsche curves 2 mins from the track. We booked with Village on the curves with Lycian Events I can recommend, well worth spending a little more for secure site with 24hr security and good quality loos and showers, even a ladies pamper tent with power and hairdryers etc. Power for recharging phones too.

 

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We arrived on thursday evening in time to watch some racing just moments from our van. After a night of  horrendous thunder storms we woke to damp cloudy day.

 

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Friday was no racing so we took the free site mini bus into the main arena and dived into the Le Mans museum during a heavy shower. I had packed a picnic and snacks for the day in a back pack with a cold pack and I was so relieved I had as there was absolutely nothing for me to eat. On offer was gluten filled baguettes and sausage, burgers or pulled pork in a bun and fries.

I tucked into a homemade cheese scone or two, salad, crisps and cubes of cheese. I really didn’t feel as if I was missing out.

 

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For treats during the day I took along paleo bars, bananas, apples and some kit kat style chocolate bars. The Mocha cake I saved for down time in the caravan as it doesn’t transport well in a back pack.

A wander through the pits and garages followed, always my favourite bit.

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The weather was damp but this hadn’t put the racing fans off. Twice the number of people who attend Glastonbury attend Le Mans although it never felt overly crowded.

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Saturday was bright and sunny and we started the day as we did every day with a big cooked breakfast. Cheese and spinach omelette was my favourite. I also had a slice of fruit and chocolate bread every morning knowing this big breakfast would keep me going all day.

 

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It was good to be able to have a Pimm’s on site watching the races, champagne was also on offer!

We stood on the bank of the Porsche curves to watch the start of the 24hr race. Such a good vantage point and no travelling.

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We watched the race from different parts of the track and sheltered from the sun for a while in the site marquee watching on the big TV’s provided. I took along a small container of almond milk so that I could order a tea from the on site caterers.

 

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We took deck chairs and warm tops up to the bank to watch the night racing, a brilliant experience.

Evening meals went well in the caravan

steak with veggies

steak with veggies

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some emergency tins had to be used

tinned corned beef with fresh potatoes and asparagus

tinned corned beef with fresh potatoes and asparagus

 

tinned tuna and sweetcorn with rice

tinned tuna and sweetcorn with rice

Sunday we were up at dawn to watch the racing ( we could obviously hear it all night ) Still managed to get some sleep.

Later we took the onsite mini bus to near the Dunlop bridge to watch more of the race. We made our way to the finish line for the final few minutes where we watched Porsche’s win and award ceremony.

 

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During the trip I never felt hungry or worried about what I could eat. Going prepared was the best way to have an enjoyable time. It takes a little more organisation but well worth it to save anxiety.

I had a chat with the manager of the onsite catering who said they could cater for me another year If I emailed a few months ahead of the race. I had a quick look through at the make shift kitchens and feel that the cross contamination issue would worry me too much. My husband and our friends enjoyed all the food they had on site and well worth it if you don’t have food intolerances, allergies or Coeliac disease.

 

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We loved our experience at Le Mans 24hr race and I’m sure we will be back next year.

 

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Go on!  why not have a gluten free adventure too

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!

 

 

 

Recovering from an uncomfy tum!

I sit here clutching a hot mint tea recovering from 14hrs of stomach pains and nausea. It never gets any easier does it! For me this was a much longer attack than usual. I think its always worse when you can’t work out what has caused it. I was diagnosed with Crohns disease last year but my symptoms are more similar to Coeliac disease which I cannot be tested for ( have been gluten free for over 5 years and am very ill If I am accidentally glutened ) These days I only seem to have symptoms like this when I eat out, usually due to cross contamination.

This time I think it was kicked off by my strong Iron tablets ( Ferrous Gluconate 300mg ) that I am taking for Anaemia. I have to bury it in a big evening meal and maybe I didn’t eat enough. The tablets are helping my symptoms of anaemia so I must continue to take them although I will now take a couple of days out to give my sore insides time to heal.

For me after an attack my weight just drops off so quickly, I have to make sure I eat little and often and avoid grains and other foods that cause inflammation.

Today I am going to make myself some chicken broth in the hopes that it will be a gentle introduction to eating again and healing my insides. I would love to hear from you if you have any ideas for food for tummy recovery. I am determined to learn to make beef bone broth which I could freeze and have ready for such a day as today.

Chicken broth

First roast a free range chicken with thyme

Strip the chicken of all the flesh

put the cooked chicken carcass in a large saucepan with the juices from the roasting tray add some hot water to your roasting tray to make sure you get all the juices.

simmer for about 1/2 hr or so

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pass broth through a sieve

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serve

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or for a light chicken soup add some of the cooked chicken and some finely diced celery and courgette fried. Then using a hand blender , blend until smooth.

season to taste

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I’m pleased to say after a bowl of broth and an afternoon trip to the cinema I’m feeling fighting fit!

Heres to a healthy tummy!

 

 

 

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

Gooey grain free chocolate pudding

I love to be inspired by grain free recipes online. Yesterday I was looking for a moist chocolate pudding and came across a Recipe from homemadehealthyhappy.com for self saucing chocolate pudding. <-click here for Recipe I used this as inspiration and changed things slightly.

>Homemade Healthy Happy < has lots more grain free and gluten free recipes on the website. Do go and have a look!

 

My version uses half ground hazelnuts and half ground almonds. I also used processed dates instead of raw honey in the pudding mix.

 

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Recipe

serves 6-8 generous portions

 

250g a mix of ground almonds and ground hazelnuts

40g cacao powder

50g butter melted you could also use melted virgin coconut oil ( I like Lucy bee oil )

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

100g dark chocolate drops ( I used sainsburys gluten free taste the difference dark chocolate drops )

100g  pitted medjool dates

approx 150ml boiling water – to soak dates

3 large Eggs

 

Sauce-

30g cacao powder

60g raw honey

300ml boiling water

I pre heated oven 165c

I put the pitted dates into a jug and poured on 150ml of boiling water, I left these to soak for about 10 minutes

I weighed out 250g of a mix of ground almonds and ground hazelnuts , about half and half. I ground the hazelnuts myself using my food processor until they resembled flour.

I added the dates and approximately 100ml of the soaking water into my food processor and blended until smooth and like a sauce.

 

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To the dry ingredients I added the processed date sauce, beaten eggs and melted butter and mixed well together.

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I had pre greased a 2 L rectangle ceramic ovenproof container and spooned the mixture in and smoothed flat, to this I sprinkled the chocolate drops evenly over the surface and pressed down slightly.

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In the food processer I added 30g cacao powder and 300ml boiling water and 60g raw honey. I mixed these together for a few seconds.

This is then poured gently on to the surface of the pudding, looks weird but it works!

 

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I baked the pudding in a 165c oven for 50mins, My tip would be to take a look after 40 minutes I left mine a little to long. It should still have a little sauce on top I think.

 

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It is best to serve the pudding straight from the oven , I served mine with a big dollop of clotted cream.

 

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It can be warmed for a short time in the microwave too.

Delicious with ice cream or cream

 

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Hope you enjoy this indulgent chocolatey pudding as much as I did.

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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Grain free fish fingers

After the success of the grain free chicken nuggets I thought I would have a go at grain free fish fingers. I  recently had some frozen shop bought gluten free fish fingers but was disappointed by the quality of the fish inside. I decided to make a grain free version myself so I could then make them with good quality fresh fish. I was really pleased with the results.

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recipe- serves 2

1/2 cup of almond flour

1 tbsp ground flax seeds

1 tsp turmeric  ( or a mix of turmeric and a little paprika  )

1 tsp salt

pepper to taste

1 beaten egg

fresh cod or similar firm white fish

 

Method-

mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl

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slice the white firm fish into fingers or nuggets ( these cook very quickly )

 

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beat an egg in a bowl

 

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firstly egg the fish by placing it in the beaten egg and covering both sides

then lay the fish in the breadcrumb style coating and the turn over making sure coating

covers both sides.

 

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prepare the frying pan with coconut oil or butter and heat

when pan has heated up, fry the fish fingers

 

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mine took five minutes in all

this depends on the thickness and size of your fish fingers.

they will turn a beautiful golden brown colour

add more coconut oil or butter if needed

pop finished fish fingers on to a plate and serve

 

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delicious with homemade mash or chips or butternut squash or sweet potato chips

Adults and children will love them!

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Enjoy!

fish fingers with homemade chips and peas

fish fingers with homemade chips and peas

 

fish fingers and fried courgette

fish fingers and fried courgette

 

 

Grain free chicken nuggets

Today I thought I would have a go at making grain free chicken nuggets, they were a great success! I think children would love them too.

 

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Grain free chicken nuggets-

serves 2 people

2 Free range chicken breasts or boneless thighs

1 whisked egg

1/2 cup of ground almonds

1 tbsp ground flaxseeds

salt/pepper

( you could add additional spices or herbs )

method-

mix ground almonds and ground flaxseeds together

add salt and pepper,

in a separate bowl, whisk an egg

 

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cut chicken into small strips or cubes

dip the chicken in the egg

then roll in the dried ingredients

heat a frying pan and add coconut oil or duck fat

carefully add the coated chicken pieces

 

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fry both sides until cooked

cut one in half to check they are fully cooked

they should be golden in colour

 

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drain on kitchen roll

 

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Enjoy with a salad or homemade chips

delicious with homemade guacamole ( in a food processor put 2 halves of a de stoned ripe avocado + small bunch of fresh coriander and a drizzle of olive oil, blitz )

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they would be delicious in a >grain free wrap< too!

 

Butternut squash baked chips

I am avoiding potatoes as I’m trying to follow the specific carbohydrate diet and was looking for an alternative to delicious regular homemade chips. Sweet potatoes work well but I wanted to try something new. Butternut squash slices are perfect. They cook in a hot oven in 25-30 mins and taste delicious.

 

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Butternut squash chips- 

Butternut squash slices  ( I found these in Waitrose ) or whole squash

Beef dripping / virgin cold pressed coconut oil ( I use lucybee )

dried or fresh rosemary

salt

method-

pre heat fan oven 200c

 

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slice the pre sliced squash into chip size pieces

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melt beef dripping or coconut oil in roasting tray for a few minutes

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carefully add the squash chips to the hot pan

sprinkle fresh or dried rosemary on the chips

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use a spatula to turn the chips over to coat them in fat

pop back in the oven

roast for 25 mins in a very hot oven

turn once during cooking time

 

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drain on kitchen roll sprinkle with coarse salt

serve and enjoy!

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