Happy Christmas from Fabulously Free From

I’m having one of those panic days before Christmas when I wonder if I have enough food to feed everyone over the next few festive days. This job is made all the more difficult as our home is 100% gluten free. In the last two days I have baked grain free mince pies, gluten free bagels, florentines and a cherry cake. All gluten free to feed twelve over Christmas.

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What a year it has been ! I was diagnosed with Crohns disease earlier this year and it has been a year of learning about healthy eating and finding out about special diets that help to keep inflammatory bowel disease at bay. This certainly has been my healthiest year in memory with far less ‘Bad days’ .

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Making the decision to have a gluten free home has made a huge difference to my life and now I rarely have glutening symptoms unless I eat out. I feel that I have far more energy and avoiding grains and cows milk seems to have played a big part in this. I have been following the Specific carbohydrate diet which has been a real learning curve. I don’t stick to it quite so carefully at the moment but once Christmas is over I will get back to eating as well as I can.

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It was lovely this year to make the short list for Free from Food Blogger and I was thrilled to come second. Many thanks to all who voted.

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Best wishes and many thanks to all my readers for your lovely comments and continued support in 2014.

Have a fabulous free from Christmas and a healthy 2015!

Grain free Wraps

Inspired by some delicious paleo grain free wraps in Dubai, I decided to have a go at making some myself. This was the result.

Wraps-

makes 3 or 4 wraps

 

2 tbsp almond flour ( ground almonds )

2 tbsp ground flax seeds

1 teaspoon coconut flour

2 tbsp milk or milk substitute ( I used unsweetend almond milk )

salt

2 large free range Eggs beaten

feel free to add fresh herbs or spices

Method

 

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Mix all ingredients together in a bowl, leave to stand for 3 mins

 

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in a frying pan melt some coconut oil

pour in approximately a quarter of the batter

 

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spread out using a spatula

Cook and turn over until golden . Be careful not to cook for to long. you don’t want to bake them hard. They need to be nice and flexible to roll into a wrap.

 

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The batter should make four wraps.

Perfect filled with your favourite filling.

Today I filled one wrap with smoked salmon and salad and butter, cream cheese would work well too.

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The other I filled with salad and crumbled Wensleydale cheese with cranberries.

 

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Delicious and gluten free and completely grain free. Eat fresh or store in the fridge in an airtight container .

 

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Enjoy!

 

My gluten free dining experience in Dubai

 

On the 19th November we flew with Emirates to Dubai for a few days of sunshine and to go and watch the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The final race of the season.

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Opposite the pit lane and Red Bull garage

 

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We had been to Dubai earlier in the year so I was confident that I would be able to eat well with my selection of food intolerances. I had done quite a lot of  research on Twitter and Google and found a couple of places that I really wanted to eat at The Cycle Bistro which is Paleo and gluten free and Omnia Gourmet which offered a choice of gluten free desserts.

This time we stayed on The Palm Jumeirah at the Jumeirah Zabeel Saray

Zabeel Saray

Zabeel Saray

This worked out cheaper than staying at Jumeirah Mina A’Salam where we have stayed in the past ( also great for gluten free ). My husband emailed the Food and Beverage manager before we arrived to make him aware of my dietary needs. This was clearly written on the booking form of every restaurant that we booked. I also took my business cards which I handed to ever chef. This listed all my intolerances clearly.

Our view

Our view

Zabeel Saray is a gorgeous palace style hotel on The Jumeirah Palm with a selection of different styles of restaurants on site and many more on The Palm. Breakfasts are buffet style, no good for coeliacs due to the threat of cross contamination but at Jumeirah hotel group this isn’t a problem. The Hotels are happy to send out a Chef to speak to you and make your breakfast separately. Most days I ordered a omelette with either cheese or veggies with pork bacon.

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Boiled eggs are available from the buffet in their shells and fried eggs can be made by the Chef. I did have sliced fresh fruit from the buffet as it was on a stand alone table away from contamination.

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I didn’t trust the cheese table as the utensils were open to be used for other things. Cheese was available from the Chef. Don’t be afraid to ask as you are paying the same price as the other guests! Gluten free bread was available on request, I don’t eat this as I’m yeast intolerant so I cannot comment on its quality.

Lunches are available at most of the restaurants, once again I asked to speak to a Chef who would go over in person choices etc. There was a mistake once with a fruit vinegar dressing but I spotted it straight away and it was quickly sorted.

Evening meals were sensational the newly opened Rib Room was perfect for gluten free eating. Chef Anjan Kumar really went the extra mile at every meal. We visited here 3 times because we were looked after so well. I can recommend the grass fed steak. The Chef was happy to make me duck fat gluten free chips and on our last visit sent out some complimentary ones. The first evening we were there it was a special press night, as The Rib Room had only been open for a week.

 

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We also visited the Turkish restaurant, the Lebanese restaurant in the hotel and the Sultans lounge. There wasn’t a huge choice for me as I am intolerant to yeast, onion and garlic. But what I had was delicious including grilled sea bass, hullomi with grilled aubergine or cucumber and tomato , hummus and whole grilled prawns. Grilled chicken salad and lobster salad. Once again the Chef came out to go through the menu and help me decided what to choose.

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The Cycle Bistro was somewhere I was very excited to visit. I had started to follow them on Twitter and Facebook and had been e-mailing the Chef. It is situated in Motor City an area of Dubai quite a drive from our hotel on The Palm. But worth the visit!

The Cycle bistro

The Cycle bistro

We went three times in a week. The paleo breakfasts were delicious and I felt very relaxed eating there.

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The staff were very friendly and we were made very welcome.

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My breakfasts arrived with salad and avocado . Yummy scrambled eggs with smoked salmon or bacon and my husband chose the steak and eggs which looked incredible. Such a huge choice of food including grain free pancakes, smoothies etc. With the added benefit of being much cheaper than a Hotel breakfast.

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Chef Chris Zerbe the brains behind this venture was friendly and very helpful, making sure I had a grain free packed lunch for both days that we attended the Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi. My top tip- is to pack a soft cool bag and ice packs and ask your hotel to freeze them daily. Our hotel was happy to do this ensuring my lunch stayed cold on our journey. Try the sweet potato fries they are delicious any time of the day!

My packed lunch was an amazing grilled chicken grain free wrap with avocado and a side salad of mixed leaves and tomatoes.

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We also took some of Chef Chris’s paleo bars which were delicious and filling. This was the perfect lunch  to have at what was a very ‘gluten filled’ Grand Prix circuit.

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We went with a package with Red Bull as they had the best price package for the 4 days + garage tour and meet and greet with drivers in the Paddock club.

 

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Wedged between our two Abu Dhabi Grand Prix days was Saturday. We booked in advance to eat at Omnia Gourmet a restaurant at the fishing harbour Dubai , glad of the app on our phone we made our way in our hire car to the other end of Dubai a 45min trip. We were shown to an outside table looking out at the harbour.

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I’m sure the view of the harbour looks particularly beautiful in the day. Our waiter was very helpful and immediately offered to bring out the chef. Chef Curtis was from Leeds, England and went through the menu suggesting  how he could make me a meal avoiding all my intolerances . The menu contained a great deal of onion and garlic. Our starters were stunning Chef made me a starter portion of zucchini Linguini  with avocado pesto and cashew nuts it was a stunning starter. My husband was also blown away by his tuna nicoise salad the best he had ever had!

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For my main course Chef Curtis invented a special meal for me of Sea bream with an array of tiny vegetables. Beautifully presented and tasted great.

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I knew desserts were going to be fab from all the instagram pictures I had seen from back in the UK. We agreed we should share three desserts ( well we had come along way! ) Paleo Love a chocolate, cashew and pistachio slice which was dairy and gluten free. Orange and Almond cake which was gluten free and a slice of  Pecan pie. Coffee and tea is also available with dairy free options I choose Coffee with almond milk.

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The desserts were so good we took two gluten free chocolate brownies back to the hotel for our packed lunches the next day.

Omnia Gourmet

Omnia Gourmet

The staff were all very friendly. The head waiter was Daniel who deserves a special mention as does Chef Curtis who went the extra mile to make our meals real show stoppers. More restaurants are in the pipeline including a fine dining restaurant and a burger restaurant. The head Chef Silvena Rowe was not at the restaurant on the night we visited which was a great shame, as I would loved to have met her. Maybe next time!

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I wish these two restaurants were in my local town in the UK I would eat there all the time!

The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was something I will never forget and watching Lewis Hamilton win the championship made it extra special. We saw Jenson Button up close as our seats were directly behind position 6 on the grid looking on to the pit wall. We watched as he shock hands with the entire team before the race got underway, which seemed to show that he didn’t expect to be back next year, A great shame!

During our meet and greet with Red Bull we met Christian Horner, Jean Eric Verne and the ever smiley Daniel Ricciardo. We were able to look down on to the pits from the paddock club and watch the Sky team in action on practice day ( Friday )

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For winter sun and delicious gluten free and free from food I can thoroughly recommend Dubai. A beautiful 28c during the day cooling down in the evenings from about 5.30pm .

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Follow Omnia Gourmet on Instagram 

Follow The Cycle Bistro Twitter here

 

Blog post from the archives Gluten free Dining in Dubai January 2014 click here 

 

 

Pure Taste a new Paleo and gluten free restaurant in London

  • Unfortunately this restaurant has now closed 

Yesterday marked the beginning of an exciting new restaurant in London. A Paleolithic restaurant that is 100 % gluten free . The brain child of this exciting project is Holly Redman a nutritional therapist and chef  who started her dream with a pop up restaurant in Sussex . Due to its success Holly decided to take the brave step of searching for a property in London near good transport links where she could bring this paleo fine dining experience to more people. Many of us have been watching with great interest and excitement about this venture, so much so that we invested in her Kickstarter appeal and as part of that we were offered a launch meal for two when the restaurant opened.

 

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Well that day finally came yesterday when the doors of Pure Taste opened to the Kickstarter backers for the very first time. A party to celebrate this exciting project coming to reality for Holly and her team.

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Now they say location, location , location and this restaurant is really in the perfect position on Westbourne Grove. Amongst restaurants and some lovely shops an easy walk from Notting hill gate tube station.

A small ( from the outside ) restaurant opening up to a large dining area further back and a bar and then further seating downstairs. The large window looks through to smart lighting and small tables and beautiful art work and Pure Taste lettering on the wall as you enter.

 

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For our evening the room was arranged with two oblong tables and one circular one making for a social  dining experience. My guest for the evening was my dear friend Liz who kindly joined me, as my husband was away on business. Liz is following a low carb high fat diet and avoids gluten and strives to eat healthily avoiding refined sugar too, making her the perfect plus one.

 

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We were offered a glass of bubbly and chose seats near to the live music that would accompany our evening. A duo of spanish guitar and singer followed by a lady with a beautiful voice on guitar.

We were first served a canapé at the table. I had chosen the pumpkin falafel with tahini and lemon dressing. It was full of flavour and I could definitely of eaten quite a few of these! Liz opted for the canapé quail scotch egg which she said was delicious.

 

pumpkin seed falafel

pumpkin seed falafel

 

canapè quails egg

canapè quails egg

Next a pre starter an individual beetroot ‘raviloi’ with tarragon cashew cheese, yellow pepper sauce and pistachios served on a tiny plate. Again the flavours were sensational We had actually forgotten what was in this dish so we asked our waiter if he could go through the ingredients. Something I think is a nice touch at a fine dining restaurant.

 

beetroot ravioli

beetroot ravioli

For my starter I chose the pan fried wood pigeon breast with roasted beetroot, walnut and watercress. Probably something I wouldn’t normally chose on a menu but very glad I did. well presented and seasoned a lovely dish.

 

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Liz chose the chicken liver and bacon terrine, with rosemary plantain crackers and seasonal leaves. I have to say I was a wee bit jealous of this stunning starter. Unfortunately it contained chives and I wasn’t sure how I would react with them so avoided. I did however ask it I could try a rosemary plantain cracker and generously a tray of them came straight out to our table. Liz loved her starter, possibly her favourite course I think served with a glass of red wine it did look good!

 

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My main course I had pre ordered the oven roasted Loch Duart salmon with orange and coriander cauliflower pilaf. Mine came without the onion and garlic, I instead had an extra burst of fresh herbs, I added a little extra pink himalayan salt and pepper to mine which I felt it needed but otherwise the salmon was cooked to perfection and it was a very pretty plate of food. Liz chose the canon of venison, brussels sprouts with bacon and boulangère jerusalem artichokes and a red wine jus. This looked very good and I hear tasted very good too.

 

Salmon

Loch Duart Salmon

 

venison

canon of venison

For pre dessert everyone was given a small shot glass of mulled wine sorbet, there was mixed opinion on our table but Liz enjoyed her and said it was like Christmas in a glass. Sadly due to the wine content I could try the sorbet.

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For a while I was forgotten but eventually some delicious marshmallows covered in toasted almonds were brought out for me, which I was able to share with my guest. I wasn’t blown away by the taste of these but the texture was very good  and to have a different type of treat was nice, although I would have preferred a sorbet.

 

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Dessert always for me anyway is a disappointment when eating out as usually only offered a fruit platter and occasionally a fruit sorbet. Gluten free puddings in restaurants are almost non existent . But Not here! There was a choice of Chocolate tart with cacao nibs and goji berries and caramelised banana ice cream and dark chocolate lattice all dairy and gluten free of course. It doesn’t get much better than that. Also Clementine and almond cake warm winter fruit salad and vanilla cashew nut ice cream. Again gluten and dairy free. Both desserts were well presented, I opted for the chocolate tart and so we could try both Liz chose the cake. Neither of us were disappointed . Both preferring our own choice and both agreeing that the size of the portion was just too big for a fine dining experience. Seams a strange thing to say I mean who doesn’t want a large slice of chocolate tart ! It just was not balanced with the rest of the meal. Notwithstanding this the desserts were delicious and possibly one the best dessert I have eaten in a restaurant since being gluten free.

 

chocolate tart

chocolate tart

 

clementine and almond cake

clementine and almond cake

The meal finished with a plate of petit fours to share, little squares of hazelnut chocolate fudge and wait for it! Maple glazed donuts, yes really tiny bite sized treats which were delicious. If only I hadn’t eaten all that chocolate tart I may of had room for more than one. These were served with coffee or tea dairy free milk of course.

 

petit fours

petit fours

The evening was a great success, I’m sure a real learning experience for the waiting staff . I look forward to booking up again in a few months when the restaurant has been open for a while .

The menu I hear will constantly change ever couple of months with seasonal choices and new creations from Holly I’m sure.

A big thank you especially to Sharon who made us both feel very welcome and made sure my food intolerance’s were past on to Holly.

Congratulation Holly on making your dream a reality the food was delicious and inventive and I look forward to future visits to your Paleo fine dining restaurant. Thank you for the extra effort you went to with my meal it was much appreciated.

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If you live in London or can come down for a visit why not book up to eat at Pure Taste restaurant and see and taste for yourself this exciting and delicious food.

Pure Taste can be found at 115 Westbourne Grove London W24UP

You can book a table now here> Pure Taste < Open from 3rd December

Follow on Facebook 

and Twitter

and Instagram

The restaurant caters for Low FODMAP, Paleo, gluten free, dairy free, vegetarian, vegan, grain free, low carb etc

A fine dining experience for everyone!

> Menu <

Visit Website here Puretasterestaurant.com

 

 

I was not paid to do this review and was there as a Kickstarter backer,

photographs taken on camera phones by myself and Liz

 

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 UGG foods Fruit and seed loaf mix

Today has been chilly and very wet, perfect baking weather! What could be more comforting than a fruit loaf with the added benefit of being gluten free and grain free. Also free from dairy and refined sugar.

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I found this mix in my local health food shop Food for thought in Guildford . Where they were having a special offer on UGG Food mixes.

 

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The loaf is very easy to make UGG FOODS Fruit and Seed loaf

just beat the eggs together and add the 2 tbsp oil. I used melted coconut oil ( I used lucy bee )

 

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Then I added to chopped apple and add the mix

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stirred well and spooned into a prepared large loaf tin

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The hardest bit is having to wait 1hr 20 mins for the loaf to bake.

 

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But well worth it! It looks very rustic and topped with low sugar or homemade no refined sugar jam tastes very good. I’ve just devoured three slices.

 

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I love finding new things to eat grain free. Going to be making this again soon.

click here to find out more > UGG Foods

follow on Twitter @uggfoods

 

My review of Chocolate chia muffins from UGG foodsClick here

 

 

Review of UGG Foods Chocolate chia muffins mix

After meeting the team from UGG Foods at the Allergy and Free From show in London they kindly sent me a muffin mix to try from their range which is completely grain free. This was great for me as I am trying very hard to eat grain free as much as possible due to having both Crohns disease and Coeliac disease.  My diet is free from grains and sugar and I follow a low carb high fat diet .

The mix is also refined sugar free and fructose free. This chocolate chia mix certainly shows that you can still have treat foods on a grain free diet.

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The instructions on the reverse of the packet were clear and easy to follow. Simple adding eggs, vanilla essence, oil, non dairy milk and some muffin cases. The packet is huge and heavy and makes 9 good size large muffins, and managed to make 10. one extra for me !

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The mix contains ground almonds, xylitol, chia seeds, coconut flour and baking powder. I love using ground almonds and make most of my homemade cakes with this and occasionally use coconut flour, slightly trickier to work with.

I used melted coconut oil in my muffins.

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Now Xylitol is something I know very little about. But I am trying to find refined sugar free and fructose free cake mix options so this ticked that box. Information from David Gillespie author of Sweet poison suggests that it is ‘your call’ as to whether you use this sweetener. Sarah Wilson author of  I Quit Sugar suggests xylitol ( a sugar alcohol ) is ok in moderation. Of course most cake mixes contain a huge amount of regular sugar so this mix is a real break through. Maybe Dextrose would be another option?

The muffins bake for 40 mins at 140 degrees in a fan oven. I took mine out after 36 mins they looked very promising.

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They had a lovely texture, light and not overly sweet with a nice chocolatey flavour. I made 10 good size muffins from the mix.

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The cost of this mix is £6.95 quite expensive , but sadly grain free ingredients are not cheap even when you make cakes from scratch.

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My gluten eating family were all keen to try the muffins for pudding this evening, and all gave them a big thumbs up! They are all very health conscious and are all now happy to eat grain free and refined sugar free with me.

 

UGG Foods also makes bread, fruit loaf and a selection of muffins mixes which are all grain free

Four of their products were short listed in this years FreeFrom Food awards.

You can buy here at

UGG SHOP here

Website uggfoods.com 

follow on Twitter @UGGfoods

facebook UGG Foods

shop and cafè too The UGG foods bakery

UGG Recipes 

UGG Bread mix review to follow

 

Review of The Primal kitchen Paleo bars

The Primal kitchen kindly sent me their three new Paleo bars to try and review. I had recently tried the nak’d bars so was very interested to try these.

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The company was founded by nutritionist Suzie Walker, she wanted to create a bar that you could eat on the go! when on a Paleo , grain free diet.

There are three bars coconut and macadamia, almond and cashew and brazil nut and cherry.

Firstly I tried the almond and cashew bar, this flavour appealed to me the most. I was pleased that it didn’t taste overly sweet, it almost looked homemade, you could easily see the little pieces of nut. It really was very good.

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Then I tried the brazil nut and cherry paleo bar, I actually turned my nose up at this when I saw the word cherry, I thought it would have a strong cherry taste. Actually I couldn’t taste cherry, which suited me. But I could clearly see large pieces of cherry in the bar which were a nice addition to the texture . I could clearly taste the brazil nut which was very nice. I surprised myself and really liked this one too.

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Thirdly I tried the coconut and macadamia nut bar. A lighter in colour bar, still with good pieces of macadamia nut . Again not too sweet. The bars don’t crumble or fall apart and were very filling.

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I loved the packaging it is simple and eye catching. I liked the ‘Go against the grain’ written on the side of the wrapper. Each bar weighs 45g. Nak’d bars weigh in at 35g . My only criticism  would be that it isn’t easy to find or read the ingredients. Hidden slightly by the join in the wrapper. 14.1 g of sugar per bar ( dates ) The words gluten free or dairy free are not used on the wrapper. But on the website it states that the bars are gluten and dairy free. These bars are refined sugar free, but still contain sugar in the form of dates.

The dried fruit does not contain vegetable oils or added sugar and sulphites.

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You can buy the bars on the website www.theprimalkitchen.co.uk

a mixed box of 18 bars ( 6 of each ) is £27

Also available on Ocado website and these online stores click here

£1.59 each on Freego.com

Also available from natureshealthbox.co.uk at £1.59 each

follow on Twitter @PrimalKitchenuk

I will certainly be adding these to my shopping list, They will be perfect energy bars for my husbands cycling trips and great to keep in my handbag for those emergency moments when you are out and cant find anywhere gluten free to eat safely. They are perfect for festivals too, or that occasional sweet treat.

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 October 2014

recently I was sent a new addition to The Primal Kitchen Paleo bar range Hazelnut and Cocoa raw paleo bar

I was surprised to find I wasn’t keen on this new addition. I found it had a very strong flavour ,almost with a burnt taste. I tried both bars but couldn’t finish either. Maybe the cocoa is just too bitter for me in this one. I loved the other bars.

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Gluten free and Paleo restaurant coming to London, soon!

Pure taste has been running a successful pop up restaurant in Haywards heath Sussex and is now hoping to open a restaurant in the centre of London in 2014. The driving force behind this venture is Holly Redman a nutritional therapist and freelance chef.

It will be the first Paleo and free from restaurant offering a fine dining experience. Specialising in gourmet gluten free food perfect for Coeliacs. I am very excited about this project and urge you to check out their kickstarter video Here 

I have already pledged £250 which means Mr S and I can attend the Pre launch party ( A three course meal for two with drinks and entertainment ), why not come and join us? This would be a great chance to meet up. There are plenty of different amounts you can pledge from as little as a fiver.

So if you are a Vegan, Vegetarian, Coeliac, someone living gluten free or on a Paleo diet this will be the place for you. Please get involved Just 8 days left!

Hope to see you there!

UPDATE – Since writing this blog post I am thrilled to report, Holly has achieved the required funds with the help of Kickstarter  , Watch this space for more information . Well done Holly!

New update –  booking lines are now open for Pure Taste restaurant .  Westbourne Grove London

click here to book  > Pure taste

follow on Twitter @ptrestaurants

Restaurant opens in December 2014

Website – puretasterestaurant.com