Fabulously Free From at The Big Feastival

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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Raymond was definitely the highlight of the weekend for me.

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

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

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Some delicious pork belly cook on the BBQ

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corn on the cob

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Duck and seafood

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and sausages

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

There were also gluten free treats including

Ice lollies

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and cakes

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I preferred the healthy Paleo bars from Primal Joy Foods

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especially the grain free chocolate brownie

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lots to try and buy!

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

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and then the weather started to improve

We watched Mabel Rogers on the Bandstand 

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and enjoyed a Rocktail

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After all the speakers it was time to relax!

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

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

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

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

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

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Follow The Big Feastival on Twitter @thebigfeastival

The website is TheBigFeastival.com

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

Update –

Tickets now available for Feastival 2016

2016 LINE UP SO FAR

 

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

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

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

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

Jasmine and Melissa will be at the Feastival on Saturday

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Ella Woodward of Deliciously Ella

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

and Natasha Corrett of Honestly Healthy

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

Olivia Wollenburg of Livia’s Kitchen

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

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

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

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

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as well as Primal joy foods

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and Primal Pantry.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Big Apple Hot Dogs advertise gluten free sausages

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

Happy Maki – they should have have gluten free vegan Sushi

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

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

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

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

 

Churros – are Dairy free ( But Not gluten free )

 

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

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

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

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Latitude 2015

 

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

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

 

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

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

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Review of Primal Joy Foods > click here

Review of UGG Foods > click here 

Review of Hemsley+Hemsley > click here

Review of Primal Kitchen > click here

 

Follow on Twitter @thebigfeastival

Follow on Facebook Thebigfeastival

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

Video of highlights from last year

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

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

 

One year on, living with Crohns disease

A year ago I was preparing for my evening procedures at Ashtead hospital . Finally I had a Gastro specialist who had sent me for a endoscopy and a colonoscopy after over 30 years of various symptoms including bloating, weight loss, anaemia, joint pain, tiredness, brain fog, sickness, extreme stomach pain. Until now I had never been taken seriously by any doctor ( and I had seen plenty over the years ) About 6 years ago I started to suspect I had a wheat intolerance, after reading more it appeared I could have Coeliac disease I was extremely intolerant to gluten even the tiniest crumb which could set my symptoms off and I could continue to be unwell for days and weeks after a glutening episode. My Gastro specialist agreed that it sounded like I had classic Coeliac history and arranged for me to have the tests as a blood test could now not be used due to the lack of gluten in my diet for so long.

The preparation itself was not a nice experience but I was eager to finally get a diagnoses. All went well and I was home by late evening. I was told that Crohns disease was suspected but a follow up visit to Gatwick hospital was needed for an MRI scan. I used the weeks that followed to read everything I could on healing a leaky gut and inflamed bowels. I started by cutting all grains from my diet and removing cows milk. This wasn’t always possible but I made every effort to keep to this diet.

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I looked at FODMAP and Specific carbohydrate diet and saw from fellow bloggers how their health had improved by following these.

I have now been following as much as possible the Specific carbohydrate diet particularly focusing on no grains, no cows milk and very low sugar , no refined sugar. I am thrilled to say that I have had a dramatic improvement in my health especially the lack of bloating and my only problems have come if I have eaten out and been glutened. Even these symptoms are far less than they used to be. My stomach has never been so flat . The only area where there has been little or no improvement is with anaemia. I still suffer badly and have to take very strong iron tablets from time to time. I imagine this is because it takes many years for our bodies to heal after so many years of eating the wrong food causing a leaky gut. Due to my autoimmune diseases and leaky gut I am also intolerant to yeast, onion, garlic and more recently I haven’t been able to tolerate paprika.

I was finally sent for an MRI scan and this confirmed Crohns disease an autoimmune disease. I have had no final confirmation on whether I have Coeliac disease as my endoscopy didn’t show up any damage. After eating gluten free for many years now I was thrilled that I had no noticeable damage hopefully due to my new diet . But because of the violent symptoms I display after having gluten/ cross contamination with gluten, I won’t be adding it back to my diet anytime soon.

I have had to take this SCD in stages as its really tough. I am now trying to remove white potatoes and sweet potato from my diet, not easy ! Rice was also incredibly difficult to live without. I am not a huge fan of cauliflower which is the go to alternative. I’m just taking it a week at a time. I am so thankful for ground almonds  and coconut flour and for unsweetend almond milk. I have also stopped drinking any alcohol except the very odd special occasion. It all sounds like a very depressing way to live but when the only other option is medication, to me its a no brainer. I hate taking anything even paracetomol, Every time I visit my Gastro specialist he offers me medication. Which seems strange to me as I have no symptoms! He is definitely struggling to believe that my diet is helping me but I am determined to show him that for someone like me with low level symptoms of Crohns disease It is possible to control and possibly heal myself using healthy fresh food. Our home is completely gluten free and since we made this change I have not been ill eating at home. Even the Dog eats grain free, and she has never looked healthier!

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I have also found that eating high healthy fat ( coconut oil, avocado,  butter, cheese, etc ) and low carbohydrates keeps me feeling full for longer. Breakfast every day always consists of 2 free range eggs with either bacon , salmon or I make a veggie omelette using spinach etc. Grain free pancakes make a nice alternative too, or just nuts granola.

Lunch tends to be homemade soup, salads with cheese, ham, chicken etc or a grain free wrap with delicious fillings, and a piece of whole fruit.

Evening meal is good quality local meat or fish/seafood  with lots of different veggies and I tend to now use butternut squash instead of potato.

I have the odd cube of very dark gluten free chocolate or some cubes of cheese, fruit or nuts to snack on.

I tend to drink still or sparkling water and the occasional cup of tea with unsweetend almond milk or camomile tea.

If you are interested in helping your symptoms check out @anaussiewithcrohns and @deliciouslyella both have used a healthy diet to improve their health.

My hope is that one day in the future I may be able to reintroduce some foods back into my diet , I am being realistic and know after over 30 years of symptoms this probably won’t be any time soon.

My family have been my biggest supporters. Living gluten free at home and eating out only at places where Mum can eat safely is a big ask. I am very fortunate that my family are grown up as I can see how difficult this could be with young children. My faith has also kept me strong and knowing that I am not dealing with this disease alone is a great comfort to me.

 

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This is still very much a learning journey. Baking is now far more challenging, every time I successfully make a grain free alternative to a favourite bake I am thrilled. I hope to continue to share these recipes with you. More recipe books are appearing on the shelves of book shops with grain free, low sugar recipes and I will continue to seek out the best to share with you.

Fellow tweeter @gfcuppatea recently said to me ” nothing tastes as good as Good Health”  and this is so very true I’m going to try and remember this when I’m craving something yummy I know will affect my health adversely.

If you are travelling on the same autoimmune disease journey as me  I would love to hear from you. Have you improved your health by changing your diet?

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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

 

 

 

 

 

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

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and Twitter

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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