Gluten free treats from Manna Dew

On Saturday I found myself in Battersea park for the Formula E racing . The extra bonus to a day out watching racing cars was that I remembered the Mann Dew was close by.

Manna Dew is a 100% gluten free Patisserie and Bakery Cafe serving breakfasts, lunches and afternoon teas situated on a classic London cobblestone street in Battersea. The Patisserie does not use refined sugar instead opting for sugars such as agave and coconut sugar. ( Macaron the only exception )

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I walked from the park following the directions on Google maps which took about 12 mins. Manna Dew was a smaller shop than I expected but once inside I was impressed with the quality of the interior, and the cleanliness.   A real little gem. The array of patisserie delights was mind blowing along with the aroma of freshly baked bakery goods and the smell of fresh coffee. The choice was a little overwhelming for me. I rarely find a shop where I can safely induldge in such amazing gluten free treats .

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The bakery goods looked great, the French baguettes, yes baguettes! looked Amazing , seeded buns and focaccia looked and smelt so tempting hard to believe they didn’t contain gluten.

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Due to having Crohn’s disease as well as being intolerant to gluten means gluten free grains are only for treat days. I find that too many gluten free grains affect me if eaten regularly. But for a Coeliac or someone who is gluten intolerant this place is a dream come true you !

I could see that the staff were very busy, a young family with three children were enjoying a pre booked afternoon tea, another group of people were sitting outside in the sunshine while a delivery for Deliveroo was being sorted and sent on its way.

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As I was short for time and needed to get back for the Formula E big race I made an order to take away. I chose a chocolate brownie, a mini carrot cake and a toasted Italian focaccia for my husband. I am intolerant to yeast otherwise I would have chosen the chicken focaccia which looked amazing.

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I had a short chat with Muhammed who kindly gave me a raspberry passion fruit tart to try as he said it was one of their signature patisserie tarts and I he wanted me to try it. A very generous gift.

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I dashed back to the Park to enjoy my picnic. My husband was very impressed with the toasted focaccia saying he couldn’t tell that it was gluten free. In fact he thought it was nicer than most regular gluten focaccia sandwiches. We shared the decadent chocolate brownie, an intensely chocolatey slice, gooey and very rich . A big hit and something I would order again. I enjoyed the carrot cake all to myself, again really delicious and light.

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The special patisserie raspberry and passionfruit tart was saved until we were home. Amazingly it survived intact.

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The raspberry passionfruit tart was indeed a triumph, a biscuity pastry with a tangy filling and fresh fruit. So glad I was able to try this. I enjoyed it and would order again. My husband said he would of preferred a more simple pastry case.

I would love to see added to the range some grain free treats too I think they would be very popular, I for one would be back in a flash to try them .

Do pay Manna Dew a visit if you live in London or are visiting London in the near future. Locals can also have delicious gluten free treats delivered to their door with Deliveroo and JINN . Places like this will not survive unless we show our support to indie shops like this delightful one.

Why not book a trip soon , there is currently a special offer on afternoon tea, check the website for details.

You can follow Manna Dew on Twitter @mannadew

Website mannadew.co.uk

Tuesday to Friday 10am – 6pm

Sat & Sun 10.30am – 6pm

169 Battersea high street SW11 3JS

 

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My review of Honeybuns Squillionaire and Fruity nut bar

Honeybuns  New Squillionaire is a gluten free polenta and date shortbread , topped with date and chocolate –  less sweet than your average millionaire square but still tastes like a treat. Containing no refined sugar its obviously still sweet but instead of refined sugar it contains date syrup and date paste . I love that it clearly says I’m a cake not a health bar .

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Its good to see Honeybuns listening to many of us requesting refined sugar free treats.

Honeybuns are hoping to make the Squillionaire bar Dairy free in the future . But please be aware that at present it may contain traces of dairy.

 

My next challenge to Honeybuns is for 100% dairy free treats using coconut oil and I would love to see a Grain free , refined sugar free treat too?

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I picked mine up from my local Waitrose cafe , located near the till. Priced at £1.85

 

I really enjoyed this new cake bar, I actually prefer the lower sugar taste and would select it again .

Also available online at Honeybuns.co.uk at £1.70 per slice.

The new Fruity nut bar is a dairy free and gluten free bar packed with cranberries, nuts, pumpkin and sunflower seeds. This is still most definitely a treat and does contain a small amount of sugar in the sweetened cranberries  , the bar also contains dates. Each bite is full of delicious dried fruit and nuts.  I enjoyed it but not sure I would choose it again.

cost £1.70

Honeybuns say ” It tastes like a decadent cake, not a health bar ! ”

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online at honeybuns.co.uk it costs £1.70 per bar

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Follow Honeybuns on Twitter @honeybunsbakery 

Coconut Muffins grain free

I was looking to make a light spongy cake that could be made grain free and dairy free , these are delicious!

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I’ve made these twice now in a hotter oven 200c. But think they would be better at 180c as mine caught slightly on top.

They really are very light and were enjoyed by the family.

Coconut Muffins

Recipe –

300g ground almonds

pinch salt

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

2 large eggs

1 tin coconut milk ( use 300ml of the thick cream inside and a little of the coconut water )

1 tsp vanilla essence

4 tbsp honey

Topping of your choice – I used low sugar jam and strawberries

Method 

pre heat fan oven to 180c

put all the dry ingredients in the bowl, the ground almonds , salt and bicarbonate of soda

add the beaten eggs, honey and vanilla

Open a can of coconut milk . Using a measuring jug spoon in the lovely thick cream that comes to the top of the tin and a little of the coconut water to make up to the 300ml mark

add to the mix

mix well

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prepare muffin tray and paper cases

spoon mixture into the cases, I made 11 muffins

You can add desiccated coconut on the top if you wish

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( I added dessicated coconut and lime zest to these )

Bake for 15mins at 180c and then check if they need slightly longer .

Cool before eating on a wire rack

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We enjoyed them topped with lower sugar strawberry jam and a fresh strawberry on each perfect for Wimbledon week

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you could make lime and coconut muffins

or maybe top with chocolate

These muffins also work well with a hidden spoonful of jam inside, put a little mix in your muffin case then add a spoonful of jam then top with more muffin cake mix.

Happy Baking!

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wiveton Hall website

follow on Twitter @wivetonhall 

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

Missed the series Normal for Norfolk? click here to view 

 

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

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Grain free bakes from against all grain cook book

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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You can follow Danielle on Twitter  @againstallgrain

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

The book is available on Amazon for £21.24

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

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

My Anaemia journey so far

The last 6 months have been very testing health wise. On the 24th November last year I received a call from my GP to say my haemoglobin level was very low, down to level 7.1. I was asked to go directly to the surgery for more tests before admitting me to hospital. This blood test came after months and months of feeling fatigued with shortness of breath after the lightest of exercise ( walking the dog ) and a burning sensation across my shoulder blades.

The surgery visit concluded I was safe to go home and take it easy. Amazingly my body had become accustomed to being Anaemic as it had happened so slowly, I had naturally been reducing what I could do. I now felt like an unfit 80yr old!

Unfortunately eating iron rich food doesn’t improve my condition although I still continue to eat lots of iron rich food. Having Crohn’s disease and possible Coeliac disease ( have classic Coeliac history but been gluten free too long to be tested now ) and Leaky gut my body just can’t absorb it. Iron tablets normally prescribed make me very sick.

Plans were finally made for me to have a ferinject an iron intravenous drip in the middle of December. I was offered a late January 2016 NHS appointment but felt that was too long to wait so I went privately and used my health insurance. I’d never needed to use health insurance before . I had to work really hard to push for appointments, plenty of phone calls etc not easy when you are feeling incredibly fatigued, brain fog at the time was at its worst.

I had my IV at Gatwick park hospital which went well, although I hadn’t been warned how tired I would feel for the next week or so. I expected to come out feeling like I had been recharged! Instead I slept for days

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I finally did start to feel a little better. A blood test in January found I was now at level 10 for my Haemoglobin . I continued to feel fatigued with continued brain fog.

It was decided I needed another Ferinject IV I was finally booked in for 17th March . In the mean time the fatigue grew worse again and the strange pain across my shoulders increased. I couldn’t get to the hospital quick enough.

After the second IV , I slept again like crazy for a few days.

At the beginning of March feeling dreadful I decided I needed to look more carefully at my diet. I knew that my healthy diet had gradually slipped over these months and gluten free grains were slipping back along with some refined sugar and cows milk. When you feel tired all the time you long for a creamy latte and a gluten free sugar filled brownie! Lots of comfort food like rice , GF dough balls and gluten free cheese scones. My love of baking didn’t help .

But it did me no good at all. It took me to feel This rough to realise this wasn’t a short term healthy diet choice. This grain free, low refined sugar, no cows milk needed to be forever.

So now I can report after the two Ferinject’s and being back on my healthy diet I am feeling so much better. My energy levels are rising. I managed two long (6 mile ) for me Dog walks and feel sharper and keen to get back to blogging etc. I do still over do it. Easy to think I’m super women when I’m most definitely not.

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As my GP reminded me, I’m living with a life long chronic disease and I’m very grateful that apart from the Iron IV , I take no medication . Crohn’s effects people in different ways and I know I don’t have some of the very nasty symptoms which I am very grateful for. I was only diagnosed a couple of years ago in my late 40’s as I was always told it was irritable bowel syndrome Rather than IBD.

My haemoglobin level is now 11.7 ( Average level for an adult is 12 )

I still know very little about Crohns disease I guess a part of me would rather not know and  using Google isn’t always a good idea.

I now write down lots of healthy menu ideas and bake grain free regularly so I always have something in the freezer, then I’m not tempted to cheat.

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I’ve swapped rice for cauliflower rice, I make flaxseed buns which are yeast and grain free, I make a grain free fruit bread and cheese scones. It takes time, but well worth it .

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I know I have a long way to go to get back to full health and strength but I’m determined to give it my best shot.

If you have any experiences of being Anaemic I would love you to share them with me. Any grain free ideas are always welcome too.

 

 

 

Simple gluten free banana bread

I always buy more bananas than I can eat before they start going brown and over ripe. So banana bread is a favourite to make, to use up this over soft extra sweet fruit.

Usually I make a grain free version for me, but this recipe is just gluten free and you would be hard pushed to tell this apart from its gluten filled version. Perfect for an afternoon sweet treat. I made this for my Son’s birthday

Recipe

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Banana bread

100g unsalted softened butter ( you could also use coconut oil  )

175g sugar ( I used Coconut sugar which I prefer )

2 large free range eggs

2 large over ripe Bananas

225g gluten free self raising flour ( I used Doves Farm )

1 tsp gluten free baking powder

2 tbsp milk ( I used almond milk )

Method

Really simple

pre heat oven fan 160c

I used a hand blender and mixed everything together, the blender mashes the banana really well and helps to cream together the sugar and softened butter.

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If you don’t have a hand blender or processor you can use a potato masher to mash the bananas or a fork and elbow grease to mix together the other ingredients.

Top tip – make sure you use a mixing spoon that is not used for making gluten bakes especially if it is a wooden spoon as gluten loves to hide in them.

I lined a 2 lb loaf tin and spooned in the batter

the loaf then goes in a pre heated oven at fan 160c for 1 hr

leave to cool, then turn out on to a wire cooling rack.

As mine was for a celebration, I added icing and chocolate shavings.

slice and enjoy with a cuppa!

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