Norwich’s very own gluten free cafe and shop

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

IMG_9904 Its not often I can go out and order a pudding . After much thought I decided on the caramel choux bun and Mr S had a fruit and chocolate flap jack.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Website – Norfolk gluten free company

Twitter – @nklkglutenfree

 

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Gluten free Sponge cake at Holkham

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Today I decided to take a drive to Holkham Hall, thought it would be a great place to take the Dog for a walk.

Dogs need to be on lead at all times due the the many Deer in the parkland.

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My favourite place at Holkham is the Walled garden, so I decided to take a walk there. A golf buggy is also available to ferry you to the garden if you don’t fancy the walk.

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On the way you can see lots of happy pigs, sunbathing today!

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The Walled garden is currently being brought back to its former glory, already it looks amazing!

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The vegetable garden was full of the most amazing veggies ready to be harvested.

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After an enjoyable walk around the garden we headed back to Holkham cafe

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I was pleased to see a choice of gluten free goodies available. Brownies and cake slices from Honeybuns Bakery and Large slices of cake from Sponge. I  decided on a pot of tea and a huge slice of Apple crumble Sponge cake and a tiny carton of Rodda’s clotted cream very indulgent ! But essential for research purposes. Not being able to resist I bought a slice of Honeybuns bakery Almond moon. I’m saving this for a picnic later this week.

I was pleased to see a long line of freshly filled Dog bowls outside the cafe. Much appreciated by my four legged friend.

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The Sponge cake was very delicious, if a little over sweet. Love the combination of apple and cinnamon, great texture too. think you would be hard pushed to tell the difference between this and a regular gluten filled sponge cake. The clotted cream went brilliantly with the cake, felt like I was having a cream tea. Pleased I could buy the cream separately from scones.

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The staff were helpful and friendly and informed me that they also served soup which was gluten free and usually dairy free too.

Will definitely try the soup next time I visit.

After over 2hrs in the sunshine I headed back along the coast with one very tired Dog.

Find more information on Holkham Hall here www.holkham.co.uk

For more information on  Sponge gluten free cakes Perfect for occasional treats.

A visit to Wiveton Hall Cafe in a thunderstorm

On Friday I took a drive out to Wiveton Hall, a farm and gluten free friendly cafe. Situated on the North Norfolk coast road between Blakeney and Cley.

Unfortunately I seemed to follow a thunderstorm along the coast. The heavens opened and the sky lit up with flashes of lightning, but nothing was going to stop me getting to the gluten free cake!

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Wiveton hall is very much a working farm with pick your own. The farm also has a perfectly placed cafe with distant views out to the sea. Perfect on a dry day! The tables are surrounded by strawberry plants and raspberry bushes and guinea fowl wandering around. Pretty perfect!

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I particularly love the brightly coloured benches and tables inside and out. An idea I have pinched for my own garden.

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As I taken the Dog I sat in the covered area outside.

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Firstly I popped inside to have a look at the huge array of cakes. , The cafe often I think, has a choice of gluten free cakes, today they only had one gluten free cake. But it was a chocolate and almond cake which looked divine! I checked with a member of staff if the cake had its own serving knife, which it did. He then went on to tell me that his Mum was also Coeliac which was reassuring to know he was aware of cross contamination. He went on to say that many Coeliacs ate at the cafe. Good to know!

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My Cake and Camomile tea arrived quickly and I wasn’t disappointed. A rich deep chocolatey pudding type cake, absolutely scrummy. Would have been even nicer with a dollop of thick cream.

The crockery is all Emma Bridgewater, a lovely touch. Not a cheap choice, but added to the overall appeal of the cafe.

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Check out there website here for more information wivetonhall.co.uk

The farm also has a good range of plants and I treated myself to some Sea Lavender for my garden.

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Even in a thunderstorm Wiveton Hall is a great place to visit. I hear the Tapas nights are very good. Booking is advisable for All meals, as this is a popular venue.

Sandringham Flower Show and gluten free picnic.

Today was my first visit to the Sandringham flower show in the grounds of the Queens ‘holiday home’ in Norfolk.

Knowing there would be very little that I would be able to eat there, I baked a loaf of Sukrin sunflower and pumpkin seed bread, which is gluten and yeast free.

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The bread slices beautifully and is very like a good seeded regular loaf. I would say almost better than regular gluten filled bread. Sadly just more expensive!

I made some yummy egg sandwiches and cheese and tomato ones, A real treat when you never normally eat bread.

I was accompanied by my Mum and we headed off early to avoid the crowds. Parking was easy and free. We were directed to one of Sandringhams large fields. Making sure we made note of where abouts we were parked we set off for the small gardens.

ImageSew and Sow was a small garden by Emily Louisa Smith

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Fancy a stroll? by Tamara Bridge

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Modern tranquility by Fakenham garden centre Landscape and design.

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Art, Cities and Landscape BY Sarah Moore, Borough council of Kings Lynn.

We moved on to the Large show gardens, fortunately the sun was still shining and the crowds had not  built up.

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Love every drop by John Farley

To raise awareness of how important water is.

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A large Gunnera plant was used as a centre piece next to the fountain which hit the leaves before disappearing into the gravel.

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Rural Norfolk by Linda and Ralph Nichols

Depicting a disused lime kiln and work shed.

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Featuring a Sarcosuchus better known as a Super Croc!

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A story garden by Jonny Baker.

Inspired by stories from Beatrix Potter.

My favourite of the large gardens.

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We stopped off at the Horticultural talks marquee for a demonstration by Hunstanton’s very own Florist Nicholas Godfrey-Cole from Scent with love

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A very interesting demonstration with lots of tips and ideas for budding flower arrangers.

Outside the rain had started, just in time for Prince Charles and The Duchess of Cornwall to make there entrance.

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Sadly umbrellas and Royal canopy obscuring our view.

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A surprisingly small display of vegetables and fruit. Reminiscent of a local garden show.

By midday we were desperate for our lunch but every food marquee was packed with people sheltering from the rain. We decided to make our way back the the talks marquee, sadly to late to see the next demo by Scent with Love but nice and early for a talk on growing organic vegetables. A great spot for lunch when its raining outside!

Good old British weather!

The sandwiches were delicious and very welcome after a busy morning. So glad we had brought a picnic as very little else available even for gluten eaters and difficulty getting to the stalls. Mainly due to people camping out in the food marquee’s to avoid the rain.

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After visiting a large floral marquee we headed back to the car with a few new beautiful plants to remember our day.

Free from Fine dining on the Norfolk coast

On Saturday we celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary with my parents up in Norfolk. We chose to eat at Titchwell Manor as we really wanted an extra special meal to remember. I contacted the head chef  Eric Snaith and explained my many food intolerances gluten,onion, yeast including things like wine, vinegar, stock cubes. As always Eric was happy to cater for me and said he loved a challenge!

It was going to be particularly challenging as we chose to have the conversation menu an  8 course menu with canapes.

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We arrived at Titchwell Manor at 6.30pm and started the evening with a glass of bubbly and canapes. Mine served on a separate plate on a bed of pebbles.

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Sitting by the roaring fire sipping champagne was the perfect start to the evening.

Later we moved through to the beautiful conservatory for our tasting menu. Our waitress was very knowledgeable about the different courses and aware of my intolerances. She even spoke to me about cross contamination, which was very reassuring.

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The flat bread gluten free and yeast free was delicious with the creamy lincolnshire butter. I’m excited by the simplest things, as normally have to watch while the family dig into the homemade rolls and butter in a restaurant.

I remembered to take my butter first, to avoid cross contamination from my gluten eating family.

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Delicious tender lamb course.

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Rhubarb sorbet followed by a special gluten free chocolate cake for me.

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My special carrot cake with tonka bean ice cream, very impressive .

Just some of the many courses. I was enjoying myself so much I forgot to take any more pictures.

I think we counted 11 in total, served over a long leisurely evening. It was nice to leave, not feeling completely stuffed. The meal was a real experience, with time to chat about the courses in between, hence Conversation menu. The dishes were beautifully presented and were little taste sensations.

Having food intolerances did not take anything away from my eating pleasure. I would recommend this menu to anyone wanting an extra special evening out.

Many thanks again to Eric and his team at Titchwell Manor, Norfolk.

We will return very soon.

Gluten Free delights and free from goodies at Creake Abbey farmers market

Every 1st Saturday of the month Creake Abbey plays host to an award winning Farmers market. Usually about 50 market stalls with some top quality local produce from homemade granola and jam to the very best quality meat and vegetables.

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Now as someone with a selection of food intolerances it is sometimes quite frustrating when all the tasty things seem to contain gluten etc. Fortunately for me, things are a changing!

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At the north Norfolk farmers market we now have two homemade cake, savoury’s and muffin stalls.

Glu-10-3 which sells a large selection of gluten and dairy muffins,cakes, sweet and savoury pies chocolate brownies and now even childrens homemade gluten free play dough.

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Michelle is the owner and is coming up with new ideas all the time. I’m always excited to try new products. This time my family and I tried the large slices of pecan pie. warmed and served with cream . They were perfection, and rated 10/10 by the family. Michelle’s chocolate brownies seem to be one of her best sellers, certainly loved by me and my gluten eating family!

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The other stall is new to Creak Abbey WoWmuffins run by Karen who I met for the first time on saturday. Her stall had an array of gluten free and some dairy free large and tiny muffins with flavours including cappuccino, blueberry, lime coconut ,chocolate and a special lemon meringue.

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I took a selection home to try with the help of my parents and husband we devoured them with a cup of tea when we got home. The muffins were lovely and light in texture and not overly sweet. I had chosen the muffinettes which are a great option if you are trying to cut down on too much sugar, as they are just a tiny treat as long as you only have one! I think the muffins had quite subtle flavours, I would particularly like the chocolate muffin to be a stronger flavour but that is just my opinion. But would definitely buy them again.Image

No farmers market in Norfolk would be complete without a good free range pork stall. Now the special thing about The FruitPig company is the products are gluten free and lactose free which is clearly marked on the packaging.

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On saturday I choose the black pudding some bacon and a pork loin wrapped in pancetta and stuffed with sausage all gluten free. We certainly ate well for the next few days. I have never tasted better bacon and it was a real treat to have black pudding. The loin was enjoyed for sunday lunch. Only taking 1/2 hour to cook it makes a great option. The meat was very tender and was awarded a 10/10 by the entire family.Image

Matt is the owner and is on hand to give advice on cooking times etc You can usually find his stall in the barn. well worth seeking him out.

The market has many other stalls. There is a good butcher called Sam Papworth. I have bought some very good beef and lamb from him, naturally gluten free.

There is a traditional vinegar and fruit vinegar stall whose products are labeled gluten free too.

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This farmers market is well worth a visit for the gluten eaters amongst you too. Delicious looking breads, Pork pies fromBrays cottage which I hear are the best ever, homemade baked goods, and curry stall to name but a few.

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The market opens at 9.30 and closes at 1pm so its well worth getting there early as it is very popular with both locals and holiday makers.

It will continue to be one of our must do’s on the north Norfolk coast at the weekend.

Hope you will enjoy it too, just save me some gluten free cake!

Eating out with multiple food intolerances

On Easter Saturday we went for an early supper at The Duck inn Stanhoe Norfolk. I always now ring or tweet ahead to give the restaurant warning that I have multiple food intolerances. I was reassured that this would not be a problem.

When we arrived I explained to our waiter that I had intolerances to gluten, onion and yeast including wine and vinegar. He made some notes and said he would talk to the chef, good news I thought. Unfortunately between our table and the kitchen, yeast had been missed off the list. So when my starter arrived with a pickled looking vegetable on the side I was obviously worried, just by the smell I was sure it was vinegar but got husband to check it too. I really should have sent it back, but family urged me to push it to the side, the rest of the starter was lovely grilled salmon with a few salad leaves.

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Looking back I think I should of sent it back, although fortunately this time I was fine. But I really mustn’t take the risk.  All the other starters were enjoyed thoroughly. I spoke to a different waiter when he came to collect plates and explained about the vinegar, he then went to the kitchen to inform the chef who came out to apologise, which was really appreciated.

I was then able to explain about yeast intolerance. Not an easy one to get your head round, as it covers so many things from wine to mushrooms.

The problem always seems to come between speaking to the waiting staff and them taking all the information back to the kitchen. Have decided to get some business card type things made up with all the necessary information on so that it can be taken straight to the chef, hopefully saving any more accidents.

The main courses at The Duck were very good the chef suggested a few options, I choose the fillet of hake with mash and green vegetables. A very good choice, delicious! the family were all very impressed with their meals too.

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We thought we should treat ourselves to a dessert as it was Easter, the chef suggested the vanilla pannacotta with rhubarb for me. The family went for yummy brownies with salted caramel and apple crumble which seemed to go down very well.

The Duck has just been taken over by Chef Ben Handley and I am pleased to say the food continues to be of the same great standard as it was before. We will certainly be returning.

I think having more than one food intolerance has been a huge learning curve for me, with Yeast being the most tricky to be understood. Unfortunately resulting in a few stomach aches, bloating and nausea recently. Hopefully soon I can get to the point when I can hand over a card with all the information on, giving the chef the best chance in making my meal safe for me to enjoy and making the evening hassle free for the family.

We love to eat out as a family, especially up in Norfolk where the restaurants and pubs serve some really special local food. These minor hiccups will certainly not put me off eating out.