Eating free from in Hong Kong

One of our first meals in Hong Kong was at a tiny spanish tapas bar full of ex pats. The food was very good, I was able to have simple prawns in garlic. Brocolli and goats cheese and seabass simply cooked, and some quails eggs with celery salt.
The next day to celebrate the Wedding of my brother in law the following day, the Smyth clan and his ushers went to another small restaurant this time Italian run by a very friendly couple. They had pre prepared a special meal for me to run alongside the celebration meal they served to the others. 13 of us in all. We took up almost the entire restaurant on one long table. I was served first a delicious salad of pear and a soft cheese. It was delicious, followed by a clear soup I think made from orange and fish stock. The family had theirs with tiny ravioli floating in it. My next course was spinach and ricotta balls ‘ naked ravioli ‘ . Followed by sea bass and tomatoes. Lots of garlic and chilli in my food that night which made such a nice change. Usually everything is so plain. It was so tasty I had to keep checking with the owner that it really was yeast free. He assured me it was and went in to great detail about how they made each course.

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In Hong Kong last night we ate out at Aqua. We wanted to go somewhere special as it was our sons last evening before flying home to the UK. Sensibly they had already checked their suitcases in before we boarded the Star ferry.
The restaurant had a amazing views over to Hong Kong island and the laser show that happens ever evening at 8pm .
The restaurant was Italian and Japanese. I chose Italian, A simple Lobster salad with no dressing just olive oil followed by Cod and asparagus.

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All very delicious and safe for me. The restaurant had been informed by email about my food intolerances, so they were prepared for my arrival! Which makes for a much more stress free meal.

For breakfast/ Brunch we have mainly eaten in our hotel room as we have a tiny kitchen. Omelettes have been the easiest to achieve with lots of cheese from the local international supermarket. We also found some delicious yoghurts. Only downside was food in that particular supermarket was very expensive. £7 for a block of cheddar cheese! I brought gluten free cereal from the UK In my suitcase which just about survived the journey!

Here are just a few photo’s of some of the food I have eaten in Hong Kong .

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Glutened in Krabi

On our penultimate day in Thailand, what I had been dreading unfortunately happened. Stomach ache and cramps started at around ten in the evening after eating at our hotel. The Tubkaak Krabi boutique resort in Krabi, The staff had been so helpful and keen to make my stay perfect, it was such a shame. All I can think is that I had been glutened by cross contamination. I chose chicken satay which I had already had on a previous evening, followed by stir fry rice and crab.

The hotel manager immediately checked with chef about my food and no yeast or onions were used.
So what followed as many of you well know! was hours of pain and nausea causing a sleepless night for both myself and my husband. The hotel room whilst being beautiful, was small with no where for me to go and moan by myself.
I tried the usual things to help including drinking peppermint tea. But no real improvement. At least these days I don’t panic about it, as I know whats happening and that by morning the pain will stop and I can get some rest.

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The next day I took things very easily and had no breakfast or lunch and stuck to drinking lots of water and camomile tea. Fortunately I had no further pain or discomfort and was able to have my per booked lavender oil massage in the afternoon. Even feeling comfortable enough to allow the lady to massage my tummy.

The staff throughout the day were very concerned and asked constantly if I was feeling better. The head waitress at the restaurant even advised my as to what I should eat that evening. Which was off the menu!
Chicken in a watery rice type broth with salt and pepper. Popular in Thailand and China for poorly tummies.

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It may look like gruel, but it was perfect. I was advised not to eat anything else, so watched the family tuck into the most delicious 3 course meal. Not easy watching chocolate fondant and ice cream being devoured I can tell you!
I have had no further effects from the glutening episode so
here’s hoping for a safe eating experience for the rest of my time in Asia.

Eating with food intolerances in Krabi, Thailand

We are staying at the Tubkaak Krabi boutique resort for 4 days. The hotel is very small and has only a very small restaurant. Breakfasts have been a little tricky. Quite concerned about cross contamination. Waffles and pancakes are made at the same station as the fried eggs so I have opted for omelettes so far which are made in a special pan in that station. The bacon has had to be cooked for me separately as all bacon tomatoes etc are sitting on slices of bread in the warming trays.
Lunches have been lovely. I have been choosing egg fried rice with prawns or chicken sometimes in curry or chilli. Just delicious!

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Also fresh crab and avocado with tomatoes and lots of fish.
Evening meals alfresco have been very memorable . Gin and tonics at sunset followed by usually the crab and avocado or chicken satay. The rest of the family have been able to sample some amazing food which I am very envious of. Main courses have been good Sea bass and rice dishes

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The chef kindly made me some gluten free and yeast free bread but sadly it was inedible. I made the family give it a try, but they thought it tasted like an eraser.

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My free from eating experience so far in Bangkok

I was really quite worried before we came to Thailand at the thought of two weeks gluten free, yeast free and onion free as these are used a great deal in Thai food. I really thought I would be very hungry all the time.

My husband was very organised and emailed all the hotels and any restaurants that we had booked from the UK. This turned out to be incredibly helpful. I still needed to go over everything with the waiting staff but they had at least some idea of what I was talking about. I also used my translation sheet to check about gluten free. Which has been helpful often getting thumbs up from the chefs.

We stayed at the Siam Kempinski in Bangkok which I would definitely recommend. Not cheap but staff very helpful and restaurant manager happy to help and keen to make my stay worry free.

I have eaten lots of fish so far, especially sea bass and have had far more spicy dishes than I expected.

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Eating free from in Bangkok

After what seemed like a very quick flight we arrived in Thailand. A minibus was sent by our hotel to pick the 6 of us up. After a bit of head scratching at the amount of luggage we had brought with us, they squashed us into the minibus and we were soon on our way to the Hotel in Bangkok about 40 mins away. Siam Kempinski is set in the very heart of the city. Great if you like shopping!
Our first meal had been booked in advance. An email had also been sent explaining my food intolerances.
What we didn’t know was it had one an award for one of the top 50 in Asia. We soon understood why!

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20130420-170036.jpgThe menu was exciting and a tiny bit scary but an iPad was brought over to show us what everything was. They also went over my food intolerances to make sure they understood. Very reassuring.We decided on the 8 course tasting menu. Always a terrifying thought for me, as there are some many dishes that could go wrong.

20130420-170353.jpg Nibbles followed by 3 spoonfuls of delicious spicy food.

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Followed by tuna tartar with lemon grass, 4 lolly sticks with chicken pork meatball etc.

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20130420-170948.jpg The salad with river prawns was very special and incredibly spicy.
Then came the main course, Fried red mullet with curried peanuts and turmeric cauliflower. Lemon grass tea was offered when it all got a bit too spicy.
Pineapple and ginger sorbet with tiny lemon meringue squares was a perfect way to finish.

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20130420-171403.jpg But the we were surprised by a spoon of frozen sour cream and spearmint ice with popping candy. Crazy! But made us all laugh.

20130420-171544.jpg All in all one of the best meal experiences I have ever had. We chatted, laughed, cried at the spicy surprises and were thoroughly impressed by the imaginative meal. Especially all the extra effort the chef went to for me.
We would certainly make an effort to eat there again if we returned to Bangkok in the future.
Many thanks to the Chef and team at Sra Bua for making it an evening to remember.

Eating free from at Tony Tobin’s The Dining Room in Reigate

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My delicious starter of Mackerel with homemade gluten and yeast free bread

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I chose Hake for my main course with creamy mash and vegetables with a tasty sauce made especially for me. It was delicious!

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The waiter was very helpful when it came to choosing courses he talked everything through with me first and checked with the kitchen which options would be suitable.

The dessert was extra special It was meringue poached I think, with strawberries and chocolate sauce. Pretty special!

My Sons and their girlfriends were blown away by the quality and taste of the food, making the evening all the more perfect.

The Dining room is most certainly a great choice for celebrations or a romantic dinner for two.

Always a good idea to inform the restaurant of any food intolerances or allergies. when booking a table.

A big thanks to Tony Tobin and his team for a very memorable evening.

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.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Gluten free day trip to Alfriston

Today I decided to take a trip down to the south coast to a lovely village called Alfriston. Unfortunately this week it turns out the main road through the village was being dug up and the road was closed. Luckily for me the car park has been kept open so my 1 hr drive wasn’t in vain. Due to the exceptionally cold weather I decided to head straight for a tea shop. Almost immediately I came upon Badgers at the old village bakery, cosy and warm with a lovely fire just perfect! I was pleased to see that they offer Molly cake, gluten free with no added fat sugar or eggs. The cake looked delicious but as it was too close to lunch time I settled for a nice cup of decaf tea. The tea was beautifully presented in a silver teapot and matching milk jug.

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The tea shop had a delicious looking array of homemade cakes, also a good choice of hot food. I asked the friendly waitress about gluten free food but was informed that they had little call so just offered molly cake.

The village is a perfect place for a potter, there are some interesting gift shops and also a very old post office and shop containing a deli at the rear of the shop. well worth a look.

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Alfriston has a National trust property called The Clergy house which can be found just behind the high street near the church. It is a medieval thatched timber framed cottage. I have been to the village many times so didn’t pay a visit on this occasion.

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I had a walk around the village, having a good look at all the restaurant and cafe menu’s looking out for gluten free fayre. I settled on The singing kettle a tiny tea shop right in the centre of the village. I noticed that one of the specials was marked gluten free. Bubble and squeak with free range poached egg and home cooked ham perfect on a day like today. Relieved to be out of the cold I chose a table by the fire. The waitress took my order and asked if I would like milk with my Camomile tea!? 

The hot food soon arrived decorated with a large quantity of parsley, It was nice to have something other than a baked potato. Usually my only choice being gluten and yeast free.

I was very happy with my lunch, good quality ham and tasty bubble and squeak.

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Before I left to drive home I followed directions from the waitress to avoid the roadworks in the village and made my to my favourite lookout point at High and Over car park. From here you can see for miles. Below is the Cuckmere valley and the river winding down to the sea. In the distance you can see the sea and while I was there the sun pushed through the clouds for just a few moments and lit up the sea, stunning! By now I couldn’t feel my hands so hurriedly made my way back to the car. 

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It was such a shame the weather had taken a turn for the worse because this area is amazing for long walks. Maybe next time I will take the dog and walk down to the beach at Cuckmere Haven and the Seven Sisters country park.

Alfriston and surrounding area is well worth a visit. One of my very favourite places. I have many happy memories of time spent here. 

Great for a day out, and for the little ones Drusillas  zoo park.

New freefrom cafe and bakery comes to Kingston

Recently I heard about a new cafe and bakery in Kingston the Healthy cook co selling gluten free, dairy free, egg free and no refined sugar cakes muffins and other baked goods. I was delighted when I saw it was very close to Bruschetta restaurant.

On Saturday I made the trip over to Kingston from Dorking not an easy journey especially on a busy shopping day. I am glad to say it was well worth the trip. Old London road was very easy to find, just down the road from Bruschetta restaurant and close to the leaning red phone boxes. The road is full of tiny interesting shops

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the Healthy cook company has very clear signage and looked very cosy and inviting, but smaller than I was expecting. As I entered the cosy little cafe my eyes were drawn to a large array of cakes scones and brownies. If only I hadn’t eaten so much for lunch!

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Unfortunately being early afternoon all the bread had sold out, but fortunately for me there was a brown bag of gluten free soda bread mix for me to make at home.

Then came the exciting bit, choosing cakes. I chose a Courgette cupcake, Carrot and raison cake and a yummy looking Chocolate cake, also a sultana scone.

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While I was there I was fortunate enough to meet the owner and talented Baker Trisha Kelly. A lovely lady who I’m sure I will get to know very well when I hopefully return often for my gluten free, unrefined sugar free goodies.

The cafe had a good selection of fairtrade teas and coffees and herbal drinks. There was salads and homemade soup on offer and Trisha explained that very soon there would be quiches etc available too.

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The first cake i tried at home was the Courgette cupcake, soft and sweet and so pretty a very moist cake with glints of bright green, Perfect in fact! wish i bought more.

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The sultana scone was very good, I expected it to be dry and crumbly but far from it. Very moist and delicious perfect with butter and jam. Nice size not to big.

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Next I tried the carrot and raisin cake. Just a perfect size for a treat. beautifully wrapped and unsurprisingly winner of a gold star at the 2011 Great taste Awards. I kindly shared this with my husband who pronounced it the best gluten free cake he had ever tasted. The lightness of Trishas cakes are amazing. Moist and very moreish.

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Lastly the delicious looking iced chocolate cake, hard to believe these cakes are gluten free. Again light and delicious. All 10/10 cakes!

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Think we can safely say I wil be back very soon!

Certainly worth searching out. Goodies also available to order online too, so no need to miss out.