Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Just-in Case

Having experienced many years of not being able to obtain suitable Gluten Free food when out and about with Sous Chef J, we have become used to taking a bag of long life options with us "Just-in Case" and we thought we'd share some of these staple stand bys with you.  Over the last month, with Sous Chef J needing to attend even more hospital and doctors appointments than 'usual' Just-in's been used a fair few times.

The contents are pretty variable, but there's always a pack of Dietary Specials White Ciabatta rolls in there... they're long life and have been a life saver on many occasions meaning Sous Chef J hasn't had to have "yet another" jacket potato.

When this picture was taken, the contents were:-

1 packet Dietary Specials white ciabatta rolls
1 Ella's Organics The Yellow One Smoothie pouch
1 Crispy Rice Bits Bar
2 pouches of John West ready to eat tuna with black pepper

We also add fresh fruit and, if it's a chilly day, soup sachets.  Another thing we always have with us is a Lock'n'Lock container of raw nuts - cashews, pecans, macadamias and pistachios are Sous Chef J's current 'mix' of choice.

Luckily, there is quite a selection of gluten free products available in UK supermarkets these days and Sainsbury's has, according to Sous Chef J's analysis (counting the display shelf units) the largest offering.  However, our constant worry is reliable availability of gluten free eats... and, being a boy who 'likes things the way they were' we try to ensure he has a supply of goodies that he is used to eating.  This is even more important with all the additional stressors resulting from recent events.

Eat Natural Lunchies are a staple too - with clear gluten free labelling (which Sous Chef J likes).  Plus, we aim to stock Just-in with pre-wrapped cakes and biscuit packs, suitable crisps and a few other goodies. These are added to the bag when Sous Chef J's not looking.  Honeybuns, HoneyRose and Dove's Farm do good brownies and biscuits.  Burt's crisps (and all those they make - including Nando's and Reggae Reggae) are Gluten Free so we buy those whenever possible.  A-maizing tortilla chips are spicy and tasty and go well with our home made avocado dipMrs Crimbles have a great range of gluten free goods - Sous Chef J's particular favourites are the mini choc orange macaroons. 

Sous Chef J tells me we haven't included everything we buy (that would be difficult) but, hopefully, gives a few ideas for Gluten Free eating whilst out and about that may be of use.

Feel free to add comments with your favourite Gluten Free emergency supplies... the more the merrier!

Friday, 24 August 2012

Proper Fish & Chips

When we started our gluten free regime (to support Sous Chef J) over six years ago, only the loss of a few food/meal options actually bothered us about the change.  Being a Yorkshire lass, for me fish and chips from a chippy was one of them.  Back in 2006 not many eateries seemed to know anything about what gluten was (one 'chain' restaurant's waitress famously said "oh, yes, that's eggs, isn't it"... having provided her with a brief explanation of what/where gluten is found, we left!)  But, the overwhelming urge to eat fish and chips (F&C) became stronger with time.  

Imagine our delight when we discovered a 'local' (less than ten miles away) chip shop that ALWAYS supplies gluten free F&C!  Whenever they are open, The Famous Mr Chips in Rugby sells gluten free fish and chips.  Not the first Monday of the month or just after the fat/oil/fryer has been cleaned.  No complex timetable to remember, no relief if we've got it right or dismay if we've missed the 'day'.  Fish and Chips when WE choose. 

The chip shop is at 21 Lower Hillmorton Road, Rugby, Warwickshire, CV21 3ST.  Sadly, there's no website but it opens lunchtime and evenings Wednesday to Saturday.  When you order gluten free, it's treated as a special order (usually Mr Chips is in charge) and the fish is wrapped in foil, garnished with a lemon wedge and a sachet of gluten free tartare sauce is included.
Not a 'healthy' meal but it's a quick gluten free option that gives us choices we didn't have before.  Marvellous. 

If you google a map for CV21 3ST, and zoom in a bit The Famous Mr Chips is marked on it.  Barely 10 minutes West of Junction 18 of the M1... worth a diversion if you're looking for gluten free F&C goodies on a journey North/South.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Speedy Mushroom Sauce

Things are not quite 'right' here at the moment. Sous Chef J is rather unwell (more on that in later posts, I should think) and, as a result our life is even more chaotic than usual.

Luckily, we were sent some samples of Boursin Cheese the other week and during a lunchtime fridge audit (those of you that follow me on twitter may recognise that term!) I spotted the Garlic and Herb Boursin loitering alongside a few mushrooms.  It wasn't a great leap of culinary genius that lead to my mind coming up with a plan to use them together but a moment of thinking "that'd go well together"... so I gathered the ingredients and set about trying an ad hoc concoction.

An onion was finely chopped and fried in a little oil over a low heat for a few minutes during which time the mushrooms were cleaned, de-stalked and chopped.   The 3 chestnut mushrooms (they were quite large) and a handful of button mushrooms were added to the frying onions and a knob of butter was added.  This was all then left over a low heat for about 10 minutes to sweat down.  A squeeze of lemon juice was added to the pan and mixed well.

The mushroom mix was then drained in a sieve to remove excess moisture.  It was then blitzed using our Braun stick blender.

Finally, a whole pack of "Boursin Ail & Fines Herbes" was added and quickly whizzed to combine.  The mix was then placed in a jar and stored in the fridge until teatime when we cooked some Dove's Farm Gluten Free Pasta, drained it, returned it to the cooking pan and mixed the mushroom sauce through. 
We thought it was delicious, although in his current, under the weather state, am sorry to report that Sous Chef J would "not even taste a molecule". 
However, we tried half of the summer flavour Sun Ripened Tomato, Onion and Chive Boursin stirred through the warm pasta and the young Chef's plate was cleared so fast, there was no time for a photo! 

To use up the remainder of the pack, we also added the cheese to a salad to accompany our steamed salmon the next night making another quick and tasty meal. 

Thanks to Kirsty for sending the samples.  They've provided us with the chance to make speedy, tasty food when we've really needed to be spending as little time as possible on daily chores.