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Nakd Bars – Gluten Free, Healthy & Tasty too!

Gluten Free Nakd Bars
This week the folks at Natural Balance foods sent me a big box full of all the different flavours of Nakd bars. Natural Balance do a whole range of healthy gluten free foods and you can find them in the supermarkets and on their website.

I’d seen these bars in the shops in the gluten free section many a time over the last couple of years but never actually tried one because the main ingredient is dates. I’ve never been a fan of dates, so I’d just assumed that I wouldn’t like the Nakd bars.

How wrong was I!! I bit into the Gingerbread flavoured Nakd bar and it was actually rather delicious. The main ingredients of the bars are dates, nuts and natural flavourings. They are all suitable for vegans, completely gluten free, dairy free, raw and natural.

Each bar has around 150 calories and counts as one of your 5 a day of fruit/veg, so you can have a guilt free, healthy snack that tastes good, yet feels slightly decandent.

Here are all the flavours & ingredients:

  • Cashew Cookie – cashews & dates
  • Gingerbread – dates, almonds, pecans, ginger, cloves & cinnamon
  • Rhubarb and Custard – dates, cashews, raisins & a hint of natural flavours.
  • Berry Delight – dates, cashews, raisins, raspberries & natural berry flavouring.
  • Cocoa Orange – dates, cashews, raisin, cocoa & natural orange flavouring.
  • Caffe Mocha – dates, cashews, raisins, cocoa & a hint of natural flavours
  • Cocoa Delight – dates, cashews, raisins, cocoa & natural chocolate flavouring.
  • Cocoa Mint – dates, cashews, raisins, cocoa & natural mint & chocolate flavouring.
  • Pecan Pie – dates, pecans and almonds.

The bars are satisfyingly sweet with a chewy texture and if you are craving something sweet with your afternoon cuppa, these will do the trick.

Pecan Pie Nakd bar

So far, I’ve tried the Gingerbread, Rhubarb and Custard, Cocoa Orange and the Pecan Pie bars. My favourite so far is the Gingerbread and surprisingly the least favourite is the Cocoa Orange as I found this one a little bit too sweet.

Overall I highly recommend these if you’re looking for a healthy, but tasty gluten free snack!

 

 

Easy Gluten Free Italian Starters

When you are on a gluten free diet it is more challenging to come up with quick and easy snacks and starters as there is not as many convenience foods available.

In this post I want to talk about two very easy starters that take just a few minutes to prepare.

The first one is ensalda caprese. This is simply slices of nice juicy tomatoes, slices of buffalo mozzeralla topped with some fresh torn basil, extra virgin olive oil and some freshly ground black pepper.

gluten free ensalda caprese

Ingredient List for Ensalada Caprese (serves 2)

– 3 large ripe tomatoes
– 1 medium ball of buffalo mozarella
– A few fresh basil leaves (torn)
– Black pepper (freshly ground)
– Extra virgin Olive oil (or just plain olive oil if you don’t have extra virgin).

This starter is naturally gluten free and preparation simply involves slicing the tomatoes up into thick slices, doing the same for the mozarella and then layering the tomatoes and the mozerella along the plate. Next drizzle the olive oil on top of the tomatoes and cheese, then grind some black pepper and sprinkle some basil leaves along the top. An alternative way to present this would be in a tower – just pile the tomato and mozeralla slices on top of one another and garnish with the black pepper, olive oil and basil.

The second starter is Bruschetta. For this you need to find a good gluten free ciabatta style roll from your local supermarket or health food store.

If you are in the UK I recommend the DS brown ciabatta rolls. Glutafin do a nice brown roll as well and this is available on prescription in the UK. Many of these rolls need to be freshened up in the oven for a few minutes, but I find that a toaster does the job just as well! Just make sure that it is a toaster used solely for gluten free bread!

Ingredient List for Bruschetta (serves 2)

– 2 gluten free ciabatta style rolls
– 3-4 ripe tomatoes
– 1-2 cloves of garlic (depending on how garlicy you like things!)
– 1/4 of a red onion
– Lots of fresh basil
– Black pepper (freshly ground)
– Extra virgin Olive oil (or just plain olive oil if you don’t have extra virgin).

To make the bruschetta start by chopping up the tomatoes and the red onions into small pieces. Put these in a bowl and stir in the crushed garlic, olive oil, basil and mix together.

Cut the rolls in half and lightly toast them, then spoon on the tomato mixture. Garnish with some freshly ground black pepper and more fresh basil.

gluten free bruschetta with tomato & red onion

Gluten Free in Looe, Cornwall – Trawler’s Restaurant

On our last night in Cornwall, we decided to have dinner out in Looe. If you’ve never been to Looe before, it’s a lovely little fishing town, with a beach, a nice harbour and lots of little restaurants and cafes to choose from. We initially decided to go to Squid Ink as they had gluten free options indicated on their menu, but unfortunately they were fully booked. So if you fancy a trip to Squid Ink, definitely book in advance.

Looe Beach in Cornwall

We managed to get a table at Trawler’s on the Quay instead. This restaurant didn’t have gluten free options on the menu itself, but they said on the phone that they catered for gluten free diets.

It turned out to be a fantastic choice – the food was amazing and I was impressed by the choices for people on a gluten free diet. When we first arrived I was given home made gluten free bread. In most restaurants there is either no gluten free bread at all, or you get a chewy, dry piece of bread, so this was a real treat. You can see my photo below of the two different kinds of bread, one with chillis in it.

Gluten Free Homemade Bread at Trawler's in Looe

The menu had a great choice, especially if you are a fan of seafood. They told me to just choose what I wanted and they would tell me if it was possible to make it gluten free. For a starter I decided to opt for the Fowey River mussels with cornish orchards apple juice and smokey bacon. I wasn’t too sure about how the apple juice would go with the mussels, but it turned out to be delicious – the bacon really complimented the apple juice and there was a hint of cream in the sauce.

Gluten Free Mussels at Trawler's on the Quay, Looe

Stuart opted for the Scallops 3 Ways, which included 3 scallops, one panko crusted with herb mayo, one cerviche style with garlic and lime and one pan fried with pea puree. It looked delicious and I imagine it could be done gluten free without the panko crusted one.

For our main course we both choose the 5 Spiced Oven Roasted Monkfish, with creamy mash, roasted fennel, grilled courgettes and a soy and honey dressing. Since soy sauce has gluten in it, they made me a hot balsamic dressing instead, which went really well. I was also impressed that they did this as many restaurants would have just served it without the sauce.

Gluten Free monkfish at Trawler's, Looe, Cornwall

There were also a few gluten free dessert options on the menu but I didn’t manage to squeeze one in!

Overall we had a fantastic meal, at a very reasonable price and in a nice setting. If you are in the area and looking for a delicious gluten free meal, I highly recommend paying a visit to Trawler’s on the Quay.

Paneer, Spinach & Tomato Curry – Gluten Free

Gluten Free Spinach and Paneer Curry
I’ve been developing a new passion for Indian food over the last year. I love it that most Indian recipes are naturally gluten free and that you can pretty much make any curry as long as you have a selection of dried spices and some fresh ginger, garlic and chillis.

I made this Paneer, spinach & tomato curry for the first time a few weeks ago and I really like the fresh taste of it. It’s not too spicy, but you can always add some more chillis if you like it hot. The curry is also vegetarian and is packed full of vitamins so is really healthy.

If you are vegan you could simply remove the paneer from the recipe. If you aren’t familiar with paneer, it is an Indian style cheese. It is relatively low in fat compared to other cheeses and it has a mild flavour that soaks up the spices of the curry really well.

 

Paneer, Spinach & Tomato Curry Ingredients (serves 2)

  • 5 tomatoes chopped
  • 100g Paneer
  • 100g of Baby corn
  • 2 large handfuls of spinach
  • 1 onion (sliced)
  • 2 cloves of garlic (crushed)
  • 1 green chilli
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh ginger (grated)
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon of ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon of garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric
  • Pinch of salt to taste

Gluten Free Spinach & Paneer Curry Ingredients

Paneer, Spinach & Tomato Curry Method

1) Fry the onions in a small amount of oil  for 3-4 minutes so that they are soft but not brown.

2) Add the garlic, ginger and chilli and continue to fry for another 1 minute

3) Add the dried spices to the mixture and fry for a further minute

4) Add the chopped fresh tomatoes to the mixture and fry gently for another 4-5 minutes

5) Put around two thirds of the mixture into a liquidiser along with 100ml of water and a handful of fresh coriander. Blend the mixture until it is smooth.

6) Return the blended mixture to the pan and add some salt to taste. If you want something a little spicier you could add a little extra garam masala at this point or some more chopped fresh green chillis.

7) Add the baby corn & paneer. Simmer for around 5 minutes or until the baby corn is tender. Add the spinach and continue to simmer until the spinach has wilted.

8) Finally serve the curry with rice and garnish with lots of fresh coriander.

 

Gluten Free Pub Food in Cornwall – Charlestown, near St Austell

This summer we decided to take a week’s self catering holiday in Cornwall, for some relaxation, sea air, a bit of sightseeing and hopefully some sunshine. We’ve booked a week in a lovely apartment with a balcony overlooking the sea, just a mile or so away from the little harbour town of Looe. Here’s a photo of the view from our balcony:

View of Plaidy Beach, Looe

Since I’ve been on a gluten free diet, a self catering holiday has been my preference. Thankfully Stuart & I both enjoy cooking and the self catering gives us the flexibility of cooking in or eating out. Eating out every night is something that I don’t want to risk when I’m on holiday (fear of cross contamination).

Today we took a nice meandering drive along the coast and stopped off at Fowey (pronounced Foy). It’s a pretty little town situated at the mouth of the river Fowey. We spent about an hour here, just wandering round the town, looking in a few art galleries and then walking up the massive hill back to the car park.

Our next stop was Charlestown, an ickle place near St Austell with a harbour, the Shipwreck & Heritage Centre, a lovely little beach and lots of pubs and restaurants.

Gluten Free Food at the Rashleigh Arms in Charlestown, Cornwall
After a quick search on the internet we found a pub called the Rashleigh Arms, which does gluten free food. This turned out to be an amazing find as they had a full gluten free menu, which included things like burgers & chips, spaghetti & meatballs, mussels, Thai curry, sausage with gluten free gravy, steak, salmon fillet and more.

They even had a reassuring note at the bottom of the menu saying that they have a separate fryer which they use for all their gluten free products.

I couldn’t remember the last time I had chips in a restaurant as so many of them coat the chips in wheat or don’t use a dedicated fryer, so without hesitation I opted for the gluten free burger & chips.

The sun also came out so we were able to enjoy our lunch in the beer garden. Bliss after all that rain over the last few weeks.

You can check out the gluten free menu at the Rashleigh Arms here.

My burger & chips turned out to be very tasty, even more so because I rarely have this sort of treat these days!

They had run out of gluten free rolls, so it came with gluten free bread instead, which was good bread (not chewy or cardboard like). Here’s a photo of my food – please excuse the fact that I was so excited about getting a burger & chips, that I bit into it before remembering to take a photo!

Gluten free burger & chips at the Rashleigh Arms, Cornwall

I highly recomend this place if you are on a gluten free diet. They even have lots of desserts available if you can fit one in (I couldn’t!).

After lunch we took a walk around the village of Charlestown, which is a very picturesque place. Here’s a photo of the beach.

Beach at Charlestown, Cornwall