Mozzarella Sticks by Asda

Where from? Asda
Available in Asda supermarkets nationwide

The American in me cannot get enough of bar-type snacks. I have incredibly fond memories of chomping on mozzarella sticks dipped in marinara or ranch from my days studying in the US with an ice-cold beer, which I thought were well and truly over when I discovered I couldn’t eat gluten. Imagine my surprise and excitement therefore when I came across these gluten free mozzarella sticks in the refrigerated section at Asda recently. They are ready after a mere 8 minutes in the oven and perfect with aioli for dipping. Available in Asda stores across the UK and online. Enjoy!

Gluten Free Oaties by Nairn’s

Where From? Nairn’s
Available in Waitrose & Partners, Morrison’s and on the Nairn’s Website

I am on a permanent quest for a dunkable gluten free biscuit. Cue Nairn’s, the oatcake masters, who have just brought out a biscuit that is perfect with a cuppa and contains 45% less sugar than the average teatime treat. Oaties come in handy packs of four so they are also perfect for on the go. Totally coeliac safe and delicious, Oaties are also great for use in cheesecakes and homemade cookie bars or millionaire’s shortbread. Give them a whirl and let me know what you think! Oaties are available in Waitrose & Partners, Morrison’s, independent health food stores around the UK and the Nairn’s company website.

This post has been sponsored by Nairn’s.

Gluten Free Mueslis by Delicious Alchemy

Where From? Delicious Alchemy
Available on the company website, Asda and Booths Supermarket

I am a massive breakfast person and am constantly looking for new options. The guys behind the amazing baking mixes, Delicious Alchemy, have turned me into a muesli lover with these delicious, totally vegan and refined sugar free flavours: Berry with a Hint of Cinnamon and Apple, Sultana and Date. I have mine with almond milk and mixed berries for the perfect start to the day. These mueslis are available to buy directly from the company website. The Berry with a Hint of Cinnamon flavour can also be found in Booths Supermarket, while the Apple, Sultana and Date variety can also be sourced from Asda. They’re packed in a resealable pouch so perfect for taking to work or having on the go.

This post has been sponsored by Delicious Alchemy.

Hong Kong: The Gluten Free Suitcase Guide

This year I took my very first trip to Asia to visit a friend in Hong Kong. A city full to the brim with amazing Dim Sum and other traditionally glutenous treats, I was sceptical about just how well I would eat when I was there. I had heard endless reports of just how hard it is to come across safe gluten free options and so took it upon myself to research every single place I would be eating. What happened? I ended finding some amazing places and never went hungry. From Dim Sum to Venezuelan Empanadas, from crepes to epic toasties – Hong Kong really does have it all! Check out my guide for a number of options within Hong Kong itself and a bonus addition for Macao, which is just an hour’s ferry ride away and well worth a trip.

Sweetpea Cafe

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Officially Hong Kong’s sole 100% spot, Sweetpea Cafe really found a gap in the market. This gorgeous little cafe is hidden away in the hilly streets of Hong Kong Central and has a menu with more options than you would think from the size of the place itself. Get ready to be wowed by the impressive cake counter as soon as you walk into the shop, which offers a selection of vegan and sugar free cakes too. The sandwiches here are all delicious, and individually made to order, including a selection of toasties. However be warned, Sweetpea Cafe works on a cash only basis and prices are high as, unsurprisingly, gluten free products are hard to source in Hong Kong. I thought this was a great shame however as I would have quite happily eaten breakfast here most days had it been more affordable. Definitely a must-visit, if for nothing more than a wonderful slice of cake and a latte with homemade nut mylk! Closed on Mondays.

Where?
4 Shin Hing Street
Hong Kong Central

Fresca

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Another Hong Kong Central find, Fresca offers up healthy breakfast and lunch options which you can either enjoy in-store or to go. Fresca is most known for its amazing salad bar, which boasts many gluten free options that can be mixed and matched for a decent sized lunch. The cafe also offers several gluten free sweet treats however, which are widely advertised. Their steamed muffins come in several flavours and are made using all natural ingredients. I opted for salted caramel, which paired nicely with a coffee. The gluten free crepes are undoubtedly the yummiest thing on the menu at Fresca however, and come stuffed with either banana and nutella or baked apples and summer berries. Closed on Mondays.

Brickhouse

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Everyone headed to Hong Kong must put one night aside to head to Brickhouse where nearly all tacos are gluten free! Even better, if you go on Monday or Tuesday, the restaurant has a great deal on tacos between 6pm and 8pm and always has a delicious taco of the month on offer. Several starters are also gluten free – just be sure to ask a member of staff for guidance on the menu. Brickhouse fills up pretty quickly most nights so get there early to avoid disappointment. We were lucky enough to sit at the bar in front of the chefs and so got to watch all our delicious food being prepared (which is basically my version of being in a toy shop). Don’t forget to wash your food down with several of the house margaritas – they’re fantastic! Closed on Sundays.

Where?
20 D’Aguilar Street
Hong Kong Central

Yardbird

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For the most delicious rice dishes you’ll try during your entire stay, head straight to Yardbird. This chicken-lovers paradise is located in the bustling Sheung Wan area of Hong Kong and pays great attention to dietary requirements. A number of rice dishes – including the unbeatable Chicken Rice – are gluten free and both incredibly filling and good value for money. While the fried chicken on offer at Yardbird is also gluten free, it is not coeliac safe due to cross contamination and the use of a shared fryer. While this was heartbreaking to learn at first, I quickly got over it when I received my main and a delicious steaming bowl of edamame beans. Top marks for both food and the general vibe at this Soho hotspot. Closed on Sundays.

Where?
154-158 Wing Lok Street
Sheung Wan
Hong Kong

Picada

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I did not expect to find so much amazing Latin American food in Hong Kong but I really hit the jackpot with Picada. Not only does this restaurant offer an amazing variety of meat and fish dishes as main courses, but an impressive starter selection too including (lo and behold) gluten free fried chicken AND gluten free empanadas. Of course we had to order both and we were by no means disappointed. It was hard to believe the fried chicken was gluten free and the empanadas were not only beautiful (pink, green and yellow) but each and every one delicious. Picada also has a delicious selection of cocktails and live music on the weekends – what’s not to like? Closed on Saturdays.

Where?
2F & 3F LKF 29 Building
29 Wyndham Street
Hong Kong Central

Madame Fu

I was told that gluten free dim sum was not a thing. Whoever told me this was oh so wrong. Madame Fu – a beautiful eatery tucked away in the brand new Tai Kwun Centre for Heritage and Arts – offers a fully gluten free menu to diners upon request which includes a selection of phenomenal dim sum. A little on the pricier side, this restaurant also has a selection of gluten free main dishes and desserts which are all almost too pretty to eat. I highly recommend a trip here for lunch one day when you’re wanting a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Where?
Shop 03-101A Blk
3 No.10 Hollywood Rd
Hong Kong Central

Mott 32

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Located in the Standard Chartered Bank Building, Mott 32 has two Michelin stars. The menu is mostly designed for sharing and offers up traditional Cantonese cuisine with a modern flair. Gluten free diners will receive an extensive gluten free menu upon request, which is almost identical to the regular menu with the exception of a handful of dishes. We ordered from the gluten free menu and shared everything, including lobster dim sum which was probably the most delicious thing I had during my entire stay in Hong Kong. While the meal was expensive it was totally worth it and an ideal spot for a special occasion or when you feel tempted to just treat yourself!

Where?
Standard Chartered Bank Building
4-4A Des Voeux Rd Central
Hong Kong Central

Pizza Express

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I was as surprised as you to see that not only does Pizza Express exist in Hong Kong, it offers gluten free bases too! With several branches across the city, rest assured you can give into those pizza cravings pretty easily whilst in Hong Kong. We opted for takeaway gluten free pizzas one evening as a no-fuss dinner and the bases were just as good as in the UK and the attention paid to dietary requirements also on a par. Check the company website for your closest branch.

Shopping

Filling up your suitcase with gluten free bread and other essentials before heading to Hong Kong is something I would highly recommend. However, a chain of supermarkets around the city – Market Place by Jason’s – has an impressive selection of sweet treats and snacks that you can top up with whilst you are there. I noticed a number of gluten free bread, cake and pancake mixes so ideal if you are staying in self-catered accommodation during your stay. Important to note there is no dedicated gluten free section in these stores so be prepared to scour the aisles like I did. Check the company website for your nearest branch.

Gluten Free at the Venetian in Macau

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During my time in Hong Kong, we took a day trip to Macau, via the Turbo Jet Ferry which took just under one hour. Known as Chinese Vegas, Macao is home to multiple famous hotels including the MGM Grand, The Parisian, Mandarin Oriental and more. We opted for a bottomless brunch at The Venetian where we sat for three hours plus indulging in The Portofino restaurant’s endless raw seafood, steak, cheese and salad bars as well as limitless mimosas, Bloody Marys and more. The gluten free options here were fantastic and I was given great guidance by staff on duty as to what was gluten free. I was brought my own basket of gluten free bread but I advise stating your dietary requirements when you book to ensure they have bread for you. Check the hotel website for current prices and table availability.

Warm Kale, Sweet Potato and Quinoa Salad with a Lemon, Tahini and Chive Dressing

To celebrate Coeliac UK Awareness Week this year, I’ve teamed up with Knorr UK to create the ultimate gluten free meal using one of my favourite grains – quinoa. I fell in love with this grain when I lived in South America and was delighted when I realised I wouldn’t have to give it up when I stopped eating gluten. It is delicious when cooked in vegetable stock – for this recipe I used Knorr Organic Vegetable Stock Pot, which gives it great depth and flavour. Try out this veggie recipe for yourselves for a perfect mid-week meal or a summery lunch.

Warm Kale, Sweet Potato and Quinoa Salad with a Lemon, Tahini and Chive Dressing
(Serves 2)

Ingredients

40g x Sweet Potato
2 x Garlic Cloves
1 x Tablespoon Olive Oil
Freshly Ground Pepper
80g x Quinoa
1 x Knorr Vegetable Stock Pot
200g x Kale

For the Dressing:
2 x Tablespoons Tahini
4 x Lemons (juiced)
1 x Garlic Clove (minced)
1 x Teaspoon Gluten Free Soy Sauce
Salt & Pepper to taste

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees celsius.
2. Prepare your sweet potato for roasting by cutting into small cubes and then
arranging on a baking tray with the two garlic cloves. Drizzle the olive oil over the
pan and add cracked black pepper.
3. Roast for 20-25 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, prepare your quinoa by washing thoroughly before adding to a pan
with 400ml water. Add the Knorr Vegetable Stock Pot and bring to the boil. Cover
the pot and simmer for 15 minutes or until the water has cooked off and the quinoa
is soft.
5. Separately, wash and then steam the kale for six to eight minutes. Drain.
6. Start preparing your dressing by adding the minced garlic clove, tahini, lemon juice
and soy sauce to a bowl. Stir until all mixed together into a dressing consistency.
Add chopped chives and salt and pepper to taste.
7. Combine the cooked quinoa, kale and sweet potato together before serving and
adding the dressing. Serve with a lemon wedge and extra chives.

Côte Brasserie: A Coeliac UK Accredited Gem (Invite)

While eating out for gluten free folk in the UK is becoming easier in terms of the variety of options available, places that adhere strictly to standards safe enough for coeliacs are still a rarity. UK chain Côte Brasserie is one of those exceptions, and is fully accredited by Coeliac UK. To celebrate Coeliac UK Awareness week, the team at Côte invited me along to try their extensive gluten free menu with some of my wonderful gluten free friends. I have always been a fan of this restaurant, which offers up traditional and modern French dishes with a twist. Côte has recently however revamped its gluten free offerings and even now has a dedicated Gluten Free Prestige set menu so coeliacs need not feel left out of the two and three course deals offered in all branches.

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While perusing the menu, we ordered a selection of mixed olives and saucisson sec to start, which paired perfectly with Côte’s wonderfully crisp sparkling wine Blanc de Blancs Brut. I then opted for the Prawn Gratinee as a starter: king prawns baked in a white wine, garlic, chilli and tomato sauce. This came with a serving of gluten free toast on the side and was one of the most delicious starters I have had in a restaurant for quite some time – not least because of the blue gluten free flags that came in the dish to indicate that this was indeed coeliac safe! My friend Jessie and I also shared a chicken parfait, which came with a serving of cornichons, spiced apple chutney and more gluten free bread, toasted to perfection.

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For my main, I could not resist ordering a fillet steak, recommended to me by the manager. Perfectly cooked, the steak was served with a generous portion of Côte’s trademark coeliac safe fries and truffle hollandaise sauce. To add a touch of greenery to our meal, Jessie and I also ordered some creamed spinach and French beans to accompany our meal. Again, our meals came with gluten free flags intact, allowing us to be fully relaxed without having to ask the usual twenty questions that follow the arrival of food for most gluten free diners.

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What’s important to note about Côte is that you will need to save room for dessert. Forget the usual single ice cream option all of us gluten free diners are far too familiar with in most restaurants – Côte offers a great selection including Creme Brulee, chocolate compote, crumble and more. I finally decided on the mixed summer berries with warm white chocolate sauce, which I would quite happily eat everyday if I could.
To conclude, I urge you all to head to Côte as soon as you can to see for yourselves just how wide a variety they have on offer for gluten free diners. If you have any other dietary requirements, intolerances or allergies, Côte will also go above and beyond to ensure you eat well and safely. Thank you again to the team for taking such good care of us – we all can’t wait to come back!

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We dined at the Soho branch of Côte Brasserie on Wardour Street. Tables bookable on the company website and on Quandoo.