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.

Ardiciocca: A 100% Gluten Free Trattoria Experience in Fulham

London’s ever-expanding gluten free scene is full of Italian food. Pizzas, pastas and more can often be found in gluten free form at restaurants across the city. Italian restaurants that cater entirely to gluten free diners are however, still a novelty. 100% gluten free trattoria Ardiciocca opened up shop three months ago in Fulham and has since remained a hidden gem – well until now.

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Ardiciocca is the latest project from Roberto Costa and the group behind Macellaio RC, which owns four other Italian restaurants in London and one in Milan. The goal for the new Fulham eatery was simple – Costa wanted to make the “comforting, homely” recipes of his childhood available to everyone – not just gluten eaters. The menu lends itself to simple and delicious flavours, many of which will instantly make you feel like you’re on vacation in Italy, as opposed to southwest London.

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With a chilled glass of Prosecco in our hands, we took our pick from the eclectic selection of starters, settling not on one, but three small plates to share between us. The mussel and potato croquettes instantly caught my eye in the typical way that a gluten free person is drawn to breaded, deep fried treats after lengthy periods without. While the croquettes were crispy, warm and bursting with flavour, I couldn’t help but think how a light aioli would have completed the dish. We also chose the salami, broad bean, pecorino cheese and fresh bread plate – the star of the show of which was most certainly the salami, dominated by a strong truffle flavour. I was incredibly impressed by the homemade bread, which was served warm from the oven. My dinner date Mateja also insisted on trying the brain – a delicacy which came fried in light crispy batter.

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Ardiciocca has a wide array of main dishes to choose from, which go way beyond the traditional pizza/pasta offering of many Italian eateries. These range from pickled fried mackerel to sausage stew and homemade hearty minestrone. However, we simply could not resist giving the Sardinian gnocchi and sausage ragú a go, as well as the Nduja pizza – the dough of which is made with gluten free flour and Ferrarelle water before it is left to rise for 72 hours. The ragú was perfectly seasoned and incredibly moreish, leaving me wishing for a second bowl. The pizza crust was thin and light, and topped with flavourful passata, creamy mozzarella and spicy sausage, the kick from which was neutralised softened slightly by the addition of fresh lemon and rocket.

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While we had next to no room left for dessert, I could not pass up the opportunity to sample the basil infused panna cotta – a flavour combination I had never seen on a menu before. It was tangy and refreshing, served with a drizzle of Italian honey on the side. The homemade chocolate torte is also definitely worth a try, only lacking in a side dollop of creme fraiche or gelato, which I’ll be sure to request next time I go.

Anyone in Fulham and beyond must not miss out on the opportunity to eat here for a meal full of flavour, tradition and excellent service to boot. Don’t forget to try a different glass of Italian wine with each course – you won’t be sorry!

Ardiciocca

461-465 North End Road

Fulham

London SW6 INZ

020-3848-6830

(Tables Bookable via email or telephone)

Scarlett Green: Home of the Gluten and Dairy Free Aussie Brunch

Breakfast has always been my favourite meal of the day, so much so that I have been known to go to sleep already looking forward to a feast the next morning. When I discovered I couldn’t eat gluten I feared that this love of all things breakfast might quickly go down the drain as so many options became unsafe for me on restaurant menus and in supermarket aisles. I am therefore on a constant quest to find the perfect breakfast spots that cater to people with gluten allergies, intolerances and coeliac disease.

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One of those spots has got to be Scarlett Green – the newest addition to the Daisy Green Collection, which most of you will know for their hefty Aussie brunches and boho decor. My friend and fellow journalist Bryony and I ventured there recently to try out their brand new gluten and dairy free menus and boy, were we positively overwhelmed. Not only are diners with dietary requirements immediately given a number of user-friendly allergen menus to look at (and I’m not talking about the dreaded allergen books guys!), they are given a mound of options too. Most gluten free dishes can be adapted to be dairy free and vice versa, which meant that Bryony and I took more time than usual to make up our minds. From fritters to full Aussie breakfasts, granolas to french toast – the world at Scarlett Green is basically your oyster, and the staff will help you with any questions you have and immediately put you at ease.

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A couple of almond lattes and flat whites down, Bryony and I opted for the Smoked Salmon Royale on gluten free bread and The Bondi Breakfast, complete with bacon, eggs, avocado, mushrooms and avocado. After much perusing of the smoothie and fresh juices menu, I decided to pair my breakfast with a Raspberry and Lime cooler which is made using fresh lemonade and could not have been more refreshing. The breakfasts arrived speedily and the generous portion sizes immediately caught our eye – it is not every day that you venture to a gluten free friendly spot where servings are ample enough to keep you going until lunch. Nor were we disappointed by the flavours – Scarlett Green’s use of fresh, honest produce and ingredients really shone through during our meal.

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Despite what I say about portion size above, Bryony and I could not possibly resist something sweet. As we wanted to share, the chef kindly prepared us a beautiful gluten and dairy free coconut bread plate, topped with a coconut yoghurt and soy milk mixture, raspberry coulis, fresh berries and mango. Maple syrup is optional here but I would highly recommend a drizzle, as would I the turmeric lattes which we washed the whole meal down with. I came out feeling not only well-fed but relaxed, and that’s all down to the kitchen and wait staff at Scarlett Green. They made us feel welcome and taken care of, which are both so important for anyone dining out with dietary requirements. I could not recommend this place enough, and urge you to head into Soho to start your day there. Equally, the Daisy Green Collection has eight more locations so take your pick and rest assured that you will eat well!

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The Daisy Green Collection Restaurants are all open for Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch and Dinner from Monday to Sunday.

Scarlett Green
4 Noel Street
London W1F 8GB
(Tables Bookable via the company website)

Low FODMAP and Dairy Free Gnocchi Alla Marie

One of the best things about starting my gluten free blog has definitely been meeting and making such lovely new friends, who have taught me so much about diets, allergies and intolerances way beyond my own knowledge and personal issues with gluten. As a way of saying thank you for being so awesome, I decided to have a crew over to my new house for dinner to celebrate. I put myself to work to create the ultimate low FODMAP and dairy free version of my classic gnocchi dish that so many of you have been able to enjoy.

With coaching and advice from the lovely Lottie aka The Tummy Diaries on the do’s and don’ts of the low FODMAP diet and top dairy free tips from the amazing Alice aka Gluten Free Alice (who also took this lovely al fresco photo of our meal), I put together the following dish so that everyone can enjoy my Gnocchi Alla Marie. I am still learning about the FODMAP diet, and as getting your hands on appropriate seasoning or stock can be difficult, I decided to feature pancetta in my dish to add extra flavour and depth. For vegetarians, the pancetta can be replaced with black olives, which can be thinly sliced and added to the dish just before baking. Happy eating!

Low FODMAP and Dairy Free Gnocchi Alla Marie
(Serves 4-6)

Ingredients

For the Sauce:
3 x Tablespoons FODMAP friendly garlic infused olive oil
1 x Carrot (peeled and finely chopped)
1 x Red Pepper (finely chopped)
800g Chopped Tomatoes
1 x Cup Red Wine
30g Fresh Basil
80g Smoked Cubed Pancetta
1 x Teaspoon Dried Chives
Salt and Pepper to Taste

For the Gnocchi:
500g Gluten Free Gnocchi
200g Vegan Mozzarella Style Cheese
30g Fresh Chives (finely chopped)
1 x Medium Courgette (diced)

Method

  1. Heat the FODMAP friendly garlic infused oil in a pot over medium heat. Add the pepper, carrot and cook until soft.
  2. Add the pancetta and cook through, stirring the mixture frequently.
  3. When the pancetta is cooked, add the chopped tomatoes, wine, dried chives, salt and pepper and let the sauce cook on a medium heat for 20 minutes.
  4. While the sauce cooks, preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  5. Boil water in a separate pot. Add the gnocchi to the boiling water and cook for two minutes, draining immediately.
  6. Place the partially cooked gnocchi in a good sized baking dish and add the vegan mozzarella style cheese (saving a handful for garnish), chives and courgette.
  7. Add the torn basil to the sauce before transferring it to a blender, or a bowl and then using a hand blender, liquidise until smooth.
  8. Gently pour the cooked down sauce over the gnocchi mixture and stir evenly. As the sauce tends to cook down even further during the baking process, I tend to use all of it but depending on preference, some sauce can be held back and either refrigerated or frozen for later use.
  9. Evenly sprinkle the remaining vegan mozzarella style cheese over the top along with some more black pepper.
  10. Place in the centre of the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until golden brown on top.
  11. Remove from oven and allow to sit for 5-8 minutes before serving. Accompany with mixed leaves.

Lasagne d’Almagro

A piece of my heart will forever be in Buenos Aires – a vibrant, hectic and culturally rich city where I spent almost three years during my twenties. Beyond traditional dishes like Argentine steak and empanadas, much of the country’s cuisine was brought and developed by Italian immigrants who arrived there en masse from the 1850s onwards. A favourite dish of mine was always lasagne, prepared in its own Argentine way and featuring the smoky taste of aji molido (smoked red pepper powder) and black olives which add a natural saltiness and depth to the dish.

After becoming gluten free, I quickly released that coming across a lasagne that was safe for me to eat – in my Buenos Aires neighbourhood of Almagro and beyond – was a rare luxury, not only due to the pasta but also the stock used in the sauce. So, in honour of Coeliac Awareness Week, I have recreated this dish to make it safe for coeliacs to enjoy with friends and family. Thanks to Knorr, who create the best tasting and fuss-free stock I have ever had, this dish is bursting with flavour and completely gluten free. Knorr has been a household name ever since I remember, and I am pleased to shout about its efforts for the gluten free community. Be sure to enjoy this dish with some homemade garlic bread and a glass of strong bodied Malbec for the true Argentine experience.

Lasagne d’Almagro
(Serves 6)

Ingredients

For the Lasagne Filling:
1 x White Onion (Finely Chopped)
4 x Garlic Cloves
2 x Celery Sticks (Finely Chopped)
1 x Large Carrot (Finely Chopped)
800g Chopped Tomatoes in Juice
500g Lean Minced Beef
400g Gluten Free Sausage Meat or Sausages (Casing Removed)
160g Drained Black Olives
1 x Tablespoon Knorr Rich Beef Concentrated Stock
2 x Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 x Cup Red Wine
½ x Cup Boiling Water
2 x Bay Leaves
½ Teaspoon Dried Basil
½ x Tablespoon Gluten Free Worcestershire Sauce
1 x Teaspoon Aji Molido
250g Gluten Free Lasagne Sheets
300g Fresh Mozzarella (Diced)
100g Parmesan (Grated)

For the Béchamel Sauce:
1 x Tablespoon Butter
1 x White Onion
3 x Cups Milk
3 x Tablespoons Gluten Free Flour
1 x Cup White Wine
½ x Knorr Vegetable Stock Cube
½ x Teaspoon Nutmeg
Pepper

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a shallow pan over moderate heat. Add the beef and sausage meat to the pan and cook until brown (around 8 minutes), stirring occasionally and at the same time breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon.
  2. Meanwhile, take a separate, good sized cooking pot and warm the rest of the oil over moderate heat before adding the chopped onion, celery, carrot and whole peeled garlic cloves. Stir until all vegetables are soft, taking care to not burn the onion.
  3. Turn attention back to the meat once cooked through and drain fat. Then add beef to the vegetables, stirring through to make sure all vegetables are evenly dispersed throughout the mixture.
  4. Add the chopped tomatoes, olives, wine and boiling water to the pot. Stir well.
  5. Now add the Knorr Rich Beef Concentrated Stock, along with the gluten free Worcestershire sauce, bay leaves, dried basil and aji molido before stirring again and leaving to simmer for 30 minutes with a splatter guard covering the top of the pot. This will help the mixture cook down and also protect your surfaces!
  6. While your lasagne mixture is cooking, start preparing the béchamel by sautéing the finely chopped onion in butter over moderate heat in a medium saucepan.
  7. When onion is soft, add milk and let the milk almost come to boil (but not quite!) before removing from heat and whisking in the flour. Whisk vigorously for 2-3 minutes. Add the wine, nutmeg and crumbled Knorr vegetable stock cube and using a hand blender, blend the mixture until smooth.
  8. Return béchamel to heat and simmer for 20 minutes until the sauce has thickened. The sauce will still be fairly thin and pale in colour. If you prefer a thicker sauce, add 1 teaspoon of flour and whisk again. However, the consistency should not put you off – it blends beautifully with the lasagne filling during the baking process.
  9. Preheat oven to 200 degrees and start arming your lasagne.
  10. Take a medium sized lasagne dish and create layers: after removing bay leaves, ladle in one spoon of the meat mixture and smooth out to cover bottom of dish, then lay down lasagne sheets (I tend to use three sheets per layer).
  11. On top of the lasagne sheets, drizzle one ladle of béchamel sauce and smooth out to just about cover the sheets before adding an even sprinkling of fresh mozzarella and torn basil leaves on top. Repeat, leaving enough béchamel to cover the entire top layer which will then be dusted in grated parmesan cheese.
  12. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until evenly golden brown.
  13. Leave to rest for 10-15 minutes before serving and garnish with more fresh basil and mixed leaves.