Marks and Spencer: 6 Pesto Chicken Salad Bites

Marks & Spencer: 6 Pesto Chicken Salad Bites

On a recent early morning trip to Marks & Spencer, I spied their new 6 Pesto Chicken Salad Bites which are hand wrapped in moolo ribbons served with cherry tomatoes and a tomato and basil dip.

Naturally the first thing I do when I see an unfamilar food product is turn to the back of the packet to check that it is gluten-free and, in this case, ‘yippee’ it was gluten-free!  The next question I had was what on earth are the bites wrapped in? My inital thought was rice paper but I was wrong – the bites are wrapped in mooli. What the heck is ‘mooli’?! To answer this question I had to consult Google and the answer I got back is that mooli is a form of giant radish (who’d have thought!) and the word ‘mooli’ is Korean. Also, you can eat mooli raw or cooked.

The first thought I had when I tasted the bites was ‘wow, they taste really fresh’ and the hint of basil and pesto is just moorish! They were nice without the tomato and basil dip but with the dip, it brought more flavour to the palate and I have to say I really enjoyed eating them. Whilst they may seem small to some, they are actually quite filling. The pack also contains 4 cherry tomatoes which I thought was a bit random but I like cherry tomatoes so was more than happy to eat them.

I can see these bites becoming a favourite snack of mine and with only 180 calories per pack (if you don’t eat the dip) it isn’t too damaging to one’s diet. The only downside with the bites that at £3.75 a pack, I thought they were on the expensive side (especially as I would eat them as a snack – I’d probably still be hungry if I only ate them for lunch).

Good job Marks & Spencer for adding a new tasty gluten-free option to your fresh food products.

Provamel Vanilla / Chocolate Soya Desserts

Provamel Vanilla / Chocolate Soya Desserts

I was recently given some Provamel vanilla / chocolate soya desserts to try. Both the vanilla and chocolate flavoured desserts have had their recipes improved – although I have not previously tried these products so I can’t comment on the taste difference in respect of the recipe improvement. Provamel are gluten-free and dairy/lactose-free and they use the goodness of the whole soya bean to ensure that you get the best of the nutrient-rich, organic soya beans that is used. I’ve never really tried any of the soya dessert products out there as I personally don’t tend to have an issue with eating dairy/lactose (although I do prefer to keep my dairy consumption to a minimum) so I was interested to find out what they were like. The end result – they were delicious and I’m now definitely a convert to the soya desserts (especially the chocolate one!).

Provamel Vanilla

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When I tried the Provamel vanilla soya dessert I was pleasantly surprised and I have to say that the first thought that popped into my head when I tasted it was ‘this tastes just like vanilla custard!’ In fact, it tastes better than some of the gluten-free ready-made custards out there. The consistency of the dessert was smooth, creamy and light (which I could only liken to a custard or probiotic natural yoghurts). After you have finished the dessert you are left with a nice vanilla aftertaste and a satisfied feeling. Best of all the vanilla desserts can be enjoyed guilty-free as they contain only 105 calories per serving.

Provamel Chocolate

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When I tried the Provamel chocolate soya dessert I could not believe my taste buds, this tastes just like full-of-dairy chocolate mousse! There was no hint to me that it was dairy/lactose-free. As with the Provamel vanilla, the consistency of the dessert was smooth, creamy and light. I am very impressed with the Provamel chocolate and with only 111 calories per serving, it too can be enjoyed as a guilt-free dessert. As you can see from the pictures above, I couldn’t stop to take a picture while eating it – it was truly delicious!

Please visit www.provamel.co.uk for more information about Provamel.

Attempts at a Michelin-starred recipe made gluten-free

The Kitchen

After doing a last walk down Dublin’s popular Grafton Street before heading back to the airport, we decided to grab a quick bite to eat. Just off Grafton Street I spied The Kitchen. Although the weather was gorgeous, we were not lucky enough to get a table outside in the sunshine as they were already taken so we decided to sit inside.

The restaurant itself is quite small inside though I believe they had more seating upstairs. As we were quite early (just after 6pm) we qualified for the earlybird menu which effectively was a starter and a main for a fixed price which was a good deal.

When I asked the restaurant what items on the earlybird menu were gluten-free, I was pointed to the main menu (as the earlybird menu was effectively a slightly restricted version of it) and all the gluten-free dished had a ‘(c)’ next to them (I’m assuming c for coeliac!).

I decided to go for the soup of the day which was potato and leek. Unfortunately I was too hungry to remember to take a picture when it arrived!

For my main I decided to have the chicken pasta dish as they had gluten-free pasta available (two restaurants in one day that served gluten-free pasta – I felt I needed to pinch myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming!).

Although there was slight mix up with my pasta dish as someone else had ordered the same dish with regular pasta, the staff managed to correct the mistake quickly so no harm done and they were very apologetic.

It was a nice gluten-free meal to end a weekend in Dublin.

Bewley’s Grafton Street Café

I visited Bewley’s Grafton Street Café recently on a trip to Dublin for brunch on an early Sunday afternoon. As the name suggests, the restaurant is located on the popular Grafton Street.

From the outside, the restaurant doesn’t look particularly big but once you enter you immediately notice how big it is (and how there are a number of levels).

We decided to sit upstairs as downstairs was a little busy and we chose a table that looked down so that we could see what was going on.

The menu itself is nothing special with salads, pizzas and pastas but I immediately noticed in the pasta section of the menu the magical words to any coeliac “All dishes are available with gluten/wheat free pasta.” I was immediately sold and decided to have the penne pasta with bacon and mushroom in a Gorgonzola and thyme cream sauce. I was impressed!

Even though I was full after the pasta, I had noticed earlier that they had a chocolate fudge cake which was advertised as gluten-free. Upon asking the waiter about the gluten-free cake, he said that the carrot cake was also gluten-free. As I am a bit of a self-confessed chocoholic, I decided to have the chocolate fudge cake. It was served with a generous helping of whipped cream and after eating all of it, I was well and truly full.

Luckily I had the opportunity to burn all the calories of the gluten-free cake and cream off by walking and seeing the lovely sites of Dublin.

Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud

While on a recent trip to Dublin, visiting Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud was a very special treat which was truly an experience. The restaurant is the only 2 star Michelin restaurant in Ireland and forms part of the Merrion Hotel. They describe their cuisine as contemporary Irish with classical roots.

On arriving, we treated ourselves to an aperitif in the lounge bar area. As you can see the wine list is quite extensive!

The dining room itself is a large and bright room. When walking from the lounge/bar area which is fairly dark, you are almost blinded by the brightness of the dining room. The restaurant crockery and glassware all has the restaurant’s monogram picture featured.

We chose to eat from the set lunch menu which is very reasonably priced (for a 2 star Michelin restaurant!). First they treated us to a terrine of rabbit which looked almost too good to eat and was delicious.

They had lovely hot gluten-free rolls on offer and, as usual, I couldn’t stop myself eating them and had 3!

For starters I really wanted to have the “paella” with Iberian Ham, however, unfortunately instead of rice, they used orzo which is not gluten-free. They offered to make me a special dish of a confit of aubergine and goat’s cheese. I appreciated the effort and it was very nice.

I’ve also included a picture of the paella (which my other half had) as I was very surprised to see a very generous serving!

For mains I had a the veal loin in pancetta, garlic, parsley, grelot onion and xeres jus. Unfortunately the waiters were too quick for me to get a picture but the main meals were served with a silver cloche (covers over dinner plates). Again, the dish was stunningly presented and tasted devine. You also received your own little side of vegetables.

For dessert I had the Jivara chocolate and exotic fruit cylinder which was the perfect end to the meal. A little bit of chocolate with refreshing fruits (you could definitely taste mango in there).

My other half had the fine apple tart with vanilla ice-cream and I had to include a picture of that as it looked so pretty!

To finish off we received petit fours (unfortunately none were gluten-free) and I had a double espresso.

The restaurant had a nice terrace area where smokers seemed to go in between meals and for coffee, however, we were too comfortable to move from our little booth.

I must specifically mention the service that we received as it was just amazing. If you got up from your table to go in the direction of the bathroom (you had to walk back through the lounge/bar area to get there), a waiter would quickly walk ahead of you in order to open the door for you (whether you were a guy or a girl). Everyone who was working was very smily and friendly and nothing was too much trouble.

Overall the food was beautifully presented and tasted wonderful and the service was first class. If you have the opportunity to visit Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud on a trip to Dublin, I highly recommend it and I know you won’t be disappointed!

An early summer’s gluten-free weekend in the Emerald Isle

Last weekend was a lovely weekend to have been in the Irish capital – the weather was so warm and everyone seemed to be in a cheery mood (although, having never been to Dublin, it could just be that people are always cheery there!). [Read more…]

L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon

March’s Michelin lunch was at L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon in Covent Garden. The restaurant is located next to The Ivy and is spread over 4 floors. On arriving, we went to check out the Salon Bar and Terrace on the top floor for a pre-lunch tipple. Given that the weather was very mild, we were lucky to get a table outside on the terrace.

For lunch we were seated on the 1st floor and, as my fellow diners are big food lovers, we decided to go for the 4 course set lunch menu (where you chose 2 starters, 1 main and 1 dessert). There seemed to be gluten-free bread on tap as over the period of lunch, I had 3 servings! They were so nicely presented with the crusts cut off!

For my the first of my two starters I had the Scottish salmon carpaccio flavoured with lemon and Espelette chill which was so delicious. The citrous and spiciness really worked well together.

For my second started I had the quail Caesar salad which was good but out of the two starters, I preferred the salmon.

One of my friends had the cold cold Jerusalem artichoke soup which she said was delicious!

For mains, I had the pork braised pork belly (with mushroom veloute?). We were also served a dish of Joël’s famous mashed potatoes which are amazing but very rich (due to the amount of butter in them) so you can’t eat too much.

One of my friends had the lamb dish which she said was great.

Another friend had the sweet breads which he said were excellent.

For dessert, I had the coulis and mousse of mango and exotic sorbet which was a lovely refreshing way to end the meal.

The service was very attentive and we were the last people to leave the restaurant but at no time did we feel rushed or that we were being given a hint to leave. It was a lovely relaxing lunch and I would love to return for another occasion.

 

Butlers Restaurant (The Chesterfield in Mayfair)

One Friday evening, I caught up with some old work colleagues for a gossip session at Butlers Restaurant in The Chesterfield in Mayfair. One of my friends had previously surprised his girlfriend (at the time) to an overnight stay in The Chesterfield and he said the rooms were lovely.

I was the first to arrive so I waited for my friends to arrive in the hotel bar. It seems that it is a popular place for a pre-dinner/event drink as the bar was packed with people all dressed up in black-tie. So I,  feeling a little under dressed in my jeans, waited in a corner!

Once my friends arrived and after having a cheeky drink in the bar, we went through to Butlers Restaurant for dinner. The staff were clued up on what dishes were gluten-free (or which dishes could be modified to be gluten-free) and they also had gluten-free bread on offer which they toasted for me. Also, I was told, on the menu are dishes prepared with one of the owner of the hotel’s own recipes and those dishes are highlighted with her name such as ‘Bea Tollman’s Caeser salad’ which I though was a nice touch.

To start of with, we were treated to an amuse bouche of Jersey royal potato soup and Jersey royal potato side.

For an entree I had the Orkney king scallops with Morel mushrooms, slow cooked pork belly and broad beans which also came with a truffle sauce and was really very good!

One of my friends ordered the duo of Scottish and Irish smoked salmon which was carved at our table (silver service style) and served with traditional accompaniments.

For mains, I ordered the roasted Cornish halibut with Dauphinoise potatoes, broad beans, smoked bacon and langoustines which again was just delicious!

For my favourite part of the meal (dessert!), I had the only gluten-free dessert which was the chocolate peanut butter mousse banana, nibbed peanuts and chocolate sauce. I love Reeces pieces (an American candy/chocolate treat) and the dessert reminded me of them – yum!

One of my friend’s ordered the crêpes Suzette which is cooked and flambéed at your table (silver service style) and although it wasn’t gluten-free, here is a picture as it was very impressively prepared!

It was a delightful evening and both the food and company was great! I was told that the hotel is in the process of working on a gluten-free afternoon tea so I look forward to returning to try that once it is available.

A couple of lovely gluten-free meals…

This week was fairly uneventful other than having two delicious gluten-free meals out. [Read more…]