Monday, 27 April 2015

IBS At Work

When IBS Attacks at Work! We’ve all been there.

But what can we do?

Many people with IBS argue that we should insist on a private loo, or at least have access to the disabled loo which is more private than partially open cubicles.

Some people with IBS manage to work from home or have an arrangement with the management to work from home during a flare up of IBS symptoms.

But I imagine that most of us get by the best we can.

I decided to pick a few brains via a survey on Survey Monkey.

Here's the link -

It's super simple to complete, yes and no answers, no log-in required and you can do it on your mobile.

I'll post the results here and I'm really looking forward to getting everyone's thoughts on the subject!

Please share - links below.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Gluten Free Bristol - Breakfasts!

I've searched high and low to find you (and myself) the best gluten free breakfasts in Bristol. As always I've only listed independent establishments. It ain't a gluten free breakfast if you just take the sausages and toast off, there has to be a bit something special on offer to make it worth leaving the confines of your weekend duvet/papers/cats nest for!

Hopefully you won't be disappointed by any of my suggestions. I have placed a hash (short for hash browns, naturally) next to the ones that I have personally tried and can recommend. Please give me a shout if I've missed anyone off and I'd love your feedback on any that you have tried yourself!

1. Kingfisher Café #
Sausage, bacon, black pudding, tomato, mushroom, beans, egg, toast.
17-18 Straits Parade, Fishponds, Bristol, BS16 2LE
0117 965 1001

2. Café Rhubarb
Gluten free full English with sausages and toast.
388 A38 (Gloucester Road), Bristol, BS7 8TR
0117 942 3264

3. Better Food Company – St Werburghs Café
Bacon, fried egg, beans, slow-roasted tomato, toast (Genius bread).
The Proving House, Sevier Street, Bristol BS2 9LB
0117 935 1725

4. Venue 35
Vegetarian sausage, bacon, hash browns, mushrooms, tomato, beans, egg, toast.
135 Stoke Lane, Bristol, BS9 3RW
0117 329 0443

5. Maitreya Social #
See blackboard for breakfast items – GF rolls available and all food is vegetarian.
89 Saint Mark's Road, Bristol, BS5 6HY
0117 951 0100

6. At The Well
No full English, however French toast, mushrooms on toast, scrambled egg on toast, boiled egg and soldiers and bacon sarnies are available with gluten free bread.
145 Cheltenham Road, Bristol BS6 5RR
07583 090369

7. Primrose Café
A selection of delicious breakfast items (eggs benedict, posh mushrooms etc) served on gluten free bagels.
1 Clifton Arcade, Boyce's Avenue, Bristol BS8 4AA
0117 946 6577

8. The Rummer Hotel
The chef is happy to make substitutes for any dietary requirements, but you must book ahead and state that you cannot eat gluten. The chef often bakes bread or muffins that are gluten free.
All Saints Lane, Bristol BS1 1JH
0117 929 4243

9. Turner's Farm Shop and Café
Hash browns, scalloped potatoes, egg, bacon, grilled tomatoes, field mushrooms and gluten free sausages if you pre-book. No gluten free bread on site but they said that if you bring your own they are happy to toast it for you.
Bridge House Farm, Syston Common, Warmley, Bristol BS30 5LS

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

RECIPE - Gluten Free Vegan Date and Beetroot Brownies

Here is probably one of the simplest gluten, dairy, egg and oat free brownie recipes out there. I plan to make these as often as possible as they are just so easy to make and the ingredients are really easy to get hold of.

The recipe originated from The Gluten Free Blogger but I ended up improvising as, as per usual, I didn’t have all of the ingredients. My main substitution was oats for rice flake porridge.

The first time I made these, I missed step 6 and although the taste was great, the texture was a little gritty. The second time, I left them to ‘soak’ and they turned out perfectly. My substitution means that these brownies are also suitable for those who can’t tolerate oats. And I’ve even given them to beetroot-phobes and they were none the wiser!

As you can see they have a great texture, they have just the right amount of squidge without falling apart and you are also getting a good dose of antioxidants, iron and fibre with the beetroots and dates!


3 Large beetroots (I use the 'ready to eat' no vinegar vacuum packed ones from Lidl but you can use raw - instructions below)
15 Medjool dates, pitted
100g Delicious Alchemy Rice Flake Porridge - Available online or try Sainsbury's own brand
80g Ground almonds
4 tbsp Maple Syrup or runny honey
4 tbsp Cocoa powder
1 tbsp sugar (any type)
100g dark chocolate (plain or flavoured), broken into small pieces
2-4 tbsp milk or dairy free alternative


1. If you are using raw beetroot, peel and top and tail them, cut into chunks (gloves are a good idea here!) and put into a steamer to cook until you can easily cut them with a knife. If you are using ready to eat beetroot, skip this step.
2. Blend the rice flakes for a good few minutes until they have reduced in size. Add the almond flour and sugar and blend for another minute.
3. Put the mixture into a large bowl and add the cocoa powder and the maple syrup or honey.
4. Blend the dates, then gradually add the beetroot. Add a dash of milk while the blender is on and keep adding until the mixture starts to spin in the blender and resemble a purple mush, apple sauce in texture.
5. Add this mixture and the chocolate pieces to the dry mixture and stir well. (Save some chocolate for the top if you prefer).
6. Put aside for around 20 minutes to allow to rice flakes to soften.
7. Preheat your oven to 180c.
8. Pour the mixture into a metal baking dish lined with greaseproof paper (shiny side up) or a silicone baking mould.
9. Bake for 30 minutes (check after 25 minutes).

Leave to cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing.


Delicious Alchemy Rice Flake Porridge

Read My Review of Delicious Alchemy's Gluten Free Mixes

More of The Gluten Free Blogger's Fabulous Recipes

Friday, 17 April 2015

My Gluten Free Holiday Wishlist

I've been doing some research for a trip I'm taking in September. I'm doing the usual gluten dodger's trick of researching all the suitable food before I go. What restaurants have GF on their menu, what local foods are naturally gluten free and where I can buy supplies of bread rolls and almond milk. To be honest, my holiday destination isn’t known for its knowledge of the gluten free diet. I’ve done a bit of research over the years and I’ve got a little wish list of places I want to visit because I know I’ll eat well with relativity little effort on my part. And the fact that they are beautiful, historically interesting and full of friendly folk has also helped to stick these 3 destinations firmly onto my travel bucket list.

1. Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam


(Photos above used with permission from

The home of Pho! Need I go on? Anyone who knows me knows that I’m obsessed with noodles. Whenever I’m home alone, I make a big steaming broth, add rice noodles, anything else I can find (sausage, green beans, sweetcorn, leftover roast chicken) and all the chilli. I reckon the comforting feeling and face melting combined make it a bit addictive.
I’m a huge fan of American chef Anthony Bourdain and it was his visits to Vietnam on his programme No Reservations that pushed this amazing country to the top of my list. He spends a lot of time convincing the viewer of its virtues. I guess Americans needs a bit more persuading, what will the history and all, but I was sold instantly. He said if he could move anywhere in the world, he would move there. For someone who has travelled so extensively to say it is "one of my favourite places on earth" is a strong recommendation!
It’s the people, the food, the landscape and the vibe that appeals and the street food in Vietnam has to be some of the best in the world. As Tony explains, "All of the things I need for happiness: Low plastic stool, check. Tiny little plastic table, check. Something delicious in a bowl, check." Tony actually filmed 6 separate shows on Vietnam, 2 for ‘A Cook’s Tour’ (first aired 2001), 3 for ‘No Reservations’ (first aired 2005) and 1 for ‘Parts Unknown’ (first aired 2013). Here’s an interview with Anthony Bourdain about Ho Chi Minh City on The Guardian website.
Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) looks to be the best bet for gluten free dining. This blog explains that there is less of an outside influence here. Food is simple and traditional and they use rice noodles and fresh spices and vegetables rather than wheat noodles and soy sauce. (Although the local soy sauce doesn't have wheat listed as an ingredient. But if you don't want to chance it and soy sauce is offered, it is easy enough to turn down). A popular breakfast dish is Bún thịt nướng or bún thịt nướng chả giò which includes rice vermicelli, grilled pork, Vietnamese pickles, scallions and a fish sauce dressing. (I’m boarding a plane, in my mind!) Rice paper is also used in a lot of Vietnamese cuisine, the spring rolls are made with it and you will also find salads made with softened leftover rice paper pieces. Another famous dish Com Tam uses up broken or 'imperfect' rice and comes topped with pork, pork fat and surrounded with delicious vegetables and a dipping sauce. Other local snacks include quail fried in butter, grilled pork skewers and delicious fried crab and tofu dishes.
I’d also love to wander around the famous food markets such as Cho Ben Thanh, located in District 1 or Cho Lon, a huge Chinese market. I’d check out the museums and religious sites (I do love a good pagoda), try a bit of karaoke and drink some great coffee. I imagine it would be tough to say goodbye.
2. Portland, U.S.A
(Photo above used with permission from
(Photo used with Petunia's Permission)

The more I read about Portland, the more it sounds like a bigger Bristol. Bushy beards, fancy beer, a few hippies and a thriving art and music scene. And plenty of interesting and hip places to eat. Eating out gluten free is pretty tricky (try egg free and dairy free too…) so in an ideal world there wouldn’t be a language barrier between you and your next meal. Imagine a gluten free food tour of America or Australia, heaven! You would think that the top spots for gluten free eating would be LA or New York but as this map reveals, the best GF hot spots have popped up in some surprising places.

I took a Buzzfeed quiz recently called something like ‘Which City In The World Should You Live In?’ and I got Portland. At that time, I knew little about it. After a bit of research, Portland was soaring to the top of my travel wish list. Firstly, everyone says great things about the people. They’re a bit cooler than cool, but know how to have a great time. It seems like everyone has a great social life in Portland, it has a temperate climate and large areas have been locked off from development, providing large green spaces. It has won awards for being ‘the greenest city in America’ and even ‘the greenest city in the world’.

There was always a street food scene in Portland but it gained momentum after the recession of 2008 when it was more difficult for chefs to open restaurants. This had a huge effect on the quality of the street food available and you can now find ‘pods’ of street food ‘carts’ all over the city. There’s a cart for everyone in Portland; if you’re on a gluten free, vegan, paleo or raw diet you won’t go hungry.

If you search for things to do in Portland, most of the suggestions are for parks, forests, arboretums and Japanese gardens. I’ve got visions of me with my takeout box of gluten free Reuben Sandwich and a cold gluten free beer and sitting in the sunshine, taking in the surroundings and the spectacular view of Mount Rainier and Mount St. Helens in the distance.

When I’m done with my ultimate picnic, I’ll head to Petunia’s – a completely gluten free bakery on 12th Avenue. The owner, Lisa Clark has many food intolerances and she creates the most amazing looking pastries, cookies, cheesecakes, you name it. Everything produced on the premises is gluten free. And they do cocktails, lunch and dinner! Would you ever leave? Feast your eyes on this menu.

This list of restaurants, carts, cafes, stalls and bakeries offering gluten free in Portland is something to behold. You will even find Portland’s answer to Bristol's The Burger Joint – Dick’s Kitchen who offer a wide choice of meat, vegetarian and vegan burgers, with the gluten free option coming with a Udi’s bun.

I’d finish the night in Groundbreaker Brewery’s gastro pub. They are a dedicated gluten free and vegan brewery and their offering includes a year round dark ale, pale ale, 2 IPAs and seasonal beers that include a squash ale for autumn and a coffee ale for spring!

3. Stockholm, Sweden

(Photos above used with permission from
Alexander Skarsgård, meatballs and the Ikea mothership.
Oh, OK… I’ll add more details.
Sweden always seems to come top in studies on general happiness, living wage, green credentials, low crime and alcoholism, education, the gender gap – it seems so…perfect. Geographically it is stunning and the seasons are very distinct; hot summers with many hours of daylight (up to 16 in Stockholm!) and freezing winters with just 6 hours of daylight in some places. Stockholm is the largest city in Sweden with a population of 1.3 million. It is spread across 14 islands and the bridges joining them are a distinctive feature. The city bike scheme seems like an easy and inexpensive way to get around; in my mind I’m pedalling around the historical streets with my backpack full of Chockladbollar (chocolate and coconut treats) and Sarah Bernhardts (chocolate and almond treats).
Gluten free food is ridiculously easy to get hold of. I’ve read that most places use corn or potato flour as a thickener and that many of the chains have a gluten free option – Gluten free buns are available at McDonals, Burger King and Max Burger and Pizza Hut do a gluten free base! There is also a dedicated gluten free bakery in Stockholm called Friends of Adam.

Swedes are into healthy living and fitness and whilst many won’t know the word coeliac, they’ll understand ‘gluten fritt’ or gluten intolerance and are happy to accommodate. That said, it seems that the best place to find gluten free food is in the hotels. Many of the bigger hotels provide a large gluten free buffet (or Smörgåsbord) with a range of breads, crackers, cheese and meats. See this blog for more details. (I die...)
I was surprised to find that there is a big coffee culture in Sweden and they partake in strong coffee and pastries a lot like the Italians. They even have a word for a coffee break with friends ‘Fika’. So that explains all those pap pics of Alexander sitting outside coffee shops in LA! Many cafés offer gluten free sweet snacks and I think I could easily while away a few hours people watching with a bun and a coffee. The GF options in supermarkets are also excellent – just look at the freezer section on the above blog post! The famous Almondy dessert is also widely available.
When I’m fuelled up on coffee and crispbreads, I’d definitely skip the ABBA Museum and do a Viking tour - get to know more about the history of Sweden and our potential ancestors!
I’d also love to visit the Junibacken Museum – it describes itself as a ‘house of fantasy play’ but looks like it’s strictly above board! It’s apparently where ‘Children play themselves wise’ and they’ve got a world of Moomins and other Astrid Lindgren characters to explore.

According to this fantastic blog post, they have a café offering loads of GF options, including gluten free Swedish meatballs! The website says ‘We can offer dairy and gluten free pancakes , milk and äggfria pancakes and eggs dairy and gluten-free meatballs. Although the kakbordet (no idea…) are cookies without milk , egg and gluten. Ask the staff!’
And then after that, I think I'll have a small nap!
* This post is my entry to the Transun Blog Competition #TransunLights *

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Review - Kingfisher Cafe, Fishponds, Bristol

Tea with almond milk
My epic burger
Hubby's 'Chicken Wrap'

I'm a big fan of casual dining. I'd much rather a lunch than a dinner. I like to sit down somewhere and feel like I'm at my Nan's and I'm about to get one of her legendary bacon sandwiches and my tea in a mismatched cup and saucer. My aversion to eating big meals late at night and my penchant for an afternoon nap all point towards sizable lunches whenever possible. We had a couple of days off last week and I decided to take us out for a slap up lunch. I'd been following The Kingfisher Café for a couple of weeks on Facebook and their very delicious sounding menu updates always include quite a few GF options. Lucky for me, the Kingfisher is a 5 minute drive from my house, on the same block as our vets (hey Fishponds Veterinary Centre!)

We found a table (it was pretty busy for 12.30 on a normal Monday) and I excitedly perused the menu. Just a little niggle on the menu which hopefully they could take into account - there is a line on the menu about GF bread being available, so I would assume that they can do a GF fry up and that the toasted sandwiches can be made GF - but it doesn't state that as such on the menu. After a lot of deliberation, I went for a beef burger with added cheddar. There was a choice of burger, all GF, including a great sounding veggie one which is pretty rare. My husband went for the chicken wrap. I also had a tea with almond milk (soya also available).

This was such a great start, lots of choice and a proper cuppa. Then came the food. Enormous portions. Each main came with a bowl of huge wedges and my husband's 'wrap' came with a side salad, a bowl full of chicken filling and two wraps. My burger came in between two slices of bread (which I find quite cute) and was pretty bulky! A good three finger thickness and I struggled (but thankfully I'm a trained professional) to get it in my gob! The burger was flavoured with herbs and onions and was so juicy and flavourful - I need this recipe! The wedges were a lot like our home made wedges, well seasoned, crispy on the outside and fluffy in the middle. Then there was the relish. It complimented the burger so well, I really was in burger heaven!

My husband doesn't have the same lust for daytime binging as me and appeared to wane after the first wrap. The waitress offered to wrap it up for us to take away and I noticed a few other people doing the same. I'm pretty sure this isn't a great business plan and we agreed that we would gladly pay the same for a lot less food.

The café also hosts events such as open mic nights and activities for kids. With fantastic, mouth watering food and lovely, polite staff this is such a great addition to the community. I can't wait to go back.

The Kingfisher Café
17-18 Straits Parade, Fishponds, Bristol BS16 2LE
0117 965 1001

*Updated 20/04/2015

My Amazing Gluten Free Full English Breakfast

We went back to the Kingfisher last weekend for breakfast. I ordered a full English done gluten free and no egg and my husband ordered a full English with the works.
My breakfast came with 3 pork chipolatas from a butcher in Chipping Sodbury, 3 pieces of bacon, black pudding, a fried tomato, mushroom, beans and a slice of gluten free toast. I had major egg envy over my husband's poached egg, it looked so indulgent!
Once again, it was a hearty and delicious meal. A proper gluten free full English in Bristol - pretty hard to come by!

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Where To Find Gluten Free Pizza In Bristol

Here is the full list of places offering a gluten free pizza base in Bristol, as it stands in April 2015. (I have excluded Pizza Express, Pizza Hut et al).

Where I have tried the pizza, I have written a brief review underneath the listing.

As always, I would love to hear from you if you have tried any of these places out.

1.  The Stable

South Building, Anchor Square, Canon's Road, Bristol BS1 5UH
01179 279 999
Menu (GF toppings not indicated)

They say -
'Non-Gluten Ingredients (NGI) are available for all pizzas from the main menu – the dough is specially made off site so it’s best you give us a call before your visit to tell us how many in your group will be ordering one.'

2-7.  Grounded

Grounded Redfield
287 Church Road, Redfield, Bristol BS5 9HT
01179 555 668

Grounded Keynsham
39 High Street, Keynsham, Bristol BS31 1DS
01179 868 555

Grounded Bedminster
66-68 Bedminster Parade, Bedminster, Bristol BS3 4HL
01179 231 000

Grounded Horfield
421-425 Gloucester Road, Horfield, Bristol BS7 8TZ
01179 511 505

Grounded Brislington
53-55 Sandy Park Road, Brislington, Bristol BS4 3PH
01179 717 666

Grounded Corsham
The Old Chapel, Pickwick Road, Corsham, Bristol SN13 0HL
01249 715555
Menu (GF toppings not indicated)
Gluten free pasta and burger rolls also available.

They say -
'Vegan cheese and wheat-free/gluten-free pizza available on request, ask staff for details (12” only)'
Gluten free pasta and burger buns also available.

My review - I have blogged about Grounded a few times in the past (here's my review from 2010). Their base was as tough as old boots and I'm not a huge fan of the toppings. A discussion on the Bristol Coeliac group on Facebook recently revealed that nothing has changed. The base is pretty inedible and the service in general is notoriously poor.

8. Planet Pizza

32 Cotham Hill, Bristol BS6 6LA
01179 077 112

187 Gloucester Road, Bristol BS7 8BG
01179 444 717
Menu (GF toppings not indicated)

They say -

9.  The Greenbank

57 Bellevue Road, Easton, Bristol BS5 6DP
01179 393 771
Menu (GF toppings not indicated)

They say -
'Much of what we buy is sourced locally. All of our pizzas are stone baked using flour from Shipton Mill, in the Cotswolds. Gluten free pizzas are also available on request.'

My review - the pizzas are thin and crispy yet sizable, just right to satisfy a hunger without leaving you full and uncomfortable. The stone baked taste really comes across. The base was quite tough compared to the normal version which was wonderfully soft and pliable. I chose a chedder, chilli and chorizo topping (slightly off menu) and was disappointed to find that the pizza wasn't spicy at all. Optional chilli oil would be a very good idea.

10.  No 51 Stokes Croft

51 Stokes Croft, Bristol BS1 3QP
01179 148 048

Menu (GF toppings not indicated)
They say -
'Our pizza dough is hand crafted with Italian flour and proved over night to make it extra light. Gluten free is available. We make both our tomato and fresh pesto base sources in house.'

11. Pizza Provençale

29 Regent Street, Bristol BS8 4HR
0117 974 1175
No mention of GF on the website at present, but I verified they still serve GF bases on Twitter on 10/04/2015.

My review - I ate here once a couple of years ago and I'm sorry to say that the whole experience was awful. The pizza was tough, (I thought I would gouge out a filling) and the toppings were really cheap tasting (possibly frozen?). I left most of it. The service was very poor, really lazy and sullen. My nearly complete pizza was taken away without a single comment. They have been nominated for Bristol GF restaurant of the year again this year. Perhaps it was an off day?

12. Pimms Pizza

*Takeaway only
257 North St, Bristol BS3 1JN
0117 378 7878

Menu (All toppings indicated as GF but check when ordering)
Base is a medium (11") and there is no extra charge.

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Review - The Flavour Sensation, Park Street, Bristol

When I started this blog, it was as rare as unicorn's tears to see GF on a menu. In 2013-14 we saw a great surge in restaurant chains putting GF on their menus or providing a separate GF menu.
But what is missing is the same consideration for us gluten dodgers from independent restaurants.
There has been a backlash from restaurants down to '14 Allergens-Gate' - restaurants claiming that new eating out guidelines are stifling creativity and flair in the kitchen.
That's one way to deal with us 'fussy' diners.

The other is to open a centrally located restaurant, offering all the restaurant favourites with GF clearly marked on the menu, with clued up staff and promising to accommodate any dietary requirements. As well as this, The Flavour Sensation have clearly marked 'healthy options', so now you can go out for lunch with your friends while keeping an eye on your 'Syns'.

Proper Margaritas

My tasty prawn starter

My epic ribs

Beer and ribs!

Burger face

Giant coffee

The view from out front

We ordered a couple of Margaritas (2 for 1 until a certain time) and perused the menu. The cocktails were fantastic, real ingredients and nice and strong but then I remembered about the GF beer!
I decided that a beer and something meaty would be great as that really is a rarity for me.
I spoke to the waitress about my options and settled on the house ribs, (no gluten, dairy or egg) with the king prawns to start. My husband ordered a chicken burger with a brioche bun. As much as I really wanted to try the burgers, I knew that the gluten free bun would have egg in and I wanted a truly free from experience*. As anyone with multiple food intolerances knows, it is so tricky when you eat out so you tend to chance a few things! But there is no need to here - they really are accommodating to any dietary restrictions.

My prawns were juicy and sizable, with a wonderful chargrilled flavour. My husband's burger also had the same great chargrilled taste - the chicken itself was moist and flavoursome and the accompaniments were all well made. My main was absolutely huge, 2 large portions of ribs, with enormous wedges (they call them triple cooked chips on the menu), a side salad and a corn on the cob. The ribs themselves were really tasty, again with a wonderful BBQ flavour. A refreshing Daura beer with my dino-sized helping of ribs really did feel decadent. It is a rare treat to have everything as you need it to be without the worry of feeling ill afterwards or that you once again ended up with the chicken salad (no croutons!)

My small criticism is the choice of desserts, it would be great to have something on there that is gluten, egg and dairy free (would be great for vegans too) like a crumble, fruit pie, chocolate mousse or even a selection of sorbets. I finished my meal with a pretty large cup of Illy coffee (one of my favourites) which I took black, although soya milk is available.

My husband is quite hard to please and he was genuinely impressed with everything and we both felt that it was a faultless meal. The service is great, the eating space is neat, spacious and relaxed, there is a good choice of drinks and you get well fed! And I'm very happy with the location. I'm often looking for something to eat for lunch when I'm in town and I refuse to go to the chains!
85 Park St, Bristol, BS1 5PJ
0117 930 0188

I received this meal free of charge. My review is all my own opinion and wording.

*As stated below in the comments, the GF bun is also egg free!