Sunday, 5 July 2015

Review - Gluten Free at Bearritos, Bristol

People dressed as pandas and bamboo outside Bristol.

Taco Face - Take 1

Taco Face - Take 2

Taco Face - Take 3. Pre 'real-life' taco face!

My 3 gluten free tacos

Gratuitous Close-Up

The Menu

Tacos from a double decker bus in the middle of a roundabout - how Bristol?!

Bearritos serve fresh burritos, tacos (gluten free), desayunos and tortas from the side of their refurbished double decker bus. There is seating in front or on the top deck. It's definitely a unique dining experience but Bearritos don't just rely on gimmicks or passing trade. The food is good quality, freshly prepared and the fillings are well thought out so that any combination you go for is fantastic. I also love that the fillings and sauces are a bit different to the Mexican food you can find elsewhere. 

My gluten free tacos were filled with a fresh coriander salad, grilled halloumi and a scotch bonnet sauce. They were soft, crunchy, spicy, creamy and completely moreish. Even though I was happily full, I still wanted a few more so I could try some of the other fillings. They often serve specials of the day too, and many of the 'snacks' are also gluten free such as the cheesy quesadillas. You can very easily go vegan too. Just ask the staff, they are very happy to help.

Bearritos is an amazing addition to the newly improved Bear Pit (the site is receiving a £1 million makeover). And it rightfully takes pride of place in what is becoming a new culinary mecca for Bristol. The Bear Pit Social (cafe) serves toasties and ciabattas to hungry workers, as well as exciting and unique salad boxes which can be made gluten free and vegan. The adjoining covered area known as Haymarket Walk is already home to Matilda's (GF chilli con carne), long standing Mayflower (authentic Cantonese) and in July, a small plates vegetarian restaurant called Flow

The Bear Pit is quickly becoming the most exciting thoroughfare in the UK! 

St James Barton Roundabout, Bristol BS1 3LY

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Restaurant Review - Everyday Thai, Fishponds, Bristol

After reading a promising review on Bristol Eating Adventures and reading that the staff are very lovely and accommodating on Trip Advisor, I thought I'd give Everyday Thai a call and see if they could cater for my particular dietary restrictions. I know that gluten and egg free is asking a lot, especially as eggs add flavour and texture to a lot of Thai dishes.

The lady I spoke to on the phone was easily the sweetest person I've ever conversed with and after I explained about my food intolerances, she was very sympathetic and actually said "aww love you!"  I am really not used to that as a reaction! It's funny how you get used to feeling like an inconvenience for trying to eat most of a meal in someones restaurant!

I suggested that we pre-ordered a set menu and she agreed that that would make it easier for them to prepare and make sure I got to try more things. I went for Set Meal 1, which is a mixed starter platter, Thai red curry, chicken with garlic and black pepper, prawn pad Thai, mixed veg with oyster sauce and jasmine rice. (£19.95 per person)

Once at the restaurant we were given an extra table to fit everything on. There was definitely plenty to go around. There is no alcohol served at Everyday Thai (and no BYOB permitted), so we quaffed a bottle of non alcoholic red wine while we tackled the mountains of food before us. I can only apologise for the quality of the photos! I felt oddly self-conscious taking photos which I think was due to the restaurant being quite small and the staff being quite attentive to check all was OK.

The decor in Everyday Thai is pretty random. I recommend a seat that looks into the restaurant which will allow you to take it all in. I'm not sure what hockey sticks and African wood carvings have to do with Thai food but it is definitely something to look at!

At the end (once we'd admitted defeat) a waiter apologised to us as he felt that the food wasn't very tasty because it had no egg or gluten. I had to disagree - I felt that every dish was fantastic. I like things hot, so I asked for chilli sauce or some fresh chillis and I was given a bowl of  nam pla prik (thai chillis in fish sauce) which really set things off! The only thing I found lacking was the starter platter, which was just mini spring rolls and satay skewers - obviously most of the normal options are battered or covered in pastry, but it would have been great to get a GF alternative to one of these (I don't ask for much do I?)

We were offered a doggy bag and even to hang onto it for us while we went to the pub - a very sweet touch. One disappointment was the very long wait for the table to be cleared after we had finished eating. I don't think you notice or mind so much when the wine is flowing but we were very sober and keen to continue with our evening! It's a pet hate of mine but did not take away from an otherwise brilliant meal.

Everyday Thai
11 Station Road, Fishponds, Bristol BS16 3RP
01179 657 007

Saturday, 6 June 2015

Gluten Free at Bristol Vegfest

I just love Vegfest. We went a couple of years ago and then went to Grillstock not long afterwards in the same location and for me, Vegfest was by far the best event. Vegfest has a really great vibe and is full of people passionate about what they do and helping others to live a cruelty free life. For those of us with food intolerances, it's a great place to discover new brands and products. I love the idea that there is a whole event in which no meat is cooked or consumed. Grillstock in comparison seemed haunted by the ghosts of hundreds of pigs, lambs and cows. I stopped enjoying the smell of cooked meat that day.

Vegfest Crowds

Vegfest was packed this year, the event itself didn't feel a lot bigger but there were much bigger crowds and it was harder to see the stalls. We went right through the site and took everything in and then I tried to decide on something for lunch. I actually felt that the gluten free takeaway food options were limited this time around. The buzz word this year is clearly vegan and there was little to eat that was properly gluten free. I was told about a pizza place, but I failed to find it, so I settled for a thali. This platter came from The Yellow Turban Thali and it was really delicious. I loved that each element was distinctly flavoured, something that I would struggle with at home.

Gluten Free Vegetarian Thali

For dessert, I went for an ice cream and I have to say, it was the best dairy free ice cream I've tried so far. I loved that it was made from coconut and other natural and sustainable ingredients. It also doesn't taste heavily of coconut - whilst I like the taste of coconuts, it can get a little boring if you use it for everything dairy free. Check out

CocoNuts 'Ice Cream'

We had another little wander around and I found gluten free, dairy free and egg free wagon wheels - totally amazing. It has been a long 13 years without wagon wheels and it was worth the wait. Actually I'm pretty sure these were better than the real thing. Not sickly or sweet, really great texture and a nice, healthy portion size with a big gloop of jam in the middle. I'll be buying these again.
They are produced by

Vegan Gluten Free Wagon Wheel

It was also great to see local businesses such as Rawsome and The Spotless Leopard (unbelievably popular - their gluten free, vegan Macaroni Cheese sells out in moments!) and we loved the bamboo products from Bristolians Mabboo.

Finally, you can't forget the message that everyone hopes to promote through events like this. We are making a huge impact on the planet through the food that we eat. It's important to be clued up about where our food comes from and it's amazing what you find out about the food industry when you start to scratch the surface.

Viva! Flyers

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Gluten Free Layered Dessert With Dairy Free, Soya Free Caramel

I was left with quite a bit of avocado frosting when I made my avocado chocolate cake (previous post) so I put it in the freezer while I waited for inspiration to strike.

My mother in law visited last weekend and I needed to come up with a dessert for 4 that wouldn't take all day and would be egg, dairy and gluten free.

I made up my mind to make a layered trifle type thing as they seem to be the least time consuming. I decided to layer biscuit, fruit and the frosting with some sort of caramel. This bit, I completely made up on the spot. Playing with red hot sugar on a Saturday afternoon is how I get my thrills these days, apparently!

I used around 600g of sugar (I used the last of brown sugar and the rest was white sugar), a can of coconut milk instead of cream and some coconut oil instead of marge.

In a blender, spoon in the creamy top part of the coconut milk and add around 10 pitted medjool dates. In a pan, heat the sugar, then slowly added the water part of the coconut milk. Stirring constantly, wait for the mixture to be fully mixed and for the sugar to change colour. After around 15 minutes, add the coconut cream/date mixture. Add a pinch of salt. Stir constantly for another 10 minutes until the mixture has gone brown. Increase the heat briefly and add a tablespoon of cornflour dissolved in 2-3 tablespoons of cold water. Keep stirring until the mixture goes goopy and thick.

At this stage, it will look a lot like gravy (see 1st picture!). Don't worry, it changes colour when it cools.

Layer it up in a nice glass or dish - Bashed up biscuit at the bottom (I used some basic GF digestives), the chocolate frosting, sliced strawberries and then caramel and repeat.

This makes a very delicious, and surprisingly not that sweet, dessert - suitable for vegans and awkward eaters.

Friday, 1 May 2015

Gluten Free Vegan Avocado Chocolate Cake

This is the first time I've ever made a double layer cake and it's a gluten free, dairy free and egg free recipe - I don't do things by halves! .

I can't take any credit for this one, I followed this recipe for Chocolate Avocado Cake from the BBC Good Food website almost to the letter. My only changes were: I made it soya free by subbing the soya milk for Alpro Original Almond Milk, and at stage 3 I whisked all the ingredients together apart from the milk, microwaved the milk for 1 minute and then added it gradually to the mixture. This saved me a bit of time (I was working on this cake until 10.30pm last night, I was allowed to cheat a bit!) I also didn't use sprinkles at the end, I just grated some chocolate over it. The recipe itself is pretty straightforward but the whole thing is quite time-consuming. (Especially when you only have one cake tin and have to cook the cake one half at a time!)

It's the last day in my current job today so I wanted to bring in something special. It was a risk - anyone who has tried baking free from gluten and eggs will attest to this! - but thankfully it paid off. For a gluten free cake, the texture is brilliant, no dryness that catches in the back of your throat, just soft, decadent sponge with even more decadent and delicious frosting. (There was loads left so I'll be using it up on the weekend somehow. Such a hardship!)

The avocado just adds moisture and a creaminess to everything. It's pretty flavourless anyway, but you definitely wouldn't detect it in this cake. And for me, this seems like a much nicer way of making cake i.e. with no animal products whatsoever - save the chicks!

I'm sitting here trying to work my way through a slice - It's very rich so you don't need much! I reckon that if you're missing proper cake, it's worth giving this recipe a go. It's a bit time consuming but you won't regret it - and your friends and family will definitely thank you for it!

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

REVIEW - Gluten Free at Zero Zero, Bristol

Wonderful Wings

I had lunch at Zero Zero Easton on the weekend with my husband and a couple of friends. I was too excited at the thought of a new eatery in BS5 to mind that I couldn't eat the main item on the menu - pizza! I was determined to go and help support a local business so I tweeted them to see if I could have the wings instead. Luckily, the wings were Okayed and on the day, I supplemented them with a mozzarella salad (and 2 very refreshing cans of Caple Road cider!)

We sat down at the bench next to the wall and chatted away while our food arrived. I would like to say we took in the surroundings but Zero Zero really is tiny! The bench seats about 6 and a few more could fit around the bar - it's cosy but super cute, and with a few mates it's a great space to catch up over food while sampling the great range of alcohol on offer.

A beautiful plate of wings arrived (I ordered hot, but mild and stupid hot are also available) - just look at the colours of that buffalo sauce. They were as good as I'd hoped, buttery, soft chicken and the sauce was packed with flavour, with the heat hitting towards the end, tingling on the lips for just the right amount of time afterwards. The blue cheese sauce that came with them was so good that I could have eaten a tub of it on its own.

For just £5 for the wings, you really can't go wrong. There is also a tofu version - I just have to try that next time if it's GF and I seem to have volunteered for the hot wings challenge (coming soon. It's something I've always wanted to have a go at!)

I was told that the pizzas were fantastic too - made using their own '00' flour and stone baked. They use local ingredients where possible and I think it adds something special to every dish. A small menu can really work when all the ingredients are on point. Zero Zero also offer a take-away wine service, with their house wine (sourced from a vineyard in France) coming in a re-sealable bottle! Tiffins? So old-fashioned babes.

Zero Zero is a perfect addition to the area and I hope you'll check it out if you get the chance.

Zero Zero Easton
2B High Street (it's actually around the corner on Albion Road, next to the barbers)
01179 510 265

Zero Zero on Twitter
Zero Zero on Facebook

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Gluten Free Bristol - Batch 5 Gluten Free Bread

Batch # 5 gluten free products are produced by Bath Bakery but luckily for us Bristolians, they are now in collaboration with Joe's Bakery on Gloucester road. I popped in on Saturday ready to buy all the bread but there was only a white loaf left, a few flapjacks and a bit of carrot cake.
This is clearly a good sign that the range is popular but I'm super gutted that I didn't get to buy any seeded brown bread or ciabattas. Hopefully next time.

My white loaf was a good size, not to heavy or dense, sliced with ease and held together during even the most cack-handed buttering. My only criticism was the flavour which I felt was a bit nondescript. (Though when I said that, my husband ate a massive bit and said 'mmm no, it's nice' so WTH do I know!) I just can't help comparing it to my beloved Graham's Bakery gluten free bread (Gloucestershire). It'll be hard to top his fluffy white loaf.

The bread is egg free too so I guiltlessly carved out hunks of bread for bruschetta, cheese on toast and a childhood favourite, jam and marge on bread (I can't even begin to describe the feelings of nostalgia as I ate it!) It's such a pleasure to eat proper sized slices of bread and bread that doesn't have to be toasted first. So, big well done to Bath Bakery and thanks to Joe's Bakery for being a stockist!

Batch #5 - Check out the amazing range of gluten free products

Full list of stockists

Batch #5 on Twitter

Batch #5 on Facebook

Joe's Bakery
240-242 Gloucester Rd, Bristol, BS7 8NZ
0117 975 5551