Gluten Free Apple Pie, ft Silly Yak Pastry

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If you follow me on social media you would have seen my posts bragging about my awesome gluten free Apple Pie I made last week. It’s seriously so good, even if I do say so myself. wBut I have to admit that it isn’t quite as homemade as I make out….I actually use a ready-made gluten free pastry!!

Now, look out for my full review and interview with Silly Yak, who make the ready-roll pastry, which I’ll post in the next few weeks….

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But back to the Apple Pie. It’s always been a family favourite and for the last few years, something I make as soon as Autumn shows it’s colourful face. A comfort food that I enjoy making, it helps it’s one of my boyfriend’s favourite desserts too! It will make an appearance regularly over the next few months…actually, pretty much until Summer is back next year!

I love the simplicity of the recipe, with just a few ingredients and a very simple and quick preparation. It packs a sweet punch and is perfect to warm up those colder, darker nights.

Recipe

3 large cooking apples
1 pack of Silly Yak Ready-Roll Pastry
100g golden caster sugar
1 tbsp gluten free flour
1tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp milk, for glazing
1 tbsp golden caster sugar, for dusting

 

  1. Peel, core and slice your apples and place in a bowl of cold water to prevent browning. The thickness of the slices depends on your preference- I slice mine to around 0.5cm thick.
  2. Dust your surface with flour and roll out your gluten free pastry to the thickness of no more than a £1 coin. Roll it out to slightly bigger than the top of your pie dish, so there is over hang. Place in the base of your pie dish and push into the edge of the base. Leaving a slight overhang, cut off any excessive pastry.
    (It’s good to have a little over hang because as the pastry cooks, it will shrink. The overhang keeps it to the edge of the tin, so it fits to the top pastry case). 
  3. In a bowl, mix together the caster sugar, flour and cinnamon.
  4. Drain the apple slices and pat them dry with a clean tea towel or kitchen paper. Transfer them into the bowl with the sugar mixture. apple-pie-1
  5. Mix thoroughly until all of the apples are coated with the mixture, then transfer into the pastry dish. Spread the apples around the pastry base evenly, and so they’re not sticking out of the top too much (you may have a little apple leftover).
  6. Gently brush the edges of the pastry with some of the milk.
  7. Roll out the rest of the pastry to make the case topping, again to a £1 coin thickness and bigger than the pastry dish.
  8. Lay the pastry over the apple mixture, gently pressing it in to the edges of the base to seal. Trim the edges with a sharp knife.
  9. Using the leftover pastry that you’ve cut off, make four small leaves to place on top of the case for decoration. Using a knife, make a leaf pattern on them for extra effect.
  10. Brush the top of the pastry with the rest of the milk. Place the leaves on the top and then dust the whole thing with the rest of the caster sugar.
  11. Bake in the oven at 190°C/Gas 5 for 40 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown and crispy. You may need to turn the dish so it browns evenly on all sides.
  12. Leave to cool for 10 minutes then serve- try it with custard, cream or ice cream.

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My favourite way to serve apple pie is with warmed custard and a little more sugar sprinkled on the top. I actually make it without the cinnamon as my boyfriend doesn’t like it, so I sprinkle some into the custard instead so I don’t miss out.

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Enjoy!

 

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My favourite gluten free snacks

I think I snack more than I eat main meals. Usually it’s boredom eating (especially at work) but also when I’m on the go I love to pick something up. Savoury snacks are my favourite, but I do have a sweet tooth as well. Here’s a few of my favourite gluten free snacks, some new and some old.

Perk!er Oaty Cranberry & Cashew bar

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Perk!er have taken a new, wholesome direction with their products and this year launched their sprouted bars with quinoa. They have five bar flavours, with the newest being the Coconut and Chia seed bar they launched at the Allergy Show London this year. My favourite though is the Oaty Cranberry & Cashew bar, a new firm favourite in my handbag on days out. Click here for a list of their stockists.

Gratify Gluten Free Snacks

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I stumbled across these one day in Tesco and I’m glad I picked up a bag. They have a large range of products online, but so far I’ve only found their Sesame Pretels and Herb Crackers. These would be great to put out at a party or when you have friends over, as they don’t taste any different and the bags are a good size. I’m hoping one day I’ll be able to see their chocolate covered pretzels avaialble too.

Wellaby’s Simple Bakes

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I only came across these at the Allergy Show earlier this month but Oh My God they’re amazing! Baked rather than fried, they’re much lighter and less greasy than other gluten free crisps. The Sweet Chilli flavour is my favourite and reminds me of how Walkers Sensations Thai Sweet Chilli crisps taste (my absolute favourite before Coeliac). They make a nice change to the more plain offerings you usually get, and best of all they’re nut free too!

Peckish Rice Crackers

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This is a new snack I’ve recently come across in Tesco (currently on offer for 2 for £2). A large multi-pack with five individual packets inside, they’re again perfect for popping into your bag when heading out. They come in four flavours: Sour Cream & Chive, Cheddar Cheese, Sea Salt & Vinegar and Tangy BBQ. Made from rice, they’re a different texture to crisps but much lighter. I’ve tried the Sour Cream & Chive and Cheddar Cheese and both taste delicious!

Schar Custard Creams

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By far my favourite biscuits in the gluten free market, as they just taste so damn good! They’re so much like the originals and remind me of my childhood. Inside the box they come in handy sealed packs of two, which make them perfect for transporting where needed. I pick mine up from Tesco and they’re also avaialble in Sainsbury’s.

Pret Crisped Kale chips

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I’m not a big fan of Kale chips but I love the ones from Pret! The simple rosemary and olive oil seasoning is perfect, and the nutritional yeast that’s added gives it a lovely cheesy taste. Not only do these not contain any gluten ingredients, they’re also vegan. I usually pick some up alongside some coconut water as a great post-gym snack for my commute home.

Pret Granola pots

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Pret have recently made all of their bircher muesli and granola pots gluten free- Coeliacs rejoice! This is a great move by Pret and one that’s greatly welcomed, in addition to their gluten free and dairy free Five-Grain Porridge. They even have dairy free coconut yoghurt as part of the offering! Available all day, they’re a great little sweet snack to pick up on the go and there’s enough choice to keep everyone happy. Thanks Pret!

Nakd Bars

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These are one of the snacks that are available in my office and I LOVE them! Bakewell Tart is my favourite flavour and I’m ashamed to say I hoard them in my drawer as they disappear so quickly. They recently launched a new flavour, Carrot Cake, which is equally amazing. As you can find these bars pretty much everywhere, they’re really handy if you’re on the go.
Tip: Heat the Cashew Cookie bar in the microwave for a few seconds, it tastes divine.

Graze Snacks

I used to get Graze boxes delivered to my office, so I was pleased to see these being launched as an on-the-go snack in stores last year. Smokehouse BBQ Crunch is by far my favourite as I love the flavours. Not all are gluten free (they don’t claim this but they don’t have any ingredients in them), so double check, but they’re now available in Sainsbury’s, Boots and WH Smith stores. I usually stock up at the airport and take them away with me as a hotel snack when I’m travelling with work.
Tip: Some places are now selling larger bags of the snacks, so keep an eye out!

 

 

The Allergy Show London 2016

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged (thanks, life) so I thought I’d make my ‘comeback’ with a round up of my trip to this year’s Allergy Show in London, which was my 5th!

Here are some my favourite brands this year:

BFree

 

Bfree

These guys have taken the gluten free market by storm in recent years, with their bread, bagels, pittas and wraps. Now avaialble across the country in Tesco & Waitrose stores, they launched their brand new Sweet Potato wraps at the show this weekend. Not only this, they’ve also made their whole range vegan!

Nutri-Brex

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This range of Weetabix-like cereal launched last year as Nutribix and Coeliac’s everywhere rejoiced as they could once again enjoy their favourite wholewheat breakfast. They’ve recently rebranded to Nutri-Bre to coincide with the launch of their second product in the range, which they sampled at the Allergy Show. The Coconut & Cripsy Rice Nutri-Brex is seriously good, with the rice giving it another level of texture. Not only are they sampling & selling their products, but they even gave a box of the original type away in the show goody bag!

Perk!er

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I met Ann & Steve at my first Allergy Show, when they were just a small start-up selling their rocky road & tiffin. They’ve come a long way since then and are a household favourites for many Coeliacs. Sadly some products haven’t made it along the way (RIP Tiffin) but their current range is still so good. I live on their porridge pots throughout winter (great for early starts watching my boyfriend play hockey) so of course stocked up on those, but I also tried their new Quinoa bars, which I have to say are fab! A few of the Sprouted Oaty Cranberry & Cashew Bars made it home with me… keep up the good work guys!

Dean’s Shortbread

Dean's

This was a new discovery for me this year, but a welcome one! A household name across Scotland, Dean’s are a family company who have branched out with their gluten free range of shortbread (Butter, Choc Chip and Choc chip & Stem Ginger). I was so impressed with the Choc Chip variety that I bought three packets! Although Walker’s is a firm favourite for me, these definitely give them a run for their money. You can order directly from their online store.

MOMA

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Many of you may have seen MOMA’s range of breakfast cereals, especially if you’re from London where they’re prevalent in so many stations. They’ve now made their whole range of porridge gluten free- hurrah! Their flavours are what make them interesting, with their range boasting cranberry & raisin, super seeds and coconut & chia, alongside the golden syrup and plain/plain (no added sugar) classics. So far I haven’t been able to hunt them down in stores so this was a welcome find at the show.

Venice Bakery

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Venice Bakery are Allergy Show regulars and each year and each year I stock up on pizza bases. You have a choice of either plain or seasoned, and a range consisting of large bases, mini bases, flatbreads and tortilla wraps. Their products are all vegan, gluten free and nut free too! You can see my full review here.

Wellaby’s

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I first found Wellaby’s products at the 2014 Allergy Show, where they were sampling their range of pitta chips and dips. I picked a few up to pack into my suitcase for my upcoming holiday to Ibiza- glad I did as they were perfect for a poolside snack! This year they’re back with their new range, Simple Bakes, which are savoury baked snacks, both gluten free and vegan. I tried the spicy chilli flavour, which taste EXACTLY how I remember Walkers Sesnsations Thai Sweet Chili crisps to taste. Definitely check these out if you ever get the chance!

Rule of Crumb

Many of you probably first heard of these guys through their Dragon’s Den pitch. Sadly they weren’t successful, but their appearance on the show definitely helped spread the word throughout the gluten free community. Their range of products include frozen chicken goujons, frozen fish fingers, part-baked breads and cereals, and they also target the catering business as a safe product to stock in restaurants & hotels. I tried their Salted Caramel Profiteroles and Oh My GOD were they good! Had I had a chance to eat them this weekend I’d have snapped up a few packs!

There were many other brands that I can mention, including Free From Fairy, Smooze, Gratify Gluten Free, London Falafel, Isabel’s and Gosh, so if you can take your time to really check out everyone then it’s worth it! I wish I’d had more time this year, as I keep seeing people’s Tweets and thinking ‘Damn I wish I’d picked that up’. But I’m happy with my haul, as is my tiny kitchen, and I’m looking forward to 2017!

What were your favourite finds at the Allergy Show this year?

My Journey Through Diagnosis

To celebrate Coeliac Awareness Week and help spread the word, I want to share with you my story. Everyone has their own, some incredibly hard, long-winded jouneys before diagnosis, and some were relatively quick; I would say mine is somewhere in the middle. I hope that by sharing my own experiences, someone might recognise them either in theirself or someone they know and it will help achieve a diagnosis a lot quicker.

 

I first started to really notice my symptoms when I was 16. For the next two years I went through quite a lot of stress for a teenager. My friend was killed by a car, we were in the process of moving to Australia, I was taking my GCSE’s and then my A-Levels, the death of my Aunt tore our family apart and finally my Mum was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. I can pretty much pinpoint this as the start of Coeliac, although I wouldn’t be diagnosed for another 3 years. They say that Coeliac can be brought on by a period of stress and I firmly believe this to be true in my case.

 

When I was 17 my weight rapidly dropped from my healthy 8 1/2 stone (that I had been for most of my teen years) to 7 1/2 stone, causing my periods to stop.  I received the standard questions about anorexia but eventually doctors just put it down to me starting work and snacking regularly rather than eating big meals. I was off school sick at least once per month with something- be it a migrane, cold or sickness bug. When I left school things didn’t improve. I started working as a hotel receptionsist which included shifts and I became constantly tired. I saw the doctor again and was tested for Glandular Fever and Anemia. The latter came back postive, I was prescribed Iron tablets and told to sleep more. Most days went like this: Work, Sleep, Dinner, Sleep, Get up the next day, and so it continued until I was 21. Instead of wanting to go out with my friends and have a good time, I wanted to go home and sleep. I’ve even been known to fall asleep in the pub!

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At 18- too Skinny!

 

Over time I put the weight I had lost back on and just before my diagnosis I weighed almost 10 stone. Then came the bloating, which I just couldn’t shift and some days made me look pregnant. When I’d lost the weight I had to buy new clothes in a size 6- now I began buying them in a size 12. One day I woke up with ulcers along the side of my tongue and all around my lips. I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t drink and by the end of the day I was writing messages instead of talking. An emergency trip to the Doctor and I was prescribed antibiotics and sent on my way with an infection. In November 2009 I woke up with a sickness bug and a rash on my face. I was admitted to hospital with suspected menigitis although eventually diagnosed with Swine Flu (I don’t believe this to be the case as a couple of months later I was ill for a week with something much more swine-flu like).

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At 19- on a night out looking so bloated!

I have to say that not once did I ever put any of these symptoms together. All came at different times and all led me to appointments with different Doctors. I started to just accept them and believe that I was just prone to sickness. The one (and only time) I saw the Nurse Practioner at my surgery she outright told me that there was nothing wrong with me and it was my imagination. She referred me for counselling, citing the tough times I’d gone through between 16 and 18. so eventually, I started to feel that whilst it might not be in my head, it really wasn’t a big deal. In May 2010 I was on holiday in Menorca when I was admitted to hospital with suspected sunstroke and kept in overnight on a drip. When my blood test results came back I was told that I’d actually picked up a viral infection. Again, I didn’t put two and two together.

 

My diagnosis only came about because of my Mum. Having turned down a night out with the girls in favour of my bed, she booked an appointment with the Doctor and came with me, sick of seeing her 20 year acting like an old lady. We saw the head of the surgery and explained my issues. He seemed confused and asked outright ‘What do you want me to do’? Mum came back with ‘Run more tests. It might not be serious but there IS something wrong with my daughter and we need to find out’. So finally after 4 and a half years of feeling ill I was sent for full blood tests. A week later the Doctor phoned me and explained I had tested positive for Coeliac and would be referred to a Gastroenterologist for further tests.

 

Coeliac? What the hell is Coeliac? Isn’t that what babies get? I guess at least I’m definitely not imagining things!
I had literally no idea what Coeliac was- I’d never even heard of it before. I spent the rest of the night researching with Mum and immediately signed up to Coeliac UK. I started off happy as it seemed simple enough and wasn’t too serious (I think I’d been imagining some life-threatening illness) but eventually the full weight of Coeliac was on my shoulders as the realisation of a life-long diet sunk in. It was incredibly scary. My biopsy and offical diagnosis came about a month later and I began my gluten free journey just before my 21st birthday. It was a big struggle at first and my first glutening rendered me to my bed for a couple of days. I focused too much on what I could no longer eat rather than how much better I was feeling. Of course I noticed and it felt good, but the massive impact it had on my life felt was so much easier to focus on that than fact that I was no longer bloated and had more energy.

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Today- Happy, Healthy, Gluten Free

 

Skip forward two and a half years and you meet me as I am today- confident with my diet and a gluten free blogger. It  hasn’t been easy (grumps over salads at the airport and a hissy fit at having to use wholegrain mustard instead of English for my cauliflower cheese included) and I admit there are times I get quite sad at the sight of a crispy baguette or puff pastry, but I cannot for one minute argue with how much better I’m feeling. Since my diagnosis I’ve only had four sick days at work (two for migranes, one for a slip down the stairs, one for a 24 hour bug) and I have so much more energy! I’ve lost the weight and bloating, my skin is better and I sleep so much less. I’ve also been incredibly lucky to have been diagnosed at a time when the gluten free food market is blossoming- companies like Perk!erVenice BakeryCeliaGenius, BFree, Isabel’s, Udi’s and Newburn Bakehouse just make things so much easier for Coeliacs now. Even the catering industry has changed greatly with the introduction of gluten free options in coffee shops (read my review of the new Costa wrap here) and pizza/pasta galore in chain restaurants.

 

My biggest turning point however has to be when I joined twitter in May 2012. The community on there is amazing! If you get glutened there’s people at hand to share their tips with coping, we swap recipes and product reviews, we can share our ideas with the larger companies who always listen and there’s a great spirit for change….a little thing I like to call Coeliac Activism. It’s the support group we all need when no-one else understands and I’m so thankful to my virtual friends for all their help over the last year. With the ideas that I’ve found from them I’ve found a new passion for cooking gluten free. Okay, I may not be one to experiement with different flours until I find the perfect match, but I’ve started to rely less on shop bought products and more on naturally gluten free foods. Just playing with flavours can transform plain quinoa into a fantastic breakfast porridge, or adding Greek Yoghurt to a risotto instead of cheese can make it fantastically healthy and creamy. Going gluten free doesn’t mean the end of the world as I had first thought- it opens doors to a whole new world of eating.

 

I wish I had researched my symptoms and been able to tell the doctor I needed more tests rather than accept and deal with the state of my health, and I wish Coeliac Disease was more commonly mentioned in the press like it is today. If I had known more it might not have taken 5 years for a diagnosis. The one thing I cannot stress enough is listen to your body. If something isn’t right, fight like hell to receive the investigative treatment you deserve. Listen to your gut.

 

www.coeliac.org.uk