I took a little break from blogging in August, to live a little more ‘in the moment’ with 20-month-old A, and to find the time to practice my photography in her increasingly fleeting nap times. Here’s a little round up of our gluten free adventures.
August is not only my birthday month, but my 6 year ‘coeliac-versary’, and we also had a special family birthday to celebrate. What an excuse to throw restraint to the wind and indulge in all manner of gluten free treats?!
Starting with a special meal at Jason Atherton’s new opening Social Wine & Tapas – a fabulous venue with exceptional wine list. The tapas really were rather good, although I was somewhat disappointed with their gluten free offer – we had a set menu, during which I missed out on many gluten-containing courses despite prior warning and paying the same – the cheek! At least there was the most delicious crema catalana to remember.
Fast forward a few weeks and I celebrated my birthday multiple times. First with mail order doughnuts from upstart Borough 22 (who are now available in Selfridges!), followed by a slice of the carrot cake I have been dreaming of for months as Nibsy’s the gluten free cafe in Reading during a meet up with some other members of the Coeliac UK group in Berkshire. It was brilliant to see how buzzing and popular the cafe is now.
Finally, a little closer to home in Windsor, my Gluten Eating Husband treated me to afternoon tea at Bel and the Dragon a gastro pub featuring (joy!) blackboard tables to doodle on and quite the hugest board of cake I’ve seen! We also had a grown up dinner for two at Gilbey’s in Eton – probably the best restaurant in town. You can find out more places to eat gluten free in Windsor on my blog.
There’s no escaping that the weather was just hideous. Thankfully with A now walking, we invested in some mini wellies and went for our first puddle-splashing walks. Some consolation for the fact that we were splashing in the park’s fountains in July.
I managed to sneak in plenty of exercise, but no longer the HIIT sessions in Windsor Great Park we had earlier in the year. Instead it’s plenty of spinning, the occasional Insanity class, or weights in our attic room and gym, gym, gym. Well I have to balance my baking habit somehow!
Especially because the wet weather meant we had to turn our minds to indoor projects, which chiefly means making, baking and being a little…
We’ve done a lot of baking in August! What with the fervour surrounding the return of Great British Bakeoff, there have been competitions aplenty to enter (perhaps you saw our Sweet Potato Biscuits video?); as well as all sorts of recipes to try and de-gluten, and new products to try. I’ve been hashtagging everything I make with #bakedairyfree to try and win the latest contest from Pure, and there was also the small matter of this mini black forest gateau – a response to the Udi’s #WhatTheHack competition – whipped up using a pre-bought chocolate muffin. If we keep entering things, we’ve got to win something, right?! If only the prize for cake-chomping.
I picked up some samples of the new gluten free bread mix by Bakels at the Allergy Show in July, and I have been so impressed by the results. Sadly my bread machine has gone to Kenwood heaven, but even by hand I’ve been turning out lovely crusty rolls, and these rather tasty rhubarb and custard buns. Even better – they are gluten, dairy and egg free, unlike many commercial mixes. I’m going to be buying this regularly.
A quick mention must also go to three delicious recipes from other bloggers we tried – this indulgent and grown up vegan banana & buckwheat cake from Ceri, these simple (gone in an afternoon) coconut biscuits from fellow competition contestant Louise, and fail safe cupcakes from Free From Fairy. Tried and tested!
Unfortunately we’ve had more than our fair share of bugs in August too. I suppose it’s part of the joy of being cooped up with a toddler more than is usual for summer time! Combined with that I have sadly come to the conclusion that I am, at least to some degree, lactose intolerant following my 8 months dairy-free whilst breastfeeding A (who has cow’s milk protein allergy). I suspected as much, but have had a bit of a blind spot for the recurring bouts of nausea, tummy ache & upsets. It’s back to my dietitian in September.
Despite the weather, we crammed a lot of colour in – continuing to delight in the weekly box of fresh produce we get delivered from Abel and Cole and using it to create vibrant, fresh meals. I’ve been inspired by the Makelight photography workshop I took to bring more flowers into our life and home, which are popping up more and more in my pictures. I’ve also started a weekly project with A – A’s Colour Box to teach her about colours. Each week we pick a colour and collect the things we find in a box – I’m looking forwards to continuing this as we move into autumn proper. I’m silly excited for crunchy leaves, conkers, and squashes or pumpkins with everything! But first, we are having a little holiday somewhere sunny with friends to say goodbye to summer properly. If anyone had gluten free tips for Croatia – do let me know!