Author Archives: Ray Smith

Eat Natural Cashew and Blueberry Cereal Bar

It’s getting easier and easier to find a wide variety of Gluten Free cereal bars in shops all over the UK.  Many of them made by Eat Natural who have a range of Gluten Free bars that are available singly in lots of shops around the UK or in multi packs that you’ll find in larger supermarkets. They sell 10 different bars  in total that are Gluten Free (and three that aren’t).  Another one of my favourites is their Yoghurt, Almond and Apricot bar.

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Yoghurt, Cashew and Blueberry Cereal Bar

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cereal bars can be a total lifesaver as something you can quickly grab from the cupboard or desk drawer and throw in your bag or pocket to take out with you to have with your lunch or as a snack in between meals.

This Eat Natural Cashew, Blueberry and Yoghurt bar is one of my current favourites but unfortunately it’s a little harder to find in high street supermarkets, it is however available in bulk online


The taste of the yoghurt coating is probably the first thing you will notice and its creamy, milky, sweet flavour with a hint of vanilla is a good start.  Following the coating the next most distinctive flavour is the fruit – Blueberries, Cranberries and Apricots with the taste of the juicy, sweet (and healthy)  Blueberries dominating.

There are a good selection of savoury ingredients that ensure the bar isn’t too sweet or soggy, chopped Cashew and Brazil nuts, Puffed Rice and Shredded Coconut.  These combine with the yoghurt and the fruit to give a enjoyable moist yet crunchy texture.  There is a good amount of everything, no one ingredient dominates and the combination of flavours works really well.

The mix of all these different ingredients results in a really tasty bar which, unlike other cereal bars, won’t get smashed into tiny pieces in your bag or disintegrate into a shower of crumbs that goes all over the floor or your desk when you try to eat it.

Eat Natural Cashew, Blueberry and Yoghurt Cereal Bar

 

 

 

 

I usually choose the 50g size, depending on your appetite you may find that this is enough to completely replace your breakfast or lunch.  For me it is pretty much perfect as an in between meals snack or addition to my lunch.

I make sure I have few of these in stock at home and in the office all of the time, as well as being handy to take out on a journey or fill the gap between meals they are a great safeguard against those times when I get an insatiable craving for something sweet and a indulgent and may be tempted to have something incredibly bad for me or non Gluten Free.  One of these will satisfy my sweet tooth’s cravings for at least a few days.

Like all the other products in the Eat Natural range (in addition to bars they make a range of Gluten Free cereals and mueslis –  Gluten Free Buckwheat Muesli review here) these bars are free of artificial colours, flavours and preservatives and are made in the UK.

Gluten Free Cereal

There is quite a wide range of Gluten Free Cereal and Muesli available from UK supermarkets and many of these are pretty healthy and full of nutritious ingredients.  However, if you’re looking for a slightly less worthy breakfast, maybe as a reward for sticking to your diet all week or as a Gluten Free replacement for the less healthy cereals everyone else gets to enjoy from time to time, this Nature’s Path Maple Sunrise is a good option.

Nature's Path Gluten Free Maple Cereal

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nature’s Path is a Canadian company and independent and family owned.  They specialise in gluten and wheat-free cereal products and sell a wide range of these in North America. Their breakfast cereals are now widely distributed in the UK and you should be able to pick these up in any UK supermarket big enough to have a “Free-From” section.

This is an extremely crunchy Cereal and won’t go soggy after you’ve added milk. If that’s how you choose to eat it, I prefer  it with a couple of spoon fulls of Greek yoghurt and sometimes add blueberries or another berry to aid me in my daily quest to eat my government recommended 5 portions of fruit or vegetables.

Its quite sweet and the maple flavour is quite strong, as soon as you open the packet you’ll get a strong scent of Maple syrup.  If you don’t have much of a sweet tooth you probably won’t need to add any extra sugar to this. However, the taste might lead you to think it has a higher Sugar content than it actually does – a 30g serving contains just under 13g – a little higher than some other Mueslis available but not distressingly so and still lower in sugar, calories and fat than most of the super sweet breakfast cereals we’ve all heard of.  On the downside its also quite low in fibre, just 3g per serving, and Protein.

Despite being very sweet, this is still quite a healthy option.  It’s certified Organic and contains six different grains, quasi-grains or seeds – corn, brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, flax, and amaranth.  The fact these are whole grains and not refined or processed and that there is a wide diversity of them is good news for your health.

This diversity of ingredients also gives the cereal a good texture. some of the grains are left whole so it has a variety of three different shapes – little round puffy balls, flakes and small crispy seed shapes.

Nature's Path Gluten Free Maple Cereal

 

 

 

 

 

I’d recommend this if you eat cereal regularly and are interested in trying a different one every so often for a bit of a change. You can find it in most big supermarkets for around Three pounds a box but can save some money by buying it in bulk from Amazon.

Gluten Free Bacon Frittata

A Frittata is technically a baked omelette but I like to think of it as a Gluten Free Quiche.  You can use any combination of ingredients that you’d find in a quiche (the recipe below is based on the classic Quiche Lorraine) and its much easier and quicker to make as well as being a great cheap, filling meal. The only tricky part to making this is getting it out of whatever you use to cook it in once it is finished. To alleviate this I recommend using a Silicon cake mould that you can just peel off. This makes the whole recipe much easier and less stressful, an ideal silicon mould is available from Amazon here – Lékué 1300 ml Square Cake Mould, Black
If you don’t have one of these and use a an oven proof dish or pan the easiest technique is to put a plate over the top and flip it over using both hands. You can then cut it into slices while it is upside down and turn these over to serve it.

Gluten Free Quiche

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is a really versatile dish.  As well as being easy to customise to your taste with different ingredients it can be also be eaten warm or cold, or both.  If you’re having it warm it goes well with salad, baked beans, olives, pesto or anything else you fancy.  Leftovers can be kept in the fridge and eaten cold the next day as part of a packed lunch or quickly warmed up under the grill for another meal.

The recipe below is for a Bacon, Cheddar and Onion Frittata and will provide a decent sized portion for three or four meals.

There are more ways you can change the recipe to your own taste than I can list.  One easy change you can make is to use your preferred type of cheese,  parmesan or gruyere are traditional but I think a strong cheddar is good, for the frittata pictured here I used Blacksticks blue cheese. You could also add Chorizo to this recipe to make a more substantial dinner.  Spinach, Mushrooms or Courgette all go well with any Eggy dish and would also work well.

Gluten Free Bacon Frittata

Recipe

Ingredients

  • 8 rashers smoked streaky bacon cut into squares
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 1tbsp olive oil
  • 8 eggs
  • 200ml crème fraiche
  • 100g grated cheese
  • Salt
  • Black Pepper

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 180c
  • Line a 20x28cm dish with baking paper (scrunch the baking paper into a ball first as this makes it more malleable) or grease a 21cm x 21cm square silicon cake mould (much easier to get it out once it is done).
  • Heat the olive oil in a pan to a medium heat then fry the bacon and onion until the onions are turning golden and the bacon is beginning to crisp.
  • Take a large bowl and mix the eggs and crème fraiche together, then stir in the bacon, onions and fat from the pan.
  • Add the grated cheese (save some to sprinkle on the top) and season with salt (the bacon will add some salt so personally I would only add a little) and black pepper to taste.
  • Pour the mixture into the dish and bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes.
  • Put it under the grill for 5 minutes to brown and crisp up the top.

Avocado, Tomato and Sweet Potato Salad

Obviously all Salads are or can easily be made Gluten Free but this salad recipe is something a little different as it doesn’t have any lettuce or other leaves, and only uses 3 ingredients. The recipe is also suitable for anyone on vegan, diary free and nut free diets.

Avocado, Tomato and Sweet Potato Salad

 

 

 

 

 

 

The sweetness of the sweet potatoes works really well with the creamy avocado and slightly sharp tomatoes.  The recipe is really simple and apart from the time needed to roast the sweet potatoes, it comes together really quickly. It makes a great lunch served on its own , I like it with some tinned mackerel or other fish If I feel like something a bit more substantial.

It is also a perfect side dish for some grilled chicken, fish or steak for a quick, easy, and healthy mid week dinner.

Its worth making sure the avocados you use are perfectly ripe, if they are too hard just leave them out in the kitchen for a day or so and they should be good to go.

Avocado, Tomato and Sweet Potato Salad

RECIPE

Ingredients

  • 3 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 3 medium on-the-vine tomatoes
  • 1 ripe avocado, halved, stoned and peeled
  • A handful each of mint and coriander leaves, roughly chopped

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 180c.
  • Put the potatoes on a roasting tray, drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the oil, sprinkle over the cumin and season with pepper. Toss together to coat the potatoes and roast for 25-30 minutes until tender.
  • Once done take to potatoes out and leave them to cool to room temperature.
  • Mix the remaining oil with the vinegar in a large bowl and add Salt and Pepper to taste.
  • Quarter the tomatoes and slice the avocado. Tip into the bowl, add the potatoes and herbs and toss together gently.

Chicken with Quinoa, Lentils and Pistachio.

Quinoa and Lentils are both Gluten Free and this quick, healthy and delicious recipe combines them with Chicken for a filling and inexpensive mid week supper.  The addition of Pistachio nuts adds a satisfying crunch to the dish that you can be one of the things you miss when cutting Gluten out of your diet. Using the quantities of spices in the recipe below results in a fairly spicy dish, reduce the amount of Cumin seeds to half a teaspoon if you’d prefer it a little milder.

Chicken, lentils, pistachio and quinoa

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other than the difficulty in pronouncing it correctly there are no drawbacks to making Quinoa a regular addition to your diet, now considered one of the super foods, its high in fibre and protein and contains all of the 9 essential amino acids your body needs. Its available in most big UK supermarkets and not expensive, many supermarkets sell their own brand version.

Lentils are similarly good for you being low in fat, high in protein and containing A and C Vitamins that may help to prevent some diseases.  They don’t really deserve their reputation for being difficult to prepare, cook or find, all supermarkets sell at least few different varieties and most of these won’t require soaking and will have a cooking time of 30 minutes or less.  I usually use the green “Verte” Lentils but some people find these a little bland so its worth experimenting with different types to see what you prefer, just bear in mind that you will need to adjust cooking times accordingly.

The dish couldn’t be any easier to cook, make sure you use a gluten free chicken stock cube, again these are available in most high street supermarkets and keep an eye on the Lentils, some types take a little longer to cook and you may need to add more water while they cook to get them to the consistency you prefer.  It keeps well in the fridge for a couple of days so you could have it for your dinner one day and then heat it up for your lunch the day after.

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RECIPE

Ingredients

  • 2 Chicken Thighs/Breasts
  • Olive (or other) oil
  • 40g Green Lentils
  • 40g Quinoa
  • 400 mls Chicken stock
  • 1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 tsp ground Ginger
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 2 sliced garlic cloves
  • 50g Pistachios
  • 1 handful chopped fresh coriander
  • A swig of Lemon juice

Method

  • Put the Olive oil into a pan on medium heat with the Cayenne Pepper, Cumin, Ginger and Garlic
  • Cook for about three minutes
  • Add the Lentils and Chicken Stock
  • Bring to a rolling Boil and then boil for 10 minutes before adding the Quinoa
  • Turn the heat down and simmer for another 20 minutes.
  • Cook the Chicken in a different pan (or in the grill or oven if you’d prefer)
  • When the Chicken is cooked remove it from the pan and add it to the Lentil and Quinoa mixture.
  • Add a dash of Lemon Juice
  • Toast the Pistachios in the pan you just took the Chicken out of for 2 minutes
  • Sprinkle the Pistachios and chopped Coriander on top of the Chicken and serve.

Baked Avocado and Egg

This is a quick and easy (and Gluten Free) recipe for something different for lunch or a weekend breakfast, it takes 15-25 minutes to cook depending on the size of the egg so is ideal for mornings where you have little more time. Avocados are easy to find nowadays here in the UK and eating them for breakfast is a great way of getting a massive dose of Omega 3’s at the start of the day.  Make sure you use a ripe one for this recipe as it will be much easier to carve out the hole for the egg.  As well as being full of  healthy fatty acids and proteins they are also low in sugar and high in fibre.

Baked Avocado and Egg

You may be wary of eating avocado that’s has been cooked but don’t worry. It doesn’t become at all mushy after being baked and although the taste changes slightly if anything it become slightly more bland, the creaminess of the avocado is great with the egg and there are tons of ways you can easily alter the dish to make it more to your liking. Traditional breakfast meats like Bacon or Turkey Ham work really well served on the side or chopped up and sprinkled over the top of the egg.

Other toppings that work well if you don’t fancy the Cayenne pepper suggested in the recipe are some red salsa or a dash of hot sauce. Feta cheese with chopped spring onions is also good.

The recipe couldn’t really be any more straight forward, the only slightly tricky parts are making the hole in the avocado where you are going to put the egg big enough, I find the easiest way of doing this is gently circling the hole with a teaspoon removing a little avocado each time.  To get the Avocado to stay securely stood up while its in the oven, loosely scrunch up some tin foil and then make a dip in the middle by pressing it down with your thumbs.

RECIPE

Ingredients

  • 1 Avocado
  • 1 Egg
  • Cayenne Pepper, Salt and Black Pepper

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 190 degrees.
  • Halve each avocado and remove the stone.
  • Scoop out a bit of the avocado from the inside, to make room for all of the egg, and reserve it.
  • Take some tinfoil and scrunch it up to make a bowl/stand for the avocado.
  • Crack the egg into each carved out space in the avocado.
  • Top with some cayenne pepper (if you like it) and a little salt and pepper.
  • Place the tinfoil bowl on a baking tray and put the avocado in it
  • Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes.
  • Put the slivers of Avocado that you removed when making the hole for the egg over the top.

Sweet Potato Gratin

Sweet Potatos and Peanut butter are two of my favourite things to eat but I never thought I’d see the day when I’d be able to eat them both together.  This recipe for a Sweet Potato and Peanut Butter Gratin made that dream a reality.

Sweet Potato Gratin

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sweet Potato’s are good for you in all kinds of ways and they’re a cheap and easily obtainable alternative to starchy white potato’s.  If you’re a fan of Sweet Potato’s click here for a simple salad recipe and here for a Gluten Free Hash recipe.  The Lime, Garlic and Chilli added to the Sweet Potato’s here cuts through their sweetness a little bit and the addition of Peanut Butter brings a Satay vibe to the dish but without the need to use or find a replacement for glutinous soy sauce.

If you don’t like peanut butter just leave it out, the recipe works just as well as a straight forward sweet potato Gratin.

Sweet Potato Gratin

 

 

 

 

 

 

This gratin works well as a side dish, I like it with Chilli or a chicken breast and green beans. It’s equally good as a main dish served with a green salad, this is a good option if you find it too sweet as the bitter salad leaves balance the sweetness of the gratin.

RECIPE

Ingredients

  • About 1kg of sweet potatoes
  • 2 tbsp oil.
  • 1 red chilli, seeds removed, finely chopped, or 1 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 3 chopped garlic cloves.
  • 250ml double cream
  • salt and black pepper
  • 150g peanut butter (I find a crunchy, sugar free variety best).
  • 2 tsp of lime juice

Method

  • Heat the oven to 190C and lightly oil a large oven proof dish.
  • Cut the sweet potato’s (peeled if you prefer, I usually don’t bother) into thin slices.
  • In a large bowl, mix the sweet potato slices together with a tablespoon of oil, the chilli, garlic, cream and some salt and pepper until they are all equally covered.
  • Arrange half the sweet potato slices in the oven proof dish, spreading them out with your fingers until they form a rough, flat cover of the bottom of the dish.
  • Mix the peanut butter with the lime juice and a tablespoon of oil. Pour the mixture over the sweet potato in the dish and then spread it flat.  Cover it with another layer of sweet potato and then cover the whole thing with any of  cream, garlic and chilli mixture remaining.
  • Cover the dish with  foil and bake it for about 20 minutes, then take off the foil and bake it for another 30 minutes.
  • It’s done when the sweet potato is completely tender and the top is browned and beginning to crisp.
  • If you’d like it a little crispier put it under a hot grill for 2 or 3 minutes but keep an eye on it as it can easily burn.

Gluten Free Fishcakes

Fish cakes are a popular choice for supper that you may miss when you start eating Gluten Free.  With this recipe for Gluten Free fishcakes, they are back on the menu. It is a really quick and easy recipe to follow and none of the ingredients are difficult to find anywhere in the UK.

The recipe suggests using canned Salmon which tastes great as well as being really good for you with a high omega 3 content (tinned Salmon also contains more Calcium than fresh salmon). Salmon can however be a bit expensive although there are often special offers if you shop around a bit.  I can’t see any reason why you couldn’t replace the salmon with another canned fish. I’d think Tuna would work well but experimentation is encouraged.

gluten free fishcakes

Gluten Free Fishcakes

 

 

 

 

 

 

Served with sweet potato fries and mayonnaise these make a great, quick, easy and healthy dinner.  The fishcakes also go well with guacamole, mashed potatoes, roasted vegetables or a green salad.

The amounts given in the recipe below will produce about 6 fishcakes, if you’re just cooking for yourself you can put them into an airtight container and then store them in the fridge and they will keep for 2 or 3 days.

If your having people round you could make these and turkey burgers and serve them with a variety of dips and sides for a quick, impressive buffet that should have something for all but the fussiest of tastes.

Gluten Free Fish Cakes

 RECIPE

Ingredients

  • 1 (420 gram) can salmon, drained and flaked
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 Teaspoons of parsley

Method

  • Break the eggs into a mixing bowl and quickly beat them together.
  • Open the canned Salmon, drain off some of the liquid, check it for bones and remove any that you find and then add this to the eggs.
  • Add the diced onion, parsley and some black pepper to taste.
  • Thoroughly mix all of this together.
  • Shape into about 6 or 7 burger shaped patties.
  • Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat.
  • Fry each patty for about 5 minutes on each side until they are crispy and golden brown.

Nine Bar Flax

This Gluten Free (but also wheat, gluten, yeast and egg free, it may contain nuts however) bar is a bit different to most of the other cereal or breakfast bars on the market because of the unusual choices of ingredients it’s manufacturers – Wholebake – have made.

Nine Bar Flax gluten free bar

 

 

 

 

 

 

As well as the Hemp seed that all of their bars contain and which gives them their name as it contains all of the nine essential amino acids that are the building blocks of life and cannot be made by the body, this bar also contains Flax seed and is coated with Carob.

Flax seed is considered a “Super Food” due to the high amount of nutrients it contains.  It’s technically not a grain, although it has a similar amount and type of vitamins and minerals  to grains but has considerably more fibre, antioxidants, and Omega-3 fatty acids.

It’s also very low in carbohydrates, so perfect for anyone limiting the amount of carbs they consume and its ability to help you feel full and satisfied due to the amount of healthy fats it contains and its high fibre content make it a great food for anyone trying to drop a few pounds.

Carob  is used here as a substitute for chocolate, it has a similar colour to chocolate and a somewhat similar taste. Although slightly higher in Carbs and sugar than chocolate it contains no caffeine, is much higher in Calcium and lower in fat.

This bar contains no trans fats, artificial additives, preservatives or colours and like all 8 Nine Bars is handmade in Wales.

There’s the stats, now its time to review the taste.  The added honey makes it just sweet enough but not overly sugary or sickly, the Carob although a bit of a different taste to a high cocoa chocolate is still pleasant and not a million miles away from the taste of the milk chocolate many cereal bars use. The mix of seeds taste really good, particularly the hemp which has a similar taste to pine nuts.

So, if youre looking for a convenient snack that’s Gluten Free and a bit different these come highly recommended, most UK supermarkets sell them in a 4 x 40g multi pack and they also come in a slightly larger 50g size, which I’ve only managed to find in Holland and Barrett.

If you can’t find them in any shops near you they are also available in bulk from Amazon here:

Wholebake 9 Bar Flax 6x4x40g

If you do try them and like them its worth trying others from the range which has 8 different bars in total.

 

 

Lamb with Pesto Butter Beans

Both lamb and butter bean mash are favourites of mine so when I came across this recipe for lamb with a pesto butter bean mash I tried it right away.

The dish is Gluten Free as long as you check that the stock cube you use is (Gluten Free stock cubes are pretty easy to find in any of the major supermarkets).

Traditionally served in the spring and around Easter I think Lamb is good any time of year, the lamb steaks used in this recipe take less than 10 minutes in the pan to cook.  The addition of crème fraiche and pesto to already creamy butter beans makes for a really smooth and tasty mash which complements the Lamb well. The slight sharpness of the tomato’s stops the dish from being too bland.

So if you like lamb and you’re looking for something a bit different thats quick to cook and with easy to source ingredients then why not try this, it could be on the table just over 20 minutes after you get in the house from the supermarket.

Gluten Free lamb with pesto butter beans

 

 

 

 

 

 

RECIPE

Ingredients

  • 2 x 220g packs lamb rump steaks
  • 270g tomatoes on the vine
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove,  finely chopped
  • 1 x 410g tin butter beans, drained and rinsed
  • 150ml chicken stock, made with 1 Gluten Free stock cube – I use these.
  • 75ml crème fraîche
  • 2 tablespoons green pesto
  • 200g spring greens, roughly chopped

Method  

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C, fan 160°C.
  • Put the tomatoes on a baking tray and cover them with ½ tablespoon of the oil and the dried oregano and roast them for 15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of the remaining oil in a pan and cook the onion for 5 minutes, adding the garlic for the last minute. Then stir in the butter beans, stock, crème fraîche and pesto. Simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Brush the lamb steaks with the remaining oil and season with black pepper. Heat a frying pan over a high heat, add the steaks and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side.
  • Remove the steaks from the pan and allow them to rest.
  • Add the spring greens to the pan and stir fry for 5 minutes.
  • Serve the lamb steaks on top of the pesto butter beans and spring greens, with the roasted cherry tomatoes on top.