2015 Goodbye, 2016 Hi

Where did you go 2015?  Reflecting on a year of ups and downs.

One main thing was going into hospital for another laparoscopy.  I have recovered really well but still in pain so will be looking for answers in 2016.  This might involve more dietary changes and drinking more water is one of them.

2015 gave me the opportunity to eat at some lovely places and there is still some content to be loaded.

My word for 2016 is consistency, rather than setting resolutions. I want to gain more consistency over all aspects of my life, this includes my blogging.

So thank you for reading my ramblings and keep your eyes peeled for more.

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Eating out in Cardiff

At the beginning of September my day job took me off to Cardiff. I posted in a coeliacs Facebook group for suggestions on where to eat.

There were quite a few responses. So I went to Wahaca and Bill’s. I wanted to try places that weren’t in the city I live in.
I have been to Wahaca on the Southbank before and really enjoyed the food. As I don’t go very often I thought I would give it another try. They have a specific gluten free menu. I am glad did as the plantain tacos were lovely.
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Then I had a fish and rice dish. This was good too.
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Since my visit to Cardiff Bill’s have opened in the Bullring, so will go again.

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Rub Smokehouse & Bar Birmingham

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Rub Smokehouse & bar is new to Birmingham only opened on 22nd July 2015.  It is located on Broad Street in between the Solomon Cutler and the Hyatt hotel.  I remember this place as the Living Room, a bar upstairs with a good vibe.

I came across Rub on Twitter and as I usually do I checked out the menu online and noticed (GF) next to many of the items.  I have a great love of pulled pork but I cook it at home.  Ribs on the other hand are something I haven’t mastered at home so seeing them filled me with excitement.

I was greeted by a friendly host and shown upstairs.  As I was meeting a friend I was given the option to wait at the bar but I went straight to our table.  My first memory was these wooden seats aren’t too comfortable.

I ordered the crackling as a starter.  I wasn’t sure if any of the gluten free options needed to have ingredients removed, so I mentioned it to our server.  I don’t think she is used to sceptical eaters who like to check food is definitely gluten free so thought I was a little awkward.

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I enjoyed the crackling and the apple sauce was nice, not too sweet.  A little bit more apple sauce would be good.

Then my half rack of ribs came served with salt and pepper fries and slaw.  The slaw had no sign of mayonnaise and I didn’t mind.  There was a lot of choice of how to have your fries.

Poppybead blog - Ribs

There was wet tissues so you don’t need to be polite, I just tucked in with my hands.  The ribs tasted really good and the portion was ample.  There was spring onions sprinkled on everything.

We were then offered the desert menu.  I asked if they had any deserts that were gluten free and non chocolate.  The answer was no, my allergy to chocolate sometimes makes desert when eating out difficult.

All in all I will definitely be going back again to Rub.  The portion sizes were good, the options were ample apart from desert.  I did like how they brought out the kitchen sink desert to another table, that looked like good fun.

I would like to wish them well and every  success.

Here is my friend’s non gluten free desert, it did look good.

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Itsu

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On Friday 24th July the weather was pretty bad in London and many other places.  So as I came out of Euston Station I noticed the Itsu sign amongst the gloom of the bad weather.

A few days later I was back and it was lunchtime.  So I thought I would give it a go.  I asked a very smiley member of staff is any of the food gluten free?  A blank look is what came next however, I think the manager stepped in.  He offered me their allergens menu card, with the offer of checking my choices.  I was allowed to peruse the card at my leisure even though the store was busy.

I selected a rice based salad dish but it wasn’t suitable.  The hot noodles were recommended so I had the classic chicken noodles.

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I have had their noodles from the supermarket but these were so much better.  It was packed with chicken and vegetables.

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I  couldn’t take a good photo as I was travelling and too busy eating it.  I really enjoyed my food.

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I also got a drink and that was nice.  It wasn’t too sweet.  All in all I had a really positive experience and will be going back again.

Baked cheese

Yet another conversation about food with my work colleagues has resulted with me baking a camembert.

Here’s what I used.:
Mini camembert
Fresh garlic (from my colleagues garden)
Fresh sprigs of rosemary.
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I sliced the garlic and placed it down some slits in the cheese.

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I drizzled it olive oil and baked it for 10 minutes.
I served it with a gluten free roll with green olives and bagel chips.

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I had a glass of red wine and it was lovely to have a treat.

Foodmaestro App

After another random conversation with a colleague at my day job I was introduced to an app called Foodmaestro.
It’s an app that gives you product information according to your allergies or intolerances.  My colleague uses it for his son’s nut allergy and said I could use it for my gluten intolerance.

So I had a look and have been rather excited by this app.
Here’s a video explaining more about it.

This is
Here is a screen shot of part of my profile.

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This app has the potential to be a great app, but being new it will need time to build.  So I am going to be patient and see how it evolves.

I am using the app via an android phone and is available on most phone formats in the UK.

Disclaimer : I have not been asked or paid to write this blog.

Jollof Rice

Poppybead blog - Jollof Rice

Since I was a little girl & I and I am not much taller I have loved Jollof rice.  Jollof Rice is in basic terms a spicy tomato rice dish.  You can add any meat, vegetables, fish or extra spices.  It is eaten in many countries on the West coast of Africa like Ghana & Nigeria, where my origins are from.

Last year when I went home I asked my mum and partner to cook some Jollof rice for some Basketball friends.  I decided to take some photos of them cooking, they thought I was mad but I have turned those photos into a film using Movie Maker.  Let me know what you think?

Ingredients Used

  • Basmati rice
  • Tinned tomatoes
  • Tomato puree
  • Fresh tomatoes
  • Onions
  • Scotch bonnet peppers
  • Tuna
  • Prawns
  • Salt & pepper

Soup

I don’t make as much soup from scratch as I used to.  So this evening I thought I would make a hearty vegetable soup.

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I used a number of fresh vegetables which I had in the fridge and then added frozen chilli, spinach, onions and okra.

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I added tomato puree, garlic puree, turmeric, black pepper, vegetable stock.

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I put some passata and water into the pot.  Usually when I make soup I sauté the vegetables but I didn’t this time, I boiled them.  I turned the heat down and kept stirring every so often.

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I wanted to add a tin of beans and settled for butter beans.  Before adding the beans I blended the vegetables.

Here’s is the finished soup
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I served it with a toasted bagel.

Chicken & Quinoa….Plus some other things

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Earlier this week my colleague had ready meal for lunch.  The ingredients listed made for an interesting meal, but what came out of the packet wasn’t the same.  It was rather watery and looked like a pavement pizza, not good at all.

So I thought I would try and create my own version which looks good and tastes even better.  I have been experimenting not just in the kitchen but also with software so I have made a little video of my recipe.

Here is my video  Let me know what you think?

Super Mini Lemon Meringues

Whilst looking on Facebook someone had posted they had found some lovely mini meringues.  That was it, the next time I went to Marks and Spencer I looked around the whole shop and couldn’t find them.  I asked a member of staff for help and she pointed me to the bakery section.
Yay! I have have found some.

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As a lover of Eton mess I thought I would make my own version.

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I crushed some of the meringues with fresh strawberries and added creme fraiche.

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This is outcome and it tasted great.  The meringues has a slight chewy bit in the middle and I don’t mind that.

Marks and Spencer are pretty good at having many items that are naturally gluten free.  So I shop there quite often.