Saturday, 28 May 2011

Hello? Is it me your looking for?

Hey folks! Just a quick 'hello' to apologise for the lack of posts around these parts. I've had a few problems with trying to sign into my blog (oh the trials of Blogger) but I'll be posting the 1st Edition of my Twice as Nice feature (the tension is palpable isn't it?) tomorrow so stayed tuned!

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Tasty Tempura Prawns with Mango Yogurt Dipping Sauce

I always use sparkling water for batters because you get a much lighter,less greasy batter. Feel free to use beer for the batter if you want, although with this recipe a beer batter will probably overpower the taste of the prawns.

  • 200g King prawns (uncooked)
  • 100g Plain gluten-free flour (Doves Farm,Glutafin)
  • 250ml Sparkling water
  • 25g Cornflour (or you could use potato flour)
  • 1 Egg
  • 2 Pinches of salt
  • 200g Plain yogurt (I used Greek)
  • 2-3 Tbsp's of mango chutney (Sharwood's is g/f. If anyone has a recipe for mango chutney send it over)
  • 1 Lemon
  • Vegetable or sunflower oil
If you omit the dip
Serves 4

  • Wok
  • Slotted spoon
  • A few sheets of kitchen paper
  • In a bowl beat your egg and add in the sparkling water, giving it all a good stir. Add the flours and a few pinches of salt and give it a gentle whisk until everything is well mixed in. Don't worry if its still lumpy at this stage.
  • Stir your prawns through the tempura mix making sure they are coated all over with the batter.
  • Half fill your wok with the oil over a fairly high heat. It's hot enough when a tiny blob of the tempura batter (a bit without a prawn in!) bubbles and browns when dropped into the mixture.
  • Cook a few of the prawns in the oil at a time. They should only take as long as 2-3 minutes to cook and for the batter to go golden. Be careful not to overcook them, prawns can get chewy easily and can be like chewing on a Michelin tyre if they're overdone.
  • Using your slotted spoon (or something similar that will help drain the fat away when you remove the prawns from the pan) take your prawns out of the wok and pop on a plate covered with kitchen paper to absorb some of the excess oil.
  • To make the mango yogurt dipping sauce, plop your yogurt and mango chutney into a small bowl and give them both a thorough stir until they're well combined.
  • Dip away from my friends, dip away!

 Adapted from a recipe from Delicious magazine

Vitamin Tuesday's

Good afternoon my lovelies!
I hope you all had a lovely relaxing weekend despite the crappy weather in parts, I bet K-Mid was pleased the rain was kept at bay for a week so she didn't have to drag her McQueen frock through the puddles outside Westminster.
My weekend was fairly quiet and non eventful, apart from coming up with what I think is the most genius recipe thought up by a person (namely me) ever. More on that later in the week.
I ordered this notebook for my blog notes and ideas...isn't it lovely? I've ordered two one of which is for me (obviously) and the other will be going in my 100 followers give away. It satisfies every aspect of my notebook sluttery. Although I'm going to hazard a guess and say it'll probably take me ages to bring myself to write in something so pretty, and when I do I'll have to use my 'best handwriting'. What a pleb.
With my Dad's gluten-free challenge coming up soon it's given me the impetus to come up with new dinner and grub ideas. We are very much a household of having dinners on certain days of the week (Spag Bog Friday anyone?) so I'm trying to break the habit and get a bit of variety into my life. Variety being the spice of life and all that jazz.
Food is something I've struggled with over the past few years, due to The Other Bowel Problems. I've always had a 'healthy' appetite (read:chunker) but TOBP has meant (much to mine and my bellies annoyance) that I sometimes have a very poor appetite. The nature of my illness coupled with lack of appetite means that I don't get as many vitamins etc that I should do so I often have to supplement my diet with vitamin shakes called Fortysips. Which taste as inspiring as they sound I can tell you.
This week I'm doing the 1st Edition of a new feature which I mentioned back in January called '2 Ways' -which now that I look at it looks vaguely inappropriate for a title so I may have to rethink it- ideas welcome! The premise of which is one ingredient cooked two different ways.
I'm also compiling my Coeliac Top Tips. It's not my intention to teach anyone to suck eggs but I thought that maybe Coeliac nubes might find it useful. If you have any questions about Coeliac's you want to ask or any tips you might need leave a comment, I always reply to every comment. Or if you have any tips I could feature leave a comment over yonder or drop me line.
P.s.I now have a blog button (eek,so exciting!Thank-you Gem for your help) so feel free to nab it won't you?

Friday, 6 May 2011

Sublime Scones

Scones are one of those things that are hard enough to get right when they're not gluten-free, and they're even harder to re-produce when you take gluten out of the mix (literally). This recipe is one that I've adapted from a Phil Vickery recipe. Phil uses his own flour mixes, but I find the Doves Farm flour mixes are brilliant and work great for this recipe.

  • 300g Self raising gluten-free flour (we need to give these bad boys a fair chance at rising!)
  • 4 Tsp's baking powder (check that it's gluten-free)
  • 25g Caster sugar
  • 2 Tsp's xanthan gum (I use Doves Farm)
  • 100g Butter at room temperature plus extra for greasing
  • 2 Eggs plus another egg beaten to glaze your scone tops (optional)
  • 120ml Milk
  • Pinch of salt
Makes 12-14

  • Baking tray
  • Something to cut your scones out with, a tumbler will do if you don't have a proper cutter.
  • Brush to glaze your scones with
  • Rolling pin
  • Pop your oven on high to gas 7. Get on with greasing your baking tray, you can either use butter or a little bit on sunflower oil.
  • Get yourself a nice big bowl and sift your flour in. Add the baking powder, sugar and xanthan gum and give it all a good stir with a wooden spoon. 
  • Cube the butter into the flour mix and rub in lightly with your fingers and then make a well in the centre of the mixture.
  • In a jug or small bowl whisk the eggs and milk together and then pour into the well you've made and mix everything together to make a nice soft slightly sticky dough. 
  • Sprinkle some plain flour onto a clean surface and plop the dough onto it. Using your rolling pin lightly roll out the dough until its about 2cm's thick.
  • Using your cutter, cut out your rounds and evenly space them on the greased baking trays.
  • Brush your beaten egg over the tops of your scones and pop in the oven for around 10-15minutes. They should go a nice golden colour on top and be very firm to the touch.
  • Take your scones out of the oven and let them cool down for a few minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.
  • Dig out your jam and clotted cream and get spreading. on a diet? Use a little low fat cream cheese instead of clotted cream, with a dot of jam you won't even notice the difference.

    Thursday, 5 May 2011

    Iron Maiden

    Between being Coeliac and The Other Bowel Problems my poor old body significantly lacks in various different vitamins and things of importance, namely iron and vitamin B12.  While my deficiencies are caused namely by TOPB, initially Coeliac's was to blame for my low iron levels and episodes of Anaemia.

    The Iron Low Down

    In Coeliac's changes in the bowel (the flattening and scarring of the villi- the Cadbury's finger like wiggly bits in your small bowel) makes it less able to absorb all the lovely nutrients and minerals and the fat soluble vitamins your body needs such as A, D and K.
    This can lead to many (but not all) Coeliac's developing iron malabsorption which is one of the primary causes of iron deficiency Anaemia.

    so what is Anaemia?

    Here's the sciencey bit now folks....
    Anaemia is a lack of red blood cells in the body. The red blood cells are responsible for carting the oxygen round your body. Less red blood cells means more work for the remaining red blood cells, thus your body is having to work harder but with less rescources.
    As well as many Coeliac's sufferering from Anaemia, it is also estimated that as many as 8% of women in the UK suffer from iron related Anaemia.
    Anaemia can also develop due to a lack of a few other vital vitamins, but we'll go into that at a later date because I'm starting to confuse myself.

    Symptoms of iron deficiency Anaemia 

    • Fatigue/ tiredness/ sleepiness
    • Trouble breathing/ respiritory depression/ palpatations
    • Paleness/ yellow lemon tinge to the skin
    • Hair loss
    • Fainting
    • Soreness in the corners of your mouth (angular cheilitis). Not to be confused with cold sores
    • Brittle hair and nails
    • Headaches
    • Mouth ulcers

      Upping your iron and boosting your absorption

      In most cases, iron defiency is treated by your GP with iron supplements. Obviously if your worried about not getting enough iron in your diet or that you may be Anaemic go and see your doctor and ask their advice.

      Fancy improving your iron intake? Course you do! Here's some iron heavy foods you can get your chops round and some tips for helping you up your absorption.
      • Liver (if you can stomach it) contains 9mg of iron per serving,thats a whopping 50% of your RDA for iron.
      • Meat, namely red meat is also iron rich. Chicken and turkey are also good sources of iron.
      • Fish and various seafood such as prawns and shrimp.
      • Beans, e.g lentils, black eyed peas, peas, soyabeans (otherwise know as pulses)
      • Dried fruit such as apricots, prunes, figs and peaches
      • Nuts, almonds, peanuts, macadamia's and the like.
      • Wholegrains (obviously Coeliac's need to avoid the nasties such as wheat, bran and barely) like brown rice, millet, and quinoa the all round super grain which, it has been said, contains more iron than a slab of steak.
      • Breakfast cereals (again be careful if your Coeliac) many are now fortified with iron and other nutritional lovelies.
      • Dark green leafy veg such as kale, chard, mustard leaves and bok choy.
      A note about spinach:
      Spinach as lovely as it is and packed full of iron as it is, it actually contains a substance which makes it harder to absorb iron.

      Ways to up your absorption

      • Chug a glass of OJ with your meal. The vitamin C in the orange juice helps break down the iron in your food thus increasing your absoption by up to 30%. 
      • Don't drink tea or coffee with your meals. Like spinach, they also contain substances which hinder absorption. Nasty nescafe.
      • Stop smoking. Tabacco as well as causing a host of other problems and wreaking havoc on your health and body, surprise surprise it also decreases your iron absorption. Stub it out.
      • Sup on chamomile or rose hip tea, both full of iron.
      • Mollases (treacle like natural sugar) is the secret weapon to boost your iron. 2 tsp's will give you 13% of your RDA of iron. Im not gunna lie, it ain't heaven to the taste buds, but spooned in your tea you'll never taste it.

      Benefits of iron

      • Helps produce collagen. Yes thats right ladies, a good supply of iron in your body could help keep your mush plump and wrinkle free.
      • Helps regulate your body tempertature. Are you that person who says 'is it me or is it cold in here?'
      • Iron is responsible for getting blood and oxygen round your body,your brain uses 20% of your bloods oxygen, therefore a good intake or iron facilitates brain function-thats concentration, co-ordiantion and the like to you and me.
      • It boosts your immune system. Which could mean less sniffles and colds and could mean that you recover quicker from injuries and general maladies.
      • Gives you more energy. Iron is extracted by the body from food, the body then facilitates conversion of iron into energy which is then used by the body.
      • Getting your beauty sleep. Iron is often used in the treatment of insomnia, and encourages restful sleep.

      I hope that this has been of some help. Again, I must stress I'm NOT a dietican or any other type of medical professional (despite all the wishing in the world to the contrary) the information I have given here,whilst obtained from a reliable source and also from my personal experiences should not be used in lieu of a professional opinion should you believe you have anaemia or need to address your iron intake.  Your GP isn't making making silly money a year for you to not utilise their services, so go see them!
      Any questions on the subject of anaemia and Coeliac's and the whole iron schbang I can only answer from personal experience, which I'm more than happy to do.
      I have also been asked if I take any iron supplements and the answer to that would be not anymore since I've been under treated for Anaemia with my consultant. I have, however tried various different iron supplements in the past including Spatone which is a natural iron supplement that you can add to orange or cranberry juice. Floradix is another liquid iron formula I've used in the past, as well as multi vitamins containing iron.


      Hello my Lovelies and a big hello to my new lovelies, glad you could join us :)
      May is one of those blah sort of nothing months for me, my birthday is a distance memory and all the exciting things are usually a whole month or more away. The only thing I've got to look forward to this month is the 'rents going away to Rome so I'll have free reign of the house, whatever that means since my parents stopped babygating my room when I was three.
      Young Steven will be joining me (I'm far too much of a wuss to stay in my house alone for four days and he'll cook dinner every night) so I hope the weathers nice so we can have dinner in the garden and do nice summery things and wear maxi dresses (me, not Steve).
      The 16th to the 22nd of May is Gluten-Free Week. Coeliac UK are asking people to shop, cook and eat gluten-free for one week to raise awareness (and also, I imagine, to demonstrate what a ball ache it can be sometimes). My dad has gallantly decided to take on the imaginatively named Gluten-Free Challenge for the week, and I'm interviewing him pre and post challenge for my blog just to see how he found it. He's (almost) as humourous as myself so I'm sure you'll find the interview if not interesting then at least entertaining.
      Not coeliac or gluten-free and fancy taking up the gauntlet ? To get involved in The Challenge visit .
      Im doing my first ever guest post on saturday over at Where Are My Knees? so make sure you pop over and have a read. If your trying to diet, the girl's blog is a great community to get ideas, recipes and encouragement, plus some great testimonials and inspirtation from various guest bloggers and the girls themselves.