Manna Dew Patisserie

I went to Manna Dew Patisserie with my Mum the other week and it was great! Located in Battersea High Street, it is a reasonably quiet cafe with about 6 small tables. The selection of cakes on display is very mouthwatering…!

I enjoyed a chicken pesto focaccia sandwich for lunch which was served in manna dew’s signature focaccia bread. I have tried making focaccia myself with little success – this bread was moist and light so it gets a big thumbs up from me.

My mum had a ham and cranberry sandwich which she said was also nice although it had mustard in it.  (Something I would not have paired with cranberry myself!)

We came away with four beautiful Patisserie cakes to share with my husband that evening;

New York Vanilla baked cheesecake

Blueberry cheesecake

Hazlenut & Chocolate Noisette cake
Lemon & Chia Seed cake

The cakes were pricey (£4.50 each I think if my memory serves me right) and I was disappointed with the cheesecakes – the blueberry one in particular was lacking in flavour. However I really enjoyed the patisserie style cakes that were light and fluffy and much fuller in flavour! The cakes were devoured quite quickly so I don’t have any photographic evidence unfortunately!!

Definitely worth a trip in my opinion as they also had some great brunch options which I will have to go back and try…

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Baking

I am trying to prove to myself that it is not impossible to bake and look after a baby  (early days at the moment!) But last week I managed to make a loaf of bread and this week I made cookies! 

I’ve never made successful cookies before but the oat and coconut cookie recipe from The Gluten Free Baker was so easy and my cookies don’t even fall apart! *note I exchanged the suggested multipurpose gf flour for rice flour so I didn’t have to go shopping! 

Success!!

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**Gluten free cupcake alert**

Have you heard of Lola’s Cupcakes? They have stalls all over the place (click here for locations) and my friend came to visit me yesterday armed – after visiting their pop up stall in Waterloo station. 

I had never tried a cupcake of theirs before but somehow I knew they did a gluten free cake, and my friend bought me a red velvet one to devour! 

It came it its own box – which shows real awareness of cross contamination issues and they have a section on their website dedicated to their free from range

Oh, and did I say, it tasted amazing!! 

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All about pizza…

Pizza – probably one of our nation’s favourite takeaways I’d say, wouldn’t you? 

Recently I went out for pizza and also did a pizza/flatbread lunch at home. You can see both below! 

Flatbread pizza

Rossopomodorro pizza experience

The flatbread pizza was made with a Venice bakery flatbread. I had frozen it and as a result it had come out of the freezer looking slightly bent, so I didn’t follow the correct cooking instructions (I was worried about my toppings falling off!). Usually with Venice Bakery products you should not put them on a baking tray as it makes the bottom soggy. Instead, pop the base/bread straight onto the oven shelf to crisp up nicely. I fortunately didn’t notice too much of a ‘soggy bottom’ but having cooked the other way too, I do think it’s advisable to follow the instructions correctly! To top my pizza, I used homemade tomato sauce mixed with tomato puree, red peppers, beetroot and cheddar cheese to top it off! It may sound like an odd combination, but I was really pleased with the taste (and that I had used a few leftovers) . Have you tried Venice bakery flatbreads or pizza bases – what did you think? 

We also ventured out to Rossopomodoro on Sunday evening. I have never been there before, although I have known about it for a while. There is one very local to us, so it was very convenient even on a rainy miserable night! The pizza was expensive, if you are going to compare it to say, Pizza Express, particularly as they add £1 on for gluten free.  However, the pizza base had a nice chunky crust and usually gluten free pizzas in restaurants tend to be thin and crispy I find. I chose the capricciosa topping, without black olives and thoroughly enjoyed it.  The tomato sauce tasted really fresh too. We stopped just short of dessert  (a gluten free tiramisu!!) as we felt it was too expensive to justify on this occasion. Have you ever been to Rossopomodoro? What did you think? I would recommend it for families as there is a good atmosphere and the staff were really friendly and knowledgeable about coeliac disease too, always an added bonus!  

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How do you like your eggs…? 

I like mine with a mashed banana. Sound a little odd? Well, it isn’t if you mix mashed banana and egg together.  You get an omelette/pancake mixture which fries up really nicely for a healthier breakfast without too much bulk! The sweetness of the banana makes the mixture less omelette-y. 

Simply mash 1 banana per person and allow 1 egg per person, mix together and fry until cooked through.  

I served mine with frozen berries (heating up in the pan, but if you have time defrost) as a topping! 

Nb – inspiration from this video

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Leftover Yorkshire pudding surprises! 

Have you ever put leftovers in your yorkshire pudding mix? Have you even attempted Yorkshire puddings since going gluten free? 
My mum makes nice ones, but they tend to be quite soggy and quite flat. But they do taste nice nonetheless. She’s a bit secretive about her recipe bizarrely though so I can’t pass that one onto you! This week I tried following this recipe from BBC Good Food. One tweak I always make is to at least double the eggs a recipe asks for. That way you get a much better rise.  Next time you want to try some, give it a go and let me know how it goes! 

Back to the leftovers…I had some pork, cabbage and carrots from our roast on Sunday, so I chopped the veg really small and mixed it into the pudding mix. After I poured the mixture into the muffin tin, I dropped in chunks of pork too. Cook for about 20 minutes in the oven, or until the mix has risen a little and golden brown. Alternatively you could put the pork into the mix as well, I think it would work very well. I also believe that this could work with any leftovers – so give it a go! It’s a great comfort food for winter. 

Here is the result – we enjoyed it with mash potato and onion gravy. 


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Gluten free ready meal – tortellini

Evexia Thrive is not a brand I have come across before but just recently my local sainsbury’s has expanded their free from range to include more ready meal style items. Think quiches for 1, fresh pasta, fishcakes and more! 

Today I tried the gluten free Spinach and ricotta Tortellini which is made by Evexia and it was brilliant served with my favourite homemade tomato and basil sauce! Note, the pasta only needs 1 minute to be heated through, any longer and it starts to fall apart. 

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Ned’s Noodle Bar!

About 7 years my brother showed this great spot to me, but we didn’t have time to go in.  A few years later I was diagnosed with Coeliac Disease and never thought of the establishment again.  Given that noodles were in the name, I assumed it would be all egg noodles and nothing to cater for gluten free bods like me!

However, I happened to walk by a few weeks ago and got all excited when I peered through the window and found they did rice noodles! The next week I dragged my husband along for a taste.

The menu is pretty basic for the likes of me – there were only 2 gluten free sauces to choose from, but any meat or fish could go into these sauces.  There are rice noodles and rice options to choose from.  I went with sweet and sour beef with rice noodles.

There are several locations of Ned’s Noodle Bar, but we visited the one near the London Eye.

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La Polenteria – a birthday celebration

As is usually customary with me I start conjouring up ideas of grandeur for celebrating my birthday.  This would be the year I actually got my friends together again (we are scattered all over the place) and did something fun – karaoke perhaps? Go Ape? Even a trampolining party place opened up down the road and that really did tempt me…but as is also usual, by the time the end of the year is looming I simply can’t be bothered.  The small fact of being pregnant had nothing to do with choosing not to go to Go Ape! and swing in the trees of course…

So I settled for a quiet Tuesday night dinner with my husband.  I took some cakes into work, which were gobbled up quite enthusiastically by my colleagues! It was otherwise a normal day. I had booked La Polenteria a good few weeks ago and it had been on my ‘must-go to’ list for a few years since it opened.  And it was so worth the wait!

The atmosphere was, at first, a little lacking, given that I arrived at 6.30pm.  Tucked in a bustling side street of Soho, I had to admit this was quite early for dinner.  But, as more guests arrived, so did the hubbub that I love in a restaurant! I would also like to say that the waiter was really charming, which I always feel makes a difference.

The menu is completely gluten free (although there are ‘normal’ beers on the drinks menu) which is always a joy! Other allergens are clearly marked on the menu too(egg, celery etc).

We kicked off with some bread and oil.  The bread was made of sorghum and really superb – I am craving some right now in fact.

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Handmade sorghum bread with oil & vinegar

I ordered the duck ravioli (which is made with a teff flour I think) which came with anise and red onion marmalade.  The presentation was beautiful and although it looked simple, it was very filling! My husband ordered the spinach and ricotta gnudi balls, which were exceptionally filling.  He only got given 3, but I finished one of them for him (insert eating for two excuse right here!).

We had also ordered a side of Aubergine caponata with tomatoes and olives.  Little did we realise this also came with bread – it makes absolute sense now, but I was surprised at first! Having said that, I wasn’t upset at having to eat some more of the freshly baked goods on offer. I really liked the flavour of the aubergines in this.

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Aubgergine Caponata

And finally, we were asked would we like a dessert? At first I thought, perhaps not.  I was exceptionally satisfied after all the lovely flavours we had tried but in the end I was tempted by the Chocolate & Avocado mousse with Chocolate Crust and dried fruit.  It was SO rich, and next time I don’t think I would eat it as a finish to my meal, but it was lovely nonetheless.  I always forget how rich and creamy avocado can be when combined with chocolate.  The chocolate ‘crust’ was a thick chocolate layer, which proved quite hard to crack into, and made the dessert even more decadent. Fortunately, I was sharing this so didn’t have to struggle to finish it all by myself.

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Chocolate & Avocado mousse

Overall, I can’t recommend La Polenteria enough.  It was such a lovely intimate restaurant for a subdued but special dinner and the food was exceptionally good.  Oh, and the best bit – the bill came to £50 including drinks which I thought was incredibly reasonable seeing as we had quite a few dishes between us.

Bravo – keep gluten free tasting exceptional like this and we may shake off some of those strange comments about the second rate tasteless nature of gluten free cuisine!

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A gluten free pregnancy…

So I am almost 6 months pregnant…and as you have noticed, my blog posts have become few and far between (I am so rubbish!)

But, in between researching all things baby, and trying not to vomit everywhere…I have, more recently been eating some lovely food! 

So first thing’s first: a gluten free diet in pregnancy is something that is really important to continue with if you have coeliac disease or an intolerance. Keeping yourself well should be a number 1 priority, and if you’re well, baby should be well too. So try really hard not to make any shortcuts (if that is something you do on occasion), but equally, try not to worry unnecessarily if you do slip up. (Although telling a first time mum not to worry is easier said than done).

For the first 3 months I started out with great intentions to eat lots of salmon (Omega 3) and broccoli (good source of folate) however, morning sickness had another idea and floored me with a limited appetite and daily nausea and vomiting! My main enjoyment during this time was marmite (supermarket own brand equivalents are generally gluten free) on toast, and at lunchtimes marmite and cheese sandwiches with crisps in sometimes for the inner child in me. 

Evenings were better although I never ate that much,  generally a handful of whatever my husband had cooked, if I could stomach it at all. Sadly throughout this period I felt very guilty for not keeping up my fruit and veg intake (I’m normally a stickler for this) but as many mum’s have told me – it’s important to eat what you can!  

Dry crackers also kept me full(ish) and I particularly like these which I have only recently seen on the market from Schär! They’re a bit like ritz crackers and so yummy! 

Recently I’ve been trying to get better at breakfasts to give myself a good start to the day. Cue my favourite pancakes with fruit  (very easy to make the night before), porridge and good ol’ bacon and scrambled eggs! 

The best breakfast – pancakes with yoghurt, blueberries and banana

Now I’m feeling less nauseous I can stomach a little spice and more flavour – see the curry we made recently!  

Lentil curry with salad and beef & coconut curry with cauliflower pickle

Also recently, I’ve been able to sample John Lewis cake selection. As well as pre-wrapped honeybuns cakes, the supervisor was able to tell me that they always have 2 cakes that are made with no gluten containing ingredients.  the disappointment here is that you have to ask which ones – they are not allowed to mark them as gluten free because the cakes are made in a working kitchen where gluten is present.  However, I decided to go for the carrot cake anyway, which was amazing. I shared it with my.husband but if you were feeling indulgent I’m sure you could manage it all…

A selection of the food that’s made me happy recently!

We had a first class journey on  coast Virgin trains recently and there was a great menu there – see above for the salmon and quinoa salad. It was small,  but it was free so I can’t complain!  I supplemented my ‘meal’ with a waitress chicken wrap (which I had bought ‘just in case’)to fill me up! 

Very blurry picture of the menu which denotes items with NCGI

You can also see some of our home baking and usual home comforts of cheese on toast- I’m so glad I have my appetite back! 

I have around 3 months left of pregnancy so I aim to eat as much goodness as I can, especially as the winter months approach.  I need lots of energy and vitamins! I’ve also been drinking herbal teas and found out yesterday that nettle tea is a good source of magnesium and iron so its a good alternative to black tea in pregnancy! 

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