Festival Food: The Honest Carrot

Festivals can be a nightmare to negotiate for those of us with coeliac disease. Many a year I’ve survived Reading and Latitude on plain crisps and corn on the cob… But no longer!

I’m so thrilled to see places like The Honest Carrot providing healthy gluten free options in an otherwise junk and gluten filled arena. I first came across them when I played Latitude last year and was so excited to see them at this year’s Reading festival, nestled amongst the countless hot dog and burger stalls.

They offer a fabulous selection of freshly prepared vegan and vegetarian “roasts” and “burgers”, with several gluten free options, including a special gluten free pitta made from the dove flour blend. The lady who served me was really knowledgeable and helpful and it was so refreshing to be able to eat a filling and delicious meal at a festival.

I had the honest “burger” with salad, houmous and a gluten free pitta but I took a photo of the menu so you can see just how many options there were on offer.

I hope to see The Honest Carrot at many more festivals on my touring travels!

Pizza Express: The case of the soggy pizza base…

After spending a huge amount of time and effort getting coeliac uk accreditation it seems Pizza Express have gone and messed it all up by changing their gluten free pizza bases recently. 

I first noticed this last week after biting in to my usual Padana and promptly spitting it out as the texture was so wrong I thought they’d accidentally served me a normal base. Upon checking with the waiter I found out that no, the bases have been changed. Where once was a safe and tasty base that could barely be distinguished from the “real thing”, now we have a paper thin and greasy, floppy excuse for a pizza base - just like the nightmarish gluten free products of days gone by. They are so greasy in texture and insubstantial. If they don’t revert back I can’t say I would ever bother to go to a branch again. 

Please please please, Mr/Mrs Pizza Express can you reconsider this switch and go back to using the original product? This just isn’t up to standard and will leave a huge number of coeliacs very disappointed. 

UPDATE: Pizza Express confirmed that they have indeed made the permanent switch on their gf bases from using an outside supplier to making their own gf pizza dough. The spokesperson said that they would follow up with their team to ensure they are being cooked correctly but I’m still not convinced that this was a preparation issue (in two different restaurants). I can only hope they tweak the recipe if enough people feedback about the poor quality of the new bases.

Pizza Express: The case of the soggy pizza base…

After spending a huge amount of time and effort getting coeliac uk accreditation it seems Pizza Express have gone and messed it all up by changing their gluten free pizza bases recently. I first noticed this last week after biting in to my usual Padana and promptly spitting it out as the texture was so wrong I thought they’d accidentally served me a normal base. Upon checking with the waiter I found out that no, the bases have been changed. Where once was a safe and tasty base that could barely be distinguished from the “real thing”, now we have a paper thin and greasy, floppy excuse for a pizza base - just like the nightmarish gluten free products of days gone by. They are so greasy in texture and insubstantial. If they don’t revert back I can’t say I would ever bother to go to a branch again. Please please please, Mr/Mrs Pizza Express can you reconsider this switch and go back to using the original product? This just isn’t up to standard and will leave a huge number of coeliacs very disappointed.

UPDATE: Pizza Express confirmed that they have indeed made the permanent switch on their gf bases from using an outside supplier to making their own gf pizza dough. The spokesperson said that they would follow up with their team to ensure they are being cooked correctly but I’m still not convinced that this was a preparation issue (in two different restaurants). I can only hope they tweak the recipe if enough people feedback about the poor quality of the new bases.
Gluten free quiche and scotch eggs from Marks and Spencer 

Following my post from the other week about the exquisite gluten free scotch eggs in the new range by M&S, I finally managed to find the gluten free quiche lorraine in one of the london branches (- get it together m and s… It took me 5 trips around chiswick, covent garden, and Greenwich to find one!)

So, despite the treasure hunt to actually find a store that stocks them, the quiche was worth the wait. The pastry is firm but flaky and the filling is creamy and of the quality you’d expect from and m&s product. I’m really so impressed by these new additions to the gluten free range. If only they’d stock them more widely I think they would see just how much demand there is for these ready to eat products.

Gluten free quiche and scotch eggs from Marks and Spencer

Following my post from the other week about the exquisite gluten free scotch eggs in the new range by M&S, I finally managed to find the gluten free quiche lorraine in one of the london branches (- get it together m and s… It took me 5 trips around chiswick, covent garden, and Greenwich to find one!)

So, despite the treasure hunt to actually find a store that stocks them, the quiche was worth the wait. The pastry is firm but flaky and the filling is creamy and of the quality you’d expect from and m&s product. I’m really so impressed by these new additions to the gluten free range. If only they’d stock them more widely I think they would see just how much demand there is for these ready to eat products.

Back in the kitchen…

I’ve been making a real effort at the moment to get back into home cooked food now I have a little time off to spend at home. An old favourite - chickpea pancakes - have been making a regular evening appearance. Simply mix chickpea/gram flour with garlic and water and fry with a little coconut oil. Top with slices avocado, pepper and houmous. Delicious!

Breakfast is a handful of nuts with fresh berries and Greek yoghurt. Sprinkle some chia seeds on top for a nutritional blast!

Glad to see that Leon have updated their menu to include a gluten free option of their Eden Burger (chicken) which you can now order “bunless” with a rocket and mint salad. The menu option also comes with a side serving of slaw and Leon’s amazing baked fries (all gluten free).

They also have an amazing array of gluten free desserts and cookies, brownies and pecan pie to take away during the day. How many more reasons do you need to make a visit?

There’s lots of branches of Leon’s across London. You can find a full list of their restaurants here: http://leonrestaurants.co.uk/restaurants/