Eating out Gluten Free

Speaking to people diagnosed with coeliac the sticking point does still seem to be confidence when eating out….and I totally get this!! At home you know you are completely “safe”, you know which bits and bobs in your cupboard are good to go, and any cross contamination issues are covered, this reassurance certainly offers you a comfort blanket.  However there is nothing nicer than getting together with friends and family to enjoy a meal out and being coeliac should not stop you enjoying life!

With all the above said I will share with you a good and a bad experience I had recently, ironically within 2 consecutive evenings. But I have to stress I’ve certainly not been put off eating out, in fact an I’m off to the Ring O Bells in Widnes for tea tonight!

I was away from home for a couple of nights. The first night due to travelling and needing a quick bite to eat, we opted to eat in the restaurant in the hotel.  Now I have to stress I cannot guarantee I was “glutened” but the speed of feeling and being sick came on so quickly after I ate (approximately 30mins) I can only put it down to that.  I had done the usual checks as I always do, however I have to be totally honest, although the waitress was lovely she did not fill me with confidence.  At this stage normally I would go with my gut instinct but hunger got the better of me and I thought all would be well.  My meal consisted of pate, served with a gluten free roll, followed by steak with a peppered sauce and salad.  The chips given to me were different from my non-coeliac friends and I was advised the peppered sauce was gluten free. Again I cannot say for sure it was due to gluten but it really reiterated the need for me to adhere to my strict gluten free diet at all times and if any doubt at all about the food being safe, not to eat it.

I have always stuck to my diet rigidly, not due to symptoms, as when I was first diagnosed I was not symptomatic. However my dietician stressed to me that this could make things harder, as I may not knowingly know if I had eaten gluten, but it would still cause me harm.  However due to such care and attention to my diet for so long, I do now display severe obvious symptoms if even the tiniest amount of gluten is eaten by error. If a mistake is made recovery from sickness and a poorly tummy can vary, but the main thing to remember is a gluten free diet is the only treatment for coeliac disease and by following a strict diet at all times the condition is managed.

Thankfully on this occasion I recovered quite quickly and was able to go out the following night, in contrast to the previous evening I had an amazingly good experience and confidence was instilled instantly as at The Dakhin in Glasgow the whole menu was gluten free…  Perfect!

dahkin meal

We started off with the poppadums and chutney, which in itself was a real treat as I normally have to avoid poppadums when I am out as although they are made with gram flour (which is GF) they are then fried in oil, which is generally used for other gluten containing foods.  I then followed this with a Chicken Biryani with a mild curry sauce (normally would opt for the hot stuff but felt the need for something gentler!!) and had my first every taste of a Dosa crepe to accompany it.  Fabulous place and food and would highly recommend a visit.

 

I thought I would share my recipe for a quick and easy peppercorn sauce this one works a treat – the ideal accompaniment with steak and chips, perfect Saturday night supper!!

Ingredients Serves 4

2 to 3 tablespoons mixed peppercorns

60g butter

1 shallot, minced

100ml brandy

100ml beef stock (make sure gluten free)

60ml double cream

salt to taste

Crush the peppercorns slightly, either using a mortar and pestle or a rolling pin.

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium high heat. Add the shallots and sauté until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the peppercorns and brandy and boil for another 3 minutes. Add beef stock and boil another 3 minutes.

Finally, add the cream and reduce the heat to medium. Heat through, but don’t allow the peppercorn sauce to boil. Once the sauce is at your desired thickness, test for seasoning. Add salt if necessary, then serve with your favourite steak.

 

I do hope you enjoyed my blog this month and you get to enjoy many meals both home and away. As you can see mistakes can happen and I felt it was important to share my experience, but with a little research into where you are eating, calling ahead, talking to the front of house and gaining confidence that the establishment can cater for you, all will be well. If you would like me to cover any particular topics please feel free to pop your suggestions through…you know if you don’t I will be free to waffle!!

 

Happy, Healthy gluten free to you.

Lizzy x

P.S Anna has been busy popping together some great recipe videos on our website, here is the link if you would like to have a peep.

https://www.juvela.co.uk/recipe-videos/

10 Responses to “Eating out Gluten Free”

  1. Fran Richardson

    Hello Lizzy, thanks for a very interesting blog, but the same thing has happened to me, we went away for a few days at Easter and went to a restaurant we had been to before, I stressed that me meal had to be gluten free and was assured it would be, 30 minutes or so after eating I was so very ill, very cold, stomach pains etc, so I guess we won’t go back to that restaurant again which is a shame because there are so few places to dine out, and when one does find somewhere the menu is so limited.
    Hope you find time to read this.
    Kind regards
    Fran Richardson

    Reply
    • Juvela Admin

      Hello Fran, glad you enjoyed the blog. What a shame that you had an unpleasant experience, I totally understand how this can knock your confidence, but please don’t be put of eating out as there are lots of places that do understand the coeliac condition and offer great gluten free options. I have always found it good to Google gluten free restaurants within an area and then check it out on trip advisor. Better still pop in and have a chat with them before you go to dine. Once you feel confident with the venue then make a booking. Best wishes, Lizzy.

      Reply
  2. Margaret

    I seldom get poisoned. The only time I assume anything is gluten free if it shown to be on the menu, and I have found marked menus are almost always safe. If it is waiter/waitress who gives me the instant nod I usually say ” if it would not be too much trouble could you double check with your chef, as I would hate to be taken ill in your restuarant” (sometimes lovely restuarant).

    Usually works! System devised in early 80s when requesting gluten free took a lot of explaining!

    Reply
    • Juvela Admin

      Hello Margaret, Sounds like you have got gluten free dining off to a tee!! Best wishes, Lizzy.

      Reply
  3. Tom

    We had a very late lunch at ‘Table Table’ in Merthyr Tydfil, and they could not have taken more trouble. The manageress produced a list of their gluten free dishes, and what substitutes were available where constituents were not completely gluten free, e.g., substituting gluten free chips cooked separately for french fries which were coated, etc. Full marks.

    Reply
    • Juvela Admin

      Hi Tom, Thank you so much for sharing your experience at ‘Table Table’….sounds perfect!! Best wishes, Lizzy.

      Reply
  4. Pauline Lesley Eastwood

    At a dinner last month in Rotherham football club a waitress came to me with the words “Are you the lady wanting the gluten?” I had to smile but my confidence about the rest of the meal was dented. Minestrone soup arrived with noodles in it. As everyone else was eating the same soup I did not eat mine.
    The understanding of a gluten free diet in many eating places is really poor.
    I will definitely be supporting the Coeliac disease awareness week.

    Reply
    • Juvela Admin

      Hi Pauline, what an unfortunate incident….quite right not to eat the soup!! Yes I agree definitely support awareness week. By raising the profile of the coeliac condition will help educate and make many more venues a “safe” place to eat. There are so many places already doing an excellent job, of providing amazing gluten free options and are fully aware of cross contamination issues etc, just need to do the “Mexican wave” thing to spread the word far and wide!! Best wishes to you, Lizzy.

      Reply
  5. MaureenWellings

    Two weeks travelling by coach from Birmingham to Bournmouth a 6 hr journey (taking my own GF sandwiches etc) The coach main stop in Cambridge for 45mins.I spent that break looking for snacks,There was the usual Costa.McDonalds,Kentuckey F Chicken.Gregs ,Marks & Spencer.Not One of the above mentioned had snacks for GF.However once in Bournmouth eating out was wonderful at 3 restauraunts,well advised.Its such a pity these stop over breaks let the journey down as I fully expected Marks & Spencers to have some as my local store is well stocked.As I am now 77yrs I must say eating out is much easier as many years ago I always had to take my own food when ever I went out.Even bake my own bread as you could not even buy that in 1940s onward.Thank heaven my mother was a good cook.

    Reply
    • Juvela Admin

      Hi Maureen, yes always a good idea to have back up of gluten free supplies on your travels, although many places are coming on leaps and bounds with offering gluten free options you don’t want to get caught out. Its a shame that on this occasion Costa and M&S were not stocked with a few gluten free sandwiches as they are normally really good. However, lovely that you managed to discover a few good places to dine gluten free whilst you were away!! Great to hear that you are noticing such positive changes through the years, and had support with your Mums home baking whilst growing up. Happy travelling to you, Lizzy.

      Reply

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