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!
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
1 shallot, minced
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.
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.