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From Gluten to Glutton

Welcome to my world,

My name is CJ (Ciara-Jayne) and I am an avid foodie who happens to be coeliac.  I currently live in London, and have ties to both Holland and Ireland, hence the Half Dutch Cookie.

Being diagnosed in 2012 as coeliac hasn’t always been easy however a number of years later and I adore all things food – how to make it, how to cook it, how to grow it and where to eat it. In some ways being coeliac has been a blessing in disguise – it’s taught me more about food than I ever knew and has introduced me to some amazing ingredients, recipes and conversations. Good food fuels the body and the soul!

I love nothing more than discovering the best brunch spots and travelling the world exploring new places. A few fun facts about me:

  • Breakfast is my favourite meal 
  • I speak both dutch and german 
  • I love to paint (badly) 
  • I always wanted to be a TV presenter 
  • I am obsessed with tea (Barry’s mainly) 

If you have any questions, love gluten free food too or want to collaborate please contact me using the email address thehalfdutchcookie@gmail.com or see the contact page.

Sticks n' Sushi

If you love sushi as much as I do then this is the place for you. Sushi which is coeliac friendly can sometimes be hard to find as many places add soy sauce to their dishes (soy sauce is made from fermenting soybeans with wheat grains so often isn’t gluten free).

The good news is that many places in London serve sushi that’s not only gluten free but also fresh and tasty. As well as this alot of places also keep gluten free soy sauce often known as tamari so you can enjoy it that little bit more with fresh ginger and wasabi which are both naturally gluten free.

Last week I had the chance try out Sticks n Sushi in Covent Garden for dinner. We hadn’t made a reservation but the staff were really helpful and accommodating and managing to squeeze us in.

A waiter showed us to our table and provided us with a drinks and food menu. The restaurant itself is quite big with dark and simple decor and the menu is extensive with vibrant images displaying the dishes. As gluten free options are not clearly marked on the menu I asked which options were suitable. Our waiter explained that his manager would be over to run through their options in a moment.

The manager, Aris was very helpful and very well informed. He ran through the options which are available including maki rolls, sashimi, ceviche and certain skewers. While they have amazing platters he recommended against them as they tend to be mixed with non gluten friendly dishes.

We went for a mix of a sashimi, edamane beans, maki rolls, skewers and ceviche between us and they gave us some tamari (gluten free soy sauce) in a separate ramikin.

The dishes came down at different times which worked perfectly. Personally I loved the scallop ceviche. I’d never eaten it before, however it as recommended as a favourite by Aris and it was the perfect blend of tangy and sweet. Everything was insanely fresh and the flavours were perfect.

For dessert we chose vanilla ice cream with creme brulee which was the perfect combination and finish to the meal.

Definitely a favourite for sushi so far and very well informed. I’ve had sushi in other restaurants where you’re quite limited to basic rolls or sashimi, however Sticks n Sushi had numerous options and we’re able to make some changes where necessary so it was just as enjoyable gluten free.

The staff were super attentive throughout and Aris and his brother, who was also serving could not have been more accommodating.

Highly recommend πŸ‘Œ

http://www.sticksnsushi.com

What we ordered:
Hotate Ceviche – Scallop with lime, chilli, coriander, red onion, celery & tigers milk
Rainbow rolls
Sashimi Mix
Tebasaki – Spicy Chicken Wings
Chiizu Maki – Emmenthal cheese and bacon skewerSalted Edamane beans

Coeliac Friendly: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Price: £££

Experience: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Bill's, Flat Iron, Brindisa

One thing that continues to baffle me about London is how many places there is to eat and how there’s always somewhere new to try. On numerous occasions I’ve found myself marvelling on the way to work at a new restaurant or bar that seems to have magically appeared over night.

Saying this there has still been the occasional panic when out with friends or colleagues as to where is gluten free for a quick bite. To save you suffering this desperation and hangrily wandering the streets in search of a gluten free saviour I’ve put together a list of three spots that are always guaranteed to suit everyone and cater for coeliacs any day of the week whether for breakfast, lunch or dinner. The best thing- there’s multiple venues so you’ll never be left hungry, staring despondently at a glass of tap water while everyone else tucks in…

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Garden Plate – Bill’s Restaurant 

Bill’s

Up first we have Bill’s. Bill’s is a British chain cafe with over 21 located in London and 81 across the UK. They use locally sourced produce and always have a nice variety on the menu including veggie, vegan and gluten free options. Despite it’s chain status, Bill’s always hold an air of authenticity and the venues are always super cool and enjoyable. Staff are also attentive and from my experience have always had a good knowledge of what is coeliac friendly.

While I’ve been for lunch previously, breakfast is the winner for me. I love the garden plate which consists of two poached eggs, halloumi, roasted plum tomatoes, charred red peppers, smashed avocado, hollandaise, mushrooms, potato rΓΆsti, baked beans, pea shoots, mixed seeds and gluten free toast. The only difference with the original and the gluten free was that the potatoe rosti’s were different (and tastier) in gf version. They do gluten free bread so there is always the option to adapt a dish to your needs.

If you’re looking for a quick fix that’s pleasant, affordable and informal Bill’s is the place to be.

https://bills-website.co.uk/

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Flat Iron 

Flat Iron could potentially be one of my favourite places for lunch or dinner. It’s simple, affordable and downright delicious! And the best part is almost everything is gluten free.

There is six Flat Iron locations across the city so you’re bound to come across one on your travels. They don’t take reservations, only walk in’s but they tend to move quickly and there is never too long of a wait.

Definitely not a spot to go as a vegetarian as they pride themselves on sourcing the best meat locally and also specialise in butchery with butchery demos and educational pieces on the menu’s and board.

They keep a small, simple menu that consists generally of three different steak cut options, and a choice of 6 or 7 sides. The triple cooked chips are also gluten free as they don’t fry anything battered or crumbed in their fryers. Be sure to mention if you do need GF as some of the sauces tend not to be.

Super quick, super easy and super tasty!

https://flatironsteak.co.uk/

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Brindisa

Brindisa is a Spanish tapas restaurant located across some of the key areas London and tend to be situated in beautiful locations. The decor is simple, fresh and overall pleasant making it the perfect place to have a couple of glasses of wine and make your way through it’s extensive menu.

They have a range of tapas options from meats, cold tapas, hot tapas, salads and breads. While I was able to order quite a few options and many of their choices are naturally gluten free, the staff have never seemed to be overly clued into their allergens and tend to be a little uncertain as to what is suitable. Having tried it a few times with no issues I have a good idea of what I can and can’t have but do bare this in mind if you are coeliac.

Despite this the food is delicious and  they like to put a twist on some of the more typical tapas options you find in Spanish and Portuguese restaurants. I usually order the meats like the salted beef with manchego cheese and dark chocolate pictured above, the Spanish tortilla is always a winner (a potatoe egg cake) and their chorizo is heaven.

https://brindisa.com/

 

Brother Hubbards

Before heading back to London in the New Year I had brunch in Brother Hubbard’s South in Dublin on Harrington’s Street. This is one of two with the original Brother Hubbard’s based in North Dublin on Chapel Street.

The menu is an interesting mix of eastern vibes with traditional brunch recipes.

While many of their sweet options including the granola and pancakes were not gluten free, the main courses could all be ordered as gluten free on request.

I ordered the Spicy Pork Rarebit- which was a delicious baked open sandwich with chorizo spiced pulled pork & Irish cheddar cheese sauce on gluten free bread with spinach, pickled red onion & a drizzle of hot sauce, topped with a fried egg. Overall this was really tasty, with the egg being perfectly cooked with a soft yolk and the gluten free bread was not dry or crumbly.

As the gluten free bread was smaller than the usual option they also made a double portion, which was a little bit too much in my opinion.

The salad on the side was a delicious red cabbage salad with cucumber chunks, which they alternate seasonally.

Definitely worth a visit, coeliac or no coeliac!