The Flower Cafe, Ashbourne, Derbyshire

One of the things I miss since diagnosis as a lactose intolerant, coeliac is being able to visit independent cafes and restaurants but it’s hard because chains can be so much more convenient for allergies.


Roasted vegetable quinoa

Lunch on the go can be harder with allergies, intolerance and other dietary requirements. I often find it hardest when I’m out and about or needing to plan lunch in advance. This menu is one of my favourite, easily made, easily packed up lunch for on the go. 

Roasted vegetables are a great staple for vegetarians and vegans alike. I often roast a big tray of chopped Mediterranean vegetables and use them for lunches and evening meals. 

Mixed with cooked quinoa this is a perfect coeliac, vegan lunch. Full of vegetables and free from anything artificial. 

Spinach and Feta Rolls (gluten and lactose free) 

I’m feeling festive… from about October normally and I’ve been practising different gluten and lactose free options for Christmas. 

Last month I tried some fig and vegan cream cheese pastry tartlets and this weekend I’ve gone savoury and tried some spinach and “feta” sausage rolls. 

As a lactose intolerant coeliac you can imagine my joy when I discovered gluten free, vegan Jus Rol puff pastry in the dairy free section of my local supermarket. At the moment allergens and free from is expanding so rapidly I seem to find something new every time. This pastry is easy to roll out, shape and eat. It’s delicious. It’s such a cheat to use ready made pastry and I’m so happy coeliacs and vegans can cheat too. 

Open the pastry packaging, roll out the pastry and let it warm a little after the fridge whilst you prepare the filling. 

I say prepare. It’s really not a tricky recipe this one. Wilt 100g spinach. I’m using my microwave steamer for 30 seconds so the spinach softens but retains some substance and doesn’t go watery. Layer the spinach in a line throughout the length of the pastry. About an inch from the edge of the pastry. Then slice your “feta” I am using a vegan Greek style cheese made with coconut milk which is very exciting. I make long slices approximately 5 mm wide. Layer the feta (or substitute) on top of the spinach. 

Take the inch of pasty and roll it over the top of the filling and press down firmly. Then roll the filling and pastry over to create a full sausage roll effect. 

I use a little soya butter to hold the very top down and then chop the long pastry length into inch long pastries. 

Pop into the oven and cook for approximately 30 minutes. This is a really enjoyable and incredibly easy recipe suitable for free fromers and more. 

Lingonberry Puff Pastry Swirl

I’m practising some desserts for Christmas. Since I have some fresh lingonberries from my parents I’m going to use them in a gluten free, dairy free pastry. 

I’m starting by cooking the lingonberries into a jam with sugar and a generous measure of gin. For additional Scandinavian points I’ve used Helsinki gin I bought during a holiday. 

Once the lingonberries have formed a chunky and tasty jam it’s time to start on the puff pastry. 

Did I say start? I meant unwrap. I am cheating terribly but the reason for this is the discovery that Tesco now do a gluten free, vegan, ready to roll puff pastry. It makes life so easy! 

Roll out the puff pastry so it makes several long pieces about 3 inches wide. Then spoon a thin layer of jam into the pastry and fold it over so you have an open tube of pastry and jam. Form the tubes into a circle, wrap it tight and bake in the oven for approximately 20 minutes. 

These are delicious served warm and they are definitely going onto my Christmas menu! 

Rustic Leek and Potato Soup

Classics are popular for a reason. Sadly though as a coeliac, or with lactose intolerance, you can’t always tuck into the classics.

That’s why I’ve made this rustic leek and potato soup. And made it vegan, gluten and lactose free.

Start preparing the vegetables; chopping onion, leeks and new potatoes. I actually leave the skin on as I love the taste and texture. 

Pop all the vegetables into a large pan and cover with boiling vegetable stock. I use the Kallo low salt vegetable stock cubes so I can be safe from pesky gluten. Bring the entire soup to boil and then turn the heat down and simmer for an hour or so. 

When the potato and leeks are very soft and easy to break with a spoon the soup is ready. 

For a creamy taste stir through some Alpro soya cream and season with a little salt and pepper. 

Butter bean and wild rice stew

Sunday afternoon is, I’m pretty certain, made for slippers, a snuggle on the sofa and a big bowl of warming and filling stew. 

This stew has everything you need to make a Sunday afternoon perfect. 

Start with chopped red chilli, chopped garlic and cherry tomatoes. Add them to a large pan and start to heat on a medium setting. Add butter beans once the tomatoes start to soften. Then add a tin of chopped tomato aand continue to cook. 

Whilst the vegetables are simmering cook the wild rice. I’ve used a nice mix of wild and white rice as it gives a pleasant alternative texture between the two. Once cooked drain and rinse the rice. 

Add the rice, boiling vegetable stock and chopped parsley to the pan. Turn the heat down and cook for 30 – 40 minutes. 

Once cooked have a peek into the pan to see if the beans are soft and the stew is ready to tuck into. This is another perfect meal that is naturally gluten free and perfect for coeliacs and vegans. 

Wilson’s Arms – Torver, Lake District – a hidden coeliac gem

Enjoying a weekend away can be affected as a coeliac when you have to plan every meal in advance. 

Whilst away on a walking weekend with friends I was delighted to find a lovely pub with gluten free options. 

Wilson’s Arm’s at Torver near Coniston actually has a number of gluten free, veggie and vegan options including platters, sandwiches and salads on the lunch menu. 

I actually opted for a classic and after a hard morning walking I had a jacket potato and beans. It’s comforting to eat safely and happily and this pub and it’s adjoining deli is a treat.