Tag Archives: Gluten free

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Food and Cookery Column with Carol Taylor – Christmas Cakes and Puddings #GlutenFree and Traditional

It’s time to get that cake and those puddings made… Never too early and the bright side is it gives you longer to feed it with that alcohol just to make sure it is nice and mature come Christmas….Haha

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Now I know that none of us like to hear the C word mentioned but some things just need to be made in advance and then we can forget about them and no last minute panics we can enjoy the parties and celebrations knowing that the main things are already made and matured… All we have to do is ice them and add the finishing touches.

This first recipe is gluten free...for all of my friends who have to eat gluten free for a diagnosed medical condition, and it is delicious, and quite frankly just as nice as my tried and tested recipe I always make…not much difference in taste.

So I am giving you both recipes one Gluten free and my tried and tested one which if you used gluten free breadcrumbs and flour would also be Gluten free..

Hopefully this year I will have proper rolls of…

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Healthy Eating… Eating out if you are on a Gluten Free diet.

Healthy - Vegetables- Fruit- Lady

Healthy Eating

It can be really tricky if you are on a restricted diet and you want to eat out so I have put together a few hints and tips on how to make life a little easier for you and what to look out for.

Many places now have foods on their menus for many diets…So always ask …

Bread...Bread is made from so many different flours now that many loaves of bread are gluten-free and most places are happy to tell you this…

But it is what goes with the bread…You pop out and stop at a lovely pub for a pub lunch… A ploughman’s lunch maybe??? A plate of bread and cheese with some pickles and maybe a few french fries…

Pickles…If the pickles are made with MALT VINEGAR which is made from Barley and the vinegar is not distilled then it is not gluten-free.

French Fries…Unless the fat is used to only cook the french fries then they may not be gluten-free…i.e if chicken nuggets, breaded fish was cooked in the same fat the bread crumbs on the food may not be gluten-free… Likewise, if malt vinegar is used on the fries that as stated above they are not gluten-free.

Hot dogs or other sausages…Many sausage recipes contain breadcrumbs or rusks which are made from unleavened wheat flour so unless it states gluten-free then they are not.

Foods which come with a sauce…Many sauces and gravies are thickened with wheat flour this includes ready meals.

Cheesecake…Now, who hasn’t been tempted by those lovely slices of cheesecake in the chilled cabinet?? Always ask wheat flour may have been used in the filling and the same applies to cheesecakes you are buying in stores…Check the labels.


Soup…You see a sign saying fresh homemade soup always check and ask what the soup has been thickened with…It may have been thickened with wheat flour or contain noodles…If you are buying packets or cans of soup then check the labels.

Tortilla chips…Your soup comes with some tortillas if they are called multi-grain then beware. Also, most manufacturers make more than one flavour of chips so best to avoid them.

Enjoying your meal and fancy a beer? Oh No!


Now don’t panic you can get GF beers and many places now have a good stock of craft beers…Phew!

Although not exhaustive I hope this little list makes eating out a little easier if you are on a Gluten Free diet.

Thank you for reading this I hope you enjoyed it and found it helpful if you did please feel free to share…Sharing is caring…Thank you xxx

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Have you made your Christmas pudding yet??

My oh, my is the time not flying now???

Time to make the puddings and mincemeat for Mince pies…

Christmas Pudding

This first recipe is gluten free..for all of my friends who have to eat gluten free for a diagnosed medical condition and it is delicious and quite frankly just as nice as my tried and tested recipe I always make..not much difference in taste.

So I am giving you both recipes one Gluten free and my tried and tested one which if you used gluten free breadcrumbs and flour would also be Gluten free..

Hopefully this year I will have proper rolls of wrapping paper as one’s son is in England and will be bringing some back for me…Yehhhh no juggling with those silly little rolls which are just enough to wrap a matchbox…I am not kidding!


 So here is the first recipe for a… Gluten FREE Christmas pudding… Enjoy!


  • 100gm currants.
  • 100gm sultanas.
  • 100gm sour cherries.
  • Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • Grated zest and juice of half an Orange.
  • 1tsp of mixed spice and cinnamon.
  • 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg.
  • 100ml of brandy..this is where my hand slipped…haha
  • 180gm dark brown sugar
  • 1 granny smith Apple( I can’t these) so used a new Zealand apple which is quite tart.
  • 1 large carrot, grated.
  • 250gm ground almonds.
  • 50gm gluten-free cornflour.
  • 1tsp gluten-free baking powder.
  • 2 med free-range eggs.
  • 50ml vegetable oil( I use coconut oil)
  • plus extra for greasing.
  • 2 tbsp black treacle.
  • This makes enough for a 2-pint pudding basin or two 1 pints.

To make:

In a large bowl put dried fruit, zest, and juice, spice, and brandy stir to combine, cover and leave for 24hrs.

Then mix in sugar, apple, and carrot, add beaten eggs then stir in oil and treacle.

Lastly,  stir in dry ingredients with a pinch of salt.

Put mixture into a greased pudding basin it should be two-thirds full. Cover the top with a round of greaseproof paper the cover with pleated tin foil and secure with string.

You can now either set the pudding in a saucepan on an upturned plate and fill the pan with boiling water about halfway up the basin. Put the lid on and steam for 4 hours remembering to top up the water as necessary.

I always use a steamer and in this case, it was my wicker rice steamer which the bowl sits in nicely over the pot of water.

If you have made a lot of puddings over the years like me  I think you find your own preferred method of steaming your puds.

Once steamed, cool and rewrap pudding and store in a cool, dry place. It is the fridge for me as too humid…I do miss my cool pantry…

To serve simmer or steam the pudding for 1-2 hrs, then invert onto a plate and flame the pud or serve with sauce, brandy butter or cream…

It’s cream all the way for me …and lots of it!

My second recipe is slightly different but adaptable to make gluten-free and the one I make year after year…I could do it blindfold now…lol

So for all of you who want to get your Christmas Puddings made so they develop the lovely flavours then here is my tried and tested recipe….. 🙂


  • 300gm fresh breadcrumbs ( I use brown)
  • 100gm self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ whole nutmeg, very finely grated
  • 350gm raisins
  • 100g mixed peel
  • 50gm flaked almonds
  • 250gm suet
  • 225gm Demerara sugar
  • 225gm sultanas
  • 225gm currants
  • 2 carrots, peeled and very finely grated
  • 2 cooking apples, peeled and very finely grated
  • (shhhh)Wet ingredients
  • Zest and juice of 1 orange
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 small wine glass of brandy  shhhhh and a tad more..ha ha
  • 2 tbsp black treacle
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten


Put the breadcrumbs in the biggest mixing bowl you can find. Sieve the flour into the bowl with the mixed spice, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Then add the remaining dry ingredients, up to and including the grated apples. Combine all the wet ingredients in a jug. Pour the mixture over the dry ingredients and mix together, with a big wooden spoon. Take it in turns to give it a stir, closing your eyes and making a wish.

Cover the bowl with a clean, damp cloth and leave overnight.

Butter 2 x 1.2-litre pudding basins and spoon the mix into them. Place a disc of baking paper on top of the puddings, then seal with a big sheet of baking paper with a central pleat, to allow expansion. Cover with a cotton or muslin cloth and tie with string or foil. Steam for 6 hours in steamers, or in pans with simmering water that reaches two-thirds up the sides of the basins – be sure to keep the water topped up. Remove and allow to cool.

When cool, re-cover the basins and store in a cool, dry place. On Christmas day, or the day you’re going to eat the puddings, steam for another 1-2 hours. Turn the pudding onto a plate, then pour 75ml of brandy into a ladle and carefully warm over low heat for 1 minute or so. Light the match and viola a flaming pud 🙂

N.B. As I live in sunny climes then I store mine in the fridge as they ferment very quickly here and that’s not quite what we want.

Happy Cooking and don’t forget to make a wish 🙂

Just in case you missed it, my turkey babies…  Down on the farmThe turkeys are growing nicely so my Christmas dinner for the first time in two years will be…Turkey!

The recipe for sweet mincemeat will follow maybe next week…lol…But you will get it ..If you can’t wait then it is here Sweet Mincemeat..the same recipe every year but tried and tested… family ones are the best…No nasties and made from scratch…

I hope by now you have forgiven me for using the dreaded C word…..But it is creeping up and fast… It is only 107 sleeps!!!

Stay safe, have fun and laugh a lot as you know what I am going to say it is Free and proven to be good for your health…..

Laughter aside…My thoughts and prayers are with all the people who have been or will be affected by Hurrican Irma we are all thinking and praying for your safety and well-being…Much love and prayers…


Smorgasbord Health 2017 – Food in the News – Gluten Free products and health!

A hot topic..Gluten Free foods and diet and one which I know a little but not a lot so very informative for me as I hope it will be for you…

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Smorgasbord Health 2017

There are definitely some of you reading this that need to maintain a gluten free diet because of celiac disease or other intestinal health issues that have been diagnosed.

However, there are many who believe that swapping their wholegrain bread for gluten free products is going to be the healthier option or to lose weight. Unfortunately this is not always the case, as a very valuable source of nutrients including B-vitamins is removed from the diet. If there is no official diagnosis of gluten intolerance or celiac disease, you may be wasting a great deal of money on a product that contains far unhealthier ingredients.

I am not an advocate of giving up any particular food group, including whole grains, especially for growing children and young adults. For those of us who are no longer growing (except perhaps sideways), whole grains should still play a small to moderate role in…

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Gluten free..Larb Moo ( Thai Pork Salad)


Thai food is a great choice for glutenfree and dairy-free eaters because it is rice-based and uses a lot of coconut milk. … Traditional Thai soy sauce is glutenfree, but just be careful when eating out as restaurants may use wheat-based Chinese soy sauce.

Thai food is low on carbs,  includes lots of fresh vegetables and herbs and most dishes are cooked very quickly so everything retains its colour and flavour, in fact, preparation most times takes longer than the actual cooking.

This Larb recipe can be made using chicken or pork. I have used Pork Mince for this.

Larb Moo.

Ingredients: Serves 1-2 people.

  • 200 gm Pork or chicken mince.
  • 3 shallots finely sliced.
  • 2 spring onions finely sliced green tops as well.
  • A handful of fresh Mint, pick the leaves from the stem and tear the leaves into large pieces( mine is a big handful)  I love mint.
  • A handful of fresh coriander chopped.
  • A few Thai Basil leaves for the decoration.
  • I Lime.  use half to a whole lime juice depending on personal taste.
  • Dried chillies..dry roasted in a pan and grind in pestle and mortar.
  • 1 large tbsp toasted rice. ( recipe below)
  • 1-2tbsp Fish Sauce.

A small amount of palm sugar….I use it sparingly.

Let’s Cook!:

Using a small saucepan dry cook the mince, I add a small amount of water to stop it from sticking.


Stir until cooked, remove the pan from the heat.

Stir in toasted rice, sm amount palm sugar, chilli( as desired) start with 1 tsp and once all ingredients added ..taste and add more if required.


Stir in the mint and coriander, shallots and spring onions, stir well but carefully.

Add fish sauce and half of the lime juice.

Taste! if required add more chilli, fish sauce and or lime juice and Taste again as lime and chilli. Put in a serving dish.

Garnish with Thai Basil leaves.


Serve with steamed boiled rice /Thai sticky rice or if you don’t want to eat rice it is lovely served in lettuce cups.

As an accompaniment serve with sliced cucumber, sliced white cabbage, green beans and Thai basil leaves.

Thai’s eat a lot of raw vegetables with Larb which is why it’s a fairly healthy meal and if a chicken is used it has even fewer calories.

It is an ideal dish if you are watching the calories as are many Thai dishes.

NB: To make dried rice mix, take a thick bottomed pan put it on a medium to low heat, cover bottom with uncooked sticky rice( if you don’t have) normal rice will do. Stir until rice turns a golden brown colour, tip into pestle and pound until powdery but slightly coarse.

N.B. Glutinous rice is glutenfree. The misleading name simply comes from the fact that glutinous rice gets glue-like and sticky when cooked. … It all comes down to starch content.

You can store the rice in a small container and it will keep for 6-8 weeks…


I hope you enjoy this dish as much as I do…I love this salad.

Until next time stay safe, have fun and laugh a lot as laughter is the best medicine.











The answer is no: glutinous rice is glutenfree. The misleading name simply comes from the fact that glutinous rice gets glue-like and sticky when cooked.