Got allergies? Visit the Allergy & Gluten Free Show at Olympia

Allergy & Gluten Free ShowIf you’re in the London area at the end of May and you suffer from any kind of allergy, you’ll want to check out the Allergy & Gluten Free Show at Olympia.

The ‘All New’ Allergy & Gluten Free Show from Friday May 21st to Sunday May 23rd is the only national live event for people with asthma, eczema, sensitive skin, hay fever, chemical sensitivities, food intolerance, coeliac disease and other allergies or intolerances.

What’s there to look forward to?

Free seminars covering food allergies, asthma, anaphylaxis, autoimmune disease, eczema, migraines and much more.

Expert advice from leading charities, associations, societies and support groups.

Free workshops for parents of children with allergies.

Cooking demonstrations from expert chefs using ‘free from’ ingredients.

The biggest and best allergy shop and clinic rolled into one with 1000’s of products, therapies, treatments, and ideas.

There will also be stands from UK medical charities, Allergy UK, Asthma UK and Coeliac UK as well as a number of companies specialising in ‘free from’ goodies. Hopefully we’ll get to taste a few new products.

Tom Treverton, event director of The Allergy & Gluten Free Show commented:

“…allergies and intolerances are negatively impacting approximately one third of the UK population. In many cases, lives are being devastated by related conditions, with effective treatment proving agonisingly difficult to find.

The Allergy & Gluten Free Show represents that only live platform for allergy sufferers to access the latest treatments – all in one place at one time.”

Tickets for entry into the exhibition, for both health professionals and the general public, cost £6 (plus booking fee) if bought in advance.Or £9 on the day. Under 16’s accompanied by an adult are free.

To book a ticket to the show in advance, visit TicketSoup or call the Box Office on 0844 481 8898.

See you there.

The Gluten Free Blog is invited to Claridge’s for a gluten free tea!

Claridge's Gluten Free InviteThis is pretty cool. Gluten Free Girl and Gluten Free Guy received an invitation to tea this week: Claridge’s in Mayfair, no less. Now, I’ve always wanted to go for afternoon tea at this London landmark. But aside from the cucumber slices there’s not much we can eat on the menu.

So we’re thrilled to see that the people over at Genius are involved. And as you know we’re huge Genius fans here at The Gluten Free Blog. Genius bread is delicious. So we can’t wait to see what scrummy fillings Claridge’s serves up.

It’s Monday May 10th. So we’ll give you a full report after the event.

Starbucks UK goes gluten free

You know how it is. You’re out and about and want to grab a bite for lunch. And you’re faced with row after row of ‘off-limits’ sandwiches and rolls.

Well here’s some good news. Starbucks will soon be offering gluten free bread in all its 600 outlets in the UK. And what’s more it’s one of our favourites: Genius.

Genius gluten free bread, you may recall, was launched last year by Edinburgh housewife Lucinda Bruce-Gardyne, who developed the bread for her wheat intolerant eight-year old son.

It’s already available in Tesco, Waitrose, Asda and Sainsbury’s. So we’re pleased Bruce-Gardyne has been signed up to supply Starbucks as well.

It shouldn’t be too long before you can enjoy a gluten free BLT or Club sandwich alongside your Caramel Macchiato or Caffè Americano.

Gluten free pasta. If it’s wheat free, what’s in it then?

Gluten free pasta is a staple of any coeliac sufferer’s diet. But what’s in gluten free pasta? And why do some taste like the real thing; while others taste like wallpaper paste?

Wheat free pasta is made from rice, corn, potato and vegetables. (Or more often than not a mix.)

Rice pastas
Orgran do a range of rice and rice/mix pastas including stoneground buckwheat and rice pasta; vegetable rice pasta; and a plain rice pasta. When you’re cooking, you need to keep an eye on the rice and rice/mix pastas otherwise they do have a tendency to go a bit gloopy. And they need a thorough rinse once they’re cooked.

Doves Farm do a number of rice based gluten free pastas that are organic and are really nutty and flavoursome. Favourites include their fusilli, penne and spaghetti.

Corn pastas
Corn (maize pastas) are quite neutral in taste and make a great base for spicy, tangy or creamy sauces. They’re often flavoured with spinach, peppers and sundried tomatoes as well. But, like rice pasta, corn pasta can fall apart quickly. So you need to ensure you don’t overcook it. One minute it looks fine and the next minute it’s a mushy paste in the bottom of your pan. Now personally, I think corn pasta gets a bit rubbery when it’s cool so it’s not great for salads.

Orgran do a number of corn only pastas which are pretty good.

Rice/corn mixes
The easiest gluten free pastas to cook – and the most versatile – are the corn and rice mix pastas. So it’s always worth having a couple of bags in the cupboard.

Doves Farm produces a delicious corn/rice penne, made in Italy. As does Dietary Specials, Orgran, Sainsbury’s and Tesco. Our favourite gluten free pasta though is the buckwheat, corn and rice spirals from Hale & Hearty. Perfect with a tomato sauce, oven roasted vegetables, olives and smoked mozzarella. Delicious!

Phil Vickery: Coeliac UK Food Ambassador

Phil Vickery

Phil Vickery

UK chef Phil Vickery has been appointed Food Ambassador for Coeliac UK.

Phil Vickery has been involved with Coeliac UK for a few years now helping to promote awareness of coeliac disease and trying to get catering establishments to offer gluten free options on their menus. Last year Phil wrote a book in association with Coeliac UK called Seriously Good! Gluten-Free Cooking (read our review). The book has sold over 70,000 copies!

Phil said: “I am very honoured to accept the role as Coeliac UK’s Food Ambassador and to continue to support the work of the Charity. I’m passionate about improving knowledge in the food industry and the necessity for more gluten free cooking as more and more people are diagnosed. Since embarking on the cookbook I have learnt so much and it is essential that chefs understand the importance of having gluten free recipes. I am therefore delighted to be judging this year’s competition and urge chefs of all experience to enter.”

Phil’s role also includes judging the Gluten-Free Chef of the Year competition. Last year’s competition was judged by Raymond Blanc. The competition, in association with the Institute of Hospitality and the Craft Guild of Chefs, is open to professional chefs over the age of 23. There is a separate award, Up and Coming Gluten-free Chef of the Year, for catering college students and trainee chefs under 23. All entrants have to design recipes for a three course gluten free menu.  If shortlisted they are then required to recreate the menu for four people in a 90 minute live cook off.

Entries must be received by Friday 15 October 2010 with the cook off starting week commencing 8 November 2010.

We will let you know the winner later in the year.