Tag Archives: gluten-free and dairy-free

Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Intermittent Fasting

EFS Salmon Quinoa

Intermittent fasting hit the headlines last year, and hit fever pitch when Horizon broadcasted a programme by Dr Michael Mosley called Eat, Fast and Live Longer, which was watched by two and a half million people. IF is based on the premise that short periods of fasting enable you to shift weight and change shape – but the really incredible thing is that apparently it can radically transform your health as well. Scientific research shows that this age-old practice (dating back to the Ancient Greeks, as well as yogic traditions) of fasting for short breaks of time lowers the levels of a hormone called IGF-1 (Insulin-Like Growth Factor) and, in doing so, protects you from some of the major diseases, including cancer. It has also been shown that IF has potent anti-ageing benefits, and helps reduce inflammation which, in turn, helps with conditions such as eczema and asthma.

It’s a diet that is extremely easy to put into practice. There are 3 types of IF. You can follow the 16/8 plan – and eat healthily for 8 hours and fast for 16 (in other words either skip breakfast or dinner). Or you can try the 5/2 plan – and eat healthily for 5 days of the week and follow a 500-calorie diet for the other two. The final plan is the most full-on and least popular of all the plans – whereby you fast for one day and then eat healthily for the next. This is called alternate day fasting.

Sounds simple? It is! And that’s probably the main reason why it has become so popular so quickly. You choose the plan that seems right for you and then simply fast when you’re meant to. And when you’re not fasting, you eat healthily. A few IF diet books have been published recently, including one called Eat, Fast, Slim by Amanda Hamilton. The beauty of Amanda’s book is that she shows you all the types of fasting but also shows you how to ensure it’s a superhealthy diet for you. It’s important to ensure that you balance the types of food you’re eating, and especially that you get enough protein and nutrients during the plan. Amanda explains the diets, and explains what you’ll get out of them. And then gives you Fasting Plans and a whole load of mouth-watering recipes.

I tried the Grilled Salmon with Harissa Quinoa and it was delicious. The lime-zesty salmon along with the harissa-spicy quinoa was a great combination. And the colours and textures of the food were lovely. Hmmm I think I might even try this IF dieting!

gluten-free, dairy-free, yeast-free, egg-free, soya-free, nut-free, seed-free

Serves 1     Preparation time 5 minutes     Cooking time 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 140g/5oz salmon fillet
  • zest and juice of ½ lime
  • 40g/1½oz/scant ¼ cup quinoa
  • 1 tsp olive oil, plus extra for brushing
  • 3 spring onions, white part only, thinly sliced
  • ¾ courgette, diced
  • 1 tsp harissa paste
  • 2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
  • lime wedge, to serve
  1. Put the salmon on a plate and rub the lime zest over the flesh, then sprinkle with half the lime juice. Cover with cling film and leave to marinate at room temperature for 5 minutes.
  2. Put the quinoa in a sieve and rinse well under cold running water. Put it in a saucepan and cover with 160ml/5¼fl oz/2⁄3 cup boiling water. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. Brush the grill rack with oil and preheat the grill to medium. Put the salmon on the grill rack and grill for 5–6 minutes on each side or until cooked through and the flesh is opaque.
  4. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a nonstick frying pan over medium heat. Add the spring onions, courgette and harissa paste, and cook for 2–3 minutes, stirring frequently, until the vegetables start to soften. Remove the pan from the heat, add the quinoa and its cooking liquid and toss to coat with the harissa. Cover with a lid and leave to stand for 5 minutes or until all the liquid has been absorbed, then fluff up with a fork and stir in the coriander and remaining lime juice.
  5. Serve the salmon with the quinoa and a lime wedge on the side for squeezing over.

Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Mexican Food at Wahaca

wahaca beef tacos

wahaca chicken tostadas

wahaca salad

Recently Wahaca has been focusing on street food. The signs outside the restaurants shout it out, the menus are built around it, and they even bring you Street food specials (with 20p going towards street kids in Mexico City).

Street food is nothing new. The population of Asia, South America and the Middle East have all been eating food bought from stalls on the road or street for centuries. In fact, there’s even evidence of street food way back in Ancient Rome (because the urban poor didn’t have kitchens of their own). And in truth, we’ve been eating things like sandwiches and pasties in Britain for yonks, too. But street food is now officially designated a ‘hot trend’. And who best to fill us up with delectable dishes, singing with fiery flavours, than Wahaca?

For gluten-free and dairy-free folk, Wahaca is a good choice. I went to the restaurant on Charlotte Street and our waiter was brilliant – he consulted the crib sheet carefully and one by one, went through the menu ticking off what we could eat. He was reassuring and immensely helpful.

I went for the Chicken Guajillo Tostadas. Two crisp tortillas piled high with chunks of chicken marinated in a chipotle dressing, layered with crunchy salad mix, guacamole, salsa fresca and thier smoky guajillo oil. I’m typing this from the menu but it’s all true. The corn tortillas (and wow, it’s great to be able to eat a tortilla as even the corn ones usually have wheat in them) were crispy, and they were piled high with tender chicken and all the components of this great dish. The freshly-made guacamole was lovely, as was the chipotle dressing, salsa and guajillo oil. This is layers of flavours – all mouth-tingling and full-on. I ordered, too, the Grilled British Steak (yay, British!) Tacos. The menu tells me this is three soft corn tortillas with the steak and chipotle salsa. The steak was delicious – good beef, cooked well, and it was excellent as a follow-on from the chicken, especially because the tortillas were different, as they were soft this time. (And I’m loving the chipotle theme, by the way…) My final choice (as in most sharing dishes places three plates is definitely enough per person) wasn’t nearly as exciting, though. The Corn and Bean Salad had good ingredients (including pumpkin seeds) but the sum, unfortunately, wasn’t as good as the parts.

But I’ll come back – and very soon, too. There’s the Green Rice (blitzed with coriander, onion and garlic), the Spicy Slaw (with a chipotle dressing) and the Fish a la Pimienta (an onion, black pepper, lime and pumpkin seed sauce) that I want to try. And next time, too, I want to make it upstairs to the very, very funky bar, and try some of the tequila (I’m thinking the Don Julio which tastes, apparently, smooth, honey and of dark chocolate.)

Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Small Plates at Polpo

polpo fennel and anchovy

polpo chilli garlic prawns

polpo ham hock

Apparently Polpo is a bàcaro – that is the Venetian word to describe a humble restaurant serving simple food. But Polpo in Soho (and there are two more Polpos – in Covent Garden and Smithfield) is much, much more than that. The Polpo book has just become the surprise winner of the Waterstones Book of the Year prize, beating serious contenders in fiction and non-fiction, including Hilary Mantel. The Daily Telegraph said that the book breaks new territory – and this is exactly what the restaurant did when the Soho Polpo was opened in 2009.

Polpo introduced the concept of small – or sharing – plates. A complete anathema to most British people but it caught on swiftly. You can’t book, which adds to the informality – and the food is simple but innovative. Renown for dishes such as Crispy Baby Pizzas with Zucchini, Mint and Chilli, Scallops with Lemon and Peppermint and Soft-Shell Crab in Parmesan Batter with Fennel, the concept is dishes that are bursting with flavour and immagination.

You walk in and the place feels warm and buzzy. The interior is exposed brick and simple wooden tables – and the staff are cool and charming. You’re handed a seasonal-orientated menu printed on brown paper. When I asked about gluten-free and dairy-free, our waiter could not have been more helpful.

I opted for the Grilled Fennel & White Anchovy for my first choice. The combination of the fresh anchovies (think soft and mild, rather than the hugely salty and fishy tinned versions) and the rounded aniseed flavours from the fennel were great. So, too, were the Chilli & Garlic Prawns (nothing new but really, really good). But my third selection (and three plates per person is masses), the Ham Hock, White Beans & Greens was, unfortunately, a little bit of a disappointment. The ham hock was tender, for sure, and there was lots of it, and the beans and greens were well cooked. But, all in all, the dish wasn’t as full of flavour as I’d hoped.

But the sense of conviviality was as good as I’d been looking for. I can see that this would be a brilliant place for a date or a night out with friends. Nibbling on shared plates, drinking delicious Prosecco and staying for hours enjoying that age-old triumph of warmth and atmosphere (you don’t get moved on from your table), this place is worth going back to time and time again.

Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Small Plates at Polpo

polpo fennel and anchovy

polpo chilli garlic prawns

polpo ham hock

Apparently Polpo is a bàcaro – that is the Venetian word to describe a humble restaurant serving simple food. But Polpo in Soho (and there are two more Polpos – in Covent Garden and Smithfield) is much, much more than that. The Polpo book has just become the surprise winner of the Waterstones Book of the Year prize, beating serious contenders in fiction and non-fiction, including Hilary Mantel. The Daily Telegraph said that the book breaks new territory – and this is exactly what the restaurant did when the Soho Polpo was opened in 2009.

Polpo introduced the concept of small – or sharing – plates. A complete anathema to most British people but it caught on swiftly. You can’t book, which adds to the informality – and the food is simple but innovative. Renown for dishes such as Crispy Baby Pizzas with Zucchini, Mint and Chilli, Scallops with Lemon and Peppermint and Soft-Shell Crab in Parmesan Batter with Fennel, the concept is dishes that are bursting with flavour and immagination.

You walk in and the place feels warm and buzzy. The interior is exposed brick and simple wooden tables – and the staff are cool and charming. You’re handed a seasonal-orientated menu printed on brown paper. When I asked about gluten-free and dairy-free, our waiter could not have been more helpful.

I opted for the Grilled Fennel & White Anchovy for my first choice. The combination of the fresh anchovies (think soft and mild, rather than the hugely salty and fishy tinned versions) and the rounded aniseed flavours from the fennel were great. So, too, were the Chilli & Garlic Prawns (nothing new but really, really good). But my third selection (and three plates per person is masses), the Ham Hock, White Beans & Greens was, unfortunately, a little bit of a disappointment. The ham hock was tender, for sure, and there was lots of it, and the beans and greens were well cooked. But, all in all, the dish wasn’t as full of flavour as I’d hoped.

But the sense of conviviality was as good as I’d been looking for. I can see that this would be a brilliant place for a date or a night out with friends. Nibbling on shared plates, drinking delicious Prosecco and staying for hours enjoying that age-old triumph of warmth and atmosphere (you don’t get moved on from your table), this place is worth going back to time and time again.

Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Brazilian Food in Cabana

cabana salmon ceviche

cabana chicken malagueta

According to Nick Curtis in the Evening Standard last year, “The biggest London food trend… has already started. Cabana, the Brazilian grill…has stolen a march on the wave of Brazilian and Peruvian restaurants due to hit the capital.”

In summer 2014 World Cup madness is due in Brazil,  and then there’ll be the Rio 2016 Olympics. Gourmet Live say they’re betting on Brazil as the next great cuisine to conquer our palates – not just because of the focus from the sport, but because acai, Caipirinhas and world-class steaks are just the beginning…

I went to Cabana’s third restaurant, in Westfield White City, (they also have restaurants at Westfield Stratford and Central St Giles in the West End and are planning more…) The first thing you notice is a fantastic buzz. There are Brazilian-made posters plastered all over the walls, funky lighting and a bright, warm interior design that all make the place feel truly vibrant, yet relaxed.

The food revolves around barbecueing – you can tuck into succulent, marinated barbecue skewers such as Spicy Malagueta Chicken (their bestseller which I tried and really was delicious), tender, juicy steaks, spicy burgers, sticky ribs or even a pulled pork and sausage stew called Feijoada. But that’s not all there is. We also tried some street foods between us to start – the Toasted Corn Nuts and Four Corn Salad (sweet, blackened, giant and toasted corn with palm hearts) and the Salmon Ceviche (chilli and lime cured salmon), and then had Sweet Potato Fries sprinkled with paprika and an Avocado & Mango Salad with the chicken. I loved it all! The crunchy nuts, clean tastes of the salad and zingy ceviche were a great warm-up to the main. The chicken was tender and the flavours were great – hot and punchy but not too fiery, with deliciously fresh ingredients. (And I even took a bottle of their Malagueta sauce home with me.) The fries and mango salad were really good, too. There was real attention to detail with all the dishes, and I came away thinking that there are lots more I’m sure I would enjoy just as much.

They were very good, too, about the gluten-free, dairy-free thing. There’s lots that you can eat if you’re gluten-free and/or dairy-free and they took my request seriously and made sure everything was fine. (And they also do a kid’s menu.)

Of course, you’re meant to wash it all down with the ubiquitous drink, especially the national drink of choice, Caipirinha. Apparently there are many stories of how the Caipirinha was invented but they say that their favourite is this. In old times people would press a cloth dampened with alcohol to their forehead to reduce fever, and suck a lime to improve immunity. One day, a feverish man found the alcohol from his forehead dripping into his mouth as he sucked a lime. Because it was bitter, he ate a spoonful of sugar. He got better, and the Caipirinha was born…