Monday, 27 October 2014

Padstow & The Seafood Restaurant (Rick Stein)

Part of my birthday present from my husband was a few nights away in Padstow staying at Rick Steins hotel The Seafood Restaurant and having a meal in his restaurant. So a few weekends ago we set off on a hour 5 hour trip down to Cornwall. I'd never been to Cornwall so was very excited to be visiting as well as eating and staying at Rick a Steins hotel & restaurant. 

We arrived around 5pm on the Friday night so checked in (hotel is gorgeous as it's been designed by Jill Stein who is an interior designer) and headed straight out to explore before it got dark. 

We'd already agreed to have fish & chips for our tea so off we went to Steins Fish & Chips which is a stones throw away from the hotel. I checked with the cashier that the gluten free batter was also dairy and egg free and to my delight it was. I ordered cod & chips. The chips were yummy but the fish was extra good, lovely crisp golden batter and big flakes of moist white fish. Yum!

Breakfast was included in our stay both mornings. I checked with the waiter for my safe options and he was very helpful. I helped myself to the fruit buffet and added some delicious Serrano ham. All the options were fantastic and made from high quality ingredients. Both mornings I chose Grilled Fish of the Day. First time I'd ever had fish for breakfast (except for smoked salmon) but I loved it. It was seasoned well, lightly grilled and drizzled with herbs and oil. Delicious. I was also offered gluten free toast but I declined as I was happy with what I'd had. It was all washed down with fresh mint leaf tea. 

The 2nd day we had a stroll around the town. I was on the hunt for Cornish Pastys. If you are only gluten free you are in luck as I spotted two pasty shops next door to each other that had signs for Gluten Free Pastys in their windows. I did enquire about them being dairy & egg free but unfortunately they weren't. I also noticed both had a small selection of packaged gluten free cakes on their counters.

For lunch we decided to go back to Steins Fish & Chips as I really wanted scallops. I asked if they could do them in the gf batter but due to the gluten free fryer only being small they didn't use it for anything but fish to avoid contamination for shellfish allergies. Not a problem at all though, I was more than happy to have them grilled and also a portion of grilled king prawns. Both were very tasty.

That evening we were booked into The Seafood Resaurant downstairs in the hotel. I'd been looking at the menu online for weeks trying to decide what to have as it all sounded so good. On the night for my starter I chose the Grilled Hand Dived Scallops and Iberico ham with Pimenton and Pardina lentils. Again the waiter was very helpful in checking that my choices were safe. It was very very tasty and I loved it. My husband had the Hot Shellfish with parsley, chilli, olive oil, garlic & lemon. I did have a taste of one of the crab claws and it was very tasty.

For my main course I decided to try a curry. I thought if their was anywhere to have a fish curry it would have to be there. I ordered the Madras Fish Curry of Stone Bass, Tomato and Tamarind. The sauce was really flavoursome without being too hot and under the sauce was a stack of gorgeous white stone bass fillets. It was served with rice and a lentil dish on the side. Good choice!

Dessert for me was an easy choice. As soon as I was offered Lychee and Rose sorbet I was happy to accept. It was great sorbet. 

Overall the meal was fantastic and I loved every bit of it. I'm pleased I got the chance to eat at a Rick Stein restaurant as I love watching him on tv. His food is amazing. 

The following morning before we set off home we popped over to Steins Deli for some snacks. I picked a selection of olives and the most amazing salt beef. It was melt in the mouth good. I noticed they sold gluten free scotch eggs and gluten free dried pasta too. 

I also found a few items to take home. Some cured bacon, smoked Cornish sea salt and some chorizo which was clearly marked on the back as gluten free and dairy free.

I had an amazing weekend and I would highly recommend staying or just eating at any of the Stein restaurants as they take great care in food allergies and the staff are very knowledgeable. Padstow is a very pretty place to visit too. 

Monday, 13 October 2014

Free From Birthday Weekend

I celebrated my birthday last weekend and it pretty much revolved around a lot of Free From food.

It's an unwritten rule at my work that you take in cakes for your birthday so I made some Chocolate Orange cupcakes. Even though majority of my colleagues aren't free from I still bake free from cakes for them. They went down well as usual and didn't last very long. 

After watching Jamie Oliver's Comfort food last week I decided that I really wanted to make myself the Chocolate Celebration Cake. I like a challenge. This one was pretty simple to adapt to dairy, egg and gluten free. I used the Chocolate cake recipe from Pippa Kendrick's Free From Food for Family and Friends and split it between 3 tins. For the rice crispy layers I used Jamie's recipe with Doves Farm Choc Crispies, Pure spread, Rice Cream and Dairy Free Chocolate. The last layer should have been nougat but I changed this to my standard vanilla buttercream with a dash of Tribe Celtic Liquor. I layered it all up and topped it with some Choc orange drops. It was huge! 

For my birthday meal I decided to book the Griffins Head at Papplewick. I'd been recommended it by the coeliac's at work and also twitter friends and non free from friends. They have a huge choice of Gluten Free meals and are very acomodating to other allergies too. The waitress checked with the chef straight away if my choices could be made DF & EF as well as GF and to my delight they could. I had Scallops with Pea purée for my starter and a huge Fish & Chips for my main. Both were delicious, great portion size and good value for money. I will definetly be visiting again as all the food I saw looked fab.

I had some great free from goodies for my birthday too. Both my sister and one of my close friends made me lovely hampers filled with free from treats. I also got my favourite chocolates and some DF fudge from a work friend. It's really nice when people take time to look for things that are suitable and understand your needs. 

As part of my weekend I decided I wanted to go to Nottingham on the Sunday to visit the Gluten Free Food Fair which was organised by Sam of Gluten Free Food Nottingham. It took place at Bunkers Hill (where she does her pop up restaurant on a Friday night) and had a nice selection of local suppliers. Sam is doing great things for the Gluten Free (and other free fromers) of Nottingham. I got a nice little selection of goodies. A big slice of chocolate cake and carrot cake from Sams stall (both really nice), a lovely chocolate mint cupcake from the Cupcake Wizard, a jar of Thai Chilli & Purple Grape Jelly from Chilli Fundamentals and a jar of Apple Lavendar Jelly from the Post Office Garden. It was a great little fair to visit with very friendly stall holders. 

While in Nottingham we decided to visit the Asian supermarket just round the corner from Bunkers Hill in Hockley. I like stocking up on rice noodles from these markets as I find them better value than buying from a usual supermarket. A big bag of rice noodles is around £1.50 so you can't go wrong. I also buy the rice wrappers to make spring rolls which are great. I like finding random items too. On this occasion I found a "milky" rose tea made with non dairy creamer and some mango desserts. We also got bubble teas. I love lychee green tea with black tapioca. Yum! There are two Asian supermarkets within minutes of each other and they are both filled to the brim with delights. Great fun to browse too.

I had a fab birthday weekend (with a trip to Center Parcs Spa thrown in the mix too) and ate far to much indulgent food. Free From birthdays can still be lots of fun!