Overnight Bites: Magdalen Chapter

         Magdalen Chapter lounge

A night away was thoroughly needed after having such a hectic week of bills, cat problems (misbehaving as they do) and realising that the weekend would only be another routined food shopping trip; it was time to have a re-think and escape for Rob and i.

Very kindly, the funky new Magdalen Chapter hotel in Exeter had invited us to stay and try out their gluten free options. As they were nominated in the Best Foodie Hotel category in the Food Mag reader awards we knew this was going to be something special. When Rob and i were planning our wedding, we had arranged guests to stay in their partner hotel Montpelier Chapter in Cheltenham and we’d actually been planning to stay their ourselves this year after the sheer amount of praise from our wedding guests.

Magdalen Chapter

Instantly on walking up to the hotel, which was once The West of England Eye Hospital, it’s obvious that they are keen to bring together traditional architectural features with the modern age. Something which my dad, a skilled carpenter and builder, would highly approve of. Sometimes projects like this can really zap all of the warmth of the building, you fear that they may paint everything white and it’ll just feel too modern in design making it unconfortable and not welcoming. Magdalen Chapter is quite the opposite.

Magdalen chapter bar area

As soon as you walk in, there’s a fireplace with newspapers ready at hand, people sitting round having pots of tea and coffee with homemade biscuits. The colours are warming, neutral tones with hints of green, purple, yellow which have been used carefully to effect the mood each room is trying to provide. There’s a Bar/Lounge and Library with extremely friendly staff, designed for a long peaceful afternoon tea treats or late night drinking.

LibraryA bigger lounge area for families and bigger groups to enjoy lunches in on big tables or sofas around a modern fireplace; a nice place to go after cooked breakfast on a Sunday to read the papers.

Afternoon tea gluten free

The Gluten Free afternoon tea was a true delight, and for anyone who suffers from gluten intolerance- to be offered a gluten free selection of treats including scones and sandwiches is a rarity in most places.

Gluten free afternoon teaThe sweet selection included a pistachio and chocolate macaron, lemon shortbread biscuit, Millionaires shortbread slice and a Date and raisin bar; all perfectly executed- but in particular the caramel in the millionaires slice was completely to die for. The gluten free scones were homemade and warm when they arrived, served with strawberry jam and a huge dollop of clotted cream (none of this small pot malarky); i expect my ratio of scone to cream to be 20/80. Truly a treat. The finger sandwiches on offer were Smoked salmon; cucumber, cream cheese and chives; poached ham and mustard and we were in a particularly meaty mood and chose the latter, although you can have a selection of all if you wish. The gluten free bread was a delight to see and the ham was praised ever so much by Rob and seeing as he’s not a massive ham fan usually it was a revelation.

Bedroom Magdalen chapter

Our Feature bedroom was phenomenal, and where much of the modern technology comes into play with the use of an iPad in house system- it allows you to book a taxi, search nearby restaurants and activities they’ve recommended, book tables, order room service, tour the hotel at a touch of the screen. Makes you think why none of the top end London hotels i’ve stayed in have ventured into this technology yet!

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Our Bedroom, with it’s almost panoramic window lay out, overlooked Exeter and made for some stunning views day and night, seeing the nearby churches all lit up was a particular highlight for me. Bathroom magdalen chapterWe got ready in the spectacular bathroom, with built in speakers so you could play music or listen to the TV, and headed down to dinner.

Magdalen Chapter restaurant

The restaurant truly is wonderful at night, the drop lights from the ceiling gave the illusion that the space was a complete circle as they reflected in the window glass. The seats were very comfy and the wine list was on an iPad -of which you could navigate by region/glass/taste, what more could you need? Of course the food was top notch and i had no doubts about it. Chicory saladAfter i was served some gluten free bread and butter (without prompting them) i chose a starter of Chicory, pear and Devon blue cheese with walnuts and honey. Light and wholesome, sweet and sharp with the cheese, it was a delight to eat and something i would love to replicate at home. Duck Breast with orange, pomegrate and roast carrotsMy main of Free range duck breast with roast carrot, oranges and pomegranate also didn’t disappoint. The duck was superbly cooked, the roast carrots and pomegranate was an unusual combination at first but worked superbly. There really is nothing i could fault with the execution.

I was really in gluten free food heaven at Magdalen. Particularly nice to not have to worry about what you are eating and sometimes it’s just from that little bit of extra service and attention to detail when you arrive or seated at the restaurant table.

Magdalen Chapter inside pool

After dinner we had a wander around the rest of the hotel, including it’s spa and pool facilities, which immediately made us wish we could stay for another night. The fire heated outside/indoor pool is spectacular and extremely romantic with all the different lights that change colour gradually. I did beg rob to book another day off work but alas it wasn’t meant to be.

Lounge area

Magdalen Chapter really exceeded my expectations, i was truly surprised by the attention to detail in the service and food, which always gives you another reason to return again and recommend others. Nothing was too much trouble, not even an allergy. The way it should be.

This stay was received free of charge but did in no way impact this review and my personal opinions.

Gluten Free Hot Spot- La Panameña, Bristol

Simply described as “Latin America meets Italy. Panamá meets Mediterraneo. Bringing real Latin American food to Bristol” , La Panemeña aims to bring some authentic fever to the Bristol food circuit.

I was so glad i could come to their first Bristol pop up event. All Gluten Free apart from one dessert option, i was truly in allergen heaven.

La Panemena, event, bristol

On booking the event Carla from Can Be Bribed With Food (La Panameña’s creator), put my mind at ease by telling me that everything but one thing was to be Gluten Free. I did a tiny dance in my seat. I love trying different foods, and the words ‘Homemade’ and ‘Comfort Food’ make me sink at the knees.

The first event, entitled Dia de la Bandera (Day of the Flag) invited us for a mere £20 per person for a 3 course meal and bring your own. “Come join us celebrate Panamá’s independence from Colombia at 40 Alfred Place for a Sunday lunch filled with Latin American warmth! One sitting, communal tables, lots of food, colour and music.” I decided to bring along my camera and take some photos. I knew this was going to be fun.

La Panemena, event, bristol

That’s exactly what it was, a food celebration. Unlike going to a restaurant, this felt like an occasion; i love things like this and it gets me excited even when writing about them. The atmosphere on the Sunday was fantastic, everyone wanted to be there to celebrate tasting this new food, it was warm, cosy and vibrant. Just what i wanted on a freezing cold November day.

La Panemena, event, bristol, gluten free, sarah kreczmer, photography

Food was plentiful and communal. Handing round bowls and having conversations mostly about how to get the recipe off the chef, is exactly what you want from an event like this. No one should be discussing anything else but the food.

La Panemena, event, bristol, gluten free

Highlights for me were an amazing Tazita de Guacho (rice, beans and pork soup). Wholesome, peppery and packed full of flavour, i could have eaten a whole bowl.

La Panemena, event, bristol, gluten free, food, photography, sarah, kreczmer

Ceviche de Pescado Blanco and Patacones (fried green plantain), which made my husband want to go home and re-create this straight away; we already started planning on how we can work it into our weekly food list. Beautiful Sea Bream mixed with coriander and sweet fresh tomato, cured in a tangy, sharp marinade; fragrant, fresh and addictive, contrasted excellently with chopped cashew nuts to add another element of texture.

La Panemena, event, bristol, gluten free

My favourite dish however, was the Homemade Beef Tasajo in Tomato and Coconut Sauce with Arroz con Guandu (Rice and Peas from the Caribbean side). So tender and rich, with a bit of sweetness. Our table did a conclusive ‘oh my god this is good’ in our heads. We didn’t have time to say anything because eating this was more important.

La Panemena, event, bristol, gluten free

What i love about all of this food is that is doesn’t scare you to try to recreate it at home. It so packed full of comfort and love that it’s almost enticing you to make it your own and try some more. It also proves that using naturally gluten free ingredients can make some of the best food you have ever tasted.

La Panameña have set them up for a long subscription of event attendance from me, and i do hope other Bristolians or any out of towners venture to attend to one of the events (*whispers* i hear the next one is in January). You can start by liking the Facebook page.

Could you vote for me? Pretty please. With a morello cherry on top!

Hey all,
I’ve been working so hard on this blog for the past year and it truly is my baby (aside Ash and Miko, of course), It’s where i love to lay down my thoughts on local ingredients, suppliers, gluten free woes, gluten free highs and my forever love of photography. I love sharing my stories about my wacky self on Wuthering Bites and it’s nice to have somewhere that i can express my passion for gaining more Gluten Free awareness in the U.K.

I would love it if you could vote for my blog in the Food Mag 2013 Food Reader awards in the Best Food Blogger category. I hope that over the past year and a bit i’ve shown you my dedication for providing good content and recipe sources with some mouth watering photographs.

Best food blogger, food, mag, reader, awards, 2013

All you have to do is click this link right here and enter in some other categories too. I know how tiresome these forms are, but if you do get time, i really would appreciate it from the bottom of my gluten free heart. <3

I’d also just like to tell you how much i’ve appreciated all of my followers support over the past year on Facebook, Twitter and WordPress- i’ve met some wonderful people!
Lots of food love,

Sarah x

Ash x

Miko x

Custard Hearts a la Honeybun

Thought i’d do a little update on the Honeybuns Gluten Free Cookbook.

What a wonderful recipe for Custard Creams.

I made some hearts with the biscuit mixture, you can do the custard cream filling too but after munching about 4 of them after coming out of the oven i didn’t quite get there. It’s a great recipe for just a gluten free biscuit and i’ve been told by other bloggers that they’ve had successful creations by adding in some spices, lemon additions, even replacing custard powder with cornflour works a treat.

I found this recipe a godsend really, time after time of countless biscuits ending up either ridiculously hard and inedible or turning into crumbly messes. Something you can make for the office for any gluten intolerant who can’t have a Krispy Kreme or Danish pastry on a friday.

custard cream hearts, honeybuns, bakery, uk, gluten free

I would love to share with you the recipe, but i feel Honeybuns deserves all the credit they can get for making a truly great book. Perhaps they’ll share it one day on their Facebook page, but i urge you to buy the book- after all, nothings better than a cookbook in your hands to read on sunday mornings that you really cherish and read over and over again.

I’m sure you will understand.

 

Honeybunned life.

Gluten Free, Lemon Drizzle Cake, honeybuns

A lemon drizzle -ma nizzle. For rizzle.

It’s got to be Snoop Doggs favourite cake? Surely.

One of life’s fantabulous pleasures. I do love a good drizzle cake i do. PS: I couldn’t find my small loaf tin- so this is why my cake above looks like a slice. Forgive me.

It was the ultimate test really. After getting the Honeybuns Gluten Free Baking Cookbook (Pavillion) by Emma Goss-Custard  (how many people are jealous of that surname. I totally am); it’s the traditional recipes i love the most- so i headed for it pronto!

Honeybuns, Gluten Free, Baking Book, review

Faultless. I know that when my husband likes the cake then it is a winner. Rob doesn’t like sweet things that much, but he asked for seconds!

I just felt it necessary to mention this cookbook on my blog, as i know there are many bakers struggling with the experimental ways of gluten free, so i feel it’s a very good book for them to take note from. Plus there are pretty pictures to look at wonderfully produced by Cristian Barnett. It’s one of those cookbooks you can read page by page and never tire, a bit like Nigella’s How to be a Domestic goddess book, and that is high praise.

Honeybuns, Gluten Free, Baking Book, review, cakes

The cookbook features different sections, beginning with a mini guide to gluten free baking- which is helpful if your first thought of ‘sorghum flour’ is that it must be produced in space. Lots of details on how to experiment/alter recipes with different flours, which i love dearly, as this book WILL make you go out to buy a mass of different flours; sometimes you might not have an ingredient in the house.

Honeybuns, Gluten Free, Baking Book, review, healthcliff, wuthering heights

Of course i can’t leave this write up without mentioning one of my favoured recipes from the book: Heathcliff Brownies. “Like the romantic hero of ‘Wuthering Heights’, these brownies are dark and brooding!’

Perfect.
This book was given to me to review but by no means did it effect my decision of it. It was in my amazon basket before the review opportunity...

If i could have a restaurant for a bedroom it would be Atomic Burger.

Yep.

You read correctly.

This my friends, is where i would live if i could live in a restaurant. Atomic Burger

I feel it only fitting that i should do my write up now in relation to their support in the Gluten Free Bristol mission which some Bristol restaurants, cafes and businesses are finally jumping on board. Or in the context of this review, ‘finally jumping on the gluten free rocket.’ Not so much? How many space puns can i fit in a review?

The Bristol food bloggers had been planning this space mission of a visit for a while, and by a while – i mean as soon as i heard they were going to open a branch in Bristol the event was created in the space of a hyperbeam. Whatever that means. Fast.

Gluten free buns, comic book, cartoon, action hero memorabilia, catchy music and oh my godz a Barbie and Star Wars toliet. Ay Caramba! thats good.

I felt like i was five again. I never was one for barbie dolls. I was THAT kid that cut off the hair and twisted the legs till they fell off. Do you understand now why i am so crazy?

The menu is an array of delight. From an awkward allergy eater perspective, it is truly fantabulous. You pretty much have 50 % of the menu to choose from, which is very rare these days.

On taking our orders, my blogger friend Awkward Eater and i were addressed first, and informed clearly of everything gluten free that we can eat and everything we could not eat in the most friendly manner possible. To be told we could have a gluten free bun was just amazing. It’s rare to find.

So i damn well picked the Jake and Elwood burger (Blue cheese, bacon and onions), after weeks of deliberation staring, mind-numbingly, on the website. I had the menu link on stand by in my website browser for moments where i would think i made the wrong decision. I think many of the other bloggers can relate.

Our friend Nick (The Cider Blog) ordered the Fallout challenge, which is another thing all together. Triple burger stack with triple chilli fries. XXX Fallout Ghost chilli hot sauce. The deep fried double cheese & tomato pizza buns.

He completed it in 8 mins- the fastest!  Need i say more. He went. He conquered and he damn well got the T Shirt.

At this point Kate Bush’s Wuthering Heights was played over the sound system and i actually thought for 4 minutes and 29 seconds of my life (is it sad i know that without researching?), that i was in utter heaven. If there had been a karaoke system i would have been on the tables, dancing wutheringly. Other Kate Bush songs are available.

My Jake and Elwood arrived and excitement lit over my face at the prospect of eating a burger with a bun huzzah. Clapping my hands like a child, i dived in.

Jake and Elwood, gluten free, burger, atomic burger

The gluten free bun was one of the best buns i’ve ever had, and it did look far better than the gluten buns! That’s pretty good going for an allergy option. They held together really well, tasted good and didn’t crumble. It was the element i was worrying about the most, a crumbly bun would have ruined that burger.

My burger was cooked really well- pink in the middle, and tasted superb against the tangy blue cheese, smoky bacon and sweet soft onions. The only fault is that i would have loved a bit more blue cheese… maybe i’m just greedy? ;) I did also find the bacon a bit to frazzled to my tastes but this is only a small criticism of the dish.

I think i was the only one to not order fries? Mad i may be, but the salad was nice and crispy, fresh and with a nice sharp standard dressing- albeit a bit too much for me.

Atomic Burger is a wonderful addition to Bristol, it fits in marvellously for the crazy people like myself to enjoy. As other bloggers noticed, there are still a few teething problems, some people got over cooked burgers, not enough sauce and a starter was forgotten, but once these inconsistency’s are rectified, this will be the ultimate destination on Gloucester road for burger and other Americanised cravings.

As they are fully on board the Gluten Free mission i will continue to go back and try all sorts- will keep you updated here.

This is the place for fun, nostalgia and excitement.

The place where you take a first date to because you’re not sure what to talk about. You’ll both end up looking back and remembering that moment where you both fell in love next to a Thundercats mural.

Check out other reviews from the bloggers here and here.

Olympic Fever

cat, sunshine, hot cat, kitten, cute, lying in the sun,

So it seems after all the rain moaning in my salsa cat post, the weather has taken a thankful turn for a while; my blog, ladles and jellyspoons, has much power! Even though this country is not accustomed to the ole air conditioning side of things, there is no way I am going to complain about the heat. It really is glorious. I just need to buy a paddling pool for temporary usage.

Now. The Olympics has started. Don’t worry I’m not one of those super patriotic sports fans so I won’t go on for ages about how it’s amazing it’s in our country and everything. One thing I will say though is, that I’m glad it’s become another excuse to get us Brits happy in one way or another. My idea of happiness, as you can imagine, is food. To top that would be to also meet with a select few of my best friends and to share food and be merry. Nothing in the world can be better than that for me, unless you transport us all to a lovely beach in the Maldives. With the food.

So I’d rather use the Olympics as an excuse to eat more. Go figure. Here’s two ideas;

An example of an Olympics = food+ happiness event is at the Townhouse Bar and Kitchen in Bristol. (They are very gluten free friendly!) Their food is also tremendous; I shall review for you next month.

They’re launching an Olympics promotion on Tuesday the 31st July (they’re closed for painting on Monday 30th) which will run across lunch only, for the duration of the games.

It kicks off at midday every week day:

First 10 people in get gold – 3 courses for £3
Next 10 in get silver – 3 courses for £5
Next 10 in get bronze – 3 courses for £8

It is only on the set lunch menu only (usually 3 courses for £10) and no reservations can be taken but maybe the thought of ‘racing to get food’ instead of watching people race sounds a bit more like your kinda thing?

 Perhaps you’d also like to bake a gluten free cake? Insert my solution.

gluten free, rosemary, white chocolate, maderia, loaf, cake, easy, simple, recipe, UK, blog, wuthering bites, quick, afternoon tea

It’s not in anyway Olympic themed, but I feel it’s a recipe that can be made quite easily to make for a group of friends and in this troubling heat. A perfect afternoon tea cake to enjoy with an iced tea in the garden or an alcoholic beverage if you’d prefer. ;)

White chocolate and rosemary is simply a delicious combination, and if you’ve ever enjoyed a rosemary cake before- this is a real treat. I’ve used yoghurt instead of milk to provide a bit of a sour note- there is a lot of sweetness from the white chocolate and sugar so if you’d rather balance it a bit I’d recommend using the yoghurt; it also gives it a dense, almost doughy texture which is nice to break apart and dip into the icing sugar.

 gluten free, rosemary, white chocolate, maderia, loaf, cake, easy, simple, recipe, UK, blog, wuthering bites, quick, afternoon tea, summer, sun

White Chocolate and Rosemary Maderia Loaf

225g butter, softened

200g caster sugar

4 eggs

175g Gluten Free Plain Flour

25g Ground Almonds

2tsp of Xanthan Gum

2 tsp baking powder

50ml Plain Yoghurt or 50ml of Milk

80g White chocolate chopped

1 Tablespoon of chopped Rosemary.

Icing Sugar to dust (Optional)

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Butter the sides of a loaf tin and grease well with butter.

Cream the butter in a large bowl or in an electric food mixer until soft then add the sugar and beat until the mixture is light.

Gradually add the eggs and beating all the time.

Sift in the flour, almond flour, Xanthan gum, Baking powder, Yoghurt and fold in  slowly with a spatula.

Fold in the chopped White Chocolate and Rosemary.

Place the mixture into the loaf tin

Bake in the oven for 45 minutes – 60 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Keep an eye on it!

Turn the cake out and leave to cool.

Dust with icing sugar.

gluten free, rosemary, white chocolate, maderia, loaf, cake, easy, simple, recipe, UK, blog, wuthering bites, quick, afternoon tea, summer, sun

gluten free, rosemary, white chocolate, maderia, loaf, cake, easy, simple, recipe, UK, blog, wuthering bites, quick, afternoon tea, summer, sun

So don’t hate the Olympics, embrace the food opportunities and excuses to indulge. Much better ;)

Gluten Free Hot Spot: Society Cafe

Society Cafe, Bath, free, wifi, gluten free, hot spot, cafe, best for, gluten free cakes, cakes, coffee

I’ve decided to do a new section for my blog: ‘Gluten Free Hot Spots’ I really want this blog to develop into a Gluten Free resource, as well as providing you with ma’ tasty dishes. So every month or so i’ll … Continue reading

You may be thinking, i’m obsessed with raspberries.

Nigella, Lawson, Chocolate, Pavlova, Raspberry, best gluten free dessert, gluten free, dessert, afternoon tea, raspberries, strawberries, pavlova, dark chocolate, easy, simple, dinner party, made in advance, kitten, moving house,Firstly, yes. I do understand that i have avoided healthy recipes for a while but you must sympathise. I’ve just moved to a new home and when stress comes a calling, all you really want is sugar, in abundance. Also i realise the similarity of this recipe to the last post i’ve done- i’m not doing well really am i?

This recipe, although i hate to say it, isn’t mine. This is by the domestic goddess Nigella Lawson. I made it for my brother’s birthday dinner party for after some Moroccan Meatballs and just wanted to post it really as it truly was a magnificent gluten free dessert. So easy, so yum.

My Brother and my sister in law turned up to our new flat with their wonderful daughter Lara to celebrate with my husband Rob and i. There was wine, there was meatballs- what more could you want? But there is just nothing better than bringing out a dessert that just stuns people to a silence. Nigella, Lawson, Chocolate, Pavlova, Raspberry, best gluten free dessert, gluten free, dessert, afternoon tea, raspberries, strawberries, pavlova, dark chocolate, easy, simple, dinner party, made in advance, kitten, moving house,

Nigella, Lawson, Chocolate, Pavlova, Raspberry, best gluten free dessert, gluten free, dessert, afternoon tea, raspberries, strawberries, pavlova, dark chocolate, easy, simple, dinner party, made in advance, kitten, moving house,Ash turned abruptly (because of the cream undoubtedly), Lara stopped her high pitched squealing, and everyone smiled. Food at it’s best. I love these moments. How could i not capture it?

I wish i could have got a shot with the immense texture inside. The raspberries are lovely and sour which settles nicely with the dark chocolate meringue base- the bottom of the meringue forms a layer of deep chocolate which is created with the addition of chopped chocolate to the mixture before popping in the oven. It truly is like food porn.

I’ll leave you with the recipe… you’ll regret it if you don’t make it…

Nigella, Lawson, Chocolate, Pavlova, Raspberry, best gluten free dessert, gluten free, dessert, afternoon tea, raspberries, strawberries, pavlova, dark chocolate, easy, simple, dinner party, made in advance, kitten, moving house,