Category Archives: Guest Blog Posts

Zizzi Gluten Free Pizza Review [Guest Blog Post]

A couple of weeks ago, twitter was a buzz with excited peeps retweeting a tweet from Zizzi regarding their gluten free pizza! Now I must admit I was soon a little hesitent since it was only days after the whole Dominos Pizza fiasco, where Dominos had brought out a gluten free base in the USA… but, it wasn’t suitable for coeliacs nor those with gluten sensitivities [I know, I know, what’s the point!].

So considering Zizzi was trailing out their new gluten free pizza in only a few selected restaurants: Bluewater, Newcastle, Earls Court, Notting Hill and Farnham, I asked the lovely Laura Newman [Little Missed Gluten] to be my spy and ask if she’d be kind enough to write me a review of their pizza – which I may add was a glowing review and I’m not surprised. Zizzis already offers a gluten free menu for their free from fans. We already have the choice of pasta dishes and what’s more, they totally understand the issues surrounding cross contamination and bake every fresh gluten free pizza in it’s own tray!

 

Lauras Guest Blog Post

 

“Since officially becoming a diagnosed coeliac in January 2012 it’s been difficult adjusting to a new diet, to reading the labels on absolutely everything and having to say no to foods I used to love. Another thing that’s been tricky is finding good restaurants which offer a selection of gluten free meals.  One restaurant chain which seems to be far more coeliac friendly than others is Zizzi Ristorante, who already supply an allergen menu on request and offer all of their pasta dishes with Dove’s Farm organic gluten free pasta (having already tried this with their carbonara all I can say is yummy!).

When I heard through the social media grapevine that Zizzi were trialling a gluten free pizza I was beyond thrilled!  And then I heard it was only going to be in 4 of their restaurants.  Damn!  I’d already consigned myself to the fact that because I live out in the sticks there was no way any of the branches near me would be participating but low and behold, Farnham (about 10 miles from where I live) was one of the chosen!  What followed was massive joy, a little dance around the house, and within five minutes I’d already called my two besties to have dinner with me.

Fast-forward to a few days later and we were sat at a quaint little corner table at Farnham Zizzi being served by a lovely waitress (who definitely knew her gluten free stuff) and my pizza was ordered (I couldn’t decide on a topping so went for Quattro Stagioni which is basically a little bit of everything).  I was told on arrival that the gluten free pizzas take longer to cook than the regular ones, about 20-30 minutes, so I ordered my food slightly earlier than my friends to accommodate this.  I was also told that they are smaller than the regular pizzas, and so to check how much smaller my friend ordered the normal Quattro Stagioni so we could compare.

['normal' pizza at the back & gluten free pizza at the front]

20-30 minutes later, pizza time! I would say overall it was about an inch or so smaller in diameter than the regular pizza and a bit thinner but the quantity of toppings was the same so it wasn’t really a big deal. First cut, and the pizza crackled at the edge… it was crispy!  I was immensely relieved as a little part of me was expecting a soggy, doughy base, but this was the total opposite.  Inside the edge, the pizza base was softer, and the taste reminded me of rice noodles.

Overall the flavour was really good, and the base had the lovely, slightly stretchy consistency of a pizza, it didn’t just crumble and fall apart, phew!  Even though the pizza was smaller, it was definitely enough for a meal, very tasty and very filling.  Zizzi are very generous with their toppings, which went right to the edge of the base, and they didn’t slide off when you cut through it, which is always a good sign! I think the only thing I would recommend to improve the pizza is to maybe try and make the base slightly thicker, at least around the edges, but maybe that’s just a personal preference because I love pizza crusts!

Overall I would definitely recommend Zizzi gluten free pizza to fellow Coeliac’s, and I really hope they find this trial a success and roll it out across all of their restaurants soon, as I already want to go back for more! Well done Zizzi, I salute you and your gluten free pizza goodness”

Laura Newman (May 2012)

London Allergy & Free From Show 2012 [Guest Blog Post]

As most, if not all of you know [unless you’ve been living under a rock these passed few weeks]  London hosted the 2012 Allergy and Free From Show, and twitter was a buzz with everyone tweeting how amazing it was and how much fun they had!

However, some of us weren’t so lucky to be able to attend and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who looked on enviously at the tweets during that weekend! But fear not my free from friends, as there’s another one this year and it’s in Liverpool!  So all us Northern Folk don’t have to travel that far to attend the show!

But I bet you’re wondering what to expect, you’re thinking what’s it’s actually all about and debating whether or not it’s worth attending! Well, my free from peeps, the lovely Kevin Gollop has kindly agreed to do a guest blog for y’all and let you know what happens at an Allergy & Free From Show!

Kevins Guest Blog Post 

“Hi all! My name is Kevin Gollop (@kgollop for those of you on Twitter) and I am fresh back from a great trip to London for the Allergy and Free From Show. I was diagnosed with Coeliac Disease last year so this was my first visit to the event. Saara has very kindly invited me to share my experience of the day, to give those of you who could not make it an idea of what goes on.

My wife, Abby, and I decided to visit the show on Saturday. We travelled up all the way from Plymouth, so decided to make a weekend of it. This was a great decision (more on this later). I woke up on the Saturday morning bursting with excitement; I never would have thought a year ago that I’d ever be so excited to attend an allergy show. How life has changed!

A short walk from our hotel in Kensington and we arrived at Olympia just after the 10am start time. We handed over our free tickets (courtesy of this very blog – thanks Saara!), and were welcomed to the show with a goodie bag. We entered the huge hall and there were stands everywhere, over 160 in total! Where do we start? It was a little overwhelming so we stopped to buy a program with a detailed map.

Food Samples, Goody Bags & Meet Ups 

 

The first stand we stopped at offered a selection of curry samples, very tasty and then they offered us some chutneys. They put some on gluten bread for Abby, and were then about to use the same spoon to put some on gluten free bread for me! Abby let them know in no uncertain terms that they’d just contaminated the chutney and this would make me very ill. Off to a bad start but I survived the scare!

Next we stopped by the Ms Cupcake stand and tried some samples, before buying a couple of very impressive looking cupcakes. I must admit to having a mild panic after trying the cake samples, it seemed so alien to be able to take cake samples from a tray I was a bit afraid at first. I must have said “and this is definitely gluten free right?!” about 1000 times on the day.

The next stand and another goodie bag from Sainsbury’s, and we decided we maybe should be a bit more selective before we ended up with more than we could carry! New tactic was to browse first and come back for stuff just before we leave. As it turned out, most of the stands were just giving taster samples rather than goodie bags to take away.

All the big players such as Coeliac UK, Glutafin, Dietary Specials, Marks & Spencer, Doves Farm, Tesco and Genius were all present. It was great to see Fria there too as I’d heard many good things but never got to sample them. Their bread was great, but their chocolate cake was even better! I was one of the lucky few to get a goodie bag from the lovely Monika at Fria too which was a bonus.

It was some of the smaller companies at the show which were the highlight for me though. Clives Pies from Buckfastleigh in Devon (close to home) offered some delicious pies, full of flavour. I’ll definitely be tracking them down now I’m home. Sweetcheeks Ltd offered some amazing cup cakes, and I was more than happy to buy a box of six to take home (they didn’t last long!). There were some decent offers on too, I picked up four packs of Sakata crackers for a fiver with a bag for life thrown in.

While there we took the opportunity so meet up with several of the gluten free Twitter community. I managed to spend an hour and a half chatting to some of the tweeps after a “tweet-up” organised by the fabulous Siân Drew (@GlutenFreeMrsD). This was one of the highlights of the day for me and it was great to meet some other coeliacs to chat with, and to say hi to some lovely people who have helped me so much with my coeliac journey over the past year. It was also good to say hello to Alex Gazolla (@HealthJourno) on the Free From Awards stand.

Also available at the show was a series of seminars, cooking demonstrations and workshops that you could attend for more information. To be honest I spent so much time gabbing at the tweet-up that we didn’t really have time for this. Overall it was a great experience and we went homes stuffed (the organic sausage from Supreme Sausages on a Warburtons bap for lunch helped with that!). It was great to meet so many enthusiastic people on the stands and try so many new things. It was also just nice to be in an environment where I was “normal” for the day too. I’d really recommend a visit to the show for anyone who hasn’t been. Be careful though, some of the free from food offerings are dairy free, nut free etc and not gluten free. Always check before eating anything!

I didn’t get many good photos, but pay a visit to The Live Gluten Free website who did.

Eating Out in London 

 

What I would say, is if you are going to make the effort to go to London then make a weekend of it. While we were there we took the time to visit some amazing gluten free friendly restaurants. We were lucky enough to get some brilliant recommendations from Siân, and it really helped make the time away amazing. Thanks again Siân! We visited Wahaca (Mexican), Honest Burger (amazing burger in a glutenfree bun), Leons (twice) and I had an incredible gluten free deep dish meatball pizza at Otto. Honest Burger and Otto even had gluten free beer! All of these places also offered great vegetarian options for Abby too.

We of course went to see some of the sites and I got dragged to some shops too. Whole Food Market has lots of gluten free offerings and was worth a visit. It was an incredible three days away, so much great gluten free food I was fit to burst by the time we set off back to Plymouth! I’m sure we’ll be going back next year, and I hope to meet some of you at the next tweet-up”

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Don’t forget to claim your FREE TICKETS for the Liverpool Allergy and Free From Show [27th – 28th October 2012]

My Guest Blog Post For Celiac Central

I was so excited to be asked by Celiac Central [National Foundation for Celiac Awareness] to guest blog for them alongside other amazing gluten free bloggers and tell their readers what its like to be a student with coeliac disease in the UK.

The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness [NFCA] is a ‘not-for-profit’ organisation in America that raises awareness of celiac disease amongst the general public and the healthcare community. They also facilitate research to better understand the causes, mechanisms, and treatment of coeliac disease.

Their mission is to be the leading organisation in raising awareness for coeliac disease and gluten intolerance which will facilitate research, education and early diagnosis, and improve the quality of life for children and adults affected by coeliac disease!

My guest blog post is part of their new and amazing  ‘Gluten Free in College Series‘ where they have hand picked myself and the other fabulous gluten free bloggers who have either experienced life at University/ College with coeliac disease or are living it now. Everyone’s story is different so please check out their stories too!

So if you fancy reading my guest blog post for NFCA, just click on the link here