Eating out with food allergiesBanana pancakes


About Jackie Mitchell

Jackie Mitchell is a journalist and public relations consultant with over fifteen years' experience. She works with small businesses and charities providing PR services.

With a background as a features writer in the media, Jackie has worked on national newspapers, websites, consumer magazines, trade publications and radio stations all over the UK. For some years, she worked abroad - in Australia, Hong Kong and New York. After returning to London, she worked as an account director at several major London agencies.

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November 15th, 2014

Eating Out With Food Allergies in Manchester and London

When I travel anywhere, I always take my own food as there have been so many occasions when all I can eat is a bag of crisps! Armed with my ham sandwich made with Genius bread I was delighted to find on the Virgin Trains train to Manchester a "Gluten Free Grazing Box" which included Dormens' cranberry and cherry fruit mix, Eat Natural cereal bar and Welsh Hills cake slice

At a function held at the Midland Hotel Manchester our waiter asked everyone on the table if they had any dietary requirements. When I said 'gluten free' she immediately found me some gluten free bread to accompany the leek and potato soup with spring onion snippits. The main course was breast of Ribble Valley Chicken stuffed with wild mushrooms and spinach accompanied by two ways Parsley potatoes. Normally I forgo dessert at these formal occasions or have fruit salad. Imagine my surprise when I was served with rhubarb pannecotta with meringue - it was delicious!

In Starbucks in Manchester I noticed there's a turkey and bacon gluten free wrap, but I haven't seen it in London so far. I hope I do as I'd like to try it!

Back in London visiting the RHS London Secret Garden Sunday is always a great opportunity to buy flowers and plants, as well as learn about gardening and meet experts who can help. We discovered, for example, that orchids prefer rainwater and if you use tap water, it needs to be room temperature. Now we know what we've been doing wrong all these years. You can also buy beautiful scarves depicting flowers, birds and insects as well as garden pottery animals

Our great discovery was The Honest Carrot selling an array of gluten free and dairy free food. As regular readers know, Ray and I always have difficulty finding food that is both gluten free (which I can eat) and dairy free (which he can eat). Very often I have to sit watching him devour a gorgeous dairy free (but not gluten free) cake and vice versa. But not on this occasion. We decided to buy sweet potato hummus as well as Spinach and Chick Pea Roast (vegan, gluten free) - spinach, chick peas, carrot, chives, garlic, red onion, red lentils, gluten free corn flakes, sea salt and black pepper) and Super Food Roast (broccoli, spinach, carrots, hazelnuts, seawood, cranberries, linseed, brown rice, gluten free corn flakes, sea salt, black pepper). So tonight we'll be oven baking the roasts for 15 minutes in the oven.

I also tried Ginger Chai Tea from The Wee Tea Plantation which was very refreshing. The company is Scotland's first tea plantation, the second in the UK, where they grow plants which they use in the tea blends. It would be great to see the plantation, as I did visit Tregothan tea planatation in Cornwall Fascinating to see tea plants growing in the UK!

We enjoyed trying the range of juices from The Shack HQ and ended up buying a bottle of apple and ginger. As we both love figs, we bought a jar of fig jam from Jammy Val which is delicious.

For lunch, we stopped at Leon's in Victoria Street Ray really wanted the Lamb Kofta Salad but there was no symbol to say it was dairy free, but the staff said they would leave off the aioli sauce (made with garlic and yogurt) so it was dairy free. Great stuff! I enjoyed the Thai green curry.

Nearer to home, it was a delight to discover that my local bakery Nathan's Bakery @NathansBakery sells gluten free bread, jam tarts and lemon tarts, as well as sausage pic. What's more they are all dairy free which means Ray can eat them. The only exception is the gluten free brownie, made with milk chocolate.

Caroline Oldham has launched the only free App to provide a world-wide searchable directory for "freefrom" restaurants. You can search by restaurants by location and type of allergy. Caroline, a coeliac with an additional lactose allergy, has come up with "biteappy" which addresses all dietary requirements when eating out on a worldwide basis. I've just downloaded it on my phone and look forward to using it. It's available at the App Store for free.

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