Craving for oats?

Many newly diagnosed coeliacs are advised to avoid oats as well as wheat, barley and rye.  This is not because oats contain gluten but because they often become contaminated during the growing or processing process.  This can be a temporary restriction for a year or so until it’s been confirmed that the gut is healing, but some people have to continue to avoid them on an ongoing basis as they are so sensitive.  I’m still in my first year and I am really missing my flapjacks and porridge.

However, all is not lost.  Enter millet flakes.  Easily obtainable from some supermarkets and most health food shops, millet flakes are a good alternative to oats and are naturally gluten-free. They can be used as a breakfast cereal, however I prefer to use them in baking.  Below is a recipe for Anzac biscuits which I’ve adapted from Healthy Gluten-Free Eating (available from Coeliac UK). I found them originally a little dry and dare I say a bit boring, so I added more syrup, some honey, nuts and dried fruit (sultanas, raisins, cranberries  etc).  I found if you whizz the fruit in food processor or mini chopper it gives the biscuits a moist consistency.  If you leave the pieces too large, they tend to fall out when cooking.  The biscuits might go a bit soft the next day, but you can pop them back in the oven for a few minutes to crisp up (presuming there’s any left the next day!)

Debs Special Anzac Biscuits

These biscuits commemorate the participation of Australia and New Zealand in the Second World War. Here is a Coeliac-friendly version with a new twist.
Makes about 30


110g millet flakes
110g caster sugar
110g desiccated coconut
100g gluten-free flour
50g ground almonds
3 tablespoons water
2 tablespoon golden syrup
1 tbs honey
110g butter
2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
50g nuts roughly chopped (optional)
50g dried fruit finely chopped (optional)


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 160°C/325°F/gas mark 3/fan 150 and line some baking sheets with non-stick baking paper.
  2. Mix together all the dry ingredients, except the bicarbonate of soda, in a bowl.
  3. Put the water, golden syrup, honey and butter into a small saucepan, bring to the boil, then remove from the heat, add the bicarbonate of soda and stir. Pour into the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.
  4. Roll the mixture into balls and place onto a baking sheet. Space them sufficiently far apart for the biscuits to spread as they cook. Flatten slightly and bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. Watch them – they burn easily!
  5. Leave to cool on the baking sheet for about 5-6 minutes, or until firm enough to handle, before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.
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The aim of this blog is to share my experience of living and working with coeliac disease with you.  I will be posting delicious and easy recipes, hints and tips, reviews and interesting links to articles regarding coeliac disease and other related issues such as health and diet. 

Please feel free to add your comments to any of the posts – I would love to hear your thoughts. If you wish to contact me directly, please use the form on the Contact Me page.  To be alerted whenever a new post is added, please sign-up using the email subscription button on the right.

Follow me in my quest to do something totally new, but hopefully worthwhile as I really want people to know there really is no reason why coeliacs can’t eat cake!

 Debs x



Posted in Musings and Misc | 5 Comments

Guess what’s for dinner?

Yesterday was one of those all too regular days when despite a fridge full of food, there’s really no choice because there’s something to be used up.  And today’s winner is… 500g pack of minced beef, use by date – yesterday.  So we had meatballs – my own special make it up as you go along mix of various recipes I’ve read over the years – meatballs.  I thought I’d jot the “recipe” down before I forgot it.  It’s not a hard and fast recipe, add more or less, leave stuff out, change things – up to you! I didn’t actually measure anything (apart from the meat because it was written on the packet, and the egg of course), so you can’t really get it wrong.

Debs Cheesy Gluten-Free Meatballs

Ingredients (serves 4)

For the meatballs
500g minced beef
30g grated mozzarella cheese
1 egg
30g gluten-free breadcrumbs
1-2 tbs gluten-free dried stuffing mix
1-2 tbs water (only needed if you’re using the stuffing)
2 tsps mixed herbs
1 tsp paprika
Salt and  pepper to taste

To serve
Gluten-free spaghetti, pasta or rice
Jar of tomato GF pasta sauce (or make your own)
Handful baby spinach
Gluten-free baguette
Garlic butter


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200 c / 180 fan / gas 6.
  2. Oil a baking tray or preferably line it with foil or baking paper (make sure the tin has sides in case the juices run out.)*
  3. Place all the ingredients for the meatballs in a large bowl and mix together until well blended.
  4. Divide into portions, roll into balls and place on the tray (you should get approximately 24 small meatballs.) 
  5. Cook in the oven for about 25-30 minutes until cooked through.
  6. Meanwhile, cook the pasta or rice so that it’s ready at about the same time as the meatballs.
  7. Slice the baguette in half and spread each side with garlic butter.  Put on a baking tray and place in the oven for the last 8-10 minutes of the meatball’s cooking time.
  8. Heat the pasta sauce (with a good handful of very small baby spinach leaves thrown in for good measure) in either a saucepan or a microwave.
  9. Serve the cooked pasta or rice in some pasta bowls with 6 meatballs each, then top with the sauce.   Serve with the garlic bread.


  * Note: I used a mini muffin pan – the first time I tried it, it worked great and the meatballs were perfect and just fell out.  However recently they’ve been getting stuck and I’ve ruined my pan – so I don’t recommend using one.

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I’m Posting every week in 2011!

I’ve decided I want to blog more. Rather than just thinking about doing it, I’m starting right now. I will be posting on this blog at least once a week for all of 2011. I know it won’t be easy, but it might be fun, inspiring, awesome and wonderful. Therefore I’m promising to make use of The DailyPost, and the community of other bloggers with similiar goals, to help me along the way, including asking for help when I need it and encouraging others when I can. If you already read my blog, I hope you’ll encourage me with comments and likes, and good will along the way.



Posted in Musings and Misc | Tagged | 2 Comments

Finally… back in the kitchen

Well, I’ve still got my leg in plaster but able to walk a bit on it now, so it’s great to get back in the kitchen and get cooking again.  This is the only time I’ve ever been glad my kitchen is so small as I can pretty much plant myself in the middle and reach all the sides.  And when it gets too much for me, I can perch on the bar-stool my husband borrowed from his local. I wonder how many other people have chopped veg or washed up sitting side-saddle on a bar-stool.

Anyway, I found I had a large amount of fresh (uncooked) beetroots in my fridge (they arrive in my weekly organic box delivery and I forget the cancel them sometimes!), so I tried a new recipe yesterday for beetroot and apple soup with cheesy scones.  Both the soup and the scones were delicious, which is rather apt as I adapted the recipe from delicious. magazine ( If you’re not sure you will like it, just make half – the soup recipe is easily halved.  You won’t want to only make half of the scones!

Here’s a copy of the photo that was with original recipe in the magazine:

And here’s how mine came out:

I was actually very pleased with the soup, it tasted more of apple than beetroot, so don’t let the colour put you off.  If I make it again, I think I would leave out the caraway seeds though – much too strong a flavour for me.  However the scones were fantastic, even made with gluten-free flour.  My son, who is not Coeliac and doesn’t need to eat GF described them as “awesome” which is great coming from him. However, the scones are definitely best eaten hot and on the same day. I was going to try putting them in the freezer but they seem to be all gone, so I’ll test that another day.

To adapt the recipe for the scones, I just substituted gluten-free flour, in fact I used half Doves self-raising and half Juvela white mix, as that’s all I had in the house (I haven’t been shopping for a while, relying on famliy doing the shopping for me).  I added a little extra baking powder and salt and a 1/2 tsp of Xantham gum.  Also the original recipe called for Lancashire cheese but I used half strong Cheddar and half Red Leicester. I also found the cheese didn’t stick to the top unless I brushed them with milk.  Here’s my modified GF version of the recipe:

Beetroot and Apple Soup with Cheese Scones


  • 1kg beetroot, peeled and quartered
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp caraway seeds, plus extra, toasted, to serve (optional)
  • 4-5 fresh thyme sprigs (or a tsp of dried thyme)
  • Knob of unsalted butter
  • 2 bramley apples, peeled, cored and chopped
  • 1 eating apple, peeled, cored and chopped
  • 1.6 litres vegetable stock
  • Crème fraîche to serve

For the scones

  • 250g gluten-free self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp English mustard powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 50g butter
  • 20g poppy seeds
  • 1/2 tsp of Xantham gum
  • 100g Lancashire or other cheese(s), grated
  • About 150ml buttermilk*
    (if you don’t have buttermilk, add 1 tbs white wine vinegar to 150ml regular milk and leave to stand for a few minutes)


  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan180°C/gas 6. Toss the beetroot with the olive oil, caraway seeds and fresh thyme sprigs in a roasting tin. Season with salt and black pepper, then roast for 40-45 minutes until tender. Remove, then turn the oven up to 220°C/fan200°C/gas 7.
  2. Meanwhile, for the scones, sift the flour, baking powder, mustard powder and salt into a bowl. Rub the butter into the flour with your fingers until it’s incorporated. Stir in the poppy seeds, xantham gum, three-quarters of the cheese and enough buttermilk to bind the dry ingredients into a soft dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly.
  3. Dust a baking sheet with flour. Shape the dough into a rectangle about 20cm x 10cm and 2.5cm thick. Cut into 8 fingers, place on the baking sheet, brush with milk and sprinkle with the remaining cheese, then bake for 10-15 minutes until golden and risen. Set aside on a wire rack.
  4. For the soup, heat the butter in a pan. Fry the apples for 5 minutes until golden. Add the roasted beetroot and stock, then cook for 10 minutes. In a blender or with a stick blender, whizz the soup until smooth. Check the seasoning. Serve in bowls with crème fraîche swirled through, toasted caraway seeds scattered over and the scones on the side.

Meltingly delicious cheesy scones!!

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Best Laid Plans and all that…

What a great start!  Just about to really get going with the cake business and unbelievably fell over and broke my ankle.  Had to have an operation (my first ever!) and now laid up in a cast with only my laptop and the TV for company.  I had thought of a lot of possible hurdles and set-backs that could occur with setting up a business – have to admit this wasn’t one of them.  However I really should make the most of the time doing research, marketing and setting up spreadsheets, web-sites etc.  Can’t wait to get back in the kitchen and work-on all my recipes, such as Luscious Apple Cake as shown below.

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Starting a business – is it for me?

I attended a very worthwhile course today entitled “Starting a business – is it for me?”  It was a half day, free to attend, course run by Business Link. This was another big step for me on the path towards setting up my own business.  We learnt about startup costs, tax, insurance, legal status (sole-trader v limited company),  intellectual property (business name, logo, trademark etc) and the wide variety of skills and strengths needs to run a business.  The attendees (about 10) were from diverse backgrounds and all had different ideas from tax advice to IT support and making jewellery.  However at least half of them all knew of someone who was coeliac!

Anyway, after the course I still feel I want to go ahead with setting up a gluten-free baking business and am really keen to get started. 

Next steps – costings, research and more research plus attend more free courses!

Posted in Setting up a gluten-free business | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

So what’s my story?

So, 2010 was the year my life really changed. In April a fairly routine trip to the doctors reveals I have something called coeliac disease. In August a similar trip for my 17-year-old daughter ends in the same diagnosis and then in November, my mother also has a positive blood test too.  My mum now recalls that her mother (my nan) always was “a martyr to her stomach” but no-one ever knew why.  Guess we know now don’t we.  So looks like it really does run in families, well at least in the genes because we (four generations) all definitely share the same genes, whereas my brothers and sister have all tested negative and clearly all take after my dad.  Well that’s my opinion anyway.

And the other bombshell this year; being made redundant along with 100+ others in my area after more than 20 loyal years due to “restructuring.”

So what next?  Well I’ve been through a lot of shock, anger and denial this year, passed through acceptance and now well on the road to integration. I’ve learnt how to buy, cook and eat gluten-free.  I’ve re-written my CV from scratch (it was very old!), re-assessed what I want from life and started preparing a business plan – something I never thought I’d do.  They say things happen for a reason.  Maybe they do.  We’ll see.

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What's it all about?


This is my first blog, so it may take a while to get off the ground.  Please bear with me – I hope to have some interesting stuff later.

I’m Debs by the way, and you may have guessed from the way I spell coeliac, that I’m in the UK, Hertfordshire to be more precise.  Most things I’m hoping to link to or chat about on this blog will be UK related.

My blog is intended as a place for me to share recipes, hints and tips, reviews and interesting links on subjects related to coeliac disease and related issues such as health and diet.  I’ve also recently decided to try to set up a small baking business offering hand-baked, gluten-free cakes, biscuits and savoury snacks to local outlets and direct customers, as well as through the internet.  Follow me in my quest to do something totally new, but hopefully worthwhile as I really want people to know there really is no reason why coeliacs can’t eat cake!

Posted in Coeliac Disease | Tagged , , | 1 Comment