Category Archives: Baked goodies

Baked goodies for elevensies, afternoon tea, or just a snack

On the tenth day of a gluten free Christmas …crackers for the cheese board

For the tenth day of Christmas we taste tested gluten free crackers. If you are planning to serve a cheese board post dinner, then we have done all the hard work for you, by reviewing the crackers on offer. There is so much availability and choice now in all the main supermarkets, so it was simply a case of which crackers we preferred!

It is very rare, actually like most things we have taste tested, for me to be served crackers with a cheese board when eating out. In fact I can actually only think of one occasion where this has happened in the twenty plus years I have been diagnosed as a coeliac and that was in a very posh hotel about sixteen years ago!

Although some coeliacs can be lactose intolerant, most of us aren’t and so we would enjoy cheese as a course to finish off a special meal and how wonderful it would be if one could be served gluten free crackers with it too.

As always, all of the products are reviewed independently and the commentary is our own.

Click the video below to see the results of our taste testing.

On the fifth day of a gluten free Christmas …sweet biscuits

Yummmmm gluten free biscuits for Christmas… In pre-coeliac days my house would have had a few different boxes of yummy biscuits to eat – not the normal run of the mill ones either. There would be boxes of proper Scottish shortbread and Family Favourites to name but a few. My poor dad would always end up with the hovis, the ginger nuts and all the ones the rest of us didn’t like – it’s a dad thing!

In recent years there has been a huge increase in the availability of gluten free food, especially sweet gluten free food. However, this year more than ever, a few manufacturers, and thus retailers, have really pushed the boat out and provided some slightly-different, slightly-special Christmas food. One of these Christmas themed items is the gluten free biscuits in the form of flavoured shortbread – chocolate chip, toffee pieces, cranberry…so exciting.

However, oats seem to have crept into most of the mainstream manufacturing of biscuits and it’s nigh on impossible to find some without. Like distilled rye & wheat based spirits, and wheat starch with the gluten removed, the presence of ‘gluten free’ oats causes many arguments amongst coeliacs. The official line is that it’s only the milling process that renders ‘normal’ oats unsafe and thus specialist gluten free oats are okay. Yet, the anecdotal line is that a lot of coeliacs react to them, even if they are specialist gluten free oats. Some countries don’t allow products to be labelled as gluten free if they contain oats (gluten free or not) – and yet some countries do. My view, and this is probably because I am one of those who cannot tolerate oats, gluten free wheat starch or wheat/rye/barley based spirits, is that if in doubt leave it out. Certainly if you are catering for coeliacs I would take the hard line and definitely not include any of the questionable items – that way you have a catch all.

So, not only was I excited that there were varieties of flavoured shortbread, but also that they were oat free! It seems that some of the biscuit manufacturers may be listening!

As always, all of the products are reviewed independently and the commentary is our own.

Click the video below to see the results of our taste testing.

On the third day of a gluten free Christmas …Christmas cake

For day three of our 12 days of Christmas, we taste tested the gluten free Christmas cakes on offer from the main supermarket chains. Christmas cake to me should be a step up from a normal fruit cake, with possibly just a hint of alcohol to add real depth to the fruit.

I have vivid memories of my nan making Christmas cakes and Christmas puddings. She would start by soaking the dried fruit overnight in cold tea to plump up the raisins and sultanas. She always made them during the October half term and as children we all had to stir the cake and make a Christmas wish. She would then cook the cake and steam the puddings (wrapped in muslin cloths) and then store them for Christmas, feeding them with brandy at regular intervals. It was a proper ritual, and one we looked forward to excitedly, as it formed part of the build up to Christmas. When we manufactured gluten free food for a living, I followed the same tradition (although only the staff got to stir the cake mix and make a wish!).

All the products are reviewed independently and the commentary is our own.

Click the video below to see the results of our taste testing.