Saturday, 30 July 2011

More gf choices please

My lovely sister and adorable nephew took me to a round of appointments and we managed to have a coffee and cake!

We choice a place that has gf options but all there were was 2! Almond and chocolate friend, needless to say I went the chocolate!!

But my sister on a non gf diet had so many options, now I know it's not hard to cook gluten free and I just can't understand why there is only 2 options!

I love cooking gf cakes etc and there is a massive variety that can be cooked and very easily, and I know that people wouldn't mind paying a little bit extra, we all know the flour etc isn't exactly cheap!

But wow, just to have the options! Maybe I should set up something where my lovely readers can buy gf treats on my blog, just a thought.

And despite a spasm this morning, and a massive day sleep thanks poppa smurf for letting me rest!, I managed to cook dinner, a variations of my great grans rissoles! It was a great feeling! They turned out a bit small, but tasted good, so next time I will post the recipe with pictures and all, and make them bigger!

Here's to a world where there are more gf options at cafes etc, please let ne know what the options are like in, your country!

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Gluten Free Expo

Unfortunately readers, this is more for my Sydney readers, although if you are from other parts of Australia and in need of a holiday what a better excuse.....The Gluten Free Expo is on Friday 26th August from 4pm to 8pm and Saturday 27th August from 9am to 5pm, at Sydney Olympic Park. I have attached the link, there is a variety of awesome exhibits, demonstrations and best of all its FREE admission, that's right, free!! Not something that you get very often these days! Readers from other countries you may also have a similar expo, worth while checking

Definitely check out the website because there are lots of different presentations from a variety of people including medical professionals, chefs, a presentation which focuses on young coeliacs! So obviously see what your busy life has planned and what presentations you would be most interested and plan your visit around that.

I will definitely be there, and please everyone fingers and toes crossed for me that my neck spasms have eased a bit by them so I can enjoy myself a bit. I'm not exactly sure what day I am going yet, most probably Saturday, to get more time out of the expo, but I will let you know. I will have very fancy business cards for my blog and I will make sure I have a badge or something that identifies me to my readers, so if you decide to come to the Expo and see me, please come and say hi, I'd love to meet my readers. I'm also planning on going with Nicci from Cupcakes in Camden I'm really looking forward to this expo, meeting lots of people getting your thoughts, meeting my readers and tasting some of what sounds delicious stores!! A bakery that makes pies and croissants etc! yummy, yummy, yum.

So put it in the diary, I really hope I can see you there and email me if you have any queries about the expo. Don't forget I will also have cards about my blog (I can't wait until I get them!!) and I will be wearing something that makes me noticeable with my logo to my readers. I'll let you know closer to the date.

I have also included the link for Coealiac Australia, which, has a mine field of information about the disease and you can also join for $85 for an annual membership or $65 for a pensioner. This fee may seem a bit expensive but it does provide you with regular discounts at Coles on gluten free products, along with a whole heap of freebies and information. However, you do need the membership form signed and given some detail from your GP.

So put the date in your diary and I hope to see you at the Expo!!!!

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

My family history of spaghetti bolognise

This is a quick post, a prelude to a much loved recipe in my family. Growing up in the 80s and 90s spaghetti Bolognise or (spag Bol) was a weekly occurrence at our dinner table. It was one of the most exotic dishes we had.

I actually remember mum telling me the first time she ate, she was a bit worried as she was at her boses house or something along the lines, I'll probably get into trouble for getting the details wrong, it was the late 70s and for those who have eatten spaghetti know it's not the easiest dish to eat in public, imagine trying it for the first time in those circumstances! She had no ideas how to eat spaghetti, so I think relied on watching others eating and from memory of hearing the story many times, a friend secretly guided her I. How to eat!

You see on both sides on my family it's English and Irish as far back as I'm sure there's convicts in there somewhere, so undoubtedly mum was brought up on meat and three veg and Sunday roast. Spaghetti was way too exotic!

My sister is going to kill me but it's too funny not to mention, she was living in south Australia and she was telling her friend about this great recipe she had for spag Bol! She was so proud, thinking it had been passed down by my very English grandma! She made a call to mum to get the recipe and find out exactly what relo started the recipe, mum was nearly cryi g laughing so hard! Given our family history it was highly unlikely that a very Italian dish was passed down!

My little Sis was quite disappointed to discover that mum and my Aunty had got the spaghetti recipe from a leggos jar in the late 70s!

I guess it's now a recipe that is now passed down because my mum, sister and myself all cook it.

As with everything I have added a few things and now use gf spaghetti and gf beef stock cubes as well as some tasty additions.

Tomorrow this famous family recipe will be posted in the main meals, If it takes a but longer to get it up just means I'm sick with neck spasms again but it will be up I promise.

P.s sorry squirt for any embarrassment hehe

Monday, 18 July 2011

Warning male readers this post is about womens problems, you can't say I didn't warn you!

Its quite ironic that I remember as a young girl, when I learnt about periods, all I wanted was to get them and I would get most upset when other girls would get them and I didn't! I remember quite clearly I was 13, it was Christmas holidays and I was going into year 8 and I got my period, I called out rather excitedly to mum! That was day 1, day 2 I was lying on the lounge with horrible cramps, mum had given me a hot water bottle. I do remember my grandparents coming over that day and when grandad looked at me he just nodded his head, no doubt he had seen his wife and daughters in this state many a time. From that day on, I wish I could take back that wish, although its meant to be viewed as a passage into women hood, I have had nothing but agony from that day on!.And if we are blessed with children and its a girl, I hope to god I don't pass it on!.

I have mentioned before that I suffer from endometrosis, which is a debilitating and often heredity (my mum had it), not my sister though, I frequently think if mum had dealt it out a bit more evenly it would have been much easier to deal with. I was officially diagnosed at the age of 17 and since, remembering I am 29 (few more months before I hit the big 30), I've had 6 laparoscopy's, for endo and ovarian cysts, many visits to the hospital in agony and doctors visits to get some sort of pain relief. It really is horrible. I have an ongoing thing with mum where I call her whenever I have skipped enough (I call more frequently than that), but this is a special call, and I tell her that I hate her, remember its heredity, its a bit of a joke, not very funny but it makes me laugh through tears of pain. Whilst I'm in the midts of pain before diagnosis, I would often be found digging into a big pizza, pasta, gluten filled treat to ease the pain as we women tend to do at that time of month, not knowing I was coeliac yet, was making everything so much worse!

I'm writing about this sometimes taboo subject because so many women I know suffer from this hideous disease and we don't need to do so in silence. At the moment my plan, is to try and skip as many months as possible, but my body doesn't like that, so I get what I call phantom pain. At the moment and most of the time its on the right side and its like someone ripping, twisting and turning your stomach out, it can give similar symptoms to a urine infection and my pain gets worse when urinating. Once again, I'm sharing my very personal story to hope that I help someone else, even if it gives one women relief its worth it, really it is.

Last night I was bad, really bad, tears, I'd taken all the super pain killers I had, I was getting ready to tell poppa smurf to take me to the hospital for an injection to ease the pain (done it before at times). Then I remembered that mum said she used to have a bath and immerse her stomach in the hot bath and it would ease the pain. I was at my whits end and was willing to give anything a go. Given my many and various injuries from the car accident, getting into the bath is something I can't do alone, so my darling hubby helped me get in, making sure I didn't hurt, my hip, back, shoulder, neck etc in the process. We know the stomach pain will ease but we need to be very careful with some of the other stuff.

So I got into my warm bubble bath, put my i phone on speaker with Eddie Vedder, Into The Wild sound track, and immersed myself. I moved around numerous times, my other injuries make it impossible to do what mum said she used to do. But amazingly it helped, I had already taken my pain killers, I'm sure the music and the bath water relaxed me, but the difference was amazing. I could actually walk when I got out of the bath, normally after really bad pain, its a slow shuffle for several hours, and getting out of the bath, although I had help, wasn't as hard as what I thought! It turns out some good old fashion strategies work and its certainly better than lying on the bed in a ball, crying and trying to distract yourself from the pain, whilst burning your stomach with the heat pack because it numbs the pain.

When I got out of the bath, it was like an old granny, but I did it, I remembered mum and and an  older wiser friend telling me about the benefits of aloe vera and it did help for stomach or endo pain. Poppa Smurf thought I was crazy at 11.30pm, wondering outside to get some aloe vera to rub all over my stomach, particularly on the right side which was still so horrible sore and swollen.

So after my super duper pain medication, my bath, my aloe vera, I had a peppermint tea (which always works), and all the things I did enabled me to make myself semi ok, to relieve the pain a bit, to be able to walk to the microwave to heat up the heat pack myself.
Ginger is also something that helps, fresh ginger grated into water, perhaps with a bit of honey like a tea, its something grandmas friend who suffered horrible pain used to use. I sometimes like to convince myself that chocolate coated ginger has the same benefits!, not quite sure if it does though!

So if you suffer from endo, or just bad period pain, try some of these old things, they do actually work, but you do need to combine them with some pain medication if its really bad.  Don't try and put up with it!

I have included the link for my gyno of 13 years, who is awesome, his website has lots of information and contains links to Sydney endometrosis.

I've been to doctors who've had me in tears telling me what do they want me to do, theres nothing that can be done. Please, please don't put up with bad advice, if your not happy get another opinion.

I would love to hear your personal little tricks that get you through those horrible times, we all have them, and imagine if we all shared each others tricks it would be so much more easier to deal with! We need to stand united!!
And please if you have any questions and you don't want it as a comment email me, my email is at the top of the page and I will promise to answer your question to the best of my ability.

Lets not suffer in silence anymore

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Heat/wheat packs a saviour

Anyone who suffers from coeliac, gluten intolerance, endo,bad periods there is a massive list of medical complaints,  know what a mean, when I say that heat packs can be a true saviour!

Many a time, I have burnt the lovely beady things in those glorious backs, stinking out the entire house, but I refuse to let Poppa Smurf, or indeed anyone else throw out my precious heat pack until I have another one. It becomes almost like a security blanket.

The relief it gives from stomach cramps and swelling is amazing, it really is a miracle, to the point where the pain almost gets as bad as it was before just in the process of waiting for it to heat up again.

Now I know they all come with warnings, not to overheat, bla bla bla (I'm sure someone who never suffered any stomach cramps wrote that), but I constantly heat mine up. And when the endo is playing up, particularly before I found out I had coeliac, I would literally burn myself with the heat pack, stomach and legs. Just because of the relief it gave me.

The other thing that I found helped was peppermint tea and peppermint tablets along with some stronger over the counter meds, if it got bad, but of course only under the recommendation of the pharmacist or doctor, please never try and self medicate or take someone elses meds, you don't know what it could do to you.

Many a time Poppa Smurf has got up and heated up my heat pack and handed me a cup of peppermint tea, and told me it will be ok. And I admit I have wandered out of bed at all hours of the night to heat up my beloved heat pack, nothing worse than waking up to a cold heat back! The pressure of the heat pack also helps ease the pain.

So the one thing that I recommend is a necessity in any household is a heat pack, at least one, the more females or coeliac suffers the more heat packs. I even make sure that my beloved heat packs goes everywhere with me (my brother in law thinks I'm addicted to it!), even on holidays, and at present there are three in my house.

So if you don't have one go straight out and get yourself a heat pack, most good chemist have them.

Monday, 11 July 2011

Correction to grandpas age!

Just a quick post an amendment to my last post. I've been rightly corrected by grandpa and dad that grandpa is 84 not 83! Which makes it even more the amazing to me. I called grandpa and told him about the post the internet is a new universe to him and he was so impressed and amazed at at the idea that I could write something that people could be read around the world. So to the cooking skills of my 84 yr old grandpa! I Hope I've inspired some of those none regular cookers to give it a go if your reluctant just think if my 84 grandpa can learn to cook so can you!

Thursday, 7 July 2011

A tribute to my grandpas cullinary skills and a lesson that we all need to cook, even if only once a week

In all households, there is a main cook/chef whatever we fancy ourselves. Someone who regularly cooks the meals, for many many generations it was the women, there were many reasons for this, but I'm a bit of a feminist so I don't think that just having male bits 50+  years ago and sadly some people today still think that way, means that there is absolutely no reason for men to have no idea how to cook a thing!!

A perfect example of this is my grandpa, my beloved gran was quickly taken from us 4 years ago from cancer. She was a whizz in the kitchen, cakes and slices etc were here speciality and jams etcs. She did a mean roast etc but as most Aussie, English/Irish based women of that era, dinner was generally meat and three veg, no pizza, stir Fry's curries etc! Grandpa never did anything in the kitchen apart from washing and wiping up, at times. When gran passed we were all so worried, how was he going to cope! The ironic thing is that now he is cooking pork roast dinner with awesome crackle!!! (he won't even call his children or grandchildren to share it with him so he can enjoy it himself hehe, go grandpa), he is cooking soups, all kinds of things. And the most amazing thing is its all from memory. I tell grandpa, who is 83 by the way that I can hear gran cursing him, all those years she busted her butt cooking for him and he never attempted to cook until after she had passed away!

At our house I'm the main cook, mainly because I love cooking and I'm more experienced without blowing my own trumpet too much.  Since the accident, I have found cooking to be like a therapy, for me some mornings I wake up thinking about what I'm going to cook that night and go to sleep thinking about what to cook for the next day or next few days.

But the severe neck spasms have knocked me for six! It's been four weeks now, and I've been completely out of action. My beloved husband Poppa Smurf has been cooking some awesome meals, his confidence has grown as time as progressed and take away has become something that he is less likely to suggest more frequently. He is enjoy experimenting with food, adding ingredients and watching me enjoy his creations. At times in a slightly zombie state (thanks to muscle relaxants) I wonder into the kitchen and stir the pan, or fiddle with what he is cooking and I soon get sent back to bed or the lounge and out of the kitchen. I think what has encouraged his cooking is me being so sick and unable to come and nag, we all do it, 'why don't you add that', 'are you really using that pan?', those words just come out without thinking, its like verbal diarrhoea. Then they just think why bother if they are only going to be nagged, we all do it no matter how much we think we don't.

So the morale of my post is to make sure that both partners are cooking, even if its only once a week. And if you have kids, boys or girls, make them from the age of about 12 (I think that's how old I was), or younger , have them cook a family dinner once a week. It teaches them so many things, particularly if they are coeliac, or have any allergy, its so important to learn the skills of how to cook a nutritional family meal, that adheres to the various allergy problems of the family members.

This is also a bit of a tribute to grandpa, at 83, what an impressive effort to be cooking all those things (a large majority from memory). Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks. Grandpa I love you so much xxxxx

So all men out there if my 83 year old grandpa can get out there and cook a roast, you took are quite cable of getting in the kitchen and doing something too.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Gluten in Ice Cream, really??????

Very annoyingly I wrote what I thought was quite a good blog yesterday, then the lovely computer decided to have a little heart attack and unfortunately it didn't save my post like it normally does!

Anyway I have a more pressing point to write about in my limited writing time today....

Did you know that ice creams, yes ice creams, well at least some contain gluten!!!!!

As if we don't have enough food to worry about, spending endless time in supermarket aisles, reading the back of labels to ensure there is no wheat in products, I honestly didn't realise that ice cream was something we had to watch out for too!!

It's ridiculous!!!, knowing and having an increasing knowledge of how food is made, there is really no reason to put wheat or any gluten based products in ice cream of all things!

Now we have the issue of going to those yummy ice-cream places and ordering a hokey pokey etc and asking the pimply faced 15 year old working there if the ice cream contains gluten. Wow, that will be way beyond their capabilities, their face will go red, which will be made more obvious by the outbreak of pimples, as they try and read the standard guideline of food ingredients that those stores issues, to 10 minutes later either inform you that sorry madam the only ice cream that definitely is gf is vanilla or I can't guarantee you that anything is gluten free!!!

I mentioned about my accident in my last post, I've been suffering very severe, debilitating neck spasms several times a day for the last 4 weeks, I haven't had a day spasm or intense pain free in this entire time.  So needles to say my husband (who I'm now referring to as Poppa Smurf), and my parents and family have been eager to try and get me little treats to try and make me feel better. They can't stop these horrible spasms but they can get me ice cream or chocolate. I think I mentioned before I love Fry's Turkish Delight, it has gluten in it but the nutritionist told me that because I was so good with the gf free diet to have one occasionally was okay, mainly because the gluten was so processed.

I've probably eaten far too many of these lovely turkish delights, in attempts to ease some of my pain. My mum actually found some Turkish Delight Ice cream, I have to confess, I ate the majority of the packet!!!! Whoops! Next time she came over and I requested some ice cream, she actually read the ingredients and was amazed to find just how many different types of ice cream contained gluten. Basically all the exciting yummy ones, had wheat!! So not fair.

So now I have some pains, admittedly the majority are endo based, but I know that some of my pains at the moment are from eating the ice cream with the gluten!! What absolute crap!!!

So a warning out there for all of you, unfortunately ice cream contains gluten, so yet another bloody thing we have to read, check, ask, deal with inexperienced staff who have no idea.

But just a little for note, not the most sound medical advice (but I'm not a doctor) just eating one of these ice creams with some degree of gluten, hasn't caused a massive reaction with me and I'm sure at times (particularly while I'm having 2-3 severe neck spasms daily, I will indulge in the occasional gluten ice cream). Although obviously if you or your child are allergic to the protein in milk (which I will  learn more about this from lovely friend author of Stranger Than Fiction (see me reading list for her blog) you wouldn't even attempt to eat the ice cream.

If you work at one of these big ice cream companies, I put out a challenge for you to make a gf ice cream that tastes just as good as all the others!!! And please send me one to try, I promise I will even write a review for you.

Imagine a world when you could eat whatever we felt like, without reading every bloody ingredients and asking fifty thousand questions when we go out.

I'm adding an ice cream place in Croydon Park Sydney that was recommended to me by one of my dearest friends.