Thursday, 19 May 2011

Wedding mishaps

For those of you who have read my profile will know I was recently married, December last year. It was wonderful, honestly the best day of my life. The reception was at a function centre at the beach, with the glass doors looking out onto the water, beautiful!

Anyone who has been married knows the thousands of things involved in making the big day happen. As a coeliac my first question when we started looking at venues was can you provide a gluten free option for me (without being grilled chicken and vegies!!, had that before). At our chosen venue I was guaranteed that the meal would be gluten free and that they cater for people with dietary requirements frequently, not a drama madam!!

I put faith in their claims and was very excited about the food tasting that we were invited to attend, for free (though the overall price of the venue for the wedding per head I'm sure we paid for it in those costs!).

We went along and were given a three course meals with canapes, there was a wedding in the next room and the chef made extra for us and some other couples who were having their reception at that venue in the near future.

The entree wasn't something that we would have first picked a pork belly dish, it sounded very fancy and exotic on the menu (as most dishes do). It was surprisingly delicious, we were sharing the meals, but I gobbled up my half, scraping the sauce, it was so delicious!!!

As you know I enjoy to cook and I loved this entree, I asked the waitress if she could find out what was in the sauce, I wanted to give this a try at home! She came back a few minutes later after talking to the chef, to tell me that of the many things that were in the sauce, soy sauce was one of the main ingredients. My first thought was crap, I hope they have used gluten free soy sauce! Surely though, a big function centre like this, knowing my dietary needs who ensure that it was gluten free, so I pushed the anxiety to the back of my mind and enjoyed the rest of the meal.

During the final course I started to feel a bit funny, maybe it was just that I ate alot......

Sure enough it started in the car on the wary home, the puffer fish reared its ugly head and the pains and wind started (not a pleasant trip home for both of us!!). I felt crap for the rest of the night, the first thing I did when we got home was heat up my beloved wheat bag and curl up on the lounge.

My first phone call the next day was to the wedding coordinator, to let her know that there was something in the pork belly sauce that contained gluten, probably the soy sauce and I had a reaction! I was not happy!! What if this happened on my wedding day!!!, the puffer fish isn't a good look in a wedding dress! It wasn't just me I was worried about, for some reason we had a number of guests who had dietary requirements, mainly due to allergic reactions! One good friend in particular was highly allergic (anaphylaxis) to peanuts, I certainly didn't want her having a reaction on the wedding day!

Every phone call or meeting we had (and there were a few) after the food tasting, I mentioned my concerns and how important it was that they adhered to the dietary requirements!

As much as I liked the pork belly, it just wasn't worth the risk on our wedding day, not a fun way to spend the wedding night either! So I opted for the prawns (which were lovely), and definitely no risk of containing any form of gluten.

People's ignorance of how much food contains gluten, particularly chefs is rather annoying! This mishap, along with numerous others, has taught me to ask further questions even if the meal states its gluten free. If you think there is something like stock or soy sauce in the meal, ask the waitress to check that the product the chef is using is indeed gluten free. Don't worry about appearing rude or annoying, trust me its much better to ask, even if it annoys the waitress or chef then to have the puffer fish emerge and spoil your night!

Recipe of the Day
Chinese Marinated Pork Ribs
Serves 4 adults

12 pork ribs
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup port (cheaper kind)
1 teaspoon Chinese 5 spice
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground chili (optional)
2 cloves finally chopped garlic

Place ribs in a bowl and pour all ingredients into bowl, mix through, ensuring ribs are well coated. Place in the fridge for at least 1 hour (the longer the ribs are in the marinade the better). Cook ribs on a grill for 15 minutes or until cooked through, baste with marinate as you are cooking.

I served ribs with rice and vegetables. I cooked the rice in a rice cooker and added 1 teaspoon of beef stock to the water, gives the rice a bit of flavour. I also cheated for the vegetables and used frozen steamed vegetables, you just place the bag in the microwave for a few minutes and serve. They taste good and its better than throwing away vegetables that have gone rotten in the vegetable crisper!