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Waitrose Treats – Fancy Mustard & Soup

Found these two nuggets in Central World’s Food Hall today.

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Yay! Mustard sans gluten and sulphites! I’m excited to try the soup too – it says you can freeze it 🙂

Want to know what other Waitrose products are gluten free? Check out my old post with the downloadable document here!

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Finding Decent Gluten Free Pasta

Despite being gluten free for over a year, I still miss decent pasta. I have had some awful pasta experiences, including De Boles rice pasta and trying to make it myself. Yeh, not a good idea without a pasta machine thingie. Not only that, but some gluten free pastas are ridiculously expensive and I have to travel all the way downtown to get them.

The Worst: De Boles

downloadThis pasta is available in most grocery stores in Bangkok, including Lemon Farms, Villas & Topps. But this pasta is not great – it’s slimy, breaks apart easily and has no taste. When you boil it, the water turns white and soupy since it is 100% rice. Avoid this pasta. If you want rice noodles, buy plain rice noodles and save yourself the money from packaging and importing.

The Best: Orgran

32257Available for sale in some grocery stores, I usually have to trek down to Maison du Vins to pick up my pasta. These cost 100-250thb, depending on the shop. Orgran products taste great and usually combine several ingredients, including corn, potato starch and rice; resulting in a nice texture and taste. Orgran also offers a variety of shapes and sizes, including lasagna sheets.

My New Favourite: Peacock Rice Pastas00810791011334_fullI found this in my local Topps and thought, for 29thb I couldn’t go wrong. I finally cooked up this pasta with some Prego spaghetti sauce and have to say – it was pretty darn good! This pasta is made from rice, corn starch and sago (similar to tapioca). The result was a great texture and decent taste! This pasta was al dente and luckily made from brown rice, meaning that there is no fat or cholesterol! Per serving (for me there are 2 servings per bag) means that I get: 6 grams of protein and 90grams of carbs. Not bad for 29thb!

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Why I love Waitrose

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Whilst living in the UK I was spoiled for choice when it came to gluten free foods. I never shopped at the posh food shops, like Waitrose or Marks & Spencer. However, now living in Bangkok, I become very excited when I see their products on the shelves. But why?

After doing some research on my fave GF shopping sites (Gluten Overflow, Grocery Girls, Gluternative and Ocado), I have come to realize that Waitrose and M&S products are gluten free friendly. Trying to find out if the haricot beans were gf, I first searched Ocado and was happy to see that they were safe. Just to be extra cautious, I started playing around on the Waitrose site.

I was relieved to learn that they have responsible labelling practices:

“If a Waitrose product contains gluten, this will be clearly marked in the allergen information panel on the back of pack, and the source of the gluten will be listed in the ingredients list. You can also check online by clicking on the product in the Waitrose Deliver section of the website. A list of Waitrose products which do not contain gluten is available online also.”

More information on Celiac Disease and how Waitrose labels its products is available here.

Gluten free product pdf download from waitrose – september 2013

This makes me so happy! I have been questioning the GF factor of nuts, lentils, nut flours, canned and dried fruit the whole time! Now I know that I can happily buy Waitrose products for baking and cooking! Oh happy day! Most Topps supermarkets stock their products 🙂

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Gluten Free Shopping Tips

Don’t you put it in your mouth….

We all  know that eating fresh produce and fruit is the way to a healthier diet. But have you ever thought about the ‘real price of convenience’? I regularly buy cut up fruit from street vendors in Bangkok because I know they cut it right there and gluten isn’t around for miles. I tend to avoid store-prepared fruits though. Do you know why?

Cross-contamination is the big danger for Celiacs. I myself have been accidentally glutened several times, because somewhere along the way, my food has come in contact with that nasty little protein. Let’s think about the neatly chopped bits of fruit in cellophane. Was it cut and prepared on cutting boards used for bread? How about that bag of frozen peas – did it sit on the same conveyor belt as some wheaty cereal?

mmmm I wish I could find this in my local Villa…..

These are all serious questions you have to ask yourself whilst grocery shopping. And I don’t know about you lot, but I get stressed out whenever I walk into my local Villa or Topps Market.

To make my life easier, I get fresh organic fruit and vegetables delivered every week. I tend to buy the same Gluten Free labelled products at the grocery store. If I’m in need of something else, I’ll consult the internet to read food labels and other Celiacs’ comments on the product. A lot of research goes into food before it goes into my mouth!

My advice to any Celiac living in Bangkok is this:

– buy all your cut up fruit from street vendors

– make your own bread or buy it from Sunshine Market

– save time with prepared meals by Amy’s, which are available in most Villa and Topps Markets. Or you could cook your favourite things in bulk and freeze the excess

– do your research before buying anything processed; that means anything in a package or jar!!

– watch your nuts! I mean, contact the company to make sure that they have been processed in a gluten free facility (I have been sick from this mistake many times!)

With a little patience, you can find your go-to brands and shopping will get easier with each trip.

This ‘About’ website has been a great help to me for the past year. Please check it out!

Gluten Free Products: Bertolli, Colman’s, Elmlea, Flora, Knorr, Lipton, Lyon’s, Maille & Marmite

Recently I had a bit of a freakout. I raided my fridge and spice cupboard, looking for hidden gluten. Perhaps this was a pre-return-to-work-paranoia?

For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out if Flora sunflower spread or Bertolli balsamic vinegar were gluten free. So I emailed the lovely people at Flora to ask. They sent me a VERY comprehensive email with their WHOLE list of products!

For all those Marmite fans, you’ll be happy to know it is gluten free (bleeurrgh). I’m still not sure about the answer to the balsamic vinegar question, but I have included the list here:

Gluten Allergen list

Please note that it was last updated 06 Feb 2013

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Maison du Vins / Sense of World Taste – Sukhumvit Soi 19


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This is the first gluten free shop I found in Bangkok. It took some time to find, since I didn’t know what I was looking for. It’s about 500 metres from Sukhumvit, on the left hand side.

It is Thai owned and run, so don’t expect a high level of English to be spoken here. They carry a lot of Orgran products, including crackers, cookies, a range of different pastas, cake mixes, brownie mixes, bread mixes and pancake mixes. They also have a few different types of flours and lentils.

You have to walk around the corner and enter the door to the side here.

MAISON DU VINS SA.

Don’t be put off by the ‘Maison du Vins’ – there’s a great selection of wines you wouldn’t find in your local 7Eleven. They also have some interesting imported meats.

Word of caution: if they are running low on stock – don’t get upset. You need to check their availability every once in a while, as it takes time for stuff to reach them. But you can request things and buy in bulk (and get a discount!)

More information 

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Gluten Free Bread – Which is best?

bread_1807973bLiving in Bangkok does not offer a lot of options in terms of buying gluten free bread. There are no American chain bakeries or little French patisseries. If you want gluten free bread, you can marry a chef or make it yourself.

I chose the second option, as my past is littered with a few shady chefs and they need no longer apply (of course, unless you’re Gordon Ramsay). That being said, I’m sure the man makes bread in his sleep. I don’t. I said before that baking doesn’t always come naturally to me, so please, bear with me.

The Criteria (Hey, I’m a teacher, this is important!)

I have tested these brands at home with some success. I have made bread or buns and pizza crusts from each product. But when it comes down to choosing which brand I will whole-heartedly support, I need to consider a few things:

  • Taste and smell
  • Texture
  • Dummy-proof instructions and dough
  • Price and availability
  • Nutrition

Let’s begin with….

Arrowhead Mills

Now I know you’re thinking but that’s pizza crust and yes, you’re right. But on the back of the box it suggests that you can use the mix for buns and other things. Being highly open to suggestions, I did. Can’t lie, they weren’t great.

The instructions were easy, the dough turned out as I expected. I should’ve used a rolling pin (not my forearm, but who wants to lug a rolling pin home from the grocery store in 35 degree Celsius heat?), so my first pizza crust was a bit thick. It didn’t taste great if I’m honest. Nor did the buns; they were somewhat reminiscent of cardboard mixed with soy milk. No amount of peanut butter could hide that peculiar taste. Which is strange, considering this has the most amount of ingredients compared to the other brands, so I would expect it to be awesome.

In terms of nutrition, I’m sure it’s fine. The website doesn’t really specify how much a serving is. In addition, I wasn’t too impressed with the lack of protein and fibre. I personally don’t think I’ll be buying this again, as I had to trek all the way downtown for it and then paid 300baht. To be fair though, it was the first one I found in a grocery store in Thailand and I was pretty freakin’ excited to try it.

Orgran

I found these products in my secret gluten free shop. Translation: I know where it is but can never remember what it’s called. This box set me back 210baht.

I love that Orgran is absolutely anti-everything! They hate eggs, wheat, yeast and milk!

Ok, so maybe being anti-everything isn’t the best attitude when it comes to wheat free bread. But I must say that I was pretty impressed with how easy it was to make this. The first time wasn’t great as I didn’t heed the ‘let dough rise in a warm spot.’ Yeh right! I ain’t turning off my air-con to let some stupid bread rise!

You can guess what happened to that first loaf. It didn’t rise and it was denser than a frozen hockey puck! On a more positive note, because the bread was thicker than a lumberjack’s beard, it was very easy to slice and freeze. The second time round was more successful – I even added hot water to help that puppy rise. My friends were much more impressed the second time!

Aesthetically, the second loaf was pleasing. It popped above the bread tin’s sides and it had a lovely golden colour on top. The texture was quite spongy, which I have resigned to tolerate in Thailand. Basically all desserts are made of rice flour, so a spongy bread has become the norm for me. Bonus for soups, not so great for crunchy peanut butter.

Now, in terms of taste, it was still missing something. Again, the ingredients have some pretty technical terms. Nonetheless, it was a vast improvement from the Arrowhead Mills.

Springhill Farm

From a previous post, you may know that I found this completely unexpectedly in the Topps nearest me. Scouring the baking section for polenta, I saw this and my jaw hit the floor. Are you serious? Gluten free bread mix only two kilometres from my house? And only 179baht? Say what!?

The package says that it is a good source of dietary fibre, gluten free, wheat free, egg free and nut free. Ok, so you have to add yeast. That’s not such a bad thing, is it? Considering that Arrowhead Mills uses yeast, I figured I’d give this one a go. I was really surprised to see bare bones ingredients in contrast to the others: maize starch, potato starch, flaxseed flour, psyllium and pea protein. That’s it!

Per serving (again, not sure what a serving is) you get 4.8 grams of protein and 6.4 grams of fibre. I think this bread is kicking some nutritional ass!

Now the negatives: I found the instructions to be condescending. I know what you’re thinking, What are you on about woman? Well, the instructions tell you to use a pastry mixer and a bread machine. Forget that hoity-toity nonsense! I live in Thailand and have a two hob stovetop. I stole an oven. I use my forearms as a rolling pin. I GOT THIS!

Mixing it up took some work, but it was worth it for the end result. Using my hands instead of a flimsy spatula, it took a good five minutes to really combine all the ingredients.

Truth be told, this mix was delicious! I made 8 buns using a 3’’ cookie cutter and put two balls of dough into the freezer for pizzas. The buns turned a lovely golden colour and browned a bit on the bottom like real hamburger buns! And they smell like real bread! My flat had the aroma of a high-class bakery! Texture wise, they are a bit denser than the Orgran stuff, but they looked and felt like real bread. It wasn’t as fluffy as the inside of a baguette, but it was certainly the closest.

Bob’s Red Mill

Although my local Villa Market has the Gluten Free All-Purpose Baking Flour, for some strange reason it doesn’t carry the special bread mix. A bit annoyed, I have to go downtown to Sunshine Market to pick this up. And it’s a pretty penny too at 296baht. Although, this product comes recommended from one of my friends back home, who is gluten free and feeds her hubby this stuff too.

In terms of ingredients, we’ve got some garbanzo flour, potato starch, corn starch, sorghum flour, tapioca flour, evaporated cane juice, fava flour, xanthan gum, potato flour, sea salt, guar gum, soy lecithin, and a yeast packet. Unfortunately it only packs in 3 grams of fibre per serving.

Ok, so I finally made this bread. It wasn’t so bad – it smelled great and had a lovely texture. The only problem is that it calls for eggs, and being a lacto-vegetarian, this was a problem. So I consulted the lovely Sarah Kramer for some alternatives. My go-to option of using bananas was not going to happen, so I chose flax seed oil instead. However, in a post-run-haze, I added too much of the nutty oil and wound up with flaxy tasting pizza crust and buns. Not good. It made for a decent pizza crust though!

I’m happy I tried it, but considering my diet, this is not a good option for me.

And finally, the winner is ….

Bob’s Red Mill (if you’re ok with eggs).

Springhill Farms – due to its nutritional statistics, lack of animal bits and simple ingredients!

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Sunshine Market

This post has been updated.

Unfortunately, for health reasons, I have decided not to frequent this shop anymore.

On two separate occasions, the shop assistants gave me incorrect information resulting in serious gluten-incidents.

If you do decide to shop there, be wary of the baked items and be sure to read all labels on the products before purchasing or consuming them.

My Local Villa Market (Ratchayothin)

I have had some lucky breaks with food shopping here in the city, and some not-so-lucky shopping experiences (think cockroaches and rats in Thai markets). To be honest, my diet for the past year has consisted of Thai curries, rice, GF soy sauce and stir-frys. Surely, after a year, it is time to diversify!

My local Villa Market offers a few special GF items (specifically baking):

  • Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose GF Baking Mix
  • Polenta
  • Corn flour
  • Brown and white rice flour
  • General Mills GF Chex Cereal
  • Megachef GF soy sauce, oyster sauce and fish sauce
  • Tostitos corn chips and salsa
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Orgran Gluten Free Bread

attempt 1.1

At the best of times, I am not a super baker. I used to leave that to my Grandma Jan; she did the measuring, I did the mixing; she did the decorating, I licked the bowl. True story.

Since pigging out on gluten free bread in Koh Phangan, I returned to Bangkok determined to make my own bread. It can’t be that hard since stupid machines do it…. right?

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The end result, does not. It did not rise before I put it in the oven. Perhaps there is some ‘science’ to this bread-baking-business.

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Attempt #2

Eeehhh? It has risen! Ok, so maybe I cheated by using warm water and sitting it in the oven on a very low temperature.

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Hate to admit it folks, but I think my ‘cheat’ worked! WAHOO!! Bread and peanut butter! My life is now complete!

Ok, so now it’s down to taste. If I’m honest, I don’t remember what wheat bread tastes like. I know what it smells like because I regularly stick my nose into the centre of bread loaves to get that wheaty whiff. Yeh, I know that’s weird. But I bet you have some weird habits too.

In terms of taste, it’s ok. The texture on this second loaf was much better than the first. The first one was heavy and I could cut really thin slices. This one, however, is much fluffier. The top crust is a lovely golden brown and crunchy. Inside, it is a bit spongier than normal bread. Living in Thailand and eating strange rice flour desserts and cakes, I am starting to enjoy a sponge bread, over the more traditional wheat ones!

Heinz Gluten Free Products

Heinz Gluten-Free Products Around the World

The products on this list are made without gluten containing ingredients. Due to the various degrees of sensitivity in individuals with gluten intolerance and celiac disease this list is only a reference for Heinz products as they are sold. Regulation of the term gluten-free varies by country therefore cannot be claimed for similar products sold in different locations.

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All Heinz products are imported into Thailand. Check out the website to make sure you’re safe!

 More information can be found here