Gorgeously gluten free dining ideas for Valentine's Day...

Ahhh, the most romantic day of the year is beckoning and at Healthy and Delicious love is most definitely in the air. We've been comparing notes and having a browse around the web to see if we can come up with a decadent and delicious, simple supper to share on February 14th.

Following a gluten free lifestyle doesn't have to put a damper on things. There are plenty of romantic dining options that are completely gluten free.

If you know you won't have a moment to spare on Valentine's day but you still want to serve up a sumptuous supper, why not give us a call? If you're based in central London, we can come up with a complete Healthy and Delicious menu for two that'll save time and effort but definitely make a memorable evening.

If however you'd prefer to cook up a storm yourself, how about some of these fabulous dishes. Gluten free but packed full of flavour and healthy and delicious fresh ingredients.

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First up, a romantic tipple - and this idea from simplygluten-free.com is super simple: Choose your glasses of choice (champagne flutes or large shot glasses work well) and add about a third of a glassful of pomegranate juice. Top up with chilled champagne, raise a toast and enjoy.

For starters, this recipe from bbcgoodfood.com is ideal for sharing and is a little bit different:

Artichokes & herby olive sauce (bbcgoodfood.com)

You wil need: 1 lemon, 2 globe artichokes, a glug of olive oil, 10 pitted kalamata olives, 1 tomato (chopped), a handful of mint (chopped), a handful of parsley.

Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil with a lemon half in it. Cut the stalk off the artichokes and discard. Boil the artichokes for 40-45 mins until the base feels tender when the tip of a knife is inserted.

Meanwhile, make the sauce. Mix the lemon juice from the other lemon half, oil, olives, tomato and herbs. Season with salt and pepper.

To eat, pull off the leaves, dip the bottom end into sauce and discard the tips of the leaves. When you get to the middle, scrape out the hairy ‘choke’ and eat the artichoke heart.

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Always one of our favourites, Jamie Oliver has a failsafe pasta sauce, complete with valentine's pink prawns and beautiful rosy tomatoes which will get your appetite racing if nothing else.

A perfect accompaniment to our Healthy and Delicious gluten free tagliatelle (available to order from our pantry).

Shrimp & tomato tagliatelle (jamieoliver.com)

You will need: 8 plum tomatoes, olive oil, 300 g small peeled prawns or shrimp, 1 clove garlic (peeled and finely chopped), 1 lemon (zest and juice), 2 shots Cognac, 142 ml single cream, 400g fresh H&D tagliatelle,1 large handful fresh parsley (roughly chopped).

Blanch and skin the tomatoes, then halve them and chop into small pieces.
Put a pan of salted water on to heat for the pasta. Put a couple of lugs of olive oil in a second pan, and fry the prawns, garlic, lemon zest and tomatoes for a couple of minutes. Add the cognac and allow to flame if you like. 

Add the cream, allow to simmer gently for a couple more minutes and then remove the pan from the heat. Season the sauce carefully with salt, pepper and the lemon juice.

Put the pasta into the boiling water and cook according to the packet instructions. When the pasta is cooked, drain it in a colander and then toss with the parsley in the pan in which it was cooked. Check the seasoning, then serve straight away.

Add spinach or crumbled feta before serving if you fancy an extra flourish.

If you've managed to make a starter and a main course then why not treat yourself to a ready-made pudding? 

If you're based in London one of our gluten-free desserts would go down a storm (there are plenty to choose from). Or if you fancy baking something, we like these delicious little meringue morsels from bakingamoment.com. A little bit trickier than the norm to make, but well worth it, we think.

Raspberry meringue sandwiches with whipped dark chocolate ganache filling  (bakingamoment.com)

Filling: 100g dark chocolate, 100ml double cream

For the meringues: 4 egg whites, 250g caster sugar, 3 tablespoons seedless raspberry jam, a few drops pink food colouring 

To make the filling, put the chocolate and cream in a pan and bring gently to the simmer, mixing very now and agin until the chocolate melts. Set aside to cool completely then whip until fluffy and spreadable.

To make the meringues, preheat the oven to 140c. Whip the egg whites on high speed with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Gradually add the sugar, while continuing to whip. Mixture should be very stiff and glossy. Add jam and food colouring and fold in gently. Pipe rosettes onto parchment lined baking sheets, and bake for 2 hours or until the meringues are very dry and peel off the parchment easily.

To assemble, pipe or spread about a tablespoon of the whipped ganache over the back sides of half the meringues. Sandwich another meringue rosette on top. Enjoy sharing.

And here's to a happy, healthy and delicious, gluten-free Valentine's Day.

Recipe photos and related recipes can be found at bbcgoodfood.co, jamieoliver.com, simplygluten-free.com and bakingamomet.com - all great resources for gluten free dining ideas.

Healthy January can still be Delicious...

For lots of us, January brings resolution. Decisions to live a little more healthily, take up a challenge, give up a vice, learn a new skill or try to adopt a new mindset. After all the festive food, the generous supply of drink and the copious amount of snacks and treats that come with Christmas, one of the most common January resolutions is to shed a few pounds and try to feel a little healthier. At Healthy and Delicious HQ, we’ll be gently incorporating this into our January too. 

Our year-round mantra is to enjoy and savour freshly prepared food and to use unprocessed, fresh ingredients wherever we can. 

Our gluten-free lifestyles mean that we do automatically avoid some of the classic high sugar, high fat foods which are often deemed ‘unhealthy’ but we’re also aware that plenty of the ‘free-from’ branded products available in the shops can still be packed with sugar and additives, so just being ‘gluten-free’ is not an instant route to healthiness. We also firmly believe that eating delicious meals with family and friends, enjoying a glass of wine or two and making occasions really special by sharing a celebration cake or delicious dessert are the kind of things that can make for truly memorable moments.

If you are are one of the 1% of the UK’s population who are Coeliac, then unfortunately there’s little option but to cut out the gluten in order to feel better.  It can also help with the the general feel of wellbeing to stick to fresh, non-processed, additive free foods, drink more water and keep a check on the ingredients listed on any ‘free-from’ products that you’re eating.

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If you are not diagnosed wheat intolerant but have a tendency to feel bloated, gassy, uncomfortable or otherwise adversely affected after eating gluten-rich foods, then the January detox period could be a good time to consider cutting down on wheat based processed bread, butter-rich pastry and sugary cakes in exchange for simpler, tasty, fresh foodstuffs. Conventional bread could be replaced by sourdough (which still contains some gluten but is more digestible because it’s fermented) or corn based wraps, or you can find a myriad of clever bread alternatives on the web, including surprisingly delicious cauliflower bread.

Opting for a gluten free pasta (like our very own H&D lasagne, tagliatelle or spinach tagliatelle) can mean you avoid the symptoms associated with gluten,

whilst still being able to enjoy a wonderfully tasty, fresh and additive free meal. Just combine your favourite pasta with a serving of simple and healthy tomato and herb sauce and enjoy. Trying to drop carbs completely (which is a often a popular post Christmas diet decision) can result in energy slumps and grumbling tummies so considering opting for sticking to a small amount of gluten-free carbs (like Healthy and Delicious pasta) could be a workable half-way house.

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All in all, maintaining a more healthy lifestyle - whether gluten-free or otherwise can really help to make you feel a bit better.

Christmas was lovely, but starting the new year with good intentions, a few less calories, some fresh thinking about glutenand a little bit of exercise might just ease us into a 2017 that’s both Healthy and Delicious.

Surviving the Festive excess (whether you're gluten free or not)...

With all the celebrating that comes with Christmas there is always the chance of feeling a little bit below par. It may be the post-party hangover, accidental indulgence in too much of the festive buffet, your New Year party dress being a little snugger than you’d like or a general feeling of sluggishness and dehydration. At Healthy & Delicious we like to make the most of the festive season but we’d like to still feel fabulous by twelfth night, so we’re going to be following a few of these very sensible seasonal survival tips:

BEFORE THE PARTY:

Set yourself a ‘drink limit’ and stick to it. Easier said than done but it helps if you decide on one kind of tipple for the duration. You can even track your drinking on a mobile phone app if that’s your thing.

Pack a pair of pumps. Fabulous shoes can often be less fabulous when your feet hurt. After hours of standing (or dancing) you might find that slipping into something more comfortable could make all the difference.

Have something to eat beforehand. Boozy parties often mean there’s not much eating going on. Party canapés are often not enough either, so be prepared and eat a healthy light meal before you head out.

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DURING THE PARTY:

Space your drinks. Alternate every alcoholic drink with a glass of water. Make it sparkling water with a zingy slice of lime if you’d like it to be a little bit more interesting.

Add mixers. Ensure your drinks last a little longer - how about a white wine spritzer or champagne topped with peach or orange juice?

Watch out for hidden gluten. If you’re gluten intolerant, parties can be a minefield. Avoid mysterious cocktails which could contain grain-based ingredients and be aware that dressings and sauces often use gluten-based thickeners. Avoid processed meats as they often appear on the buffet table and all too often hide gluten - particularly pates.

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THE MORNING AFTER:

Rehydrate. A detoxifying tea, mug of hot water with a slice of lemon or even a fizzy drink can help get you back on track in no time.

Eat. A fresh and healthy meal is key. Fresh fruit and veg, gluten free grains and B vitamin rich ingredients can really make you feel better.

Get some fresh air. A walk out outside with friends and family can help to blow away the cobwebs and get your system back on track. 

Take a nap. A little bit of extra sleep before you head out to the next festive occasion will ensure that another late night doesn’t take its toll.

And if you’re planning a party, why not opt for serving up something Healthy and Delicious?

One of our gluten free celebration desserts would please everyone and we can also provide gluten free canapés or hearty Italian dishes that will make sure things go with a swing. In the meantime, we wish you a very happy, healthy and hangover-free Christmas.

Healthy and Delicious Wholesale fresh pasta - now served at London Restaurants...

We're very excited to now be supplying our fresh wholesale Healthy & Delicious gluten free pasta to some rather impressive London establishments. They'll be offering our tagliatelle and lasagne as part of their gluten free menus from here on in so fingers crossed they'll be hosting plenty of gluten free customers who are even more satisfied than usual.

First up is 'Massimo Restaurant & Bar' at the Corinthia Hotel in London which offers a taste of Italy.

An ideal place to serve up our authentic Italian gluten free pasta. It's a fine dining restaurant in the splendid Corinthia Hotel which serves stylish seasonal Italian dishes. Close to Covent Garden and Westminster, this luxury 5* hotel is a handy bolthole for a weekend away, or a great place for dining, Italian style, for hungry and discerning London residents.

We're also supplying our fresh, Italian gluten free pasta to the 'Electric House' on the Portobello Road in West London. 

This members club is a fabulously stylish space for eating, meeting and drinking and our fresh pasta will now be part of their comprehensive Italian/American menu.

Chelsea based 'Lucios' is also now incorporating our gluten free pasta into its quality Italian menu. 

Famed for its romantic ambience and charming service, this friendly venue is a veritable social hub.

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Last, but definitely not least, is a fabulous local London restaurant, 'Prima Sapori D'Italia' on the Taverstock Road.

This little gem prides itself on its authentic Italian Lasagne, deliciously light and crisp pizzas and seasonal Italian dishes so our gluten free pasta will be in fine company on their menu.

If you have a restaurant or cafe and are looking for a supplier of authentic tasting, fresh gluten free pasta or Italian celebration desserts, then why not get in touch, or find out more here.

Looking for gluten-free Christmas ideas?

Christmas is our favourite time of the year so we're thoroughly looking forward to the beginning of December when we can officially start our preparations. It's not long now 'til we'll be unravelling the fairy lights, modelling our Christmas jumpers and beginning to plan two of the most important parts of the Christmas festivities - the food and the presents.

Coming up with the perfect gifts for friends and family is thoroughly satisfying when it happens, but can also be seemingly impossible.

Whether it's something handcrafted, some lovely smellies or just a little token to say something special - it's nice to find something a little bit different - and then the giving really can be as good as the receiving (well, almost!).

Finding the perfect present for a friend who is a foodie can be difficult purely because there's so much choice. There are a myriad of different gadgets and gizmos for the kitchen but so many of them seem great in theory but actually never get used. The alternative is to give something which is entirely indispensable - a staple ingredient that any cook will appreciate, but a version of it that's just that little bit more special than the norm. 

Something like our wonderful Healthy & Delicious Italian Olive Oil, for example...

Our olive oil is a little bit more expensive than your average olive oil, but rightly so as it's harvested by hand, hand pressed and filtered by artisan farmers in the Italian hills. This deliciously flavoured olive oil is perfect for creating fragrant salad dressings, making sauces and concocting the fabulous Italian specialities that hail from its heartland. It also comes in a very stylish tin which wouldn't look out of place on the most fashionable kitchen worktops. We'd say that a pack of our olive oil along with a jar of our authentic Italian pesto would make an ideal Christmas gift for foodie friends (and you may even get to enjoy it with them if you're lucky enough to be invited for dinner!).

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If you find yourself stuck for ideas for a friend who's gluten free (or one who just enjoys eating delicious food)...

and vouchers seem like the only option, then why not choose something a little different and buy a set of H&D Gift Vouchers? Available in £20, £30 or £50, they can be exchanged for Italian specialities from The H&D Pantry, used towards H&D catering or for our delicious Italian celebration desserts. You can rest assured that everything from Healthy and Delicious is completely gluten free, so is suitable for Coeliacs and those with wheat or gluten intolerance.

If you’re expecting a houseful of guests this Christmas, if you’re planning a drinks party or you have so many social occasions in your diary, you’re not sure how you’re going to cope - why not ask Healthy & Delicious to help you out? We’re well practiced at catering for events, both intimate or large scale and we can provide our stylish Italian canapés, stunning desserts or a range of dishes, all with the added benefit of being gluten-free. Not only can we create a bespoke menu to perfectly suit your event, we will ensure it looks deliciously appetising and is a little bit different to the norm so it will truly delight your guests.

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The other thing to consider if you’re hosting this festive season, are our speciality desserts.

Authentic Italian concepts with our own stylish presentation, our gluten free celebration cakes make stunning centrepieces. Choose from indulgent Rich Chocolate tart, Italian Apple Rose Flan, our zingy Lemon Tart or one of our delicious gluten-free Cheesecakes. Opting for a ready prepared pudding means one less thing for you to think about after all.

For more information about how we can help cut down your Christmas to-do list this year, browse through the Healthy & Delicious website, pop along to our Pantry or drop us a line.

Gluten free on the go. Apps to make a gluten-free lifestyle easier…

At H&D we’re all for embracing modern technology...

...we are on Facebook, instagram, and deliveroo after all. As part of our ongoing ventures into the mobile world, we’ve been having a scout around the app store, looking for gluten-free friendly apps and portals, just so we keep ahead of the game. We certainly don’t want to miss out on any potential timesaving or health-optimising tools - and there are plenty of options to choose from.

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Firstly, the Coeliac UK website has a great free app available.

Called ‘Gluten-free on the Move’ it’s a simple to download, simple to use app for your mobile which has some super useful information, regularly updated for you. There’s a Label Guide to help you understand food labelling, a Gluten-free Checklist, Eating Out Tips and the latest news from Coeliac UK, including food alerts. If you sign up to be a member of Coeliac UK then you can also access the gluten-free food directory which lists gluten-free friendly outlets and also has a scanner facility which you can use to check products and ensure they are gluten-free when you go to the supermarket.

The 'Gluten Free Registry' is a mobile phone app which holds information on over 45 000 + gluten friendly businesses to help gluten free people locate their nearest gluten free restaurants, bakeries, caterers, grocers and more. The app is available on the App Store and Google Play.

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Similarly, the LiveGlutenFree app is a useful resource if you’re leading a gluten free lifestyle.

Find plenty of places to eat, from a quick snack to gourmet dining. Locate B&Bs, smart city hotels and a huge range of products to suit you. It’s a very interactive solution where you can rate restaurants, recipes and products and hear what other users think and recommend.

'ipiit' is an alternative food ambassador app. Covering a wide range of food allergies and preferences, it's a scanner based system which analyses barcodes from products to confirm if they’re suitable for you or not. You can easily compare two different products against each other, you can rate products and communicate your opinion with other users. Whether you’re living a gluten free lifestyle, have a nut or dairy allergy or if you’re looking for particular types of food, this app has a myriad of great features and is well worth checking out. Available on Google Play and the App Store.

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The 'My Symptoms' app is a useful tool to help you understand if you have a food allergy or not,

...or if you're sensitive to any particular foodstuffs or ingredients. You can use the app to record your diet and any sympton that you may have noticed, and then the app will cross check your diet and symptoms and analyse them, reporting back any possible links that couldd indicate health issues. This one’s available on the App store and Google Play.

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Not exactly an app, but one of our favourite simple yet effective ideas is ‘Gluten Free Restaurant Cards’...

...available to download free from 'Celiac Travel' (though a donation is encouraged!) These simple screen sized images can be saved on your phone so that whenever you’re in a foreign country and you want to make sure you’ve got the message across in the local restaurant that you’re gluten free, you can just select the language that you need and show whoever is in the restaurant so they can make sure they understand that you need gluten free dishes. They’re available in 54 languages so even the most seasoned traveller will find them useful.

There are plenty of other great mobile phone apps which can make your gluten-free life a little bit easier. We’ll carry on keeping our eyes peeled for the best of the rest.

Healthy and Delicious enter the 'Free From Food Awards'

We’re so pleased with the quality of our gluten-free tagliatelle that we’ve entered it into the 2017 Free From Food Awards. 

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The Free From Food Awards are the gluten-free Oscars and they’ve been going and growing for the last eight years. 

The idea of the Awards Ceremony is to celebrate the innovation and creativity shown by the food industry through its development of wheat, gluten, dairy, eggs, nuts, soya and sulphite-free products. Last year's worthy overall winner was yummy gluten free breakfast cereal, Nutribix.

Judging will take place in early February, with an awards ceremony in March so we’re definitely keeping our fingers crossed that we make it onto the shortlist, and secretly hoping we get an invite on the night so we get our own official winners photo like this one from last year!

The Free From Food Awards were founded by Foods Matter which is an independent, super-useful web resource covering all aspects of free-from living, from new product launches to health advice, research reports to gluten-free lifestyle blogs. It’s well worth a visit if you’re living a ‘free from’ lifestyle, if you’re researching allergies or just looking for a great gluten free recipe or two. Foods Matter also has a lively Facebook Feed that’s worth following for all their latest news too.

The Free From Food Awards has some impressive endorsement from Celebrity Chefs Anthony Worrall Thompson and Phil Vickery,

...who are both thoroughly enthusiastic about the importance of the Awards and the need for innovation in the free-from food industry generally. There are lots of different awards up for grabs, won in the past by some fabulous products but we think our gluten free tagliatelle could definitely be a contender. The fact that we’ve maintained a truly authentic Italian taste and texture whilst avoiding gluten completely is something we’re very proud of.

We’re looking forward to sending in a sample of our signature Healthy and Delicious gluten-free pasta to the judges in the new year… Here’s hoping they like it as much as we do.

Find out more about the 2017 Free From Food Awards at www.freefromfoodawards.co.uk

(Photos from 2017 Free From Food Awards website).

Gorgeous, gluten free bakes that are super simple...

At Healthy and Delicious we're always looking for a little bit of balance in our lives. Like most people, we like to be busy (but not manic), we like to be active (but not exhausted) and we like to be healthy (but still like to treat ourselves once in a while). Following a gluten-free lifestyle means that some of the traditional treats usually tucked into at afternoon teatime along with a cup of Earl Grey are off the menu, but...

...there are still plenty of scrumptious cake recipes which can be thoroughly enjoyed whether you're gluten free or not.

Although we're gripped by the Bake-Off every week and we love to leaf through the weekend supplements to savour the recipe columns, in actual fact - finding time to bake gluten-free teatime treats is a very rare occurrence. That's  why our favourite cake and biscuit recipes are the speedy ones, with the simple ingredients and the methods which our children are keen to help out with. 

Here are a few of our favourites, found on some of the most useful websites for fuss free gluten-free inspiration...

If you find yourself with a few spare minutes maybe you can pop on a pinny and rustle up something tasty. We can't promise they're completely failsafe but the chance of a soggy bottom is low and there's the definite likelihood of significant brownie points.

 

Good Housekeeping's Flourless Chocolate Brownies.

75g unsalted butter

250g dark chocolate

15g cocoa powder

2tsp vanilla extract

250g caster sugar

4 eggs

100g ground almonds

Preheat oven to 180C/gas 4 and line a 20.5cm square tin with baking parchment. Melt the chocolate and butter in a pan over a low heat. Once melted, remove from heat and whisk in cocoa, vanilla and sugar. Next, whisk in the eggs one at a time and stir in the almonds. Pour into baking tin, level and cook for 25-30mins (until firm to the touch). Remove from oven, leave to cool in the tin and then cut into squares.

(See www.goodhousekeeping.co.uk for more.)

 

BBC Good Food's Carrot Cake.

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140g unsalted butter

200g caster sugar

250g carrots (grated)

140g sultanas

2 eggs,      200g gluten free sr flour

1tsp cinnamon,    50g mixed nuts

1tsp gluten free baking powder

Heat oven to 180C/gas 4. Line a 2lb loaf tin with baking parchment. Beat the butter and sugar till soft and creamy, then stir in the grated carrot and sultanas. Pour the eggs into the mix one at a time, whilst stirring. Add the flour, cinnamon, baking powder and chopped nuts and mix. Tip mix into loaf tin and bake for 50-55 mins (or until a skewer poked into the middle comes out clean). Remove from oven and cool in tin for 15 mins, then remove from tin and cool completely on a wire rack. A simple buttercream frosting, sprinkled with a little cinnamon and nuts works well to finish.

(See www.bbcgoodfood.co.uk for more.)

 

Spabetties's Raspberry & Lemon Cheesecake Cookies.

1/3 cup coconut oil

1/3 cup cream cheese

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup gluten free flour

1 tsp baking powder,     a pinch of salt

a handful of fresh raspberries

zest of half a lemon

Preheat oven to 180C/ gas 4. Cream together coconut oil, cream cheese, sugar and beaten egg. Blend flour, baking powder and salt and fold gently into the coconut mixture. Fold in raspberries and lemon zest. Spoon mixture onto lined baking sheet and bake for approx 15mins.

(See www.spabettie.com for more.)

 

Jamie Oliver's Peanut Butter & Choc Chip Cookies.

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200g margarine     2 eggs

100g crunchy peanut butter

200g golden caster sugar

200g gluten-free plain flour

200g ground almonds

125g milk chocolate

 

Preheat oven to 180C/gas 4 and line 2 large baking trays with greaseproof paper. Beat margarine, peanut butter and sugar in a bowl for 5mins (until light and fluffy). Beat the eggs in a separate bowl then fold into the  peanut butter mixture, adding the flour and almonds. Chop he chocolate and food in too. Place heaped teaspoons of the mix onto the trays (leaving 4cm between). Lightly pat the heaps to flatten slightly and put into the oven for 12-15mins or until golden. Take out, cool for 5mins and then cool completely on a wire rack.

(See www.jamieoliver.com for more.)

If all of that still just looks a little bit too much like hard work, or you'd actually rather opt for something even more special...

...why not take a look at our range of Healthy and Delicious gluten free desserts?

 Available to order for home delivery, we have Italian dessert classics including Italian Apple Tart, Rich Chocolate Dessert and a range of gluten free cheesecakes to choose from. Yum.

The best drinks to opt for when you're living gluten-free....

 

Whether you’re enjoying a celebration supper with friends and are looking to raise a toast, if you have an end of summer BBQ and cooling drinks are in order or if you’ve ordered a Healthy & Delicious lasagne and dessert and need to select suitably gluten-free, grown-up drink options, we’ve been looking into the gluten-free friendly (and not so friendly) ones.

As Italians, we’re very relieved that whilst leading our gluten-free lifestyles, we can still enjoy a glass of wine or two...

...to accompany a meal or evening out. A light and refreshing Prosecco, rich and fruity red or zingy and uplifting crisp white can really make an occasion and as wine is free from gluten, it’s definitely fine for consumption. Gluten-intolerant or not, a good tip is to seek out wines with lower sulphate levels as it’s said they’re less likely to bring on those classic hangover symptoms if you’ve had one too many.

Fortified and distilled wines (all made from trusty grapes) are also fine (in moderation) for the gluten-intolerant. That includes port, sherry, brandy and cognac. Cheers to that.

Traditional beer and all things related however, are not so suitable. Lager, beer, stout and ale are all made from wheat, barley and hops which are gluten-containing grains. The good news is that gluten-free beers and lagers are hot stuff and plenty of new varieties are being introduced to the market which are well worth trying (they usually use millet, rice, corn or buckwheat as alternatives to the classic grains).

Cider is a safe option for those leading a gluten-free lifestyle however, as are the similar fermented fruit drinks that are proving trendy like Perry (pear cider). Great for sipping on a sunny afternoon or kicking off an evening ofsocialising.

If something a little more exotic is more up your street then there are definitely plenty of cocktail ingredients that are fine for coeliacs or the gluten-intolerant amongst us.  Surprisingly the grain-based spirits like gin, whisky and vodka are in fact gluten-free (because of the distillation process) and Tequila is entirely plant based so definitely a good solution for getting a gluten-free party started.

Once you’ve finalised your drinks menu, all you’ll need is a range of delicious gluten-free canapés, dishes or desserts...

...to keep you or your guests full and happy. Healthy and Delicious can definitely help out with this part and if you’d like to hear about which of our favourite Italian wines would perfectly compliment your gourmet gluten-free menu, we’d be only to pleased to make a recommendation! Saluti.

Healthy and Delicious - and that includes our cheese...

At H&D, our adventure into gluten free food has raised plenty of questions about exactly what goes into the best quality food. Gluten is obviously a no-no for us but we also steer clear of additives and preservatives, preferring to opt for the freshest ingredients we can find and natural methods of preserving. Many of our recipes are vegetarian but if we do use meat, it’s great quality and organically farmed for the best flavour. The fruit and vegetables we use are organic too. This ethos means we can be confident that our food not only tastes delicious but it’s as beautifully simple and unadulterated as it can possibly be.

We apply the same stringent quality controls to the cheese we use in our Healthy and Delicious gluten free recipes...

...as we do to all our other fresh Italian ingredients. It’s very important for those of us who are following a gluten free lifestyle to ensure we’re getting all the nutrients we need, but it’s just as key that everyone has enough calcium rich dairy in their diets for optimum health (especially once we get to a certain age). Cheese can be a brilliant source of calcium and like all Italians, we love our classic Italian cheeses and have made it a priority to find suppliers of parmesan and mozzarella that we can be really proud to buy from.

Take our mozzarella supplier for example ‘La Latteria’, founded by Simona di Ventri whose family has a successful business focussed on artisanal products. Simona moved to London from her native Italy but felt that despite the amazing culinary repertoire which the capital boasts, she missed truly authentic Italian mozzarella. Hence La Latteria was born and Simona hasn’t looked back.

Like Healthy & Delicious, the ingredients which La Latteria use are sourced from trusted producers, organically where possible. Their fabulously milky, deliciously tasty mozzarella is a result of traditional, artisan cheese making skill and experience. It’s the perfect addition to our baked Italian dishes and makes an amazing simple treat for the buffet table.

The parmesan cheese we use at Healthy and Delicious has a much more complex and chequered history...

As we always seek to use the best and most authentic ingredients (like our H&D olive oil), only the true ‘King of Cheeses’ - Parmigiano Reggiano will do for us and we source it directly through the Parmigiano Consortium in Parma in Italy. This is an organisation rich in tradition, originally established to control and regulate the production and sale of parmesan - so we can rest assured that every piece of our parmesan has met strict criteria required for accreditation.

Parmigiano Reggiano was first created in the Middle Ages. It’s mentioned in Samuel Pepys writings and appears in scripts of Marco Polo’s adventures. Throughout history this prized Italian cheese has been the target of Mafia driven organised crime, has been officially identified as one of the healthiest cheeses because of its high levels of amino acids, and has narrowly missed falling foul of the 2012 earthquakes when thousands of parmesan wheels (key to the authentic production of parmesan) were damaged.

Parmigiano Reggiano’s Italian provenance combined with its uniquely gritty texture and strong, tangy flavour, make it the ideal ingredient for adding to our authentic Italian Healthy and Delicious dishes. Mixing rich parmesan with the mellow flavour of mozzarella is a match made in heaven. We’ve worked hard to source the best ingredients for our Healthy and Delicious dishes and we’re particularly proud of these two fabulous cheeses. Truly the perfect Italian combination.

(The cheese images above are from the 'La Latteria' website and the Parmigiana Consortium website. They're both full of interesting information and well worth a visit.)

We're pleased to present the new H&D gluten-free Summer Menu...

Freshly prepared Italian food

Despite the fact that the UK seems to have been suffering from a distinct lack of summer of late, we've still been bringing the sunshine into the Healthy and Delicious kitchen, with our fabulous new range of summer-infused gluten-free recipes. All inspired by the flavours of the mediterranean and our very favourite vegetables, these Italian classics have been given a Healthy & Delicious twist by our resident chefs and presented to perfection, so whether you choose to eat them with family, friends or business associates, they'll be similarly impressed by the elegant appearance and rich and complex flavour combinations of every one of these sumptuous summer dishes.

Gluten free Italian food delivery

Order a selection of our new summer dishes via the Healthy and Delicious website or through Deliveroo.co.uk and all you'll need to do is add a little side salad with a drizzle of our flavoursome Healthy and Delicious Olive Oil or dressing and enjoy.

Italian dishes with a summer flavour

First up are our Aubergine Blooms, which are grilled aubergine pockets stuffed with a delicious mixture of rice, capers and mozzarella cheese, enhanced with a combination of herbs. Wonderful on their own as a starter or main course and even better eaten alongside our Stuffed Baby Courgettes. These are stuffed with millet and corn couscous (entirely gluten-free of course) and a delicious blend of capers, mozzarella and pecorino cheese with delicate herbs.

Authentic Italian recipes for London

Our Stuffed Peppers are an Italian classic. Gorgeous brightly coloured peppers stuffed with our signature gluten free, vegetarian couscous combination. Fabulous. We've also included one of our favourite recipes - Egg Frittata Buds which another, lesser known Italian classic recipe - baked with a herbed potato mixture, shallots and mozzarella and pecorino cheeses.

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Healthy & Delicious vegetarian meals

We're very excited about our Healthy & Delicious stuffed tomatoes - always one of our favourites. Ripe and tasty beef tomatoes, stuffed with a gluten-free mixture of long grain rice, mozzarella, capers and our signature homemade H&D tomato passata.

New gluten free beef lasagne

In addition to all of these scrumptious vegetarian Italian dishes, we've also added a new lasagne to the mix. We've always had our classic vegetarian gluten free lasagne, but now we also have a version layered up with organic beef too. This classic southern Italian favourite combines hand stretched gluten free pasta with our signature pasta and special H&D gluten-free béchemel sauce.

Order gluten free dishes

If you need a simply delicious selection of food for a dinner or family celebration or you're looking for event catering or gluten free wholesale products to sell in a shop or cafe, with Healthy and Delicious you can rest assured that everyone will enjoy the menu whether they're leading a gluten-free lifestyle or not. And now we've introduced our summer menu, there'll certainly be sunshine - whatever the weather.

If you're gluten-free, these 'superfoods' are well worth taking note of...

The road to nutritional balance can be a rocky one, particularly if you're living a gluten-free lifestyle. It can be tricky enough to steer clear of all the classic, traditionally gluten-rich energy boosting carbs like bread and pastry, let alone keeping ahead of all the hidden gluten in all those things you never would have dreamt could cause problems. Making sure that you do eat enough of the essential vitamins, nutrients and energy rich foods that will keep your body in tip-top working order can often be forgotten in the quest for avoiding the food which triggers symptoms of gluten intolerance, coeliac disease or wheat allergy but if you're a sufferer, these really are key.

At Healthy & Delicious, we're all about fresh, organic ingredients...

because they're the ones with all the nutrients and flavour. We're always experimenting with different ingredients and recipes and we're continuously seeking out new elements to add extra dimensions to our dishes.

We've gathered a list of some of our favourite, but sometimes overlooked super-ingredients that are packed full of vitamins and minerals. These could be useful to be aware of if you're following a gluten-free diet (or otherwise) and are looking to help keep your body in great working order and your skin glowing.

Free range eggs - a great source of protein and vitamin D. We use dozens of eggs for our deliciously light gluten free pasta dishes and rich Italian desserts and we never underestimate the value of these, the most versatile of ingredients.

Oily fish - with omega-3 fatty acids. Oily fish are crammed with the nutrients that aid a healthy immune function and keep you full and energised. We're total fans of the richly flavoured smoked salmon that we use in our Agnolotti and our catering and events menus.

Avocados - full of healthy fats and known to help balance hormones. A brilliant staple ingredient to include in a gluten-free diet, these creamy and delicious fruits feel thoroughly indulgent and make a great snack we love them scooped straight from the skin.

Quinoa - a slow-to-digest grain that helps stabilise energy. Cutting out wheat can mean that you can get hungry more quickly so finding alternatives to fill you up is important. Quinoa is brilliant in salads and alongside stews and combining that with plenty of of our special gluten free pasta and gnocchi means that our gluten-free diets are varied and satisfying.

Walnuts - classically Italian and full of omega-3. Italians have been using walnuts for decades in their cooking and as well as being a delicious, crunchy addition to all kinds of Italian dishes, they're also packed with brain boosting omega-3 and slow release energy. An ideal gluten-free snack.

Mussels - these excellent shellfish are rich in zinc which is one of the minerals that is often found to be lacking in the average gluten-free diet because it's main source is wheatgerm. It's vitally important for maintaining immunity and general health. If you're not a fan of shellfish, opt for spinach or cashew nuts as zinc-rich alternatives.

Yoghurt - a great source of protein, yoghurt is a simple, delicious additional to meals and treat in itself. Watch out for unwanted additives and choose the ones with the shortest ingredients lists - just milk and yoghurt culture is all you need.

Maintaining the right balance of nutrients and minerals for your body whilst leading a gluten-free lifestyle can sometimes feel like hard work, particularly if you have a family to feed, friends to entertain or events to run. There's a wealth of advice and information around if you're after gluten-free recipes and alternatives but if you just fancy having someone else take care of it all, Healthy and Delicious are always here to help. If you're planning a wonderful family dinner or evening party with friends, we can provide a selection of freshly prepared Italian inspired dishes or delicate canapés - all created with wonderfully fresh, nutritionally sound ingredients and all thoroughly Healthy & Delicious.

 

 

 

Choose H&D gluten free catering for your events and parties...

One of the things we love doing (and we're keen to do much more of) is gluten-free event catering and food for parties and functions. We're thoroughly inspired by the plethora of fabulous ingredients around at the moment and we love finding ways to create beautifully simple and enticing plates of sharing food, buffet treats and canapés for our clients to enjoy, so they don't need to be concerned with the hassle of cooking or the worry of catering for specific dietary requirements like gluten-intolerance.

We use fabulous Italian ingredients...

to build delicious, elegant menus for your guests. Whether you're hosting a small party for friends to celebrate a special birthday, or you're organising a corporate event or large scale business lunch, we can create a special selection of scrumptious dishes to satisfy the biggest appetites and the most discerning palettes.

At Healthy and Delicious we understand the extra pressure of providing meals to suit...

specific dietary-requirements and that's why our gluten-free menus also incorporate elements of vegetarian cuisine and plenty of healthy, low fat fresh dishes. Our gluten-free menus can also be tailored to suit your particular requirements - bespoke selections of authentic Italian recipes which are bursting with the flavours of the mediterranean.

We can also produce a fantastic range of gluten-free canapés which can be extended to suit any event size. They make a brilliant display and when there's a selection laid out in elegant dishes, they really do make the perfect party piece. All of our canapés and event catering dishes make the most of our very own artisan olive oil, our rich and delicious tomato sauces, our own signature pesto sauce and some of our favourite cheeses, specially selected from our very own, exclusive Italian small producers.

If you have an upcoming event that you're considering catering options for...

or if you're having a party and want to provide canapés that will suit everyone's tastes and requirements, why not consider Healthy and Delicious's gluten free event catering? Beautifully presented, freshly prepared and just that little bit different. Get in touch if you want to find out more about our menus or make a booking.

Al-fresco, summer celebrations - perfect for Healthy & Delicious food or canapés...

When May tips over into June, some seriously sunny spells are on the cards. The garden really burst into bloom and beckons us outside for eating, entertaining and general enjoyment of the balmy days and lighter sultry evenings.

Whether it's a weekend family gathering, grown-up celebration, informal high tea or even a wedding, getting everyone into the garden or hiring out a gorgeous outside space can make for an idyllic occasion. Memorable, relaxing and infused with the heady scent of the English Countryside.

Al-fresco entertaining gives everyone space to mill about, a beautiful backdrop, room for any younger guests to play and hopefully an uplifting burst of fresh air and a warm sunny glow. Plus, as everyone knows, food always tastes better when it's eaten outside.

There's scope to keep things very simple, with just some picnic benches and a trestle table which can be laden with finger food and chilled drinks, or you can create a country garden style high tea with bunting, garden games and delicious cakes and pastries. For an elegant al-fresco dining experience (if the forecast is fair) why not bring the inside out with dining furniture and a couple of candelabra set up between strings of twinkling fairy lights?

If juggling the preparation and hosting along with all that cooking is a step to far - no problem. At Healthy & Delicious, we're well versed in the art of catering for any size of group and our fabulous, freshly prepared meals and canapés are all created with delicious, organic, flavourful ingredients, absolutely ideal for eating in the great outdoors.

It could be a case of opting for something simply, deliciously, family friendly like one of our large vegetarian lasagnas, followed by a fresh and zesty summer fruit Italian cheesecake. Serve alongside a gorgeous seasonal leaf salad in a peppery dressing, maybe some Italian olives and a glass of Italian wine. Everyone will love our gluten-free cheesecakes (you'd never guess they are!) and they look beautiful served up in the sunshine.

For something a little more theatrical, why not serve up a selection of our Healthy and Delicious vegetarian canapés? Bold and elegant, they're made from a range of exciting Italian ingredients and wonderful vegetables, enticing to the eye and satisfying to the appetite. A spread of these spectacular snacks, served up with plenty of chilled Prosecco and the ambience that comes with a summer's evening in the garden will ensure that your guests go home with memories of a wonderful evening, well spent.

We can help you come up with the perfect celebration supper menu, from starters to main dishes to fabulous desserts. Just give us a call or email us to find out more or place your order through the Healthy & Delicious shop

Here's to a wonderful summer...

PS. The inspirational garden images above are from Pinterest. Have a look at the 'Better Homes & Gardens' boards for more of the same.

Dining made easy with Healthy & Delicious meals…

The beauty of the Healthy and Delicious concept is that our food is gluten-free but everything tastes so delicious that you would never guess. We’ve aimed to totally dispel the myth that gluten free food (and particularly the traditionally gluten-heavy products like pasta and pastry) can’t taste good and with our specially developed recipes, we think we’ve been more than successful. In fact, we’ve proved that Italian gluten-free food which actually tastes fabulous is possible and it seems our customers are in thorough agreement.

Our busy London lives, juggling families, work and gluten-free diets have highlighted how difficult it can be to provide delicious meals to cater to specific dietary needs and to relax enough to enjoy eating them when you’re short on time. Just finding an evening in the week to share a meal and a chat with a partner or friend can be tricky, let alone managing to rustle up a fabulous spread in time for them to arrive when really all you want to do is put your feet up, open a bottle of wine and have a good gossip.

For just such occasions, we have the solution in our ready-made, fresh Italian gluten-free meals. Perfect if you have a gluten intolerance but just as good if you just fancy something really delicious for dinner and you don’t have the inclination to cook.

The ingredients we use are all suitable for vegetarians and are sourced from artisan producers on small farms in Italy. We take care to find the finest flavours of the Mediterranean and that’s why our meals are so authentically Italian.

Choose from our cannelloni, gnocchi, lasagna or tortellini dishes, all freshly prepared with our special gluten free pasta and delicious, carefully honed sauces. We also have a collection of wonderful desserts to finish with including Italian lemon tart, rich chocolate tart and Italian cheesecakes. 

We’ll deliver direct to you so you just need to set the table, add mood lighting, chill the wine and relax. Healthy & Delicious dining couldn’t be easier. Just pop along to our shop.