Gluten Free at Ed’s Easy Diner

Yes, another one of my beloved restaurants that provides gluten free options!

Me and my family first discovered Ed’s Easy Diner in Bluewater years ago, and every time we are there, we have to pay another visit. An Ed’s opened really close to me in Sussex, but it then sadly closed 😥 . When I discovered there is an Ed’s in Brighton it gave me the perfect excuse to visit Brighton again.

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Firstly, at Ed’s you get a gluten free menu! No looking through the nutritional booklet here. As Ed’s is an American diner it specialises in burgers and hotdogs, so it is great that they do gluten free burgers and hotdog buns. I didn’t compare the gluten-free menu to the gluten menu, but it was still pretty extensive, and seemed to have a lot of the same items that you could get on the regular menu. I’m so happy to see somewhere that actuallys provides gluten free buns. It really bugs me when restaurants just do a ‘naked burger’. I’m not expecting fresh buns, I’m happy for them to be frozen and toasted back to life for my burger.  I feel like Ed’s deserves a lot of recognition for their gluten free menu. You can still enjoy a lot of the same things as everyone else, and not have an obvious stand out non-gluten meal. I will also mention here, that Ed’s also do gluten free chips, and they had two gluten free desert options!

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Even before I knew I had to give up wheat and gluten I hadn’t had a hotdog in so long! When I saw that Ed’s did gluten free hotdog buns (something I haven’t even spotted in many well-known super markets) I knew it was time for the hotdog draught to end. The bun was delicious. It was almost like having a brioche bun that was maybe a day old. It was still very soft, and had a rich texture; it wasn’t dry and dense like most gluten free baked goods can be. I really enjoyed this hotdog, and the bun did taste good by itself. I will definitely be ordering the hotdog again, and trying a gluten free burger… probably not at the same time though.

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Over all I’ve always loved and recommended Ed’s because I love the American diner theme. Plus I have been watching Riverdale and I kind of felt like I was sitting it that diner just waiting for Archie to come in and share a milkshake with me.  If you are gluten free and needing a burger or hotdog, please check out Ed’s. They have restaurants all over London, and of course Brighton. Ed’s definitely needs to expand and be everywhere like a Pizza Express! I can’t wait for my next visit!

P.S. If you get a milkshake, be prepared to have a lot of milkshake!

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Think Pink

What is your favourite colour?

Mine is pink. I like a baby, light or dusty pink, not the bright, bubble-gum, pop kind of pink. I know people will take their favourite colour and use it everywhere. They will paint their room pink, wear it, and even dye their hair that colour. But I just don’t seem to surround myself with my favourite colour. It is nowhere to be seen in my everyday life. Anyone who knows me would think my favourite colour is probably white, grey, black or navy. So I am trying to make a conscious effort to include pink more in my everyday life.

The first way I introduced pink back into my routine is through my shower. I picked up my favourite summery shower gel, the Sugar Crush body wash by Soap and Glory. This is my go to shower gel in the summer, it’s moisturising, but feels light and refreshing on your skin, and has a great sweet/citrus scent. As with all Soap and Glory products it comes in pink packaging and just the look of the packaging makes me happy. I love its retro design. I also got my go to body scrub, the Smoothie Star Breakfast Scrub. This is my favourite because I love how thick but exfoliating it is on your skin. I feel like it really gets to work at removing dead skin, whilst not drying the skin out. Plus it smells like maple syrup, and I love me some maple syrup. Next I picked up the L’Oreal Elvive Nutri-Gloss Shine Shampoo and Conditioner. I used to use this all the time when I was at secondary school, it always left my hair feeling super soft and smelling good. I decided to repurchase and I love how soft my hair feels. Lastly I got the Good Things Stay Clear Purifying Cleanser. Again, I liked the packaging but it is what I need for my skin, it is anti-blemish which is what I tend to get. It also smells of blueberries and mango which is great for these summer months. My whole shower right now is all about how good the product smells, as well as how it looks. Forget the benefits, I am completely going for whether the product makes me happy or not.

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I recently visited the Lush in Brighton and came across this Think Pink Bath Bomb, and I just knew it was a sign that I had to have it. What better way to add more pink into your life than with a bath bomb? This bath bomb is super glittery and smells of vanilla. I cannot wait to have a nice relaxing bath with it. I have a basket of lush bath bombs that need using but this will definitely be the next one I pop in my bath.

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Whilst browsing the shelves of Primark I found these light pink cushions. I’ve been needing some cushions to go with my new white duvet cover set, and I knew I could kill two birds with one stone by getting these pillows. They add a nice touch of pink to my room and didn’t break the bank. Adding little things like pillows are a great way to change the look and feel to a bed, sofa or room. I feel a subtle bit of colour on white bed sheets makes the bed look more like a great relaxing place to collapse into after a long day.

Adding my favourite colour to my frequently visited places throughout my regular day to day routine has definitely helped me feel happier and more positive. I feel a little bit like Elle Woods in legally Blonde, and just look at how happy and positive she was. Now all I need to do is get more pink into my office, not sure how well that will go down with the two guys I share an office with, but all well.

Gluten Free at Harvester

When it comes to dining out I am really not that fussy (apart from the whole low FODMAP diet thing). I know people who turn their nose up at harvester, but they don’t know what they are missing out on. The unlimited drinks refills, the salad bar, the desserts and the classic, can’t go wrong, meal options. I’ve loved the harvester ever since I was little. Who else remembers when they looked like some kind of farming antique shop?

Harvesters around me seem to be closing down slowly, so, me and my mom ventured out to Crawley for a cheap but delicious eat. The harvester does not have a gluten free menu, but they will give you a nutritional information booklet for you to look through and select your meal. I didn’t find out until later that they also do gluten free bread rolls on request for the salad cart! I just assumed they didn’t, it wasn’t until I was half way through the main course that my mom informed me. To be fair the waitress probably should have told me too. I went for the ribs and sticky toffee pudding, and my lord, it was delicious.

Harvester ribs are always so good, they are really meaty, and the meat just falls of the bone (sorry if you are a vegetarian). You’ll also be happy to hear that their chips are gluten free as well. There were a few things on the menu that are my classic go to choices for the harvester, like the rotisserie chicken, but it contains gluten. It would be useful if the harvester told you where the gluten was located in the meal. For example, if it is in the sauce then you could just ask for the meal with no sauce.

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Now the sticky toffee pudding basically stole the show. It was warm, gooey and deliciously moreish. I find it odd that Sticky toffee pudding is gluten free in a lot of places (Bill’s is another), but not in others. But I ain’t complaining. When the pudding was placed in front of me I just dived in and totally forgot to photograph it. I tried to hide where I had a few bites, but I wasn’t very successful.

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You can also check out what you can have on the menu before you go to the restaurant to help you save time, click here for a list of all their foods, including salad cart items, which are gluten free.

Now I know I can still eat some of my favourite dishes at the harvester I will definitely be going back again, especially since it doesn’t hurt my wallet as much as other restaurants could.

Pip x

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Gluten Free Pancakes Recipe

I have to admit that when I knew I was giving up gluten and wheat, pancakes was not the first thing that I was gutted about missing out on. All I could think about was how would I live without pizza?!?! But, since going gluten free, I have discovered another round shaped food that I can still enjoy and fills me with happiness.

If I am honest I can’t really tell the difference between the gluten and non-gluten pre-made pancakes you pick up in the supermarket. My favourite pre-made gluten free pancakes are the golden syrup ones from Tesco (blog post to follow). The genius ones are also good, but I find them to be drier than the Tesco own version. These have been a great quick and easy breakfast for me. I’ll heat them up in the oven if I have more time, or pop them in the toaster. Once I’ve warmed them up I’ll drizzle some maple syrup on and chow down.

However, last Sunday morning, whilst feeling particularly low, I really wanted a full and comforting breakfast, but I had no pancakes. In fact I had nothing for breakfast and knew I was going to have to make something from scratch. I had eggs, milk and gluten-free flour – Pancake Power! (please let me know if you get the reference), and searched the internet for a gluten-free recipe.  I used this recipe from the Tesco website, and I swear these are the best pancakes I have ever had. You have to make these even if you can tolerate gluten, and they probably can be made with regular flour. They were so full of flavour and fluffy, whilst being light and moist. They were everything I had ever wanted and more. I’ve already told my best friend that I will make these for her one morning, because I feel everyone should experience these.

The man who discovered this recipe is honestly a genius, I will be making these again and again. I’ll still use the pre-made ones for my quick breakfasts before my commute to work, but these will be the weekend treat that I’ll make with time and care.

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Ingredients

150g Gluten-free Self-Raising Flour (I used Dove’s Farm)

1 level tsp Bicarbonate of Soda

1 tbsp caster sugar

1 small ripe Banana, mashed

1 Egg

175ml Semi-skimmed Milk (you could use almond milk)

Method

  1. Combine the flour, bicarbonate of soda and sugar in a bowl. Add the banana and egg (this will get very sticky but keep trying to mix it all), then gradually whisk in the milk, to make a smooth batter.
  2. Melt butter (or coconut oil) in a non-stick frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add individual tablespoons of batter; they should spread to about 7cm in diameter so you’ll need to work in batches. Cook until small bubbles start to appear on the top, then flip and cook until both sides are golden. Warning these cooked quite quickly so watch them whilst they are cooking.
  3. Transfer to a warm serving plate and repeat with the remaining batter. I tend to put my oven on the lowest setting, and then place the pancakes on a baking tray under some foil to keep them warm.
  4. Serve stacked and with your favourite toppings.

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Normally I add sliced banana, blueberries and maple syrup to top my pancakes. However, these already have a slight banana flavour to them as they are included in the recipe, but you could still have bananas if you wanted. I found I could enjoy these with just some maple syrup drizzled generously over the top. As I said earlier, they aren’t dry at all, so adding maple syrup is really just for more flavour. Having said this, I feel that these are sweet pancakes, I’m not sure how they would taste if you had savoury toppings.

Please give this recipe a go. I know I can’t wait to make these again. They are the real deal American fluffy style pancakes, and I didn’t have to whisk egg whites until my arm was sore to get thick pancakes. They were easy to make, so there really is no excuse.

If you do make these, let me know how you get on, I would love to know if anyone else enjoyed these as much as I did.

Pip x

Gin and Tonic Loaf

I love my co-workers, they will always help me eat my latest baked good/s. I always do my baking on Sunday afternoon, but the problem is that I always make too much. I just can’t eat 12 cupcakes in three days before they start to go bad by myself, as much as I would like to.

For a few months I was going through a baking dry spell. I didn’t feel inspired to bake, and there wasn’t anything I desperately wanted to bake. One of the lovely ladies at work knew I needed some inspiration and sent me a link to this Gin and Tonic loaf recipe. It also happened to be her birthday about a month later. I thought I would save this recipe until she could enjoy it on her special day. I even made this recipe with gluten full flour. I have decided that all birthday cakes I make for other people won’t be gluten free, they should indulge on their birthday, and I will just pass on a slice.

Although I didn’t get the opportunity to try this loaf myself, it smelt amazing and everyone definitely loved it! I won’t lie I was very tempted to eat it, gluten and all. The whole loaf went very quickly, and received rave reviews.

Ingredients

For the Loaf

200g Unsalted Butter, softened, plus extra to grease

200g Caster Sugar

4 Medium Eggs

200g Self-Raising Flour

½ Baking Powder

Finely Grate Zest 1 Lime

75ml Gin

For the Syrup and Topping

125g Caster Sugar

125ml Tonic Water

2 Limes cut in half through their length and sliced into 3mm half moons

100g Icing Sugar, sifted

Methods

  1. Preheat oven to 180oC/160oC(fan)/Gas 4. Grease and line the base and sides of a 900g loaf tin with baking paper. In a large bowl beat the butter and sugar with a handheld electric whisk until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Gradually add the eggs, beating well after each addition.
  2. Fold in the flour, baking powder and lime zest, followed by the gin. Spoon into prepared tin and bake for 55 minutes – 1 hour or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Mine took about 1 hour 15 minutes to bake. Am I the only one who finds baking time takes longer than suggested?
  3. Meanwhile, make the sugar syrup: gently heat the caster sugar and tonic water in a small pan, stirring often, until the sugar dissolves. Turn up the heat and boil for 1 minute. Add 2tbsp of gin to the syrup.
  4. As soon as the loaf comes out the oven, poke holes into the top of the loaf and drizzle over syrup/gin mixture. Leave the loaf to cool in the tin on a wire rack.
  5. Make the icing by mixing together icing sugar with remaining 1 ½ tbsp gin. Remove cooled loaf from the tin, transfer to a board and peel off parchment. Pour over the icing. Cut up the lime to decorate on top, right before you serve.

If you follow the recipe from Good Housekeeping you can make candied lime slices, this way they will last longer. However, I was feeling lazy and liked the idea of the fresh lime juices soaking into the icing, adding a little extra favour.

I absolutely love baking with limes; it creates such a pleasant cake aroma. This is definitely a lovely summer cake to be enjoyed wherever you like, whether that is at a picnic, a barbeque, or you know, the office at 11am on a Wednesday. It can suit any occasion, and will definitely leave those eating it feeling cheery.

*Sorry there aren’t more photos, I wasn’t planning on writing about this bake, but everyone enjoyed it so much I thought I would try to share how good this recipe is.

Macaroons

I love macaroons! I had my first Macaroon on my 21st birthday after I saw Zoella talking about them. I have a feeling that almonds are not allowed on the Low FODMAP diet, but this diet is all about reintroducing foods and finding out what works for you, and Macaroons defiantly work for me.

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I had been trying to find something to bake for ages because I just hadn’t been feeling inspired to bake anything. Then one morning whilst drying my hair it hit me, why not make my favourite sweet treat that is impossible to buy where I live (the ones from M&S and Waitrose have gluten in them FYI). Plus, my brother had gifted me a macaroon making set that I hadn’t got round to using. So, I dusted off the kit (by dusted I mean washed) and looked for a recipe that seemed simple and easy.

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I used this recipe from Lorraine Pascale, and it worked really well.

Ingredients

For the Macaroons

125g Icing Sugar

125g Ground Almonds

90g Egg Whites

2 tbsp Water

110g Caster Sugar

1 tsp Vanilla Extract

For the Whipped Cream filling

150ml Double or Whipped Cream

2 tsp Vanilla Extract

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 170/C/325F/Gas 3 and line a large baking tray with baking paper. I used a silicon Macaroon baking sheet that I brother gave me.
  2. Put the icing sugar, ground almonds and 40g of egg whites together in a large bowl and mix to a paste.
  3. Put the water and caster sugar in a small pan and heat gently to melt the sugar. Then turn the heat up until the mixture boils. The mixture should go syrupy and thicken.
  4. Whisk the remaining 50g of egg whites in a small bowl until medium-stiff peaks form when the whisk is removed from the bowl, then pour in the syrup, whisking until the mixture becomes stiff and shiny. Add vanilla extract, or a flavouring of your choice. If you want coloured macaroons, add a few drops of food colouring.
  5. Tip the meringue mixture into the almond paste mixture and stir gently until the mixture becomes stiff and shiny again.
  6. Spoon into a piping bag, I used the little gadget from the macaroon set. Pipe a little mixture under each corner of the baking paper to stop it sliding if using. Pipe a little mixture under each corner of the baking paper to stop it sliding around. With the bag held vertically pipe 4cm flat circles. Leave about a 2cm gap in between the circles. The mixture should be quite loose to give it a smooth finish. Once they are all piped, give the tray 2-3 slams on a flat surface to flatten them and remove any air bubbles.
  7. Leave to stand for 30 minutes. Then bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes with the door slightly ajar until firm. Mine took a little longer than 15 minutes. To see if they were done I looked at the bottom of the macaroons on the sheet to see if they were cooked or not (do not try and lift them off the paper to see if they are cooked), I tried to guess how baked they were from what I could see on the side of the macaroon.
  8. Remove from the oven, then lift the paper of the baking tray and leave the macaroons to cool on the paper. I didn’t do this as I had the silicon mat.
  9. Whip the cream and add 2 tsp of the vanilla flavouring (or flavouring of your choice). I used 1 tsp and it wasn’t enough to flavour the cream, so I would recommend two.
  10. When cooled, sandwich the macaroons together by size with the whipped cream. If refrigerated, these can keep for a couple of days; I found that after three days they went soft.

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These Macaroons weren’t that difficult to make and I definitely impressed my colleagues with these delicious treats. These would make a great treat for someone’s birthday, or a special occasion, and saying you made them yourself will definitely wow those who are enjoying them.

I have now discovered that macaroons are best enjoyed when freshly made at home.

5 Recent Purchases

I love shopping, I love neatly displayed clothes, I love the thrill of finding a cute top in your size, I love trying things on and thinking ‘hey I look good in this’, and I love the little thrill you get when the cashier hands you the bag of purchases that are finally yours.

Shopping is definitely my weakness; I buy all these clothes that I hardly ever wear. I spend 5 days a week in office clothes and sweatpants. The only time I can wear what I want is at the weekend. I could probably live off only a few outfits (actually, no I couldn’t), and yet still I have a wardrobe and chest of draws filled with clothes.

But shopping makes me happy, it makes me forget my woes for a few hours, and it makes me feel good about myself. If it brings you joy why wouldn’t you do it?

Here are a few things I brought a while ago that hurt my bank account, but filled a hole in my heart.

Charlotte Tilbury Make up

I recently decided that I don’t want buy makeup from brands that test on animals, but trying to find a good make up brand that doesn’t test on animals, is affordable and produces a good quality products is like trying to search for meaning in a Pauly Shore movie.

I’m not saying Charlotte Tilbury is affordable, but the quality of the makeup is worth what you get. I won’t name names but I recently tried a makeup brand that don’t test on animals and have their own stores. I brought liquid eyeliner that would not come off with make-up remover or Micellar water! It left my eyes red and raw. I am never stepping foot in there again!

I’ve always dreamed of owning Charlotte Tilbury makeup. The colours, the looks, the packaging! So I decided to take the plunge (right into my wallet) and pick up some make up.

Charlotte Tilbry’s makeup is exactly like how I dreamed it. It applies beautifully, is blendable and lets me create the exact look I want. I got the Legendary lashes, which is a little bit more wet than I am used to but still creates a thick fluttery eyelash look, Hot Lips in Kim K.W. which is a lovely baby pink nude and the Instant Look In A Palette in Natural Beauty, it’s a shame that it is limited condition, I am seriously thinking about buying another one whilst I can.

Mascara £25

Lipstick £24

Palette £49

Diary

I recently visited a friend in Bath who is as hyper organised as me. She showed me her diary and I instantly fell in love with it. This diary has a frickin to do list for every day. And my life is a to do list. I make them every day, and just love crossing things off my list.

You can set a target for the day, add little notes, make to do lists and set out timings for your day. You also write in the date, so you can use it when you want and make it last longer.

If you are an organised freak like me you have got to pick this up.

£8 (30% off)

UO Dress

I am loving tea dresses at the moment. I only have two (including this one), but this one is exactly what I am looking for in a dress. It has a 90s vibe, it’s comfortable (not clingy) and can be worn for so many different occasions.  I know I’ll get loads of wear out of this dress, and although it was a bit pricey, I think it might be one of my summer staples.

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£46

Bag

Soon I will be off to Barcelona to visit my little brother. My mom recommended getting an anti-theft bag because Barcelona is known for pick pockets. I thought this was a great idea until I saw how expensive and ugly these bags are. Yes, that is very vain to call them ugly when they still serve the purpose you want, but if I am going to spend a minimum of £35 on a bag I want it to look pretty and get more than one use out of it.

Instead I picked up this bag from Accessorize for £15.  Its small, can be worn across my body in front of me and with my hand on it; I have been told I should be okay if I wear it like this. It just about fits a phone, keys and money, which is all I need to carry around.

I’ll use this bag again and again and it was cheaper, so I’m happy. Yes it’s not as safe, but my happiness makes me feel safe.

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£14.99

Cheesecake

I had been craving cheesecake for about a day, so I decided to pick up about four tubs of Philadelphia, some GF digestive biscuits and make myself a gluten-free cheesecake. I used this recipe, and it was easy to follow, but I would say it needed to bake for longer than recommended. It recommended that you let it have a little bit of wobble before taking it out the oven; mine was so wobbly that it was just uncooked; I would use your own judgement when it comes to the cooking time. Once it had cooled I added some berries to the top and brought it to a gathering I was having with some friends so they could help me eat it.

It was delicious; my friend’s parents even took a second helping, each. Sometimes a simple cheesecake is all you need.

This isn’t really a purchase, but all those ingredients had to be brought to get something I can’t easily pick up from the supermarket.

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