Reviews

A trip to Manchester – small things…

I started a new job in October. It means I am much busier – less time for writing – and that I am travelling regularly for work.

Sorry if this post reads a little like an advert – I had a bit of an #overexcitedcoeliac moment…

I wanted to mention this trip because of the incredible service I got at Motel One in Manchester – travelling away always makes me a little nervous, especially since my reaction to gluten has become so much more sensitive and I really can’t afford to be besieged by brain-fog (or worse) while working away in an unfamiliar place.

Apparently I can remove this particular anxiety when travelling to Manchester! When I went down for breakfast after my night’s stay (the rooms are basic, but inexpensive, spotlessly clean and well designed) there was a note next to my name where I checked in for breakfast. After a couple of minutes, while I perused the continental breakfast, (meats and cheese, yoghurt, organic milk) they brought me a basket with two different types of bread (more than I could eat), as well as two bowls of gluten free cereal to choose from.

It was a small thing really, but made such an incredible difference to my day. There wasn’t even a hint of a rolled eye and the staff were really keen to help. So, there was only a communal toaster (you know the ones where there’s a moving platform and you have to keep your fingers crossed the toast doesn’t burn on its journey through?) so I had bread instead of toast, but I really didn’t mind.

The staff were friendly and attentive, the location was incredibly convenient right by Piccadilly station and I’ll definitely be back!

Udi’s Gluten Free – Review

I was delighted to be contacted by Udi’s a few weeks back, offering to send me some of their products to try and review.  I’d already treated myself to some of their bagels a few months earlier and been very impressed, so was keen to have a try of some of their other products.

The bootie was delivered to work and the first thing to be tried was the “Chocolate Flavour Sandwich Cookies” which were shared out between my colleges (none of whom are gluten free themselves) – these look & I’m assured taste, very much like Oreos. Perhaps a hint at the American origins of Udi’s products.  If I’ve ever eaten an Oreo, I don’t remember it, but these were delicious. My colleague Paul even suggested they’re better than the originals that they’re clearly in honour of, as they’re slightly less sweet.

 

GF Oreos

I will certainly be trying these again – not least as I saw an amazing chocolate cake recipe recently which used Oreos as the base. I’m also told that twisting the top off of one of these biscuits and adding peanut butter is a treat not to miss…I’ll report back on this!!

Next up to be tried was the Chocolate Chip and Toffee Flavoured Muffins – I was a bit disappointed to start with that my muffin didn’t have any toffee in it and then realised that the pack of two has one chocolate chip muffin and one with toffee – they were both delicious, very moist and not at all crumbly (which is what tends to happen when I’ve made my own muffins recently!) – my non-bf boyfriend was also really impressed with these, when I gave in and let him have a try.

I took the Chocolate Chip Bagels to a friend’s house when I stayed over, as I’m never sure how easy it will be to have a gluten free breakfast when staying away. I’d previously had the Cinnamon and Raisin bagels and these were just as good – very chocolatey and again, no different from the bagels I had before going gluten free (assuming my memory stretches back that far!). We had them toasted with cream-cheese – really indulgent!

The Ancient Grain Crisps did not go down so well. They tasted rather over processed to me. But from a secure fan of Ready Salted crisps, perhaps this is not that surprising. I don’t really understand why you would really want to make a special kind of gluten free crisps when most (is that pushing it?) crisps are gluten free anyway. Not something I would buy, but if you love highly flavoured crisps, these might be for you.

The Chocolate Banana Cereal Bars were a surprise, as I don’t like bananas, but these were a great pre-gym snack first thing in the morning (when most people would probably just have…well…a banana!) Really chewy and not too sweet – the kind of thing it’s good to have in your bag for an emergency if you find yourself stuck at a railway station. They do taste of banana, but the chocolate took the edge off for me & I’ll probably get these again.

The Breakfast Bars are another homage – this time to Kellogs Nutrigrain bars – (although I guess this may not be as intentional as the ‘oreos’ mentioned above). I took these along camping and they ended up getting passed around when we couldn’t be bothered to make a proper breakfast. They’re great if you’re looking for a replacement for an old favourite – but I didn’t find them particularly full of flavour.

Overall I was pretty happy with my Udi’s haul – a bundle of sweet treats. I would imagine that their arrival in the UK from the USA will be a blessed relief to a lot of people who have been diagnosed with Celiac or other gluten intolerance who do not want to give up their previous eating habits. With a lot of gluten free alternatives to popular foods.

For me, these will only ever be occasional treats. It made me realise how ‘clean’ I eat these days – I was bamboozled by the list of ingredients for some of these products, although they are no worse than a lot of other food you’ll buy on the supermarket shelves. My favourite items (perhaps predictably given the above statement) were the ‘Simple’ Granolas, with an ingredients list of just three items. I was expecting them to be rather sweet like the other products, but they weren’t at all and were perfect mixed in with yogurt & fruit in the morning – a really great way to get some extra fibre – something I find hard at times.

I recommend you look Udi’s up when you’re craving a sweet treat – it’s great to be able to chow down on some goodies without any fear of a glutening – it’s always the naughty treats that catch me out. They are good quality and will appeal to non-gluten free eaters too!