Intro

What's WIDE CIRCLE COOKING about?
I blog information, news and recipes about gluten-free, wheat-free, dairy-free, egg-free, alcohol-free and vegan cooking. Right now I've been working on an exciting project where I avoid refined sugar and create recipes using a range of healthier alternatives.

Happy cooking!

ps. ask all guests if they have an allergy (because the recipes use some unusual combinations and they may not expect to find citrus and soya in the chocolate cake, for example).
pps.if you are cooking for someone with an allergy, please read my allergy page first.

My World Cup line up


Sometimes timing is just serendipitous. As it happened, a collision of events led to a very enjoyable, if not especially scientific, evening. These were: the World Cup, a collection of entirely random one-off bottles and cans of lager left over from various parties; and some gluten-free lagers that I wanted to try.

I decided to get some friends over and blind-taste the two award-winning gluten-free lagers – not to find out if they were nice (which they were) or which one we preferred, but instead to find out which standard lager they most resembled!

Leading Group A was CELIA - it's made from malted barley, water and hops, but it contains less than 0.5 mg/100 ml (< 5 ppm) of gluten. Leading Group B was Estrella's Daura Damm, based on malted barley and rice, also with very low gluten content, in this case < 3 ppm.
Their opponents were (and this just illustrates the randomness of my left-over lagers): San Miguel, San Miguel Fresca, Becks Blue alcohol-free lager, Carlsberg Export, Budweiser and Stella Artois.

It was a tough match! Though one of my friends did say he thought the CELIA was "potentially the nicest one among them" and indeed we all thought both the CELIA and the Daura held their own extremely well among such an illustrious crowd. In the end (and it was a surprisingly difficult task), we though CELIA tasted most like.... Stella! And Damm tasted most like... San Miguel Fresca!

Meanwhile, it was Brazil 0, Mexico 0. Well, you can't win them all...

New product round up


There have been a host of new arrivals over the past few weeks, whether you want something new for your cup or plate...
Mirabilia has just launched a range of Organic Olive Leaf Teas, which give a relaxing, crystal-clear caffeine-free cuppa the colour of a summer sunrise. Taste-wise these are calm and unacidic. Olive leaf tea was made in Italy for hundreds of years, prized for its health-enhancing qualities. Mirabilia is reviving this tradition. Within hours of being picked, the leaves are slowly and carefully dried in a special oven to ensure that the very high level of anti-oxidants and oleuropein is maintained. In making the tea Mirabilia is regenerating an historic agricultural zone rich in bio-diversity and also preventing the advance of mechanised open-cast mining in an area of outstanding natural beauty. “We are providing a viable alternative to the community and are proud to be safeguarding the artisan traditions of rural Abruzzo,” says the company. The teas are available at Planet Organic, Booths, Whittards and Whole Foods, among others.
Also new is Omega 6 Dairy free Flax Drink, a newcomer to the ‘milk alternative’ scene. It’s made from flax seeds (or linseeds as you may know them) and has a pleasant neutral taste, not dissimilar to soya milk. It features high levels of omega 3, protein, calcium and vitamins K and D, but has only 34 cals per 100ml, way lower than soya milk! 3Ω6 uses only natural plant-based ingredients and is endorsed by the Vegetarian Society. It's sold in 1 litre packs -- sweetened Original and Unsweetened - and retails for £1.89 3Ω6 is available nationally through Wholefoods, Planet Organic Revital and other independent health food stores.  
Meanwhile, Mr Organic has just launched a range of vegan high-protein pasta sauces, including two gluten-free ones: with soya and with tofu. Veg Amore Tofu sauce mixes tomatoes with sweet red peppers and it works well as an Asian dish ingredient, as well as an Italian one. Meanwhile, the Veg Amore Soya sauce mixes sun-ripened tomatoes with cracked black pepper and a bouquet of seasonal herbs to make this exceptional sauce.  Like the rest of the range, it is perfect with pasta. The sauces are made right next to where the tomatoes are grown, and the company says that long, deep relationships with their farmers, pre-financing the crop yields, full traceability and trading fairly on costs means that Mr Organic is one of the most sustainable food companies in the UK.  You can find Mr Organic sauces in Ocado, Able&Cole, Planet Organic, Wholefoods and Budgens.