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.

Perfect poached eggs

Aah, poached eggs.. seem so tricky don't they? Well, the great news is to get a poached egg perfect is one of the easiest ways to cook an egg, and you don't need to shell [he he, sorry, couldn't resist] out any money on newfangled contraptions either.

You will need:
1 egg, v fresh (you can tell the freshness of an egg by putting it in a large glass of water. It should sink to the bottom and lie on its side)
1 muffin or slice of bread


Boil a pan of water. Take it off the heat. Crack the egg in. Immediately put your muffin/bread in the toaster. When the toaster pops, the egg will be done to perfection too! Use a slotted spoon to extract it from the water. See - I told you it was easy!

PS. Another lifehack: if you need to do more than one egg, just use a big pan of water. The eggs will all float to the top when they are done. Magic, eh?

New super sensitive test for gluten improves accuracy of coeliac diagnosis


Exciting news from the USA, where Cyrex Laboratories, a clinical laboratory specializing in functional immunology and autoimmunity, has launched an enhanced blood test for detecting gluten sensitivity which may in the future help to do away with the need for intestinal biopsies.
The Cyrex Array 3 Wheat/Gluten Proteome Reactivity and Autoimmunity test panel is the only wheat/gluten panel that assesses three antigen triggers of disorders (gluten proteins, opioid peptides and tissue binding isolates), and was developed to differentiate between the coeliac manifestation and the non-coeliac gluten sensitivity.
“Array 3 alone cannot be used to diagnose coeliac disease,” explains Jama Lambert, Director of Education at Cyrex Laboratories. “Rather, it is a clinical tool the doctor can use—along with other pertinent clinical information—to reach a diagnosis. Assuming the patient maintains a regular diet that includes wheat/gluten, Array 3 will detect gluten/wheat reactivity and autoimmunity because it accurately identifies gluten reactivity and measures antibody production against 8 wheat proteins and peptides, three essential enzymes (transglutaminase-2, transglutaminase-3 and transglutaminase-6), and the gliadin transglutaminase complex.”
The test will hopefully help to increase the accuracy of diagnoses. “Based on articles published in scientific journals, an astounding 50 percent of patients diagnosed with coeliac disease receive a false negative test result when measuring only Deamidated Alpha Gliadin-33-mer antibody,” says Dr Aristo Vojdani, pioneer of ELISA food reactivity testing and chief scientific advisor for Cyrex Laboratories. “This is problematic because these gluten-reactive patients, who do not respond to alpha-gliadin-33-mer, instead may react to one or more of the other gluten proteins that are not being measured by other testing panels. This problem is exactly why Array 3 was developed.”
Array 3 is recommended for patients who have non-responsive GI symptoms, present with multiple-symptom complaints (including joint pain, fatigue, muscle pain, brain fog, hormone imbalances and chronic inflammation), and suffer from depression or neurodegenerative symptoms like peripheral neuropathy, Alzheimer’s disease, or multiple sclerosis.
“The Array 3 test panel is the most accurate test available for gluten reactivity,” says Jama Lambert. “To diagnose coeliac disease, one must prove total villous atrophy—which can only be done by biopsy.  Array 3 provides a practitioner with enough information that can be used in conjunction with other pertinent clinical information, that differentiation between potential coeliac disease and non-coeliac gluten sensitivity is possible.  If the results look like possible coeliac disease, the practitioner can refer the patient for biopsy to obtain an official coeliac disease diagnosis.”
It is possible that Array 3 might do away with the intestinal biopsy needed to confirm coeliac disease, but this is still someway off. Jama Lambert continues: “Researchers out of Israel have argued that antibodies to the Gliadin-Transglutaminase Complex, available on Array 3, is such a strong biomarker of intestinal damage that biopsies are no longer necessary. These researchers have not made headway in changing the official workup for the diagnosis of Coeliac disease but it is possible that in the future Array 3 will be allowed to replace biopsies.”
Cyrex says it is in the process of expansion internationally, with Australia high on the priority list. The test is already available in to UK and Ireland residents, but the request must come via a healthcare professional. “Regenerus Labs is Cyrex's Logistics and Marketing Partner set up in the UK and Ireland to fulfill orders from HCPs and will work with them to get the Array 3 test performed. Healthcare professionals should contact Regenerus Labs for all UK and Ireland inquiries.”

Allergy & Freefrom Show London roundup 2015


The Allergy & Free From Show in London is a good mirror of the way in which the market for 'free from' products has grown in recent years. Four years ago the show occupied one of London Olympia’s smallest exhibition spaces – now it’s in the Grand Hall. With around 35,000 people visiting over its three-day span, it needs to be.
As always, it was the best place to discover some of the developments in gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, coeliac, allergy and vegan products.  

I was particularly excited by the ZeroGluten Baker, an electric breadmaker especially designed to create gluten-free bread and cakes and featuring two paddles for extra mixing. It also comes with a host of accessories. See www.zeroglutenbaker.co.uk.

Follow Your Heart is a company now importing that US best seller loved by Gwyneth Paltrow, Vegenaise. It tastes just like egg-based mayo, but is totally vegan! I confess I was surprised by how good it is; look out for it on a shelf near you soon. Follow the developments on Twitter, @FollowYourHeart.

Rebel Kitchen were at the show again showing their delicious range of flavoured coconut milks… if you’ve not tried it yet you’re really missing out! Available in Waitrose, Tesco and Ocado among others, www.rebel-kitchen.com.

Kent & Fraser were biscuit kings at the show, with an impressive range of gluten-free, egg-free biscuits, from lemon butter shortbread to fig & hazelnut cookies (without oats). Go to www.kentandfraser.com to find out more.

If you’re after ready-made cakes in a gorgeous spectrum of toppings and ingredients, then Wholesome Bakes has picture-perfect cupcakes that are gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free and just crying out for a party to go to. See www.wholesomebakes.co.uk. Also offering gluten-free readymade cakes (and pies, breads and more) is Nuttylicious. Vegan and lactose intolerants are also catered for, see www.nuttylicious.me.uk.

Bute Island Foods were at the show with their 100% dairy-free and vegan Scottish-made ‘Sheese’ – and with a mind-boggling collection of varieties, from ‘smoked cheddar’ to ‘mozzarella’, there should be something for everyone. Find them at www.buteisland.com.

Various dining Apps have been launched and many were at the show. The ones I discovered were FoodMaestro (www.foodmaestro.me) and Can I Eat There (www.canIeatthere.co.uk). Don’t miss The Gluten Free Centre either – this site has a shopping director, brand directory, recipe site, coupons and offers restaurant/hotel/cookery class/chip shop/café listings and a community hub dedicated to gluten-free living. Find it at theGlutenFreeCentre.co.uk.

And finally, for anyone doing a spot of online shopping, Free From Market has all your favourite brands in one place across the whole spectrum of allergy, food and lifestyle needs. There’s also recipes, nutrition advice and a community spot, with no minimum order. Go to www.freefrommarket.co.uk. Also worth exploring are www.doesnotcontain.net and www.healthyfoods-online.com.

Wimbledon Mess


Following my meringue theme (see previous post), here's a great idea for a summery dessert or day in front of the tennis, inspired in a moment of slightly alcohol-fuelled brilliance: basically it's an Eton Mess with Pimms!
Even better, it can be made to suit just about anyone, simply follow my dairy-free/egg-free/vegan or low fat variations. I've deliberately been a bit vague about the ingredient quantities because this is a dessert that benefits from a rather laid-back approach - just fling some bits in a bowl and stir.

Gluten free
(Per person)
One ready-made meringue nest
Handful of fresh strawberries, roughly chopped
3 tbsp Greek yogurt (or whipped cream if you're feeling particularly indulgent)
1 tsp Pimms
1 tsp shredded fresh mint

Crush the meringue into chunks and stir with the strawberries and yogurt. Place in a serving bowl and pour the Pimms over the top, followed by a sprinkling of shredded mint. Serve immediately.

VARIATIONS

Dairy free
(Per person)
One ready-made meringue nest
Handful of fresh strawberries, roughly chopped
3 tbsp soya yogurt
1 tsp Pimms
1 tsp shredded fresh mint

Follow instructions as per gluten-free recipe.

Egg free
(Per person)
30g Orgran No Egg
1/4tsp pectin
80ml water
40g icing sugar
1 tbsp soft brown sugar
Handful of fresh strawberries, roughly chopped
3 tbsp Greek yogurt
1 tsp Pimms
1 tsp shredded fresh mint

Make the meringue by following instuctions on packet, or this method: Mix the No Egg and pectin in a bowl. Whisk together with the water for 5 minutes using a high speed electric mixer. Add the two sugars one tbsp at a time and then whisk for a further 5 minutes. The foam will increase in volume. Spoon nest shapes onto a baking sheet lined with silicone-impregnated baking paper and bake at 130C for 2 hours. At this point, switch the oven off but do not open the door. Leave until the oven has cooled. Excess meringues can be stored in an airtight container for another day.
Crush the meringue nest into chunks and stir with the strawberries and yogurt. Place in a serving bowl and pour the Pimms over the top, followed by a sprinkling of shredded mint. Serve immediately.

Vegan
(Per person)
30g Orgran No Egg
1/4tsp pectin
80ml water
40g icing sugar
1 tbsp soft brown sugar
Handful of fresh strawberries, roughly chopped
3 tbsp soya yogurt
1 tsp Pimms
1 tsp shredded fresh mint

Make the meringue by following instuctions on packet, or this method: Mix the No Egg and pectin in a bowl. Whisk together with the water for 5 minutes using a high speed electric mixer. Add the two sugars one tbsp at a time and then whisk for a further 5 minutes. The foam will increase in volume. Spoon nest shapes onto a baking sheet lined with silicone-impregnated baking paper and bake at 130C for 2 hours. At this point, switch the oven off but do not open the door. Leave until the oven has cooled. Excess meringues can be stored in an airtight container for another day.
Crush the meringue nest into chunks and stir with the strawberries and yogurt. Place in a serving bowl and pour the Pimms over the top, followed by a sprinkling of shredded mint. Serve immediately.

Low fat
(Per person)
One ready-made meringue nest
Handful of fresh strawberries, roughly chopped
3 tbsp fat-free yogurt
1 tsp Pimms
1 tsp shredded fresh mint

Follow instructions as per gluten-free recipe.

Super chewy strawberry meringue


This possibly the world's best meringue.. the kind with that marshmallowy and chewy centre and crumbly outside. The real secret ingredient, however, is the elderflower vinegar, which lends a extra special dimension to the flavour (recipe below - if you'd like to make some, you might just find a few elderflowers still around or just use cider vinegar instead). This is suitable for both gluten-free and/or dairy-free diets.

Serves 6-8

For the meringue
6 egg whites
200g caster sugar
100g soft light brown sugar
1 tbsp cornflour
1 tbsp elderflower vinegar

For the topping
300ml coconut yogurt (or whipped cream if you can have dairy)
400g fresh strawberries, leaves removed

Preheat the oven to 140C. Line a baking sheet with silicone-impregnated baking parchment.
Whisk the egg whites until very stiff - you'll know you're at the right point if the whites don't slide around if you tip the bowl to the side. Gradually whisk in the caster sugar and light brown sugar to form a dense meringue.
In a cup, stir together the cornflour and vinegar until smooth. Now transfer the meringue mixture to a the baking sheet, using a spatula to smooth and shape it into a large circle. Bake for 1.5 hours until browned. Allow to cool on the baking sheet, then carefully peel off the baking paper and transfer to a large serving plate.
Just before serving, spread the yogurt over the meringue and top with the strawberries.

Elderflower vinegar
300ml white wine vinegar or cider vinegar
About 20 elderflower heads

Place the elderflower heads in a jar and pour vinegar over the top. Seal the jar, then leave for 10 days. After that time our the vinegar through a funnel lined with filter paper or piece of kitchen paper towel into a bottle. The vinegar will keep for up to a year in a cupboard.