This piece of EU legislation reported on the BBC must be the silliest. Here’s the first paragraph.
The European Commission is to ban the use of refillable bottles and dipping bowls of olive oil at restaurant tables from next year.
From 1 January 2014, restaurants may only serve olive oil in tamper-proof packaging, labelled to EU standards.
The Commission, the EU’s executive branch, says the move will protect consumers and improve hygiene.
It won’t improve my hygiene, as I’ve never anything in dipped olive oil and as very few places serve gluten-free bread, it will affect me about as much as the EU saying restaurants couldn’t use light blue tablecloths.
It’s ideas like this that mean UKIP and the other silly parties all over Europe prosper.
Let’s have some serious legislation that says that all restaurants must have a gluten free policy, shown on the menu.
I arrived early, so I had time for a quick lunch. I walked out the back to the cafeteria, through an area populated by various equipment from finished experiments.
It was fascinating. Although, of course, I had no idea what the various equipment and structures were for. They also weren’t labelled.
Lunch was pretty good, with a meal, with the price based on how much you took.
As everything was plain, it was ideal for coeliacs like me.
I am a man, whose eyes are his prime resource and on this walk for lunch, I took two pictures that fascinated me. Here’s one.
The other I’ll show later.
I searched everywhere and couldn’t find any, or in fact any other gluten-free snacks to take with me on the trip.
I had thought I’d forgotten to pack any, but luckily it turned out I was mistaken.
But obtaining gluten-free snacks on the move is always difficult.
I went back to Pizza Express at the Angel, this evening.
No problems at all, but the pizza seemed to be better than the last time. Not that it was bad in any way then.
The waitress was a bit worried that I drank the Aspall Cyder, as it is not marked as gluten-free on their menu.
I have had assurances from one of the owners of the manufacturers that it is gluten-free. But even if it is not, it certainly doesn’t affect me.
Last summer, I had a full allergy test, to try to get to the bottom of my rhinitis. They couldn’t find any traces of gluten in my body, and as I drink quite a bit of Aspall cyder, it would have showed up positive, if any gluten had been present.
You can’t blame the waitress for being careful. But I just don’t like the Green’s beer!
Anyway, I was conceived in Suffolk, just like Aspall’s cyder.
As I write this post, I’ve got another bottle of Aspall on the go!
This recipe was taken from Saturday’s Times and I cooked it for lunch for myself today.
The paper says that for four people you need the following.
4 French trimmed pork cutlets
Knob of unsalted butter
2 crushed cloves of garlic
20 shiitake mushrooms, stalks removed
20 spears of asparagus, cleaned and trimmed
1 hard cheese, I used a French sheep’s one.
Lemon juice and olive oil
I did half quantity and just used pork steaks, as my Waitrose isn’t a posh one, that does French-trimmed pork cutlets. Here’s the pork, mushrooms and asparagus, ready to cook.
The asparagus was of course English. I just snapped the ends off.
I cooked the pork in my chargrill pan for a few minutes each side.
After they were cooked I put them in the top oven to keep warm.
I then melted a good knob of butter in my frying pan and when it was very hot, put the garlic and the mushrooms in and cooked them for nearly a minute. I then added the asparagus and gave it another minute.
I then arranged it over the meat, with a few potatoes and scrapings of the cheese and some lemon juice.
I did find the two steaks I cooked rather a lot for me, so one will be tomorrow’s lunch. but it was a pleasant change to have the mushrooms and asparagus with pork.
But obviously not this junk food.
Subway is one of these shops that should be made by law to serve at least something that is gluten-free.
I bought some fresh English asparagus yesterday in Waitrose.
I just fried it in a little olive oil, with some seasoning for five minutes. It was delicious.
It’s certainly one of those ‘posh’ foods worth eating!
For many years, Sunday afternoons and evenings for C and myself had a rhymn. We would go to the cinema at either the Cambridge Picturehouse or the Cineworld and then we’d go for a pizza in Pizza Express, often at the Pitt Club, where I always had a Capricciosa. This pattern stopped in the early 2000s, when I was diagnosed as a coeliac, so sometimes I would have a salad Niçoise, or more likely we’d go to an Indian restaurant.
Last night, I went with two friends to the newly-refurbished Pizza Express at The Angel in Islington. We sat upstairs and for an avid street watcher like myself, it is a great place to sit.
I started with a bottle of my favourite long drink; Aspall Cyder.
I also had a Capricciosa, for the first time in perhaps ten years.
It tasted just like it did all of those years ago.
I think a personal tradition of a film followed by pizza is going to be revived. all I need now is an attractive lady with whom to enjoy the experience.
I think too, you can’t accuse Pizza Express of being backward about going forward.
These two signs were outside.
My only problem, is that near me, there isn’t a Pizza Express with the quality of building of the Pitt Club in Cambridge.
I have a feeling that in a few years time, this will rate as one of the most significant events in dining out for coeliacs in the UK.
I wasn’t diagnosed as a child, but it must be very difficult, for both a coeliac child and their parents, when say at a birthday party, they get invited to a family restaurant. Now they can at least eat pizza.
I think it is going to start a ripple in the various chains of restaurants, as they’ll have to follow suit. After all, Carluccio’s and Jamie’s Italian, already operate a sensible policy on gluten-free food, and I suspect others do.
It’ll certainly make things much easier for me on my travels. It’s already happened in Ipswich, in that the town has two Pizza Express restaurants. It’s just a pity, neither is close to Portman Road.
This will probably mean that the UK, will become one of the most coeliac-friendly countries for coeliacs to visit.
I walked past the Pizza Express in Islington this morning and looked at the menu outside to see about the gluten-free offering.
Note the gluten-free beer, although I think, I would prefer the Aspall Cyder.
The gluten-free statement is strong and comes with a NGCI symbol. This apparently means No Gluten Containing Ingredients. This is an accreditation from Coeliac-UK. Read about it here.
As it was early and the place was empty of customers, I went inside and talked to one of the staff. She showed me the serving area and allowed me to take this picture.
Note the “contains gluten” sticker.
The whole system they have put in seems to be very professional and as fail-safe as you can make it.
The lady I spoke to, said that all restaurants will be offering exactly the same menu.