The Poles are proud of their food in much the same way as country people in the UK. Every chicken, animal, potato or leek you see, seems to have been brought up as a labour of love and I’ve never seen what you might call bad food in Poland.
If like me you’re coeliac, usually in a restaurant there is someone, who understands your needs and if that fails, I take a Polish Gluten-Free Card. But usually, only the top line gets read and the waiter or often the chef will say, have the duck or we can do the fish, in perfect English.
I took these pictures as I had supper.
I only had a main course, as I inevitably do, as I’d had an ice cream earlier.
I cooked this lasagne last night using this recipe on the BBC Good Food web site.
The verdict from my guests and myself.
1. I thought it tasted fine and my guests even ate some of it, with one having second helpings.
2. I made too much and got the timing wrong, as the recipe isn’t that precise.
3. I think it could also have done with more bechamel sauce.
4. I also left it in the oven too long, but that was more because I was having my hair cut at the same time. Not a good idea
5. The M&S pasta sheets may be a short cut, but they are easy to use and don’t taste any different to gluten-rich ones.
6. For lunch today, I had it cold. It was very good, tasting a bit like a meat and pasta cake.
7. I did add some tomato sauce and although not very correct, it was a better taste.
I’ll cook it again soon, but next time I’ll do half the quantity, which should give me enough for two portions. So I could share it with a guest or have one hot and one cold.
In this report on the BBC, they published a list of the healthiest and unhealthiest High Streets. This is the unhealthiest list.
Of these I have only ever been looking for gluten-free food in the first four and Wolverhampton.
In the first four, I drew a blank even in Marks and Spencer on getting anything tasty, except for a gluten-free quiche in Middlesbrough. Although, I did get a gluten-free pizza in Pizza Express in Preston and a Polish gluten-free pastie using a cabbage leaf in Wolverhampton.
What makes things worse in these places, is that none has a Marks and Spencer Simply Food at the station. Preston is so bad at the station, that when I got stuck there once after football in Blackpool, I went home via Piccadilly, so that I could have supper in the Carluccio’s there.
It would be interesting to see how many coeliacs have been diagnosed in these towns.
As a coeliac who avoids gluten and also because I’ve had a stroke and am on Warfarin, I have to be very careful about my diet. For this reason I plan my pit-stops well when I travel by train. If I do change trains, I usually arrange this at a station like Birmingham New Street, Cambridge or Leeds, where I know there is a good M & S Simply Food or a selection of restaurants that I trust.
The last couple of days, I have been in Scotland and on the way back I saw Ipswich Town play at Middlesbrough.
As Middlesbrough is a particularly difficult town for suitable food, I decided to come south as soon as possible after the lunchtime match. I did get lunch of sorts from the M & S in the town.
It was bitterly cold and I ate it in the gardens in from of the Crown Court. But hey, two of my family’s bloodlines are Jewish and Huguenot and I reckon at times, they’d have found my simple lunch a veritable feast.
A couple of weeks before, I’d tried to book a First Class ticket from Middlesbrough to Kings Cross, but found the prices rather stratospheric, so in the end I bought a reasonably priced First Class ticket from Middlesbrough to Peterborough changing at York, from where I could get a Great Northern train into London.
I had assumed that the difficult availability of tickets was because of the England-Scotland match at Twickenham and at no time did the on-line booking process on East Coast inform me of the real reason for a ticket shortage.
It was only, when I caught the Virgin Trains East Coast train at York, did the staff inform me of the reason. The East Coast Main Line was subject to engineering work and we’d be using a diversion.
Unlike some other companies, East Coast’s gluten-free offering is non-existent, so I was getting hungrier by the hour, as we were shown the delights of the GNGE in the dark.
As the train was going on to Kings Cross and there were plenty of empty seats, I asked the conductor if I could buy a ticket to complete the journey on the train, rather than decamping at Peterborough to purchase a ticket for another train.
Astronomic prices were mentioned, which bore no relation to the twenty pounds or so, my phone said I would need to spend on-line for a Standard Class ticket. So I got off and bought a ticket in the Booking Office for around ten pounds for Great Northern. Incidentally, the Off-Park Single with a Railcard for East Coast is £14.75. So where did a price of three times that come from?
I finally arrived in London six hours after I left Middlesbrough. To cap it all, the only gluten-free food left in M & S at Kings Cross was one packet of sandwiches.
I could say the sandwiches were stale to add colour to this tale! But they were excellent!
If the works on the line had been flagged up when I tried to book the ticket, I would have only used East Coast as a last resort. After all, I could have gone via Sheffield or Manchester, where I can at least get something to eat. The Booking Office clerk at Peterborough had told me that they have to tell personal callers that there are problems! So why not on the web?
The conductor on the train, said it was all my fault, as I should have gone to Kings Cross, to read all the information about engineering works. Doesn’t that remove one of the advantages of booking on-line?
If you say you want to collect a ticket from a station that is not the starting point of your journey, the train purchase web sites ask you if this is what you want to do. Surely, a warning if there are works or likely delays on your route could be similarly indicated.
The real losers in this tale are Virgin Trains East Coast, as they had an empty seat between Peterborough and Kings Cross, for which I would probably have paid a reasonable amount. Next time I go to York or Doncaster where there is an alternative, I will also probably use it.
This train was waiting at Leeds.
I hope that the gluten-free offering gets better than East Coast’s non-existent one!
I had a nice gluten-free salad for lunch at a restaurant called La Corde a Linge
The salad was called le corset, as a lot of the dishes were named after clothes as the restaurant had once been a laundry.
They knew their gluten-free and also sold a decent cider.
It was also delicious and good value.
I went and had a look at Frankfurt by night.
I ate supper at Fisch Franke and it was an excellent gluten-free fish and chips.
The only problem I had was that it was bitterly cold and getting back to my hotel I got lost and a ten minute walk took thirty minutes. Frankfurt is not too well served by maps.
This simple kedgeree comes from Lindsey Bareham in The Times.
It was one of the best meals that I’ve cooked serially.
I only ate half and will pack the rest for my trip to Rotherham on Saturday.
MPs are set to debate the ethics of so-called three parent babies today.
I was reasonably lucky with my three children and there won’t be any more, as I’m had the snip.
But I’m certain, that C, would have been distraught, if she’d produced a string of handicapped babies. I certainly would have been and any technique that stopped problems is to be welcomed.
So let’s hope narrow-minded religious minorities don’t stop the adoption of this technique.
It is interesting to read this article in the Telegraph, which gives the view of Lord Winston, who is an Orthodox Jew
On a related point, I have a genetic disease, but sadly I only found out about my coeliac disease, when I was fifty. If I’d known earlier, it might have meant that my son, who died from cancer, had been found to carry the disease, so perhaps he would have led a better lifestyle.
If it had been known to earlier generations of my father’s family, I suspect that the family wouldn’t contain the large number of childless females and those who have suffered from serious cancer that it does.
I know it’s a holiday area, but I had no problems being gluten-free in Malta.
Everybody seemed to be pretty clued-up and I even had very good gluten-free rolls for breakfast in the hotel.