August 31, 2010

At Last - Rustic Stone

At last indeed! Dublin finally has a stylish evening restaurant with an allergy friendly menu. Rustic Stone just opened last week and I can't contain my excitement at viewing a menu which labels each dish according to it being Wheat Free, Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Sugar Free, Vegetarian, Low in Saturated Fat and/or a Superfood... or even all of them together!
Rustic Stone is a nice smart-casual restaurant with a rustic/wholefood feel. The menu is inventive and the taste is Great with a capital 'G'. Personally I found it a bit expensive for the 'healthy but affordable eating approach' headliner when you take into consideration that almost all of the main courses require an additional side dish to make a full meal but on the whole I'm happy to spend a bit more money when the meals are good, the menu is food allergy conscientious and the setting is of a quality evening standard.
The definite recommendations from my party were the 'Posh Pesto Salad', the 'Fish In A Bag' (which I personally vouch for as fantastic and literally in a bag!), the 'Halibut with Walnut Relish' and the 'Marshmallows with Melon & Lemongrass' (its rare when I can order a dessert, let alone have a choice!). The tastes were full and intricate and the quality was top notch.
A word of warning to food allergy sufferers is to still question the ingredients despite the listings at least while Rustic Stone is finding its feet because our table noticed two errors on the menu (1, the 'Light Soft Polenta with Cep Dressing & Parmesan' is obviously not Dairy free as stated and 2, the 'Superfood Salad' is not vegetarian as it contains Smoked Halibut). We questioned the error and the staff were very apologetic and thankful for the mention but it also serves as a reminder that you as the consumer are responsible for what you eat and it is always important to investigate when in doubt.
Teething issues aside, I honestly hope that Rustic Stone lasts longer than its predecessors on 17 Georges Street and that the food allergy population support this wonderful restaurant and encourage more of the same.

A toast to the recognition of food allergies!

Rustic Stone
17 South Great Georges St
Dublin 2
tel: 01 707 9596

Opening Times: to be confirmed

For a full list of food allergy friendly dining options please see the 'Restaurant Directory' page located under the main title

August 30, 2010

Gluten Free Haven - Nolan's Food Fare

Nolan's Food Fare falls somewhere between a deli, a gourmet grocers and a luxury corner store with coffee and cakes but for food allergy sufferers it's touching on a Gluten Free Haven! The Nolan brothers have your needs covered if your venom is gluten, be it cereals, flours, biscuits, breads, gravy mix, pastas and even gluten free gnocchi by Rustichella d'Abruzzo (which comes with a special recommendation as being almost better than the more common gluten containing brands!) and if your being lazy and don't want to make it yourself you can even indulge in a delectable Bombay Pantry ready-meal which are all gluten and wheat free as well! Nolan's carry a large range of Doves Farm products ( and in their mouth watering bread corner you can find both Blazing Salads and Craft Bakery gluten free breads.

Outside of Gluten free options Nolan's Food Fare does have a nice selection of alternative crisp choices such as Tyrrell's Handcooked Vegetable Chips (which are vegan, gluten free, dairy free as well as yeast, egg and wheat free) a couple flavours of R.W Garcia Special Recipe Veggie Organic Tortilla Chips ( and a nice variety of the Olives Et Al brand products ( such as the Broad Bean 'Habas Mojado' and 'Harissa Almonds' which can take care of a hankering for crisps if you are in the area but can't have potato.

I was delighted when they opened shop earlier in the year as I am always partial to a visually pleasant shopping experience and Nolan's Food Fare certainly delivers. It is a pity that they don't have products servicing a wider range of food allergies as I would love to see some more dairy free options but if your bane is gluten then a haven it is and a beautiful haven at that!

Nolan's Food Fare
2 Terenure Village Centre
Dublin 6W
tel: (01) 490 0200

Opening Times: Mon - Fri 08:00 - 19:30; Sat 09:00 - 18:00; Sun 10:00 - 17:00

August 25, 2010

Sweet Attack - Corner Bakery

I know that I preach 'health food' and the wickedness of sugar to my friends, flatmates and co-workers (and myself!) all the time but if the truth be known - I have one tooth which is larger than all the rest and that is my sweet tooth. Maybe it's because my food allergies limit me so much that I dedicate so much time to finding tempting food allergy friendly treats... But whatever the reason I would like to announce that I like sweets as much as (if not more than) the next person. Although I have given up sugar in the past and felt great, in a normal world without taking on extra restrictions I admit that I like NOTHING more than pastries and baked goods which brings me to Terenure's aptly named Corner Bakery.

The Corner Bakery has been the receiver of 2007, 2008 and 2009 'Bridgestone Best In Ireland' plaques and I have no doubt that 2010 is ready for the wall. In addition to this, to my delight, I have discovered that all of their breads and bars are egg free (note: unfortunately the apple pie has an egg wash) and that their croissants and most of their breads are sugar free. However, the real cream (pardon the pun) comes if you are primarily dairy free because their berry bars, apple bars (which look amazing) and their brownies, chocolate chip cookies and some of their breads are dairy free as well! This is obtained by using a dairy free margarine as a substitute. In addition to all of this, the baker/proprietor assured me that they don't use corn or maize in the bakery at all although they do use glucose syrup but he believes that in Ireland glucose syrup is made from beets and not from corn but I'll leave it to the corn allergy sufferers to make their own call on that.

The temptations on offer are not labelled according to their 'food allergy' friendliness but with a very small bit of questioning the staff are happy to direct you to your new best friends! For safety I always advise questioning anytime foods are not listed according to specific food allergies or ingredients purely because procedures, ingredients and manufacturers can change without notice. Also one should always keep in mind cross-contamination. The Corner Bakery is a small production so cross-contamination can always be a problem for the hyper-sensitive food allergy sufferers among us. Apart from this I hope that you will take a trip to Terenure for a little indulgence!

The Corner Bakery
17 Terenure Road North
Dublin 6W
tel: (01) 490 6210

Opening Times: Mon-Sat 08:30 to 18:00; Sun 09:00 to 13:00

August 24, 2010

Butternut Squash & Sweet Potato Fried Rice

Since my Food allergy test I have been focusing my efforts on what I can actually eat. I've been trying to keep an open mind to the array of vegetables available on the market and working on forgetting any preconceived ideas or childhood dislikes to specific foods. Unfortunately I think that I may require psychiatric treatment before I accept that Brussel Sprouts are a plausible option! But most of all I've been experimenting while trying to maintain a healthy diet.

To date the most successful dinner that I have created is what I'm calling 'Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato Fried Rice'.
Unlike 'proper' fried rice I haven't used day old cooked rice although I'm sure that that would taste even better. Instead I have used Uncle Ben's Wholegrain boil in the bag rice and 'overcooked' it to ensure a plump but still stick free variety. The dish contains fish but is:

- dairy free
- wheat free
- gluten free
- egg free
- soya free
- sugar free
- potato free
- yeast free
- nut free

to name but a few. For a full list please see my August 6th log 'And the Results Are...' which lists all the foods which I am personally avoiding.

I seriously enjoy this dish. It is hearty and wholesome and tastes great re-heated on the following day. It's also extra good after a night out where you had to pass all the chippers and keep focussed on the finish line because God knows that sunflower seeds don't cut it at 3am. I hope you try it out and I would be happy to hear of any suggestions you may have for improvement!

For other food allergy friendly recipes please see the 'Culinary Creations' page located under the title bar.


Butternut Squash & Sweet Potato Fried Rice
Serves 2-3

1 190g Tin Kipper Fillets in Sunflower Oil (drained)
1/2 Butternut Squash (peeled & diced into 1/2" pieces)
1 Sweet Potato (peeled & diced into 1/2" pieces)
1 Medium Head of Broccoli (florets separated & divided into medium to small pieces)
2-3" Piece of Fresh Ginger according to taste (peeled & roughly grated)
3 Cloves Garlic (peeled & mashed)
1 tsp Tumeric
1 tbls Ginger Powder
1/2 tbls Mustard Powder
125g Cooked Wholegrain Rice (ideally 10 minute rice cooked for 15 minutes)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Sea Salt

Cook Wholegrain Rice for 5 minutes longer than directions on packet. While the rice is cooking gently fry the diced Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato in 2-3 tbls of extra virgin olive oil on a moderate heat until the edges start to lightly brown (stirring occasionally). Add the grated Ginger and mashed garlic and fry until squash and potato are tender (You may need to add 2-3 tbls more oil). Add the Broccoli and cook until broccoli turns bright green and becomes tender (stirring occasionally). Add the Kipper Fillets and break up roughly with the spatula into medium to large sized pieces and gently mix in. Cook for 1-2 minutes or until the fish is warmed. Add the cooked rice and dried spices (Mustard, Ginger and Tumeric) and gently but thoroughly mix together. Cook for another 3-5 minutes. Salt to taste and serve.

August 19, 2010

Eating Out Gluten Free - The Port House

Good news for Gluten Free Allergy sufferers - The Port House on South William Street has changed their menu to flag any items they have on their menu which are Gluten Free and/or Vegetarian. The best news is that the new menu arrangement flags at least 26 items as gluten free, 15 as Vegetarian and 9 as both!
I have always loved the Port House tapas bar as well as its sister Pintxo located in Temple Bar. It has a great cozy spanish tavern atmosphere especially downstairs and works wonderfully for small snacks or larger meals made for sharing. The way these tapas bars work is that your table orders a few to many tapas (which are small appetizer sized dishes which can be either cold or warm) and you either stick to your own selection or ideally share with your company. Obviously, having food allergies makes the sharing a little more awkward but I have never had a problem keeping to my own selection.
But whether your food allergy makes you gluten free, wheat free, egg free, yeast free or dairy free I'm sure you are bound to find at least one or two delicious tapas to keep you enjoying your night out.
My especial recommendation is the 'Brochetas de pollo' which is chicken marinated in lemon and garlic, skewered and grilled. It is marinated in white wine which isn't listed on the menu but if you can have the wine then prepare for the chicken to just melt in your mouth with goodness! However, it is important in Port house to ask all of the regular food allergy questions because although the menu describes the tapas with many of the ingredients included not all are listed. Also please note that the battered items contain cow's milk and that the 'Merluza con salsa verde' herb sauce is not dairy free.

The Port House
64 South William Street
Dublin 2
tel: (01) 677 0298

Opening Times: Mon-Sat 11:00 to 01:00; Sun 11:00 to 23:00

For a full list of food allergy friendly dining options please see the 'Restaurant Directory' page located under the main title

August 18, 2010

Hidden Wheat

As I'm sure most Wheat Allergy sufferers and indeed Gluten and Yeast Allergy sufferers are aware, the wicked wheat grain can tuck itself away in the most unexpected places. For a full list of common products which are on high alert for wheat, gluten and yeast content please see my 'Diet Details' page.
I had read all about wheat flour sneakily hiding in spice mixes and breadcrumbs camouflaged in ground almonds but I was foolishly under the impression that I personally needn't worry 'too' much about this as I always venture to purchase good quality foods and spices... I suppose you can see where this is going...

Today's web log is just a friendly reminder to all allergy sufferers to please read EVERYTHING and never take ANYTHING for granted. Not only can ingredient lists change all the time and without notice but the most truly unexpected foods will contain your personal evil.

Asafoetida (also spelled 'Asafetida') is a Persian spice resembling the flavour of onions and/or garlic. Not many are familiar with it but once introduced it can become a cooking staple. Today is my second day on my newly (ultra) restrictive diet as per my log on August 6th. How disappointed was I after shaking Asafoetida all over my culinary creation to find myself questioning its appearance and therefore taking a second look at the package?... If you are a user please beware that the most common brand found in Dublin is 'Vandevi' and notably the last ingredient is indeed 'Wheat Flour'. My apologies to the Gluten Free, Wheat Free and Yeast Free communities. I feel the pain on behalf of us all.
I will keep a keen eye out for any other brands that may be available. Also please remember that you can never question too much when it comes to eating out. It is my understanding that Govinda's restaurant most likely use Asafoetida a lot in their cooking as garlic is a restricted food for Hare Krishnas so do ask if the meal you are choosing could be a problem.

August 10, 2010

Thou-Shalt-Not - New Addition

I've Just added a new page to Dublin With Food Allergies called 'Thou-Shalt-Not'. This page is designed to help you when shopping for suitable foods according to your food intolerances/allergies. The list is broken down into diet types:

- Milk Free
- Wheat Free
- Yeast Free
- Egg Free
- Gluten Free

Each Diet Type has a list of the problem foods associated with that intolerance as well as a list of foods/products which frequently contain them.

I hope that Thou-Shalt-Not makes your shopping life a little easier and/or safer and remember that if you have any queries or suggestions please feel free to make a comment or request.

Thou-Shalt-Not can be found on the heading bar on the upper right of the screen

August 6, 2010

And The Results Are...

I just received my IgG FoodScan Food Intolerance Test results from York Laboratories. You remember the food intolerance test that I was waiting for everyday and was all excited to receive... yes, excited was the word I used. The result is that I think that I want to cry!
I now have officially 32 foods to avoid! ...and an additional 15 foods that are borderline. They even wrote in the introduction letter to not be 'alarmed' by my high number of foods to avoid, that they are here to help me manage this (thank goodness, I say). All my foods to avoid don't even fit onto the quick reference card that they supplied for my wallet. I mean, I always new that I had food allergies. I even suspected that I had a few more hidden allergies than the ones I was already aware of, thus the reason for taking the test but seriously this is BAD news. My food intolerances are listed below.

Biggest Reaction:
-Cow's Milk (Well done to my Mom who diagnosed this on her own when I was only a baby back in '79)

2nd Biggest:
Egg White (really??)

3rd Biggest:
-Chilli Pepper (I mildly suspected it but was in total denial until this morning)
-Sesame Seed

Also to Avoid:
-Apple (I always suspected it)
-Brazil Nut
-Coconut (..And they tell me this AFTER creating an experimental coconut ice cream only just last night)
-Coriander/Cumin/Dill (I suspected this one but it still breaks my heart)
-Corn (Maize) (My Mom suspected this years ago. Goodbye my dear tortilla chips. I loved you)
-Egg Yolk (So that's eggs out altogether)
-Gluten (Gliadin)!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (It only hit me a few days ago that I could have a gluten problem. Noooooo!!!!)
-Peanut (I knew this one because I get coldsores if I have too many which is supposed to be common enough. Red wine and chocolate can also be culprits I hear)
-Peppers (Capsicum/paprika) (after only recently creating a fabulous pepper sauce to replace tomato sauce, which I interestingly don't seem to have a reaction to)
-Potato (boo!)
-Soya Bean (I always suspected that soya was hard on my digestion but it sure doesn't help with my dairy free lifestyle. Ah well, its bad for you anyway they say!)
-Wheat (I am my mother)
-Yeast (I am my mother reconfirmed)

Borderline Reactions:
-Buckwheat (Just in case there was something tasty left)
-Cola Nut
-Kidney Bean!
-String Bean

What am I going to do?? I mean, I know what I'm going to do but seriously!... Supposedly i'm not to go off things until i have my first Nutritionist Consultation.. And I do have a few questions about food groups and especially the yeast business. There's a potential that I can never drink again. Not that that is the worst loss in the world but it still stinks. Perhaps I'll buy a car and become the designated driver from here on out... sigh.
Mainly though, my questions so far are:

1) The food tolerance test says that I can't have cow's milk, which I always new.. but does that include sheep and goats milk as well? I'm assuming that due to the food family relationship that the answer is yes, but we'll see, just on the slim chance.. (yeah right)

2) I can't have onions. Does that include leeks and scallions/green onions as well? -pleeeeease not!!

3) My food intolerance results show no reactions to oats and rye, where does that leave me in relation to yeast and gluten?

4) Similarly, I have to avoid potatoes, does that mean that I should avoid tomatoes as well seeing as they are part of the same family and 'potentially' give me canker sores (a.k.a. mouth ulcers)? I will do some further elimination testing regarding this if the answer is not clear-cut.

5) I have a lot of questions around being yeast-free. Does this eliminate all alcohol, sugar, vinegar and mushrooms as they are a problem with the Candida diet?

6) What are 'Hops' used for other than beer?

7) Is there any type of alcohol other than perhaps 'rubbing' (if even!) that is yeast and wheat free?

Now that I am coming to terms with it after the initial shock I guess that the good news is that I will soon be feeling a lot better and that my very embarrassing abdominal pains, spasms and cramps after eating at friends houses, restaurants and indeed anywhere will hopefully be gone soon as well. Also, I wanted to learn a bit more about being Yeast-Free so as to offer a wider service and now i have no choice!

Well, I better go make my appointment for my first Nutritionist Consultation and get some answers to my questions and my new information into action...

Cheers to a new diet and a new life!

August 4, 2010

Cornucopia Whole-Food & Vegetarian Restaurant

If you and your food-allergies have been to Dublin then I sincerely hope that you have eaten in Cornucopia. If you haven't experienced it yet then please please please try it out! Cornucopia is one of the best food-allergy friendly establishments in Ireland. They serve large portions of hearty, tasty, wonderful food which is clearly marked according to a full and comprehensive list of dietary requirements as listed below:

*yeast free
*dairy free
*gluten free
*wheat free
- note that all food served is vegetarian

Cornucopia is truly a haven of goodness for allergy-sufferers. In fact it is a haven for anyone at all. i can genuinely say that all of my friends frequent Cornucopia, meat eaters, vegetarians, food-allergy suffers and the all-round hungry alike! The food is served in a canteen style which always has a selection of of soups, main courses, salads and desserts. The wonderful part is that there are even suitable breads, creams, milks and spreads to accompany your choices whether you are vegan, wheat free or an eat all type. on top of all this the pricing can fit a budget as there are at least two serving sizes in salads and mains and wine (organic) is available too if your meal is more of an occasion.
Cornucopia has been serving Dublin since 1986 and have even published a cookbook to help you at home with your own repertoire of meals. But probably the most positive element to me is the recent renovation and expansion. Moving from 48 seats to 100 has transformed Cornucopia into a pleasant and comfortable café style restaurant where you can feel happier lingering over blueberry torte or even just to relax and chat as your tummy happily digests its gift.

Cornucopia Restaurant
19/20 Wicklow St
Dublin 2
tel: (01) 677 7583

Opening Times: Mon-Fri 08:30-21:00; Sat 08:30-20:00; Sun 12:00-19:00

For a full list of food allergy friendly dining options please see the 'Restaurant Directory' page located under the main title