Gluten Free travelling on the Norwegian Epic

Cruises are becoming more popular these days and they are my favourite type of holiday.  We’ve travelled with different companies: MSC, Thompson (TUI), Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Fred Olsen and Norwegian.  Since my diagnosis of Coeliac Disease we’ve only cruised with Norwegian.  We like them as they have exciting ships and some great deals including an ultimate beverage package.

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It can be difficult to know which companies provide well for their gluten-free guests, so I thought I’d write this post to let you know how our holiday went.  We recently cruised the Mediterranean and Trans-Atlantic on the Norwegian Epic.  I won’t go into detail about the ship, ports etc and will focus on how they coped with my dietary needs.

After purchasing the holiday we sent dietary information to the company so they’d know in advance about my needs.  Every time I scanned my keycard at restaurants on board it flagged up my gluten-free needs.  The best experiences were in the restaurants in the evenings, so I’ll talk about that first.

We ate in the Taste Restaurant most evenings and ate out at a few of the speciality restaurants on other nights.  On the first day I called by at the restaurant to ask about gluten-free options.  My waitress came along and introduced herself and let me look at that evening’s menu.  The menu had one starter and one main course labelled GF but I could request other items.  She let me know if courses could be prepared specially for me.  I could have almost anything on the menu.  Obviously items with pasta or couscous as key ingredients weren’t available.  At each meal I could pre-order the next evening’s meal.  If I’d booked a speciality restaurant I could pre-order for there too.  The waitress was great as she always checked I had the right order.

Taste and Manhattan Restaurants

I had a few favourite meals in the main restaurants.  It was fantastic to have gourmet food with dressings that matched the meal but didn’t contain gluten.  I’d recommend the Duck and Fava Bean Salad and the New York Strip Steak if you’re unsure where to start.  The dessert menu usually contained something I could eat and there was always flourless cake available, although it wasn’t amazing.  I tried a few desserts but was trying to be a bit careful.  The coconut flan is particularly tasty.

Speciality Restarants

The Moderno Churrascaria is a speciality Brazilian restaurant.  You can start with the amazing salad bar and then skewers of slow-roasted meats including beef, pork, lamb and chicken – all carved tableside.  The only items I couldn’t have on the menu were some of the salad bar items, the mexican beans and the pork sausages.  Believe me, there is plenty left to eat.  On the Norwegian Epic I could have their tasty cheese bread.  Be careful, as on some Norwegian ships these may not be GF.

We had a meal at Le Bistro.  Again, delicious food.  I shared a chocolate and fruit fondue with my husband, which was a unique treat.

Cagney’s Steakhouse is my favourite venue.  I started with the Iceberg Wedge, which is a huge wedge of lettuce with bacon, a creamy sauce and stilton.  The Baked potato soup starter is also worth a try, complete with GF bread.  I went for the 20oz Porterhouse Steak – why not?  It was wonderful and served with baked potato (you could have fries).  I skipped dessert!

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Breakfast

In the restaurants it was easy and convenient to get GF toast and cooked items.  We generally chose to eat in the Garden Cafe buffet.  I didn’t choose toast on these days but they would have accommodated me.  I spotted GF Cheerios so usually had these.  I also went for fresh fruit and yoghurt, and some cooked items such as bacon, egg, beans and tomato.  I avoided anything fried as they don’t have separate friers for gluten-free food (you could get GF fries in some areas of the ship).

Lunch

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We ate at the buffet for most of the lunches on board the ship.  This was a little trickier than other meals.  Many items did contain gluten and I had to ask the servers about any dish I wanted.  Many of the Indian foods were GF and I often enjoyed a dahl, rice and poppadoms.  There were many salads and cooked meats too.  Again, I avoided anything fried.  I didn’t ask about desserts but there was always ice-cream, jelly and fruit available.

We sometimes ate at O’Sheehans Irish Bar and Grill.  Not as many choices here but I could get a chopped salad and a burger or hot-dog in GF bread.  They’d usually apologise that the shape of the bread wasn’t suitable for a hot-dog but I didn’t mind!  I had mine with crisps (potato chips) instead of chips (fries).  I didn’t eat any desserts here.

Summary

I was really impressed with the options available.  I know I could get glutened anywhere, even at home but I wasn’t ill once.  I was a bit naughty by having a few desserts and plenty to drink but I thoroughly enjoyed myself.  There are other eating options aboard the ship that I didn’t try this time…maybe next year!

 

 

 

 

 

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Chicken and vegetable chilli wrap 306 Kcal (GF)

Ok, I’m a bit obsessed with wraps at the moment. Bfree’s Sweet Potato Wraps are only 95 Kcal each so they’re a good choice, especially if you’re gluten free and fed up of potatoes and rice!

I was originally cooking a tandoori chicken recipe for my husband and myself. When I opened the healthy pouch of sauce it smelt strongly of star anise, which is one of the flavours I can’t stand. So he got his curry with rice (he enjoyed it) and I needed a quick adaptation for myself.

So here it is:

Ingredients:

100g chicken pieces – 106 Kcal

Tesco stir fry medley pack (minus the chilli) – 78 Kcal

15g Aldi sweet chilli sauce – 29 Kcal

Bfree Sweet Potato Wrap – 95 Kcal

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Method:

  1. Stir fry the chicken and vegetables in a wok.
  2. Add the chilli sauce.
  3. Serve on a wrap.

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Tuna mayo in Sweet Potato Wrap (GF)

Fancy a sandwich from time to time?  Eating bread can cost you a lot of calories and potentially slow down your weight loss.  Now I’m gluten free I rarely eat bread but I sometimes get the craving for a fresh sandwich. Here’s a filing, high protein, tasty wrap that can satisfy the craving for under 300 calories.

Total calories: 290

Ingredients:

– BFree Sweet Potato Wrap (95Kcal)

– Chopped cucumber and iceberg lettuce leaf (about 15 Kcal)

– 1tbsp Hellman’s Light mayonnaise (40 Kcal)

– 1 drained tin of tuna in spring water (140 Kcal)

Method

Simply stir the mayonnaise and a little pepper into the tuna. Add to the wrap with your cucumber and iceberg lettuce. Fold and serve. Delicious!

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Low Calorie Lunch – Huevos Rancheros (GF)

A delicious low calorie lunch full of healthy ingredients.  Fresh, filling and gluten free.

  • Total calories: 327
  • Total carbs: 30g
  • Total protein: 21g
  • Syns on Slimming World: free

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Ingredients:

  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1/2 diced red or yellow pepper
  • 30g diced onion
  • 100g tinned tomatoes
  • 2 cups of chopped kale
  • pinch of cumin
  • pinch of paprika
  • Frylight
  • 2tsp garlic puree
  • 2 large sized eggs

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
  2. Fry the onion, peppers, carrot, paprika and cumin in Frylight for a few minutes until softened.
  3. Add the tomatoes, garlic and 50ml of water.  Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in the kale.
  5. Make a well in the middle of the mixture and crack the eggs into it.IMG_20170502_120626
  6. Put the pan in the oven for 5 minutes.  I put mine in a Pyrex dish as my frying pan has a plastic handle and can’t go in the oven.
  7. Serve.

 

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Want more inspiration?  You might like Quick Low Calorie Lunch: Salmon, egg and spinach plate (GF).

Quick Low Calorie Lunch: Salmon, egg and spinach plate (GF)

After a low calorie lunch?  Try this delicious plate containing plenty of greens and protein.  Coeliac?  Don’t worry it’s gluten free!

  • Total calories: 230 Kcal
  • Total protein: 25g
  • Total carbs: 2g
  • Points on Slimming World: free

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Prepare a plate with 40g of washed spinach.  Add strips of smoked salmon (50g).  Fry two eggs in Frylight (or poach them) and add to the dish.  Add a sprinkle of paprika to add some colour.

 

Prezzo – a Gluten Free meal out

After a visit at work from OFSTED this week, I needed to de-stress a little.  My husband took me out for a meal after work on Friday.  I was really excited because he’d found a place that did gluten-free pasta.

We went to Prezzo at Sheffield Centertainment.  The restaurant was clean and the staff were friendly so that was a good start.  I asked about gluten-free options and was amazed when they brought a gluten-free menu with lots of options.  I was overwhelmed with choice!  In the end I went for the chicken and asparagus risotto as I don’t get to have this very often.  It’s not very Slimming World friendly (think about 550 cals), but hey, I needed a treat.  I didn’t have a dessert or any alcohol so using this as flexible syns.

I felt reassured by the amazing menu.  When they took our order they even doubled checked that it was the gluten-free version of the risotto that I wanted.

My husband’s spaghetti carbonara looked lovely and so did my risotto.  It was very tasty!  Not healthy, but worth the calories.  I’d love to go back as a treat sometime and would probably go for something a little less rich.

GLUTEN-FREE MENU

  • STARTERS:  MARINATED OLIVES and LARGE PANE CON CIPOLLA
  • PIZZAS: MARGHERITA, VERDE, TRE GUSTI, PROSCIUTTO E FUNGHI, WILD MUSHROOM,  VESUVIO, CHICKEN AND N’DUJA SAUSAGE and TROPICANA
  • PASTA: PENNE ARRABBIATA, PENNE WITH WILD MUSHROOMS, PENNE ALLA RUSTICANA, PENNE WITH KING PRAWNS, PENNE WITH CHICKEN AND N’DUJA, PENNE GORGONZOLA, PENNE BOLOGNESE, PENNE CON SALMONE and PENNE CARBONARA
  • RISOTTO: KING PRAWNS, WILD MUSHROOMS and CHICKEN AND ASPARAGUS
  • GRILLS: SEA BASS, CHARGRILLED CHICKEN BREAST, CALABRESE and GORGONZOLA
  • SIDES: MIXED SALAD, MASHED POTATO and ROCKET SALAD
  • DESSERTS: BLOOD ORANGE POLENTA CAKE and ICE-CREAM

 

 

 

Frittata – Slimming World (GF)

I used to love Slimming World Quiche but now I can’t eat it because of the gluten.  I’ve experimented with pasta free alternatives and here is my ideal recipe.

I like to make this for a tasty hot evening meal and then pack some up for a chilled lunch the next day.  It goes well with baked beans or a fresh salad.

If you want you can swap the peppers and courgettes for items you have in the fridge.  Broccoli is a personal favourite.

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Pack with free foods!

Ingredients:

  • 6 eggs
  • 300g tub of fat free cottage cheese
  • diced onions
  • diced red pepper
  • diced courgette
  • seasoning
  • mixed herbs

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
  2. Beat the eggs and add all the other ingredients.
  3. Put in a casserole dish and cook for 30-50 minutes until cooked thoroughly and lightly browned on top.

Tips:

Some veggies release quite a bit of moisture when cooking.  I sometimes drain some of the water from the dish after about 20 minutes to help it cook more quickly.

You might also like Easy Tikka Masala Sauce – Slimming World.  Why not take a look?

 

Slimming World & Gluten-free Steak Sandwich

But you can’t eat bread if you are doing Slimming World?  Wrong!

You can even make it on gluten-free bread if you need to.

I like Schär White Ciabatta Rolls.  They currently cost £2.00 for a pack of 4 at Tescos.  Each can be a Healthy Extra ‘b choice’ or 6 syns.

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I’ve recently discovered Colman’s mustard powder.  Apparently this is how mustard used to be sold in the olden days.  It is syn-free whereas jars of mustard have a syn value.  It is also gluten-free whereas many versions aren’t.  You simply mix the same quantity of powder with water.  For most sandwiches you just need 1 tsp.

Ingredients:

  • white ciabatta roll (gluten free if you want)
  • 1 x minute steak
  • 1 tsp Colman’s mustard powder
  • salad leaves
  • tomato

Method:

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  1. Cook the minute steak – I used the health grillJpeg
  2. Mix 1 tsp of Colman’s mustard powder with 1 tsp of water.  Spread the mustard on the bread.
  3. Add the steak, lettuce and tomato.
  4. Enjoy!

Want more gluten-free Slimming World recipes?  You might like:

Lunchbox frittatas – Slimming World

These little frittatas can be eaten hot or cold.  They can be stored in an airtight box in the fridge for up to two days.  I used silicon muffin cases sprayed with a little Frylight to stop them sticking.  They are also…..syn free!  I had mine with baked beans and fresh tomato.  The rest are going in the fridge for when I get peckish later!

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Delicious hot or cold.

Ingredients: Frylight, 160g spinach, 6 eggs, 12 tbsp of low fat cottage cheese, 4 chpped spring onions, dill, nutmeg, salt, pepper

Method:

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If you don’t have silicon cases use greaseproof paper in a muffin tray.
  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.  Spray a little Frylight into each muffin case.

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    Do this over the sink.
  2. Put the spinach in a colander and pour over a kettle full of boiling water.  Leave it to drain.  After cooling squeeze out as much water as you can and chop the spinach.
  3. In a bowl beat the eggs.  Add salt, pepper, dill, nutmeg, spring onions, cottage cheese and spinach to the eggs.  Mix well.Jpeg
  4. Pour the mixture into the muffin cases and bake for 18-20 minutes or until set.

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This recipe is adapted from one on the BBC Good Food website.

Looking for more ideas?  Click a link.