Dietary Specials Gluten Free Food

written by Jenny Bates

Jenny kindly submitted an article about Dietary Specials, one of her favorite gluten free food manufacturers.

Living with a normal diet was heaven. The choice, the taste, the care-free world of having anything and everything you fancied to eat. Bliss. But two years ago my life changed for ever.

I was diagnosed with coeliac disease which was a bolt out of the blue. I sat, stunned, as the doctor told me I would have to change my diet, avoiding any foods containing gluten, which he explained was found in wheat, barley and rye products.

He tempered this bombshell with the words... "In six months time I promise you will feel better than you have ever felt before."

I told him that I would hold him to that! I then headed home in tears, to start researching what I could and couldn't have to eat from now on.

After my endoscopy we cleared all the cupboards in the kitchen, wiped everything down and started from scratch. I refused to look back.

After two years on the diet, I still miss some of my previous favorite foods and activities, such as enjoying a Chinese Meal with friends, or a fish finger sandwich, especially if it was made from fresh baker's bread. But there are many benefits that have come from my new way of eating.

I especially notice that my tastes have changed. Everything tastes so much cleaner, crisper and more flavoursome. This may well be due to creating my own foods from scratch rather than relying on convenience foods as I did before.

However I felt that, just once in a while, being able to throw a ready made pie in the oven, rather than having to make the pastry myself, would be lovely.

The barbecue!

I was due to attend a family barbecue at my sister's, not long after my diagnosis. She insisted that she could cope with catering for a gluten free diet and I would survive the event unscathed.

On arrival she showed me all the ingredients she had kindly bought, which included the Dietary Specials Gluten Free Fusilli.

I looked with trepidation at the pasta, explaining to my sister that the gluten free pastas I had tried were not high on my list of favourite foods. They normally ended up as a frothy, scumming looking pan of unappetising mess! I asked her not to be offended if I didn't eat it.

When the meal was served, my plate contained some delightful looking pasta, which despite still being very yellow, had held its shape and was springy to the touch. There had been no cries from the kitchen while it was being cooked either, which I took to mean it hadn't looked like a total mess in the pan.

In fact if it hadn't have been my sister serving it, I would have entertained the thought that I had been given a plate of wheat pasta by mistake.

I started eating and found that it tasted delightful! Three cheers for Dietary Specials!

My little test

On the basis of this experience I tried other products from Dietary Specials. Next on the list were Yorkshire Puddings, something that I had always been able to make for myself pre-gluten free diet, but every attempt since had resulted in disaster.

After spotting the frozen yorkshires in the freezer section of my local grocery store I added them to my shopping basket hoping they were as good as they looked on the packet.

I then did a little experiment.

That Sunday I cooked a traditional roast beef dinner and served the DS yorkshire puddings in place of the gluten variety, without telling anyone that they were gluten free.

The meal was a success, everyone's plate was empty, and I even had positive comments on how tasty the yorkshires had been. No-one realised they had eaten a gf product, and in fact, I still haven't told them to this day. They were just delighted to have "real yorkshires", as my husband put it, with their dinner.

More delights

After my previous successes I was happy to sample any Dietary Specials products I discovered in the supermarket. Here are a few of the other items I have tried so far...

  • Chocolate and Orange bars - Oh these are wonderful! Imagine a Jaffa Cake (normal non-gluten free variety), melted, with rice crisps and set as a bar. Oh yes, they have these spot on! The tanginess of the orange tantalises your taste buds and the chocolate is smooth, creamy but not overpowering. A true delight.
  • Savoury Pies - at last I could enjoy ready made pies on my gluten free diet. They tasted wonderful, the pastry is light and fluffy, not heavy. You could easily pass these off as "normal" high quality pies. Hats off to Dietary Specials, they have succeeded again!
  • Pasties - my only complaint here is that there are only two in a box. They are so moorish I could easily eat both of them in one sitting. Not because they are too small, just that they are so tasty that I couldn't resist. The pastry on these has a slightly sweet taste, such as you get on a traditional Cornish Pastie, and the filling is just that! After having one for lunch I made it through to supper without snacking on anything else
  • Ready to roll pastry - When I fancy making my own pies I reach for the Dietary Specials Ready to Roll Pastry. I can actually roll this out without it breaking into little pieces! Nowadays I always have some of this in my freezer to top my chicken and leek or beef and vegetable pies.
  • Garlic Bread Tear'n'Share - I was intrigued by this so bought some to try. I served it as a wonderful accompaniment to my homemade French Onion Soup. There is a pleasant amount of garlic, without being overpowering, and although fairly thick as a bread, it is somewhere between a loaf, a pizza, and a roll - truly unique. I want to try it next time as a base for a "deep pan pizza" with my own toppings.

In summary

I would sincerely like to thank those at Dietary Specials Gluten Free, especially those that work in the "taste" department.

I can confidently shop now, and enjoy the freedom of knowledge that because it is made by this company it will truly "do what it says on the tin".

I have found DS gluten free products in two supermarkets here in the UK. They are packaged in distinctive blue and white boxes which make them relatively easy to spot within their freezer sections.


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