Students sometimes opt to cut out meat altogether to make meals cheaper – my brother recently told me he did this!

Today Waitrose hit the headlines for a rather different reason – no, it wasn’t a big shiny Christmas ad it was a page from their magazine which shared ‘5 Student Store Cupboard Essentials’.

If you haven’t seen the article (read it here), it shared 5 ingredients, which it said would ‘set your tastebuds alive’ and would create you a bunch of eclectic and delicious meals. On the list was Aspall Organic Cyder Vinegar priced at £1.70, Organic Italian Seasoning at £1.89 and Harissa Paste priced at £4.35 for a 170g jar1!

I went on BBC Radio London today to discuss it (you can listen back here, in at 1610) and I was very honest with my views – this list is ridiculous!! I had absolutely no idea what harissa paste was when I was at university. I lived off stir fry, fried egg and bacon and toast and beans. I have absolutely no shame in that, but there are so many factors at play when you start university. Unless you are already into cooking, lets be honest, you probably won’t be using your time to find out what to do with harissa paste!

It took me back to 8 years ago when I was a fresher myself and got me thinking about student staples I would recommend now, with cooking knowledge and how the free-from market has changed! So, I have complied my recommendations for 9 essentials for the gluten and dairy free student.

1. Garlic

Okay, I know this is probably obvious 101 but I had no idea the ability of a garlic clove at university and because it is SO versatile, and can be used in basically anything, I’ve popped it number 1. Pasta, stir fry, chicken, fish, turkey, spinach – literally add garlic and you are away. If you’re LOW FODMAP you could go for garlic oil. Costs about 80p for 2 bulbs in many supermarkets.

2. Salt and pepper

Again basic – but also, life changing. A good old season of salt and pepper really makes a difference. Especially a good quality sea salt, if the budget can stretch to it.

3. Chilli flakes and paprika

As I said on the radio, add paprika and you can get a taste upgrade on so many meals. Meats, fish, veg alike – even an aubergine with paprika baked in the oven would be delicious. A life saver, along with some chilli flakes. Cost about 90p each for a supermarket own brand (which is the same as any brand!)

The best chicken sticky recipe which is based on soya sauce and rice! Both cheap ingredients, plus the chicken can be cheaper if bought frozen (see more below!)

4.Gluten free soya sauce

Okay so perhaps I am hypocritical here because the Waitrose article did say gluten free soya sauce, but that was for nationwide application. Obviously when you’re gluten free, you have little choice in the matter! Soya sauce is incredibly useful for making bland rice and noodles interesting and so therefore, it should be on the list. Clearspring is £3.15, however Meridian comes in cheaper and so does Kikkoman. So shop around for the best price!

5. Basmati rice

Rice is hard to get right but it’s cheap. Basmati rice is not that much more expensive and essentially cooks quicker and easier. I always use basmati now – and again, not too expensive.

6. Frozen peas and sweet corn

Frozen peas and sweetcorn can go in ANYTHING! Pastas stir fries, a side for your meat or fish – and frozen is cheaper and goes a long way. You’re looking at £1-£2.

7. Chopped tomatoes

Again the base of pastas, pasta bakes, curries etc etc! Cheap and easy to store and lasts for ages.

8. Chickpeas

A cheap and filling alternative to meat and easy can make a quick curry with your chopped tomatoes, garlic, chilli, paprika, frozen peas and rice. Looking at 55p for these!

If you do fancy fish, I recommend going for frozen. Roasted veg is also filling and goes a long way!

9. Frozen chicken breasts or fish

If you do go for fish or meat, I am saying frozen because it lasts longer and is generally cheaper. You can get large packs of frozen chicken breasts or fish for under £5 in some supermarkets and is just generally a more cost effective way to consume these products.

All hail pasta!! I’ve used quorn in this spag Bol, which is actually cheaper than beef and incredibly filling.

10. Gluten free Pasta

I am putting this at the bottom because it is expensive, but I have mentioned pasta a lot above as a key staple! Unfortunately, gluten free pasta is just more expensive but all the major supermarkets have their own GF pastas now, which are generally cheaper. Sainsburys, Tescos and Morrisons are all good ones to look out for.

I’d love to know what your student essentials were or are?

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Bryony Hopkins, A Belly Full of Food event

I will forever look at this photo and wonder how I look so awake at 7am. (Photo: Emma Parlons

In early July, I was absolutely delighted to host my first ever A Belly Full of Food event. This has been something I’ve been keen to launch for a while and I was so excited when everything began to come together for it. I kept it super small for my first event (I’ve never even organised something like this before!), and so I really wanted to write a little about it so I could share it with more of you and hope you will be able to join me for the next one!

Bryony Hopkins, A Belly Full of Food event

Rhiannon Lambert & I mid gut health talk!

For anyone who follows me or reads this blog, you’ll know that I am a HUGE foodie and also mega passionate about educating people on living with IBD. As a journalist by day, I am hugely motivated by getting evidence-based knowledge out there and educating others about how food can play a role in a disease of this nature. I find the online world hugely frustrating at times, when I see influencers advertising products, which are not necessarily based on evidence and the messages out there are confusing and conflicting. This is something I was really keen to address in my first event, and I was so delighted that Registered Nutritionist Rhiannon Lambert came to speak and share her nutritional knowledge (more on this below!)

Bryony Hopkins, A Belly Full of Food event

The gorgeous spread of brightly coloured fruit outside

A Belly Full of Food breakfast mingle came around when I stepped into the doors of the gorgeous Panzer’s Deli, in St Johns Wood and met the amazing team there. We worked together on hosting this first gut health foodie event under the A Belly Full Of brand (eeeeek!)

The aim of the event was mainly education – to learn about gut health, including IBD and IBS and also gathering together some foodies to eat some amazing food! I was so lucky that Panzer’s Deli put on an amazing spread, which catered for gluten, dairy free and vegan, including the most insane fruit salad, fresh berries, coconut yogurt and artisan coffee made to order. Everyone gathered to eat the delicious food, before I introduced the special guest, which was the lovely Rhiannon Lambert of Rhitrition.

Bryony Hopkins, A Belly Full of Food event

How epic is this gluten free and vegan spread at Panzer’s Deli?

Rhiannon was absolutely focal to the goal of my event, as a Harley Street nutritionist, she knows everything there is to know about food, nutrition and gut health, and would never say anything that wasn’t rooted in evidence and research. Together over half an hour, we discussed IBS, IBD, Coeliac Disease and some gut health basics. Along with the huge support from Panzer’s Deli, a wonderful friend Sarah from BTempted Cakes bought along her brand new vegan and gluten free cupcakes for the goodie bags – what a way to start the day!!

Bryony Hopkins, A Belly Full of Food event

Feeling so excited to have the first event go so well and gives me so much pleasure to announce that this isn’t the only A Belly Full of Food event. I can’t wait to share the details of the next one with you – a much bigger event which won’t start so early in the morning! I’d love to hear any other health topics you’d like me to look to cover in the future – not just gut health, but anything! This concept is really about educating on a wealth of health conditions and topics. Hit me up with your suggestions below (or via Twitter, Instagram or email). I really would love to hear from you!

Bryony Hopkins, A Belly Full of Food Events

My beaut GF girlies bought me flowers and it was just the loveliest moment. GIRLS SUPPORTING GIRLS

Bryony Hopkins A Belly Full of Food www.abellyfullof.com

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Scarlett Green | Bryony Hopkins | A Belly Full of Food

Last Thursday, my fellow gluten free blogger Alex, aka The Gluten Free Suitcase, and I were treated the most magnificent brunch at the brand new branch of the Daisy Green Collection, a chain of feel-good Aussie eateries.

Scarlett Green | Bryony Hopkins | A Belly Full of Food

Almond milk latte, my fave

Scarlett Green, based in the heart of Soho, welcomed us with open arms on Thursday morning and as we browsed the menus, it quickly became clear how brilliant they were at catering for those with allergies. The choice was eclectic and every dish was clearly marked as to whether it was gluten free, dairy free or vegan – and a special note on each for dishes they could switch up for us and make allergy friendly. Everything from the full ‘Aussie’ breakfast, to yogurt and granola and delicious smoked salmon and eggs, this menu had something for everyone!

Scarlett Green | Bryony Hopkins | A Belly Full of Food

Bondi Breakfast, Coconut Bread and Salmon Royale.

For anyone who is gluten AND dairy free, you know how much a nightmare the double whammy can be. Thankfully Scarlett Green had us covered, and it took us a great deal of time to choose what we wanted! First up of course, was a coffee. Alex opted for a flat white, whilst I enjoyed my favourite almond milk latte (soya milk also available). The coffee came quick, which meant we could peruse the menu whilst getting a quick caffeine hit.

Scarlett Green | Bryony Hopkins | A Belly Full of Food

The lemon cashew hollandaise was to DIE for.

After much deliberation, Alex went for the full Bondi Breakfast, consisting of soft gluten free bread, bacon, sausages, beans, avocado, poached eggs and mushrooms. After seeing there was a Salmon Royale option which could be made gluten AND dairy free (yes my friends, a dairy free HOLLANDAISE!), I had to oder it, served with a side of avocado. On the menu was also sweet french toast with berries and greek yogurt, which could be replaced with coconut yogurt to make it dairy free friendly. Unfortunately they didn’t have much coconut yogurt left, but that didn’t stop them from creating something unbelievably stunning, especially for us!

Scarlett Green | Bryony Hopkins | A Belly Full of Food

If you’ve never tried a turmeric latte, I would greatly recommend it! Delicious, and a great caffeine free alternative to coffee.

Along with the two turmeric lattes we ordered to wash the meal down, we were served divine gluten and dairy free coconut cake with fresh mango, berry coulis and a drizzle of soya and coconut yogurt. A side of maple syrup was served in a gorgeous rose gold pourer and although I don’t normally have a sweet tooth at breakfast time, I adored this.

Scarlett Green | Bryony Hopkins | A Belly Full of Food

Coconut bread, which you can buy in store to take away, with coconut and soya drizzle, edible flowers, mango and berry coulis. Divine.

The gluten and dairy free Salmon Royale was something else. They used lemon and cashew to create a vegan alternative for the hollandaise, and with soft poachies, delicious smoked salmon and soft gluten free bread, I was in brunch heaven.

If that wasn’t enough to book yourself a table at Scarlett Green, they also had fresh shakshouka, courgette fritters, smashed avo on toast and a ‘fancy bacon roll’. They even offer a bottomless brunch at the weekend – absolutely winning.

Scarlett Green | Bryony Hopkins | A Belly Full of Food

One happy girl!

The Daisy Green collection has branches all over London – so you are spoilt for choice. The atmosphere is relaxed and the venue’s are stunning, yet laid back. Also menus for lunch and dinner.

If there is three words I would use to describe this place it would be HOT ON ALLERGIES. And let’s face, that’s all we really want!

Scarlett Green is located on Noel Street. Book a table in advance to prevent disappointment.

See my ultimate GF and DF guide to brunches in London on the Metro here.

BRYONY HOPKINS, A BELLY FULL OF BRYONY

 

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A few weeks ago in the height of one of our sunny spells, I took a trip down to St Johns Wood to see the newly renovated Panzer’s Deli, a delicious delicatessen and grocery store.  It’s just had a million pound makeover, with a coffee bar, sushi bar and shelves of absolute treats.

The outside of Panzer's Deli, A Belly Full of Bryony

The outside of Panzer’s Deli looking gorgeous in the sunshine

Stepping inside felt like I was entering somewhere special and as a foodie, I was overwhelmed to find so many items I hadn’t even seen more. From white asparagus, to round courgettes and pumpkin tomatoes, the colours literally burst off the shelves.  The deli imports from 80 countries across the world, with an entire row dedicated to Italian goods for example and products you might find in the US or Scandinavia.

Almond milk latte, A Belly Full of Bryony, Panzer's Deli

Iced almond milk latte and all the summer vibes in Panzer’s

I picked up an almond milk iced latte, before browsing the store, finding so many sumptuous products. The Deli’s pièce de résistance is the smoked salmon, of which they have an entire deli counter with all the different cuts. Not only that, but also whole counter of fresh salads, meats and sandwiches for the impending lunchtime rush.

Fresh smoked salmon, A Belly Full of Bryony, Panzer's Deli

Fresh smoked salmon counter

Panzer's Deli

Lunchtime rush, a spread of fresh salads and sandwiches

And I haven’t even mentioned the cakes! Created by the chefs which work in-store, I tried delicious dairy and gluten free macarons with a jam filling and a sweet marshmallow rice crispy cake. Literally in heaven!

gluten and dairy free macarons, Panzer's Deli

Gluten and dairy free macarons with a sticky jam filling – divine

Panzer's Deli

Macaron heaven!

After browsing the shelves, I was inspired to create a summer dish using some of the more unusual ingredients found in store.

A round courgette, which we use further down in the recipe!

Spot the white asparagus amongst the bright coloured fruit

This summer smoked salmon and lemon spaghetti is the most perfect supper for a hot evening, and the perfect stomach filler! You can buy all of the ingredients for this dish in Panzer’s Deli.

Serves 2. Gluten and dairy free.

Smoked salmon and lemon spaghetti, gluten free, dairy free

The perfect summer dish, gluten and dairy free smoked salmon spaghetti dish.

Ingredients 

1 red chilli

1 lemon

1 round courgette (or 1 normal courgette)

Bunch white asparagus (or normal asparagus)

120g smoked salmon

100g vegan feta cheese such as Violife, or feta cheese

250g gluten free or normal spaghetti

Olive oil

Salt and pepper to season

Method

  1. Zest the whole lemon, peel the courgette into ribbons and de-seed the red chilli, slicing it up very small. Chop up the tops of the asparagus into bite size pieces. Cut the feta into small chunks, you will crumble this later.
  2. Put the spaghetti on to boil in a salted pan and cook per the packet instructions.
  3. Put a small frying pan on a medium heat and add a glug of oil. Once getting warm, add the chilli and half the lemon zest. Now add the asparagus and stir for 2 mins.
  4. Now add the courgette ribbons and mix together for 4 minutes. (Note: white asparagus much chunkier than normal asparagus, so if you are using green asparagus reduce the timings on here by about a minute)
  5. Drain your pasta and add a glug of olive oil, pepper and ¼ of the lemon zest. Mix together and then add the courgette, asparagus, lemon and chilli mixture.
  6. Now crumble the feta or vegan alternative into the pasta mix, it should melt quite quickly with the heat of the pasta whilst maintaining some chunks. Mix together.
  7. Serve on your plate and then top with your beautiful smoked salmon. Season again with black pepper and top with the rest of the lemon zest.

What I love about this dish is the freshness of the lemon zest. It just works gorgeously with the pasta, olive oil and smoked salmon.

Dairy and gluten free smoked salmon pasta

Who fancies a bit of that!

Would love to know if you give this a try or what else you find if you visit Panzer’s Deli! See A Belly Full of Food a the top of the menu for more dinner recipes.

BRYONY HOPKINS, A BELLY FULL OF BRYONY

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Edinburgh, travel guide, scotland, arthurs seat, A Belly Full Of

Climbing to the top of Arthur’s Seat and being blown away of the views of Edinburgh!

Over the Easter weekend I spent a glorious 72 hours in Edinburgh with my partner in crime Josh, and wow, what a gorgeous city. I switched off my social media for the weekend to truly enjoy this incredible city and now I am sharing my top tips for eating gluten and dairy free, and what to see and do, in this city.

Scotland, Arthur's Seat, Bryony Hopkins, A Belly Full Of

That fresh air makes one very happy!

It helped that I was absolutely inundated with suggestions of great places to eat and drink, and for a relatively small city, we were absolutely spoiled for choice! Having said that, most of our finds were on the hoof as we explored, so I hope these gems add to the ever-growing list of allergy friendly places to eat in Edinburgh.

Friday PM and Eve

Edinburgh streets were just gorgeous. This taken on Victoria Street.

So after settling into our gorgeous Air BnB (see below for my tips on accommodation in Edinburgh!), we went on a wonder in the city and came across the pizza parlour Amarone, recommended by the lovely Gluten Free Gatherer and I just had my heart set on pizza for dinner, so we booked ourselves in for that eve. We were also famished, so we stopped off at a brilliant little coffee place called Fortitude Coffee where I had a sticky toffee loaf, which was vegan and gluten free with a black filter coffee. Delissshh and easy to miss, although that loaf was the only allergy friendly option.

Black americano and sticky toffee loaf. The icing was YUM!

Onto dinner and I absolutely loved Amorone (recommended by my pal, the Gluten Free Gatherer!). I went for a chicken and pepper number, without cheese and on a gluten free base and was very impressed. None of this rubbery or tasteless base business, this was extremely crispy. Definitely would recommend!

Unfortunately no vegan cheese, but still delicious with a tomato base

Saturday
The morning started in the search of breakfast, and having been recommended Urban Angel a 1000 times, we tried to grab a table. Unfortunately, they don’t take bookings and we were too hungry to wait 45 mins so ended up in a closer café, which wasn’t great for GF or DF, but did do black tea and a veggie fry up! Luckily we stumbled across a market where I found Missy Vegan Cupcakes and picked myself up a vegan and GF chocolate tiffin, which was HUGE.

This was essentially the fuel that got me to the top of Arthurs Seat! Which I definitely recommend as an activity in Edinburgh – it’s a surprisingly hard climb but absolutely worth it. The views from the top are just insane!



After such a wild trek up to Arthurs Seat (it had been raining all weekend so was a rather treacherous climb, absolute mud bath!), we needed some proper sustenance so found ourselves in a lovely little pub called High Street Number 1 on the Royal Mile. At first glance, it didn’t look like they did much allergy friendly, until we spotted the gluten free fish and chips! Served in GF batter and fried in a separate fryer, this was a GF dream.

It would have been rude to visit Edinburgh trying some of the local booze (I mean, we’re only human!), so we walked a little further up to the Royal Mile where we tried some of the gin offering at a small pub called The Albanach. Edinburgh Gin (this is an actual brand, not just gin from Edinburgh!) was an absolute find. So many gorgeous flavours, so good paired with Fever Tree Tonic. My fave was Rhubarb and Ginger. SO GOOD.


 

Sunday

After waking up with a slightly sore gin head, we were on the prowl for one thing only, BRUNCH! We headed this time towards Leith, as our apartment was just positioned in perfect walking distance between Edinburgh city centre and Leith on the coast. The Roseleaf was positioned just past the canal and WHAT A GEM! Disguised as a rustic pub, this spot did the best brunch skillet I’ve ever tasted and the menu was extremely well labelled for allergens. I went for the vegetarian breakfast skillet, served with a toasted gluten free muffin. The real stars of the show were actually the choice of juices and hot drinks. First we went for the ‘Red Cappuccino’ – a twist on a classic chai latte but infused with more cinnamon and ginger. I had mine with soya milk and it was beautifully rich and creamy. Then we went onto the juice menu (because you know, holiday) and particularly loved The Heartbeat (pomegranate, apple and raspberry) and the coconut crush (pineapple, coconut water and apple). Would definitely recommend this gem!

For dinner we headed to an incredible artisan Italian deli that was right next to our apartment called Valvona and Crolla. Think high ceilings stacked with wines, cured meats, pastas, sauces and fresh vegetables. They had a whole row of fresh Italian gluten free pastas, so we picked up some bits for a night in at the apartment. Served with a bottle of red it was the perfect (albeit) unusual Easter Sunday dinner.


Monday

With only the morning left we had to fill the time the best way possible, BRUNCH! We headed to Urban Angel which I had been recommended by near enough everyone for a great gluten free brunch! We had to wait 40 minutes for a table, but the delicious gluten free bread did not disappoint. I mixed and matched, with smoked salmon, poachies and Portobello mushrooms on the plate paired with one of my fave hot beverages, turmeric latte. Gorgeous.

Travel (London to Edinburgh)
So there is much discussion about the best way to get to Edinburgh and as it was our anniversary weekend (5 years!), we splashed out on first class tickets on Virgin Trains and I honestly couldn’t recommend this form of travel enough. You literally hop on at Kings Cross and it’s only four and half-hours into the centre of Edinburgh. Complementary beverages and sandwiches are included(unfortunately not GF or DF), so make sure you stock up on snacks from Waitrose or M&S at Kings Cross. We probably paid about £150 each for a first class return, which was definitely worth it for the space and free wifi!

Accommodation


I really didn’t know anything about Edinburgh before this trip, so wasn’t sure what or where to go for in terms of accommodation. However, Josh & I are massive Air BnB fans (honestly best places I’ve ever stayed in Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Marbella etc), so we booked an apartment about 8 mins walk from the train station on Brunswick Street. The apartment was gorgeous and owned by the friendliest couple, Pat and George. They left milk in the fridge (for Josh obvs), cereal and the place was immaculate. Perfect location to walk into the city centre, as it was only about 15 minutes. Check out our apartment here.

Would love to hear if you use any of these travel tips in your future travels to Edinburgh!

 

Check out my Pitstop Guide to Copenhagen for more travel tips!
BRYONY HOPKINS, A BELLY FULL OF BRYONY

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