Top 15 Supermarket Gluten Free Foods

I’ve been eating a gluten free diet for nearly 2 years now, since I discovered I have a serious intolerance to gluten.

It’s not much fun, and not something to do unless you have a compelling medical reason – not least because gluten free food is such a minefield! Breads tend to be soft and crumbly, and biscuits crispy and greasy. And no one supermarket has their entire range nailed. My weekly shop often takes me around 3-4 different supermarkets as I hunt for the items I know taste relatively normal.

Having eaten my way through most of the gluten free ranges on offer, I reckon I can offer up this list as the ideal gluten free shop. Enjoy!


1. Genius Triple Seeded Sandwich Loaf (Sainsburys / Waitrose / Tesco)

genius_triple-seededIn my opinion, this is the best gluten free bread out there.  It tastes normal, it doesn’t crumble, you can actually chew it and it toasts beautifully.  It is worth working your way through the loaves on offer though to try and find the one that is most floured and has the widest girth as those two markers seem to indicate whether the loaf has massive air holes in it or not (the bain of gluten free loaf making!).


2. Waitrose Free From Gluten Pasta

LN_838709_BP_11This is the best gluten free pasta out there and easily trumps the posh brands (like Dove’s farm).  It cooks up to a lovely al dente texture and with a bit of oil drizzled over it after straining, you’d have trouble working out if it was gf or not.


3. No-G Range (Sainsburys)


Pretty much all of this range is outstanding.  But my favourites are the beef pie and the cheese and bacon quiche.  Definitely one to try if you miss pastry!


4. Dove’s Farm Organic Fibre Flakes (Sainsburys)


I used to eat a fibre-based cereal and really missed the taste and crunch, but this filled the gap nicely.  The flakes stay crispy in milk, and taste spot on with a  handful of raisins.


5. Nature’s Path Gluten Free Granola Mixed Berry (Sainsburys / Waitrose)


This is so good even my non-gf other half is addicted. If we buy a packet it disappears surprisingly quickly!  The yogurt chunks taste like white chocolate chunks so its a perfect topping for a yogurt-based dessert.


6. Udi’s bagels (Sainsburys / Waitrose)


Toasted, these taste pretty much exactly like real bagels taste.  Ideal for a filling of smoked salmon and cream cheese. Most places seem to sell the plain variety, but the whole grain ones are a real treat if you can find them.


7. Sainsbury Free From Oaty Muesli


I’m a bit fussy about muesli – I basically like something oat-based with lots of raisins – and this fills that brief.  The pumpkin seeds add a nice crunch, and the sultanas are not too sultana-y.


8. Sainsbury Free From Hot Cross Buns


Fluffy, chewy, perfectly spiced, full of fruit and amazing toasted with a scrape of butter.


9. Sainsbury Free From Fish Fingers


I really miss big thick chunky fish fingers but these are 80% of the way there.  They cook up nice and crispy, but I would suggest giving them an extra 10 minutes.


10. Amy’s Kitchen Gluten Free Rice Mac & Cheese


Gluten free ready meals aren’t up to much on the whole, but this is a great freezer staple.  Super cheesy and no artificial ingredients.


11. M&S Gluten Free Crumbed Cod Fillets


Deep fried or traditionally breaded items tend to be off the menu for gluten free people, so it was quite exciting when we discovered these!  They do taste healthier than your regular fish and chip shop fish but that’s no bad thing!


12. Dietary Special Gluten Free Custard Creams (Sainsburys)

Improved recipe DS- gluten free custard creams portrait pack shot

I reckon these are indistinguishable from the glutinous version!  Crunchy without being crispy, and  the filling is smooth and very tasty.


13. M&S Gluten Free Victoria Sponge Cake


This doesn’t look particularly tasty in its back, but once its out this is a brilliant gluten free cake – light with a creamy filling and tasty jam.


14. Udi’s Gluten Free Chocolate Sandwich Cookies (Waitrose)


These taste exactly like Oreos!  Winner.


15. Tescos White Chocolate & Cranberry Cookies
IDShot_540x540-1Got these free at work one day and was amazed!  Genuinely delicious, not too crunchy and the dried cranberries add a nice chewy texture.


Honorary Mention: Doves Farm gluten-free plain flour blend


Generally useful to have around!

How To Win A (Sony) Radio Academy Award

This has been my second year as a judge of the-formerly-known-as-the-Sony Radio Academy Awards. It’s a massive honour to be involved with the judging, if a bit terrifying to know that your opinion could genuinely change a career for the better. I can tell you that the judges take their responsibilities very seriously.

I’ve now judged two very different categories – obviously I can’t tell you which categories they are – but it interested me this year that entries triumphed for very similar reasons – and failed for equally similar reasons.

So if only for my own future reference, I thought I’d jot down what I think makes a good Radio Academy Award entry. You may find some of this stuff obvious, but it’s genuinely surprising the number of entries that made some very obvious mistakes…

Rule 1: Make Your Audio Audible

Surprisingly enough, it really does make a difference to be able to hear what you’re listening to but I would say on each occasion there was audio to listen to that was very poor quality – either badly mixed or just hugely low quality throughout (with drops / silences). Please get someone to listen to your entry before you submit it.  And don’t leave it ’til the last minute to submit – that will cause you all sorts of issues!  Check and double check before you submit.

Rule 2: Question The Award-Winning Potential Of Your Entry

It’s amazing how many people waste money submitting very average entries. You really need to ask yourself, “what is unique about my show?” or “what is ground-breaking about this?” – you’re up against the best of the best, so mediocre will not cut it. Think about that best example of a feature you’ve been doing for years… is it really award winning? Or is it just the best you’ve got? Is there something stronger that doesn’t fit into your show planner so neatly…

Rule 3: Know Your Competition

Think about your competition. Who are they? What are they likely to be submitting? How will your audio counterbalance that? Do you know who won your category last year? Any idea why they won? Helpfully the Radio Academy post all the citation to the Awards Website, so you should have a sense of what made that specific entry stand out last year. And if that’s not clear enough, most radio stations in the UK have live streaming abilities. Try and catch their show – see what you think makes them so magic.

Rule 4: Ensure Your Audio Stands Out

What are you doing with your first 30 seconds? The first 3 minutes? Does it captivate and enthral or is it just 30 seconds of imaging / set up? If yours is a montage entry you’re in luck – you can put your toughest question, your biggest laugh, your biggest moment of the year here. And if yours is a self-contained entry (like a doc or a drama) you’re in another sort of luck as you’ll hopefully have been selling your audio from the start…

Rule 5: Make The Audio Emotive

I know I’ve said this before, but please get someone to listen to your entry before you submit it. Watch their response. Does the entry make them laugh? Or cry? Or thoughtful? If it does none of these things, then there is basically no point submitting it. The judges will have a mountain of entries to listen to, and if your entry is too unemotional it’ll end up as being foliage to someone else’s epic then you will lose out. Make your entry the one that’s worth going through all the chaff.

Rule 6: Use Your Word Limit Effectively

Please don’t just copy and paste your programme description! It’s probably not going to cut it when other people have really thought about what they put here. Instead think about what’s new this year – or what amazing facts and figures can you give about your longevity / popularity? What did the audience / reviewers make of it? Who was involved? Are there any great quotes you can use to embellish this? Try to avoid marketing speak, but after a brief intro line have the confidence to let your audience / reviewers / stats speak for themselves. That can often be the most compelling pitch.

Rule 7: Get Someone To Listen To Your Entry

Is this obvious? Based on the entries I’ve heard in the past two year, I’m not sure. Please do this! And ideally two people – someone who knows the show well, and someone who is not involved with your specific part of the industry at all, who can bring perspective to your entry. Part of the challenge when entering awards is thinking about how it will be perceived by the judges who may be taken from any sector of the industry. With people who may know your show and it’s standing features, you’ll be looking to surprise and delight them, and with those who don’t know your show, you’re basically looking to do the same! But it helps to have that outside perspective.

Rule 8: Start Planning For Next Year NOW

You can really hear an entry that’s been panic cobbled together 48 hours before the deadline. Let me repeat that: YOU CAN REALLY HEAR A COBBLED TOGETHER ENTRY. And there is no excuse. It really doesn’t take a huge budget to make a note of any “audio worth remembering” after your show.

So to summarise…
Really the advice is check and double check your audio, get a second pair of ears across it, and make sure you give your best bits their best chance to shine.  And start compiling next year’s entry now!  Good luck.


Well, I’ve had a fun two weeks!

RadioTalk Social Media Special… hosted by me?!

BBC Bristol Spoken Word Project

Michael Sheen’s 80s (28th Dec 2013)

Did the social media for this one:

Jon & Miranda on BBC Radio 2 (23rd Dec 2013)

Wot I did produce and do the social media for…