Finding somewhere to eat in an unfamiliar city can feel like a daunting task for those of us suffering with food allergies, intolerances or just wanting to eat clean. Especially when you don’t want to revisit the generic gluten-free menus from the usual suspect big-name chains. I don’t know about you, but when I take a trip to a new city, I want to check out unique independents or local chains, places I wouldn’t be able to find in my local hometown. Sadly that’s become a real challenge when travelling, and extensive planning and research needs to be done. Before a trip to York with my partner, I apprehensively started googling places I could eat. Quite quickly I realised, I need not have worried… I found Filmore and Union.

 

Filmore and Union

Filmore and Union

 

Filmore and Union offers up healthy, wholesome food and drink, packed full of nutrition. Everything is made themselves, so they know exactly what ingredients are used. I knew I was on to a winner when reading their website ethos “At Filmore, we understand that eating out can be a struggle when you suffer from food allergies, to the point where you have to redesign a meal for your needs, which totally ruins the fun of going out. Fortunately, that’s where Filmore comes in. That fact that people with different dietary requirements can choose something enjoyable from our menus, with the assurance that their bodies will agree, is what really sets us apart from other brands.” A breath of fresh air. More of this please!

 

Filmore and Union

Filmore and Union

 

We arrived at lunchtime, and I was immediately drawn to the rustic decor of the restaurant. It was light, bright and inviting. We quickly sat down and looked at the menu. Filmore and Union offer food from breakfast to dinner, as well as all day options, so there was tonnes of great choice. Everything on the menu clearly specifies allergy free options, with simple icons to look out for. Trust me, there’s something for everyone. For drinks my partner ordered their organic coffee, and I tried a Super Antioxidant smoothie, made from strawberries, blueberries, cranberries, mint and coconut water. Needless to say, it was delicious.

 

Filmore and Union

Filmore and Union

 

Choosing lunch was difficult. Just because I’m not used to having so many options to choose from! In the end, me and my partner both landed on the warm Moroccan Spiced Chicken Salad, with mango, broccoli, spinach and courgette noodles. When it arrive, the plate was beautifully decorated with edible flowers and it smelt incredible. After my first mouthful, I’d already concluded it was the best salad I’d ever eaten. Could a salad really have that much flavour? Seriously!? Well now I know it can. We also ordered a side of celeriac chips to share. These were super tasty, and an interesting healthy take on the humble chip.

 

Filmore and Union

Filmore and Union

 

Originally we didn’t intend on ordering dessert, but all the freshly homemade cakes on the counter looked too appealing to pass up. It would have be a crime not to. I ordered an almond milk cappuccino and the Vegan Brownie, which was also gluten free and made with hemp and kale. It was served with fresh berries and a sweet berry compote which partnered perfectly with the chocolate brownie. I thought nothing would be able to match up to the mighty salad I’d had for my main, but the brownie definitely held it’s own. It was a deserving dessert, and concluded what was truly a one of a kind dining experience.

 

Filmore and Union

 

Filmore and Union feels like a refreshing choice in today’s world of dining out. Proving that delicious food can be nourishing and good for you. It’s the kind of food that makes you not miss the allergens you can’t eat.

Eateries like it have been long overdue, and Filmore seems like an answer to so many people’s ever-growing needs. The restaurant was packed from the moment we sat down, to the moment we left, and people were actually waiting for tables to become free. There’s definitely a demand for healthy, allergen friendly food at all times of day, and Filmore seems to be tapping into that need. Yes, in the UK these days it’s easy enough to stumble across a gluten-free menu in any large chain, or a vegan cafe in London, but Filmore and Union offers this and more on a regional level. With 7 regional locations, they are definitely doing something right.

After my visit to York, I can only hope a Filmore and Union pops up in my home city of Norwich sometime soon, and that they continue to inspire a refreshing, inclusive attitude, to eating out for all.

 

Filmore and Union Review

Date visited: 9th May 2015

Location: York Petergate

Stayed for: Lunch

Meal cost: £40 (2 course lunch + drinks)

Recommended dish: Moroccan Spiced Chicken Salad

 

Filmore and Union

 

 

vanilla coconut truffles

 

Ok, so I’ve use the word “Truffle” very loosely here. In all honesty, these are nothing like truffles – I’m not even going to pretend. There’s not a chunk of chocolate in sight. Sorry Willy Wonka!

But if like me, you’re looking for a healthy alternative to cocoa, these little guys are the golden ticket! They are pretty damn healthy and will fuel you with energy, as well as satisfy your sweet cravings.

 

vanilla coconut truffles

 

Aside from ditching the cocoa, these Vanilla Coconut Truffles are also gluten, dairy, nut and refined sugar free! Yep, Willy Wonka is really not happy.

 

vanilla coconut truffles

 

Soaking the dates is a really crucial step. Don’t forget or miss this out, as it will completely ruin EVERYTHING. Make sure you do this right so you’re not sobbing over the dry mush in your food processor. Don’t say I didn’t warn ya’

 

vanilla coconut truffles

 

When you’ve finished baking the truffles, you can present them in cute little cases like I have, or simply transfer them into a bowl. Alternatively you can just inhale them straight off the baking tray…

 

Vanilla Coconut Truffles

 

While these Vanilla Coconut Truffles are delicious, I’ve included some different options for flavours and decoration in the recipe notes, incase you wanted to mix things up! Go on, live on the edge.

 

Vanilla Coconut Truffles

 

Vanilla Coconut Truffles

 

Healthy Vanilla Coconut Truffles

Makes: 15 Large Truffles

Healthy Vanilla Coconut Truffles

Ingredients

  • 8 large medjool dates, pitted
  • 150g unsweetened shredded coconut, plus more for decoration
  • 1 tsp sugar-free vanilla extract
  • pinch of sea salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 160°c. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
  2. Place dates into a bowl, and pour over enough warm water to cover them. Soak for 5 minutes and drain.
  3. Place the dates, shredded coconut, salt and vanilla extract into a food processor. Process until think and sticky.
  4. Place a little extra shredded coconut on a small plate. Form the mixture into little balls, rolling in the coconut flakes for decoration.
  5. Place on the lined baking tray and bake for 12 - 15 minutes, until just golden.

Notes

To mix things up, try coating the truffles in raw cocoa, chopped nuts or matcha powder.

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

 

What does winter mean for me? Cosy nights in watching old movies I’ve seen a thousand times before, while wearing thick-knitted socks and embarrassing Christmas jumpers. Oh and soup – lots and lots of soup.

 

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

 

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

 

So now that winter is coming – you can thank Game of Thrones for that one – I wanted to give you a soup recipe to warm your insides on the cold and frosty evenings. Or to get you through that inevitable winter cold or flu, that only plenty of rest, re-watches of Friends and lashings of soup will cure.

 

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

 

This Butternut Squash Soup recipe has never let me down. I first created this recipe at University, and I have been fine-tuning it ever since. This was always my go to meal when I needed something satisfying and nutritious on a small student budget. It’s basic and easy, but does the job. No frills – just simple, hearty good food.

 

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

 

While I’ve been making and adapting this soup recipe for years, I only recently decided to add the crouton element to the dish. The croutons really give the soup a whole new dimension, elevating it from a little bowl of goodness, to a fully fledged wholesome meal. You don’t have to be a smarty pants to know that Rosemary and Butternut Squash is a killer combo. These are classic flavours paired quickly and easily to bring you a comfort blanket in liquid form.

p.s. I do not recommend using this soup as a blanket. Eat the soup – then grab a blanket. K?

 

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Garlic and Rosemary Croutons

Serves: 2

Ingredients

  • 1 medium sized butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into 1" cubes
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp of dried rosemary
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 medium sized potato, peeled and cut into small chunks
  • 1 pint of organic vegetable stock
  • sea salt and black pepper
  • For the Garlic and Rosemary Croutons
  • 300g gluten free bread, cut into 1" cubes
  • 80ml garlic olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 4 sprigs of fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • pinch of sea salt and black pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven the to 180°c. Meanwhile peel, deseed and chop the butternut squash into 1" cubes. Place the butternut squash on a baking tray and drizzle over 2 tbsp olive oil to lightly coat the squash. Sprinkle over 1 tsp of rosemary and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place in the oven for 25 - 30 minutes and roast until soft.
  2. Meanwhile, slowly fry off the diced onion on a low heat with the remaining tbsp of olive oil. Once soft add the minced garlic and the potato chunks and fry for 1 minute on a medium heat.
  3. Now add the vegetable stock to the onion and potato and allow to boil, then simmer until the potato is soft. This will usually take between 15-20 minutes.
  4. Take the roasted butternut squash out of the oven once soft and add to the stock mixture. Season with sea salt, and black pepper and stir everything together until well combined.
  5. Whizz the mixture in a blender. If the soup is too thick for your liking add a little more hot vegetable stock and blend again. Taste, and add more seasoning if needed. If the soup has cooled, return to the pan and re-heat.
  6. For the Garlic and Rosemary Croutons
  7. Combine the garlic oil, fresh rosemary, salt, pepper and garlic in a mixing bowl. Warm the mixture in a frying pan on a medium heat. Add the sliced bread to the pan and mix until the oil has been completely soaked up by the bread.
  8. Fry until the bread is golden brown and nicely toasted, stirring occasionally.
  9. Pour the soup out into bowls and top with the crispy croutons.
  10. Enjoy!