Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Garden Party

Saturday saw our Garden Party, held to raise money for Coeliac UK in memory of my Dad.

The forecast was for showers - possibly heavy - so we decided not to set up the gazebo and instead took up the kind offer of the use of the house at the venue.

Coeliac UK had sent us a banner and balloons which ensured that our guests knew they had arrived at the right place!

Guests started arriving from 1pm.  Fortunately most of them were inside before the thunderstorm broke overhead!  Gusting winds took care of some of the balloons, the banner came down, and some guests had to shelter in their car waiting for it to ease before they risked the dash to the house!

After the storm the sun shone, we repaired the banner, and the children all took advantage of the garden to let off some steam.

The table was ladened with a mixture of my own home made gluten free food and items donated by companies for the event.  Pizza bases from Glutafin and Wellfoods were topped with either a vegetarian or meat topping and we brought more out as soon as they were eaten up!  My bacon jam proved to be a hit, served on Glutafin mini crackers topped with a piece of ripe brie.

That morning we'd made a fresh loaf of mixed seed bread using a mix from Foodamentalists.  We also used Dietary Specials' pastry (from their frozen range) to prepare mini cream cheese and bacon bites.

The "sweet" table ended up very full - this picture was taken before it got fully covered!  As well as products from BARKAT, a friend had provided some decadent chocolate brownies together with a very rich sauce and a fruit bread based on an Irish recipe.

Sarah from Especially Delicious brought some gorgeous cupcakes (not pictured) which manage to amaze the non-gluten free guests at the event who couldn't believe they were "free from"!

In fact several guests commented on the selection and taste of the food on offer and expressed surprise that it taste as good, if not better, than "normal" food!  I think we may even have converted one person!

The companies sponsoring our prize draw had provided a wealth of information about their product ranges, and how to get items on prescription.  This was very useful for those at the event who were gluten free - including some newly diagnosed coeliacs.

At 3pm we drew the names for our prize draw.  The winning hamper (which was so heavy it took 2 people to move it!) was crammed full of hundreds of pounds worth of gluten free products from some of the top producers in the UK.  Products had been donated by Livwell (a mixture of bakery products), Wellfoods (including amazing pizza bases), General Dietary Ltd - a selection from their Ener-G products, PGR Health Foods (items from their Rizopia Pasta - Lasagne, Spaghetti, Penne and Fusilli), Dietary Specials (a selection of products), Glutafin (a wide selection of products), TruFree (a selection of products), Juvela (a variety of products), Gluten Free Foods (a selection of their BARKAT products), Black Farmer (several of their excellent new cooking sauces),Foodamentalists (a selection of their dry mixes including yorkshire pudding mix!), Innovative Solutions (a generous selection from their excellent range including flours, gums and yeast), Taywell Ice Creams (6 x 500g tubs from their delicious gluten free ice creams), Freedom Deli (a selection of their gorgeous ready meals), Sugargrain (fresh loaf cakes),  and Drink Marvel (a selection of their Bakery on Main products).

 1st Prize went to Elaine Dullaway who was extremely pleased with it!  The second hamper went to Claire & Ian Reay.  Third prize was drawn for Rachel Warden and the fourth prize hamper went to Louise Spires.  An extra prize was drawn for a beautiful picnic basket donated by Freedom Deli, and this was won by Kevin Broadbent.
Guests also enjoyed some dreamy ice cream, donated by Taywell - honeycomb, vanilla, chocolate, raspberry ripple or pistachio flavours were on offer and the general consensus was that they all tasted amazing!

Many of the guests went home with doggy bags (well, plates!) stuffed with various savouries and desserts and they definitely all went home full.

As a result of the Party a cheque for £150 is being posted to Coeliac UK to add to the £195 raised online via Just Giving.

Annie would like to thank all the companies that supported her efforts - this was all done in memory of her Dad who died from cancer caused exclusively by coeliac disease that was not diagnosed until it was too late.  The day was tinged with sadness but it was a fitting tribute to an amazing man.

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