Aint nothing going on but the spice

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In our occasional forays into food festivals and the odd Christmas fair, the question we get asked most (after 'How hot is it?'!) is: Does it contain gluten? quickly followed by: Is it dairy-free? (and: I'm a vegetarian, as we try to tempt them with a soupcon of our Spicy Meatballs!) It has made me realise how many poor souls out there are limited by the various allergies and sensitivities that their bodies inflict upon them. I've never had a problem with anything,and it is only when we set up Bitspicy that I realised people can be allergic or sensitive to so many things: garlic, peppers, onions... Well, I've mentioned the things that we can't cater for since every single one of our spice blends calls for a recipe containing two or three of them!

But we are the answer to the prayers of everyone who is gluten- or dairy-intolerant, since none of our blends contains either. Some of the recipes mention yoghurt or creme fraiche but they can be altered to suit your needs. The Kashmiri Lamb curry, for example, would be excellent (but not traditional!) with creamed coconut in place of the yoghurt.

At the basic spice blend stage all our products are also completely meat-free, so even if the name says 'Indonesian Sulawesi Beef curry' all vegetarians and vegans can eat the sauce with impunity. It is up to you what you add. The Sulawesi is particularly good as a vegan option, as is the Spicy Meatballs mentioned above. See our vegetarian section for our full range of specific blends, but one of our favourites is the Dhansak. Containing lentils and deliberately kept very mild, it is the perfect base for all vegan options.

So to sum up, I know there will be some poor people out there who are allergic to mustard (which rules out most of our blends) or garlic ( if that's you, you have my heartfelt sympathy!) but most people will find our spices are perfect for cooking. Yes, there is cooking involved, but no worrying about ill-effects afterwards!

As an afterthought for dairy-intolerance, we have discovered a super lactase enzyme (just google Holland and Barrett) which has worked wonders for our younger daughter. Take just before you tuck into the cheesecake and you will be fine!

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