Monday, 2 September 2013

Gluten-free cooking made easier

By Norma McGough

If you’ve been diagnosed with coeliac disease, adapting to a gluten-free diet can seem daunting at first, but with a few ingredient switches, you can still enjoy your favourite recipes. Try these…

* There’s a lot of gluten-free pasta available now, so you can still enjoy spaghetti bolognese and lasagne if you also use cornflour for your cheese sauce and buy a gluten-free bolognese sauce.

* Try alternative cereals such as quinoa and teff. Quinoa is nutritious (it contains protein, fibre, iron and folate) and ideal as a basis for salads – and teff adds a delicious nutty flavour to biscuits. 

* If you’re ever stuck for ideas in the kitchen, branch out into different cuisines: Mexican meals include a lot of corn and rice, which are both naturally gluten-free cereals, so you could maybe go for corn tacos with chilli, guacamole and salsa; Indian and Thai curry sauces, also served with rice, are usually made with combinations of onions, garlic, ginger and fresh chilli with spices, maybe with coconut milk or ground nuts, so are often gluten free, too. 

* A bit of experimentation, plus speciality flours and baking aids (including gluten-free baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and xanthan gum) can make gluten-free baking a success. It’s the gluten that gives your bread, cakes and pastry the right texture and provides structure, which is why gluten-free bread can be dry and solid, and cakes and pastry a lot more crumbly. But there are many speciality flours available in supermarkets that work perfectly well in your favourite recipes.

Want more help or information? Visit Coeliac UK’s website. Whether you’ve been diagnosed, are seeking a diagnosis or need information to support friends and family with coeliac disease and dermatitis herpetiformis, Coeliac UK is there to help. It provides a range of member services to help you understand more about coeliac disease and the gluten-free diet, including access to its Recipe Database, electronic Food and Drink Directory and Venue Guide.

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