Gluten Free Gastronomy

Changing to a gluten-free diet doesn't mean your diet has to become boring and unimaginative.

Yes you may be somewhat limited in your ingredient choices, but with our selection of recipes, you'll see that eating well and taking control of your health doesn't have to be limiting.

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye and barley. It's the gluten in flour that gives breads and cakes their characteristic texture, however thanks to Xanthan gum it's possible to mimic the action of gluten in dough made with gluten free flours. See our recipe for gluten free bread here.

As more people follow a gluten–free diet, the food industry has responded by developing an expanding range of gluten free products. Check the Free From section in your local SuperValu store for a fantastic selection of products including breads, pastas, sauces, soups, flours, baking products, cereals biscuits, bars and sweets.

As fruit and vegetables are gluten free, you can eat them with abandon. Rice is also gluten free as is quinoa, see my delicious recipe for monkfish curry, with big bold flavours that just requires a serving of boiled rice. Now while rice may be nice, many people with a gluten intolerance find their diets lack fibre, however this can be improved by adding nuts, seeds, lentils and legumes to your diet.

Adding seeds to your dishes is a great way to add more fibre to your gluten free diet

Gluten free pasta is available in the Free From section in all good supermarkets, however if you want to make your own pasta, try my gluten free pasta recipe, You. may have to visit your local health store to get some of the ingredients and there's no doubt it's time consuming but if pasta is your passion then it's worthwhile.

If you have guests who require gluten free food, start with some basic gluten free recipes, meats, for example roasts and vegetables or salads for mains, but be careful when making gravy, sauces, glazes and stuffings that they are gluten free. When shopping look out for items like modified starches and flour-based binders and fillers which are regularly used.

If you do decide to entertain at home and have some gluten intolerant guests, avoid any cross contamination - here's a few simple pointers that might seem basic but are very necessary:

  • Store gluten free products in separate, clearly labelled containers. This is important for foods in the freezer too.
  • Make sure your toasters or sandwich makers are cleaned thoroughly before preparing gluten free food.
  • Make sure your toasters or sandwich makers are cleaned thoroughly before preparing gluten free food.
  • Thoroughly clean bread boards, and other cooking utensils used in food preparation.
  • If cooking or reheating pasta, keep a strainer solely for gluten free use.
  • If you have a deep fat fryer, change the oil if food containing gluten has been cooked in it.

And on a side note, there is a little confusion over oats in a gluten free diet. Oats do contain a protein that's similar to gluten and it doesn't seem to cause an adverse reaction in most people with a gluten free intolerance. However oats are often contaminated with gluten, so be careful to buy gluten free brands only.

Kevin

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