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Gluten-Free Cooking - a thread for coeliacs and gluten-intolerants. Come and share your tips please!

(81 Posts)
redridingwolf Thu 02-Feb-12 11:40:57

On another thread, people started sharing gluten-free cooking tips, so this is now a home for all gluten-free tips.

My 4yo DS1 has just been diagnosed coeliac, so I am about to get to grips with all this and will be very grateful for all tips smile

redridingwolf Thu 02-Feb-12 11:50:21

On the previous thread

Morebeta recommended making GF fish fingers by coating fresh fish in GF flour, then egg and then polenta, then 'drying' in the fridge on kitchen paper before deep frying them.

A suggestion for alternatives to deep-frying from brandysoakedbitch - just shallow fry them to make them brown and then chuck them into the oven - also for chicken some paprika and garlic granules in the breadcrumbs makes them sort of southern fried ish!

I am going to try this. Hoping for more suggestions!

medjool Thu 02-Feb-12 12:13:09

First of all, everything is possible. Here are some of my tips for baking/cooking:-

Gingerbread men work really well with gluten free flour - no need to change the recipe at all, just substitute flour for Doves Farm gf flour.

Basic cake recipes also work well with Doves gf SR flour. Add 1tsp xanthan gum to a recipe volume 8oz flour/8oz sugar/8oz butter/4 eggs and also add 1tbsp water for every oz of flour.

Use quinoa instead of couscous and bulghur (bulghur pilaf in Ottolenghi Plenty is great with quinoa). Also try buckwheat.

Many more suggestions but can't think right now - I'll be back!

redridingwolf Thu 02-Feb-12 12:20:22

oh that's great medjool - esp the gingerbread men one! My 4yo loves them so glad the recipe will work the same way with gf

medjool Thu 02-Feb-12 12:29:54

Some Tesco stores have started to stock produce for the Jewish festival of Passover (Easter time). A lot of the produce is gluten free, although you have to check the labels. Whether your local store will have anything depends on whether you live near a Jewish community.

MoreBeta Thu 02-Feb-12 12:31:30

For those like me on a GF diet and miss sweets and puddings I strongly recommend this generic sweet pastry recipe for making all sorts of sweet tarts. It is similar in taste and mouth feel to the thin crisp pate sablee that is used in sweet tarts in French patisserie shops. I developed the recipe without using Xanthan Gum as that can leave a bitter taste and some say is not good for your health.

I use a 25 cm loose bottomed flan tin (Lakeland) with the following mix.

100g of Doves Farm plain flour (without Xanthan Gum)
100g of Birds custard powder
100g of ground almonds
35g caster sugar
2 medium eggs
100g Pure Margarine (dairy free)
1 satchet of Dr Oetker dried egg whites (equivalent to 2 egg whites in place of Xanthan Gum).

Put all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until made into a stiff paste. If too sticky add a little more flour if too dry add a few teaspoons of water. Once made, refrigerate for 1 hour (or more) in a plastic bag or clingfilm to make it semi hard. Then grease the flan tin with a little more Pure margarine and press the sweet paste into tin. It cannot be rolled like a pastry but can be moulded into a thin layer directly in the tin with your fingers and a knife like modelling clay. The colder the paste is the easier it is to work.

Then prick base with a fork all over and cook blind as per a normal tart at Gas 6 (200C or 400F) for 15 mins with a piece of grease proof paper weighed down with 1p coins. Take out paper and for further 5 mins continue cooking to dry base. The flan case should be dry and hard and only very slightly browned on the edges once done.

Once cooled the flan case can be frozen for later use or filled straight away with any choice of filling you like as per a normal tart recipe. The paste can also be frozen uncooked so I make big batches and bag it up in individual weighed portions enough to make 1 tart at a time.

Makes a nice Bakewell tart if filled with jam and frangipane and further cooked. Alternatively, filled with lactofree creme patissiere and fruit if you want something cold for summer.

PinkSpottyBag Thu 02-Feb-12 12:35:44

Hurrah for this thread....

Ok here are my suggestions, not high-brow offerings but child friendly meals from a busy mother with loads of children, dogs, chickens etc etc:

Mrs Crimbles savoury crackers, into Magimix until crumbs, chicken breasts cut into strips, dippped in egg or milk and then into the crumbs shallow fry in olive oil and serve with mashed potato and green beans, peas etc

G/F frozen sausages from Sainsburys, chop and fry an onion into ovenproof dish add the following all roughly cut, sweet potatoes, potatoes with skins on, carrots or any hard veg, throw sausages in and g/f stcok or gravy cook in oven for an hour or so or go to swimming lessons and come back and it's ready.

Beef or chicken cut into strips into a bowl with honey, marmalade and tiger tiger tomato ketchup leave for a couple of hours. chop up or trim green beans, carrots, baby sweetcorns etc etc so the are in thin strips, into a hot wok with a dribble of oil put the meat and sauce mixture and cook, add veg and add rice noodles (Sainsburys) for the last 3 or 4 minutes

will think of more, have loads of cake/sweet things blush

DottyDot Thu 02-Feb-12 12:37:38

Hi there - I'm good with making gf cakes, scones and biscuits - was diagnosed as Coeliac about 5 years ago so am in the swing of it now - my lemon drizzle cake is scrumptious! I use Doves Farm self raising flour and put a bit of Xanthan gum in or g-f baking powder. Usually find gf cake stuff needs a bit more liquid than 'normal' baking, so I add in milk. The lemon drizzle cake works so well I think because you add lemon juice through the cake, so it's lovely and moist.

But - what about things like croissants and bagels - which I still pine for and can never find in shops. Well, I think I did buy a packet of gf croissants once but they were not good at all...

Any top tips on how to make fancy stuff?! grin

redridingwolf Thu 02-Feb-12 13:37:13

brilliant stuff, keep it coming! DottyDot - yes, would love to hear a croissant/bagel idea - DS loves those and will be sad not to have them any more.

MoreBeta - I know I already asked you about your breadmaker, can you spill the beans about your foodprocessor now? I think I need to buy one. PinkSpotty - would you recommend the Magimix?

MoreBeta Thu 02-Feb-12 14:19:30

redriding - I have an ancient Magimix food processor and a hand blender. I dont have a food mixer because I find I dont need one.

redridingwolf Thu 02-Feb-12 14:21:07

I am probably rather stupid, but I don't know the difference between a foodprocessor and a food mixer!

MoreBeta Thu 02-Feb-12 14:22:34

I would really love a croissant, bagel recipe too. Its another major thing I really miss but I suspect with GF flour it is just not possible to make the really thin buttery pastry flakes like in a croissant. Its all about chemistry in the end.

MoreBeta Thu 02-Feb-12 14:26:02

Here is a Magimix food processor for chopping and liquidising and grating and grinding.

Here is a Kenwood mixer mainly for making cake batter and dough.

You can get food processor attachments for food mixers though that also chop and liquidise things.

redridingwolf Thu 02-Feb-12 14:40:48

okay, that makes sense. now for another really basic <stupid> question.

when chopping veg in a food processor - do you peel and roughly chop and then throw it in the food processor? or throw veg in whole (obv. peeled)

how much time does it actually save? I had a rubbishy old blender years ago and it seemed to take longer to do anything in it than to do it by hand!

MoreBeta Thu 02-Feb-12 15:21:39

Chop into chunks and then throw in one piece at a time via the feed hopper.

Throw a whole carrot in and it will vibrate like mad and probably damage the motor if done often enough.

Magimix have various blades and graters you can buy so it depends what you are doing as to how long it takes. I can do it properly with a knife but even in the Michelin star kitchens they use processors to chop, slice and grate bulk veg as it is so much quicker.

redridingwolf Thu 02-Feb-12 16:27:04

Mmm. I am coveting that Artisan one. Just need it to drop drastically in price smile

Right. My current project is to work out a weekly gluten-free menu for DS (who is a very picky eater) that he will eat and is also reasonably balanced. I think I am going to work out two menus - the one I would like him to eat, and the one he will actually eat - and make it a gradual progression to go from one to the other.

I think I will post back to ask for help with some items

linzmac7 Fri 03-Feb-12 09:26:01

This is meant to be a good croissant recipe:


MoreBeta Fri 03-Feb-12 09:39:30

Thank you. I'm going to give that croissant recipe a go to see if the taste is good. I supect it is a good taste although looking at the end result on the website you can get the buttery layers and the refrigeration helps but it just doesn't look very 'croissanty'.

DottyDot Fri 03-Feb-12 09:52:02

ooh - thanks for that - will have to give it a go! grin

Redridingwolf - good luck with the project - sounds like a really good plan. My favourite meals are those which are naturally gluten free anyway - things like:

Chilli + rice - the boys also love this (they're not coeliac - just me!)

Chicken kebabs which your ds might like? Chunks of chicken + any veg chopped up on kebab sticks, marinated if you've got time in a mix of Tamari sauce (just like soy sauce only gluten-free - you can get it from big supermarkets), honey/sugar, balsamic vinegar.

Stir fry pork/chicken - with rice noodles - chunks of chicken fried in a wok with veggies

Gluten free spaghetti/pasta is OK when it's first cooked so a good old spag bol is good - but I find gf pasta isn't great cold - best avoided!

Cottage pie/shepherd's pie solves that problem as it's mash on top instead.

some gf pizzas are OK and certainly if ds's were coeliac they would want gf pizza once a week grin

When we're having Mexican for tea, I have the taco shells as they're gf - made using corn - so means I can join in while the rest of them are having wraps.

eggs come in very handy for lunch - poached/boiled etc. with bacon - lovely!

I tend to avoid gf bread completely as it's usually disappointing - Genius is about the best you can get but I've just stopped eating any bread now. Corn cakes are good if I want something like that though - with anything spread on it.

Oven chips are mainly OK - the 'ordinary' ones - some of the french fries type chips aren't gluten-free so check carefully. But last night we had steak and oven chips which was lovely grin

Hope this helps - will keep thinking of gf meals which might be tempting smile

MoreBeta Fri 03-Feb-12 10:02:37

Yes be really really careful with oven chips. In the early days I used to eat them and didn't make me feel well and I was stunned to discover that even the best brands are covered in wheat flour to make them brown and crispy!

PostBellumBugsy Fri 03-Feb-12 10:07:52

Have a look at this fabulous website:
I'm not a coeliac, but I have IBS & wheat is the primary trigger. I have made so many recipies from this site & they are delicious and usually fairly easy too.

redridingwolf Fri 03-Feb-12 10:48:38

Brilliant, I will look at all these links and suggestions.

It really is a project I have to come at from two angles: what is a good coeliac diet, and what I can get DS to eat.

If I was the coeliac, I can easily see how I could eat very well, with a variety of different foods, once I'd worked it all out. But DS is a very fussy eater. He currently won't eat meat, rice, fish, fruit, most vegetables, anything in a sauce, anything where different foods touch each other (!) any nuts, any pulses. At the moment we are very dependent on bread/bakery products, pasta and potato (the last one is good, I know!)

I am hoping that as his gut heals he will become more open to different foods. We aren't gluten-free yet (waiting for endoscopy) but I am preparing for it by working on him to try new things. Last night he ate some (a miniscule fragment) of chicken which was a breakthrough. We have also (by having a chocolate-button reward system) got him to eat two florets of broccoli and 3 raw carrot sticks with every evening meal.

Taco shells are an interesting idea Dotty. Am going to work on him with regard to rice too.

I'm also going to work on getting him to eat homemade 'chips' (baked potato wedges). He is very resistant to them at the moment because they don't 'look right' but it would be a good move.

Corncakes might be a good option too - to replace Nairn's oat cakes which he really likes at the moment (spread with butter & cheese).

I'd like to get him on to eggs too. Currently I sneak an egg into the cheese sauce for macaroni cheese (the one sauce he will eat!). He has an egg-cup he loves, but will only use it to hold Philadelphia (which he dips breadsticks into).

DottyDot Fri 03-Feb-12 12:26:01

sounds like my ds1 - I would definitely struggle getting him to be gluten-free...

Does your ds eat burgers - I know it's meat but I tend to find burgers are the exception with ds1... hmm. You can make nice g-f ones at home and most of the 100% meat ones are OK but just check the packets - the cheaper ones tend to have breadcrumbs as filler.

ds1's 10 and still struggles with some meat and with sauces in particular. He'll tolerate peas and broccoli but nothing else veg-wise. Fruit isn't too bad but it's taken years!

hot dog sausages might be another good one - they tend to be g-f and you could get some g-f rolls to go with?

MoreBeta Fri 03-Feb-12 12:42:11

If you are strugling with vegetables can I suggest you make really good stock from vegetables and use it in things like spag bol. Stock cubes and sauces often contain gluten but all the goodness of veg (except the roughage) can be extracted into a good stock.

Gentle pressure cooking diced veg (carrot, onion, leek, a few herbs) for an hour and then straining of the remaining liquid is the easiest and quickest way. Add salt to the dish at the end not in the stock.

redridingwolf Fri 03-Feb-12 15:46:35

That's a really good idea, morebeta. He won't eat anything with a sauce (other than macaroni cheese) at the moment, but I could put a bit of veg stock in the cheese sauce (obv with gf-free flour, or similar).

I imagine I could freeze the stock in ice cubes or similar, and just drop an ice cube in when making sauce.

He won't eat burgers, dotty, but he did take a tiny nibble of a sausage yesterday, apparently, while having his first lunch at pre-school. I'm going to talk to the school on Monday about whether they can provide gf lunches. I am really hoping they can, because it looks like eating lunch with the other kids will be a way to expand his repertoire - he tried several things there (including eating a sponge pudding) that he would throw an absolute fit at if I tried to get him to eat at home.

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