Simon’s fabulous gluten free recipes

Regarding coeliac/gluten intolerance: over the years we found that it wasn’t
the complex dishes containing gluten in one form or another that my wife
missed, it was the everyday meals which most people take completely for
granted. Burgers, sausages, cakes, Chinese (because of wheat noodles and
wheat in soy sauce), fish and chips, bacon sarnies, and most of all her
favourite desert, fruit crumble.

A major problem for those intolerant of gluten is the constant feeling of
being left out and missing out when it comes to meals. Everybody else is
eating nice food and the oddbod is eating ‘special’ food. My wife eats
virtually nothing at parties except salad as almost everything else has
wheat in it, and even when we’re invited to family meals we find the roast
beef has a ‘crust’ (wheat flour), the gravy is thickened with wheat flour,
and the ( lazy) parsnips and (even lazier) roast potatoes were frozen and
came coated with… yup, wheat flour. Her problem is never taken seriously
and we’re sure it’s seen by some as a fad. I participate in a food group on
the internet where somebody was complaining recently about the apparently
sudden increase in the number of people suffering from one food intolerance
or another, saying it must be fashionable, until I pointed out that perhaps
it’s the fairly recent ability for people to communicate easily with others
that makes it seem as though there are more sufferers now!

I can’t claim to have invented any miraculous recipes, I’ve just used what
is available in the supermarkets and made a little effort to make something
‘normal’, which, if a person is gluten intolerant, shouldn’t be too much of
a problem, given the rewards.

My recipes are notoriously vague, I’m afraid, because I don’t like people to
be constrained by having to follow a recipe to the letter; I never do
myself, and I often add so many ingredients that I forget what I put in

Fish and chips.
Obviously the main problem is the batter on the fish. This can easily be
replicated, very successfully, by mixing up 125g of Doves farm wheat-free
self-raising flour (available in most supermarkets), an egg, a couple of
pinches of salt, and half a pint of milk. Submerge the fish of your choice
into this batter and either deep fry (we don’t because frying battered food
ruins the fat and it’s expensive to replace) or shallow fry in lard, beef
dripping or olive oil. We don’t use vegetable oil. If shallow frying just
leave the fish cooking on one side until the batter has firmed up enough to
turn over. Don’t fiddle about with it. Feel free to splash fat over the
uncooked side while the first side is cooking. Serve sprinkled with Mykan
seasoned rice vinegar (malt vinegar has gluten in it!)

Pancake day was a miserable time for a coeliac, but not any more. If you
have the fish and chips, above, for dinner, make double the amount of batter
and pour half of it into a jug before you dunk fish into it. After dinner
pour some of this batter into a lightly buttered frying pan and swill it
around to make the best pancakes you ever ate.

Burgers/shish kebabs/sausages.
Generally the same thing but in different forms, of course. Shop ones will
always contain rusk, which is wheat, so do kebabs, and so do sausages, apart
from the very best ones. I make lamb burgers, beef burgers and pork burgers,
all of which are so easy and the ingredients so variable that I generally
just open a kitchen cupboard and put things into the mixture in a totally
random manner. We bought a plastic burger press some time ago and it’s a
brilliant thing and highly recommended. We got ours from Ebay but I dare say
a Google for “burger press” would bring up loads.

Take 450g of any minced meat you like. Make sure it’s not too expensive as a
mince with about 15-20% fat will be much more moist and tasty than something
very lean. Almost all of the fat will cook out during cooking anyway. Put it
in a large bowl and squish it up with a hand. Mix in the other ingredients
and a level teaspoon of salt, and either use your burger press or form the
mixture into burgers, kebab/sausage shapes, and grill or barbecue until
cooked through. Easy!

Some ideas for additions to minced beef: fried onion, mustard, a splash of
balsamic vinegar, dried herbs, black pepper, chutney, curry paste, fish
sauce, tomato puree, finely chopped mushroom, cooked chopped sweet peppers,
horseradish sauce, chilli flakes/sauce.

Minced pork: Apple sauce, dried herbs, garlic, sage, satay sauce, hoisin
sauce, bbq sauce (check for gluten), Sanchi Tamari soy sauce (there’s no
wheat in it).

Minced lamb: We recently found a local supermarket’s cheapest, fresh, lamb
mince, is a mixture of lamb and mutton and contains 15% fat. This is
fantastic, as foodies like me know that mutton is a much tastier meat than
the majority of supermarket lamb! If everybody knew this it would be twice
the price. Mix in a couple of spoonsful of mint sauce, or some garlic and
rosemary, and form into burgers or kebabs. Lovely!

These all cook very well from frozen – just freeze on a flat tray and bag up
when frozen solid.

Fruit cake.
The Doves farm wheat free flour above can be substituted for wheat flour in
any ‘Christmas’ style fruit cake recipe, and is very successful.

All coeliacs will know that a nice bread is extremely difficult, if not
impossible, to make at home, so I don’t have a reliable recipe, and shop
bought breads aren’t expecially nice. However, a new product recently
unveiled by Genius is quite remarkable and can be eaten straight from the
loaf. Sandwiches are now possible!!

Easy fruit crumble.
As mentioned, my wife’s favourite, so I had to make it good. Actually it was
just as easy as any other crumble thanks to… Doves farm flour again. I
swear I have no involvement with Doves farm other than as a consumer!
Put 180g of Doves farm self raising flour into a large bowl, mix in a large
pinch of salt. Cut 90g of butter into small pieces and sprinkle it into the
flour. Get your hands in and rub the butter and flour gently together until
it looks like breadcrumbs. Stir in 90g of sugar. In another bowl place a can
or two of any drained fruit you fancy. Rhubarb and apple is nice, so is
summer fruits and peach. Frozen fruit is available now too, and is also
excellent. Sprinkle the crumble mixture over the fruit, bake in the oven,
gas 4, until nicely browned and bubbling. About 40-50 minutes. Serve with
custard or ice cream.

Fish pie.
I was specifically asked about this dish by someone we know who is also
gluten intolerant.
“How do you make a thick sauce without flour??” I was asked.
“Um… use cornflour instead…?”. I replied.
“Oh, can you do that?”
So, in case people don’t know, coeliacs and gluten intolerants can eat
cornflour. Use it to thicken any/all sauces and gravies for shepherds pie,
cottage pie etc. For fish pie, use it to thicken the seasoned milk you cook
the fish in then use that as the sauce. Best fish pie ever!

As you can possibly tell from my comments above, we’re far from wealthy, but
you don’t have to be rich to eat well, even if you can’t eat gluten. I’m
going to try to make a successful pizza dough next. I’ve been studying the
mechanics of bread for quite a time now and can make a really good wheat
bread pizza; it seems a real shame my wife can’t enjoy a pizza too.


~ by theblackfarmer on May 8, 2009.

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