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REVIEW of Health 15

Gluten Free Food
Gluten-free food doesn't have to taste awful

Anyone who is a coeliac knows how difficult it can be to buy gluten-free food that actually tastes good and doesn't cost a fortune. Quite a few available products do not contain any gluten - most fruit and vegetables, meat and even some of the ordinary snacks like rice crackers. The problem arises when flour is a basic ingredient. Gluten-free substitutes just don't seem to do the job when it comes to bread, cakes and pastries. A combination of tapioca, potato, rice and other substitute flours are fine for making sauces and thickening stews, but use them to knock up an apple pie and disaster can strike.

Ordinary wheat flour sticks together better - that's the gluten; take it away and the pastry dough is generally too crumbly and tends to break up, no matter how careful the chef is. To combat this, processors of GF flour came up with various natural gums like guar and xanthan, which are okay provided you are prepared to put up with the taste. I wasn't! My grand-daughter is a border-line coeliac, and when she moved in with us, we switched to gluten-free so that I didn't have to cook separate meals. I like pies and other naughty stuff, but I hate food that tastes like wallpaper paste, so I set about experimenting with traditional dishes and adapting them using gluten-free ingredients.

I believe I succeeded and the proof of the puddings (including Yorkshire) was definitely in the eating. The shortcrust pastry was a bit finicky (see Recipe 56), but it was worth the effort and I recommend you try it - even wheat lovers. You'll find an amusing story about my early attempts to perfect this versatile delight in the article, along with a few handy tips.

To read the complete article or download the PDF of Health 15 click here

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