I HAVE noticed that over the years people are getting more and more sensitive to gluten and developing celiac disease.
My little granddaughter was diagnosed with this condition recently so we have been looking at which foods need to be avoided.
So what is celiac disease? Well it's a digestive disease that damages the small intestine and interferes with absorption of nutrients from food.
People who have celiac disease cannot tolerate gluten, a protein in wheat, rye, and barley.
Gluten is found mainly in foods but may also be found in everyday products such as medicines, vitamins, and lip balms.
Symptoms can vary from person to person and some common symptoms are:
- abdominal bloating and pain
- chronic diarrhoea
- pale, foul-smelling, or fatty stool
- weight loss
Common symptoms in children can be irritability so check with your doctor or naturopath if you are concerned.
I have a few gluten-free recipes in my cookbooks, but going from normal to gluten-free cooking can be a challenge, so here are some tips:
1. Most gluten free cakes will rely on ground almonds or hazelnuts instead of flour so be aware that this can add massive amounts of fat to the cake. I find mixing the gluten free flour, corn flour and soy compound to the mix makes a great combination and delicious baking.
2. I use cornflour as a thickener in most of my sauces but be aware that some cornflours do contain wheat so check that it has WHEAT FREE on the packet. Corn products such as cornflakes can contain barley malt so always check the label on chips and corn chips as well.
3. If you have to be really strict then I suggest that you create an area in your kitchen for storing your gluten free ingredients. Make sure your food prep surfaces, utensils, mixer, pots and pans are free of any kind of gluten residue. Have a separate toaster for gluten free toasting. It is really important to avoid cross-contamination of gluten-free foods with gluten.
4. Some spices and Asian sauces can contain wheat or gluten such as soy sauce, replace with Tamari instead. You will also find wheat in most gravy mixes and commercially made sauces.
5. All unprocessed animal meats are gluten free but you will need to check if the meat has been processed or packed with fillings such as breadcrumbs, pastry or thickeners.
Check out the health section in supermarkets as they are continually stocking more and more gluten free products, when in doubt check the label or don't have it.
Annette's cookbooks SYMPLY TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE 1-6 are sold in all good newsagencies.
HAZELNUT AND PLUM FLAN - RECIPE FROM SYMPLY TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE - BOOK 4 (SERVES 10)
- 1 x 825g can plums in natural juice
- 2 egg whites
- ⅓ cup sugar
- ½ teaspoon bi carb soda
- ½ cup apple sauce (in jar)
- ½ cup ground hazelnuts
- ⅓ cup skim milk
- 1 cup cornflour (wheat free)
- cooking spray
Preheat oven 180º fan forced.
Drain plums then cut each plum in half, gently remove seeds. Leave to one side.
In a medium sized mixing bowl beat egg whites and sugar for 1 minute using an electric beater.
Stir bi carb soda into apple sauce (it will froth), then add to bowl. Add ground hazelnuts and milk and blend well.
Gently fold sifted cornflour into mixture in one go, treat as if it is a sponge, DO NOT BEAT, as this will make the flan tough.
Coat a quiche dish with cooking spray then pour mixture into dish. Drop halved plums on top of mixture in a circle, cut side down.
Bake 30-35 minutes or until firm to touch in centre. Serve hot or cold.
THIS IS IDEAL FOR ANYONE WHO HAS WHEAT INTOLERANCE, AS THE DISH IS WHEAT FREE.
VARIATIONS: REPLACE PLUMS WITH ANY CANNED FRUIT HALVES IN NATURAL JUICE EG. APRICOTS, PEARS OR PEACHES.
605 (cals 144)
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