Beyond Gluten Free Prescriptions

More and more health trusts are getting rid of gluten free prescriptions, and I predict that in a year we will no longer be able to get any products that way. Food is always an emotive issue and we see things in the press saying things like people with coeliac disease will have their lives put at risk. Of course the papers are going to sensationalise anything to get a good story but let’s look at the situation objectively here.

A lot of products on prescription are highly processed. For example these are the ingredients in Glutafin Select Multipurpose White Mix:

Gluten free wheat starch, rice starch, skimmed milk powder, dried glucose syrup, thickeners: (guar gum, hydroxypropyl methyl cellulose); sugar, calcium citrate, raising agent: (glucono-delta-lactone); sodium bicarbonate, folic acid.

Eating a diet high in sugar increases the risk of diabetes type 2. Generally any ingredients that end in ‘ose’ are a type of sugar. So look again at those ingredients – glucose, cellulose are included. Look at this recipe for gluten free brownies on their website. In addition to the mix there is 150g of sugar added. Would you put that much sugar in if you were using flour? Compare that to this recipe from The Minimalist Baker, probably more tasty and much healthier. Yes prescriptions may be cheaper but is your health worth it?

Many people are afraid they won’t be able to afford to eat and that people on low incomes will be adversely affected. Sometimes things are beyond our control so if you are worried perhaps it’s time to start thinking creatively. How many of the products that you currently get on prescription can you do without? Can you find a healthy, naturally gluten free alternative?

Gluten Free Foodies will shortly be launching a coaching programme to help people adjust to a healthier life without prescriptions. It will only be available to our newsletter subscribers initially so enter your e-mail address in the sign-up box above to ensure you don’t miss out.

To your health!

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Gluten-Free Cinnamon Twists – recipe review

This recipe from LPHJ kitchen look absolutely delicious so I thought I would have a go at making them. The mixture was very runny so I couldn’t roll it out. I added more flour but it was still very runny so I poured it into the tin. It smelt delicious and I cooked it as it was. Gluten Free Cinnamon flatbreadIt came out as a kind of flatbread, it was too thick to roll up but was very nice served in chunks with the left over apple sauce instead of the icing. I replaced the egg with 3 tbsp of aqua faba (liquid from chick peas left over from the soup I’d made earlier) to make them vegan.

I will definitely try these again but with less liquid. I used Dove’s Farm self-raising flour. They have a lovely cinnamon flavour and make a perfect gluten free, vegan hot cross bun substitute for today!

Here is that link to the recipe again: http://www.lphjkitchen.com/cinnamon-twists/

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Apple sauce

Some recipes call for apple sauce as an ingredient or an accompaniment. It is not worth buying as it is so easy to make, and much cheaper especially if you have an apple treeOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA. A lot of recipes online have other things added but I like to keep it basic. I also love it on porridge or as a dessert with custard.

1 large cooking apple
Water

Peel and chop the apple and put in a small saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil then simmer for about 10 minutes until the apple is soft. That’s it!

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Ginger Chilli Cashew Nut Stir Fry (Gluten Free, Vegan)

Ginger Chilli Cashew Nut Stir Fry with noodles – 2 generous portions

Ginger, Chilli and Cashew Nut Stir Fry

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is by far the tastiest stir fry I’ve ever made. Even the hardened meat eaters will love it! Cashew nuts may seem expensive but you don’t need many. I always buy a large bag, it works out cheaper and is better for the environment.

Ingredients:

Oil for frying (sunflower oil is best)
2 handfuls of cashew nuts (buy the broken ones, they’re much cheaper)
2 large cloves of garlic
Thumb sized piece of ginger
4 small green chilli (if you have an Indian grocer near you buy theirs, they are far tastier than anything you can buy in the supermarket)
2 carrots
1/4 large green pepper
10 mushrooms
1/4 head of broccoli
4 baby sweetcorn
8 mange tout
100g rice noodles
1/4 small cabbage
small bunch of spinach (buy this from a green grocer if you can, it doesn’t lose as much moisture as supermarket stuff)
glug of Tamari soy sauce
1 heaped tsp cornflour blended with a little water to make a paste
2 spring onions

Method:

  • It’s important to chop all the veg before you start cooking. It will take about 30 mins but it’s very therapeutic. You can buy the packs of stir fry veg to save time but you will compromise on flavour. Keep them in their groups on separate as you are going to add them according to cooking time. Stir fries are quick to cook so if all the veg are ready on separate plates it will make it a lot easier and you won’t burn it. Always use a metal spoon.

Chopped Stir Fry Veg

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Group 1 – Chop the garlic, ginger and chillis.
  • Group 2 – cut the carrots into thin strips.
  • Group 3 – cut the pepper into thin strips, slice the mushrooms, cut the broccoli into small florets, cut the mange tout and baby corn in half.
  • Put some water on to boil in a saucepan.
  • Group 4 – shred the cabbage
  • Group 5 – wash the spinach and squeeze out as much water as possible.
  • Group 6 – chop the spring onions.
  • Blend the cornflour and water in a cup.
  • Put the noodles in the water, bring back to the boil and switch off the heat (remove if you have an electric hob). They will continue cooking while you cook the veg.
  • Heat the oil in a wok or large frying pan. Throw in the cashews and and stir for a couple of minutes until they start to brown.
  • Now add the garlic, ginger and chillies and stir for a couple more minutes.
  • Add the carrots and stir for about 5 minutes until cooked.
  • Add the broccoli, mushrooms, pepper, mange tout and baby corn and stir for about 3 minutes.
  • Add the shredded cabbage and stir for about 2 minutes until soft.
  • Add the spinach and stir until wilted (about a minute).
  • Stir in a generous glug of soy sauce then add the cornflour blended with water. Stir for a few seconds until thickened then add the chopped spring onions. Give the vegetables one last stir and turn off the heat.
  • Drain the noodles and you’re ready to go!

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Hearty Chick Pea and Cabbage Soup (Vegan and gluten free)

This chunky soup is warm and filling and perfect for a blustery March day! Once you’ve made the tomato soup base you can really put whatever vegetables you like in it. Any diced vegetables in season, other tinned beans or gluten free pasta will all work well. Remember to save the liquid from the chick peas to use as a vegan egg substitute in baking.

Ingredients (serves 3)

Olive oil for frying
One onion chopped
1/2 tsp dried mixed herbs
3 tomatoes
500ml vegetable stock
5 large cabbage leaves shredded
3 tbsp chick peas

Heat the oil and fry the onion until soft. Add the herbs and chopped tomatoes and cook for a couple more minutes, stirring. Pour in the stock and bring to the boil. Simmer for about 10 minutes until the tomatoes are soft. Liquidise before adding the cabbage and chick peas. Cook for another 5-10 minutes on a medium heat until the cabbage is soft and the chick peas are heated through. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve with gluten free soda bread.

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Curry base

Curry base

This recipe provides a great base for any curry. It’s much tastier and cheaper than buying jars of curry sauce and is quick to make too. Add more chilli if you like it hotter!

Fry an onion in oil until soft. Then add 4 chopped cloves of garlic and a thumb size piece of ginger also chopped and fry for another minute or so. Then stir in the spices – 2 tsp cumin,  1 tsp turmeric, 1 tsp ground coriander, 1 green chilli chopped or 1/2 tsp chilli powder. Stir for a few seconds to make sure all spices are mixed in.

Now you have your base you can add whatever you like – lentils, chick peas, vegetables in season – you are only limited by your imagination! For liquid you can either use stock or tinned chopped tomatoes.

 

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Hummus – gluten free, vegan

HummusHummus is naturally gluten free and vegan. I love it on toast, as a dip, with baked potatoes or as an accompaniment to salad. I’ve even had it for breakfast with mushrooms, baked beans, toast and avocado. It is very quick to make if you have a food processor. As an alternative replace the tahini with free-from pesto.

1 tin chick peas (save the liquid – it makes a great egg substitute)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
juice 1/2 a lemon
2 tbsp olive oil
1 dsp tahini
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt

Blend the chick peas and garlic in the food processor. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth adding a little water until you get the consistency you like. Garnish with a sprinkle of paprika, a drizzle of olive oil and a few sprigs of flat leaf parsley.

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Vegetable chilli – gluten free and vegan

Vegetable chilli - perfect winter warmer

Vegetable chilli – perfect winter warmer

The longer you leave this the better it tastes, or even better make the day before if you can wait that long!

 

 

 

 

Fry a chopped onion in some oil until soft. Add 2 chopped chillies, 3 cloves garlic and a teaspoon of cumin seeds and cook for a couple more minutes. If you are using cauliflower, chop up 1/4 of it and boil in some water for a few minutes to soften while onions are cooking. Then add cauliflower; chopped red pepper, celery stick, carrot, courgette, leek or any other vegetables you fancy and cook for about 5 mins until they start to soften. Pour in a tin of chopped tomatoes and tin of kidney beans and simmer on a low heat, uncovered for at least 45 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking and add water if necessary. We served it with chopped fresh coriander, slices of avocado and rice.

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Gluten free vegan lasagne

Vegan gluten free lasagneI’ve made vegetarian lasagnes before but this is my first attempt at a vegan one. This combination of vegetables was what I happened to have, the choice is yours. I was worried about the lack of cheesiness but it was unfounded. You can buy processed ‘vegan’ cheeses but these are usually made of soy and are not good for you. I don’t use margarine either, I prefer to use coconut oil and it’s much healthier. The combination of the almond milk, bouillon powder and yeast flakes was perfect. Thanks again to Rivendell Retreat Centre for the inspiration for the white sauce recipe.

Ingredients:

1 onion
1 leek
4 cloves garlic
1 stick celery
2 courgettes
1/2 a red pepper
150g mushrooms
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 carton passata
100ml water
1 tsp mixed herbs
1 tsp oregano
2 tsp low salt bouillon
1.5 tsp tamari soy sauce
1/2 tsp salt

For the white sauce:
2 tbsp coconut oil
3 tbsp olive oil
45g gluten free flour
625 ml almond milk
2 tsp low salt bouillon
pinch grated nutmeg
1 heaped tbsp yeast flakes

Heat some olive oil in a large saucepan and add the chopped onion and leek and fry until soft. Add the crushed garlic cloves and stir. Then add the chopped vegetables and fry for a few more minutes. Stir in the rest of the ingredients and bring to the boil. Turn down, cover and simmer for 30-40 minutes.

Meanwhile make the white sauce. Melt the coconut oil with the olive oil and when hot stir in the flour and cook for a few minutes. Gradually add the almond milk, keep stirring and add the bouillon and nutmeg. Stir over a low heat until it starts to thicken.

Pre-cooked gluten free vegan lasagneTo assemble: put a layer of the red sauce on the bottom of the dish. Then cover with a layer of lasagne sheets. Cover with red sauce and 2 tablespoons of the white sauce. Then cover with another layer of lasagne sheets and spread the rest of the white sauce on the top. Sprinkle on the yeast flakes and a little olive oil. You can make more layers but I find 2 is enough otherwise it’s too heavy.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACook in a pre-heated oven 180ºC for about 40 minutes. Leave to stand for 10 mins before serving with a green salad.

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Gluten Free Store Cupboard Essentials

This is based on my experience of being gluten free since 2003, things I can’t do without! I buy the biggest jars or packets possible for best value. You can add these to vegetables in season for a wide variety of tasty healthy recipes.

Gluten free oats – if you can tolerate them
Ground almonds
Cashew nuts
Tofu
Dessicated coconut
Mixed seeds
Lentils – green and red
Tinned chickpeas, kidney beans, butter beans
Dried beans
Tinned tomatoes
Vegan, gluten free bouillon
Yeast extract
Honey
Coconut oil
Black pepper
Spices – turmeric, cumin seeds, ground cumin, ground coriander, coriander seeds, mustard seeds, chilli powder, dried chillies, cayenne pepper, paprika, ground ginger, cinnamon, mixed spice, lemon grass, nutmeg. Also fresh ginger, garlic and turmeric.
Herbs (fresh and dried) – mixed herbs, parsley, basil, oregano, mint, frozen coriander leaves, thyme.
Onions – lots!
Garlic – fresh and dried for emergencies!
Lemons – unwaxed
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
Apple cider vinegar and white wine vinegar
Tamari soy sauce (Meridian is the best I’ve tried)
Vegan Worcester sauce – these are usually gluten free
Jar of ‘free from’ pesto
Tahini
Olives
Tinned coconut milk
Gram flour
Corn flour
Frozen pastry for when I can’t be bothered to make my own!
Tomato purée
Yeast flakes
Rice
Peanut and other nut butters
Peri peri sauce
Gluten free pasta (also available on prescription for now)

I would love to hear your suggestions to add to the list, I’m sure I’ve forgotten a few!

 

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