A gluten free diet for a child or teenager of coeliac disease requires a team effort.
Family members and friends become an important support network to minimise gluten contamination.
Siblings accept some changes to their own diet and also have to learn protocols regarding cross-contamination.
Parents source gluten free products and step outside their comfort zone to bake gluten free bread and make gluten free look appetising.
Grandparents scan magazines for new gluten free recipes and also learn to cook ‘gluten free’ for those special occasions.
Friends take on responsibility to make sure gluten free is on the menu at social events and functions.
Last week had my gf son, KJ and myself bond over a team effort to make Strawberry Jam. At this point, I will point out that I have never made jam myself. At KJ’s instigation, I purchased the ingredients.
Mum: Have you had a look at a few recipes for how to make Strawberry Jam?
KJ: No, but it can’t be that hard. (I hope she doesn’t take over like she normally does)
Mum: Well I printed three recipes that I think you should read first as they all different regarding ratio of sugar to strawberries. Do you want to use lemon juice, chia seeds, vanilla seeds as there are many variations on a theme?
KJ: How many strawberries do we have?
Mum: Well I think you should sterilize the jars first and I like this recipe but you have to let the strawberries and sugar sit for 1 – 2 hours. And don’t wash the strawberries, I am sure I read somewhere that the excess water will make the strawberries too soft.
KJ: Any chance of you doing the jars and I’m not waiting 2 hours before I can cook the jam. (Weighing, cutting and sterilising jars all at the same time)
Mum: Have you decided which recipe to use?
KJ: Simple… I’ll use the recipe on the (jam setting) sugar packet. I don’t know why you make things so complicated.
Mum: (Neither do I, but I always thought research was a good way to start if you wanted to succeed) Have you put two plates in the freezer yet?
Mum: Because it says here in MY recipe that you need cold plates to test if the jam is ready.
KJ: Yep, this is looking good and EASY. (I told her so)
……continued banter regarding colour, what a rolling boil is, how long to boil for, if the sample was set etc…
KJ: What other kinds of jam can we make? What goes in a marmalade? What about mango chutney? Grandad used to make mango chutney.
Mum: (I wish KJ was more careful when he poured the jam into the jars and cleaned up the spills) What great colour! (Maybe this time I can entice KJ to have a photo taken for my blog) You do know that I am already drafting a blog in my mind while we have been doing this!
KJ: Do you think Grandad would like a jar of jam?
Team Work : Success Guaranteed
Life is good and life without gluten is… the new normal .
In the beginning, and every coeliac disease sufferer can tell you at least the month and year of the beginning of their gluten free life, the transition to a gluten free diet is chaotic.
There is no one easy one-size fits all collection of recipes.
There are no guidelines to warn you about how the transition will affect you emotionally, socially and mentally.
There is no simple list of packaged gf products that the individual will ‘like’.
There is no longer the luxury of only shopping at one supermarket.
It is said that “time is a great healer” and this is certainly true for coeliac disease sufferers.
Time does heal your body because gluten free food is your medicine.
Time does heal your soul as you centre your life around this major life changing shift.
And in time, you master your gluten free life and you find that your life is not defined by coeliac disease.
What have I learnt!
It is three years since by teenage son was diagnosed with coeliac disease and two years since I launched my blog so what has the last three years taught me as a gluten free cook.
1. Be creative
2. Be resourceful
3. Experiment with colour and texture
4. Make food interesting and enticing and colourful
5. Insist on honesty when trying new food and as a blogger write with integrity and always acknowledge the owners and sources of recipes you use
I clearly remember our first gluten free cookbook with unappetising photos of food all in shades of beige, off white, light brown and white. I thought, how am I going to sell gluten free food if it all looks so boring and colourless.
I clearly remember the unpleasant smell of our first store bought gluten free meat pies. I tried to lie my way through how tasty the pie was, but this lasted less than 2 minutes. From that point forward if my son rejected food on taste, look, texture or smell, then I listened and acknowledged his need to take control of his gf food preferences.
And I clearly remember the emotional roller coaster ride of those first 18 months to 2 years.
I have learnt that community is integral to a coeliac disease sufferer. Family, friends, teachers, doctors, bloggers, cookbook writers…
I am grateful to the many people who support my son and his gluten free diet and those friends, family members and bloggers who continue to provide me with new gf recipes to try.
Life is good and life without gluten is… the new normal .
Teamed with Glutino Bagel Chips or home made Corn Chips, this Basil Pesto is worth the effort.
50 g pine nuts, toasted
50 g parmesan cheese, grated
2 cloves garlic, peeled
125 ml olive oil
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Ground black pepper and sea salt to taste
Place all ingredients into the chopper bowl of your stick blender and process until smooth.
If you are looking for inspiration for the 500 g mince you have on hand, then give this recipe a try.
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 shallots, finely chopped
2.5 cm ginger finely grated
500 g pork mince
1 tablespoon fish sauce
2 tablespoons gf soy sauce
1 tablespoon Thai red curry paste
1 tablespoon kaffir lime leaves
10 cherry tomaotes diced
2 tablespoons coriander chopped
Salt and pepper
- Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the garlic, shallots and ginger and stir fry for 2 minutes.
- Stir in the pork and continue stir frying until golden brown.
- Add in the fish sauce, soy sauce, curry paste and lime leaves and stir fry for a further 2 minutes on high heat.
- Add the chopped tomatoes and cook for a further 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Stir in coriander and salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve on a bed of rice vermicelli noodles or serve in a lettuce cup.
Great for an easy weekend meal or a snack or a way to use up left over meats.
There are so many variations on this theme with this recipe using a few core ingredients. You can use left over roast chicken or a store bought bbq chicken or shredded Sun Pork. You can substitute cabana for chorizo and you can add in 1/4 cup taco sauce or a small can of red kidney beans.
500 g cooked chicken diced
4 shallots, finely sliced
2 chorizo chopped and cooked
1 red chili finely diced
150 – 200 g grated cheese (we use a Pizza Cheese packet mix or use half mozzarella and half cheddar)
Salt and pepper to taste
8 corn tortillas
Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix to combine.
Lay out 4 corn tortillas and divide mixture evenly between them. Top with remaining tortillas.
Place under the griller (two at a time) or use a large heavy duty non stick frying pan (one at a time).
Once browned, turn over tortilla and cook the other side until the cheese is melting.
Cut quesadillas into quarters and serve.
My favourite fruit cake is the boiled fruit cake. I love it for its rich colour and overall moistness. Saying that I have found two fruit cake recipes using packet mixes which are well worth the baking effort, which I also include below.
1. The Boiled Fruit Cake is an oldie but a goodie and it converts well to gluten free.
375 g mixed fruit
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon mixed spice
1/2 teaspoon salt
180 g butter or margarine
1 cup gluten free SR flour
1/2 cup gluten free plain flour
1/2 cup almond meal
2 level teaspoons baking soda
1 dessert spoon hot water
1 tablespoon rum
1. Place mixed fruit, sugar, water, spice, salt and butter in saucepan.
2. Allow to boil for ten minutes.
3. Allow to cool.
4. Beat egg and add to cooled mixture.
5. Fold in sifted flours and almond meal, dissolved soda and rum.
6. Mix well together then pour into a prepared cake tin. For lunch boxes I use muffin tins lined with paper cases as the cake holds together better for the lunch box. Adjust cooking time accordingly.
7. Bake in slow to moderate oven for 1 1/2 hours for cake.
This recipe was featured in the latest yum.com online magazine. I think my oven was the problem as the cake was a little dry. The process of soaking fruit then coating fruit with bread mix ensured that the fruit did not sink but is distributed throughout the cake. The recipe also gives you some suggestions if you wish to bake a bigger or smaller cake. Thank you Decadent Alternatives.
3. Boiled Fruit Cake and Christmas Cake
375 g mixed dried fruit
60 g margarine
200 ml boiling water
1 packet Basco Gluten Free Butter Cake Mix
2 eggs lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 180C (fan forced 160C). Grease a 20 cm square cake pan and line with baking paper. (10 muffin papers)
In a medium saucepan, combine dried fruit, margarine and boiling water. Bring to boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Take off heat, stir and allow to stand for 5 minutes to cool.
In a bowl, empty contents of Basco cake mix sachet together with cinnamon, eggs and vanilla. Mix to combine.
Add fruit mixture to cake batter and beat with a wooden spoon until combined. Spread mixture into prepared pan and bake for 40 – 45 minutes. Alternatively, divide mixture into 10 muffin cases and bake for 20 – 25 minutes. Insert a skewer to test when cake is cooked. For cake, allow to stand for 10 minutes before gently turning out onto a wire rack to cook.
From “The Australian Coeliac” and Joy Williams – Gold Coast.
What views do other gluten free bakers have on coconut flour?
2015 and I promise to take myself out of my comfort zone …
In the latest free Woolworths fresh magazine, I spied this recipe for a Coconut and Raspberry Loaf. I have baked with coconut flour before and at the time had mixed feelings about the texture of the baked item. So with the New Year still young, I decided to revisit coconut flour and bake this Coconut & Raspberry Loaf .
The loaf bakes well and presents beautifully, but I know that my gf taste tester will not enjoy its texture. Me: if I had a choice of a raspberry loaf made with almond meal and one made with coconut flour, my preference would go to the former.
Gluten free baking has broadened the range of products I bake with : banana flour, almond meal, hazelnut meal, buckwheat flour, polenta, chickpea flour, corn maize flour, flaxseed meal and gf flour mixes. So I am used to working with different textures and flours: just not ‘sold’ on coconut flour.
Love to hear your thoughts on coconut flour as it could just be that I am yet
to find a ‘good’ recipe.
This is a Margaret Fullerton recipe found in both the taste.com.au December 2013 magazine and online at SBS – Food.
Easy to make, the recipe uses gluten free ingredients that most of us have in our cupboard: hazelnut meal, almond meal, icing sugar and egg white.
This is one of those desserts that people often put in the “too hard basket” and so see it only as a restaurant dessert. Some days, for me, the hardest part of the recipe is the caramel: last time I made it I crystallized the first batch and then I burnt the second batch. I was preoccupied, so the message is to keep your mind on the task when making this dessert. The other problem can be over baking the custard. It needs to be cooked until just set when a knife is inserted in the centre as it will continue to cook and set as the custard cools down.
I thank my mother for this recipe and for making it a dessert not to be scared of. It was always a family dessert, nothing special except for the toffee shards which we scraped out of the bottom of the bowl. Best made the day before.
Serve with fresh strawberries or balsamic strawberries.
Mum’s Baked Caramel Custard
1 cup caster sugar
4 tablespoons boiling water
Combine in saucepan and stir. Boil without stirring until golden in colour. Do not stir as the sugar will crystallize.
Pour into 4 cup ovenproof bowl and swirl toffee around the sides of the dish. Allow to cool.
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoon full cream milk powder
2 cups full cream milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and beat until combined. Pour custard through a sieve into toffee coated bowl.
Line a baking dish with a tea towel. Place bowl into dish and pour boiling hot water into baking dish until 1/2 way up bowl. Place in 180 C oven for 1 – 1 1/4 hours or until custard is just set when knife is inserted in the middle. Remove from water bath and allow to cool. Once cooled down, refrigerate overnight.
Another option is Donna Hay’s Recipe for individual creme caramels.
Bananas. Cream. Caramel. Toffee.
All variations on a theme, these Banoffee recipes are delicious and gluten free.
The latte coloured brown sugar pavlova is worth the effort. I do find using a combination of custard and cream a more balanced option.
2. Banoffee Meringue Mess
Easy to assemble and while it looks a mess, the taste makes up for the lack of prettiness.
1/2 cup toffee or caramel dessert sauce (check for gluten free)
2 large bananas, thinly slices
8 pavlova nests, roughly broken
300 ml tub thickened cream, whipped (I prefer dollops of double cream and dollops of custard)
1. Microwaved sauce on high for 10 seconds or until just heated through. Toss banana in sauce to coat.
2. Fold meringue and cream together until just combined.
3. Spoon half the banana mixture between 4 serving glasses/parfait glasses. Top with half the cream mixture. Repeat layers.
(from The Courier Mail Monday June 17, 2013 Recipe by Kim Coverdale)
3. Banoffee Easy Pav
Buy store bought pavlova nests and add your combination of banana, cream, custard, caramel, toffee.