Saturday, May 6, 2017


Interesting article in this month's edition of crossed grain magazine, talking about non-responsive coeliac disease (NRCD). This may explain why some of us continue to have symptoms and gut damage eating "gf foods" that contain wheat starch, sugars, barley malt and gf oats. For those of us who have to follow a "supersensitive gf diet" its a massive frustration that barley malt is not labelled on gf beer (despite being present in nearly all if them) and that a huge amount of gf foods contain wheat derived starches, dextrose and syrups which aren't labelled as such and are legally allowed to be labelled "wheat free"!

Friday, October 21, 2016

New gluten detection tests

Short article on new tests for gluten detection. So if you think you're reacting to "gf" starch or other wheat derivatives, looks like it might be because its not as low in gluten as previously thought! Worrying!

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Freefrom food still making you ill?...

If you're one of those Celiac's who can eat codex wheat products, gluten free oats, uses toaster bags in a normal toaster, and eat foods that say "may contain gluten" with out any long term health problems.....well I'm happy for you, but this blog is not for you!

I've had a difficult year regarding gluten and discovering i need to be careful about what i even put on my skin, from shampoo and toothpaste to wallpaper paste and polyfiller and that's not even mentioning playgroups filled with biscuit/toast/playdough wielding toddlers! Ive definitely had a bad run of it. But I've also learnt so much and am determined to have a better 2016. I'm sharing this blog post in the hope of helping others like me who are gluten free but are still not symptom free.

There's nothing like a good run of gluten free wellness. When it happens...! While there are many reasons it can take you a while to recover once you've gone gluten free (e.g. gut candidiasis, lactose intolerance, histamine intolerance, and fodmaps to name a few complications) you may not have considered what's actually going into your free from foods or how carefully they are produced.

1. Field/storage/factory cross  contamination:
Most dried pulses now have a may contain gluten statement on their packets because cross contamination is likely with gluten grains. I have to agree since i once found an ear of wheat in my bag of lentils and was already starting to suspect i was reacting to them. This does not mean that packs without a "may contain" statement are safe. say that rinsing should be sufficient but i disagree. Some say they wash in slightly soapy water and then rinse well. Something to consider, but obviously you'd need a long period of wellness to test this out in. Nuts from the whole food aisle also seem to be a lottery of cc for me, altho they usually dont contain a "may contain" statement on their packets. Pretty much all pulses are a no for me at the moment :0(

2 Barley malt/yeast extract:
This must be most asked question from newly diagnosed coeliacs! Some of the breakfast cereals in the cuk food directory (of approved gf foods) contain barley malt extract. Do you go to buy a "gf" cereal only to see it contains barley on the label! Confusing! This is when you discover the cuk directory has two categories of food but nit all coeliacs van eat category 2 foods which contain barley malt. tbh ten yrs on i still find this unclear and confusing, so...always read the label. As far as i know barley malt is always stated in the ingredients of cereals.

Gluten free beer is a completely different minefield though! Most (if not all) contain barley malt but do not say so on the label. I've also been ill after having kopparberg fruit ciders for the same reason. The only way to be sure is to contact the producers and most of their websites tell you in a round about way somewhere on their FAQs page.

Marmite. Despite this being a by-product of beermaking, i was in denial that this was making me ill for years! When the level of gluten allowed for gf food changed from 200ppm to 20ppm in europe, suspiciously, marmite was dropped from the cuk directory. The only yeast extract you'll find in there now is tesco own brand and i personally cant tolerate it. Some gf gravy powders contain yeast extract.

3 dextrose, maltodextrin, glucose syrup, unspecified starch:
While all these highly processed ingredients can be made from gf grains (and often is in america where so much corn is grown) they are most commonly made from wheat in Europe. These are technically below the 20ppm permitted amount of gluten, but sensitive coeliacs like me react to them.
Many freefrom baked goods contain wheat derived forms of these, even products labelled wheat free. Many cooked, sliced meats contain them too and watch out for hydrolysed starch in cheap toothpastes.
Helpfully, waitrose label the source of these ingredients in their food products, so you can actually buy salami that contains corn dextrose instead of playing russian roulette with undisclosed ingredients.

4 DIY:
Always feel glutened when you're doing diy despite washing your hands thoroughly afterwards? Consider wearing gloves and if at all possible get someone else to sand down filler (to avoid breathing it in). Diy products don't need to list their ingredients but wall paper pastes, wall fillers and plasterboard are all very likely to contain wheat starch/gluten. I find I'm ok wallpapering if i don't get it on my skin. Poly filler is a bit of a nightmare though!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Aromatic Hoisin Sauce

Okay so i wanted to have aromatic peking duck flavour without actually going to the trouble of making a peking duck (or trying to find a gf pre-made one). Making an aromatic sauce for roasted duck legs is a good compromise:

Basic Hoisin
8 tbsp GF soy sauce
2 heaped tbsp smooth peanut butter
2 tbsp honey or molasses
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tbsp sesame oil
1/4 tsp garlic powder (or grated clove)
1/4 tsp black pepper powder

Extra, aromatic ingredients
1 tsp chinese five spice
2-3 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp sechuan peppercorns (optional)
2 spring onions, sliced small
2cm ginger, sliced

Place all ingredients in a small saucepan and heat gently to release all the flavours of the spices.

Set the sauce to one side, off the heat, to marinate while you roast 2 duck legs/breasts.

Sieve the sauce before serving. Serve hot or cold.

Double quantities (serves 4)
16 tbsp GF soy sauce
4 heaped tbsp smooth peanut butter
4 tbsp honey or molasses
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tbsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp garlic powder (or grated clove)
1/2 tsp black pepper powder
2 tsp chinese five spice
4 star anise
2 cinnamon sticks
4 spring onions, sliced small
4cm ginger, sliced

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Quiche pastry

Both these pastries will need to be blind baked as per usual for a quiche.

I roll this first pastry out between two sheets of baking parchment. It is more delicate than wheat pastry and cracks more easily while handling, so take care. That said, the gram flour makes it hold together and taste better than pastry made using only "plain" whit gf flours.

2 cups gf plain flour
1/2 cup gf chickpea flour
1/4 cup ground almonds
1 tsp gf baking soda
1/2 tsp xanthum
1 cup margarine
1 egg, beaten with 1/4 cup water
Pinch salt

I accidentally came up with a low lactose, egg free alternative version (for those who can tolerate low lactose goats cheese). I also took out the chickpea flour as im experimenting to see if i can really tolerate chickpeas (I'm not 100% convinced).

2 cups gf plain flour
1/4 cup gf brown rice flour
1/2 cup ground almonds
1 tsp gf baking soda
1/2 tsp xanthum
1 cup margarine
2-4 tbsp soft, crumbly goats cheese (less than 1% lactose)
1 tsp water
Pinch salt

This second pastry cant be rolled (too sticky) and is best pressed into a well greased or lined dish - i do this with the bottom of a plastic cup, but a wooden pastry dibber would also do the job. This pastry has the advantage of being softer and tastier than version one thanks to the cheese and higher proportion of ground almonds. It is def more like the real thing!

And to think i only tried experimenting because i didn't have enough eggs!....

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

honey and lemon cookies

150g Margarine
150g soft brown sugar
6 tbsp set honey
3 tbsp lemon juice
Zest of 1-2 lemons

400g GF flour
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp GF baking soda

Melt the marg, sugar and syrup gently in a little saucepan until combined.  Mix dry ingredients in a bowl and add in the syrupy mixture.  Mix thoroughly and leave dough to cool slightly in the fridge (15 mins) or freeze as a log, wrapped in baking parchment. Slice and arrange on a baking sheet.

Bake for 10-15 mins in a hot oven, 170c or 180c. Leave to cool before removing from the tray.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Mug cake/cookie for one *update*

There are loads mug cake recipes all over the internet, but personally i think egg whites cooked in the microwave taste weird and many of my attempts either overcooked or undercooked or simply  exploded out of the mug!

After a bit of trial and error, here's a good basic recipe to try:

2 tbsp marg
2 tbsp sugar
1 egg yolk
3 tbsp plain gf flour
1 tsp choc chips

Beat together in mug with a fork.

Cook for 1 min in microwave on high.