Thursday, October 27, 2011

Gluten Free Play Dough

I was already aware that some play putties/doughs contain wheat flour but had no idea it was possible to make a gluten free play dough - thanks to for putting up a recipe  on their website:

It's stressful enough trying to keep an inquisitive toddler away from a nursery cookery lesson with flour, crumbs etc everywhere, but obviously I also don't want him to miss out on the creative side of it all too.  GF playdough is a great help!  

It's a little tricky to make - at first it will look too runny and then you'll think it is just going to burn on the bottom, so be sure to keep stirring it while you gently heat it. Once made, it has a great rubbery/plasticy texture - even better than real playdoh I think! - you'll have to soak the pan after but the cooked dough itself is really easy to clean off stuff.  Works great with all the playdoh factory tools.


230g (8oz) of rice flour
230g (8oz) corn flour
230g (8oz) salt
4 teaspoons of cream of tartar
2 cups water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Food colouring
1. Place all ingredients in a saucepan.
2. Cook over a low heat for about 5 minutes, stirring all the time. The mixture is very runny to start with but gradually thickens.
3. Remove from the heat and knead on a table or large board to remove any lumps.
4. Roll into a large ball and store in an airtight tub. It will keep for several months.

Friday, October 21, 2011

out + about food

Cold Packed Lunches
  • Potato salad.  Try a dijonaisse dressing or sesame oil, vinegar and soy for a different twist.
  • GF sandwiches (Genius or GF Warburtons Bread)
  • Rice/Quinoa Salad
  • Sushi (I make it with veg or smoked salmon)
  • GF Pasta salad (but you’ll need a really decent brand of rice pasta, like salute, otherwise it will be a horrid texture when cold)
  • Bento style lunches
As you can see - not much choice for cold lunches!  I often take hot food in a thermos snack pot with me when I'm out and about all day.  Make sure it will keep food hot for as long as you need to avoid food going bad - a good food thermos will have a wide neck opening and will keep things hot for 6hrs or cold for 8 hrs.

Snacks (Healthy ones!)
  • Baby crisps (low fat, no salt, no additives)
  • popcorn
  • Poppadoms (you can microwave these for 1 min each instead of frying them)
  • Fresh/dried fruit
  • Nuts
  • Houmous and crackers/ carrot sticks/Gherkins (keep in a coolbag)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Baking etc

Most normal recipes will work if you just substitute with GF flour and DF marg and add a little xanthum or glycerine. You may find you need to add vanilla as many GF flours are pretty tasteless.  Dense cakes like brownies work especially well as they usually use ground almonds rather than flour. Be sure to use a GF baking powder  and find a GF DF chocolate though.  The best recipes I've tried are a morrisons bakewell cake where I adapted the biscuit base and Phil vickery's cake book. 

There are some pretty odd recipes in books and on the web that are way too crumbly or gooey or just come out like hard bricks!  There's only a couple I make now: my traybake things and shortbread.  Glutenfree Goddess does have some good ones too like her raspberry coconut bars.

Still the hardest thing to create without gluten!  I've tried so many recipes and my loaves are still all rather "special" and not good enough to share with non gf people.  If you're happy to use a few eggs in a recipe you can get reasonable results, but I'd rather persist in my experiments for egg-free bread as, although I do eat eggs, I don't want to eat them everyday. Flat bread, DL's BBC recipe.  GFononashoestring has some great recipes but all using starchy flours/ flour mixes, so will be experimenting with my own some more...

Meal Ideas

Don't waste money on most of the rubbish GF DF cookbooks out there on the market.  The majority have a few questionable baking recipes, use flours you can't get hold of easily in the UK and contain lots of recipes that are so obviously gluten free it's insulting, like curries, roasts, salads!...

You just need one book to give you a good introductory explanation of how to shop and cook gf. Alternatively, swat up online (have a look at my yes/no foods and food prep pages, although I'm also lactose intolerant so it includes info on avoiding that too).  Label all safe items in your kitchen - or like me make a small dedicated "gluten-area" to help you control contamination.

Once you have learnt the rules of what is always safe, what labels to check and what to outright avoid it really does get easier to manage and to get creative in the kitchen.  The first few months of going gf can feel like going cold-turkey for all the foods you love, but it does get better. And you will feel better.

Here's a list of meal ideas when you're looking for inspiration.  Some have links to my recipes.  

  • Sautéed potatoes and scrambled eggs (cook extra potatoes the night before, then just slice and fry lightly).
  • GF Crackers and smoked salmon/tapenade/houmous/egg mayo.
  • Eggy bread (use up stale GF bread)
  • Soya yoghurt + fruit. Add banana slices for a more filling breakfast.
  • Rice porridge with jam/syrup - use rolled rice cakes and cook thoroughly (English supermarket) or buy precooked rice powder to make baby-style porridge by adding water/milk (Chinese supermarket or buy baby sachets in English supermarkets).
  • GF cereal + Soya Milk (although GF cereals can be very expensive and quite fatty/sugary).
  • Soft-boiled Egg and soldiers. (essential to get some quality GF bread for this otherwise it will fall apart and you won't be able to dip! - see my brand foods list).
  • Full English. Most baked beans are GF (check label. Maize starch is fine but you must avoid the sausagey beans), McCain's hashbrowns, Black farmer or Debbie &Harry sausages and obviously, tomatoes, mushrooms and bacon are all GF. Heinz tomato ketchup is GF.
  • GF pancakes + maple syrup
  • Corn Tortillas - see my recipe/instructions.  You could use up leftover soft tortillas by melting cheese/soya cheese and spinach between two and cutting into triangles.

  • Dates wrapped in unsmoked streaky bacon (de-seed dates+wrap+bake for 15-20 mins)
  • Antipasti (Cured meats, roasted marinated peppers, artichokes, olives etc check meats for lactose though)
  • Soup (Any! avoid butter/cream and use GF stock cubes)
  • Caesar Salad (salad+chicken+garlicy,mayo dressing. Add fried GF bread crutons)
  • Bacon pots filled with rocket, tomatoes etc (bake bacon strips on upturned pots in oven to make "bacon bowls")
  • Soft Spring rolls (soften rice papers in hot water and fill with ready to eat raw/pre-cooked food. Serve with GF soy/ chilli dip. Use colourful ingredients as you'll see them through the wrappers)
  • Smoked salmon on GF crackers.
  • Houmous with carrot, celery and cucumber sticks.
  • smoked salmon rolled round cream cheese (soya cheese for me)
  • smoked salmon and cream cheese cucumber cups
  • cherry peppers stuffed with cream cheese

  • Fish pie (make white sauce with gf flour.  I use gf stock instead of milk)
  • Cottage/Shepherds pie (use gf stock cubes. thicken sauce with corn/potato flour if necessary)
  • Tacos or homemade corn tortillas, re-fried beans, guacamole, nachos
  • bacon-wrapped chicken
  • gf Pasta+vegan pesto
  • gf lasagne
  • gf macaroni "cheese" (see vegan recipe)
  • spicy pork meatballs (see traclements recipe) with rice
  • smoked salmon salad
  • chicken wings - bake rubbed in oil, paprika, coriander, salt and pepper.
  • potato wedges
  • kedgeree
  • risotto (gf stock)
  • stir fry+rice noodles (or mungbean noodles)
  • casserole with potatoes/lentils/quinoa/rice
  • jambalaya
  • gf spaghetti carbonara
  • gf sausages + mash
  • lentil+mince stuffed peppers/marrows
  • sweet and sour pork/chicken with rice or rice noodles
  • crispy duck and home-made gf hoisin with rice pancakes
  • Sushi ( use GF soy sauce and buy pure wasabi powder)
  • baked fish+new potatoes
  • gf pizza
  • gf steak and onion pie (home-made gf pastry)
  • Quiche (gf pastry)
  • spanish potato tortilla (baked omelette)
  • home-made gf gnocchi - 100g flour,1 egg, 500g king ed potatoes
  • gf steak and onion pie (gf pastry)
  • gf spag bolognese
  • lamb kofkas and salad in warmed gf pittas
  • rice/lentil stuffed peppers
  • curry (any can be GF if you make spice blends yourself.  replace ghee with DF marg) + onion bhajis (make these with chickpea flour) + poppadoms 
  • Morrocan Tagine
  • Chicken Caesar salad (with bacon and avocado - make a garlic sauce by watering down some mayo and add garlic and herbs. Make Crutons using up any old GF bread)
  • Smoked haddock Chowder (chicken/fish stock, sweetcorn, herbs, potatoes)
  • Sticky Chicken thighs/drumsticks - baste with honey, soy and tommyk!
  • Pea soup (gf stock)
  • Bacon wrapped white fish with salad and new potatoes
  • Stuffed peppers (with quinoa or rice + veg)
  • Gingery pork stir fry
  • Potato wedges
  • Roast dinner.  Use GF stock cubes and the meat juices to make gravy.  thicken with corn flour or potato flour mixed with a little water.  Some supermarkets sell GF stuffing mixes.

  • chocolate fondue with fruit (melt choc and stir in a little golden syrup)
  • banana fritters
  • toffee apples/pears
  • baked apples (core them and fill with marg, sugar and raisins.
  • fruit salad+meringues
  • fruit crumble (rub gf flour, marg and sugar together.  Place sliced of apple between the fruit and topping to stop it going too soggy)
  • baked apricots/peaches (bake with marg, brown sugar and sprinkle with flaked almonds)
  • home-made cakes
  • Brandy snaps with vegan ice-cream