Saturday, June 7, 2014

Sheep/Goats Cheese

If you are lactose intolerant and don't tolerate cow's cheeses well (common symptoms are itchiness, eczema, acne, asthma), you may still find you are ok with low lactose sheep or goats cheeses. Look for hard varieties that have a carb/sugar content lower than 1 % marked on the nutritional info panel on the packet. Tesco usually have a good  of range of these and the pecorino romano is a particularly good substitute for parmesan.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Vegan Cheese Recipe

I found quite a few recipes on buzz feed to try that look amazing:

Some use nutritional yeast flakes for flavour which I have no idea if they are GF (but I assume not).  I suggest replacing those with half a stock cube and/or a tsp yeast for that umami flavour.

The easiest recipe I think is the "Baked Almond Feta" (see top right photo) which starts with ground almonds rather than whole. This one also works with a hand blender, whereas the other recipes require a proper blender jug and overnight soaking of the nuts (which is more nutritious but also more hassle).

1 1/2 cups ground almonds (or a 200g bag)
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup water
3 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1/2 stock cube (or 1 tsp salt)
1 tsp paprika

Blend all the ingredients with a hand blender and dollop into a sieve.  Leave to sit in the sieve over a bowl for 12 hrs in the fridge, allowing any excess water to drain out.  Transfer to an oven-proof dish (by carefully flipping over) and bake until browned on the outside. Keeps for a week in the fridge.

This is also nice rolled in cracked peppercorns or crushed dried rosemary before baking, for extra flavour.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

fruit and nut bars

2 cups nuts (e.g. 1 cashew, 1/2 walnut, 1/2 brazil)
1 tsp chia seeds (optional)
5 tsp cocoa
50g soft dates (de-seed them)
2 tbsp apple juice

Food process the nuts and seeds until they are fine crumbs, then add the cocoa an blitz again. Now add the dates and apple juice a bit at a time and blend until finely chopped (you may have the odd small chunk, but it doesn't matter.

Spread the mix into a small square dish lined with baking parchment and press with a spatula (or even better, wrap into a parcel with the parchment and flatten with a rolling pin to make it nice and dense but about 2cm thick).  Cut into bars/squares and dust with corn flour before boxing/bagging them to avoid them sticking together.

This makes a massive bagful and will last ages.  If you can't be bothered with all the stickiness of de-seeding dates and blending them you could always buy cocoa delight bits/bars by Nakd in the UK. Some people call this recipe vegan fudge and in America I think there is a branded bar called Larabar.  For a picture recipe check out Health inspirations food blog (  Don't they look delicious!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Lentils, Polenta etc...

"Other Information

Warnings: Wheat and other cereal grains may occasionally be found in this product due to the way that lentils are grown and harvested."
Lentils and Polenta (coarsely milled corn) should be gluten free and suitable for a coeliac diet, but due to the way it is either harvested or packaged this is often not the case.  I'm avoiding it altogether at the moment because I've given up trying to find certified gluten free packs.  
The supermarkets are at least now labelling their packets appropriately (see above) - I suspected I was reacting to lentils long before the labelling changed, which was baffling at the time. So I started washing it thoroughly before cooking, but I'm not convinced this is good enough and then finding an actual ear of wheat in my lentils was the final straw (excuse the pun)!
It is so frustrating, especially as pulses are potentially a really nutritious and economic substitute for gluten-containing grains.

Monday, February 10, 2014

How to use your Cuk Directory

So you may be wondering what is this Cuk Food and Drink Directory. Well, it's a list of free from prescription and non-prescription foods AND (more importantly for me) normal branded and supermarket foods that not only do not contain gluten but where the manufacturer has taken measures to avoid cross-contamination with wheat/barley/rye,oat products.

It used to be a paper book published yearly, but now you can get it in the CUK gluten free on the go app or on the website if you become a member (currently £10 a year).  Membership also includes a few annual issues of crossed grain magazine.

The directory is handy if you want to check a particular product (especially if you have a smart phone) or want a list of, say, all popcorn or marshmallows that are ok.

You'll see that most economy supermarket brand tortilla crisps and many McCain frozen chips etc are fine. So it really is a must if you don't want to be limited to the freefrom aisle, which, let's face it is mostly laden with sugary biscuits and cakes (and lots of the supermarket ones now contain the dreaded "GF Oat flour" anyway! Argh!).

 In the app, you can add items to our own scrapbook so you can check your favourites continue to be GF. If items are withdrawn from the list they will have a red not suitable label in the app.

Cuk also publish a list of seasonal treats that are ok at Christmas and Easter which you can download from their website (free) each year.  This is great to email to relatives who want to buy your little ones seasonal treats, just make sure they are aware that the list is subject to change and that they need the new list each year.