The Friday Five – gluten free but not taste free

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Next week is Coeliac Awareness Week, so gluten free is going to be hopefully top of mind, given the strides forward we’ve taken both in availability and taste of gluten free products. For those of you wanting to keep it gluten free on the home front, for whatever reason, then these are five that tackle the subject, but keep taste at the forefront as well.

The Minimalist Baker’s Everyday Cooking

 

The Minimalist Baker's Everyday Cooking

 

This one is almost all gluten-free, combined with being plant based, so will meet lots of dietary requirements. Great looking food, packed with huge amounts of different textures and tastes, but apparently each recipe needs 10 ingredients or less. Makes it appealing and less intimidating.

 

My Gluten-Free Kitchen: Meals You Miss Made Easy

 

My gluten-free kitchen

 

Hmm, the last gluten-free cookbook I had written by a chef led to the great bread disaster, so let’s hope Gearóid Lynch has better testing and proof reading! But as a chef diagnosed with coeliac disease you would expect him to come from a starting point of great knowledge, and a good palate. Covering everything from buttermilk scones to a savoury pastry and an apple and pecan crumble tart, it sounds like it would cover eating like gluten wasn’t an issue.

 

Good and Simple: Recipes to Eat Well and Thrive

 

Hemsley & Hemsley Good & Simple

 

The Hemsley sisters irk me a lot less than others of their ilk, as long as they are not talking about bone broth endlessly. Their second book continues the theme of eliminating gluten, grains and refined sugars, but still manages to come up with things I’m a bit intrigued to try. I mean, cannellini vanilla sponge cake with chocolate avocado frosting? Got to give that a go at least once. Though probably just go with the recipes, ignore the pseudo-science.

 

Pure Artistry: Extraordinary Vegan and Gluten Free Cakes

 

Pure Aristry - extraordinary vegan and gluten free cakes

 

Talking of cakes, this book is about gluten free baking at the next level, but still approachable for a home baker. Emily Lael Aumiller of Lael Cakes make extraordinary cakes by any measure, even more so when you see they are vegan and gluten free. This books focuses not just on the cakes but also the decorating techniques, so perfect for a keen cake maker really looking to add to their skills. Out 13th May.

 

Chickpea Flour Does It All

 

Chickpea Flour Does It All

 

Really? Who knew? I’ve made Indian breads with it but not much more, but it appears I have been missing out. I’ve used it to make Indian breads, but apparently it can cover everything from savoury to sweet, from pancakes to cupcakes. Great book to gift to someone who likes experimenting with new ingredients, and chickpea flour is pretty easy to find. Check out the world food aisles, you’ll often see it labelled as gram flour or garbanzo bean flour.

So, whether through necessity or just a desire to try new things, there is no shortage of inspiration around, and these days the variety of flours available is growing, and much more accessible. Good luck, you can do no worse than my chestnut and carmelised onion bread.

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Bad foodie, bad foodie (or what I did instead of Abergavenny)

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Here comes Christmas - finding gifts for every kind of food lover

 

I don’t know why I’m not better organised, as Abergavenny always falls at a very similar time each year. And it’s not as though I wouldn’t find huge amounts of interesting stuff to do in Abergavenny. Or as if I’m the only one in with a passing interest in food in our household.

But I wasn’t that organised again this year, which is why my foodie experience of the weekend is browsing the Christmas catalogue from Lakeland. I know, I’d missed the foodie highlights of Chester as well, but those are tales for another day.

Now, I am a fairly big Lakeland fan, and have featured stuff from them on a fairly regular basis. Which means that I am possibly fairly disposed to forgive them some truly naff gifts. If only on the basis of giving us a great laugh reading out the description for the Gentlemen’s Organiser. I mean, who’d have thought you could build on the success of the Empty Your Pockets Organiser?

Anyway, on the food front I think they do a lot better. At the top end of their pricing, they’ve got some decent looking hampers from St Kew, with things in them that I can actually imagine eating. As the various parents get older, and want less things, then I begin to see the attraction of hampers. And the gourmet basket contains things I can imagine them enjoying, like shortbread, fudge and chutney. This is definitely for tasty add ons, rather than filling up your store cupboards.

If you’ve got someone in your circle that is gluten intolerant, then I love the look of the Country Fare Gluten-Free Fruit & Brandy Cake. It certainly looks moist and boozy, and would make a great treat compared to some of the gluten free stuff that I’ve tried. This would make a great gift, or a great alternative Christmas cake.

There’s really not much at all on the savoury front, with just two products that fall into that category. Maybe more things will follow, but for now there is an olive oil and a tub of pumpkin seeds. Except you then discover it’s just bad cataloging on the site, and if you check under cook’s gifts, then there are a whole heap of other options like chutneys, spiced nuts and spicy sauces.

Really, it’s all about the sweets and chocolates, so plenty for the sweet toothed. Good to see some slightly more unusual things like hard turron and Nurzia nougat, and could be tempted by dark chocolate covered glace figs too. They surely must almost count as a health food!

I think Lakeland are a good source for stocking fillers, they’ve got a good range of sweets and chocolates on 3 for 2 (which are always good standby gifts) and you can stock up on all manner of kitchen gadgets and gizmos at the same time.

Or a Gentlemen’s Organiser.

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