Dr Sue Shepherd gives tips for gluten-free cooking and eating.
- Use cooked quinoa to replace cracked wheat (bulgar) in tabouli salad.
- Cook polenta in gluten-free stock until it is porridge consistency. Spread in a tin, allow to set then cut in portions to use as a pizza base.
- In baking recipes, use xanthan gum or guar gum to improve elasticity and crumb structure of baked goods. Use about 1 teaspoon gum per recipe.
- Mix together 3 cups cooked white rice and 1 beaten, raw egg in a bowl. Add a grind of salt and pepper and then press into a flan dish to use as a base for quiches instead of pastry.
- Make mini gluten-free quiches. Just flatten a piece of gluten-free bread with a rolling pin, push it into a muffin tin and bake for 10 minutes. Pour in the egg mixture and bake until egg is cooked through.
- Make your own gluten-free plain flour: blend 2 parts fine rice flour, 1 part maize cornflour and 1 part soy flour. Make it self-raising by adding 2 teaspoons gluten-free baking powder.
- Use prepared gluten-free bread-mix to make your own pizza bases. Roll 3mm thick over baking paper to form a disc. Bake until lightly browned then top with your favourite gluten-free toppings.
- Make your own gluten-free chicken stock. In a large pot sauté chopped carrot and celery until golden. Fill pot with water then add chicken bones and simmer for 1 hour or so. Strain the liquid and freeze in cup portions.
- Alternate layers of grilled eggplant, courgette and red capsicum in a baking dish, pour over 6 beaten eggs and bake until set. Serve hot or cold for a delicious lunch.
- Prepare gluten-free lunches and sandwiches before the rest of the household’s wheat-based sandwiches to minimise crumb contamination.
- Replace the flour in a standard sponge recipe with gluten-free baking mix. Use it to make trifle, lamingtons and tiramisu.
- Use fine rice flour (find it in supermarkets, health food stores and Asian grocery stores) in a flour blend. It has a finer texture than regular rice flour, which can be quite grainy.
- In a restaurant, if the cheese platter doesn’t have wheat-free crackers, ask for cut up pieces of apple or pear for you to top with cheese.
- When cooking gluten-free pasta, cook for slightly less time than the instructions suggest for a more ‘al dente’, less gluggy result.
- Use polenta instead of wheat breadcrumbs for a crumb coating on chicken.
- Love take-out pizza? Several outlets now make gluten-free pizza bases.
- As a tasty alternative to pita bread, use a single-egg omelette as a wrap for your favourite filling.
- If sharing a toaster with wheat bread, place your gluten-free bread in ‘toast bags’ (available at homeware stores) to prevent cross-contamination of crumbs.
- Make gluten-free muesli using a handful of each of the following: rice flakes, rice bran, puffed amaranth, sultanas, chopped dried figs, chopped almonds, cranberries and macadamias.
- Make your own gluten-free garlic croutons. Cut stale gluten-free bread into 1cm cubes and sauté with garlic and a little oil. Keep in an airtight container for future use.