Category Archives: Coeliac

Gluten free

Food Allergen Labelling

Good news: the Food Standards Agency has announced that an extended allergen labelling system is to be introduced in the UK by mid December.  It will apply to both pre-packed and non pre-packed (loose) foods, i.e. both grocery and restaurant offerings.  Whether the allergens are included or added to the foods they must be referenced on the labelling.

14 allergens

We already have allergen labelling on most pre-packed foods but this will be extended to include these 14 allergens.

FfT 1408 – Food Allergen Labelling blg

Crunchy Carrot and Seed Flapjacks

Great recovery food to follow exercise (carbs, fat and protein), but not so good for the dieters!   (183 kcal per serving)

Carrot and seed flapjacks IMG_3360 c

Prep time 10mins; cook 15mins; 20 servings.

  • 175g buttery-taste low-fat spread (or butter)
  • 150g demerara sugar
  • 3 tbsp golden syrup
  • 2 tbsp black treacle
  • 225g carrots, washed and coarsely grated
  • 350g porridge oats
  • 3 tbsp pumpkin seeds
  • 3 tbsp sunflower seeds

Pre-heat the oven to 200 C / 400 F / Gas 6.

In a large pan, melt the spread, sugar, syrup and treacle together, stirring until melted and smooth.

Remove from the heat and stir in the carrots, oats and seeds until thoroughly mixed.

Tip into a 30x20cm (12x8in) tin, press down well and bake in the centre of the oven for 15mins.

When lightly golden around the edges, remove from the oven.  While hot mark out 20 squares, then leave to cool.  When cold, remove from the tin and separate properly.

Store in an airtight container.  Suitable for freezing.


Gluten-free baking

One in a hundred people suffers from a true allergy to dietary gluten, known as coeliac disease.  Many more find that they are intolerant to wheat and hence foods such as bread, doughs and cakes make them feel uncomfortable.

Following a gluten-free diet is the solution for both groups.  A wheat-free diet may be sufficient for coping with wheat intolerance but coeliacs will know that there are also other sources of gluten to be avoided.  Larger supermarkets stock ranges of ‘free from’ foods including bread, pasta, pizza, cakes, breakfast cereals, flours and ready made sauces.  When preparing meals from basic ingredients, it is not difficult to avoid wheat or gluten in many dishes, and to substitute other foods such as rice, potatoes and gluten-free oats.

Perhaps the two foods most missed by coeliacs and wheat avoiders are bread and cake.  I’ve tried to make basic gluten-free bread in my bread machine but without great success.  It seems that the dough needs to rise in a warm place in the conventional way and then be baked in an oven to get reasonable results.

I’ve had varying results with cakes.  Whilst a light Victoria sponge totally eludes me, rich fruit cakes and recipes using fresh fruit (such as banana) or grated vegetables (e.g. courgette) work well with gluten free flour such as Dove’s Farm.  These cakes do tend to dry out faster, however, than if they were made with wheat flour. 

If you fancy something very rich and chocolately, try the ultimate beetroot and chocolate cake.  This recipe will work with gluten free flour as the beetroot is very moist and, arguabley, you’ll be getting extra anto-oxidants with your portion of cake!

Recently, I’ve discovered a range of recipes which use some specific ingredients to counter the absence of gluten in producing moist and very tasty cakes.  Glycerine (liquid) keeps moisture in and xanthan gum (a form of powdered starch) binds the ingredients together to give a conventional cake texture.  Relatively small amounts of these ‘magic’ ingredients convert the usually dry gluten-free cake into a really moist delight, which is difficult to distinguish from a conventional wheat-based recipe.

The buttermilk breakfast muffin recipe is the first of these specifically gluten-free recipes to get the Russell-Price ‘tried and tested’ stamp of approval!