Welcome to Your Gluten Free Life

The other day I was organising to go to dinner with friends who were being very careful to make a properly gluten free meal for me. They commented that they were concerned that the rice in the recipe they were doing was “glutinous rice” and thought that meant I couldn’t eat it. I assured them that glutinous meant sticky – not containing gluten.

But that conversation got me thinking about other misconceptions about celiac disease and the gluten free life. So here are my top five gluten free myths and fables:

  1. If I give up wheat for a few weeks and feel better then I must have celiac disease. No – you might not. You might just be sensitive to wheat (see my earlier blog). The gold standard for testing for celiac disease is to have a biopsy done of your gut after you have been eating wheat for a while. If you stop eating wheat then go get tested you may get a false negative. Celiac disease damages the lining of the gut and it’s the one best way to determine if you have the disease. If you stop eating wheat the gut will repair itself (if it’s damaged) and a gut biopsy won’t find any damage.
  2. Glutinous anything contains gluten. Nope – glutinous means sticky. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t contain gluten though. Read the ingredients! Gluten is wheat, oats barley or rye. If any of those are mentioned then, chances are it contains gluten. But glutinous rice is sticky rice and is fine to eat.
  3. If I order gluten free in a restaurant then the food is completely safe to eat. Sadly, it may not be. If the chef and staff know how to prepare gluten free so there is no cross-contamination then you’ll be fine. But I have seen people handle something with wheat flour, then handle my food so that it gets the flour on it.  Or they mix up my gluten free crackers for the cheese board with all the other crackers and then can’t see why I make such a fuss about getting all the crumbs off mine.
  4. Meat, eggs etc contain gluten unless they’re labelled gluten free. Honestly- this one really ticks me off! I saw eggs for sale the other day labelled “Proudly gluten free!”. Well duh! As if their eggs were somehow different from all the other eggs out there loaded with gluten. Gluten is only found in wheat, oats, barley and rye. So, unless something contains one of those food groups, then it is naturally gluten free. That does mean you need to check the recipe for meat marinades etc, but otherwise you can safely eat your poached eggs knowing they’re gluten free.
  5. Gluten free is a fad. This is another one that really ticks me off. The number of times I ask for gluten free and the waiter rolls their eyes and subtly sneers is just amazing. Trust me – I would love to knock back those delicious bread rolls, or gooey cakes for desert. But I also know just what that will do to me. But the number of people now who demand gluten free then do eat those bread rolls or gooey cakes really makes it hard for those of us who have no choice in this one.

Gluten Free Broccoli and Spinach Galettte

Back to baking for this week. Free form pies and tarts are one of those things that I used to think was a dim and happy memory. Now that I’ve worked out how to make pastry that will hold its shape somewhat, I am experimenting with new dishes. This is one I whipped up during the week to use up some of the glut of spinach and broccoli in my garden.

A galette is just a free form crusty pie or cake. It works really well for open faced savoury dishes such as this one.  You will need time to make the puff pastry, but the rest of the dish is actually very quick to put together. You could even double your puff pastry recipe and freeze half so you can make this up faster the next time around.

So try my gluten free broccoli and spinach galette next weekend when you have the time to make the pastry, then freeze the extra pastry for another day.

White Chocolate and Strawberry Mousse Cake

I was driving around the other day thinking of things to make for this blog and realised it’s been a while since I made a cake.  So I pretty much devised this one in my head between my place and the shops, picked up the ingredients I needed and headed home to make it.

The recipe is somewhere between a white chocolate mud cake and a Devil’s food cake recipe. Not as dense as a mud cake, but richer and heavier than a Devil’s food cake. The lightness of the mousse offsets the sweetness of the cake, but it’s still a quite rich cake.

One thing – don’t be tempted to make the cake part too high. If yours rises as much as mine did, just slice the top off and use it for something else. Mine rose so much I ended up with 2 cakes for the price of one. But you need almost as much mousse as cake for this dish.

Good luck, and enjoy my white chocolate and strawberry mousse cake.

Image of Gluten Free White Chocolate and Strawberry Mousse Cake

Until next week, take care and eat well.

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