The thought of cooking for my newly diagnosed Coeliac husband was extremely daunting at first. I searched high and low for every gluten-free cook book that I could find. Most of them were eventually donated to the local charity shop once I’d blown off the thick layer of dust!
You see, I’m an experimenter. My husband has been known to call me “slapdash” (only the once). I rarely follow a recipe – I see them more of a suggestion than instructions. Don’t get me wrong, cookery books are invaluable and I have shelves full of them written by every celebrity chef you can name. But….do they HAVE to be gluten-free? And do you have to follow them word for word?
I don’t think so.
Obviously, cookery books have plenty of recipes that don’t involve gluten in the first place, but those recipes that do are easily adapted. Gluten free sections in supermarkets are bigger than ever, the range of ingredients is getting wider and more palatable. There are so many different flours available as well as the amazingly useful Xanthum Gum.
Eight years ago, if I was making a Spaghetti Bolognese, I would cook two pans of pasta. But now gluten-free pasta tastes just as good as ‘normal’ pasta, albeit more expensive. (But I might actually be saving money by boiling less water…?)
Anyway, back to cookery books and adapting recipes. Gluten free flour absorbs more liquid than regular flour, so the mixture will generally be wetter. I always use gluten-free flour at a 1:1 ratio compared to regular flour, BUT add 1 teaspoon of Xanthum Gum, which will thicken and add an elasticity that gluten would provide. If the mixture is too wet, I just add a dusting of flour until it is more manageable.
So, now I don’t look solely at gluten-free recipes, because I really believe that most recipes can be adapted or changed in some way to suit a gluten-free diet. That said, gluten-free cookery books provide valuable information on the ingredients and any cook book is welcome on my bookshelf!
See my website for tasty adapted recipes.