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Gluten Free – It Tastes Great!

I read a lot about different diets and always speak to people about my favourite subject – FOOD. And it seems that many folks are gluten allergic, gluten intolerant or they just want to cut back on processed wheat flour products, including me.

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So I went out on a mission to The Olive Branch (health food store in North Tamborine) to see what sorts of alternative flours there were. It was a whole new world for me, I normally just skim through that aisle. To my delight I found all sorts of gluten free whole grain flours ready for me to cook with!

Amaranth, spelt, maze, quinoa, millet, brown rice, oat, sorghum and flax seed. I know it sounds like I got mixed up with the chook and horse feed, but these flours are packed with so much nutrition and flavour I had to try them all. In substituting these flours in a cake or muffin it is best to use a mixture. So if a recipe calls for 2 cups of regular flour, I use 4 half cups of mixed other grain flours, and then add the necessary amount of baking powder; always use aluminium free. While I was there I also picked up some coconut oil (an alternative to butter or some other oils, and tastes great) and some agave syrup as a substitute for sugar.

In savoury dishes it’s easy to use rice. I like brown or basmati and quinoa is originally from the Andes, but now grown in Tasmania, and can be substituted in any recipe that calls for wheat-based cous cous or burghul. Polenta (corn based) can be cooked like porridge and most types of pasta sauces can be used with it.

Recently I had an Italian class and a couple of people were gluten intolerant, so I planned the whole 10 courses gluten free and nobody noticed. Instead of using bread, pasta and flour, we cooked pan fried polenta and risotto, and used almond meal in the desert, used a bit of corn flour to thicken the sauces instead of a roux, and gluten free bread crumbs to crumb some sardines, which turned out better and crispier than the usual breadcrumbs.

Blueberry and Apple Muffins

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  • ½ cup of ground almonds
  • 1.5 cups of mixed flour (rice, millet, quinoa)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ cup agave syrup (or honey )
  • ¼ cup of coconut oil (or other)
  • 2 eggs 1 cup of grated apple
  • 1 cup of blueberries

Sift the dry ingredients well. Beat eggs and combine with syrup, oil, apple and berries. Mix everything together lightly, don’t over mix. Place in small muffin tins and bake at 180 until done about 12 to 15 min.

Pan Fried Polenta (a cooking school favourite)

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  • 2 cups of stock
  • ½ cup of polenta plus extra
  • ½ cup for coating
  • ½ cup of parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp of butter

Bring stock to a simmer and sprinkle in polenta; stir well. Cook for about 12 min until thick. Add the grated parmesan and butter. Pour into a shallow dish – I use a slice tray 18cmx28cm Let set for about 30 min, and then cut into squares. Toss in extra polenta and pan fry in 2 tbsp of hot olive oil for about 2 min each side. Serve with a pasta style sauce; my favourite is mushrooms fried with garlic, thyme, red wine and cream.

November 18, 2016 / Uncategorized / thechef