Recently I made acquaintance with someone who was dairy intolerant. Having a few colleagues who have a variety of intolerances, but, as someone who is lucky enough to not have any food allergies, I never gave this too much thought until I considered that I would have to cook for them. It was only after researching what foodstuffs are affected by each intolerance, particularly gluten, I understand just how limiting this can be.
Being gluten-intolerant effectively removes most carbs (flour – bread, cakes, pastry and biscuits) from your diet. Whilst healthy eaters these days have a greater focus on protein with carbs forming a much smaller part of one’s diet, you could say that gluten-free eaters have already, out of necessity, had an advantage from this dietary focus. However, we all get carb-cravings in a variety of forms, and who shouldn’t be able to enjoy a pie, brownie or even a cake!
These days, there are lots of free-from ranges available in all the high-street supermarkets, but as with all other products, quality and flavour can be somewhat hit and miss. So here are our top five gluten-free products where the flavour is not compromised from lack of gluten.
1. Dove’s Organic Maize & Rice Fusilli
Dove’s farm offers a pasta made from a combination of maize and rice flour as part of their gluten-free pasta range. We tried the Fusilli alternative. With a different mix of flours, the flavour is of course different; however the biggest difference is the texture and cooking – the pasta absorbs water faster, so cooks quicker and retains more water. This great pasta alternative works well al dente or baked. We like making a pasta salad for lunch with this, using cooked mackerel, slice tomatoes, roasted red pepper topped with pumpkin seeds for a bit of extra crunch.
We’ve found Dove’s gluten free range in a variety of supermarkets. More product information and a full range of stockists is available here: https://www.dovesfarm.co.uk/pasta/organic-maize-and-rice-fusilli-1x500g/
2. Lizi’s gluten free Granola
We’ve tried a few varieties of Lizi’s granola offerings, so when this one launched in the summer of this year, we knew it would be featured in this article. Lizi’s carefully sauce oats that have not been contaminated by other crops ensuring it is a delicious alternative for those looking for a bowl of gluten-free granola.
We enjoyed ours with just milk or with blueberries and greek yoghurt, but there are so many other combinations to try. More information and to purchase online, visit Lizi’s website or this granola can be bought in Asda and Sainsbury’s.
3. Nairn’s gluten free biscuit breaks
Nairn’s is another brand that employs uncontaminated oats to ensure that their products are gluten-free. We sampled the oats and fruit flavour from their gluten-free biscuit range. These are crunchy, sweet with a treacly hint, fruity and perfect for dunking – they hold tea almost as well as hobnobs, not a mean feat. Nairn’s products can be bought online here and at most supermarkets: http://www.nairns-oatcakes.com/gluten-free-oats-fruit-biscuit-breaks
4. Helen’s sandwich bread mix
Helen’s offer a really simple gluten-free bread mixture, simply add egg, milk and oil – no needing required. When we made this bread, whilst the dough does thicken substantially, it will be much looser than normal bread dough, perhaps due to the addition of the egg or different mix of gluten-free flours (cornflour, potato and rice). However, after baking the bread does make the hollow noise when you tap it’s base and the inside is soft and light when sliced. Helen’s bread mix can bought at various supermarkets or online, here: http://foodbyhelen.com/product/helens-brilliant-brown-bread-mix/
5. Hummingbird Bakery ‘made without’ red velvet cupcakes
Although not strictly an off-the-shelf product, we discovered that Hummingbird have a small gluten-free range, so in the spirit of work, we ordered a batch of their ‘made without’ Red Velvet Cupcakes. We found the crumb ever so slightly drier than we would have hoped for, but by no means unpleasant – we did eat six of these after all!
Hummingbird have six bakeries across London with delivery available across most of the city. Visit https://hummingbirdbakery.com/order/made-without/ to see their complete ‘made without’ range.