The answer was a very disappointing NO. So now after many years of following a kind of ‘half hearted’ gluten free diet I am well and truly, back on the wagon! I now know for sure that my body still cannot tolerate gluten but I also know after much research and chats with my GP, that it is just not worth messing around with.
There are many symptoms of Coeliac disease, some I would describe as just annoying and certainly not harmful. HOWEVER, not sticking to a gluten-free diet has been proven to increase the risk of certain illnesses such as Osteoporosis and Bowel Cancer so why take the risk?
So, I’m now on a mission to enjoy being gluten-free, rather than spending time wondering what I am missing. Actually whilst waiting to be re-diagnosed I was told to eat LOTS of gluten for 6 weeks, which I did. I have to say I think it is pretty over-rated. One thing I am determined to do more of though, is to bake gluten-free goodies myself. I have never had much luck with this in the past but I have recently discovered ‘Seriously Good Gluten-Free Baking‘ by Phil Vickery and I can honestly say this is totally different from any other gluten-free recipe book I have tried!
This book gives you a variety of basic mixes to use. You can prepare these mixes before hand and keep them in an airtight container. Phil has obviously researched these mixes, and the recipes really well because I have yet to experience a recipe that has not come out fantastically! In the past I have found gluten-free flour hard to cook with. Pastry is crumbly and hard to work with, sponges do not rise and everything seems to go dry in 24 hours. This is definitely not the case with these recipes. Phil uses ingredients which I have not previously seen in my other books. This includes Xanthum Gum which improves the texture and shelf life of products and it also gives it a glutenous ‘stretch factor’. Glycerine is added to sponges to keep them moist and all of the ingredients are really easy to find at the supermarket along with other cake making ingredients.
Initially I made the Toffee Chocolate Fudge Brownie Muffins and boy were they good! They were so moist and delicious and I challenge anyone to tell the difference between these and muffins made with ‘normal’ flour. I’ve also tried the Sage and Garlic Scones which are delicious served with butter on the top. Last night we had some yummy pancakes made with a mix of corn and rice flour and my husband said there is no way you would know that they were gluten-free.
I’m really looking forward to trying out some more of these recipes with the help of my daughter. In the past I have avoided doing much gluten-free baking with her help because it is difficult at the best of times. These recipes really do work though – no more flat sponges and crumbly old quiches for me!
If you know someone who is gluten-free you should definitely give them this book for Christmas! It will be the best recipe book they ever read!