It’s estimated that between 60 and 70,000 New Zealanders have coeliac disease but about 80 per cent don't realise it. Hence the Coeliac New Zealand Organisation is providing helpful hints during Coeliac Awareness week the 10 - 16 June.
If you’re feeling bloated, have constant stomach pains or other stomach upsets then take advantage of an online assessment at www.coeliac.org.nz to find out more.
Some people might just be gluten intolerant but others with full coeliac disease could find that their health maybe affected in other ways such as joint pains, osteoporosis, anaemia, neurological symptoms and skin rashes.
The only way to keep these problems under control is to follow a strict gluten-free diet. Gluten is made up of proteins present in the starch of various cereals including those with wheat, rye, barley and oats. The starch can also be disguised in medicines, preservatives, soy sauce, beer and of course bread.
Today many manufacturers are aware that gluten is a problem for some and are swapping wheat flour for cornflour or rice flour in baked goodies and meals. And cooking gluten-free is becoming easier with tasty options provided in many yummy recipes.
Even a high tea (see the recipes following) can be enjoyed by those with or without gluten intolerance.
GLUTEN-FREE BACON & EGG PIE
Squeeze the seeds out of the tomatoes if they are very watery. Ensure the bacon is gluten-free.
250g potatoes, peeled
400g gluten-free pastry
4 rashers bacon, diced and lightly fried
3/4 cup frozen peas, thawed
3 medium tomatoes, sliced
freshly ground black pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Lightly oil a 21cm x 21cm cake pan.
Microwave the potatoes until just cooked. Cut into cubes.
Roll out the pastry thinly into a 25-26cm square. Line the base and the sides of the cake pan with the pastry.
Place the potatoes, bacon, peas and tomatoes evenly over the base. Break in the eggs spacing them evenly over the ingredients. Season. Trim the pastry edges.
Bake for 40-50 minutes, until the pie is just set.
Serve warm or at room temperature as a main. Or cut into small squares and serve as finger food. Serves 4 as a main and 8-12 as nibbles.
DOUBLE CHOCOLATE GF BROWNIE WITH BERRIES
Delicious! Can be frozen.
175g butter, softened
3/4 cup each: sugar, dark cocoa powder
1/2 cup self-raising gluten-free flour
1/3 cup (50g) chopped walnuts
100g white chocolate, roughly chopped
3 tablespoons boysenberry jelly
Accompaniments: yoghurt or whipped cream
fresh berries, optional
Preheat the oven to 160°C. Line a 20cm x 20cm cake pan with baking paper.
Cream the butter and sugar until light. Add the cocoa a little at a time beating continuously. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition.
Fold in the flour, walnuts and white chocolate. Pour into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Swirl the jelly over the top of the batter. Bake for 45-50 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
Great served cut into squares topped with a little yoghurt or whipped cream, some fresh berries if available and a little more boysenberry jelly.
Xanthan gum helps bind the ingredients in much the same way as gluten. It’s available from most supermarkets. Freeze any leftover scones in an airtight container.
1 3/4 cups gluten-free flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon each: xanthan gum, salt
125g chilled butter, chopped
2 large eggs
1/3 cup buttermilk or milk
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
extra milk for brushing
Line a baking tray with baking paper. (Ensure the tray can fit into your freezer.)
Place the flour, sugar, baking powder, xanthan gum and salt in a food processor. Mix well. Add the butter, processing until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Tip into a large bowl.
Beat the eggs, buttermilk (or milk) and vanilla until frothy. Pour into the flour combo and mix well.
Tip onto a lightly (gluten-free) floured bench. The mixture will be quite sticky so just pat into a 3cm thick piece. Using a 5cm diameter biscuit cutter make rounds of the dough. If the cutter becomes clogged, rinse in cold water. Any offcuts can be pressed together and cut into rounds.
Place on the prepared baking tray. Brush the tops with a little milk. Freeze for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200°C. Bake the scones for 15-20 minutes, until golden. Best served fresh. Makes 12.
The muffin holes can be lined, if preferred.
1 cup buttermilk
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup grated tasty cheese
1/2 teaspoon dried mixed herbs,
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
1 shallot, diced
1 cup self-raising gluten-free flour
Preheat the oven to 200C. Lightly spray an 18-hole mini muffin pan with oil.
Place the buttermilk, egg, cheese, herbs and shallot in a large bowl. Mix well.
Stir in the flour. Spoon into the muffin holes.
Bake for about 15 minutes, until risen, golden and cooked. Best served warm. The puffs can be reheated in the microwave. Makes 18.