“Removing gluten from one’s diet isn’t a choice but a necessary way of life for up to 70,000 Kiwis living with coeliac disease,” says Coeliac NZ General manager Wendy Bremmer.
Even a tiny portion of gluten has serious consequences for coeliac sufferers and that’s why families living with this disease need two toasters — one for common bread and one for gluten-free — to avoid mistakes.
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, barley and oats and causes inflammation and gut damage which can in turn cause long-term health problems such as the early onset of osteoporosis, neurological issues and difficulties concentrating. You can assess yourself on the Coeliac NZ website coeliac.org.nz. Although it is estimated that about 70,000 Kiwis have coeliac disease, 80 percent of people are unaware of it.
Many food manufacturers are now clearly marking their gluten-free products with a ‘cross-grained’ logo approved by Coeliac NZ and which is internationally recognised as being coeliac safe.
During Coeliac Awareness Week (June 7-13), a series of special events such as gluten-free dinners and high teas are being held nationwide. And check out the following delish treats which are ideal to serve at your own high tea.
GF DOUBLE CHOCOLATE COOKIES
125g gluten-free dark chocolate, chopped
100g butter, chopped
2 cups gluten-free flour
1 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup dark cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 cup chocolate bits or chips
1/2 cup walnut pieces, optional
Preheat the oven to 170°C. Line 2 large baking trays with baking paper.
Stir the chopped chocolate and butter in a small saucepan over low heat until smooth. Cool.
Mix the flour, brown sugar, cocoa powder and baking powder in a large bowl until well combined. Stir in the eggs and vanilla, then add chocolate mixture stirring until combined. Mix in the chocolate bits.
Take tablespoons of the mixture and roll into balls. Place about 5cm apart on the trays. Top with the walnut pieces, if using. Flatten with your hand to about 4cm wide.
Bake for 18-20 minutes. Cool on the trays. Store in airtight jars or freeze. Makes 40.
GLUTEN-FREE SALMON TARTLETS
I purchased the gluten-free tartlets shells at my local supermarket
12 gluten-free plain tartlet shells
50g smoked salmon
2 tablespoons finely chopped spring onion
1/2 small red capsicum, diced
2 small eggs
2 tablespoons milk
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
Place the tartlet shells on the tray.
Finely chop the salmon and combine with all the other ingredients in a bowl.
Carefully and slowly spoon the mixture into the tartlet shells.
Bake for about 15 minutes until the mixture is set. Stand for 5 minutes then serve. Can be reheated in a warm oven, if required. Makes 12.
Great served warm with butter or whipped cream. Suitable for freezing.
2 cups gluten-free self-raising flour
1/4 cup caster sugar
75g butter, divided
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup good apricot jam, slightly warmed
Preheat the oven to 200°C. Line a large baking tray with baking paper.
Combine the flour and caster sugar in a food processor. Chop 50g of the butter and add to the flour mixture. Whizz until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Place in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre and pour in the buttermilk. Stir to form a soft dough.
Turn onto a lightly (gluten-free) floured board. Knead until the mixture binds well and is smooth. You might need a little more flour.
Roll out the dough between 2 sheets of baking paper to form a rectangle about 22cm x 35cm. Trim neatly.
Melt the remaining butter. When cool, brush over the top of the dough. Spread evenly with the apricot jam. Using the baking paper, roll up the dough from a long side to enclose the filling. Trim the ends.
Cut into 1cm thick rounds and place 3cm apart on the prepared baking tray. Can be brushed with a little extra buttermilk.
Bake for 20 minutes or until golden. Cool on the tray for 10 minutes. Makes 12.