Most of us can enjoy eating whatever we feel like — albeit in moderation. But some of us are not so lucky.

Studies show that one out of 70 people are wheat and gluten sensitive but four out of five of them don't know it. Coeliac disease is a medical condition. People with the disease have a permanent intestinal intolerance to the gluten found in wheat, barley, rye, semolina, oats, malt, spelt, bran, triticale or brewer’s yeast. Symptoms can include chronic fatigue, bloating, headaches, itchy skin and irritable bowels and if ignored there is a possibility of gastrointestinal upsets together with other health problems.

Often the disease is so serious for a particular family member, that it is necessary to provide them with their own separate toaster, cutlery and chopping boards to eliminate the risk of cross contamination.

Many food manufacturers are now clearly marking their gluten-free products with a ‘cross-grained’ logo which is internationally recognised as indicating an item is coeliac safe and is also approved by Coeliac New Zealand. 
It’s best to plan meals in advance to ensure you have a well-balanced diet. Include nutrient rich fruits and vegetables plus meat, poultry, fish, nuts and whole grains that are gluten-free. 

This year Coeliac Awareness Week runs from June 6-13. www.coeliac.org.nz


I used Gala apples – they hold their shape well when cooked.

125g butter, melted
1/4 cup white sugar
200g sweetened condensed milk
3 eggs, separated
125g ground almonds (almond meal)
1/4 cup cornflour
2 teaspoons baking powder
4 medium apples, cored, peeled and sliced
pinch salt

Preheat the oven to 160°C. Grease and line a loose-based 20cm round cake pan. 

Beat the melted butter, sugar and condensed milk together in a very large bowl. Add the egg yolks and mix well. Fold in the ground almonds, cornflour and baking powder. Add the sliced apples. Mix well.

Beat the egg whites with the salt, until firm. Gently fold into the cake mixture.

Pour into the prepared pan. Bake for 1 hour or until a fine skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. 

Great served warm or at room temperature with whipped cream or yoghurt. 

Store in the fridge. Best enjoyed up to 2 days after baking. Serves 8-10.


I used the rind and juice of a blood orange which gives a pink tinge to the icing. However, common oranges are fine.

1 1/4 cups plain gluten-free flour
1/2 cup ground almonds (almond meal)
1/4 cup desiccated coconut
1/2 cup light olive oil
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup maple syrup or runny honey
grated rind 1 orange
Icing: 1 cup icing sugar
25g butter, melted
2 tablespoons orange juice
dried orange slices or grated orange to decorate

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Lightly grease a square 20cm cake pan. Line with baking paper allowing the sides to overhang.

Mix the flour, ground almonds and coconut in a large bowl. Whisk together the oil, beaten egg, syrup and grated rind in a bowl. Pour into the dry ingredients and mix well. Press evenly into the prepared cake pan.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until lightly golden. Cool.

To make the icing, combine the icing sugar and melted butter. Add enough orange juice to produce a spreadable consistency. Spread evenly over the slice. Allow to set then cut into squares. Decorate as preferred. Makes 16 pieces.


If necessary, make your own schnitzels by thinly slicing chicken breasts and flattening with a rolling pin.

175g (4 cups approx) corn chips
1/3 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
500g chicken schnitzels
1/2 cup plain gluten-free flour
1 egg
1/4 cup milk
2-3 tablespoons olive oil

Lightly crush the corn chips. Place in a food processor and whizz until finely crushed. Combine on a plate with the parmesan cheese.

Dust the schnitzels with the flour. 

Beat the egg and milk until well combined. Pour into a flat dish. Dip each flour-dusted schnitzel into the egg mixture then coat with the corn chip crumbs.  Chill for at least 15 minutes to allow the coating to set.

Heat the oil in a non-stick pan on medium. Fry the schnitzels for 2-3 minutes each side or until cooked. Serves 4.


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