Wheat based, and topping pies, supporting tarts and wrapping sausages and cornish minced beef and potato, pastry is something many gluten intolerant and gluten sensitive people miss. There is good and bad news when it comes to substitues: because gluten is a glue – something which allows foods to become stretchier, some pastries are hard to produce – but the ‘shorter’ the pastry is, the easier. So my search for adequate puss pastry hasn’t really worked, but shortcrust pastry is manageable – either as a recipe or buying it frozen. I’ve mad perfectly passable meat pies based on Dietary Special’s frozen pastry that I picked up from the freezer cabinet in Tesco.
You can also get pre-packaged gluten free pies, pasties and sausage rolls, all frozen as gluten free convenience food. In general, they’re not bad – they certainly fill a hole when you’re craving something you can’t otherwise eat
Not only does this mean you can’t have fish and chips – you’re also not able to eat Yorkshire puddings or pancakes. As ever there are gluten free yorkshires available – enen if they’ll never quite reach the standard of home cooked ones, and gluten free pancake mixes.
Fish and chips was a problem, until I heard that there was a local fish and chip chain experimenting with Gluten-free sundays. My experience of them wasn’t great -the batter is lighter, more of a tempura – I’m guessing its a corn-flour based. But if you need your cod and chips, and you live near a restaurant trialling this, do give it a go. It hits a spot that might otherwise go unfilled.
For me, this is the worst ingredient to miss. It isn’t that you can’t get gluten free soy sauce – Tamari soy sauce is easily available – its that no one uses it commercially. And this puts whole cuisines off the menu. No more chinese unless you cook it yourself.
Breadcrumbs are generally wheat based. As such, they’re a no go. Being gluten sensitive means you can’t even allow yourself the risk of a small quantity of gluten. So you’re not going to be able to eat anything breaded that you can buy from a shop. But this isn’t the end of the story. There is lots you can do yourself.
Firstly, there are gluten free breadcrumbs. None of them seem perfect to me, but they do the job.
Better, you can coat things in Maize – Polenta. Polenta coated meat tastes wonderful, and even sounds classy. You can use the same recipe (a gluten free flour and egg to make a glue), but it works even better than breadcrumbs.
All types of bread are dangerous to the gluten sensitive, even potato bread and rice bread. We have to make do with the specialist gluten free breads that supermarkets provide us with. The majority of these are dry, tasteless and generally not suitable for much.
Recently, however, there has been a big imrpovement
Genius Bread is now available in both brown and white, loaf or sliced loaf variants from most supermarkets, and is a hands down winner. It is finally a bread suitable for toast, sandwiches and egg soldiers. Which isn’t to say it is perfect. Better still, other vendors have taken note. Warburtons now produce a gluten free loaf (not as good as Genius, in my opinion, but still better than older gluten free breads), and supermarket own brands are doing their best to cash in on this new edible gluten free bread sector.
The majority of cakes and biscuits are based around wheat flour, so have to be avoided.
There are, however, a good number of gluten free cakes and biscuits that celiacs can enjoy available from supermarkets free-from ranges and specialist retailers
Barbecue sauce is based on vinegar, which it generally malt based. A quick look at all the usual supermarket brands has left me unable to find one that is gluten free.
However, there are a number of specialist gluten free barbecue sauces available