Recent Blog Articles
You can’t eat wheat and gluten so what do you eat?
Written by Ruby. Thursday, February 2nd, 2012
“You can’t eat wheat and gluten? So what do you eat?”
If I got paid every time someone said that, I would be a very rich gluten free girl right now! So, here I am, Ruby, your average gluten and wheat intolerant person, otherwise known as Rubelles or Rubelle’s Moon, except for the fact that I also can’t eat rice or potatoes so yes it does at first glance seem like I’m pretty restricted in what I eat. I would even go as far as saying, “yepp, fair assumption there, you probably think I live on air, water and life itself”… I don’t (as much as I love and appreciate my life!), I am not able to, I have a ridiculous appetite and like the vast majority of the population – I Love Food (that’s a bumper sticker right there).
I’m not going to share with you pictures and explanations of what I have in my cupboard as let’s face it, that could get boring! Who wants to look at pictures of Xanthan gum, flour and dried fruits all day (okay I do, but honestly, you don’t need to see it, it’s an unorganised chaos, designed entirely to confuse my whole family and sometimes even me). What I am going to do is point you in the direction of how to get a quick kit together of go to ingredients, and hopefully once you have that, you will be able to rush (yes rush, I hope you do this) to my blog, grab some recipes and throw together something yummy, delicious and most definitely gluten free. Hey, if you’re really luck, we might even break into the healthy category or the vegetarian one! I tend to cater for all needs, as, most days I’m up for being someone who will sing morning and night about the benefits of leading a healthy, exercise filled diet, but occasionally, I encourage one of those lazy days where all you want is chocolate, cookies and your jogging bottoms! This is fine, as long as you’re maintaining a healthy lifestyle for the majority of the time.
So here’s my quick-fix-kit:
Gluten Free Plain Flour – get a bag when the other one is halfway through, that way you won’t run out
Gluten Free Baking Powder – essential for if you have an urge to bake, but have no self-raising flour, just pop a tsp of this in for every 200g of plain flour and you’ll be away!
Icing sugar – just keep some in, i’ve learned the hard way and had to wait to ice my cakes! Not fun when you have an office full of hungry colleagues and you have to make them wait an extra day!!
Cornmeal/Polenta – I add this into a lot of bread that I make as it adds an extra depth to the mix and stops it from being so claggy as some gluten free bread can be
Ground flaxseed – try a tbsp of this in your yoghurt or add it to bread mixes, even add it to cupcake mixtures, it’s great for you, filled with fibre and honestly I don’t go more than a day without having this in. Available in the free from section of Asda or in health food shops
Xanthan Gum – stock up on a jar of this, it will last ages and is great for if a recipe is too crumbly and you think next time you want to try out a different technique. Sometimes I can tell when I’m mixing that I should have added it and sometimes I just add it in if I think the recipe looks like the kind that will need a bit of a helping hand
Agave nectar/syrup – I’m a total convert! Use this on your gluten free pancakes and waffles and I’m pretty certain you won’t be hitting the golden syrup anytime soon! This stuff is yummy! Apparently you can add it to your coffee too! Not tried it, but I’m guessing it will be like the ‘coffee shop syrups’, only this one’s good for you as it isn’t packed with unnatural sweeteners and refined sugar, it’s totally natural!!
I have lots of suggestions and recommendations as I go, so if you want a healthy alternative or if you want to recommend something to me, please let me know! I love using a healthier alternative if possible, so all suggestions welcome. And, if I can, I’ll do my best to hook you up with a better, healthier alternative! I love experimenting, so often I throw in different ingredients to see how they turn out! Like my most recent substitute of apple sauce for oil in my gluten free waffles and dropped scones… both turned out great!
Here’s some advice/tips (whatever word is best and not condescending or patronising because I am the least of both of these evils!):
Be creative, don’t be afraid of trying out new flours or additions, adding vanilla to that chocolate cake is not going to ruin it! And, putting in skimmed milk might make the consistency less thick, but you’ll know you’re being a little bit healthier! It’s all about trial and error… work at it, and if you are really worried, just email me firstname.lastname@example.org or get hold of me on Twitter @RubellesMoon I really am very happy to help out!
Baking in silicon tins (I feel weird saying tin, when I’m not talking about the metal… anyone else? Just me?) is a great idea for gluten free baking. Everything just seems to cook a lot better… I’ve gone from the cupcake cases, to the GIANT cupcake to a loaf tin and I’m just expanding my collection, next up for me is a heart shape silicon mould for one of the cakes I’m baking for my Cake Days challenge.
Stay happy, be positive and get baking, and most of all, a piece of advice from the boyfriend that he constantly has to remind me of when I have a baking disaster (yes, I have these, and yes, I will share with you the many disasters if you wish to know of them!) this is what you need to remember if things don’t turn out as you want:
“Ruby, you are not on Masterchef, you are not a five star chef, you are not catering for a restaurant, it’s fine.”
Obviously insert your own name in where I’ve written mine… unless you’ve decided you really like my name and are changing? Or you call yourself Ruby when you bake? I don’t know you, so I won’t judge!
The other thing the boyfriend asks me, very carefully (as by this point i’ve thrown a kid-strop, spatula thrown at the side, cake gloop down my front/his front… depending on who is in the way of the gloopy spatula)…
“Do you want to start again?”
If there’s one thing you take away from this post, please remember, it’s fine to make mistakes, in fact it’s a good thing, because it just means you get an extra go at baking or cooking whatever it is you’re after, and whether it takes one go, gives go’s, or you’re on you twentieth time of making the ‘whatever-it-is’ you’re after (you are very, very dedicated at this point and I will send you a card of congratulations for this… please forward me pictures and your address and cards will be arranged!) just keep going until you love it. Don’t worry if you don’t have the identical twin of whatever photograph your looking at, it’s not about that, especially not when you’re baking free from! In fact, even more reason to be a bit creative and have a bit of flare… you’re free! Free to make up, mash up, mix up and bake your way to a whole new load of cookies, cakes and other yummy treats.
Just be sure to share… and give me the recipe!
And if you’re not sure and you want someone else to try it before you do… I’m you’re gluten free baking mad girl… I love a challenge!
See more from Ruby at http://www.rubellesmoon.com