There’s a wealth of websites, blogs and cookbooks out there for gluten-free people. But how do you know which is a good one? Fret not, I’m here to help navigate!
One of the reasons I started my gluten-free blog was because I was really, really frustrated about not being able to find one place which could give me the information I wanted. Where to buy food, what to buy, how to mix flours properly, how to successfully convert recipes and whether somewhere was a good place to eat or one which made me feel like a freak or poisoned me. I spent a lot of time trawling through websites and trying to sort out which were good ones. Here are a few I ran across which I found some good information from!
If you’re a serious foodie, Gluten-free girl and the chef is a must-visit. They use a variety of unusual ingredients and combinations to produce some amazing dishes. They do videos, have cookbooks and are really interesting in what they do with food. They have two current cookbooks. Their first, Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef: A Love Story with 100 Tempting Recipes, is a more complex book with difficult and exotic recipes (and some straightforward plain ones too). Their second book, Gluten-Free Girl Every Day, is more aimed at busy families. Although they are American and use a lot of the American measurements, they are also about eating naturally, so their recipes translate better for people like me who like to cook from scratch. As a bonus, Shauna James Ahern, the titular ‘Gluten-free Girl’, writes beautifully. www.glutenfreegirl.com
Also a cookbook author and coeliac, with a coeliac child as well, is April Peveteaux at GIMB. She is very funny, and because she is a busy writer, mother and coeliac, her recipes tend to be a little more on the convenience side and less on the make from scratch one. However, she also does great reviews of eateries she visits all over the USA (very useful if you’re travelling there), and she is also unflinchingly honest about the effects of being “glutened”. She uses strong language from time to time, and is very frank, so is probably an R13 website. Her book, Gluten is my Bitch; Rants, Recipes, and Ridiculousness for the Gluten-Free, has recipes and experiences throughout. glutenismybitch.wordpress.com
If you travel, Travel Gluten Free is a good place to visit. Mike, who runs this website, trolls the internet for people’s reviews of gluten-free eateries around the world. He then emails the writers to see if he can use their content to add to his ever-growing list. There are a few of my reviews from New Zealand, USA and Ireland in there, but it’s great if you’re going to a new area. www.travelglutenfree.co.uk
Locally, there are a couple of chefs who have websites and this is really excellent because they use local ingredients and local measurements. I’ve talked before about Neville and Judy Green at Gluten Free Made Easy (GFME). They offer a recipe club with online tutorials, some excellent face-to-face teaching, and relationships with stockists. They know everyone in the business it seems and can share anecdotes and tips and tricks. They love to make people’s lives easier, and this really shows. www.gfme.co.nz
Another New Zealand chef who is gaining some prominence is Jimmy Boswell. He has a cookbook out in print, The New Zealand Gluten-Free Cookbook, and at least one e-cookbook. Like Neville, he does speaking engagements and tutorials. www.jimmyboswell.com
About the same time I began blogging, so did another New Zealander. Bev, the blogger at Coeliac diagnosis – Gluten Free OMG!, has a number of dietary issues aside from being coeliac, but has continued to go out and eat and find new places which are good for coeliacs. She and I have never met, although we do seem to follow each other around quite regularly, so I am sure that if we ever do meet, we’ll say “Oh, you were that person at the…” She eats out a lot more than me, so her suggestions for places to eat are far more extensive than mine. She has also experimented with a lot of recipes, so you can find good local information on her blog. sleepinghorse.wordpress.com
So there are a few online resources. I do tend to find that if I Google a recipe or ingredients, I can find something online, but often I get frustrated by having to convert sticks of butter and look for substitutes to cans of ingredients. I also have a big problem with many gluten-free cookbooks which as far as I am concerned are cheats. They give recipes for things which are already gluten-free. They’re not conversions of normal recipes. This drives me crazy! By all means provide a list of meals which are gluten-free as standard. But if you’re going to write a gluten-free cookbook, convert recipes for goodness sake!
Here are some which do give alternatives, flour mixes and great conversions.
First up, a local offering. Alison Holst and Simon Holst have actually written two books about gluten-free cooking – Gluten-free baking and Gluten-free desserts and baking. Like most of Alison Holst’s books, the recipes are simple and easy to follow. She gives a good bread flour mix and several other offerings. I’ve made a number of things from these books, and they are pretty fool-proof. www.holst.co.nz/Shop/Books.aspx
Next up is Phil Vickery’s Seriously Good! Gluten-free Cooking for Kids. This one’s not local, but it is good because it provides recipes for babies, through toddlers and school age. The recipes are simple enough for children to help with and although it is an English cookbook, the ingredients are typical and available for us here in NZ as well. He also has an informative section on flour mixes and gluten-free foods, as well as a party section! This is endorsed by Coeliac UK.
If you like entertaining or have a sweet tooth (or both!), Sharing Sweet Secrets – Gluten & Wheat Free by Pamela Moriarty may be the cookbook for you. This does have a selection of naturally gluten-free recipes, but it also has a good selection of tarts, cakes, sweet breads and desserts. The writer is Australian, and so the recipes feel local.
One of my favourite cookbooks is Quick-Fix Gluten Free by Robert Landolphi. A friend sent this over from the US, and of course this does mean that I need to do some conversion from American measurements and the like. This is a follow-up to the Gluten Free Every Day Cookbook, with the difference that these are recipes which can be made in 30 minutes. These books were written because Landolphi’s wife was diagnosed as coeliac and he immediately decided to cook delicious and normal food for her. This is not all healthy food, but the recipes work really well. His Buttery Flaky Pie Crust has become a staple for me and his tutorials and anecdotes are very entertaining.
I’m keen to hear any of your cookbook or website recommendations. Do you have one that you use all the time?
I’m on week three of not tracking everything I eat. I’m still losing weight, but I suspect I’m going to have to go back to the tracking if I want to get to goal weight. I’m just trying to free wheel and see if I can still be losing weight while not thinking about every bite of food I’m eating. Our 10,000 steps challenge at work has finished. If you’re interested in reading my blog post about my experiences, you can find it here. I’m keeping up the 10,000 steps programme, although I’ve cut back on the steps I’m doing, and haven’t approached the 114,000 steps I managed to finish on in the last week!
For those wanting more information on coeliac disease, check out the NZ Coeliac Society website www.coeliac.org.nz.
This blog is the opinion and experiences of its author and should not be taken as medical or dietetic advice. Healthy Food Guide has not verified the content and cannot endorse any advice given. Healthy Food Guide recommends seeking professional health advice for specific complaints or symptoms.