Oeps, it has been a while since my last entry, but here we go.
As you might have guessed I am passionate about Food in all it's glory. But there is something that I am more passionate about and that is giving People with Food Intolerances/ Allergies Inspiration. I have a "problem" with Food myself. Years ago I was told that I don't seem to break down Dairy well, bye bye Milk and Cheese. Couple of months ago I was told to stay away from Wheat for a while and see how I feel. That turned out to be Gluten. So most of the Wheat substitutes were taken away from me as well. Everyone is different and you have to figure out what works for you.
I have been on and off the Dairy for 3 years now. Goat and Sheeps Milk/ Cheese seem to be easier to digest, but that doesn't mean I don't eat the occasional "regular" Cows Cheese. As long as I don't overdo it I seem to be fine. Although Milk is a no-no.
I find that Dairy, apart from Cheese, is not hard to substitute. There are good Milk Substitutes like Soy or Rice Milk. These are also good for cooking with. There is a good Vegan Butter that you can buy in any regular Supermarket, look out for the Pure Brand. And a lot of Soy Products are actually really tasty, try Alpro Soy Yoghurt and Desserts.
Eating Wheat-Free, or worse Gluten-Free, takes a bit longer to get used to. Wheat is in a lot Convenience Goods. It's used to thicken Sauces and added to Soy Sauce. Remember when something says it's Wheat Free that it doesn't mean Gluten-Free. Gluten can also be found in Rye, Oat and Spelt. Gluten is the Substance that makes your Dough elastic. You really have to shop around for Gluten-Free Products in Ireland.
Kelkin and Juvela do nice Sliced Bread and Breadrolls. These have to be heated up before eating as it will taste stale. Both Odlums and Doves Farm do Gluten-Free Bread Flours. Just to let you know, they work a lot different than the regular Flour you are used to as there is no Gluten, so it won't be an elastic dough you will be getting. The Flour is made into a Smooth Batter, stand to rise and then baked. But it does make great Pizza Bases, Pancakes, Flatbreads and Breadrolls. Check out the websites for Odlums and Doves Farm as they give you great Recipe Ideas.
I have tried a couple of different brands of Pasta but TruFree makes Pasta that actually taste like Pasta. After cooking the Water looks a bit gluey because of the Starch but if you rinse it and reheat it you won't notice the difference. I don't even bother rinsing it. They also do other Products like Sweet and Savoury Biscuits, although my local Supermarket doesn't stock those (yet).
And for those of you who want the occasional Biscuit or Cracker. Glutano has good Cracker Bread and DS (Dietary Specials) do a good Chocolate Biscuit. Although the Biscuits are not crumbly and crunchy it's better than nothing. As I said when it comes to getting Gluten-Free in Ireland and especially in the West you have to be happy with what you can get. Although all of these Companies do quite a range of Products Supermarkets don't tend to stock a whole lot of it. You can always ask them if they could.
And another Substitute for Wheat is Gram Flour or Chickpea Flour. This is used a lot in Indian cooking. It makes lovely nutty, savoury Pancakes and I have used it to make a Pastry Crust for Quiche (see recipe from the Post "A different approach to Pastry" from july 06).
To make the Savoury Pancakes
Sieve 6 oz (175gr) Gram Flour with a pinch of Salt in a bowl.
Add 2 eggs and whisk the Flour into the Eggs. Pour in about 3/4 pint of half Water half Milk (Soy or Rice Milk will do) a little at the time till you get a smooth Batter. Depending on the Flour you will need more or less. It will thicken while standing.
You can add 2 tablespoons (or to taste) of Herbs like Rosemary, Thyme, Parsley, Chives or a Mix if you like. Let this stand for 20 minutes and add more Liquid if necessary.
Get a Heavy Frying Pan nice and hot, add a little Oil and pour enough of the Batter into the pan to cover the bottom. Flip the Pancake over when the top is dry and continue baking for another couple of seconds on the other side. Do this with all the Batter.
You can freeze the Pancakes or reheat them later.