Category Archives: Starters

Starters to whet the appetite

On the seventh day of a gluten free Christmas …brown bread for starters

For the seventh day of a gluten free Christmas we decided to try a selection of gluten free brown bread, so that it can be served to complement a starter or used for sandwiches.

In the past, gluten free bread has left a lot to be desired. In fact when I was first diagnosed as a coeliac, over twenty years ago, you could only get it from specialist health food shops and on prescription, prior to that it used to be sold in a tin! However, since then, there has been nothing short of a revolution. We started making and selling fresh, gluten free bread over 10 years ago when we ran our gluten free bakery, but the national availability of ‘fresh’ gluten free bread from retailers, has only really been in place for the past two/three years approximately.

This has made it so much easier for caterers (and friends and family) to ‘buy in’ gluten free options for the coeliac guest. What is important to remember though, is just buying in gluten free options is not enough. Managing them is another matter all together. Coeliacs react to the smallest amount of gluten – in order to label a food item gluten free, by law in the EU it must contain less than or equal to 20 parts per million gluten. To put that into perspective it’s equivalent to one teaspoon per 500 litres of liquid. Or to put it another way:

An average slice of bread weighs 50g.
The average slice of whole wheat bread contains 4.8g of gluten.
A coeliac will react to less than 20 parts per million of 4.8g
So, as a proportion, 20 millionths of 4.8g equals 0.000096g.
Therefore, a coeliac can only safely consume 0.0048g of bread a day (50g multiplied by 0.000096)
…a minuscule amount, so as you can see – even a few crumbs on a butter knife will make the coeliac guest ill.

Different food stuffs contain different levels of gluten, so for example pasta contains more gluten than bread and thus the amount safely allowable to consume is less. Moreover, all the food ingested during the day is cumulative, so a minor amount of gluten at lunch, plus a bit at dinner can make a coeliac very ill by the end of the day.

So, if you are providing a gluten free option, please ensure that clean utensils and boards are used, and that all steps are taken to reduce any potential risks.

As always, all of the products are reviewed independently and the commentary is our own.

Click the video below to see the results of our taste testing.

On the second day of a gluten free Christmas …sausage rolls

For day two of our 12 days of Christmas, we taste tested gluten free sausage rolls. Sausage rolls have, for many years, been denied to coeliacs, unless they bought from specialist bakeries like we once were or made them themselves. In the last two years gluten free sausage rolls have gone mainstream and both frozen, uncooked sausage rolls and fresh ready-to-serve sausage rolls are now widely available.

All the products are reviewed independently and the commentary is our own.

Click the video below to see the results of our taste testing.

On the first day of a gluten free Christmas …mince pies

Christmas is a time of year when we all want to feel a little bit special and indulge when we eat out. Frequently, when eating out over Christmas, I have been left with a very basic meal and yet Christmas food is all about the trimmings. Most major retailers now provide a raft of gluten free Christmas food, in fact this year a few supermarkets have really upped their game! We decided to create a ‘shopping list’ of gluten free Christmas products that are readily available nationally. Caterers can then easily source these products and add them to their Christmas menus to create a meal for us that is just as special as ‘normal’ Christmas meals.

The first day is all about mince pies. So, whether you want to provide gluten free mince pies for your diners to have with coffee or mulled wine, or whether you want to serve them as a dessert, play the video below to see which mince pies came out the best in terms of taste and texture.

All the products have been tested by us and commentary is completely independent. Some products may not have been available at the time of our testing and thus may not be included, but we have tried to provide a full range of food items including mince pies, stuffing, Christmas puddings, bread and so on, basically the generic mainstays of a Christmas meal.

Each product taste testing will be released daily over the next two weeks via the website www.glutenfreetraining.co.uk, so please drop by and read the blogs and play the videos.