The lovely people at Souvenir Press recently sent me a review copy of Rita Greer’s new book Simply Gluten Free. Rita has written freefrom stuff for years and it was nice to see another new book from her.
Simply Gluten Free is just that: a simple introduction to gluten free eating.
The book is based on a traditional gluten free diet – ie. gliadin free (no wheat, rye or barley) and there is the customary confusing warning about oats. Clearly, this is not suitable for any of you who are dairy free, TGF or on the Barrier Diet, but it might be helpful as a not-too-scary book for a newly diagnosed coeliac to ease them into gluten free living. If that’s what you need, read on..
I found the tone friendly and welcoming and the recipes of the traditional, comforting sort. It would be a book for a newcomer to the gluten free world who wanted to find easy gluten free ways to still have their favourite well-known traditional fare. Note: there are no pictures, which is a shame, but then that helps keep the book price down and we can’t have everything!
There are some useful tips – white pepper cut with wheat, blob of nail varnish on kitchen utensils to differentiate the GF ones etc – and there is good mention of the cross-contamination and eating-out problems for the gluten sensitive. I felt the base flour mix Rita has devised and used for the recipes was really useful, although I couldn’t help wincing at the inclusion of corn – the main non-gliadin grain I am finding many non-healing gluten sensitives are having a problem with, including me! We call it gluten whiplash when people come off the traditional gliadin grains and start eating more corn/maize based stuff and then get a problem with that. I am seeing it more and more, which is a bit of a worry when most GF foods nowadays rely on corn as the base.
The alternative ‘binders’ to replace the ‘elasticity’ of gluten are also really good to know. Gone are the days of the so-called ‘gluten free bricks’ that threatened to drop through the table they were so heavy!
Rita has included a star rating system for the healthiness of each recipe, which is helpful for gluten newbies to choose new meals well. I found it odd, though, that the rating system was at the back of the book rather than explaining it at the start of the recipe sections where I needed it.
I also liked the store cupboard section and thought actually that a list at the end of the section might be a useful thing to be able to copy for shopping lists.
A good entry-level book for gluten-sensitive newbies who want a traditional gluten free approach. Comforting, traditional food which took me back to the 70s a bit so might suit older people or just those who like good British fare. Not dairy free but many of the recipes can be adapted.
My advice if this sounds like a book for you: go here to download a free Gingersnaps recipe from the book (not the healthiest recipe in the book it must be said, but they sound like a yummy treat!). Make the biscuits, download the ebook for £4-odd, sit down with a cuppa and said biscuits and enjoy. If you prefer paperback, that is £9.99 but you’ll need to make more biscuits as you’ll have eaten them before it arrives..
If you need a gluten and dairy free, or a grain and dairy free book, have a look here.
Hope that helps. If I’ve teased you grain-free people with the gingersnaps reference, never fear, there’s one here (ooh, that rhymes :)).
And I have pinned some more gingery biscuit versions on the Grain Free Sweet Treats Pinterest board – where there is now a grand total of 90 recipes to tempt you!