Saturday, 18 December 2010

Quick fix easy alternatives (updated)

In recent years, I’ve noticed that supermarkets are catching on to the fact that there are an increasing number of people with food allergies and intolerances, so there are more alternative foods available than there used to be. Alhamdullilah many of these foods don’t even taste like cardboard:P I still don’t like some of the ‘gluten free’ products which list ingredients or E numbers that seem better suited to a science lab than a food list. The biggest change I’ve noticed in my diet is that I can’t order take aways as I used to because most fast foods contain or are coated with breadcrumbs or some other wheat product so these are some ‘quick foods’ I use:

Quick fix easy meals:

- most supermarkets sell wheat free fish fingers so I bake those in the oven with crinkle cut chips (I use the shops own brand of chips and it’s worth bearing in mind that many brands of frozen chips are coated with wheat so check the ingredients list if you want to avoid that)

- Spelt pasta or gluten free spagetti with stir in sauce or pesto (the variety of stir in sauces is endless but my personal favourite is roasted red pepper pasta sauce), but bear in mind Spelt is similar to wheat and contains gluten (if you can tolerate corn then corn spagetti is a good gluten free alternative to wheat pasta).  I must admit I don't like the taste of rice pasta

- I make ‘topless’ sandwiches using toasted “Stamp Collection New York Deli Bread” which is available from Waitrose or select branches of other supermarkets (I normally top the toasted slices with omlette or cream cheese, tuna and cucumber), though I suspect this contains gluten so check the label

- There is a new product I've seen in the shops called Genius bread; it's gluten free but does contain egg and other stuff so check the label.  Having said that, it does taste fairly similar to wheat bread so although it's a bit pricey, it's a good quick fix and is also suitable for home freezing

- An obvious option is jacket potatoes: if I don't have time to bake them then I prick a large potato with a fork, put it in the microwave for 4 mins on one side, then turn it over and cook for 3 mins on the other side (timings may vary depending on the microwave you have), then I cut it open and eat it with cream cheese, tuna, cheddar and sprinkled with salt and pepper

- If you REALLY can't be bothered to cook, supermarkets are starting to sell basic margarita gluten free pizza

- Cereals: check the labels as many are unsuitable for special diets, but I know quinoa pops and some rice cereals are gluten free... I personally love porridge and granola but bear in mind oats contain gluten (albeit low levels of gluten so there is controversy surrounding whether it's suitable for celiacs)

- Soba noodles: I wasn't sure whether to mention these because although there are gluten free soba noodles available (check packets as many brands of soba contain wheat as well but bear in mind 'buckwheat' is not a 'wheat' and does not contain gluten), I tried cooking these the other day and did not like the taste much (which is why I haven't posted the recipe).  I'm hoping it's just a case of finding a better recipe for it cos' it would be so convenient to have decent gluten free noodles around

- Kofte kebabs; make a batch and freeze them so they are ready to eat in minutes whenever you have a bad day and too little time... that reminds me, I need to post a recipe for it- duh, silly me!

Quick fix snacks (bad habits but nice as an occassional treat):

- Poppadoms/Crisps
- Plantain crisps,
I think you'll forget about other crisps once you've tried these

- Corn tortillas with salsa (plain corn nachos are best cos' many are coated with wheat flour, check the labels)
- Dried fruit/nuts and seeds
- Chocolate mousse
- Flapjacks
(not suitable for a gluten free diet though)
- There are nice wheat free, gluten free ice cream cones available in the shops these days, so I really enjoy those on a hot day with a scoop of vanilla ice cream (check labels as many ice creams contain gluten, egg and other things)
- Fruit; yes I know it's obvious but it's so quick, convenient and healthy that it deserves a mention whether it's just munching on an apple, or chopping lots of fruits up into a fruit salad and sqeezing orange juice over it to keep it fresh
- Salad; another obvious and healthy option but to be honest, I'm not the best person to ask about making good salads, I'm still in the process of learning about that because there are so many varieties out there

I’m sure there’s loads of other stuff that can go on the list but I can’t think of any at the moment. I do intend to post up tasty wheat free recipes though- honest! 

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