Lisa Howard recently sent me an early copy of her new book, Healthier Gluten-Free to have a look at – and it does look delicious!
And: it’s finally out here in the UK – published today.
It’s aimed at anyone interested in healthier eating and/or avoiding gluten, and is in three parts:
- the first discusses going gluten-free, with a useful list of wheat variants to look out for (something people sometimes find confusing).
- the second discusses the importance of ‘whole-grain’ to a healthy diet, and includes:
- a fascinating discussion of flours: their taste, and their best use. This includes a whole range of flours I’ve never thought of using, such as poppy seed, acorn or coconut flour – interesting.
- discussion of different milks and dairy products, and of eggs, oils and sweeteners (again, including unusual ones such as yacon syrup and sucanat – I’m going to have to hunt some of these fascinating ingredients down…)
- advice on which flours would work well in various dishes: for example, she advises using a mild medium-starch flour such as brown rice flour in shortbread, or starchy flours such as potato or sticky rice flour in dumplings.
- and the third part is six chapters of recipes: breakfast, hand-held meals, salads and pilafs, appetizers and snacks, and finally baking.
Some of these are twists on classic recipes, and many are definitely going to be on my list to try out, starting with:
- goats cheese & walnut scones with pears
- goats cheese, fig and caramelised onion pizza
- pear, walnut and gorgonzola salad
- halloumi & grape salad
- parmesan-battered fish and chips
- almond-dusted crab cakes
- cumin-scented guacamole
- baked brie with homemade berry jam
Theres more, much more: these were just the ones that caught my eye and made me peckish – and now that I look at the list, I’m obviously craving some cheese!
It’s written in a light and friendly tone, full of sidebars and summaries, with good explanation of technical matters – the section about leavening agents is excellent.
Note that it is written for an American audience, so ingredients (such as types of cream) and brands (such as Grainaissance or Aunt Jemima’s) may not be the same as in your country, and do check everything you buy – for example, tortillas almost inevitably contain wheat flour here in the UK unless you make your own or buy from a specialist.
The book is dedicated to Lisa’s mother, and there are many elements in the book that remind me of my own, sadly missed, mother, who also kept every butter-wrapper for greasing cake tins, and who once memorably repurposed one of my childhood baking disasters as Resurrection Cake.