Delicious Gluten Free Meals by Sarah Howells – Review
By Gail Schuster
Sarah Howells started her gluten free blog in 2009, sharing her food diary to practise her writing, whilst doing a journalism degree. Since then, her following has grown tremendously, and in 2019 she left her career as a journalist to become a full-time food writer. I first came across her when one of my family was diagnosed with coeliac disease and I was searching the internet looking for information, recipes, products, hints, and tips. I would recommend ‘The Gluten Free Blogger’ to anybody who is following this diet and who wishes to keep up to date with new products and ways of replacing old favourites in their regime. It has taken a long time for Sarah to bring out her first cookbook, given how long she has been doing this, but it has been worth the wait.
Delicious Gluten Free Meals is a good introduction for anybody who is new to coeliac disease, as it has lots of valuable information as well as recipes. The early chapters start with Sarah’s personal story, which many will recognise. It then moves on to what gluten is, where you find it and common foods which are safe to eat. Next it considers how to shop differently and why you do not need to stick to the ‘free-from’ aisle. As anybody shopping for gluten free will soon realise, this adds a huge amount to your food bill, and in these days of the cost-of-living crisis, ways of following your diet without busting your budget are very useful.
Issues on which Sarah provides valuable advice are avoiding ingredient cross-contamination and eating out at other people’s houses. There is also a useful list of ingredients and equipment which are used in the book. These are for the most part familiar, and the aim is to make eating gluten free affordable. However, if you are new to this way of cooking then you may find adding xanthan gum to your baking odd.
This book is for everyone, not just for people restricted to gluten free. There are around 100 recipes in Delicious Gluten Free Meals, divided into eight chapters covering basics, fakeaway treats, desserts and one pan wonders, amongst others. Approximately, half are meat free or vegan, and all are clearly marked with dietary needs, for example EF, meaning egg free, so that these can be immediately recognised.
My family eats mostly plant based meals, and the recipes I have tried out have all been successful. A particularly popular one was the chickpea, quinoa, and halloumi salad. Everything could be bought easily at the supermarket, and it didn’t require a long list of ingredients which I was never going to use again. The sweet potato and peanut curry was also very tasty and nourishing, and there is plenty of choice for fish and meat eaters too. There is a very easy Thai salmon fishcake recipe, chicken and cashew nuts, beef brisket with red wine gravy and, for those who like a good pie, a chicken, ham, and leek puff one.
The desserts look good too. There is a recipe for churros with chilli chocolate sauce, which I have not made but which is on the cards to do as my daughter has not had that since her diagnosis.
Delicious Gluten Free Meals emphasises affordability, simplicity, and being able to eat your favourite dishes even though your diet has had to change.
‘Delicious Gluten Free Meals’ by Sarah Howells is published by Yellow Kite