Gluten-free is a term with a multitude of meanings. To some people it means a very serious allergy, to others it means the difference between feeling comfortable and feeling bloated, but to a lot of people it means that annoying one in the office.
What far less people know is what gluten actually is, as prior to my cooking lesson with Genius Gluten Free I definitely had no idea. I knew it was something to do with pasta, being bloated and stomach problems, and I actually avoided it for a little while whilst I was at university. However, I found it a bit of a faff whilst going shopping and I feel there is a lot of stigma attached to going gluten free because it is seen as being difficult or unnecessary.
I’m lucky that I don’t have any food intolerances, but when I’m particularly stressed or seriously training my body becomes far more reactive. Therefore I think it’s important to know that food and diet isn’t a place of extremes. I’ve written about this before as a way of staying on track, but it really isn’t a case of healthy or unhealthy, good or bad, but balance and choices that keep you both happy and healthy. I may not be intolerant to gluten, but I don’t need to eat it everyday – and food can be delicious without it. Going gluten free doesn’t mean no bread or pancakes ever again, but nor does it mean having artificially created products as I think everyone is far more aware of packaging or labels being misleading.
It was great to have a lesson in both gluten and cooking from Genius founder Lucinda Bruce-Gardyne. Not only is she the mother of a coeliac son, but she also trained at Leiths, so she knows the importance of both taste and health when creating a recipe.
Myself and a few others were invited down to the L’Atelier des Chefs to learn about Genius Gluten Free’s updated range of recipes, offering an enhanced nutritional profile making sure they are low in saturated fat and high in fibre, as well as containing no artificial preservatives. I normally keep a loaf of bread in the freezer as I don’t go through it very quickly and it means I don’t have to throw away loaves all the time, but I went through the Omega 3 rich triple seeded sandwich bread loaf in no time. I keep the pancakes and bread in the freezer ready for a quick toast and nut butter application for when I come home starving after work.
We whipped up falafels, hummus, tzatziki and served them with Genius Pocketable Pittas, and then the incredible recipe I’m going to share here: gluten-free chocolate bread and butter pudding. This is one of my favourite puddings of all time and having it gluten-free seems like a bit of a paradox, but it definitely works! I ate my portion, had seconds, and then took some home for my flatmate which I then ate half of….
- 6 slices of gluten free white bread, crusts removed and cut diagonally in two
- 80g dark dairy free chocolate, broken into pieces
- 40g dairy free margarine
- 100ml dairy free cream
- 100ml dairy free milk (Soy, Almond or Coconut Milk works fine)
- 2 tbsp dark rum
- Zest of 1 orange
- 55g caster sugar
- 1⁄2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 pinch of chilli flakes
- 1⁄4 tsp ground cloves
- 2 eggs, beaten
- Preheat the oven to 180°C.
- Place the chocolate, dairy free margarine, dairy free cream, dairy free milk, rum, orange zest, sugar and spices in a medium sized pan and stir until the chocolate is fully melted and the mixture is smooth and glossy.
- Beat your eggs thoroughly in a medium bowl.
- Pour the chocolate mixture gradually into the beaten eggs, stirring continuously.
- Cut your bread slices into triangles and remove the crusts (you can keep them on if you prefer!)
- Overlap the bread triangles over the base of a small greased oven proof dish then pour over the chocolate and egg custard.
- Bake in the middle of a preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until the custard is just set in the centre of the pudding.
- Serve warm with ice cream.