This is gluten-free by Victoria Hall
Delicious Gluten-Free Recipes to Bake it Better
Let me start off by saying something very important: do not cut gluten out of your life because you think it’s cool, because you think you’ll lose weight or because you think it’s healthy. Cutting out gluten is a major life chance and you shouldn’t do it without at least consulting a dietician, to make sure you’re balancing your new way of eating and are not losing out on necessary vitamins and so on. I don’t suffer from gluten intolerance myself but I do have an intolerance to wheat and a long list of other foods. Ever since I found out I’ve been trying my hardest to make the transition into cutting out wheat (luckily not durum wheat) and all the other foods, but it’s not easy.
My biggest issue so far is the lack of available alternatives in supermarkets. Since i’m also heavily intolerant to cow’s milk I’ve had to go look for food that was both wheat and milk free, not that easy! When it comes to wheat I am lucky enough to still be able to eat things like spelt bread, but for other things like cookies I very often have to by gluten-free cookies as there aren’t any wheat-free options in my supermarket. I can’t even imagine how much harder it would be for someone who has to cut out gluten, as it’s in so many things you wouldn’t even expect! There are of course the big items like pasta, noodles, bread, cornflakes, cakes, cookies but also very often sauces and gravies, beers but even a lip gloss can cause issues for anyone who suffers from coeliac disease. In some cases, where a person is highly sensitive to gluten, they can’t even use a knife that has touched something that contains gluten. So next time you go and say: “I’m on a gluten-free diet, I’ve los so much weight and it’s so much fun!” please be more considerate as people who actually suffer from it, as it affects their lives in a major way.
Due to the lack of alternatives available in stores, I’ve been thinking non-stop about how to make things myself, even going as far as to make my own milk-free chocolates as there are no tasty options available for me. Luckily when it comes to wheat and gluten, I have discovered Victoria Hall, who suffers from coeliac disease herself. She opened her own restaurant in Leeds, after previously being a teacher. Speaking on her gluten-free restaurant she said : “A lot of places are offering gluten free but there is always a risk of cross-contamination and you can’t always be 100 per cent safe and free from gluten.”
She has now released her first book called ‘This is Gluten-Free’, after the demand of her customers for her fantastic recipes made her think about putting pen to paper herself. The book is a wonderful collection of gluten-free bakes, which will surely put a smile on the faces of anyone suffering from coeliac. From personal experience I can tell you it’s incredibly difficult to convert traditional cakes into gluten-free options, so I’m extremely happy with this book myself!
Whether you lead a gluten-free lifestyle, need to cater for a friend who is gluten-free or coeliac, or want to try something different, this book will prove useful for anyone looking to bake without gluten. Starting with the Basics, Victoria guides you through the dos and don’ts of keeping a gluten-free kitchen. To the seasoned baker, much of this section will already be second nature. To those new to the whisk, she advises you read it with a cup of tea and a biscuit – it’s not rocket science, just some useful tips and after a few hours spent at the oven, as your baking instinct develops, you’ll feel like you’ve known it all along.
Next up, Victoria guides you through failsafe recipes that work every time. From Small Bakes and Cupcakes, including Sultana Scones, Millionaire’s Shortbread, Cherry Bakewell and Pina Colada Cupcakes; to Celebration Cakes, including the best gluten-free Victoria Sponge, a sweetly soft Cookie Dough Cake and “Malt” Loaf. Also included are recipes for Perfect Pastry, such as Egg Custard Tarts, Pumpkin Pie, Tarte Tatin and Chocolate Eclairs; Desserts to make you drool with a Chameleon Cheesecake, Tiramisu and Mulled Fruit Pavlova; and finally Savoury Bakes that will delight at dinner parties: Parmesan Poppy Seed Crisps, Steak and Ale Pie, and Spiced Lentil and Spinach Pasties. There’s so much to choose from, you needn’t tell your guests, and they’ll never guess that This Is Gluten-free!
About the author
Victoria Hall is owner and founder of 2 Oxford Place, a 100% gluten-free restaurant set in a beautiful Victorian townhouse in the city centre of Leeds, UK. She opened the doors to critical and commercial acclaim in 2014. With rave reviews on Tripadvisor, in the national press and a Free From Eating Out Award, Victoria now sells a range of gluten-free bread-baking kits and shares her secrets for perfect gluten-free bakes in this, her first book.
“Owning and running one of the few gluten free restaurants in the UK has given me the opportunity to speak to thousands of people with special dietary requirements. So often, the feedback that I hear is that their kitchen has become a battleground. Once easily navigated and commanded, it has become an environment full of hidden, hostile ingredients and a scene for unpredictable and often inedible results.
I can fully understand the frustrations and disappointments of my customers. After ten years of my own flops, failures and oven-side tears, and transitioning from home baking to baking professionally I have now developed a repertoire of recipes that are as efficient as they are tasty. And that work, every time.
Sharing some of these recipes in my first book, ‘This is Gluten Free’, I hope can prove a useful resource for anyone looking to bake without gluten. With a bit of practice, everything can be adapted, and there is no compromise on taste or texture, I promise. The proof is, after all, in the pudding.” – Victoria