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Gluten and dairy free diet

1. If you're going gluten free, you need to avoid not just wheat but also rye, millet and barley. You also need to be careful of oats - only use ones marked as 'gluten free', otherwise they're likely to be contaminated. If you use cornflour you have to use maize cornflour (as it's actually made from corn, not wheat), and use flour substitues (more below). Check labels of things to see what's in them, as gluten finds itself into strange places. One surprise source of gluten is some soy sauces, so if soy sauce is listed as an ingredient, don't eat the product unless it says it is gluten free. Soy sauce itself will list ingredients on the bottle, so check to see if it includes wheat. Another surprise gluten source is processed meats like sausages and patties, which often contain flour. Salamis tend to be OK.

2. If you don't want to do all your baking from scratch and you want to be gluten and dairy free, your local Asian supermarket is your friend! Chinese people use very little wheat or dairy, so almost everything in the shop will be fine. Try rice crackers, which come in both sweet and savoury versions (check they're soy sauce free), for snacks. The Chinese supermarket will also sell a wide variety of rice and bean noodles that you can use instead of wheat pasta, and various firmnesses of tofu, which can be an excellent dairy substitute. Buy 'silky' or 'creamy' tofu and whizz it up with fruit in the blender to make yummy dairy-free smoothies. The Chinese store will also sell the flours you need to make gluten-free baking flour at a fraction of the price you'll get them for at health-food stores.

3. If you want Western snacks, 'Kea cookies' do a gluten-free range, and most of those are also dairy free. Pak 'n Save and New World stock their range, and they aren't too pricey. 'Orgran' and 'Freedom Foods' also do gluten and dairy free biscuits. Popcorn and corn chips are both also OK, as are most commercial salsas. 'Nice'nNatural' and 'Orgran' both do suitable muesli bars.

4. For breakfast, Hubbards do a gluten and dairy free muesli called 'Thank Goodness'; some cornflakes and rice bubbles are OK (check the ingredients); and Healtheries do a couple of porridge-like hot cereals made of rice instead of oats. I also like to make a kind of rice pudding with soy milk for breakfast just using left-over cooked rice re-heated with extra water to make it slushy and flavoured with brown sugar or golden syrup. I don't know of any gluten and dairy free bread, but Healtheries and a few other companies make gluten free bread mix, or you can find recipes from scratch on the internet. Check that the soy milk is only made of soy, not soy plus barley, as barley contains gluten.

5. For spreads, most margarines are dairy free, but do check the label. Signature range canola, olive and sunflower margarines are all fine, as are olivani and gold 'n canola and meadow lea lite. Cooking oils and hard fats like lard and kremelta are fine.

6. Orgran also does a gluten free gravy mix. You'll need to steer clear of 'cup-a-soup'-type soups, but some canned soups are OK, including Signature Range hearty chicken and sweetcorn; chicken gumbo and mediterranean tomato canned soups.

7. You also need to avoid malt (it has gluten), so for vinegar you need to use cider, balsamic or white vinegar, not malt.

8. Most lollies and iceblocks are OK. 'So good' also makes soy ice cream, and jellies are also OK.

9. For convenience foods, a few kinds of baked beans are OK (check labels), and vegetarian sausages tend to also be gluten and dairy free.

10. To save reading labels, there is a data base of NZ manufactured foods at http://www.mfd.co.nz/. Go to 'search' and tick both gluten and dairy and it will list products by category (e.g. beverages or convenience foods) with the brands that are free of gluten and dairy. You can then write the brand and the shopping list and just look for that when you go shopping. http://www.menumade.co.nz also looks helpful, although I haven't used it myself. It allows you to plan menus that are free of gluten and dairy and then generate shopping lists for NZ products that will enable you to make what you plan.

11. When you're dairy free, it's really important to make sure you get enough calcium, either by taking supplements, drinking calcium enriched soy milk or eating lots of the kind of tinned fish that still has the bones in, like salmon, sardines, mackerel or pilchards.


You can make a lot of recipes you already make by substituting margarine for butter, soy milk for milk and the following flour mix:

2 tablespoons potato flour
enough white rice flour to make it up to 1 cup
1 teaspoon xanthan gum OR guar gum

to make it a self-raising flour, add 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate soda and 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

You can buy potato and white rice flour very affordably from an Asian supermarket, and the xanthan or guar gum from a health food shop. The potato flour may also be labelled as potato starch. The Asian supermarket will also sell soy, tapioca and pea flours, which can also be handy.

Pizza base

mix together:

1T dry yeast
1T Italian herbs
2/3 C rice four
1/2 cup tapioca flour
2T pea or soy flour
2t xanthan gum OR 3t guar gum
1/2 t salt
1t gelatin


2/3 cup warm water
1/2t sugar
1t olive oil
1t cider vinegar
more water 1T at a time until a soft dough is formed

dust a tray with rice flour and spread out in a circle. Bake 10 minutes at 220 degrees. Spread on toppings and bake a further 10-20 minutes depending on what you've put on it.

We found this to be nice, but it wasn't good if you tried to keep leftovers to eat the next day.

Chocolate brownies

1/2 cup rice flour
1/2 cup potato starch
1/4 cup tapioca starch
1/2 cup cocoa
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 t guar or xanthan gum
1/4 cup margarine or kremelta
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla essence
1/4 cup warm coffee or water
1/2 cup chopped dark chocolate

Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Grease 20cm square baking dish. Stir together the flour, starches, cocoa, baking powder, salt and gum. In a separate bowl, beat together the fat and sugars until well combined. Add egg, vanilla and coffee or water and beat again until well combined. Mix in the dry ingredients until just combined then gently stir in the chocolate chips. Could also add nuts, dried fruit or chopped marshmallows at this point.

Spread batter into prepared dish and bake for 35 min. until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool then cut.

These are a little bit dusty, but still yummy.

Sesame seed slice

1/2 C (175g) honey
1/2 C currants or other dried fruit
1 C dessiccated coconut
1 C toasted sesame seeds
1/2 C sunflower seeds
1/2 C chopped walnuts (optional)

Melt honey and stir in dried fruit and coconut. Mix in seeds and nuts just before liquid has all disappeared. Press into a tin with wet hands. Refrigerate and cut after half an hour.

Zitronenmoendli (Swiss lemon biscuits - one of my favourite things)

350g ground almonds (buy from the bulk bins at Foodtown)
200g sugar
pinch of salt
Zest of 2-3 lemons
1 1/2 egg whites

Mix the almonds, sugar, salt and zest. Beat the egg whites to soft peaks and fold in. Work into a dough. Roll out about 7mm thick and cut into shapes with cookie cutters (moons are traditional). Leave on baking paper to dry out for at least 5-6 hours, or preferably overnight. Bake for 8-10 minutes at 160 degrees. Ice with lemon icing. Yum.

Zimtsternli (Cinnamon stars - also very yummy)

3 egg whites
pinch of salt
250g icing sugar
1 T cinnamon
1 t Kirsch or lemon juice
350 g ground almonds

Beat the egg whites and salt to stiff peaks. Mix in icing sugar. Set aside 1/3 cup of this mixture, and into the remainder mix in the remaining ingredients. Roll out dough about 7mm thick and cut into shapes with cookie cutters (stars are traditional). Spread the sugar/egg white mixture on the shapes as icing. Leave biscuits on baking paper to dry out for at least 5-6 hours, or preferably overnight. Bake for 3-5 minutes at 250 degrees.


3 egg whites
pinch salt
100g sugar
300-350g ground hazelnuts or ground almonds OR 250g ground almonds and 75g ground pistachios OR 200g dessicated coconut

Beat the egg whites and salt to stiff peaks. Add half the sugar and continue beating until the mixture is shiny. Add the remaining sguar and the nuts and fold in.

Drop teaspoon-fuls of the mixture onto a baking tray covered with baking paper and leave at least 5-6 hours to dry out a bit. Bake 8-10 minutes at 180 degrees.

Note: You can easily grind pistachio nuts in a mortar and pestle. Hazelnuts are much harder to grind, and hard to find ground, but ground almonds are easily found at the supermarket, although they're a bit expensive.

Most main-course foods should be OK anyway, but here's a yummy creamy curry that's gluten and dairy free that you may like to add to your reportoire:

Curried Chickpeas with Coconut and Apricots

Serves 6-8.

1 T oil
1 onion
6-8 cloves garlic
4cm ginger, grated
1 T curry powder
2 C dry chick peas (pre-cooked, incl 1 1/2 C liquid reserved)
OR 5C pre-cooked.
1 C dried apricots soaked overnight in water
1 tin coconut milk
1 t salt
1 t chilli

Preheat slow cooker 20 mins on high.

Saute chopped onion, garlic, ginger, curry powder in oil.

Place in slow cooker with remaining ingredients including cooking liquid. Stir. Cook on low, ~8hrs.

Season to taste.

Serve on rice with dark green leafy vegetables.

And lastly, a yummy snack:

Chick-pea crunchies

* 2 cups cooked chickpeas drained well and blotted dry
* 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
* 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
* 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Chickpea Crunchies are a great, nutritious snack. The spicing is limited only by your imagination. Cajun crunchies could be made, for example, by using Cajun spices; Southwestern crunchies by using chili powder and cumin. The crunchies taste best served the same day. Note: If you use canned chickpeas, reduce or omit the salt.

Preheat oven to 200 degrees

Toss the chickpeas with seasonings and spread on a nonstick baking sheet and bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until golden brown and crisp.

You can find more gluten and dairy free recipes on the following websites:

A lot of these sites are nominally only gluten OR wheat OR dairy free, but many of their recipes would be suitable for you - just look at the ingredients.

October 2006