Weekend Bites: Gluten free dining
It's Coeliac Awareness Week from May 11-17. An autoimmune condition, coeliac disease prevents those affected from digesting gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye.
Gluten is a common ingredient in many foods that people consume every day, including - for example - bread, pasta, gravy, soy sauce and beer.
The disease can manifest itself at any stage in a person's lifetime, and an estimated 46,000 people are affected in Ireland.
Symptoms include abdominal pain, recurring mouth-ulcers, weight loss, vomiting and diarrhoea. If untreated, coeliac disease can affect fertility and lead to other health conditions such as osteoporosis. The only treatment for the disease is a gluten-free diet with annual medical check-ups also advised.
The Coeliac Society of Ireland (CSI) is a voluntary charity and company that provides information, support and awareness to coeliacs throughout Ireland.
Its mission is to improve the quality of life for coeliacs and those who benefit from a gluten-free diet.
This year's events include TV chef Adrian Martin's attempt to make the world's largest gluten-free potato pancake.
Irish Craft Butchers are also supporting the week with five gluten-free cooking demos by chef Adrian in-store.
The weekend includes CSI's 'Out and About' walking series at three beautiful country house locations.
The walks will be followed by a hearty gluten-free lunch and the chance to meet with fellow coeliacs in the area. Coeliac Society support groups and local businesses will also host regional events.
Visit coeliac.ie for details
Satay chicken spiralised courgettes
For the courgette linguini:
2 small courgettes
1 lime, zested and juiced
A handful of mint chopped
For the chicken:
4 chicken fillets, halved
2 tbsp garam masala*
For the satay sauce:
1/2 stick of lemongrass
2 tbsp cumin*
2 tbsp turmeric*
3 heaped tbsp peanut butter*
1 tin of coconut milk*
Knorr Gluten Free Chicken Stock cube mixed with 200mls boiling water
Sea salt to taste
You will need a spiraliser
1. Spirialise courgettes to form the linguini strands. Place in a bowl, add the zest and juice of the lime and chopped mint. Season with a touch of sea salt.
2. Soak skewers in cold water before using. Mix the garam masala and sea salt and rub into the chicken fillets. Chop chicken into large chunks and place on skewer. Pop into the oven at 170°C for 10-12 minutes.
3. In a saucepan, add the diced onion, crushed garlic and lemongrass; gently sweat in some oil until soft. Add the turmeric, cumin and peanut butter on a low heat and stir through for another minute. Add the coconut milk and chicken stock, turn up the heat and bring to the boil. Simmer on a medium heat until reduced, season to taste with sea salt
4. Serve with the spiralised courgette and the chicken skewers, then spoon over that amazing sauce.
* Check for gluten-free versions of these ingredients
Thai-Style Fricasse sauce with Meatballs
300g beef mince
300g pork mince
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 spring onion, finely sliced
I inch of fresh grated ginger
For the sauce:
1/2 onion sliced
2 tbsp tomato puree*
1 tbsp mild curry powder*
1 tin coconut milk*
200ml Knorr gluten-free Vegetable stock
1 inch of fresh grated ginger
* Choose gluten-free versions
For the rice:
300g (or 1 cupful) basmati rice
3 cardamom pods pierced
600ml (or 2 cups) water
2 big pinches of salt
1. Place all the meat into a bowl and mix. Roll and shape into 12 small balls approximately 2.5cm (1in) in diameter. Put the meatballs in a large roasting tin drizzle with olive oil and bake in the oven at 220°C for seven minutes.
2. For the sauce, sweat the onions in oil for 30 seconds; add the curry powder, tomato puree and cook out for 30 seconds.
3. Next add the coconut milk, vegetable stock, ginger, salt and bring to the boil. Allow to bubble and reduce on a medium heat for 5-6 minutes. Take the meatballs out of the oven and pour the sauce over them and place back in the oven for another seven minutes.
4. For the rice, place all the ingredients in a pot and bring to boil then simmer for 8-10 minutes until light and fluffy. Remove the cardamom once cooked.
5. Serve by spooning on the rice, then the meatballs, sauce, garnish and tuck in.
Ask the expert: How do you suggest catering for a coeliac?
A huge amounts of foods are naturally gluten-free: meat, fish, vegetables, fresh herbs, dairy products and rice.
Stick to these as your main ingredients and keep an eye on hidden gluten in pre-made sauces and other condiments.
Homemade curry with rice or a roast dinner are always a winner. Pasta, bread and cakes don't have to be off the menu as there are some great gluten-free alternatives available.
The crossed-grain symbol indicates a product has been certified gluten-free by the Coeliac Society of Ireland. It's easier when you start cooking to prepare food for your coeliac guest first and keep it separate to food containing gluten.
Be particularly careful if you're using standard flour for other guests, as flour containing gluten will lead to cross-contamination.
My advice would be to cook GF for the whole dinner party; it leads to easier preparation and won't make your coeliac guest feel left out.
Log onto coeliac.ie for recipes and tips. A regular on TV3's '7 O'Clock Show', chef Adrian Martin will be hosting cooking demos in Craft Butcher Stores during Coeliac Awareness Week in association with Knorr.