The Gluten Free Blogger Sarah Howells is here to help, with her store cupboard essentials - plus a super-quick and easy Thai noodle recipe.
It’s been over two decades since Sarah Howells, aka The Gluten Free Blogger, was diagnosed with coeliac disease at the age of 12. Now 34, the Devon-based former journalist, who launched her blog in 2010, is a total pro at whipping up gluten-free meals that everyone in the household will eat - and has 110k Instagram followers to show for it (find her @gfblogger).
Her first book, Delicious Gluten Free Meals, is a godsend for those with gluten allergies or intolerances, who waste far too much time scratching their heads trying to work out what on earth they can eat for dinner. It’s just been published and is crammed with 100 recipes that cover all bases, from speedy midweek dinners to puddings to slow-cooked showstoppers. We’ve got one to share with you, below – a healthy, flavour-packed Thai peanut noodle dish, which can be on the table in just 15 minutes. We’ll be round for dinner later, OK?
But first up we asked Sarah what ingredients should always feature on a gluten-free cook’s supermarket shopping list. After all, preparation is always key, but even more so when you have to avoid certain foods but still want to eat well.
Sarah Howells’ 5 gluten free store cupboard essentials
- Plain gluten free flour. I always keep a good stash of this in the cupboard, as it can be used to bake anything from cakes to bread - and can be easily turned into self-raising flour with the addition of baking powder.
- Xanthan gum. When it comes to gluten-free baking, xanthan gum is my secret weapon! You only need a tiny bit in bakes such as gluten-free pastry and bread and it helps to replicate the stretch of gluten, making your bakes much easier to handle and with a much better texture.
- Gluten free stock cubes. These are a must - I use them in everything from sauces to risotto. A lot of stock cubes contain wheat so this is something you always have to double-check. [Kallo does a range of gluten-free stock cubes].
- Tamari. Soy sauce also contains wheat so I always keep a stash of tamari instead, which is naturally gluten free and adds a lovely umami flavour to stir-fries, salad dressings and marinades.
- Tinned tomatoes. My cheap and cheerful, go-to ingredient has to be tinned tomatoes. From a humble tin, you can quickly throw together the base of a pasta sauce, stew, curry or pizza sauce - they're so versatile and naturally gluten free. It's much cheaper to make your own sauce using tinned tomatoes than buying a jarred one.
Make this for dinner! The Gluten Free Blogger’s Thai Peanut Noodles
These nutty noodles are great for when you need a simple yet nourishing meal. The dish is packed with vegetables and really quick to throw together – plus I love the fiery little kick from using sriracha in the sauce.
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
1 tbsp sesame oil
200g pak choi, sliced
1 red pepper, deseeded and chopped into chunks
80g baby corn, chopped into chunks
3 spring onions, chopped
225g flat rice noodles
Lime wedges, to serve
For the sauce
100g peanut butter
2 tbsp tamari sauce
1 tbsp sriracha sauce
Juice of 1 lime
- Combine the sauce ingredients in a bowl and set to one side.
- Place the sesame oil in a wok over a high heat. Once hot, add the vegetables, reserving a handful of spring onions for serving, and stir-fry for 3–4 minutes.
- Cook the noodles as per the packet instructions. When ready, stir 4 tablespoons of the cooking water into the sauce, then drain the noodles and rinse in cold water.
- Add the noodles to the wok, then pour in the sauce. Stir-fry for 1–2 minutes, until the sauce is mixed through.
- Serve sprinkled with the reserved spring onions and a lime wedge on the side.
Delicious Gluten Free Meals (Yellow Kite, £22) by Sarah Howells out now