Book Review: The New Zealand Gluten Free Cookbook – Jim Boswell

RRP: $44.99

New Zealand’s ‘Gluten-Free Chef’ Jim Boswell shows you how you can bring fun and flavour back into your diet. After discovering years ago that he had an intolerance to gluten, Jim found it much better to avoid it altogether than to put up with the discomfort his body experienced. He also had friends and relatives who were gluten intolerant so it became his mission to cook and entertain at home without his guests even knowing that the food they were eating was gluten-free.

What’s inside it?

Anyone who has eaten gluten-free food before will know that this special food requirement can often lead to brick-like breads, dry meals and odd flavours which result from ingredient substituting. It’s not just cakes, pasta, pastries and breads you have to watch out for, but even condiments like sauces and a large majority of commercially prepared snacks can contain gluten in them.

The book is divided by meals – the basics, brunch, starters, mains, veges and salads and desserts. Thanks to Jim’s heritage, there is a Mediterranean theme to many of his recipes. Our faves include the Polenta Chips with Lemon Pepper Coating, Veal Meatballs with Sicilian Tomato Sauce, Spicy Orange Chicken, and Stuffed Tomatoes.

The desserts include some of the basics, like Chocolate Fudge Brownies and Caramelised Apples. As gluten-free flours are often heavier/stodgier, the desserts that are heavy and stodgy normally are often your best bet to get as close to the ‘real thing’. However, Jim dares to throw in a few sponge cakes which is a bit of a treat for gluten-free diners. Just be prepared to use a lot of eggs to get that light-as-air feel (the Chocolate Sponge uses 10, the Lemon Sponge uses 12!).

The special bits

Jim advises what every gluten-free pantry should have and even recommends specific branded products which makes it easier for finding at your local supermarket. The first chapter’s recipes are for a range of basics that often contain gluten if you buy them from a store, including chicken and vegetable stock, tomato sauce, glazes and marinades, and a plain flour mix.

Buy it if…

You, a friend or someone in your family has an intolerance to gluten or Coeliac disease, or if you would like to eat healthier, tasty foods.

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