Gluten Free Hints & Tips?

Hello everyone,

I have just started a gluten free diet and I'm still at the "experimentation" stage - I bought gluten free pasta, flour, soy sauce and crisp breads - wow, that was an expensive one!  I like the crisp breads, but I've used the pasta once and it was MINGING!  It all stuck together in the pan (thankfully I bought penne and not spaghetti), and did not have a very nice texture when I ate it.  I made a cheese sauce with GF flour and added some turkey bacon (I also don't eat red meat) to make a carbonara type thing - it was food, but not something I'll make again.  Today I made cupcakes with the GF flour - they're ok, a bit dry, but butter icing should help there.  I want to make food that I enjoy - it would appear that just substituting GF ingredients for normal ones is not how to do it - help?


Luisa x


        No - the substitutes do not do the same job. Some stores stock a range of 'Genius' GF bread etc - made by a mum whose son has to have gluten free - and she was fed up with what was available.

l am sure you can use cornflour - for thickening sauces and for making batter. l use it when a 'coeliac' friend comes for dinner. l have used the gf spaghetti - it tasted ok - but did not seem to swell up and soften.

l am trying not to eat grain of any sort - low carb - high protein. l am following the 'hunter gatherer' eating regime of Barry Groves. Similar to Terry Wahls diet - but B Groves came up with it 40yrs earlier.

l have ox-tail in the slow-cooker - with lots of onions/carrots/celery/mushrooms/garlic/peppers/toms/beer and lots of purple sprouting from the garden. Then rhubarb fool -  Smells wonderful. l didn't hunt the OX - but l did gather some of the other ingredients. l love one-pot cooking. You can prepare it in the morning - and then its ready in the evening [when l am ready to flake out and watch the telly] OH does not to eat before 9pm - so l usually eat mine before hand and leave him to it.

l have made pastry with potato flour and cornflour butter and egg to bind. lts not easy to roll out. You need to lay it on cling film with another sheet of cling film on the top.

Good luck Luisa -



Thanks Frances,

Your meal sounds lovely - not something I would eat, (I don't eat red meat, there's gluten in beer, and I don't particularly like rhubarb) but lovely anyway.  I'm pretty sure I'm allowed cornflour.  i got my current GF batch of stuff from Tesco - somebody else also suggested the Genius bread, I'll maybe give it a go.  I also use my slow cooker a lot, it's great to know that once you've chucked everything in, there will be a meal ready at the right time.

Luisa x

My mother in law is a coeliac and everything is gluten free. We use corn flour for sauces and that is fine.
Chis x

you could try looking on the coeliacs web site lots of recipe ideas there - my brother is a coeliac so often have a look on there for ideas when he comes for a meal


Thanks, those are good ideas,

L x

Hi I have been gf for about a year and have been given some tips. The Genius bread is by far the best, if I am making pasta I give the water one quick spray of the 1 cal fry light spray to stop it all sticking together. When making Yorkshire puds I use the same amount of eggs to the ounces of flour used and cut down on the milk and they rise lovely:) I have done this with cakes too as makes them lighter. You can eat crunchies and Galaxy chocolate but there is so much gluten hidden in products I still spend a long time shopping and reading all the labels!
Good luck x

I found when using the gluten free flour up your fluid a bit by adding an extra dash of milk or a bit of water. The flour absorbs more liquid. My favourite simple sponge recipe......weigh your eggs, then use same weight of flour, sugar and marg/butter. (cream Marg and sugar then gradually add flour and eggs alternately.) add a good splash of milk (and tsp of vanilla essence if required).
With the pasta the one I like most is an Asda own fusilli (I think it is made with cornflour). But I have found with all of them the cooking times often need adjusting and it is better to check they are 'al denti' as they suddenly over cook.
Cornflour is definitey the best thing for thickening sauces as the GF flour doesn't really work out taste wise especially in a Bechemel / white sauce.
There are so many more Gluten free items out there is worth a bit of experimenting as to which ones you like best. There are quite a lot of good recipes on the BBC website too.


Thanks, that's good to know - I know that Maltesers are out, but I can still eat peanut M&Ms (checked the label, then googled to be sure), whoo hoo!  I've decided to make as much as I can from scratch - the GF stuff is ridiculously expensive!!

L x

oh,I forgot.....I also got a Waffle Iron and use this most mornings to do gluten free waffles (the batter can be mixed in a big batch and kept in the fridge as it uses baking powder not yeast)....Nicer than toast and my kids love fresh waffles.

lzzi, l haven’t had waffles since l was a little girl - we have lots of loverly duck eggs - so would make a good batter.

Do you use cornflour in the batter with baking powder.?

l shall have to get a waffle iron



I used The AiA Gluten and Dairy Free Cook Book - it's good for various measurements and substitutions. The bread rolls were nice, but I don't "do" grains at all now. A lot of gluten free products in the shops, eg. bread, taste awful, but Genius is good and they now do loads of products besides bread, eg pizza.

Good luck,


Thanks Heather, I'll have a look for that book, it sounds useful

L x

I have just dug out my waffle recipe (makes about 10 depending on Waffle Iron): 300g Plain Flour ( I use Dove Farm GF Plain), 2 tbsp Sugar, 1 tbsp baking powder, 1/2tsp Bicarbonate of soda, 1/2tsp salt, 390ml milk, 85ml veg oil, 2 eggs and 1 tsp Vanilla essence.
It seems like a lot of baking powder, but it does work. If you use Self raising flour just leave it out, but keep in the Bicarb. I usually double up the quantity as it keeps for a good few days in the fridge.
I just stick everything in the mixer as it goes and then pour into the waffle iron....Great on their own, with lemon curd, jam or Chocolate spread.
Enjoy x

Hello, I went GF last year and didn't enjoy any of the substitues so I don't bother with them and just eat loads of fruit and veg etc.


I do make the kids GF cakes which i've tried a few times, the victora sponge and chocolate sponge cake recipes on the side of the Doves Farm flour bags are really nice, not found them dry at all.

Thanks - I’ll give them a bash - hadn’t got round to reading the packets yet, but will have a look

Luisa x

Hi Luisa

The gluten free things take a while, but after seventeen years I prefer it, including the pasta - but rice pasta gluten free is better than the usual dried pasta from supermarkets made by Orgran.

I cook the pasta until soft, then put it in a sieve to drain it and pour boiling water over it to clean it. I make some tomato based sauce with herbs, or some creamy soya thing which is very good with seafood. If you cook it to the minute and don't re-heat it later, I think you will find it doesn't stick together but probably its in the rinsing.

Genius bread is really good but there is nothing like fresh bread. It is not so good a day after though. I like to have a genius loaf all week and more often than not I make a loaf at weekends.

There are some excellent gluten free goodies ast Asda. I don't keep a loyalty policy to any supermarket - I just shop where I feel like it, and they all have certain products which are better than the next shop. I'm usually in Sainsbury mainly because we have a huge one in Camberley, along with what was at one time the biggest Tesco in Europe. It's just lots of the same old though!

Look for Black Dragon cider. It's a good alternative to beer and has an unusual flavour which I like too much and it's on tap at my local.

Talking of's Friday!




Thanks Mark,

I'm going to try a little oil in with the pasta next time, and I'll try rinsing it too.  I don't really eat bread anyway, but I'll maybe have a bash at the Genius one, I haven't heard a bad word about it yet.  I don't drink much beer, and tend to stay away from cider, but thanks for the tips.