Thursday, October 6, 2011

Attempting a gluten-free meal

I've never really understood what it means by a gluten-free (gf) diet until a week ago when RG informed that one of our dinner guests is allergic to gluten. For a couple of days, I panicked as I had absolutely no idea what I was going to cook. I did tonnes of research online regarding gf-diet and realised to my horror that so many of the stuffs that we eat would contain some trace amount of gluten in various forms.

It was really hard to come up with the dinner menu 'cos I wanted everyone (gf or not) to be eating the same food. Sure I could've just made some safe gf stuffs for the gf-guy, while everyone else tuck into yummy "regular food" but I really didn't want him to feel left out. On the other hand, I wasn't sure if the other guests would mind chomping on just salads and hummus. My guests are young guys and I want a main dish that they can all enjoy together.

So I finally decided on pulled beef burgers, coleslaw, potato-egg salad and baked corn. Although these are regular foolproof stuffs that I make occasionally, I've never attempted to make them entirely gf. Certain ingredients had to be substituted for gf, the cooking style of the pulled beef was a little different from what I'd normally do 'cos of certain different ingredients and the pot that I used (I avoided using cast iron pots 'cos I read that it could result in cross-contamination).

I started off with buying some gf condiments. I managed to find some gf stuffs in the whole foods section of SHAW'S. I also checked the ingredient labels to double-check that the stuffs are really gf.

I normally use agave nectar as a natural sweetener and I'm glad it's gf.

I read that not all mayo are gf so I decided to make my own instead 'cos I needed mayo for both the coleslaw and potato-egg salad. It's amazingly simple to make your own mayo (no preservatives or whatsoever!). Just blend 1 large egg + 1 egg yolk + 1 tsp gf Dijon mustard + 2 tsp lemon juice and then pour in canola oil (SLOWLY!) while continuing to blend. Finally you can add some salt/pepper but I normally don't so as to reduce our salt intake. The recipe makes approx 2 cups of mayo. I suppose you can store the mayo for up to a week but I usually try to consume it within a couple of days for maximum freshness.
I also put aside all the cast ironwares and non-stick pans that I normally use for my cooking and used stainless steel pots/pans instead...after I've scrubbed the living-daylights out of them. Wooden/silicone spoons were also substituted with stainless steel utensils. I used a glass chopping board instead of a wooden one. I also bought a new knife and aluminium trays. The kitchen countertop was thoroughly cleaned with a fresh rag to ensure that there were no leftover bread crumbs, flour or other "contaminants". I even checked to make sure that the handwash in the guest bathroom does not contain wheat.
As I was serving pulled beef burgers.....I had wanted to buy some gf burger buns but the only thing that I could find were these gf bagels in the frozen whole food section...but I figured it was good enough.
I bought regular burger buns for my other guests and to avoid cross-contamination, I served my gf-guest separately with his food on individual small dishes.

For dessert, I made a flourless chocolate cake using this recipe from (it's an awesome site for recipes if you don't already know!!!). It's a super rich (& I say SUPER) chocolate cake so you can serve it with some plain old vanilla ice-cream to take the chocolately edge off if you'd like.

Here's an after-dinner photo.....I'm glad to say that the guests seemed happy and that I hadn't screw up big time by causing my gluten-allergic guest to have flare-ups or anything. I have learnt a lot about gf-diet from the preparation of this one meal....while my kitchen won't be going gf anytime soon, I might make some healthy changes to the ingredients that I use in future and perhaps to try to reduce gluten in our diets.


  1. You are a great hostess, going to all that to create a fab meal for your guests. I am sure they appreciated yr efforts. Btw are you on FB? It'll be good to keep in touch.

  2. Are you serious, you went through all that just for one guy. How does he eat out on a regular basis? Bring his own food? I always wonder why there are rare food allergy cases in Singapore compared to here. It's crazy.

  3. @jeanette: ya...i just wanted to be sure so abit more kiasu/kiasi. he normally brings his own food to school. and when he goes on longer trip (for school), he caters his own food. quite tough if you've allergies like that. yes, i was also wondering why allergies are more common occurence here.

  4. A thoughtful meal indeed - and so yummy too. The choc cake sounds so good!