The wheat, gluten and lactose free store cupboard

This is a list of long life ingredients I use in a lot of my recipes.

All my recipes are wheat and gluten free, and where possible I’ve included ways to make them lactose free too.

This list of long-life ingredients includes all the essentials for a special diet store cupboard and are used in many of my recipes.

Specially blended gluten-free flour. I use Doves Farm gluten free plain flour, available in most supermarkets.

Maize flour. Known as corn flour in America, this is yellow and milled as fine as flour. Infinity Foods produces a good variety (sold as corn flour aka maize flour).

Cornflour. This is called cornstarch in America. Available from the supermarkets. It is white in colour and can be used to thicken sauces.

Gram flour (chickpea flour). Available from whole food shops and Asian supermarkets.

Ground almonds. Available from supermarkets and whole food shops.

Xanthan gum. I only use this for bread recipes, as it’s not necessary for cakes or pastries. Available from supermarkets and whole food shops.

Gluten free baking powder. Check the label to ensure it is gluten free. This works in exactly the same as usual baking powder so can also be used in wheat recipes. Available from supermarkets.

Bicarbonate of soda. Available from supermarkets.

Almond milk. Dairy free alternative to milk. Available form whole food shops and Asian supermarkets.

Coconut milk. Available from supermarkets.

Coconut cream. Available from some supermarkets, whole food shops or Asian supermarkets.

Creamed coconut. Available from some supermarkets, whole food shops or Asian supermarkets.

Sweetened soya milk. Available from supermarkets, whole food shops and Asian supermarkets.

Sunflower oil. Available from supermarkets, whole food shops and Asian supermarkets.

Dairy free margarine. Supermarkets and other stores stock different brands of this. They do vary so it is worth trying different brands until you find one you like. I find Vitalite works well in all baking recipes.

Dairy free plain chocolate. Available from most supermarkets, whole food shops, Asian supermarkets and specialist chocolate shops.

Dairy free white and milk chocolate. Becoming more available from supermarkets. Mostly found in wholefood stores and Asian supermarkets.

Gluten free pure cocoa powder. Check on the packaging whether it is gluten and dairy free.

Gluten and dairy free chocolate chips. Plamil make these in 200g tubs. Available from whole food stores.

Glucose syrup. Glucose syrup produced in the UK usually derives from maize or wheat. This is processed enough to remove all traces of gluten and is also suitable for people with a wheat allergy or intolerance.

Gluten free food flavourings / extracts. Available from supermarkets, whole food shops and Asian supermarkets.

Gluten free food colouring. Available from supermarkets, cook shops and specialist sugarcraft suppliers.

Glace cherries. Available from supermarkets, whole food shops and Asian supermarkets.

Mixed peel. The packaging should state whether it is wheat free. Available from supermarkets, whole food shops and Asian supermarkets.

Rice paper wrappers. Available from Asian food markets or whole food shops.

Pure egg white powder. Available from supermarkets, whole food shops and Asian supermarkets. This is different to Meri-white or fortified egg white powder which does contain wheat.

Sources of gluten

Wheat or gluten can be found in ordinary bread, cakes, puddings, pastries, pies, biscuits, sauces, gravies, stuffing, couscous, bulgar wheat and pasta.

But you may be surprised to find wheat or gluten in many other foods. For example, you should check the label before buying any of the following:

  • Manufactured/ ready made meals
  • Sausages
  • Stock cubes
  • Gravy powders, granules
  • Stuffing
  • Processed meats
  • Processed cheese
  • Ready made pie fillings
  • Condiments and sauces
  • Frozen potatoes with flavoured coatings
  • Flavoured crisps
  • Beer – gluten free beers are now available
  • Ale
  • Whisky – highly processed so has a negligible level of gluten
  • Malt Vinegar – highly processed so has a negligible level of gluten
  • Breakfast Cereals
  • Glace cherries
  • Mixed peel
  • Dried fruits
  • Dried egg white powder
  • Ready made fondant.
  • Marzipan.

Foods for special diets have become a lot better and more readily available now than they were as recently as five years ago and things are constantly improving.

Manufacturers are becoming more aware of food allergies and intolerances. They are changing ingredients in their foods so they are suitable for more people or making suitable alternatives. For example, you can now order your skinny latté with soya milk in a coffee shop which was impossible a couple of years ago.

Since November 2005 food labelling has been much improved for people with a food intolerance or allergies making shopping a lot easier. The following was taken from The Food Standards Agency website:

If any of the following 14 foods are used as an ingredient in pre-packed food, they need to be mentioned on the food label. This rule covers all European Union countries.

The 14 foods are:

  • celery
  • cereals containing gluten (wheat, barley, rye and oats)
  • crustaceans (such as lobster and crab)
  • eggs
  • fish
  • milk
  • mustard
  • nuts such as almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, Brazil nuts, cashews, pecans, pistachios and macadamia nuts
  • peanuts
  • soybeans
  • lupin
  • molluscs
  • sesame seeds
  • sulphur dioxide and sulphites (preservatives used in some foods and drinks) at levels above 10mg per kg or per litre

Labels also need to give clear information about ingredients made from these listed foods, for example a glaze made from egg.

Preventing cross contamination

If you are gluten free and you share your kitchen with people who are not, preventing cross contamination of wheat or gluten products into your gluten free products is very important.

  • Store wheat, barley or rye flour and oats away from gluten free flours.
  • Store gluten free foods away from food containing wheat.
  • Always use a clean grill when preparing toast.
  • Use separate tubs of margarine or butter or always put a clean knife into the tub.
  • Use clean spoons for jams and other spreads or condiments.

I keep certain utensils just for gluten free cooking to protect against cross contamination:

  • Sieve
  • Rolling pin
  • Pastry brush
  • Chopping board
  • Whisk

Ensure all work tops and equipment is scrupulously clean before preparing food.