Grace Cheetham is the author of the internationally acclaimed The Best Gluten‐Free, Wheat‐Free & Dairy‐Free Recipes and Simply Gluten‐Free & Dairy‐Free. Passionate about great food and allergy‐free living, she runs a website and a blog ‐ www.glutendairyfree.co.uk that has been voted one of the best gluten‐free and allergy‐friendly blogs by Channel4.com’s 4Food and one of the 100 best food blogs by womanandhome.com. Grace judges at the Great Taste Awards and Free‐From Food Awards and runs cookery demonstrations and classes.
Can you describe your book? What should the reader expect from it?
I’m so excited about this book. It’s the culmination of so many years of baking (my basic bread recipe, alone, took about 60 goes to get it absolutely perfect). And it’s jam-packed with treats and indulgences. From an amazing Sourdough Bread to Cinnamon Brioche Buns, from moreish Fennel Crackers to Millionaire’s Shortbread, from delicate Fondant Fancies to Chocolate & Beetroot Cake, from a show-stopper Crab & Dill Tart to Beef Wellington, or from delicious Lemon Tart to Passion Fruit & Coconut Cheesecake, there’s everything and, hopefully, more…
When did your passion for gluten-free cooking begin?
I grew up on free-from food. When I was young, the ingredients that were available were generally very restricted but now there’s such a wonderful array of different ingredients to choose from, and to experiment with. I started with fairly simple recipes but then, as more ingredients came onto the shelves, I tried more and more things. My favourite culinary moment from this book, I think, was when I made the Chocolate Profiteroles. They worked first time – and are heavenly. And you simply can’t tell that they’re gluten-free. It was the first time I’d had profiteroles for many, many years. Bliss!
What was the biggest challenge in writing The Best Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Baking Recipes?
My biggest challenge, I think, was not eating all the cake! All over the summer months that I wrote the book, I invited friends and neighbours around to taste the bakes. I have a lovely memory of one sunny summer afternoon when we had five families – with all the adults sitting eating cake, cookies and cheesecake and drinking wine – and all the kids running around the garden.
What was the first gluten-free dish that you mastered?
Flourless Chocolate Cake, I think. And it taught me one hugely important lesson – the importance of beating or whisking cake ingredients really, really well, to get as much air as possible into the mixture. It makes all the difference to the end result.
What is the best gluten-free recipe to get started?
Try something that you really love. Maybe pizza or maybe chocolate brownies. Follow the recipe exactly, regardless of things like whether the mixture seems too runny compared to traditional baking. Put it in the oven, sit back and enjoy the anticipation!
What is the kitchen tool that is absolutely necessary for a gluten-free baking?
Probably kitchen scales or proper measuring cups. The balance of flours, in particular, is really important in gluten-free baking.
Can you tell us 3 kitchen hacks for a gluten free diet?
– Make up large batches of flour mixes. In this book, there are different flour mixes for Cakes, Biscuits, Breads and different types of Pastry. Different balances of types of flour plus grain/starch balances make a massive difference to the end result. And instead of making up the mixes every time you bake, it’s good to make up large batches and store them, ready for when you feel like baking.
– Keep your store cupboard and freezer stocked, especially with things like gluten-free breadcrumbs that you can keep in the freezer and use to coat chicken or fish from frozen.
– Share the dishes with your friends and family, rather than cooking/eating separate meals. It’s much more fun!
The Best Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Baking Recipes
Available from Nourish Books