Cooking without eggs

What to use instead of eggs in recipes

There are so many things that we can use that are vegan and non-dairy when a recipe calls for eggs. This is great because it means  you can cook almost anything from a normal recipe book without having to dig out special ingredients if you know what type of recipe they are suitable for. So here are a list of common ingredients that can be used to replace eggs and the type of recipes they are suitable for:

1. Baking soda and vinegar.

For this you can use any vinegar you have around, malt vinegar or cider vinegar.

To replace one egg combine the 1 tablespoon of baking soda with 1 teaspoon of vinegar.  Add the mix to the recipe when it says add the egg.

The chemical reaction between these two ingredients makes baking really light and fluffy.  So this is good for cakes, cup cakes, and muffins.

2. Flax seeds.

Flax seeds (linseeds) are really good for you and are very high in omega-3. 1 tablespoon of flax seed and 3 tablespoons of water replace one egg.

Put the flaxseed in a coffee grinder (or get ready ground flaxseed). Combine with 3 tbsns water and mix  thoroughly.  After 2 mins or so the mix will get  gelatinous like egg. Add to the recipe replacing the egg.  This mix gives a  nutty flavour and is great for pancakes, muffins and bisciuts.

3.  Silken tofu

60g = 1 egg

Silken tofu is a long life product that comes in a small tetra pack.  It is really smooth and creamy and can last in the cupboard for ages.  It doesnt even need to be kept in the fridge.

Blend the tofu to be really smooth .  Add when the recipe calls for an egg.

Great for both savoury and sweet recipes, adds moisture and helps to bind.

4. Egg Replacer

1.5 tsp with 1 tbsn water or soya milk mix is the equivalent to 1 egg

Egg replacer is made of a basic mix of potato starch and tapioca flour which together thicken bind and rise. Recipes and directions are on the box but basically you need 1.5 tsp with 1 tbsn water or soya milk to replace 1 egg.  Mix well taking care to  remove all lumps.  Use instead of  egg in all recipes. One box is the equivalent of 100 eggs so this is good value and very veratile.

5. Plain soya yogurt

60g = 1 egg,

Use to add moistness and densness to cakes

6. Bananas

Half a banana really very well mashed = 1 egg.

Obviously using banana adds banana flavour to whatever you are making so be sure you actually want it to taste a little bananery.  Good for pancakes, bread, and cakes.

7. Stewed apple

60g of stewed apple can replace = 1 egg.  Using apple will add moisture to bread and cakes.  It can also be used to replace fat or oil in some recipes.

There you go, egg-free baking made simple.  If you have any other egg-free tips, vegan tips on cooking without eggs or other easy ingredient replacements please post them here.

My mum, the molasses and conversations about pine bark

For as many years as I can remember my mum has been drinking beverages with blackstrap molasses to help with arthritis. That’s not so surprising as it’s a good source of calcium and minerals like copper, manganese and potassium which are essential for building bones. (It’s useful to note that vitamins D and K and protein also help. Exercise is helpful too.) But I often wondered what that strange, strong smelling syrupy stuff she put in her drinks was.

82562398Blackstrap molasses seems to be one of those ancient cure-alls, a bit like cider vinegar (which is also famous for helping with arthritis – Sir Ranulph Fiennes swears by it.) Because the causes of arthritis are not known the focus remains on relieving the pain. And now there’s a new kid on the block: pine bark extract.

When I say “new kid” you have to understand that while the benefits of vinegar were supposedly noted by Shennong 7000 years ago, we have to wait until around 400BC for Hippocrates to write about pine bark. However, pine bark was only successfully marketed in the 1990s while molasses and cider vinegar have been in the public eye for a lot longer.

However, when my mum reads this she’ll probably scold me for not heeding her wisdom about drinking pine needle tea if ever I get scurvy?

Anyway, I digress. Researchers from Chieitl-Pescara University and Munster University have now found that the pine bark extract sold under the name Pycnogenol significantly relieves the inflammation of osteoarthritic joints which causes arthritis sufferers so much pain; they even found that patients who took the supplements felt relieved from pain for a further two weeks.

That’s good news as at this point my mum will probably regain interest in the conversation. It’s also interesting to note that while blackstrap molasses helps with heavy periods, pine bark has been found to significantly reduce menstrual pain.

As a cure-all the extract has long been known for it’s aid in healing wounds (and scurvy). Research is now being done into its ability to reduce stress, particularly in children with ADHD (google Dr Peter Rohdewald). And because it destroys free radicals it’s being used in many beauty care products too. Though, you know, I think I’ll pass over talking about anything to do with mum’s need to look more beautiful – or I might find myself ducking a jar of flying molasses.

Making your own vegan, non dairy, no cheese Cheesy spread

Yet again Engevita Nutritional Yeast Flakes take centre stage. I can’t rave about them enough, they are so versatile adding that cheesy taste to sauces, mayonnaise, and now a cheese substitute. This is a cheesy spread/soft cheese you can make yourself and use for all sorts of things. Great on crackers, with salads, in sandwiches or great used to stuff tomatoes or peppers with added chopped beetroot, spring onions and a little garlic. You really can let your imagination run riot and add almost anything to the basic mix.  You can even thin it down with a little water to use as a sauce.

Here is the basic mix:

400g pinenuts
250g extra virgin olive oil
2 whole lemons, zested, then peeled and quartered
1 medium onion
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
a little crushed garlic to taste (optional)
Sea salt to taste

Directions:

Soak pinenuts for 1 hour. Drain, then put them in a food processor with the  olive oil, lemon quarters, lemon zest, and onion. Process for about 7-8 minutes until everything begins to look creamy and stuck together with a good texture.  It is now just a matter of blending in the yeast flakes.  This works best in a blender but I don’t like washing up so I perservere with the processor until the mix is smooth, thick and creamy.  This is the basic mix to which you can add galic, salt and pepper to taste.  Plus anything else for that matter.

Coeliac blogs from the UK

There are a lot of blogs out there about living as a coeliac, yet most of them are American. Since I am based in the UK I want to learn the experience of British people who have to avoid gluten.

If you’re a shopper in Britain then your experience (or frustration) about what you can find will differ to what a US website tells you. (Though the truth is that coeliac shoppers, wherever they are, are pretty canny when it comes down to it; they have to be…)

But it’s not only about what you can buy, it’s about where you can eat, who is raising awareness, what to look out for, recommending good books, and knowing the difference between a pound and a ‘stick’ of butter…

So I’ve compiled a list of the up-to-date UK blogs that I’ve found, but you may  know of others out there too – if you do, please feel free to suggest them.

Free From (Gluten)‘ is written by Lucy, a mum who’s child suffers from coeliac disease. It’s actually a whole website full of advice on how to manage your lifestyle and it doesn’t shy away from campaigning for more awareness either. Also, it’s been going since 2006 which counts for a lot in my book.

Similarly, Kirsty is in the first year of looking after her ‘Gluten Free Child’ and is keen to blog the struggles her family have faced.’ And ‘Andy’s Blog Coeliac stuff in the UK‘ has only been going a few months but it’s a definite Dad’s perspective on catering for a coeliac child.

If you live in the capital, I wonder, do you have access to a greater range of gluten free foods and shops? Lizzie writes ‘Gluten-free London‘ and is determined to let you know about the best places to eat.

Wheat Free Living‘ by Aoife Luykx has a wealth of reviews of different products. She’s actually based in Dublin, Ireland, but they have Tescos there too. Other Dublin based blogs include ‘Gluten (wheat), Caesin (Dairy) & Soya (Soy) Free.ie‘ and ‘Gluten Free Boy‘. It is said that it’s difficult to live as a coeliac in Ireland but these guys seem to be saying otherwise.

As Cat states, “it’s hard loving food so much when it doesn’t  love you back.” However, on ‘I’m Gluten Free Baby‘, she approaches the challenge with verve and describes herself as a foodie who loves cooking, eating out and holding dinner parties. And she seems to have a following too, check out her delicious recipes. And the photos on ‘My Wicked Good GF Cooking Blog‘ will make your mouth water too. It’s full of recipes and there’s lots of good commentary and advice.

Gluten Free World‘ documents the travels of one intrepid blogger as he records the surprises and frustrations of travelling abroad as a ceoliac, including the  discovery of being able to eat gluten free at MacDonalds.

Feng isn’t ceoliac – all the same, her body’s reaction to wheat means this passionate cook is cooking gluten free and coming up with some very tempting treats. It’s difficult to read ‘Creative Recipes for Wandering Minds‘ without printing of something to try later.

billygean.co.uk deserves a mention too. It is, as she describes, “compulsive reading” because she reveals a lot of her everyday thoughts online. The writer isn’t certain if she is coeliac but can’t be tested because she refuses to eat gluten.  ‘Fussy Foodie‘ is another interesting, attractive site. It’s written by four writers and covers a range of food intolerances.

Blogs do come and go. Some of the above won’t be running in a year’s time, but it’s worth journalling about your experience if it helps you reflect and others learn. James Miller’s ‘Coeliac Diary‘ has been going since 2003 and may recently have stopped, but it looks like an invaluable source of information.

Let us know if you find any other interesting blogs out there.

Garlic brings the best out of Jersey Royals

Garlicy new potatoes

A basic recipe which has become one of my favourite ways of serving new potatoes
Serves 4
28oz (800g) Jersey Royal new potatoes
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil or another oil good for cooking for example avocado, coconut or macadamia

1 large bulb garlic, halved horizontally

2–3 tbsp leaf parsley, coarsely chopped

METHOD

1.  Cook the potatoes in boiling water for about 15 minutes, or until just tender, then drain.

2.  Meanwhile, heat 2 tbsp oil in a small, heavy-based frying pan. Add the garlic, cut-side down. Cook over a moderate heat for 10 minutes, or until caramelised.

3. Squeeze the cooked garlic out of its skin into a bowl and mash with the remaining oil and parsley. Toss the potatoes in the garlic mixture and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Cherry Scone Twists

Gluten-free and delicious served warm straight from the oven, or cold on the day of baking.
Makes 8-10 cakes
Preparation time: 10-15 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
Oven temperature: 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6

Ingredients:
1 sachet (250g) Dietary Specials White Mix
10mlsp (2tsp) gluten free baking powder
25g (1oz) caster sugar
50g (2oz) soft margarine or spread
1 medium egg beaten
45 – 60ml (3-4tbsp) milk
50g (2oz) glace cherries, chopped

Method:
1. Mix together well White Mix, baking powder and sugar.
2. Fork in spread to resemble fine breadcrumbs, add the cherries.
3. Stir in egg and sufficient milk to give soft not sticky dough.
4. On a surface dusted with Mix, knead lightly for 1 minute then roll out 1cm (1/2”) thick.
5. Use a 7.5cm (3”) cutter out rounds, then remove centres using a 3.5cm (1”) cutter.
6. Twist each ring to form a figure eight. Re-knead trimmings and repeat process.
7. Place well apart on a greased baking sheet.
8. Lightly brush with milk and bake in a preheated oven for 10 minutes until well risen and golden.

Recipe from Dietary Specials for use with thier White Mix

Coeliac Awareness Week May 2009

Today marks the beginning of coeliac awareness week. Are you aware of what coeliac disease is? Do you know if you will catch it or not?

Only messing – of course you cannot actually catch coeliac disease. Coeliac disease (celiac disease for those in the US) is the intolerance or allergy to gluten. Gluten is found in wheat, rye, barley and oats. There is also barley in strains of wheat like spelt and kamut so be careful of these more unusual grains.

What is coeliac disease?

The intolerance is to the protein found in these grains. The gluten affects the villi that line our guts. These villi are like strands of seaweed waving around in our guts, which have the effect of increasing the surface area of our guts to maximise our ability to absorb the goodness from our food. For those with a gluten intolerance or allergy these villi become inflames or flattened which is not only painful in itself but results in sufferers not being able to absorb the nutrition from their foods – a sort of malnutrition.

Symptoms of coeliac disease

Those who suffer from coeliac disease in the short term may experience stomach and bowel problems, tiredness, anaemia, diarrhoea, abdominal discomfort, weight loss, vomiting and mouth ulcers. In the long term those with coeliac disease are prone to osteoporosis, infertility and cancer of the gut.

Is there any cure for coeliac disease?

Coeliac disease is a life long condition and is best controlled by elimination of gluten from your diet. Avoid wheat, rye, oats, barley, spelt and kamut from your diet.

What is a gluten free diet?

So what does a coeliac eat?  The basic need is to replace foods usually made from those grains containing gluten.  Bread is the big challenge but these days there is a fantastic selection of gluten free breads of all types.  Alternatively you can make your own bread using a gluten free all purpose flour or bread mix.  Adding a little Xanthan gum helps replace the texture lost by removing the gluten and gives the bread a ‘sponginess’ otherwise difficult to attain.

Breakfast cereals are another area dominated by wheat and oats, but there is a great variety of gluten free cereals too, both for children and adults.

In every food group there are now so many alternatives to choose from.  Here is a full range of foods that are suitable for coeliac disease. If you would like to ask questions about the diseaseor recieve a full catalogue of gluten free foods please give us a ring on 0871 8716611.

Resources for those wanting to avoid gluten

The Coeliac Society

24Dr.com

Gluten free shopping