Someone told me recently that the thing we most crave to eat or drink is what we should most probably give up. Not really the advice we like to hear, is it?
For me, though, it made a lot of sense around my body and gluten.
Before giving up gluten three and a half years ago on the advice of a naturopath*, the very idea of walking into a bakery and unleashing myself on all manner of bread and baked goods would send me into an excitable frenzy. I’m not even talking about cakes here. I’m talking about bread. The freshly baked-no-butter-required-stuff.
I actually suspect I’ve long had an intolerance to gluten. It could extend back to an unhealthy consumption of white bread as a child but was most probably given a good kick along by a serious bout of glandular fever as a young adult. A young adult, who, if I could, I’d go back and give a big talking to about giving one’s body time to rest and recuperate from such illnesses. I doubt whether the 23-year-old me would listen but I do now know a whole lot more about my immune system and a lot of its dodgy-ness can be traced back to the early 1990s.
Even when I was diagnosed with thyroid autoimmune disease, Hashimotos, in the late 1990s, I was not made aware about making better food and lifestyle choices to support this condition. No, I was handed a script for medication, sent on my merry way and told to come back for annual blood tests.
I now know that gluten is one of the worst things for my immune system and my condition. It took less than three weeks of removing it from my diet to confirm that my naturopath was indeed right. I’m not saying that this is something that you need to adjust in your diet but there’s a fair chance in 2014 that you know someone or someone in your family who is either gluten intolerant or a coeliac.
I would love to tell you this is a choice I make to be on some foodie trend but it’s not. Let’s just say that when I throw all (gluten) caution to the wind and chow down on some crumbed calamari or a dumpling, I do so full in the knowledge that my digestive system will spend the next two-three days paying me back with some quality toilet time.
Too much information? Sorry about that. Let’s talk GF food instead.
My father-in-law is a coeliac and one of my good friends was diagnosed a coeliac 13 years ago. I’ve been mindful and aware about cooking gluten-free for many, many years. I’m here to tell you that shopping and cooking GF was not the walk in the supermarket it is now.
Reading and researching was very much a part of that early GF cooking I did.
That all changed – and became a whole lot easier for me – when Woolworths introduced its Macro range. The range has been on the shelves for a few years now and has continued to expand and now includes an extensive offering of quality gluten-free products.
Now that I’m GF (and the only GF member of our household), I aim to whip up crowd-pleasing dinners that not only get the family’s tick of approval but also allow me to get stuck in and enjoy them as well. Re-inventing and substituting regular ingredients from the Macro Gluten Free range has become second nature and the ingredients available are so good that the rest of the family is none the wiser, unless I mention it.
This gluten-free macaroni and cheese is a quick and easy crowd-pleasing version of a favourite that only takes some minor adjustments to make GF. Enjoy.
- 500g milk
- 50g Woolworths Macro Gluten-Free plain flour
- 30g butter
- ½ tsp salt
- Pinch nutmeg
- 500g gluten-free pasta
- 250g mozzarella cheese, grated
- 100g parmesan cheese, grated
- 250g tasty cheese, grated
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
- Cook pasta while making Bechamel sauce.
- To make Bechamel sauce in Thermomix: place first 5 ingredients into TM bowl and cook for 7 minutes at 90 degrees on speed 4. Add half of combined cheese mix, mix at speed 7 for 10 seconds and then heat for 1 minute at 90 degrees on speed 3.
- To make Bechamel sauce on stove top: Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add flour. Stir for 1 to 2 minutes or until bubbling. Remove from heat. Slowly add milk, whisking until mixture is smooth. Return to heat. Cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, for 10 to 12 minutes or until sauce comes to the boil, thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon. Remove from heat. Stir in half of combined cheese mix, salt, pepper and nutmeg.
- Add Bechamel sauce to pasta, stir and then pour into a medium-sized baking dish.
- Sprinkle remaining half of cheese mixture on top.
- Bake in oven for about 15-20 minutes, or until golden.
* This should not be taken as medical or health advice. It applies specifically to me. Please see your health practitioner before making any changes to your diet or lifestyle.