We held a gluten free cooking demo and tasting event at the Brig O’Turk Tearoom on Sunday 23rd October. The event was led by Carolyn McGill from Forth Valley Food & Drink CIC. Carolyn demonstrated 4 recipes and shared useful tips & tricks with the attendees as well as recommendations on where to purchase some of the gluten free ingredients locally.

In this blog post we’re bringing you some of the recipes as well as a handful of the useful gluten free cooking & baking tips shared by Carolyn.

Top Tip no.1

Always check ingredients on packets for allergens – products are being reformulated regularly for many reasons, so even products you think you know well may have changed – for example Vegetable Oil may actually be Rapeseed oil, egg powder may replace fresh egg.


Top Tip no.2 

Coconut Oil regularly features in gluten free & vegan recipes.  Pure Coconut Oil carries flavour, and great if you want the taste of coconut to come through in your dish.  If you want to use Coconut oil without the coconut flavour, then use refined Coconut oil.

Gluten Free Soda Bread Recipe

Best eaten on the day it’s made

Ingredients List

  • 360g GF plain flour/ GF Brown Bread Flour or a mixture of both
  • 75g GF oats
  • 1tsp Sea salt (as an alternative to salt a teaspoon of seaweed powder)
  • 1tbs Baking powder (heaped)
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate soda
  • 300ml Buttermilk (an alternative is natural yoghurt, with a squeeze of lemon juice)
  • 2 eggs (or an additional 50ml buttermilk)

Gluten Free Soda Bread Preparation Steps

  1. Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Add the eggs (if using) to the buttermilk, and whisk.
  3. Add the buttermilk (or alternative liquid) to the dry ingredients.
  4. Cook 10mins at 180°C, then reduce heat and cook for a further 20-25min at 160°C.

Top Tip no.3

Use soda bread on the day you bake for best flavour and texture.  Use leftovers to make breadcrumbs (blitz gently in a blender) for use as topping to baked dishes, they freeze well in airtight bags/containers.  When using breadcrumbs to top a dish such as macaroni and cheese, mix breadcrumbs with dried or fresh herbs for added flavour.

Gluten Free Rice Flour Pancakes Recipe

Makes approximately 5 large pancakes

Ingredients List

  • 125g Rice flour (or Gluten Free plain flour)
  • 1 egg
  • 250ml milk of your choice
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla essence (optional)

Gluten Free Rice Flour Pancakes Preparation Steps

  1. Mix the wet ingredients well (milk, egg, vanilla).
  2. Add wet ingredients to the flour and mix together to a smooth batter.
  3. Heat your griddle/ frying pan on a medium heat, add a little oil and carefully pour the batter to the size of the pancakes you need.

Alternatives – improve your batter with a banana or soft fruits. Add them to the batter before cooking.

Top Tip no.4

Always allow time for flour to absorb liquids.  For example when making rice flour pancakes, allow the mixture to sit for at least 15 minutes, and you will notice the mixture will thicken up, making your pancakes much fluffier.

Gluten Free Corn Tortillas

Corn tortillas are naturally gluten free

Makes approximately 10 tortillas

Ingredients List

  • 200g masa harina
  • 250ml warm water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • lime juice (optional)

Gluten Free Corn Tortillas Preparation Steps

  1. Mix the ingredients in a bowl, add the water gradually as you may not need it all. Corn flour absorbs water relatively slowly, so it can take up to 15min of kneading to make sure the water is fully incorporated into the dough. You are aiming for a soft pliable dough.
  2. Divide the dough into 10 pieces, roll into a bowl and cover with fling film or in a covered bowl so that they don’t dry out.
  3. Heat your griddle/frying pan on a medium/high heat. Cook the tortillas in a dry pan, for approximately 1 1/2 minutes on each side, until they just begin to blister.
  4. Wrap loosely in a clean tea towel to keep warm until serving.

Gluten Free Polenta Bites

Ingredients List

  • 600ml vegetable stock
  • 150g polenta
  • 150g olives, roughly chopped or sun-dried tomatoes in oil (or a mix of both!)
  • 30ml oil from the tomatoes and olives
  • 40g vegetarian parmesan cheese

Gluten Free Polenta Bites Preparation Steps

  1. In a large saucepan bring the vegetable stock to the boil then add the polenta. You should stir continuously over a medium heat for approximately 3 or 4 minutes until thickened.
  2. Add the olives / tomatoes, the oil and 3/4 of the parmesan and stir gently to all combined evenly. Season with a little pepper and salt (but remember the parmesan will be salty).
  3. Line a baking tray with parchment and spoon the polenta mixture onto the tray. You can place another piece of parchment on top and roll out to ensure the mixture is evenly spread to approximately 1cm thick.
  4. Leave the tray to cool and once cool, you can place in the fridge for several hours or overnight.
  5. Once set, heat the oven to 180°C fan / gas 6/ 200°C regular oven. Cut the polenta sheets into shapes you require.
  6. Bake for 25-30mins until brown, and ready to serve warm.

Top Tip no.5

Polenta is cheap and very versatile and can carry lots of flavours, so do experiment with your favourite herbs, vegetables and cheeses.