Whether you’re allergic or whether you simply want to cut down on gluten (ie refined white flours) to improve your health and eat less dairy to reduce your fat-intake, there are many ways to do this. Here Sam Pryor, Chef and Co-Founder at Bonapeti, takes you through his Top 10 Tips.

  1. My latest discovery is chestnut flour. It can’t replace flour like for like in breads and pastry but where flour is used as a binder it adds great sweet flavour. We are using it to good effect in our broad bean and parsley fritters.
  2. You can always use gluten free bread, but with crostini and bruschetta recipes I often prefer using polenta croutes to replace bread when I want to cook gluten free. Just cook the polenta as per the instructions in the packet and then leave to set in a pan. Cut in to desired shapes, brush with oil and crisp up in a grill pan.
  3. Dairy, and particularly cream, has a very specific mouth feel that is great for balancing sharp and sweet flavours, particularly in deserts. Cream is an emulsification of fat in a water phase, this can be achieved by making nut or sesame creams. These creams can be made by blitzing soft nuts such as pine nuts and then slowly adding water to reach the desired consistency.
  4. There are any numerous flour substitutions out there, but a lot are both poor in effect and contain a lot of artificial ingredients. The best one I have found, and the formula we use at Bonapeti, has been developed by the excellent “Ideas in Food” blog
  5. There are lots of great grains that are gluten free, some of my favourites are Teff, Millet and Buckwheat. All these grains can be used in breads, (particularly flat breads) as porridge (like polenta) or as grains in salads or pilafs
  6. Replacing breadcrumbs in dishes that you need a crust is easy. Many great crunchy breadings can be made from polenta, toasted ground rice and even quinoa. Just use in place of breadcrumbs in a your favorite recipe and don’t forget adding spices to the mix can also add interest.
  7. It can be tempting to be always looking for substitute ingredients in your favorite dishes but there are plenty of dishes that are naturally gluten and dairy free. Try exploring other cuisines, South East Asia and Japan are particularly good sources of inspiration, as rice is the staple food and they don’t use much dairy.
  8. Nut milk is delicious. We make an panna cotta with almond milk to tasty effect and it can be utilised in a number of recipes.
  9. Some dairy free cake and baking recipes just replace butter with vegetable oil or shortening. This can leave baked goods short on flavour and rather insipid as butter is a key flavouring. Look for recipes that use other fats such as olive oil in a lemon polenta cake or nut oils in baking to add flavour.
  10. There are lots of good specific gluten and dairy free resources to use. However, some of these lack quality food credentials and are very focused on the one subject. Online resources such as Serious Eats and the previously mentioned “Ideas in Food” blog both have excellent gluten and dairy free articles from writers interacting with chefs and food producers from across the food world.