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Learn to Cook Wheat, Gluten and Dairy Free – Book review

05 February 2010

Learn to Cook Wheat, Gluten and Dairy Free
By Antoinette Savill
Grub Street, £14.99
ISBN: 978-1-906502-50-8

Food intolerance is on the rise and has been for some time. You only have to listen to orders being taken in restaurants across the country to realise this: "I'm allergic to nuts"; "I'm a coeliac"; "I have lactose intolerance"; "no mushrooms, please". The list is endless. Even supermarkets now have whole "free-from" aisles dedicated to the allergy-ridden customer.

The ever-growing market for sound advice that can quickly and easily fit into the hustle and bustle of modern life is also on the rise and this is where this little book fits in. Pioneering it is not; however, it's not supposed to be. It's the type of book you pick up when you have less than 30 minutes to get something that's wheat, gluten and dairy-free on the table. Importantly, the outcome won't be boring or tasteless, words often associated with cookery of this type by those who assume rather than investigate.

I would normally shun any advice that suggests using tinned or pre-prepared products, but where they are suggested here (not often) it is in context with the recipe rather than to its detriment. Let's be honest: when you get very high-profile chefs advertising stock cubes it's a clear indicator that the times are changing.

Learn to Cook Wheat, Gluten and Dairy Free is clearly aimed at the domestic cook, but having 30 minutes to prepare a meal for a guest with a food intolerance is something that all chefs are familiar with.

Although I wouldn't recommend this book as the last word (the pictures would need to be a little more inspiring for the average chef) it does give good ideas on what can be achieved without using some of the ingredients that negatively affect a growing number of customers.

It is with this in mind that I would recommend it for chefs that want to increase their understanding of this type of cookery. It really is not as difficult as some may think and Learn to Cook Wheat, Gluten and Dairy Free certainly covers the basics to prove as much.

Review by Chris Horridge, executive chef, Cliveden

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