Book review: The Gluten-Free Cookbook by Cristian Broglia

21 March 2022 by
Book review: The Gluten-Free Cookbook by Cristian Broglia

Cristian Broglia has created a collection of gluten-free recipes that aren't just about swaps and substitutions, but collect dishes from around the world which naturally don't contain gluten

One way to do a free-from menu is to take the dishes you would normally serve, select the sensitive ingredients and find a substitute or simply remove them, usually with some caveats from the diner, who asks for the chicken without the marinade and can you make sure the satay sauce doesn't get anywhere near the plate, thank you.

Or you can do away with the stress and just serve dishes that don't rely on substitutes and are already gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, vegetarian or vegan. Cristian Broglia has taken the second route, realising that there are a host of global recipes that are naturally gluten free and all the more delicious for it.

The 350 recipes in The Gluten-Free Cookbook cover skill levels from high-street café-style easy to more complex, but all are aimed at the home cook, with some using five ingredients and others prepared in 30 minutes. It's a guide to gluten-free from around the world. Broglia's career started in Parma in Italy and he has since travelled constantly, collecting recipes along the way. As he says: "Today my work is a mix between innovation and history, creativity and rigour, respect for the rules and revolution."

There is a chapter on bread and wraps, which features Brazilian cheese bread; gorditas, a corn cake stuffed with pork and Oaxaca cheese; Ethiopian injera, a spongy flatbread made using three-day fermented teff flour, and deep-fried peanut crackers from Java.

Other recipes include bhujia, a crunchy Indian street-food snack of mashed potato and chickpea flour extruded through a potato ricer and deep fried, Jansson's Temptation, a creamy chip gratin garnished with anchovies, and Kentucky burgoo, which by law has to contain three types of meat along with tomatoes, butter beans and potatoes.

Desserts are a similar Jules Verne-style voyage, taking in cloudberries with whipped cream from Norway, Thailand's steamed layer cake, dyed a vivid green from pandan leaves; and Tuscan chestnut cake, served with fresh ricotta.

All are served up alongside homely recipes for Irish beef stew and chicken vindaloo: something for every menu.

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