As a mum of three young kids I need an arsenal of fuss-free family recipes to get me through a busy week. Juggling work, household chores, school activities, sport and homework can be challenging, and my husband and I often only have 20 minutes to get a nourishing meal on the table to appease ‘staaaaarving’ children. If you can relate to this daily struggle then this book is for you.
My goal is to arm you with delicious, nutrient-dense, gluten-free recipes that will become your go-to meals. Along the way I will also share my cooking shortcuts and gluten-free tips and tricks.
My recipes are simple, flavoursome and wholesome, and do not involve complex preparation or ingredients lists – who has time for that? In our family of five only my eldest daughter and I need to follow a gluten-free diet (I am a coeliac and she is gluten-intolerant).
It makes no difference to the other family members that my spaghetti with pork and veal meatballs or baked quinoa-crumbed chicken with lime aioli are gluten free; to them it’s just delicious food made from scratch.
Kids are only concerned about how food tastes, but as a parent I’m always trying to sneak more goodness onto their plates to nourish their growing bodies with healthy proteins, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Unfortunately, kids aren’t eating enough veggies these days, but I find interesting techniques, such as sautéing brussels sprouts with crispy pancetta, to make them much more enticing.
For me, cooking has always been about love, generosity and abundance. I can thank my Greek heritage for that. Some of the meals in this book are traditional Greek recipes handed down to me by my mother, but I cook a broad variety of cuisines at home – particularly Italian, Mexican, Lebanese and Chinese – and you will find a sprinkling of these throughout the book. I always try to cook with organic seasonal fruit and vegetables and ethically sourced animal proteins to maximise nutrient content and flavour.
All my recipes are uncomplicated, from an express midweek meal to a slow Sunday braise. I have also included many one-pot and one-tray dishes that require minimal prep and clean up but deliver maximum flavour. I like to inject complexity into my dishes by using a combination of dried and fresh herbs and spices, such as za’atar, sumac and oregano, and other miracle ingredients like tahini, lemon and balsamic vinegar for an acidic punch.
My gluten-free journey started 12 years ago when I discovered I was a coeliac during IVF treatment. Back then there were not many gluten-free ingredients on offer; supermarkets were not selling quinoa and if I requested tamari or buckwheat flour I was generally met with a blank stare.
Thankfully the gluten-free market has exploded as more people are eliminating gluten for medical reasons or as a health choice, so these pantry staples are now readily available in most supermarkets or online. If you have the basics and a few fresh ingredients it is easy to whip up myriad gluten-free meals.
This book is not just for people following a gluten-free diet. It is for anyone wanting uncomplicated, nourishing recipes to prepare and eat with the people they love. Please fill the pages with scribbles, notes and variations and make each recipe your own.
I don’t want this to be a coffee table cookbook; it is a practical family cookbook that I hope you will return to again and again for inspiration. I truly hope it instils you with the confidence to expand your cooking repertoire and delight your family with scrumptious gluten-free meals they will devour with pleasure.
Helen Tzouganatos is a television presenter, passionate home cook and recipe developer, specialising in delicious gluten-free food made from scratch. Helen’s gluten-free journey started 12 years ago when she was diagnosed with coeliac disease.
Helen began sharing her passion for simple gluten-free food in 2015 via her blog: www.helentzouganatos.com, and today she hosts SBS television show Loving Gluten Free. Helen lives in Sydney with her husband, Spiro, and three children, Vasili, Sofia and Ruby.
Image: Easy Gluten Free – courtesy of Pan Macmillan Australia (Plum)
Note: Extract reprinted with kind permission of Pan Macmillan Australia