This Monday, May 14, sees the start of Coeliac Awareness Week 2018. Coeliac disease affects an estimated 47,500 people in Ireland. The auto-immune disease prevents sufferers from digesting the protein gluten.
This year, national charity The Coeliac Society of Ireland aims to raise awareness of the impact of the disease on families. If a first-degree relative of yours is coeliac, then there’s a one in 10 chance you also have the disease. If undiagnosed, it can lead to serious health problems, and so the Society urges everyone who thinks they may be coeliac to go to their GP for testing.
For those who have already been diagnosed, it means carefully following a diet void of wheat, barley and rye. However, that doesn’t mean that you have to lose out on taste and variation, according to cook, food blogger and avid surfer Finn Ní Fhaoláin.
Here Finn, who is herself coeliac, shares three of her favourite gluten-free recipes. “They’re perfect for busy folk who want handy, gluten-free snacks for work, school or college or a quick, but delicious lunch,” she says. “Remember to check that all packaged products are gluten free. Sometimes a naturally gluten-free product can become contaminated during production.”
I was recently on a trip to Australia and everywhere I went, especially in Byron Bay, all I could see was banana bread! Since so much of it wasn’t gluten free I wanted to put my own spin on it that was not only gluten free, but also vegan (also covering dairy- and egg-free folks as well). This is a great snack on the go or a sweet little breakfast, spread with some almond butter and washed down with an iced coffee.
Summer Prawn Vietnamese Rolls with Mango Dipping Sauce
I became absolutely obsessed with Vietnamese Rolls when a new restaurant opened up down the road in Sligo. Since it isn’t possible for me to go there every week I had to learn to make Vietnamese rolls for myself! They can be a little tricky at first, but once you get the hang of rolling them you’ll be flying. They’re a perfect, healthy lunch for summer. Pick up the rice paper sheets from your local Asian market or any good specialty food shop.
Serves 2 as a lunch or 3 as a starter
6-8 rice paper sheets
For the fillings: 1 pack sustainably sourced prawns (usually 250g), tails removed
½ mango thinly sliced
Two thirds cup shredded white cabbage or sauerkraut (use this instead for a great gut-loving boost and zingy taste)
Sesame seeds to sprinkle
½ cup crushed salted peanuts
Handful of fresh mint leaves or coriander
For the sauce:
1 tbsp tamari soy sauce
1 tbsp gluten-free mango chutney
On a chopping board have all your fillings set aside and ready to go, this happens quick! Have a second chopping board for the rolling.
Have a big bowl – big enough to submerge the sheets – half filled with boiling water.
To make a roll
1. Dip the rice paper sheet in boiling water – I use a wide perforated ladle and a wooden spoon to hold on to it – it will only take about 10-20 seconds for the sheet to turn soft and kind of gelatinous.
2. Drain the sheet over the mixing bowl.
3. With your hands (it shouldn’t be too hot to touch now) spread the sheet across your free chopping board.
4. Place a bit of each filling – e.g. 3 prawns, a little of each fruit and veg and a sprinkle of peanuts and sesame and a few mint leaves – in the centre of the sheet, leaving at least 1cm free at the sides to tuck in.
5. After you’ve placed your toppings, pull one side over the fillings and tuck in the sides.
6. Continue to tuck and roll until your roll is like a little sealed parcel.
7. Voila! Repeat until all your fillings and sheets are used up.
8. Mix the tamari and mango chutney together to your taste and use as a dipping sauce.
The rolls are best eaten fresh after you make them. Feel free to experiment with your favourite fillings – crab meat would also be lovely – and different sauce to dip with.