Let's talk a bit about risotto. Risotto is perhaps, I have decided, the ultimate gluten-free dish. This is because it's 100% naturally gluten-free. No need to make any changes or substitute any ingredients with inferior variations. No need to skimp on delicious creamy, starchy goodness. Take your basic mixture of olive oil, butter, risotto rice, onion and stock, and add to it whatever meat, fish, cheese or vegetables you like. The only thing you have to watch is your stock cubes, some of which may contain gluten in the form of various starches. I know that Marigold bouillon powder, though, which many chefs regard as the superior stock brand, is gluten-free.
If you know a gluten-free eater, make this for them. Don't let them suffer a diet of salads. Slap a big plate of creamy, gooey, chewy rice in front of them, grate over a mountain of cheese and a good grind of black pepper, maybe a handful of fresh herbs, and watch a glazed look of delight pass over their face. At least, that is always my response to a good risotto.
On my last day of this gluten-free challenge, I tucked into a plate of mushroom and bacon risotto, kindly made for me by my mum. I think this divine Italian combination of rice and stock has to be the ultimate comfort food. It's also incredibly easy to cook, and so versatile. I must have made at least fifty different types of risotto in my life, but these are some of my favourite combinations, and ones I would urge you to try if looking to inject some life and delight into a gluten-free diet:
Leek, blue cheese and bacon
Lemon, broad bean and ricotta or goat's cheese
Wild mushroom and truffle oil
Sausage and radicchio
Butternut squash, bacon and chestnut
Chicken, lemon and rocket
Apart from this lovely dinner, I pretty much ate the same as yesterday - porridge for breakfast; pasta salad for lunch, and an apple.
All in all, I haven't found going five days without gluten challenging at all. This may be due to the fact that I rarely eat that much of it anyway, but it was still a really interesting experiment, and has made me realise a few important things. Here is a little video to summarise my findings:
To celebrate the end of my gluten-free challenge, here's a list of some of my favourite recipe creations that are naturally gluten-free. There are even a few cakes on there!
Spiced dried fruit and blood orange compote, to be served on gluten-free porridge
Rhubarb, blueberry and almond baked oatmeal (use gluten-free oats)
Mexican spiced chicken salad
Who says going gluten-free has to feel like deprivation? I'd say it should be an adventure!