Head chef and owner of The Olde Post Inn in Co Cavan, Gearoid Lynch, has undergone something of a kitchen revolution in the last three years. In 2012, he was diagnosed as a coeliac and had to renew his approach towards cooking.
“With gluten being a main ingredient in so many products, I was left with little option other than to devise ways around this through working on recipes with ingredient replacement,” says Gearoid.
“For me the biggest obstacle to overcome when I was diagnosed was the mental block on how to manoeuvre around gluten. The relief with understanding why I was constantly fatigued and bloated was overshadowed by how difficult I was perceiving the task ahead on how to stay cooking good food.
“It took time, filtering information and adapting some simple and practical steps such as gluten-proofing the kitchen. I also learned quickly to check the labels of simple pleasures such as bars of chocolate.
“It takes time so it’s important to move slow in adapting to removing gluten in a way that causes minimal inconvenience and unhappiness! This is why I like to keep things simple in my home kitchen by using ready-made packs of gluten-free flour. We could create our own flour mix, but I just don’t think that would be sustainable or practical for the every-day cook.
“As a dad of four kids under the age of seven, I understand the mammoth task that is the weekly shop, so don’t take the pleasure out of food by over-complicating. Set realistic standards and approaches that will create long-lasting habits.
“It’s easy to control what ingredients you use in the comfort and security of your own kitchen, and at the restaurant, we’re committed to giving diners a trusted experience as I’m sure anybody who is a coeliac has experienced that questionable look from their server. For me, this is about taking the perception of ‘fussiness’ out of coeliac-friendly cooking across the board.”
Gearoid has signed a book contract with Gill & MacMillan, which will be on shelves in spring 2016 and will break down barriers for coeliac-friendly cooking. He will be doing demonstrations at Taste of Cavan, on August 7 and 8, alongside other Cavan food heroes like Neven Maguire, Richard Corrigan and Shane Smith.
Gearoid's Traditional Fish & Chips (GF)
A dinner everybody will love! This is our Olde Post take on the dish that people with a gluten intolerance might often miss out on.
You will need
For the batter:
80g GF flour
¼ tsp GF baking powder
2 drops white wine vinegar
160mls GF beer
Salt & pepper
For the fish:
8 pieces of white fish, portion size 130g
150g GF flour
Zest of 1 lemon
2 sprigs of dill
Salt & pepper
For the chips:
12 large maris pipers peeled and cut into even rectangular shapes
For the tartare sauce:
15g capers (chopped)
2 medium gherkins (chopped)
2 hen eggs (hard boiled, peeled & chopped)
Fresh parsley (finely chopped)
Juice of half lemon
To make the batter, place all dry ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk in wet ingredients and season. Leave to rest for 1 hour. The batter can be made day before and stored in the fridge.
To start on the fish, place GF flour in a shallow large dish with lemon zest, dill and seasoning. Coat fish in flour mixture, remove excess flour from fillets. Coat fillet in batter, and gently place into preheated fryer, (placing fish away from you), with fryer heat at 170-180˚C.
Cook for 6-8 mins depending on how thick-cut the fish is. The cooked fish must be moist and slightly undercooked, and the batter quite crisp.
Steam prepare chips for 8 minutes. Leave to cool. Place in a preheated fryer (170-180˚C) and cook for a further 5 minutes, until crisp golden in colour and there is fluffy texture in the centre. Remove onto kitchen paper and season. Place mayonnaise in a bowl
Add chopped capers, gherkins, egg, parsley and lemon juice. Mix and serve. This should not require any seasoning.
Coeliac-Friendly Lemon Meringue Pie
You will need
For the shortcrust pastry:
225g GF flour
50g icing sugar
1 whole egg
For the lemon filling:
7 small lemons, zest and juice
275g caster sugar
6 free-range egg yolks
For the meringue:
175g egg white (approx 4 large eggs, but it's important to weigh for the egg white mixture)
250g caster sugar
Mix the flour, sugar and butter together. Add the egg and mix again. Wrap the pastry in clingfilm and leave to rest in the fridge for at least 1 hour before required
Grease and line a 9" baking tin (a loose-bottomed flan tin works best). Having rested the pastry, roll it out to fit the tin.
Line the tin with the pastry, prick the base gently with a fork and then cover with clingfilm and rest for a further 20 minutes.
When rested, place baking parchment on top of the pastry and fill with ceramic baking beans. Bake blind for 15 minutes in preheated oven (180˚C).
Remove the beans and bake for a further 3 minutes. Remove from the oven.
For the filling, mix the lemon zest and juice with the cornflour, then stir to form a smooth paste. Put water into a pan and bring to the boil.
Add the lemon/cornflour mixture to the hot water and stir over the heat until it has thickened, then remove from the heat.
In a bowl, mix together the sugar and egg yolks, and then carefully whisk into the lemon mixture in the pan. Stir over a medium heat until thickened. Set aside for a few minutes.
Whisk egg whites to peak stage, gradually add sugar. Whisk to a glossy finish.
Pour lemon mixture into pastry case, spoon or pipe meringue mixture on top, ensuring the lemon mixture is completely covered.
Bake in the oven at 170˚C, for about 13 minutes until the filling is completely set and the meringue is lightly golden and crisp.