Sauces, gravy, stock cubes, they can all make or break a meal if you have allergies. If you have an allergy to dairy, wheat, gluten, celery, tomatoes or MSG then gravy and stock cubes are a minefield. When you’re eating out you never quite know what’s gone into the stock and gravy on a meal, and a roast dinner without gravy just isn’t quite the same.
I was prompted to write this long planned blog post today when I noticed Michelle Berriedale-Johnson’s post, “Easy Gravy” which just appeared in my inbox. Michelle cooked a roast this week with her very own ‘free from everything’ gravy. No stock cubes required. Check it out for an interesting read; you will need a rack, an aubergine, water and wine!
Boxes of various different stock cubes have lain languishing on my desk now for some weeks just waiting for their chance to appear on my blog. So here goes. I’ll begin with my favourite. The only celery free gravy mix I’ve found.
- Free & Easy Gluten Free vegetable gravy sauce mix – This one is yeast, gluten, GM, celery and dairy free. Ingredients: Brown rice flour, cornstarch, (non GMO), hydrolysed vegetable protein (non GMO), extract of roasted barley malt (gluten free), powdered onion, sea salt, ground pepper. You simply mix a few teaspoons of this in cold water, like you would with corn flour, and add to your meal to make gravy. I use this one regularly and it’s great in cottage pie, chilli (if like me you can’t eat tomatoes) or as gravy. I usually add other herbs and spices as it’s not that exciting!
- Marigold Organic Swiss Vegetable Bouillon – These stock cubes are yeast and gluten free and once again, the only stock cubes I’ve found that are free from celery. Ingredients: Sea salt, Palm oil (organically grown), vegetables 13.5% (onion, carrot, parsley), Maltodextrin, Spices (Mace, lovage, turmeric, bayleaf, pepper). Again, I use these stock cubes regularly, in anything from soup to gravy. I find I need two as they are not quite a strong as normal stock cubes but they give a nice flavour and are not too salty.
- Kallo Organic vegetable stock cubes – These stock cubes are gluten and dairy free but do contain celery. Ingredients: Sea salt, maize starch, vegetable fat, yeast extract, carrot (3.5%), onion (2.5%), leek (1%), cane sugar, herbs (parsley, celery, lovage, thyme, rosemary) red pepper, turmeric. Celery is listed here as a herb. Is celery a herb? or a vegetable? Some of the stock cubes include it as a vegetable and others as a herb. These stock cubes also do contain yeast so no good if you’re allergic.
- Antony Worrall Thompson’s yeast free organic stock cubes – These ones are gluten, dairy and yeast free but they to contain celery so I haven’t tried them. Anthony Worral Thompson has an interest in cooking for those with allergies and is presenting some of the Awards at the FreeFrom Food Awards 2011 this year on 6th April. Ingredients: Rock salt, starch (potato and corn), non-hydrogenated palm fat (organically grown), Mixed vegetables 11% (onions, celery, leeks, carrots), sugar, lovage, parsley, nutmeg, turmeric, garlic, pepper.
- Tesco beef stock cubes – Again, I haven’t tried these stock cubes either but they seem to be wheat and gluten free. Anyone tried them? I’m not sure why any stock cubes need any colouring added, or preservatives, since the others don’t have that, but I thought I’d include for comparison. It might be cheaper and therefore suitable for someone on a gluten free diet but shopping on a budget. Ingredients: Salt, sugar, vegetable fat, potato starch, yeast extract, natural flavouring, beef extract (2%), colour (plain caramel), celery powder, carrot, parsley, preservative (Sulphur dioxide).
- Oxo beef stock cubes – I don’t have much to say about these ones either. Never tried them, and not really liking the list of flavour enhancers and colours necessary here. They contain wheat, yeast and corn, but they were the cheapest of the lot to buy. They also contact lactic acid, which I recently wrote about; I’m never sure whether it’s dairy free or not as it can be naturally occurring in some foods and nothing to do with dairy at all. Ingredients: Wheat flour, salt, yeast extract, maize starch, flavour enhancers (monosodium glutamate, disodium guanylate), colour (Ammonia Caramel), Beef fat, Flavourings, Dried beef bonestock, sugar and lactic acid. Allergy advice: Contains wheat, gluten.
This is just a tiny sample of the range that’s available, and I may have missed some out. These were the ones I was able to buy last time I went on a big shop, except my special ones which are celery free and have to bought specially on Goodness Direct or from a health food store. I think Bisto are pretty good but again, none in the house and I think buying four brands you can’t eat in one go is enough. I’m pretty sure the ingredients are pretty basic and I’ve had gravy made from Bisto at the mother in laws with no adverse effects.
For roast dinners, I find that a delicious gravy can be made from simply saving some of the vegetable water, adding a bit of the meat juices, a few Marigold free-from stock cubes and any herbs and spices I feel like mixing in. A little corn flour will help thicken if you’re not allergic to corn.
Has anyone got a favourite brand of free-from gravy mix of stock cubes? Or a great free-from recipe for gravy?
And finally, if anyone would like to take the Kallo, Anthony Worral Thompson’s, Tesco or Oxo stock cubes off my hands, first come first served. Be the first to leave a comment and I’ll post them to you. It has to be a constructive comment though please and I’m only posting in the UK (sorry overseas readers).
Finally I have also shared a blog about How to make easy peasy free from gravy from scratch.