This week sees the arrival of Suma Coconut flour on the shelves. Many customers have asked if we can get hold of this as coconut products seem to be of growing importance. Many claims are made for the healthfulness of coconut oil and flour, although there is debate amongst nutritionists. I’m not expert enough to comment so you, our foodie customers, will have to do your own research and make up your own minds regarding the benefits.
Whatever those benefits are, coconut flour adds an interesting ingredient to stock cupboards… I found this on the American www.eatingwell.com:
"Coconut flour is a healthy way to add decadent coconut flavor to baked goods. As for health benefits of coconut flour: it packs a whopping 5 grams of fiber per 2 tablespoons (with only 2 grams of total and saturated fat). Coconut flour has health benefits for people with diabetes, too: adding coconut flour to baked goods lowers the glycemic index (a measure of the rate that a food increases blood sugar)."
Another addition to Suma’s baking range is this Wheat Gluten Flour. Gluten is the component of wheat that allows bread dough to develop the sticky elasticity required to create the aerated texture we love. This product is designed to help achieve fantastic results for the home baker – simply add a tablespoon per cup of flour in your favourite recipes. I haven’t tried it yet but I can imagine it would be helpful especially if you are using wholemeal stoneground flour which can be a little susceptible to gravity!
Wheat gluten is also the chief ingredient in ‘seitan’ which is often used to make meat-free steaks. There are some basic instructions on the back of the pack…
“To make 'gluten steaks’ … mix 1 cup gluten flour with ¾ cup cold water, knead well then cut the dough into slices and boil in your favourite broth for approx 1hour.”
Hmm, jury’s still out on that one…
Quinoa has for many years now been regarded as something of a super grain offering a tasty gluten-free source of carbohydrates and we now stock black and red quinoa alongside the traditional grain and ‘floccons’ or flakes.
Quinoa should be prepared like rice but the trick is to rinse it very well in a sieve under running cold water to wash off the soapy starch on the surface.
Take one part quinoa and rinse well. Bring to the boil in two parts of water to which a pinch of salt may be added. Simmer for ten minutes or so. The little tails of each grain will uncurl slightly when it’s cooked but avoid overboiling.
This strange sounding product is from the Palestinian company Zaytoun. It sounds and looks a bit like bulgar wheat and could be used in the same way. They describe it thusly:
“Freekeh is durum wheat that is harvested while still green and roasted on an open fire. It’s then rubbed (fareek) to remove the husk and reveal an aromatic grain packed with protein and fibre. Rich in flavour and texture, it’s easy to use in dishes such as pilaf, risotto and salad. Traditionally freekeh is slowly simmered in stock for a nourishing soup – a Palestinian staple for centuries.”