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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 26 October 2019
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 26 OCTOBER 2019 11 FOOD FOR THOUGHT Greek Australian becomes the face of gluten free in Australia Food blogger Helen Tzouganatos has become the host of a new cooking show, demonstrating how easy it is to eliminate gluten ANASTASIA TSIRTSAKIS hen Helen with coeliac disease over a decade ago, there was very little understanding about the condition, making it particularly difficult to source suitable alternatives at the supermarket and to dine out. Fast forward to 2019, and Helen is now the face of the first dedicated cooking show for foregoing gluten. Loving Gluten Free, which launched on SBS this month, sees Helen create delicious homely favourites that can be consumed by all the family, and so far the response has been overwhelmingly positive. "I think a lot of people are just choosing to cut down on gluten, and for us with coeliac disease or an intolerance, the more people that demand it, the greater options there are out there. Ten years ago when I'd walk into a restaurant and ask the waiter, they had no idea what I was talking about, and now a lot of the time the menu's already marked, you don't even need to ask anymore," Helen says. The Sydney-based host had all the classic symptoms of coeliac disease: the stomach cramping, lethargy, unexplained anaemia. But it wasn't until she set out trying to conceive her first child that she was finally diagnosed by her fertility specialist. With a corporate marketing background, when Helen found herself with three children under four, the W Tzouganatos was first diagnosed reality of returning to work wasn't really an option. Being a self confessed foodie and passionate home cook, and with food blogging just starting to take off, Helen's friends encouraged her to start her own. Initially she started posting recipes with photos taken on a mobile phone, admitting that the quality was "horrible". But with a few part-time courses under her belt, and time spent practising behind the camera, her content improved and her blog Hungry and Fussy started to quickly gain traction on social media. It was fellow foodie, cookbook author and owner of Sweet Greek, Kathy Tsaples who encouraged Helen to write her first cookbook. This then led to her first taste of being in front of the camera, with appearances on Channel 7's The Morning Show. "Then one day I got a call from a production company saying 'SBS want to do a gluten free cooking show, and they want you to screen test for it'," Helen recalls. "You think of the paleo diet, you think of Pete Evans. But there's no face to gluten free; there weren't specialists in it. But for me, it was my life; I came across as more authentic and people could Helen with Sweet Greek’s Kathy Tsaples on the set of Loving Gluten Free. PHOTOS: SUPPLIED identify with me - it's not a fad for me," she explains. While Helen admits to being quite nervous in front of the camera on her first day, not having any formal training in television, it may very well be in her favour. She comes across as relaxed, and a complete natural on screen, as though you're watching a good friend. "It was just fun, I couldn't believe I was getting paid for this; am I really getting paid to go and visit restaurants and cafes and eat their food? It was just like a dream job, for someone who loves food. It didn't feel like work at all," she enthuses. Loving Gluten Free is set to run over 10 weeks, with a different cultural focus each week. The next episode, airing on Thursday 31 October, has a Greek flavour, with Helen visiting Kathy at Sweet Greek at Prahran Market. Viewers will learn to make Kathy's savoury tart recipe with a polenta pastry base, as well as Helen's gluten free take on Lamb Pastitsio and cinnamon scrolls. "Everyone on social media has been thrilled; they keep saying 'this is different, a cooking show that I can finally watch and I don't have to change a recipe'. There are so many people eating gluten free now that it's not even niche anymore. Everyone's got a friend or a relative who eats gluten free, everyone knows someone … this whole market, no-one's been speaking to them - until now." Loving Gluten Free airs on SBS Food on Thursdays at 8.30 pm. Kolokithokeftedes Gluten Free Zucchini feta fritters were a constant at every Greek barbecue we attended growing up. Kolokithokeftedes are deliciously crisp and packed full of vibrant green herbs and salty cheese so it is no wonder they were so universally appealing and piled high on everyone’s plates. I enjoy them hot and cold for breakfast, lunch, dinner and every snacking occasion in between. They are even great as patties in veggie burgers and kids love them in school lunch boxes. The combination of my two favourite cheeses – feta and kefalograviera, adds a wonderful salty creamy dimension to these fritters. You can find kefalograviera cheese in European delis and specialty grocers. Serve with tzatziki and a tomato and cucumber village salad for a traditional Greek vegetarian lunch. Kali Orexi! * For a Thermomix Method of this recipe, and for more gluten free recipes, visit www.hungryandfussy.com INGREDIENTS 4 lWarge zucchini, grated 3 shallots, finely sliced 100g feta, crumbed 100g kefalograviera cheese, grated 1 egg, lightly whisked 3 tbs parsley, finely chopped 3 tbs mint, finely chopped 1 tbs dill, finely chopped 1 cup plain gluten free flour 1 tsp baking powder 2 tsp sea salt flakes Pinch of cracked pepper Olive oil for shallow frying Serves: Makes about 15 fritters METHOD 1. Place zucchini in a bowl and sprinkle with some sea salt. Set aside for 10 minutes then use your hands to squeeze excess liquid from zucchini. 2. Combine zuchini, shallots, cheeses, eggs, herbs, flour, baking powder, salt and pepper in a bowl. Place mixture in the fridge for 30 minutes so fritters are easier to roll. 3. Remove mixture from fridge. If too runny, add some more flour. 4. Roll into small patties. Dust patties with extra flour for a crispier coating. 5. Heat oil in frypan over medium heat. Cook patties for two minutes on each side or until golden. Drain on paper towel. 6. Serve with tzatziki.
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