Food Glorious Food - Recipes from Patrick Holford

Gluten, wheat, dairy and sugar free food may conjure up images of boring tasteless food, but that’s certainly not the case with these recipes from Patrick Holford (, one of the country’s leading nutritionists, and Fiona McDonald Joyce, a top nutritional chef.

The pair strongly believe that healthy food doesn’t have to be bland and dull and have just launched the book Food Glorious Food (Piatkus Publishing), designed for people who enjoy their food, and love cooking and entertaining, but who also take a keen interest in their own health and the health of their family and friends.

This three course meal not only has health benefits from the ingredients used, but each is dairy, gluten and wheat free, helping avoid bloating and intolerances.

Furthermore no sugar is used at all, but instead Perfect Sweet xylitol, a natural sugar alternative from birch wood, now available in supermarkets and health stores, helps sweeten the desserts.


Starter - Thai Steamed Prawn PotsStarter - Thai Steamed Prawn Pots

Prawns, like all shellfish, are a good source of lean protein. Here their flavour is greatly enlivened by the addition of Thai spices, which will also help the body to digest this and any further courses. For this dish you will need four ramekins that hold around 100ml (just over 3fl oz) each.

Serves 4


  • 300g (10½ oz) raw prawns, shelled and deveined
  • 2 heaped 2tbsp coconut cream
  • 2 tsp Thai red curry paste
  • 1 tbsp nam pla or Thai fish sauce
  • 2 pinches of xylitol
  • 1 small mild red chilli, deseeded
  • 2cm / 1in chunk of root ginger, roughly chopped
  • 1 large free-range or organic egg
  • 4 tbsp raw unsalted cashew nuts, lightly toasted in a dry frying pan
  • 1 tbsp fresh coriander
  • Drizzle of toasted sesame oil


Cut out four circles of baking paper to cover each ramekin.

Place the prawns, coconut cream, curry paste, nam pla, xylitol, chilli, ginger, egg and half the cashew nuts in a blender and whizz to form a rough paste.

Divide the paste evenly between the ramekins and place a baking paper circle on top of each one.

Arrange the ramekins in a steamer pan or machine. They should all be on the same level to ensure that they cook evenly, which may mean cooking them in two batches. Cover and steam them for around 12 minutes or until the prawn paste feels firm to the touch and the middle is cooked (pierce one with a knife to check). Remove the paper topping when cooked.

Meanwhile, roughly chop the remaining cashew nuts and the coriander and scatter over the prawn pots. Before serving, drizzle each one with a little sesame oil.

Cook’s notes - Gluten-free, wheat-free, dairy-free

Main Course - Moroccan-Style Chicken

Main Course - Moroccan-Style Chicken

This is a warming, mildly spiced casserole with melt-in-the-mouth braised butternut squash. However, the spices impart health benefits as well as flavour. The cinnamon, for example, helps your body regulate blood sugar levels, while the turmeric is a potent anti-inflammatory. Serve with quinoa for a gluten-free alternative to couscous or low-GL or brown basmati rice, accompanied by steamed broccoli or tenderstem.

Serves 4


  • 1tbsp coconut oil or mild or medium (not extra virgin) olive oil
  • 2 red onions, sliced
  • 4 organic or free-range chicken breasts, skin and fat removed, cubed
  • 700g (1lb 11oz) butternut squash, unpeeled, seeds scraped out and
  • ubed
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1L (35fl oz) chicken stock
  • Fresh coriander and mint for sprinkling
  • Freshly ground black pepper


Heat the oil in a large saucepan and sweat the onion for 3-4 minutes, then add the chicken, squash and spices, and stir for another couple of minutes.

Pour in the stock, bring to the boil, then cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Uncover and simmer for a further 10 minutes to allow the meat to cook fully (the juices should run clear) and the sauce to thicken. Sprinkle with coriander, mint and black pepper before serving.

Cook’s notes - Gluten-free, wheat-free, dairy-free, can be made in advance

Dessert - Polenta Citrus CakeDessert - Polenta Citrus Cake

This recipe is based on one given to me by Liz Lacey, a very dear friend of the McDonald Joyce family. It’s a gluten and dairy free cake with a beautiful golden colour. Thanks to the corn meal and ground almonds it’s dense and moist and the tart citrus zest and juice stops it from being too sweet.

Do try to get unwaxed or organic lemons and oranges though, to avoid pesticides and wax, and get as much juice and flesh from the fruit as you can. Either serve the cake for tea or as a pudding – it’s absolute heaven with the Coconut and Pineapple Sorbet.

Serves 10


  • Finely grated zest and juice of 3 lemons
  • Finely grated zest and juice of 2 large oranges
  • 185ml (just over 6fl oz) medium or mild (not extra virgin) olive oil
  • 215g (7½oz) Perfect Sweet xylitol
  • 3 large free-range or organic eggs
  • 3 drops of almond extract
  • 175g (6oz) fine corn meal/polenta
  • 140g (5oz) ground almonds
  • 1 tsp baking powder (gluten free – easy to buy)
  • 75g (3oz) flaked almonds to sprinkle on top


Preheat oven to 160°C/325°F/gas mark 3. Grease and line a loose-based round cake tin, 23cm (9in) in diameter, and grease the sides.

Place the lemon and orange zest and juice in a mixing bowl and add the oil, xylitol, eggs and almond extract. Whisk until smooth and thoroughly combined.

Mix the corn meal / polenta, ground almonds and baking powder together in a separate bowl. Pour the egg mixture into the dry ingredients and fold together gently until combined.

Pour into the prepared tin and scatter with the flaked almonds. Put the tin on a baking tray and let it stand for 10 minutes, then pop into the oven for 35-45 minutes or until pale gold at the edges and just firm to the touch in the middle.

Serve warm or cool on a wire rack until ready to serve.

Cook’s Notes - Gluten-free, wheat-free, dairy-free, yeast-free, vegetarian, can be made in advance – keeps in an airtight container for up to 4 days, suitable for freezing

Dessert - Coconut and Pineapple SorbetDessert - Coconut and Pineapple Sorbet

Sweet, creamy and delicious with fresh fruit such as berries or mango, this is a Caribbean-inspired ice cream-meets-sorbet affair. It can be served instead of dairy ice cream with the Polenta Citrus Cake.

Pineapple is the perfect food to end a meal with as it contains bromelain, an enzyme which digests protein, to help you break down your food. Bromelain is also naturally anti-inflammatory, helping to alleviate inflammatory conditions such as asthma, eczema or arthritis.

Serves 6-8


  • 275g (9¾ oz) fresh pineapple
  • 125g (4 ½ oz) Perfect Sweet xylitol
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 400ml (just over 13fl oz) canned, full fat coconut milk
  • 100g (4 oz) desiccated coconut)


Blend the pineapple (use canned if you can’t get fresh), xylitol and lime juice together until you have a puree. Stir or blend in the coconut milk, then stir in the desiccated coconut.

Pour into a freezer-safe container and freeze for an hour, until it’s just setting at the edges, then beat well or blend again. Return it to the freezer for at least another 4 hours or overnight, until it’s set solid.

You can also serve this sorbet while it’s still slushy or, if it’s frozen solid, remove from the freezer 20-30 minutes before serving to allow it to soften a little, then blend in a food processor to create a thick, creamy consistency and remove any remaining ice crystals (the lack of cream menas that it is harder when frozen than dairy ice cream). Alternatively, use and ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Cook’s Notes - Gluten free, wheat-free, dairy-free, yeast-free, vegetarian, can be made in advance, suitable for freezing

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