It’s not too late for those last-minute orders from Amazon!
Here are 5 (+1, because I couldn’t resist) gluten free cookery books that I can recommend – or that I’d like to receive!
- Phil Vickery’s book is one that I own – it’s full of ideas and delicious food. Oddly, I came across Phil’s cooking site the other day as part of my work reviewing corporate websites – he runs a cooking academy site for Aldi.
- Don’t you yearn for the cakes on the cover of this Flying Apron book? So beautiful…
- The Gluten Free Girl book from Shauna James Ahern is a must for anyone who is a regular reader of her blog
- The Gluten Free Vegan would be invaluable since we regularly cook vegetarian – both gluten free and dairy free – and although I’m all too familiar with the gluten free aspect, I’m still learning on the dairy free side…
- Carol Fenster is a very well known name in the gluten free world; in fact, I ran an interview post with her a while back… This is a book I’d like to own – it is likely to be American-oriented in its instructions and ingredients, but I’m sure we could deal with that, and ‘translate’ the recipes (not hard!)
- And the Gluten Free Cookbook for Kids looks good too – not just cookies and muffins, but some savoury dishes as well.
Click on the images to buy any of these from Amazon – disclosure: I’d earn a small commission if you bought via these links, at no extra cost to you.
Today’s thought is about ‘all the trimmings’. Here in the UK – and maybe wherever you are – the traditional Christmas meal involves a roasted bird (turkey or goose, usually) and ‘all the trimmings’:
- stuffing – usually chestnut, sausagemeat or herb and onion
- bread sauce
- cranberry sauce
- bacon – either around the sausages or draped on the bird
- roast potatoes
- vegetables – usually the annual outing for the Brussels sprouts, and always parsnips
Where are the gluten traps in this meal? You’ll need to consider all the following:
- the stuffing: you’ll probably need to make this yourself, though it is possible to buy packet gluten free stuffing (Goodness Direct offer AllergyCare and Barkat stuffing mixes). As a rule, though, stuffing is made with breadcrumbs, so just replace the bread with gluten free bread… Here are a couple of recipes to try:
- the bread sauce: you’ll need to make this yourself, if you really want it. I’ve done it, and it’s easy enough, though I don’t see the point of bread sauce myself – though the spices smell good. Anyway, here’s a recipe for you: gluten free bread sauce from Genius
- the gravy: homemade gravy will be OK if you use gluten free flour to thicken it; packet gravy, however, is risky. Read the label.
- the sausages: unless your sausages are extremely high quality, or marketed as gluten free, these are high risk. Check, check and check again. Try:
- the potatoes: just occasionally, I hear of people who toss par-boiled potatoes in flour before roasting, in order to make them crispy. If you must do this, obviously, you should be using a gluten free flour.
You’re unlikely to come a cropper with the cranberry sauce, bacon or vegetables, unless you’re using an unusual recipe. Meat, fruit, and vegetables themselves are gluten free, but battered or breaded vegetables are unlikely to be – unless you’ve made them yourself. Traditionally, though, vegetables at Christmas are simply cooked.
Since many in our Christmas group don’t eat meat, we’ll be coming up with a vegetarian alternative. I’m just not sure what it will be yet…
How about a gluten free Buche de Noel, or Yule Log?
This is a French tradition, and for those people who aren’t really into dense fruit cakes – the traditional English Christmas Cake – an ideal alternative. These are chocolate flavour, but often include intense chestnut flavours too.
Do go over to Tastespotting, to see a selection of beautiful photos of Buches de Noel.
Here’s a recipe from Dietary Specials using their gluten free chocolate cake mix, but for people who prefer to cook from scratch, here are some more complex recipes:
But I think this, from Gluten a Go Go, has got to be the winner: do go and admire – it is beautiful, chestnut and chocolate with marzipan mushrooms.
Look how many classic Christmas flavours these recipes manage to amass between them: chocolate, chestnut, walnut, hazelnut, oranges and marzipan. Yum… Go on, give it a try; don’t hold back, because the lumpier and bumpier it is, the more it will look like a log. (That’s my kind of cooking).
My coeliac daughter spent Sunday afternoon making gluten free chocolate truffles as Christmas gifts for her friends; she made some of them dairy free, as well.
It’s always nice to have a few sweet treats around at Christmas, so here’s the recipe for you – and it is easy-peasy:
Gluten Free Chocolate Truffles
100g (or 4oz) of chocolate (check it is gluten free – and use dairy free if necessary)
25g (or 1oz) of butter
25g (or 1oz) of icing sugar (I think this is called confectioner’s sugar in the US)
50g (or 2oz) of crumbled gluten free chocolate cake (again, use dairy free cake if needed)
4 tablespoons of chocolate sugar strands (we used Supercook’s: do check that they are gluten free)
some small, pretty, paper cases
- Melt the chocolate and butter together
- Sift the icing sugar into the mix
- Add the cake crumbs and stir well
- Let it cool
- Spread the chocolate sugar strands on a plate
- Scoop up a spoonful of the mixture and roll it into a ball in the sugar strands. It should end up coated in them.
- Pop the ball into a paper case
- Make more!
Pop them into the fridge to chill – and store them in an airtight container in the fridge. Eat them within about 5 days.
She put a few into a pretty box for each friend, and wrapped the box in ribbon. Lovely!
Are you thinking of sending someone a gluten free Christmas hamper this year?
It’s not too late.
Goodness Direct are offering a self-select gluten free Christmas Hamper. Choose from a range of different items depending on what you think the recipient might like, and what you want to spend. Options include chocolate, truffles, tea, coffee, pasta, biscuits, fruits, mince pies, brownies, jams or nuts, and a range of different boxes or bags to put it all in. (Do be careful to check that your chosen items are gluten free not just wheat free).
The Village Bakery have a range of different gluten free Christmas hampers (or “box full’s”).
Ripe Gifts (new to me) have a range of unusual gluten free hampers, including a vegetarian ginger-lover’s hamper, which looks particularly delicious, or a honey hamper.
Or need one that is both gluten free and vegetarian? Try JustHampers, whose gluten free vegetarian hamper includes olives, feta pate, chipotle chilli jam, pear and ginger chutney…
And Gifting Direct (aff) have a wide range of gluten free hampers – and their gluten free Christmas hamper is on special offer at the moment.
I fancy either the ginger hamper from Ripe Gifts, or a pick-your-own hamper from Goodness Direct. What would you choose?