My Gluten Free Christmas

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Christmas time can be a bit of a hassle for anyone avoiding gluten, wheat or dairy. It is the one time of year when invitations to parties and pub meals are non-stop and the risk of being glutened or accidently eating something with an evil ingredient can be like playing Russian roulette – you just can’t help feeling anxious upon being presented with a meal.

This year was my first works Christmas outing in my new job and I was presented on my first day in the new role with the festive menu for our meal out. Upon reading the menu, I realised I couldn’t eat a thing due to the fact that roast dinners in a pub obviously contain a generous helping of wheat and dairy and I admit I felt awful when my colleague offered to sort something out for me to eat.

I was very lucky as I got a phone call off the chef at the Navigation Inn, located in Bromsgrove, telling me how he had done a lot of gluten free catering in the past and then going on to give me a long list of what he could do to incorporate my roast dinner into a gluten and dairy free three course meal. I honestly have never had such fantastic service, with ham hock for starter, a large turkey dinner complete with gluten free stuffing and gravy, vegetables and roast potatoes for main, and then a homemade Christmas pudding drizzled in brandy sauce for pud, I couldn’t speak highly enough of the place and I would recommend both the pub and the chef to anyone looking for somewhere safe to eat in the local area. Here is a link to their website – http://www.steakandciderpubs.co.uk/

Christmas dinner was lovely for me as we can easily adapt the roast into a free from meal by keeping things like stuffing and gravy apart from each other and making my own sauce for the prawn cocktail using Tiger Tiger gluten free tomato and mayo sauces. I used Tesco’s gluten free cocktail sausages for my pigs in blankets, and I actually thought they tasted fresher after wrapping my own bacon around them. I used Antony Worrall Thompson’s gluten free beef gravy to be quick and easy, and although the jars can no longer be found on the shelves at Sainsbury’s, it is available to buy online from mysupermarket and Ocado. I used some of the Sainsbury’s gluten free cranberry and orange stuffing balls, as well as the pork, thyme and chestnut stuffing which I really enjoyed.

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Boxing day in my family is Christmas Day re-visited, another 2 course meal before heading over to my cousins house for a large buffet selection. My cousin suffers from food intolerances herself and so I had no worries, knowing she would cook me something I could eat. A selection of cranberry stuffed chicken, meatloaf, roasted peppers and potatoes were piled up on my plate, with poached pears in red wine with edible glitter presented to me for pudding, which looked great and are simple to cook if anyone is looking for inspiration for cooking for guests. Floater coffees were made using St Helen’s Farm goats cream and Plamil mint chocolate flakes and I really enjoyed having creamy coffees back in my life.

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Father Christmas delivered what I asked for this year – Phil Vickery’s Seriously Good Gluten Free Cooking and the Guilt Free Gourmet cookery books. I am really looking forward to cooking up the delicious looking recipes featured knowing they will be okay for me.

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I was given some of the Moo Free chocolate pralines and button drops for a present, it is no secret that I love the Hammy Hamster choccies the most and so I can’t wait to dive into the box. Of course, luckily wine and snowballs are gluten free and so there was no need to go to any special effort in order to get a little bit tipsy and merry!

To everyone reading, have a very happy and healthy new year!!

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