The merry season is in full swing and with it comes the inevitable parade of mince pies, gingerbread men, and everything else that I once enjoyed at Christmas time.
Other ghosts of my Christmas past include turkey stuffing and gravy, chippolatas, and please don’t anyone mention christmas pudding and custard.
Not only that, but with silly season socialising hitting top gear, the pressure is for our gluten detectors to be extra vigilant when deliciously tempting hors deuvres, canapes and assorted sweet treats drift past our hungry eyes.
Of course its not too difficult to conjure up most savoury Christmas fare with gluten-free indredients, but if you are dining out or a guest someone else’s home, you are probably out in the cold when it comes to tucking into all your festive favourites.
Lucky for me, I love all the gluten free parts of a traditional Christmas spread – the hams, the turkey, and the roast vegetables – just as much as the other bits. Even so, I think the time is right to put together a gluten free guide for those of us who are tired of ‘doing without’ on Christmas day.
When it comes to the main course, things like gravy and stuffing can easily be replicated with a gluten free flour substitute – and no-one would ever know the difference. Likewise gluten-free chippolatas and other sausagy-type foods are also easily located in most butchers and supermarkets.
But its the sweet treats that can be the most elusive. Lucky you if you have a good recipe for gingerbread and Christmas puddings (and we’d love to hear about it if you want to share it!). For the rest of us, it was pleasing to see the proliferation of gluten free Christmas goodies on show at the Gluten Free Expo.
So here is a little collection of products and ideas that I have put together that you can buy either in packets, part made or ready made that might ring in a little more yuletide sparkle to your celebrations.
Gingerbread: We love Artini’s gingerbread men, which we buy as a special treat from our local IGA, but there quite a few recipes online if you can’t get hold of these yummy little bites.
Mince pies: Check out a gluten free bakery in your city/town (eg Choices in Turramurra Sydney) and if you have no luck there, try making your own with Pastry Panty shortcrust pastry sheets - which may be available in a local Coles supermarket (in the gluten free section of your freezer section) or can be ordered directly from the company.
Christmas cakes/puddings: Vitarium (who brought us realistic, yummy pancakes) has created a gluten free fruit cake mix so look out for that on supermarket shelves or on their website. If you don’t want to get your mixmaster dirty then Pudding Lane has come up with a gluten free pudding that you can order from its online shop.
Custards/cream: Orgran has a custard mix that does a pretty decent job for those of us who must live without dairy, and Carnation has been advertising soy cooking milk as a cream replacement for those non-dairy people who can tolerate soy products. So Good makes a tasty vanilla soy icecream that contains some wheat, but the company has told me the product is gluten free.