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Gluten-Free Alternatives for Christmas Food

06 October, 2014

Hosting a gluten-free Christmas lunch, or at least providing a few gluten-free alternatives for guests, can feel like a bit of a daunting task at first. Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be. Even if you aren’t familiar with gluten-free alternatives, there are plenty of available products on the market in order for you to enjoy a Christmas pudding while still meeting everyone’s dietary requirements!

Gluten-free flour varieties

Traditionally, gluten is what helps to bind the dough when baking. Fortunately there are now a number of wheat free and gluten-free alternatives you can use, due to the increasing number of people who choose a gluten-free diet not only because of their intolerance or allergy to gluten but also because of the associated health benefits. While these flours may taste a little different, by using them you can still enjoy all of your Christmas favourites!

Gluten-free flours and what each is best used for:

 Arrowroot flour: Great for thickening sauces.

 Brown rice flour: Perfect for potato gnocchi.

Buckwheat flour: Best used for making banana bread, muffins and savory pastry goodies.

Potato starch or potato flour: Use this flour for making things like sponges and shortbreads, or for thickening casseroles, stews or soups.

Quinoa flour: This is lovely to use when making cakes and Christmas pastries.

Rice flour: Great for making bread, sponge cakes, pastry and even noodles.

Soya flour: You would use this type of flour by blending it with other flour varieties to make everything from cakes to egg-free pastries.

Tapioca flour: This is another flour that is perfect for binding pastries and for adding to casseroles.

White rice flour: When you need something that has a rather light texture, such as shortbread, cakes and delicate pastries, then white rice flour is great.

Just in case you need some ideas on how to make your Christmas delicious without missing out, we’ve provided these amazing recipes to help you out!

Great Gluten-Free Christmas Recipes

Sweet potato dip with chorizo and chicory dippers

Try this scrumptious, savory dip with mini gluten-free sausages for a delicious starter:

 What you’ll need:

•         4 tbsp olive oil

•         2 large sweet potatoes

•         1 tbsp red wine vinegar

•         ½ tsp sweet smoked paprika

•         coriander or parsley, chopped

•         250g mini gluten-free sausages

•         a few heads of red and white chicory, leaves separated

1.  Pre-heat your oven to 200C/180C fan-forced. Put the sweet potatoes on an oven tray and bake for 50 minutes, or until they are nice and tender. Remove them from the oven and leave to cool.

2.  Combine the soft flesh of the sweet potatoes along with the oil, paprika, vinegar, coriander or parsley and some seasoning into a food processor and combine until it reaches a smooth, dip texture.

3.  Fry the chorizo until cooked and leave to drain on paper towel. Serve the sausages and chicory leaves on a plate next to the dip and decorate with extra parsley or coriander. Delicious and gluten-free!


Prawn, pomegranate and grapefruit salad

This fresh, fruity salad gives a new spin on how to present prawns on Christmas day. Your guests will love it!

 What you’ll need:

•         2 pink grapefruits, zest and juice from 1, parts cut from the other

•         1 tbsp red wine vinegar

•         2 handfuls frisée, torn

•         2 tbsp olive oil

•         2 shallots, finely chopped

•         2 tbsp chopped dill

•         1 tsp caster sugar

•         300g cooked, peeled prawns

•         ½ cucumber, halved lengthways and diced with seeds removed

•         2 handfuls rocket

•         100g pomegranate seeds

1.   Combine the grapefruit zest and juice, sugar, oil, vinegar and dill to make the dressing. Using half of the mixture, marinate the prawns for 10 minutes.

2.   Before plating up, toss the shallots, cucumber, frisée and rocket with the rest of the dressing.

3.   Add a portion of this to each plate and then place the prawns and segments of grapefruit on top. Finish by scattering over the pomegranate seeds to serve.

What’s great about this dish is that you’ll have some delicious pomegranate flesh leftover for making juice! Rich in vitamin C and polyphenols and antioxidants, it’s not only delicious but good for you too!


Smoked salmon & avocado terrines

This is a light and fresh meal that everyone can enjoy gluten-free style.

 What you’ll need:

•         sunflower oil, for greasing

•         3 tbsp snipped chives

•         3 large ripe avocados, peeled and chopped finely

•         450g thinly sliced smoked salmon

•         100g pack chèvre or other mild goat's cheese, cut into small pieces

•         3 tbsp lemon juice

•         sweet chilli sauce, for drizzling on top

•         salad leaves and vinaigrette

1.   Grease 8 small ramekins and line with cling wrap. Then line each hole with the smoked salmon, allowing the pieces to overhang.

2.   Mix the avocado, lemon juice, cheese and chives as well as extra seasoning together. Gently spoon the mixture into the ramekins and press them down gently before wrapping the salmon over the top and sealing with cling wrap. Chill in the fridge for at least four hours before serving to allow the mixture to set.

3.   When you are ready to serve them, lift the terrines out of the ramekins using the cling wrap and then take it off. Place them on a plate and put some baby salad leaves tossed in a little vinaigrette around them. Finish them off with a drizzle of sweet chili sauce and voila! 


Christmas pudding

You can’t have Christmas without pudding, and this scrumptious recipe is gluten-free so everyone can partake. And to make it easier for you to prepare in advance of the big day, this pudding doesn’t involve any cooking!

 What you’ll need:

·         225g fresh pitted dates. Around 10-15 is perfect depending on their size.

·         zest from 1 orange

·         150 g (1 ½ cups) almond meal / ground almonds

·         250g organic dried apricots chopped up

·         tsp vanilla bean paste or extract

·         1 tsp ground cinnamon

·         ¼  tsp ground nutmeg

·         ¼ tsp ground ginger

·         80 g white chocolate, melted for decoration (this is optional)

1.    Combine the orange zest, dates, apricots, vanilla, orange zest, ground almonds, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger in a food processor. Blend the ingredients until they look like fine crumbs. Spoon the mixture into a bowl and add 1-2 tablespoons of orange juice and mix through.

2.    Using a set of moulds, press the pudding mixture down firmly to form the right shape.

3.    Invert the mould and take out the individual puddings. Then melt the white chocolate and drizzle over the top.

TIP: Add fresh cherries and spiced brandy butter (see below recipe) to the top of each one to garnish. 


Spiced brandy butter

This sauce is perfect for serving with Christmas puddings and other favourite Christmas desserts. Plus, it’s super easy to make.

 What you’ll need:

·         3-4 tbsp Brandy

·         227g Unsalted Butter

·         227g Caster Sugar

·         1 tspn Ground Cinnamon (ensure the product you purchase is gluten-free)

1.    Simply cream the butter and sugar together until it’s nice and fluffy.

2.    Add the brandy and cinnamon and blend together.

3.    Chill the sauce in the fridge and serve over pudding or mince pies. Yum!


Crumble topped mince pies

These little beauties are gluten-free and egg-free. Enjoy with a glass of mulled wine or hot cup of tea.

 What you’ll need:

•         grated zest of 1 orange

•         125g unsalted butter, chilled and cut up

•         1 tbsp icing sugar

•         200g gluten-free flour plus a little extra for rolling

•         200g gluten-free mincemeat

•         25g ground almonds

•         pinch ground cinnamon

•         25g unsalted butter, melted

•         25g flaked almonds

•         25g soft light brown sugar

1. Firstly you need to make the pasty. Rub the butter through the flour until it looks like fine breadcrumbs. Add the orange zest and icing sugar and 4 tbsp water. Mix gently until the dough starts to form. Knead it lightly and flatten into discs before wrapping in cling wrap and storing in the fridge for a minimum of 30 minutes.

2. Preheat the oven to 180C/fan forced, 160C/gas. After lightly flouring a working surface, roll the pastry out so it’s 2-3mm thick. Stamp out the discs using a 9-10 centimeter fluted cutter. Then, line two 8-hole muffin trays with the pastry discs and fill each with 1 heaped tsp of mincemeat.

3. In a small bowl, combine the ingredients for the crumble: the almonds, cinnamon, butter and brown sugar. Sprinkle this over the top of the mince pieces before putting them in the oven for approximately 20 minutes, or until the pasty is golden brown and cooked through. Allow them to cool in the tin for at least 5 minutes, and then you can serve them with crème fraîche or serving sauce. These mince pies teate great when served with the brandy recipe mentioned previously.

With these recipes you’re bound to have a delicious and gluten-free Christmas this year. Enjoy celebrating and sharing special moments with your loved ones over some scrumptious, gluten-free food!

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