Top tips for cooking the perfect free-from Christmas dinner
Discover handy tips and substitute ingredients for cooking a scrumptious free-from Christmas meal.
‘Tis the season to be jolly, but for many people with allergies and intolerances, Christmas is often one of the most challenging seasons of the year. Festive foods like mince pies and Christmas pudding are often choc-a-bloc with allergy-inducing ingredients – leaving those with restrictive diets forced to keep an eagle eye on everything they eat.
Luckily, the growing number of free-from products in supermarkets and shops means it’s never been easier to cook gluten, nut and dairy-free Christmas favourites at home. Here we explore the best allergy-friendly substitutes to add to your Christmas food shop, along with tasty free-from recipes to help you nail the Christmas meal.
An easy way to avoid nuts
Hazelnuts and chestnuts are popular ingredients in Christmas foods. But if you are cooking for someone with a nut allergy, there are still plenty of easy workarounds. Making home-made stuffing? Try swapping the nut ingredients with dried fruit like cranberries or chopped apricots. Or if you’re attempting a traditional Christmas pud, you can also replace nut-based Marzipan for a dried or glazed fruit decoration.
Going gluten-free in sauces and puddings
Bread sauce, gravy, Yorkshire puddings…. many of the best side dishes in the traditional Christmas Day feast are packed with gluten. But removing gluten or wheat from these popular dishes doesn’t have to ruin the flavour. Just use easy substitutes like cornflour in your gravy, and general purpose free-from flour in your Yorkshire puddings for a meal that tastes just as good.
Catering for vegans? Here’s how to skip dairy and meat
Yes, turkey and Christmas dinner usually go hand in hand. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get creative with the centre-piece of your Christmas meal. Nut roasts have become an increasingly popular alternative over the past few years for vegans and those with daily allergies. The chewy, dense texture makes it just as filling as meat, plus it’s protein packed, giving you all the energy you need to see you through Christmas Day. Vegetables like mushrooms and peppers also make for a great meat substitute. This Vegetable Wellington recipe, for example, is super filling and packed with scrumptious veg.
Christmas dinner the AEG way
Just this weekend, we invited a group of food bloggers to enjoy some Christmas food favourites at our Taste of Christmas event, held in partnership with AEG. The early Christmas event was centred around how to make a delicious Christmas feast, and was the perfect excuse to get into the festive spirit in mid-November!
As well as learning how to cook turkey and beef with all the trimmings, guests also tried their hand at making a scrumptious Vegetable Wellington - the perfect Christmas dish with a free-from twist.
AEG’s Customer Marketing Manager, Gemma Reid, was also on hand to show everyone how an AEG oven can help make Christmas cooking a breeze.
AEG ovens come with a range of handy features including a Food Sensor which monitors how your food is cooking from the centre of the dish, and ensures your meat is perfectly cooked each time. Another handy feature is the SurroundCook system which helps circulate hot air evenly throughout the oven, ensuring a more efficient performance and reducing your Christmas cooking times by up to 20%.
For more great pics from the event, check out the #AEGTasteofXmas hashtag on Instagram and Twitter.