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Top tips for cooking the perfect free-from Christmas dinner
Food, glorious food. It’s one of the most important things about Christmas.
Whether it’s sitting up at the table for a slap-up Christmas meal or curling up in front of the TV and grazing on your favourite snacks, the food can make Christmas.
But for those with allergies and intolerances, it’s not always easy to get it right. Festive foods like mince pies and Christmas pudding are often choc-a-bloc with allergens – 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.
An easy way to avoid nuts
Hazelnuts and chestnuts are popular ingredients in Christmas foods. But if you’re 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 Yorkshire puds
From bread sauce to Yorkshire puddings, Christmas dinner is 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
Though turkey and Christmas dinner usually go hand in hand, that doesn’t mean you can’t get creative with the centrepiece 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.
And for pudding?
Why not try a delicious free-from Christmas cake? Use gluten free plain white flour, and substitute eggs for Chickpea flour and Xanthan gum (with water). Make it alcohol free by using fruit juice instead of sherry.
Or what about a dairy-free chocolate mousse? No milk or cream in sight, but an ingenious use for olive oil (which creates a smooth creamy finish).
So there are free-from options everywhere. Make the most of them, and make it a magical free-from foodie Christmas.
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