The lights are on, the tacky jumpers are out and relatives are planning their arrival, cue panic present purchasing and menu planning. Yes, it’s nearly Christmas. However, suffering with a food intolerance at this time of year can be tough – catering for it, even more so.
We’ve asked the experts to lend a helping hand (and some inspiration) for all those looking for food intolerant friendly menu ideas for the festive season, and more importantly, the main event itself: Christmas Dinner!
Read on for top free-from recipes and tips from food intolerance bloggers from around the web as well as our very own nutritional experts here at YorkTest:
Nutritious Alternatives To Christmas Classics
First up is YorkTest’s very own Nutritional Therapist, Sarah Hughes, who shares her favourite alternative Christmas ideas that are nutrient-rich and will suit a variety of dietary requirements.
“Eating at Christmas is steeped in tradition and we tend to eat the same thing on the same day year after year – even down to the vegetables! It can be a bit of a leap of faith to veer away from these meals. But in reality it is easier than we might think. Many dishes can still have those familiar Christmas fruits, spices and flavours but with a replacement of some ingredients. Here are a few tips:
- What’s wrong with having fish as a main course? Not just the typical smoked salmon starter but as a main dish. Sea bass or monkfish would be a delicious way to eat Christmas lunch and that sleepy ‘post lunch bloat’ wouldn’t be half as severe
- If you don’t fancy a full on fish main, why not try a tasty Christmas starter of fresh scallops, oysters or mussels all of which are in season right now
- If you have a problem with turkey why not try venison or a gamey main course? Meats such as pheasant, partridge and guinea fowl are in season around Christmas so are good value and have a lovely richness about them. Eat with chestnuts and sprouts – a winning combination and full of nutrients
- Gluten intolerance at Christmas can be a minefield – with bread sauce, gravy and mince pies being a few of the culprits. There are gluten free versions of stock cubes, gravy browning and pastry so it’s a case of hunting around a bit
- Seasonal fruits and vegetables available at Christmas include butternut squash, cabbage, pomegranates, mandarin oranges and cranberries. These can still be added to meals to give that festive taste and they all add a splashes of colour plus lots of antioxidants and nutrients to counteract all the anti-nutrients of sugar and alcohol that accompany Christmas.”
Starters and sides from Ceri
Next we turned to the experts in the industry; our first blogger is Ceri Jones of Natural Kitchen Adventures (@cerikitchen) who is passionate about cooking with whole foods, putting together delicious gluten-free and refined-sugar free recipes.
There are plenty of ways to enjoy a gluten-free Christmas, without fear of missing out on the old favourites. In fact, the main event itself will need less adapting than you may think. Meat & veggies after all is as gluten-free as it gets, however the accompaniments might need a bit more looking after.
- Instead of shop bought pigs in blankets, which can often be hiding rusk and wheat inside make your own. Ask your butcher for top quality no-wheat-added sausages and butchers bacon and you’ll be fine. Some supermarkets stock a good range of GF sausages – don’t be afraid to ask.
- Instead of a bread stuffing, go for a meat stuffing, or use seasonal chestnuts instead of breadcrumbs. Pork, chestnut, sage and apricot is a great flavour combination and with good quality pork sausages there is no need to add breadcrumbs as a binder.
- Make sure your gravy is made without added wheat flour. Instead, try adding arrowroot or corn flour to your meat juice for an alternative gluten free gravy thickener.
- Finally, if you do fancy keeping the traditional smoked salmon on bread canapés, try making your own blinis from gluten-free buckwheat flour. Blinis – a Russian delicacy – are actually traditionally made from buckwheat flour anyway!
Bite-size Treats from The Free-From Fairy
Looking for a one-stop shop dessert that is a great option for a variety of intolerances? Look no further than Vicki’s (aka the Free From Fairy) stollen bites, they’re gluten free, dairy free, soya-free and refined sugar-free.
Here’s what Vicki had to say about her stollen:
These stollen bites make the perfect treat for all the family. Being bite sized they are perfect for the kids, but they also look (and taste) special enough to be included in a Christmas buffet that everyone can enjoy regardless of their dietary restrictions. – We agree Vicki!
Ready in only 30 minutes, here’s what you’ll need to get going:
- 100ml coconut milk (I use Koko)
- 14g yeast
- 250g plain gluten-free flour (I use Doves)
- 2tsp xanthan gum
- 1tsp mixed spice
- 50g fruit sugar (I use Tate and Lyle) – you could use ordinary white granulated sugar
- Pinch salt
- 200g raisins (or a mixture of raisins, currants and sultanas)
- 30g mixed peel
- Zest 1 clementine
- 30g ground almonds
- 50g melted coconut oil plus a little more to brush on top once baked
- 2 medium eggs, beaten
- Half tsp lemon juice
- 200g marzipan
- Icing sugar to cover
Read the method here.
A Truly Indulgent Dessert from Kellie’s Food To Glow
Next up is Kellie Anderson. Kellie is food blogger based in Edinburgh but originally from sunny Florida, we love her passion for food and the broad range of recipes she has on offer.
We got in touch with her to ask her to share with us her favourite Christmas food intolerant-friendly recipe and are really are in for a treat. Read on for her delightful Chocolate Chestnut Truffle Cake (and in her words is fabulous, festive and flourless).
This is a great gluten-free option that still has all the festive charm of a traditional Christmas cake.
Ingredients: (serves 8)
- 100g soft, stoned prunes (Agen prunes if available)
- 75g butter or non-dairy alternative
- 125g best quality dark chocolate – I use Green & Black’s Dark Cooking Chocolate
- 200g chestnut puree – I use Merchant Gourmet brand, about half the can. You could use whole cooked chestnuts instead but up the milk later in the recipe to make a loose paste
- 100ml milk or almond milk
- 2 tsp good quality vanilla extract
- 3 large organic eggs, separated
- 3 heaped tbsp. coconut palm sugar or caster/fine sugar
- Cocoa powder for dusting
- Physalis to decorate, optional
- Crème fraiche, to serve
You’ll need grease and line a 20cm-23cm spring form cake pan (or a tin with a removable base)
1. Soak the prunes in enough just boiled water to cover them and leave for 10 minutes. Then drain them and pop them in a blender (or use a handheld one). Or chop very, very finely and mash. Set aside.
2. Melt the chocolate in a glass bowl over a pan of just-boiled water (contrary to popular belief, there’s no need to turn the heat.) Stir and set aside.
3. Beat the chestnut puree and a little of the milk in a bowl until the chestnuts are very smooth, mixing in the rest of the milk and the vanilla once it is smooth.
4. Whisk the eggs until stiff peaks just begin to form. Set aside.
5. In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and the coconut palm sugar or caster sugar until they are thick and pale.
Now whisk in the chestnut milk to make a smooth batter. Pour in the chocolate and butter mix and stir until well combined.
Then, put one spoonful of egg white quickly into the mixture, to lighten it, before folding in the rest of the white.
6. Pour the mixture into the pre-greased tin and bake for 30-35 minutes. How do you know when it’s ready? When it is starting to pull from the sides and the centre is still a bit wobbly and probably cracked. Once out of the oven the cake will settle and deflate a bit, the cracks may deepen and the centre will set. Leave it in the tin to go cold and set further before removing the tin.
7. Done! Chill for about four hours – or up to two days. Serve generously dusted with cocoa powder.
For more information take a look at the full recipe here.
We hope you enjoyed our Food Intolerant’s Guide to Christmas and are now filled with ideas for enjoying Christmas with some delicious food intolerant friendly recipes.
Think you might have a food intolerance? Feel free to get in contact to speak to one of our friendly experts.