It’s not fancy or even a bit schmancy, but it’s simple and it’s gluten-free this Christmas!
Most dining tables around the country include a family member, or friend, who steers clear of a dish because of an intolerance or allergy to one or more of the ingredients. The weekly household shopping to cater for a special diet becomes par for the course and a routine of ‘safe’ meals is established so that the possum with the allergy or intolerance can eat happily and calmly.
Then Christmas hits the fan…or table
The festive season can often throw a spanner in the works and it can be a nightmare trying to navigate your way around the baked goodies and fruit mince pies for a gluten-intolerant human, especially if you’re celebrating at another human’s home! Pinning down who-cooked-what to suss out what the hell is in Aunt Bett’s caramel slice is no easy feat. No matter how much you want to have a taste, you know it’s going to be something that will probably see you downing three Phenergan with a cup of punch and missing the carols altogether.
However, it isn’t all bad news and antihistamine-induced comas, turns out, there are quite a few yummies that are more exciting than 2×2-inch GF bread, are pretty easy to throw together and (drumroll please…) taste absolutely yummo!
The Usual Suspects
Nuts, cheeses, rice crackers, olives, sundried tomatoes and cocktail onions are simple and easy snacks to go with the welcome drinks. I want to be considerate to all of our guests, but I also want to serve food we can all enjoy, that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg and is easy to prepare. In that category, definitely falls dips like hummus, raita and guacamole and I’m more than happy to be the taste-tester for those babies!
Let the Good Times (of Rice Paper) Roll
Prawns are delicious I hear. I’m not really into seafood but oddly enough, other folks are, so we like to grab a packet of rice paper rolls and ah, roll a couple dozen of these bad boys up and everyone (ok, except me) gets right into them!
The filling is really up to your own tastes, but we chop up a kilo of cooked tiger prawns, a bunch of coriander, thinly slice some red chillies (use chilli sauce if you want) and splash it all with lime juice and mix it up in a bowl. Lay out your rice papers, load them, roll them and dip them in soy for a bit of ‘oh yeah’ reaction. For the non-seafoodies like myself, I have been known to replace the filling with chicken, roast pumpkin, feta, sundried tomatoes and crisp cos lettuce pieces. Still yum.
Sprouts and About
Sprouts are equally loathed and loved around the countryside. I was introduced to plain boiled sprouts as a child and it has scarred me for life and that way of cooking them should probably be outlawed, just saying. I’m sure if someone had steamed them, laced them with cracked sea salt, melted butter and lemon juice, my memories might be less gag-worthy.
So going along with thought in mind, why not whack ten in the steamer and when those little fellas are bright green, crack the salt, melt the butter, juice the lemon and pour the mix over the top? Some gorgeous crispy prosciutto (I’ll probably just use bacon again) amongst it all should see even the hard-core haters give them a second chance!
Let’s Get Roasted
How good is a roast at Christmas? The only time it’s better is a cold and blustery winter’s night, the complete utter opposite of how we spend our festive days! We’re lucky to have the option of the barbeque in these parts (all over Australia) so that the roast beef, pork, turkey, chicken, lamb and fish can all be cooked outside and let the air cons keep up the good work inside. While that Barbie is lit, why not chuck on cobs of corn, carrots, veggie skewers – think capsicum, mushroom, onion and pineapple – with a side of boiled baby taters. Mint sauce and cranberry sauce are both super easy to make and will add a dash of mmmm to your spread!
On the other hand, if cooking hot meals at Christmas is so not your thing, cold cuts of meat with wicked salads of greens, roast sweet potato, feta and juicy tomatoes all kissed with balsamic vinegar and olive oil will do just nicely!
Gluten-free pasta is very readily available these days and is not expensive. It’s best buddy at our place is sundried tomato pesto (Aldi, I love you) and that’s it. Plain, simple and loved by everyone except our eldest child…what are you gonna do? You can do heaps with pasta salad easily by adding in chopped up capsicum, carrots or peas. Go wild with your own tastes!
Sweety, Sweety, Sweety
Desserts are the main offender for me when it comes to gluten-free needs at Christmas time as everything seems to have pastry or pastry or even pastry involved. There are so many options nowadays for GF cake varieties and one of the best is the orange juice and almond meal one (excuse me while I drool) and I also love a good pudding.
I like to have little bite-size bits of delish on my plate so I bust out the condensed milk big time!
My golden syrup self-saucing pudding just gets the wheat flour replaced with GF self-raising flour and a little more milk and voila, next to a tub of creamy vanilla ice cream and a bowl of fruit salad, there’s grins all round!
I also like to bust out the condensed milk and good chocolate for a slow-cooker fudge, funnily enough, there are no complaints about how easy it is!
Last but not at all least, my Cherry Ripe balls have the ultimate place in my heart for GF dessert amazingness. Coconut, condensed milk and those sticky little bits of glace cherries all get together in little balls, then wait patiently while I stab them with a wooden skewer and dip them in gooey melted dark chocolate. Some get the white or milk chocolate treatment, but the darker the better to go with the uber sweet insides I say! The great thing about these tiny little tidbits is that you add in your own flavours too, or remove them, for example without the glace cherries you are instantly the very clever maker of ‘Bounty Balls’. Oh and you can freeze them for later also.
Watching them set in the fridge is agony and the ones set aside in the freezer for ‘later’ aren’t safe either…
Do you have an easy GF Christmas idea?
- Gluten Free
- Gluten Free