‘Tis the season for Christmas Parties, lunches, dinners, mulled wine and mince pie nights and all sort of festive gatherings involving food. If you are celiac or entertaining a guest who is celiac the idea of entertaining can be daunting there is always fear of being made ill or worse still making a friend ill because of cross contamination in the kitchen.
Here are a few simple tips for a happy gluten free Christmas.
Be wary of cross contamination. Don’t use the same serving spoons for gluten free and regular dishes. Be conscious in your kitchen to cook gluten free dishes separately and clean all your cooking tools carefully before cooking GF food. Tinfoil is your friend, cover all dishes once cooked so that errant crumbs or dustings of flour don’t fall in. Clearly identify GF containing foods for gluten free guests so they know what to avoid.
If you are cooking bread stuffing with your turkey try cooking it separately instead of in the bird. You can wrap the bread stuffing tinfoil and cook in the oven, check with our google overlords for instructions. Or you could use GF bread crumbs for your stuffing to make life even easier.
Most vegetable dishes will be naturally Gluten Free but make sure that whatever you are adding to the veggies is also gluten free.
Check your stock cubes, there are plenty of GF stock-cubes available for making gravy. Thicken your gravy with GF flour or GF cornflour instead of regular flour.
Check, double check and then check again the ingredients on any pre- packaged food you purchase from frozen roast potatoes to the glaze for your ham to cranberry sauce and all the relishes and if they contain gluten serve them separately and let your GF guest know.
If you are deep frying anything please do not use the same oil for GF and non GF food, this will cause contamination.
Check your butter for gluten containing crumbs before adding to your mashed potatoes.
If you want to make an old fashioned sherry trifle try the Gluten Free Madeira Cake from Aldi instead of trifle sponges, it tastes good and I feel, although I haven’t tried it, that it could work well.
Ask your GF guest for advice, let them know that you are taking their needs in to consideration and that they aren’t putting you out. Don’t freak out, there are a lot of resources out there to guide you on your gluten- free way and gluten free products are easily available online and in most grocery stores.
If you are organising a lunch out for family and friends check in with the restaurant to make sure they can cater for dietary requirements, particularly at this time of year when a lot of restaurants have set menu’s.
If you are celiac and heading to a friend’s house and you are uncertain of whether they fully understand your dietary requirements then ask if you can bring some GF crackers or other nibbles so you know you will have something to eat. Let your host know in advance so they aren’t morally offended that you would bring your ownfood to a dinner party, in all honesty they will most likely be relieved.
Relax, do your best, that is all anyone can ask of you, if what you can manage is turkey, ham, mashed potatoes and a vegetable side that are all definitely gluten free and safe to eat, served with good company and festive cheer then I think your GF guest will be happy to forgo any GF containing dishes that you have on the table.
Have a very Merry Festive Season and a tremendous New Year!