Christmas is coming

The lights are up and it's starting to feel like Christmas. The kids are getting really excited and have been running down the stairs every morning, gobbling down their breakfast and opening their little advent calendar gifts. With Hannukah and Christmas fast approaching, this is definately a month where it’s possible to have too much of a good thing. It seems that the madness and excess just gets madder every year. Yet, seeing the excitement in their eyes and the absolute joy they experience in opening a little gift makes it all worthwhile. In addition to the Christmas lights we’ve had a few frosty mornings this week and that’s started me thinking about this year’s Christmas menu. For the first time in 24 years, we will be spending Christmas in London. Instead of preparing the full meal, I will be sharing the cooking with my sister-in-law Sophie. We really enjoy cooking together and what makes it all that more exciting is the range of cooking styles and culinary influences we share between us. These include French, Colombian, Malaysian, English, South African, Jewish, to name a few. It makes for a fascinating dinner menu and this year of course it will also be 100% gluten free. I am conscious that for many people the Christmas meal can be rife with difficulty. For those with wheat or gluten intolerance life can be pretty miserable and it takes a very understanding and knowledgeable host to ensure that the meal can be enjoyed by everyone. To this end, Coeliac UK has posted a helpful list on their website about how to ensure you can have a happy and healthy gluten free Christmas. I read a lot about well meaning hosts who offer up the turkey laden with bread stuffing and can’t quite understand what the problem is. Well it is a big problem because this is the central focus of the meal and stuffing it with non-gluten free stuffing, makes the turkey a no go area for anyone who is gf intolerant. With this in mind, I offer you my very own special cornbread stuffing. You will find the recipe for this in the recipe section. This stuffing is a firm tradition in our household. It is an amalgamation of my grandmother's fantastic stuffing and a cornbread stuffing recipe I made up about 15 years ago. It’s got to be said that the traditional British Christmas menu doesn’t have much to offer those on a gluten free diet. We’ve covered the turkey angle, but then there is the bread sauce, the sausages, the roast potatoes covered in flour and of course the piece de resistance, the Christmas pudding. No doubt I will get in big trouble for saying this but please look at this as an opportunity to do away with tradition and look for inspiration elsewhere, as in another country! I have spent many years trying to disguise my hatred of the Christmas Pud and I have only ever had one decent bread sauce in 24 years. So hand on heart, I don’t feel I am missing out on anything. Break with tradition and go for a whole new approach to the Christmas meal. Here’s a little sample of what I’ve been considering: • Potato Latkes with Smoked Salmon and Sour Cream • Roast Turkey with New Mexico inspired Chili Cornbread Stuffing • Glazed French Shallots • Cranberry and Lime Relish • Roast potatoes • Brussel Sprouts and Roasted Chestnuts • Chocolate Roulade • A plate of mixed biscuits and petits fours including Ginger Biscotti, Hugs and Kisses and Chocolate Truffle Cookies to be served with liqueurs and coffee

All of these recipes will be posted over the next few days so please have a go. I hope I have given you a little inspiration and I look forward to hearing your comments.

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adriana's picture
adriana wrote 11 years 34 weeks ago

Tortilla Turkey Leftovers

I forgot to say, that the best way to eat up all those turkey left overs is to make tortilla wraps. Follow the recipe for Richards tortilla's and fill them with thinly sliced turkey, shredded lettuce, a little cranberry relish and maybe a bit of warmed up gravy.

sophieb's picture
sophieb wrote 11 years 33 weeks ago

Stuffing and trussing the turkey

Sophie here - Adi's sister-in-law. I've decided to do a stuffed boned turkey slow cooked in our outdoor smoker - called The Big Green Egg (which we've shipped from the USA and is a brilliant device which looks just as its name suggests). My butcher (Mark) will bone the turkey but I was worried that I wouldn't be able to truss it properly after stuffing it. So the lovely man will use my gluten free stuffing (for which I will follow Adi's cornbread recipe) and we will collect it Chistmas eve - totally ready for the smoker. My butcher's sister-in- law is coeliac too, so he's very aware of the issue and will take every precaution to keep our bird away from any other products which might contain gluten. Awareness is growing.