My Guide To A Nut Free, Gluten Free Christmas..Part 1

So it’s that time of year again, and Christmas is fast approaching. In preparation for the big guys’ visit, I’m doing a guide for allergy sufferers and those who have invited anybody with allergies and are starting to panic- please don’t it will all be fine. 

First things first Advent Calendars 

No Christmas would be complete without one of these especially for children, this got me thinking, what’s out there, nut free so my little one isn’t left out? The best ones I think are 

Nut Free Chocolate People these little goodies are handmade individual chocolates to go in an advent calendar (although they sell that as well). They also sell boxed chocolates but all are nut and gluten free. 
Kinnerton have a great selection, including frozen (one even lights up), Peppa Pig and Marvel comic characters so a good selection for boys and girls.  
   
  

If you are after a more traditional advent calendar, then M&S do a nativity themed calendar which is gluten free, but may contain nuts. 

Chocolate Coins

Again the Nut free Chocolate People do coins so worth a look on their website. 

These from John Lewis are also stated as Nut Free and a bargin at £1.00. 

  

The Best Of The Rest 

These chocolate lollies from Waitrose are both nut and gluten free  

 

Again from Kinnerton there is this cute Santa figure 

  
Moo Free offer a great selection of gluten,Dairy and vegan products including advent calendars and selection boxes, however these aren’t suitable for people with nut allergies. 

For things like mince pies, Christmas puddings and cakes all the supermarkets are offering these options, and whilst all are gluten free, they are lacking in nut free options, the “May contain” being on all boxes. I can feel myself getting itchy teeth just typing this as these warnings frustrate me…..but I digress and for now will shove my soap box to the side. All is not lost however,  Matthew Walker offer both a gluten free pudding (it’s delicious) they also do a nut free one, so no one is left out. 

So there you have it, my guide to a gluten free, nut free Christmas in terms of treats. I will be following up with the supermarkets’ selections of offerings in the next couple of weeks, and some lovely festive recipes for you all to try. 

If you have found any other little gems for the festive period, let me know in the comments below. 

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Gluten Free Pasta carbonara 

It’s cold outside, I’m sad we don’t have any snow and the dog has chewed my welly boot (she’s off the Christmas list) so I thought something warm and hearty would be perfect to dinner, then I thought that my followers may want a recipe to warm their cockles as well- so here goes. 

  
I know it’s easy yo open a jar of sauce, but really this is easy to and much more tasty, the added bonus is that I’m yet to meet a child who doesn’t like pasta. The pasta I used here is by Doves Farm. They have a nut free policy, so this dish is perfect for nut allergy sufferers as well. 

Ingredients 

  • 75g of dried pasta per person
  • 1 onion chopped 
  • 150 g Gammon ham or pancetta diced into cubes
  • 40 g grated Parmesan plus extra to serve. 
  • Generous 2 handfuls of frozen peas 
  • 100 ml of cream (or dairy alternative) 
  • 1 egg plus one extra yolk

Method 

  • Beat the eggs, and mix with the Parmesan and cream. season with salt and pepper and set aside. 
  • In a frying pan, gently cook the onion and then add your meat. Cook until the meat gets some colour  and starts to go crispy. 
  • In another pan cook your pasta ( this gluten free variety takes about 9-10 minutes) 
  • I like to add a little of the starchy pasta to the onion/ bacon mixture it helps create a glossy sauce. 
  • Add your peas to start to warm through. 
  • Once the pasta is cooked drain, put back in the pan and combine with the frying pan ingredients. 
  • Add the egg/cheese mixture ( the heat from the pain will gently cook the egg). 
  • I save some extra pasta water and add a couple more spoonfuls to give the carbonara a lovely glossy texture. 
  • Serve with extra Parmesan on top. 

Please note you don’t have to add peas, I just use it as a way to get veg into my mini diva on a fussy day. 

  
So there you have it a quick, simple delicious dinner for the whole family. Have you made carbonara? Or got any other twists to the recipe? Let me know in the comments. 

Chocolate Avocado Pudding. 

Yes yes I know but before you wrinkle your nose, pull a face or do a cry baby George style “yuck” ( peppas’ brother does need shooting)  then bear with me, if you have never tried this I promise you, you won’t be disappointed. This pudding is a rich, creamy, silky pudding that hits the spot when you need a chocolate fix but not the hips (hooray ) as its refined sugar and dairy free, not to mention full of healthy fats. 

  Ingredients 
1 1/2 avocados 

1/2 banana or 6/8 dates (stoned) 

4tbs unsweetened cocoa powder (if using raw cacao try 2 tbs first) 

Natural sweetener of choice – I use agave nectar. 

125ml of either milk of your choice or yoghurt (Coyo is my choice

Method

The other bonus of this recipe is that it’s so easy to make. Scoop the avocado into a food processor, add cocoa, banana (or dates) and milk then blend until smooth. Add your sweetener of choice to suit your tastes. I find agave nectar or maple syrup work best. Honey is too strong. It’s worth saying if you use dates, you may need more milk and less sweetener, and if your avocados are large then use a whole banana

Put into dishes and pop in the fridge for at least 2 hours to firm up. 

You can vary this so much- it works wonders with peanut butter added, I didn’t here as my little one has a severe allergy but if you do it’s amazing. .

   So there you have it, a simple, easy, clean dessert for you to try. Until next time, thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy this pudding. 

Product Review-M&S Cheese Ploughman’s Sandwhich 

   Yes you read it right, hurrah M&S, I thought to myself, at last a quick, convient lunch solution on days when you forget or run out of time to make lunch ( I hasten to add this was me today).
I’ll paint the picture, I had about 4 hrs total sleep last night, due to the little lady cutting a molar and having a nightmare. It’s not a pretty sight and the morning has been fuelled by coffee, very strong coffee. The wind (outside, not me) is terrible and it’s cold so I found myself insideM&S. My eyes clapped sight on the familiar green free from packaging and there in stock was BLT, cheese ploughman’s or ham salad gluten free sandwiches. I opted for cheese.
I notice it’s high in salt, fats and calories but it’s not everyday I’d eat this and I needed the boost quite frankly (mental note to go to the gym later). So how does it taste, in one word- delicious. The cheese is mature and tasty, the salad fresh and crunchy, no soggy lettuce here. I liked the tang of the pickle and the bread did not, I repeat did not taste of cardboard. I should point out there is a very generous filling inside.


Low points £3 is fairly expensive in my opinion and the high calorie and fat content all mean I wouldn’t be having this daily, but would I buy it again…. Well yes because sometimes a little treat does you good. Well done Marks and Spencer.

Have you tried this or any other the other flavour? What did you think? Let me know in the comments.

Toad In The Hole-Gluten Free

In honor of national sausage week (yes is it a thing) I thought it would be rude to not put a sausage based recipe on the blog. I mean sausages have to be up there with fish and chips or a roast dinner as a British favourite. 

   
 I find this method fool proof and works well as a gluten free or non gf version by just changing the flour mixed. It’s done more by volume rather than measuring out (a trick a certain Jamie Oliver favours I believe). You need a cup, any size depending on how much batter mix you need. The trick is to use equal measures of egg, flour and milk. 

Ingredients 

Sausages of your choice I used The Black Farmer gluten free sausages. 

1 cup of milk

1 cup of self raising gluten free flour

1 cup of eggs 

Pinch of salt. 

Method. 

Mix together the eggs, salt, flour and milk and whisk to form the batter. 

I let it stand for about 10 minutes but you don’t have to. 

Heat some oil or dripping in your dish, add the sausages then pour over the batter. Be careful when adding the sausages as the oil will be hot and could spit out at you. ( I speak from experience) 

Cook at 180 for about 20 minutes or so. Resist opening the oven door-batter can be temperamental. 

When the batter is well risen and golden the dish is cooked. 

Serve with mash and onion gravy- delicious. 

NB- I part cook the sausages in a pan before adding to the batter but which ever way you choose is fine. 

This is a recipe I’ve adapted from others.