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The Gluten Free Veggie

Gluten Free and Vegetarian Recipes, Reviews and Information

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Christmas

Easy Gluten Free Christmas Buffet Food (inc. vegan, allium free, soya free)

The festive season always requires at least one buffet –  which can be hell on earth for Coeliacs. Whether you’re hosting a party and need some food to make for your guests or you need some bits to take along to the gluten-laden family occasions, look no further than this compilation!

This is an update to last year’s list.

 

Cheese and herb twists

This is easy finger food! Find the recipe here.

 

Filled Pastry Cases

Use Lucy’s shortcut pastry recipe to create some easy pastry treats.

Here are two savoury ideas for your Christmas feasts!

Mushroom, Rosemary and Walnut Pate filling

Ingredients:

3 mushrooms

A handful of walnuts

Rosemary (preferably fresh). Remember to keep some for the garnish.

Gluten free bread

Vegetable stock or water

 

Method:

  1. Cook the mushrooms and walnuts in a frying pan with the rosemary. Remove the rosemary after cooking if desired.
  2. Add the cooked mushrooms and walnuts to a food processor with 1 slice of gluten free bread ripped into four. Add a small glug of vegetable stock or water. Add the nutmeg and some salt and pepper.
  3. Blitz until smooth (add more liquid if needed but be careful not to make it too wet!).
  4. Place into the pastry cases and top with a sprig of fresh rosemary for decoration.

Spinach, cheddar and pine nut filling

Ingredients:

Fresh spinach

Grated cheddar

A handful of pine nuts

Grated nutmeg

Paprika

 

Method:

  1. Wilt the spinach in a frying pan with the nutmeg and spices.Remove and squeeze out the liquid.
  2. Add the pine nuts to the pan and gently toast. Be careful not to burn (they go from brown to completely burnt in a matter of seconds so keep your eyes on them!)
  3. Mix the spinach and cheddar in a bowl and add to the pastry cases. Top with a couple of pine nuts in each.

 

Vegan Mushroom and Chestnut Sausage Rolls

An easy festive favourite that meat eaters and vegans alike with adore. Whilst this may sound more complicated than the others, it only takes 30-40 minutes in total, the majority of which is whilst the rolls are in the oven and you can use that time to do other bits! Find the recipe here.

 

Allium Free Potato Salad

A traditional potato salad includes a few things that I can’t eat due to IBS (onions and chives) so this is my version!

Ingredients:

4 medium sized potatoes

Mayonnaise

Paprika

 

Method:

  1. Peel and chop the potatoes. Boil for 15-20 mins or until soft.
  2. Allow to cool in a bowl for 15-30 minutes.
  3. Add the mayonnaise and paprika (and salt and pepper if desired) and stir. Best served chilled!

 

Dips and an assortment of dippers

Ingredients:

1 red and 1 orange pepper cut into strips

1 carrot cut into strips

1 bag of Schar gluten free pretzels

Tyrell’s or Kettle Chips (always check the ingredients)

Gluten free cheese straws (either Mrs. Crimbles, these ones that I found in Tesco, or our recipe!)

1 pot of soured cream

Allium free salsa (see my recipe here)

 

Method:

  1. Cut the vegetables and assemble on a platter or into bowls.
  2. Place the dips into bowls (add herbs or spices to the soured cream if you would like).

 

Caprese Sticks

Ingredients:

Mozzarella

Mini plum tomatoes

Fresh basil leaves

Method:

  1. Chop the mozzarella into cubes.
  2. Chop the tomatoes in half.
  3. Arrange the mozzarella, tomatoes and basil leaves onto cocktail sticks

 

Halloumi and Vegetable Skewers

Ingredients:

Halloumi cheese, cubed

1 small courgette, sliced into bitesize chunks

3 mushrooms, quartered

1 red peppers, sliced into bitesize chunks

Small plum tomatoes

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Method:

  1. Prepare the vegetables and arrange onto long skewers
  2. Bake for 15-20 minutes, turning half way.

 

Gluten free Cous Cous salad

Ingredients:

Gluten free Cous Cous

1 beetroot, grated

Fresh mint leaves, chopped

Feta, cubed

Vegetable stock or boiling water

 

Method:

  1. Follow the packet instructions to cook the cous cous. Leave to cool for 10 minutes.
  2. Add the beetroot, chopped fresh mint and feta and stir.

 

Cashew and Mushroom Burgers

Something a bit more filling for the buffet! These burgers are not only delicious but also suitable for dairy free people and vegans! Serve by themselves or in a bun if preferred! See my recipe here.

 

Pizza Slices

Ingredients:

Schar pizza base

Passata

Dried oregano, basil and thyme

Grated cheddar

Fresh mozzarella

 

Method:

  1. Layer the passata and herb mix on the pizza base. Top with the cheese.
  2. Allow to cool and then cut into individual slices.

 

I hope that a few of these ideas are useful! There are lots of gluten free party options available from Marks and Spencer, Tesco and Sainsbury’s if you are able to eat alliums. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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Product Review (GF, V) | ASDA Free From Chocolate and Salted Caramel Naked Layered Gateau

Lots of us were very excited to see this cake in ASDA’s Free From freezer section just in time for Christmas, but is it worth buying for the big day?

We treated ourselves to this for my recent Master’s graduation instead of waiting until Christmas – to have a celebratory cake and to review it for you guys before the festive season really begins!

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Some were shocked at the price – £6.50! Even those of us used to the extortionate costs of gluten free living were stunned by it. That having been said, the gluten equivalent is £6, which is quite a marked difference compared to the price variation we usually see between gluten free and gluten.

The other issue I’ve seen discussed on Facebook pages, Twitter and Instagram about this cake is the suggested portion size. The packet says “12 servings”, which a lot of people have pointed out may be optimistic. I think this cake could comfortably feed 10 people but perhaps ASDA are attempting to justify the price.

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So what of the taste? This cake has layers of chocolate mousse, salted caramel and ganache and so is very decadent. The flavours compliment each other well and it conjures nostalgic memories of pre-diagnosis gateaus.

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The only flaw with the taste of this cake is the sponge. It is rather dry, a fact which is only noticeable after a few bites and especially if eaten without any cream, ganache or caramel as an accompaniment.

Gluten free cakes have a terrible reputation for being dry – one that I consider to be completely unfounded. Only poorly made gluten free cakes are dry, and (especially in recent years) they can be just as moist and well textured as “normal” cakes.

This was not my only issue with the product. The packaging design made it difficult to get an already delicate pudding out its box. Ensure you remove it before it has begun to defrost and place into the fridge once defrosted to avoid seepage.

All in all, despite my comments on the texture and packaging, I might be inclined to buy this again for family occasions. The “normal” look of it would encourage my non-Coeliac relatives to indulge and its size would make it a good option for festive occasions.

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I would advise using a lot of cream with this product to mask the slightly dry sponge, but it is quite delicious otherwise!

 

What will you be having for Christmas pudding this year? Do you enjoy the traditional Christmas Pudding or Mince Pie? Or do you prefer something else?

 

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Advice | First Vegetarian Christmas

By Lucy and Tegan.

One of our readers asked us if we could write a post about how to cope with your first Christmas as a vegetarian! We’ve pooled our vegetarian knowledge and co-authored this post to offer some help to those worried about tackling the new lifestyle during the festive season!

 

Be prepared to be tempted. If you gave up meat for ethical reasons rather than a dislike of the taste/texture you might find yourself craving that Christmas turkey and pigs in blankets! Having recipes ready with meat free alternatives is a good start, so you don’t feel like you’re missing out on anything. Instead of thinking, ‘I’m sad I can’t have turkey,’ you’re excited about the brilliant nut roast you’re going to get to have instead. If you have veggie gravy and sausage rolls to hand, you’re less likely to feel tempted by meat or to feel sad for the food you might feel you’re missing – especially if there are certain foods you associate with the tradition of Christmas.

Have plenty of ready made vegetarian treats to hand. Christmas isn’t just about the dinner – in my family Christmastime and New Year come hand in hand with buffets, chocolate selection boxes, biscuit tins and snacks. Make sure you have vegetarian alternatives for all of these items ready before the festivities start so you don’t go hungry!

Combat the stigma! Depending on your family’s view of vegetarianism, you may experience some stigma from others around the dinner table. If you’re eating with family or friends, maybe bring along something vegetarian you’ve made that they can share and realise that your food isn’t tasteless! (and sharing’s quite nice and festive isn’t it?). My Mum’s nut roast is always popular with the meat eaters at Christmas and they often try to pinch a bit for their own dinners!

If you’re hosting a Christmas dinner be aware that some people may expect meat. In an ideal world we wouldn’t have to deal with meat, but that may not be the case and when hosting you should take your guests preferences into consideration. Forcing your family to have an entirely vegetarian Christmas may just create more hostility towards your vegetarianism. Instead, see if a meat eating family member would be happy to cook the meat at their house and bring it with them. This is how we’ve always done it at my house.

Remind yourself to be proud and happy about your lifestyle. If you’re still struggling with temptation or wondering what you can eat, just remember you’re doing an awesome thing, it’s great for animals, for the planet, for your health. That more than makes up for missing out on some foods that aren’t even that great (turkey can be dry and horrible really!). I don’t miss eating meat at all any more!

Rejoice in the Christmas foods that are already vegetarian! Stuffing, Christmas pud and mince pies are all vegetarian anyway! (Of course these things are not naturally gluten free but you can get GF alternatives!)

Also rejoice in the non-food related parts of Christmas. It can be easy to bog yourself down in thinking about Christmas parties, family occasions and the big day itself as food-orientated but it doesn’t have to be! If you’re worried that you’ll feel like you’re missing out, try to focus on the other aspects of this time of year – good company, games, films, crackers etc.

I hope all of you new vegetarians have a very Merry Christmas!

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Christmas Recipe (GF, V) | Banoffee Pavlova with Salted Caramel Pecan Praline

By Lucy.

Like the banoffee pie the recipe is based on, this pavlova is very sweet and decadent, making it perfect for Christmas where indulgence is pretty much mandatory!

 

The meringue recipe is Nigella Lawson’s Prodigious Pavlova from her Nigella Christmas book, and it more than lives up to the name. The banoffee topping I have to credit to my auntie, who makes an amazing array of desserts every Christmas, and the praline I added myself to give the dessert some texture and a bit of crunch.

It’s so easy to assemble, and you can experiment with the toppings to add your own twist. It looks fabulous and makes a great centrepiece, great for sharing with family and friends, although you might be tempted to keep it all for yourself.

Once the meringue is cooked it can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 days, and can be frozen for a month.

 

Ingredients

 

For the meringue

8 egg whites

500g caster sugar

4 tsp cornflour

2 tsp white wine vinegar

½ tsp vanilla extract

 

For the topping

650ml double cream

1 tin of Carnation Caramel sauce

2 ripe bananas

 

For the praline

1 handful of pecan nuts

100g caster sugar

Sprinkle of coarse sea salt

 

Method

 

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4 and line a baking sheet with baking parchment.
  2. Separate the eggs, and whisk the eggs whites until they form satiny peaks. Whisk in the caster sugar a little at a time until the meringue is glossy and stiff.
  3. Add the vinegar, cornflour and vanilla extract to the mixture and gently fold them in. Transfer the meringue to the baking parchment one dollop at a time, and form it into the shape of a nest. Remember you’ll need to fit the finished pavlova onto a serving plate, so don’t make it too big!
  4. Put the meringue in the oven, and immediately turn the heat down to 120C/gas mark 1/2. Allow it to cook for an hour, then turn off the oven and leave it in the oven to completely cool. Try not to open the oven door, or the meringue could crack.
  5. While your meringue is cooking you can get started on your praline for the top. Use a little butter to grease a baking tray, and add the 100g caster sugar to a saucepan – be careful not to get any sugar on the sides of the pan or that could stop the sugar caramelising properly. Put the saucepan on a low to medium heat and leave the sugar to melt. Keep an eye on it, as you don’t want it to burn. Resist the temptation to stir the sugar or you could cause it to crystalise.
  6. Once the sugar has melted to a warm amber colour, throw in your handful of pecans. Swirl them in the sugar, when they’re nicely coated pour the mixture quickly onto the tray. Lift the tray and turn it to get the pecans to spread evenly. While it’s still hot, sprinkle a little sea salt over the top.
  7. Once the pecans have cooled, remove them from the tray and cut them into chunks.
  8. Once you’re ready to assemble your pavlova, carefully peel away the baking parchment and transfer it onto a large plate. The meringue should be soft and marshmallowy inside so you will need to be careful with it. A few crack add to the charm though, so don’t be discouraged if it crumbles a little.
  9. Whip up your double cream until it’s soft and thick, and fill the centre of the meringue. Next, drizzle over the caramel sauce, and arrange the sliced bananas so they cover the top. Finally, crumble over the salted caramel praline and serve!

 

About Lucy

Lucy is a contributing author at The Gluten Free Veggie. She is a 30 year old vegetarian Coeliac with a passion for great recipes! Check out all of her posts here. When she’s not cooking up delicious treats, Lucy is creating greetings cards for her business. Check out her Facebook page here.

 

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Awareness | The 7 Family Members Coeliacs Interact With At Christmas

Yes it’s the 1st of December today! We can officially start thinking about the big day. For Coeliacs, a lot of the planning will be about what to eat, how to avoid cross contamination and making sure you enjoy your day just as much as the non-Coeliacs. But whenever there is a family occasion you will inevitably deal with family members commenting on your diet – some helpful, some not.

 

The Understanding Uncle – I hope you all have one of these. This family member gets it – perhaps they know someone else with dietary requirements, perhaps they deal with their own intolerance/disease/IBS and they know exactly how to help you avoid cross contamination. They give you a knowing look as you unpack your tupperware of gluten free goodies and help you to avoid any gluten in the shared dishes.

The Clueless Family Member – As much as you explain it there will always be one family member who just doesn’t get it. “What is it you can’t eat again – cheese?” they’ll say as you tuck into your homemade bits and pieces. “Would you like some brussel sprouts? Or can you not eat those?” they’ll say, a perplexed look on their faces. These family members aren’t being malicious – perhaps they’re from an older generation where awareness wasn’t as good, or perhaps they just forget, but either way they’re not trying to annoy you. Just calmly keep explaining and hope that one day they’ll understand what gluten free means.

The Gift Giver – This family member has remembered you are gluten free and has gone to a lot of trouble to find something for you. For example, one of my aunties buys Schar’s gluten free pretzels for me whenever we have a family occasion. These types of family members are trying their best to show you that they get it and want to help! I hope you all have someone in your family who thinks of you at Christmas meals!

The Curious Cousin – This family member will be constantly looking at your food and wanting to try some. “Oh is that your gluten free XYZ? Can I try some?” they’ll say as they grab a bit of gluten free pizza from the Boxing Day buffet. This family member is not being malicious either – in their own way they are trying to be understanding and want to see what your food is like. This is an opportunity for you to show non-Coeliacs that gluten free does not have to mean taste free! If you can, it doesn’t hurt to encourage them to try things you’ve made!

The Teaser – There is always one family member who thinks it is hilarious that you have to eat gluten free. They will make jokes about gluten free food being bland, tease you by trying to offer you gluten or simply make fun of your food. These people are often not trying to be mean – they are probably just unsure how to approach your dietary issues and attempt to joke around instead of showing their lack of knowledge. Go with it so long as they’re not too rude!

The Denier – This family member still refuses to believe you about your illness. “You’re not going to have Christmas pudding?” they’ll say, probably adding something like “I heard gluten free was just a fad anyway.” If you’re unlucky enough to have someone like this in your family (I luckily do not!), just bite your lip and ignore them!

The Other Coeliac – As it’s a hereditary disease, you might have another Coeliac family member. You can give each other sympathy looks across the table as The Denier and The Teaser get on your nerves and you can share your gluten free Christmas goodies with someone!

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Recipe (GF, V) | Christmas Cashew Roast

This is my favourite nut roast. You may remember last year’s version (see recipe here). Since then I have perfected it to my tastes, but it also means you have two options if you don’t like spinach etc. To make this vegan, simply omit the cheese. All other ingredients are vegan.

Mushrooms are my favourite vegetable (as you may have noticed!). All of the herbs in this recipe work to compliment the mushrooms and I think the yeast extract really adds to the earthy taste.

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Ingredients:

150g of cashews

6 mushrooms

50g of grated cheddar (omit if vegan, add an extra spoon of nut butter)

50g of gluten free breadcrumbs (BFree is vegan, for your information)

3 teaspoons of cashew nut butter (vital to the recipe!)

1/2 teaspoon of yeast extract (Marmite is not gluten free but supermarket own brands often are – please read the ingredients!)

1 whole clove

1 bay leaf

50ml vegetable stock

Dried oregano

Fresh thyme sprig

Grated nutmeg

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Method:

  1. Blitz the cashews and the gluten free bread in a food processor.
  2. Dice the mushrooms and add into a pan with oil. Cook on a low heat.
  3. Once the mushrooms are cooked, add the stock and the bay leaf, clove and other herbs. Simmer to allow the herbs to infuse.
  4. After 15 minutes, remove the bay leaf and clove.
  5. Add the cashew/breadcrumb mix to the pan and stir until the mixture starts to combine.
  6. Add the yeast extract, cheese and cashew nut butter and stir until the mixture is fully combined. The texture should be sticky and cling to the spoon.
  7. Add the mixture into a baking dish and cook for 20-30 minutes or until the top starts to brown.

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Recipe (GF, Ve) | Walnut, Rosemary and Mushroom Christmas Stuffing Balls

Here’s another little Christmas recipe that some of you might like! I’ve made this recipe vegan as well as gluten free and allium free like the rest of my recipes! This makes the perfect alternative to the traditional sage and onion stuffing (which is not suitable for those of us with IBS who can’t eat alliums!).

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Ingredients:

30g of raw walnuts

4 large mushrooms, diced

3 slices of gluten free bread, preferably brown (BFree bread is gluten free and vegan)

1 large sprig of fresh rosemary

Dried thyme (or fresh if you have it)

Dried oregano

Grated nutmeg

Vegan margarine

Vegetable stock or water

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Method:

  1. Add the walnuts and bread to a food processor and blitz.
  2. Chop the mushrooms and add to a pan with oil and the rosemary and other herbs/nutmeg. Cook the mushrooms on a low heat for the best results and to infuse the rosemary into the oil.
  3. Once the mushrooms are cooked add the blitzed walnuts and bread to the pan and stir in the vegetable stock and margarine until it is all combined.
  4. Turn off the heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Once cool enough to handle shape into balls and bake for 10 minutes at most.

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Recipe (GF, DF, V) | Christmas Spiced Orange Cake

Yes it’s that time of year again! Christmas comes around so quickly but I’ve been thinking of new recipes for a few months in preparation.

I’ve made gluten free cakes before, but never a Christmas cake. Due to IBS, I couldn’t use the usual dried fruit that you would expect in a Christmas cake, so I tried to make orange the central flavour. I must say, I was very pleased with the final result, and I hope you will be too!

I wanted to be as inclusive as possible with recipe and so I chose a dairy free sunflower spread which, in my opinion, does not change the taste at all and lowers the saturated fat content on this cake (although, with the amount of sugar in cake, this isn’t one of my main concerns as you can see!!!) I was unable to make a vegan recipe – I’m not confident with vegan egg replacers, but if you are, please feel free to experiment and send me your results! I love to hear about gluten free cooking, especially updates of my own recipes!

The key to good cake, whether gluten free or gluten filled, is to make sure you have the same ratio of fat to sugar to flour. This cake was very easy to make and took about 45 minutes of preparation of cooking time all together.

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Ingredients:

130g of gluten free self-raising flour (I used Dove’s Farm)

130g of brown sugar

130g of dairy free sunflower spread (I used Pure’s Sunflower Spread, available in most supermarkets)

2 medium eggs

The zest of one orange

The juice of half an orange (save the other half for decoration, or just to eat if you would like!)

A small pinch of ground cloves

1 teaspoon of grated or ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

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Method:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 4. Line a loaf tin (mine is a non-stick metal one, 24cm) with baking paper.
  2. Cream the sugar and sunflower spread with an electric whisk.
  3. Add the eggs slowly as you continue to whisk. Add the spices and the orange zest.
  4. Sieve the flour into the mix and stir until smooth. Add the orange juice in a bit at a time and if the mixture looks too wet, add a touch more flour.
  5. Add the mixture to the tin and bake for 20-30 minutes or until you can put a knife in and it comes out clean.
  6. Once baked, place onto a cooling rack for half an hour or until cool. Serve with a large dollop of Brandy cream!

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Recipe (GF, DF, Vegan) | Easy Christmas Biscuits

If I’m truthful, I was a terrible baker even before I became gluten free. Now, if anything, I’m worse! BUT – I wanted to have a go at some gluten free Christmassy biscuits, and I’m very pleased with how they turned out.

These just happen to be dairy free and vegan too – I always use sunflower spread in the place of butter for baking as I prefer it’s texture. If you would rather use a soya spread or even unsalted butter, the amount will stay the same!

Please be aware that cooking times will vary. The cutters are used are from Lakeland and can be found here.

Ingredients:

55g sunflower spread/margarine

30g caster sugar

80g gluten free plain flour (I use ASDA’s own)

1 dessert spoon of warm water

30g pecans

2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons of ground mixed spice

A sprinkling of grated nutmeg

 

Method:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 4. Chop the pecans.
  2. Measure the ingredients and then place the sunflower spread and caster sugar into a bowl. Make sure the sunflower spread is at room temperature and then cream the spread and sugar together.
  3. Sieve the flour and spices into the mixture and combine with a spoon. Slowly add the pecans and mix together.
  4. Once the mixture begins to combine, use your hands to create a ball. Wrap in cling film and place into the fridge for half an hour.
  5. Take the ball out of the fridge and place on a floured surface. Roll out to an even thickness and use the cutters. Place the shapes onto baking trays covered with baking paper.
  6. Place the larger stars onto the top shelf and the smaller stars onto the bottom shelf. Cook for 15 minutes approx or until golden brown!

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