Ding dong merrily on wheat free high
It's December and the festive season is rapidly gaining speed. In our neighbourhood businesses and residential properties are already well decorated, lights twinkling away at night (and during the day).
Trying to be more environmentally conscious this year we decided to buy white LED lights for inside and outside, however whilst stockists of LED lights had thousands of packs of every colour you could imagine, the shelves where white should be were stripped bare. Something tells me that their buyers are not switched on!
But whether you celebrate the festive season for religious reasons, simply treat it as time for a good party, or an excuse for some hardcore retail therapy, you can't help but notice the stacks of mince pies, Christmas pudding, Christmas cake and other highly calorific edibles placed everywhere you walk, all containing wheat.
Festive hint (UK only): if you have access to Sainsbury's they sell their own brand freefrom mince pies (see our review) and Christmas cake, Tesco's also have own brand freefrom mince pies. The Village Bakery also make wheat & gluten free mince pies.
Festive help needed (rest of World): If anyone knows of good wheat & gluten free mince pies in the rest of the World then please let us know their product name and in which country.
Having never liked Christmas pudding or Christmas cake I can't say that I miss something I never ate, however there are lots of you out there for whom having to go wheat free has been a dietary shock, and if you're new to a wheat free diet this year then this will be your first holiday season where you can't "ding dong merrily on high" with what you eat and drink.
However all is not lost, here at wheat-free.org we just love the whole festive scene, the tinsel, the tree, the turkey with all the trimmings, all wheat free of course.
Don't forget to look at our Christmas dinner recipe which will help steer you through the wheat free minefield, including how to roast parsnips. Every year on Christmas Day we get a significant number of hits on the website looking for roast parsnips. So this year get ahead, look now.
For wheat free stuffing there are alternatives, you can go down the ready made route, and we've reviewed the Allergycare version. Some healthfood stores and supermarkets stock it, and you can buy it online from GoodnessDirect as well as Allergycare gravy which we think is really tasty.
And don't forget, cranberries aren't just for making cranberry sauce, they are also fantastic in our cranberry muffin recipe, make a double batch as they won't last long, they do freeze well, but we never seem to have any left to freeze in the first place.
Turkey cooking safety
Every year thousands of people end up with some form of food poisoning due to eating incorrectly cooked turkey. Don't be one of them this year by remembering:
- Make sure you defrost your turkey thoroughly, don't leave it to the last minute.
- Roast the turkey following the cooking instructions and times for the size of turkey you have. If the turkey packaging does not include roasting temperatures and times, and if you are unsure, refer to a good cooking book for correct poultry cooking details.
- Always make sure that the turkey is thoroughly cooked all the way through. This may take longer or shorter than the cooking instructions depending on the oven used etc.
- To make completely sure that the turkey is fully cooked, remove it from the oven and push a knife or metal skewer into the thickest part of the meat. If the juices run clear from the hole then the turkey should be completely cooked. If the juices are slightly coloured or blood shows then the turkey needs more roasting time.
- Stuffing a turkey can inhibit reaching the correct temperature for cooking on the inside of the bird, so it's better to cook your stuffing separately.
- Remember - an incorrectly defrosted or undercooked turkey can spoil your festive season.
We've had to withdraw some of the lager information from the website because it appears that at least one manufacturer has not been entirely accurate in stating that their lager is wheat free, and to date we still don't have an upfront and helpful answer.
This still however leaves you with quite a few to toast the festive season, and our wheat & gluten free beers page is bursting with gluten free beers for you to enjoy.
Plus champagne, wine, brandy, cognac, grappa, mead, ouzo, rum, sake and tequila all make the holidays go with a bang.
And the last word...
Have a very merry wheat & gluten free holiday!