Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Miss GF Makes #7 - Snowman Cakes (made from gluten free cake leftovers)


Christmas came and Christmas went...... but there is still time for a fun and wintery cake recipe..... courtesy of Miss GF!

This amazingly creative idea for using up left-over chocolate cake and glittery sweets from our Christmas Tree Cake was all hers.... from the moment it stirred in her head, to the cute little snowmen that ended up on our plates. And let's face it..... if you live in the warmer, southern coastal neck of the UK woods, then these are probably the only snowmen that are going to be seen this winter! With the ever increasing global temperatures, I do wonder whether the kids of today will ever get to enjoy the joys of snow-building that we took for granted as children.


On another note, I am also incredibly proud of Miss GF's recent coup in her school cookery classes. Those of you who are regular readers of the blog, will know that I was a tad anxious about the probable disasters that would result from poor understanding of gluten free cookery by a (no doubt) non gluten free teacher. The likely straight weight for weight substitution of GF flour for wheat flour without any other re-jigging of wet to dry ratios was never going to end well.

Her first 2 weeks of lessons seemed a little amusing for 11 year old Miss GF, who is reasonably confident in the kitchen..... Fruit salad followed by chicken salad were hardly the most complex of dishes for her to tackle (yet even then, the teacher managed to provide glutenous bread to make croutons, rendering it unsafe for her to eat).

Week 3 was 'apple cake' week however...... Armed with lots of good knowledge about adding more moisture to compensate for dodgy ratios, Miss GF tells me she crept round the class (unbeknown to her teacher), grabbing any extra spare milk and egg that she could lay her hands on and secretly snuck her stash into her cake mix....... Her cake was best in class and was graded an A*! What a star!

Sadly, she had not enlightened her teacher of her exploits (for fear of being told off)...... so no shared learning this time round.


Anyway..... back to the Snowmen.... Miss GF has yet to learn about crumb-coating and the sides of the cake discs were somewhat crumby as a result of being cut-out and exposing the softer inner sponge. Once iced, the result was not as 'clean' and snow-like as Miss GF would have liked.... But then we realised that it was probably as good as the real snowmen we get down south, which (if built at all) are usually rolled from such a thin blanket of snow, that they end up splodged with brown lumps of mud anyway.

The extra crumbiness also made it harder to get a smooth finish, so (again true to southern snow-form) Miss GF's snowmen look like they have started to melt in the warmth of our salty coastal air!

Crumbs aside, I think Miss GF did a fantastic job and her decoration with leftover sweets and glitter made these a perfectly lovely tea time treat...... and yes..... we all bit the heads off first!


I am sharing Miss GF's Snowmen with the following linkies :


Love Cake with Jibber Jabber - celebrating a Winter Wonderland.

Cook Once Eat Twice with Searching for Spice.





The No Waste Food Challenge with Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary.

Brilliant Blog Posts with Honest Mum.







Recipe of the Week with A Mummy Too.

#TheFoodCalendar with Charlotte's Lively Kitchen. Celebrating Christmas.


Snowman Cakes (made with cake leftovers)

Ingredients

off-cuts or leftover cake (Miss GF used leftover chocolate sponge from this tree cake recipe)

small portion of vanilla butter-icing (we used a ratio of 1 part softened butter to 2 parts icing sugar + a little milk to loosen and a teaspoon vanilla extract) (method as in the same tree cake recipe)

Various leftover gluten free sweets, chocolates and edible glitter

Method

  1. Use 2 round cookie cutters (one about 2 cm smaller than the other) - Miss GF used a 7 cm and a 5 cm cutter. Cut one round of each for a snowman (and as many snowmen as you have left-over cake for).
  2. Completely coat (except for the underside) each larger cake with butter-icing (if you want a really 'clean' colour with no crumbs embedded, then you need to do a crumb coat first (do this for both large and small cake discs at the same time), chill and then top with a second layer...... We neglected this step as you can see!
  3. Repeat the process for the smaller cake discs and place on top of the larger frosted discs to make snowmen.
  4. Decorate as you wish straight away, using any sweets. chocolates, etc that you have to hand.
Gluten Free Alchemist © 2013-16 unless otherwise indicated

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Layered Chocolate-Mint Christmas Tree Cake - gluten free


Its very nearly Christmas! I had wanted to get this post out before now, but it has been a hell of a week and I simply ran out of time. Sorry!

Before I introduce my latest crazy Christmas treat, I just want to take a moment to thank all the lovely lovely people who voted for me in the Allergy Blog Awards. I was so thrilled to find that I had got through to the finals of the Most Innovative category....... and I could not have done it without YOU! So thank you, thank you, thank you!


This little blog is on the map and I feel so proud that I have achieved some recognition, despite my struggles to box and cox it around a full time job and busy family life. On those days when it feels like one thing too many, it is so good to know that the time I put into it is worthwhile to other people too.

If you are wanting to make something a little fun this Christmas and have plenty of mouths to feed (it is quite large!), this Layered Chocolate-Mint Christmas Tree Cake may be just the thing. It is really very straight forward to put together and the kids can have plenty of fun helping to 'decorate the tree'.

The sponge recipe is fast becoming a bit of a 'go too' in our house, especially when we want a cake that will hold a structure...... originally developed as a bundt cake, it is moist, keeps good shape, is still light, full of chocolateyness, and stays fresh for several days.


Layered with mint butter icing, this popular flavour combo is also perfect for ensuring compatibility with a green tree!

You can decorate your tree with whatever you have to hand, but I decided to go with a bit of a sparkly bauble and star theme and some traditional candy canes (I hunted high and low for the mini ones, and eventually found an enormous box for £1 in Poundland). We were going to make some marzipan presents to put round the base, but time has not been on our side....... oh well, there's always next year.


I am not particularly happy with the photos either..... they don't really do the cake justice. But as we are mid-extension, the scaffolding outside the kitchen window prevented almost any light getting to my usual 'studio' area and my next favourite light space has been subsumed by a whole new (as yet unfinished) room. That combined with very short days, too much winter darkness and later work hours resulted in hurried pics on a rainy weekend.

The piece de resistance is the crisp, sparkly dark chocolate star on the top of the tree (well every tree needs a sparkly star doesn't it?). I treated myself to a Lekue Decimate Kit which I had seen reviewed over at Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary. It made drizzling the chocolate into a star shape so easy!


I am sharing my Layered Chocolate-Mint Christmas Tree cake with the following linkies :

Love Cake with Jibber Jabber - I haven't managed to join in with this for a while, so am pleased to be part of it again! This month's theme is Winter Wonderland.

We Should Cocoa with Tin and Thyme.


#TheFoodCalendar with Charlotte's Lively Kitchen - Celebrating Christmas!

Cook Blog Share with Easy Peasy Foodie.







Sunday Fitness & Food with Ilka's Blog and Marathons & Motivation.



Layered Chocolate-Mint Christmas Tree Cake

Ingredients

For the chocolate sponge :

Chocolate Sponge using recipe as in this post (for full mix - 5 egg quantity)

Mint Butter-Icing
250g butter - softened
500g icing sugar
1 to 2 tablespoons milk
peppermint extract - to taste
green food colouring paste 

Tree Decorations :
mini candy canes
GF mint chocolate sticks 
GF chocolate-mint balls 
GF chocolate mini stars
GF shimmer-coated chocolate truffles 
edible food glue (available in Lakeland or on-line)
edible glitter - various colours
a little dark chocolate (for the star)

Method

  1. If you are planning on using glitter-covered chocolates, I suggest you prepare these in advance, so that they have time to dry ready to place on your cake as soon as you ice and before the icing hardens.
  2. Place a little glitter of your chosen colours in a tiny dishes (I use soy sauce dishes). Use a clean paint brush (I keep one especially for food use) to smear a very thin layer of food glue on the areas of your chocolate balls, stars, etc that you want to glitterize. Dip the glued areas into the glitter to cover and then place to dry on a sheet of baking paper (on a plate/baking tray). Set aside.
  3. Prepare your chocolate star by melting a little dark chocolate in the microwave (I tempered mine, but if you are adding glitter, any 'blooming' will not show much), carefully drizzling into a star shape on baking paper and then adding a good sprinkle of glitter to the surface. Set aside to set.
  4. Base-line your round, deep, loose-bottomed cake tins - you will need the following : 1 x 8 inch/20 cm; 1 x 6 inch/15 cm; 1 x 4 inch/10 cm; a non-stick large muffin tin for the remaining mixture from which you can cut the final two layers.
  5. Pre-heat the oven to 170 C/325 F/Gas 3 and make your sponge batter as in this recipe.
  6. Distribute your batter between your tins to a depth of 4 to 5 cm (1½ to 2 inches), using any remaining batter in the muffin tin (you can make snowmen with any left-overs).
  7. Bake your cakes for between 20 and 40 minutes (dependent on depth and size), arranging them in the oven so that the smaller ones are at the front for easy removal without significantly disturbing the larger ones that need longer. They will be ready when a skewer comes out clean. These cakes do not massively sink if a little air gets in the oven, but try and avoid opening the door too often or for too long!
  8. As the cakes come out of the oven, remove from the tins and place on a wire rack to cool completely.
  9. Meanwhile, make the butter-icing : Place your softened butter in a large mixing bowl and gradually whisk in your icing sugar a little at a time until you have a smooth soft icing. Add a very little milk as the mixture thickens, to loosen slightly. (Tip : to avoid too much icing sugar dust ending up around the kitchen, I add about 50g at a time and first carefully stir into the wet butter mixture with a silicone or wooden spoon, before whisking. It takes extra time, but you don't end up in a cloud of white sweet dust and your kitchen doesn't end up looking as if the ceiling fell in!)
  10. Add peppermint extract and green food colouring a little at a time until you have your desired mint flavour and colour, whisking as you go.
  11. Layer your cakes : Start with the largest 8 inch/20 cm sponge (you can either place on your serving dish or on a clean chopping/cake board and transfer later with a flat, wide spatula/fish slice) - Carefully, but quite roughly spread a layer of icing on to the top and sides of the sponge, to cover completely, using an icing spreader or palette knife.
  12. Place the next largest sponge (6 inch/15 cm) on top of the first iced sponge and repeat the icing process to completely cover. 
  13. Repeat again with the 4 inch/10 cm sponge.
  14. For the top two layers, take a couple of the chocolate muffin sponges and use cookie cutters (2 inch (5 cm) and 1 inch (2½ cm) to cut cake rounds. You may need to square off the the top of the larger muffin sponge to flatten for stacking.
  15. Repeat the icing and stacking process for these two layers (you will need to work extra carefully to avoid too many crumbs getting mixed into the icing layer or add a thin 'crumb' layer of icing to each small cake before you put them on the main cake, chilling to firm up and then adding a second icing layer when placed on the main cake.
  16. Decorate your cake with glittery sweets, truffles, candy canes and your chocolate star.
Gluten Free Alchemist © 2013-16 unless otherwise indicated

Monday, 12 December 2016

Chicken, Squash & Gruyere Quiche - gluten free


I can't believe Christmas is only two weeks away. I am so disorganised this year...... Having increased my work hours in October, I have been really struggling to fit everything in and even finding time to cook has become difficult.

We finally managed to get the tree up at the weekend however and hopefully this week, I'll manage to go get a few presents. The Christmas cards were written yesterday (although they are yet to be posted) and at some stage, I will work out what we are going to eat......

Whatever your Christmas meals consist of, you can pretty much guarantee that at some stage you will be wondering what to do with leftovers. Many people go for bubble and squeak, or just eat as many turkey sandwiches as they can bear...... I like to make quiche with my leftovers!


You can put pretty much anything in quiche and whilst it may feel a bit of a hassle to make pastry from scratch, whether you are gluten free or not, there are an increasing number of ready-made options and mixes available. Although I do mostly make my own pastry, like anyone I welcome time-saving alternatives. Admittedly I will be pretty fussy about any standby pastry that I use, but for the quiche here, I used Silly Yak ready to roll pastry that I find works particularly well in quiche. If you have never used it, you will find it in the chiller cabinet at Tesco.

One of the things I love about quiche is that it gives you an amazing meal in one. You might choose to serve it with salad, veg or potatoes, but this is by no means essential. I am always more than happy with a big slice...... warm or cold...... served all on its own.

Last year I made an amazing Christmas Dinner quiche with turkey left-overs which I never got round to blogging (it got eaten before any photos were taken), but did subsequently re-produce a Sunday Roast Dinner version which I made in support of the Joseph Joseph Don't Waste It campaign.


The quiche I have made here, is with left-over Autumn pumpkin (although you could use any squash) and Sunday lunch chicken. I've added some bacon which I found nearing its use-by date in the fridge and toasted pine nuts for texture and depth of flavour. The whole lot is paired with Gruyere cheese for extra nuttiness and interest.

Frankly, it's a delicious combination and although Gruyere is more expensive than cheddar, it is worth the extra for the difference in flavour that it adds. It works amazingly against the soft pumpkin and crunchy pine nuts and with the saltiness of the bacon, succulence of the chicken, crispness of the pastry and creaminess of the eggs, you are sure to enjoy every mouthful.


I am sharing my Chicken, Squash and Gruyere Quiche with the following linkies :


No Waste Food Challenge with Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary.

Cook Once Eat Twice with Searching for Spice.







Sunday Fitness & Food with Ilka's Blog and Marathons & Motivation.

Free From Fridays with the Free From Farmhouse and Le Coin De Mel.





Cook Blog Share with Hijacked by Twins.

Recipe of the Week with A Mummy Too.



Other quiche recipes on Gluten Free Alchemist :
Asparagus & Stilton
Cheddar, Gruyere & Bacon
Roast Dinner
Leek & Stilton and Gruyere & Mushroom Minis

Chicken, Squash & Gruyere Quiche (makes equivalent 1 x 25 cm/10 inch quiche)


Ingredients

1 portion of gluten free pastry - I used Silly Yak ready to roll chilled pastry to save time, or alternatively, a batch of my rice and almond pastry would be perfect.

Filling
4-5 rashers bacon - chopped
approx 200g cooked chicken - chopped
flesh from approx third small culinary pumpkin - roasted
handful toasted pine nuts
120g Gruyere cheese - grated
3 large eggs
250 ml double cream
50 ml milk
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley

Method 

  1. Prepare the pastry, roll out and line your flan tins as in this recipe (being really careful to repair any potential cracks) and chill for about 30 minutes. 
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 200 C/400 F/Gas 5.
  3. Line your raw pastry cases with baking paper and baking beans and blind-bake by cooking for 10 minutes, before removing the baking beans and paper and baking for a further 5 to 10 minutes, until golden and crisp.
  4. Remove the pastry case from the oven (leave in its tin) and turn the oven down to 180 C/350 F/Gas 4.
  5. Filling : Prepare (ahead of time) your pumpkin, bacon, pine nuts and chicken :
  6. Pumpkin : Take your pumpkin flesh, season with salt and pepper and then roast for about 40 minutes in a hot oven. Once cooked, cut into small chunks.
  7. Fry the bacon until golden and crisp. Set aside on kitchen paper to remove any excess oil.
  8. Chop your cooked chicken into small chunks.
  9. Toast your pine nuts either in a hot oven or under the grill for about 10 minutes, turning 2 to 3 times.
  10. When your pastry case is ready, sprinkle the bacon, chicken, pumpkin, pine nuts and a little parsley onto the bottom.
  11. Add a layer of grated cheese, reserving a small handful to sprinkle on the top.
  12. Beat the eggs, cream, milk and seasoning together until light and airy.
  13. Pour the egg mix over the fillings in the pie case (don't over-fill). Top with the reserved cheese and a sprinkle of parsley.
  14. Bake immediately for about 30 minutes until the top is firm and set and there is no 'wobble'.
  15. Remove from the oven and enjoy.
Gluten Free Alchemist © 2013-16 unless otherwise indicated

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Delicious Alchemy have launched a new gluten free BERRY Granola! Yum!


Spread the word...... Delicious Alchemy have just launched a new granola......... and it's real good!

Made with delicious gluten free oat clusters, it is naturally sweetened with grape juice and honey and is sprinkled with a selection of bright fruity freeze-dried berries (cranberries, strawberries and blueberries) and nutritious sunflower and pumpkin seeds.


I have to admit that both myself and Miss GF are very picky about our granola and since being gluten free, it has been really hard to find brands which compare well to those we had when we were still able to eat gluten. So when Delicious Alchemy brought out their Nutty Granola back in the summer, we were really excited. It compared more than favourably to the better gluten versions and we have been firm fans ever since. I appreciate that not all Coeliac sufferers are able to eat oats (even gluten free ones), because a few react to avenin, a protein which is similar to gluten. But if you can eat them, they are a fantastic nutrient source and full of soluble fibre, which supports the maintenance of a healthy gut, as well as helping to treat high cholesterol and keeping blood sugar levels stable.

Lucky for us, we can eat them and make sure we include plenty in our diet, whether in baking or smoothies or as breakfast in porridge, or delicious oat granola.


This new Wonderfully Berry Granola is the latest addition to Delicious Alchemy's breakfast range and I suspect could be about to challenge the nutty version for space in the larder. Although I think the ratio of berries in the mix could have been a little more generous (I have a huge love of freeze-dried fruit), this is compensated for by the earthy hit of pumpkin and sunflower seeds which add an amazing and unexpected contrast of flavour and texture to the mix.

A bowl of this granola is perfect doused with the usually expected milk or yoghurt, but I have also taken to scoffing handfuls 'neat'..... straight out the bag for a quick slow-release energy fix during the day. If you are anything like me though, you may also find yourself seeking breakfast on the run on way too many mornings of the week..... Keep a bag of yummy granola in the car and it will not only ensure you don't miss out on the 'most important meal of the day', but will brighten up the worst of rush hour traffic jams. Who cares if you end up with crumbs on the dash board, at least you will be happy with a satisfied tum!


However you enjoy it, this bag of goodness is definitely worth a try. You can get it currently on line through the Delicious Alchemy website (retailing at £3.00 for a 312g bag), but I have no doubt that it will be appearing alongside other DA products in the supermarkets very soon.

I am sharing this latest find with the following linkies to help get the word out :

Free From Fridays with the Free From Farmhouse and Le Coin De Mel

Brilliant Blog Posts with Honest Mum



With thanks to Delicious Alchemy for sending me their Wonderfully Berry Granola to try.  I was not paid to write the post and as always, all views expressed here are my own.

Gluten Free Alchemist © 2013-16 unless otherwise indicated

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Gingerbread Stuffing - a Nigella Recipe de-glutened


A couple of posts back I made an amazing gluten free Jamaican Ginger Cake....... sticky, warming and delicious. If you read the post, you will know that I developed the recipe for a colleague of mine who was looking for a gluten free version to use in gingerbread stuffing. Every year she makes the stuffing using a Nigella Lawson recipe, but as her mum is gluten free, she misses out. So the challenge was on for me to make it an inclusive Christmas for a fellow gluten-avoider......

The ginger cake was the first stage of the process, but I also needed to make the stuffing....... to both taste it (because it sounded amazing) and to test the cake worked for it (although I really have no idea how it is meant to taste, having never eaten it before).

So without any excessive rambling (rare for me I know....) here it is..... the de-glutened Nigella Gingerbread Stuffing...... and it tastes good!

I made half the amount of the original recipe and still there seemed to be masses of the stuff. I guess if you have a huge family and loads of visitors for Christmas, you may want to do twice the amount shown here, but a little goes quite a long way.


The stuffing itself is really meaty with the bacon, but for me it was also quite sweet and I think that next time I make it (and there will definitely be a next time) I will add a little less cake.

I also think that I probably over-mixed before I tipped the stuffing into the pan to bake, because mine seemed a little smooth compared to the Nigella gluten version. The original recipe adds the cake and then the egg to bind...... I don't think the fact that the cake had no gluten would have made much of a difference, but I should have been more gentle in folding the cake in, rather than stirring. I have also switched the recipe below slightly to add the cake last to cut down the risk of over mixing.

Not that any of this affected how good it tasted....... and whilst we trialled it without the turkey, I was more than able to imagine how amazing it would be alongside the Christmas bird and all the other trimmings (which of course will also temper the sweetness).

And if you are thinking about Boxing Day breakfast already..... this stuffing makes a fantastic sandwich (I checked!) and will be twice as good with a slice of turkey and a sausage added for good measure.


I am sharing my de-glutened version of Gingerbread Stuffing with the following linkies :

Cook Once Eat Twice with Searching for Spice

Free From Fridays with Le Coin De Mel & Free From Farmhouse








Cook Blog Share with Easy Peasy Foodie

#TheFoodCalendar with Charlotte's Lively Kitchen - Celebrating Christmas Dinner and Boxing Day breakfast






Recipe of the Week with A Mummy Too

Sunday Fitness & Food with Ilka's Blog and Marathons & Motivation


Gingerbread Stuffing : a Nigella Recipe de-glutened

Ingredients 

2 medium onions (I used 1 white and 1 red) - finely chopped
1 eating apple (I used Cox) - finely chopped
20g unsalted butter
½ tablespoon sunflower oil
375g streaky bacon - finely chopped
1 clementine - finely grated zest only
1 large egg - beaten
large pinch freshly ground black pepper
400g gluten free ginger cake (find my recipe here) - loosely crumbled (mental note to self : use slightly less next time)

Method 

  1. Generously grease a small baking dish/2 pound loaf tin with butter, or completely line a 2 pound loaf tin with baking paper.
  2. Put the oil and butter in a large skillet/saucepan and fry the onions and apples until soft (10 to 15 minutes).
  3. Add the chopped bacon and cook for at least 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  4. Add the clementine zest and stir through.
  5. Remove the pan from the heat and cool a little (stirring occasionally to help cool more quickly).
  6. Meanwhile, pre-heat the oven to 200 C/400 F/Gas 6.
  7. When cool enough, add the beaten egg and pepper and stir through.
  8. Finally add the crumbled ginger cake and fold in gently.
  9. Tip the mixture into the prepared baking dish and push into the corners. Bake for about 50 minutes (covering with foil for the first 30 minutes to prevent the top from burning), until golden brown and crisp on top.
  10. Leave to cool in the dish/tin for 10 to 15 minutes before tipping out (or serve straight from the dish)
Gluten Free Alchemist © 2013-16 unless otherwise indicated

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Tis the Season of Parties, Buffets and Social Gatherings. Be Safer! Use Allergen Labels


The Christmas party season has arrived and for those of us who suffer with allergies and intolerances, so has a time of potential danger and lots and lots of feeling left out. Whether you are a party-goer or a party-pooper, you can pretty much guarantee that at some point over the Christmas period you will meet up with friends at a social event which will (almost without fail), include the offering of shared food.


If you are one of those lucky people who can eat anything without fear of being allergy or intolerance-ill, then I would like you to imagine for just a minute...........

You've spent hours getting ready for the party of the winter..... You look fantastic. You're really excited and ready to enjoy yourself with family and friends. You ran out of time though and didn't get a chance to eat anything before you left home and now you realise that you've forgotten to put the necessary snack in your bag in case there's nothing you can eat when you get there. That's ok..... your host knows that you can't eat gluten/dairy/eggs/nuts (etc) so they'll have made sure there is something for you right? Wrong!

You arrive at the party, stomach rumbling and make a bee-line for the buffet table to do a quick scan and to make sure you grab what you can before everyone else eats it...... but there's nothing safe. Nothing! Either the food is obviously made with stuff you can't consume, or it is sitting right next to a plate of something that is dangerous to you and you know that close proximity = risk of cross contamination.


Hey ho...... another evening of avoiding a tipple (because on an empty stomach you are likely to get inebriated and embarrassing within a sniff of the stuff). You could just nip out to get something edible...... but that would look rude! All that initial excitement about being there has evaporated and you start to feel miserable and increasingly empty as you watch everyone else mingling plate and glass in hand.....


UK statistics indicate that 1 in 5 (17%) of the UK population consider themselves to have either a food allergy or intolerance (YouGov 2015). 6 to 8% of children have a proven food allergy in both the UK and US (source : NICE and FARE*). Estimates indicate that overall, 15 million Americans and more than 17 million Europeans (sources : FARE* & European Academy of Allergy & Clinical Immunology(EAACI)) have food allergies and the trend is going upwards! So it's pretty likely that someone will turn up to your party who needs to know what's in the buffet.

Whether we suffer from an allergy or intolerance, it's scary eating from a table where allergen exposure or cross-contamination might be a hazard. Most of us simply don't take the risk. It's not that there won't be anything we might eat..... it is that we simply don't know what ingredients have been used or how great the cross-contamination risk might actually be (......has the generic bread knife been used to slice gluten free rolls without being washed? for example). I recently went to a work event where someone offered me a chocolate biscuit. When I explained that I couldn't eat it because of the gluten, they looked bemused and suggested that I could lick the chocolate off...... really..... I'm not kidding. I'm obviously not the only one with this experience.....


It helps us to know what's in the food on the table and that is where you can help us...... by doing everything you can to keep the most risky foods separated and clearly labelling the allergens dishes contain. You might even (space permitting) have a separate table for specific allergen-friendly foods (those of us who need them are pretty careful to make sure we don't contaminate each other by slap-dash serving).


To make it a little easier for you, Consumer Safety .Org (a US-based website which aims to support consumer safety through information and research on products, recalls, medicines and food, including food hygiene, kitchen safety and information on allergies) has produced a quick set of holiday allergen labels that you can print off at home and use on your food table.

In the past I have hand-written labels when I have taken cakes, pies and other goodies to events, but these labels are so much more attractive and clear.... I love them!


For bring and share events, you might even put the word out for people to be ready when they arrive with their delicious offerings to fill in a label..... they are pretty simple to use.  You can download a handy printable template of allergy labels here.

It also helps us to know how things have been prepared (note the handy section on the label telling us who might have the answers), so don't be offended if we still need to ask more questions about ingredients and food prep. The presence of the label is a great indicator that people care and have thought about it and will make us feel a whole lot more comfortable about asking if we need to. Occasionally, we may still make a 'not sure I can risk eating this dish' decision, but that won't be because we don't appreciate your efforts..... I promise! We just know how complex the risks can be and they will vary from person to person.  Miss GF once got glutened by well-meaning kitchen staff who 'reliably' informed her that the flap-jacks were fine because they were just oats..... sadly they weren't certified 'gluten free'!


So thank you for thinking about us this holiday season and for your care, support and kindness, not only in inviting us to your fantastic Christmas - New Year bash, but for helping us to stay food-safe too.

I am sharing this post with the following linkies :

Brilliant Blog Posts with Honest Mum

Free From Fridays with Le Coin De Mel and the Free From Farmhouse 



Allergy Free Thursday with Tessa the Domestic Diva


Gluten Free Fridays with Vegetarian Mamma










Sources :
Allergy UK Stats
FARE  - Food Allergy Research & Education (US based)
NICE - National Institute for Health & Clinical Excellence

Consumer Safety .Org contacted me to raise awareness in support of the use of allergy labels over the holiday season. All thoughts as written however are, as always, my own.

Gluten Free Alchemist © 2013-16 unless otherwise indicated