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Seasonal Bites For All

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Cooking for everyone at Christmas is often easier said then done, especially when catering for everyone's tastes and special diets. With Allergy UK quoting that around 45 per cent of the population has a food allergy or intolerance, and around half a million people in the UK thought to have coeliac disease, it has never been more important to be prepared.


Leading gluten and wheat free brand, Dietary Specials (DS gluten free) has developed a delicious traditional gluten free Christmas pudding recipe and some easy to follow 'Top Ten Gluten Free Cooking Tips' to help keep tummy troubles at bay during the festive season.


Top Ten Gluten Free Cooking Tips:


  • Ensure you are up to date with all your guests' allergies or intolerances before the day. Visit http://www.dietaryspecials.co.uk/ for information and tips about what to avoid putting on their plates. 
  • When cooking, use a different baking tin or tray to separate food containing wheat and gluten away from free from alternatives.


  • If this is not possible, ensure the baking tins and trays are well covered with greaseproof paper or baking parchment.


  • When making your gravy for Christmas dinner, use a gluten free flour mix or cornflour instead of mainstream wheat based flours.


  • When making stuffing use gluten free sausages and breadcrumbs made from gluten free bread. These make a tasty substitute the whole family will enjoy.


  • Save time and use DS gluten free frozen Yorkshire Puddings which are a fantastic accompaniment to your Christmas dinner.


  • When cooking gluten free cakes and breads, use a little xantham gum to help the stability. However be aware that using too much will affect the taste.
  • Use a gluten free suet when making a Christmas pudding or mincemeat.


  • If you are unable to obtain this, substitute with lard or a hard vegetable fat - ensure this is really chilled and grate in as the last ingredient.


  • Use gluten free bread made into breadcrumbs for a tasty Christmas pudding recipe which is safe for all to enjoy.


Traditional Christmas Pudding

Quick reference
Serves 6 - 8
Preparation time: 15 minutes, plus soaking - at least 3hrs
Cooking time: 18 - 20 minutes plus 7 minutes standing time


300g luxury mixed fruit
25g dried cranberries (cherries could be used)
Zest and 100ml fresh orange juice

100ml water
50ml brandy
1 small cooking apple,grated
3 gluten and wheat free rolls or 150g of gluten and wheat free sliced bread, made into breadcrumbs.
1 tsp mixed spice
50g dark muscovado sugar
25g hazelnuts, roughly chopped
50g blanched almonds, roughly chopped
85g suet from the butcher or cookeen (vegetable alternative) grated straight from the fridge
1 large egg, beaten
1 tbsp black treacle

1. Put the dried fruit, orange zest, juice and water into a large mixing bowl and microwave on full power for 3 minutes.
2. Pour over the brandy, cover and leave to soak in a cool place for 2hrs to allow the flavours to develop.
3. Add the grated apple, breadcrumbs, mixed spice, sugar and nuts, mix together with a wooden spoon, add the suet in 3 batches and stir well after each batch, then add the egg and treacle and mix again, not forgetting to make your wish!
4. Grease a 1.2 litre (2pint) plastic pudding basin. Spoon the mixture into the prepared basin and level with the back of a spoon. Cover the top loosely with cling film, leaving a small hole for breathing.
5. Cook on medium for 10 minutes, stand for 5 minutes then cook on medium for a further 8 -10 minutes.  If eating immediately stand for a further 2 minutes or when cold wrap in cling and foil and store in the refrigerator for 1 - 2 weeks.
(Cooking times may vary according to the type of basin and microwave).

Remove foil and cover lightly with cling film. Microwave on full power (850 watts) for 3 minutes, allow to stand for 3 minutes and then cook on medium for a further 5 - 7 minutes. Stand for a further minute before turning out of the basin, (temperature needs to be approximately 65°C in the centre of the pudding).

The cooking time may vary according to the type of basin and microwave.


About DS gluten free:


Dietary Specials (DS gluten free) is the UK's market leading brand in gluten and wheat free food.

Owned by the international Dr Schär group, we have three state-of-the-art manufacturing sites and a clear strategy for long term growth.

Our market-leading Dietary Specials brand was the first gluten and wheat free brand to be stocked by a major multiple.

Our key product areas include bread, pasta, frozen foods and savoury snacks.

We have developed strong consumer loyalty - a quarter of coeliacs have been buying our products for five years or more.




Notes to editors:

  • Nutrition Point is a UK company which was established in 1998 by entrepreneur Chris Hook, who was frustrated at the lack of food choices available for his wife and son who both suffer from wheat intolerance
  • Nutrition Point was established to distribute and market gluten and wheat products and remains committed to making gluten and wheat free food as convenient and tasty as mainstream foods
  • Their Dietary Specials brand (DS gluten free) is brand leader in the sector
  • Since 1998 the team has been working closely with the loyal DS gluten free customer base to develop a superb product range including ambient, chilled and frozen foods
  • DS gluten free and TRUfree products cater for those with coeliac disease, and wheat or gluten allergies or intolerances, and are also suitable for those who choose a wheat or gluten free diet for lifestyle reasons
  • In 2002, Nutrition Point became part of the Dr Schär group which has been established for over 25 years and is the European market leader in gluten and wheat free foods
  • In 2006, Dr Schär further strengthened their consumer offering across Europe by acquiring the whole free from business unit from Numico. This acquisition meant that Nutrition Point became responsible for the distribution and marketing of the Glutafin brand in healthcare and TRUfree brand in retail throughout the UK and Ireland