Thursday, 5 December 2013

Have yourself a Gluten and Dairy Free Christmas

The other week, I saw that Ilumi were selling special Christmas hampers, and it brought back to mind one that I received the year that 'Baby' was born. It was from my sister-in-law and was full of special things that I would have loved to have eaten - except for the fact that 'Baby' was born not long before Christmas, by which time I was dairy free and breastfeeding - so I couldn't even drink the wine!

That year I did not feel up to Christmas anyway, so I shoved the hamper full of goodies (that I would have loved to have sampled) into a corner of a room, thinking that I would maybe be able to consume it all once 'Baby' was 'better'. And there it stayed - almost completely forgotten, until our recent move, when I rediscovered it.

By the time it was rediscovered, all the products were completely out of date (after all 'Baby' isn't really a 'Baby' anymore) and useless. I felt a pang of guilt over the wasted gift and another of sadness - that 'Baby' isn't 'better' yet, at all! So much for the, 'most babies grow out of it by the age of two,' which is what we were originally told!

SO I've turned my thoughts to more positive ones, thinking about the products that we can eat and do enjoy, whether gluten or dairy free. 

If we were to have a hamper this year, here are some of the things that I would hope to see in it:

This one's for 'Baby'!

O'Chocco's by Lovemore are chocolate biscuits like Oreos, but gluten and dairy free. Those have been mentioned before, too, see here. I give these to 'Baby' as Oreos are meant to be dairy free but 'may contain,' and cause 'Baby' some interesting nappies, whereas these don't.

Zero Zebra chocolate animal shapes, I've mentioned before, here. 'Baby' just loves these and so do I!

Then there's a Gruffalo toast and jam set. 'Baby' quite enjoys toast and jam. I'm hoping that these jams won't have what 'baby' calls 'pipsies' in them (pips to you and I) 'cos otherwise she won't eat them!

Udi's Toaster Pastries are also gluten free. I give 'Baby' these rather than the Kellogg's strawberry version (which are dairy free), as she prefers the taste of these. But these are only for a treat as they are quite expensive. See here.

Hotel Chocolat's Dark Chocolate penguins are also a favourite of ours - mentioned before in various posts, including this one.

A Tesco Free From chocolate steamed pudding takes central place in the basket. I found this the other week and thought that 'Baby' might enjoy eating this, rather than the traditional Christmas pudding, which I KNOW she will not eat, because it contains dried fruit. Chocolate, however, well now you're talking!

Moo Free's dairy free, gluten free Chocolate Santas can probably go without explanation, as most of you are probably familiar with them. If not, this post can explain more.

The last item in 'Baby's' hamper is a tin of biscuits, with her favourite Disney character emblazoned all across the tin! There were also Disney Princesses and Mickey Mouse tins. I found these in our local Poundland, around the time of her birthday (they seem to have sold out in ours now). They don't seem to contain milk and I thought they might come in handy for that moment at Christmas when everyone hands around the tin of biscuits in front of 'Baby' - completely forgetting that she can't have them and might become a little upset at missing out!!

One last treat that 'Baby' might like in her hamper is these chocolate logs by Sainsbury's:

Yule log substitutes?

I find them a little dry and grainy in texture, but still quite acceptable. 'Baby,' on the other hand, loves them and so do others, judging by the empty shelf in Sainsbury's yesterday! The graininess may come from the lentil flour, I think, but at least that's good roughage!!  

Well that's 'Baby's' hamper out the way. What about mine? Being gluten and dairy free, there are things that 'baby' can have that I can't, so here's what I'd like in mine:

A little more grown-up... maybe!

Well, there's some Udi's granola (it's included in that post about the Udi's Toaster Pastries). I really, really like this granola, but its quite pricey, so it would be a real treat to have some for Christmas.

Then, Well, surprise, surprise those O'Choccos make another appearance! As does the Moo Free Chocolate Santa!

Mince pies are a MUST for me at Christmas. I've tried making my own once and they didn't work. These by Hale and Hearty appeared in The Independent's top ten the other day and I must say, I do like them - they taste more home made and less shop-bought. Last year Waitrose sold them, but they're not in mine this year. You can get them from Ocado and good health food shops like Planet Organic, in London. I've heard that the Foodamentalists bakery do a good frangipane mince pie, but I've yet to try one. 

Gingerbread is also a traditional favourite, with me. I've tried three this year. The Sainsbury's one (pictured) has a nice taste and texture, but is no good for anyone who can't have oats. The Lazy Days one (Holland and Barrrett) has the nicest flavour but is hard and (as I found to my cost, when I didn't check properly) is made with soya flour. Lovemore's don't quite match the other two, but don't contain any nasties! We got ours from Ocado.

Then there's some Booja Booja truffles. All the Booja Booja truffles are gluten free and dairy free but I can't have all of them, as some contain cashews, which I can't eat. If you haven't tried these before, I can't tell you how nice they are. I usually buy them from a good health food shop or a decent branch of Holland and Barrett - some branches definitely have a better choice than others! 

Nestled somewhere in the middle there, is a tiny bottle of Fruitbroo - a recent discovery. You add some to hot water to make an instant fruit drink. I love the Apple and Ginger, as it reminds me of mulled fruit punch - a great taste for the festive season. This was found in the tea and coffee aisle in Sainsbury's.

Next to the Fruitbroo is Choc Shot by Sweet Freedom. Choc Shot is a new product on me. Liquid chocolate it says. I found it in with the hot chocolate in Sainsbury's and it's also sold by Waitrose. It seems quite versatile, as it can be used in baking and on desserts as well as in hot chocolate. Bit pricey though - I bought mine on offer!

Right at the front of my hamper sits a small Christmas cake by Baked to Taste. This was a discovery at the Wessex Coeliac Fayre in Winchester, not too long ago. I've made my own Christmas cake this year, but that little one is too good to miss! You can get these from Deli Divine, or Love Free From who has just started selling these, alongside another lovely little Christmas cake by Lazy Days, which is great for the nut free.

Not pictured in the hamper and new in Sainsbury's, but quite possibly worth including is a gluten and dairy free Panettone loaf. I have no idea what the real deal tastes like, but I know that you see it around a lot at Christmas. Out of curiosity, I bought this one. I have no idea if it tastes anything like it should, but I like it!

New addition!

Now often in hampers you find cheese and biscuits. Should my hamper come chilled, I wouldn't choose any dairy and gluten free cheese, because there isn't one that truly hits the spot for me, so I've chosen a few things from the chiller, to fill the gap!

First off a Baked to Taste pie. I've tried a few, which you can read about here. They're not all dairy and soya free but they are gluten free. I couldn't possibly choose which one should go in my hamper, but seeing as they're priced so reasonably, maybe I'd have to have them all! 

Then there's Hotch Potch scotch eggs. A new find, from the Wessex Coeliac Fayre, again, they can be bought online directly from Hotch Potch, or through Deli Divine.

This one is made with chorizo - simply delicious!

Finally, for dessert, something by Glamour Puds! I love this passion fruit chiffon pud - it's so light and zingy. The lemon one is great too! These are again stocked by Deli Divine and can also be found at the Whole Foods Market. 

Or perhaps something by Pudology! They are available at Ocado and some branches of Waitrose and Sainsbury's, but sadly not mine! Their chocolate pud is still a favourite of mine, so It's a good job we can get Ocado. Which reminds me - there's still one in the fridge :) Before I go off and eat it, though, I have a question for you:

These are the choices for our hampers, but maybe I've missed something. What would you put in yours?