What is Christmas anyway? *Why I’m NOT a Humbug*

*Cue the blood boiling from hoards of people, because the words Christmas & Humbug mentioned there…….

I didn’t plan on writing this post, but I felt compelled to do so, as tonight I shall be attending an event, which is in partnership with ‘Kids Company’. & With Christmas just around the corner my thoughts just wouldn’t leave me. Like an itch needing to be scratched, the more I tried ignoring them, the louder they became in my mind (no, I’m not nuts, just passionate)


I don’t get into the ‘swing of things’ quite as much as others, around the festive period it seems. My memories of Christmas from my ‘yoot are great: spent in the tropics, these experiences couldn’t be further from the traditions here in the UK. View Post

Gluten Free Christmas Dinner….recreated for January

If you had asked me ten years ago about all the gluten free products available, I’d have said ‘avoid them like the plague!’. They were rotten, bland tasting pieces of what can only be described as cardboard. For those of us, who for medical reasons have to follow a gluten free diet it was one thing. But you most certainly, unequivocally, would not have endorsed these products to friends on a ‘normal’ diet (i use the term ‘normal’ very loosely!). By golly, how thing have changed! So much so, that I introduced some dear friends of ours into my world of a Gluten free Christmas dinner this weekend…..

Despite the Yorkshire puss looking incredibly sorry for themselves, & my lack of photography skills-this is Super tasty!

Despite the Yorkshire puds looking incredibly sorry for themselves, & my lack of photography skills-this is Super tasty!

I can hear your thoughts….’ Christmas Dinner? It’s January?!’. That’s right, Christmas Dinner- recreated in January. So let me explain the reasoning behind this & you’ll see I’m not totally bonkers. (1) Being the busy mummy that I am, when I made Christmas dinner back in December, ¬†I totally forgot to take pictures and share all my secrets with you (2) My lovely gal pal ‘K’ had a reasonably unpleasant Festive period. So we thought ‘Hey, lets recreate Christmas one day in January?!’¬†Furthermore, ‘Christmas Dinner’ sounds heaps more glamorous than ‘Sunday dinner’.

So Christmas music playing, novelty place mats set, mini christmas tree out & crackers ready to pull? Lets jump in! Here is a list of the yummy gluten free products that I used & also have the seal of approval from non Coeliac’s alike!

  • HECK¬†Sausages.
  • MrsCrimbles¬†¬†sage & onion stuffing mix
  • Kallo Gravy granules.
  • Isabel’s Yorkshire pudding mix- 160ml milk & 2 eggs to add.
  • COOK¬†¬†Goose Fat roast potatoes, Parmesan parsnips & Heritage carrots.
  • Pancetta or Streaky bacon (for pigs in blankets)
  • Smoked Ham joint
  • Vegetables
Bloomin' HECK..these guys know how to make a good sausage!

Bloomin’ HECK..these guys know how to make a good sausage!¬†

Part of my ‘mummy mission’ is to find time saving ideas & be that as it may, for ‘pigs in blankets’ there really isn’t any alternative other than to get those hands dirty! So i got stuck in the night before. I Simply cut the sausages in half & wrapped them in pancetta/ streaky bacon. HECK do a fantastic range of GF sausages & you can use any of them for this. (Whilst on the subject of HECK, they’ve recently introduced a range of Chicken sausages: we’ve put these to the test & they are delicious). Once you’ve wrapped the little piglets in their blankeys-cover them over & return them to the fridge. When it comes to cooking these I did them at gas mark 5/6 for approx 90 mins, so they can be nice ‘n’ crispy. HECK are very reasonably priced, I get mine from that big ‘T’ supermarket for ¬£2.98 per pack. I’ve tasted plenty of GF sausages & HECK are my winners.

Cook- goose fat pots, heritage carrots & parmesan parsnips


I mentioned my need for finding convenient products…. god bless COOK! This company have recently had a huge expansion & I’m sure it won’t be long until you see a shop near you (i feel like my secret is out there now!). I’ve been using this company since a shop popped up near me in Petts Wood-around 10 years ago. They carry an awesome gluten free range, their products are ‘homemade’ & frozen so no worrying about sell by dates! If you’re anything like me, you’ll buy food that sits in your fridge & by the time you get to use it, a funny coloured fur has grown around the outside (eewww!)! They also sell some other great dishes straight from frozen to the oven-offering such convenience that we all desire now & then. Back to the roast….. SO i used COOK goose fat roast potatoes, Parmesan parsnips & Heritage carrots. I cooked these for longer than the suggested time, approx 40 mins/ gas mark 5 so that they had a lovely crisp to them. COOK aren’t cheap, but as long as you’re not eating 3 of their meals per day, 7 days a week I don’t think the bank manager will be on your case!

'Northern boys love gravy' (i quote my husband, who himself is quoting 'soccer am'!)

‘Northern boys love gravy’ (i quote my husband, who himself is quoting ‘soccer am’!)

For the Gravy I used KALLO- easy peasy & yummy. I followed instructions exactly (KALLO also do GF stock cubes, that are very good). The Yorkshire Puddings were ISABEL’S, I mixed these in a blender & oh me, oh my did the rise in the oven. Sadly, they deflated into what looked like pancakes once they were removed despite all my efforts of trickery! (I have had more success with these staying fluffy in the past-it must have just been one of those days!) But they tasted great all the same. For the stuffing i used MRS CRIMBLES & I followed the mixing instructions ,rolled them into balls & cooked them for 40 mins/ gas mark 5 which was 20 mins more than they suggest.

Yorkshire Puds


Ready for the oven

Ready for the oven

I chose to cook a smoked ham joint, because we aren’t massive turkey lovers. This had been cooking merrily all morning & so into the oven all the other ingredients went. I just had to take a pic of my yorkshire puds-look at the size of these bad boys….

Rise baby rise!

Pls Excuse the very bad quality of picture & my reflection!!

I cooked some greens & made the gravy whilst this was all finishing up. & as the saying goes…bob’s your uncle….

dinner served

Dinner is served! Even the my little Bear tucked in with us (that would be his drink you can see by the crackers!)

A very well received Gluten Free christmas meal. In January. But what christmas hoos-a-nanny would be complete without the (a) cheesy cracker jokes.. My favourite: What christmas carol does every parent like best? A: Silent Night 

& (b) Present time?! To be fair, it was K’s Birthday the following day-but any excuse for a present is a worthy cause if you ask me!

Daisy London Friendship Bracelets.

Daisy London Friendship Bracelets.

Ooooh look at our pretty friendship bracelets! I’m officially in love with Daisy London¬†& their chakra bracelets (But that’s another post in itself there!).

In my opinion, Gluten free products have evolved to a new level where not only can I enjoy the occasional indulgence, but I’m also confident enough to introduce them to my friends & family safe in the knowledge that a great meal will be had by all.