Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Further Festive FreeFrom Fare

Following on from our earlier Free From Festive food post, and as part of our pre-Christmas prep, we found ourselves looking through the Marks and Spencer Food to Order booklet.  It was great to see how many items are labelled as Gluten Free.  There are loads of stuffed meats which are Gluten Free (we're thinking of having the Easy-carve Stuffed Duck) and garnish packs are also looking tempting.  We'll have to sort out our own vegetables though as the Luxury Vegetable Selection (potatoes and parsnips, red cabbage, sprouts and carrots, cauliflower cheese) contains gluten.  Having started so promisingly, we were more than a little disappointed to find that not one of the desserts in the range is listed as Gluten Free.  However, cannot imagine why the Pannacotta Terrine would have gluten in it - none of the ingredients appears to contain gluten and gluten is not listed under 'contains'.  It's frustrating that M&S have got so close to offering a full Christmas meal to order that is Gluten Free (and doubly annoying that the macaroon tree that looks so appetising has wheat flour in it).

Searching the M&S website looking for mail order options, we found this Classic Claret with Gluten Free Festive Treats on sale at £30.  At least M&S have something to send from their Hampers range.  Plus, even though we're not planning on having a party, the Gluten Free Party Selection in the food to order range looks like something Sous Chef J would like to try and, as the components are freezeable, we may order a pack and divide the food up for special treats later!

In store the other day, we picked up some items Sous Chef J liked the look of...  Mini Chicken Kievs, Bacon Twist Lollipops and Sea Salt & Black Pepper Crackers.  We've frozen the bacon twists as they were 'easy-to-stick-in-the-freezer' size but we ate the chicken kievs at the weekend.  They were judged to be a 'nice change' although there was lots of garlic butter leakage during cooking which was a bit messy... the packet says they can be frozen and cooked from frozen so seem to be a good standby item.

Being in 'seek and find' mode for Festive food, Sous Chef J spotted these 9 Christmas Cake Bites in Waitrose.  They are VERY small bites of cake - so don't think they'll last long.  Apparently they also have Gluten Free Mince Pies but the shelf space and stocking in our local store means we haven't actually seen any... you may be near a store that's got a wider Free From range (according to Sous Chef J, this wouldn't be difficult!)

Picture of Virginia Crunchy Amaretti RedOcado have a good range of gluten free products all year round but they've expanded this to include treats like Amaretti Biscuits in a tin which would make a lovely gift, a dairy, gluten and egg free chocolate Advent Calendar and a selection of Christmas Cakes.  The Hale and Hearty range on sale at Ocado also offers a number of products we find difficult to source elsewhere.

Picture of Eskal Gluten Free Deli CrackersAnother brand Ocado offer is Eskal and Sous Chef J particularly likes these crackers which he uses to dip in soup but are tasty with cheese too. 

We'll be making our own Christmas Cake again this year... here's a link to last year's blogpost about it in case you want to give it a go.

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