Christmas Wellington – Vegan and Gluten Free

It’s a little while since Christmas day but I’m still remembering the wonderful vegan and gluten free Wellington that we enjoyed on the day.

The filling is made from sweet potato, tofu, spinach, shallot and a light gravy stock.

I have cheated with the pastry and used Jus Rol Gluten Free pastry which is also vegan. This cheat is far from ideal but as I had other Christmas dinner duties I didn’t feel too guilty.

Red wine and red onion risotto

Risotto is one of my go-to dishes and is perfect for a cold evening. This risotto with warming red wine and tasty flavours is ideal for when winter really sets in.

Start by sautéing a chopped red onion in a little oil or frying spray, once the onion has softened add arborio rice and continue to cook on a high heat until the rice takes on a translucent appearance. Then it’s time for my favourite bit; where you add the wine! I’ve given my risotto a generous helping of Rioja and allowed it to sizzle off quickly.

Once the wine has evaporated turn down the heat and add hot stock. I always use the low salt Kallo stock cubes to make up my stock. It’s a real staple in my coeliac, vegan pantry!

Cook for a further 20 – 30 minutes adding chopped baby tomatoes mid way through cooking and when the liquid has evaporated and the rice is nicely cooked serve with a little basil to flavour. Serving with a big glass of wine also recommended.

Parsnip and Coconut Curry

The festive period is an excellent time to tuck into a winter veg favourite. Rather than roasting, mashing or souping this recipe uses the warmth and versatility of the parsnip to set off some excellent flavours. 

Start by warming a little coconut oil in a large pan. I use a Le Creuset casserole dish as it gives me the consistent heat and even cook I’m looking for. 

Add chopped red chilli, chopped garlic, minced ginger and a little chopped coriander the coconut oil and start to stir through. Then add parsnips diced to approx 1cm cubes. 

Saute off the parnsip a little to give it a softer texture then add drained, cooked chickpeas and sliced spring onions. 

Stir so the vegetables saute evenly in the coconut oil and spices. Then add fresh plum tomatoes, tomato puree and coconut milk. Turn the heat down to a medium setting and simmer for approximately 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

When cooked this dish is ideal served with rice to keep it gluten free!

Spinach and Feta Rolls (gluten and lactose free) 

I’m feeling festive… from about October normally and I’ve been practising different gluten and lactose free options for Christmas. 

Last month I tried some fig and vegan cream cheese pastry tartlets and this weekend I’ve gone savoury and tried some spinach and “feta” sausage rolls. 

As a lactose intolerant coeliac you can imagine my joy when I discovered gluten free, vegan Jus Rol puff pastry in the dairy free section of my local supermarket. At the moment allergens and free from is expanding so rapidly I seem to find something new every time. This pastry is easy to roll out, shape and eat. It’s delicious. It’s such a cheat to use ready made pastry and I’m so happy coeliacs and vegans can cheat too. 

Open the pastry packaging, roll out the pastry and let it warm a little after the fridge whilst you prepare the filling. 

I say prepare. It’s really not a tricky recipe this one. Wilt 100g spinach. I’m using my microwave steamer for 30 seconds so the spinach softens but retains some substance and doesn’t go watery. Layer the spinach in a line throughout the length of the pastry. About an inch from the edge of the pastry. Then slice your “feta” I am using a vegan Greek style cheese made with coconut milk which is very exciting. I make long slices approximately 5 mm wide. Layer the feta (or substitute) on top of the spinach. 

Take the inch of pasty and roll it over the top of the filling and press down firmly. Then roll the filling and pastry over to create a full sausage roll effect. 

I use a little soya butter to hold the very top down and then chop the long pastry length into inch long pastries. 

Pop into the oven and cook for approximately 30 minutes. This is a really enjoyable and incredibly easy recipe suitable for free fromers and more. 

Gluten free, vegan Christmas pasta

I am one of those people who LOVES Christmas. As soon as the leaves turn and the nights stat drawing in I start humming festive jingles and yearning for mulled wine and cosy fluffy socks.

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I’m getting in seasonal spirits today and cooking a delicious Christmassey pasta full of tasty flavours and using some new exciting ingredients.

As a coeliac with lactose intolerance, plenty of allergies and a vegetarian outlook Christmas can be a time when I watch other people eat and feel left out. To be honest I think everyone will want to join me when they see this dish. It’s also incorporating one of the new coconut-milk based cheese alternatives Sainsbury’s has introduced recently.

Start by finely chopping a butternut squash, placing into a roasting pan with a little olive oil and some chopped sage and roasting for approximately 1 hour. Butternut squash is a great Christmas flavour as it is sweet and rich. I always feel butternut squash to be quite luxurious, no matter how frequently I eat it! Once roasted place to one side and allow to cool.

I’m cooking this dish using a maize based gluten free penne but it will work equally well with gluten free gnocchi, spaghetti, or in fact in a risotto –one for me to try another time! Cook the pasta and drain. Stir the cooked pasta in with the roasted squash over a low heat and season with a sprinkle of salt, pepper and fresh sage. Once evenly distributed I am then adding my super exciting ingredient. Chopped vegan Wensleydale with cranberries. Continue to stir as this melts through forming a very light sauce.

Once melted through serve immediately. The combination of squash, sage and cranberries is an incredible Christmas taste, in fact it’s getting me in the mood already… I can hear Home Alone films and Monopoly calling me….

Mulled Wine Chutney (Gluten Free and vegan too!)

I was lucky enough to be given a huge bag of home grown apples straight out of my next door neighbour’s garden and decided to get some chutney cooked as way to make sure the apples last through the winter.

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Last time I made chutney was before I was diagnosed as coeliac and I used to make onion and apple chutney with a malt vinegar but I’ve found a delicious way around this and made a much tastier chutney than I had ever thought about before. As I’m unable to use malt vinegar I substituted with red wine vinegar which got me thinking of one of my festive favourites… mulled wine….

So here goes, my never made before, made up as I cook mulled wine chutney!

I start by peeling and then cubing approx 15 medium and large sized cooking apples, straight into a huge pan. I would love to have my own jam pan and one day I will invest but for now I’m just using a normal big pan, if you have a jam pan do get the use out of it though. Then coat the apple in 500g of brown sugar (I know, but I never said it was a healthy recipe!) stir the sugar through the apple.

Then zest a lemon and a Clementine, I don’t have a proper zester so I use a teeny cheese grater and grate peel into the apple mix. Give the lemon a good squeeze to get some of the juice in there and then segment the Clementine you have zested, as well as a second Clementine and add all the segments in. This will give the chutney a delicious, slightly citrus note which will go really well with the other flavours.

Raisins are a controversial chutney ingredient, some people love raisins in chutney and other people are much less keen. I’m in the first camp so I’m going to pop in 250g raisins in as I love the squishy, tasty mouthful when you hit a raisin.

Pour over 750ml of red wine vinegar which should cover the mixture in the pan and stir thoroughly, pop in 2 whole cinnamon sticks and it is time to get cooking.

Start by turning the heat up to a high setting as to break down the fruit and get a good thick consistency you will need the mixture to bubble. After about 20 minutes when the mixture has begun to bubble turn the hob to down to a low setting (I used setting 2 of 9) and then allow to simmer with the lid on. My chutney then took another 3 and a half hours to cook on the low heat until it hit the right texture for me. You should notice the apple begin to break down and it will become a rich, thick, warm red chutney, make sure you taste the mixture about 2 hours in so you can check it isn’t too sour.

When cooked it’s important to transfer into jars and seal pretty quickly as the heat will create a vacuum which will allow the chutney to store through the winter. I’ve tucked into mine already with some delicious gluten free crackers and I am one happy coeliac with a tummy full of yum.