3 supercharged Christmas recipes
Constructing a supercharged Christmas Day is not as laboured or time-consuming as you might think. From your first mouthful of spicy nuts to your last gulp of eggnog, I’m going to ensure that all your Christmas needs are covered and then some. You’ll have your guests eating out of your hand with a delicious banquet of healthy, satisfying, easy-to-prepare dishes. Supercharging your festive season is the perfect way to combine family festivities and full tummies, with limited food-overs the next day.
Don’t be too restrictive with your eating — if you can’t indulge at Christmas time when can you? If you’re on a special diet, you can eat, drink and be merry. With a few basic modifications to the traditional menu, it’s easy to come up with recipes everyone can savour. Discovering new ways to use fresh, unadulterated ingredients can be fun and in no time you’ll be making beautiful, health-promoting seasonal dishes.
If you’re cooking for others, here are a few tips for creating a supercharged Christmas Day.
If you’re planning on cooking a traditional turkey, why not bake it with the stuffing on the outside or flavour it with your own stuffing?
About a week before, plan your menu and check recipes, ensuring ingredients are suitable for guests. If using store-bought ingredients, check the labels to ensure there are no hidden ingredients. The words “all natural”, “added spices”, “natural colourings and flavourings” and “maltodextrin” can signal ingredients that can be disastrous for people who can’t tolerate gluten, additives and preservatives.
Activated nuts can be made in advance and will stay crunchy for the Christmas holidays and beyond. On my blog, I have a guide on how to activate nuts along with some yummy recipes.
For cracker and dip options, why not make buckwheat and herb crackers and team them with dairy-free pesto, tahini or guacamole? You can also slow-bake crunchy sea salt and apple cider vinegar almonds a few days earlier.
If you’re planning on cooking a traditional turkey, why not bake it with the stuffing on the outside or flavour it with your own stuffing? Combine crushed nuts or brown rice or quinoa with celery, onion, garlic, olive oil, rosemary, thyme, sage, an egg yolk, chicken stock, sea salt and freshly cracked pepper.
If you’ve decided to ham it up, remember to check the label before buying commercial ham glazes: many packaged glazes contain chemical additives, preservatives and gluten. Try the Christmas Ham recipe below, which I roll out every year. It will knock your guests out with its intense, exotic flavour and tenderness.
When it comes to dessert, a good option is to pre-bake a lemon flan or pumpkin pie and serve it with dairy-free ice-cream or mock or cashew-nut cream.
Chicken Liver Pâté
Cooking time: 20 mins
- 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 500g chicken livers
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 tsp grated lemon zest
- ½ tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp dried rosemary
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- Generous pinch grated nutmeg
- Heat olive oil in a frying pan and sauté chicken livers and onion over medium heat. Cook, stirring, until livers are lightly browned with no pink remaining, about 10 minutes.
- Transfer to a food processor, add remaining ingredients and season well with freshly ground black pepper. Process until smooth and fluffy. Transfer to a small pot, cover with a lid and put in the fridge to chill before using, to allow the flavours to blend. Serve with gluten-free crackers or alongside vegetable sticks.
Gluten-free Glazed Christmas Ham With Rosemary
Cooking time: 3 hrs
- 1 large leg of ham on the bone
- 1 packet whole cloves
- 1 tbsp peppercorns
- Sea salt, to taste
- Filtered water for baking
- 6 cloves garlic, unpeeled
- 4 tbsp ripe fresh apricots or peaches, smashed (optional)
- 6 tbsp sugar-free seeded mustard
- ½ cup apple cider vinegar
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp stevia powder, or to taste
- Preheat oven to 160°C. Remove skin from the leg of ham by placing your finger between rind and fat and moving back and forth while gently removing skin with your other hand. Score ham in a criss-cross diamond pattern with a knife, just cutting into fat, scores 2cm apart. Place cloves into diamond points, then sprinkle ham with peppercorns and sea salt.
- Now make the glaze. Place apricots, mustard, ACV, cinnamon and stevia into a small saucepan and whisk over a high heat, bringing to the boil. Cook for 5 minutes to reduce; the consistency should be like syrup. Remove from heat.
- Place ham on a roasting dish grate, with 2.5cm of water beneath it in pan, and spoon glaze over top of ham. Place in the oven and bake for 2.5 hours, basting every half-hour. After 1.5 hours, place whole, unpeeled garlic into baking dish.
- Remove when golden brown, let sit and cool, then decorate with fresh rosemary. Serve with seasonal apple cider vinegar-roasted vegetables.
Gluten-free Mince Pies
Cooking time: 20 mins
- Fruit mincemeat
- ½ cup grated Granny Smith apples
- 2 tbsp orange rind (about 2 oranges)
- Zest of one lemon
- 4 cups freshly squeezed orange juice
- ½ cup sultanas
- 1 tsp powdered stevia or sweetener of your choice
- 1½ cups dried fruit
- 4 cups almonds
- 15g butter
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp mixed spice
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- ¼ tsp powdered ginger
- Shortcrust pastry
- 2 cups gluten-free plain flour
- Pinch salt
- 110g butter
- 1 large egg, beaten
- Place all fruit mincemeat ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Set aside to ensure flavours can meld.
- Set oven to 180°C. Grease 12-cup muffin pan.
- With hands, mix flour and butter until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add beaten egg and mix until a dough is formed. With a rolling pin, roll out dough between two sheets of baking paper and cut into rounds, reserving some for tops.
- Place 12 rounds in bottom of greased muffin pan and bake for 10 mins until almost golden. Remove from oven and add mincemeat. Top with thin pastry crosses or stars and return to oven for 5 mins or until top is crunchy.
- Remove from oven and enjoy.
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