HOSTING Christmas dinner can be very stressful, especially when you have to cater for guests with special dietary requirements.
If the prospect of offering vegan or gluten-free festive fare sounds daunting, these tips will help you create an all-inclusive dinner to make everyone merry.
Buffet is best
Forget the sit-down dinner and opt for a buffet instead. It’s the easiest way to cater for everyone’s dietary needs, allowing people to pick and choose as they please.
Label dishes clearly so guests know exactly what they can and cannot eat. Get creative and give your dishes enticing names to encourage people to try something new.
Change things up
Easy swaps can make something vegan or allergy-friendly. For example, cook vegetables in oil instead of butter, replace beef stock with vegetable stock and use separate tongs for meat and vegetables.
Keep it simple
Christmas dinner does not have to be complicated to be delicious. Simple dishes such as roast vegies with meat and vegan sausage options, vegetable platters with hummus, salads with tasty dressings and fresh fruit are crowd pleasers and can easily be adapted to your guests’ dietary needs.
We are lucky to live in a day and age where the supermarket health food section is packed with gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free and vegan treats that are clearly labelled. The major supermarkets often have their own range of Christmas treats, including gluten-free puddings, mince pies and rum balls. There are also products labelled as suitable for vegans. In the fridge and freezer sections, you’ll find everything from vegan sausage rolls to dairy-free yoghurt.
Do not be afraid to ask your guests for ideas and advice. They will know what products best cater to their needs and can share their favourite meals and best treats to buy.
1 400g can chickpeas, drained
2 tblspn tahini (hulled for a lighter flavour, unhulled for a nuttier flavour)
2 tblspn oil
Juice of one lemon
1 garlic clove
1/4 cup water
Salt and pepper to taste
Put the ingredients in a blender or jug or bowl suitable for a hand-held blender. Start with less water and add more if the hummus is too thick.
Blend until smooth. Consistency should be perfect for dipping your favourite crackers or corn chips.
Adjust the ingredients to suit your taste.
Top with a sprinkle of paprika for decoration.
1/3 cup dried fruit (red and green glace cherries create a stunning Christmas look)
1 cup powdered coconut milk (found in the international section of the supermarket)
1/2 cup icing sugar
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
1 1/2 cups puffed rice cereal
90g white chocolate (to make vegan, use Sweet Williams dairy-free white chocolate)
Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl.
Melt the copha in a saucepan or microwave, take off the heat and mix in the white chocolate until melted.
Mix the liquids into the dry ingredients.
Line a tin with baking paper and press the mixture into the tin.
Leave in the fridge for two hours before cutting into squares.