What To Do With Your Gluten Free Holiday Leftovers

Those who know me will know that any excuse for cooking for a crowd (by which I mean anything more than just my boyfriend and myself) means I will purchase a rather large amount of food, make huge amounts of dishes, and have lots of leftovers. Case in point: when my boyfriend told his brother that I was making Thanksgiving dinner, his brother’s first response was ‘Oh, so she’s making at least 10 courses?’ I guess there are worse things to be known for than making great quantities of tasty food.

(Yes, I ordered a lot of food)

Other coeliacs will probably understand the reason for so much cooking. If I make it myself, at my gluten free kitchen, I can eat everything I want and not worry about contamination. So I’m going to cook everything I’ve wanted to eat, and then eat it for the rest of the week too. Also, the traditional meals for Thanksgiving and Christmas are both easily made entirely gluten free. A bit of gluten free flour or corn flour in the gravy and some good-quality gluten free bread for the stuffing are all that are strictly necessary to transform a traditional holiday meal into a coeliac-friendly holiday meal. Most of the traditional vegetable sides are naturally gluten free, which to me means that Thanksgiving provided an opportunity to cook six. For six people. Plus biscuits. And two types of dessert. Maybe I do have a problem…

Gluten Free Thanksgiving

The full meal. Minus desserts.

All of which means that I end up with a large amount of leftovers, providing multiple holiday packed lunches. (Hint: pack gluten free gravy granules with your lunch and you can have fresh gravy at work). But even I can hit a wall where having the same roast dinner every lunch/dinner can get a bit boring. And holiday meals (Thanksgiving or Christmas, it’s really the same meal) can get a bit repetitive. So I’ve been experimenting with different ways of using up my leftovers, both the food I’ve cooked and the leftover fresh food that I ordered but didn’t need. I can imagine that other coeliacs have woken up on the morning after Thanksgiving or Christmas and faced the same vast quantites of food, so I thought I’d share my successes from this year.

(A tiny pot of gravy granules makes a work lunch so much better!)

First up, how to use up stuffing. My stuffing was made using gluten free bread from Artisan Gluten Free Bakery, which comes unsliced so it was perfect to make into large chunks. I used Smitten Kitchen’s apple-herb stuffing recipe, which worked a treat. I also used her ‘put an egg on it’ philosophy to transform leftover stuffing into breakfast for two days. A crispy egg (ie an egg fried until the white can almost shatter) was a great addition, adding some protein to the meal and making it feel very breakfast/brunch-worthy.

I also used up my leftover mashed potatoes with the stuffing in this weird version of a tarte tatin. I reheated my caramelised shallots and their braising liquid in a frying pan, then added potatoes and stuffing that had been mixed together with an egg for binding on top. I tried to flip it so the shallots and liquid poured over the hash, but I’m still working on my flipping skills. But it didn’t matter because it was a glorious lunch.

Gluten Free Thanksgiving

One leftover that shouldn’t need instructions for using up is apple crisp. But, in case any of you have not tried it for breakfast, DO IT. It’s really just baked oatmeal and stewed fruit, which is definitely a balanced breakfast. I would also recommend it with a bit of cold milk. I used Delicious Alchemy oatmeal for my crisp, but any gluten free oats are fine.

 

As you might have guessed from the produce photo, I also had some fresh vegetables leftover to use up. So I tried to find dishes that were completely different from a traditional Thanksgiving or Christmas meal to add some variety in among the stuffing.

First up was saag paneer: curry made with spinach and paneer, a type of Indian cheese. I am a big fan of this Delicious Magazine recipe, which is naturally gluten free, really easy to make and doesn’t involve the huge amounts of cream or ghee you often find in curry recipes. I used up onions and the entire 450g bag of spinach I had leftover, as well as the cream from the pumpkin pie (I would usually use the yoghurt recommended by the recipe). The curry was delicious and a good break from roast dinners.

 

Even though I made two separate sweet potato dishes for Thanksgiving I still had about a kilo leftover. So I continued on the spicy trend and went for chili. The chili was inspired by this recipe from Simply Quinoa, but I didn’t feel the need for extra grains after all the stuffing I’d been eating and added extra beans and sweetcorn instead. I also made the chili on the stovetop, rather than a crockpot. It took about 35-45 minutes of simmering, just be sure to check if the sweet potatoes are becoming too soft.

The chili was a great way to wind up the post-holiday overeating. It’s vegetarian, vegan and grain free, but very hearty so you’d never know. Also good ifΒ  you’re coming down with a cold in the winter, the spices really clear you out.

Grain free gluten free chili

Hopefully some of these ideas will be helpful in your quest to eat up all your gluten free leftovers. None of them require much onerous cooking, which is great if you’ve had to cook an entire Thanksgiving or Christmas meal recently! And all of them are vegetarian, if you either can’t face any more turkey or want to make sure everyone can eat. I would love to hear any other ideas people have for using up their holiday leftovers. As of writing, it’s only one month to Christmas!

Bird – Gluten Free Restaurant Review

Gluten free fried chicken

Fellow coeliacs will understand the constant sorrow of scanning a menu for gluten-filled fried things that might contaminate the deep fat frier, placing the chips/fries out of reach. And you wouldn’t normally be wrong to think that fried chicken would be one of those gluten-filled items. And then you would come to London and discover Bird. Where the chicken is coated in gluten free flour and the chips are available to all.

Gluten free fried chicken

I first discovered Bird on a Gluten Free Gathering last year, a great event which combined awesome chicken with awesome people. One of the founders of Bird also spoke to us, and told us about how Bird had come to be. It turns out that the chicken at Bird is accidentally gluten free. When trying chicken recipes the coating that worked the best was a mixture of corn and rice flour, so it was what was used. Luckily for coeliacs and gluten free people this makes it safe for us. Keeping my fingers crossed that more fried chicken places start using this batter mixture too. Fried chicken for all!

The staff are always helpful in pointing out what is gluten free, and what can be made gluten free. Unfortunately the burgers and donuts are not, but all the pieces of chicken (wings and fried) and most of the sauces/dips are. And almost all of the sides are coeliac-friendly too. While the burgers do sounds tasty, I’m really there for the fried chicken anyway. Make sure to ask each time about the sauces and sides, as they do sometimes change the menu. But the only gasto-intestinal problems I’ve ever had after Bird have been related to the large amounts of fried chicken and tasty cocktails I’ve ingested, rather than a glutening. They also now state that the chicken is gluten free on their menus, which they stopped doing for a while, which I personally always find comforting. They even had gluten free beer as the special last time I was there.

There are now four Birds around London, including at the Westfield Stratford (for when you really need a post-shopping treat). I’ve only ever been to the Shoreditch branch, but hope to try some of the others soon.

 

Peppered Goat Cheese Scones – Gluten Free Recipe

Gluten free goat cheese scones

My British readers especially might be scratching their heads over the title of this recipe. Aren’t scones supposed to be sweet? With raisins/sultanas? Served at 4pm with jam? Well, these scones might not be sweet or contain dried fruit, but they are awesome served with jam at any type of day. I can sometimes find Serious Eats overwhelming from the sheer number of recipes, tips and reviews available, so I feel very lucky that I ran across Anna Markow’s recipe.

These scones are made in the American style of patting the dough into a round and cutting into wedges, resulting in large and craggy slices of deliciousness. The goat cheese softens into pockets of tastiness and the pepper adds a nice kick and a bit of something different.

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It was extremely easy to make these scones gluten free. I replaced the flour with Doves Farm plain gluten free flour and added a pinch of xantham gum. I made the dough once in my food processor and once by hand, but didn’t notice much of a difference.

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I didn’t have the multiple types of pepper recommended by Anna but didn’t feel that I was missing out. Plus my spice drawer is already overflowing and I just couldn’t justify extra pepper jars.

These scones go really well with any type of jam, my personal favourites are cherry and raspberry. I find tart jams are really good with the richness of the cheese and the heat of the pepper. But these are also awesome warm with just a bit of butter. Or with frittata and potato hash, as seen here.

Gluten free goat cheese scones

These scones are also amazing for when you’re having overnight guests or people for brunch. They have to be frozen for at least an hour before baking, but are happy to hang out in the freezer for much longer. So you can have warm scones in about 20 minutes whenever you want. Just make sure to separate the wedges before they go into the freezer, otherwise you may end up with scones that are a bit bigger than you expected.

Gluten free goat cheese scones

I would really recommend these scones as something a bit different for breakfast, brunch, afternoon tea, or general eating. You can find the full recipe and instructions here. Do you have any more unusual scone flavour combinations that you enjoy? Would love to get more inspiration!

Gluten Free Dublin – Part 3

Antoinette Gluten Free Dublin

Antoinette’s Bakery is that Holy Grail for coeliacs – a fully gluten-free bakery. And with tasty treats to purchase. It’s just off Camden Street, near St Patrick’s Cathedral and St Stephen’s Green. I always make a pilgrimmage when I’m in Dublin to stock up. They also seem to do very good coffee, but that’s not something I can comment on personally. Highlights from my visits include cinnamon cakes, cookies, lemon cake, and a ‘Yes’ cupcake from the gay marriage referendum. And world’s most awesome bag for life.

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My most recent trip to Dublin included dinner at Green 19, also on Camden Street. I’d been years ago before I was diagnosed with coeliac disease and enjoyed their food, so was delighted to see that they had gluten free listed right on their menu. There’s even gluten free beer (Bru Lager). It’s another great place for coeliacs who don’t want to feel like they’re dragging their friends to a random restaurant just because it serves gluten free food. Our Dublin friends go there even when I’m not around. And the food is amazingly tasty. I hadΒ some awesome pork belly with potatoes and vegetables, a description which does not do the meal justice. The chocolate brownie, while usually the stereotypical gluten free offering, was a hit with my ‘normal’ friends and definitely worth a try. Apologies for the bad photos, it’s a problem of hipster restaurants that there’s never enough light…

Looking for more Dublin reviews? Check out parts one and two of my Dublin posts.

Honest Burgers – Gluten Free Review

It’s no secret that Honest Burgers is almost revered among the London gluten free community, but I’m a huge fan so thought I’d add my voice! Honest Burgers is a small chain that started in Brixton Market and now has 17 locations around London (they open new restaurants all the time so see the current list of locations here). It was among the earlier ‘one dish only’ restaurants in London, in this case obviously burgers. Very good burgers with their secret weapon: rosemary-salted chips (fries).

Honest Burgers gluten free

My personal favourites are the American Tribute and the vegetarian fritter. I know that ordering the vegetarian option could seem controversial in a restaurant known for their fabulous beef burgers, but it is really tasty. The onion rings are also coeliac-friendly and have a great paprika-flavoured batter. The gluten free bun holds up well and doesn’t crumble everywhere, which is necessary when you’re trying to figure out how you’re going to fit the burger in your mouth. The staff are clued up to gluten free and ask if it’s a lifestyle choice or an allergy. There’s also gluten free beer available if you so desire, as well as a small but good selection of cocktails.

Honest Burgers has saved me so many times because it’s a great option when you’re out with friends and don’t want to have to feel like you’re the ‘weird coeliac’ and can’t go anywhere fun. Everyone I’ve taken to Honest has loved it, and it feels like a hipster-ish restaurant while not being too pretentious. Would love to see more restaurants like it, and thanks Honest for being honestly awesome for coeliacs.