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A Christmas fraught with accidents and Festive Treats for Allergy Sufferers.

December 30, 2011

The festive season is known to be fraught with visitors, cooking and baking deadlines and of course shopping for the perfect gifts for family and friends. It’s an especially hectic time of year as I am sure you can testify to. This year had  two added elements for us.  Firstly, for the first time we actually have family living in the same town which is just amazing. My brother and sister-in-law have moved to Dubai complete with my nephew and nieces. The second, was much more stressful. My visiting mother-in-law unfortunately fell and broke her femur. Surgery was necessary to pin everything back together and of course hospital visits and the worry of having an 80 year old fall was enough to send anyone off the deep end. She is thankfully at home recuperating. It’s tough having to take care of a patient and have a young family and try to keep up with job and blogging commitments. So if you were wondering why I have been a bit quiet lately, this is the reason.

For a few years now, our festive season has culminated with a magnificent spread on the evening of Christmas Eve. I always felt that Christmas in Europe is just that touch more atmospheric than in warmer places of the world. The snowy images on Christmas Cards always send subliminal messages that this is how Christmas should be. Unfortunately, for those of us that live in warmer climates there is no such thing. That’s when we decided that celebrating at night  bathed in the soft glow of candle light, is just the thing to make up for a lack of snow. Except for one teeny weeny problem. It is also the birthday of our youngest son Alessio. He arrived 4 days earlier than his due date 10 years ago. At the tender age of 10, he suddenly realised that he has to share his birthday with our Christmas Eve celebration. You might guess that I was not too popular this year. We did make up for it by having a special toast to him and singing Happy Birthday. I think things will have to change from next year onwards. If any of you have any bright ideas as to how else to satisfy my need for an atmospheric candle light dinner and Alessio’s birthday please feel free to send messages and ideas.

On December 23rd I finally got my act together and started baking. This is our first gluten, dairy, egg and selected nut-free Christmas. The usual Italian Christmas food traditions of  enjoying Panettone and coffee on Christmas morning, Pandoro and Panforte as desserts were all but a distant memory. Ever determined to give my eldest son ( and me too) a delicious Christmas experience I was determined to find suitable allergen free alternatives. Luckily I bought Jamie Oliver’s magazine and the Australian House and Garden Magazine which were both bursting with ideas. Panettone cannot be messed with. There is simply no way gluten free flour has the ability to stretch like gluten flour can. Nor can it go egg free. Moving on, I found a suitable Panforte recipe. This one uses dried figs and nuts. With a few tweaks here and there we were cooking with gas! I dare say, if you are partial to having your deserts a little less sickly sweet than the usual fare then this may be just the thing for you to try. No picture I’m afraid, but will add one for New Year since I am baking it again….

Jamie’s magazine also offered a gluten-free Spiced Apple Christmas Cake (in the foreground above). It was delicious, but I don’t think my addition of mashed banana to replace the eggs worked that well. I will try it again and let you know how it turns out. For the longest while I have been threatening to make edible gifts for friends and family, but never quite got there. I had several tins of condensed milk in the grocery cupboard and thought they would be perfect for give-away fudge. Now, before you start saying that I am being hypocritical about making fudge when I am totally against the use of added sugar in our diets, (you simply don’t need added nor refined sugar….and that’s that, but more on that another time. Let’s stick to the Christmas post shall we?) Let’s just say that once a year I think it’s ok to go a bit ballistic  on sugar. BUT NOT EVER IF YOU HAVE CANDIDA! Trust me on that one. So I decided on Fudge and Chocolate Prune Balls. The Chocolate Prune Balls are perfect if you have allergies and they are sugar free. I proved this Christmas to myself and everyone else that a delicious allergen and sugar free Christmas is possible. You just need a little imagination and the courage to give it a go!


I hope you all had a Blessed and Festive Holiday.  Happy Christmas!

                                                                             Click here for the printable PDF  Prune Choc Balls Recipe

Click here for the Christmas Fudge Recipe

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