This month I invited my Dad and brother round for a gluten free dinner party with me and my husband. I decided to make all three courses gluten free because I love a dinner party where I am allowed everything on the menu!
For the starter, I was inspired by our home economist Anna’s recipe for Serrano Ham & Vine Tomato Tapas . After tasting the ones that Anna made in the Juvela kitchen last month using our part-baked white rolls, I knew that this was a tasty snack which is perfect for a starter!
For the main course I made salmon, which is naturally gluten free, and I served this with homemade potato dauphinoise. This was accompanied with peas, leeks & pancetta and a few rosemary & thyme roast potatoes…I know it may seem strange having double potatoes but my Dad isn’t a fan of the garlic in the potato dauphinoise so he was delighted that he got some roasties!
The dessert was gluten free chocolate brownies and chocolate mousse. I made this the night before, I always prefer having dessert ready beforehand so it can be served straight after dinner – that way you get to enjoy your guests’ company instead of being stuck in the kitchen between courses! To serve, I shaped the chocolate mousse with an ice cream scoop so that it was in a sphere and put it on the plates which I kept in the fridge overnight so that it set in this shape without melting. To finish it off I drizzled some chocolate sauce over them so it was extremely chocolatey but who doesn’t love chocolate?!
Handy tips for hosting a dinner party for a gluten free guest
Most of the time a few simple changes can make a dish suitable for a gluten free diet.
You just need to check ingredients such as stock cubes and seasonings, pre-bought sauces and processed products such as frozen chips/ready meals. Reading the ingredient label and allergens will tell you whether they are safe for your guest.
Obvious foods which contain gluten are bread, pasta, pastry, cakes, biscuits, crackers and pizzas. But don’t forget that some processed foods such as ready meals, sauces, stock cubes and sausages sometimes contain gluten as well, it can be hidden in lots of things so always check the ingredients and look for the allergens in bold.
There are plenty of naturally gluten free foods though, such as meat, fish, fruit and vegetables, rice, potatoes and lentils. There are also specially made gluten free foods such as gluten free pasta, pizza bases, bread, flour, breakfast cereals and biscuits.
You could check with your guest/s if they currently have any items on prescription such as pasta/flour/bread and ask them if you could perhaps use some of their products for the meal that you are making. If they don’t receive items on prescription you can have a look in the free from section of your supermarket for foods such as gluten free pasta, crackers and bread that you may want to serve with your meal. There will usually be a wide range of cakes and biscuits, as well as ingredients such as gluten free flour and bread mixes.
Speak to your guest/s about your menu and whether it is suitable or not. Your guest will feel much happier if they have been asked about anything you are not sure of.
If in doubt, call Coeliac UK’s helpline on 0333 332 2033. They can give you advice on ingredients you can use and tips on reading labels.
When preparing the meals, it is very important to keep your gluten-free ingredients separate from other ingredients. Find out how to avoid cross contamination.
Don’t forget the drinks!
There are plenty of both alcoholic and soft drinks that don’t contain gluten: cider, wine, sherry, spirits, port and liqueurs are all suitable for people with coeliac disease.
Beer, lagers, stouts and ales contain varying amounts of gluten and are not safe for people with coeliac disease. However, you can buy specially made gluten free beers and lagers and these are usually found in Free From section of the supermarket and some health food stores.
Fruit juice, flavoured waters, cordials and fizzy drinks are ok to have.
Barley squashes are not suitable.
We hope you enjoy any dinner parties that you plan, we would love to hear any tips you have, happy dining!