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Let's have a gluten free party!

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Oftentimes, people want to invite friends who are gluten intolerant to a party. Then they start to worry about what food they can serve!

There are two ways to go about this: 1. Have separate food just for the gluten-free folks, or 2. Don't serve anything that contains gluten.

Option 1 is the choice most people make, and that's understandable. But it is, believe it or not, the more difficult of the two, because cross-contamination is almost inevitable, especially if your food is laid out as a buffet. Just one person dropping their piece of French bread or sandwich onto the "gluten free" plate, and it's no longer safe. You can brush off the crumbs, but if your friend is celiac or is highly sensitive to gluten, the merest hint of gluten can cause them serious damage. It may be invisible to the naked eye, but the body picks up information at a whole different level.

So, if you go for option 2, then obviously bread, sandwiches, vol au vents and pizza are out. But there are plenty of other choices available. For example, instead of bread, you could serve Corn Thins by Real Foods Pty, which are a delicious kind of crispbread and (apart from the multigrain variety, which I recommend you avoid) absolutely gluten free. They should be kept in a resealable airtight container to make sure they stay crisp, and put the butter or margarine (or both) alongside so that your guests can take what they need. Don't butter them in advance, or they will go soft.

In my book, Gluten Free-Easy, there are recipes for Farmhouse Pate, Stuffed Duck, Blue Cheese Terrine and many other tasty toppings to go on the Corn Thins. Another suggestion is to provide some smoked salmon cut into slivers, mixed into a couple of packs of cream cheese. A selection of cheese (watch out for blues, some are contaminated with gluten), some cold cooked chicken portions and sliced meats, and some shrimp mayonnaise, plus several different salads: perhaps Bacon and Egg Salad, Malaysian Cucumber Salad (Achar Timun), Pickled Mushroom Salad and a few others.

Even before I found out I was gluten intolerant, I used to serve jacket potatoes at every party with big bowls full of suitable fillings, grated cheese (do this yourself, so as to avoid the "modified starch" coating that comes with the pre-packed stuff) and salad. You can put the ready-cooked potatoes in a big dish or something like a Dutch oven, and put the microwave nearby so that they can be reheated (put a label on the door to explain how long it takes, as not all ovens are the same). These used to go down really well with most people, and one big advantage was a total lack of crumbs when it came time to clear up.

To cater for your guests' craving for sweet things, you can serve Exotic Fruit Salad and cream or creme fraiche, Chocolate Pots and a home made Blueberry Cheesecake (or your topping of choice). Or if you want to make a really good impression, a Pavlova (or two, depending on how many guests are likely to eat it - and maybe come back for more) appeals to almost everyone.

And one of the best things about having a buffet-style party, where people can drift over to eat whenever they feel like it - even if you're not sure that all your guests will be on their best behavior, at least they won't be drinking on an empty stomach, with all that can entail.

If you plan your food carefully, nobody will notice the total lack of bread and cakes, and you won't have to worry that your gluten intolerant friends will get glutened by accident.

All the recipes mentioned can be found in my book, Gluten Free-Easy (Easy recipes that are gluten-free, not taste-free), which is available absolutely free with TrialPay (unless you prefer to pay for it yourself) at www.GlutenFreeRecipeBook.com.



For more information about gluten and gluten-free recipes, visit Free-Easy Publications



©2014 Frann Leach. All rights reserved.

This article is included in Weekly Factsheet number 41, which also includes a recipe for Egg and Bacon Salad

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