To ask for help with my Xmas menu - 24 people, coeliac and vegan guest(120 Posts)
I know, I know AIBVU to ask so early, but this week DH and I agreed to host his extended family on Christmas day, and I'm starting to panic about the logistics. There will be 24 people, 1 guest is vegan and another is coeliac. We have a normal kitchen (so no big ovens or anything like that) and none of the family live close enough to cook things and bring them with them. I want the vegan and coeliac guests to have a proper dinner, so ideally I don't want to do a dodgy ready-meal for the vegan or anything like that. I think the coeliac will be easier to cater for. I want to minimise time spent in the kitchen on the day.
So AIBU to ask if the following menu is workable, if the vegans and coeliacs amongst you would be happy with this, and if you have any tips for cooking for large crowds?
Soup course: Pear and parsnip soup - Vegan & gluten-free - make a few weeks before and freeze, reheat on the day?
Starter: Thinking some kind of mixture of cold meat, cheese, crackers, chutneys, antipasti-type veg - not very Christmassy but easy to prepare and the vegan and coeliac can just eat what they can - maybe give them first dibs on everything so they don't get short-changed?
Main: For meat eaters - Turkey (boned and rolled to fit in oven), roast potatoes, stuffing, steamed veg with flavoured butters (see below), gluten-free and vegan gravy.
For coeliac - as above but no stuffing, extra veg
For vegan - replace turkey with a chestnut, quinoa, butternut squash and cranberry parcel (will use Jus-roll as that's vegan and I can't make pastry to save my life), everything else the same as meat-eaters.
I can parboil the potatoes, do the stuffing, make the flavoured butters (using vegan alternative for to make single portions), and the filling for the vegan parcel the day before. Hopefully this means with the exception of the steamed veg, I can just put stuff in the oven on the day. I can make the gravy a week before and freeze.
Steamed veg - not very exciting, but I don't think I'll have enough room in the oven to roast veg too. So I'm kind of limited in the range of veg I can do and and am stuck for ideas. Perhaps kale, peas, carrots, sautéed leeks? I was thinking of roasting some beetroot the day before and throwing it in the steamer but apparently that's dangerous (??). I can peel and chop carrots the day before, and chop and wash the leeks. Would appreciate other suggestions for veg that steams well (can't stand sprouts).
Dessert: 1. Blueberry and apple crumble - vegan-friendly using coconut butter, make crumble mix the day before and use frozen fruit, stick in oven after main. Serve with sorbet.
2. Gluten-free chocolate sponge and chocolate butter icing. Uses quinoa for the sponge - have made this before and can make it the day before.
So, what do you all think? Does that sound workable? Are the vegan and coeliacs well-catered for?
Brocoli steams well. Peas fine, too.
Do they all sit down & eat at same time?!
I know it's not really an AIBU by the way but I didn't know where else to post it!
Yes they will be lljkk. DH's parents are bringing extra tables and chairs!
Sounds amazing! Sorry don’t have any further suggestions but sounds like you have it all under control. I’m vegetarian and love the sound of all your vegan options!
Why the fuck are you going to all this trouble when it's your DHs extended family? What precisely will he be doing
Just be aware that flour in the air can settle on food and cross-contaminate it. Also, there's an acceptable gluten free stuffing in M&S. If I were you, I'd be trying to make the whole meal GF, as it's so much easier not to worry. The vegan thing you'll be keeping separate anyway, so no real need to worry about that.
Why not use GF flour/oats in the crumble? Then you only have to make one pudding (or if you do both the coeliac can have a choice?) Also GF stuffing is available in supermarkets. Using as many GF ingredients as possible will reduce risks of cross contamination.
Otherwise it sounds delicious OP - you’re very thoughtful
Lots of stuffing is g/f now - Tesco’s do some nice ones.
I second ballyhoo you need to really consider cross contamination very carefully. Is the Jus-roll anywhere near the GF stuff? Are the surfaces free of flour? No, are they really? You're baking GF and non-GF desserts together? I wouldn't. Anyone had their knife in the butter after they touched the toast?
Things like that will catch you and the unfortunate coeliac out every time. Other than that, sounds great.
Look at what has gluten in your menu and see if it can go gf for all. My DM and DD are coeliac and I have a veggie guest plus a few other feeding issues. I choose to do everything gf as a little gluten can go a long way and make people very ill.
Don’t use gf oats. Lots of coeliacs can’t have them.
I can sympathise. When my family gets together we have similar issues!
Why not make it easier on yourself and just have one dessert? Gluten free crumble is great with a load of nuts blitzed up with gluten free flour, fat and sugar. Meat stuffing is often gluten free when you buy it. We get Aldi''s as the sausage meat stuffing and sausages are gluten free as standard now.
It's easier to keep everything gluten free as then you don't have to worry about cross-contamination.
Personally I'd do fewer courses but with more dishes at each one: in theory that gives you more time with your guests and gives the vegan and coeliac guests more variety on their plates.
I'd do more plain vegetables and have sauces available separately including the GF gravy, special butter and cranberry sauce etc. Lots of dressed/sauced vegetables can begin to clash, so a little freshness prevents the whole sunken heaviness you can get from Christmas dinner. We like mixed peas (frozen plus mange tout and sugar snap, steamed together and ignore food miles). Roasted onions (halved banana shallots, baby onions and sliced red onions, in half olive oil half vegetable oil) are a good balance of flavour/richness/texture and you could roast with carrots and parsnips in one shallow dish. Savoy cabbage sliced very finely steams in no time at all.
It's pretty easy to find gluten-free and vegan ingredients for Christmas pudding - are you avoiding it for a reason?
Watch the sorbet: many shop bought contain dairy. If you are making your own, isn't that adding yet another job?
Also, to throw a spanner in the works, have you investigated vegan wine? Most wine isn't (something to do with the clarifying process).
Sounds like you're an attentive and generous host, but don't forget it's your Christmas too and you deserve to enjoy it!
You are a better person than me.
Cooking for 24 people? With differing food/dietary needs?
Could you maybe all go out to a modest pub? There is one a few miles from me that does Christmas dinner/lunch for £20 each. As long as there are at least 6 of you (to make it worth their while.)
Excellent rates for Christmas day.
Your choice, but this sounds like a special kind of hell to me.
I’m turning into a bore now. Usually I reserve my oven top shelf as gf. I’d clean the whole thing. Put vegan on top shelf (if it’s gf) and gf below. M&S do loads of gf stuffing and bits. Or if you want to do your own stuffing and the breadcrumbs are messing with you Tesco have gf breadcrumbs. I will say I think you are brilliant trying to cater well for all the dietary needs and giving it appropriate consideration. I don’t trust my daughters health to many people but I think I would trust you.
I’d say don’t pander to the faddy eaters , ( ask them to bring a dish to help out ) and get someone to help
24 people is far too many for one person to cater for on their own
What’s your husband doing to help ?
You sound very hospitable, and organised! My vegan SIL was with us for Christmas last year; I did a similar-sounding squash/chestnut Jus-rol main - prepped the whole thing about a week in advance and cooked from frozen. I can't think of another veg I steam apart from the ones already mentioned... but braised red cabbage can easily be made vegan, freezes v. well + can be reheated on the hob. One thing I did that went down well was Hugh FW's beetroot & walnut hummus - we had it with other dips etc. on Christmas Eve but it might go well with your starter course. Beautiful colour and really delicious.
You can pretty easily do your entire dinner gf these days - most supermarkets have gf options for all the bits. Crumble adapts very well to gf flour too.
Wow! That's a lot of food! And washing up! Personally I'd scrap the starter. Soup is enough.
Braised red cabbage is a great veg option. It can be made a few days in advance and then reheated on the hob or even in the microwave .
You sound like a complete sweetheart to care so much about these people.
Can I come too please?
I would do something simpler for dessert. Abandon the crumble. It'll be too stodgy after the big dinner anyway. If it has to sit around the place it can become a soggy mess. The crumble will need the oven to be re-heated. I would do two cold desserts. A pavlova or tiramisu or similar. Then for the vegan just buy a nice sorbet, or make a fruit salad that can be served with some sort of vegan dessert topping and alongside the other desserts. And just a shop bought Christmas pudding for the traditionalists that can be heated on the stove/microwave.
Also I'd test freezing the soup and reheating it incase it separates after freezing.
Baked apple with ice cream always goes down well here. You can get vegan ice cream.
This is an absolutely stunning GF crumble that you could make using coconut oil instead of butter. It's fab. So good that I make it even though I can currently eat gluten and am going to town on it (pregnancy slows down digestion!).*
Be careful of oatflour - check with your coeliac guest that they can manage oats and make sure you buy certified GF oatflour.
*Works with wheat flour too though
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