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Becky Excell's gluten free Christmas dinner

Food blogger and Sunday Times best-selling author Becky Excell joins us in the kitchen, armed with recipes that prove a gluten free Christmas dinner can be both easy and delicious!

Bread sauce

Serves: 5-6


⅓ leek  or 1 small onion, finely chopped¼ tsp black peppercorns 50g butter500ml milk2 dried bay leaves3 small slices of gluten-free breadPinch of ground cloves¼ tsp ground nutmegPinch of salt3 tbsp double (heavy) cream


1. Add the leek or onion, peppercorns, butter, milk and bay leaves to a large saucepan and place over a low-medium heat. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, and making sure it does not bubble. 

2. Blitz the bread in a food processor to make fine breadcrumbs. 

3. Strain the milk mixture through a sieve into a large jug and discard the solids. Pour the infused milk back into the empty pan (making sure there are no solids left in there) and place back on the heat. 

4. Stir in the breadcrumbs and simmer for 2-3 minutes, until you have a thickened sauce. Finally stir in the ground cloves, nutmeg, salt and cream, and serve.

Gingerbread stuffing log

Serves: 9-10


3 tbsp butter½ medium leek or 1 small onion, finely chopped 500g pork mince1 tsp salt½ tsp ground black pepper Grated zest of 1 orange150g apple sauce2 slices of gluten-free gingerbread cake6 slices of smoked streaky bacon


1. In a large frying pan, melt the butter over a medium heat, and then add the leek or onion. Fry until softened, before taking the pan off the heat. 

2. Place the pork in a large mixing bowl and add the salt and pepper. Mix well with a wooden spoon until smooth. Add the orange zest and apple sauce and mix again. Add the leek/onion mixture to the bowl and mix once again. 

3. Crumble the gingerbread cake into small chunks into the bowl with your hands, and gently mix until dispersed evenly. 

If using to stuff the turkey: spoon into the neck cavity of the turkey and cook according to the weight of the turkey. 

If making a stuffing log, carry on with the following method. 

1. Place a large piece of cling film onto a work surface, and lay the strips of bacon on top, side by side and slightly overlapping. Spoon the stuffing mixture on top of the bacon in a long log shape (compact using your hands). 

2. Lift one side of the cling film and wrap the bacon over the top of the stuffing log. Carefully peel back the cling film, leaving the bacon wrapped over the stuffing, and lay the cling film flat again. 

3. Repeat on the other side, but this time don’t peel back the cling film - instead, tightly wrap the opposite side of the cling film back over to seal the log, and tightly seal the ends. 

4. To compact the stuffing even more, gently roll your sealed log on a work surface to form a neat log shape. Refrigerate for 10 minutes to firm up. 

5. Preheat the oven to 160℃ fan. Line a large baking tray with foil. 

6. Place the stuffing log on the prepared baking tray and carefully unwrap, making sure not to lift too much (it is very delicate and can easily break). The seam of the bacon should be underneath. 

7. Cover the tray tightly with foil and bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and return to the oven for a final 20 minutes. Allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving. 

Three ingredient Yorkshire puddings

Makes: 12


Vegetable oil 200g cornflour 6 eggs 300ml milk


1. Preheat the oven to 200℃ fan. Fill each of the holes of a muffin tray with just under 1 tbsp of oil, and place in the oven to heat - the oil should be almost spitting. 

2. In a large mixing bowl, add the cornflour, crack in the eggs and whisk together. 

3. Gradually add all of the milk, a little at a time, whisking in between. Pour the batter into a jug. 

4. Quickly bring the muffin tin out of the oven and fill each hole with the mixture until just under three-quarters full. If they do not sizzle as you pour in the battle, then the oil is not hot enough. Immediately put back in the oven. 

5. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden and risen (do not open the oven door to check, or they will instantly deflate!). Once fully risen, allow them an extra 2 minutes making time to ensure that they crisp up and don’t deflate when you remove them. 

6. Serve immediately. 

Dad’s excell-ent turkey

Serves: 10-12


1 turkey, 5.5-6.5kg, ideally Norfolk Black or Bronze 300g gluten-free pork stuffing (such as my the gingerbread stuffing above) 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary 2 sprigs of fresh thyme 2 large dried bay leaves 2 clementines, halved 1 lemon For the lemon butter 80g (⅓ cup) butter, softened 1 tsp minced garlic paste or 2 tbsp garlic-infused oil Zest and juice of 1 lemon Generous pinch each of salt and ground black pepper


Before Christmas:

1. If your turkey has been frozen, place it in the fridge 4 days before Christmas on the bottom shelf in a suitably sized container. For a larger turkey, allow 10-12 hours of defrosting in the fridge per kilogram/ 2 pounds, as a general rule. 

2. Take the turkey out of the fridge on Christmas eve to ensure it's at room temperature the following day. Cooking a fridge-cold turkey means the outside will be done and start getting dry before the inside is safe to eat, so make sure that doesn't happen! 

On Christmas day:

1. Remove the stuffing from the fridge about an hour before using to allow it to come up to room temperature. 

2. Preheat the oven to 200°C fan / 220°C / 425°F. 

3. In a small bowl, combine the ingredients for the lemon butter. 

4. Remove the bag of giblets from inside the turkey. Pull the skin at the neck end of the turkey back to reveal the cavity and loosely spoon in the stuffing don't pack too much in. Pull the neck skin back over and secure with a small cocktail stick. Turn the turkey round so that the body cavity is facing you, then place the rosemary, thyme and bay leaves, the clementine halves and the whole lemon inside.

5. Line the base and sides of a large roasting tin (large enough to fit the turkey!) with foil and place the turkey in it breast-side up. Rub all over with the lemon butter. Loosely cover the entire turkey with foil, ensuring it's tented enough to cover the turkey without the foil actually touching it. 8 Roast in the oven for 30-40 minutes, then lower the temperature to 150°C fan / 170°C / 340°F and roast for a further 3-3-1⁄2 hours, depending on the size of the turkey. Remove the foil covering the turkey and increase the heat to 180°C fan / 200°C / 400°F and cook for a further 30-40 minutes until nicely golden, basting every 10-15 minutes. 

6. Use a digital cooking thermometer to probe the breast and thigh of the turkey (as well as the stuffing in the neck cavity) to ensure it's cooked through; 70°C / 160°F is perfect. Alternatively, pierce the thigh with a skewer to check that the juices run clear. 

7. Transfer the turkey to a large wooden board or serving plate, cover with lots of foil and allow to rest for 1-2 hours. This resting time can make the difference between all the juices staying in your turkey or watching them all leak out if carved too soon. Reserve the juices in the bottom of the roasting tin, transfer to a jug (pitcher) and use them to make my homemade gluten-free turkey gravy (recipe above).

8. Once rested, carve with a freshly sharpened carving knife.

Super crispy roast potatoes

Serves: 4-6


1 kg Maris Piper potatoes, peeled and chopped into 4cm chunksVegetable oil or goose fatSmall handful of fresh rosemary or thyme (optional)Salt


1. Preheat the oven to 200℃ fan/ 220℃. 

2. Bring a large saucepan of boiling salted water to the boil, then add the potatoes. Boil for about 10 minutes, starting from the point at which the water is bubbling, until the pieces are softer on the outside but still firm in the middle.

3. Once the potatoes are boiling, place a large roasting tray in the oven with a generous amount of oil or goose fat in it.

4. Drain the potatoes and transfer back into the pan, then pop the lid on. Shake the pan a good few times to fluff up the outside, which helps to attain a crispy exterior once roasted.

5. Place the potatoes on the hot tray in the oil or fat, making sure they’re in a single layer, they should sizzle. Either quickly turn all of the potatoes over on the baking tray so the oil or fat is covering all sides, or drizzle a little extra oil on top.

6. Roast in the oven for 40 minutes, then turn the potatoes over, sprinkle with fresh rosemary or thyme, if using, and pop them in the oven for a further 10-15 minutes until crisp and golden. 

7. Season with a little salt and serve.

Homemade turkey gravy

Makes: 500ml


400-450ml turkey drippings from the roasting tin4 tbsp cornflour (cornstarch) or gluten-free plain flour225ml gluten-free chicken stockSalt and ground black pepper, to taste


1. Use a tablespoon to skim most of the fat off the top of the reserved juices from the drippings into the jug, leaving about 5 tablespoons’ worth of fat. Transfer the remaining juices to a small saucepan. Place the saucepan over a low heat, add the flour and mix in until it disappears.

2. Add the stock, stir and simmer for 5-10 minutes until it reduces to a thickened gravy. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

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