Having a delicious Christmas – Low GL style!

Carolyn Holmes

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Low GL Christmas Cake    

This cake was devised for those with blood sugar problems such as diabetes and gut conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, but it is also great as a delicious, low GL substitute for the real thing, as long as you keep to a small/medium slice. Note that, because it has a low sugar and alcohol content, it will not keep for more than a week but can be frozen.

 170g pitted prunes

 115g dried apple rings

 115g dried apricots

 50ml brandy or use tea for alcohol-free

 1 small apple, washed and grated

 zest and juice of 1 orange

 1tsp ground ginger

 1⁄2 tsp ground cinnamon

 1⁄2 tsp fresh grated nutmeg

 1dsp vanilla essence

 170g soft butter

 85g xylitol

 4 medium eggs

 85g ground almonds

 85g rice bran (or wholemeal flour)

 1tsp gluten free baking powder

  1. The day before you make the cake, chop the dried fruit into a bowl and pour over the brandy or tea, leave overnight, stirring when you’re passing.

2. Line a 20cm deep cake tin with a double layer of greaseproof paper. Set the oven to 150 C fan assisted or 160 C if not (gas mark 2).

3. Cream the butter and xylitol, then stir in the chopped fruit, orange
zest and grated apple. Add the vanilla and spices and beat the
eggs in one at a time. Don’t worry if it looks a bit curdled, it will be fine!

4. Stir in the ground almonds, rice bran and baking powder thoroughly. Finally stir the juice from half the orange to start with, adding more if necessary to make a soft consistency.

5. Pour into the cake tin and level the top. Tie a double thickness of newspaper or baking parchement around the outside with string.

6. Bake for 1 and a half hours – 2 hours until a skewer comes out clean. If the top is getting too dark put a piece of foil over it. As soon as the tin is cool enough to touch, put a piece of foil tightly over the top and leave till completely cold – this softens the top of the cake.

7. Remove from the tin and wrap in a double thickness of foil.

Chocolate Fruit & Nut Clusters

These are delicious and a favourite with kids. Get them involved in making them too. Ideal as a sweet treat or after your Christmas meal, if you don’t want a heavy pudding.   5 GLs per serving.

100g dark chocolate (e.g. Green & Blacks or any other good quality chocolate) 15g dried cranberries

25g ready to eat apricots

40g pecan nuts

5 Nairns rough oatcakes

2 tsp xylitol

40g flaked almonds

1 Melt the chocolate in a glass bowl set in shallow water over a low heat until melted

2 Blend all the ingredients except for the flaked almonds in a blender until roughly chopped

3 Add the mixture with the flaked almonds to the melted chocolate and coat thoroughly

4 Spoon into 10-12 cake cases for a 5 GL snack or 20 petit four cases for a 2.5 GL snack

5 Chill in the fridge until set

Mini Smoked Salmon Kebabs

Less than 1 GL per kebab

Cut up smoked salmon slices into bite-size square pieces and thread onto a cocktail stick with a cherry tomato and a triangle of cucumber.

Cream Cheese, Garlic & Herb Dip

2 GLs per serving

Combine 200g low fat cream cheese with 100g greek yoghurt, 1 clove garlic and some mixed herbs. Blend with freshly ground black pepper and serve with sliced peppers and cucumber.

Smoked Salmon Pate - serves 2

5 GLs per serving

200g smoked salmon

200g cannellini beans, drained

juice of 1/2 lemon

a drizzle of olive oil or 1 tbs yoghurt to loosen the mixture if it is too thick

1 tbsp each of chopped fresh parsley and chopped fresh dill

Freshly ground black pepper

Simply blend all the ingredients together in a food processor until the mixture is really smooth then chill and serve with vegetable crudites and/or thin slices of toasted pitta bread or oatcakes.

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