Thursday, 15 March 2018

Going Dairy Free

A good friend's daughter is embarking on a medically advised dairy free diet for her son and my friend asked me for some substitution tips. It occurred to me that recent posts have focussed more on those on very restricted diets, and whilst that is our reality there are many out there catering for single excursion diets - which can be just as daunting and stressful at the outset!

I wrote some suggestions down and decided it would be a good idea to publish them on the Recipe Resource!

First of all, the usual disclaimer! Children have complex nutritional needs and dairy products fulfilling many essential requirements. The vast majority of children outgrow dairy allergy, and those who are dairy intolerant are usually only temporarily so. Whilst nothing can stop an adult imposing restrictions on their own diet, you must take advice before taking such steps in a child's diet. Calcium, Vitamin D and other minerals - plus essential fats and low sugar make cow's milk a perfect food and drink for most children. 

Getting started

I have a "Basic Substitutions" page here with some information, but this article focusses on purely Dairy Free diets. 
First, try not to substitute all dairy with soya products. Soya is high in oestrogens, and also highly allergenic in itself. It's not uncommon to develop an allergy to soya protein, and you increase that risk in an allergic child by substituting wholesale with soya. That said, if you are allowed soya it should mean you can more easily achieve a balanced diet without dairy products, without some of the sugar that is put in all free from foods.
When you take out food proteins, you remove flavour, so manufacturers replace it with sugar…. a concern which I have written about before. Most free from biscuits and cakes are full of cheap fillers and “non-foods” so I always bake myself wherever possible.

Monday, 19 February 2018

Devonshire Apple Cake - #EF #DF #SF #WF #GF

Unbelievably, my twins turned twelve yesterday. TWELVE!!! Scarcely seems possible. And yet, in so many ways they are proving extremely mature and sensible beyond their years. 

Well, sometimes

Their birthdays are always a little bittersweet. Usually when the children reach a milestone, or celebrate a birthday we think back on their early years, and I invariably fish out an older photo (or two) to post on social media. How cute they were! Except with the twins. They were so, so unwell for weeks - months - that their early photos bring pain and sadness, and not a little anger. 

Despite a strong family history of reflux, despite suffering myself, my father also, despite knowing EXACTLY WHAT I WAS TALKING ABOUT when I took them to the GP at 3 weeks old, *nothing* was done for SIX MONTHS. Nothing. Just weekly weights, the odd blood test, the usual fobbing off - and the ward social worker visiting me to see "how she could help me" and "what I could change" to help feed them more/help them gain weight. Because of course, it had to be my fault - how could I be so naive to try and continue breastfeeding twins?!

But it stands to reason if you regurgitate every feed until it's time for the next one, you are not going to gain much weight. And if you are in awful discomfort from burning acid reflux which is so bad you develop a hoarse cry and torticolis, go rigid and display symptoms of Sandifer's that you may very well not want to feed. Because it HURTS. 

Eventually, we had to go private, and the twins were given medication. We had tried an elemental feed but it was so thin that until the inflammation had been reduced, and their reflux slightly improved it wasn't going to stay down. So I embarked on a strict maternal exclusion diet and breastfed them, on new medications until such time as they were well enough to take the formula as a top up - and guess what. They started gaining weight. 

It's really not rocket science.

And yet this is what happens all over the NHS. Twenty years after I dealt with this with my eldest son the NHS STILL blames parents - mothers - first, and thinks outside the box second. And using private healthcare brands you a diagnosis-seeking,  desperate-for-intervention type of parent. Not a good image at a time when 20% of ALL under 5s are referred to Social Services and MBP or FII referrals are sky high. But I would do it again in a heartbeat, and no baby should be left to suffer months on end like they did.

Anyway... this birthday was all about CAKE! Both twins wanted a unique cake, to fit with their current favourite flavours. K loves apples and apple muffins. My Mum has always made a Cranks Apple Cake, from her recipe book dating back almost 40 years. Wheat and Gluten free is easy, as is dairy free, but egg free - and she had no egg replacer - is more of a challenge. The result was so successful that I thought I must share - particularly since some of my readers have children who cannot tolerate egg replacer!

Saturday, 20 January 2018

Spanish Almond Cake - contains EGGS

Whilst this won't suit anyone with an egg allergy, it's perfect for coeliacs, those allergic to wheat/gluten or avoiding flour. There are only THREE ingredients, it's *really* simple to make and absolutely delicious! It works as a single, deeper cake, or as a birthday/sandwich cake.

Gluten free, wheat free, dairy free, soya free, contains only sugar, almonds (ground) and eggs.


  • 200g caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 200g ground almonds
  • Beat the eggs and sugar together until pale and fluffy. This takes approx 5 mins in a mixer, much longer by hand.
  • Fold in the ground almonds
  • Transfer to either one 8" springform tin or two 6" sandwich tins
  • Bake at 180C (170C Fan) for 40 mins if in a single, larger tin or 25 mins if two smaller ones.
Allow to cool. The top may rise to form a "crust" which has a tendency to collapse after. Don't worry! It tastes moist and delicious inside! You can add raspberry jam as a filler, like in a Bakewell Tart, or cherries, or even chocolate. Dust with icing sugar and serve!

Saturday, 16 December 2017

Luxury Mince Pies

I've had a few requests for this "recipe" - the inverted commas are because it's not entirely homemade, but the pastry was! I've experimented with numerous flours/mixes for pastry and it's always super crumbly, but this time I seem to be on to a winner.

For the pastry:-

I used the traditional; "half fat to flour" recipe, but the addition of coconut oil (to bind) and wet egg replacer necessitated a little additional flour. Apologies for the imperial measurements those who prefer metric but I have no time to convert at present! I might revisit this recipe and edit later...

9oz Doves Farm gluten free plain flour
4oz Stork block margarine (at room temperature) or other free from margarine
2 tbsp coconut oil, the white set kind at room temperature
Organ egg replacer for 1 egg

Be patient, this took a while to combine but made a pretty good dough. It was a little sticky and rolling is always tricky but you can rough cut and shape in the tins.


Totally cheated on this one!!! Meridian make a delicious, free from mince pie filling so don't sweat the small stuff, this one's a winner. A teaspoon of filling in each pie case is sufficient.

Bake these open at 165C Fan /180C standard oven and leave to cool.

Once cool, I cut marzipan and fondant icing circles to make the tops, and sprayed with safe cake shimmer. You can make the marzipan or purchase it, unless you are avoiding nuts it's easy to buy both safe marzipan and fondant icing.


Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Chickpea and courgettes fritters

This is a bit of a reworking of a previous recipe - to be honest this works with almost any veg combination although wet vegetables tend to make a sloppy mix that needs a lot of flour and they can end up quite dry. Sweetcorn is a favourite here, but this time I needed to use up some courgettes!

I baked two large potatoes in the microwave, peeled and roughly diced them once cool, part cooked the courgettes (so they were not too sloppy) and added them to a 400g can of drained chickpeas in my food processor. I added mixed herbs, salt and pepper to taste and whizzed them all together - but not so it was too smooth, just enough to combine.

Then roll large balls in gram flour and shallow fry as patties to look as above!

TIP: Don't worry if the mixture does end up a little sloppy, you can stiffen it up stirring in/mixing in some gram flour before making patties. 

Monday, 6 November 2017

Hallowe'en Brownie Bites

A belated Hallwe'en post!

I made brownies from a fabulous new mix from Tesco last week and posted them on Instagram. Many asked for the recipe - but I'm afraid this was a cheat, I used the packet below from Tesco!

I'm now getting used to egg replacer, after 18 months and replaced the 2 eggs needed with Organ egg replacer. (Anyone else noticed they are selling two different types at present? One has a blue box the other yellow - and one needs two teaspoons and the other one? One is just twice as concentrated as otherwise it's the same......) I used a free from margarine and then poured the mixture into some hallowe'en cups to make "Brownie Bites"!

I must say the kids were really pleased, it was a lovely recipe!

Thursday, 18 May 2017


This week has been the National Eosinophil Awareness Week. Largely USA driven, but in recent years following research and increased understanding into Eosinophilic Diseases there has been a strong supporting role from the UK EGID community, largely coordinated by FABED.

This year however, it's all been rather different. Supporting, treating and establishing good practice for an emergent disease is never easy. It takes individuals and teams taking a leap of faith in trying new strategies, putting their heads above the parapet and bidding for funds for research to support new theories. This last is a gargantuan task - as I've stated previously on this Blog, less that 1% of all research funding goes on gastrointestinal conditions. Absolutely NONE goes on paediatric gastrointestinal conditions. Although eosinophilic disorders do indeed affect adults (my father has EoE) adult treatments are less controversial.

In the UK, few medications are licensed for under 12s. Tertiary level consultants can, however prescribe the, - and many do, it's surprisingly common. But prescribing medication for an emergent disease in under 12s is VERY challenging, and should always be carefully monitored.

My Blog Stats bear out the fact that many come across the Recipe Resource looking for information on EGID - Eosinophilic Gastrointestinal Disease. I therefore feel in this week in particular I need to write something to give the little information those in the EGID community have to my readers.
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