Thursday, 27 February 2014

"Free-From" Cake Pops

Having discovered that our Half Term was full of appointments I wanted to make the twins
something special for their birthday, but something I could make in advance.

So, I duly purchased a silicone cake pop mould and thought it would be easy. It wasn't! The sticks wouldn't hold even with melted chocolate to seal them in, the cake was too crumbly..... and I ended up making the usual birthday cakes at 11pm the night before.

I also decided I was never going to attempt cake pops again, until last week when I came across Emily Leary's Cake Pop recipe.

(I highly recommend her site, the "Recipe of the Week" is a regular link up with lots of new ideas, several of which I have adapted to make a "free from" version for ourselves.) 

Anyway, inspired once again I decided it was worth a second try. Without the mould....

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Why I set up the Recipe Resource. (The long version!!)

Inspired by Vicki's Guest Post for me, about her reasons for starting her Blog I realised I had never really given mine. So here they are - the long version...

The first few years of life are a time when most children gain weight and grow much more rapidly than they will later on, and the first year especially so. Having already had two babies with moderate reflux I expected our twins to suffer too, I felt I had “been there” and bought the proverbial T Shirt, even having two with reflux need not be too challenging, surely? How wrong can you be?!

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Guest Post from the "Free From Fairy"

Vicki Montague Blogs at The Free From Fairy.  Here she tells of her emotional journey to discovering her daughter has Coeliac Disease and her reasons for setting up her free from recipe site.

I vividly remember the day our daughter was diagnosed with coeliac disease. We were on holiday in Cornwall and were expecting the call.

It was June 2010, a month before our daughter turned 3, the sun was shining and we had a poorly child on our hands.

When I say poorly, I don't mean with a temperature, I mean constantly fatigued, bloated and in pain with frequent unpleasant trips to the toilet that were the norm for her.

The week before, she had undergone a general anaesthetic so that the doctors could carry out a biopsy of her intestine.

Before that she had had a positive blood test result for coeliac disease. However, as was the process then (things have changed slightly now), she had to undergo the biopsy to have a confirmed diagnosis, and oh how we agonised over that decision...

When the call came it was a great relief, much like that of when we were told that she had pneumococcal meningitis (a story for another day)...finally we knew what was wrong with her. As those of you who are parents will know, not knowing what is wrong with your children is the worst feeling in the world. Those nights when you lie awake while your brain trawls through all the dreadful things that could be making your child ill, are the longest and darkest of all.

At last, after a year of worry we had an answer. And, being wheat intolerant myself, it wasn't so much of a challenge to cook foods that were gluten free, the only way to manage this autoimmune disease. 

The day before the phone call we had taken our daughter for her 'last supper' as it were. We had walked (well, we had walked, my daughter had been carried) along the beach to have fish and chips as the sun glimmered on the gentle sea. It was a beautiful setting for what would be her last meal containing gluten.

It could make us sad looking back at that day, but the transformation that occurred within days of removing gluten from her diet, was absolute. Her colour returned, her tummy reduced in size by about half, she no longer complained of tummy aches and more amazing than anything, so sweet is the memory, she was able to walk up a flight of stairs on her own and run along the beach, the wind blowing her hair behind her as her shadow chased her. Gleeful laughs. Splashing fun. Jumping over waves. Chasing her brother.

So, although there are times of sadness, when she goes to parties and has to take her own food; when we eat out with family and all she can have is a jacket potato when everyone else is enjoying chips; when she misses out on an activity at school because it involves gluten and nobody has thought of her...we have to remember how she was before.

And that is the reason behind the Free From Fairy. To bring some magic into a little girls life; to make her feel special. To share my knowledge of adapting meals and ones life to meet the challenges it presents to those with restrictions to their diets. If I can help one other person who is struggling to come to terms with a food exclusion then I have achieved my goal.

So next time you meet someone who has to avoid certain foods think about what they have been through and give a thought to how it would make you feel if you couldn't have something you loved and that everyone around you could eat. Whether that person has coeliac disease, has an allergy or is intolerant to certain foods, one thing can be assured...that they have suffered in some way and their feelings should be considered.

For recipes, information, product reviews and advice on living with coeliac disease or allergies and intolerances to food (our daughter is also allergic to dairy milk protein and was allergic to egg) please visit my website at, or follow me on Twitter @freefromfairy, Facebook, Pinterest or Google Plus

Saturday, 8 February 2014

New Food Allergen Law

There have been some changes in the way food products are labelled recently. You may have noticed how the main food allergens are now printed in bold within the ingredient list. These changes affect packaged food sold in supermarkets. Whilst the font size on most ingredient lists I have read recently appears to have shrunk (or is that my post-40 eyesight!) I have also noticed a few errors lately so it's really important to check everything carefully yourself.

In addition there are some more changes coming to allergen labelling law at the end of the year.

"The Food Standards Agency (FSA) in conjunction with DEFRA are introducing new allergen labelling laws which will come into effect from 13th December 2014 these are called the Food Information Regulations EU1169/2011 (FIR Regs) which affect food purchased from food service organisations."

Liz Allan, whose business "Allergy Aware Kitchen" offers training, information and support to those in the food industry has written an excellent and extremely informative piece directed at the food service industry. 

As consumers it is well worth a read. It explains how the changes will affect consumers and what differences you may expect.

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Fruit Tea Loaf/Cake

I saw this recipe in the Waitrose magazine today and wondered if I could make it work for us. I could and it did!

Dairy free, Soya free, Egg free (with variation) Wheat free, Gluten Free, Corn Free, Nut free

  • 1 teabag
  • 200ml just boiled water
  • 1 unwaxed lemon (didn't have any, didn't bother)
  • 375g mixed dried fruit of your choice
  • 2 tsp ground mixed spice
  • 1 ripe banana
  • organ egg replacer equiv. to 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp free from milk (optional, only if mixture not a soft "dropping" consistency)
  • 150g Doves Farm self raising flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder

This is adapted - the original recipe was double quantity but replacing 4 eggs is tough, even with a banana for help! So I figured if I kept in the whole banana and additional baking powder, only replaced 2 eggs (I'm doing this for all you lovely people as we can eat eggs you know ;)  ) it might just work. It did! However I think freezing after tomorrow is wise, it's going to go hard quickly.

  • Preheat oven to 170C/Fan 150C/GasMark3
  • Pour boiling water into a large bowl with the tea bag and leave for 5 mins. Squeeze and discard bag.
  • Weigh dried fruit (I used a complete mixture) and add this and the mixed spice to the tea. Either microwave or simmer on the hob until almost all the tea has been absorbed.
  • Leave to cool for approx 40mins. Meanwhile line an 8" square tin with baking paper.
  • In a blender or food processor, whizz up the egg replacer mixture and banana to make a puree. Add in the flour and baking powder. You could do this in a mixer (Kenwood/KitchenAid) but it works best in something faster.
  • Pour the egg/banana/flour mixture into the fruit and mix it all together.
  • Transfer to tin and bake for 30 minutes. 
  • Turn the cake out, peel off the baking parchment before it cools and leave to cool properly - or at least so it's not going to burn your fingers!!

Kids verdict - "Delicious!" But definitely one best served warm/fresh. it did go quite dry unfortunately.

Link up your recipe of the week

Sunday, 2 February 2014


Info from Genius about their new ready to roll pastry and ready to cook pies popped into my inbox and I can hardly contain my excitement.

I'm hoping to get hold of some to try, and also to determine whether any other common allergens (soya would be an issue for us) are included in the ingredients. Fingers crossed not, as this could be revolutionary.

Trying to find full ingredients list but via Twitter Genius say :-

Ingredients are Margarine (Palm Oil, Water, Rapeseed Oil,Emulsifier (Mono- and Diglycerides of Fatty Acids), Salt), Tapioca Starch, Maize Starch, Water, Egg and Stabilisers (Xanthan Gum, Guar Gum), Salt, Rice Flour.

Do message me with your experiences with these new products!
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