Monday, 14 November 2016

Chocolate Banana Bread

This is not a recipe I created from scratch, rather I adapted slightly a recipe in Pippa Kendrick's "Free From food for Family and Friends" book. I highly recommend it, it's given me lots of new ideas!

This is nut free, gluten free, vegan, soya free, yeast free and really, really tasty. I've made it twice now and it works best in the food processor rather than my Kenwood mixer, since the batter needs to be quite smooth.



Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 225g gluten free plain flour (ideally not plain rice flour, it's quite friable)
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 100g soft brown sugar
  • 2 large ripe bananas
  • 125mls sunflower oil

Method
  • Turn the oven on to 200C (or 180C Fan)
  • Put the chia seeds in a bowl and add 4 tbsp water. Leave for approx 30 mins to absorb the water.
  • Sift flour, bicarbonate and cocoa into a bowl, then add the sugar.
  • Mash the bananas with a fork and combine.
  • Pour over the oil and the chia seed mixture, then whizz in a food processor to make a smooth batter.
  • Pour into a 1lb loaf tin (pre-lined) 
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes
  • Don't cut until cooled - it becomes more moist and less crumbly!




Friday, 4 November 2016

Slow hand clap to the Food Standards Agency...

You know that popular meme of someone staring at a computer late into the night? Can't go to bed because "someone is wrong on the internet"? Quite appropriate..... except it's not bedtime and I *should* be focussing on the kids' homework, the child who is on the loo (he won't be going anywhere for around 45 minutes though, but then that's non IgE allergies for you...) and the fact that after the week I've had it really *is* Wine O'Clock and this could wait.

Except it can't.      

Myself and many, many others, from Fabed, National Allergy Strategy Group, Adam Fox and his team of paediatric Allergists and Allergy nurses, based at St Thomas's hospital, numerous paediatric gastroenterologists here and abroad plus parents dealing with the reality of life with non IgE food allergies have spent years campaigning to increase awareness and understanding amongst health professionals, teachers and communities that food allergy is not confined to an acute IgE episode. 

I wrote about the desperate need for increased awareness here . You would be *stunned* to know how many parents I know who have encountered health professionals who still simply do not understand how delayed allergic responses work, what FPIES and EGID are, or how cell mediated gut allergic responses cannot be tested for. The numbers of families damaged by poor or indifferent care, or those with little support for children at school, and even those hounded by Social Services because community professionals just don't "get" non Ige allergies. I've attended meetings for the All Party Group on Allergy before, and there are increasing numbers of people appreciating these issues - then the FSA railroads over all recent work in one ridiculous picture.





Yup, they've attempted to differentiate between food allergies and intolerances by reaction time, not even mentioning non IgE allergies. There is so much wrong with this I scarcely know where to start. Their sole defence is that they are trying to "simplify" things. But that's like listing a simplified list of political parties in Britain as Labour and the Conservatives. It's not simple, it's simply WRONG. it helps no one and subtley erodes the hard-won gains made by those of us trying to bring hope for our children.

If my daughter has half a slice of gluten free bread with egg in she becomes unwell several hours later and the response lasts days. If she has the tiniest amount of soya the entire response process which includes soiling and bleeding lasts up to a month. Just where on that chart would she fit? Or her twin brother who has long term bowel damage from non IgE symptoms and narrowly escaped surgical intervention years ago, whose non IgE allergic gut reaction to wheat in particular accumulates over days and weeks.

This isn't a simplified chart, it's an exclusive one, which excludes a significant proportion of those with food allergies. 

We have to contend with the media spouting about the middle class disease that is food allergies, who never stop to think of the opportunity such an editorial presents for education, for explanation and enlightenment. I've contributed myself as a lay person to publications on allergy, which fail to accurately detail non IgE food allergies. Yet still the ignorance persists.

It's not even particularly new information. The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) has had their own chart since February 2011, which is here. THEIR chart is reproduced below. It's a bit small, but that's because you just cannot over simplify this, at least not in the way the FSA are attempting to.



So what *are* non-IgE Allergies?

Non IgE food allergies DO involve the immune system, but locally, in the gut. It is a cell mediated response rather than a systemic, whole body reaction. It isn't immediately life threatening, but the long term impact ca be significant. t is a local reaction and is rarely possible to test for. Gut allergies are often delayed, which is why food allergies are so traumatic and difficult to manage, requiring strict exclusion diets to determine responses to possible triggers. Imagine an eczema reaction in the gut - it's a localised response to an allergen (or a false allergen which the body responds inappropriately to) and causes a localised problem - no anaphylaxis, no outside response (although IgE responses are often present in addition in those with gut allergies) and is very difficult to diagnose. Wikipedia actually explains this very well here . Like I said, it isn't new, and there is NO excuse for the FSA being so slapdash.

So my advice to them is to get with the programme. Work IN the 21st Century, add a third column and revise your information. Or delete it completely, because quite honestly, you've just shown yourself to be out of date, out of touch and under-informed. Unfortunately though, that picture has probably done more damage than the impact its had on your reputation.  





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Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Socca bread (Farinata)

Reading through the fabulous "Free From Food for Family and Friends" by Pippa Kendrick, I came across "Socca bread", made from only gram (chickpea) flour, olive oil and water. This was a fabulous discovery, since chickpeas are one of the few protein rich foods my daughter can currently have!

I did some research on the internet, since the roasted vegetable version Pippa has wouldn't have been possible for us, and discovered it is really, really versatile! In France it is known as Socca bread, in Italy it is called Farinata.

You make it exceedingly thin, like pancakes - there is a great recipe here.

Alternatively, you can bake it deeper to make a more filling bread, which is what we decided to do.

Ingredients
  • 150g Gram Flour
  • 3 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 250ml water
  • Pinch of salt
Method
  • Sift the gram flour into a mixing bowl. (Gram flour tends to settle and get lumpy.)
  • Whisk in the olive oil and water until completely smooth
  • Apparently the batter should ideally sit for at least 1-2 hours before cooking.
  • Pour into a flan dish for a thick bread
  • Bake at 180C for apprize 30 minutes until cooked.
  • Cut into wedges and serve!


Tip: This is so versatile, you can add roasted vegetables, olives, caramelised onions, bake it thin like a pizza or thick like a bread. It can be pitta bread texture or soft wedges. You choose!


UPDATE

Today I tried a thinner version of the batter, with just a little more water, and it made a lovely pancake. When the batter started to cook I added roasted courgettes, carrots and puy lentils to half and flipped it over. Apparently it was delicious!


Friday, 30 September 2016

Egg Substitutions!

So, we are officially egg free and I must say it's a bit of a steep learning curve. We have previously always been advised to keep the twins on eggs and it has been a valuable source of protein. Substituting that on a dairy and soya free diet is hard, especially when you have a vegetarian who is now pretty much vegan due to allergies to feed....

Because we hadn't trialled egg replacer, I have been using pear puree instead, which I was hugely sceptical about. However, I have had considerable success - although I seriously doubt I could substitute more than a single egg successfully this way.

I've come across several ideas for egg substitution, all work slightly differently with varied results.

  • Chia seeds soaked in water make an excellent binding agent, but not the best raising agent. 
  • Soy is not an option for us - and many others too, so I haven't tested this.
  • Ripe banana works in a similar way to the pear puree we've tried, and since we have passed the banana trial this is my fall back option! This banana muffin recipe only has one egg in because the bananas act as a raising agent too, and could be easily substituted unlike recipes which contain several eggs.
  • Ground flax seeds apparently give quite an earthy texture, and can be heavy - but many recommend them.
  • Applesauce - again, like the other fruit options it works, but perhaps not for more than one egg.
  • Egg Replacer - I trialled Organ's egg replacer with my daughter last night. Not brilliant, a bit heavy but ok.  She prefers the pear option!
  • Go without!! This recipe really works and as a large cake recipe is virtually unbeatable as an egg free option. Also, research "Crazy Cake" which is very similar, these recipes are from the days when rationing and scarcity made egg-free recipes a necessity.

The chart below is widely available on different sites and has more ideas.



It's really a case of trial and error. I've made these pancakes very successfully with a pot of pear puree, you cannot taste the pear and they rise beautifully. 



The following has even more helpful information, I've discovered you really have to bite the bullet and just experiment, and also try new ways of doing things that just don't use eggs. Good luck!



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Friday, 2 September 2016

It's been a while... #FewFoodDiet

I've been really slack about updating - but the truth is, this is HARD. Really hard. Not being a stranger to exclusion diets I knew it would be, but nothing prepares you for the reality that is an indignant, stroppy tweenager who understandably wants to be like her friends and is facing a *much* longer term than expected of a very limited diet.

We've made progress, mostly by sensible planned means - but I confess in absolute desperation we tried some BFree rolls before every ingredient had been tested and thankfully, these are ok. This success not only brought a bumper set of accepted foods but a real possibility of a school packed lunch! This is not to be sniffed at, in a school where packed lunches are not permitted, she really will be the *only* child having one, and if it's as near normal as possible that matters. A lot.

We've done well with carbs. Protein - not so much. And she's now completely refusing every possible (sneaky) attempt to get chickpea into her diet as it's now "revolting". This is a stage all parents face on similar exclusion diets, the child is understandably feeling utterly out of control and I completely understand why she needs to do this. She's telling me that whilst she accepts the restrictions imposed by her medical team, she still calls the shots. Her body - her rules.



This, in my opinion, is vitally important to appreciate. We couldn't have embarked on this without her consent. Giving a degree of control, where appropriate really helps though - for example, blood tests really panic her, causing a rapid escalation into anxiety which she can barely cope with. So we've now adopted the policy that she has control, she makes the choices, but she needs to understand why they are necessary. On the whole it works too. She tells the doctor or nurse where they are allowed to put the needle (hand, arm etc) and whether she has cream, spray or nothing. Within reason she has the right to refuse too - although she hasn't yet, because she's in control and is actually pretty sensible for a ten year old.


So we've also followed her list of priorities for food introductions too, which sadly hasn't included much protein! We've made pancakes (above) using a pot of pear puree instead of egg, my fruit, cashew and seed bites  with a few alterations and she's done a fair bit of experimenting too. She enjoys the BFree pittas with lettuce, sweetcorn and carrot chopped inside, with some Violife cheese in. I just wish there was some protein in it!


On the (hugely) positive side, when she's not reacting to new foods, I have a daughter who barely refluxes. Seriously. Hardly at ALL. After 10 1/2 years of moderate to severe reflux this is life changing - and if the unpleasant bowel and urinary symptoms are indeed delayed and related, we could be looking at one seriously healthy and happy young girl.

Which makes it all worthwhile.

Saturday, 13 August 2016

When things don't go to plan!

It's been a rollercoaster couple of weeks here on our few foods diet journey. K became unwell with a rather nasty urinary tract infection and ended up on strong antibiotics. She's allergic to penicillin and the one she was given didn't agree with her tummy unfortunately. This really messed up food trials since we couldn't properly trial whilst she was on them - for ten days.

To make matters worse, we were away for a few days - our only few days away this summer - and she desperately wanted to enjoy the treats her twin brother was able to have, however limited! He was brilliant, and we even had real tears of compassion on one occasion as he felt so sorry for his sister. We have also had tears from her, and meltdowns, anger, frustration and plain sadness. It's not an easy road.


On our third day away she ate nothing in protest, and then said she wanted some of my food that evening or she wasn't eating the next day either. She can be VERY stubborn!! In desperation I didn't stop her - and the vegetarian bean mixture she had two spoonfuls of caused her reflux and other symptoms to *really* flare. In some ways this was harder, because she had control, but it didn't do her any favours and she felt utterly defeated.

We've got over this (massive but not unexpected) hiccup and have since successfully trialled pea protein which is truly fabulous as she can soon hopefully have her Violife cheeses and the Wot no Dairy? yoghurts back. Coconut needs to be soon on the hit list to facilitate these, and apple. However since she  reacted to that meal of mine we also have a list of possible/probable culprits comprising onion, garlic, pepper, haricot beans and lentils to get through.

Diets like this are incredibly difficult for anyone, for kids it can seem arbitrary and unfair even if you totally agreed to it in the first place. When your peers, friends and twin BROTHER for goodnessake can eat lollies, chocolate and Haribo and you can't, the world is a very unfair place. We have limited his treats too - and ensure he has them out of sight but as she said today
"That's kind of irrelevant though, isn't it? Because I *know* he could have them, if you gave them to him. I have lost so many choices."
Out of the mouths of babes...

She did have a choice of course - this WAS her choice, and it's proving incredibly worthwhile. But that doesn't make it any easier, and although she will admit having significantly less reflux is "pretty cool", she's still a tweenager with attitude and I'm her emotional punchbag. And when you are that age, life is rarely "fair".

Distraction is definitely the best policy, and we are keeping busy!




Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Potato, chickpea and cashew fritters

Another attempt at varying my daughter's diet!! We have successfully trialled and tolerated corn, so officially we are on 7 foods, but this is one without corn from earlier in the week.

If your foods are different, maybe you can substitute? Hopefully these suggestions will offer some ideas for anyone on a few food diet, even if your foods are not the same as ours.

Method

  • Either peel and boil 2 large baking size potatoes, or cheat like me, microwave them, allow them to cool then peel them!
  • Blend half a tin of chickpeas in the food processor
  • Add some cashew cream and mash together
  • Form into balls and roll in rice flour
  • Shallow fry


TIP You could also add a vegetable of your choice, carrot is our vegetable at the moment but my daughter is enjoying it separately.

Pear Crumble

Ingredients

Only Pear, Rice Flour and a little olive oil.

NB when poaching the pears do NOT add water, cover with clingfilm and they poach in their own juice. 



Method

  • Peel, slice and poach pears in the microwave. Allow to cool. 
  • Pour off the juice - not down the sink as you will need it!Bake at 180C or 160C Fan)
  • For the crumble, you need about 4oz rice flour per 3 pears, but it's very much an individual thing as to how you like your fruit to topping ratio! 
  • Add the pear juice and around 100ml of oil - I have a Kenwood mixer so I tend to turn it on low, then add the liquid until I get the desired effect - which is when you see small clumps. If you are working the liquid into the flour by hand in a bowl, use your fingertips and don't put it all in at once.
  • Put the pears in a dish and sprinkle the crumble mix on top. Bake at 180C (or 160C fan) for 10-15 minutes until golden on the top.



Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Necessity is the Mother of Invention - Pancakes and Puddings

We are now well into our second week of our #fewfood journey, I'm delighted to say that my daughter's symptoms are very much improved. They are far from gone - but given the she has Ehlers Danlos Syndrome as well as food allergies it was never going to be a complete cure, but it's really significant progress and she's delighted - as am I!

She is, however getting a little bored of her six foods, and has almost completely rejected chickpeas other than as gram flour which a bit of a blow. It means protein will be high on the agenda for trials. I promised I would try and make some new desserts, other than just pears.

I've bought some rice porridge flakes from Marks and Spencer which have been a fantastic success mixed with pear puree. I also tried my own rice pudding, with pudding rice and rice milk. I loved it - K prefers the porridge!


I also decided to experiment making "pancakes'. I figured that I could use olive oil instead of the margarine I would normally use, brown rice flour, and some pear puree instead of an egg since fruit does have some impact as a raising agent. It was actually pretty successful! 


I made the "pancakes" like drop scones, or scotch pancakes. I followed the quantities for the fat and flour and then added a tablespoon of puree instead of the egg and whisked with a hand balloon whisk. Some people have had good luck with sparkling water and flour alone, this recipe here uses millet flour and  sparkling water with good success.

The key to living with only a handful of foods we've discovered, is to keep an open mind. These won't taste like the best Shrove Tuesday pancakes you've ever tasted, or the best stack of scotch pancakes your grandma makes.... but they DID taste good and by experimenting we've added another meal to the list and staved off the boredom of life with six foods.


Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Homemade Houmous - Life with Six Foods

So we've started our few food diet. Day 3 so far..... the current breakfast favourite is puffed rice cereal with rice milk, then if I can persuade her some cashew butter on a rice cake, a handful of nuts or a pear.

Lunch so far has relied on our homemade houmous, which is literally a can of chick peas, a little permitted olive oil blended to the right consistency. I'm making use of all my tiny Sistema pots to store it in for a couple of days in the fridge!



Initially the houmous didn't go down well - she's used to the shop bought versions which have sesame and garlic in. However we've persevered and she's eating it. I also tried rolling a ball of it in gram flour and frying as patties, I thought these were delicious but she remains to be convinced!! (Photo to follow!)

We've added carrot sticks, plain crisps, pear chunks and pear puree, rice cakes and cashew butter, etc and today K made her own lunch.  The rice cakes have a thick layer of cashew butter between, and the pot has the homemade houmous in.


It's not as filling as a regular free from wrap/sandwich so she had another round of rice cakes and cashew butter a couple of hours later, with a pear - but she has started to think this through herself a little.

Tea yesterday was oven chips, a second attempt at pan fried houmous patties and today is pasta from gram flour with a carrot sauce. I'm blending well-cooked carrots which have been boiled with a little rosemary, to create a "sauce" for the pasta. Poached pear for dessert - tomorrow I'm attempting rice pudding! Either tomorrow or the next day I will also be making these - potato cakes are a firm favourite here!





Friday, 1 July 2016

"Store Bought" Chocolate Brownies

This recipe claims to be so versatile it can make cake, cupcakes, brownies - whatever! A friend gave it to me to try.

Gluten free, wheat free, dairy free, soya free, nut free with safe ingredients, corn free and in theory could be egg free, but that's a LOT of eggs to replace.



Ingredients

  • 2 cups (250g) rice flour
  • 2/3 cup water of safe "milk" (I used rice milk)
  • 2 cups (400g) sugar
  • 1 cup margarine or oil (I used sunflower oil, olive oil is too heavy for baking)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups (350g) safe chocolate chips
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Method
  • In a saucepan over a medium heat, stir together the butter or oil, milk/water and sugar. Bring to the boil, stirring constantly.
  • Remove from heat and stir through the chocolate chips until smooth
  • Stir in the flour, working quickly stir in the eggs, or the egg replacer mixture. (I used a large beating whisk for this)
  • Pour into a lined cake pan or cupcake cases.
  • Cupcakes bake for 10 minutes, brownie pans for 15 mins and if split into two cake pans 16 mins together.
  • Allow to cool completely then remove for/baking parchment.
  • Add frosting if desired.


Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Courgette Fritters

So, as per my previous post we are starting our #FewFood diet imminently. Less than two weeks....  The reason for this delay is that such a big change really needs to be monitored carefully and we are starting immediately my daughter breaks up from school.

Two of her permitted foods are courgette and chickpea. Chickpea is also available in flour form, known as Gram Flour. Gram flour, also known as garbanzo bean flour, or besan, is a pulse flour made from ground chickpeas known in a number of Asian countries as gram. It is a staple ingredient in Indian, Pakistani, Nepali and Bangladeshi cuisines. You can find recipes on the BBC site for gram flour, assuming you are able to use more than a handful of foods!

When mixed with an equal proportion of water, it can be used as an egg replacement in vegan cooking so it works well as a batter. Gram flour contains a high proportion of carbohydrates, no gluten and a higher proportion of protein than other flours.


I was hoping to make my own few food version of vegetable pakoras, which can be found here. Having learned from our Facebook group than fizzy or sparkling water is brilliant for creating a batter I used some with the gram flour, and it did mix up to a nice thick consistency. This time I cut the courgettes into chunks and steamed them for a few minutes to soften. Then I dipped them into the batter and attempted to coat them sufficiently before frying in a little olive oil.



This was the gram flour I used - from Dove's Farm.


The verdict - really tasty if eaten immediately, but the batter became quite tough and leathery when cool. So definitely an option t eat straight away.

In actual fact after discussion wit our dietician  we've swapped the courgettes for carrots, perhaps easier and more filling, but it was a useful experiment!









Sunday, 19 June 2016

Our Few Food Diet

After ten years of unresolved, unimproved reflux and with a known gut allergy process at play we are embarking on a few food diet with our daughter. I should point out that this has been suggested by an expert paediatric dietician and proposed after much consideration and discussion with our paediatric gastroenterologist. It's not something you should EVER do without professional support since it is potentially quite dangerous since the child's nutritional status is obviously at risk. It's also pretty hard to do without the child's full agreement if at all possible. Our daughter is desperate for improvement, her reflux is hugely life-affecting and she's losing adult teeth already. So.... I'm gritting my teeth and going with it.

My reason for sharing this is that my first port of call for advice was our Facebook group. It is home to some truly inspirational mums, dads and carers, who have all been battling strict exclusion diets with their children. Many have come up with some phenomenal recipes on virtually nothing - whilst I wallow in the luxury of baking with egg. Seriously, I am not of their league......

So I'm going to be sharing our journey, and the wonderful suggestions that my friends have come up with in the hope of showing you that few foods - and we are talking SIX foods here - need not be quite so difficult and monotonous as you might think.

So here are our big six:- courgette and pear as the fruit and veg, cashew nuts and chick peas as the protein and rice and potato as the carbohydrates.

The reason for these choices are many, you can't pluck them out of the air and I cannot stress enough how you MUST only be doing this with medical advice. Our dietician worked with our daughter's chewing and swallowing limitations, her likes and dislikes and obviously the who manageability of the diet.


But of course all these foods come in so many forms

Potato - crisps (plain), chips (with my air fryer at home), jacket potatoes, potato cakes (here) and potato flour.

Chick peas can been whizzed in a food processor with some oil to make houmous, or used as gram flour which together with fizzy water can make little patties or a batter to fry with.

Pear - pear crisps, pear puree, dried pear, and pear spread as well as pear from the tree.

Cashew nuts - I have the mother of all cashew butter tubs at the ready, it's wonderful for whizzing up in the food processor with dried fruit (that will be pear) and more cashew nuts to make something like this 

Rice - obviously the possibilities are endless. Rice porridge, rice, rice balls, rice pudding with rice milk, rice cakes and rice flour, even rice mochi which I will tell you more about later!

Courgette - supermarkets sell it as "spaghetti", you can food process it with potato cakes, or mashed potato balls, make fritters with the gram flour.... it's pretty versatile.


Obviously to stay nutritionally safe we will have to include all foods every day, so I've got my thinking cap on!

We start when school ends, in just over two weeks - makes life a bit easier! Then the plan is that once we (hopefully) see an improvement in symptoms, we start trialling foods one at a time, as per our dietician's recommendations and see if there are any triggers which make symptoms worse. It's not just reflux for us so we are keeping a diary to be sure we don't forget anything!

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Fruit & Seed Bites


I've been trying to find new ways of getting plant based protein into the kids, particularly my daughter who struggles with meat and point blank refuses fish. (Let's face it, fish refluxed back up afterwards is not pleasant....!) I have made coconut protein bites in the past but they contain egg, which doesn't suit everyone - and are quite sugar heavy.

So these came about after baking with seeds, dried fruit etc in the style of "Deliciously Ella" but using ingredients I had in the cupboard. I've made these a variety of ways, listed below.


Prune, Seed and Cashew Bites

120g prunes - make sure they are juicy ones, not too dry
1 tbsp chia seeds - these help bind the mixture as they swell in water
120g cashew nuts
handful of seeds - I used pumpkin and sunflower
1 tbsp nut butter or tahini (I used cashew butter, if you can have soya but not nuts try Wowbutter)
2 tsp honey

Whizz the seeds and nuts in a food processor until crushed. Add all the other ingredients and blend until the mixture becomes sticky, then form into balls and chill.

Date, Almond and Seed Bites

120g plump dates 
Handful of seeds - I used sunflower and pumpkin seeds
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 tbsp almond butter or tahini
120g ground almonds
2 tsp honey

Whizz the seeds and chia seeds together in the blender until crushed. Add the ground almonds and all other ingredients and blend until the mixture becomes sticky, then form into balls and chill.

Fig, Oat and Seed Bites

100g rolled oats - NB not porridge oats
120g plump dried figs with stalks removed
Handful of seeds - I used sunflower and pumpkin seeds
1 tbsp chia seeds 
1 tbsp tahini or similar butter

Whizz the oats, seeds and chia seeds in the blender until crushed but not quite a flour consistency. Add all other ingredients and blend until the mixture becomes sticky, then form into balls and chill.

Tip - You can pretty much add whatever you like to these, just ensure the mixture is sticky enough to combine. Macadamia nuts, almonds, pine nuts..... all possibly and can be combined with various "butters" and syrups. Just try and keep the ratios fairly constant. You could even roll them in icing sugar or cocoa for a special treat and can substitute some of the dry ingredients for protein powders if desired.

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Chocolate Mug Cake - gluten, dairy, soya, nut and egg free!

This utterly brilliant recipe came from our Facebook group, so I can't take the credit! It is absolutely perfect for visiting friends, relatives or events where your child will not want to miss out, all the location requires is a microwave and a mug! Even most village halls have both these days, so I could have used this for countless parties and events when my children were small.

We tested it yesterday - huge success!


The ingredients below are sufficient for approx ten small bags of cake mix. My digital scales are not great for weighing to exactly the right total in grams, 60g is actually very difficult to achieve! it didn't seem to matter.

Dry Ingredients

  • 285g gluten free SELF RAISING flour
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • 255g caster sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
Method
  • Weigh out the above in a bowl, then mix WELL.
  • Transfer to a freezer food bag, clip tight and shake together further.
  • Weigh out portion of 60g into separate smaller bags and tie closed. 
Tip : sit each small bag in a mug, zero the scales and start weighing so tie bag doesn't collapse as you pour!!

You now have ten portable cake mixture bags - for a fraction of the cost of supermarket alternatives!

To bake

  • Melt 1 tbsp "Pure" or other safe margarine
  • and 2 tbsp water
  • Mix well in a mug
  • Microwave for around a minute - my 1000w microwave needed only 50 seconds.
Tip add chocolate chips for a decadent touch!

Monday, 8 February 2016

Scotch Pancakes - Gluten, Wheat, Dairy, Soya and could be free

My daughter was keen to make pancakes this weekend, and wanted to try something slightly different from our buckwheat pancake recipe here. She wanted something she could take to school in her packed lunch and smaller scotch pancakes (sometimes called "griddle cakes") seemed an ideal choice!


Ingredients

  • 200g flour (we use Dove's Farm gluten free blended flour)
  • 1 tbsp baking powder (not teaspoon)
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (optional)
  • 1 large egg (egg replacer should work)
  • 300mls your choice of milk (we used rice milk)
Method
  • Add dry ingredients to the mixing bowl
  • Beat egg and milk into the mixture, using a hand balloon whisk. If using egg replacer mix as instructed and add gradually to the dry ingredients. READ LABEL as instructions vary.
  • Heat frying pan to medium and add safe oil
  • Fry small spoonfuls of batter to make pancakes approx 3" across

TIP This batter is a LOT thicker than your regular pancake batter - this is intentional to prevent the batter spreading too much.

And here's my chef - she made the pancakes above all by herself!


Saturday, 23 January 2016

Fish Pie - Gluten free, dairy free, soya free, wheat free, nut free, corn free

Apologies for only sporadic posting at present, life seems to well and truly have taken over! I've still been cooking daily, anyone catering for children with allergies knows only too well that there are not many short cuts. My christmas present this year was a slow cooker, which I must say has been hugely liberating. It means I can spend food preparation time whilst the children are (usually!) at school, and the meal cooks with little intervention from me. Once the children are home I can devote my time to them, rather than the evening meal.

My main aim this year (a resolution if you like!) is to continue to build on the growing independence the twins are gaining. This is quite a slow process - new readers can read my musings on why children with allergies lack a degree of independence here,  and to that effect I am aiming to broaden their meal repertoire, if not their safe food list!

Fish pie has long been a big favourite of my two oldest children, the twins each enjoy a few ingredients each - and both are hugely suspicious of sauces and combined meals. We've been slowly working on them tasting and eating a white sauce and after initial success as a warm "dip" I decided to attempt a fish pie.

My aim was not for either to eat a plateful, or even enjoy all of it - but to taste some, and pick out a few pieces they felt they could eat. This is an approach called a "bravery ladder", which I will write more about next week.

So, here it is - our fish pie. Obviously if your child is allergic to fish, this is a complete no-no!! The eggs are entirely optional though, so tolerating rice, potato and a few vegetables is all that is required on top of the fish.




White sauce ingredients

  • 300ml rice milk
  • 100ml rice cream (I use Isola)
  • 1 bay leaf 
  • 50g "Pure" Olive or Sunflower
  • 50g plain flour - either corn flour or rice flour
Method
  • Melt the margarine a little in the microwave
  • Combine with the flour (I use a hand held whisk) and gradually add the cream. 
  • Whisk/stir whilst adding the milk
  • pop in the bay leaf and gradually cook in the microwave until thickened.

Fish Pie Method
  • Peel and boil approx 4 -5 large potatoes
  • Poached the fish in the microwave with a little rice milk and a sprinkling of pepper, then flake it. 
  • I have an egg cooker and hard boiled three eggs, cooled peeled and chopped them.
  • Quickly stir fry the spring onions whilst the fish and eggs are cooling a little
  • Make the white sauce (above) and mix with at the fish, eggs, onions, sweetcorn and peas.
  • Place at the bottom of a large dish
  • Once cooked, mash the potatoes, add white pepper to taste and use "Pure" Olive or similar to mash
  • Cover the fish mixture with mashed potato, starting with the edge first to avoid the contents getting pushed over the edge.
This will keep in the fridge once cooled until you wish to cook and serve. Alternatively cook in a moderately hot 180C oven (170C fan) for half an hour - or an hour if straight from the fridge.



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