Monday, 29 June 2015

Swiss Roll

This gluten, wheat, dairy and soya free masterpiece was actually made by my thirteen year old son! He came home from school with it today and wowed his siblings who couldn't believe their luck!!

  • 3 eggs
  • 75g your choice of free from self raising flour, preferably not just rice flour. 
  • 75g caster sugar 

  • Grease and line a 23cm x 30cm/9in x 12in Swiss roll tin 
  • Preheat oven to 200c (180C for Fan)
  • Whisk eggs and sugar together until they are a pale white bubbly texture.
  • Sieve the flour and fold it in. (Harry says this must be done in a figure of eight :)  )
  • Pour it on the baking tray and bake for ten minutes
  • Lift it out using the sides of the paper and leave to cool
  • Sprinkle caster sugar onto another piece of baking paper, and carefully transfer the cake
  • Spread with jam, roll up using the paper to help and hold in place for a few seconds until it retains its shape.
  • Dust with icing sugar and serve!

Free From Farmhouse

Saturday, 13 June 2015

Carrot Cake

This is a regular carrot cake recipe which I adapted to make it gluten free, dairy free and soya free. I needed to find a tasty way of using up my Carrot Spaghetti which I was delighted to find in Tesco the other day, and it worked a treat!

Although the cake recipe is not free from as many top allergens as I would like for inclusion here, I was completely thrilled with my finds in Tesco. For seriously restricted kids, whose main nutritional needs are covered by amino acid based elemental formula, both the carrot and courgette spaghetti they now stock in their larger stores offer a real increase in variety for many. They also have diced veg packs, which for someone like me who cooks in bulk, are like finding an extra hour in the day!

So, here is my carrot cake recipe, which went down very well here! It was a little crumbly on top which made neat cutting difficult but fine throughout the body of the cake. Moist but not soggy.


  • 125 g Dove's Self Raising Flour, or your own choice (but probably not just rice flour alone)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon 
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 175ml vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 175g carrot spaghetti chopped first with scissors (or grated carrot)
  • 60g chopped walnuts (optional)
  • Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas Mark 4
  • Grease/line a 7" round cake tin
  • Stir together the flour, sugar, cinnamon and sugar
  • Add the oil and eggs until fully mixed
  • Stir in carrot and nuts
  • Bake for 25 minutes

You will see I haven't used any frosting. This is partly due to the already high sugar content of the cake, partly the lack of cream cheese alternative. It was really moist however and no one missed the additional layer! 

Free From Farmhouse

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Friday, 5 June 2015

Not waving, but drowning.

Both The Times and The Telegraph are today running stories on concern over middle class children being starved due to misplaced parental concern over food allergies. Clearly this article has been shared between both newspapers but what concerns me is the complete lack of medical advice or concrete information on the subject amongst the sweeping accusations made. Whilst loosely based on the collaborative report in Sense About Science  on Allergy, it's just another scaremongering article which belongs in the gutter press and helps no one. Indeed, the original report, whilst more balanced, still neglects to described the non IgE food allergies so many - including my family - suffer from.

I'm sure there is some genuine cause for concern, and it's true to say that more affluent parents are more likely to fall foul of the latest food fad since a)they have more money to spend on their children and therefore have greater choice and b) possibly more time to consider the options. (A child in my daughter's class is "allergic" to sandwiches, but eats cakes and biscuits with wheat in...) Certainly middle class tooth decay is no myth, as one comedian observed in his comment on raisins being "middle class crack for kids" our obsession with meeting the "Five a Day" guidelines led many to unwittingly feed their children frequent fruit snacks which were so full of sugar that the incidence of tooth decay soared amongst children of the better off.

The Gwyneth Paltrow's of this world do little to help, and the media should know better than to support the celeb drive for fashionable exclusion diets. Convinced that they "feel healthier" off wheat, gluten or whatever the latest craze is, they apply the same warped logic to their children, thus controlling their diet too. In a world where fast food is ubiquitous and many children are overweight- even obese - I can see they might find this attractive, but they would receive no medical support for this. Perhaps the media should focus their attention specifically on such a group, striving to enlighten and advise rather than tar all allergy parents with the same brush? The way to avoid indiscriminate attacks like today's articles is to write responsibly and include a little factual information at least somewhere in your piece - either that or write for the Daily Mirror...

I wrote here about Free From foods not being a Lifestyle choice - and for many they most certainly are not. Eating "freefrom" food is not a lifestyle choice for the vast majority who do so, it's a no-alternative, medically imposed way of life and to suggest otherwise is both ignorant and offensive. What is really crucial here, is explaining the difference between systemic IgE allergies, and non IgE allergies. They are both allergies, both involve the immune system and neither is an intolerance. Despite being detailed in the NICE guidelines of February 2011 most doctors are still ignorant of  Non IgE responses to food proteins, still confusing them with intolerances which involve sugars.

The difference is that non IgE patients don't risk their lives on a one-off encounter with a protein they react to. The reaction will be slower, possibly delayed and more insidious. You can read about it here but the main symptoms are likely to be as follows:-

IgE (systemic) allergy

non IgE (local) reaction

Most frustrating of all, YOU CANNOT TEST FOR NON-IGE ALLERGIES. So there might be no initial reaction, no "waving" - but the sufferer is still "drowning" - having an allergic reaction under the surface.

So I cannot prove to you, here and now, that my daughter reacts horribly to soya. But come and spend a couple of days with us and watch and THEN I can demonstrate to you how she suffers. Telling me she is not allergic because you watched her eat something with soya in and she didn't stop breathing is down to ignorance - not prejudice, and the media should act responsibly and add some degree of education in its articles to avoid perpetuating this awful situation. 

My kids have EGID - Eosinophilic Disease. If they eat food their body has a local reaction to then inflammation occurs in the gut. Basic bodily functions such as digestion, absorption and defecation don't happen as nature intended. And that's the VERY short version. EGID is a very unpleasant, poorly understood, emergent disease, with other unpleasant symptoms beyond the gut. It often goes with other disorders too, Hypermobility Syndrome, EDS and (as is increasingly noted) Autism. We have the full house here. For the EGID side of things we are dairy, soya, wheat, gluten free and on minimal egg, beef and other foods. One of my kids used to be tube fed and without a strict exclusion diet he was heading towards bowel surgery due to chronic inflammation and resultant nerve damage.. And we are the lucky ones - I know far too many children who cannot eat at all - some whom the media, in particular the Daily Mail - seek to advertise as rare and bizarre anomalies. Sadly their numbers are dramatically increasing.

For reasons unknown to current researchers and health professionals there is a cluster of cases of this formerly rare disease in the Home Counties and London, and again, for unknown reasons vitamin deficiencies often PRECEDE this condition. There is current research into Vitamin D levels and gut allergies, which needs further funding - which is going to be less likely when such drivel is written in the media. Less than 1% of ALL research funding goes on gastrointestinal conditions, NONE on paediatric gastrointestinal conditions - despite health professionals widely acknowledging that children with chronic gastrointestinal diseases having the poorest quality of life of all chronically sick children.

So whilst there might be some incidence of middle class over reaction to food allergies, just as you would not publish a thesis without some research and a decent evidence base, no health article should be based on hearsay either. The media needs to start exercising some responsibility for what they publish.  Articles like this trivialise serious conditions like Eosinophilic Disease instead of educate their readers on how to seek advice if they suspect their child has a problem with a certain food.  We need greater awareness (see here) with accurate information which would not only make misunderstanding less likely, but offer greater community to support to those really suffering.

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Lemon and Blueberry Muffins

Here at The Recipe Resource we like our muffins, and blueberry ones in particular. I am constantly tweaking the recipes I use, trying to find that authentic muffin flavour whilst excluding as main of the main allergens as possible. These do have eggs in, but you could swap them for egg replacer since the banana provides additional raising agent. 

Gluten free, wheat free, dairy free, soya free, corn free, nut free, could be egg free


  • 275g / 10 oz safe flour (I used Dove's Farm SR blended gluten free flour)
  • 1 1/2 tsp Baking powder  (omit if you used self raising flour)
  • 125g / 4oz Caster sugar
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 275mls/ 9fl oz safe milk substitute - I used rice
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 medium ripe banana
  • 75g / 3oz melted and cooled vegetable spread (I used Pure Sunflower)
  • 150g / 5oz fresh blueberries

  • Preheat the oven to 200 C / 400F /Gas Mark 6
  • Sift flour, baking powder (if needed) and stir in sugar
  • In a second bowl beat the eggs (or prepare replacer), milk substitute and vanilla essence. 
  • Mash a banana with a fork and add to the wet mixture
  • Add lemon juice (not before or eggs will curdle)
  • Make a well in the dry bowl and pour in the wet ingredients. (Or mix it all in your mixer)
  • Combine well and stir blueberries in with a fork to prevent breaking them.
  • Spoon into muffin trays (makes 12) and bake for 20 minutes or until golden and firm.

Best eaten warm on the day of baking -  doubt these will last long here, they are very nice!

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