Gluten Free Chocolate “Mini Milks” 

Hello to you all, hope you are enjoying this fine sunny weather we are having. It’s Monday it’s the last week of term for most of the munchkins and I’m sure you’d like to know about a really easy treat?  I’m right aren’t I? 

Whilst it’s great that tesco have lunch a GF DF mini milk style lolly, it still hs the dreaded may contain nuts message, so still best avoid for us.  Anyway I that I’ll make my own, on mini me’ request we got some of these

 Kitchen Craft, Ice Lolly Moulds, Set of 6“>

And set off to make these. You have to excuse the photos- the down side of this mould is that they look less umbrella like when out of its plastic case……

  

Ingredients 

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup cream
  • 2 tbs cacao or cocoa powder
  • Either 2 tbs of caster sugar or 1-2 tbs of maple syrup to sweeten. 

Method

  • Place all ingredients into a pan and heat, do not let it boil
  • Let the mixture cool for 5-10 minutes then pour into the moulds
  • When cold place in the freezer
  • After 30 minutes- 1 hr I give the mixture a stir to help stop crystals forming
  • Eat when completely frozen.  

The added benefit of these is that you could use a combination of coconut milk and cream for a dairy free version.  

See there you have it- not really cooking by any scale of the imagination but delicious none the less.  
*this post does contain an affiliate link. If you do click and buy the moulds it just means I get a few pennies. 

Review- Bakemeister Gluten Free 

  
Check this out, it looks delicious right? These little lovelies are made by Bakemeister, a new company  entering into the free from market. They offer gluten, dairy and egg free products so catering for a fair amount of the free from community. 

Anyway I was kindly sent a box of samples to try, which myself and a colleague ( also gluten free) put them to the test. 

In the box we had :

  • Chocolate Sour Cherry Brownies
  • Italian lemon almond cookies
  • Banana Loaf Cake
  • Carrot Loaf Cake
  • Oat, Walnut & Blueberry Cookies. 

  

    So how do they taste? Well my personal favourites were the almond cookies- a perfectly balanced combination of lemon and almond, coupled with a soft but chewy biscuit were fabulous. They are great with a coffee ( and we all know about my coffee obsession don’t  we? ) Whilst we are on the topic of cookies the oat, walnut and blueberry cookies were not too shabby either, they have a crunch with a slight tartness of the blueberries which were satisfying on the tastebuds, and yes I * might* have dunked them, and they were amazing with tea. 

     The chocolate brownies were a treat as well, very dark, and rich with generous hits of sour cherries running through. I liked these as they are a grown up brownie, less of the sugar or that artificial sweetness you can get with some brownies, and more of a decadent chocolatey hit.  Be warned though the portion size is generous so you might want to tackle them in two sessions. 

    Now my friend loved the carrot loaf cake, she enjoyed the moist sponge with ample walnuts through it. Whilst I loved the flavour I wasn’t as taken with the nuts, but I don’t really like nuts in many cakes, it’s just a personal preference thing. We did both agree that the banana loaf was a winner, moist and sticky with a lovely flavour- my tip is is great with a cup of tea, or warmed with custard as a pudding – win win if you please. 

      
    So the over all verdict was these are a fabulous addition to the free from market, keep an eye out for their full launch, you won’t be disappointed. 

    For more information on Bakemeister click Here
    Disclaimer : I was sent these products to try, all opinions are my own, honest ones. 

    Easy Lemon and Elderflower Curd. 

    It’s that time of the year, the weather is supposedly getting better, and every thing is starting to burst into life.  This means elderflowers are everywhere in the countryside and gardens alike.  Now I’m all for foraging and free food so what better than gather some of these highly scented little flowers and incorporate them into a recipe. 
    Elderflower works well with lemon as a flavour combination, think national trust tea rooms, there’s always a lemon and elderflower sponge (  or there was 17 yrs ago when I worked in one). So this got me thinking why not put them together in a curd. 

      
    I love lemon curd, the tartness and zing being my favourite, and my broody bum chickens have now snapped out of their recent nest box hogging so we are back up to full egg supplies – boom, curd here we come. ( it’s very easy to make as well). 

    Ingredients 

    • 200g caster sugar
    • Juice and zest of 2 unwaxed lemons
    • 55g butter
    • 2 elderflower heads 
    • 2 eggs beaten ( free range are best due to better coloured yolks). 

    Method 

    • In a pan over a gentle heat put the butter, sugar, lemon juice, zest and snip off the elderflowers into the pan as well. Try not to use the stalks as they can be bitter. 
    • Melt the butter and let the sugar dissolve
    • Remove from the heat and let seep for about 5 minutes
    • Strain the mixture into a bowl and discard the flowers
    • Have a pan of simmering water and place your bowl on top
    • Stir in the eggs, then keep gently stirring until the mixture thickens ( it should coat the back of a spoon) 
    • Take off the heat and pour into sterilised jars

      
    So there you have it, super easy and delicious, all I can add is that the delicate flavour of the elderflowers adds a summery twist to an old classic,  so relax and enjoy some on some toast or crumpets ( or anything else that takes your fancy). 

    Barley Cup Review and Recipe Ideas

    What is this I hear you ask?  Well I was intrigued to, and therefore very excited when the lovelies at  Barleycup offered me some to try out. With Barley in the name I was a little skeptical to whether it was gluten free, but guess what ( and rejoice ) it is.     

      
    In fact this is what Barley Cup say on their website about the products. 

    Barleycup is a delicious range of instant gluten-free drinks made from roasted cereals and chicory root. All Barleycup beverages are gluten-free and have been certified by Coeliac UK. A special process is used to separate the gluten and the products are regularly tested by an accredited laboratory to ensure that the gluten levels do not exceed 10mg/kg**.

     To start off I thought I’d try It as a drink, 2 teaspoons of Barleycup mixed with just off boiling water, and I added a splash of milk. The verdict is I liked it, the organic and original both taste like a very mild coffee, but without the caffeine. Probably my favourite was the barley cup with dandelion. There is the extra, slightly sweeter flavour that adds to the drink as a whole. Incidently all versions work wonderfully as a latte, and the even bigger news was that the product has not aggravated my coeliac disease what do ever. 

    I’ve also been experimenting with recipes using Barleycup. Below is my first attempt at a ( sort of) gluten free, nut free and dairy free malt loaf. Now it’s been years since I’ve had soreen, I can’t really remember the taste but I do remember the ‘squidge’. I’ve got to play one more time to go for the squidge factor but the taste is amazing ( sorry slight blow of own trumpet ). I promise as soon as its perfected the recipe will be up on this post. 

      

    Other ideas I’ve had are mocha type smoothie and chia seed pudding. I’ll keep you posted on how they go. 

    So would I recommend Barleycup? You bet I would, it’s a gluten free, caffeine free drink that tastes delicious and is proving to be versatile in its uses as well. Thumbs up all round. 

      
    Disclaimer: Barleycup sent me these products to try, all thoughts and ideas are entirely my own. 

    Grilled Salmon In A spiced Marinade  

    Seeing as it’s National BBQ week I thought this would be apt.

    Free From Foodie

    Well fingers crossed that the last few days haven’t been our summer, and we can look forward to long, hazy days and BBQ season. Now I love a bbq and alfresco dinning, but get a bit bored of the usual sausage and burger offerings. This year I’ve decided to mix it up and try new things on the grilling front.

    I know salmon isn’t a new thing, far from it, but I’ve been experimenting with marinades and I think this is yummy, and not as calorific as some of the shop brought offerings, it also includes one of my new favourites -turmeric, which also give a great colour to the fish as well.

    Ingredients

    • Salmon filets I used a side and cut it into portions.

    For the marinade

    • 100mls natural yogurt ( or dairy free alternative)
    • Juice of 1/2 lemon
    • Thumb sized piece of ginger grated
    • 1 tsp turmeric
    • 1…

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    What a week…..

    Hello to you all. As the title says what a week we are having.  To start it all off, my mum had a freak accident which resulted in emergency surgery and now what appears to be a fairly long recovery period.  After a few days in hospital, she is now home and predicting we’ll have a lovely summer as she’ll be in a sling for a while. 

    I also think I  couldn’t write a post and not mention the awful events in Manchester last week.  A truly horrific attack has left many in shock and sadness ( me included). I think in times like this you actually need to look for the kind acts of people, that seem to cement everything together. The emergency services were amazing, as to the brave actions of the two homeless men near the arena that went in to help.  Closer to home a little girl has been selling her toys to raise money for the Manchester victims.  This moved me so much, believe me there are good people out there. 

    On a happier note, everything is growing well in the gardens but I have been faced with this, this is my speckled lady, and she has been read the riot act. I guess I’ll ( sort of) forgive her, as slugs are her treat of choice.

     Also the elderflowers are starting to blossom, and I really want to try to make elderflower champagne, my first attempt ended in a broken light bulb where the bottle cork exploded. 

     So where does that leave me? Well there just might be a give away over on my Facebook and Twitter pages this week to celebrate National BBQ Week ( yep it’s a thing). And some new recipes and a review should be up as well.  
    Here’s to a great week everyone. 

    Coeliac Awareness Week 2017

    Well here we are again 8th-14th May is #CoeliacAwarenessWeek and this year Coeliac UK are asking you to join the Gluten Freevolution. But what does that mean??  

     
    Well aside from the usual scramble of companies launching new products and special offers in the free from field, the message is to help improve gluten free choices where ever you are.  According to Coeliac UK 1 in every 100 people could have coeliac disease ( I’m one of them), and many more are choosing to incorporate gluten free into their diets and lifestyle. Which ever way you look at it, free from is a growing market. 

    As a coeliac, higher demand means more products on shelves, which is great.  I support this campaign, I personally feel eating out is still my problem area, staff in restaurants don’t fully understand allergies and if I’m to be glutened this is the week spot. Don’t get me wrong some places are great ( Pizza Hut springs to mind) but the issues of cross contamination and lack of staff training and understanding are usually the issues.

    As with the growing free from market, there too is a huge opening in the hospitality sector, they could attract ( and keep) new customers if a little more understanding and options were given to those with coeliac disease, and other food allergies for that matter. 

    So let’s all get behind the campaign, no more are you to feel like you are being fussy. Let’s shout it from the roof tops – more allergy friendly establishments= happy customers all round. 

    How Does Your Garden Grow? 

    At the beginning of 2017 I set myself some goals. Amongst other things expanding my vegetable plot/ gardening skills were one of those goals. So how am I getting on I can hear you asking? 

    I’ve fended off comments from friends and family that I won’t do it. For the record I’m now called Percy ( Thrower) my comeback is I’m  too young to remember him- ha so there. I’m still shoe and fashion obsessed but I’ve added pretty wellies into the mix, and instead of heat magazine ( cause I no longer care about what Posh Spice is up to) I’ve been known to but Grow Your Own or Kitchen Garden magazines.  Anyway I’ve digressed a tiny bit. 

    Well the chickens arrived in 2013 and the numbers have grown ever since ( we are up to 13 and due to get some more soon). They are free range which means I don’t have a slug or snail problem but I’m often faced with this. Nutella ( named by my daughter) has a bare patch, she is the lowest in the pecking order, we built her a new home next to the others, she’s much happier, and her feathers are really growing back, which is more than can be said for my lettuce which they got into and ate……

      
    This actually shows phase 2 of our vegetable growing. It’s taken 2 yrs to get to this point as this area was so so over grown when we moved in. The soil is clay ( get me ) and we are working hard to improve the quality and texture of the ground. My compost bin is starting to work well, and I believe that mushroom compost over the autumn/ winter months may help. I’m still facing an ongoing weed problem, which I know I could use weed killer for, but we are trying to do without. 

    So my growing aspirations this year are

    • Potatoes
    • Broad beans and Runner Beans
    • Beetroot
    • Garlics ( growing very well if I do say so myself) 
    • Tomatoes 
    • Chard
    • Cabbage
    • Radish 
    • Peas
    • Squash
    • Courgettes

    It looks like nothing, but im proud of this cabbage

    Fruit wise we have: 

    • Apple trees
    • Rhubarb
    • Strawberries
    • Blackcurrants 
    • Blackberries ( brambles) 
    • Raspberries 

     

    My Favourite Apple Tree

     
    I cannot wait for the efforts of my labour to start paying off, I have so many recipies that I want to create with the home grown produce. You see what I’ve done there? In true free from foodie style, the home grown things are free from pesticides etc, and the recipes will be gluten, nut, dairy free as per usual. I thought you guys might like to see other aspects of my life ( possibly?) .

    So I’m hoping to incororate regular posts of how I’m getting on, with my mini side kick obviously. Gardening with a three yr old does add another great dimension to the mix, but hey that’s all part of the fun of it. 

    Any grow your own tips? Or pictures? Let me know in the comments below. 

      

    Allergy Awareness Week 

    This week is Allergy Awareness week, which focuses on eczema. Munchkin does have eczema but thankfully fairly mildly. Her triggers are her allergens ( so contact or consuming nut products) and certain cosmetics and washing powders can make her symptoms worse. 

    Whilst I’m not going to focus too much on eczema in this post, I thought it would be a benefit to offer my top tips and advice in regards to allergies. 

    Eating Out/ Days out

    • Be prepared, I always call a restaurant ahead and ask / inform the establishment about our coeliac and nut allergy requirements. 
    • Ask to see the allergy information and policies
    • Don’t assume that because you’ve eaten the same meal more than once it’s still ok, restaurants change ingredients and suppliers all the time. 
    • You are not being fussy and do not let that thought stop you from asking the relavent questions. 
    • I always have safe back ups for days out etc so no one goes without.
    • Safe swaps in your bag work well for party bags etc as well. 
    • Carry all relevant medication with you. If you have epi pens carry 2 the first one doesn’t always work. 
    • Arm yourself with wipes to clean table surfaces before sitting down, also I find kids just attract dirt so baby wipes are a must anyway. 

    General Advice

    • If you are struggling with anything talk to someone, you are not alone ( Twitter allergy community is great) there is always someone who can help. 
    • Your allergies are part of you- but don’t let them define you. 
    • Kick the crappy guilt fairy out of your head- she will consume you if you let her. My advice is swat her away hard, cuddle your child/ partner/ pet and tell yourself you are doing a great job, because you know what? You really are. 
    • Allergy UK is a very useful site 
    • Always #carryyourkit be it medicines, medical cards, epi pens etc. 

    So some of my top tips for you. Do keep looking back, as I will be adding more as I remember them. 

    Do you have any top tips? Let me know in the comments below. 

    Review – Nush Dairy Free Yogurt 

    You may, or may not have noticed a new brand of the free from market? Nush Foods are the company behind dairy free, gluten free and vegan yogurts that are made from either almond or cashew milks. I believe they are the first in the UK to offer such a product. 

    Anyway I’m rambling, I saw these in Tesco (£2) and thought I’d try one. I should add that they are nut based so all testing was done well out the way of mini me.

     

      I was really impressed, I’m not sure what I was expecting really- possibly a more gloopy texture that you can get with other plant based yogurts, but this has a consistency of, well yoghurt.  Considering this was almond based, you are not over powered with the taste, there was a subtle, but pleasing blueberry flavour, not overladen with sugar or sweetness- all positives for me. I should also add that this is suitable for both vegetarians and vegans. 

      
    So will I buy it again? Well yes, although not every day as it is a bit pricey.  That said I’m also interested in trying the cashew milk yoghurt when I track it down. Well done Nush keep up the good work. 
    Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. All views are my own, and honest.