Days Out With Allergies- Drayton Manor Theme Park

My Daughter is Thomas mad, I mean obsessed with Thomas. We had a disaster of a holiday, resulting in a broken narrow boat and being stranded by a lock ( thanks Hoseasons) so to make up for said disaster we had our first trip to Drayton Manor Park.

Munchkin spent the first hour in a mixture of excitement and amazement, and I have to admit it brought back nostalgia from school trips and summer holidays in my teenage years. Thomas Land is fantastic, lots of rides all perfect for little ones, plenty of photo opportunities and trains, lots of trains.

Personal highlights are the Troublesome Trucks, and Winston’s Car ride. We loved it so much we booked an over night stay a few weeks later in the hotel for the much anticipated 4th Birthday.

Fast forward to this point, the check in was smooth and very easy. For £30 extra we were offered the themed Thomas bedroom. We said yes- they are amazing from Thomas bunk beds, stunning painted walls, track carpets and breakfast with The Fat Controller the next morning I’d really recommend a stop over if you can ( this is not a sponsored post it REALLY is that great).

This leads me on to eating in the hotel and park. In every outlet there is full allergen menus, many you do t need to ask its all displayed on the walls. This is from The Burger Kutchen, an actual burger that’s both gluten and nut free. Thumbs up all round ( delicious it was to).

The Grill in is another excellent choice. Both chef and magnet sign to say your food is safe to eat. They even did a extra safe special treat for mini me on her birthday. We were so touched and could not sing their praises higher.

I really recommend you go for a day ( or two) to Drayton Manor it’s great fun for all, with or with out allergies.

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. It’s all my own views and I was really impressed.

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Round Up of My Favourite New Free From Products

Well hello to you all and welcome to my first post of National Free From Week. This week you can expect a recipe ( or two). A review and maybe a competition- so keep your peepers peeled.

Anyway I thought I’d start with sharing my favourite new products. It seems ( rather like autumn tv) that the run up to Christmas brings all things new and exciting and this includes those in the Free From world to. And yes, yes I know I’ve mentioned the C word but those of you with children will be hearing about it already- unless it’s just mine that is obsessed with all things festive?

First up is this in Tesco

Actual Chocolate gateau, for £3 that’s dairy free and delicious to, really what’s not to love? I can hear the cheers and whoops all around from here.

Whilst we are on the subject of Tesco I should add Schar have introduced actual waffles, no good for us due to Lupin flour in the ingredients but exciting none the less. There are also an Almond Bakewell, Fruit slice and Brownie from Mr Kipling on the shelves this week in your local store. Other highlights are a celebration cake kit from Delicious Alchemy and gluten free San Miguel ( yes really).

In Sainsbury’s not only are they extending their Gary ( dairy free cheese) range, Christmas has also come early. Last year the Christmas pudding was my favourite and is gluten, nut and dairy free so naturally I might have purchased one- I’m not bonkers honest, they just sell very quickly.

Lastly my favourite news is that Baileys have launched their Dairy free, gluten free version of the classic drink. I’m yet to find it, I believe that Wholefoods are stockists, but I cannot wait to give this a try.

So there we have a brief round up of my new favourites. Have you spotted anything that tickles your tastebuds? Let me know in the comments below.

Waffles- Gluten and Nut Free

I know what your thinking, it’s not the potato kind, but the lovely, douse me in ice cream or maple syrup kind.  

The long story short is that we purchased a ( sort of tacky) waffle iron in the sale and munchkin then kept on and on until I made some. They are delicious, the downside is that mini me now demands them a lot. This is ok and they are so easy to make, and easily adapted to suit a lot of diets. 

  
Ingredients 

  • 240ml milk of choice
  • 150g GF self raising flour
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbs caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • Optional 1tsp of vanilla extract 

Method

  • Combine everything in a bowl to form a smooth batter
  • Pour into your preheated iron and let cook
  • Cover with whatever you fancy and enjoy. 

It really is that simple. 

What is your favourite waffle topping? Let me know in the comments below. 
Disclaimer: I take no responsibility for the ear ache you will receive from your kids wanting these again and again x 

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. 

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). 

Easter Brownie Cheesecake- Guest Post

With Easter fast approaching what better excuse for chocolate? I hasten to add that is my excuse, and I’m sticking to it. I admit before children Easter wasn’t a grand affair in our household, we rejoiced about a 4 day weekend, had a family roast and chocolate eggs ( obviously). However now mini me is a bit older we tend to make a bit more of a day of it ( wish me luck this year is our first Easter bonnet parade). 

So I’ve digressed but my point is that Easter Sunday will come, I’ve got a houseful and for those that has given up their favourites for lent, then a special dessert is in order, and a make ahead, easy chocolate cheesecake is one of my favourite. 

The base is a rich, gooey brownie, the top a baked cheesecake. The result is amazing- the best of both worlds in one satisfying dessert.  The added bonus is you can adapt this to suit your requirements. Mine is nut and gluten free, but you can make it cleaner and vegan ( use sweet potato brownie and raw cheesecake topping)  or easier ( use packet mix brownie) it is up to you, there really is no right or wrong. 

 

Gluten Free Brownie Cheesecake

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

A perfect dessert for an Easter gathering.

 

Ingredients

-packet of brownie mix or
-110g unsalted butter
-110g chocolate
-1/2 tsp salt
-180g caster sugar
-60g  gluten free plain flour
-40 g teff flour
-2 eggs 
-50 ml milk

For the cheesecake 

-700g  full fat cream cheese

-3 eggs

-250g caster sugar

-1tsp vanilla extract 

-120ml  Greek yoghurt or creme fraiche 

Directions 

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 and line a 9 inch spring form case. 
  2. Melt the butter and chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water, when almost melted give a good stir and set aside for about 5 minutes
  3. With an electric whisk beat the eggs, sugar and milk into the chocolate.
  4. Stir in the flour until just combined
  5. Pour into your tin and cook for 20-25 minutes. Don’t worry if it’s not completely cooked as your cake will have phase to in the oven
  6. Turn the oven down to 160 and mix together all the cheesecake ingredients. 
  7. Pour the cheesecake mixture on top of the brownie and return to the oven. 
  8. Cook for a further 35-40 minutes. The top will give a firm wobble 
  9. Leave to cool for 2 hours in the oven
  10. Leave in the tin and then cool put in the fridge for 4 hrs or over night before you decorate. 

 

    Et voila there you have it. Thank you for reading my post, and have an egg-cellent ( sorry) Easter. 

    This is my guest post for Natreco a really great site that sells a host of free from, vegan and natural products. Pop over and have a look if you have time. 

    Strawberry and Vanilla Cheesecake Gluten Free

    I admit I’ve had strawberries on the brain this last week.  In my efforts on embracing the good life the vegetable plot is growing, and strawberries are one of this years projects.  My new plants are in, and we are waiting for them to grow.  However in the mean time, what better excuse for a free from cheesecake? Oh and we had a houseful for Mother’s Day and cheesecake is always a winner. Plus this is a no bake cheesecake so it’s easy to make as well. 

    My error with this was that I personally think it would be better in an 8 inch tin, but I misplaced mine so the 9 inch had to be the tin of choice ( I don’t  think my guests noticed anyway). 

      

    Ingredients 

    Base

    • 250g biscuit I used gullon as they are nut free. You can click Here to buy them. 
    • 80g melted butter

    Filling

    • 600g  full fat cream cheese
    • Juice of 1/2 lemon
    • 100 g icing sugar
    • 200ml double cream 
    • 1/2 tsp vanilla essence. 

    Method

    • Crush the biscuits either in a bag with a rolling pin, or in a food processor
    • Add the melted butter and pulse until you have a damp rubble.
    • Press into the base of a spring closing cake tin and leave to set in the fridge for 30 minutes. 

      

    • For the filling whisk the cream cheese, sugar, lemon juice and vanilla together. 
    • I whisk the double cream separately until it forms stiff peaks. Then gently combine this with the cream cheese mixture. 
    • Put this on top of your biscuit base and leave to set in the fridge ideally overnight. 
    • I decorated with fresh strawberries and mini meringue kisses. 

      

      

    Gluten Free Tiger Cake. 

    As you may, or may not know, I have a three year old.  Those of you with kids will ( probably) tell you how, at times, the toddler years can be challenging, and I’m not just talking about allergies. 

    I’ll paint you a picture, currently the obsession of LR is Thomas The Tank, Dinosaurs, Paw Patrol ( the theme tune makes my ears bleed) and animals. Which leads us on to the fact my birthday is this week and she thought it would be great if I have a birthday cake. Only Thing was madam thought a tiger cake would be great. Now if it’s anything like the dinosaur I attempted the other week, the cake was going to be a car crash- trying to explain that to a head strong tot was even worse.   The stropometer reached a level I think we have never seen before, and quite frankly I’ve no desire to see again.

    So why am I babbling about my cake decorating disasters? Well the compromise was a tiger cake in the form of stripes ( sort of ) with chocolate and vanilla layers to look ( sort of) like a tiger,  and LO was promised to be able to like the bowl so the actual cooking could commence. 

      
     Don’t worry about the vanilla sponge looking a rather odd colour, yours will look great, ours had the addition of orange food colouring to add to the tiger theme. 

    Ingredients 

    • 4 eggs
    •  100ml milk ( of choice) 
    • 250 ml oil I have used either coconut or sunflower
    • 250g caster sugar 
    • 1tsp vanilla extract 
    • 475g self raising flour ( I use Doves farm Gluten free) as a side note you can sub 75g of flour for ground almond which helps make the cake moist we don’t due to nut allergies. 
    • 25g Cocoa or raw cacao powder. 
    • 1tsp baking powder

    Method 

    • Preheat oven to 180C /Gas Mark 4 
    • Line a 23cm cake tin 
    • Lightly beat the eggs then mix with the milk, oil and vanilla extract. Add 175 g of flour and whisk until smooth
    • Get 2 bowls pour half this mixture in 1 along with 1/2 tsp baking powder and another 175g of flour
    • In the other pour the rest, add the cocoa powder, 1/2 tsp baking powder and the remaining flower. 
    • In the centre of your tin put 2 large spoonfuls of white mixture, then the same of chocolate directly on top. Keep doing this until the tin is full

      

    • Don’t worry if it’s not perfect circles I had to improvise a bit at the side but it adds to the effect of the cake. 
    • Put in the oven and cook for 40-50 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. 
    • I let it cool for 10 mins in the tin before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. 

      

    Et voila there you have your marble ( I mean tiger) cake. My only notes to add would be that I think it would look great decorated as a chocolate drippy edge cake with the full works in terms of a mountain of chocolates on top.  

    It’s better eaten fairly quickly as well, I find the gluten free version has a tendency to go dry quite quickly, but it goes wonderfully with a cup of tea, and I fact the dry sponge I made into a chocolate and orange trifle….. Buts that’s another post. 

    Bircher ( Overnight Oats) Bowl 

    Hmmm so how’s 2017 going for everyone? Not bad for us this end, although losing a dear friend has been a blow.  However this is not a post intended on depressing you all, on the contrary the year is still young, opportunities are a plenty and my popcorn machine is on standby for me to pull up my chair and watch the comedy/ horror/ disaster movie that is Trump ( I’m childish and still snigger at his name) going into the Oval Office. 

    I’m sorry, I’m sorry I’m supposed to be keeping you all uplifted, well you will need energy to do this…..and this breakfast is perfect for that. I love ( gluten free) oats, they are filling, good for you, and versatile. What’s not to like? 

      

      The best thing about over night oats is that there is no right or wrong way to eat them, any flavour or combination work, they can be as clean ( or dirty??) as you want them to be, and can be made the night before. This is the real winner for me, as it saves precious time on that early morning rush….

    Ingredients 

    • 1/2 cup rolled oats ( or gluten free oats) 
    • 1/2 cup milk of choice
    • 1/2 cup of yoghurt or choice 
    • 1-2 tsp chia seeds ( optional) 
    • I dessert spoon raisins 
    • Sweeten with honey or maple syrup or Apple juice ( to suit your palate ) 
    • Topping of choice 

    Mix the oats, milk, yoghurt, chia and sweetner together and leave for 6-8 hours in the fridge. 

    In the morning add to a jar ( or bowl) and have fun with your toppings. 

      

    Have you tried over night oats? What’s your favourite flavour combinations? Let me know in the comments below. 

    Allergy Friendly Cupcakes 

    Welcome one and all ( old English christmas speak ) to Blogmas day five. I hope the new week brings you some more festive cheer, me on the other hand have a beauty of a cold and a three year old to entertain. It wasn’t fairing too well but we hit on a winner with baking cupcakes. 

    They are easy to make and if your kids are like mine then the decorating will keep them entertained for a bit, then you get another 5-10 minutes for eating their creations – result. I take no credit for the recipe either, it’s adapted from your traditional sponge recipe just made allergy friendly. 

    I’ll reiterate that mini me did a lot of the decorating, but to add on a more serious note Waitrose Christmas cake decorations are largely free of gluten, nuts and soya. B&M have gluten free cupcake toppers to. 

      

    Ingredients 

    • 125g self raising flour
    • 125g caster sugar
    • 125g butter ( or dairy free alternative) 
    • 2 eggs
    • 1tsp vanilla extract 

    Method

    • Preheat oven to 180 degrees
    • Cream together butter and sugar
    • Add the eggs one at a time. 
    • Add vanilla extract
    • Sift in flour and stir until well combined. 
    • Put in cupcake cakes and bake in the oven until well risen and firm to touch. (15 minutes roughly) 
    • Cool on a wire rack and decorate to your hearts content. 

    After all that hard work, have a well earned 5 minutes eating one of these creations until your kids utter the dreaded words “I’m bored!!!” 

    That’s it from me for now. Have a great evening and I’ll be back tomorrow x