My Favourite Christmas Products ( So Far)

Yes, yes, yes I know it’s only October, but I will not be apologising for the fact that I LOVE Christmas. I really do, and since having mini me I has become even more magical, but I can be a bit of a challenge for those of us with food allergies and intolerances, so I thought I’d share with you lovely lot my favourite products so far- gone on confess it you’ve bought some things to??

This year ( so far) I’ve been really excited by this panettone (£3) from Tesco. I can here coeliacs everywhere rejoice. I’ve tried it- for the sake of my followers, and it doesn’t disappoint, it really is lovely. My only downside is it’s quite small for the price, but hey it’s Christmas. Sainsbury’s are also doing a larger panettone for around £14 but I’ve yet to locate and try one. I’ll keep you posted.

Also from Tesco, and another gluten free find is this Black Forest wreath. At £5 it looks great and will feed a whole lot of guests with no effort. Sadly it does carry a nut warning though ( boo) so will probably not be on my Christmas table

My one last exciting find in Tesco is their Christmas pudding, mainly because it covers so many free from categories including nut and dairy free. As to what it tastes like, in all honesty I don’t know, it’s firmly on my to try list.

My other exciting find is this pretty dairy free chocolate box from M&S although at £8 it’s expensive. It also carries a nut warning despite Kinnerton making the chocolate- don’t worry we are keeping on at them to change it. However it would make a great gift or after dinner treat.

Other things to look out for is the gluten free and vegan mince pie and Christmas cake from Costa, and well as a very cute dairy free chocolate penguin from Asda.

Fear not I’ll update this post when I find things.

Nb- this is not a sponsored post. Just my honest opinion.

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Summer Berries Pavlova

I know we were spoilt last week with the beautiful weather, but I’m sure it will be back again- maybe. I hope so anyway, on the strength of it all we toddled out and got a new BBQ. Obviously we then had to try it which leads on to one thing- alfresco eating.

I always think that summer puddings should be easy to prepare, not to heavy and a perfect way to end those outdoor get togethers. Enter my meringue it’s soft and mallow centre combined with a crisp outer shell is perfect for pavlovas and Eton mess alike. The only negative is the lack of oven use for anything else whilst it’s cooking and cooling. I mean it’s not really a negative- you could just make more meringues.

This pavlova is flavoured using the fabulous Sugar and Crumbs strawberry milkshake flavoured icing sugar. (This isn’t an ad- I just really love these, and they are free from nuts, dairy and gluten). It’s also pink, due to the request from the tiny human, i could not refuse.

Ingredients

  • 4 egg whites
  • 180g caster sugar
  • 50g icing sugar ( mine was flavoured)
  • 1tsp corn flour
  • 1/2 tsp white wine vinegar
  • Gel food colouring if needed

Method

  • Heat your oven to 120°c
  • In your mixer use the balloon whisk and whist the whites until they start to form soft peaks.
  • Gradually add the caster sugar 1 spoon at a time whilst the mixer is on a medium speed. Do not over beat
  • Sift in the icing sugar and cornflour and fold into you egg whites gently.
  • Add the food colouring and vinegar for a final beat with the mixer. If it’s ready the mixture will not fall out of the upturned bowl.
  • You can pipe the meringue into rounds or make one large pavlova it’s up to you.

Now with the baking I find ovens are temperamental things. My new one is definitely hotter than my previous one. I put the meringue in at 120° and bake for about an hour ( it was longer in the old over) after this time turn the cooker off and leave the meringue to completely cool in the oven.

When cooled whip some cream and pile those berries high. Then enjoy your efforts sat outside ( dodging the bugs) at the BBQ.

Pancake Day…. My Free From Way.

Rejoice it’s pancake day, and may I say it’s always greeted with much gusto and enthusiasm. I’ll admit I’m rubbish at tossing a pancake, it gets stuck on, the cat, or the ceiling or in the pan, I opt for a spatula or let my husband do it. However I do make a pretty mean American pancake, or drop scone, or whatever the heck you want to call them.

This year has seen an added challenge. Mini me is ( temporarily I’m hoping) having to avoid both gluten and dairy, as well as nuts. So can you make a delicious dairy free pancake? Oh yes you can- and here’s how I do it.

Ingredients

  • 110g gf self raising Flour
  • 25g teff flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1-2tbs caster sugar or 1-2tsp maple syrup.
  • 1 egg
  • 140mls milk of choice ( I used rice milk for the dairy free version).
  • I added chocolate chips ( from Moo Free) but blueberries or just plain work well as well.

Method

Mix all the ingredients together to form a batter. Fold in the chocolate chips.

I use a Tefel pancake pan with no oil. Pour some batter in, when it starts to show air bubbles it’s time to flip and cook the other side.

There you have it, super easy and great for pancake day.

Mini Donuts Gluten, Nut and Dairy Free

Yep you did indeed read the title correctly. Now gluten free donuts ( until recently) have been a bit like unicorns – not real, mythical and things you can only dream about.

In fact there are 2 delicious producers that I recommend these are Borough 22 and wheat free bakery direct. Check them out if you can ( btw this is not an ad I just really like these).

Any way I’ve digressed, for Christmas I got a mini donut maker. I mean I got a fab new bag as well, not just this electrical item, but I was impressed with it. This got me thinking will gluten and dairy free work? Only one way to find out…..

By golly it did, want to know how I did it?? Have a read below.

Ingredients

  • 125 g gluten free plain flour
  • 120g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 120ml of milk of choice
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1tbs butter or dairy free butter melted.

Method

  • Put dry ingredients into a bowl,
  • Make a well and pour in all your wet ingredients
  • Whisk until you have a smooth batter

  • Heat your donut maker
  • mine takes about 3-4 minutes to cook the little lovelies.
  • Either toss in cinnamon sugar, or ice however you fancy.

There you go, so easy, and so tasty. Even my husband ( who hates donuts) said they were good.

Until next time, have a great week.

Layered Breakfast Pot Gluten free

For my third Blogmas post I’m sharing a recipe, (well sort or recipe) with you. The lovely people over at Naturelly were challenging people to create a layered jar. I took the challenge and my mango layered pot was the finished result, so far, I’m working on a truly Christmas twist for my next one.

If you have never heard of Naturelly they produce fabulous jelly/ juice pouches for children. Nut free, gluten free, dairy free and 36 calories so great for little ones- but who says the kids should have all the fun? I’ve given them a grown up twist.

Anyway the best thing with these jars are they are quick and so easy to make ( or assemble really). They would be so cute on a Christmas morning breakfast table, all prepared so the all important family time and present unwrapping isn’t interrupted. Win win all round.

I can’t really call it a recipe but here goes any way.

Ingredients

  • 1 pouch tropical naturelly
  • Chopped mango
  • Yoghurt of choice
  • Granola ( I used Nutribrex)

The method is simple, layer up how you fancy. I chose mango, yoghurt, granola, mango then naturelly.

The next step is simple- dive in and enjoy your breakfast.

Do you like layered jars? What’s your favourite flavour? Let me know in the comments below.

Disclaimer: I was sent the naturelly to create a recipe, all views and ideas are my own.

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.

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.