Sweet potato rolls

Wheat free, gluten free, dairy free, egg free, nut free

IMG_5333 I CAN’T lay claim to this recipe – it was a happy discovery via a fellow allergy Mum  and comes from Pippa Kendrick, author of the amazing ‘free from’ blog that is The Intolerant Gourmet.

Unlike so many gluten free baking recipes, these came out perfectly the very first time I made them – and were wolfed down fresh for lunch with tzatziki and cucumber sticks by a ravenous toddler. Then the remainder were polished off by me.

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Crispy chicken bits

(Wheat free, gluten free, egg free, optional dairy free)

IMG_4378MY BID to recreate the chicken in matzo meal I loved as a child – minus the wheat and egg. Cut into goujons, chunky nuggets or a mini escalope it’s a great dish served warm and just as tasty doled out cold the next day for a picnic-style meal.

Ingredients

One pack chicken breast fillets

Orgran corn crispy crumbs (basically just baked maize breadcrumbs)

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Lovely beetroot & carrot fritters

Egg free, wheat free, nut free, gluten free (optional: dairy free)

A SHORT while ago I posted about the wonderful barbecue at my Mum’s house, where, for the first time ever, we were able to turn up with Sid in tow but NO FOOD.

This was huge. It never happens when you’re parent to a food allergy kid. But everything Mum made was suitable for Sidney to eat, and it was amazing. Amazing for us not to have to cart over our tupperwares of pre-prepared safe snacks, and amazing for Sid to pilfer from our plates for the first time in his little life.

These beetroot and carrot fritters went down well, and with the addition of a sprinkling of salt the adults tucked in happily, too. Continue reading “Lovely beetroot & carrot fritters”

Delicious salmon fishcakes

Egg free, nut free, wheat free, gluten free

These crispy fishcakes can be fashioned purely from salmon or with cod, haddock or whatever combination of flaky fish you fancy. I go for salmon just for a dose of omega-3 (especially given Sidney can’t eat other omega-3 rich stuff like nuts, seeds, beans etcetera).

I make them into flat patties and lightly fry them off for a lovely crispy golden brown coating. The following recipe makes a big batch of around 18 fishcakes, which I freeze for future use.

Basically, they’re another great finger food, delicious eaten hot or cold, and make a good hearty staple for a meal with some veg on the side.

Ingredients

2 fresh (de-boned) salmon fillets (around 460g)

Potatoes (3 or 4 medium-sized)

Whole organic milk

Dove’s Farm gluten free plain white flour

Black pepper to taste

Pure sunflower oil

Unsalted butter

Large saucepan

Frying pan

Bowl

Method

Place the salmon fillets in a single layer in a pan and just about cover them with cold milk. Heat gently and let simmer for 10 minutes, then take off the heat and let cool.

Lift the poached fish out of the saucepan, leaving the milk. Peel off and discard the skin, pop the fish in a bowl and flake it through very carefully with your fingers to ensure there are no bones.

In the meantime, boil the potatoes (around one third to half of the quantity of fish) and then mash using the remaining cooking milk. Add butter and more milk if necessary for nice stiff peaks of mash. Again, leave to cool.

In a bowl, add the potato to the fish and fork through gently, with a sprinkling of black pepper to taste.

Next, form small flattish patties from the mixture with your hands and dust lightly with Dove’s Farm gluten free flour – either sprinkle through a sieve or dip in a bowl of flour. Place in fridge to firm up.

When chilled, pop the fishcakes in a frying pan on a medium heat with enough sunflower oil to cover the bottom. Turn after three or four minutes and cook on both sides until golden. Remove from heat, place on kitchen towel to drain excess oil and serve.

To freeze for future use, fry only until a very pale golden colour, remove from heat, drain on paper then, when cooled, layer on baking paper in a foil tray and freeze. When needed, defrost overnight then fry in sunflower oil until piping hot. Drain, serve, bingo!

Juicy lamb sausages

Egg free, wheat free, gluten free, nut free, (optional: dairy free)

ALL THOUGHTS of raising a veggie child flew straight out of the window when Sid turned out to be allergic to virtually all of my staples (eggs, wheat, pulses, nuts, hummus), the little bugger.

In all honesty, I’d never seriously considered bringing him up a vegetarian as my husband’s a meat eater and I have to confess to very fond memories of all my childhood meaty meals. After all, I’m half Roman on my Dad’s side and Jewish with an Irish-English bent on my Mum’s so how could I not have happy recollections of everything from salami to salt beef, steak ‘n’ kidney pie, roast pork with all the crackling (non-practising Jewish, all right?), even, I’m afraid, a bit of the old vitello tonnato. My veggie ways are all about the animal thing, not the taste thing.

So while I’m squeamish about handling raw meat and leave most of the handiwork on that front to my husband, I’m very happy to introduce Sidney to as many tasty foods as we safely can.

These lamb sausages were pilfered and adapted from a baby-led weaning cookbook and they have a few bonuses: they’re stuffed with veg, they freeze well and can be steamed back to juicy life (I’m told) in no time; plus they make great portable finger food as well as a hearty complement to a traditional meat and two veg dinner.

The original recipe, if I remember rightly, includes peas but, since they’re out for us, I use courgette, leek and, depending what’s in the fridge, a little cheddar or parmesan for added oomph. They’re just as good dairy free, though.

Ingredients

250g minced lamb

1 medium leek, finely chopped

2 courgettes, finely chopped

Ground black pepper to taste

Fresh herbs to taste (optional)

Handful grated parmesan (check the ingredients label to ensure there is no egg – the similar Grana Padano cheeses tend to include it) or cheddar

Olive oil to grease pan

Baking tray

Mixing bowl

Method

Steam or sauté the courgettes and leeks in a little olive oil until soft (you could add some finely chopped garlic and onion, too). Plop the lamb mince in a bowl and mix well with the cooked veg. Season with black pepper, add chopped fresh herbs if you fancy – mint’s a good one – and stir again.

Let the veg cool down before taking small handfuls of the mixture and forming little sausages. You could turn them into meatballs, or flat patties, but a sausage is particularly good for younger babies to grip. If the mix is sticky, you could dust your hands first with some wheat free, gluten free flour, but I’ve never found this to be necessary.

Place the sausages on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Ideally, if you have the time, stick them in the fridge for an hour or so before baking – this lets them firm up nicely.

Bake in a 200˚C oven for around 25 minutes to half an hour. You’ll know they’re cooked when they’re browned on the outside and no longer pink when you cut through one.

Perfect served fresh and hot, or cold the next day. I always freeze a batch for future use. Let them cool before layering them between sheets of baking paper in a foil carton and freezing. Defrost overnight in the fridge, then steam in a colander over a pan for 30 to 45 minutes until piping hot. Yum (apparently).

Fake scrambled egg on toast

Egg-free, wheat-free, nut-free (optional: dairy-free)

I almost hesitate to post this recipe, it’s so stupidly simple. But I know that when Sid was first declared egg allergic and all the things he couldn’t eat were racing through my mind, a super-quick substitute for that childhood favourite, scrambled egg on toast, would have been a joy to hear about.

Of course we hadn’t been able to attempt it until recently, given that it’s made with tofu and we weren’t sure if Sid would be allergic to soya. Thankfully he isn’t and this has turned into a really handy, quick and nutritious staple for him.

And despite my reservations at first, it doesn’t taste half bad. I mix it in with tomato, spinach, mushroom and basil but for the full Turkish scrambled egg experience you could add in some peppers or olives or whatever takes your fancy. Or eat it pure and unadorned (actually, with nothing but grated cheddar might be nice…).

If you can eat dairy, it’s best mixed in with a cream cheese to give it a bit of, well, creaminess and depth. I go for Sainsbury’s ‘SO’ Organic full fat soft cheese as it’s nothing but cheese, and has a more crumbly soft texture than Philadelphia.

I remember when I was a child my lovely grandad (known to my sister and me as ‘Ganzie’) Woolf ‘Willy’ White, born in the Jewish East End, would buy proper cream cheese spooned into a tub from the deli counter – so rich it would have an almost yellowish tinge – and spread it in thick peaks on digestive biscuits. In fact, it became known to us all as ‘Ganzie’s cheese’. For some reason it’s virtually impossible to find that sort of cream cheese any more. They used to sell it in our local Safeway but you can’t find it in supermarkets nowadays and I don’t think I’ve ever seen it in the average deli, either. Such a shame.

Anyway, that was a tangent – here’s how to make my fake scrambled egg on toast:

Ingredients

Plain tofu (I go for Cauldron Original Tofu as there are no sesame or nut warnings and the ingredients are simply water, soya beans and calcium sulphate).

Handful of fresh leaf spinach

One fresh tomato

Cream cheese (Sainsbury’s SO Organic full fat cream cheese for me)

Fresh basil

One mushroom

Olive oil

Unsalted butter

Wheat-free bread (I use Dietary Specials gluten-free brown loaf)

Method

Slice off a good, thick, two inch wide slice from the tofu and store the rest under water in a sealed Tupperware container in the fridge.

Soak up some of the water from the tofu by pressing with a wad of kitchen towel for a few seconds. Cut into chunks.

Wash and finely chop the spinach, tomato, mushroom and basil.

Heat a little olive oil in a frying pan or saucepan and sauté the mushrooms and tomato. When softened (three or four minutes on a low heat should do it), add in the tofu, spinach and basil and ‘scramble’ the mixture together with a wooden spoon.

Leave to cook for a few minutes on a gentle heat, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, toast the bread and spread with unsalted butter. Then stir a good heaped teaspoon of cream cheese into the tofu and mix until melted.

Serve with the toast, and eat…

Tasty polenta sticks

Egg free, wheat free, nut free, soya free (optional: dairy free)

When I need something fast, filling and portable for Sidney to eat these polenta sticks are a dream. I concocted them when I was stumped for an alternative to the perfect packed lunch – sandwiches. With wheat, egg and possibly soya off the menu it’s nigh on impossible to find a suitable bread and I haven’t got round to perfecting a home-baked version yet. Oh, all right, I haven’t got round to trying at all.

But these take 15 minutes to prep, taste great straight from the grill and are just as good snatched from the fridge and eaten cold on the go.

As for what you mix into them, it’s your call. I go for fresh spinach, a bit of tomato and some grated cheese, but you could stir in a bolognese sauce, diced roasted veg or some little chunks of ham. Sidney likes to pick them up with his fingers two at a time and cram them both in his mouth at once. And I like to eat them piping hot, with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of rock salt.

Ingredients

Merchant Gourmet or Valsugana quick cook polenta (I’m sure there are other suitable brands out there but these are the ones I’ve found with no nut warnings and which cook up quickly and smoothly)

Olive oil and/or unsalted butter

Two handfuls finely chopped fresh spinach

Small handful of finely chopped fresh cherry tomatoes

Handful grated cheddar or parmesan

Whole milk

Small baking tray

Method

My method is more by eye than by measurement – because the polenta keeps well in the fridge it doesn’t matter if I make a bit more than usual; it’ll always get eaten.

Boil around two inches of water (or half and half water and whole milk) in the bottom of a pan. Slowly pour in the polenta, stirring all the time, until it thickens to smooth porridge consistency. Turn the heat down and let the polenta simmer. It needs to cook for around five to seven minutes on a very low flame, so if it starts to look too thick and gloopy (like an undiluted roux) add a little more water and milk to loosen and stir.

After two or three minutes add your handfuls of chopped tomatoes and spinach, stir well, and continue to cook for another two or three minutes before adding in the grated cheese. A knob of butter adds creaminess, too. When the polenta has been simmering for at least six or seven minutes, no longer tastes ‘grainy’ and separates when you stir it you can take it off the heat.

Pour the mixture into a small baking tray pre-greased with a little olive oil and smooth so that the polenta sits around one inch thick (alternatively you could pour into muffin trays for thicker, fatter polenta cakes).

Grill under a medium heat for 5-10 mins or until starting to brown nicely on top.

Remove from the grill and let the tray cool.

You can serve the polenta up straight away if you’re happy with a squidgy texture. Otherwise let it sit for half an hour then lever the polenta out by slicing down the middle and removing with a fish slice. Place on a plate and cut into inch-thick fingers.

Eat at once or let them cool completely and pop them in the fridge to store. They can be eaten cold or reheated by steaming gently, frying in a little olive oil or microwaving.