Shea panic

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ONE OF THE few mainstream chocolates that is safe for Sidney to eat is Cadbury’s Buttons. This is fantastic because:

* they are kiddie-friendly

* they come in teeny packs so it’s easy to limit the amount he shovels in

* they are available everywhere so it’s the perfect party bag sweet to suggest to friends

* they are available everywhere so it’s the perfect treat for family to buy

* they are available everywhere so if we find ourselves in a situation where we’re out with friends and every kid is having an ice cream, or a cake, or something Sidney can’t have, it’s easy to track down a packet of Buttons for him to enjoy

* they are brilliantly versatile for cake toppings, biscuit decorations, etc

So imagine the panic when a new ingredients listing turned up on selected packets of Buttons a little while ago: shea. Continue reading “Shea panic”

Absolutely the BEST cake recipe ever

Nut free, dairy free, egg free (optional: gluten and wheat free)

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I CANNOT even begin to say how easy and amazing this allergy safe cake recipe is.

As usual, I left it until the last minute to get prepping for Sid’s birthday (how clearly I remember last year pledging to perfect all manner of sweet treats by the time he turned three. Ha!) and in a state of panic tweeted my worries about finding the right recipe.

Back came a link to something called ‘Wacky Cake’, an American concoction apparently created during the Depression era when fresh ingredients were rationed. It contains no egg, no dairy, no nuts and can be baked with gluten free flour, too. It uses vinegar or lemon to replace the egg and it works.

Continue reading “Absolutely the BEST cake recipe ever”

Kinnerton’s a winner

4 FACING CLASSIC LOLLY SOT_F_2-1I CAN’T BELIEVE it’s taken me this long (herein proof it’s a bum ache finding allergy safe food) but I have just discovered that Kinnerton make a nut free, egg free milk chocolate for kids.

I knew they made the dairy free bars and lollies, which are pretty liberally stocked by the major supermarkets. But for some reason none of the supermarkets I have ever visited stock the milk chocolate versions.

Continue reading “Kinnerton’s a winner”

Allergy Show: the verdict (and five fab finds)

IMG_2091LAST year I penned a super-peeved post about our debut trip to the Allergy & Free From Show. From the ‘welcome’ bag stuffed with sesame bars to the willy-nilly nuts, the lack of allergy friendly cafe fare and the quacks offering dodgy allergy tests occupying pole position at the entrance it was less the allergy show, more the gluten free nut-lovers’ hippy dippy hokum show. OK, I exaggerate a bit: I did find some very fine allergy safe gnocchi and was bowled over to hear the fabulous Dr Adam Fox speak).

To give them credit, after I posted my rant the organisers got in touch and talked through each of my (and my fellow allergy bloggers’) concerns – explaining the reasoning behind some peeves and promising to put other aspects right by this year’s event.

Happily, it seems they have. Continue reading “Allergy Show: the verdict (and five fab finds)”

Don’t discontinue the chocolate!

So, I’ve just come back from my second day at the Allergy and Free From Show at Olympia. The last time I was there was 15 years ago for Erotica ’97 – my boyfriend at the time worked for a porn mag, I’m afraid. How things change, eh?

I’m gearing up for a bit of a blog rant about the show, so I’ll save that for now. But this afternoon I came across the Kinnerton confectionery stall and, for the first time, their Luxury Belgian Milk Chocolate bars.

Unfortunately, just as I find them it seems they’re being taken away. The egg, nut and gluten free choc tastes delicious – but it’s now been discontinued. Apparently stockists (i.e. the big supermarkets) weren’t displaying them where people could find them. As a result, nobody knew they existed, sales were low and they’ve been forced to ditch the line. Which is such a shame as these are perfect for the very many kids and adults with nut, egg and gluten allergies out there.

I bulk bought as many as I could reasonably see us eating by the ‘best before’ in Feb 2013 – but I hereby attempt to mount a campaign to Bring the Chocolate Back. They tell me if enough people lobby them for the bars’ return they will consider reviving them. There are so few allergy friendly chocolates out there – particularly nut allergy friendly – that I’d be overjoyed to have it them production. So I’m starting a petition – will you join me by signing it here?

And the best ‘free from’ products are…

From pies to beers, here’s the full list of winners from the Free From Food Awards 2012 – and details of where to buy ’em:

Best Pie, Flan or Ready Meal

The Gluten Free Kitchen’s Ovencrust Chicken & Bacon Pie (gluten, wheat, dairy free) “Crisp, golden pastry with a succulent, tasty chicken filling.” £2.50 from The Gluten Free Kitchen

Continue reading “And the best ‘free from’ products are…”

Top 10 allergy friendly Easter treats for grown-ups

Easter’s not just for children, you know. Here’s our guide to the best freefrom goodies for adults this April…

1. ‘Choices’ dark chocolate egg & fine mints (dairy free, gluten free, wheat free, egg free, vegan)

A dark egg with fine mint chocolates made from 60 per cent cocoa solids. As with their kids’ eggs, makers Celtic won’t promise “nut free” because they can’t rule out airborne contamination throughout the supply chain – but no nuts are used in the factory, staff are banned from eating nuts in the canteen or from bringing nuts on-site and there are even spot checks to ensure the rules aren’t breached. £3.99, Holland & Barrett stores nationwide. Call 0870 606 6606 for details or find your nearest store here.

2. ‘Choices’ chocolate egg & discs (dairy free, gluten free, wheat free, egg free, vegan)

An allergy friendly alternative to the traditional milk choc egg in perky spring packaging, also from freefrom brand Celtic (see above for nut information). £5.49 online from Carrick’s of Penrith

3. Booja Booja Champagne Truffle Easter Egg (dairy free, gluten free, wheat free, egg free, soya free, vegan)

A luxury egg with beautifully hand-painted wrapping and decadent champagne truffles. Every egg bought supports artists and their local communities in Kashmir. Comes in other flavours including sozzled sultana, midnight espresso, stem ginger and hazelnut crunch (clearly not one for the nut allergic). £10 from Goodness Direct and Diverse Hampers

4. Sainsbury’s Freefrom dark chocolate egg & discs (gluten free, wheat free, dairy free, egg free)


A simple but cute egg wrapped up Italian-style in daffodil yellow paper with a moss green ribbon. No nuts in the ingredients. £3.99, selected Sainsbury’s stores

5. Kinnerton plain chocolate egg & bar (dairy free, nut free, wheat free, egg free, gluten free)

The rich, dark Kinnerton classic, backed by its nut-free promise and without dairy, gluten or egg. £5 from Asda and selected Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Tesco stores

6. Waitrose LOVE Life Free From hot cross buns (gluten free, wheat free)

Hot cross buns for Easter.

Buns without the wheat or gluten for hot toasted buttery breakfasts this Easter. Unfortunately, not ones for the egg allergic, I’m afraid. £2.49, Waitrose stores and online

7. Buttons the Easter Bunny (gluten free)

Grown-ups deserve a bit of silly, too – so this luxury choc bunny’s a real treat. Especially because it’s gluten free. No eggs or nuts in the ingredients, but they can’t guarantee no traces. £6.50, Hotel du Chocolat

8. Siesta Carob Easter Egg (dairy free, gluten free, vegetarian)

A simple hollow chocolate egg, made in a nut-free environment (though, again, they ‘cannot guarantee’ no nut traces). £5.36 from Goodness Direct

9. Billy Goat Stuff small solid eggs (dairy free, soya free, nut free, egg free, wheat free, gluten free)

Pretty rose gold foil-wrapped solid eggs made with goat’s milk from Essex-based specialist Billy Goat Stuff. Check out their website for other freefrom half eggs, bunnies, ducks and more. From £1.20-£7.49 , Billy Goat Stuff

10.  ‘Moo Free’ Egg (dairy free, gluten free, casein free, egg free, vegan, wheat free)

A dairy-free ‘milk’ choc egg that’s good for kids and grown-ups. There’s no soya in the ingredients list but there is a ‘may contain traces’ of nuts and soya warning. From £3.79 online at www.ecogreenstore.co.uk and at selected stores nationwide. See here for stockists or contact Moo Free on 0845 094 6498

Top 10 allergy friendly Easter treats for kids

Easter eggs

IT’S that time of year when the shops are packed with perky foil-wrapped bunnies, big-eyed chocolate chicks and row upon row of elaborately wrapped, truffle-stuffed and ribbon-sporting eggs.

But if your child suffers from a food allergy, you’ll know what a minefield Easter can be. You have one of four options:

– go the non-chocolate route and buy them something else instead (good luck with that)

– go the anti-consumerist route and ignore the whole charade (ditto)

– bake the goodies yourself (assuming you have the time)

– go slowly demented desperately trawling the web for something your little ones can eat

So, in a bid to take the stress out of Easter shopping for the allergic one in your life, we bring you this year’s top 10 best Easter goodies for kids (in no particular order). We’d love to know your suggestions, so do drop us a comment if you find any more…

1. Hello Kitty Milk Chocolate Egg & Shopper Bag (nut free & no egg, wheat or gluten in the ingredients)

The perfect girlie treat: a pink Hello Kitty tote and nut-safe egg from kings of the allergy choc, Kinnerton. There are no eggs, gluten or wheat in the ingredients although Kinnerton doesn’t list them as ‘egg, gluten and wheat free’ because they are not tested for cross-contamination. From £4 online at Tesco and Asda. For more details and stockists see Kinnerton’s website.

2. Marvel Heroes 3D Puzzle Tin & Egg (nut free & no egg, wheat or gluten in the ingredients)

A magnetic puzzle game and nut-safe milk chocolate egg for tiny superhero fans everywhere. From £4 online at Tesco. For more details and stockists see Kinnerton’s website.

3. ‘Moo Free’ Egg (dairy free, gluten free, casein free, egg free, vegan, wheat free)

Ideal for the little one with a milk allergy, this dairy free ‘milk’ choc egg tastes pretty darn good, actually (all in the name of research). There’s no soya in the ingredients list but there is a ‘may contain traces’ of nuts and soya warning. From £3.79 online at www.ecogreenstore.co.uk and at selected stores nationwide. See here for stockists or contact Moo Free on 0845 094 6498

4. Bunny Lolly (nut free, and no egg, wheat or gluten in the ingredients)

So many freefrom chocolate goodies are po-faced about packaging – but Kinnerton knows how to make allergy-friendly products fun for kids. If we hadn’t already told you, you’d be none the wiser that these choccie bunnies weren’t ordinary Easter fare. From 54p at selected Co-op stores – click here for details or see Kinnerton’s website.

5. Jelly Mini-Eggs (gluten free, milk free, soya free)

Understated packaging but colourful jolly jelly eggs in apricot, pear, raspberry, orange and pineapple flavours. Does contain wheat glucose syrup, though, so not suitable for most wheat allergy sufferers (unless your doc advises otherwise). Nut traces warning. £3.50 from Waitrose

6. Holland & Barrett White Choc Egg with Buttons (dairy free, gluten free, wheat free, egg free, vegan)

The health food chain has a few allergy-friendly treats this spring but this sports the most kiddie-friendly packaging. This white choc egg and buttons has been shortlisted for the Free From Food Awards 2012. They aren’t labelled as nut free because of the possibility of “airborne contamination throughout the supply chain” but manufacturer Celtic Chocolates don’t use nuts in their factory, or nuts in any of their products, plus staff are prohibited from eating nuts in the canteen or bringing any on-site. £3.49 from Holland & Barrett stores nationwide – click here for details

7. D & D Hollow Chocolate Easter Egg (dairy free, gluten free, wheat free, vegetarian)

Not the most eye-catching box but at least we have a few hopping bunnies and spring butterflies on this dairy-free confection. D & D’s egg has no, um, egg in it either but does contain soya lecithin. There is a ‘nut traces’ warning as nut products are made on-site. £5.36 from Goodness Direct. For more details see D & D’s website.

8. Chocolate Trading Co Milk Chocolate Duck (soya free, egg free, wheat free, gluten free)

This dinky duck choc is made without soya lecithin and hydrogenated fats. No wheat or gluten in the ingredients, although nuts and gluten are used on-site so it “may contain traces”. Also find bunny shapes, dark chocolate varieties and a lovely bright yellow chocolate chick on the website. From £3.95 for a small bunny to £10.95 to a large hen, from the Chocolate Trading Co

9. Billy Goat Stuff Solid Easter Bunny (nut free, soya free, dairy free, egg free, wheat free, gluten free)

Gold foil and pink ribboned Easter bunny in a bag. This small Essex-based supplier uses goat’s milk to create its cute confectionery and was highly commended in the 2010 Free From Food Awards. £2.99 from Billy Goat Stuff online shop

10. Mini Easter Eggs (milk free, soya free, nut free, egg free, gluten free)

Made by Finnish brand Dammenberg, this pack of mini dark choc eggs is a multiple allergy kid’s dream: no eggs, gluten, soya, dairy or nuts. Organic, too. £6 online from Gourmelli UK. For more details contact Gourmelli on 01234 240000.

And… we can’t go without a special mention to Kinnerton for their Peppa Pig, Spongebob and Fireman Sam ranges – and to Tesco for stocking the lot. Hooray.