The perfect cheesecake (two ways)

IMG_4390YOU’LL BE hard pressed to find a shop or deli-bought cheesecake that doesn’t contain egg, let alone wheat or nuts. But it’s actually really simple to knock up an allergy-friendly alternative that tastes just as good… and maybe even better.

I first made this recipe, just before Sid was born, for my husband’s birthday. (I’m not a mental baker, but I was six months pregnant and we weren’t going out on the razzle so I decided a cake would be a substitute – albeit a poor one!). I’ve adapted it here for Sidney using Tru Free digestives, which are egg, nut, wheat and gluten free. Continue reading “The perfect cheesecake (two ways)”

Same old, same old pt II

JUST a quick follow-up to last night’s post on Sainsbury’s ditching the Dietary Specials Mozzarella and Tomato pizzas for their own rubbish version.

I’ve spoken with the exceedingly helpful folks at DS today who confirm that, yes, Sainsbury’s was their only major stockist and that they may now have to discontinue the line completely if no other big supermarket steps in. Deja vu – exactly what happened with Kinnerton milk chocolate. So do give Sainsbury’s a call on 0800 636 262, option ’5′, and ask them to reconsider. Continue reading “Same old, same old pt II”

Support group dates…

I’VE BEEN very remiss in blogging about these but the food allergy parents’ support group is trundling on happily, with different get-togethers happening in different parts of London. The next two are in Ealing and at St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington, but there are plans for another north London one, hopefully in November. I’ll keep you posted. Continue reading “Support group dates…”

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!

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.