HumZingers Fruit Stix

HEAVENS, I’M on an allergy friendly roll. What a novelty: two discoveries in as many days. This time it’s a dried fruit snack called HumZingers, which again I came across in Waitrose.

I would have ignored the things if a friend hadn’t mentioned them to me: for one, the name and cheapo Fraggle on the box seem to shout ‘sugar’, ‘additives’, ‘crap’. For another, they’re not stocked in the Free From aisle. But Sidney’s friend Benjamin swears by them (insofar as a 17-month-old can swear by anything) and it turns out they’re sugar free and made simply with dried fruit and fruit extracts. The problem is, the box claims ‘gluten free’ but there’s no mention of nuts etcetera. So I emailed the manufacturers, Humdinger, to find out. The answer:

I can confirm that HumZingers do not contain either nuts or sesame, and that they are packed on a site that does not handle these products. We do handle nuts and sesame but these are produced at separate site. The modified starch is rice flour so does not contain wheat.

As we do with the sulphites that are contained in the product, we would declare any of the 14 food allergens that are dictated by EU legislation  if they were contained in the product or if there was a possibility of cross contamination with any of the list.

Result! How long have I been looking for a healthy, kid-friendly snack that doesn’t contain nuts and the like? I’ve already pointed out how toddler brands like Ella’s Kitchen and Plum snap from being allergy-friendly when the food’s for under-ones to suddenly containing the warning “may contain traces” as soon as their products are suitable for older tots. These are big brands so I still don’t get why they can’t improve their allergy-friendly provision.

Still, slowly (very, very slowly) we’re adding a few more things to the list of stuff that Sidney can eat. Of course the bulk of his meals is homemade, and snacks are usually rice cakes, fresh fruit or yoghurt, but give me a break: sometimes it’s nice to know there’s a pre-packed something out there as well.

From £1.99 for pack of 10, from selected Waitrose, Tesco, Morrisons, Sainsbuy’s, Holland and Barrett and online at Tesco here and Natural Matter 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…”

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…

Sid’s a meat and potatoes man

So it seems we’ve added red lentils to the tally of silly allergies sported by our son.

It’s exactly the same scenario as with green peas and chickpeas: weeks and months of eating them just fine until, one day, a few suspicious red splodges around his mouth – nothing definitive, just little marks. The next time we try, the same thing. Then the next time – wham. Ten minutes later we have hives.

Increasingly it appears that our Sid is a meat, two veg and potatoes man. Which is a tad galling given I’m a vegetarian…