Thursday, 28 May 2009

Jam Biscuits (egg free, dairy free, gluten free, vegan)

In many ways young children are like puppies. They need clear boundaries, a kind but firm manner, and someone to clear up their poo. Now, when young children get old enough to ask for a puppy, the boundaries need to be even clearer, and the manner steely. ‘No’ is the correct answer. When they ask why, explain that there will be no puppy because you already have enough to do, all their toys will be chewed to bits, and there is no way you are going to scoop warm faeces into a bag. That’s how I have remained firm on the puppy issue for the best part of a decade.

Except that I now have four kids and a puppy.

It was a car crash that did it. There we were, rolling along, when a man with four times the legal amount of alcohol in his blood and going like a bullet shot in front of me. I hit him. His car flew for 62 metres. As it span through the air, his arm flapped lifelessly out the window and I was convinced I‘d killed him. His car landed on its roof, crushed. I don’t know how he didn’t die. To compound my horror, in French law I was held responsible because he had come from my right, and I had ‘refused to give way’. Do. Not. Even. Get. Me. Started.

The next day I gave a statement to the police, then set off for a long walk to try and sort out my head. For the second time in twenty four hours, something flew at me from the right. It was whimpering and jumping up and its anxious Mum was sniffing along behind. A puppy. A delicious, chubby, lost puppy curling up on my lap and nuzzling. I sat on the grass and the Mum and the pup went to sleep, on me and next to me. I felt like Jesus crossed with the Dog Whisperer.

Of course I shouldn’t have told the children. Of course I shouldn’t have carried the pup home and settled her and her Mum in the garage. And I’m fairly sure that I shouldn’t have fed them pasta with a creamy mushroom and artichoke sauce, (but someone told me dogs will eat anything). The dogs were still there the next morning and by now it was clear. They had been sent from on high to console me in my time of need. Unfortunately the vet begged to differ. When I called him because I was worried about Mum dog’s health, he told me that a man five miles away had lost the dogs two days before. Bugger.

I will cut this story short, but after giving the dogs back, the man told me the pup was for sale. Thankfully he told me in local yokel French dialect, and the flapping ears of my children didn’t hear. I kept it secret for two whole weeks, then one day in October we paid the man an awful lot of money and brought my puppy home. The kids were amazed. They realised, possibly for the first time, that there is blood, not stone, where my heart should be.

Husband was happy because I was happy, and he even ventured,
‘You know, I think we may have bonded, she’s just been nuzzling my hand’.
Not ten minutes later, the pup ran around in circles, then went - as if guided by GPS - straight to his laptop bag and crapped on it. A big, wet, stinking crap. Good thing they’d bonded beforehand, no?
Aside from the laptop bag incident, oh, and the chewing the rubber trim off husband’s sports car incident, and the scratching husband’s sports car incident, the puppy is a delight. We all love her, (husband not so much) and I am glad that I went back on my word.

You think I’m really weak, don’t you? First I caved on the puppy, then, hello, here I am blogging again, what’s that all about? Well I’ve explained about the puppy, and the blogging…

A dear friend called me in despair about her baby’s eczema. A non-medical person with a little bit of personal experience (me) is a dangerous person to call in those circumstances. I rambled on and on with advice and suggestions, and we both agreed that baby needed to have skin prick tests.

Baby had the skin prick tests. Baby is allergic to eggs, milk, wheat, dairy, nuts and more. Dear breast-feeding friend is suddenly on a restrictive diet, tired, weepy, overwhelmed. Now isn’t that reason enough for me to get my recipe-concocting hat out of the cupboard? Even if it means going back on my, ‘I’m not blogging any more’ word?

You know, you really shouldn’t take me at my word.

Sweet E and baby Z, these ‘Going-Back-on-My-Word Jammy Biscuits’ are for you. I wish I didn’t have to make them for you, but until our babies grow out of their allergies, or a vaccine is developed, (yep, I’m still clutching at any straw that comes along), I hope the biscuits and the blog help.

Going-back-on-my-word Jammy Biscuits (Makes approximately 15 biscuits, well, probably more)
So these are not quick to make, but worth the effort for special occasions (going back to blogging, that kind of thing). I like putting a genteel dollop of jam in the love heart, but my sugar fiend of a daughter insists that they should be completely sandwiched together with jam. Give both ways a try and see what you think. You'll need a large heart shape, and a small heart shape to cut out the inner bit

For GF version:
40g potato starch or cornflour (corn starch)
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
230g dairy free spread
130g sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
1-2 tbsp rice milk
Jam for sandwiching purposes
If using wheat flour:
Substitute the first three ingredients above for 335g of white flour
the rest of the ingredients remain the same (including the xanthan gum)
  • Pre-heat the oven to 170 degrees celsius
  • Place the dairy-free spread and sugar into a large mixing bowl, and using a wooden spoon squidge and bash it about a bit until it starts to combine into a dough
  • Add the flour(s) and xanthan gum and mix it into the fat and sugar with the spoonWhen you get fed up of using the spoon, dive in with your hands and squidge it through your fingers. You might want to think of a particularly horrible ex as you squeeze and pummel the dough
  • Add the vanilla essence, squidge again until it is all combined. It is quite a sticky dough, so use the rice milk to dampen your hands, it will help you bend the dough to your will
  • When you have a ball of dough, you can chill it at this point for up to twelve hours. But if you're up against the clock, move right along to the next stage
  • Divide the dough in half and flour a wooden board with rice flour (or wheat flour if using). Start to roll out the dough. You'll need to keep picking up the dough at the beginning to make sure it doesn't stick to your board. Keep adding rice flour and hoping for the best
  • Roll out the flour to a thickness of approximately 4mm
  • Using your large heart shape, stamp out two large hearts. Then using your littlest heart, stamp out a small heart shape from one of the large hearts. Are you following? Shall I say heart again?
  • Now to the jammy bit. Place the heart with the small heart shape cut out of it on top of the large heart. Press down a bit on the edges to stick them together
  • Then very daintily take a teaspoon of jam and ease it into the little heart shape. Don't overfill as it will spread during cooking. If you agree with my daughter and want to add more jam, before you stick the biscuits together, cover the bottom biscuit with jam, then place the heart with the small heart shape cut out on top. Bit complicated to explain that, hope you're keeping up
  • Repeat the process until all the dough is used up, then place your babies into the oven for about 15 minutes, or until they are golden brown. Watch them though, make sure they don't burn. They may take longer depending on your oven, mine's very temperamental (French)
  • Allow the biscuits to cool and the jam to set. Please don't try them when they're hot, the hot jam will take the skin off your lips
  • Enjoy them, but don't feed them to your puppy, that will encourage poor eating habits and it'll forever be begging when you eat. I do hate that in a dog

© Pig in the Kitchen 2009


Guineapigmum said...

You're back!! Welcome back! Sooo glad I didn't take you at your word and delete you from my feed reader. I'd have fallen for that puppy, too.

And, dare I ask because I have indeeed been thinking about you now and again over the past few months, are you all OK after the accident? I assume that if they're trying to make it out to be your fault, that your bank balance is less OK (knowing how insurance companies wheedle out of everything) but hey, bank balances recover.

Vegetation said...

Yay for a post! I was scrolling through my google reader when I notice Pig in the Kitchen is highlighted. I kept going, I thought my eyes were playing tricks. But then curiosity got the better of me and I clicked and hooray for a thoroughly engaging post from you!

Sorry about the accident. I hit someone from behind once when I was 18 (forget the fact that they were stopped, with no brake lights or blinkers in the middle of a major highway!) and it was technically my fault. I hope it works out for you!

And awww, I'm very much in love with your puppy already! (I've been unable to resist 2 furry cat faces and a scaley turtle face so far....who knows what the future holds!?!)

Love the bikkies! Yum!

Iota said...

Oh goody goody you're back. That makes me feel better about having tried and failed to give up blogging myself.

I'm glad I didn't take you off my bloglines list. I might never have known.

So sorry about that accident. You literally never know what is round the next corner in life...

Potty Mummy said...

Welcome back! Fantastic news and the puppy looks gorgeous (as do the biscuits of course, but that was expected, obviously!)

Pig in the Kitchen said...

Hello GPM, thank-you! i know, i'm so fickle. the puppy was/is so cute, and so weird the way she came into our lives! she is forever bound up with a violent car crash, strange. we are all ok after the accident, thank-you for your concern. I had to wait 7 months to know the result of the man's blood test, and when I learnt he was 4 times over the limit, i was completely cured! it helped me make sense of the accident. We didn't take tooooo much of a hit with the insurance, and as you say, bank balances recover!

Vegetation, hello! i must get one of those google reader things, that would make my blogging life easier i think. I hate the stupid blanket traffic laws that apportion blame without taking into account the facts of the accident...

the puppy is cutesville, and i do love the way she ended up with us!!

Iota, yes, I have joined your slack, willpower-less world where we say one thing, then do something completely different. But when it comes to blogging that's a good thing, right?!

I'm hoping i've had my fill of car crashes, but on the plus side I drive very cautiously now, it drives the impatient French crazy, all wild gesticulations and angry honking, it's worth driving slowly just to infuriate them!!

PottyM, dearheart, indeed i am back! as a prolific blogger you can probably not understand the 'we were on a break' thing, but anyway, glad i had it, and glad i'm back! caught that mouse yet??! i should send my puppy over, she's got rid of our moles!

Amanda at Little Foodies said...

Before I read your post I just wanted to say that I smiled and then giggled when I read your comment. It was so lovely to read those words 'Pig in the kitchen'... My back is fine thank you, I'm just rather lazy with the blog nowadays. It's the puppy and life.. Lots of lovely warm feelings that you're back, though it could be the gin... Nope, definitely just pleased you're around!! Off to make another g&t which I will drink while I read. xx

Amanda at Little Foodies said...

It definitely the gin... I've come over all choked...

Puppies... It took me 14 years to persuade husband that a puppy would be a good thing. He still looks at her now and asks how on earth I managed to change his mind. There are days where he literally can't stand her, there are other days where he can just about tolerate her.. The boys and I of course love her...

So good to see you back, if it's just for this post or more so be it, but lovely all the same. x

Pig in the Kitchen said...

A@LF, what IS it with men and dogs??! do they feel usurped? when husband discovered that dog had chewed his car AGAIN (it has cost me over 200 quid to make it right, sometimes i hate the dog too), i thought he was going to send the dog flying over the garden fence, or tie her to the train track. she is just a roly poly puppy, give her a break??!!

(although i hate it when she craps in the house)


Rebel Mother said...

Your blog was the first blog I ever found, I'm so pleased you are back blogging.

Great post, great food, great blog!

Welcome back to blogland. x

Elsie Button said...

GREEEEAT to have you back blogging pig!

Ha ha i seem to recall that the dogs LOVED the pasta but refused your yummy cake!

Mimi said...

Welcome back!
I'm really thrilled that you went back on your word, have checked about a million times in the hope!
Didn't know what you were on about re little hearts and big hearts till I re-checked picture, but tomorrow these will be made.
What a difference a baby can make! Puppy is a dote.

Rebel Mother said...

I've got an award for you over at mine. Hope you like it. RMx

Mimi said...

I forgot to say sorry about the accident and hope you're all recovered.

Mimi said...

me again, you might want to change this! Wouldn't do to publish it when you get a book deal.

Roll out the flour to a thickness of approximately 4mm

Nikki-ann said...

Maybe that guy in the car learned his lesson? Probably not though!

These jammy biscuits look delicious :)

Mya said...

Hi Piggykins! You're back, at last.
I didn't acknowledge your temporary retirement from blogging, because I KNEW you'd be back.And a bloody good thing it is too!
V sorry about the car crash - French people shouldn't be allowed to drive, they're temperamentally ill suited...Glad you are all OK and that new dog is introducing a whole new level of complexity into the family dynamic. Do the kids blame her for stuff yet?

And the looks as mouth wateringly good as ever.

Welcome back!

Mya x

Lisa said...

You are back and thanks to my google reader for letting me know. I stumbled across your blog shortly after starting my own through a google search for I remember not what and I was hooked right away.

Take good care and you better keep blogging or you will disappoint more than a few dedicated fans!

Pig in the Kitchen said...

Rebel Mother, awww, you're sweet! Thank-you, and thank-you for the award!

Elsie B, i had forgotten about the cake refusal! you are right, they did like Tom's pasta, but spurned my experimental gf apple cake. I seem to recall that someone else ate most of that cake...

Mimi x3, yay! i'm back! thank-you for being so sweet. You know i'm so thick, when i read your third comment it took ages before i worked out what you meant. I kept muttering, 'but it IS 4mm, what does she mean?' Then - doh! - worked it out. i shall substitute 'flour' for 'pastry'...soon!

Nikki-Ann, the guy was about 3 weeks away from qualifying as a fireman, I'm really hoping they said no to him!! so maybe he will learn his lesson with career plans in ruin, a drink driving and speeding conviction. Not that i would wish that on anyone, but if you come within inches of killing me and my children, hmmm, well you sort of deserve some kind of punishment, no??!! ;-)

Sweet MYA, you DO still love me! You were just playing mind games with me. The french should soooo not be allowed to drive!

Lisa, you know i really need one of those bloglines thingamajigs! thanks for saying sweet won't ever pull that trigger on the photo will you? it does worry me a bit!

Grit said...

hurrah!! first kick the foolish french highway legal system into the gutter! but the dog! and the return! and the biscuits!

soon i shall have used up all the exclamation marks in all the world! just for you! but you're worth it!!

Pig in the Kitchen said...

Sweet Grit!!!!!!!!!!!!!! In my state of shock i did consider writing to Sarko to point out that the 'you must give way to the right even tho you are on a major road' rule was ridicule et monstrueux et preuve que tous les francais sont un peu nuls, but decided he might not take it too well.

and he's also such a 'chaud lapin' he might start hitting on me and i am a happily married woman.

but yes, the dog! the return! the biscuits! and behold!!! there are still some exclamation marks left!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Stay at home dad said...

Wow Pig, you're back and in loquacious mood! !! !!! !!!!

The worst of times... but I'm glad they're behind you now.

Great to have you back.


Newcastle Breastfeeding Resource said...

Hi Piggy -
So glad you're back!

When I had to cut loads of stuff out of my diet to help my own breastfed baby, your blog was what kept me going. Before I found it I was worryingly skinny (not like me at all, either, but I COULDN'T EAT ANYTHING) and sad that everything I cooked tasted awful. Your services to breastfeeding mums are worthy of great commendation.

On the plus side, my little girl is 2 1/2 years old now, and can have goats cheese and yoghurt (her first mammal milk that I didn't make myself!), can tolerate egg yolk with a tiny bit of white, and bananas - all of which were totally off the menu in the past. So there is hope! Each of these things is a great accomplishment for us.

And there isn't a vaccination, but kids can have desensitisation therapy when the allergy is particularly problematic - I saw a documentary about a kid with life-threatening dog allergy, and the Royal Ormond Street specialist got him to the point where he could be in the same room and even stroke the dog without swelling up etc. It had taken a lot of time and work, but they got there.

Good to see you're writing again.


Frog in the Field said...

A little Potty Mummy told me you were back....
very pleased to see you...shall we sing?

Dan said...

I think you should get a pony next. Or maybe a emu.

Flo'bear said...

I'm going to dive straight in with some recipe requests, lest you disappear again:

fish fingers


vanilla cake (desperately looking for wheat and egg free recipe for my son's birthday, he claims not to like chocolate!)


Pig in the Kitchen said...

SAHD, back indeed, and gabbing away as usual. i didn't have to look loquacious up...

Sweet, sweet, lovely Andrea...your very large cheque is in the post, for your truly delightful comment. (I'm ignoring the bit about you being 'worryingly skinny' i wouldnt want to start hating you...)
Really pleased little O can tolerate some more stuff now, there is hope!
The whole desensitisation therapy bothers me a bit. a paed told me that unless it's sustained the allergy recurs. i also found it hard to be told my daughter had a severe allergy, and having handed me an epipen, I was then told to go away and feed her butter to try and desensitise her. hours of internet trawling convinced me that if it's going to work it needs to be hospital-based...

FITF, hello. I should like you to sing, will it be the Frog Chorus?? oh chortle chortle, i do make myself laugh with my rapier wit.

Dan, i do love your off the wall comment. but have you seen the size of horse poo? i don't want to be shovelling that around, and i've heard emus are very violent, not good around kids. i did look into it...

Flo'bear, i'm loving your name! hmm, fishfingers. I'm of the non-fish-eating persuasion, but i googled for you and found...
i also found some chat room chatter about sainsbury's and tesco doing GF fishfingers...but now i'm wondering if your son can have egg??

Orgran do gf breadcrumb type mixes:

and you could probably get them to stick by smearing the fish with butter...but wait! just remembered one of my recipes, i'll be right back...
you could use the crumb as a fishfinger coating. (and i apologise for the truly horrendous photo, i must re-shoot that one)

vanilla cake, pass, BUT how about an orange cake? i've only made these as muffins, but i reckon they could work as a cake...

wow. i'm all talked out. thanks for visiting.


The wife of bold said...

Really funny post, i too share your pre - puppy mantra and have so far refused to let my kids have a puppy, on the grounds that i have to clean up enough poo and take them for walks already - although my hubby would get one tomorrow if i'd let him. You might have softened me to the idea a little but i think i'd much prefer a batch of those jammy biscuits....i'm off to get some ingredients.

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Great! Just copied your recipe for my coeliac wife. Keep up the good work.

Milla said...

Puppy, eh? chuckles weakly, BIG MISTAKE.
Nice to see you back.

Absolutely Write said...

Oh Pig, how lovely to see you back. I've just got back too - I used to post as Gone Back South and then spent a while in the bloggy wilderness.
Bye for now!

Alex in Beverley said...

Pig so glad you are back - child no 1 has grown out of lactose problems(yipee) so am here for the great stories. So glad i looked you up again just on the off chance you had come back !!
Alex in Beverley

Pig in the Kitchen said...

TWOB, you know since enthusing about the puppy, there have been a few incidents that have made me think, 'hmmm, what was i thinking?' Stay strong O Wife of Bold, keep resisting the puppy. Hope you like the jammy biscuits!

Sweet GOK, you are such a lovely husband to your wife. Although if you actually baked the biscuits for know, just an idea

Milla, oh you are wise. Puppy ripped the internet modem out of the wall last hands unwittingly formed themselves into the correct shape for throttling a puppy.

Absolutely Write, hurrah! you are back too!

Alex in Beverley, oh wow, grown out of lactose problems...i'm hanging onto that straw of hope.

glutenfree4goofs said...

Oh Pig, I'm so glad you are back. I keep peeking and lo... here you are. I enjoy your stories and can't wait for some time (4kids as well here) to bake these.
Jessie at Blog Schmog

Amber said...

I'm so happy that you're back! I rely on all of the new recipes to keep me going.

Irina said...

Yummmyyyyy……All time is ice cream time, I want ice cream in any time……..Amazing blog, really I love your blog. The recipe is very delicious; I love to make it.

Pig in the Kitchen said...

yeh right Irina.

disa said...
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